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The more things change in the USA casino capitalism the more they stay the same

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“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

John Maynard Keynes

"Life is a school of probabilities."

Walter Bagehot

Note: Some thoughts  on 2019  added on Jan 3, 2019.

Neoliberal economics (aka casino capitalism) function from one crash to another. Risk is pervasively underpriced under neoliberal system, resulting in bubbles small and large which hit the economy periodically. The problem are not strictly economical or political. They are ideological. Like a country which adopted a certain religion follows a certain path, The USA behaviour after adoption of neoliberalism somewhat correlate with the behaviour of alcoholic who decided to booze himself to death. The difference is that debt is used instead of booze.

Hypertrophied role of financial sector under neoliberalism introduces strong positive feedback look into the economic system making the whole system unstable. Any attempts to put some sand into the wheels in the form of increasing transaction costs or jailing some overzealous bankers or hedge fund managers are blocked by political power of financial oligarchy, which is the actual ruling class under neoliberalism for ordinary investor (who are dragged into stock market by his/her 401K) this in for a very bumpy ride. I managed to observe just two two financial crashed under liberalism (in 2000 and 2008) out of probably four (Savings and loan crisis was probably the first neoliberal crisis). The next crash is given, taking into account that hypertrophied role of financial sector did not changes neither after dot-com crisis of 200-2002 not after 2008 crisis (it is unclear when and if it ended; in any case it was long getting the name of "Great Recession").

Timing of the next crisis is anybody's guess but it might well be closer then we assume. As Mark Twain aptly observed: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes" ;-):

This morning that meant a stream of thoughts triggered by Paul Krugman’s most recent op-ed, particularly this:

Most of all, the vast riches being earned — or maybe that should be “earned” — in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality and degraded our judgment.

Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

As most 401K investors are brainwashing into being "over bullish", this page is strongly bearish in "perma-bear" fashion in order to serve as an antidote to "Barrons" style cheerleading. Funny, but this page is accessed mostly during periods of economic uncertainty. At least this was the case during the last two financial crisis(2000 and 2008). No so much during good times: the number of visits drops to below 1K a month.

Some thoughts  on 2019

It was clear that 2017 stock market run was detached from fundamentals. Mostly speculative run. And the current stock market decline could well happen three months aerler or three month later but it was in the cards. It is difficult to estimate the power of inertia in such speculative runs. Also layoffs and decline of the standard liming of workers and lower middle class still can continue to improve the balance sheet until "Yellow Vests" moment stops them.

Jobs created now are mostly "inferior" low paid or temp/contractor jobs and the numbers just mask the cruel reality of the USA job market.

Which in reality is dismal, especially for young and old workers. several more or less paid specialties disappeared in 2018 due to automation (cash office worker is one). automatic cashier is supermarkets are also now more visible.  So spontaneous cases of vandalism, killings of coworkers and other form of "action of desperation" (as well as the rate of death from opioids -- which is yet another form of the same) would not be too surprising in such an atmosphere. Even with the power of the current national security state. Trump is playing with fire trying to cut on food stamps and implementing some other action in this program of "national neoliberalism" which is in internal policy is almost undistinguishable from neofascism.  He risk facing "Macron situation" sooner or later.

In any case at some point Minsky moment should arrive for the stock market. I am not sure that the current decline is that start of such an event. It might be postponed further down the line for a year or two.  But it will eventually come.  We can only guess what form it might take, but with the current Apple troubles and valuations of tech sector I think it might take the form of something similar to dot-com bubble deflation No.2

I do not see Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft and other tech high flyers completely immune to the stock crash of 50% magnitude or more. For example, Google is overly dependent on advertising revenue which can grow only by strangulating small sites owners which use it as the advertizing platform (which it successfully implements fro several years now). But at some point owners might revolt and start dropping it for Microsoft or other platform.  Facebook might face a backlash, if people understand that selling data about them in the part of the business model, not an aberration.

One of the most unexplainable things that happened in 2018 was dramatic fall of oil prices in the Q4. This was quite surprising (and destructive) after the period of little or no capital investment in the new fields for three years or so.  Shale oil production increases in the USA are only possible if junk bonds can be produced along with it. Junks bonds that will never be paid. With the current debt load and prices below $50 most of the USA shale oil companies are zombies. Most if not all of thenm are losing money.  Only return of ~$70 oil prices can save them, if anything at all. WSJ touched this topic recently.

So this surprising fall of oil prices (from around $70 to around $43 WTI) looks connected to the speculations in the "paper oil" market.

Financialization allows for oil price to be completely detached from fundamentals for a year or even two (Saudis need over $80 I think to balance the budget, I think; this represents "fair price" as they are one of the three largest producers).

But you will never know this unless there are shortages at gas stations. The difference is covered by inflated statistics from IEA and similar agencies as well as "paper oil" -- future contracts which are settled in dollars.

This is the reality of "casino capitalism" ( aka neoliberalism ) with its rampant and destructive financialization.


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[Jul 22, 2019] Deliberate Lies and Mispricing of Risks

Notable quotes:
"... Do not allow yourself to be swayed back and forth by those snakes and vipers who prey upon the innocent for a living, and lead them into destruction, for gain, and too often just for sport. ..."
Jul 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts - The Mask of Agamemnon - Deliberate Lies and Mispricing of Risks

"At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world."

Jeffrey Sachs

"Of this Logos the Word being eternal, men have proven to be uncomprehending, both before they hear and once they have heard it. For although all things happen according to this Word, they are like the uneducated who first experience words and deeds such as when I distinguish each thing according to its essence and show how it is.

And as for the rest, they are as unaware of what they do when they are awake, as they are when they are asleep."

Heraclitus

"I believe order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction. I prefer gentleness to violence, forgiveness to vendetta. On the whole I think that knowledge is preferable to ignorance, and I am sure that human sympathy is more valuable than ideology. I believe that in spite of the recent triumphs of science, men haven't changed much in the last two thousand years; and in consequence we must try to learn from history. History is ourselves.

I believe in courtesy, the ritual by which we avoid hurting other people's feelings, by satisfying our own egos. And I think we should remember that we are all part of a great whole, which for convenience we call nature. All living things are our brothers and sisters."

Kenneth Clark, Civilisation

The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.

W. B. Yeats, Leda and the Swan

"Each day we are becoming a creature of splendid glory, or one of unthinkable horror."

C. S. Lewis

Lies seem to be coming more and more easily to and prevalent among the ruling elite, and their enablers and acolytes in the professional class. And it is therefore no surprise that hatred and irrationality are also in the air.

It will get worse before it gets better. If history is any guide, may God forgive us, this will end in blood.

Pray for each other, that you do not lose your way in this madness.

Stocks were soaring to new highs today, and gold rose sharply, off of the rather dovish testimony of Fed chair Powell.

His rationale for cutting rates in such a 'strong economy' is trade risks. Although he did note correctly that despite the apparent improvements, wages still remain sub-par.

Gold rallied smartly, up $20 to the upper bound of the consolidation pattern in which it is currently coiling. If it breaks out to the upside it could be rather impressive. I am stunned, and I hear little talk about it, at the lack of withdrawals from the Comex Hong Kong warehouses, much less the NY ones. Hong Kong has been an active supplier of physical gold to Asia for some time.

Something momentous is happening behind the scenes. I am almost certain of this. It will of course be brought to light, eventually. But it will not be acknowledged readily by those who draw power from this rotten system. This is the credibility trap.

"The truth has to be melted out of our stubborn lives by suffering. Nothing speaks the truth, nothing tells us how things really are, nothing forces us to know what we do not want to know except pain."

Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Do not allow yourself to be swayed back and forth by those snakes and vipers who prey upon the innocent for a living, and lead them into destruction, for gain, and too often just for sport.

[Jul 22, 2019] As with all things public and private, public money is not required to make a profit, but in contrast, private money has no other reason to exist than to make a profit.

Jul 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Jul 22 2019 5:46 utc | 107

Regarding money, and the difference between private and public money.

As with all things public and private, public money is not required to make a profit, but in contrast, private money has no other reason to exist than to make a profit.

What we call money in the US, is privately owned. It is actually a promissory note, the signifier of a loan made to those who hold the note. This is how US money comes into existence.

We could trade coconut shells, or beads, but we trade promissory notes. They are legal tender by law. And they fulfill the role of money pretty well. But we the people do not ultimately own those obligations.

Public money is issued out of the same thin air as private money, but not as a debt, simply as an issuance. The bills do their job for exchange and storage, and circulate until being retired as taxes and the like. No one pays interest on that money.

Public money doesn't charge interest. Private money charges interest. This is the only difference, and this difference is killing us and destroying the entire world.

~~

Professor Richard Werner illustrates nicely how a mortgage comes into existence through a bank, which doesn't actually create money in this loan, but purchases a promissory note from the home buyer. It is this promissory note that then enters the public record as new money, which we then trade like sea shells - happy children, except that we now will pay interest of more than 100 percent over the next 30 years. This interest is the profit on the private money.

The Finance Curse

You'll find the mortgage part specifically around 16:15.

~~

As to all the rest, there is much more collateral, including the flagship work by Helen Brown. Sorry I have no time to supply more links.

But I'm surprised to see so much wordy ignorance here on the subject, which is actually very simple (although obfuscated, of course). Thanks to psychohistorian and karlof1 and others who show that the good economists are all calling for public money which charges no interest. And the communists and socialists do this as a matter of course.

As Hudson ended in his address cited by b and discussed here: "nations face a choice between socialism and barbarism" .

Neoliberal economics and private finance is this very barbarism. It is accompanied by fascism, oppression and the utter loss of freedom. As I cited in my previous comment, Dambisa Moyo suggests very cogently that economic sufficiency undergirds democratic freedom. The corollary is obvious: as we get more impoverished, freedom flees away.

~~

Interest charged on a loan is a claim on wealth that it doesn't create. It therefore steals existing wealth in order to be redeemed. That's where our wealth went, and why we're all so broke.

A loan for a productive purpose that will create new wealth can hopefully afford to slice some of this new wealth off to pay the interest. It's still usury. But any loan at interest that doesn't create wealth - such as a mortgage that simply buys an existing asset - is something vastly more wicked.

[Jul 22, 2019] T>here's a fundamental difference between debt in the past and debt today. In the past debt was owed to the state, today it's owed to some wealthy corporations. Good luck with debt jubilees in the absence of violent uprisings.

Notable quotes:
"... As Mael Colium says, the US picks off individual countries by isolating them. ..."
"... there's a fundamental difference between debt in the past and debt today. In the past debt was owed to the state, today it's owed to some wealthy corporations. Good luck with debt jubilees in the absence of violent uprisings. ..."
"... The difference is they internalize profit and externalize cost. And that's fundamentally different from all other epochs in the past. Even the birth of nation state was out of their rationalization of how to maximize profit extraction and cost externalization in the 1st place. Good luck with debt jubilees. ..."
"... How would this occur aside from a repudiation of the almighty buck one wonders, and would it be based on reserves in the vault, or actual use as money? ..."
"... The Eurozone and China could run trade deficits, thereby creating an opportunity for their currencies to become reasonably viable alternative reserves. But they don't because they don't want to cede control of their manufacturing and export-driven economic bases away. ..."
"... The sine qua non of our economic empire (which I learned here) is that a global currency requires global trade deficits, which must grow as quickly as the global economy to fulfill its role. ..."
"... So American deficits are structural. Our debt-ceiling controversies are theater. And our dollar is exceptional until the instant it isn't–then the Fed electron-tranfers trillions more to the speculators whose notional dollars just evaporated, keeping the currencies in the air with their new casino chips. Is this a loan? A gift? An electron cloud? It's the fog of war by other means . . . ..."
"... Resources and the critical health of the planet bother me a lot. Money and "gold" are, in the end, both fictitious obsessions. ..."
"... You'll find few authors willing to provide their seminal work for free online– 2nd Edition PDF . I think it fair for those unfamiliar with Hudson's work to read his analysis prior to being judgmental. ..."
Jul 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"On a similar note, I've wondered why Russia has not defaulted on it's considerable USD and EUR debt (also too, why is Russia still doing debt in USD and thus strengthening U.S.?)"

It should be noted that Russia has almost zero foreign public debt and that the private foreign debt has been much reduced and now amounts to US dollars 450 billion.

As Russia has a surplus of more than US dollars 100 billion on the current account the total foreign debt amounts to 4 years current account surplus only.

Ad to this that Russias international currency reserves amounts to ca. US dollars 500 billion which meens that Russia is in a very strong fiscal position as it is capable of paying off its entire foreign debt any time it chooses.


Ian Perkins , July 21, 2019 at 9:16 am

Along the same lines, the summary starts with, "The first existential objective is to avoid the current threat of war by winding down U.S. military interference in foreign countries and removing U.S. military bases as relics of neocolonialism."

Either would be taken as proof of evil anti-US intentions, leading to sanctions, coups, assassinations, regime change, and eventually outright war. As Mael Colium says, the US picks off individual countries by isolating them.

Off The Street , July 21, 2019 at 9:19 am

Peripherally related MMT 2nd of 3 articles

jsn , July 21, 2019 at 11:50 am

When we have MMT paying for arts, history, journalism and particularly editors, I won't be so irritated by these kinds of criticisms.

We live in a very advanced world of Bernaysian propaganda where the communicative industries are privately owned and directed to ensure deep criticisms of the hyper-exploitative current reality CANNOT be published and promoted.

When someone takes the effort to produce something, like this or the book other commenters on this thread are also slighting, at great personal expense to themselves without corporate backing or institutional support, a decent reply would be "Thank you!", rather than tasking them or our hosts here at this site to "go back and clean up this mess??"

If you had any decency, you might suggest clarifying edits in comments, like changing "– so that it can taxing its own citizens." at the end of the 23rd paragraph to, "– so that it can avoid taxing its own citizens", to help the people you are criticizing for making things so difficult for you.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 21, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Michael Hudson is a modern day Saint! Who cares about a few typos when his ideas are truly REVOLUTIONARY!

For example, i had no idea about Debt Jubilees in early civilizations 3000 years ago! The pyramids built by FREE MEN! Liberty and Freedom originating from canceling debts! Torches and Beacons of light as representatives of said Debt Jubilees!

If you ask me, the #HudsonHawk is trying to awaken the Workers of the World in Forgiveness, Peace, Love, and Solidarity.

HUDSON 2024

softie , July 21, 2019 at 3:27 pm

I didn't know that until I read anthropologist David Graeber's Debt: The First 5,000 Years.

But there's a fundamental difference between debt in the past and debt today. In the past debt was owed to the state, today it's owed to some wealthy corporations. Good luck with debt jubilees in the absence of violent uprisings.

Kurtismayfield , July 21, 2019 at 5:20 pm

And those corporations get favorable rates on money printed by the government.. and the government backs trillions in mortgage and student loans.

Not much different.

softie , July 21, 2019 at 10:22 pm

The difference is they internalize profit and externalize cost. And that's fundamentally different from all other epochs in the past. Even the birth of nation state was out of their rationalization of how to maximize profit extraction and cost externalization in the 1st place. Good luck with debt jubilees.

Wukchumni , July 21, 2019 at 10:15 am

That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold's role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.

How would this occur aside from a repudiation of the almighty buck one wonders, and would it be based on reserves in the vault, or actual use as money?

Keep in mind that there isn't a human alive now who ever proffered a monetized gold coin in order to purchase something, and increasingly relatively few that have ever used a monetized silver coin for the same purpose.

Clive , July 21, 2019 at 10:44 am

I don't have a huge amount of sympathy. The Eurozone and China could run trade deficits, thereby creating an opportunity for their currencies to become reasonably viable alternative reserves. But they don't because they don't want to cede control of their manufacturing and export-driven economic bases away.

The US doesn't mind and doesn't care about the domestic repercussions. For how much longer that can continue, especially as Trump's America First policy is putting that under some strain, is an open question. But for now, it's willing to be satisfied with a little rowing back rather than wholesale reversal (back to, for example, an immediate-post war position of significant trade surpluses although the article is correct to point out this was due to the US being the last man standing, in terms of having a manufacturing base still intact).

The Eurozone and China are not only not showing any signs of a policy change, they've continued embedding and strengthening the current modus operandi. You pays your money, you takes your choices. Here as elsewhere. If they'd rather not have the US$ having a more-or-less monopoly position in then global financial system as a reserve currency, they'll need to make the compromises needed to set up these challenger currencies as viable alternatives.

But they can't have their economic cakes and eat them, too.

And it's not just currencies. You need legal systems which are deemed to be (which can only come through real, observational experience) investor-friendly -- not just prone to supporting or at the very least given an easy ride to domestic stalwarts. Again, this has repercussions if you then have to stop cosseting domestic "champions". The US legal system is ridiculously business friendly. But it doesn't, overtly, differentiate between US and non-US companies in a commercial dispute.

barefoot charley , July 21, 2019 at 11:31 am

The sine qua non of our economic empire (which I learned here) is that a global currency requires global trade deficits, which must grow as quickly as the global economy to fulfill its role. Tell that to Germany! If your silly little euro or yen or renminbi tries to go global, the dollar-based currency speculators will shrivel it like Soros did the pound in the 90s.

So American deficits are structural. Our debt-ceiling controversies are theater. And our dollar is exceptional until the instant it isn't–then the Fed electron-tranfers trillions more to the speculators whose notional dollars just evaporated, keeping the currencies in the air with their new casino chips. Is this a loan? A gift? An electron cloud? It's the fog of war by other means . . .

It may have been Hudson who explained that a quarter (or was it half?) of all corporate profits after WWII went to American companies, when our economy was that much of the world's. Now we're a much smaller fraction of the global economy, but our corporate sector still profits as much as it did when it was producing, rather than marketing, real goods. Another exceptional achievement.

Summer , July 21, 2019 at 1:20 pm

Really all we know is that such a plan would create a different order. That so many countries have continued to pauper their populations long after the obviousness that "development" is a sham doesn't bode well for their intentions even after the USA is brought to heel.

hunkerdown , July 22, 2019 at 5:20 am

Agreed. The likes of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are still under negotiation and still, like every other multilateral investment agreement of recent vintage, apparently primarily concerned with creating supranational rights for landlords, especially of the absentee variety, at the expense of citizens in their collective capacity.

Susan the other` , July 21, 2019 at 2:30 pm

This is a good summary of our irrational world. MMT and the GND can save the situation but only if we industrialized humans forego any more fossil fuels except for long-term survival purposes. Ration it with draconian discipline. That in turn will discipline our military and turn our energies to things we can no longer ignore. Money doesn't bother me much. Resources and the critical health of the planet bother me a lot. Money and "gold" are, in the end, both fictitious obsessions.

karlof1 , July 21, 2019 at 4:56 pm

Thanks for providing this transcript prior to Hudson posting it to his own website. He was the first political-economist to lay out the Outlaw US Empire's game plan when he published Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire in 1972.

You'll find few authors willing to provide their seminal work for free online– 2nd Edition PDF . I think it fair for those unfamiliar with Hudson's work to read his analysis prior to being judgmental.

[Jul 22, 2019] I think Calvin and his role in today's debt based monetary system is much underestimated

Jul 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Alexander P , Jul 22 2019 13:09 utc | 138

@84 Karlof1

I think Calvin and his role in today's debt based monetary system is much underestimated. The meteoric rise of the seven provinces and what was to become the Dutch colonial empire was in no small part funded and financed by this debt based system in the latter half of the 16th century. The same applied shortly afterwards to the UK. The book passage I quoted from is from Devaluing the Scholastics: Calvin's Ethics of Usury .

[Jul 22, 2019] The world is in WWIII which is between private and public finance. To characterize the private finance side as being just the US is obfuscation

Jul 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Jul 21 2019 15:20 utc | 2

I read the Michael Hudson piece and shake my head at the manifest obfuscation at play

The world is in WWIII which is between private and public finance. To characterize the private finance side as being just the US is obfuscation

Global private finance exists outside the bounds of any one nation state and the US is just the current face of the centuries of empires under this model.

Why is the West unable to have a discussion about the core component to the world war we are engaged in?

Sad comment on the successful brainwashing at work here.....that is why I call the web site Michael Hudson's writing is provided at ALMOST Naked Capitalism

Wake the rest of the way up fellow humans of the West.

John Merryman , Jul 21 2019 15:39 utc | 4

psychohistorian,

The essential problem is that money functions as a contract, with one side an asset and the other a debt, but as we experience it as quantified hope and security, we try to save and store it. Thus Econ 101 tells us it is both medium of exchange and store of value. Even though one is dynamic and the other is static, like blood and fat, or roads and parking lots.

Necessarily then, in order to store the asset side, generally equal amounts of debt have to be manufactured and this creates a centripetal effect, as positive feedback pulls the asset side to the center of the economy, while negative feedback accumulates the debt on the fringes.
The ancients used debt jubilees to push the reset button, but since we have been conditioned to think of money as private property, not a public medium, now the only way to reset is for societal collapse.

Value, as a savings for the future, needs to be stored in tangibles, like strong social and environmental networks, not as abstractions in the financial circulation system. The functionality of money is in its fungibility. We own it like we own the section of road we are using, or the fluids passing through our bodies.
We are also conditioned to think of ourselves as individuals, not as parts of a larger community, so this social atomization enables finance to mediate most transactions and tax them. A figurative version of The Matrix.

John Merryman , Jul 21 2019 15:49 utc | 7
psycho,

I was pretty much banned from NC for questioning MMT. Yves called me a troll. The exchange is jan 6, in the links post.

Consequently I'll only try posting very occasionally and one or two have gone through moderation.

My view in MMT is that either these people are extremely naive, or operatives for the oligarchy, as there is no free lunch and the public issuing ever more promises only drives it further into debt. Which is then accumulated by the oligarchy and eventually traded for remaining public assets. It's basic predatory lending/disaster capitalism and has been going on since the dawn of civilization.
Not that people are not often incredibly stupid, but I suspect some recognize the dynamic. When you start having to pay tolls on most roads, you will know we are way down that rabbit hole.

Bemildred , Jul 21 2019 16:06 utc | 8
John Merryman @7: Sure there are free lunches, Uncle Sugar has been getting lots of free lunches ever since WWII. The thing about free lunches is those situations cannot be permanent in a growth economy. To have permanent free lunches you have to have an ecologically stable economy and a stable population consuming it. In other words, you can't get too greedy.
Russ , Jul 21 2019 16:17 utc | 11
What's ridiculous is to fall for the "public vs. private" scam, one of the most potent divide-and-conquer scams of the corporate state, where in reality there's zero distinction between public and private power.

Power is power, and the finance sector is purely wasteful, purely destructive, serves zero legitimate purpose, and needs to be abolished as a necessary part of any kind of human liberation.

Of course the Mammon religion has brainwashed almost everyone into believing, among other lies, that the dominion of money is necessary for human existence. Never mind that the vast majority of societies didn't use money for more than a few special transactions, and many didn't use it at all. Almost all of those societies were humanly more wholesome than this one, and all of them were less ecologically destructive by many orders of magnitude.

bevin , Jul 21 2019 16:22 utc | 12
"The ancients used debt jubilees to push the reset button, but since we have been conditioned to think of money as private property, not a public medium, now the only way to reset is for societal collapse."
John Merryman @4

There are compromises in this business: debt repudiation being an obvious one.
It is easy enough to make a case for declaring large parts of the public debt, odious. This is particularly true of the enormous debts run up by Public-Private Partnerships of the sort that the former UK Premier Brown promoted so enthusiastically. But it is generally true of debts contracted for purposes which contradict the public interest.
Debt used to make deposits in private bank accounts in the Caymans for example can justifiably be repudiated by the public, particularly when the creditor was well aware that its loans were going to be employed for corrupt purposes.
Most of the US Debt, contracted to finance the MIC, is not only odious on general grounds (Defending what against whom?) but on a contract to contract basis, most contracts being padded to ensure the ability to provide kickbacks: when Congressmen receive funds from government contractors and 'public servants', including military types, get jobs/sinecures from the same, then any money borrowed to finance such contracts is, clearly, odious.

It would be revolutionary no doubt but perfectly practicable to push a 'reset' button on the Public Debt by proclaiming that, in future, all borrowing for purposes not approved or understood the putative taxpayer would be found to be odious.

Another possible course would be to stop paying interest on public debt and issue bonds to repay the capital amounts lent.

The fact that such options are understood would make the regular claims, by neo-liberals pushing austerity, that there is no money for such things as social security or living wages, an obvious trigger for debt reduction measures designed to impact the rich rather than their victims.

fastfreddy , Jul 21 2019 16:31 utc | 13
Predators and Prey. But the prey believe themselves to be predators also, or at least to have the potential to become predators should they win the lotto.

"Send Her Back!, Send Her Back!"

[Jul 22, 2019] When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated

Jul 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance. We're still dancing,"

Chuck Prince, CEO Citigroup, July 9, 2007

[Jul 22, 2019] A baited banker

Jul 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"A baited banker thus desponds,
From his own hand foresees his fall,
They have his soul, who have his bonds;
'Tis like the writing on the wall.

How will the caitiff wretch be scared,
When first he finds himself awake
At the last trumpet, unprepared,
And all his grand account to make!

For in that universal call,
Few bankers will to heaven be mounters;
They'll cry, 'Ye shops, upon us fall!
Conceal and cover us, ye counters!'

When other hands the scales shall hold,
And they, in men's and angels' sight
Produced with all their bills and gold,
'Weigh'd in the balance and found light!'

Jonathan Swift, A Run Upon the Bankers

[Jul 19, 2019] Why Don't People Buy More Annuities

Jul 19, 2019 | conversableeconomist.blogspot.com

Yet another issue is that annuities can be complex financial contracts, and hard for an average person to evaluate. How long do you pay into the annuity? When does it start paying out? Does it pay our for a fixed period, or over the rest of one's life? Are the payouts adjusted for inflation? How large a commission is being charged by the seller? Does the annuity include a minimum payout if you die soon--which could be left to one's heirs? What happens if the company that sold you the annuity goes broke a decade or two in the future? How will the tax code treat income from annuities in the future? In the past, some annuities were not an especially good financial deal, in the sense that someone with the discipline to withdraw money from their retirement accounts in a slow-and-steady way have a high probability of ending up better off than someone who purchased a life annuity.

[Jul 18, 2019] Dmitry Orlov offers a highly-pertinent review of a current report to the US Congress about the severe degradation of the US's capacity to produce ANY heavy industrial goods

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rhisiart Gwilym , Jul 17 2019 22:35 utc | 66

@ Trailer Trash 23

Dmitry Orlov offers a highly-pertinent review of a current report to the US Congress about the severe degradation of the US's capacity to produce ANY heavy industrial goods - including advanced weapons such as replacement aircraft carriers, cruisers, tanks and all the rest - within its own borders, independent of (exceedingly vulnerable) global supply networks:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/07/war-profiteers-and-demise-of-us.html#more

Also, the US only has 'plenty' of fossil-hydrocarbon fuel on cloud-cuckoo-land paper. In reality, it has quite a lot of such stuff which it will never access, and will never be able to access, because of the non-negotiable, iron logic of EROEI and EROCI (the second acronym relating to energy returned on financial capital invested; currently a long way red-ink negative across the whole US fracking ponzi). EROEI refers to the even more intractable, terminally-insoluble problem of energy returned on ENERGY invested. When this gets down to around 4 to 1 or thereabouts, it's game over for actually being able to maintain an industrial hitech society that can hope - credibly - to do fossil-hydrocarbon mining in any seriously challenging conditions - which most of the world's remaining pools of such fuels now exhibit.

These predicaments are qualitatively different from problems; problems, by definition, can hope to be solved; predicaments, inherently, can't be, and can only be endured. The world is now close to the edge of a decisive non-availability of sufficient fossil-hydrocarbon fuels to keep even a skeleton semblance of modern hitech industrial society operating - at all. That's the predicament that is already staring us in the face, and that will soon be trampling us into the ground. Doesn't mean that hopeless political inadequates such as PompousHippo and The Insane Geriatric Walrus won't attempt to trigger such insanity as an aggression against Iran, though, they being too stupid, too delusional, and too morally-degenarate, to know any better.

This is the overall situation which insists that the US has literally zero chance of attacking Iran, and actually getting anything remotely resembling a 'win' out of it. Read Dmitry's piece to get a more detailed outline of why this is so.

PS: The above considerations apply just as decisively to the US's nuclear weapon capacity as they do to all the other hitech industrial toys which USAmerica is now barely able to produce on its own - at all.

[Jul 18, 2019] Most of the lost US manufacturing jobs in recent decades probably are not coming back

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, correlation is not causation, and there is no shortage of alternative explanations for the decline in U.S. manufacturing. Globalization, offshoring, and skills gaps are just three frequently cited causes. Moreover, some researchers, like MIT's David Autor, have argued that workers are benefiting from working alongside robots. ..."
"... Yet the evidence suggests there is essentially no relationship between the change in manufacturing employment and robot use. Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. (We introduce a three-year time lag to allow for robots to influence the labor market and continued with the most recent data, 2012). ..."
"... Korea, France, and Italy also lost fewer manufacturing jobs than the United States even as they introduced more industrial robots. On the other hand, countries like the United Kingdom and Australia invested less in robots but saw faster declines in their manufacturing sectors. ..."
Jan 28, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : January 28, 2017 at 01:49 PM , 2017 at 01:49 PM
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2015/04/29/dont-blame-the-robots-for-lost-manufacturing-jobs/

Don't blame the robots for lost manufacturing jobs

Scott Andes and Mark Muro

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

a recent blog we described new research by George Graetz and Guy Michaels that shows the impact of automation technology in productivity statistics. So now there is good evidence that robots are a driver of economic growth.

However, this new evidence poses a question: Has productivity growth from robots come at the cost of manufacturing jobs?

Between 1993 and 2007 (the timeframe studied by Graetz and Micheals) the United States increased the number of robots per hour worked by 237 percent. During the same period the U.S. economy shed 2.2 million manufacturing jobs. Assuming the two trends are linked doesn't seem farfetched.

Of course, correlation is not causation, and there is no shortage of alternative explanations for the decline in U.S. manufacturing. Globalization, offshoring, and skills gaps are just three frequently cited causes. Moreover, some researchers, like MIT's David Autor, have argued that workers are benefiting from working alongside robots.

So is there a relationship between job loss and the use of industrial robots?

The substantial variation of the degree to which countries deploy robots should provide clues. If robots are a substitute for human workers, then one would expect the countries with much higher investment rates in automation technology to have experienced greater employment loss in their manufacturing sectors. Germany deploys over three times as many robots per hour worked than the United States, largely due to Germany's robust automotive industry, which is by far the most robot-intensive industry (with over 10 times more robots per worker than the average industry). Sweden has 60 percent more robots per hour worked than the United States thanks to its highly technical metal and chemical industries.

Yet the evidence suggests there is essentially no relationship between the change in manufacturing employment and robot use. Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. (We introduce a three-year time lag to allow for robots to influence the labor market and continued with the most recent data, 2012).

Korea, France, and Italy also lost fewer manufacturing jobs than the United States even as they introduced more industrial robots. On the other hand, countries like the United Kingdom and Australia invested less in robots but saw faster declines in their manufacturing sectors.

...

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 28, 2017 at 02:12 PM
"Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. "

Yes the U.S. and Germany have a similar pattern. So what.

Peter K. : , January 28, 2017 at 02:07 PM
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-28/why-factory-jobs-are-shrinking-everywhere

Why Factory Jobs Are Shrinking Everywhere
by Charles Kenny

April 28, 2014, 1:16 PM EDT

A report from the Boston Consulting Group last week suggested the U.S. had become the second-most-competitive manufacturing location among the 25 largest manufacturing exporters worldwide. While that news is welcome, most of the lost U.S. manufacturing jobs in recent decades aren't coming back. In 1970, more than a quarter of U.S. employees worked in manufacturing. By 2010, only one in 10 did.

The growth in imports from China had a role in that decline–contributing, perhaps, to as much as one-quarter of the employment drop-off from 1991 to 2007, according to an analysis by David Autor and colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But the U.S. jobs slide began well before China's rise as a manufacturing power. And manufacturing employment is falling almost everywhere, including in China. The phenomenon is driven by technology, and there's reason to think developing countries are going to follow a different path to wealth than the U.S. did-one that involves a lot more jobs in the services sector.

Pretty much every economy around the world has a low or declining share of manufacturing jobs. According to OECD data, the U.K. and Australia have seen their share of manufacturing drop by around two-thirds since 1971. Germany's share halved, and manufacturing's contribution to gross domestic product there fell from 30 percent in 1980 to 22 percent today. In South Korea, a late industrializer and exemplar of miracle growth, the manufacturing share of employment rose from 13 percent in 1970 to 28 percent in 1991; it's fallen to 17 percent today.

...

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 28, 2017 at 02:11 PM
In the United States, manufacturing employment went from 25 percent in 1970 to 10 percent in 2010, 40 years later.

In Germany, manufacturing's share of GDP went from 30 percent in 1980 to 22 percent today (2014, 34 years later).

Yes there's a similar pattern, as DeLong points out.

How does that support his argument?

[Jul 18, 2019] I recently stumbled upon Charles Lindbergh Sr's articles of impeachment against the officers of the federal reserve and the federal reserve act itself. What amazes me whilst reading it is how much life then, mimics life today.

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

aye, myself & me , Jul 17 2019 18:49 utc | 47

@ james 39
basically, the prognosis isn't good.. none of the colonies are capable of speaking up to the usa regime, largely because they lack strong leadership and independence of thought in all this...

I agree with Summer Diaz at 26 and would say the folks most at fault here are the american sheeple. The boomers, their parents and grandparents are at fault for allowing the american dream to evaporate. We watched it occur before our very eyes, but were too self indulged to care. We have only ourselves to blame, nobody else.

I recently stumbled upon Charles Lindbergh Sr's articles of impeachment against the officers of the federal reserve and the federal reserve act itself. What amazes me whilst reading it is how much life then, mimics life today. Because of this circumstance our lives have been stifled, even with all this wondrous technology around us.

https://www.scribd.com/document/21176029/Charles-Lindbergh-Sr-Congressional-record-Feb-12-1917

Imho, most of our problems today emulate from both the formation of that despicable act and the failure to impeach and dispose of it four years later. Had it been we likely wouldn't be having this discussion on Iran, today.


chu teh , Jul 17 2019 23:50 utc | 74

@ 47 re Chas Lindbergh, Sr.
Yes, indeed!

Again I mention President Wilson only became Pres after a grand election rigging when Former Pres Theodore Roosevelt suddenly announced a 3rd party that split the Repub ticket between him and incumbent[!] Pres Taft, enabling Dem candidate Wilson to get a majority.

Congressman C A Lindbergh, Sr. warned over and over against passage of Fed Reserve Act, which finally passed Congress during Christmas holidays in 1913 and was immediately signed b Pres Wilson.

He wrote an amazingly clear booklet forecasting the harm that would happen if the Fed was established. And the harm happened.

I recommend any interested reader to read Lindbergh's 1913 "Banking. Currency and the Money Trust". It's freely available on the internet.

After Congress passed and Woodrow Wilson signed the Fed Res Act, Lindbergh, Sr. tried in 1916, without success, to impeach Fed Res director Paul Warburg, et al.

[His son CAS,Jr did the NY-to-Paris solo flight in 1927.

Uncle Jon , Jul 18 2019 0:17 utc | 78
@chu teh 74

Add to that amazing Lindbergh essay, the definitive work on the subject by E. G. Griffin, The Creature from Jekyll Island. Between the two, you will find out how the US of A was sold wholesale by a bunch of unscrupulous scoundrels and started a perpetual cycle of debt slavery.

[Jul 14, 2019] MODELS OF POWER STRUCTURE IN THE UNITED STATES Political Issues We Concern

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of ordinary men and women, they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. They arc in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society. ..."
"... Social Register ..."
"... pluralist model ..."
Sep 07, 2011 | politicalissues.blog.com

Posted by Political Issues in Sep 07, 2011, under Issues

Who really holds power in the United States' Do "we the people" genuinely run the country through elected representatives? Or is there small elite of Americans that governs behind the scenes? It is difficult to determine the location of power in a society as complex as the Unite States In exploring this critical question, social scientists have developed two basic views of our nation's power structure the elite and pluralism models.

Elite Model

Karl Marx essentially believed that nineteenth century representative democracy was a shape.

He argued that industrial societies were dominated by relatively small numbers of people who owned factories and controlled natural resources.

In Marx's view, government officials and military leaders were essentially servants of the capitalist class and followed their wishes therefore, any key decisions made by politicians inevitably reflected the interests of the dominant bourgeoisie Like others who hold an elite model of power relations, Marx thus believed that society is ruled by a small group of individuals who share a common set of political and economic interests.

The Power Elite . In his pioneering work. The Power Elite , sociologist C. Wright Mills described the existence of a small ruling elite of military, industrial, and governmental leaders who controlled the fate of the United States. Power rested in the hands of a few, both inside and outside of government -- the power elite . In Mill's words:

The power elite is composed of men whose positions enable them to transcend the ordinary environments of ordinary men and women, they are in positions to make decisions having major consequences. They arc in command of the major hierarchies and organizations of modern society.

In Mills's model, the power structure of the United States can be illustrated by the use of a pyramid. At the top are the corporate rich, leaders of the executive branch of government, and heads of the military (whom Kills called the "warlords"). Below this triumvirate are local opinion leaders, members of the legislative branch of government, and leaders of special-interest groups. Mills contended that such individuals and groups would basically follow the wishes of the dominant power elite. At the bottom of society are the unorganized, exploited masses.

This power elite model is, in many respects, similar to the work of Karl Marx. The most striking difference is that Mills felt that the economically powerful coordinate their maneuvers with the military and political establishments in order to serve their mutual interests. Yet, reminiscent of Marx. Mills argued that the corporate rich were perhaps the most powerful element of the power elite (first among "equals"). And, of course, there is a further dramatic parallel between the work of these conflict theorists The powerless masses at the bottom of Mills's power elite model certainly bring to mind Marx's portrait of the oppressed workers of the world, who have "nothing to lose but their chains".

Mills failed to provide detailed case studies which would substantiate the interrelationship among members of the power elite. Instead, he suggested that such foreign policy decisions as America's entry into the Korean war reflected a determination by business and military leaders that each could benefit from such armed conflict. In Mills s view, such a sharing of perspectives was facilitated by the frequent interchange of commanding roles among the elite. For example, a banker might become the leader of a federal regulatory commission overseeing financial institutions, and a retired general might move to an executive position with a major defense contracting firm.

A fundamental element in Mills's thesis is that the power elite not only has relatively few members but also operates as a self-conscious, cohesive unit. Although not necessarily diabolical or ruthless, the elite comprises similar types of people who regularly interact with one another and have essentially the same political and economic interests. Mills's power elite is not a conspiracy but rather a community of interest and sentiment among a small number of influential Americans.

Admittedly, Mills failed to clarify when the elite acts and when it tolerates protests. Nevertheless, his challenging theories forced scholars to look more critically at the "democratic" political system of the United States.

The Ruling Class

Sociologist G. William Domhoff agreed with Mills that American society is run by a powerful elite. But, rather than fully accepting Mills's power elite model, Domhoff argued that the United States is controlled by a social upper class "that is a ruling class by virtue of its dominant role in the economy and government". This socially cohesive ruling class owns 20 to 25 percent of all privately held wealth and 45 to 50 percent of all privately held common stock.

Unlike Mills, Domhoff was quite specific about who belongs to this social upper class. Membership comes through being pan of a family recognized in The Social Register -- the directory of the social elite in many American cities. Attendance at prestigious private schools and membership in exclusive social clubs are further indications that a person comes from America's social upper class. Domhoff estimates that about 0.5 percent of the American population (or 1 of every 200 people) belongs to this social and political elite.

Of course, this would mean that the ruling class has more than 1 million members and could hardly achieve the cohesiveness that Mills attributed to the power elite. However, Domhoff adds that the social upper class as a whole does not rule the nation. Instead, members of this class who have assumed leadership roles within the corporate community or the nation's policy-planning network join with high-level employees of profit-making and nonprofit institutions controlled by the social upper class to exercise power.

In Domhoff's view, the ruling class should not be seen in a conspiratorial way, as "sinister men lurking behind the throne." On the contrary they tend to hold public positions of authority. Almost all important appointive government posts -- including those of diplomats and cabinet members -- are filled by members of the social upper class. Domhoff contends that members of this class dominate powerful corporations, foundations, universities, and the executive branch of government. They control presidential nominations and the political party process through campaign contributions. In addition, the ruling class exerts a significant (though not absolute) influence within Congress and units of state and local government.

Perhaps the major difference between the elite models of Mills and Domhoff is that Mills insisted on the relative autonomy of the political elite and attached great significance to the independent power of the military. By contrast, Domhoff suggests that high-level government and military leaders serve the interests of the social upper class. Both theorists, in line with a Marxian approach, assume that the rich are interested only in what benefits them financially. Furthermore, as advocates of elite models of power. Mills and Domhoff argue that the masses of American people have no real influence on the decisions of the powerful.

One criticism of the elite model is that its advocates sometimes suggest that elites are always victorious. With this in mind, sociologist J. Alien Whitt (1982) examined the efforts of California's business elites to support urban mass transit. He found that lobbying by these elites was successful in San Francisco but failed in Los Angeles. Whitt points out that opponents of policies backed by elites can mobilize to thwart their implementation.

Domhoff admits that the ruling class does not exercise total control over American society. However, he counters that this elite is able to set political terms under which other groups and classes must operate. Consequently, although the ruling class may lose on a particular issue, it will not allow serious challenges to laws which guarantee its economic privileges and political domination.

Pluralist Model

Several social scientists have questioned the elite models of power relations proposed by Marx, Mills, Domhoff, and other conflict theorists. Quite simply, the critics insist that power in the United States is more widely shared than the elite model indicates. In their view, a pluralist model more accurately describes the American political system. According to the pluralist model , "many conflicting groups within the community have access to government officials and compete with one another in an effort to influence policy decisions".

Veto Groups . David Riesman's The Lonely Crowd suggested that the American political system could best be understood through examination of the power of veto groups. The term veto groups refers to interest groups that have the capacity to prevent the exercise of power by others. Functionally, they serve to increase political participation by preventing the concentration of political power. Examples cited by Riesman include farm groups, labor unions, professional associations, and racial and ethnic groups. Whereas Mills pointed to the dangers of rule by an undemocratic power elite, Riesman insisted that veto groups could effectively paralyze the nation's political processes by blocking anyone from exercising needed leadership functions. In Riesman's words, "The only leaders of national scope left in the United States are those who can placate the veto groups".

Dahl's Study of Pluralism . Community studies of power have also supported the pluralist model. One of the most famous -- an investigation of decision making in New Haven, Connecticut -- was reported by Robert Dahl in his book, Who Governs? (1961). Dahl found that while the number of people involved in any important decision was rather small, community power was nonetheless diffuse. Few political actors exercised decision-making power on all issues. Therefore, one individual or group might be influential in a battle over urban renewal but at the same time might have little impact over educational policy. Several other studies of local politics, in such communities as Chicago and Oberlin, Ohio, further document that monolithic power structures do not operate on the level of local government.

Just as the elite model has been challenged on political and methodological grounds, the pluralist model has been subjected to serious questioning. Domhoff (1978) reexamined Dahl's study of decision making in New Haven and argued that Dahl and other pluralists had failed to trace how local elites prominent in decision making were part of a larger national ruling class. In addition, studies of community power, such as Dahl's work in New Haven, can examine decision making only on issues which become pan of the political agenda. This focus fails to address the possible power of elites to keep certain matters entirely out of the realm of government debate. Conflict theorists contend that these elites will not allow any outcome of the political process which threatens their dominance. Indeed, they may even be strong enough to block discussion of such measures by policymakers.

[Jul 12, 2019] Congress and the courts are the enablers of America's destruction. Legislation is morality; it's the definition of how you live together, where people can live together and raise their families. Our Congress instead serves the sex industry

Jul 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

NAV , 2 hours ago

Congress and the courts are the enablers of America's destruction. Legislation is morality; it's the definition of how you live together, where people can live together and raise their families. Our Congress instead serves the sex industry, whether it be in our schools and universities or in our homes via television and the internet and magazines. Yvonne Ridley in "**** in the USA" wrote on June 2, 2011:

"In Obama's Apple Pie America, cable and satellite companies pump *********** into millions of homes where the American Dream has, for some, become X-rated.

"And the Americans are keen to share – I remember one of the first things that followed the arrival of US forces in Afghanistan was the sex industry. Scores of channels promoting straight and gay **** suddenly became readily available on television sets without even the need to subscribe ."

And, our media, upon arrival, gleefully subjected small children to **** just to watch their innocence torn asunder.

*********** and its consequences in America wears a Supreme Court robe... *********** is the law of the land.

[Jul 12, 2019] The Heart of Darkness: The Sexual Predators Within America's Power Elite: book on the pedophile "epidemic in America and the purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States

Notable quotes:
"... Of course the types who perpetrated this horror should go down but if you are naive enough to believe the lie that zionists pull all the greedies (jew/gentile/saudi) strings instead of the blindingly obvious, that all the greedies pull the strings of everyone they can, including those of the stupid & ignorant israeli settlers, then the odds of you anon, finding any 'truth' in the machinations of empire are slim. ..."
Jul 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

anon , Jul 11 2019 6:36 utc | 134 whatever, coward. I won't be staying long I see little point is spending time at a place taken over by nonce's who can only read stuff that adheres to their tiny world view. Otherwise they lose their sh1t.

Even worse few do more than hunt out anything, including stuff from the very same msm they profess to eschew, which buttresses that view in an odd and pointless game of "see what I just read, one upmanship". Actually getting out and involved helping even one of the humans whose life is sh1t thanks to the empire is never even considered.

Of course the types who perpetrated this horror should go down but if you are naive enough to believe the lie that zionists pull all the greedies (jew/gentile/saudi) strings instead of the blindingly obvious, that all the greedies pull the strings of everyone they can, including those of the stupid & ignorant israeli settlers, then the odds of you anon, finding any 'truth' in the machinations of empire are slim.

If there weren't any twisted Clintons or Trumps prepared do do any damn thing just to sodomise a preadolescent girl, no one would abduct the girls in the first place.

Every f++ker who went to edelsteins island should be locked up for the rest of their lives unless they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they only cut the grass/washed the dishes.

ps if 'the jews' control everything why are so many of em on the bones of their arses? Surely any jew who was stuck with driving a cab/pushing a pen/ or even robbing a bank would just manipulate the nearest billionaire 'goy' into handing over his/her dosh?

C I eh? , Jul 11 2019 8:01 utc | 137
@ anon

(((Debisdead))) comes back from the dead to tell everyone the rampant child abuse is the fault of anyone except the jewish names actually involved...

You said it.

What brought me here at 3:30 am was an Amber Alert on my phone, with an incredibly obnoxious alarm, for a child apparently abducted 500kms away. I've received three such alerts in the past hour so I know everyone in Ontario will be talking about it tomorrow.

Psych ops are ramping up ladies and gents...

john , Jul 11 2019 10:25 utc | 143
.

Krollchem , Jul 11 2019 5:19 utc | 129

For more on the pedophile "epidemic in America and the purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.

The Heart of Darkness: The Sexual Predators Within America's Power Elite
https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_heart_of_darkness_the_sexual_predators_within_americas_power_elite
By John W. Whitehead

Krollchem , Jul 11 2019 5:31 utc | 131
See also the global incident map for a small portion of sex trafficing in the US and around the world. http://human.globalincidentmap.com/

This site covers lots of other criminal incidents and other issues.


anon , Jul 11 2019 6:36 utc | 134
(((Debisdead))) comes back from the dead to tell everyone the rampant child abuse is the fault of anyone except the jewish names actually involved

etc etc etc... ad nauseum

Debsisdead , Jul 11 2019 7:45 utc | 136
re #

[Jul 09, 2019] Luongo- Epstein s Arrest Tells Me Trump Is Now Out For Blood by Tom Luongo

Notable quotes:
"... Serial pederast Jeffrey Epstein is going to be arrested again. The big questions are why? And why now? I never doubted Donald Trump's sincerity in wanting Hillary in jail. But the reality is that Trump was not in any position to do so. Until a few months ago. ..."
"... Mueller, his staff of hatchetmen, the Obama administration and the rest of the corrupt old-guard in D.C. fully expected to be allowed free rein to convict Trump politically of Obstruction of Justice based on an interpretation of Federal Statutes that could only be justified in the world of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report. When that didn't happen, they are now looking at potential blowback from a vain and vindictive man occupying the supposedly most powerful office in the world. ..."
"... It seems John Bolton has been more president than Trump recently. ..."
"... I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders. His foreign policy maneuvers didn't fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope. ..."
"... Because this goes directly to the heart of the matter. Trump left the Clintons' social circle in disgust and I'm convinced he ran to stop her corrupt sell out of the U.S. Never forget that, while corruption is rampant in D.C., it is not all-pervasive. It's not a black and white thing. ..."
"... The level of corruption of the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury and the intelligence agencies needed to coordinate the RussiaGate hoax all to serve as Hillary's revenge porn was too much for enough people. ..."
"... And there are still plenty of people in all of those departments willing to step up now that the board state has changed. Remember back when Trump said we should just leave Hillary be, she's been through enough? That wasn't him capitulating to the Deep State, that was him offering her a way out. He knew then what was going on but thought he was powerless to stop it, politically. ..."
"... And Robert Mueller is up to his neck in this. Because it was Mueller who helped Epstein mostly get off the hook the last time and had the court documents sealed. ..."
"... Even if Barr and Trump have a marriage of convenience here, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Epstein will no longer be able to hide behind Clinton bag men and will this time have to cut a real deal to stay out of gen pop. ..."
"... This Epstein arrest is a testament to what happens when the pendulum swings too far in one direction. Where despicable people get away with the most heinous acts simply because they are connected in a web of corruption and venality. ..."
"... Maybe this is the moment of Peak Swamp? Maybe it's the moment where we can see things begin, ever so slightly to improve. Is it too little, too late? Likely. But something had to be done to keep our faith in our political and social institutions intact. Because otherwise that way leads to only chaos and collapse. ..."
Jul 09, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

"Bernie Birnbaum is a horse of a different color, ethics-wise that is...

...as in he ain't got none!"

-- Johnny Caspar, "Miller's Crossing"

Serial pederast Jeffrey Epstein is going to be arrested again. The big questions are why? And why now? I never doubted Donald Trump's sincerity in wanting Hillary in jail. But the reality is that Trump was not in any position to do so. Until a few months ago.

When Attorney General William Barr ended the Mueller investigation back in February that was a turning point. I talked about it back then in a piece called " The Old Political Order is Just Old ."

Mueller, his staff of hatchetmen, the Obama administration and the rest of the corrupt old-guard in D.C. fully expected to be allowed free rein to convict Trump politically of Obstruction of Justice based on an interpretation of Federal Statutes that could only be justified in the world of Philip K. Dick's Minority Report. When that didn't happen, they are now looking at potential blowback from a vain and vindictive man occupying the supposedly most powerful office in the world.

But is that really the case anymore? It seems John Bolton has been more president than Trump recently.

I was cautiously optimistic that Trump would turn the corner on his presidency now that Mueller, impeachment and the rest of it would lift from his shoulders. His foreign policy maneuvers didn't fill me with much, if any, confirmation of this hope.

But domestically signs were there that he had stabilized the battlefield.

Epstein's arrest tells me he's now out for blood.

Because this goes directly to the heart of the matter. Trump left the Clintons' social circle in disgust and I'm convinced he ran to stop her corrupt sell out of the U.S. Never forget that, while corruption is rampant in D.C., it is not all-pervasive. It's not a black and white thing.

William Barr may not be a Boy Scout or anything but even he, like Trump, has a disgust circuit. And that circuit has a threshold.

The level of corruption of the Departments of Justice, State, Treasury and the intelligence agencies needed to coordinate the RussiaGate hoax all to serve as Hillary's revenge porn was too much for enough people.

And there are still plenty of people in all of those departments willing to step up now that the board state has changed. Remember back when Trump said we should just leave Hillary be, she's been through enough? That wasn't him capitulating to the Deep State, that was him offering her a way out. He knew then what was going on but thought he was powerless to stop it, politically.

To go after her you go after the person who is her Achilles' heel, Epstein through his association with Bill. Because what if this isn't just about Bill's antics? But this is more than just Hillary and Bill. This is likely far deeper a rabbit hole than anyone in D.C. wants to admit. Don't think for a second that Epstein hasn't been blackmailing very prominent people for years. Because he has. And they are all now scared to death.

And Robert Mueller is up to his neck in this. Because it was Mueller who helped Epstein mostly get off the hook the last time and had the court documents sealed.

Now that Mike Cernovich worked to get those documents unsealed, we have an arrest warrant a week later by a Justice Department led by someone, at this point, loyal to Trump.

Even if Barr and Trump have a marriage of convenience here, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Epstein will no longer be able to hide behind Clinton bag men and will this time have to cut a real deal to stay out of gen pop.

This process will be slow and painful, but it will grind to the kind of conclusion that will only benefit Trump's re-election bid. It will be an epic drip feed of leaks, innuendos, implications, indictments and the rest.

Because there comes a point where the Alinsky method of accusing your enemy of the thing you do backfires when it's raping 14-year-old girls.

Once this thing gets a head of steam, once the #MeToo crowd gets a hold of this, there won't be anyone left standing. I always said Hillary would indict herself. Her insane lust for power and revenge against her obstacles led us here. And it will lead her to the kind of shame and disgrace that befits her avarice.

When Nancy Pelosi's daughter is out there signaling for her mother on this immediately, you know this is bad. Pelosi doesn't roll over for nothing folks. Think what you want about her but she's a pitbull. And she rolled over on border wall funding last week.

This Epstein arrest is a testament to what happens when the pendulum swings too far in one direction. Where despicable people get away with the most heinous acts simply because they are connected in a web of corruption and venality.

Maybe this is the moment of Peak Swamp? Maybe it's the moment where we can see things begin, ever so slightly to improve. Is it too little, too late? Likely. But something had to be done to keep our faith in our political and social institutions intact. Because otherwise that way leads to only chaos and collapse.

* * *

Join my Patreon because you also weep for humanity at where these people have led us.

[Jul 06, 2019] >Neoliberal economics and other fairytales about money by Peter McKenna

Notable quotes:
"... Aditya Chakrabortty ( It's reckless. But a Tory cash splurge could win an election , 3 July) is right to point out the hypocrisy of the political right about public expenditure. While progressive proposals for public spending are decried as burdening the hard-pressed taxpayer, the right is happy to use public money to rescue the banks or boost their electoral chances. ..."
"... As I explain in my book Money: Myths, Truths and Alternatives, neoliberal economics is built on a fairytale about money that distorts our view of how a contemporary public money system operates. It is assumed that public spending depends on extracting money from the market and that money (like gold) is always in short supply. Neither is true. Both the market and the state generate money – the market through bank lending and the state through public spending. Both increase the money supply, while bank loan repayments and taxation reduce it. There is no natural shortage of money – which today mainly exists only as data. ..."
Jul 04, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Neoliberal economics and other fairytales about money Politics is not about a struggle over a fixed pot of money, says Mary Mellor, and the best way to end austerity is to reject it as an ideology, says Peter McKenna

Aditya Chakrabortty ( It's reckless. But a Tory cash splurge could win an election , 3 July) is right to point out the hypocrisy of the political right about public expenditure. While progressive proposals for public spending are decried as burdening the hard-pressed taxpayer, the right is happy to use public money to rescue the banks or boost their electoral chances.

As I explain in my book Money: Myths, Truths and Alternatives, neoliberal economics is built on a fairytale about money that distorts our view of how a contemporary public money system operates. It is assumed that public spending depends on extracting money from the market and that money (like gold) is always in short supply. Neither is true. Both the market and the state generate money – the market through bank lending and the state through public spending. Both increase the money supply, while bank loan repayments and taxation reduce it. There is no natural shortage of money – which today mainly exists only as data.

ss="rich-link tone-news--item rich-link--pillar-news"> Business Today: sign up for a morning shot of financial news Read more

The case for austerity missed the point. Politics is not about a struggle over a fixed pot of money. What is limited are resources (particularly the environment) and human capacity. How these are best used should be a matter of democratic debate. The allocation of money should depend on the priorities identified. In this the market has no more claim than the public economy to be the source of sustainable human welfare.
Professor Mary Mellor
Newcastle upon Tyne

• Over the years Aditya Chakrabortty has provided us with powerful critiques of austerity. His message now – that EU membership "is the best way to end austerity" – overlooks the fact that the UK was in the EU all that time.

Moreover, the EU's stability and growth pact requires that budget deficits and public debt be pegged below 3% and 60% of GDP respectively.

Such notions are the beating heart of austerity, and the European commission's excessive deficit procedure taken against errant states has almost universally resulted in swingeing austerity programmes. These were approved and monitored by the commission and council, with the UK only taken off the naughty step in 2017 after years of crippling austerity finally reduced the deficit to 2.3% of GDP.

The best way to end austerity – and to sway voters – is to reject austerity as an ideology regardless of remain or leave, and rehabilitate the concept of public investment in a people's economy.
Peter McKenna

[Jul 05, 2019] Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant.

Notable quotes:
"... Brand's fast-talking, plain-speaking criticism of the existing political order, calling it discredited, unaccountable and unrepresentative, was greeted with smirking condescension by the political and media establishment. Nonetheless, in an era before Donald Trump had become president of the United States, the British media were happy to indulge Brand for a while, seemingly believing he or his ideas might prove a ratings winner with younger audiences. ..."
"... Then he overstepped the mark. ..."
"... Instead of simply criticising the political system, Brand argued that it was in fact so rigged by the powerful, by corporate interests, that western democracy had become a charade. Elections were pointless . Our votes were simply a fig-leaf, concealing the fact that our political leaders were there to represent not us but the interests of globe-spanning corporations. Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant. ..."
"... But just as Brand's rejection of the old politics began to articulate a wider mood, it was stopped in its tracks. ..."
"... These "New Labour" MPs were there, just as Brand had noted, to represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people. ..."
"... It wasn't that Corbyn's election had shown Britain's political system was representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was that accident. ..."
"... The system was still in place and it still had a chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous "accident", such as his becoming prime minister. ..."
"... Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this kind of " brainwashing under freedom " since birth. ..."
"... The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist, unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless, unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired – not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the party the largest in Europe. ..."
"... As the establishment's need to keep him away from power has grown more urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks. ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from The plot to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power, by Jonathan Cook - The Unz Review

... ... ...

In the preceding two years, it was hard to avoid on TV the figure of Russell Brand, a comedian and minor film star who had reinvented himself, after years of battling addiction, as a spiritual guru-cum-political revolutionary.

Brand's fast-talking, plain-speaking criticism of the existing political order, calling it discredited, unaccountable and unrepresentative, was greeted with smirking condescension by the political and media establishment. Nonetheless, in an era before Donald Trump had become president of the United States, the British media were happy to indulge Brand for a while, seemingly believing he or his ideas might prove a ratings winner with younger audiences.

But Brand started to look rather more impressive than anyone could have imagined. He took on supposed media heavyweights like the BBC's Jeremy Paxman and Channel 4's Jon Snow and charmed and shamed them into submission – both with his compassion and his thoughtful radicalism. Even in the gladiatorial-style battle of wits so beloved of modern TV, he made these titans of the political interview look mediocre, shallow and out of touch. Videos of these head-to-heads went viral, and Brand won hundreds of thousands of new followers.

Then he overstepped the mark.

Democracy as charade

Instead of simply criticising the political system, Brand argued that it was in fact so rigged by the powerful, by corporate interests, that western democracy had become a charade. Elections were pointless . Our votes were simply a fig-leaf, concealing the fact that our political leaders were there to represent not us but the interests of globe-spanning corporations. Political and media elites had been captured by unshored corporate money. Our voices had become irrelevant.

Brand didn't just talk the talk. He started committing to direct action. He shamed our do-nothing politicians and corporate media – the devastating Grenfell Tower fire had yet to happen – by helping to gain attention for a group of poor tenants in London who were taking on the might of a corporation that had become their landlord and wanted to evict them to develop their homes for a much richer clientele. Brand's revolutionary words had turned into revolutionary action.

But just as Brand's rejection of the old politics began to articulate a wider mood, it was stopped in its tracks. After Corbyn was unexpectedly elected Labour leader, offering for the first time in living memory a politics that listened to people before money, Brand's style of rejectionism looked a little too cynical, or at least premature.

While Corbyn's victory marked a sea-change, it is worth recalling, however, that it occurred only because of a mistake. Or perhaps two.

The Corbyn accident

First, a handful of Labour MPs agreed to nominate Corbyn for the leadership contest, scraping him past the threshold needed to get on the ballot paper. Most backed him only because they wanted to give the impression of an election that was fair and open. After his victory, some loudly regretted having assisted him. None had thought a representative of the tiny and besieged left wing of the parliamentary party stood a chance of winning – not after Tony Blair and his acolytes had spent more than two decades remaking Labour, using their own version of entryism to eradicate any vestiges of socialism in the party. These "New Labour" MPs were there, just as Brand had noted, to represent the interests of a corporate class, not ordinary people.

Corbyn had very different ideas from most of his colleagues. Over the years he had broken with the consensus of the dominant Blairite faction time and again in parliamentary votes, consistently taking a minority view that later proved to be on the right side of history . He alone among the leadership contenders spoke unequivocally against austerity, regarding it as a way to leech away more public money to enrich the corporations and banks that had already pocketed vast sums from the public coffers – so much so that by 2008 they had nearly bankrupted the entire western economic system.

And second, Corbyn won because of a recent change in the party's rulebook – one now much regretted by party managers. A new internal balloting system gave more weight to the votes of ordinary members than the parliamentary party. The members, unlike the party machine, wanted Corbyn.

Corbyn's success didn't really prove Brand wrong. Even the best designed systems have flaws, especially when the maintenance of the system's image as benevolent is considered vitally important. It wasn't that Corbyn's election had shown Britain's political system was representative and accountable. It was simply evidence that corporate power had made itself vulnerable to a potential accident by preferring to work out of sight, in the shadows, to maintain the illusion of democracy. Corbyn was that accident.

'Brainwashing under freedom'

Corbyn's success also wasn't evidence that the power structure he challenged had weakened. The system was still in place and it still had a chokehold on the political and media establishments that exist to uphold its interests. Which is why it has been mobilising these forces endlessly to damage Corbyn and avert the risk of a further, even more disastrous "accident", such as his becoming prime minister.

Listing the ways the state-corporate media have sought to undermine Corbyn would sound preposterous to anyone not deeply immersed in these media-constructed narratives. But almost all of us have been exposed to this kind of " brainwashing under freedom " since birth.

The initial attacks on Corbyn were for being poorly dressed, sexist, unstatesmanlike, a national security threat, a Communist spy – relentless, unsubstantiated smears the like of which no other party leader had ever faced. But over time the allegations became even more outrageously propagandistic as the campaign to undermine him not only failed but backfired – not least, because Labour membership rocketed under Corbyn to make the party the largest in Europe.

As the establishment's need to keep him away from power has grown more urgent and desperate so has the nature of the attacks.

Jake , says: July 5, 2019 at 11:43 am GMT

What is the last refuge of the scoundrel in the Anglo-Zionist Empire?

Smearing decent people, people who see things we are not supposed to see, as anti-Semites.

Jake , says: July 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm GMT
@Ordinary Brit

There were no Jews anywhere around most native Britons. And yet the Empire was banked most importantly by Jews back to at least the post-Glorious Revolution closing the 17th century, and that pattern of Jewish bankers being indispensable to the UK and the Brit WASP Empire goes back to Oliver Cromwell.

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[Jul 05, 2019] Globalisation- the rise and fall of an idea that swept the world - World news by Nikil Saval

Highly recommended!
Globalization was simply the politically correct term for neocolonialism.
Jul 14, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

... ... ...

Over the last two years, a different, in some ways unrecognizable Larry Summers has been appearing in newspaper editorial pages. More circumspect in tone, this humbler Summers has been arguing that economic opportunities in the developing world are slowing, and that the already rich economies are finding it hard to get out of the crisis. Barring some kind of breakthrough, Summers says, an era of slow growth is here to stay.

In Summers's recent writings, this sombre conclusion has often been paired with a surprising political goal: advocating for a "responsible nationalism". Now he argues that politicians must recognise that "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good".

One curious thing about the pro-globalisation consensus of the 1990s and 2000s, and its collapse in recent years, is how closely the cycle resembles a previous era. Pursuing free trade has always produced displacement and inequality – and political chaos, populism and retrenchment to go with it. Every time the social consequences of free trade are overlooked, political backlash follows. But free trade is only one of many forms that economic integration can take. History seems to suggest, however, that it might be the most destabilising one.

... ... ...

The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years – especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt) – set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place.

The key to the system's viability, in Rodrik's view, was its flexibility – something absent from contemporary globalisation, with its one-size-fits-all model of capitalism. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar. Gatt consisted of rules governing free trade – negotiated by participating countries in a series of multinational "rounds" – that left many areas of the world economy, such as agriculture, untouched or unaddressed. "Gatt's purpose was never to maximise free trade," Rodrik writes. "It was to achieve the maximum amount of trade compatible with different nations doing their own thing. In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful."

Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. When nations contravened the agreement's terms on specific areas of national interest, they found that it "contained loopholes wide enough for an elephant to pass", in Rodrik's words. If a nation wanted to protect its steel industry, for example, it could claim "injury" under the rules of Gatt and raise tariffs to discourage steel imports: "an abomination from the standpoint of free trade". These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs – duties imposed on particular imports. Meanwhile, from 1948 to 1990, world trade grew at an annual average of nearly 7% – faster than the post-communist years, which we think of as the high point of globalisation. "If there was a golden era of globalisation," Rodrik has written, "this was it."

Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. These countries eventually created their own system, the United Nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD). Under this rubric, many countries – especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia – adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places – India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced – but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up. Though many later economists and commentators would dismiss the achievements of this model, it theoretically fit Larry Summers's recent rubric on globalisation: "the basic responsibility of government is to maximise the welfare of citizens, not to pursue some abstract concept of the global good."

The critical turning point – away from this system of trade balanced against national protections – came in the 1980s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. The elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were seminal, putting free-market radicals in charge of two of the world's five biggest economies and ushering in an era of "hyperglobalisation". In the new political climate, economies with large public sectors and strong governments within the global capitalist system were no longer seen as aids to the system's functioning, but impediments to it.

Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well. Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The WTO's appellate court intervened relentlessly in member nations' tax, environmental and regulatory policies, including those of the United States: the US's fuel emissions standards were judged to discriminate against imported gasoline, and its ban on imported shrimp caught without turtle-excluding devices was overturned. If national health and safety regulations were stricter than WTO rules necessitated, they could only remain in place if they were shown to have "scientific justification".

The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the 1980s. Known as the "Washington consensus", this model usually involved loans from the IMF that were contingent on those countries lowering trade barriers and privatising many of their nationally held industries. Well into the 1990s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. In an influential 1995 paper, Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner wrote: "We find no cases to support the frequent worry that a country might open and yet fail to grow."

But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in 2002 , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms. Argentina's revolt presaged a left-populist upsurge across the continent: from 1999 to 2007, leftwing leaders and parties took power in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, all of them campaigning against the Washington consensus on globalisation. These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today.


Rodrik – perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events – was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. His father's ballpoint pen company was sheltered under tariffs, and achieved enough success to allow Rodrik to attend Harvard in the 1970s as an undergraduate. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation.

"I never felt that my ideas were out of the mainstream," Rodrik told me recently. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics. "The economics profession is strange in that the more you move away from the seminar room to the public domain, the more the nuances get lost, especially on issues of trade." He lamented the fact that while, in the classroom, the models of trade discuss losers and winners, and, as a result, the necessity of policies of redistribution, in practice, an "arrogance and hubris" had led many economists to ignore these implications. "Rather than speaking truth to power, so to speak, many economists became cheerleaders for globalisation."

In his 2011 book The Globalization Paradox , Rodrik concluded that "we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national determination, and economic globalisation." The results of the 2016 elections and referendums provide ample testimony of the justness of the thesis, with millions voting to push back, for better or for worse, against the campaigns and institutions that promised more globalisation. "I'm not at all surprised by the backlash," Rodrik told me. "Really, nobody should have been surprised."

But what, in any case, would "more globalisation" look like? For the same economists and writers who have started to rethink their commitments to greater integration, it doesn't mean quite what it did in the early 2000s. It's not only the discourse that's changed: globalisation itself has changed, developing into a more chaotic and unequal system than many economists predicted. The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out.

Statistics from Global Inequality , a 2016 book by the development economist Branko Milanović, indicate that in relative terms the greatest benefits of globalisation have accrued to a rising "emerging middle class", based preponderantly in China. But the cons are there, too: in absolute terms, the largest gains have gone to what is commonly called "the 1%" – half of whom are based in the US. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries.

Barring some political catastrophe, in which rightwing populism continued to gain, and in which globalisation would be the least of our problems – Wolf admitted that he was "not at all sure" that this could be ruled out – globalisation was always going to slow; in fact, it already has. One reason, says Wolf, was that "a very, very large proportion of the gains from globalisation – by no means all – have been exploited. We have a more open world economy to trade than we've ever had before." Citing The Great Convergence, Wolf noted that supply chains have already expanded, and that future developments, such as automation and the use of robots, looked to undermine the promise of a growing industrial workforce. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.

Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. For him, this slowdown has something to do with what he calls "premature deindustrialisation". In the past, the simplest model of globalisation suggested that rich countries would gradually become "service economies", while emerging economies picked up the industrial burden. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising. Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity.

For both Rodrik and Wolf, the political reaction to globalisation bore possibilities of deep uncertainty. "I really have found it very difficult to decide whether what we're living through is a blip, or a fundamental and profound transformation of the world – at least as significant as the one that brought about the first world war and the Russian revolution," Wolf told me. He cited his agreement with economists such as Summers that shifting away from the earlier emphasis on globalisation had now become a political priority; that to pursue still greater liberalisation was like showing "a red rag to a bull" in terms of what it might do to the already compromised political stability of the western world.

Rodrik pointed to a belated emphasis, both among political figures and economists, on the necessity of compensating those displaced by globalisation with retraining and more robust welfare states. But pro-free-traders had a history of cutting compensation: Bill Clinton passed Nafta, but failed to expand safety nets. "The issue is that the people are rightly not trusting the centrists who are now promising compensation," Rodrik said. "One reason that Hillary Clinton didn't get any traction with those people is that she didn't have any credibility."

Rodrik felt that economics commentary failed to register the gravity of the situation: that there were increasingly few avenues for global growth, and that much of the damage done by globalisation – economic and political – is irreversible. "There is a sense that we're at a turning point," he said. "There's a lot more thinking about what can be done. There's a renewed emphasis on compensation – which, you know, I think has come rather late."

[Jul 05, 2019] Globalization's Wrong Turn by Dani Rodrik

As Noam Chomsky says, the term globalisation has been appropriated by a narrow sector of power and privilege to refer to their version of international integration and it makes sense for them to own the term because anyone who is opposed to their version becomes anti-globalisation -- someone who is primitive and wants to go back to the stone age and that everyone likes international integration but not the investor rights version of it.
In reality globalization was a politically correct term for neocolonialism
Notable quotes:
"... In finance, the change was marked by a fundamental shift in governments' attitudes away from managing capital flows and toward liberalization ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Globalization is in trouble. A populist backlash, personified by U.S. President Donald Trump, is in full swing. A simmering trade war between China and the United States could easily boil over. Countries across Europe are shutting their borders to immigrants. Even globalization's biggest boosters now concede that it has produced lopsided benefits and that something will have to change .

Today's woes have their roots in the 1990s, when policymakers set the world on its current, hyperglobalist path, requiring domestic economies to be put in the service of the world economy instead of the other way around. In trade, the transformation was signaled by the creation of the World Trade Organization, in 1995. The WTO not only made it harder for countries to shield themselves from international competition but also reached into policy areas that international trade rules had not previously touched: agriculture, services, intellectual property, industrial policy, and health and sanitary regulations. Even more ambitious regional trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, took off around the same time.

In finance, the change was marked by a fundamental shift in governments' attitudes away from managing capital flows and toward liberalization. Pushed by the United States and global organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, countries freed up vast quantities of short-term finance to slosh across borders in search of higher returns.

At the time, these changes seemed to be based on sound economics. Openness to trade would lead economies to allocate their resources to where they would be the most productive. Capital would flow from the countries where it was plentiful to the countries where it was needed. More trade and freer finance would unleash private investment and fuel global economic growth.

But these new arrangements came with risks that the hyperglobalists did not foresee, although economic theory could have predicted the downside to globalization just as well as it did the upside.

... ... ...

[Jul 05, 2019] The World Bank and IMF 2019 by Michael Hudson and Bonnie Faulkner

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it's not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers ..."
"... It was set up basically by the United States in 1944, along with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their purpose was to create an international order like a funnel to make other countries economically dependent on the United States ..."
"... American diplomats insisted on the ability to veto any action by the World Bank or IMF. The aim of this veto power was to make sure that any policy was, in Donald Trump's words, to put America first. "We've got to win and they've got to lose." ..."
"... The World Bank was set up from the outset as a branch of the military, of the Defense Department. John J. McCloy (Assistant Secretary of War, 1941-45), was the first full-time president ..."
"... Many countries had two rates: one for goods and services, which was set normally by the market, and then a different exchange rate that was managed for capital movements. That was because countries were trying to prevent capital flight. They didn't want their wealthy classes or foreign investors to make a run on their own currency – an ever-present threat in Latin America. ..."
"... The IMF and the World Bank backed the cosmopolitan classes, the wealthy. Instead of letting countries control their capital outflows and prevent capital flight, the IMF's job is to protect the richest One Percent and foreign investors from balance-of-payments problems ..."
"... The IMF enables its wealthy constituency to move their money out of the country without taking a foreign-exchange loss ..."
"... Wall Street speculators have sold the local currency short to make a killing, George-Soros style. ..."
"... When the debtor-country currency collapses, the debts that these Latin American countries owe are in dollars, and now have to pay much more in their own currency to carry and pay off these debts. ..."
"... Local currency is thrown onto the foreign-exchange market for dollars, lowering the exchange rate. That increases import prices, raising a price umbrella for domestic products. ..."
"... Instead, the IMF says just the opposite: It acts to prevent any move by other countries to bring the debt volume within the ability to be paid. It uses debt leverage as a way to control the monetary lifeline of financially defeated debtor countries. ..."
"... This control by the U.S. financial system and its diplomacy has been built into the world system by the IMF and the World Bank claiming to be international instead of an expression of specifically U.S. New Cold War nationalism. ..."
"... The same thing happened in Greece a few years ago, when almost all of Greece's foreign debt was owed to Greek millionaires holding their money in Switzerland ..."
"... The IMF could have seized this money to pay off the bondholders. Instead, it made the Greek economy pay. It found that it was worth wrecking the Greek economy, forcing emigration and wiping out Greek industry so that French and German bondholding banks would not have to take a loss. That is what makes the IMF so vicious an institution. ..."
"... America was able to grab all of Iran's foreign exchange just by the banks interfering. The CIA has bragged that it can do the same thing with Russia. If Russia does something that U.S. diplomats don't like, the U.S. can use the SWIFT bank payment system to exclude Russia from it, so the Russian banks and the Russian people and industry won't be able to make payments to each other. ..."
"... You can't create the money, especially if you're running a balance of payments deficit and if U.S. foreign policy forces you into deficit by having someone like George Soros make a run on your currency. Look at the Asia crisis in 1997. Wall Street funds bet against foreign currencies, driving them way down, and then used the money to pick up industry cheap in Korea and other Asian countries. ..."
"... This was also done to Russia's ruble. The only country that avoided this was Malaysia, under Mohamed Mahathir, by using capital controls. Malaysia is an object lesson in how to prevent a currency flight. ..."
"... Client kleptocracies take their money and run, moving it abroad to hard currency areas such as the United States, or at least keeping it in dollars in offshore banking centers instead of reinvesting it to help the country catch up by becoming independent agriculturally, in energy, finance and other sectors. ..."
"... But in shaping the World Trade Organization's rules, the United States said that all countries had to promote free trade and could not have government support, except for countries that already had it. We're the only country that had it. That's what's called "grandfathering". ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

"The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it's not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers."

I'm Bonnie Faulkner. Today on Guns and Butter: Dr. Michael Hudson. Today's show: The IMF and World Bank: Partners In Backwardness . Dr. Hudson is a financial economist and historian. He is President of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trend, a Wall Street Financial Analyst, and Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

His most recent books include " and Forgive them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year "; Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Destroy the Global Economy , and J Is for Junk Economics: A Guide to Reality in an Age of Deception . He is also author of Trade, Development and Foreign Debt , among many other books.

We return today to a discussion of Dr. Hudson's seminal 1972 book, Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire , a critique of how the United States exploited foreign economies through the IMF and World Bank, with a special emphasis on food imperialism.

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Bonnie Faulkner : In your seminal work form 1972, Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire , you write: "The development lending of the World Bank has been dysfunctional from the outset." When was the World Bank set up and by whom?

Michael Hudson : It was set up basically by the United States in 1944, along with its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their purpose was to create an international order like a funnel to make other countries economically dependent on the United States. To make sure that no other country or group of countries – even all the rest of the world – could not dictate U.S. policy. American diplomats insisted on the ability to veto any action by the World Bank or IMF. The aim of this veto power was to make sure that any policy was, in Donald Trump's words, to put America first. "We've got to win and they've got to lose."

The World Bank was set up from the outset as a branch of the military, of the Defense Department. John J. McCloy (Assistant Secretary of War, 1941-45), was the first full-time president. He later became Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank (1953-60). McNamara was Secretary of Defense (1961-68), Paul Wolfowitz was Deputy and Under Secretary of Defense (1989-2005), and Robert Zoellick was Deputy Secretary of State. So I think you can look at the World Bank as the soft shoe of American diplomacy.

Bonnie Faulkner : What is the difference between the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the IMF? Is there a difference?

Michael Hudson : Yes, there is. The World Bank was supposed to make loans for what they call international development. "Development" was their euphemism for dependency on U.S. exports and finance. This dependency entailed agricultural backwardness – opposing land reform, family farming to produce domestic food crops, and also monetary backwardness in basing their monetary system on the dollar.

The World Bank was supposed to provide infrastructure loans that other countries would go into debt to pay American engineering firms, to build up their export sectors and their plantation sectors by public investment roads and port development for imports and exports. Essentially, the Bank financed long- investments in the foreign trade sector, in a way that was a natural continuation of European colonialism.

In 1941, for example, C. L. R. James wrote an article on "Imperialism in Africa" pointing out the fiasco of European railroad investment in Africa: "Railways must serve flourishing industrial areas, or densely populated agricult5ural regions, or they must open up new land along which a thriving population develops and provides the railways with traffic. Except in the mining regions of South Africa, all these conditions are absent. Yet railways were needed, for the benefit of European investors and heavy industry." That is why, James explained "only governments can afford to operate them," while being burdened with heavy interest obligations. [1] What was "developed" was Africa's mining and plantation export sector, not its domestic economies. The World Bank followed this pattern of "development" lending without apology.

The IMF was in charge of short-term foreign currency loans. Its aim was to prevent countries from imposing capital controls to protect their balance of payments. Many countries had a dual exchange rate: one for trade in goods and services, the other rate for capital movements. The function of the IMF and World Bank was essentially to make other countries borrow in dollars, not in their own currencies, and to make sure that if they could not pay their dollar-denominated debts, they had to impose austerity on the domestic economy – while subsidizing their import and export sectors and protecting foreign investors, creditors and client oligarchies from loss.

The IMF developed a junk-economics model pretending that any country can pay any amount of debt to the creditors if it just impoverishes its labor enough. So when countries were unable to pay their debt service, the IMF tells them to raise their interest rates to bring on a depression – austerity – and break up the labor unions. That is euphemized as "rationalizing labor markets." The rationalizing is essentially to disable labor unions and the public sector. The aim – and effect – is to prevent countries from essentially following the line of development that had made the United States rich – by public subsidy and protection of domestic agriculture, public subsidy and protection of industry and an active government sector promoting a New Deal democracy. The IMF was essentially promoting and forcing other countries to balance their trade deficits by letting American and other investors buy control of their commanding heights, mainly their infrastructure monopolies, and to subsidize their capital flight.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Now, Michael, when you began speaking about the IMF and monetary controls, you mentioned that there were two exchange rates of currency in countries. What were you referring to?

MICHAEL HUDSON : When I went to work on Wall Street in the '60s, I was balance-of-payments economist for Chase Manhattan, and we used the IMF's monthly International Financial Statistics every month. At the top of each country's statistics would be the exchange-rate figures. Many countries had two rates: one for goods and services, which was set normally by the market, and then a different exchange rate that was managed for capital movements. That was because countries were trying to prevent capital flight. They didn't want their wealthy classes or foreign investors to make a run on their own currency – an ever-present threat in Latin America.

The IMF and the World Bank backed the cosmopolitan classes, the wealthy. Instead of letting countries control their capital outflows and prevent capital flight, the IMF's job is to protect the richest One Percent and foreign investors from balance-of-payments problems.

The World Bank and American diplomacy have steered them into a chronic currency crisis. The IMF enables its wealthy constituency to move their money out of the country without taking a foreign-exchange loss. It makes loans to support capital flight out of domestic currencies into the dollar or other hard currencies. The IMF calls this a "stabilization" program. It is never effective in helping the debtor economy pay foreign debts out of growth. Instead, the IMF uses currency depreciation and sell-offs of public infrastructure and other assets to foreign investors after the flight capital has left and currency collapses. Wall Street speculators have sold the local currency short to make a killing, George-Soros style.

When the debtor-country currency collapses, the debts that these Latin American countries owe are in dollars, and now have to pay much more in their own currency to carry and pay off these debts. We're talking about enormous penalty rates in domestic currency for these countries to pay foreign-currency debts – basically taking on to finance a non-development policy and to subsidize capital flight when that policy "fails" to achieve its pretended objective of growth.

All hyperinflations of Latin America – Chile early on, like Germany after World War I – come from trying to pay foreign debts beyond the ability to be paid. Local currency is thrown onto the foreign-exchange market for dollars, lowering the exchange rate. That increases import prices, raising a price umbrella for domestic products.

A really functional and progressive international monetary fund that would try to help countries develop would say: "Okay, banks and we (the IMF) have made bad loans that the country can't pay. And the World Bank has given it bad advice, distorting its domestic development to serve foreign customers rather than its own growth. So we're going to write down the loans to the ability to be paid." That's what happened in 1931, when the world finally stopped German reparations payments and Inter-Ally debts to the United States stemming from World War I.

Instead, the IMF says just the opposite: It acts to prevent any move by other countries to bring the debt volume within the ability to be paid. It uses debt leverage as a way to control the monetary lifeline of financially defeated debtor countries. So if they do something that U.S. diplomats don't approve of, it can pull the plug financially, encouraging a run on their currency if they act independently of the United States instead of falling in line. This control by the U.S. financial system and its diplomacy has been built into the world system by the IMF and the World Bank claiming to be international instead of an expression of specifically U.S. New Cold War nationalism.

BONNIE FAULKNER : How do exchange rates contribute to capital flight?

MICHAEL HUDSON : It's not the exchange rate that contributes. Suppose that you're a millionaire, and you see that your country is unable to balance its trade under existing production patterns. The money that the government has under control is pesos, escudos, cruzeiros or some other currency, not dollars or euros. You see that your currency is going to go down relative to the dollar, so you want to get our money out of the country to preserve your purchasing power.

This has long been institutionalized. By 1990, for instance, Latin American countries had defaulted so much in the wake of the Mexico defaults in 1982 that I was hired by Scudder Stevens, to help start a Third World Bond Fund (called a "sovereign high-yield fund"). At the time, Argentina and Brazil were running such serious balance-of-payments deficits that they were having to pay 45 percent per year interest, in dollars, on their dollar debt. Mexico, was paying 22.5 percent on its tesobonos .

Scudders' salesmen went around to the United States and tried to sell shares in the proposed fund, but no Americans would buy it, despite the enormous yields. They sent their salesmen to Europe and got a similar reaction. They had lost their shirts on Third World bonds and couldn't see how these countries could pay.

Merrill Lynch was the fund's underwriter. Its office in Brazil and in Argentina proved much more successful in selling investments in Scudder's these offshore fund established in the Dutch West Indies. It was an offshore fund, so Americans were not able to buy it. But Brazilian and Argentinian rich families close to the central bank and the president became the major buyers. We realized that they were buying these funds because they knew that their government was indeed going to pay their stipulated interest charges. In effect, the bonds were owed ultimately to themselves. So these Yankee dollar bonds were being bought by Brazilians and other Latin Americans as a vehicle to move their money out of their soft local currency (which was going down), to buy bonds denominated in hard dollars.

BONNIE FAULKNER : If wealthy families from these countries bought these bonds denominated in dollars, knowing that they were going to be paid off, who was going to pay them off? The country that was going broke?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Well, countries don't pay; the taxpayers pay, and in the end, labor pays. The IMF certainly doesn't want to make its wealthy client oligarchies pay. It wants to squeeze ore economic surplus out of the labor force. So countries are told that the way they can afford to pay their enormously growing dollar-denominated debt is to lower wages even more.

Currency depreciation is an effective way to do this, because what is devalued is basically labor's wages. Other elements of exports have a common world price: energy, raw materials, capital goods, and credit under the dollar-centered international monetary system that the IMF seeks to maintain as a financial strait jacket.

According to the IMF's ideological models, there's no limit to how far you can lower wages by enough to make labor competitive in producing exports. The IMF and World Bank thus use junk economics to pretend that the way to pay debts owed to the wealthiest creditors and investors is to lower wages and impose regressive excise taxes, to impose special taxes on necessities that labor needs, from food to energy and basic services supplied by public infrastructure.

BONNIE FAULKNER: So you're saying that labor ultimately has to pay off these junk bonds?

MICHAEL HUDSON: That is the basic aim of IMF. I discuss its fallacies in my Trade Development and Foreign Debt , which is the academic sister volume to Super Imperialism . These two books show that the World Bank and IMF were viciously anti-labor from the very outset, working with domestic elites whose fortunes are tied to and loyal to the United States.

BONNIE FAULKNER : With regard to these junk bonds, who was it or what entity

MICHAEL HUDSON : They weren't junk bonds. They were called that because they were high-interest bonds, but they weren't really junk because they actually were paid. Everybody thought they were junk because no American would have paid 45 percent interest. Any country that really was self-reliant and was promoting its own economic interest would have said, "You banks and the IMF have made bad loans, and you've made them under false pretenses – a trade theory that imposes austerity instead of leading to prosperity. We're not going to pay." They would have seized the capital flight of their comprador elites and said that these dollar bonds were a rip-off by the corrupt ruling class.

The same thing happened in Greece a few years ago, when almost all of Greece's foreign debt was owed to Greek millionaires holding their money in Switzerland. The details were published in the "Legarde List." But the IMF said, in effect that its loyalty was to the Greek millionaires who ha their money in Switzerland. The IMF could have seized this money to pay off the bondholders. Instead, it made the Greek economy pay. It found that it was worth wrecking the Greek economy, forcing emigration and wiping out Greek industry so that French and German bondholding banks would not have to take a loss. That is what makes the IMF so vicious an institution.

BONNIE FAULKNER : So these loans to foreign countries that were regarded as junk bonds really weren't junk, because they were going to be paid. What group was it that jacked up these interest rates to 45 percent?

MICHAEL HUDSON : The market did. American banks, stock brokers and other investors looked at the balance of payments of these countries and could not see any reasonable way that they could pay their debts, so they were not going to buy their bonds. No country subject to democratic politics would have paid debts under these conditions. But the IMF, U.S. and Eurozone diplomacy overrode democratic choice.

Investors didn't believe that the IMF and the World Bank had such a strangle hold over Latin American, Asian, and African countries that they could make the countries act in the interest of the United States and the cosmopolitan finance capital, instead of in their own national interest. They didn't believe that countries would commit financial suicide just to pay their wealthy One Percent.

They were wrong, of course. Countries were quite willing to commit economic suicide if their governments were dictatorships propped up by the United States. That's why the CIA has assassination teams and actively supports these countries to prevent any party coming to power that would act in their national interest instead of in the interest of a world division of labor and production along the lines that the U.S. planners want for the world. Under the banner of what they call a free market, you have the World Bank and the IMF engage in central planning of a distinctly anti-labor policy. Instead of calling them Third World bonds or junk bonds, you should call them anti-labor bonds, because they have become a lever to impose austerity throughout the world.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Well, that makes a lot of sense, Michael, and answers a lot of the questions I've put together to ask you. What about Puerto Rico writing down debt? I thought such debts couldn't be written down.

MICHAEL HUDSON : That's what they all said, but the bonds were trading at about 45 cents on the dollar, the risk of their not being paid. The Wall Street Journal on June 17, reported that unsecured suppliers and creditors of Puerto Rico, would only get nine cents on the dollar. The secured bond holders would get maybe 65 cents on the dollar.

The terms are being written down because it's obvious that Puerto Rico can't pay, and that trying to do so is driving the population to move out of Puerto Rico to the United States. If you don't want Puerto Ricans to act the same way Greeks did and leave Greece when their industry and economy was shut down, then you're going to have to provide stability or else you're going to have half of Puerto Rico living in Florida.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Who wrote down the Puerto Rican debt?

MICHAEL HUDSON : A committee was appointed, and it calculated how much Puerto Rico can afford to pay out of its taxes. Puerto Rico is a U.S. dependency, that is, an economic colony of the United States. It does not have domestic self-reliance. It's the antithesis of democracy, so it's never been in charge of its own economic policy and essentially has to do whatever the United States tells it to do. There was a reaction after the hurricane and insufficient U.S. support to protect the island and the enormous waste and corruption involved in the U.S. aid. The U.S. response was simply: "We won you fair and square in the Spanish-American war and you're an occupied country, and we're going to keep you that way." Obviously this is causing a political resentment.

BONNIE FAULKNER : You've already touched on this, but why has the World Bank traditionally been headed by a U.S. secretary of defense?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Its job is to do in the financial sphere what, in the past, was done by military force. The purpose of a military conquest is to take control of foreign economies, to take control of their land and impose tribute. The genius of the World Bank was to recognize that it's not necessary to occupy a country in order to impose tribute, or to take over its industry, agriculture and land. Instead of bullets, it uses financial maneuvering. As long as other countries play an artificial economic game that U.S. diplomacy can control, finance is able to achieve today what used to require bombing and loss of life by soldiers.

In this case the loss of life occurs in the debtor countries. Population growth shrinks, suicides go up. The World Bank engages in economic warfare that is just as destructive as military warfare. At the end of the Yeltsin period Russia's President Putin said that American neoliberalism destroyed more of Russia's population than did World War II. Such neoliberalism, which basically is the doctrine of American supremacy and foreign dependency, is the policy of the World Bank and IMF.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Why has World Bank policy since its inception been to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves? And if this is the case, why do countries want these loans?

MICHAEL HUDSON : One constant of American foreign policy is to make other countries dependent on American grain exports and food exports. The aim is to buttress America's agricultural trade surplus. So the first thing that the World Bank has done is not to make any domestic currency loans to help food producers. Its lending has steered client countries to produce tropical export crops, mainly plantation crops that cannot be grown in the United States. Focusing on export crops leads client countries to become dependent on American farmers – and political sanctions.

In the 1950s, right after the Chinese revolution, the United States tried to prevent China from succeeding by imposing grain export controls to starve China into submission by putting sanctions on exports. Canada was the country that broke these export controls and helped feed China.

The idea is that if you can make other countries export plantation crops, the oversupply will drive down prices for cocoa and other tropical products, and they won't feed themselves. So instead of backing family farms like the American agricultural policy does, the World Bank backed plantation agriculture. In Chile, which has the highest natural supply of fertilizer in the world from its guano deposits, exports guano instead of using it domestically. It also has the most unequal land distribution, blocking it from growing its own grain or food crops. It's completely dependent on the United States for this, and it pays by exporting copper, guano and other natural resources.

The idea is to create interdependency – one-sided dependency on the U.S. economy. The United States has always aimed at being self-sufficient in its own essentials, so that no other country can pull the plug on our economy and say, "We're going to starve you by not feeding you." Americans can feed themselves. Other countries can't say, "We're going to let you freeze in the dark by not sending you oil," because America's independent in energy. But America can use the oil control to make other countries freeze in the dark, and it can starve other countries by food-export sanctions.

So the idea is to give the United States control of the key interconnections of other economies, without letting any country control something that is vital to the working of the American economy.

There's a double standard here. The United States tells other countries: "Don't do as we do. Do as we say." The only way it can enforce this is by interfering in the politics of these countries, as it has interfered in Latin America, always pushing the right wing. For instance, when Hillary's State Department overthrew the Honduras reformer who wanted to undertake land reform and feed the Hondurans, she said: "This person has to go." That's why there are so many Hondurans trying to get into the United States now, because they can't live in their own country.

The effect of American coups is the same in Syria and Iraq. They force an exodus of people who no longer can make a living under the brutal dictatorships supported by the United States to enforce this international dependency system.

BONNIE FAULKNER : So when I asked you why countries would want these loans, I guess you're saying that they wouldn't, and that's why the U.S. finds it necessary to control them politically.

MICHAEL HUDSON : That's a concise way of putting it Bonnie.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Why are World Bank loans only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency of the country to which it is lending?

MICHAEL HUDSON : That's a good point. A basic principle should be to avoid borrowing in a foreign currency. A country can always pay the loans in its own currency, but there's no way that it can print dollars or euros to pay loans denominated in these foreign currencies.

Making the dollar central forces other countries to interface with the U.S. banking system. So if a country decides to go its own way, as Iran did in 1953 when it wanted to take over its oil from British Petroleum (or Anglo Iranian Oil, as it was called back then), the United States can interfere and overthrow it. The idea is to be able to use the banking system's interconnections to stop payments from being made.

After America installed the Shah's dictatorship, they were overthrown by Khomeini, and Iran had run up a U.S. dollar debt under the Shah. It had plenty of dollars. I think Chase Manhattan was its paying agent. So when its quarterly or annual debt payment came due, Iran told Chase to draw on its accounts and pay the bondholders. But Chase took orders from the State Department or the Defense Department, I don't know which, and refused to pay. When the payment was not made, America and its allies claimed that Iran was in default. They demanded the entire debt to be paid, as per the agreement that the Shah's puppet government had signed. America simply grabbed the deposits that Iran had in the United States. This is the money that was finally returned to Iran without interest under the agreement of 2016.

America was able to grab all of Iran's foreign exchange just by the banks interfering. The CIA has bragged that it can do the same thing with Russia. If Russia does something that U.S. diplomats don't like, the U.S. can use the SWIFT bank payment system to exclude Russia from it, so the Russian banks and the Russian people and industry won't be able to make payments to each other.

This prompted Russia to create its own bank-transfer system, and is leading China, Russia, India and Pakistan to draft plans to de-dollarize.

BONNIE FAULKNER : I was going to ask you, why would loans in a country's domestic currency be preferable to the country taking out a loan in a foreign currency? I guess you've explained that if they took out a loan in a domestic currency, they would be able to repay it.

MICHAEL HUDSON : Yes.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Whereas a loan in a foreign currency would cripple them.

MICHAEL HUDSON : Yes. You can't create the money, especially if you're running a balance of payments deficit and if U.S. foreign policy forces you into deficit by having someone like George Soros make a run on your currency. Look at the Asia crisis in 1997. Wall Street funds bet against foreign currencies, driving them way down, and then used the money to pick up industry cheap in Korea and other Asian countries.

This was also done to Russia's ruble. The only country that avoided this was Malaysia, under Mohamed Mahathir, by using capital controls. Malaysia is an object lesson in how to prevent a currency flight.

But for Latin America and other countries, much of their foreign debt is held by their own ruling class. Even though it's denominated in dollars, Americans don't own most of this debt. It's their own ruling class. The IMF and World Bank dictate tax policy to Latin America – to un-tax wealth and shift the burden onto labor. Client kleptocracies take their money and run, moving it abroad to hard currency areas such as the United States, or at least keeping it in dollars in offshore banking centers instead of reinvesting it to help the country catch up by becoming independent agriculturally, in energy, finance and other sectors.

BONNIE FAULKNER : You say that: "While U.S. agricultural protectionism has been built into the postwar global system at its inception, foreign protectionism is to be nipped in the bud." How has U.S. agricultural protectionism been built into the postwar global system?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Under Franklin Roosevelt the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 called for price supports for crops so that farmers could earn enough to invest in equipment and seeds. The Agriculture Department was a wonderful department in spurring new seed varieties, agricultural extension services, marketing and banking services. It provided public support so that productivity in American agriculture from the 1930s to '50s was higher over a prolonged period than that of any other sector in history.

But in shaping the World Trade Organization's rules, the United States said that all countries had to promote free trade and could not have government support, except for countries that already had it. We're the only country that had it. That's what's called "grandfathering". The Americans said: "We already have this program on the books, so we can keep it. But no other country can succeed in agriculture in the way that we have done. You must keep your agriculture backward, except for the plantation crops and growing crops that we can't grow in the United States." That's what's so evil about the World Bank's development plan.

BONNIE FAULKNER : According to your book: "Domestic currency is needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive." Why can't infrastructure costs be subsidized to keep down the economy's overall cost structure if IMF loans are made in foreign currency?

MICHAEL HUDSON : If you're a farmer in Brazil, Argentina or Chile, you're doing business in domestic currency. It doesn't help if somebody gives you dollars, because your expenses are in domestic currency. So if the World Bank and the IMF can prevent countries from providing domestic currency support, that means they're not able to give price supports or provide government marketing services for their agriculture.

America is a mixed economy. Our government has always subsidized capital formation in agriculture and industry, but it insists that other countries are socialist or communist if they do what the United States is doing and use their government to support the economy. So it's a double standard. Nobody calls America a socialist country for supporting its farmers, but other countries are called socialist and are overthrown if they attempt land reform or attempt to feed themselves.

This is what the Catholic Church's Liberation Theology was all about. They backed land reform and agricultural self-sufficiency in food, realizing that if you're going to support population growth, you have to support the means to feed it. That's why the United States focused its assassination teams on priests and nuns in Guatemala and Central America for trying to promote domestic self-sufficiency.

BONNIE FAULKNER : If a country takes out an IMF loan, they're obviously going to take it out in dollars. Why can't they take the dollars and convert them into domestic currency to support local infrastructure costs?

MICHAEL HUDSON : You don't need a dollar loan to do that. Now were getting in to MMT. Any country can create its own currency. There's no reason to borrow in dollars to create your own currency. You can print it yourself or create it on your computers.

BONNIE FAULKNER: Well, exactly. So why don't these countries simply print up their own domestic currency?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Their leaders don't want to be assassinated. More immediately, if you look at the people in charge of foreign central banks, almost all have been educated in the United States and essentially brainwashed. It's the mentality of foreign central bankers. The people who are promoted are those who feel personally loyal to the United States, because they that that's how to get ahead. Essentially, they're opportunists working against the interests of their own country. You won't have socialist central bankers as long as central banks are dominated by the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements.

BONNIE FAULKNER : So we're back to the main point: The control is by political means, and they control the politics and the power structure in these countries so that they don't rebel.

MICHAEL HUDSON : That's right. When you have a dysfunctional economic theory that is destructive instead of productive, this is never an accident. It is always a result of junk economics and dependency economics being sponsored. I've talked to people at the U.S. Treasury and asked why they all end up following the United States. Treasury officials have told me: "We simply buy them off. They do it for the money." So you don't need to kill them. All you need to do is find people corrupt enough and opportunist enough to see where the money is, and you buy them off.

BONNIE FAULKNER : You write that "by following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail." What is food blackmail?

MICHAEL HUDSON : If you pursue a foreign policy that we don't like -- for instance, if you trade with Iran, which we're trying to smash up to grab its oil -- we'll impose financial sanctions against you. We won't sell you food, and you can starve. And because you've followed World Bank advice and not grown your own food, you will starve, because you're dependent on us, the United States and our Free World Ó allies. Canada will no longer follow its own policy independently of the United States, as it did with China in the 1950s when it sold it grain. Europe also is falling in line with U.S. policy.

BONNIE FAULKNER : You write that: "World Bank administrators demand that loan recipients pursue a policy of economic dependency above all on the United States as food supplier." Was this done to support U.S. agriculture? Obviously it is, but were there other reasons as well?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Certainly the agricultural lobby was critical in all of this, and I'm not sure at what point this became thoroughly conscious. I knew some of the World Bank planners, and they had no anticipation that this dependency would be the result. They believed the free-trade junk economics that's taught in the schools' economics departments and for which Nobel prizes are awarded.

When we're dealing with economic planners, we're dealing with tunnel-visioned people. They stayed in the discipline despite its unreality because they sort of think that abstractly it makes sense. There's something autistic about most economists, which is why the French had their non-autistic economic site for many years. The mentality at work is that every country should produce what it's best at – not realizing that nations also need to be self-sufficient in essentials, because we're in a real world of economic and military warfare.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Why does the World Bank prefer to perpetrate world poverty instead of adequate overseas capacity to feed the peoples of developing countries?

MICHAEL HUDSON : World poverty is viewed as solution , not a problem. The World Bank thinks of poverty as low-priced labor, creating a competitive advantage for countries that produce labor-intensive goods. So poverty and austerity for the World Bank and IMF is an economic solution that's built into their models. I discuss these in my Trade, Development and Foreign Debt book. Poverty is to them the solution, because it means low-priced labor, and that means higher profits for the companies bought out by U.S., British, and European investors. So poverty is part of the class war: profits versus poverty.

BONNIE FAULKNER : In general, what is U.S. food imperialism? How would you characterize it?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Its aim is to make America the producer of essential foods and other countries producing inessential plantation crops, while remaining dependent on the United States for grain, soy beans and basic food crops.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Does World Bank lending encourage land reform in former colonies?

MICHAEL HUDSON : No. If there is land reform, the CIA sends its assassination teams in and you have mass murder, as you had in Guatemala, Ecuador, Central America and Columbia. The World Bank is absolutely committed against land reform. When the Forgash Plan for a World Bank for Economic Acceleration was proposed in the 1950s to emphasize land reform and local-currency loans, a Chase Manhattan economist to whom the plan was submitted warned that every country that had land reform turned out to be anti-American. That killed any alternative to the World Bank.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Does the World Bank insist on client governments privatizing their public domain? If so, why, and what is the effect?

MICHAEL HUDSON : It does indeed insist on privatization, pretending that this is efficient. But what it privatizes are natural monopolies – the electrical system, the water system and other basic needs. Foreigners take over, essentially finance them with foreign debt, build the foreign debt that they build into the cost structure, and raise the cost of living and doing business in these countries, thereby crippling them economically. The effect is to prevent them from competing with the United States and its European allies.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Would you say then that it is mainly America that has been aided, not foreign economies that borrow from the World Bank?

MICHAEL HUDSON : That's why the United States is the only country with veto power in the IMF and World Bank – to make sure that what you just described is exactly what happens.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Why do World Bank programs accelerate the exploitation of mineral deposits for use by other nations?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Most World Bank loans are for transportation, roads, harbor development and other infrastructure needed to export minerals and plantation crops. The World Bank doesn't make loans for projects that help the country develop in its own currency. By making only foreign currency loans, in dollars or maybe euros now, the World Bank says that its clients have to repay by generating foreign currency. The only way they can repay the dollars spent on American engineering firms that have built their infrastructure is to export – to earn enough dollars to pay back for the money that the World Bank or IMF have lent.

This is what John Perkins' book about being an economic hit man for the World Bank is all about. He realized that his job was to get countries to borrow dollars to build huge projects that could only be paid for by the country exporting more – which required breaking its labor unions and lowering wages so that it could be competitive in the race to the bottom that the World Bank and IMF encourage.

BONNIE FAULKNER : You also point out in Super Imperialism that mineral resources represent diminishing assets, so these countries that are exporting mineral resources are being depleted while the importing countries aren't.

MICHAEL HUDSON : That's right. They'll end up like Canada. The end result is going to be a big hole in the ground. You've dug up all your minerals, and in the end you have a hole in the ground and a lot of the refuse and pollution – the mining slag and what Marx called the excrements of production.

This is not a sustainable development. The World Bank only promotes the U.S. pursuit of sustainable development. So naturally, they call their "Development," but their focus is on the United States, not the World Bank's client countries.

BONNIE FAULKNER : When Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire was originally published in 1972, how was it received?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Very positively. It enabled my career to take off. I received a phone call a month later by someone from the Bank of Montreal saying they had just made $240 million on the last paragraph of my book. They asked what it would cost to have me come up and give a lecture. I began lecturing once a month at $3,500 a day, moving up to $6,500 a day, and became the highest-paid per diem economist on Wall Street for a few years.

I was immediately hired by the Hudson Institute to explain Super Imperialism to the Defense Department. Herman Kahn said I showed how U.S. imperialism ran rings around European imperialism. They gave the Institute an $85,000 grant to have me go to the White House in Washington to explain how American imperialism worked. The Americans used it as a how-to-do-it book.

The socialists, whom I expected to have a response, decided to talk about other than economic topics. So, much to my surprise, it became a how-to-do-it book for imperialists. It was translated by, I think, the nephew of the Emperor of Japan into Japanese. He then wrote me that the United States opposed the book being translated into Japanese. It later was translated. It was received very positively in China, where I think it has sold more copies than in any other country. It was translated into Spanish, and most recently it was translated into German, and German officials have asked me to come and discuss it with them. So the book has been accepted all over the world as an explanation of how the system works.

BONNIE FAULKNER : In closing, do you really think that the U.S. government officials and others didn't understand how their own system worked?

MICHAEL HUDSON : Many might not have understood in 1944 that this would be the consequence. But by the time 50 years went by, you had an organization called "Fifty Years Is Enough." And by that time everybody should have understood. By the time Joe Stiglitz became the World Bank's chief economist, there was no excuse for not understanding how the system worked. He was amazed to find that indeed it didn't work as advertised, and resigned. But he should have known at the very beginning what it was all about. If he didn't understand how it was until he actually went to work there, you can understand how hard it is for most academics to get through the vocabulary of junk economics, the patter-talk of free trade and free markets to understand how exploitative and destructive the system is.

BONNIE FAULKNER : Michael Hudson, thank you very much.

MICHAEL HUDSON : It's always good to be here, Bonnie. I'm glad you ask questions like these.

I've been speaking with Dr. Michael Hudson. Today's show has been: The IMF and World Bank: Partners in Backwardness. Dr. Hudson is a financial economist and historian. He is president of the Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trend, a Wall Street financial analyst and Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His 1972 book, Super Imperialism : The Economic Strategy of American Empire , a critique of how the United States exploited foreign economies through the IMF and World Bank, the subject of today's broadcast, is posted in PDF format on his website at michael-hudson.com. He is also author of Trade, Development and Foreign Debt , which is the academic sister volume to Super Imperialism. Dr. Hudson acts as an economic advisor to governments worldwide on finance and tax law. Visit his website at michael-hudson.com.

Guns and Butter is produced by Bonnie Faulkner, Yarrow Mahko and Tony Rango. Visit us at gunsandbutter.org to listen to past programs, comment on shows, or join our email list to receive our newsletter that includes recent shows and updates. Email us at faulkner@gunsandbutter.org . Follow us on Twitter at #gandbradio.

[Jul 05, 2019] Common car buying mistakes to avoid by Brittany De Lea

Notable quotes:
"... "Many dealers will encourage you to act fast, but it's always a smart move to take your time and compare different offers from the dealer and your trusted financial institution," he said. ..."
"... Another big mistake people make, according to Pendergast, is obtaining a vehicle loan through a dealer without speaking with your bank or credit union first. Speaking with your financial institution or credit union about available options can boost your purchasing power. ..."
Jul 05, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Originally from: Fox Business July 5, 2019

In the market to buy a car ? Some studies suggest some of the best deals are available during the summer months .

Heading into the summer, some carmakers are reeling off of sluggish sales, too.

... ... ...

Regardless of when you plan to make a purchase, here are some ways you can make sure you are getting the best deal, according to tips provided to FOX Business by Joe Pendergast, vice president of consumer lending at Navy Federal Credit Union.

Don't skip the research phase:

Knowledge is power when it comes to buying a car.

"Being prepared means you have greater purchasing power and can boost your confidence during the buying process," Pendergast said.

Things you should know before going out shopping include your credit history, average interest rates and how much you want your monthly payment to come out to. Pendergast said a dealer is likely to be more willing to negotiate with you if you have a payment threshold set.

In order to determine that threshold, it is prudent to know what deals are on the market.

And for those on the market for a used car, Pendergast said a vehicle history report can help prevent you from buying a car with potential problems, which will save you money down the road.

Don't visit just one dealership:

Another pair of mistakes car shoppers make are agreeing to dealership add-ons, and considering an offer from just one dealership.

Pendergast said shoppers should take a look around at their local dealerships, but noted that people can do research online as well.

"Many dealers will encourage you to act fast, but it's always a smart move to take your time and compare different offers from the dealer and your trusted financial institution," he said.

How many dealerships you should visit depends on what type of car you are looking to buy, your ideal price point and how quickly you are looking to get a vehicle.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX BUSINESS APP

Don't forget to talk to your bank:

Another big mistake people make, according to Pendergast, is obtaining a vehicle loan through a dealer without speaking with your bank or credit union first. Speaking with your financial institution or credit union about available options can boost your purchasing power.

[Jul 01, 2019] Biden was a strong backer of a 2005 bankruptcy "reform" law that made it harder for people to file personal bankruptcy and to wipe out all of their debts by Keith Hoeller

Jul 01, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Just in time for the 2020 presidential election, the Democrats have discovered that there is real economic inequality in the United States. But they have not yet fully addressed the role that the Democratic party and its leaders have played in creating this vast inequality that led to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

The presidential candidates have been slow to fully recognize the role that former President Bill Clinton's globalization policies (NAFTA and WTO) played in the outsourcing of American jobs or the lowering of wages for workers.

As the Democratic presidential debates have shown, Vice President Biden is having a hard time defending his long public record, especially as an opponent of federally mandated "forced" busing to integrate our public schools decades after the Supreme Court's overturning of racial segregation in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As a Senator Joe Biden was a free trade advocate as well.

But Senator Biden played a large role in creating inequality in two additional realms. He was a strong backer of a 2005 bankruptcy "reform" law that made it harder for people to file personal bankruptcy and to wipe out all of their debts. Given that perhaps as many as fifty percent of all personal bankruptcies in America are caused by debt incurred from health care not covered by insurance, this was an especially cruel blow to those seeking relief from their heavy debt loads.

Senator Warren has already criticized Biden for his support of this bill (" The Twenty Year Argument Between Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren Over Bankruptcy, Explained ")

In "' Lock the S.O.B.s Up: Joe Biden and the Era of Mass Incarceration ," The New York Times documents his decades-long support of tough on criminals legislation, culminating in the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. This bill, signed into law by President Clinton, has been blamed for the jailing of high numbers of African Americans and other minorities, in particular.

Unlike the Republicans whose goal is to increase inequality by lowering taxes on the wealthy, at least the Democrats seem sincere about reducing it. To do this, they have fallen all over themselves to offer free college tuition and to reduce student loan debt. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently proposed to eliminate all student loans entirely .

Why have Democrats focused on college as a means of solving economic inequality? Statistics have shown that in general the more education you have, the higher your lifetime earnings will be. For example, men with bachelor's degrees earn nearly a million more dollars in median lifetime earnings than high school graduates.

[Jul 01, 2019] Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Jul 1 2019 5:38 utc | 114

Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism.

The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom.

Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that.

In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself".

The neoliberal project did not liberate markets so much as protect them by protecting capitalism against the threat of democracy and to reorder the world where borders provide a captive market

Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market.

For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose.

Another example is getting government to accept monopoly capitalism over competitive capitalism and have appointed judges who believe illegal collusion is nothing more than understandable and legal "conscious parallelism"

Now it seems to me the Koch-Soros think tank is an attempt to unify the neoliberal globalist forces which represent factions from international greenies to nationalist protectionists . In other words to repackage and rename neoliberal globalism while keeping its essence. Be interesting to see what they come up with.

As for China opening to private international finance. They already did that but this takes it to a new level. Like I said. Fake wrestling. This was one of the demands in the trade negotiations by Trump. Why take one of your chips off the table if the game is for real?

China was Made in USA (includes the City of London) like the EU and Putins neoliberal Russia.
One day they will get around telling us they are all buddies, or maybe not. I suspect they have a lot of laughs playing us like they do.

I could be wrong but this is more interesting than the official and semi official narratives.


[Jul 01, 2019] Globalism is the transnational, mainly financial and legal architecture (or "system" if you will) through which neliberalim functions

Notable quotes:
"... if the US ever held unipolar control in reality it was briefly during the period after the downfall of the USSR and up until the conquest of Iraq. ..."
"... An economic system, of which the financial system is a part of, is one of the fundamental structures of any society. Societies in today's world are defined at the sovereign state level, and the economic systems are defined by the governments of these states ..."
"... 'Globalism' as discussed in these blogs, in opposition to 'multi-polarity' is not about global commerce, but rather about an effort by a certain group of wealthy elites, primarily centered in London and New York, and commonly referred to as 'Globalists' to transfer the authority for the definition and control of economic systems from sovereign states to a set of international institutions under their control. ..."
"... In doing so they strip the sovereignty from sovereign states, as as already happened with the EU, and create a global dictatorship, under the control of the 'Globalists' and completely isolated from any democratic oversight. A fascist project in the purest sense of fascism. ..."
"... The 'Multi-polar' group of nations are those nations who oppose this fascist project and who are working to maintain and restore the sovereignty of nations. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 1:38:21 PM | 15

Gzon @ 10 and james @ 1

Stating "globalism" is antithetical to "multipolarity" is a non-sequitor.

Globalism is the financial structure (or "system" if you will) through which capitalist enterprises function. This is complex of course and includes capital markets, corporations, multinational corporations, currency markets, commodities markets, trading agreements. Politicians intervene in the functioning of globalism so there is seldom if ever anything like a globalism free of political influence.

OTOH, "multipolarity" has no structure that I can see. It is an empty vessel, purely a political, statist-inspired idea (whereas globalism is a "thing" which contains political and economic ideas of course but those ideas may or may not be statist in concept depending on the context) which can mean anything to anyone at any point in time.

I guess I would say the term is purely Orwellian. Thus, without reading anything other than James's comment I would guess the author's idea is either nonsensical or propagandistic in nature.

For me, the world became "multipolar" the minute the US invaded Iraq in 2003. The idea that the US wishes to maintain its "unipolar" leadership of the world may be true in the wishful sense of some neocons, however if the US ever held unipolar control in reality it was briefly during the period after the downfall of the USSR and up until the conquest of Iraq.

Today, I view the world as both multipolar and globalist. While many of the political and economic tensions we see result from the disconnects between national political and global economic conditions, I think we must admit if we are honest that many of the more recent tensions are simply the result of Trump's presidency, which has the intended affect of being "a bull in the china shop" of the globalist system.

This is not necessarily a bad thing in theory. Sadly, however, Trump is a geopolitical and foreign policy moron who doesn't know what he is doing beyond enriching himself and creating daily fake news headlines in hopes of being re-elected on behalf of the same global elites he playacts at combatting for his worshipful audience of true believers.

dh-mtl | Jun 30, 2019 3:51:11 PM | 29

gzon , Jun 30, 2019 4:25:58 PM | 33

@donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 1:38:21 PM | 15 says:

'Globalism is the financial structure (or "system" if you will) through which capitalist enterprises function.'

What B.S.!!

An economic system, of which the financial system is a part of, is one of the fundamental structures of any society. Societies in today's world are defined at the sovereign state level, and the economic systems are defined by the governments of these states , which are supposed to function on behalf of the population of each state, and in democratic states, are also supposed to be under the control of the overall population through their democratic institutions. International institutions are there to coordinate commerce between the different economic systems of sovereign states.

'Globalism' as discussed in these blogs, in opposition to 'multi-polarity' is not about global commerce, but rather about an effort by a certain group of wealthy elites, primarily centered in London and New York, and commonly referred to as 'Globalists' to transfer the authority for the definition and control of economic systems from sovereign states to a set of international institutions under their control.

In doing so they strip the sovereignty from sovereign states, as as already happened with the EU, and create a global dictatorship, under the control of the 'Globalists' and completely isolated from any democratic oversight. A fascist project in the purest sense of fascism.

The 'Multi-polar' group of nations are those nations who oppose this fascist project and who are working to maintain and restore the sovereignty of nations.

@ donkeytale 15

I think the world has always been multipolar, the differences that give the definition coming to (being presented to) the forefront, or being dissimilated, according to choice and circumstance. The globalist direction aims to interweave or merge these differences (cultural and historic, religion, philosophy and so on), or at least bring them under a common control. So the idea that multipolarity represents anything more than increased recognition of various regional power as opposed to recognition of one regional power (say western) as more visible, is not much more than an indication of how global policy will be conducted, i.e. with an emphasis on regional responsibility.

Recent US policy is not aimed at destroying the globalist order, it is a result of the failure of one format of the globalist order, where the global financial order no longer fitted into national or regional economic sense. This was the gfc, and there is simply no way to continue the flow of trade and finance as it existed for the previous decades. The easing of rates across the globe is paliative, it is no solution, you only have to look at national debt levels to understand this, or in Eurozone try target2 differences. The world is now partly funded by negative yielding debt. All of this works contrary to capitalist (in its basic honest philosophy) understanding. In short "something" is going to happen to readjust this circumstance, planned or otherwise. I have watched how in EU the single currency has been used to takeover the traditional national hierarchies (banking, political and to a degree social), but we don't have that sort of framework accepted at global level, only various currency pegs, bilateral arrangements and so on. The IMF and sdr is not much liked. What I have noted is virtual central bank currency is being promoted in several ways, be it the bis just announcing it may become a necessity face to cryptocurrency or similar (with a caveat of harmonising monetary policy) , EU organising a parallel payment system that avoids commercial banks, even Instex is along these lines. Where the US and some others truly stand with regard to this is a different question, as for now it (et al) still enjoy a financial hegemony that is both organised and profitable. Interesting times, I just hope that a major event is not the catalyst for reform, that the various parties can agree to withdraw to more localised structure and agreement if any grand plans meet the resistance or failure that is already partly visible. I doubt that will be allowed though, by the time people really want to take part, there won't be much option left and circumstance will already be already confused and conflictive.

james , Jun 30, 2019 4:27:54 PM | 34
@31 donkeytale.. well, if the usa didn't commit as much paper money as it does to the military complex it runs, i suppose the financial complex where the us$ can be printed ad nauseam might come into question.. the sooner oil isn't pegged to the us$ and etc. etc. happens, the better off the world will be... and, i don't blame the usa people for this.. they are just being used as i see it - much the same here in canada with our politicians thinking the prudent thing to do is to support the status quo.. the problem is the status quo can only go on for so long, before a change inevitably happens...

as for swift - they went along with usa sanctions back in 2011 on iran, but then it was brought to court in europe and overturned... but again - they are back in the same place bowing down to usa exceptionalism... call it what you want.. another system needs to get made if this one that exists is beholden to a special interest group - usa-uk-europe, where others are 2nd rate citizens of the world... same deal imf... these world financial institutions need to be changed to reflect the changes that are taking place... the voting rights of the developed countries are skewed to favour the ones who have been raping and pillaging africa, and etc. etc.. you may not think it matters, but i personally do.. and i don't blame the usa for it..but they are being used as a conduit to further an agenda which is very unbalanced and unfriendly to the world as i see it..

dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 5:25:13 PM | 41
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 4:17:38 PM | 32

I am afraid that I cannot agree with much of what you said.

Dictatorship, as a governance system, has always failed, and will always fail. The 'Globalists' who grabbed power, and imposed an effective oligarchic dictatorship, in the U.S. in 1980 and the EU since 1990, have clearly demonstrated this fact through the destruction of the economies of the U.S. and much of Europe and the impoverishment of their populations. And since 2001, they have used the U.S. and British military and intelligence services and NATO as their personal bludgeon in order to force the submission of any state that did not voluntarily submit to their project of a 'Global' dictatorship.

Resistance to this 'Globalist' project is at the root of almost all conflicts in the world today. The 'Multi-Polar' nations resisting the 'Globalists', in Ukraine, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. is one front in this resistance. The other front is the resistance of 'Nationalists' (such as Trump, the Brexiteers, the Yellow Vests, and populists across Europe) to the 'Globalists.

The Trump Presidency is not the cause of tensions in the world today, as you suggest, but rather the symptom. Trump understands that without an industrial base, the U.S. is condemned to becoming the 'India' of the Americas'. The central theme of his actions is to restore the U.S. industrial base and U.S. sovereignty, which have largely been destroyed by the 'Globalists' and their 'Deep State' machine over the past 40 years. The 'Globalists' need only the U.S. military and intelligence services, and care nothing for its population and less for its sovereignty, and thus are fighting Trump every step of the way.

Trump may be coarse and a buffoon, and he may be completely wrong in carrying Israel's water with respect to Iran, but he is just about the only American politician that I see that is working on behalf of the U.S. population rather than on behalf of the 'Globalists'.

Reversing the 'Globalization' that has savaged the U.S. and Europe over the past several decades will not come easily, nor without pain and tensions, and winners and losers. However failure to do so guarantees the likely rapid and long term decline and impoverishment of all populations under 'Globalist' control.

wagelaborer , Jun 30, 2019 5:47:02 PM | 48
dh-mtl @29 explained it well, I thought, but some still don't seem to get it.
It is the difference between the UN, which has a law-based charter which upholds the national sovereignty of each nation and forbids aggression against any sovereign country, and
the WTO, which is a rules-based agreement which forbids any national government to pass laws which interfere in the profits of corporations.
Globalism is the project in which capital has complete freedom to do as it will, while humans and national governments are forbidden such freedom.
Putin and Lavrov frequently point to the difference between international law, which they support, and the "rules-based order" which the US and its partners-in-crime support, in which the rules are used to destroy sovereign countries and enrich the multi-national corporations which strip the planet at will, and go to the cheapest labor countries, with no environmental laws, for their global production lines.
A multi-polar world is one with many sovereign countries, ruled by international law, respected by all, with peaceful relations between all countries.
Globalism is when corporations rule the world, and we continue on the path of destruction of all the natural wealth of the world in the turning of nature into commodities and then trash.
psychohistorian , Jun 30, 2019 6:04:02 PM | 49
@ wagelaborer who wrote
"
Globalism is the project in which capital has complete freedom to do as it will, while humans and national governments are forbidden such freedom.
"
Perfectly stated!

I appreciate you, dh-mtl, bevin and others responding to donkeytale. I have not read the comment because donkeytale is on bypass for me but it is nice to read other commenters taking on donkeytale BS for others to see....thanks

Alexander P , Jun 30, 2019 6:06:09 PM | 50
@41 dh-mtl

Sorry if I need to pick your resopnse to donkeytale apart but there are a lot of inconsistencies in your argument.

The 'Globalists' who grabbed power, and imposed an effective oligarchic dictatorship, in the U.S. in 1980 and the EU since 1990, have clearly demonstrated this fact through the destruction of the economies of the U.S. and much of Europe and the impoverishment of their populations.

You seem to imply that the 'globalists' (illuminati, Zionist bankers etc., etc.) did not exist or had power before the 1980s, which could not be further from the truth. There are several reasons why neo-liberalism took hold in the 1980s, creating the economic narrative and agenda of today, none of which, are related to some kind of power grab by people that did not hold any power beforehand. The threat of the cold war was waning in the 1980s and elites felt less pressured by local populations potentially becoming 'too' sympathetic to communism anymore. So they began rolling back social policies implemented in the post-war years to counter communism's appeal. Computer technology going mainstream, creating all sorts of economic spillovers to be harnessed by increased open and international trade was another reason, there were many more. But the people you call 'globalists' controlled matters much, much earlier than the 1980s.

The other front is the resistance of 'Nationalists' (such as Trump, the Brexiteers, the Yellow Vests, and populists across Europe) to the 'Globalists.

If there truly were such politicians as 'nationalists' who somehow only hold the best interest of their native people at heart, then why is that most European populists cosy up to Israel? None of them have tried to reclaim control over their Central Banks and in the case of i.e. Italy, do they try to break free from the Euro? Why are Polish nationalists rabidly supporting the build up of US arms on their territory? I think it is about time to see beyond this silly dichotomy of 'Globalist' vs 'Nationalist', at least while these Nationalists do nothing substantial to actually help their lot and further squeeze the lower classes of their countries in good neo-liberal fashion, same as their Globalist political 'opponents' they claim to oppose.

Trump may be coarse and a buffoon, and he may be completely wrong in carrying Israel's water with respect to Iran, but he is just about the only American politician that I see that is working on behalf of the U.S. population rather than on behalf of the 'Globalists'.

So you admit that Trump is essentially a controlled zionist buffoon but at the same time he is working towards restoring US sovereignty on behalf of the people? You mean he worked for the US people when he lowered taxes for the rich even further, creating an ever larger US public debt, and throwing Americans further into debt servitude of private finance? Or do you mean his still open promise to invest large sums in the US crumbling infrastructure? Oh right, he has instead opted to increase defence spending to combat the US many imaginary enemies around the globe.

Look, I agree with you that global neo-liberalism is bad for the vast majority of people on this planet but don't go looking for help from false prophets, such as Trump or other 'nationalists', you will only find yourself completely disappointed before long.

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 6:48:21 PM | 58 dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 6:50:23 PM | 59
@50 Alexander P

Response to a few of your criticisms.

1. You say 'You seem to imply that the 'globalists' (illuminati, Zionist bankers etc., etc.) did not exist or had power before the 1980s'.

Not at all. They lost power from the mid-1930s to 1980. They regained power with Reagan, followed by Clinton, W, and Obama. You only need to look at any graph that shows when income inequality in the U.S. began to ramp up. The date is clear - 1980.

2. You say. 'If there truly were such politicians as 'nationalists' who somehow only hold the best interest of their native people at heart'.

I didn't say that these 'Nationalists' or 'Populists' hold the best interests of their native peoples at heart. Usually they are only interested in what they see as best for themselves. But there is no doubt that they are resisting the 'Globalists' push to strip their countries of their sovereignty, to transfer their wealth to the 'Globalist' elites, to transfer their industries to wherever labor is the cheapest. I said that this was a 'second front' against the 'Globalists'. And there is no doubt, from the fight that the 'Globalists' are waging against Trump, 'Brexit' and populists and nationalists across Europe, that the 'Globalists' take this 'front' seriously.


3. You say. 'don't go looking for help from false prophets, such as Trump'.

You are right. It is unlikely that Trump will be able to 'Make America Great Again'. At best he may be able to break the 'Globalists' hold on power in the U.S. However, this is a necessary first step if the U.S. is ever to recover wealth and power that it had during the middle of the last century, but which today is rapidly evaporating.

gzon , Jun 30, 2019 7:04:55 PM | 61
I agree with Alexander P that nationalist and populist presentation is often either controlled opposition or a method of splintering and isolating influence. That is not to say there are a lot of public in many countries who are sincere in their sentiment.

Sorry no link, recent :

"As he arrived at the Kempinski hotel lobby last December, journalists scuffled with bodyguards as they tried to get their microphones and cameras close. Despite being jostled, Zanganeh remained calm and waited to deliver a simple message: Iran can’t participate in OPEC’s production cuts as long as it remains under U.S. sanctions and won’t allow other members to steal its rightful market share."

I.E. approval for continued reduced opec oil supply to support prices depends on Iran (?), lower prices otherwise affecting all other producers, and/or Iran is making the case that sanctions are a theft of market share by other producers. The latter has been a part of the cause of hostility in the gulf.

In Germany

"The 2018 report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Germany (Bundesmat fur Verfassungsschutz, BfV), which was released on June 27, 2019 by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer and Thomas Haldenwang, head of the organization, examines the activities of the intelligence services of the Iranian regime in Germany....

The BfV annual report states: "The central task of the Iranian intelligence services is to spy against opposition movements and confront these movements. In this regard, evidences of state-sponsored terrorism in Europe, which originates in Iran, have intensified during 2018." " etc

is being used by ncr (the article source) to the effect of calling for closure of the Iranian embassy. That aside, the report does show Germany is moving towards, or is willing to, apply pressure on Iran now. France has also given indication that it is not fully behind Iran (reprimand and warning on not respecting jcpoa etc.)


karlof1 , Jun 30, 2019 7:11:31 PM | 65
dh-mtl @59--

You are correct to say inequality began rising again in 1980; however, the rise must be attributed to Carter and Volker--Reagan just continued the process. It seemed odd the GHW Bush initially opposed it as "Voodoo Economics" but readily championed it all as VEEP, making it just a political posture in the nomination race.

donkeytale , Jun 30, 2019 7:44:26 PM | 72
gzon @ 33

Thanks for the excellent response. One thing I failed to take into account is the difference between the EU and the US financial systems so thanks for that corrective explanation.

The Euro represents the biggest failure of the EU from where I sit. Centralised control of the currency and banking systems is a grave error in that construct and the "European Parliament" just seems too silly for me to even contemplate, although I'm sure there is some logical explanation for its existence that I'm missing.

And you bet, I'm also sure the day of reckoning for the global debt overload is fast approaching. What I don't understand is how one form of capitalism (neoliberal) versus another (state managed) makes any difference in how this debt overload developed. China, for instance, has used similar stimulus methods more frequently even than the US since 2008 to keep its economic growth chugging along and certainly way more than the EU, which under stimulated its own economy in response to the recession.

IMHO, Brexit is a forced over the top politicised reaction to this conservative German-led response in light of the fact the UK kept its own currency and banking systems separate and had the means to provide stimulus but didn't under the Tory buffoons in charge.

Grexit made much more sense to me than Brexit for many reasons. I was dismayed when the Greek people failed in their courage after voting in Syriza follow through and tell the Germans to take the Euro and their debt and put it where the sun don't shine.

What I believe people are tending to forget or overlook, such as wagelabourer @ 48 and dh-mtl elsewhere, that while these postwar international re-orderings such as NATO, the UN and the EU are nowhere near perfect, they are also not purely NWO conspiratorial constructs. Rather they were created for a very specific purpose stemming from a lesson of history which seems to have been rather easily tossed aside because of the relative success of these same institutions: that is, clashing nationalisms inevitably lead to major conflict and devastating wars, especially among the major imperialist states.

[Jul 01, 2019] The Real College Inequality Democrats Have Yet to Address by Keith Hoeller

Notable quotes:
"... As Curtis notes, full-time salaries are only one part of the faculty salary picture. Curtis' own research for the AAUP (published as an appendix to my Equality for Contingent Faculty documents that only twenty-five percent of professors now teach on the tenure-track, and only sixteen percent have tenure. Seventy-five percent of all college professors, one million in total, teach off the tenure-track, with fifty percent of all professors teaching part-time. ..."
"... While "free trade" agreements encouraged the closing of American factories and the loss of millions of American jobs, colleges and universities instituted their own brand of wage theft called by adjunct Ron Swift "inside-outsourcing." Even though the number of students was increasing, the colleges staunched the number of well-paid, secure, full-time tenure-track positions. They met rising enrollments by staffing classrooms with "contingent" faculty who teach off the tenure-track without the protections for free speech afforded their tenured brothers and sisters. ..."
"... The colleges save money by refusing to pay these contingent professors a living wage, in flagrant violation of the principle of equal pay for equal work. They are paid on a completely separate and lower pay scale than their full-time counterparts are paid for teaching the very same courses; they are paid on average only about fifty percent of what a full-timer would earn for teaching the same number of courses. See my " The Wal-Martization of Higher Education: How Young Professors Are Getting Screwed "). ..."
"... In " The Ph.D. Now Comes with Food Stamps ," the Chronicle of Higher Education has documented hundreds of thousands of people with graduate degrees receiving some form of public assistance, many of them contingent faculty. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org
So are the Democrats right to try and solve the equality problem by making college more affordable, with tuition perhaps free? Or are these proposals simply the current version of the Herbert Hoover's 1928 Presidential campaign where he literally offered voters " A chicken for every pot."

But before we go spending trillions of dollars on college tuition and eliminating student debt, shouldn't we ask: What has been driving up the cost of attending college over the past few decades leading to the current lack of affordable college options?

In his run for re-election as Vice President in 2012, Joe Biden made clear that he blamed college professors' high salaries for the skyrocketing costs of tuition. This was an astonishing charge, especially given that his wife has long been a college professor. He was immediately admonished by faculty groups around the country. " Faculty Groups Try to Educate Biden on Salaries ".

John Curtis, former Director of Research for the American Association of University Professors, wrote a rebuttal to Biden on January 18, 2012. He took issue with Biden's claim, pointing out that full-time faculty salaries have been stagnant for a number of years. He noted that tuition rates, in contrast, had risen "between three and fourteen times as fast as full-time faculty salaries." (underlining added)

Curtis also cites " Trends in College Spending 1998-2008 by the Delta Project on Postsecondary Education Costs, Productivity and Accountability ," which documented decreased spending on college teaching in favor of administration even before the Great Recession and wrote, "The common myth that spending on faculty is responsible for continuing cost escalation is not true."

As Curtis notes, full-time salaries are only one part of the faculty salary picture. Curtis' own research for the AAUP (published as an appendix to my Equality for Contingent Faculty documents that only twenty-five percent of professors now teach on the tenure-track, and only sixteen percent have tenure. Seventy-five percent of all college professors, one million in total, teach off the tenure-track, with fifty percent of all professors teaching part-time.

While "free trade" agreements encouraged the closing of American factories and the loss of millions of American jobs, colleges and universities instituted their own brand of wage theft called by adjunct Ron Swift "inside-outsourcing." Even though the number of students was increasing, the colleges staunched the number of well-paid, secure, full-time tenure-track positions. They met rising enrollments by staffing classrooms with "contingent" faculty who teach off the tenure-track without the protections for free speech afforded their tenured brothers and sisters.

The colleges save money by refusing to pay these contingent professors a living wage, in flagrant violation of the principle of equal pay for equal work. They are paid on a completely separate and lower pay scale than their full-time counterparts are paid for teaching the very same courses; they are paid on average only about fifty percent of what a full-timer would earn for teaching the same number of courses. See my " The Wal-Martization of Higher Education: How Young Professors Are Getting Screwed ").

In other words, though women are still paid only 82% percent of what men earn for doing the same work, with black men earning only 73% and Hispanics only 69%, most adjunct professors are paid at most 50% of what tenure-track faculty earn for teaching the same course.

Though possessing Master's and Doctorates and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, these college professors are not being paid for all of the hours they work outside of class preparing lectures, grading tests, and meeting with students. They often do not even have offices. Their work schedule is capped below full-time so they will not qualify for tenure. Their work varies from quarter to quarter and they are often denied unemployment when they are in fact unemployed. The adjuncts and other contingent professors usually do not have any health insurance or retirement benefits

In " The Ph.D. Now Comes with Food Stamps ," the Chronicle of Higher Education has documented hundreds of thousands of people with graduate degrees receiving some form of public assistance, many of them contingent faculty.

The treatment between the two tiers is so disparate that I have called it "faculty apartheid" because the tenure-track few control and dominate the contingent many. Indeed, the tenured faculty often serve as the direct supervisors of the contingents. I have called the kind of discrimination that exists in higher education "tenurism," the baseless but widespread stereotype that the tenured faculty are superior and warrant higher pay and better treatment and than the non-tenure-track faculty. (see my " Against Tenurism ").

In an interview with Shankar Vedantam on the NPR show "The Hidden Brain," Raj Chetty, a Harvard economist who has done research on inequality in education, says the best solution is to have "the best teachers in American classrooms."

But we are far from that solution, with the majority of the U.S. higher education teaching force earning much less than the vaunted $15 an hour minimum wage recommended by nearly all of the Democratic candidates. These contingent faculty are "apprentices to nowhere" with little realistic hope of escaping the academic ghetto as the contingents far outnumber the dwindling number of tenure-track professors.

But don't' the Democrats have a tight relation with the faculty unions (American Association of University Professors, American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association)? Yes, they do. But the unions themselves have collectively bargained the contingents into poverty and income insecurity. The two-tier system exists within the unions too, which have long been run by and for the tenure-track faculty; these unions clearly have not apprised the Democrats of these inequalities, let alone insist they solve them.

Will the Democrats insist that these unions, upon whom they are so dependent for money and campaign workers, treat all of their members equally? Or will they continue to look the other way in order to keep union money flowing into their campaign coffers.

Will the Democrats insist that these colleges, upon whom they wish to build an equal society, treat their professors equally and offer them the same opportunities for a better life that they are offering their students?

If politicians are going to solve a problem, they must first have a clear diagnosis before offering a treatment. Before the Democrats spend tax money on free tuition and paying off student loans, they need to acknowledge the income disparity among the professoriate and make solving it an equal priority.

Keith Hoeller is the co-founder of the Washington Part-Time Faculty Association and editor of Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System (Vanderbilt University Press).

[Jul 01, 2019] Russia Says It Is Overcomplying With OPEC Production Quota OilPrice.com

Jul 01, 2019 | oilprice.com

https://cdn.districtm.io/ids/index.html Russia's oil production in June was 50,000 bpd below the level Moscow had pledged under the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday, as carried by Russian news agency Interfax .

As part of the OPEC+ production cuts between January and June, Russia is taking the lion's share of the non-OPEC cuts and pledged to reduce production by 230,000 bpd from October's post-Soviet record level of 11.421 million bpd, to 11.191 million bpd.

[Jul 01, 2019] The Return of Sammy Glick by Martin Sieff

Notable quotes:
"... As I documented on March 9 on this platform in my article " What Makes Gavin Run ?" Williamson knows no shame or integrity and is the living embodiment of the repulsive, two-faced backstabber, intriguer and liar Sammy Glick in the great writer Budd Schulberg's legendary 1941 novel of Hollywood "What Makes Sammy Run?" So he is a natural fit for Johnson, whose entire career has been dictated by similar shameless, reckless lies, opportunism and crass incompetence. ..."
"... According to many UK media reports – which Williamson understandably denies – his most effective weapons are bullying, bluster and threats. These are patterns of behavior which those who have worked for him or who have bothered following his career over the years find extremely convincing and in character (or, rather, lack of it). ..."
"... Putting Williamson in charge of such a delicate, nervously balanced and ultra-sensitive province is like appointing a Sith Lord as head of the Jedi Knights in "Star Wars" or putting the late Boston underworld mass murderer Whitey Bulger in charge of the FBI. ..."
"... Because like attracts like, competent honorable people in any country and culture seek to promote and advance others with the same qualities and empty, shallow sociopaths and confidence tricksters similarly admire and advance people exactly like themselves. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

As I documented on March 9 on this platform in my article " What Makes Gavin Run ?" Williamson knows no shame or integrity and is the living embodiment of the repulsive, two-faced backstabber, intriguer and liar Sammy Glick in the great writer Budd Schulberg's legendary 1941 novel of Hollywood "What Makes Sammy Run?" So he is a natural fit for Johnson, whose entire career has been dictated by similar shameless, reckless lies, opportunism and crass incompetence.

No one gets every, or usually most, professional predictions right, and in the news business sensible people make the best of their brilliant insights – or lucky guesses – when they can. But I have seldom hit a hole-in-one prediction that came true as quickly as my column on Williamson did.

On March 9, Williamson, after only a decade in the UK main chamber of parliament, the ancient House of Commons was still riding high and making a fool of himself insulting major nations from Russia to China and also the UK's badly-needed European allies as the most incompetent defense chief in the modern history of his nation.

On May 1, less than two months after my article appeared – and with no causality that I could see – Williamson was humiliatingly sacked by his benefactor, Prime Minister Theresa May after being accused of leaking highly confidential national security information to the media.

Williamson immediately turned on his long-time benefactor Mrs. May savagely and helped drive her from office – which was admittedly long overdue. She resigned on June 7, just over a single month after sacking him.

Williamson then joined May's arch-enemy, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who had relentlessly schemed to topple her for years and joined Johnson's own campaign to win the leadership of the rapidly disintegrating Conservative Party and thence become prime minister.

At the time of writing, Johnson remains far in the lead in the contest to replace May as prime minister despite repeated attacks on his character, utter lack of political consistency, convictions or achievement and his entertainingly squalid private life.

Johnson is twice divorced with neither marriage lasting longer than five years and he is now being accused of screaming rows with his 20-years-younger girl friend that may or may not have involved him hitting her, which he naturally denies.

Through all this Williamson, who like Johnson himself does not lack for energy in the service of his own ambition, has been rounding up support for his new master among Conservative Party Members of Parliament.

According to many UK media reports – which Williamson understandably denies – his most effective weapons are bullying, bluster and threats. These are patterns of behavior which those who have worked for him or who have bothered following his career over the years find extremely convincing and in character (or, rather, lack of it).

Reports are also circulating in the UK media – which are usually well-connected and informed on such matters – that Williamson is holding out to be reappointed as the UK's defense chief or as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is my native land and is tiny in size. But over the past century and more it has repeatedly displayed an infinite capacity for generating wars, embarrassment and catastrophe for both Ireland and the UK, which otherwise get along easily and well.

Putting Williamson in charge of such a delicate, nervously balanced and ultra-sensitive province is like appointing a Sith Lord as head of the Jedi Knights in "Star Wars" or putting the late Boston underworld mass murderer Whitey Bulger in charge of the FBI.

Therefore it will probably happen.

Because like attracts like, competent honorable people in any country and culture seek to promote and advance others with the same qualities and empty, shallow sociopaths and confidence tricksters similarly admire and advance people exactly like themselves.

On Monday, June 24, without mentioning Williamson once, one of the UK's most experienced and respected journalists, war correspondents and historians, Sir Max Hastings wrote a scathing article in the liberal "Guardian" newspaper entitled "I was Boris Johnson's boss: he is utterly unfitted to be prime minister."

Therefore Johnson will re-elevate Williamson, either to drive Northern Ireland back into civil war or destroy the remaining security of the entire UK as defense secretary once again. And Williamson will remain loyal, until he in his turn sees the chance to stab Johnson in the back and briefly rule as prime minister until he in his own turn is politically knifed and toppled by one of his own hand-picked sociopaths.

And Sammy Glick will rise again – on the suffering and smashed lives of everyone else.

[Jun 30, 2019] Two cheers for chickenhawks

Notable quotes:
"... And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.

Giant Meteor , 5 hours ago link

Moral leaders, lead. There is your moral decay.

44_shooter , 5 hours ago link

It didn't matter when they did. McStain fought, and absolutely LOVED war. Plenty of the Hawks served and fought, it's like frat boys who were hazed, carrying on the hazing.

[Jun 30, 2019] Following In Rome's Footsteps Moral Decay, Rising Inequality by Charles Hugh Smith

Notable quotes:
"... And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.

There are many reasons why Imperial Rome declined, but two primary causes that get relatively little attention are moral decay and soaring wealth inequality. The two are of course intimately connected: once the morals of the ruling Elites degrade, what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too.

I've previously covered two other key characteristics of an empire in terminal decline: complacency and intellectual sclerosis, what I have termed a failure of imagination.

Michael Grant described these causes of decline in his excellent account The Fall of the Roman Empire , a short book I have been recommending since 2009:

There was no room at all, in these ways of thinking, for the novel, apocalyptic situation which had now arisen, a situation which needed solutions as radical as itself. (The Status Quo) attitude is a complacent acceptance of things as they are, without a single new idea.

This acceptance was accompanied by greatly excessive optimism about the present and future. Even when the end was only sixty years away, and the Empire was already crumbling fast, Rutilius continued to address the spirit of Rome with the same supreme assurance.

This blind adherence to the ideas of the past ranks high among the principal causes of the downfall of Rome. If you were sufficiently lulled by these traditional fictions, there was no call to take any practical first-aid measures at all.

A lengthier book by Adrian Goldsworthy How Rome Fell: Death of a Superpower addresses the same issues from a slightly different perspective.

Glenn Stehle, commenting on a thread in the excellent website peakoilbarrel.com (operated by the estimable Ron Patterson) made a number of excellent points that I am taking the liberty of excerpting: (with thanks to correspondent Paul S.)

The set of values developed by the early Romans called mos maiorum, Peter Turchin explains in War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires , was gradually replaced by one of personal greed and pursuit of self-interest.

"Probably the most important value was virtus (virtue), which derived from the word vir (man) and embodied all the qualities of a true man as a member of society," explains Turchin.

"Virtus included the ability to distinguish between good and evil and to act in ways that promoted good, and especially the common good. Unlike Greeks, Romans did not stress individual prowess, as exhibited by Homeric heroes or Olympic champions. The ideal of hero was one whose courage, wisdom, and self-sacrifice saved his country in time of peril," Turchin adds.

And as Turchin goes on to explain:

"Unlike the selfish elites of the later periods, the aristocracy of the early Republic did not spare its blood or treasure in the service of the common interest. When 50,000 Romans, a staggering one fifth of Rome's total manpower, perished in the battle of Cannae, as mentioned previously, the senate lost almost one third of its membership. This suggests that the senatorial aristocracy was more likely to be killed in wars than the average citizen...

The wealthy classes were also the first to volunteer extra taxes when they were needed A graduated scale was used in which the senators paid the most, followed by the knights, and then other citizens. In addition, officers and centurions (but not common soldiers!) served without pay, saving the state 20 percent of the legion's payroll...

The richest 1 percent of the Romans during the early Republic was only 10 to 20 times as wealthy as an average Roman citizen."

Now compare that to the situation in Late Antiquity when

"an average Roman noble of senatorial class had property valued in the neighborhood of 20,000 Roman pounds of gold. There was no 'middle class' comparable to the small landholders of the third century B.C.; the huge majority of the population was made up of landless peasants working land that belonged to nobles. These peasants had hardly any property at all, but if we estimate it (very generously) at one tenth of a pound of gold, the wealth differential would be 200,000! Inequality grew both as a result of the rich getting richer (late imperial senators were 100 times wealthier than their Republican predecessors) and those of the middling wealth becoming poor."

Do you see any similarities with the present-day realities depicted in these charts?

And how many congresspeople served in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan? How many presidential candidates had boots on the ground in combat theaters? The answer is one. Here is the moral decay of America's ruling elites boiled down to a single word.

* * *

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[Jun 29, 2019] Millennials Blame Unprecedented Burnout Rates On Work, Debt Finances

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The issue of Millennial 'burnout' has been an especially hot topic in recent years - and not just because the election of President Trump ushered in an epidemic of co-occurring TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) that sent millions of American twenty somethings on a never-ending quest for a post-grad 'safe space'.

For those who aren't familiar with the subject, the World Health Organization recently described burnout as "a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed." As birth rates plunge and so-called deaths from despair (suicides and overdoses) climb, sending the US left expectancy lower for multiple consecutive years for the first time since the 1960s, many researchers see solving the problem of burnout as critical to fixing many of our societal issues.

To try and dig deeper into the causes and impact of millennial burnout, Yellowbrick , a national psychiatric organization, surveyed 2,000 millennials to identify what exactly is making a staggering 96% of the generation comprising the largest cohort of the American labor force say they feel "burned out" on a daily basis.

The answer is, unsurprisingly, finances and debt: These are the leading causes of burnout (and one reason why Bernie Sanders latest proposal to wipe out all $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt might be more popular with millennial voters than many other Americans realize).

Anthony Aaron , 1 hour ago link

The average student loan is $30,000

At 6% interest with a 6-year amortization, that works out to monthly payments of $497 -- about what many of these folks spend on eating at restaurants or on tattoos or on drugs per month.

It's a matter or priority -- and repaying the student loans isn't a priority for them which is why a report in '17 showed that at 7 years after graduation, more than 45% of them hadn't paid even one dollar of principle on their student loans.

Deadbeats whiners

kikrlbs , 1 hour ago link

This is becoming exhausting. The boomers and the like simply don't want to admit that it is much harder today making ends meet than it was when they were younger. That is a fact, inflation and asset inflation has made the value of a dollar half of what is was 40 years ago. Meaning, you would have to work 80 hours in today's money to match 40 hours in money from the late 70's. Now, millenials don't get off easy either because they think they deserve that same standard and since it does not and cannot exist in our monetary system, they try to usurp personal responsibility, at any level, by finger pointing and apathy. Our society is slowly collapsing.

[Jun 29, 2019] A Look at the Poor People's Campaign Theology and Ideology

Jun 28, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

Unlike Occupy, then, Barber has demands, both policy and geographical. Barber and Theoharis, having convened the "the first-ever Poor People's Moral Action Congress," write in The Hill , on policy:

We will present a national moral budget, outlining a plan to pay for real, systemic change as well a challenge to the lie of scarcity. And poor people who haven't seen a place for them in American public life will testify before the House Budget Committee, in a hearing to share their stories and address what the federal government can and must do now to address the real issues affecting everyday Americans.

And on geography:

We are building coalitions among poor people who are too often pitted against one another by the divide-and-conquer tactics of the Southern Strategy. In the so-called "red-states" of the South and Midwest, we are organizing people into a movement who will vote, take action and challenge the assumptions of candidates from both parties. We are organizing across race and other lines that too often divide us and lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy and ecological devastation.

(Note that this strategy is very, very different from the strategy of liberal Democrats, who tend to regard citizens outside their coastal enclaves as " deplorables ," or as "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion," and leave it at that.) Here is an extract from the PPC's "Moral Budget," created together with the Institute of Policy Studies (PDF):

The United States has abundant resources for an economic revival that will move towards establishing a moral economy. This report identifies:

$350 billion in annual military spending cuts that would make the nation and the world more secure; $886 billion in estimated annual revenue from fair taxes on the wealthy, corporations, and Wall Street; and Billions more in savings from ending mass incarceration, addressing climate change, and meeting other key campaign demands.

The below comparisons demonstrate that policymakers have always found resources for their true priorities. It is critical that policymakers redirect these resources to establish justice and to prioritize the general welfare instead. The abundant wealth of this nation is produced by millions of people, workers, and families in this country and around the world. The fruits of their labor should be devoted to securing their basic needs and creating the conditions for them to thrive. At the same time, policymakers should not tie their hands with "pay-as-you-go" restrictions that require every dime of new spending to be offset with expenditure cuts or new revenue, especially given the enormous long-term benefits of most of our proposals. The cost of inaction is simply too great.

I think the left could get behind all of this (though sadly, MMT is not explicitly included, though it's certainly righteous to cripple PayGo).

So why can't we have nice things? The budget concludes on page 115:

For too long, we have turned to those with wealth and power to solve our most pressing social problems. We have been led to believe that those in positions of influence and authority will use the resources at hand in the best possible way for the betterment of our society. This orientation has justified tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and work requirements for the poor; it has secured environmental shortcuts for industry and military expansion around the world; and it has yielded very little for the 140 million people in this country who are still poor and struggling to meet their needs.

This is not an argument for charity or goodwill to the poor. It is, rather, a simple recognition that the poor are not only victims of injustice, but agents of profound social change. Rather than following the direction and leadership of the wealthy and powerful, it is time to follow the direction and leadership of the poor. Indeed, if we organize our resources around the needs of the 140 million, this Budget shows that we will strengthen our society as a whole.

This is why the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival continues to organize and build power among the poor today. It understands that those who have been cast out of the economy and who are living on the few remaining crumbs of its meager offerings are also articulating a way out of this wretched existence -- not just for themselves, but for us all.

That's the stuff to give the troops! If I have a criticism of PPC (and the budget) it's that who "those with wealth and power" might be is not crisply articulated (unlike, for example, " the billionaire class "). At this point, I realize I've shifted from saying the left should give an account to the PPC to saying that the PPC should give an account to the left. Be that as it may, Barber tweets:

... ... ...

Well, those Democrats who talk about "working people" use that phrase -- "working families" seems to have, mirabile dictu , vanished from the discourse -- probably started doing so only recently, having been pressured from their left, and as a replacement for "working class"; they don't take their bourbon neat, that is, but watered down. And yes, they may be scared of the "free stuff" argument that liberal Democrats deploy against the left. However, I think the left (very much as opposed to liberals) would view "the poor" as a subset of the working class, those who are coerced sell or give their labor to survive (forgive the crudity of this ahistorical analysis). If indeed the PPC/DSA/left are to move beyond a relationship of "endorsing partners" to something akin to co-operation, both tactical and strategic, then distinctions like this are going to have to be hashed out. For example, Barber tweets:

... ... ...

"Policy murder" is brilliant framing (and would provide one account of elite behavior on climate change). However, who is the murderer? Barber says "a legislator." But if you believe -- as most of the left does, and (I would say) most liberals do not, especially donor-dependent NGOs -- that we live in an oligarchy, then the murderer is not the legislator, but the person who hired or owns the legislator: Much more often than not, when all the threads are traced down, a billionaire. The billionaire class is surely composed of great sinners. And every billionaire is a policy failure , just as surely as every slaveowner was. Should this be hard to say? Should we not seek to remove the systemic occasion of sin?



Henry Moon Pie , , June 28, 2019 at 4:40 pm

This kind of discussion is something that is badly needed on the Left. Rev. Barber is doing an excellent job of making a class-based argument for reform based on Protestant theology. It's a matter of shame for American Protestantism that more pastors in affluent suburban congregations and mega-churches are not doing the same.

That said, the persuasiveness of Christian theology is shrinking, not growing. Other voices from other spiritual traditions are needed who can articulate the connections between their non-Abrahamic frames of reference and the suffering of the poor and the sacredness of the Earth and its creatures. This is especially true for making the case to the young who are constantly bombarded with materialism and individualism on the one side and find patriarchal religion on the other side too much to swallow, especially given the historical realities of how those patriarchal religions have conducted themselves in the past. That's one reason why I find Marianne Williamson's presence in the debates to be refreshing. At least she's bringing spirituality to the conversation where it's usually absent except for cliches.

I also think that James Fowler's stages of faith analysis is useful for understanding the impact of one's "faith" and political views. His argument is that everyone lives by "faith," which he defines as a worldview through which we encounter and interpret life and its experiences. The critical difference is not the content of the "faith" but the maturity level of the individual's faith development. My recent explorations of the thought of Gary Snyder, a counterculture, Peyote using Buddhist/animist, and Wendell Berry, a Kentucky born-and-raised Protestant, reveals that the contents of "faith" of each is very different -- they argue about it frequently -- but their way of interacting with the world and their fellow human beings is essentially the same because they both have a high level of spiritual maturity. In Fowler's system, both are at top of the pyramid.

The divisive encounters we have with others about spiritual matters are often more a result of differing levels of spiritual maturity than the content of the faith. The close-minded Fundamentalist reflexively citing Bible verses rather than truly engaging in dialog is someone who has not moved beyond the level of faith maturity achieved upon junior high confirmation training in a tradition. The sort of person who runs through an Eschaton thread repeating "THERE IS NO GOD!!!!!" over and over again has moved beyond the indoctrinated stage but has not attained the ability to re-integrate any spiritual aspects into what amounts to a barren, incomplete "faith" typical of the college freshman who throws aside his religious training because he's seen through the difficulties in the simplistic religion he was taught in Sunday School or confirmation class.

Stanley Dundee , , June 28, 2019 at 7:20 pm

This seems like a good prompt to revisit the the Pelagians, from around 400 AD, one of whom wrote in the marvellous essay On Riches :

Get rid of the rich man, and you will not be able to find a poor one. Let no man have more than he really needs, and everyone will have as much as they need, since the few who are rich are the reason for the many who are poor. (p. 194)

RBHoughton , , June 28, 2019 at 7:26 pm

Michael Hudson has advice for you old chap, if you have time to read his " .. and forgive them their debts." It turns out that the Catholics and Protestants of all flavors overlook an important part of the Christian message about debt jubilees. Overturning the money tables of the Rabbi-approved bankers in the temple was in pursuit of a fairer economic system such as had been common in the Bronze Age.

Hudson reveals the precedent cause of the collapse of first Athens, then Rome, then Constantinople and now us is the oligarchy of each civilisation favoring creditors and writing laws that advantage them and punish / enslave debtors. The result is the accumulation of global wealth on a small class of people with the rest of the population in poverty and careless of the country in which they live.

Its a great pleasure to see Mr Hudson is reading this NC article. Good luck to him. Any errors in this note are mine.

Susan the other` , , June 28, 2019 at 7:42 pm

The collapse of billionaire-ism.

notabanktoadie , , June 28, 2019 at 9:20 pm

This seems very different from "For ye have the poor always with you" (Matt 26:11, Mark 14:7, John 12:8). lambert

This is not to excuse poverty but as an indictment of that generation since:

However, there will be no poor among you , since the Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. Deuteronomy 15:4-5 [New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

However obedience included the following:

"You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess. Deuteronomy 23:19-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

Draw your own conclusion then as to whether government privileges for a usury cartel are Biblical.

Wombat , , June 28, 2019 at 11:10 pm

James could have been the first century PPC leader. Oddly missing from most sermons is this passage (instead we worship the rich for their "ingenuity" and "work ethic"):

James 5:1-5 (NIV)

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you.

Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes.

Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.

You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

[Jun 28, 2019] There is slight chance that Trump finally comprehended some of Putin`s wisdom that conflict in MENA would be a catastrophic disaster for all

Jun 28, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

notanoilman x Ignored says: 06/22/2019 at 10:50 am

IMHO, 'calling it off because casualties' was to generate a bragging point to use in his campaign 'look what a nice guy I am for not wanting to hurt people'. There have been a couple of other things that have happened that look like set pieces to give him crowing points.

NAOM

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 06/22/2019 at 3:28 pm
notanoilman,

It makes him look indecisive and foolish. Better to have said nothing.

notanoilman x Ignored says: 06/22/2019 at 4:15 pm
"Better to have said nothing"
Totally agree but we will need to wait and see what he says on the stump. If a war starts the disciples may not think much of rising oil prices, shortages and falling stock markets.

NAOM

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 06/22/2019 at 7:04 pm
"the Clowns are in charge of the circus."
Synapsid x Ignored says: 06/23/2019 at 12:28 am
DC,

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

Tom x Ignored says: 06/23/2019 at 2:52 am
Better indecisive than starting WW3.
Longtimber x Ignored says: 06/23/2019 at 1:24 pm
There"s allways a chance that he finally comprehended some of Putin`s wisdom that conflict in MENA would be a catastrophic disaster for all. There is always a sliver of hope he has the Neocons close on purpose to limit some of the chaos they create.
Nick G x Ignored says: 06/27/2019 at 4:10 pm
I'd say the neocons are convenient – Trump likes being on the brink of war to keep everyone scared. Fear is his ally. But actual war would be a negative, so he's on a tightrope.

A very risky strategy, except that I think the rest of the world understands it, and it's convenient for some other countries, who are using the same strategy to maintain domestic power.

[Jun 28, 2019] A war would ensure Trump s reelection or speed up his demise and criminal procecution

It is interesting that Trump destiny now depends on geopolitical events he can't control namely actions of Iran and China. Trump foreign policy appears to be driven by a combination of resentment and arrogance -- not a good combination for survival of Trump and/or mankind
Was with Iran might result in high oil prices would kill the already anemic global growth and cause a recession (I guess the volatility in oil prices will go through the roof at that point), Iran can destabilize the global economy by destroying most of the oil production infrastructure around the gulf.
While Lyndon Johnson had chosen not running for reelection in 1968 because anti-war sentiment was high, G W Bush who was reelected and the USA have now contractor army and casualties without draft does not matter much.
Notable quotes:
"... More likely they attack Saudi Arabia directly. Same impact, more justifiable if not outright popular. No one likes Prince Bone Saw. ..."
"... Iran could take those 10 million barrels a day away in 15 minutes. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

China will play a large roll in whether trump get re-elected. If they decide they prefer his dysfunctional governance to his opponent, then they will engage in a trade deal that will allow to trump to declare victory. It will likely be a very superficial victory.

If they decide they would prefer to engage with a different administration, they will likely refrain from a trade deal until after the election.
Have you asked yourself why Putin preferred trump? The answer is not pretty (for trump, or the USA).


Iron mike says: 06/22/2019 at 7:36 am

This is probably an absurd point of view. But in my opinion, it might be in Iran's interest to drag the U.S into war, probably as indirectly as possible. That way they might significantly reduce the chance of Trump being re-elected. (Obviously lives will be sacrificed in this scenario)

The question is if it would work and would a Democrat president stop the war and go into the same JCPOA deal again. Who knows. Very unpredictable.

Westexasfanclup says: 06/22/2019 at 7:58 am
Well, Mike, as absurd IMO is that Iran would risk self-destruction to get rid of Trump. He's certainly a PITA for them, but closing the Strait of Hormuz to crash the global economy and to blame it on Trump wouldn't work: Trump could blame it all on Iran while keeping on cooking a controlled conflict with them, showing the world that the US doesn't depend on oil from any other continent.

This would be a very difficult situation for a Democrat to step in and to promise a better solution. The US would be relatively well off compared to Asia and Europe and even could emerge out of such a constellation relatively more powerful.

But it could also end up in a terrible mess. As you wrote: Who knows. Very unpredictable.

ProPoly says: 06/22/2019 at 8:36 am
More likely they attack Saudi Arabia directly. Same impact, more justifiable if not outright popular. No one likes Prince Bone Saw.
GuyM says: 06/22/2019 at 9:15 am
Nobody is his fan, but they need his oil,
Hightrekker says: 06/22/2019 at 7:11 pm
Yep-

Iran could take those 10 million barrels a day away in 15 minutes.

[Jun 28, 2019] What's wrong with America

Notable quotes:
"... "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." Isaac Asimov ..."
Jun 28, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Carlos Diaz says: 06/23/2019 at 2:37 pm

What's wrong with America, that believes the solution to any international problem is war?

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." Isaac Asimov

[Jun 28, 2019] On Chosen-mess by Gilad Atzmon

Jun 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jeffrey Epstein's story is similarly abusive. The convicted sex offender prostituted dozens of underage girls and should have spent the rest of his life in jail. Again this is no 'one-off' abuse of an underage child, he was a serial sex predator.

According to Joseph Recarey, the lead Palm Beach detective on the case, Epstein was essentially operating a "sexual pyramid scheme."

The Vox writes that the girls and women who reported abuse by Epstein, meanwhile, were markedly powerless. Most of them "came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care, Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness."

In November 2017 the genius comedian Larry David was criticized in the Jewish press for admitting on Saturday Night Live that many of those accused of sexual harassment in Hollywood are Jewish.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/G0eeNijdv3I?feature=oembed

... Alan Dershowitz , who was a member of Epstein's legal team and was later accused by one of the victims' lawyers of himself participating in the sex trafficking ring .

[Jun 27, 2019] Private Equity and Institutional Investor Owned UK Utility Engaged in Massive Fraud, Regulatory Evasions, Worker Coercion

Notable quotes:
"... The result has been a disaster for consumers, the environment and the condition of the infrastructure which was sold off as a result of the privatization. Wikipedia provides a helpful list of the past history of awful, depressing headlines the company has generated: ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Of all the inhabitants of the Little Shop of Horrors that is neoliberalism, surely the most gruesome cohort must be privatization of monopoly public services. And then within this best-worst category, privatization of potable water and wastewater treatment utilities can't be anything other than an outright winner of this ugly competition.

Where I live in southern England, the Thatcher administration – who else? – privatized the previously state-owned company which has a monopoly, as all water supply and sewage treatment inevitably requires, on providing potable water and treating wastewater which flows into the sewer system and eventually, via treatment plants, back into the watercourses.

The result has been a disaster for consumers, the environment and the condition of the infrastructure which was sold off as a result of the privatization. Wikipedia provides a helpful list of the past history of awful, depressing headlines the company has generated:

In 2007 Southern Water was fined £20.3 million for 'deliberate misreporting' and failing to meet guaranteed standards of service to customers. Southern Water Chief Executive Les Dawson said: "Today's announcement draws a line under a shameful period in the company's history".

In 2011 Southern Water Ltd was fined £25,000 when sewage flooded into Southampton water.

The company was ordered to pay £10,000 in fines and costs after sewage seeped into a stream at Beltinge in Kent.

A leak of sewage from Southern Water's plant at Hurstpierpoint pumping station, West Sussex, lead to fines and costs of £7,200 in 2011.

Southern Water was fined £50,000 in April 2011 for two offences relating to unscreened discharges into Langstone Harbour, Hampshire, between November 2009 and April 2010.

In June 2010 Southern Water was fined £3,000 after it admitted polluting 2 km of a Sussex stream with raw sewage, killing up to a hundred brown trout and devastating the fish population for the second time in five years. Crawley Magistrates' Court heard that the Environment Agency received calls from members of the public after dead fish were seen in the Sunnyside Stream in East Grinstead on 30 August 2009.

In November 2014 Southern Water were fined £500,000 and agreed to pay costs of £19,224 at Canterbury Crown Court after an Environment Agency investigation found that untreated sewage was discharged into the Swalecliffe Brook, polluting a 1.2 kilometre stretch of the watercourse and killing local wildlife. (www.gov.uk/government/news)

In December 2016 Southern Water was fined a record £2,000,000 for flooding beaches in Kent with raw sewage, leaving them closed to the public for nine days. The Environment Agency called the event "catastrophic", while the judge at Maidstone crown court said that Southern Water's repeat offending was "wholly unacceptable " . The company apologised unreservedly, as it did when fined £200,000 in 2013 for similar offences. Due to health concerns, Thanet district council was forced to close beaches for nine consecutive days, including the Queen's diamond jubilee bank holiday weekend. (The Guardian, 19 December 2016)

You would have thought, perhaps in hope rather than realism, that after this deluge of crap (literally), Southern Water (and their investors) might have, if you'll forgive the pun, wondered if it wasn't time to clean up their act. If so, you'd be, uncharacteristically for Naked Capitalism readers, rather naive. Southern Water has made their previous civil violations look like a spot of mustard on a necktie.

Southern Water was fined by the regulators here £126M on June 25th, which sounds a lot but is in reality in slap on the wrists territory in view of their latest misconduct.

Before delving into the details of that, to provide some context, the utility is the usual PE-orchestrated financial-engineering asset-sweating systematical reduction of a former public service to a hollowed out husk.

Here's the ownership structure, as explained by Southern Water :

Southern Water is owned by a consortium, which came together

Clive again, momentarily interrupting the flow, like a blocked sewer. The use of language there is almost an art form. "came together". Did they all hook up on Tinder or something? Not a bit of it. The "consortium" was a Private Equity instigated lash up of yield-hungry investors chasing, like everyone else these days, above-average rates of return. Why didn't they simply buy chunks of the publicly-traded equity tranches of the company to give themselves exposure to this particular asset class (public utilities)? Because this wouldn't have given them sufficient leverage and control over the institution to do their financial raping and pillaging. Back, reluctantly, to Southern Water

in 2007 solely for this purpose.

The consortium members are shareholders in Greensands Holdings Limited, the top holding company. [ ]

The Greensands consortium members comprise a mixture of infrastructure investment funds, pension funds and private equity. The infrastructure funds are managed by JP Morgan Asset Management, UBS Asset Management and Hermes Investment Management.

The pension funds are represented by JP Morgan Asset Management, UBS Asset Management, Hermes Investment Management and Whitehelm Capital or are self-managed. Cheung Kong Infrastructure and The Li Ka Shing Foundation are direct investors.

What have these fine upstanding custodians of our water supply been up to, then? Lying, cheating, bullying and polluting. Ofwat, the UK water industry regulator, started peering more closely at Southern Water in 2018. They didn't like the look of what they saw .

A board which was asleep at the wheel:

Water resources management plan and market information

What we found

Overall, we had serious concerns in key areas of this assessment such as options costing, Board involvement, assurance and leakage reduction presentation. The draft water resources management plan option costs were not presented clearly and a limited description of assurance was provided for both the plan and market information table. The late provision of the market information and the time taken to update option cost information did not provide confidence in the company's management of this data. The leakage reduction target, a key plan metric, was not consistently presented in the plan and there was no evidence of Board involvement or sign off.

Our assessment: serious concerns

A company that deliberately obfuscated the regulators:

What we found

[ ] We currently have four open cases – an enforcement case, a sewer requisition case and two requests to appoint an arbitrator.

[ ]

In terms of the enforcement case, we do not consider that the company has met our expectations and we have serious concerns. This is based on Southern Water not responding fully to our requests for information (for example, by providing documents with missing pages and/or text), not responding in a timely manner and providing relevant information that was unclear. This has affected our ability to rely on the information provided and has required us to take steps to seek further clarifications and grant extensions to previous deadlines for responses, impacting our ability to progress the investigation as quickly and efficiently as we would have liked.

Our assessment: serious concerns

These failings led the regulator to conduct a much wider-reaching inquiry. The full regulatory report has to be read in its entirety to convey the awfulness that went on. But edited highlights, or maybe that should be low-lights, were:

・Falsification of regulatory reporting for effluent discharge quality to avoid fines:

In summary, as a consequence of now restating past WwTW performance data, we have calculated that Southern Water has avoided price review penalties in past years amounting to a total of £75 million (in 2017-18 prices). This has arisen as a direct consequence of the practices in place within the company to implement ANFs at its WwTW (Clive: Waste-water Treatment Works) over 2010 to 2017. The total amount of avoided price review penalties reflects the restated figures that Southern Water has now provided about the numbers of WwTW that were potentially non-compliant with permit conditions relating to final effluent quality.

・Deliberate attempts at evasion -- government agencies monitor water treatment plants but the operator predicted when the inspections and sampling was due and intentionally halted to flow from treatment plants ("Artificial No Flow or ANF" events) so there was no output to sample:

The Sampling Compliance Report provides evidence (mostly in the form of email extracts between employees of Southern Water between 2010 and 2017), of staff anticipating the timing of planned OSM (Clive: On Site Monitoring) samples across numerous WwTW, in order to ensure that no effluent was available for sampling purposes. This deliberate practice (which took place through a number of different methods) of creating an artificial "no flow" event (described as an "Artificial No Flow or ANF") meant that a sample under the OSM regime could not be taken thus ensuring that the sample (and as a consequence the relevant WwTW) would be deemed as being compliant with permit conditions. As a result of this manipulation, a false picture of Southern Water's WwTW performance (and how this was being achieved) was provided internally within the company, to the Environment Agency (Clive: the UK's equivalent of the EPA, similarly gutted, but that's another story for another time ) and to Ofwat

・They even took waste water discharges away by tanker so nothing could be measured at the outfall pipes.

Staff then used the knowledge about sample dates to put in place ANFs. This included, for example, through the improper use of tankering (i.e. by tankering wastewater from one WwTW to another to cause an ANF). Another method included 'recirculating' effluent within a WwTW again to ensure there was no final effluent available for sampling.

・Senior management hassled and pressured employees to obfuscate performance measures.

The report also highlighted occasions where employees felt pressured by senior managers to create ANFs.

・The whistleblowing policy for employees actually started with a big red frightener threatening dismissal for using the wrongdoing reporting mechanisms:

Southern Water has acknowledged in its Action Plan that there were deficiencies in its organisational culture which prevented employees from being comfortable with speaking out about inappropriate or non-compliant behaviours. This included having in place ineffective whistleblowing processes which resulted in no staff coming forward to report their concerns despite certain staff being obviously uncomfortable about the implementation of ANFs and feeling pressured to act in an improper manner (as evidenced by emails we have seen that are referenced in the Sampling Compliance Report).

The whistleblower policy Southern Water had in place at the time included on its first page and highlighted in bold the following text: "Should any investigation conclude that the disclosure was designed to discredit another individual or group, prove to be malicious or misleading then that worker concerned would become the subject of the Disciplinary Procedure or even action from the aggrieved individual."

By pretending that waste water being discharged into watercourses was of a higher quality than it was, the investors pocketed profits that should have gone on infrastructure improvements and staffing to enable treatment plants to be safely operated and checked effectively.

Criminal investigations are pending . But we've seen this movie many times before. Protected by the best corporate lawyers money (public consumers' money, that is) can buy, a defence shield of auditors, layers of management on whom the blame can be pinned and a complex legal argument which has to be constructed to a high evidence threshold allowing jurors to be thrown off the scent to a degree that a reasonable doubt emerges, we shouldn't hold our breaths.

So we're left with the penalties imposed. Unfortunately there's less here than meets the eye initially from the headline figure. From the regulatory report:

This is a notice of Ofwat's intention to issue Southern Water with a financial penalty amounting to £37.7 million reduced exceptionally to £3 million for significant breaches of its licence conditions and its statutory duties. This is on the basis that Southern Water has undertaken to pay customers about £123 million over the next five years, some of which is a payment of price review underperformance penalties the company avoided paying in the period 2010 to 2017 and some of which is a payment to customers for the failures set out in this notice, paid in lieu of a penalty.

This means the regulator reduced the up-front cost (which would have come out of the profits for fiscal 2019-20 in one hit) for an arrangement which allows Southern Water eee-zee payment terms and to spread the cost over five years through a customer rebate initiative. And some of the rebate is itself merely penalties which would have been levied if the wrongdoing -- environmental pollution and missed targets for waste processing quality -- had been identified at the time. They are trying to bribe me with my own money.

The whole sorry saga shows how the entire publicly-overseen but privately-owned regulated utility model is completely broken. The system is a sitting-duck for gaming and, at best, the issues are uncovered well after the fact. If ever.

There is, however, a final failsafe currently still in place. Water quality standards in the EU are mandated by EU Directive with redress available through the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). A Member State government can be fined and ordered to implement better oversight and governance of the utilities. Thus, any temptation which the U.K. government might succumb to, to "fix" problems like those entrenched in Southern Water by slackening off the potable and wastewater standards, are prohibited by the threat of EU / CJEU referral.

The U.K. government has promised that, post-Brexit, environmental protections will be "equivalent or better than" those specified in the EU Directive. I -- and similarly cynical readers -- might well harbour a few doubts about that.


Westken Tim , June 27, 2019 at 6:25 am

Mmm. I can't help but think that non-government ownership is not (necessariliy) the problem, but PE (an industry that has made a lot of people rich in the last 20y by pricing the same asset off ever-lower discount rates) certainly is.
Government ownership often results in unaccountable, faceless monopolies (I'm old enough to remember British Rail, which felt that it was an entirely acceptable plan to raise fares to push travellers off rail and onto the roads when the trains got too full) and the "taking private" of steady-state utility businesses, with cashflows that were "ripe" for securitisation and other smoke and mirrors moves, pushed accountability back into the dark ages.
There have been a number of cases of assets like this bought by JVs of PE and public pension plans. I wonder, were the latter just solicited to make the actions of the former look more respectable ?

lyman alpha blob , June 27, 2019 at 1:02 pm

The government certainly doesn't always do a bang up job with everything it controls, but when the government runs things, citizens at least theoretically have some recourse.

When a private corporation runs it, citizens can, literally in the case above, eat s**t.

PlutoniumKun , June 27, 2019 at 6:29 am

There is, however, a final failsafe currently still in place. Water quality standards in the EU are mandated by EU Directive with redress available through the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). A Member State government can be fined and ordered to implement better oversight and governance of the utilities. Thus, any temptation which the U.K. government might succumb to, to "fix" problems like those entrenched in Southern Water by slackening off the potable and wastewater standards, are prohibited by the threat of EU / CJEU referral.

I do believe that the combination of Water Quality Framework Directives , along with the Habitats and Birds Directives , are a major 'hidden' driver behind the people behind Brexit. These Directives are written in such a way as to provide almost no wiggle room for national regulators to escape hitting hard quantitative targets for water and habitat improvements. The Fracking industry is a very significant example – the Water Frame Work Directive also sets standards for groundwater, and its exceptionally difficult for the industry to meet the standards of proof that they will not degrade the quality of these water bodies. The ECJ is dominated by judges from northern European jurisdictions, which tend to take a far more 'literal' approach to Directives and their associated national laws and regulations. They provide zero room to massage failures to hit targets.

Escaping those Directives will be worth billions to those two industries at the very least. Well worth shoving a bit of money to the various campaigns. There are plenty of other industries that likewise feel they will benefit from what will be an upcoming bonfire of the Regulations.

Clive , June 27, 2019 at 8:37 am

I think too that the wriggle-room on water quality -- wastewater especially, potable is generally not something that anyone would risk meddling with; well, unless you live in Flint, Michigan, anyway -- has not escaped the notice of or despicable elites here.

The temptation by government to play along, grant "temporary" "exemptions" in response to industry whining, sorry, lobbying, will prove difficult to resist, more than ever when the U.K. government will be in a position to know that its word is final (it can simply make new laws if it decides it doesn't like the old ones).

Will the U.K. as a society end up doing the right thing, or simply backsliding and acquiescence because it's just easier? At least in the short term. I wish I had a definitive answer to that one. Ask me again when we know for sure, although I suspect you'll have to dig me up and open the coffin first.

Susan the other` , June 27, 2019 at 10:16 am

International racketeering. First they hide the real "persons of interest" within a consortium of consortiums of funds of funds – much like some special purpose "vehicle" for wealthy investors – and then they lobby governments bye gaslighting them, saying 'We can do this economically and efficiently' and you are clearly running our of money, so sell this water district to us and we'll get it back on track.' Right. Makes me wonder if Bojo and his cronies are heavy into waste management. Pun intended.

pretzelattack , June 27, 2019 at 6:34 am

almost too depressing to read. thanks, though.

The Rev Kev , June 27, 2019 at 6:37 am

I can only see a change when laws are adjusted so that executives can face actual jail time. Spending a few months, if not a few years, in HMP Berwyn or HMP Bronzefield would definitely not look good on either a resume or on LinkedIn so would concentrate their minds wonderfully about the hazards of breaking laws. Till then, any penalties are merely costs-of-doing -business and so are not a great risk.

EoH , June 27, 2019 at 10:15 am

Prison time for top executives and board members. Real cash on the nail fines, to be paid in lump sums. Right to recover bonuses and distributions made to shareholders. Forfeiture of company ownership to the Crown. For starters.

Jesper , June 27, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Limited liability is a privilege not a right and if the terms for limited liability isn't fulfilled then the limited liability can, in some countries under certain conditions, become unlimited liability. An example, trading while insolvent in Sweden (in Swedish, as the laws are in Swedish and only concerns Sweden then it is unlikely to be found in many other languages):

https://home.kpmg/se/sv/home/nyheter-rapporter/2017/11/se-news-kontrollbalansrakning-ett-skydd-mot-personligt-betalningsansvar.html

In practice it seems to only happen for smaller companies .

Craig H. , June 27, 2019 at 11:18 am

How do you put people who sat around a conference table in a corporation committee meeting in jail? The entire process is designed and perfected to evade responsibility. Anytime I see something like this I class it as a complete fluke:

Former head of Volkswagen could face 10 years in prison

Is that scumbag really behind bars? I suspect it is total fake news.

Ignacio , June 27, 2019 at 8:16 am

While I was reading this I was feeling increasingly obfuscated by the similarities I find in the publicly-owned privately-managed sewage and waste plants in Madrid. I can easily understand the frustration of the regulator with managers opacity. Imagine how bored must I be sometimes, that I annually take a look at the reports that the managers of those plants produce. These are rubbish reports. You have to spend a lot of time, first trying to understand the real meaning of some concepts, second to gather the truly relevant variables in order to assess the real performance of the plants.

I have to say that the situation in Spain must be worse than in the UK because regulators, if they exist, never come up with auditing results, not to mention noticing misconducts. We are miles away from being able to even fine those misconducts of which only a few have been brougth to the public by NGOs.

Ignacio , June 27, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Interestingly the former progressive Major of Madrid Carmena, now replaced with conservatives in alliance with xenophobe populists, ordered the first audit (i believe it is the first) of the waste treatment plant, a huge facility called Valdemingómez. I guess that the current Major, whose name I don't want to recall, will hide audit results to the public given that his party set years ago the current model for waste management.

Tom Stone , June 27, 2019 at 10:20 am

Corporate motto "Eat shit and die".

Susan the other` , June 27, 2019 at 10:32 am

Good waste management/recycling is going to be the industry of the future. Instead of being publicly contrite about their excessive wealth, the Billionaires should all focus their resources on fixing what will otherwise be an overwhelming mess. We will all be, as the military says, "Overtaken by events" someday soon unless we get on top of this. Pollution, garbage and sewage are the byproducts of our irresponsibility. Coupled with overpopulation. Not good. Andrew Carnegie donated his money away on good things. Every little town in America was a beneficiary, with a "Carnegie Library" among other things. But it made us all laugh out loud when San Francisco named its new water treatment facility the "George W. Bush Sewage and Water Treatment Facility" (or stg. like that). Unfortunately, the joke is really on us unless we start demanding improvements and responsibility. The problem is already almost too big to fix, Houston.

Joe Well , June 27, 2019 at 10:52 am

I knew an English guy circa 1999 who was then 35 years old and a hard Thatcherite in his opinions (didn't do any actual political activism, of course) because the previous Labour governments had ruined everything to the point that the country had to go to the IMF. He was no fan of the NHS, either. NHS-reimbursed dentists had done a ton of unnecessary fillings on him and his young friends as children. Worse, NHS doctors had misdiagnosed a life-threatening illness for years until American emergency room doctors did a bunch of expensive tests and cured him.

I wonder what he would have to say 20 years later now that the faults of privatization on both sides of the Atlantic have been laid bare?

I don't think there is any alternative to constant watchdogging and activism by the general public.

Cal2 , June 27, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Sewage treatment is part of health care. Places without adequate sewage treatment suffer rampant diseases in potable water, fish, animals and people exposed to it. Sewage treatment facilities are the only example of publicly run health care in the U.S. Each homeowner, and renter, pays a certain amount for it and it is handled to scientific standards without a profit motive.

dk , June 27, 2019 at 12:58 pm

+100
And well done Clive.

[Jun 27, 2019] Who are the arsonists of the petrol tankers in the Gulf by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo). ..."
"... Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.voltairenet.org

While the United States prepared a new escalation of tension in the Middle East by accusing Iran of attacking petrol tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Italian vice-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with one of the artisans of this strategy in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, assuring him that " Italy wants to regain its place as the major partner on the European continent of the greatest Western democracy ". Thereby he has allied Italy with the operation launched by Washington.

The " Gulf of Oman affair " , a casus belli against Iran, is a carbon copy of the " Gulf of Tonkin affair " of 4 August 1964, itself used as a casus belli to bomb North Vietnam, which was accused of having attacked a US torpedo boat (an accusation which was later proved to be false).

Today, a video released by Washington shows the crew of an alleged Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the hull of a petrol tanker in order to conceal its origin (because the mine would allegedly have borne the inscription " Made in Iran ").

With this " proof " - a veritable insult to our intelligence - Washington is attempting to camouflage the goal of the operation. It is part of the strategy aimed at controlling the world reserves of oil and natural gas and their energy corridors [ 1 ]. It is no coincidence if Iran and Iraq are in US crosshairs. Their total oil reserves are greater than those of Saudi Arabia, and five times greater than those of the United States. Iranian reserves of natural gas are approximately 2.5 times those of the USA. Venezuela finds itself targeted by the USA for the same reason, since it is the country which owns the greatest oil reserves in the world.

The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo).

Low-cost Iranian natural gas might also have reached Europe by way of a pipeline crossing Iraq and Syria. But the project, launched in 2011, was destroyed by the USA/NATO operation to demolish the Syrian state.

Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy.

In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine.

Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas. But we have no guarantees, neither on the price, nor on the time-scale for US gas extracted from the bituminous shale by the technique known as fracking (hydraulic fracturation), which is disastrous for the environment.

So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs ".

[Jun 26, 2019] The Democratic electorate has shifted sharply to the left, taking many politicians along with it -- willingly and unwillingly by Thomas B. Edsall

Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Party, thanks largely to the Clintons and their DLC nonsense, has certainly moved to the right. So far right that I haven't been able to call it the Democratic Party. ..."
"... Every Democrat should sign on to FDR's 1944 Economic Bill of Rights speech. It is hardly radical, but rather the foundation of the modern Democratic Party, or at least was before being abrogated by the "new Democrats." Any Dem not supporting it is at best one of the "Republican-lights" who led the Dem party into the wilderness. It would also behoove the party to resurrect FDR's Veep Henry Wallace's NY Times articles about the nature of big businesses and fascism, also from '44. Now that was a party of the people. 7 Replies ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

In its most recent analysis, Gallup found that from 1994 to 2018, the percentage of all Democrats who call themselves liberal more than doubled from 25 percent to 51 percent.

Over the same period, the percentage of Democratic moderates and conservatives fell steadily, with the share of moderates dropping from 48 to 34 percent, and of conservatives dropping from 25 to 13 percent. These trends began to accelerate during the administration of George W. Bush and have continued unabated during the Obama and Trump presidencies.

... ... ...

The anti-establishment faction contributed significantly to the large turnout increases in Democratic primaries last year. Pew found that from 2014 to 2018, turnout in House primaries rose from 13.7 to 19.6 percent of all registered Democrats, in Senate primaries from 16.6 to 22.2 percent and in governor primaries from 17.1 to 24.5 percent.

... ... ...

The extensive support among prospective Democratic presidential candidates for Medicare for All , government-guaranteed jobs and a higher minimum wage reflects the widespread desire in the electorate for greater protection from the vicissitudes of market capitalism -- in response to "increasingly incomplete risk protection in an era of dramatic social change," as the political scientist Jacob Hacker put it in " Privatizing Risk without Privatizing the Welfare State: The Hidden Politics of Social Policy Retrenchment in the United States ." Support for such protections is showing signs of becoming a litmus test for candidates running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.

... ... ...

Sawhill looks at the ideological shifts in the Democratic electorate less from a historical perspective and more as a response to contemporary economic and social dislocation. Among both conservatives and liberals, Sawhill argued, there is "an intellectual awakening about the flaws of modern capitalism" -- a recognition of the failings of "neoliberalism, the idea that a market economy with a few light guardrails is the best way to organize a society." This intellectual climate may result in greater receptivity among voters to more radical proposals.



Michael
Rochester, NY Jan. 23 Times Pick

These "big, bold leftist ideas" pose a strategic problem for liberals and the Democratic Party," (sigh). Here we go again. I am an older guy (Caucasian). I attended Texas A&M University from 1978 to 1982. My tuition payments during that entire time was $4 per credit hour. Same for every Texas resident during that time. Roughly $128 per year. Had Texas A&M not offered education at this modest entry point financially, I would still be working in the Holiday Inn kitchen washing dishes. Like I was in high school. So, I don't understand why older guys who went to school on the cheap, like me, and probably like Mr. Edsall, are writing articles about "radical" proposals like "free" or at least "affordable" education for Americans. We could achieve this very easily if America refocused on domestic growth and health and pulled itself out of its continuous wars. America has spent $6 Trillion dollars on war since 2001. For what? Nothing. Imagine how much college tuition we could have paid instead. Imagine how that would change America. What is radical is killing people of color in other countries for no goal and no reason. Let's refocus on domestic USA issues that are important. Like how to get folks educated so they/we can participate in the US economy.

Mr. Edsall, what did you pay to go to school per year? Was that "radically" cheap? For me, it was not radical to pay $128 per year. It was a blessing.

Bruce Rozenblit Kansas City, MO Jan. 23 Times Pick
To the conservative, liberal means socialist. Unfortunately, they don't know what socialism is. They think socialism is doing nothing and getting paid for it, a freeloader society. Socialism is government interference in the free market, interference in production.

Ethanol is socialism. Oil and gas subsidies are socialism. Agricultural price supports are socialism. Tax breaks and subsidies are socialism. The defence industry is socialism. All of these socialist policies greatly benefit big business. What liberals want is socialism of a similar nature that benefits people. This would include healthcare, education, public transportation, retirement, and childcare. Currently, people work their tails off to generate the profits that pay for corporate socialism and get next to nothing in return. Daycare costs as much as many jobs pay.

Kids graduate from college $50,000 in debt. Get sick and immediately go bankrupt. They have to work past 70. Pursuing these policies is not some far out leftist agenda. They are the norm in most industrialized nations.

It's hard to live free or die if you don't have anything to eat. It's easy to be a libertarian if you make a million bucks a year. Liberals are not advocating getting paid for doing nothing. They want people to have something to do and get paid for it. That is the message that should be pushed. Sounds pretty American to me. 27 Replies

Ronny Dublin, CA Jan. 23 Times Pick
This old white (liberal) man regrets that I was born too late for the FDR New Deal era and too early to be part of this younger generation taking us back to our roots. I lived in America when we had a strong middle class and I have lived through the Republican deconstruction of the middle class, I much preferred the former.

Economic Security and FDR's second bill of rights is a very good place for this new generation to pick up the baton and start running. 4 Replies

Matthew D. Georgia Jan. 23
Are these really moves to the left, or only in comparison to the lurch further right by the republicans. What is wrong with affordable education, health care, maternal and paternal leave, and a host of other programs that benefit all people? Why shouldn't we have more progressive tax rates? These are not radical ideas. 6 Replies
MIMA heartsny Jan. 23 Times Pick
As a senior, who has been a healthcare provider for decades, I hope that people will not be afraid if they get sick, that people will not fear going bankrupt if they get sick, that they do not have to fear they will die needlessly if they get sick, because they did not have proper access to haeathcare treatment. If a 29 year old woman from Queens, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, can fulfill my hopes and dreams, and alleviate these fears, just to get humane healthcare - then I say "You Go Girl!" What a wonderful world that would be..... 9 Replies
chele ct Jan. 23 Times Pick
Moving to the left??? I'm 64 years old. I started out on the left and haven't moved leftward in all these years. I'm just as far left now as when I registered to vote as a Democrat when I was 18. We called it being liberal and the Democratic Party reflected my beliefs.

The Democratic Party, thanks largely to the Clintons and their DLC nonsense, has certainly moved to the right. So far right that I haven't been able to call it the Democratic Party. So far right that I have seriously considered changing my party affiliation. Right now, the only think keeping me in the party is this influx of vibrant new faces. One thing that will make me leave is any ascendancy of the corporate lapdog "New Democrat Coalition" attempting to keep my party in thrall to the Republicans. No. The electorate has not shifted sharply leftward. We've been here all along. Our party went down a wrong path. It had better get back on track or become a footnote. 12 Replies

Rich Pein La Crosse Wi Jan. 23
I work with young adults in a university setting. The university I work for used to be really inexpensive. It is still relatively inexpensive and still a bargain. Most of the students have student loans. They can not make enough money in the summer or during the term to pay for tuition, fees, housing, and food. They need jobs that will pay enough to pay for those loans. They also need portable health care. As the employer based health insurance gets worse, that portable health care becomes a necessity so they can move to where the jobs are. So if a livable wage and universal health care are far left ideas then so be it. I am a leftist. 1 Reply
stuart glen arbor, mi Jan. 23 Times Pick
Every Democrat should sign on to FDR's 1944 Economic Bill of Rights speech. It is hardly radical, but rather the foundation of the modern Democratic Party, or at least was before being abrogated by the "new Democrats." Any Dem not supporting it is at best one of the "Republican-lights" who led the Dem party into the wilderness. It would also behoove the party to resurrect FDR's Veep Henry Wallace's NY Times articles about the nature of big businesses and fascism, also from '44. Now that was a party of the people. 7 Replies
Ken New York Jan. 23
@Michael. Pell grants and cheap tuition allowed me to obtain a degree in aerospace engineering in 1985. I'd like to think that that benefited our country, not radicalized it.
C Wolfe Bloomington IN Jan. 23
@Midwest Josh

I don't think that's entirely accurate, and even if true, leaving students to the predations of private lenders isn't the answer. Although I'm willing to entertain your thesis, soaring tuition has also been the way to make up for the underfunding of state universities by state legislatures.

At the same time, there's been an increase since the 70s in de luxe facilities and bloated administrator salaries. When administrators make budget cuts, it isn't for recreational facilities and their own salaries -- it's the classics and history departments, and it's to faculty, with poorly paid part-time adjuncts teaching an unconscionable share of courses. So universities have been exacerbating the same unequal division between the people who actually do the work (faculty) and the people who allocate salaries (administrators) -- so too as in the business world, as you say.

shstl MO Jan. 23 Times Pick
I have a friend who lives on the West Coast and is constantly posting on social media about "white privilege" and how we all need to embrace far left policies to "even the playing field" for minorities. I always bristle at this, not because I don't support these policies, but because this person chooses to live in a city with actually very few minorities. She also lives in a state that's thriving, with new jobs, new residents and skyrocketing real estate values. I, by contrast, live in a state that's declining....steadily losing jobs, businesses and residents....leaving many people feeling uneasy and afraid. I also live in a city with a VERY high minority crime rate, which also makes people uneasy and afraid. Coastal liberals like my friend will instantly consider anyone who mentions this a racist, and hypocritically suggest that our (assumed) racism is what's driving our politics. But when I look around here and see so many Trump supporters (myself NOT included), I don't see racists desperately trying to retain their white privilege in a changing world. I see human beings living in a time and place of great uncertainty and they're scared! If Dems fail to notice this, and fail to create an inclusive message that addresses the fears of EVERYBODY in the working/middle class, regardless of their skin color, they do so at their own peril. Especially in parts of the country like mine that hold the key to regaining the WH. Preaching as my friend does is exactly how to lose. 5 Replies
Bruce Shigeura Berkeley, CA Jan. 23
A majority of Americans, including independent voters and some Republicans favor Medicare for all, a Green New Deal, and higher taxes on the rich. While Trump has polarized voters around race, Ocasio-Cortez is polarizing around class -- the three-fourths of Americans working paycheck to paycheck against the 1 percenters and their minions in both parties. Reading the tea leaves of polls and current Democratic Party factions as Edsall does, is like obsessing about Herbert Hoover's contradictory policies that worsened the Depression. If Ocasio-Cortez becomes bolder and calls for raising the business taxes and closing tax incentives, infrastructure expansion, and federal jobs guarantee, she'll transform the American political debate from the racist wall meme to the redistribution of wealth and power America needs. 1 Reply
Stu Sutin Bloomfield, CT Jan. 23
Labels such as 'liberal" fail to characterize the political agenda articulated by Bernie Sanders. By style and substance, Sanders represented a departure from the hum-drum norm. Is something wrong about aspiring to free college education in an era when student debt totals $1.5 trilliion? His mantle falls to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her followers. One hundred years ago, American progressivism was spawned by Robert La Follette. As governor and senator from Wisconsin, and as failed third party candidate for president, La Follette called for laws to protect youth from horrendous labor practices. He called for laws to protect civil rights. In time, many of La Follette's positions became mainstream. Will history repeated itself? Maybe. The rise of "liberalism" in the Democratic Party is therapeutic, as evidenced by youthful audiences who attended the Sander's rallies. Increasing voter turnout will take back government from a minority that undermines the essence of a democratic system. A Democratic counterbalance to the Republican "Freedom Caucus" may appear divisive to some. To others, it offers a path to the future. 4 Replies
Tracy Rupp Brookings, Oregon Jan. 23 Times Pick
I am so proud of our youth today. They are the hope. I am a lifetime ashamed of my own demographic: Old white men. We really suck. 6 Replies
tom midwest Jan. 23
Ok, from the perspective of a rural white midwest retiree independent with post graduate education, the issues weren't the democrats moving to the left, it was the Republican party turning right (and they show no signs of stopping). Who is against an equal opportunity for an equal quality education for everyone? My college costs years ago could be met with a barely minimum wage job and low cost health insurance provided by the school and I could graduate without debt even from graduate school. Seeing what years of Republican rule did to our college and university systems with a raise in tuition almost every year while legislative support declined every year, who is happy with that? Unions that used to provide a majority of the apprenticeships in good jobs in the skilled were killed by a thousand tiny cuts passed by Republicans over the years. The social safety net that used to be a hand up became an ever diminishing hand out. What happened is those that had made it even to the middle class pulled the ladder up behind them, taking away the self same advantages they had in the past and denying future generations the opportunity. The young democrats and independents coming along see this all too clearly. 1 Reply
Ashley Maryland Jan. 23
These so-called liberal and progressive ideas aren't new. They work now in other countries and have so for many, many years, but the rich keep screaming capitalism good, socialism bad all the while slapping tariffs on products and subsidizing farmers who get to pretend that this is somehow still a free market. It's fun to watch my neighbors do mental gymnastics to justify why subsidizing soy bean farmers to offset the tariffs is a strong free market, but that subsidizing solar panels and healthcare is socialism AKA the devil's work. All of this underscores the reality that, much like geography, Americans are terrible with economics.
JABarry Maryland Jan. 23
The tensions between progressive and moderate positions, liberal and conservative positions in the Democratic Party and in independents, flow from and vary based on information on and an understanding of the issues. What seems to one, at first glance, radically progressive/liberal becomes more mainstream when one is better informed. Take just one issue, Medicare for all, a progressive/liberal objective. At first glance people object based on two main points: costs and nefarious socialism. How do you pay for Medicare for all? Will it add to the debt? Will socialism replace our capitalist economy? People who have private medical insurance pay thousands in premiums, deductibles, co-pays each year. The private insurance is for profit, paying CEO's million dollar salaries and returns to stockholders. People paying these private insurance premiums would pay less for Medicare and have more in their own pockets. Medicare for all is no more nefariously socialistic than social security. Has social security ended capitalism and made America a socialist country? I think not. Is social security or Medicare adding to the national debt? Only if Congress will continue to play their tribal political games. These programs are currently solvent but definitely need tweaking to avoid near term shortfalls. A bipartisan commission could solve the long term solvency issues. The more we know and understand about progressive/liberal ideas, the less radical they become. The solution is education. 17 Replies
James St. Paul, MN. Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Absolutely correct. According to the Bible of Saint Reagan, Socialism for corporations and the rich: Good. Socialism for the poor and working class: bad.
Midwest Josh Four Days From Saginaw Jan. 23
@Michael - cheaper tuition starts with getting the Federal Govt out of the student loan business, it's as simple as that. Virtually unlimited tuition dollars is what drove up tuition rates. Higher Ed is a business, make no mistake.
mrfreeze6 Seattle, WA Jan. 23
@Bruce, have you ever considered creating a new "reality" network where the truth about things could be told? You're quite good at articulating and defining how the world works, without all the usual nonsense. I really appreciate your comments.
Samuel Santa Barbara Jan. 23 Times Pick
Can we please, please stop talking about AOC? Sure, she's young and energetic and is worthy of note, but what has she accomplished? It's easy to go to a rooftop- or a twitter account- and yell "health care and education for all!' But please, AOC, tell us how you are going to not only pay for these ideas but actually get them through Congress and the Senate? It's just noise, until then, and worse, you're creating a great target for the right that will NOT move with you and certainly can label these ideas as leftist nutism- which would be fine, if we weren't trying to get Trump out of office ASAP.. Dreams are great. Ideals are great. But people who can get stuff actually done move the needle...less rhetoric, more actual plans please.. 10 Replies
c harris Candler, NC Jan. 23
Its ok for a far right bigoted clown to be elected to the president and a tax cut crazy party that wants to have a full scale assault against the environment and force more medical related bankruptcies to be in charge? The safe candidate protected by 800 superdelegates in 2016 was met with a crushing defeat. The Democratic establishment wants a safe neo con corporatist democrat. Fair taxation and redistribution of wealth is not some far out kooky idea. The idea that the wealthiest Americans getaway with paying tax at 15%, if at all, is ruinous to the country. Especially since there is an insane compulsion to spend outlandish trillions on "national security". Universal health care would save the country billions of dollars. Medicare controls costs much more effectively than private insurers. As with defense the US spends billions more on health care than other countries and has worse medical outcomes. Gentrification has opened fissures in the Democrats. The wealthy price out other established communities. The problems of San Francisco and Seattle and other places with gentrification need to be addressed before an open fissure develops in the party. 2 Replies
David Wahnon Westchester My Jan. 23
@Midwest Josh It's time for higher education to stop being a business. Likewise it's time to stop electing leaders who are businessmen/women. 38 Replies
T.R.I. VT Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Wow! Great points, why don't you run for office? I agree!
Michelle Teas Charlotte Jan. 23
One could argue that many of these ideas are not that far left - rather it's a result of more and more Americans realizing that WE are not the problem. Clean water and air, affordable health care and affordable education are not that radical.
don salmon asheville nc Jan. 23
@Midwest Josh Hmmm, how old are you Midwest Josh? There were student loans back in the 1970s when college cost me about $400 a year. Maybe something happened when that failed Hollywood actor spouted slogans like "Government is not the solution, government is the problem" (and, no, it was not taken out of context, he most definitely DID mean that government is the problem - look it up) www.remember-to-breathe.org 38 Replies
Matt Williams New York Jan. 23
You are studying this like it represents some kind of wave but in fact it is just a few districts out of 435. These young women seem extraordinarily simply because the liberal media says they are extraordinary. If the media attention on these new representatives were to cease, no one except their families, their staff, and maybe Stephen Colbert would notice. 9 Replies
Amanda Jones Jan. 23
Finally, the left came out of its hibernation. We have spent the last decade or more either sleeping or hiding, while at the same time, the Tea Party, the Freedom Caucus, Trump, and his minions were taking over our government---It is such a breath of fresh air to finally listen to airwaves filled with outrage over CEO's making millions of dollars an hour, of companies that have become monopolies, of tax plans that bring back the middle class---it took us a while, but we are back. 2 Replies
FunkyIrishman member of the resistance Jan. 23
For so long (40+ years) the political spectrum has been pulled wildly and radically to the right across so many issues. The Democratic party has for the most part ''triangulated'' their stances accordingly to essentially go along with republicans and corporate interests for a bargain of even more tax/corporate giveaways to hold the line on social issues or programs. It has now gotten to the point that continuous war has been waged for two (2) decades and all the exorbitant costs that go along with that. There has been cut, after cut after cut whereas some people and businesses are not paying any taxes at all now. Infrastructure, social spending and education are all suffering because the cupboard is now bare in the greatest and most richest country in the world. It just came out the other day that ONLY (26) people have as much wealth as the bottom half of the entire world's population. That amount of wealth in relation to dwindling resources of our planet and crushing poverty for billions is abjectly obscene on so many levels. Coupled with all of the above, is the continued erosion of human rights. (especially for women and dominion over their own bodies) People are realizing that the founding fathers had a vision of a secular and Progressive nation and are looking for answers and people that are going to give it to them. They are realizing that the Democratic party is the only party that will stand up for them and be consistent for all.
dudley thompson maryland Jan. 23 Times Pick
Democrats just don't like to win presidential elections. Go ahead. Move left. But remember, you are not taking the rest of the country with you. As a NeverTrump Republican, I'll vote for a moderate Democrat in 2020. No lefties. Sorry. Don't give the country a reason to give Trump four more years. Win the electoral college vote instead of complaining about it. The anti-Trump is a moderate. 5 Replies
Fourteen Boston Jan. 23
"These "big, bold leftist ideas" pose a strategic problem." No they don't. The Real Problem is the non-thinking non-Liberal 40% of Democrats and their simpatico Republicans who are programmed to scream, "How will we pay for all that?" Don't they know all that money will just be stolen? They were silent when that money was stolen by the 0.1% for the Tax Giveaway (they're now working on tax giveaway 2.0) and by the military-industrial complex (to whom Trump gave an extra $200,000,000,000 last year), various boondoggle theft-schemes like the Wall, the popular forever Wars (17 years of Iraq/Afghanistan has cost $2,400,000,000,000 (or 7 times WW2)), and the Wall Street bailouts. Don't those so-called Democrats realize whose money that was? First of all, it's our money. And second, our money "spent" on the People is a highly positive investment with a positive ROI. Compare that to money thrown into the usual money pits which has no return at all - except more terrorists for the military, more income inequality for the Rich, and Average incomes of $422,000 for Wall Street. When the People's money is continually stolen, how can anyone continue to believe that we're living in a democracy?
David Walker Limoux, France Jan. 23
Bruce, a succinct summary of your post is this: What we have now is socialism for the wealthy and corporations (who, as SCOTUS has made clear, are people, too) and rugged individualism for the rest of us. What we're asking for is nothing more than a level playing field for all. And I hope that within my lifetime SCOTUS will have an epiphany and conclude that, gosh, maybe corporations aren't people after all. We can only hope. 27 Replies
Loren Guerriero Portland, OR Jan. 23
Edsall writes with his normal studious care, and makes some good points. Still, I am growing weary of these "Democrats should be careful and move back to the center" opinions. Trump showed us that the old 'left-right-center' way of thinking is no longer applicable. These progressive policies appeal to a broad majority of Americans not because of their ideological position, but because so many are suffering and are ready to give power to representatives who will finally fight for working families. Policies like medicare for all are broadly popular because the health insurance system is broken and most people are fed up and ready to throw the greedy bums out. We've been trying the technocratic incrementalism strategy for too long, with too little to show for it. Bold integrity is exactly what we need. 1 Reply
Reilly Diefenbach Washington State Jan. 23
Outstanding post. America has to catch up with Europe. Democratic socialism is the only answer. 38 Replies
Jessica Summerfield New York City Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Thank you; as others have commented already, this is so well said. To build on your point: just yesterday, a commenter on a NYT article described AOC as a communist. Incredible. The extent to which decent, pragmatic and, in a bygone era, mainstream, ideas are now painted as dangerous, extreme, and anti-American is both absurd and disturbing. 27 Replies
A. Stanton Dallas, TX Jan. 23 Times Pick
If Hillary were President, there would never have been a shutdown. That is the lesson that Mrs. Pelosi, AOC and Democrats should carry forward to 2020. 5 Replies
BE Lawrence KS Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Once again reader comments are better than the editorial! This is the most concise explanation I've seen on these pages. 27 Replies
FunkyIrishman member of the resistance Jan. 23
@LTJ No one is promoting ''free stuff'' - what is being proposed is that people/corporations pay into a system Progressively upwards (especially on incomes above 10,000,000 dollars per year) that allowed them and gave them the infrastructure to get rich in the first place. I am sure you would agree that people having multiple homes, cars, and luxury items while children go hungry in the richest nation in the world is obscene on its face. Aye ?
Michael Los Angeles Jan. 23 Times Pick
Keep on keepin' on, AOC. Be the leader you (and we) know you are.
FJS Monmouth Cty NJ Jan. 23
@Ronny Respectfully, President Clinton had a role in the deconstruction of the middle class. My point is many of the folks in the news today were in congress that far back. Say what you will about President Trump and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez,I believe they both have exposed the left,the right,the press for what they are. Please choose your own example. I don't agree with all of her positions, but I can't express how I enjoy her making the folks that under their watch led us to where we find ourselves today squirm and try to hide their anger for doing what she does so well. I've been waiting 55 years for this. Thank you AOC.
G James NW Connecticut Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Bruce, spot on. The point of the New Deal was not to replace capitalism with socialism, but to save capitalism from itself by achieving the balance that would preserve a capitalist economic system but one in which the concerns of the many in terms of freedom from want and freedom from fear were addressed. In other words, the rich get to continue to be rich, but not without paying the price of not being hung in the public square - by funding an expanding middle class. A middle class that by becoming consumers, made the rich even richer. But then greed took over and their messiah Saint Reagan convinced this large middle class that they too could be rich and so cutting taxes for the wealthy (and in the process redistributing the wealth from the expanding middle class to the wealthy) would one day benefit them - when they were wealthy. Drunk on the promise of future wealth, and working harder than ever, the middle class failed to notice whose ox was being gored and voted Republican. And now finally, the pendulum swings. Amen. 27 Replies
C Wolfe Bloomington IN Jan. 23
@Socrates I'm reminded of a poll I saw several years ago that presented positions on issues without attaching them to any individual politician or affixing labels of party or ideology. The pol aimed to express the issue in neutral language without dog whistles or buzzwords. When the pollsters had the data, they looked for the member of Congress whose positions best reflected the view of the majority of respondents. It was Dennis Kucinich, the scary liberal socialist bogeyman of his day.
Liz Chicago Jan. 23
I lived in Europe for a long time. Not even most right wing parties there wish to abolish universal healthcare, replace low or tuition-free colleges with college debt, etc. The US has politically drifted far to the right when the center Democrats were in charge. Now Trump is lurching the country to extreme raw capitalism at the cost of national debt, even our environment and climate, Democrats need to stop incrementalism. Simple as that. 1 Reply
Blackmamba Il Jan. 23
@Michael Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was opposed to the eternal triumvirate axis of inhumane evil aka capitalism, militarism and racism. King was a left-wing socialist community organizer. In the mode of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. And the Nazarene of Matthew 25: 31- 46. America's military and prison industrial complexes are the antithesis of America' s proclaimed interests and values. America is number one in arms, money and prisoners. MAGA? 38 Replies
Bob Taos, NM Jan. 23
Bernie and AOC don't seem all that radical to me for the reason this op-ed points out -- I grew up in a New Deal Democratic family. My Grampa was an electrician supervisor for the City of Chicago and my Granma was a legal secretary. They wanted universal health care and free education and jobs for all. Those things made sense then, and they make sense now. They provide solutions to the deep problems of our society, so who wouldn't want them? We've had a lab test -- other than actual jobs for all Northern Europe has these things and we don't. Neo-liberalism, its Pay-Go formula for government, and its benefits for the rich fails on most counts except producing massive inequality and concentrated wealth. Bernie voters want solutions to inequality and climate change, and they are readily available if government can be wrested from the hands of Republicans like Trump and neo-liberals.
Ellen San Diego Jan. 23
@Michael To me, the key sentence in your excellent post is that American needs to "refocus on domestic growth and health and pull itself out of its continuous wars." All policiticians hoping for our votes in the future need to make clear where they stand on this. As to those who say that making all those weapons creates jobs, is there any reason that we couldn't instead start producing other quality goods in the U.S. again? 38 Replies
Bill W Vancouver, WA Jan. 23
@chele Me too! I am 72 y/o, retired, college educated at a rather tough school in which to gain entrance. Lived below my means for over 40 years. Parents are both WW2 Marine Corps officers(not career), who voted Republican and were active in local elections. They would be shocked and disgusted at what that "party" represents now.
Thea NY Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Wish I could like this many more times. What you are saying is what is the truth. 27 Replies
walking man Glenmont NY Jan. 23
I think you look at all this in a vacuum. Democrats veered left because there was a need to counterbalance what was happening on the right. They see Republicans aggressively trying to undo all the gains the left had achieved the previous several decades. Civil rights, Womens' rights, anti-poverty efforts, and so on all not just being pushed to the right, but forced to the right with a bulldozer. It got to a tipping point where Democrats could clearly see the forest for the trees. A great deal of this was a result of Republicans inability to candy coat their agenda. Universal healthcare....not being replaced by affordable alternatives, but by nothing. Tax cuts that were supposed to help the middle class, but, as evidenced by the government shutdown, giving them no economic breathing room. And, in fact, making their tax cut temporary, something nearly impossible to reverse with such a high deficit. Attacking immigrants with no plan on who, actually, would do the work immigrants do. The list goes on and on. In the past, many social programs were put in place not so much to alleviate suffering as to silence the masses. Now Republicans feel the time has come to take it all back, offering easily seen through false promises as replacements. That the left should see the big picture here and say "Not so fast" should come as absolutely no surprise. All they need now is a leader eloquent enough to rally the masses.
allen roberts 99171 Jan. 23
I think the Democratic Party is finally returning to its roots. We are now engaging in the same politics which gave us control of the House for about fifty years. I went to my first International Union convention is 1972 at which Ted Kennedy was one of the featured speakers. One of the themes of the convention was healthcare for all. Now it treated as some sort of radical proposal from the left. I am not certain why clean air and water, affordable health care and housing, combating climate change, raising wages, taxing the highest income brackets, updating our infrastructure, solving the immigration issue, and providing aid not weapons to other nations, are considered liberal or socialistic. I think it represents the thinking of a progressive society looking to the future rather than living in the past. 1 Reply
bdfreund Ottawa Jan. 23
@David G. I would also say that many people think a cooperative economic enterprise, such as a worker owned factory, is Socialism. But this is blatantly wrong and is pushed by the rich business and stock owners to denigrate these types of businesses. Cooperatives have often proven themselves quite successful in navigating a free market system, while simultaneously focussing on workers rights and ownership. We need more if this in North America. 27 Replies
will b upper left edge Jan. 23
@Samuel She's been in office less than a month. You want to shut down the conversation that is finally bringing real hope & passion to average people, & is bringing a new set of goals (& more integrity) to the Democratic Party? Paying for single-payer has been rehashed many times; just look at all the other 'civilized' countries who have it. For once, try putting the savings from ending co-pays, deductibles, & premiums into the equation. Think about the savings from large-group bids, & negotiations for drug prices, & the savings from preventative medicine heading off more expensive advanced treatment. Bernie Sanders has been explaining all this for years now. 'Less rhetoric'? The conversation is (finally) just now getting started! You start by explaining what is possible. When enough people understand it, the needle will start to move. Watch.
David J NJ Jan. 23
@JBC, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was voted into congress and then the media took notice. It wasn't the other way around. My only hope is that she stays the course.
H. G. Detroit, MI Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit And don't forget the biggest socialist project of our time - the wall! And withholding 800k employee checks to do so? That's socialism at gun point. 27 Replies
Jean Cleary Jan. 23
There are two points left out of all of the analysis of both Pressley's and Ocasio-Cortez's campaigns. First of all, both women did old fashioned retail politics, knocking on doors, sending out postcards, gathering as many volunteers as they could and talking about the issues with voters face to face. They took nothing for granted. This is precisely what Crowley and Capuano did not do. Second, they actually listened to the voters regarding what they needed and wanted in Congressional representation. What both of the stand for is neither Liberal or Conservative. What they stand for human values. This is not to say that Capuano and Crowley did not stand for these same values, but they took the voter for granted. That is how you lose elections. The Democrats are going back to their roots. They have found that the Mid-terms proved that issues of Health Care, minimum wages, good educations for all despite economic circumstances, and how important immigration is to this country really matter to the voters. They need to be braver in getting this across before the next election And the press might want to start calling the candidates Humane, period. 1 Reply
APT Boston, MA Jan. 23
@MIMA Yes, absolutely. I'm retired from the healthcare field after practicing 38 years. It is unconscionable that we question the access of healthcare to everyone. The complaint usually heard from the right is about "the takers." Data I've seen indicates that the majority on "the dole" are workers, who can't make ends meet in the gig economy or the disabled. That some lazy grubbers are in the system is unavoidable; perfection is the enemy of the good.
Felix New England Jan. 23
@Michael Could not have said it better myself. 38 Replies
Billy from Brooklyn Jan. 23
@Stu Sutin I agree, "Liberal" is too broad a term, as so-called liberals do not agree on everything, especially the degree. We can be socially liberal, while economically moderate--or vice versa. Some believe in John Maynard Keynes economics, but appose abortion. Some want free college tuition, while others support public schools but do not support the public paying for higher education. Our foreign policy beliefs often differ greatly. What joins us is a belief in a bottom up economy, not top down--and a greater belief in civil liberties and a greater distribution of wealth. Beyond that, our religious and cultural beliefs often differ.
Robert Grant Charleston, SC Jan. 23
I think the Internet has provided an influx of new understanding for the American left. They've learned that things considered radical here are considered unexceptional in the rest of the developed world. There is a realization that the only reason these are not normal here is because of a lack of political will to enact them. That will is building as the ongoing inequities are splashed across the front pages and the twitter feeds. It is the beginning of the end for American exceptionalism (a term coined by Stalin as America resisted the wave of socialism spreading around the world in the early 20th century). Unbridled capitalism lasted longer than communism but only because its costs were hidden longer. We need to find the sustainable middle path that allows for entrepreneurship along with a strong social safety net (and environmental protection). This new crop of progressive Democrats (with strong electoral backing) might lead the way.
G. Slocum Akron Jan. 23
at 63, I was there. I don't want second Trump administration either, but the route to a Democratic victory is not cozying up to the corporations and the wealthy, but by stating clearly, like FDR, "they are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred." We need people who are willing to say that the rich deserve to be taxed at a higher rate, because they have benefited more from our society, that no income deserves to be taxed at a lower rate than the wages paid to working people, and that vast wealth needs to be earned, not inherited. Emmanuel Saez makes persuasive arguments, but they need to be made in the language of the working people. 12 Replies
Richard Grayson Brooklyn Jan. 23
@Michael Your $128 a year would be more like $414 or so in today's dollars. Still . . . I went to Brooklyn College, part of the tuition-free City University of New York from 1969-1973. We paid a $53 general fee at the start of every semester ($24 for a summer semester), and that was it. Wealthy or poor, everyone paid the same amount (about $334 in today's dollars). 38 Replies
Rob Ware Salt Lake City, UT Jan. 23
@JRS Democratic party leaders have been in favor of more border security and an overhauled immigration system for as long as I've been alive. The suggestion (clearly this comment's intention) that Democrats favor "open" borders, ports, etc., is a myth propagated by an ever more influential right wing. And it's working: it's been repeated so often that it's now virtually an assumption that Democrats favor open borders, despite that fact that any critical thought on the subjection indicates the opposite is true.
Cass Missoula Jan. 23
I'm a very moderate Democrat -liberal on social issues and very supportive of free global trade- who would vote for any of the current Democrats over Trump, but would leave the party if AOC's ideas became the norm. I don't have a problem in principle with a 70% top marginal tax rate or AOC's Green New Deal- Meaning, these aren't moral issues for me per se. I just believe they would bankrupt the economy and push us into a chaos far worse than what we're seeing under Trump. 5 Replies
magicisnotreal earth Jan. 23
@Michael The increase in fees for education to include the books along with the lowering of standards for the classes taken is part and parcel of the reagan revolution to remake American society. One of the most problematic things for those seeking to undo what FDR did was the plethora of well educated and well read people American had managed to create. How were they going to be able to overcome this? You can deduce whatever methods you may know but I saw them tank the economy on purpose and prey on the fear that it created with more and more radical propaganda. Once they got into office they removed the best and brightest of our Civil Service and began making legal the crimes they wanted to commit and changing laws and procedures for how things were done so that people would eventually come to think of this as the "right" way when it was in fact purpose designed to deny them their due. 38 Replies
OldBoatMan Rochester, MN Jan. 23
Younger candidates, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, appeal to younger voters. John Kennedy appealed to WWII veterans, most of whom were in their 30s when they elected him. One of the reasons for Barack Obama's support in 2008 among younger voters is that he was a younger candidate and they identified with a younger candidate. That appeal to a younger electorate will play a larger role in future elections. Don't focus too strongly on issues. Democrats will win by a landslide in 2020 if they nominate a younger candidate that can inspire younger voters. November 3, 2020. 1 Reply
Barry McKenna USA Jan. 23
@Samuel Actually, running a campaign and getting elected is a significant accomplishment. Before anyone decides about what bills to promote and means of paying for them, we need a momentum of discourse, and promoting that discourse is another major accomplishment. You and many millions of others, also, have good reasons to be frustrated. Let's just try to actually "work" at talking the talking and walking the walk, and maybe we will--or maybe we won't--arrive some place where we can see some improvement.
Jason A. New York NY Jan. 23 Times Pick
The interesting part of this piece is the statement about politicians moving unwillingly. So some Democratic Congressmen and Congresswomen are allowing their personal beliefs to be compromised for the glory of being elected or re-elected? Sounds like someone I would not care to support. 2 Replies
profwilliams Montclair Jan. 23
A great essay! The wild card in all this analysis, of course, is what happens when these (now) young voters, age, eventually partner, and have kids. As every generation has shown, the needs of a voter changes as they age. I'm surrounded by many new neighbors with little kids who moved out of Brooklyn and Jersey City who suddenly find themselves concerned about rising property taxes- they now see the balance between taxes and services. Not something they worried about a few years ago. 2 Replies
John Patt Koloa, HI Jan. 23
@Tracy Rupp I am a senior citizen heterosexual white male. I do not apologize for my race, gender, etc. In fact, I am proud of our accomplishments. I do apologize for my personal wrongs, and strive to improve myself.
D I Shaw Maryland Jan. 23
"This will be difficult, given the fact that what is being proposed is a much larger role for government, and that those who are most in need of government support are in the bottom half of the income distribution and disproportionately minority -- in a country with a long racist history." True enough, but if progressives want actual people in that bottom half to lead happier lives, the focus of any programs should not be to employ armies in left-leaning and self-perpetuating "agencies," but rather to devise policies to help people develop the self-discipline to: A) finish high school, B) postpone the bearing of children until marriage (not as a religious construct but as a practical expression of commitment to the child's future), and; C) Find and get a regular job. These are supported by what objective, empirical data we have. These have not struck me as objectives of the rising left in the Democratic party. Mostly, I see endless moral preening, and a tribal demonizing of the "other," just exactly as they accuse the "other." In this case the "other" is we insufficiently "woke" but entirely moderate white folks who still comprise a plurality of Americans. I see success on the left as based primarily on an ability to express performative outrage. But remember, you build a house one brick at a time, which can be pretty boring, and delivers no jolt of dopamine as would manning the barricades, but which results in a warm, dry, comfortable place to live. 4 Replies
Edward Wichita, KS Jan. 23
@Concerned Citizen For your information, Holiday Inns typically had a restaurant in the hotel in the days Michael is talking about so... whatever! 38 Replies
Warren Peace Columbus, OH Jan. 24
My father fought in Germany during WWII, then came home and went to college on the GI bill. Both my parents received federal assistance for a loan on their first house. Later, during retirement, they were taken care of by Medicare and given an income by Social Security. They worked hard, kept their values, lived modestly, and voted for Democrats. Apparently, they were wild-eyed, leftist-socialist radicals, and I never knew it.
617to416 Ontario Via Massachusetts Jan. 23
@Bruce Shigeura AOC in some ways is doing what Bernie was doing -- mobilizing people around class as you say -- but the difference is that AOC doesn't shy away from issues of racial justice. Bernie seemed to want to unite people by ignoring issues of race, as if he was afraid that mentioning race too much might drive Whites away. AOC seems able to hold whites on the class issue while still speaking to the racial justice issues that are important to non-Whites. She's an extraordinary phenomenon: smart, engaging, articulate and with personal connections to both the White and Non-White worlds, so she threatens neither and appeals to both.
harpla Jan. 23
@Stu Sutin "Is something wrong about aspiring to free college education in an era when student debt totals $1.5 trilliion?" Yes. If you're the Congressperson who gets his/her funding from the lenders.
Joshua Schwartz Ramat-Gan, Israel Jan. 23
A O-C has yet to open a district office. A O-C is more interested in "national" issues and exposure than those of her district. What A O-C may have forgotten is that it is her district and constituents that have to re-elect her in less than 2 tears (or not): "Would you rather have a Congress member with an amazing local services office, or one that leads nationally on issues?" she queried her 1.9 million followers on Instagram -- a number that is well over twice the population of her district. The results strongly favored national issues." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/22/nyregion/aoc-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-district-office.html As Mr. Edsall points out, her district is not necessarily progressive and liberal and while there may be national issues, at the bottom line, many of her instagram groupies are not her constituents. Democrats like to constantly point out that Ms. Clinton won the popular vote, and she was the non-liberal-progressive Democrat. I am sure that the Republicans pray for the success of the Democratic left. They seek to give voice to that left. That will bring the swing votes right back to or over to the Republicans, without, but possibly even with Mr. Trump (if the Democrats cross a left-wing tipping point). Bottom line, instagram is fine and likes are great, twitter is good for snappy answers, but representatives to the House have to deliver to their district and constituents. A O-C leads, but to the salvation of the Republican party. 6 Replies
Marc Vermont Jan. 23
@Joshua Schwartz M. Ocasio-Cortez explained on The Late Show the other night that the reason she has not opened her district office is due to the Government Shutdown. The people charged with setting up the office are on furlough, the money for the office is being held up and she staff or furnish the office.
Eric Bremen Jan. 23
Isn't this somehow the natural swing of things? Years of heavy-handed politics benefitting small minorities on the right have taken their toll, so now new ideas are up at bat. By the way, these ideas aren't really that bold at all - many countries have living minimum wages or mandatory healthcare, and are thriving, with a much happier population. Only in the context of decades-long, almost brainwash-like pounding of these ideas as 'Un-American' or 'socialist' can they be seen as 'bold'. American exeptionalism has led to a seriously unbalanced and dangerously threatened social contract. Tell me again, Republicans: why is a diverse, healthy and productive population living under inspiration instead of constant fear so bad?
jrd ny Jan. 23
The "experts" offering advice here seem to have forgotten that Hillary Clinton listened to them in 2016: the party decided that appealing to suburban Republicans and Jeb Bush voters was more important than exciting the Democratic party base. The other hazard of calculated politics is that the candidate is revealed to be a phony, believing in nothing but power or that it's simply "her turn" -- an uncompelling program for a voter. 1 Reply
H NYC Jan. 23
They will all face primary challengers in 2020. Tlaib and Omar didn't even win a majority of the primary vote. There were so many candidates running in those primaries, they only managed a plurality. And let's be honest about the demographic changes in the districts Pressley and Ocasio Cortez won. They went from primarily ethnic White to minority majority. Both women explicitly campaigned on the premise that their identity made them more representative of the district than an old White male incumbent. Let's not sugarcoat what happened: they ran explicitly racist campaigns. They won with tribalism, not liberal values. Democrats actually need more candidates like Lucy McBath, Antonio Delgado, and Kendra Horn if they want to retain Congressional control and change policy. And many minorities and immigrants aren't interested in the far left faction. We don't have a problem with Obama and a moderate approach to social democracy.
Len Charlap Printceton NJ Jan. 23
@JABarry - Some data: Canada has a program like Medicare for All, and its bottom line health care statistics are better than ours in spite of a worse climate. We paid $9506.20 per person for health care in 2016. In Canada, they paid $4643.70. If our system we as efficient as Canada's, we would save over $1.5 TRILLION each and every year. This is money that can be used for better purposes. If one uses the bottom line statistics, we see that both Canada and the UK (real socialized medicine) do better than we do: Life expectancy at birth (OECD): Canada- 81.9, UK - 81.1, US - 78.8 Infant Mortality (OECD)(Deaths per 1,000): Canada - 4.7, UK - 3.8, US - 6.0 Maternal Mortality (WHO): Canada - 7, UK - 9, US - 14 Instead of worrying how we would pay for it, we will have the problem of how to spend all the money we would save. BTW can you point to a period where too high federal debt hurt the economy? In 1837 the federal debt as a percentage of GDP was 0%; it was 16% in October of 1929. Both were followed horrendous depression. It was 121% in 1946 followed by 27 years of Great Prosperity.
UTBG Denver, CO Jan. 23
Best comment in some time. I work and live too much in the'big flat'. I am a very hard core Chicago Democratic Liberal from birth, but the distressed towns and small cities are facing extinction. then what?
Mercury S San Francisco Jan. 23
@In the know I'm formerly Republican, and female. I'm on the ACA, and while premiums were going up slowly, they've exploded in the past two years due to Republican sabatoge. They are certainly no reason to vote for Trump.
D.j.j.k. south Delaware Jan. 23
@Midwest Then the rich will only be eligible for college. Give me government intervention any time. I am retired military . Off base in Lewes De a mans hair cut is now 20.00 plus tips. Just a plain cut. On base with gov intervention it 12.00 . Capitalism you support is only for the 1 percent the 99 percent never gets ahead. 38 Replies
P New York Jan. 23
She has a massive throng of twitter followers, is completely unconcerned with facts, uses publicity to gain power and seems unwilling to negotiate on her positions. Remind you of anyone else? 3 Replies
FXQ Cincinnati Jan. 23
The establishment is trying so hard to spin the progressives push on the issues of Medicare for All, free state college and university tuition, a livable wage of $15/hr as ponies and fairy dust and an extreme "socialist" makeover/takeover of America. But from all the polls that I've seen, these policies are actually quite popular even with a majority of Republicans. Yes, a majority of Republicans. A Medicare for All would cover everybody, eliminate health insurance premiums for individuals and businesses ( which by the way are competing with businesses in other countries that have a single-payer system) and would save $2 trillion over ten years (Koch bothers funded study). The result would be a healthy and educated populace. But how to pay for this? Well, we spend over $700 billion on our military while Russia spends $20 billion and China spends $146 billion, so there seems to be plenty of money that is already being spent to be redirected back to us without compromising national security. A Medicare for All system supports a private healthcare system just as it is now, except instead of giving some insurance company our premium who then skims off a big chunk for their profit, we pay it to our government who then administers the payments to the healthcare provider(s). The system is in place and has been for people 65 years and older and works very well with high satisfaction rates. Just expand it to all. 2 Replies
Smartone new york,ny Jan. 23
@Midwest Josh Wrong!!! Tuition's have skyrocketed because for past 35 years States have slashed support for public universities. The Federal Government took over student loan business from predatory banks which was a very good thing but unfortunately have kept interest rates high ... Student loans is a profit center for Federal Government 38 Replies
Michael Rochester, NY Jan. 23
@Concerned Citizen Go ahead and check the holiday inn in Palestine Texas. It had a small restaurant in 1978. I was their dishwasher. There was no ford plant nearby. 38 Replies
FXQ Cincinnati Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Well put. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free market capitalism for the poor." 27 Replies
Glenn Ribotsky Queens Jan. 23
@stuart They used to call it the "Democratic wing of the Democratic party". I was glad when Thomas Edsall finally got around, in this piece, to mentioning that what is often thought of as a radical leftist turn today, due to just how far to the right our general political discussions had gone, was actually pretty much mainstream Democratic policy for much of the middle 20th century.
Fourteen Boston Jan. 23
@Len Charlap Quite simply Canada's healthcare quality is ranked 16th in the world, while ours is lower ranked at 23rd. And we pay twice as much. That indicates some funny business going on.
Westchester Guy Westchester, NY Jan. 23
It is remarkable that "big, bold leftist ideas" include - preserving the historical relationship between the minimum wage and the cost of living - lowering the cost of college to something in line with what obtained for most public colleges and universities in the 50s, 60s and 70s and exist in the rest of the Western world today - adapting our existing Medicare system to deliver universal coverage of the kind generally supported across the political spectrum in Canada and the UK Democrats should reject the "leftist" label for these ideas and explain that it is opposition to these mainstream ideas that is, in fact, ideological and extreme. 2 Replies
H NYC Jan. 23
@Marc Except that's outright false. Offices are open. All the other new Congress members from New York are setup and taking care of people. She doesn't care about constituent service. She revels in the media attention, but isn't getting anything done even in the background. NY has three Congress members (Lowey, Serrano, Meng) whose under-appreciated work on the appropriations committee actually helps ensure our region's needs and liberal priorities are reflected in federal spending. Meanwhile Ocasio Cortez is working on unseating Democrats incumbents she deems insufficiently leftist e.g. Cuellar, Jeffries. Who needs Republicans when you have Socialists trying to destroy the Democratic Party.
Eric The Other Earth Jan. 23
The NYT should consider getting some columnists who reflect the new (FDR? new?) trends in the country and in the Democratic party. The old Clinton/Biden/Edsall Republican lite approach -- all in for Wall Street -- is dying. Good riddens. BTW I'm a 65 year old electrical engineer. 1 Reply
rtj Massachusetts Jan. 23
You're missing something big here, sir. Capuano was a Clinton superdelegate in 2016 who declared well before the primaries (like all other Mass superdelegates, save for Warren who waited until well after the primaries.) Thereby in effect telling constituents that their vote was irrelevant, as they were willing to override it. Somerville went for Sanders 57% to 42%. Putting party over voters maybe isn't a great idea when 51% of voters in Massachusetts are registered Unenrolled (Independent) and can vote in primaries. Bit rich to signal that our votes don't matter, but then expect it later as it maybe actually does matter after all. Pressley was all in for Clinton, which is of course suspect. But like me, she had only one vote.
don salmon asheville nc Jan. 23
@C Wolfe Wow. Funky Irishman has been, for many months, writing about and presenting excellent data showing that the US is actually a center-left (if not strongly progressive) country. I used to present this evidence to Richard Luettgen (where has he gone??) who kept insisting we are center-right (but never, as was his custom, presented any evidence for this). your example is the best I've ever seen. I'm a member of a 4000-strong Facebook group, the "Rational Republicans" (seriously - a local attorney with a decidedly liberal bent started it and almost beat regressive Patrick McHenry here in Asheville). I've been making this point on the FB page for the past year and people are stunned when they see the numbers. I'm going to post your example as well. Excellent!
John LINY Jan. 23
It's funny to watch people shocked when she makes her proposal. Her ideas are very old and have worked in the past in various cultures. But the point that she can voice them is because she can. Her people put her there because she said those things with their approval. She reflects her community ideals. Just like Steve King.
rose atlanta Jan. 23
I'm already tired of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and I'm a liberal and Hispanic...its constant overkill, everybody falling over her, total overexposure. The news media has found their darling for the moment. Let's see what she accomplishes, what bills she proposes and passes that is the work to be done not being in the news 24/7.
GregP 27405 Jan. 23
Until the left figures out that every single one of their most desired Policy Implementations are only feasible with controlled immigration and secured borders doesn't matter who the messenger is. Want Single Payer Healthcare? Can't have it and Open Borders too. Want free College? Can't have it and Open Borders too. Want Guaranteed Basic Income? Cannot have it in any form without absolutely controlling the Border. So, either you want that influx of new voters to win elections or you want to see new policy changes that will benefit all Americans. Pick one and fight for it. You seem to have chosen the new voters. 3 Replies
Fourteen Boston Jan. 23
@Matt Williams But they are extraordinary, relative to their bought and paid for colleagues. That came first and the media is reporting it. Their authenticity is naive, but it shouldn't be, and that's the story. It's a glimmer of hope for democracy that may be extinguished - let's celebrate this light in the darkness, while it lasts.
Erik Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit This is. Spot. On. The socialism of: Privatize the profits, socialize the losses. It's defined American economic and social policy for the last 30+ years and we can see the results today. 27 Replies
Deb Jan. 23
@shstl I agree and as a moderate Democrat, I already feel like an outsider, so imagine what independents are thinking. AOC stated that she wants to primary Hakeem Jeffries, who is a moderate. With statements like these, made before spending a day in congress, who needs the GOP to tear apart the Democratic party? Sanders didn't even win the primary and his supporters claim the primary was stolen. We lost the house and senate all by ourselves. I already have AOC fatigue and my rejoice for the blue wave is still there but fading.
Bill Terrace, BC Jan. 24
Since 1980, the US has veered sharply to the Right. A course correction is long overdue.
Kingfish52 Rocky Mountains Jan. 24
The Democratic party was shoved to the right with Bill Clinton's Third Way ideology that made its focus the same wealthy donor class as the Republicans, while breaking promises to its former base, the middle and working class. This led to the unchecked capitalism that produced the Crash of '08, and the subsequent bail out to Wall St. The powers running the DNC - all Third Way disciples, like Hilary - refused to take up any of these "socialist" causes because their wealthy donors didn't want to have their escalating wealth diminished. Meanwhile these Democrats In Republican Clothing were banking on continued support from those they had abandoned. And they got it for years...until now. Now, finally, we're getting candidates who represent those abandoned, and who are refusing to hew to the poobah's Third Way agenda. But the Old Guard is trying to retain their power by labeling these candidates as "socialists", and "far left". Well, if that's true, then FDR was a "socialist" too. Funny though how all those "socialists" who voted for FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ enjoyed such capitalistic benefits like good paying jobs, benefits, home ownership, good education, and the fruits of Big Guv'mint like the Interstate Highway system, electricity, schools, the Space Program and all the benefits that produced. It was only when we turned our backs on that success and relied on unchecked capitalism that most of America began their slide backwards. We need to go left to go forward.
Elfego New York Jan. 23
Why is the media lionizing this ignorant, undisciplined child? She should shut up, sit down, learn how to listen and learn from her elders in government. She is acting like a college student, who has no one to hold her accountable for her reckless, stupid behavior. Why does the media seem to be enamored of her?????
mj somewhere in the middle Jan. 23
@Michael Lucky for you. I went to the University of Michigan at roughly the same time and it was no where near that cheap--not even close. And housing? Don't get me started on that. Even then it took my breath away. 38 Replies
Quiet Waiting Texas Jan. 23
@chele That which you are pleased to call the DLC nonsense originated not with the Clintons, but with one of the worst presidential defeats the Democratic party ever suffered: the 1972 campaign of George McGovern. That debacle resulted in a second Nixon administration and I hope that the current trends within the Democratic party do not result in a second Trump administration.
Jack Shultz Pointe Claire Que. Canada Jan. 23
It is exceeding strange to me that "Conservatives" in the US consider Medicare for all and universal access to higher education as being radical, pie-in-the-sky, proposals. Here in Canada we have had universal medicare for a half a century and it has proven itself to be relatively effective and efficient and has not driven us into penury. As for free access to education beyond high school, I remember learning a while ago that the US government discovered that it had earned a return of 700% on the money spent on the GI Bill after WWII which allowed returning GIs to go to colleges and universities. The problem with American conservatives is that they see investments in the health, welfare and education of the citizenry as wasteful expenditures, and wasteful expenditures such as the resources going to an already bloated military, and of course tax cuts for themselves as investments.
Orangecat Valley Forge, PA Jan. 23
Note to the NYT and its contributors. Your sycophantic enslavement to promoting Ocasio-Cortez is beginning to fatigue some of your readers. 2 Replies
RedRat Sammamish, WA Jan. 23
@chele Amen to you! I too am old guy (79) and think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a savior of the Democratic Party! She is young and has great ideas. I agree with you about the Clintons, they led the party down a sinkhole. I agree with just about everything I have heard Alexandria espouse. She is refreshing. Glad she is kicking the butts of those old guard Democrats that have fossilized in place--they are dinosaurs. 12 Replies
Tintin Midwest Jan. 23
@Tracy Rupp The problem with blaming a group based on demographics, rather than behavior or ideology, is that you are likely to be disappointed. There are a lot of people who are not old white men who are just as seduced by money, power, and local privilege as was the old guard. Feminists writing letters to condemn a male student who made charges of being sexually harassed by his female professor; African American activists who refuse to reject the antisemitism of charismatic cult leaders. Human beings in charge will be flawed, regardless of their race, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As the balance of power changes hands, corruption too will become more diverse. 6 Replies
Woof NY Jan. 23
Money is the mother's milk of politics, so let me comment on "many of whom did not want the Democrats to nominate a candidate with deep ties to party regulars and to the major donor community." Include me. Because the major donor community is Charles E Schumer, Leader Democrats, House Top Contributors, 1989 - 2018 1 Goldman Sachs 2 Citigroup Inc 3 Paul, Weiss et al 4 JPMorgan Chase & Co 5 Credit Suisse Group That is Wall Street Nancy Pelosi, leader Democrats, House Top Contributors, 2017 - 2018 1 Facebook Inc 2 Alphabet Inc (Google) 2 Salesforce.com 4 University of California 5 Intel Corp $13,035 That is Silicon Valley . The U of CA should spent its money on students What is the interest of these donors ? For Wall Street, it is maximizing profits by suppressing wages, outsourcing to of enterprises it owns to low wage countries, and immigration of people willing to work for less For Silicon Valley it is Mining your data, violating your privacy, and immigration of people willing to work for less via H1B To win general (not primary) elections you need large amounts of money. At in return for this money, you need to take care of your donors, lest you find you without money in the next election Until the Democratic Party frees itself of this system, it will spout liberal rhetoric, but do little to help average Americans As Sanders showed, it can do so, running on small donations. DNC, eye on frightened donors, killed his attempt. 1 Reply
Cwnidog Central Florida Jan. 23
"The most active wing of the Democratic Party -- the roughly 20 percent of the party's electorate that votes in primaries and wields disproportionate influence over which issues get prioritized -- has moved decisively to the left." Yet it seems that you feel that the party should ignore them and move to the center right in order to capture suburban Republican women, who will revert back to the Republican party as soon as (and if) it regains something resembling sanity. Do you seriously think that its worth jettisoning what you describe as "the most active wing of the party" for that? 2 Replies
Ron Cohen Waltham, MA Jan. 23
@shstl Right on!
Linda Miilu Chico, CA Jan. 23
@David G. See Norway, Denmark, Germany, England and Finland. Citizens have jobs and health care; education is affordable and subsidized. Not all young people attend universities; many go to vocational schools which prepare them for good jobs. We could do the same. 27 Replies
Lisa NYC Jan. 23
@Midwest Josh That is so NOT true Midwest Josh. The unattainable loans and interest problems are because the private sector has been allowed into the student loan game. The government should be the underwriter for all student loan programs unless individual schools offer specialized lending programs. Whenever the government privatizes anything the real abuse starts and the little guy gets hurt. 38 Replies
michaeltide Bothell, WA Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit, at the end of a long line of commenters, I add my congratulations for a well-articulated overview of our political dilemma. Both "trickle-down"economics and "neo-liberalism" have brought us to this pass, giving both Democrats and Republicans a way of rewarding their corporate masters. I believe both Cinton and Obama believed they could find a balance between the corporate agenda and a secure society. We see with hindsight how this has hailed to materialize, and are rightly seeking a more equitable system – one that addresses the common sense needs of all of us. I, for one, am overjoyed that the younger generation has found its voice, and has a cause to support. My recollection of demonstrating against the Viet Nam war (and the draft), marching for civil rights, and even trying to promote the (then largely inchoate) women's rights movement, still evokes a passionate nostalgia. We have witnessed an entire generation that lacked passion for any cause beyond their individual desires. It's good to have young men and women reminding us of our values, our aspirations, and our power as citizens. As the bumper sticker says, "If you think education is expensive – try ignorance." Thanks again for a fine post. 27 Replies
James Mullaney Woodside, NY Jan. 23
@Matt Williams Without the undue media attention we wouldn't be saddled with this cartoon character masquerading as a president.
Shirley0401 The South Jan. 23
@Quiet Waiting That was FIFTY YEARS AGO. People who fought in the Spanish-American War were still casting ballots, for heaven's sake. McGovern has been used by Third Way apologists as a cautionary tale to provide cover for doing what they clearly wanted to do anyway. The other reality is that the McGovern/Nixon race took place in a time when there was broad consensus that many of the social programs Republicans are now salivating over privatizing weren't going anywhere. 12 Replies
ann Seattle Jan. 23
Abolishing ICE is tantamount to having open borders. No modern country can allow all people who are able to get to its borders to just move in, and take advantage of its government services. If a country were to start offering Medicare for All, no or reduced college tuition, a universal jobs guarantee, a $15 minimum wage, and wage subsidies to the entire bottom half through an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, paid maternity/paternity leave, and free child care, it would need tax-payers to support these plans. It could not afford to support all of the poor, uneducated migrants who have been illegally crossing our borders, let alone all of those who would run here if ICE were to be abolished. Look at Canada which has more of a social safety net than is offered in our country. It has practically no illegal immigrants. (A long term illegal immigrant had to sue for the government to pay for her extensive medical care, and the court decisions appear to have limited government payment of her medical bills just to her and not to other illegal migrants.) It picks the vast majority of its legal immigrants on a merit system that prioritizes those who would contribute a special needed skill to the Canadian economy, who are fluent in English and/or French, and who could easily assimilate. Thus, most of Canada's immigrants start paying hefty taxes as soon as they move to Canada, helping to support the country's social safety net. 1 Reply
GAO Gurnee, IL Jan. 23
@Samuel To pay for universal health care you capture all the money currently being spent for the health care system. That includes all the employer insurance premiums, VA medical care costs, military medical costs, all out-of-pocket expenses, everything. That provides plenty of money for our health care needs as exemplified by the costs in other advanced countries with better systems. Also re-activate parts of the ACA that were designed to control and reduce costs but that have gone unfunded. Reduce hospital and hospital administration costs, which are exorbitant and provide little real health care benefit. There will be plenty of funds for actual provider salaries (physicians, nurses, technicians, pharmacists, etc). 10 Replies
Martin Kobren Silver Spring, MD Jan. 23
You have to accept some of this polling data with a grain of salt. Most of the population has no idea what "moderate," "slightly liberal," or extremely liberal mean. These tend to be labels that signify how closely people feel attached to other people on the left side of the ideological spectrum. The same is true, btw, of people on the right. The odd thing is that if you ask Trump voters about the economic policies they favor, they generally agree that social security ought to be expanded, that the government has an obligation to see that everyone has medical care, that taxes on the rich should be higher and that we ought to be spending more money, not less on education. Where you see a divergence is on issues tightly aligned with Trump and on matters that touch on racial resentment. Trump voters do not favor cuts in spending on the poor, though they do support cuts in "welfare." The moral of the story is that a strategic Democratic politician who can speak to these Trump voters on a policy level or at the level of values -- I'm thinking Sharrod Brown -- may be able to win in 2020 with a landslide.
jk ny Jan. 23
I saw AOC on the Colbert Show recently and one of her first statements was in regards to wearing red nail polish. I turned it off. Enough of the red lipstick as well. Please. Next she'll discuss large hoop earrings. 1 Reply
P McGrath USA Jan. 23
O'Cortez is a "Fantasy Socialist. She says the stupidest and most outlandish things so the media puts a microphone in front of her face. She hates when folks fact check her because nothing she is saying adds up. O'Cortez has all of the same "spread the wealth" tendencies as the previous president who was much more cunning and clever at hiding his true Socialist self.
Trebor USA Jan. 23
@chele Right on. I expect there is a very large contingent of us. It is disheartening to be associated by age and ethnicity with the corporatist financial elite power mongers who control both parties and the media. But we can still continue vote the right way and spread the word to fight corruption and corporatism. Eschew New Democrats like ORourke. The first commitment to find out about is the commitment to restore democracy and cut off the power of the financial elite in politics. All the other liberal sounding stuff is a lie if that first commitment is not there. Because none of it will happen while the financial elite are controlling votes. There will always be enough defectors against, for example, the mainstream support for medicare for all national health care to keep it from happening if New Democrats aren't understood as the republican lite fifth column corrupters they really are. 12 Replies
MDB Encinitas Jan. 23
I see a Trump victory in 2020. Thank you, AOC. 1 Reply
Odysseus Home Again Jan. 23
@David G. You mean like Scandinavia, right? 27 Replies
R. Law Texas Jan. 23
Chock full of very interesting data, but we tend to to believe Zeitz's conclusion that Dems are just returning to their roots, following the spectacular 2008 failures that saw no prosecutions - in starkest contrast to the S&L failure and boatload of bankers charged: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/magazine/only-one-top-banker-jail-financial-crisis.html To the extent this primary voter data is replicated across the country in Dem primaries, and not just the AOC and Ayana Pressley races, we could be convinced some massive swing is occurring in Dem primary results. Until then, we tend to believe that the cycle of 30-50 House seats which swing back and forth as Dem or GOP from time to time (not the exact same 30-50 districts each cycle, but about 30-50 in total per election cycle or two) is a continuation of a long-term voting trend. Unpacking the egregious GOP'er gerrymandering, as is the goal of Eric Holder and Barack Obama: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/02/us/politics/voting-gerrymander-elections.html which has blunted Dem voter effects, will be of far more consequence - get ready !
Odo Klem Chicago Jan. 23
@Michael Gig'em dude. Class of '88, and I feel the same way. And as far as I can tell, the increase has been almost totally because state support has fallen in order to fund tax cuts for the people, like us, who got the free education. Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? You just have to raid everyone else's plate. 38 Replies
Jay Orchard Miami Beach Jan. 23
I understand the Andy Warhol concept of everyone having 15 minutes of fame. But it's absurd that AOC's 15 minutes of fame coincide with her first 15 minutes in office.
Fred Up North Jan. 24
Ocasio-Cortez and the rest haven't been in Congress a month. Get back to me when anyone of them even gets a bill passed naming a Post Office. Until the, maybe you ought to learn your jobs?
mrfreeze6 Seattle, WA Jan. 23
@In the know, Your party invented the fundamental ACA program. It was the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation that started this fiasco that you'd like to blame on Dems. Also, you simply cannot argue that the Republicans attempted to implement the program in good faith. They have done everything they can to sabotage it. In the end, Republicans don't want people to have affordable health care. It doesn't fit their "family-unfriendly" philosophy. Furthermore, the only real business-friendly ideas Republicans embrace are a) eliminate taxes, b) remove regulations, c) pay employees nothing. If you as a woman believe these are notions that strengthen you or your family, I'm at a total loss in understanding your reasoning.
Len Charlap Printceton NJ Jan. 23
@Matt Williams - You are ignoring the many statistics in the article that apply to the Democratic party as a whole. For example: "From 2008 to 2018, the percentage of Democrats who said the government should create "a way for immigrants already here illegally to become citizens if the meet certain requirements" grew from 29 to 51 percent, while the share who said "there should be better border security and stronger enforcement of immigration laws" fell from 21 to 5 percent." There are many others.
SteveRR CA Jan. 24
"...as millennials and minorities become an ever-larger proportion of the party, it will have a natural constituency..." I would counter that as they start to actually pay taxes then the millennials will adopt the standard liberal plaint, 'raise the taxes on everybody except me'
Roger California Jan. 23
@D I Shaw I think the precise point is that would much easier to do A,B, and C if there were universal health care, job guarantees, and clean water to drink. It is much easier to make good long-term decisions when you aren't kept in a state of perpetual desperation.
Giacomo anytown, earth Jan. 23
These 'new' ideas are not new, nor are they 'progressive democrats'', nor are they even the democratic party's per se. More importantly, the 'issue', for which no one has come up with a solution, is the same -- how are we going to pay for this all? The GAO reported in '16 that Sander's proposal for payment was completely unsustainable. Similarly, Cortez's plan for a tax rate of 70% of earnings (not capital gains) over $10mm per annum does not come close to funding 'medicare for all', 'free collage/trade school', and 'the New Green Deal'. Our military is a 'jobs program' rooted in certain state's economy -- it is going to be very difficult to substantially reduce those expenditures any time soon. The purpose of government is governance -- what politician is going to have the integrity and cujones to tell the American people that we need these 'liberal' policies, but that every single one of us is going to have to contribute, even those at the far lower income strata? Are we all willing to work longer in life and live in much smaller houses/apartments to do what is necessary? If the answer is yes, then and only then can any of us claim the moral high ground. Until then, it's just empty rhetoric for political gain and personal Aggrandizement of so-called progressives. 5 Replies
Keith Texas Jan. 23
@chele I'm an "elder millennial" in my 30s. The first US election I really paid attention to was in 2000. Remember how all of the Democrats would gripe about, "oh I really *like* Nader, but the Green Party candidate is never going to win..." It's a party in dire straights when the ideological base doesn't even particularly love its candidates on the issues. Repeat in 2004 with Kerry. Obama managed to win based on charisma and the nation's collective disgust with the neocons, but then we did it again with Hillary. 12 Replies
Chris W Toledo Ohio Jan. 23
Sorry libs, but with the exception of the Left Coast, and Manhattan, there is not alot of attention given AOC and her silly class warfare 70% tax nonsense, that goes with the Dem/Lib territory--nothing new or exciting with her. Being a certain ethnicity or gender is not exciting or inherently "good" as Progressives attempt to convince others. Identity politics is nonsense. When she does something of merit, not simply engage in publicity stunts and class warfare nonsense then maybe she will get some attention outside of Lib/Wacko world. "With all the attention that is being paid to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib" Other than these opinion pages and the Lib coasts, not so much. 2 Replies
cgtwet los angeles Jan. 23
Since Reagan there has been a steady drumbeat to the right and far-right policies. We've lived so long in this bubble that we've normalized these For-the-Rich policies as centrist. So I don't accept the writer's premise that the Democratic party is moving to a radical left. The Democratic party is simply embracing pro middle class policies that were once the norm between 1935-1979. And I welcome the shift of the pendulum. 1 Reply
Andrzej Warminski Irvine, CA Jan. 23
@Giacomo That's right, this country can afford trillions for the Pentagon system--the military-industrial complex, to coin a phrase--and foolishly criminal wars, but it can't afford national health insurance, something that some industrialized countries have had since the late 19th century. Anybody who thinks these ideas are "radical" or "leftist" clearly understands nothing about politics.
just Robert North Carolina Jan. 23
The shift claimed by Mr. Edsall among democratic voters who claim to be liberal or progressive is more illusion than reality. With President Obama more democrats are willing and indeed proud that our party represents the cutting edge principle that we protect the needs and interests of those struggling to find a place in our society. For a long time Democrats bought into the notion that the word liberal was some how shameful. But now with the machinations of a McConnell and Trump it becomes obvious that Democratic principles of justice for all and fighting for economic equality are not outside ideas, but actually central to the growth of our country. No longer will we kow tow to a false stilted opinion, but stand up proudly for what we believe and fight for.
Shenoa United States Jan. 24
AOC behaves like a sanctimonious know-it-all teenager....entertaining for about 5 minutes, then just plain annoying and tiresome. Does not bode well for the Democratic Party,...
Nima Toronto Jan. 23
Actually, people like AOC or Bernie aren't that far left at all. Internationally, they'd be considered pretty centrist. They're simply seen as "far left" because the Overton window in DC is far to the right. Even domestically, policies like universal healthcare and a living wage enjoy solid majority support, so they're perfectly mainstream
Samuel Santa Barbara Jan. 23
I understand what you are saying, but please remember- half of this country thinks- rightly or wrongly- that AOC and many of her ideals are unobtainable and socialist. Whether they are or are not is NOT the point. We need ideas that are palatable to the mainstream, average American- not just those of us on the liberal wings. And I AM one of those. Since you bring up Bernie- how well did that work out? The country isn't ready for those ideas. And rightly or wrongly, pursuing them at all cost will end up winning Trump the next election.
Bob Guthrie Australia Jan. 23
@Jose Pieste Well here in Australia its 10 minute waits for appointments made on the same day. I have MS and see my specialist without a problem. And the government through the PBS prescription benefit scheme pays $78 of my $80 daily tablets. We are not as phenomenally wealthy a country as the USA and we mange it with universal health care. I pay about $30 Australian for each doctor's visit and sometimes with bulk billing that is free too. You reflect a uniquely American attitude about social services that is not reflective of what is done in other modern democracies. I really do feel for you my friend and for all Americans who have been comprehensively hoodwinked by the "can't afford it" myth. You can pay for trillion dollar tax cuts for people who don't need it. Honestly mate - you have been conned.
beberg Edmonds, WA Jan. 23
@Samuel Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has sponsored or co-sponsored 18 bills in the House, including original co-sponsor with Rep. Pressley of H.R.678 -- 116th Congress (2019-2020) To provide back pay to low-wage contractor employees, and for other purposes. 10 Replies
JBC NC Jan. 23
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, as is well documented here and throughout world media, prefers spotlights and baffling interviews to opening her district office and serving her electorate. As with every other media creation, the shiny star that it has made of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez will fade soon. The arc of her House career will as well. 4 Replies
ML Boston Jan. 24
"What pundits today decry as a radical turn in Democratic policy and politics actually finds its antecedents in 1944." This quote in the article should have been the lede. Instead, it appears 66 paragraphs into the article. What is now being called "left" used to be called "center." It used to be called the values and the core of the Democratic party.
jk NY Jan. 23
@Derek Flint There was a reason for the DLC's decision to be more center left. The Democrats were losing and this gave them a chance to win, which they did with Clinton, almost Gore, and Obama. 12 Replies
G. Michigan Jan. 23
@Jason A. Representatives should represent their constituents. For example, if most of the voters one represents want Medicare, perhaps that's a sign that one should reconsider their anti-Medicare views. And think about why constituents want Medicare.
fast/furious the new world Jan. 24
@A. Stanton Don't make anything about Hillary. That ship has sailed.
Christy WA Jan. 23
The leftward swing of the Democrats is in direct proportion to the rightward swing of the Republicans and a gut reaction to the GOP's failure to do anything constructive while in power -- i.e. failure to replace Obamacare with Trump's promise of "cheaper and better;" failure to repair our crumbling infrastructure, and yet another failed attempt at trickle-down economics by robbing the U.S. Treasury with a massive tax cut for the rich that provided absolutely no benefits for the middle class and the poor. As always, what the Republicans destroy the Democrats will have to fix.
ErikW65 VT Jan. 23
@Quiet Waiting, the DLC was officially formed after Mondale's loss, in '85. the DLC's main position is that economic populism is not politically feasible. But I don't recall either McGovern or Mondale's losses being attributed to being too pro-worker, too pro-regulation of capitalism, or making tax rates progressive again. Further, the idea that economic populism has no political value was just disproved by a demagogue took advantage of it to get elected. The RP's mid-term losses and other data points show that people in the middle are realizing Trump's not really a populist. Those economic Trump voters, some of whom voted for Obama twice, are up for grabs. Why would you be afraid that the DP's shift to raising taxes on the wealthy and being pro-worker will result in a Trump victory? 12 Replies
Tom New Jersey Jan. 23
@Michael The cost of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security has increased as a fraction of tax receipts. Twice the as many people go to college as when you went, so the subsidies are spread more thinly. Colleges have more bureaucrats than professors because of multiple mandates regarding sex, race, income, sexual preference, etc. People have not been willing to see taxes raised, so things like college subsidies get squeezed. The US decided in the 1940s that the only way to avoid a repeat of WW1 and WW2 was to provide a security blanket for Western Europe and Japan (and really, the world), and prevent military buildups in either region while encouraging economic development. The world is as a result more peaceful, prosperous, and free than ever in human history, despite "its continuous wars" as you put it. For the US to pull back would endanger the stability that gave us this peace and prosperity, but Trump is with you all the way on that one, so it must be a good idea. Liberal reforms will mean tax increases, especially Medicare for all, but also more college subsidies, which largely benefit the middle class and up. Liberal reformers need to convince the public to send more money to the IRS, for which there is no evident support. Let's not confuse opposition to Trump with a liberal groundswell. 38 Replies
Skanik Berkeley Jan. 24
Why do Political Commentators and Analysts keep operating under the delusion that people vote their skin colour ? People vote their economic interests. I am all in favour of National Health Care Letting Immigrants who have not committed a crime stay and become citizens. But I am also in favour of stricter Border Control as I feel our duty is to the poor citizens of America. Send Economic aid to poorer countries, help them establish just governments. As for Ocasio-Cortez, she is aiming too high and has too many lies about her past to go much higher.
Martin New York Jan. 23
The meanings of these labels--liberal, left, center, conservative--, and of the spectrum along which they supposedly lie, changes year to year, and most pundits and politicians seem to use them to suit their own purposes. When you realize that a significant group of people voted for Obama and then for Trump, you realize how radically the politics of the moment can redefine the terms. The Democrats could create a narrative that unites the interests of all economically disadvantaged people, including white people. Doing so would create a broad majority and win elections, but it would arouse the fury of the oligarchs, who will demonize them as "socialists." But as Obamacare proved, if actually you do something that helps people across the board even the Republicans and the media will have a hard time convincing people that they are oppressed, for example, by access to health insurance. For the oligarchs, as for the Republicans, success depends on creating a narrative that pits the middle class against the poor. In its current, most vulgar form, this includes pitting disadvantaged white people against all the rest, but the Republicans have an advantage in that their party is united behind the narrative. Democratic politicians may be united against Trump, but that means nothing. The challenge will be uniting the politicians who run on economic justice with the establishment Democrats who have succeeded by hiding their economic conservativism behind identity politics.
Marc Adin Jan. 23
I applaude AOC. I am 72 white male. I have been waiting for someone like AOC to emerge. I wish her the best and will work for her positions and re-elections and ultimate ambitions. She is a great leader, teacher, learner, whip smart, and should not be taken likely. Go for it AOC! Realize your full potential.
Mario Quadracci Milwaukee Jan. 23
Enough about her, sheesh
Xoxarle Tampa Jan. 23
Someone as thoroughly imbedded in the establishment as this Op-Ed writer is necessarily going to need to be educated on what the political center of gravity really is. The Democrats have shifted RIGHT over the past few decades. Under Bill Clinton and Pelosi, Schumer, Feinstein and Obama. They are not left, not center-left, not center, but instead center-right. They have pursued a center-right agenda that does not engage with the rigged economy or widening inequality, or inadequate pay, or monopolist abuse of power, or adequate regulation and punishment of corporate crime. They have enthusiastically embraced our deeply stupid wars of choice, and wasted trillions that could have been put to productive use at home. The new generation of progressive Democrats seek to move the debate BACK TO THE CENTER or Center-Left if you will. Not the Left or Far-Left. They want to address the issues the current Democrat Establishment have ignored or exacerbated, because they are in essence, the same rarified rich as the lobbyists and donors they mingle with. The issues that affect MOST of us, but not the FEW of them. The endgame of this shift is that Obama engineered a pseudo-recovery that saw the very rich recover their gains, but the poor become MORE impoverished. Such is the rigged economy, 21st Century style. Things have to change, the old guard have to be neutered. Too much wealth and power is concentrated in too few hands, and it's too detrimental to our pseudo-democracy.
JB Arizona Jan. 24
This is the difference between R & D's. OAC may get her support from well-to-do, educated whites, but her platform focuses on those left behind. Even her green revolution will provide jobs for those less well off. R's, on the other hand, vote only for candidates that further their selfish interests.
Panthiest U.S. Jan. 23
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her legislative cohorts are a much needed breath of fresh, progressive air for the U.S. Congress. And I say that as someone going on age 70 who was raised and educated in the conservative Deep South. Go left, young people!
Our road to hatred Nj Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit Unfortunately, the hot button on fox is the word socialism. so undo the negative press there and have a chance of implementing fairer policies. 27 Replies
Roger California Jan. 23
@Samuel "It's easy to go to a rooftop- or a twitter account- and yell "health care and education for all!'" Its not easy to get anyone to listen. The moral impetus precedes the "actual plans," which come out of the legislative process, Why would you be against this getting attention?Unless, of course, you oppose health care and education for all. 10 Replies
PLH Crawford Golden Valley. Minnesota Jan. 24
The further the Democrats go Left with all the cultural politics including white people bashing and calling Men toxic, the further I am heading towards the right. I personally can't stand what the Democratic Party has turned into. We'll see who wins in 2020. I think a lot of people forget what happens in mid term elections. People vote for change and then, after seeing what they wrought, switch back.
RVN '69 Florida Jan. 23
I am a old white male geezer and lifelong liberal living in complete voter disenfranchisement in Florida due to gerrymandering, voter suppression and rigged election machines (how else does one explain over 30,000 votes in Broward County that failed to register a preference for the Senate or Governor in a race where the Republican squeaked in by recount?). I am pleased to finally see the party moving away from corporatist and quisling centrists to take on issues of critical import for the economy, the environment and the literal health of the nation. As "moderate" Republicans come to a cognitive realization that they too are victims of the fascist oligarch billionaire agenda to end democracy; they too will move to the left. So, I for one am not going to worry an iota about this hand-wringing over something akin to revolution and instead welome what amounts to the return of my fellow New Deal Democrats.
ST New York Jan. 23
Too much attention here to this new cohort of self important attention seekers presenting as civil servants. Not one of them has had any legislative experience in their lives how can they do all they say they want. They have no grasp of policy economics and politics. Are they too good to recall the wise words of Sam Rayburn - "Those who go along get along" or is that too quaint outdated and patriarchal for them? Why dont journalists and other pols call them out. Example, AOC calls for 70% marginal tax rate - saying we had it before, ha ha. Yes but only when defense spending as percent of gdp was 20-40 percent, in the depth of WW2 and the cold war, life and death struggles - it is now 5%, no one has the stomach for those rates now, and no need for them to boot. Free school, free healthcare, viva la stat! yeah ok who will pay for it? Lots of ideas no plans, flash in the pan is what it is, it will die down then settle in for a long winter.
fred Miami Jan. 23
There is a difference between posturing as a leader and actually leading. So, there is another, and very direct, way for real Americans to end the shutdown: Recall petitions. With very little money, why not target Mitch McConnell. Laid off federal workers could go door-to-door in Kentucky. The message, not just to the Senate majority leader, would be powerful. And this need not be limited. There are some easy targets among GOP senators. Perhaps Ms. Ocasio-Cortez can achieve greater national standing with a clipboard and pen down on the hustings.
Kathy Oxford Jan. 24
All this fuss over a bright young person who stopped complaining and ran for office. She has a platform. Time will tell how effective she will be. Right now, she's connecting to those young and old who believe we can do better. If you had a choice who would you rather share a beer with?A Trump supporter who has no interest beyond building an ineffective wall or an Ocasio-Cortez supporter, full of ideas, some fanciful, some interesting but most off all energy and light versus fear and hate?
Tintin Midwest Jan. 23
I'm a liberal Democrat and I remain very skeptical regarding the platforms of these new members of Congress. Youthful exuberance is admirable, but it's not sufficient to address complicated issues related to fairness. Fairness does not always mean equity of wealth. Some people have more because they have worked more, worked longer, or took more risks with their money. Should the nurse who worked three jobs to make $150,000/year be made to sacrifice a significant portion for those who chose to work less? Such an anecdotal question may seem naive, but these are the kinds of questions asked by regular Americans who often value social programs, but also value fairness. The claim that only some tiny fraction of the 1% will bear the cost of new programs and will alone suffer increased taxation is simply untrue, and those who are making this claim know it. This tiny group of wealthy knows how to hide its money off-shore and in other ways, as documented in the Times last year. Everyone knows the low-lying fruit for increased taxation is the upper middle class: Those who work hard and save hard and are nowhere near the top of the wealth pyramid. It's that nurse with the three jobs, or the small business owner who now clears $200,000 a year, or the pair of teachers who, after 25 years of teaching, now bring home $150,000 combined. Those are the targets of the proposed "new" taxes. Don't believe the hype. I'm a liberal, and I know what's up with these people. 4 Replies
Woody Missouri Jan. 23
Ocasio-Cortez represents the success of a progressive in ousting a white liberal in a safely Democratic district. While interesting, that doesn't provide much of a blueprint for winning in 2020 in districts and states that voted for Trump. As noted elsewhere in this newspaper, of the roughly 60 new Democrats in Congress elected in 2018, two-thirds, were pragmatic moderates that flipped Republican seats. Progressives were notably less successful in flipping Republican seats.
nora m New England Jan. 23
Just keep in mind that what the author deems "radical" ideas are considered mainstream in the rest of the developed world. We are an extreme outlier in lacking some form of universal health care, for example. Also, while the NYT clearly saw Bernie's 2016 campaign as shockingly radical, the very people Edsall says we must court were wild about Bernie. His message about income inequality resonates with anyone living paycheck to paycheck and the only thing "radical" about it is that he said the truth out loud about the effects of unbridled capitalism. The neoliberal types that the NYT embraces are the milquetoast people who attract a rather small group of voters, so, I am not too eager to accept his analysis. I fully expect the Times to back Gillibrand and Biden, maybe even that other corporatist, Booker. They don't scare the moneyed class.
Tom J Berwyn, IL Jan. 23
Cortez has fire and I respect that. Time to have what WE want, not what they want.
David California Jan. 23
The Dems have been drifting to the right for decades, egged on by pundits who keep telling them to move to the center. Do the math: moving to the center just moves the center to the right. Frankly, Nixon was more liberal than most of today's Dems. A move to the left is long overdue.
Andrea Landry Lynn, MA Jan. 23
The Democrats are the party of the middle class and the poor, and the GOP is a party of the rich. That is the distinction most voters make. 3 Replies
Robert Migliori Newberg, Oregon Jan. 23
The rumblings in the Democratic party may represent a realization that WE THE PEOPLE deserve a bigger slice of the pie. Democrats such as Sanders, Warren and AOC are tapping into a reservoir of voters who have been excluded from the American Dream by design. The new message seems to be "fairness". I think that translates into government which does the most good for the greatest number of people. Candidates who embody that principle will be the new leaders. Ignore at your peril.
AACNY New York Jan. 23
The problem is AOC doesn't really know anything. Not everyone feels comfortable saying it, but it's pretty hard to miss. 1 Reply
Ole Fart La,In, Ks, Id.,Ca. Jan. 23
@Quiet Waiting: if voters believe republicans are helping them economically then follow them off the cliff. Hopefully enough voters will try a more humane form of capitalism. 12 Replies
Derek Flint Los Angeles, California Jan. 23
@chele Me, too!
Steve W Ford Jan. 23
Ms Ocasio Cortez is a partial illustration of Reagan's dictum that "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so". In the case of AOC she is not only very ignorant but she believes many things that are actually not true. For her to actually believe that the "world will end in 12 years" and simultaneously believe that, even if true, Congress could change this awful fact is so breathtakingly ignorant one hardly knows where to start.
JoeFF NorCal Jan. 23
Maybe it's worth considering that a lot of those spooky millennials, the stuff of campfire scare stories, themselves grew up in the suburbs. They are the children of privilege who have matured into a world that is far less secure and promising than that of their swing-voter soccer moms. Health care, student debt, secure retirement, and the ability to support a family are serious concerns for them. And don't even get me started on climate change and the fossil fuel world's stranglehold on our polity.
ErikW65 VT Jan. 23
@dudley thompson, if you are one of those elite moderate liberals against the "lefties" concern about college and medical costs, protections for workers and the environment, and progressive taxation, then in the end getting your vote isn't worth sacrificing the votes of all the other people who do care about those things. Your "moderate" way may calm those swing voters who fear change, and allow them to vote for the Democrat, but it also demoralizes and disappoints the much larger group of potential Democratic voters that craves change.
Odysseus Home Again Jan. 23
@Jessica Summerfield ..."article described AOC as a communist." And I saw an article describe Ross Douthat as a "columnist"... equally misleading. Will the calumny never cease? 27 Replies
ML Boston Jan. 23
Thomas, this "left" used to be known as the middle. A commitment to housing instead of an acceptance of homelessness. Dignity. A tax system designed to tax wealthy people, not, as we have now, a tax system designed to tax the middle class and poor. Can we all just take a look at what is being promoted -- look at what AOC is proposing compared to Eisenhower era tax rates. We have lurched right so that event center-right is now considered left.
Raul Campos San Francisco Jan. 23
Rage is the political fuel that fires up the Left. Rage also is the source of some very bad ideas. Having bad ideas is the reason people don't vote for a political party in a presidential election. The democrats are now the party of socialism, open borders, very high taxes, anti-religious bigotry, abolishment of free speech, rewriting the constitution, stuffing the Supreme Court, impeachment of the President, and being intolerance of other views. They have also alienated 64 million Americans by calling them deplorables, racist and a host of other derogatory terms. Not a good strategy to win over voters in swing states. They also have attacked all men and white men in particular. They think masculinity is toxic and that gender is not biological but what a person believes themselves to be (noticed that I used the plural pronoun?). So far a long list of bad ideas. Let's see how it plays out in 2020. 1 Reply
Anthony Western Kansas Jan. 23
We need to be careful what we refer to as left. Is the concept that we have access to affordable housing, healthcare, and decent jobs really a position of the far left? Not really. The 1944 progressives saw access to basic life as a right of all people. This is why young educated progressives support policies that encourage success within the unregulated capitalist economy that has been created over the last 40 years. The evidence illustrates that federal and state governments need to help people survive, otherwise we are looking at massive amounts of inequality that affect the economy and ultimately affect the very people, the extremely rich, who support deregulation.
Stephen New Haven Jan. 23
Look at what's going on in Venezuela! Let's not go this direction. 1 Reply
Kathy Oxford Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit The Republicans great skill has been selling lies to the socially conservative to get their greedy financial agenda through. They have never cared about their voters other than how best to spin their rhetoric. 27 Replies
Kurt Pickard Murfreesboro, TN Jan. 23
Moving left takes a twitter account, a quixotic mentality and the word free. Its sedition arousing rhetoric is blinkered by the lack of a viable strategy to support and move it forward. Liberals thrive on the free media attention which feeds their rancor and aplomb. Liberals are the infants of the Democratic Party. They're young, cute and full of amusing antics. They have an idyllic view of what the world can be but without efficacy. When they are challenged, or don't get enough attention, they revert to petulance. As all mammals do, most liberals eventually grow up to join the Democratic median. Those that don't become the party regalers brought out when the base needs energized. They grow old and fade away, remembered only for their flamboyance and dystopian view of the world. The Democratic Party has never been more fractured since its inception. With close to thirty potential candidates for President, it is going to take a coalition within their party in order to put forth a viable nominee. Then the party infighting will commence which will lead the party into defeat. Democrats must focus on a untied party platform which is viable and will produce results for the American people. Enough of the loquacious hyperbole and misandrous language; it's time to stop reacting and start leading.
Larry Roth Ravena, NY Jan. 24
If it looks like the Democrats are moving strongly to the left, it's because they have stopped chasing the GOP over the cliff in a vain effort to meet them in some mythical middle. That's why the gap is widening; Republicans have not slowed in their headlong rush to disaster. In truth it is the Republican Party and its messaging machine that has been doing its best to drag America to the extreme right by controlling the narrative and broadcasting talking points picked up and amplified by the Mainstream Media. The Mainstream Media has its own issues. Increasingly consolidated under corporate ownership into fewer and fewer hands, it has developed a reflex aversion to anything that looks too 'left' and a suspicion of anything that looks progressive. The desperate battle for eyeballs in a fragmenting market has also taken a toll; deep journalism or reporting that risks alienating any part of the shrinking audience for traditional news is anathema to the bean counters who have financialized everything. Deliberate intimidation by the right has also taken a toll. Republicans have no answers; Democrats do - and that's the gist of it. The real challenge is to prevail against a party that has embraced disinformation, the politics of resentment and destruction - and the Mainstream Media that has failed to call them out on it.
Doremus Jessup On the move Jan. 23
We are looking at a future Speaker of the House. Watch out Republicans, this woman is not afraid of you white, stodgy, misogynistic and racist haters. Your party, once a viable and caring party, is dead.
Clark Landrum Near the swamp. Jan. 23
The Republican Party used to be a moderate political party that was fully capable of governing. Over the years, the right wing of the party assumed control and they became a radically conservative party that basically hated government and did nothing for the benefit of average Americans. As a result, many voters came to believe that a more liberal stance was preferred to what the Republicans had become. Basically, the Republican Party veered sharply to the right and went off and left a lot of their earlier supporters, like me.
Charlie Little Ferry, NJ Jan. 23
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the perfect foil to the Trump twitter fest we've been subjected to for the past 2 years. However, enough of the tit for tat -- I would still like to see the freshman representative put forth some legislation for a vote.
ray mullen Jan. 23
gentrification is bad. white flight is bad. so which is it?
Fred Baltimore Jan. 23
In terms of policies, this "sharp shift to the left" represents a return to the New Deal and the Great Society and a renewed commitment to civil rights. It is a return to things we never should have turned away from.
Larry Long Island NY Jan. 23
@Tracy Rupp Don't be so quick to condemn. The really old white men of today defeated Germany and Japan. Then those same old white men went into Korea and then Vietnam. Ok so maybe you have a point.
David Keys Las Cruces, NM Jan. 23
Shifted to the LEFT? After decades of movement to the Right, by the GOP and even assisted by Dems such as the Clintons, etc., this political movement is merely a correction, not a radical shift as your article contends.
RM Brooklyn, NY Jan. 23
Just as the reader comments from yesterday's opinion piece on the Covington School story by David Brooks reveal rampant confirmation bias, the comments here reveal an equally relevant truth: nobody, but nobody, eats their own like the left. The "Down With Us" culture in full effect.
Marc Vermont Jan. 23
I am confused about what message, what issues resonate with the "moderate" people who are disaffected from the liberal message of the Democrats on the left. What policies would bring them to vote Democratic, what is it about health care for all, a living wage and opening the voting process to all people are they opposed to. Is it policy or message that has them wavering?
ML Boston Jan. 24
@dudley thompson Do you consider Eisenhower leftist? (highest tax rates ever). How about Nixon? (established the EPA). We have lurched so far right in this country that the middle looks left. I'm sick of the labels -- listen to what these leaders are actually proposing. If you don't understand how the marginal tax rate works, look it up. If you don't realize we once didn't accept mass homelessness and mass incarceration as a fact of life in America, learn some history. We're living in a myopic, distorted not-so-fun-house where up is down and center is left. We need to look with fresh eyes and ask what our communal values are and what America stands for. 5 Replies
Blunt NY Jan. 23
Here is a thought I would like to share with the New York Times: Thomas Edsall's article is excellent. The corollary I draw from it that the paper that projects itself as the voice of the liberals in this county has to understand that it has fallen behind times. If the statistics and commentary accompanying it is a criteria to consider, The Times should move to a more progressive editorial platform. The sooner, the better! The support given by this paper to Hillary Rodham Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016 is unforgivable. The attitude exhibited towards Elizabeth Warren is hardy different. This has to change if you want to keep your relevance unless you believe publishing Edsall's essay is just part of your "diversity" policy. What the followers of AOC and other progressives are clamoring for are very basic human needs that have been delivered in affluent (and not so affluent) societies all over the globe. No need to name those countries, by now the list is well known. What do we need delivered: Universal Healthcare, Free Public Education K through College, No Citizens United, Total Campaign Finance Reform, Regulation of Wall Street, Regulation of Pharma, Regulation of Big Tech, Gender Equality, 21st Century Infrastructure. All paid for by cutting the Military and Defense Budget Waste (cf Charlie Grassley, a buddy of Karl Marx) and taxing the top percent at levels AOC cites and Professors Suez and Zucman concur with in their Times OpEd.
David Emmaus, PA Jan. 23
Democrats need to win elections first. Progressive ideas may have support on the coasts and cities but fall flat in red states where there is still widespread dislike for immigrants and minorities and strong opposition to "having my hard-earned tax money supporting free stuff for the undeserving who can't/won't take care of themselves." Because the Electoral College gives red states disproportionate representation the Democrats must win some red states to win a presidential election. Running on a strong progressive platform won't work in those Republican-majority states. What Democrats need is a "Trojan Horse" candidate. Someone who can win with a moderate message that has broad appeal across the entire country but who will support and enact a strong progressive agenda once he/she is elected. And on a local election level, Democrats need to field candidates whose message is appropriate for their local constituency -- progressive in liberal states, more moderate in conservative areas. Winning elections comes first. Let's do what it takes to win and not let our progressive wish list blind us to the importance of winning elections.
Joe Schmoe Brooklyn Jan. 23
@Westchester Guy: Leftists want amnesty and, eventually, open borders. This is utterly and totally incompatible with their push for "free" college, universal health care, and so forth. The fiscal infeasibility is so obvious that one could only believe in these coexisting policies if they were blinded by something, like Trump hatred, or just plain dishonest. The "leftist" label for the new Democrat party is entirely appropriate. You also have your own bigots to counter Trump. The difference is that their bigotry is sanctioned by most of the mainstream media.
MDCooks8 West of the Hudson Jan. 23
Has AOC or any other liberal offered any feasible policy to improve the lives of the people they claim to help? Just take a good hard look at NYC where AOC is from which for many years the Public Housing Authority cannot even provide adequate heat in the building the city owns. So while AOC dreams of taxing the wealthy 70% perhaps she needs to slow down and catch up to reality to realize what she offers is only building towards another Venezuela.
Kip Leitner Philadelphia Jan. 23
This article is half poison pill. By reading it, you learn a lot about Democratic Party voting patterns, but you also have to endure a number of false ideas, the worst of which is Edsall's warning that radical Democrats will foment internal chaos leading to electoral loss. The fact is, it is the corporate democrats, who in the last 40 years abandoned the base of working, blue collar democrats in favor of their Wall Street overlords. It is the corporate democrats who created the billionaire class by reducing corporate tax rates. It is the corporate Democrats who by reducing marginal tax rates created the plutocracy. It is the corporate democrats who gave *Trillions of Dollars* to Bush and Obama's perpetual wars and $70 Billion more than the defense department asks. This impoverishing the citizenry with debt is their legacy as much as the Republicans. This shoveling of money to the 1% who abandoned the middle class has been a train ridden by Corporate Democrats. It is the Corporate Democrats who caused all this friction by letting the middle class fall off the edge of the economic cliff -- all the while proclaiming how much they care. They show up on MLK day and read flowing speeches from the podium when what we really need is activism and changes in marginal tax rates, defense spending and the Medical Insurance and care oligopoly. So now there is revolution brewing in response to the Corporate Democrats' appeasement of the Oligarchy? Good. Bring it on.
Jeremiah Crotser Houston Jan. 23
Honestly, it is the centrist, neoliberal wing of the Democratic party that gave up on talking to the Midwest and focused on the coasts. That was the Clinton strategy and it didn't work. Although AOC comes from an urban area, her message is broad: she is for the struggling, working person. Edsall underestimates AOC's basis in economic thinking and her appeal to flyover country. She speaks carefully and justly to social issues, but she also speaks to the "kitchen table" issues that middle America is concerned with--in a much more real way than the neoliberal Dems have figured out how to.
MD Monroe Hudson Valley Jan. 23
Please end you outsized coverage of AOC. I really don't know how you justify all the news coverage. She is one of 435 representatives, and a new one at that. No accomplishments, just a large Instagram following.
Steve C Boise, Idaho Jan. 23
@John Patt Everybody over the age of 50 should apologize for giving our young people catastrophic climate change, endless wars, broken healthcare, crumbling infrastructure, ever widening income and wealth disparates, unaffordable post-secondary education, rampant gun violence, no voice for labor. We over 50 didn't care enough to vote and to make enough political noise to keep these things from happening. We over 50 all have personal responsibilities for this messed up world we're leaving the young. 6 Replies
Steve C Boise, Idaho Jan. 23
@Zor The answer is no. Remember Schumer saying that for every urban vote Democrats lost by running Hillary, they would gain 2 suburban votes. It didn't turn out that way. The centrist, corporatist Democrats (including Hillary and Biden) have no clue how to reach the working class of any race. The working class focus of AOC is the Democratic Party's best chance at a future. But of course the establishment, centrist, corporatist Democrats are still focused on helping their big money donors. Here's another question: Just how are establishment, centrist, corporatist Democrats different from Republicans?
Evan Walsh Los Angeles Jan. 24
Here's my thing- though I'm a deeply liberal person who shares a lot of political beliefs with Ocasio-Cortez, I'm am not the least bit interested in her. Why? Because she's one representative of a district all the way across the country from where I live. I care about about my newly flipped district in Sherman Oaks. I care about my solidly Democratic district in Santa Rosa. Just because one charismatic representative from Brooklyn has a good Twitter feed doesn't mean that I have to care or that she deserves a highly-placed role on an important committee. She's a freshman. Let her learn. And then, go ahead and tell me she deserves a seat.
Bob Guthrie Australia Jan. 23
There really is not a far left in America. You guys have this weird aversion to moderate sensible socialism that -as the saying goes- is only in America. Our conservative government in Australia accepts it as a given the things AOC is fighting for. There is nothing weird about universal health care in modern advanced countries. The conservatives have a magic word in the USA that they us as a bogeyman and the word is socialism. Ironically they don't mind Trump snuggling up to extreme left dictators like Kim and ex KGB Soviet operatives like Don's supervisor Vlad Putin who by definition had to be a card carrying communist to get to his position. But moderate socialism is all over northern Europe, NZ, UK and Australia. You people are oppressed by conservatives playing the "that's socialism" card at every turn. We never ask where does the money come from? here. The money seems to be there in all the countries that take care of the health of their citizens. America is a wonderful country with fantastic people- I love visiting... but to use an Aussie word - crikey I wouldn't want to live there. 1 Reply
Pono Big Island Jan. 23
A.O.C. Alexandria "Overexposure" Cortez. This young woman is talented but should pace herself a bit. It's not a marathon but it's not a sprint either. Let's call it "middle distance" in track terms. You need to save some breath for when it's really needed. Pace for long term influence on policy. Or be a "one hit wonder".
Cass Missoula Jan. 23
@Matt Williams Exactly. I'm a Democratic in a conservative area, and all my Democrat friends think this woman is nuts. Our Senator Jon Tester is wonderful. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? Hard pass. 9 Replies
MikeG Left Coast Jan. 23
@Cass You may self-identify as a moderate but you sound like a conservative. Please go join the other party of no ideas if AOC strikes you as radical. The majority of Democrats don't agree with you.
Eero East End Jan. 23
Ideology fails when it meets reality. Trump and McConnell are busy teaching the American middle class what it is to be reduced to poverty - health care they can't afford, rising taxes on those who have had some economic success, elimination of well paying jobs, and on and on. Those voters are understandably interested in pocket book issues, the resurgence of progressive candidates meets this newly emphasized need. In addition, look at the population demographics. The baby boomers were a "bump" in population, they in turn have produced a new bump in their children, who are now adults. The boomers were quite left, their children have inherited some of this belief system - equal rights and protection and support of those with less opportunity. The voters in general are also completely fed up with politicians lying to them and taking away their benefits. They generally have a mistrust both of the right wing destruction of our norms, and the Democrats failure to fight back (Garland should have been appointed even in the face of McConnell's calumny). The new face of the Democratic party feeds pocketbook issues, a belief that America is, in fact, a melting pot, and the need for restoration of our Democracy. This pretty much covers all the bases, the Democrats just need to get better at educating the populace.
Zor OH Jan. 23
By and large, the majority of 2600+ counties that Trump carried are not economically well off. However, they are socially very traditional. Do the Democrats have a message that will resonate with millions of these traditional white middle/lower middle class voters in the hinterland? 1 Reply
bored critic usa Jan. 23
have you listened to her interviews? she doesn't say much of anything. all political about all these socialist ideas with no means or method of how to get there. and thank goodness she has no clue how to get there
Andrew NY Jan. 23
I used to be friends with a very high-achieving guy I met as a 15-year-old on a teen summer tour in Israel, run by the national Reform synagogue movement, in 1985. In the course of our frienship spanning the final years of high school through the beginning of college, gradually fading to an email or 2 once every couple years; our different paths & outlooks became very stark, though we'd both call ourselves liberals. My friend left no stone unturned in his unambivalent achievement orientation, embracing w/religious fervor the absolute virtue of success, the unimpeachable morality & integrity of our meritocracy, & meritocratic ideals/ethos. Naturally, he wound up at Harvard, majoring in government, followed by Harvard Law. What struck me throughout was the unvarnished "empiricism" of his outlook: rarefied, lofty principles or romantic ideals seemed alien: the nitty gritty of practical & procedural realities were the whole picture. The one time we explicitly discussed comparative politics, he only gravitated toward the topic of Harold Washington's coalition-building prowess. He was an ardent Zionist ("Jewish homeland!"), with little apparent interest in theology or spirituality for that matter. Eventually he went into corporate law, negotiating executive compensation. I think he epitomized the Clinton Democrat: A "Social justice," equal opportunity for all, meritocracy "synthesis." In a word, that peculiarly "practical," pragmatic liberalism was *ultimately conservative*.
rantall Massachusetts Jan. 23
Let us all remember that since Reagan the "center" has moved decidedly right. So when we talk about a move left, we are moving back to where we were in the 1950s-1970's. For example take AOC's tax proposal. Right out of that time period. Look at the GOP platform in the 1950's. It reads like a progressive platform today. So let's put this in perspective. Everything is relative and we have adjusted to right wing dominant politics today.
Len Charlap Printceton NJ Jan. 23
Edsall looks at the fact the Democrats (and, indeed, the whole country) are moving in a progressive direction. He does not look at the question of why. I maintain that with an increase in educated voters, the country is moving towards policies that work, that are good for the country as a whole, not just for a minority. The other wealthy countries, all with a universal government health care system such as an improved Medicare for all, get BETTER health care as measured by all 16 of the bottom line public health statistics for ALL of their people at a cost of less than HALF per person as we pay. High inequality has been bad for the economy and governance of this country. Look at what happened in 1929 and 2008 both preceded by periods of high inequality. Compare that with the long period of low inequality after WWII of Great Prosperity. Today as a result of terrible SCOTUS decisions, the Super Rich pushing the country towards oligarchy. The situation at our borders was actually better before 2003 when ICE was created. It has perpetrated so many atrocities, rightly garnered such a terrible reputation, why isn't it time to abolish the thing and start over with a new more humane organization. After all, the Germans did not keep the Gestapo after the war. I running out of space, but let me end by saying we are now getting more progressive voters that say that 2 + 3 = 5, and fewer conservative ones who say 2 + 3 = 23 and fewer moderates who want to compromise on 2 + 3 = 14.
michaeltide Bothell, WA Jan. 23
@Concerned Citizen, likewise, public education is funded largely by property taxes, even on those who do not have children in school, or whose children are out of school. This is not "someone else's" money! It is all our money, and this is the way we choose to employ it – to educate all our children, realizing, I hope, that educated children are a major asset of a developed country. 38 Replies
ManhattanWilliam New York, NY Jan. 23
Until AOC starts to achieve some actual LEGISTATIVE VICTORIES, I'm not prepared to follow her ANYWHERE. I'm willing to listen to what she has to say, some of which I agree with and some I question. I lean Left on most issues but I'm not a fanatic, and fanatics exist on BOTH sides of the political spectrum. I believe that one must PROVE themselves before being beatified. In substance, I'm open to the "new wing" of the Democratic party which I am, officially, a member of. Let me add that I will NEVER cast a vote for anyone calling themselves a Republican because that very label is forever tainted in my book. But I don't much care for the 'tit for tat' Tweeting from AOC either, writing about Joe Lieberman (whom I do not like) "who dat"? What is "dat", Miss AOC?
PeterC BearTerritory Jan. 23
The insane part of this never gets addressed. Why should Americans political interests and aspirations be controlled by two monopolistic parties? 1 Reply
Mathias Weitz Frankfurt aM, Germany Jan. 23
The country may be in a need of a more social agenda, but this agenda must perceptible help the depressed white rural folk first. Nothing will work what make those, who are already falling behind feel like a "basket of deplorables". I hope AOC will find a way not just to become a poster star of the progressive urban left, but also understand the ailing of the depressed rural right.
dmdaisy Clinton, NY Jan. 23
The Democratic Party needs to do a very good job of educating an electorate (and possibly some of its own members) that has for more than 30 years drunk the kool-aid of the "lower our taxes," small government, and deregulation gurus. We have such a predatory capitalism now, with government failing over and over again to reign in huge corporations headed by those who think they should be determining everything from economic to housing to health to foreign policy. Enough already. Most of the young members of Congress need a lot more experience and more immersion in the nitty gritty of creating legislation before they can take the reins, but they can educate their constituents. And maybe they can convince others that everyone gains through a more level playing field.
Lou New York Jan. 23
Calling these ideas left is a joke. AOC and Bernie Sanders would practically be conservatives in Canada and Europe. What we have are 3 unofficial parties: 1. The party of people with good ideas who aren't afraid to speak about them because they aren't beholden to big donors 2. The party of watered down, unpopular ideas that are vetted by 20 pollsters and donors before seeing the light of day 3. The party that gets into office by tapping into people's primal fears, and avoids policy altogether Republicans have been moving the goalposts for decades now, how can you even tell left from right anymore?
michjas Phoenix Jan. 23
@A. Stanton Since 1990, there have been funding gaps, shutdowns or serious threats of shutdowns almost every year. The have become routine tactics in the effort of each party to drive a hard bargain.
SLE Cleveland Heights Jan. 23
Running up the Democratic vote in Blue states by pandering to left leaning views will not unseat DJT in 2020. Winning the popular vote by 3 or 3 million yields the same results. Unless or until we adopt the Nation Popular Vote Intrastate Compact or reapportion the House more equitably, Republicans will continue to exploit the Electoral College's antimajoritarianism. Courting the minority of lefties mimics DJT's courting of his base; last November proved that elections are won in the middle. Appealing to moderates in purple states is the only path to 270. If you have any doubt, ask private citizen HRC how much good the Democratic over-vote did for her.
Barry Moyer Washington, DC Jan. 23
@Bruce Rozenblit What is exceedingly strange to me is that those who rail against socialism completely misread socialism at it's very roots; Family. 27 Replies
Mike Austin Jan. 23
Yes, because all these pundits got 2016 so right. They are people with their own opinions, just like everyone else, except the punditry has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo that has been so good to them for so long. Enough already! Times, you're as much to blame as these pundits for 2016!
Jerre Henriksen Illinois Jan. 23
When progressive solutions are proposed, the opposition yells "socialism" while others bring up the cost of progressive solutions. No one talks about the significant portion of our nation's wealth spent on the military. We don't audit the Pentagon or do due diligence on the efficiency of huge projects undertaken by the military nor do we question the profits of the industrial-military complex. Meanwhile, Russia manipulated our latest presidential race, underscoring the worry over cyber attacks. Climate events in the country mean our citizens experience life changing events not brought on by terrorists or immigrants. A medical event in a family can initiate bankruptcy; we all live on that edge. Our infrastructure projects have been delayed for so long that America looks like a second rate country. Income inequality is ongoing with no sign of lessening. Suicide is on the increase while death by drugs is an epidemic. An education for students can mean large debt; efforts to train the workforce for the technological world are inconsistent. For many of us, the hate and fear promoted in this country is repulsive. Because our society works for an ever smaller number of us, Americans are increasingly understanding that a sustainable, just society works for all it's citizens. We are exhausted by the stalemate in Washington leaving us caring very little about the labels of progressive, moderate, or conservative. We just know what needs to change.
Frank Shifreen New York Jan. 24
Edall's final point that thsese are Democrats returning to Democratic roots and not a wave of radicalism. I along with a lot of other older voters was infected with a kind of gradualism. I voted for Hilary, much now to my dismay. AOC among others is stating what she, and what many of us want. The old Democratic party was a mirror image of Republicans, with taking the same money, voting for the same wars, and within it all a kind of shame,liberal as a kind of curse, where we were afraid to make our own agenda, make our own plan for America. taking the burden, in health care, college education, immigration, is an investment in the future
LTJ Utah Jan. 23
The New Democratic approach in essence is taking wealth and redistributing it, along with promising free goods and services. Is that high-minded or simply a Brave New World. The underlying assumption seems to be the rest of America will not find that worrisome, and that what happened in MA and NY represents a nationwide trend. 3 Replies
Mr. Slater Brooklyn, NY Jan. 23
@A. Stanton Well, she's not the president (thankfully) and you can't predict hindsight only speculate.
Sarah Conner Seattle Jan. 23
These voters are not moving to the left. They are correcting a trend to the right that accelerated with Reagan: the rise of corporate dominance and societal control; the loss of worker rights, healthcare and protections through destruction of our unions; and the mass incarceration of our nation's young African American men for minor drug offenses, thus destroying their futures and communities. These "left" liberals are fighting to bring back democratic norms and values that were once taken for granted among those of all political stripes.
Mark Thomason Clawson, MI Jan. 23
I have always voted in every primary. I have always voted for the most "leftist" available. So did my whole family, and all the people with whom I discussed our voting. The issue was always "most leftist available." That often was not very leftist at all. That is what has changed. Now the option is there. It isn't because we vote for it. We vote for it now because now we can, now the choice is there. What has changed is not so much the voters as the invisible primary before anyone asks us voters. What changed is the Overton Window of potential choices allowed to us. I think voters would have done this a long time ago, if they'd had the opportunity. So why now? Abject failure of our politics to solve our problems has been true for decades, so it isn't mere failure. I'd like to think it was voter rebellion. We just wouldn't vote for their sell outs. Here, that meant Bernie won our primary, and then we did not turn out for Her. We finally forced it. The money men could not get away with it anymore.
Smartone new york,ny Jan. 23
It is strange that Mr Edsall frames Medicare 4 All , Free College , and higher taxes on wealthy as RADICAL leftist ideas .. when it fact each of these proposals have the majority of support from Americans.. The most current poll shows 70% support for Medicare 4 All.. so you are only radical if you DON'T support.
Centrist NYC Jan. 23
Unless the progressives start addressing the concerns of the middle class, they will drive the Democratic Party right off the cliff. You remember us, don't you? People who have tried to do things right and work hard. Granted, our cares and concerns aren't that sexy or tweetable so it's easy for you newly elected firebrands to overlook us. Don't forget, we are the ones who will ultimately foot the bills for your giveaways.
Jerry Smith Dollar Bay Jan. 23
The notion that democrats are moving leftward is borne on revisionist history. There's nothing new or bold being proposed; Zeitz is right on the money.
PK Atlanta Jan. 23
"Medicare for All, government-guaranteed jobs and a higher minimum wage" I have a question to all the "progressive" Democratic voices in Congress - how are you going to pay for such an agenda? Money doesn't just grow on trees. Either you will have to cut funds from another program, or raise taxes. Most of these progressive people favor raising taxes on the wealthy. But what is your definition of "wealthy"? $10 million in annual income? $1 million in annual income? $500k? $200k? Almost all the proposals I have seen coming from progressives involves increasing tax rates for families making more than $200k, either through higher rates, phased out deductions, or ineligibility for certain programs. A professional couple where both are software engineers could easily surpass this threshold, but they are not rich. They struggle to pay the mortgage, save for the future, pay taxes, and provide for their children. Why should they be forced to pay more in taxes percentage-wise than a family earning $100k or $60k? It is for these reasons that I as an independent will never support progressive candidates. These candidates lack basic math abilities and a basic notion of fairness. So if the Democratic party starts to embrace some of the policies espoused by these progressives, they are on a path to lose elections in the future. 1 Reply
Linda Miilu Chico, CA Jan. 23
@AutumnLeaf Mitch McConnell blocked Obama at every turn; he denied him the appointment of a moderate respected Judge to the SC, a Judge the GOP had voted for on the Superior Court. Congress wasted time with 40 attempts to declare the ACA unconstitutional; the Plan was modeled on a Romney Plan in MA. Scalia's Citizens United Decision declared that corporations are people; Scalia knew that he was using a Superior Ct. Decision with a transcription error: word spoken: corporation; word transcribed: individual. Scalia spent a lot of time at corporate lodges, "hunting"; mainly eating until he finally ate himself to death. McConnell spends his time with mine owners. Trump spends his time with lobbyists for Israel and Saudi Arabia. 9 Replies
nickgregor Philadelphia Jan. 23
I think this article underscores the incredible opportunity available to the left if they pick a radical democratic socialist candidate. If they are already winning the college educated crowd that is gentrifying these major urban areas and losing the poorer minority crowd that is voting for people like the Clinton's over Sanders or Crowley over AOC; we are getting the people whom one would think would be less incentivized to vote for our platform and we can gain the people who would benefit more from our platform.Therefore, it is really just a question of exposure and talking to these people. Reaching out to minorities; talking about mass-incarceration, how it disproportinately affects precisely these minority voters that we have to gain; and how the moderate democrats have been benefiting economically and politically from the chaos and inequities in these communities for years. It is a question of messaging. Minorities are our natural allies. They are disproportinately affected by the inequality; and as soon as we can reach them; tell them that there brothers, husbands, sons are coming home, and that we have a job for them to support their family when they do, that is a huge % of voters that will swing our way, and accelerate the pace of our revolution--and what critics will come to remember as the end of their decadence and control over all facets of society, to the detriment of everyone else. The end is coming--and a new, better society is on the verge of being reborn 1 Reply
jmgiardina la mesa, california Jan. 23
Of all of those quoted in this article, the only one who really gets it right is Joshua Zeitz. FDR's 1944 State of the Union address should be required reading for every Democrat, and every Establishment talking head who warns against alienating suburban voters by advocating for a New Deal social safety net. I share the sentiments of many on who have responded by noting that it was, and is, the leadership of the Democratic Party that has moved right rather than the Democratic electorate that shifted left. Don't believe me? Go back through the sixteen years of the Clinton and Obama presidencies and see how many times each referenced Ronald Reagan versus even mentioning Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, or Lyndon Johnson.
Jose Pieste NJ Jan. 23
Medicare for all? Get ready for 6-week waits for a 10 minute appointment (and that will be just for primary care). After that, expect to wait 6-12 months to see a specialist. 1 Reply
Len Charlap Printceton NJ Jan. 23
@c harris - Hillary received almost 4 million more primary votes than Bernie.
JABarry Maryland Jan. 23
@José Franco I will not dig out social security trustees' projections of future funding requirements or the possible solutions bandied about by politicians (google them), but one single tweak would eliminate any projected shortfalls. Currently the FICA contribution is limited to earnings of $132,900. Those who earn over that amount pay no FICA tax on the earnings above that level. The person earning a million dollars in 2019 will stop paying FICA on his earnings by mid-February. Applying FICA to all earnings of all earners would keep social security solvent. No raise in retirement age, no reduction in benefits, no insolvency. As to Medicare's solvency and public benefits, see the excellent comments of Len Charlap. 17 Replies
Shenoa United States Jan. 23
There are several issues upon which I and my like-minded moderate family members will cast our votes in 2020: - Border security and the end to the brazen exploitation of our citizenry by the millions of foreign migrants who illegally, and with an attitude of entitlement, trespass into our sovereign country year after year...costing our taxpayers billions. - Reckless proposals to increase government benefit programs that aren't affordable without raising taxes, threatening our already stressed social security safety net. - The rise of Antisemitism and the mendacious obsession with Israel amongst leftists within Congress, as well as within the ranks of their constituents. Democrats will need to address these issues to our satisfaction if they want our votes. 2 Replies
PeoplePower Nyc Jan. 23
Ed, it's time to retire. If you spent time looking at the actual data, Democratic primary voters, particularly those in overly restrictive closed primary states like New York, are older, wealthier, "socially liberal" and "fiscally conservative." They are what we would have called moderate/Rockefeller Republicans 40 years ago, but they vote Democratic because that's who their parents voted for. Most progressive voters today, the ones who support Medicare for all, investment in public higher education, taxation on wealth (you know, those pesky issues that mainstream Democrats used to support 30-40 years ago) are younger and more likely to be unaffiliated with any political party. This is why Bernie did much better in states with open primaries, and Hillary did better in closed primary states like NY AOC won in spite of NY's restrictive primary system. She was able to achieve this because many of the older Democratic establishment voters who would have voted for Crowley stayed home, and she was able to motivate enough first-time young voters in her district to register as a Dem and vote for her. (First time voters in NY can register with party 30 days prior to primary election) Let's be clear though: your premise that Dem primary voters are driving the party's shift to the left couldn't be further from the truth--the progressive shift in the body politic you describe is coming from younger, independent, working class voters and is redefining the American left.
Woof NY Jan. 23
From the NYT , Edsall April 19, 2018 The Democrats' Gentrification Problem "Conversely, in the struggling Syracuse metropolitan area (Clinton 53.9 percent, Trump 40.1 percent), families moving in between 2005 and 2016 had median household incomes of $35,219 -- $7,229 less than the median income of the families moving out of the region, $42,448." Syracuse, a democratic City in one of the most democratic States in the US, so assuredly democratic that Democratic Presidential candidates rarely show up has been left by the Democrats and the Democratic Governor ,Cuomo, in a death spiral of getting poorer by the day That in a State, that includes NYC, the international capital of the global billionaire elite. Exactly, what have the Democrats done to help ?
Dave Connecticut Jan. 23
"Sawhill argues that if the goal of Democrats is victory, as opposed to ideological purity, they must focus on general election swing voters who are not die-hard Democrats." Wow, what an original argument! I have been hearing the exact same thing since I registered to vote at age 18 in 1977. Democrats are always urged to support the "sensible, centrist" candidates who keep on losing elections to Republicans who drag their party, and the whole country by default, even further to the right. JFK was called a communist and worse by pundits like this and he would have won by a landslide in 1964. How about if Democrats for once push for policies that are backed by 90 percent of Americans, like Medicare For All, the higher minimum wage, universal college education, renewable energy and the rest of the Green New Deal and higher marginal tax rates for the rich. I would love to see just one presidential candidate run on this platform before I die so I can fill out my ballot without holding my nose. 1 Reply
Piece man South Salem Jan. 23
Kind of make sense considering how far to the right the Republican Party has gone with the Donald. And he's a guy who was a Democrat at one point. He's a dangerous mr nobody. Let's counter going far to the left so we can come back to some middle ground.
Ellen San Diego Jan. 23
@Len Charlap Canada can also more easily afford universal healthcare and a stronger social safety net because it doesn't have the outsized military budget that we do. 17 Replies
Rob Calgary Jan. 23
@Ronny I agree with you - have a subsidized education - (rather I prefer to say equal access to education) as well as health care guarantees to a greater extent equality of opportunity - which is what all democratic societies should strive for. It's not equality of outcome but equality of opportunity. Children should not be punished for have parents of lesser means or being born on the wrong side of the tracks...
Mr. Slater Brooklyn, NY Jan. 23
Until I see well-crafted legislation that is initiated by her that will help improve the lives of many she's just another politician with sound bite platitudes. She doesn't even have a district office in the Bronx yet to the chagrin of many of the constituents.
mr. mxyzptlk new jersey Jan. 23
@Midwest Josh Perhaps student loans made by the FED at the rates they charge the big banks in their heist of the American economy achieved back in 1913. 38 Replies
bfree portland Jan. 23
AOC is a liberal darling who's stated (on 60 Minutes) that unemployment rates are low because everyone is working two jobs; I might add, that has nothing to do with how unemployment rates are figured and come on, "everyone?" And recently she's stated that the world will end in 12 years if we don't do something about climate change. Come on, this is silliness, ignorance and borderline stupidity. If she's the poster child for the Democrats, then she's the gift that will keep on giving to the GOP.
Andrew M. British Columbia Jan. 23
I grew up during the Vietnam War, and over the years came to admire the American people who ultimately forced their government to withdraw from an immoral (and disastrous) military adventure. This is rare in human history. Rare in American history too, as the follies in Iraq drag on and on to remind us. Perhaps the American people are becoming themselves again. I wouldn't call it drifting left at all.
Sean Greenwich Jan. 23
Thomas Edsall's column is yet another conservative spin on Democrats from The New York Times. Where are the voices of progressive Democrats, who form the overwhelming majority of New York City residents? Of New York state residents? Who form the core of the Democratic Party's support. The Times insists that these conservative voices are the only ones deserving of publication here. Where in the world did the notion come from that The Times was a "liberal" publication?
michaeltide Bothell, WA Jan. 23
@Chris Young, It seems you aonly approve of departments that teach what you consider "productive." If schools become an adjuct to the marketplace, then only the material, quantifiable results will be the metric by which the value of education is measured. This will leave us, as in some ways we are already becoming, a population that emulates robots, and has no use for critical thinking, ethics, or art. The profit in education is in the quality of the students it turns out into the world, not on a corporate balance sheet. 38 Replies
TR NJ USA Jan. 23
It's all good but important to expand the focus on the entirety of the Democrats in Congress - and the amazing age range and gender mix. The opportunities are vast - an intergenerational government of forward thinking, principled women and men. Please media pundits - avoid focus on only 1 or 2. There are brilliant ideas pouring forth - let the ideas from every corner flow! Remember that the intense media focus on Trump, liberal as well as conservative, contributed significantly to what happened in election 2016.

David Gregory
Sunbelt Jan. 23
If by liberal you mean the circular firing squad of the politics of aggrievement, no. My politics fall in line with FDR's Second Bill of Rights. Here he describes them in 1944 https://youtu.be/3EZ5bx9AyI4 "...true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security & independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry & out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made... We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security & prosperity can be established for all -- regardless of station, race, or creed. Among these are: The right to a useful and remunerative job...; The right to earn enough to provide adequate food & clothing & recreation; The right of every farmer to raise & sell his products at a return which will give him & his family a decent living; The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition & domination by monopolies at home or abroad; The right of every family to a decent home; The right to adequate medical care & the opportunity to achieve & enjoy good health; The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident & unemployment; The right to a good education." That is where Democrats used to be. Then came the Corporate Democrats, the DLC and the Clintons.
Wah California Jan. 23
This piece misses more than it hits. Where it misses particularly is in it's insistence that the Class interest of working class Democrats pulls the Party right, rather than left, and that the insurgents are mostly young, white gentrifying liberals. This is not altogether false, but misses that many of the gentrifiers are not middle class themselves, but lower middle class young people with huge college debt who could never dream of living in upper middle class enclaves like most of the opinion writers in the Time for example. So they move into the inner city, make it safe for professionals, and then yes, Brooklyn goes white. Harlem goes white. Berkeley loses its working class majority. Etc. The big problem for the left of the Democratic Party is not that its mostly young, white and middle class; it is that the very term "liberal" is now widely understood by working class people as meaning "establishment." And they are against the "establishment". As it happens, so are the young insurgents. This then is the task for the left of the Democrats; to unite the culturally conservative working class with the emerging multi-racial, multi-ethnic youth vote to take down both the reactionary Right and the Liberal establishment. And the only reason such a sentiment seems crazy is that the New York Times, far from being a bastion of the resistance to Trump is actually a bulwark of that Liberal Establishment. Stats are stats but the future is unwritten.
Driven Ohio Jan. 23
This is a shame as most of the country wants middle of the road.
Ralphie CT Jan. 23
AOC is pretty interesting. She's charismatic, fearless....and I'm trying to think of something else. OH, she's personally attractive. If the government gig falls apart she can probably get TV work. But as an intellectual light or a rational political leader -- she is clearly lacking. OF course that may not matter as the earth will come to an end in 12 years. Which is even more ludicrous than saying the earth is only 6000 years old. She is simply spouting far left talking points which are driven by emotion, not rational thought. And she keeps making unforced errors in her public speaking engagements. She really doesn't appear to understand what she's talking about and can't respond to reasonable questions about her policy positions. But then, that's not too unlike much of the left. So maybe she's a perfect fit for a fact free faction which is beginning to run the dem party. 1 Reply
Gloria Utopia Chas. SC Jan. 23
One commenter gave a really insightful look at socialism for corporations and the rich here, otherwise known to most of us as corporate welfare, including subsidies to oil companies, who seem rich enough, but nevertheless, extend their "impoverished" bank accounts for more of our dollars. Successful corporations, will reward investors, CEO's, hedge fund managers, all those at the top, but the worker, not too much for that drone, who was part of the reason of the success of that corporation. Socialism has been tainted by countries with autocratic rulers , uneducated masses, and ofttimes, as in Latin America, religious masses. But, Scandinavia, has shown us a socialism to envy. It's confident citizens know that much of what makes life livable has been achieved. Finland rates as one of the happiest countries in the world. Taxes are high, but one isn't bankrupted because of illness, one doesn't lose a home because of a catastrophic illness, education is encouraged, and one doesn't have to pay the debt off for 30 years or more. The infrastructure is a priority, war is not. It just seems like it's a secure way to live. This is socialism I wish we could duplicate. Does anyone consider that socialism also includes our police, libraries, fire stations, roads, and so much more? Used for the good of society, it's a boon for all, rather than unregulated capitalism which enriches the few at the expense of most of us. 3 Replies
Allentown Buffalo Jan. 23
@Reilly Diefenbach "Democratic socialism" isn't a thing, but implies two contradictory ideals. Social democracy is thing, a good thing, and in line with what Nordic nations have. 38 Replies
Michael Pilla Millburn, NJ Jan. 23
Never has someone gotta so much for doing so little. None of this means anything if it doesn't become law. As a life long Liberal Democrat (there, I said it) myself, I find it infuriating when Liberal/Progressive politicians get out-sized credit for their good intentions while those same good intentions threaten party unity. The Progressive idea of party unity seems to be limited to getting what they want or they'll walk away. They just know better, so there's no need for compromise. Never mind that they have no way of enacting any of this legislation -- and more often than not Progressives lose at the polls. These "kids" need to wake up and realize that there are no moral victories in politics. The ONLY goal of any Democrat has to be unseating Trump and McConnell, everything else is a noise, and a dangerous distraction.
Jake Wagner Los Angeles Jan. 23
I support universal health care, free college for students who meet enhanced entrance requirements and raising marginal tax rates to 70% on wealthy Americans. Yet I do not support an expansion of the EITC, ending immigration enforcement or putting workers on boards of directors. So where do I stand? All my life I've voted Democratic. But there has been a seismic shift in politics. And after the shift I will most likely vote Republican or for a third party. The issue that causes my change in affiliation is the Me Too movement. I find it repugnant that feminists seem to argue that the media rather than the courts should determine guilt or innocence in sexual assault cases. Bill Cosby had an agreement with Andrea Constand in their case. But feminists weren't happy with the outcome. So they resorted to extra-legal means to get Cosby convicted. This included a media campaign in which the NY Times and the New Yorker wrote stories highlighting accusations of 60 women for which statutes of limitations had elapsed. But statutes of limitations are there for a reason. This became clear in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh which degenerated into a trial for rape. Nobody except maybe the accuser could remember in any detail events at the party in which the rape had presumably occurred. So the confirmation became one of character assassination in which Kavanaugh was convicted of drinking beer. I will NEVER vote for any politician who supports the Me Too movement.
Alan Seattle, WA Jan. 23
"... protection from the vicissitudes of market capitalism"? People want protection from monopoly capitalism. The left-right frame is a fallacy. If you put the actual policies on the table, the great majority want single payer, clean elections, action on climate change, etc. Pitting Left v. Right only redounds to tribalism. It ends up with a President who shuts down the business of which he himself is the CEO. That's not great.

[Jun 26, 2019] Neoliberalism Has Tricked Us Into Believing a Fairytale About Where Money Comes From by Mary MELLOR

Jun 26, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

There is nothing natural about money. There is no link to some scarce essential form of money that sets a limit to its creation. It can be composed of base metal, paper or electronic data – none of which is in short supply. Similarly – despite what you may have heard about the need for austerity and a lack of certain cash-generating trees – there is no "natural" level of public expenditure. The size and reach of the public sector is a matter of political choice.

Which puts austerity, the culling of expenditure in the public economy, under some question. For some countries, such as Greece , the impact of austerity has been devastating. Austerity policies still persist despite numerous studies arguing that they were entirely misconceived, based on political choice rather than economic logic. But the economic case for austerity is equally mistaken: it is based on what can best be described as fairytale economics.

So what were the justifications? Britain, for example, has lived under an austerity regime since 2010, when the incoming Tory-Liberal Democrat government reversed the Labour policy of raising the level of public expenditure in response to the 2007-8 financial crisis. The crisis had created a perfect storm: bank rescue required high levels of public spending while economic contraction reduced tax income. The case for austerity was that the higher level of public expenditure could not be afforded by the taxpayer. This was supported by " handbag economics ", which adopts the analogy of states as being like households, dependent on a (private sector) breadwinner.

Under handbag economics, states are required to restrict their expenditure to what the taxpayer is deemed to be able to afford. States must not try to increase their spending by borrowing from the (private) financial sector or by "printing money" (although the banks were rescued by doing so by another name – quantitative easing , the creation of electronic money).

The ideology of handbag economics claims that money is to be generated only through market activity and that it is always in short supply. Request for increased public expenditure is almost invariably met with the response "where's the money to come from?" When confronted by low pay in the NHS, the British prime minister, Theresa May, famously declared, "there is no magic money tree".

So where does money come from? And what is money anyway? What is money?

Until the last 50 years or so the answer seemed to be obvious: money was represented by cash (notes and coin). When money was tangible, there seemed no question about its origin, or its value. Coins were minted, banknotes were printed. Both were authorised by governments or central banks. But what is money today? In richer economies the use of cash is declining rapidly . Most monetary transactions are based on transfers between accounts: no physical money is involved.

In the run up to the financial crisis, the state's role in relation to money held in bank accounts was ambiguous. Banking was a monitored and licensed activity with some level of state guarantee of bank deposits, but the actual act of creating bank accounts was, and is, seen as a private matter. There may be regulations and limitations, but there is no detailed scrutiny of bank accounts and bank lending.

Yet, as the 2007-8 financial crisis showed, when bank accounts came under threat as banks teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, states and central banks had to step in and guarantee the security of all deposit accounts. The viability of money in non-investment bank accounts was demonstrated to be as much a public responsibility as cash.

The magic money tree. © Kate Mc , Author provided

This raises fundamental questions about money as a social institution. Is it right that money can be generated by a private choice to take on debt, which then becomes a liability of the state to guarantee in a crisis?

But far from seeing money as a public resource, under neoliberal handbag economics, money creation and circulation has increasingly been seen as a function of the market. Money is "made" solely in the private sector. Public spending is seen as a drain on that money, justifying austerity to make the public sector as small as possible.

This stance, however, is based on a complete misunderstanding of the nature of money, sustained by a series of deeply embedded myths.

Myths about money

Neoliberal handbag economics is derived from two key myths about the origin and nature of money. The first is that money emerged from a previous market economy based on barter. The second is that money was originally made from precious metal.

It is claimed that bartering proved to be very inefficient as each buyer-seller needed to find another person who exactly matched their requirements. A hat maker might barter a hat for some shoes she needs – but what if the shoe maker is in no need of a hat? The solution to this problem, so the story goes, was to choose one commodity that everyone desired, to act as a medium of exchange. Precious metal (gold and silver) was the obvious choice because it had its own value and could be easily divided and carried. This view of the origin of money goes back to at least the 18th century: the time of economist Adam Smith .

The 'father of capitalism' Adam Smith, 1723-1790. Matt Ledwinka/Shutterstock.com

These myths led to two assumptions about money that are still current today. First, that money is essentially connected to, and generated by, the marketplace. Second that modern money, like its original and ideal form, is always in short supply. Hence the neoliberal claim that public spending is a drain on the wealth-creating capacity of the market and that public spending must always be as limited as possible. Money is seen as a commercial instrument, serving a basic, market, technical, transactional function with no social or political force.

But the real story of money is very different. Evidence from anthropology and history shows that there was no widespread barter before markets based on money developed, and precious metal coinage emerged long before market economies. There are also many forms of money other than precious metal coins.

Money as custom

Something that acts as money has existed in most, if not all, human societies. Stones, shells, beads, cloths, brass rods and many other forms have been the means of comparing and acknowledging comparative value. But this was rarely used in a market context. Most early human communities lived directly off the land – hunting, fishing, gathering and gardening. The customary money in such communities was used mainly to celebrate auspicious social events or serve as a way of resolving social conflict.

For example, the Lele people, who lived in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1950s, calculated value in woven raffia cloths . The number of cloths required for different occasions was fixed by custom. Twenty cloths should be given to a father by a son on achieving adulthood and a similar amount given to a wife on the birth of a child. The anthropologist Mary Douglas, who studied the Lele, found they were resistant to using the cloths in transactions with outsiders, indicating that the cloths had a specific cultural relevance.

Even stranger is the large stone money of the Yap people of Micronesia. Huge circular discs of stone could weigh up to four metric tons . Not something to put in your pocket for a trip to the shops.

Try lugging that to the market. Evenfh/Shutterstock.com

There is plenty of other anthropological evidence such as this all over the world, all pointing to the fact that money, in its earliest form, served a social rather than market-based purpose.

Money as power

For most traditional societies, the origin of the particular money form has been lost in the mist of time. But the origin and adoption of money as an institution became much more obvious with the emergence of states. Money did not originate as precious metal coinage with the development of markets. In fact, the new invention of precious metal coinage in around 600BC was adopted and controlled by imperial rulers to build their empires by waging war.

Most notable was Alexander the Great, who ruled from 336–323BC. He is said to have used half a ton of silver a day to fund his largely mercenary army rather than a share of the spoils (the traditional payment). He had more than 20 mints producing coins, which had images of gods and heroes and the word Alexandrou (of Alexander). From that time, new ruling regimes have tended to herald their arrival by a new coinage.

Alexandrou. Alex Coan/Shutterstock.com

More than a thousand years after the invention of coinage, the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), who ruled most of western and central Europe, developed what became the basis of the British pre-decimal money system: pounds, shillings and pence. Charlemagne set up a currency system based on 240 pennies minted from a pound of silver. The pennies became established as the denier in France, the pfennig in Germany, the dinero in Spain, the denari in Italy and the penny in Britain.

So the real story of money as coinage was not one of barterers and traders: it emerged instead from a long history of politics, war and conflict. Money was an active agent in state and empire building, not a passive representation of price in the market. Control of the money supply was a major power of rulers: a sovereign power. Money was created and spent into circulation by rulers either directly, like Alexander, or through taxation or seizure of private holdings of precious metal.

Nor was early money necessarily based on precious metal. In fact, precious metal was relatively useless for building empires, because it was in short supply. Even in the Roman era, base metal was used, and Charlemagne's new money eventually became debased. In China, gold and silver did not feature and paper money was being used as early as the 9th century.

A coin from the time of Charlemagne, 768-814 AD. Classical Numismatic Group, CC BY-SA

What the market economy did introduce was a new form of money: money as debt.

Money as debt

If you look at a £20 banknote you will see it says: "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of twenty pounds." This is a promise originally made by the Bank of England to exchange notes for the sovereign currency. The banknote was a new form of money. Unlike sovereign money it was not a statement of value, but a promise of value. A coin, even if made of base metal, was exchangeable in its own right: it did not represent another, superior, form of money. But when banknotes were first invented, they did.

The new invention of promissory notes emerged through the needs of trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. Promissory notes were used to acknowledge receipt of loans or investments and the obligation to repay them through the fruits of future transactions. A major task of the emerging profession of banking was to periodically set all these promises against each other and see who owed what to whom. This process of "clearing" meant that a great amount of paper commitments was reduced to relatively less actual transfer of money. Final settlement was either by payment with sovereign money (coins) or another promissory note (banknote).

Eventually, the banknotes became so trusted that they were treated as money in their own right. In Britain they became equivalent to the coinage, particularly when they were united under the banner of the Bank of England. Today, if you took a banknote to the Bank of England, it would merely exchange your note for one that is exactly the same. Banknotes are no longer promises, they are the currency. There is no other "real" money behind them.

What promissory notes became. Wara1982/Shutterstock.com

What modern money does retain is its association with debt. Unlike sovereign money, which was created and spent directly into circulation, modern money is largely borrowed into circulation through the banking system. This process shelters behind another myth, that banks merely act as a link between savers and borrowers. In fact, banks create money. And it is only in the last decade that this powerful myth has been finally put to rest by banking and monetary authorities.

It is now acknowledged by monetary authorities such as the IMF, the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, that banks are creating new money when they make loans. They don't lend the money of other account holders to those who want to borrow.

Bank loans consist of money conjured out of thin air, whereby new money is credited to the borrowers account with the agreement that the amount will eventually be repaid with interest.

The policy implications of the public currency being created out of nowhere and lent to borrowers on a purely commercial basis have still not been taken on board. Nor has basing a public currency on debt as opposed to the sovereign power to create and directly circulate money free of debt.

The result is that rather than using their own sovereign power over money creation, as Alexander the Great did, states have become borrowers from the private sector. Where there are public spending deficits or the need for large scale future expenditure, there is an expectation that the state will borrow the money or increase taxation, rather than create the money itself.

Creators of cash. Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com

Dilemmas of debt

But basing a money supply on debt is ecologically, socially and economically problematic.

Ecologically, there is a problem because the need to pay off debt could drive potentially damaging growth : money creation based on repaying debt with interest must imply constant growth in the money supply. If this is achieved through increasing productive capacity, there will inevitably be pressure on natural resources.

Basing the money supply on debt is also socially discriminatory because not all citizens are in a position to take on debt. The pattern of the money supply will tend to favour the already rich or the most speculative risk-taker. Recent decades, for example, have seen a huge amount of borrowing by the financial sector to enhance their investments.

The economic problem is that the money supply depends on the capacity of the various elements of the economy (public and private) to take on more debt. And so as countries have become more dependent upon bank-created money, debt bubbles and credit crunches have become more frequent.

This is because handbag economics creates an impossible task for the private sector. It has to create all new money through bank-issued debt and repay it all with interest. It has to completely fund the public sector and generate a profit for investors.

But when the privatised bank-led money supply flounders, the money creating powers of the state come back into clear focus. This was particularly plain in the 2007-8 crisis, when central banks created new money in the process known as quantitative easing. Central banks used the sovereign power to create money free of debt to spend directly into the economy (by buying up existing government debt and other financial assets, for example).

The question then becomes: if the state as represented by the central bank can create money out of thin air to save the banks – why can't it create money to save the people?

It's a mistake to think of the state as a piggybank or handbag. ColorMaker/Shutterstock.com

Money for the people

The myths about money have led us to look at public spending and taxation the wrong way around. Taxation and spending, like bank lending and repayment, is in a constant flow. Handbag economics assumes that it is taxation (of the private sector) that is raising the money to fund the public sector. That taxation takes money out of the taxpayer's pocket.

But the long political history of sovereign power over money would indicate that the flow of money can be in the opposite direction. In the same way that banks can conjure money out of thin air to make loans, states can conjure money out of thin air to fund public spending. Banks create money by setting up bank accounts, states create money by allocating budgets.

When governments set budgets they do not see how much money they have in a pre-existing taxation piggybank. The budget allocates spending commitments that may, or may not, match the amount of money coming in through taxation. Through its accounts in the treasury and the central bank, the state is constantly spending out and taking in money. If it spends more money than it takes in, it leaves more money in people's pockets. This creates a budget deficit and what is effectively an overdraft at the central bank.

Is this a problem? Yes, if the state is treated as if it was any other bank account holder – the dependent household of handbag economics. No, if it is seen as an independent source of money. States do not need to wait for handouts from the commercial sector. States are the authority behind the money system. The power exercised by the banks to create the public currency out of thin air is a sovereign power.

It is no longer necessary to mint coins like Alexander, money can be created by keystrokes. There is no reason why this should be monopolised by the banking sector to create new public money as debt. Deeming public spending as being equivalent to bank borrowing denies the public, the sovereign people in a democracy, the right to access its own money free of debt.

Money should be designed for the many, not the few. Varavin88/Shutterstock.com

Redefining money

This foray into the historical and anthropological stories about money shows that long-held conceptions – that money emerged from a previous market economy based on barter, and that it was originally made from precious metal – are fairytales. We need to recognise this. And we need to capitalise on the public ability to create money.

But it is also important to recognise that the sovereign power to create money is not a solution in itself. Both the state and bank capacity to create money have advantages and disadvantages. Both can be abused. The reckless lending of the banking sector, for example, led to the near meltdown of the American and European monetary and financial system. On the other hand, where countries do not have a developed banking sector, the money supply remains in the hands of the state, with massive room for corruption and mismanagement.

The answer must be to subject both forms of money creation – bank and state – to democratic accountability. Far from being a technical, commercial instrument, money can be seen as a social and political construct that has immense radical potential. Our ability to harness this is hampered if we do not understand what money is and how it works . Money must become our servant, rather than our master.

theconversation.com The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: Capitalism Neoliberalism Print this article June 24, 2019 | Editor's Сhoice Neoliberalism Has Tricked Us Into Believing a Fairytale About Where Money Comes From Mary MELLOR

There is nothing natural about money. There is no link to some scarce essential form of money that sets a limit to its creation. It can be composed of base metal, paper or electronic data – none of which is in short supply. Similarly – despite what you may have heard about the need for austerity and a lack of certain cash-generating trees – there is no "natural" level of public expenditure. The size and reach of the public sector is a matter of political choice.

Which puts austerity, the culling of expenditure in the public economy, under some question. For some countries, such as Greece , the impact of austerity has been devastating. Austerity policies still persist despite numerous studies arguing that they were entirely misconceived, based on political choice rather than economic logic. But the economic case for austerity is equally mistaken: it is based on what can best be described as fairytale economics.

So what were the justifications? Britain, for example, has lived under an austerity regime since 2010, when the incoming Tory-Liberal Democrat government reversed the Labour policy of raising the level of public expenditure in response to the 2007-8 financial crisis. The crisis had created a perfect storm: bank rescue required high levels of public spending while economic contraction reduced tax income. The case for austerity was that the higher level of public expenditure could not be afforded by the taxpayer. This was supported by " handbag economics ", which adopts the analogy of states as being like households, dependent on a (private sector) breadwinner.

Under handbag economics, states are required to restrict their expenditure to what the taxpayer is deemed to be able to afford. States must not try to increase their spending by borrowing from the (private) financial sector or by "printing money" (although the banks were rescued by doing so by another name – quantitative easing , the creation of electronic money).

The ideology of handbag economics claims that money is to be generated only through market activity and that it is always in short supply. Request for increased public expenditure is almost invariably met with the response "where's the money to come from?" When confronted by low pay in the NHS, the British prime minister, Theresa May, famously declared, "there is no magic money tree".

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So where does money come from? And what is money anyway? What is money?

Until the last 50 years or so the answer seemed to be obvious: money was represented by cash (notes and coin). When money was tangible, there seemed no question about its origin, or its value. Coins were minted, banknotes were printed. Both were authorised by governments or central banks. But what is money today? In richer economies the use of cash is declining rapidly . Most monetary transactions are based on transfers between accounts: no physical money is involved.

In the run up to the financial crisis, the state's role in relation to money held in bank accounts was ambiguous. Banking was a monitored and licensed activity with some level of state guarantee of bank deposits, but the actual act of creating bank accounts was, and is, seen as a private matter. There may be regulations and limitations, but there is no detailed scrutiny of bank accounts and bank lending.

Yet, as the 2007-8 financial crisis showed, when bank accounts came under threat as banks teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, states and central banks had to step in and guarantee the security of all deposit accounts. The viability of money in non-investment bank accounts was demonstrated to be as much a public responsibility as cash.

The magic money tree. © Kate Mc , Author provided

This raises fundamental questions about money as a social institution. Is it right that money can be generated by a private choice to take on debt, which then becomes a liability of the state to guarantee in a crisis?

But far from seeing money as a public resource, under neoliberal handbag economics, money creation and circulation has increasingly been seen as a function of the market. Money is "made" solely in the private sector. Public spending is seen as a drain on that money, justifying austerity to make the public sector as small as possible.

This stance, however, is based on a complete misunderstanding of the nature of money, sustained by a series of deeply embedded myths.

Myths about money

Neoliberal handbag economics is derived from two key myths about the origin and nature of money. The first is that money emerged from a previous market economy based on barter. The second is that money was originally made from precious metal.

It is claimed that bartering proved to be very inefficient as each buyer-seller needed to find another person who exactly matched their requirements. A hat maker might barter a hat for some shoes she needs – but what if the shoe maker is in no need of a hat? The solution to this problem, so the story goes, was to choose one commodity that everyone desired, to act as a medium of exchange. Precious metal (gold and silver) was the obvious choice because it had its own value and could be easily divided and carried. This view of the origin of money goes back to at least the 18th century: the time of economist Adam Smith .

The 'father of capitalism' Adam Smith, 1723-1790. Matt Ledwinka/Shutterstock.com

These myths led to two assumptions about money that are still current today. First, that money is essentially connected to, and generated by, the marketplace. Second that modern money, like its original and ideal form, is always in short supply. Hence the neoliberal claim that public spending is a drain on the wealth-creating capacity of the market and that public spending must always be as limited as possible. Money is seen as a commercial instrument, serving a basic, market, technical, transactional function with no social or political force.

But the real story of money is very different. Evidence from anthropology and history shows that there was no widespread barter before markets based on money developed, and precious metal coinage emerged long before market economies. There are also many forms of money other than precious metal coins.

Money as custom

Something that acts as money has existed in most, if not all, human societies. Stones, shells, beads, cloths, brass rods and many other forms have been the means of comparing and acknowledging comparative value. But this was rarely used in a market context. Most early human communities lived directly off the land – hunting, fishing, gathering and gardening. The customary money in such communities was used mainly to celebrate auspicious social events or serve as a way of resolving social conflict.

For example, the Lele people, who lived in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1950s, calculated value in woven raffia cloths . The number of cloths required for different occasions was fixed by custom. Twenty cloths should be given to a father by a son on achieving adulthood and a similar amount given to a wife on the birth of a child. The anthropologist Mary Douglas, who studied the Lele, found they were resistant to using the cloths in transactions with outsiders, indicating that the cloths had a specific cultural relevance.

Even stranger is the large stone money of the Yap people of Micronesia. Huge circular discs of stone could weigh up to four metric tons . Not something to put in your pocket for a trip to the shops.

Try lugging that to the market. Evenfh/Shutterstock.com

There is plenty of other anthropological evidence such as this all over the world, all pointing to the fact that money, in its earliest form, served a social rather than market-based purpose.

Money as power

For most traditional societies, the origin of the particular money form has been lost in the mist of time. But the origin and adoption of money as an institution became much more obvious with the emergence of states. Money did not originate as precious metal coinage with the development of markets. In fact, the new invention of precious metal coinage in around 600BC was adopted and controlled by imperial rulers to build their empires by waging war.

Most notable was Alexander the Great, who ruled from 336–323BC. He is said to have used half a ton of silver a day to fund his largely mercenary army rather than a share of the spoils (the traditional payment). He had more than 20 mints producing coins, which had images of gods and heroes and the word Alexandrou (of Alexander). From that time, new ruling regimes have tended to herald their arrival by a new coinage.

Alexandrou. Alex Coan/Shutterstock.com

More than a thousand years after the invention of coinage, the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), who ruled most of western and central Europe, developed what became the basis of the British pre-decimal money system: pounds, shillings and pence. Charlemagne set up a currency system based on 240 pennies minted from a pound of silver. The pennies became established as the denier in France, the pfennig in Germany, the dinero in Spain, the denari in Italy and the penny in Britain.

So the real story of money as coinage was not one of barterers and traders: it emerged instead from a long history of politics, war and conflict. Money was an active agent in state and empire building, not a passive representation of price in the market. Control of the money supply was a major power of rulers: a sovereign power. Money was created and spent into circulation by rulers either directly, like Alexander, or through taxation or seizure of private holdings of precious metal.

Nor was early money necessarily based on precious metal. In fact, precious metal was relatively useless for building empires, because it was in short supply. Even in the Roman era, base metal was used, and Charlemagne's new money eventually became debased. In China, gold and silver did not feature and paper money was being used as early as the 9th century.

A coin from the time of Charlemagne, 768-814 AD. Classical Numismatic Group, CC BY-SA

What the market economy did introduce was a new form of money: money as debt.

Money as debt

If you look at a £20 banknote you will see it says: "I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of twenty pounds." This is a promise originally made by the Bank of England to exchange notes for the sovereign currency. The banknote was a new form of money. Unlike sovereign money it was not a statement of value, but a promise of value. A coin, even if made of base metal, was exchangeable in its own right: it did not represent another, superior, form of money. But when banknotes were first invented, they did.

The new invention of promissory notes emerged through the needs of trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. Promissory notes were used to acknowledge receipt of loans or investments and the obligation to repay them through the fruits of future transactions. A major task of the emerging profession of banking was to periodically set all these promises against each other and see who owed what to whom. This process of "clearing" meant that a great amount of paper commitments was reduced to relatively less actual transfer of money. Final settlement was either by payment with sovereign money (coins) or another promissory note (banknote).

Eventually, the banknotes became so trusted that they were treated as money in their own right. In Britain they became equivalent to the coinage, particularly when they were united under the banner of the Bank of England. Today, if you took a banknote to the Bank of England, it would merely exchange your note for one that is exactly the same. Banknotes are no longer promises, they are the currency. There is no other "real" money behind them.

What promissory notes became. Wara1982/Shutterstock.com

What modern money does retain is its association with debt. Unlike sovereign money, which was created and spent directly into circulation, modern money is largely borrowed into circulation through the banking system. This process shelters behind another myth, that banks merely act as a link between savers and borrowers. In fact, banks create money. And it is only in the last decade that this powerful myth has been finally put to rest by banking and monetary authorities.

It is now acknowledged by monetary authorities such as the IMF, the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, that banks are creating new money when they make loans. They don't lend the money of other account holders to those who want to borrow.

Bank loans consist of money conjured out of thin air, whereby new money is credited to the borrowers account with the agreement that the amount will eventually be repaid with interest.

The policy implications of the public currency being created out of nowhere and lent to borrowers on a purely commercial basis have still not been taken on board. Nor has basing a public currency on debt as opposed to the sovereign power to create and directly circulate money free of debt.

The result is that rather than using their own sovereign power over money creation, as Alexander the Great did, states have become borrowers from the private sector. Where there are public spending deficits or the need for large scale future expenditure, there is an expectation that the state will borrow the money or increase taxation, rather than create the money itself.

Creators of cash. Creative Lab/Shutterstock.com

Dilemmas of debt

But basing a money supply on debt is ecologically, socially and economically problematic.

Ecologically, there is a problem because the need to pay off debt could drive potentially damaging growth : money creation based on repaying debt with interest must imply constant growth in the money supply. If this is achieved through increasing productive capacity, there will inevitably be pressure on natural resources.

Basing the money supply on debt is also socially discriminatory because not all citizens are in a position to take on debt. The pattern of the money supply will tend to favour the already rich or the most speculative risk-taker. Recent decades, for example, have seen a huge amount of borrowing by the financial sector to enhance their investments.

The economic problem is that the money supply depends on the capacity of the various elements of the economy (public and private) to take on more debt. And so as countries have become more dependent upon bank-created money, debt bubbles and credit crunches have become more frequent.

This is because handbag economics creates an impossible task for the private sector. It has to create all new money through bank-issued debt and repay it all with interest. It has to completely fund the public sector and generate a profit for investors.

But when the privatised bank-led money supply flounders, the money creating powers of the state come back into clear focus. This was particularly plain in the 2007-8 crisis, when central banks created new money in the process known as quantitative easing. Central banks used the sovereign power to create money free of debt to spend directly into the economy (by buying up existing government debt and other financial assets, for example).

The question then becomes: if the state as represented by the central bank can create money out of thin air to save the banks – why can't it create money to save the people?

It's a mistake to think of the state as a piggybank or handbag. ColorMaker/Shutterstock.com

Money for the people

The myths about money have led us to look at public spending and taxation the wrong way around. Taxation and spending, like bank lending and repayment, is in a constant flow. Handbag economics assumes that it is taxation (of the private sector) that is raising the money to fund the public sector. That taxation takes money out of the taxpayer's pocket.

But the long political history of sovereign power over money would indicate that the flow of money can be in the opposite direction. In the same way that banks can conjure money out of thin air to make loans, states can conjure money out of thin air to fund public spending. Banks create money by setting up bank accounts, states create money by allocating budgets.

When governments set budgets they do not see how much money they have in a pre-existing taxation piggybank. The budget allocates spending commitments that may, or may not, match the amount of money coming in through taxation. Through its accounts in the treasury and the central bank, the state is constantly spending out and taking in money. If it spends more money than it takes in, it leaves more money in people's pockets. This creates a budget deficit and what is effectively an overdraft at the central bank.

Is this a problem? Yes, if the state is treated as if it was any other bank account holder – the dependent household of handbag economics. No, if it is seen as an independent source of money. States do not need to wait for handouts from the commercial sector. States are the authority behind the money system. The power exercised by the banks to create the public currency out of thin air is a sovereign power.

It is no longer necessary to mint coins like Alexander, money can be created by keystrokes. There is no reason why this should be monopolised by the banking sector to create new public money as debt. Deeming public spending as being equivalent to bank borrowing denies the public, the sovereign people in a democracy, the right to access its own money free of debt.

Money should be designed for the many, not the few. Varavin88/Shutterstock.com

Redefining money

This foray into the historical and anthropological stories about money shows that long-held conceptions – that money emerged from a previous market economy based on barter, and that it was originally made from precious metal – are fairytales. We need to recognise this. And we need to capitalise on the public ability to create money.

But it is also important to recognise that the sovereign power to create money is not a solution in itself. Both the state and bank capacity to create money have advantages and disadvantages. Both can be abused. The reckless lending of the banking sector, for example, led to the near meltdown of the American and European monetary and financial system. On the other hand, where countries do not have a developed banking sector, the money supply remains in the hands of the state, with massive room for corruption and mismanagement.

The answer must be to subject both forms of money creation – bank and state – to democratic accountability. Far from being a technical, commercial instrument, money can be seen as a social and political construct that has immense radical potential. Our ability to harness this is hampered if we do not understand what money is and how it works . Money must become our servant, rather than our master.

[Jun 26, 2019] Signs of neoliberalization: an increase since the 70s in de luxe facilities and bloated administrator salaries

Notable quotes:
"... When administrators make budget cuts, it isn't for recreational facilities and their own salaries -- it's the classics and history departments, and it's to faculty, with poorly paid part-time adjuncts teaching an unconscionable share of courses. ..."
"... So universities have been exacerbating the same unequal division between the people who actually do the work (faculty) and the people who allocate salaries (administrators) -- so too as in the business world, as you say. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

C Wolfe Bloomington IN Jan. 23

@Midwest Josh

I don't think that's entirely accurate, and even if true, leaving students to the predations of private lenders isn't the answer. Although I'm willing to entertain your thesis, soaring tuition has also been the way to make up for the underfunding of state universities by state legislatures.

At the same time, there's been an increase since the 70s in de luxe facilities and bloated administrator salaries. When administrators make budget cuts, it isn't for recreational facilities and their own salaries -- it's the classics and history departments, and it's to faculty, with poorly paid part-time adjuncts teaching an unconscionable share of courses.

So universities have been exacerbating the same unequal division between the people who actually do the work (faculty) and the people who allocate salaries (administrators) -- so too as in the business world, as you say.

[Jun 25, 2019] Meanwhile, Brent crude price dropped just a bit while futures remain steady in the low $60s

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 24, 2019 4:36:07 PM | 48

Meanwhile, Brent crude price dropped just a bit while futures remain steady in the low $60s. So no panic was induced by Trump's idiocy. Gold however jumped over $20 again to just under $1420 as China continues to dump T-Bills and buy gold. It may seem like a Mexican Standoff, but it looks pretty one-sided to me.

[Jun 24, 2019] Bernie Sanders' Newest Plan Would Wipe $1.6 Trillion In Student Debt, Fund Free State College

Notable quotes:
"... The massive student-debt jubilee would be financed with a tax on Wall Street: Specifically, a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% tax on bond trades and a .005% tax on derivatives trades. ..."
"... By introducing the student-debt plan, Sanders has outmaneuvered Elizabeth "I have a plan for that" Warren ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Bernie Sanders' Newest Plan Would Wipe $1.6 Trillion In Student Debt, Fund Free State College

by Tyler Durden Mon, 06/24/2019 - 06:00 34 SHARES

In his latest attempt to one-up Elizabeth Warren and establish his brand of "democratic socialism" as something entirely different from the progressive capitalism practiced by some of his peers, Bernie Sanders is preparing to unveil a new plan that would involve cancelling all of the country's outstanding $1.6 trillion in student debt.

The massive student-debt jubilee would be financed with a tax on Wall Street: Specifically, a 0.5% tax on stock trades, a 0.1% tax on bond trades and a .005% tax on derivatives trades.

Sanders plan would forgive roughly three times as much debt as Elizabeth Warren's big student-debt amnesty plan, which would forgive some $640 billion in the most distressed student loans.

Additionally, Sanders' plan would also provide states with $48 billion to eliminate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Thanks to the market effect, private schools would almost certainly be forced to cut prices to draw talented students who could simply attend a state school for free.

Reps Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Pramila Jayapal of Washington have already signed on to introduce Sanders' legislation in the House on Monday.

The timing of this latest in a series of bold socialist policy proposals from Sanders - let's not forget, Bernie is largely responsible for making Medicare for All a mainstream issue in the Democratic Party - comes just ahead of the first Democratic primary debate, where Sanders will face off directly against his No. 1 rival: Vice President Joe Biden, who has marketed his candidacy as a return to the 'sensible centrism' of the Democratic Party of yesteryear.

By introducing the student-debt plan, Sanders has outmaneuvered Elizabeth "I have a plan for that" Warren and established himself as the most far-left candidate in the crowded Democratic Primary field. Hopefully, this can help stall Warren's recent advance in the polls. The plan should help Sanders highlight how Biden's domestic platform includes little in the way of welfare expansion during the upcoming debate.


3-fingered_chemist , 8 minutes ago link

My federal student loan monthly statement says I don't have to make a payment. I don't qualify for any forgiveness because I'm responsible. Nonetheless, I pay the loan every month. The balance goes down but every month it's still the same story.

I have to imagine the provider prefers students to see that it says zero dollars owed this month with the hope that they don't pay because it says 0 dollars owed, default, and rack up a bunch of fees and interest that the student doesn't see in the fine print.

The provider can then get paid by the taxpayer no questions asked. Much more profit and payment is significantly faster.

Rex Titter , 18 minutes ago link

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

Education costs are in the stratosphere 'because' of conversion of univeristires into neoliberal institution. Which mean that the costs will skyrocket even more.

Somebody once said: If the neoliberal government took over management of the Sahara desert, in five years, there would be a shortage of sand.

The only way to rein in neoliberals in government is to stop giving them so damned much money...

Buy gold and toss it in the lake,,,

honest injun , 24 minutes ago link

The guaranteed student loan program created a mechanism that increases the price of education. Before the program, graduates could expect 10 times the cost of a years' tuition. Now, they'de lucky to get one year. The Americans were pushed out of this business and the UN-Americans replaced them. This goes on for decades until the marks realized that they've been screwed. ... The victims are in full support since they've been systematically dumbed down that it seems like a good idea. It's not. This is a bailout of a failed neoliberal institution.

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

The Amazon warehouse in Swansea – the company has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberal schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education

Apr 11, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

FionaMcW , 11 Apr 2019 06:36

Schools are teaching to the test. As someone who recently retrained as a secondary science teacher - after nearly 30 years as a journalist - I know this to be true.
Olympia1881 -> Centrecourt , 11 Apr 2019 05:46
Education is a prime example of where neoliberalism has had a negative effect. It worked well when labour was pumping billions into it and they invested in early intervention schemes such as sure start and nursery expansion. Unfortunately under the tories we have had those progressive policies scaled right back. Children with SEND and/or in care are commodities bought and sold by local authorities. I've been working in a PRU which is a private company and it does good things, but I can't help but think if that was in the public sector that it would be in a purpose built building rather than some scruffy office with no playground.

The facilities aren't what you would expect in this day in age. If we had a proper functioning government with a plan then what happens with vulnerable children would be properly organised rather than a reactive shit show.

DrMidnite , 10 Apr 2019 17:04
"Schools teach to the test, depriving children of a rounded and useful education."
Boy do they. I work in Business/IT training and as the years have rolled on I and every colleague I can think of have noticed more and more people coming to courses that they are unfit for. Not because they are stupid, but because they have been taught to be stupid. So used to being taught to the test that they are afraid to ask questions. Increasingly I get asked "what's the right way to do...", usually referring to situation in which there is no right way, just a right way for your business, at a specific point in time.
I had the great pleasure of watching our new MD describe his first customer-facing project, which was a disaster, but they "learned" from it. I had to point out to him that I teach the two disciplines involved - businesss analysis and project management - and if he or his team had attended any of the courses - all of which are free to them - they would have learned about the issues they would face, because (astonishingly) they are well-known.
I fear that these incurious adult children are at the bottom of Brexit, Trump and many of the other ills that afflict us. Learning how to do things is difficult and sometimes boring. Much better to wander in with zero idea of what has already been done and repeat the mistakes of the past. I see the future as a treadmill where the same mistakes are made repetitively and greeted with as much surprise as if they had never happened before. We have always been at war with Eastasia...

[Jun 23, 2019] As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

1Byron , 5 Mar 2012 17:44

It's no wonder the US is so screwed up these days. Somehow the NeoCons, before and after stealing the 2,000 election for Bush, with the help of abundance of Liars 4 Hire think tanks like CATO, CEI, AEI, Heritage Foundation blah, blah, blah, bankrolled by the likes of the Koch Bros, The Scaifes, Exxon, Monsanto, Dow, Dupont the Nuke Industry etc. were, and are still able to convince low intelligence people that wrong is right, bad is good, meanness is "compassion" and abuse is "tough love".

But it only works if those being duped are already predisposed to hateful philosophy, and that they got in spades with careful conditioning (brainwashing) from bastards like Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch, people with no moral scruples whatsoever.

Thus the right today (actually for a long while now) is no more than a collection of racists and bigots, pathological liars and scammers, charlatans and greedmeisters.

It's why they care nothing for the poor, nothing for protection the environment, nothing for anyone or anything but themselves. They are the cult of mean.

As former right-wing operative Allen Raymond famously said: "this is not about morality, this is about winning"

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/8/how_to_rig_an_election_convicted

[Jun 23, 2019] The Markets Are Signaling Something Awful Ahead Market Recon

Dec 27, 2018 | finance.yahoo.com

The hard reality remains that the financial markets are, in the long term, forward-looking. But in the short-term, they are dominated by high-speed electronic trading.

Anyone who felt Monday's (December's, Q4's) meltdown, or watched Tuesday night's reopening of equity index futures, watched in entertained astonishment, if not anguish.

Clearly, sentient, reasoned thought has now been sacrificed at the altar of short-term profit. The task is to come up with a thesis moving forward, and the challenge is to stick to that conclusion at times when the evils of algorithmic, high-frequency and passive trading styles turn against those core beliefs. Risk Management. Before one might profit with sustained regularity, one must learn to effectively preserve one's capital.

just so 5 hours ago

You can have whatever opinion you want about Yahoo's reporting of the daily ups and downs of the markets, and keep in mind, the exchanges are betting parlors. That said, these types of wild swings over the last 6 weeks or so, are very similar to what took place before housing bubble burst in the late mid-ots, keep an eye on the amount of private uncollateralized debt that mid-cap companies are carrying, if they start defaulting and these private equity houses start running for cover, it create the same type of liquidity situation that Lehman's caused.

[Jun 22, 2019] Use of science by the US politicians

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The evidence suggests that foreign policymakers do not seek insight from scholars, but rather support for what they already want to do.

As Desch quotes a World War II U.S. Navy anthropologist, "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance.

[Jun 21, 2019] A Slow Death The Ills of the Neoliberal Academic

Highly recommended!
The term Casializatin was repced by more correct term "neoliberalization" for clarity.
Notable quotes:
"... Neoliberalization, a word that says much in, and of, itself, is seen as analogue of broader outsourcing initiatives. Militaries do it, governments do it, and the university does it. Services long held to be the domain of the state, itself an animation of the social contract, the spirit of the people, have now become the incentive of the corporate mind, and, it follows, its associated vices. The entire scope of what has come to be known as outsourcing is itself a creature of propaganda, cheered on as an opportunity drawing benefits rather than an ill encouraging a brutish, tenuous life. ..."
"... Practitioners and policy makers within the education industry have become devotees of the amoral dictates of supply and demand, underpinned by an insatiable management class. Central to their program of university mismanagement is the neoliberal academic, a creature both embraced and maligned in the tertiary sectors of the globe. ..."
"... The neoliberal academic is meant to be an underpaid miracle worker, whose divining acts rescue often lax academics from discharging their duties. (These duties are outlined in that deceptive and unreliable document known as a "workplan", as tedious as it is fictional.) The neoliberal academic grades papers, lectures, tutors and coordinates subjects. The neoliberal provides cover, a shield, and an excuse for a certain class of academic manager who prefers the calling of pretence to the realities of work. ..."
"... Often, these neoliberal academics are students undertaking a postgraduate degree and subject to inordinate degrees of stress in an environment of perennial uncertainty. ..."
"... A representative sample of PhD students studying in Flanders, Belgium found that one in two experienced psychological distress, with one in three at risk of a common psychiatric disorder. Mental health problems tended to be higher in PhD students "than in the highly educated general population, highly education employees and higher education students." ..."
"... Neoliberalization can be seen alongside a host of other ills. If the instructor is disposable and vulnerable, then so are the manifestations of learning. Libraries and research collections, for instance, are being regarded as deadening, inanimate burdens on the modern, vibrant university environment. Some institutions make a regular habit of culling their supply of texts and references: we are all e-people now, bound to prefer screens to paper, the bleary-eyed session of online engagement to the tactile session with a book. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

A Slow Death: The Ills of the Neoliberal Academic

by Binoy Kampmark / June 20th, 2019

Any sentient being should be offended. Eventually, the Neoliberalization of the academic workforce was bound to find lazy enthusiasts who neither teach, nor understand the value of a tenured position dedicated to that musty, soon-to-be-forgotten vocation of the pedagogue. It shows in the designs of certain universities who confuse frothy trendiness with tangible depth: the pedagogue banished from the podium, with rooms lacking a centre, or a focal point for the instructor. Not chic, not cool, we are told, often by learning and teaching committees that perform neither task. Keep it modern; do not sound too bright and hide the learning: we are all equal in the classroom, inspiringly even and scrubbed of knowledge. The result is what was always to be expected: profound laziness on the part of instructors and students, dedicated mediocrity, and a rejection of all things intellectually taxing.

Neoliberalization, a word that says much in, and of, itself, is seen as analogue of broader outsourcing initiatives. Militaries do it, governments do it, and the university does it. Services long held to be the domain of the state, itself an animation of the social contract, the spirit of the people, have now become the incentive of the corporate mind, and, it follows, its associated vices. The entire scope of what has come to be known as outsourcing is itself a creature of propaganda, cheered on as an opportunity drawing benefits rather than an ill encouraging a brutish, tenuous life.

One such text is Douglas Brown and Scott Wilson's The Black Book of Outsourcing . Plaudits for it resemble worshippers at a shrine planning kisses upon icons and holy relics. "Brown & Wilson deliver on the best, most innovative, new practices all aimed at helping one and all survive, manage and lead in this new economy," praises Joann Martin, Vice President of Pitney Bowes Management Services. Brown and Wilson take aim at a fundamental "myth": that "Outsourcing is bad for America." They cite work sponsored by the Information Technology Association of America (of course) that "the practice of outsourcing is good for the US economy and its workers."

Practitioners and policy makers within the education industry have become devotees of the amoral dictates of supply and demand, underpinned by an insatiable management class. Central to their program of university mismanagement is the neoliberal academic, a creature both embraced and maligned in the tertiary sectors of the globe.

The neoliberal academic is meant to be an underpaid miracle worker, whose divining acts rescue often lax academics from discharging their duties. (These duties are outlined in that deceptive and unreliable document known as a "workplan", as tedious as it is fictional.) The neoliberal academic grades papers, lectures, tutors and coordinates subjects. The neoliberal provides cover, a shield, and an excuse for a certain class of academic manager who prefers the calling of pretence to the realities of work.

Often, these neoliberal academics are students undertaking a postgraduate degree and subject to inordinate degrees of stress in an environment of perennial uncertainty. The stresses associated with such students are documented in the Guardian's Academics Anonymous series and have also been the subject of research in the journal Research Policy . A representative sample of PhD students studying in Flanders, Belgium found that one in two experienced psychological distress, with one in three at risk of a common psychiatric disorder. Mental health problems tended to be higher in PhD students "than in the highly educated general population, highly education employees and higher education students."

This is hardly helped by the prospects faced by those PhDs for future permanent employment, given what the authors of the Research Policy article describe as the "unfavourable shift in the labour-supply demand balance, a growing popularity of short-term contracts, budget cuts and increased competition for research sources".

There have been a few pompom holders encouraging the Neoliberalization mania, suggesting that it is good for the academic sector. The explanations are never more than structural: a neoliberal workforce, for instance, copes with fluctuating enrolments and reduces labour costs. "Using neoliberal academics brings benefits and challenges," we find Dorothy Wardale, Julia Richardson and Yuliani Suseno telling us in The Conversation . This, in truth, is much like suggesting that syphilis and irritable bowel syndrome is necessary to keep you on your toes, sharp and streamlined. The mindset of the academic-administrator is to assume that such things are such (Neoliberalization, the authors insist, is not going way, so embrace) and adopt a prostrate position in the face of funding cuts from the public purse.

Neoliberalization can be seen alongside a host of other ills. If the instructor is disposable and vulnerable, then so are the manifestations of learning. Libraries and research collections, for instance, are being regarded as deadening, inanimate burdens on the modern, vibrant university environment. Some institutions make a regular habit of culling their supply of texts and references: we are all e-people now, bound to prefer screens to paper, the bleary-eyed session of online engagement to the tactile session with a book.

The neoliberal, sessional academic also has, for company, the "hot-desk", a spot for temporary, and all too fleeting occupation. The hot-desk has replaced the work desk; the partitions of the office are giving way to the intrusions of the open plan. The hot-desker, like coitus, is temporary and brief. The neoliberal academic epitomises that unstable reality; there is little need to give such workers more than temporary, precarious space. As a result, confidentiality is impaired, and privacy all but negated. Despite extensive research showing the negative costs of "hot-desking" and open plan settings, university management remains crusade bound to implement such daft ideas in the name of efficiency.

Neoliberalization also compounds fraudulence in the academy. It supplies the bejewelled short cut route, the bypass, the evasion of the rigorous things in learning. Academics may reek like piddling middle class spongers avoiding the issues while pretending to deal with them, but the good ones at least make some effort to teach their brood decently and marshal their thoughts in a way that resembles, at the very least, a sound whiff of knowledge. This ancient code, tested and tried, is worth keeping, but it is something that modern management types, along with their parasitic cognates, ignore. In Australia, this is particularly problematic, given suggestions that up to 80 percent of undergraduate courses in certain higher learning institutions are taught by neoliberal academics.

The union between the spread sheet manager and the uninterested academic who sees promotion through the management channel rather than scholarship, throws up a terrible hybrid, one vicious enough to degrade all in its pathway. This sort of hybrid hack resorts to skiving and getting neoliberals to do the work he or she ought to be doing. Such people co-ordinate courses but make sure they get the wallahs and helpers desperate for cash to do it. Manipulation is guaranteed, exploitation is assured.

The economy of desperation is cashed in like a reliable blue-chip stock: the skiver with an ongoing position knows that a neoliberal academic desperate to earn some cash cannot dissent, will do little to rock the misdirected boat, and will have to go along with utterly dotty notions. There are no additional benefits from work, no ongoing income, no insurance, and, importantly, inflated hours that rarely take into account the amount of preparation required for the task.

The ultimate nature of the Neoliberalization catastrophe is its diminution of the entire academic sector. Neoliberals suffer, but so do students. The result is not mere sloth but misrepresentation of the worst kind: the university keen to advertise a particular service it cannot provide sufficiently. This, in time, is normalised: what would students, who in many instances may not even know the grader of their paper, expect? The remunerated, secure academic-manager, being in the castle, can raise the drawbridge and throw the neoliberals to the vengeful crowd, an employment environment made safe for hypocrisy.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne and can be reached at: bkampmark@gmail.com . Read other articles by Binoy .

This article was posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019 at 9:00pm and is filed under Neoliberalization , Education , Universities .

[Jun 21, 2019] Men need not apply: university set to open jobs just to women

Since when female sex is the guarantee of the academic achievement ? And why we want party between sexes in academic jobs ?
Jun 18, 2019 | www.sciencemag.org

A Dutch engineering university is taking radical action to increase its share of female academics by opening job vacancies to women only. Starting on 1 July, the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) in the Netherlands will not allow men to apply for permanent academic jobs for the first 6 months of the recruitment process under a new fellowship program. If no suitable applicant has been found within that time, men can then apply, but the selection committee will still have to nominate at least one candidate of each gender. The [insane] plan was announced today and is already attracting controversy.

[Jun 21, 2019] Disgraced Vice President of Walt Disney Convicted of Child Rape, Gets 6 Years by Matt Agorist

Jun 21, 2019 | thefreethoughtproject.com

Portland, OR -- A former top level Walt Disney executive was sentenced to prison this month for nearly seven years for child rape. Michael Laney, 73, who was the Vice President of Walt Disney was found guilty of four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and sentenced to 81 months in prison.

After the sentencing, Laney's attorneys pleaded with the judge to suspend the sentence, claiming that Laney's wife would suffer if her husband goes to jail.

According to Oregon Live , Laney's wife's doctor, Blain Crandell, submitted a letter on Laney's behalf, saying his wife "could be expected to suffer serious consequences to her health and well-being" without an in-home caregiver, a role her husband had been filling.

Thankfully, the judge and district attorney did not see it that way. In response to this request, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Charles Mickley called the claims "peculiarly offensive and insulting."

"Defendant wholly ignores the compelling evidence of his guilt presented at trial, including the evidence of his longstanding sexual interest in children," Mickley wrote.

Laney will also have to serve an additional 120 months of probation after prison, pay a $4,000 fine, and register as a sex offender.

... ... ...

This article originally appeared on The Free Thought Project .

Matt Agorist Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor at Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on Twitter , Steemit , and now on Minds.

[Jun 20, 2019] Meritocracy is a Lie by Gary Olson

Notable quotes:
"... Sherman found that her interviewees, all in the top 1-2 percent of income or wealth or both, had thoroughly imbibed the narrative of meritocracy to rationalize their affluence and immense privileges. That is, they believed they deserved all their money because of hard work and individual effort. Most identified themselves as socially and political liberal and took pains to distinguish themselves from "bad" rich people who flaunt their wealth. ..."
"... Finally, meritocracy is the classic American foundation myth and provides the basis for an entire array of other fairy tales. Foremost, this illusion serves to justify policies that foster economic inequality and hinder the development of social movements. After so many decades of neoliberal ideology, this lie is now firmly lodged in the public's collective consciousness but I'm convinced that with effort and relying on the evidence, it can be expunged. ..."
May 02, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org
In 2017, Sociology Professor Rachel Sherman wrote Uneasy Street: The Anxiety of Affluence , a book which drew upon 50 in-depth interviews with Uber-wealthy New Yorkers in order to obtain a picture of just how they perceived their status.

Sherman found that her interviewees, all in the top 1-2 percent of income or wealth or both, had thoroughly imbibed the narrative of meritocracy to rationalize their affluence and immense privileges. That is, they believed they deserved all their money because of hard work and individual effort. Most identified themselves as socially and political liberal and took pains to distinguish themselves from "bad" rich people who flaunt their wealth. Although one unselfconsciously acknowledged "I used to say I was going to be a revolutionary but then I had my first massage."

One striking characteristic was that these folks never talk about money and obsess over the "stigma of privilege." One typical respondent whose wealth exceeded $50 million told Sherman, "There's nobody who knows how much money we spend. You're the only person I've ever said the numbers to out-loud." Another couple who had inherited $50 million and lived in a penthouse had the post office change their mailing address to the floor number because PH sounded "elite and snobby." Another common trait was removing the price tags from items entering the house so the housekeeper and and staff didn't see them. As if the nanny didn't know

Her subjects (who re