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Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"

Oligarchic "Quiet Coup" in the USA, "Greed is good" slogan and loss of trust in neoliberal governments

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Quiet coup The Deep State National Security State / Surveillance State In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Two Party System as polyarchy The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Pareto Law Media-Military-Industrial Complex Groupthink Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Corporatism Inverted Totalitarism US and British media are servants of security apparatus Casino Capitalism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corruption of Regulators
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment The importance of controlling the narrative New American Caste System The Essential Rules for Dominating Population What's the Matter with Kansas Big Uncle is Watching You
Nation under attack meme American Exceptionalism Neo-fascism Bureaucracies Military Bureaucracy Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Toxic Managers The psychopath in the corner office Female Sociopaths Office Stockholm Syndrome Quotes about Psychopaths Humor Etc


Introduction


There is an 'audacious oligarchy' of self-defined rulers who move freely between private industry and government, whose primary objective is preserving and furthering their own power and self-interest.

Jesse's Café American, Audacious Oligarchy

Audacious behaviour is often connected with the weakened self-preservation instinct, typical for sociopaths. So their audacity take the form of Chutzpah (shameless audacity; impudence, unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall). It's inherently connected with the lack of empathy, which is a defining feature of sociopaths. The key question here is: to what extent the US elite became infected with substantial or even dominant number of sociopaths? Including female sociopaths as we saw recently in the reaction of behaviour of a wife of former president on killing Gaddafy (Hillary Clinton on Gaddafi: We came, we saw, he died ) ?

In fact this process of self-selection of sociopaths into neoliberal elite reached dangerous level was noted be many, including famous remark of Robert Johnson at Culture Project's IMPART 2012 Festival that essentially defined the term ("Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."):

Oligarchy now is audacious. They don't really care if they are legitimate.

"Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must."

Robert Johnson serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund.

Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin) and of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico). Johnson received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a B.S. in both Electrical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As you can see this idea "Legitimate if you can, coerce if you have to, and accommodate if you must." does not differ much with the modus operandi of three-letter agencies, so the terms "audacious oligarchy" and "deep state" are closely related: deep state can be viewed as a social system in this audacious oligarchy rules the population.

We can also think about the term "audacious oligarchy" as the term related to the rise of neo-fascism, (be it neoliberal fascism or Inverted Totalitarism). For some details National Security State / Surveillance State: Review of Literature and a very interesting discussion of Robert Johnson remarks on financial oligarchy at “They’re All Standing on the Deck of the Titanic Looking in Each Other’s Eyes” (naked capitalism, April 21, 2013). That means the key elements of fascist ideology are preserved, with the replacement of Arian Nation for financial oligarchy, but without ruthless physical suppression of opposition which are replaced by financial instruments, blacklisting, economic sanctions and color revolutions in "deviant" countries. Like in Third Reich dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. there is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

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

One interesting side effect of the dominance of financial oligarchy is loss of trusts in experts, especially economic expects, professors who now are nothing more then a prostitutes at the service of financial capital Ian Klaus in "Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance gives the following definition:

Trust, to be simple with our definition, is an expectation of behavior built upon norms and cultural habits. It is often dependent upon a shared set of ethics or values. It is also a process orchestrated through communities and institutions. In this sense, it is a cultural event and thus a historical phenomenon.

As Robert Johnson noted:

"People don't trust experts. If you saw 'Inside Job', you know why. People do not trust the private markets, and they don't trust government."

See also Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy.

In the case of neoliberal transformation of the USA the state to a large extent seized to defend the population. Instead the state became a predictor, defender of international corporations, as hostile to the US people as Bolshevik rule was to Russians and other nationalities of the USSR. In other word the USA population became hostages of the system much like population of the USSR was. In a way nothing is new in human history.

The most important side effect of neoliberal transformation of the US society is the destruction (or more correctly emasculation) of legal system, which effectively lead to the situation when like in monarchy, some people are above the law. And we can suspect, judging from recent the USSR nomenklatura experience that such a caste might quickly degrades. As Long Aston said "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". If you willfully and recklessly tear down the laws in the name of some misbegotten ideology the benefit to "chosen" few, blowback might come sooner or later. even if you successfully hide this in a smokescreen of sophisticated scam ideology (neoliberalism in case of current crony or casino capitalism, which replaced the New Deal "live and giver other chance to live" motto) the blowback eventually might knock the particular country down. In such system nobody trust anybody and the whole society gradually disintegrates becoming just extended version of a mafia clan. With typical for such clans deadly internal fights for power. Mexican drug cartels saying - plomo y plobo ('silver or lead'): either you accept our bribes or accept our bullets is perfectly applicable in this situation. And that's how "audacious oligarchy really operates at least of international scène. But the law of the jungle has one important difference with the regular law system: any more powerful group of states can became both a judge and executioner for less powerful, or competing group of states.

When you take some self-serving fairy tale and take it an extreme by sticking an 'ism' on the end of it, like is the case with neoliberalism, at the beginning everything is fine and population is carries by this lie with ease. But as soon as people discover this despite all the power of propaganda their standard of living is going down, some trouble appear on the horizon and there is no other way then to concert the state into national security state, as proponent of communism have found in the USSR. And under neoliberalism, the essence of which is redistribution of wealth in favor of the top 0.01% of the world population, this disillusionment in inevitable, unless we experience a new technological revolution, similar to computer revolution. it can't be hidden with fairly tales about "undemocratic nature" of poor state or corruption. People can only be suppressed by brute force. and the lead to overextension of the neoliberal empire.

When the financial oligarchy is completely exempt from the law and in this particular area regulation is burned to the ground to serve the interests of financial oligarchy, strange things start to happen. The first glimpse on which we already saw in 2008. There was a demonstration of an immanent feature of neoliberal regimes which might be called financial sector induced systemic instability of economy. The latter which lead to periodic booms and busts with unpredictable timing, severity and consequences for the society at large, but so far all of those crisis work also as mechanism of redistribution of the society wealth toward the top . this time the US oligarchy managed to swipe the dirt under the rug.

This instability happens automatically and does not depend on the presence of "bad apples" in the system, because the financial sector under neoliberalism functions not as the nerve system of the economy of the particular country, but more like an autoimmune disease. In other words financial sector destabilizes the "immune system" of the country by introducing positive feedback look into economic (and not only economic, look at the USA foreign policy since 1991) activities.

What exactly is neoliberal oligarchy ?

When we say audacious oligarchy we essentially mean neoliberal oligarchy, and first of all financial oligarchy. Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by wealth, family ties, commercial, government and/or military positions. The actual literal translation from the Greek is the "rule of the few". The word oligarchy is derived from the Greek words "ὀλίγος" (olígos), "a few"[2] and the verb "ἄρχω" (archo), "to rule, to govern, to command".

Throughout history, most oligarchies have been tyrannical, relying on public servitude to exist, although some have been relatively benign. Plato pioneered the use of the term in Chapter Four, Book Eight of "The Republic" as a society in which wealth is the criterion of merit and the wealthy are in control.

However oligarchy is not always a rule according to the size of the wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be distinguished from plebs by iether personal wealth or bloodlines as in a monarchy. Although often those two types of distinction are present too. For example, in the USSR the oligarchy was represented by special class of government and party servants (nomenklatura). The same is by-and-large true for Communist China. Those types of oligarchy has a lot of features in common with neoliberal oligarchy, although they are national in character. First of all in both system oligarchs are "working oligarchs". They actively participate in the their business or government activities. The second thing is that neoliberal oligarchy has very interesting connection with the idea of Communist International, and can be viewed as an interesting perversion of this concept ("Capitalism International") with some flavor of Trotskyism -- as it strives for and adopts Trotskyism central idea of permanent revolution as the method of reaching of the world dominance (see, neocons and color revolutions)

At the same time starting from 80th in the USA oligarchy by-and-large started to correspond to European aristocracy as vertical mobility became very limited and suppressed in the USA (actually more then in European countries, despite all the hype about the American dream).

The USA oligarchy by-and-large corresponds to European aristocracy, with substantial number of its members being children of oligarchic families. Vertical mobility, despite hype, is very limited and suppressed (actually more then in European countries). In no way the USA con be considered "the county of opportunities" anymore.

Russian oligarchy is very atypical in this sense, and is a pretty interesting case of a very high vertical mobility. As a country Russia is unique that in its history it several times wiped out its entrenched oligarchy. Two last "rotations" happened in 1917 then large part of old oligarchy lost their power and after neoliberal revolution of 1991 which brought into power the corrupt government of Boris Yeltsin. The drunkard, who imitated French proclaiming "enrich yourself" and launches (with gentle support from USA in a form of Harvard mafia) the most corrupt privatization of state wealth in human history.

But most members of the new, Post-Soviet Russian oligarchy did demonstrated tremendous level of upward mobility. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union on 31 December 1991, many directors and sometimes middle managers of state owned Russia-based corporations, especially producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metals managed to privatize their holdings and have become oligarchs. Criminal privatization under Yeltsin regime allowed them to amass phenomenal wealth and power almost overnight. In May 2004, the Russian edition of Forbes identified 36 of these oligarchs as being worth at least US$1 billion. And not of all them came from Nomenklatura. Many members of nomenklatura (even on the level of Politburo) did not fit in the new economic system and stopped being oligarchs.

All modern democracies should be viewed as oligarchies

Robert Michels believed that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy. He called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, modern democracies should be considered to be oligarchies. this is what his "iron law of oligarchy" is about. In other word when we speak the word democracy about such regimes as current exist in the USA or Western Europe, it is most self-deception.

That gives a pretty sinister meaning to the "promotion of democracy" and "support of democracy" activities, as in reality it is installation of more favorable to the promoter oligarchic group in power, often via coup d'état (with a specific neoliberal variant, which use developed by Gene Sharp political technology, called Color revolution), as recently happened in Libya and Ukraine.

In "modern democracies", the actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians' careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is always only one political party, the party of oligarchy.

This is especially true for winner takes all election systems, which create two party environment, with both party being a factions of the same elite. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

Quiet coup

The term "Quiet coup" which means the hijacking of the political power in the USA by financial oligarchy was introduced by Simon H. Johnson (born January 16, 1963). Simon Johnson is a British-American economist, who currently is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. From March 2007 through the end of August 2008, he was Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund.

The term was introduced in Simon Johnson article in Atlantic magazine, published in May 2009(The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic). Which opens with a revealing paragraph:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

The wealth of financial sector gave it unprecedented opportunities of simply buying the political power:

Becoming a Banana Republic

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (and only in emerging markets): South Korea (1997), Malaysia (1998), Russia and Argentina (time and again). In each of those cases, global investors, afraid that the country or its financial sector wouldn’t be able to pay off mountainous debt, suddenly stopped lending. And in each case, that fear became self-fulfilling, as banks that couldn’t roll over their debt did, in fact, become unable to pay. This is precisely what drove Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy on September 15, causing all sources of funding to the U.S. financial sector to dry up overnight. Just as in emerging-market crises, the weakness in the banking system has quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy, causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people.

But there’s a deeper and more disturbing similarity: elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. Several other factors helped fuel the financial industry’s ascent. Paul Volcker’s monetary policy in the 1980s, and the increased volatility in interest rates that accompanied it, made bond trading much more lucrative. The invention of securitization, interest-rate swaps, and credit-default swaps greatly increased the volume of transactions that bankers could make money on. And an aging and increasingly wealthy population invested more and more money in securities, helped by the invention of the IRA and the 401(k) plan. Together, these developments vastly increased the profit opportunities in financial services.

Not surprisingly, Wall Street ran with these opportunities. From 1973 to 1985, the financial sector never earned more than 16 percent of domestic corporate profits. In 1986, that figure reached 19 percent. In the 1990s, it oscillated between 21 percent and 30 percent, higher than it had ever been in the postwar period. This decade, it reached 41 percent. Pay rose just as dramatically. From 1948 to 1982, average compensation in the financial sector ranged between 99 percent and 108 percent of the average for all domestic private industries. From 1983, it shot upward, reaching 181 percent in 2007.

The great wealth that the financial sector created and concentrated gave bankers enormous political weight — a weight not seen in the U.S. since the era of J.P. Morgan (the man). In that period, the banking panic of 1907 could be stopped only by coordination among private-sector bankers: no government entity was able to offer an effective response. But that first age of banking oligarchs came to an end with the passage of significant banking regulation in response to the Great Depression; the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy is quite recent.

He further researched this theme in his book 2010 book 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (ISBN 978-0307379054), coauthored with James Kwak. They also founded and regularly contributes to the economics blog The Baseline Scenario.

Financial oligarchy as an key part of modern neoliberal elite

Corporate oligarchy is a form of power, governmental or operational, where such power effectively rests with a small, elite group of inside individuals, sometimes from a small group of educational institutions, or influential economic entities or devices, such as banks, commercial entities that act in complicity with, or at the whim of the oligarchy, often with little or no regard for constitutionally protected prerogative. Monopolies are sometimes granted to state-controlled entities, such as the Royal Charter granted to the East India Company. In this regime people move freely from government posts to private industry and back.

In the USA the most rapidly rising part of national oligarchy is financial oligarchy. As Senator Dick Durbin noted referring to the US Congress Banks Frankly Own The Place. Moreover in many cases it is unclear who owns whom, for example whether Goldman Sachs owns NY FED or NY FED Goldman Sachs ( The Fed Under Goldman's Thumb - Bloomberg )

Senators questioned Dudley, 61, on issues ranging from whether some banks are too big to regulate to the Fed’s role in overseeing their commodities businesses.

Some of the criticism was pointed. Warren, a frequent critic of financial regulators, asked Dudley if he was “holding a mirror to your own behavior.”

Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat, complained that bank employees involved in misdeeds haven’t been prosecuted and are “too big to jail.”

Dudley repeatedly disagreed with assertions that the New York Fed wasn’t doing enough to regulate banks and said lenders have become stronger and safer in the past few years.

... ... ...

Today’s Senate hearing follows reports that Goldman Sachs fired two bankers after one of them allegedly shared confidential documents from the New York Fed within the firm.

A junior banker, who had joined the company in July from the New York Fed, was dismissed a week after the discovery in late September, along with another employee who failed to escalate the issue, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Goldman Sachs confirmed the memo’s contents.

As Adair Turner noted in The Consequences of Money Manager Capitalism

In the wake of World War II, much of the western world, particularly the United States, adopted a new form of capitalism called “managerial welfare-state capitalism.”

The system by design constrained financial institutions with significant social welfare reforms and large oligopolistic corporations that financed investment primarily out of retained earnings. Private sector debt was small, but government debt left over from financing the War was large, providing safe assets for households, firms, and banks. The structure of this system was financially robust and unlikely to generate a deep recession. However, the constraints within the system didn’t hold.

The relative stability of the first few decades after WWII encouraged ever-greater risk-taking, and over time the financial system was transformed into our modern overly financialized economy. Today, the dominant financial players are “managed money” — lightly regulated “shadow banks” like pension funds, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, and university endowments—with huge pools of capital in search of the highest returns. In turn, innovations by financial engineers have encouraged the growth of private debt relative to income and the increased reliance on volatile short-term finance and massive uses of leverage.

What are the implications of this financialization on the modern global economy? According to Adair Lord Turner, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a former head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Services Authority, it means that finance has become central to the daily operations of the economic system. More precisely, the private nonfinancial sectors of the economy have become more dependent on the smooth functioning of the financial sector in order to maintain the liquidity and solvency of their balance sheets and to improve and maintain their economic welfare. For example, households have increased their use of debt to fund education, healthcare, housing, transportation, and leisure. And at the same time, they have become more dependent on interest, dividends, and capital gains as a means to maintain and improve their standard of living.

Another major consequence of financialized economies is that they typically generate repeated financial bubbles and major debt overhangs, the aftermath of which tends to exacerbate inequality and retard economic growth. Booms turn to busts, distressed sellers sell their assets to the beneficiaries of the previous bubble, and income inequality expands.

In the view of Lord Turner, currently there is no countervailing power (in John Kenneth Galbraith terms) able to deal with the consequences of neoliberalism, as he calls it "money manager capitalism.” The net result likely will be years more of economic stagnation and deteriorating living standards for many people around the world.

Finance is a form of modern warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and “the miracle of compound interest” that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May’s 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative article, on the collusion between the US’ “financial oligarchy” and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don’t want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund’s senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason—the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit—and, most of the time, genteel—oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs “go off track” (a euphemism) precisely because the government can’t stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program “goes back on track” once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern—and thus win or lose—under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests—financiers, in the case of the U.S.—played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better—in a “buck stops somewhere else” sort of way—on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for “safety and soundness” were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies—lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership—had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector’s profits—such as Brooksley Born’s now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998—were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital—a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup’s executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson’s predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists—at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy’s favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks’ hands—indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical—since we’ll want to sell the banks quickly—they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the “efficiency costs” of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail—a financial weapon of mass self-destruction—explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine”.

The predatory nature of financial oligarchy

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government’s capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, corrupt collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in its most modern form -- neoliberalism.

Second probably is that institutions are more powerful them individuals and replacement or even jailing of corrupt current officials while a quite welcome move, can't by itself lead to drastic changes. You need to reinstall the whole system of government controls dismantled by Clinton-Bush regime. Otherwise one set of players will be simply replaced by the other, no less corrupt, hungry and unprincipled. As Daron Acemoglu pointed out recently, we are in a situation that attempt to fix the financial system will have to involve those same bankers (albeit in lower positions at the time of the crisis) that created the mess in the first place. To push the analogy a bit strongly, even in Germany post 1945 and Iraq post 2003 new governments still needed to work with some civil servants in the judicial and educational system from the previous regime as well as with tainted industrialists.

In theory, the best way to diminish the power of financiers is to limit the size (limiting the damage) and let them fail and crash badly. Also introduction of a tax of transactions (Tobin tax) can help to cool the frenzy of derivative trading. But there is nobody in power who can push those changes. That means the "silent coup" in which financial oligarchy got control of the state is complete.

Loss of trust led to conversion of the country into national security state

Paranoya of financial oligarchy after 2008 when most of the country wished them what was reflected in the slogan of the corner of Wallstreet (see the picture), led to speed up of creation of comprehensive network of spying over the citizens.

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Even if we assume that data collection is passive and never used it is like a ticking bomb or "skeleton in the closet" it is a powerful method of control of population, not the different from what was used by KGB in the USSR or STASI in East Germany.

So it does not really matter much what the data are collected for and what if official justification of such a collection. The mere fact of collection changes the situation to the worse, making opposition to the system practically impossible. The net result is what is matter. And the net result definitely resembles a move in the direction of a tyranny. US Senator Frank Church said in 1975:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.".

Today his words sound even more true then in 1975 when computers were still in their infancy and mainframes dominated the computer landscape. With the proliferation of cheap electronic devices such as PCs and laptops, tablets and cell phones this really became "the abyss from which there is no return".

So the real, the key goal is not what is officially declared. Convenience of access to information has a side effect that it makes collection of information about you trivial and at the same time comprehensive. It is to keep the elite safe from common folks, not all those lies about national security. It is all about the security of the elite.

In other words 1984 dystopia materialized in slightly different, slightly more gentle form. The elite as a whole is not interesting in dismantling the tool that serve its interests so well even if it has some side effects on the elite members themselves. This is another confirmation of The Iron Law of Oligarchy

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism in the USA. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of Stasi in all those activities. As countries of the USSR camp got into similar trap before, nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

Phone hacking and police corruption represent neoliberalism attempt to cling to life even entering in 2008 a zombie status. And we do not know if the change is possible (The zombie of neoliberalism can be beaten)

Poor growth figures put a "new" financial collapse back on the cards. The response from politicians, bankers and business leaders is more of the same – more of the same neoliberal policies that got us into this situation in the first place.

Neoliberalism no longer "makes sense", but its logic keeps stumbling on, without conscious direction, like a zombie: ugly, persistent and dangerous. Such is the "unlife" of a zombie, a body stripped of its goals, unable to adjust itself to the future, unable to make plans. It can only act habitually as it pursues a monomaniacal hunger. Unless there is a dramatic recomposition of society, we face the prospect of decades of drift as the crises we face – economic, social, environmental – remain unresolved. But where will that recomposition come from when we are living in the world of zombie-liberalism?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, however, requires more than the internal realignment of a national ruling class. Every semi-stable form of capitalism also needs some sort of settlement with the wider population, or at least a decisive section of it. While the postwar Keynesian settlement contained an explicit deal linking rising real wages to rising productivity, neoliberalism contained an implicit deal based on access to cheap credit. While real wages have stagnated since the late 1970s, the mechanisms of debt have maintained most people's living standards. An additional part of neoliberalism's tacit deal was the abandonment of any pretence to democratic, collective control over the conditions of life: politics has been reduced to technocratic rule. Instead, individuals accepted the promise that, through hard work, shrewd educational and other "life" choices, and a little luck, they – or their children – would reap the benefits of economic growth.

The financial crisis shattered the central component of this deal: access to cheap credit. Living standards can no longer be supported and, for the first time in a century, there is widespread fear that children will lead poorer lives than their parents.

Conclusions

After 2008 the irresponsibility of the financial elites, the power and proliferation of special interest groups that defend interests of oligarchy, the paralysis of Congress and executive power to deal with challenges the financial oligarchy created have created atmosphere of public cynicism.

This correlated with withdrawal from public activity and elections. voter participation in the 1996 Presidential election reached similar to 1924 figure of 49%, less then half of eligible population. And with electronic surveillance reaching it zenith after 9/11/2001, the country quietly slid in the darkness of Inverted Totalitarism

Disillusionment with government and large corporation is a noticeable feature of contemporary America. There is a the widespread sense that big companies and those who run them are immune from prosecution and can't be held accountable by government for their crimes as that they are ... Too Big To Jail. Part of this leniency is connected with corruption of regulators. Which is an immanent part of neoliberal social order. There is also the issue off gaming the system. For very large and profitable multinationals paying some law firm or accounting firm a couple of million dollars to game the tax system in some sleazy way to park most of the income in tax havens represents a small fraction of their tax savings. So the big boys get away with this and middle market firms are the only ones who really pay corporate taxes.

The fact that no one has been imprisoned for the crime committed before 2008 is seen as outrageous by most Americans and large part of Main Street. At the same time, the multibillion-dollar fines and enforcement actions against financial institutions are providing large TBTF firms such as Goldman Sachs with wrong incentives. Paying with shareholders’ money as the price of protecting themselves is a very attractive trade-off. Punishment of individual executives who committed crimes or who failed in their managerial duty to monitor the behavior of their subordinates is short-changed because the principle that leaders should take responsibility for failure and resign contradicts neoliberal worldview.


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Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2014 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2013 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2012 Neoliberalism Bulletin, 2011 Casino Capitalism Bulletin, 2010 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2009 Neoliberalism Bulletin 2008

[Jul 21, 2019] Breaking: Clinton Just Got Devastating News

Highly recommended!
Epstein issue and his connection to Clinton mafia was raised by press in 2016 but went nowhere.
The fact that Trump campaign targeted Clinton for his connection with Epstein means that Trump is probably was not involved as a client of Epstein brothel with underage prostitutes for high ranking politicians .
Notable quotes:
"... Now Bill Clinton is back in the press and not for his controversial relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but rather his friendship with Epstein. In fact, flight records indicate that Bill would frequent the island paradise during the 2002 and 2005 era while Hillary, Bill's wife, was a Senator in New York. ..."
"... The woman went on to say how orgies were a regular occurrence and that she recalled two young girls from New York who were always seen around the five-house compound but their personal back-stories were never revealed. ..."
"... Moreover, Epstein was invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding in 2010 amongst 400 other guests, demonstrating his close friendship with the Clinton family. ..."
"... To top it all off blue blood, "Prince Andrew was allegedly one of the house's visitors. On Friday, the Duke of York was named in a federal lawsuit filed against Epstein, whom the FBI once reportedly linked to 40 young women. Filed in 2008 in the Southern District of Florida, the $50 million lawsuit claimed Epstein had a "sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls gained access to primarily economically disadvantaged minor girls in his home and sexually assaulted these girls,"reported the Washington Post. ..."
Aug 12, 2016 | beforeitsnews.com

... ... ...

Back in 2005 police conducted an 11 month-long undercover investigation into Epstein and his estate after the mother of a 14-year-old girl went to police after suspecting her daughter was paid $300 for at least one sexual act on the island in which she was ordered to strip, leaving on just her panties, while giving Epstein a massage.

Although police found tons of photos of young women on the island and even interviewed eyewitnesses, Epstein was hit with a mere slap on the wrist after "pleading to a single charge of prostitution". Epstein later served 13-months of his 18-month service in jail.

In 2008, Epstein was hit again, this time with a $50 million civil suit after another victim filed in federal court claiming that she was "recruited" by Epstein to give him a "massage" but was essentially forced into having sexual intercourse with him for $200 which was payable upon completion. The women were coming out of the woodwork.

Now Bill Clinton is back in the press and not for his controversial relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but rather his friendship with Epstein. In fact, flight records indicate that Bill would frequent the island paradise during the 2002 and 2005 era while Hillary, Bill's wife, was a Senator in New York.

'I remember asking Jeffrey what's Bill Clinton doing here kind of thing, and he laughed it off and said well he owes me a favor,' one unidentified woman said in the lawsuit, which was filed in Palm Beach Circuit Court.

The woman went on to say how orgies were a regular occurrence and that she recalled two young girls from New York who were always seen around the five-house compound but their personal back-stories were never revealed.

"At least one woman on the compound was there unwillingly," reported the Daily Mail in a recent article. The woman was allegedly forced to have sex with "politicians, businessmen, royalty, academicians" at the retreat. Just one of "more than 40 women" that have come forth with claims against Epstein, showing the vast scale of the man's dark operations, which aren't limited only to Little St. James.

Moreover, Epstein was invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding in 2010 amongst 400 other guests, demonstrating his close friendship with the Clinton family.

To top it all off blue blood, "Prince Andrew was allegedly one of the house's visitors. On Friday, the Duke of York was named in a federal lawsuit filed against Epstein, whom the FBI once reportedly linked to 40 young women. Filed in 2008 in the Southern District of Florida, the $50 million lawsuit claimed Epstein had a "sexual preference and obsession for underage minor girls gained access to primarily economically disadvantaged minor girls in his home and sexually assaulted these girls,"reported the Washington Post.

[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 13, 2019] The return of Weimar Berlin - Lawlessness, Inequality, Extremism, Divisiveness and Crime

Notable quotes:
"... You hypocrites! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors , we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of His messengers ..."
"... this entire Russian collusion meme seems as though it is an hysterical reaction to the spin put out by the Clinton political faction and their neoliberal enablers after their shocking loss in the 2016 Presidential election. ..."
"... the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there ..."
"... We are reassured and misled by the same kinds of voices that have always served the status quo and the monied interests, the think tanks, the so-called 'institutes,' and the web sites and former con men who offer a constant stream of thinly disguised propaganda and misstatements of principle and history. We are comforted by their lies. ..."
"... We wish to strike a deal with the Lord, and a deal with the Devil -- to serve both God and Mammon as it suits us. It really is that cliché. And it is so finely woven into the fabric of our day that we cannot see it; we cannot see that it is happening to us and around us. ..."
"... It has always been so, especially in times of such vanity and greed as are these. Then is now. There is nothing new under the sun. And certainly nothing exceptional about the likes of us in our indulgent self-destruction. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"He drew near and saw the city, and he wept for it saying, 'If you had only recognized the things that make for peace. But now you are blinded to them. Truly, the days will come when your enemies will set up barriers to surround you, and hem you in on every side. Then they will crush you into the earth, you and your children. And they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the way to your salvation.'"

Luke 19:41-44

"You hypocrites! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of His messengers.'"

Matthew 23:29-30

...the results of the Senate GOP finding no evidence of 'collusion' with Russia by the Trump Administration to influence the results of the presidential election..

This last item is not surprising, because this entire Russian collusion meme seems as though it is an hysterical reaction to the spin put out by the Clinton political faction and their neoliberal enablers after their shocking loss in the 2016 Presidential election.

Too bad though, because the financial corruption and private pilfering using public power, money laundering and the kind of soft corruption that is rampant amongst our new elite is all there. And by there we mean on both sides of the fence -- which is why it had to take a back seat to a manufactured boogeyman.

... ... ...

There is a long road ahead before we see anything like a resolution to this troubling period in American political history.

We look back at other troubled periods and places, and either see them as discrete and fictional, a very different world apart, or through some rosy lenses of good old times which were largely benign and peaceful. We fail to see the continuity, the similarity, and the commonality of a dangerous path with ourselves. As they did with their own times gone by. Madness blinds its acolytes, because they wish it so. They embrace it to hide their shame.

We are reassured and misled by the same kinds of voices that have always served the status quo and the monied interests, the think tanks, the so-called 'institutes,' and the web sites and former con men who offer a constant stream of thinly disguised propaganda and misstatements of principle and history. We are comforted by their lies.

People want to hear these reassuring words of comfort and embrace it like a 'religion,' because they do not wish to draw the conclusions that the genuine principles of faith suggest (dare we say command in this day and age) in their daily lives. They blind themselves by adopting a kind of a schizoid approach to life, where 'religion' occupies a discrete, rarefied space, and 'political or economic philosophy' dictates another set of everyday 'practical' observances and behaviors which are more pliable, and pleasing to our hardened and prideful hearts.

We wish to strike a deal with the Lord, and a deal with the Devil -- to serve both God and Mammon as it suits us. It really is that cliché. And it is so finely woven into the fabric of our day that we cannot see it; we cannot see that it is happening to us and around us.

And so we trot on into the abyss, one exception and excuse and rationalization for ourselves at a time. And we blind ourselves with false prophets and their profane theories and philosophies.

As for truth, the truth that brings life, we would interrupt the sermon on the mount itself, saying that this sentiment was all very well and good, but what stocks should we buy for our portfolio, and what horse is going to win the fifth at Belmont? Tell us something useful, practical! Oh, and can you please fix this twinge in my left shoulder? It is ruining my golf game.

"Those among the rich who are not, in the rigorous sense, damned, can understand poverty, because they are poor themselves, after a fashion; they cannot understand destitution. Capable of giving alms, perhaps, but incapable of stripping themselves bare, they will be moved, to the sound of beautiful music, at Jesus's sufferings, but His Cross, the reality of His Cross, will horrify them. They want it all out of gold, bathed in light, costly and of little weight; pleasant to see, hanging from a woman's beautiful throat."

Léon Bloy

No surprise in this. It has always been so, especially in times of such vanity and greed as are these. Then is now. There is nothing new under the sun. And certainly nothing exceptional about the likes of us in our indulgent self-destruction.

Are you not entertained?

[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] Ex-FBI, CIA Officials Draw Withering Fire on Russiagate by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Classification," however, has been one of the Deep State's favorite tactics to stymie investigations -- especially when the material in question yields serious embarrassment or reveals crimes. And the stakes this time are huge. ..."
"... Judging by past precedent, Deep State intelligence and law enforcement officials will do all they can to use the "but-it's-classified" excuse to avoid putting themselves and their former colleagues in legal jeopardy. (Though this would violate Obama's executive order 13526 , prohibiting classification of embarrassing or criminal information). ..."
"... Recall that in a Sept. 2, 2016 text message to the FBI's then-deputy chief of counterintelligence Peter Strzok, his girlfriend and then-top legal adviser to Deputy FBI Director McCabe, Lisa Page, wrote that she was preparing talking points because the president "wants to know everything we're doing." [Emphasis added.] It does not seem likely that the Director of National Intelligence, DOJ, FBI, and CIA all kept President Obama in the dark about their FISA and other machinations -- although it is possible they did so out of a desire to provide him with "plausible denial." ..."
"... It seems more likely that Obama's closest intelligence confidant, Brennan, told him about the shenanigans with FISA, that Obama gave him approval (perhaps just tacit approval), and that Brennan used that to harness top intelligence and law enforcement officials behind the effort to defeat Trump and, later, to emasculate and, if possible, remove him. ..."
"... "That's the big one. If Horowitz is able to speak freely about what he has learned, his report could lead to indictments of former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein, and Dana Boente -- Boente being the only signer of the relevant FISA applications still in office. (No, he has not been demoted to file clerk in the FBI library; at last report, he is FBI General Counsel!)." ..."
"... It will be a very interesting 2020 campaign if the Democratic candidate has to run with the ripe stinking dead albatross of Russiagate around her neck. ..."
"... The only outcome that could be more bizarre than the last go-round would be to see Trump favored by all the smart money and then lose to the latest corporate Democrat to shamelessly sell out the middle class in broad daylight. ..."
"... The Grabber in Chief vs Willie Brown's mistress – wonderful. ..."
"... Forgive my cynicism but the US government is so corrupt, has wielded illegitimate power for so long, and has covered the tracks of countless functionaries who have not upheld the constitution that I doubt this will go anywhere. I have been quoting Ben Franklin for some time "you have a republic, if you can keep it." I don't think we can. A reading of "A History of Venice" by John J. Norris would be appropriate here. The most serene republic lasted for essentially 1,000 years from roughly 800 to not quite 1800, first as a democracy, later as an oligarchy. Much like us, including having the most feared secret service in Europe at the time, Venice kept its power through trade but at least we don't hoist the new president up on a chair so that he can throw golden Ducats to the crowd on Wall Street the way that a new Doge would. ..."
"... I don't suppose anything will happen to anybody important about this. After all, nothing happened to anybody when they were caught mass spying on any and all american citizens, even before they made it legal. ..."
"... Unfortunately Webb and Parry exposed much of these gangster criminal "intel" savages for running guns and drugs to Central American pseudo fascist mercenary sadists throughout much of the late 1970s through the '80s. I say unfortunately b/c nothing much ever came along by way of true justice, by way of the criminal players rotting in maximum security jail cells for years on end, not unlike the crack or heroin addict who steals a $400 television. ..."
"... This has been one long crime against the American people. King should read what he knows into the Congressional Record. I have no sympathy for Trump's fear of the deep state. He has sent people to die knowing full well that his actions were based on lies, lies that would result in the deaths of civilians as well as our own military. If he is going to do that, then he should have the courage to face the deep state. That's partial penance for all the deaths he has caused. ..."
"... I also don't care about Trump's personal issue about being surveilled. He personally supports that against everyone else. That is why I feel this is a crime against our people as a whole. Our constitution has been stripped bare. We don't have the rule of law. Mass surveillance covering the globe is current reality. It is dangerous. It is wrong. It is lawless. It is a disaster. ..."
"... Further, Russiagate was used to keep real opposition away from Trump. His supporters doubled down on "liking" Trump because he appeared to be a victim of these lies. Democrats meanwhile learned to further worship the IC. They ignored Trump's actual unlawful behavior, and, in the case of war crimes, still support Trump on every war/regime change action etc. recommended to them by their IC "resistance" "leaders". ..."
"... This has been one of the most effective propaganda tools I have ever seen against our populace. It has created a divided, unthinking populace who is ripe for the picking by evil men and women. I am truly hoping that once this is exposed people will stop this madness and pull together for a common good. But I'm quite worried that, like most cults, when the leader is shown to be wrong, people cling to them even more. ..."
"... there have always been nefarious agents in one government or another for one gangster interest or another, whether was Milner's roundtable or Dulles's Gladio werewolves, these are nefarious individuals there is no gray area in that, however they may conduct themselves and their personal lives, it is not sloppy journalism, is to call something what it is, a this shadow government working in many instances against the direct interest of the American people ..."
"... It's the propaganda, the United States is one of the most heavily propagandize societies in the world, we make the Soviets look like children. No one wants you to have sympathy for Donald Trump, you do not have to agree or like a person to see that the cartel seeking to damage him is also simultaneously against your interests and they are against your interests whether you're from the left or the right because they do not have an ideology just it will to power. ..."
"... So reminiscent of the darker days of the Cold War. A stark education has just played out to this point. ..."
Jul 08, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

The Deep State almost always wins. But if Attorney General Barr leans hard on Trump to unfetter investigators, all hell may break lose, says Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

A s Congress arrives back into town and the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees prepare to question ex-Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller on July 17, partisan lines are being drawn even more sharply, as Russias-gate blossoms into Deep-State-gate. On Sunday, a top Republican legislator, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) took the gloves off in an unusually acerbic public attack on former leaders of the FBI and CIA.

King told a radio audience: "There is no doubt to me there was severe, serious abuses that were carried out in the FBI and, I believe, top levels of the CIA against the President of the United States or, at that time, presidential candidate Donald Trump," according to The Hill.

King, a senior congressman specializing in national security, twice chaired the House Homeland Security Committee and currently heads its Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also served for several years on the House Intelligence Committee.

He asserted:

"There was no legal basis at all for them to begin this investigation of his campaign – and the way they carried it forward, and the way information was leaked. All of this is going to come out. It's going to show the bias. It's going to show the baselessness of the investigation and I would say the same thing if this were done to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders It's just wrong."

The Long Island Republican added a well aimed swipe at what passes for the media today: "The media went along with this – actually, keeping this farcical, ridiculous thought going that the President of the United States was somehow involved in a conspiracy with Russia against his own country."

King: Lashes out.

According to King, the Justice Department's review, ordered by Attorney General William Barr, would prove that former officials acted improperly. He was alluding to the investigation led by John Durham, U.S. Attorney in Connecticut. Sounds nice. But waiting for Durham to complete his investigation at a typically lawyerly pace would, I fear, be much like the experience of waiting for Mueller to finish his; that is, like waiting for Godot. What about now?

So Where is the IG Report on FISA?

That's the big one. If Horowitz is able to speak freely about what he has learned, his report could lead to indictments of former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein, and Dana Boente -- Boente being the only signer of the relevant FISA applications still in office. (No, he has not been demoted to file clerk in the FBI library; at last report, he is FBI General Counsel!).

The DOJ inspector General's investigation, launched in March 2018, has centered on whether the FBI and DOJ filing of four FISA applications and renewals beginning in October 2016 to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page amounted to abuse of the FISA process. (Fortunately for the IG, Obama's top intelligence and law enforcement officials were so sure that Hillary Clinton would win that they did not do much to hide their tracks.)

The Washington Examiner reported last Tuesday, "The Justice Department inspector general's investigation of potential abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is complete, a Republican congressman said, though a report on its findings might not be released for a month." The report continued:

"House Judiciary Committee member John Ratcliffe (R, Texas) said Monday he'd met with DOJ watchdog Michael Horowitz last week about his FISA abuse report. In a media interview, Ratcliffe said they'd discussed the timing, but not the content of his report and Horowitz 'related that his team's investigative work is complete and they're now in the process of drafting that report. Ratcliffe said he was doubtful that Horowitz's report would be made available to the public or the Congress anytime soon. 'He [Horowitz] did relay that as much as 20% of his report is going to include classified information, so that draft report will have to undergo a classification review at the FBI and at the Department of Justice,' Ratcliffe said. 'So, while I'm hopeful that we members of Congress might see it before the August recess, I'm not too certain about that.'"

Horowitz: Still waiting for his report

Earlier, Horowitz had predicted that his report would be ready in May or June but there may, in fact, be good reason for some delay. Fox News reported Friday that "key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour." According to Fox's sources, at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI has started cooperating -- a breakthrough that came after Durham was assigned to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia case that led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe.

"Classification," however, has been one of the Deep State's favorite tactics to stymie investigations -- especially when the material in question yields serious embarrassment or reveals crimes. And the stakes this time are huge.

Judging by past precedent, Deep State intelligence and law enforcement officials will do all they can to use the "but-it's-classified" excuse to avoid putting themselves and their former colleagues in legal jeopardy. (Though this would violate Obama's executive order 13526 , prohibiting classification of embarrassing or criminal information).

It is far from clear that DOJ IG Horowitz and Attorney General Barr will prevail in the end, even though President Trump has given Barr nominal authority to declassify as necessary. Why are the the stakes so extraordinarily high?

What Did Obama Know, and When Did He Know It?

Recall that in a Sept. 2, 2016 text message to the FBI's then-deputy chief of counterintelligence Peter Strzok, his girlfriend and then-top legal adviser to Deputy FBI Director McCabe, Lisa Page, wrote that she was preparing talking points because the president "wants to know everything we're doing." [Emphasis added.] It does not seem likely that the Director of National Intelligence, DOJ, FBI, and CIA all kept President Obama in the dark about their FISA and other machinations -- although it is possible they did so out of a desire to provide him with "plausible denial."

It seems more likely that Obama's closest intelligence confidant, Brennan, told him about the shenanigans with FISA, that Obama gave him approval (perhaps just tacit approval), and that Brennan used that to harness top intelligence and law enforcement officials behind the effort to defeat Trump and, later, to emasculate and, if possible, remove him.

Moreover, one should not rule out seeing in the coming months an "Obama-made-us-do-it" defense -- whether grounded in fact or not -- by Brennan and perhaps the rest of the gang. Brennan may even have a piece of paper recording the President's "approval" for this or that -- or could readily have his former subordinates prepare one that appears authentic.

Reining in Devin Nunes

That the Deep State retains formidable power can be seen in the repeated Lucy-holding-then-withdrawing-the-football-for-Charlie Brown treatment experienced by House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, Devin Nunes (R-CA). On April 5, 2019, in the apparent belief he had a green light to go on the offensive, Nunes wrote that committee Republicans "will soon be submitting criminal referrals on numerous individuals involved in the abuse of intelligence for political purposes. These people must be held to account to prevent similar abuses from occurring in the future."

On April 7, Nunes was even more specific, telling Fox News that he was preparing to send eight criminal referrals to the Department of Justice "this week," concerning alleged misconduct during the Trump-Russia investigation, including leaks of "highly classified material" and conspiracies to lie to Congress and the FISA court. It seemed to be no-holds-barred for Nunes, who had begun to talk publicly about prison time for those who might be brought to trial.

Except for Fox, the corporate media ignored Nunes's explosive comments. The media seemed smugly convinced that Nunes's talk of "referrals" could be safely ignored -- even though a new sheriff, Barr, had come to town. And sure enough, now, three months later, where are the criminal referrals?

There is ample evidence that President Trump is afraid to run afoul of the Deep State functionaries he inherited. And the Deep State almost always wins. But if Attorney General Barr leans hard on the president to unfetter Nunes, IG Horowitz, Durham and like-minded investigators, all hell may break lose, because the evidence against those who took serious liberties with the law is staring them all in the face.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. No fan of the current President, Ray has been trained to follow and analyze the facts, wherever they may lead. He spent 27 years as a CIA analyst, and prepared the President's Daily Brief for three presidents. In retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

If you enjoyed this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.


Joe T Wallace , July 8, 2019 at 20:24

I'm a great admirer of Ray McGovern's reporting. He exposes much that is never revealed by the mainstream media. That said, I do have one quibble about this article. In the seventh paragraph, just below the heading "So Where is the IG Report on FISA?" he writes:

"That's the big one. If Horowitz is able to speak freely about what he has learned, his report could lead to indictments of former CIA Director John Brennan, former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorneys General Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein, and Dana Boente -- Boente being the only signer of the relevant FISA applications still in office. (No, he has not been demoted to file clerk in the FBI library; at last report, he is FBI General Counsel!)."

My immediate reaction was: Who is Horowitz? It was confusing not to know. Further down in the article, I learned that Ray was referring to Michael Horowitz, a DOJ watchdog who is preparing an IG report about FISA abuse, but readers should have been informed who he was earlier in the article.

John , July 8, 2019 at 17:10

Peter King? Devin Nunes?

At one point the article says little effort was made to cover tracks because of certainty that HRC would win but later that the FBI et al were planting land mines to either defeat Trump or blow up his presidency. Seemed contradictory to me.

Perhaps you have the skinny on these machinations, if indeed there were machinations by one person or group or another for this purpose or that.

But Peter King and Devin Nunes? If either ever was credible, their track record condemns them to be received, if at all, with extreme skepticism.

Realist , July 8, 2019 at 16:59

It will be a very interesting 2020 campaign if the Democratic candidate has to run with the ripe stinking dead albatross of Russiagate around her neck. Or will she be expected to repudiate the Hitlery-run DNC? Where does the money and the ground game originate if the latter?

The only outcome that could be more bizarre than the last go-round would be to see Trump favored by all the smart money and then lose to the latest corporate Democrat to shamelessly sell out the middle class in broad daylight. I won't like it, but I can see Trump Derangement Syndrome pulling out the chestnuts for the Dems, what with all their celebrity spokespeople constantly running and ranting like their hair is on fire underneath those pussy hats. My poor gullible sister from Cali embraces that whole ball of wax as revealed truth holier than the total dry weight of all the Abrahamic scriptures rolled into one big bale for the recycling center. Kamala Harris seems to be emerging as the new messiah anointed to lead this country back to Obamian gridlock and more prestidigitation like mandated insurance to ensure the health of the insurance companies. Again, it will only be the illusion of "free stuff."

The only way such a scenario won't cause four more years of turmoil for this country (rinse and repeat in 2024) is if the victor is Gabbard and she ends all the illegal and unconstitutional wars by edict, telling all the sure-to-be pissing and moaning Deep State functionaries to pick up their severance pay and go pound sand. Then shut the world-wide spider web of military bases and bring home the troops while we can still afford the carfare. That would be "morning in America," and Gabbard would be the most heroic chief exec since Lincoln and FDR made their marks in the history books, though such fantasies never play out in the real world. More likely all the criminal evidence of treason remains classified, most Americans pop the blue pill, the actual rabbit hole continues to grow ever deeper but the masses are contentedly oblivious to it all, satisfied to blame select scapegoats from Russia, China and other "malign" countries for our viewing entertainment.

Deniz , July 8, 2019 at 17:50

The Grabber in Chief vs Willie Brown's mistress – wonderful.

ML , July 8, 2019 at 20:12

You are really something, Realist. I love the way you flourish that pen of yours. Thank you.

Rob Roy , July 8, 2019 at 20:13

Realist, well said, per usual. To add a bit the Dems probably gave Trump the gift of a lifetime the next election. Wasting three years on Russiagate instead of hammering out a decent platform for the party was beyond dumb. That reminds me. the Dems's next dumbest idea choosing Joe Biden as their next candidate. Just like Hillary, he can't beat Trump. The duopoly is dead, they just don't know it.

As for Tulsi, she's got my vote.

John Earls , July 8, 2019 at 16:55

Looks like Barry Eisler's John Rain (expert in "death by natural causes") will have a lot of work in front of him if the investigation builds and a whole lot of "material witnesses" begin to testify.

ricardo2000 , July 8, 2019 at 16:33

I'm supposed to feel sorry for the surveillance of a right-wing creep? OH PLEASE.
No one in government, or the right wing ReThugs, has ever suffered the intrusive, lying, speculative 'investigations' that social justice, environmental, or human rights activists have over the past 70 years.

When these buttheads suffer what MLK and Malcolm X have suffered then I might just wipe away a few tears, after I stop roaring with laughter and get off the floor.

Realist , July 8, 2019 at 17:08

You prefer a race to the bottom of the cesspool?

You never win when you adopt the methods you claim to revile. The opponent who introduced the tactics you condemn wins if you embrace them as your own. You didn't beat him, you joined him.

LibertyBonBon , July 8, 2019 at 18:12

Must be nice to think the justice system should revolve around your particular emotions, rather than equality and objectivity. Safe and easy.

Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 20:41

ricardo2000, nothing personal, I get the revulsion to Trump and entourage not to mention a large portion of the Maga crowd but this right and left thing is really just an illusion, the people doing the persecuting here regardless of how disgusting Trump is are the same ones doing the persecuting to a large degree of everyone else from Assange to the Iranians, that is this government deep state in combination with all of the various American alphabet soup agencies as well as foreign deep states have cornered the market in State power, hate Trump but don't confuse this with a good thing.

O Society , July 8, 2019 at 16:18

Thank you, Ray McGovern. You are a good man, Charlie Brown!

Thing is, all of this was predictable from the beginning. Many of us saw it coming.

No one really wanted an incompetent baboon running things – the song about Monkey and the Engineer comes to mind – so Obama tried to hamstring Trump with this investigation. I mean, Obama couldn't very well have not completed the transfer of power because it is the most valuable thing about democracy. There is no ten year bloody hellified civil war every time the crown changes hands from one inbred to the next.

So Obama did the next best thing on his way out the Oval Office doors, he put Brennan and the boys on it. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I'm sure. But it backfired because he couldn't call the dogs off once he was no longer president. Not Brennan, not anyone could call them off after the snowball really got rolling because the spooks believed their own story and the media made too much money off selling the mythology:

https://osociety.org/2019/07/06/spooks-spooking-themselves/

Only question left to answer now is whether or not Trump the carnival barker can milk his opportunist Armageddon into a second term of fleecing the rubes.

http://osociety.org/2019/07/08/can-donald-trump-delay-an-economic-crash-until-2020

karlof1 , July 8, 2019 at 15:00

This is a very serious Constitutional Law issue and MUST be pursued–and it makes no difference the political party denomination of those breaking the law! The Current Oligarchy–Deep State–is the adversary of the vast majority of US citizens and humanity. With Epstein's arrest and the developments McGovern relates, some progress appears to be happening.

Lydia , July 8, 2019 at 14:51

You summed it up perfectly, Jill.

Pablo Diablo , July 8, 2019 at 14:42

"the effort to defeat Trump and, later, to emasculate and, if possible, remove him." says it all. Trump is a loose cannon. The so called "Deep State" has been "controlling" our Presidents since at least the Dulles Brothers. Truman even admitted giving them power was a BIG mistake. Still question the Kennedy Assassination.
In the 70's, the FBI mailed me a box of drugs, which I refused to take from a very incompetent fake Mail Man, and three minutes later they showed up with a search warrant for my house that listed all the drugs in the failed mailed box signed by a Federal Judge. So much for FISA. The bullshit continues. I could reveal more if necessary.

robert e williamson jr , July 8, 2019 at 14:32

Sam F. whether you realize it or not you got it pretty much on the nose. Except for this.

The judiciary has been compromised by the congresses refusal to hold CIA et. al. accountable for their actions. Why? Those in congress remember what happened to JFK.

The number one reason is because the deep state ensures that if anyone goes after CIA officials or designees that the persons career and life are ruined. Which is something else that needs to be investigated. Something that if explored may very well put a stop to CIA's B.S. of lying about everything and getting away with it.

Currently no deterrent exists. None.

Anytime some one or entity gets close the Deep State ends up with their guy as AG. See the Bill Barr story.

Barr may get his chance to prove me right and at the same time prove "Lady Justice" has little to do with the DOJ! I think he is a cowardly blowhard. Justice would be Trump and Barr going to jail .

Justice in this country for the true scoundrels in government or billionaires is non- existent at this point in time. Putting Epstein in prison for life is called for and if he is threatened with that maybe his jaw will loosen up.

Until DOJ can become a deterrent to bad actors in government, all government the country will be controlled by the Deep State. The SWETS, super wealthy elitists.

Keep your eyes on George Soro and the Kochs.

Paul Merrell , July 8, 2019 at 17:28

@ "Justice would be Trump and Barr going to jail ."

Are you suggesting that *any* of their living predecessors don't deserve the same? If so, which do not and why?

Jay , July 8, 2019 at 14:18

Bif:

I agree something very suspect occurred.

And it's very likely the Obama White House knew that either the NSA or the FBI was tapping into the communications of some of Trump's campaign team BEFORE Hillary lost in Nov. 2016.

However the xenophobic, lying, terrorist (IRA) supporting, Peter King is not a credible messenger. (Right, Rep Steve King of Iowa is even worse than King of Long Island.)

Peter Dyer , July 8, 2019 at 14:09

Thanks, Ray.

DH Fabian , July 8, 2019 at 13:59

Actually, that deep split among the masses, and certainly within the Dem voting base, was achieved in the 1990s -- middle class vs. poor, workers vs. those left jobless, further split by race. The Obama years confirmed that this split is permanent. Russia had nothing to do with the Democrats' 2016 defeat, nor will it be the reason for their 2020 defeat. Democrats maintain their resistance against acknowledging the consequences of dividing and conquering their own voting base.

EuGene Miller , July 9, 2019 at 00:24

DH, that's an interesting assessment. However, I doubt that any House or Senate Democrat sought an advantage by "splitting their base". The elected Dems do not control the narrative. So, who benefits by splitting the masses into rival factions?

Perhaps the narrative of social and political discourse is defined by the owners, boards, and foundations that control the main-stream media and pop-culture.

Robert Reich wrote that an oligarchy divides-and-conquers the rest of us. I suspect that controlling the narrative is not simply a propaganda tool; it is the basis of divide-and-conquer strategy.

https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/57499-there-is-no-right-v-left-it-is-trump-and-the-oligarchs-against-the-rest

robert e williamson jr , July 8, 2019 at 13:56

Is it possible that the DOJ, see the Sec. of Labor's problems developing with the Espstein case, is about to have it's gloriously corrupt underbelly rolled over into the sunlight? (you must roll the snake over to see its belly)

Please Ray tell me this is where we might be heading or instead will we end up with the courts truncating investigation because they say it will be best for the country not to have all this filthy laundry dragged out into the sunlight or someones bull shit sources and methods might be exposed. The DOJ has become a really bad joke!

I'm hoping you know something I don't because Barr's past history pretty much speaks for itself I'd say after be made sure he pardoned all of Bush 41 henchmen!

At this point I certainly do not have much faith in the DOJ doing the right thing. What Acosta did in Florida with Epstein was hardly the right thing to do.

They all need to be locked up.

Eric32 , July 8, 2019 at 13:33

Very little "punishment" will occur, and no deep change cleanup will occur.
The US govt. is controlled by money and blackmail – not "voting" or public outrage.

So many high level people have so much dirt on other high level people that nothing major will be done.
A series of very big events, including the JFK murder and the 9/11 charade went unexposed and undealt with – there is no reason to think that this medium size event will wind up making a big difference.

What will happen is that US "democracy" will continue on its downward course, but maybe with a better facade.

Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 20:59

I personally believe that the empire will crash when it hits maximum overreach it will also simultaneously go broke at the same time, as the money interests at that point Will probably move east, this will partially be due to both the feds tendency to over inflate in order to cover military acquisitions as well as the decline of swift and the ascendancy of China in the rest. I actually think that this is what some American factions desire, it is potentially good for all of us if we can regain a republic but it will mean the end of American hegemony.

Gary Weglarz , July 8, 2019 at 13:22

This is the same "deep state" that assassinated a sitting president, then proceeded to assassinate the next three most important and influential progressive leaders in the country all over a five year period. Problem solved. And just when you thought Allen Dulles didn't know what to do with all those oh so experienced Nazi war criminals he'd recruited to the CIA.

When Congress investigated the CIA in the mid-1970's (before Congress became completely "owned" by the deep state) right on cue witnesses began to "commit suicide" just before they would be scheduled to testify. Problem solved. Hardly a raised eyebrow from the always complicit MSM through all of this. Expecting anything more than a massive coverup of this latest deep state corruption and abuse is beyond my abilities to even effectively fantasize about.

herbert davis , July 8, 2019 at 14:12

Justice in the USA?

John Drake , July 8, 2019 at 13:20

The corporate Democrats strike out again. They run a corrupt, violent(war monger) candidate, who loses to a buffoon-an election which was hers to lose. Meanwhile trying to hedge their bets they play sleazeball with the investigative arm's authority in order to sabotage said buffoon; which as it is revealed gives ammunition and the advantage to their target. i.e. "They were illegally picking on me"
If Trump is smart-a very long stretch, but some advisor might suggest this- he will expose all this slime closer to the election for maximum effect. What a distressing thought. All the more reason to run a progressive Presidential candidate that can disavow the DNC clowns and their corruption.

geeyp , July 8, 2019 at 12:37

It's past time for the Deep State to come up from the deep state of hell in which they reside. At least to purgatory for some fresh air and a wee ray of light. I couldn't let the Schumer warning keep me from giving the go ahead on this. If my coconut is shattered, someone somewhere (not our current media) would have a clue as to what happened to me. Sic 'em, President Trump and A.G. and Devin Nunes!

Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 12:14

The US needs to solve the underlying problem of corruption of secret agencies and judiciary, otherwise the political wrongdoing of one faction will only be matched by that of its opponents, regardless of a few prosecutions. I know from experience the extreme corruption of the Repubs, and little doubt that the Dems do such things at least when desperate.

The solution includes:
1. All secrets meaningfully shared among multiparty committees;
2. All politicians and top officials monitored for corrupt influence;
3. Entire federal judiciary fired, replaced, and monitored like the politicians; and
4. Amendments to protect elections and mass media from control by money power.
Until then all government acts are tribal gangsterism and little more.

Guy , July 8, 2019 at 13:50

You forgot about dual citizenship members of the senate and congress . Elected as a representative for the country of the US should mean just that and not another country . And while we are at it , major reform on monetary contributions to candidates running for re-election . There is something terribly wrong with needing millions if not billions of dollars to run the electoral races.There is much more that needs to be done but this would be a good start .

Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 17:32

Yes, the proposed Amendments would restrict funding of mass media and elections to registered individual contributions (some prefer government funding) limited to the average day's pay annually (for example), with full reporting by candidates and all intermediaries. We all can see the destruction of democracy that was caused by economic power controlling elections, mass media, the judiciary, etc.

But of course we cannot get those amendments because those tools of democracy now belong to the rich, etc. History suggests that we are in for generations of severe decline before the people are hurting enough to turn off the tube and do something, and generations more before they can re-establish democracy.

Herman , July 8, 2019 at 15:20

Ray McGovern writes:"Classification," however, has been one of the Deep State's favorite tactics to stymie investigations -- especially when the material in question yields serious embarrassment or reveals crimes. And the stakes this time are huge"

On the matter of government reform classification there is a great need of public discussion and radical reform. Why? Because the government is playing with an essential right, the right to know. All the red herrings needed to be thrown in the trash and the burden placed on the classifiers to justify why the public does not have a right to know.

Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 17:24

Yes, the facts and their significance (especially about false flags and scandals) need to be publicly debated, as well as policy goals, and the policies derived from facts and goals. We have far too many government secrets to sustain a democracy.

I suggest limiting secrets to ongoing investigations (with a time limit), defensive military plans and operations (not alleged provocations or aggressive war schemes), and personal IDs of those at risk. Beyond that secrets disguise tyranny.

Ida G Millman , July 8, 2019 at 16:02

Another path towards a solution to government corruption could be term limits for all federal representatives. Limiting the number of terms would curtail the opportunities for forming the uninterrupted years of long coalitions between public servants and government officials that result in the abuses of power that have damaged the interests of ordinary less wealthy citizens, in favor of corporate and military interests.

In the matter of the original intentions of the men who wrote our founding documents, we should consider one of the enormous differences that technology has made between us: that our representatives can travel between DC and their homes with enough ease that they can continue reasonably, or nearly reasonably, satisfactory family lives – something that could not be done in the 18th century. The forefathers did not foresee that being a member of government would become a career for a lifetime. They assumed, I believe, that members of government would always be citizens who would give our country a few years of their lives and then return to private life to share their experience and knowledge with their neighbors.

Such a change would not magically reform government corruption. There will always be those who will find a way – but it could slow things down and it would certainly engage an increasing number of citizens who would participate in governing, as well as the circles of people surrounding each of them whose interest in and understanding of government would increase because everyone would know more of their representatives. Got that, kids? L&B&L

Sam F , July 8, 2019 at 17:37

Term limits are useful and we should enact more. There seems to be a sufficient supply of puppets for the rich/WallSt/Mic/zionists to ensure that all new candidates represent only those interests, unless we go further and control funding of mass media and elections, monitoring of politicians and judges for life, etc.

Rob Roy , July 8, 2019 at 20:28

Ida,
Term limits wouldn't be necessary if money were out of elections and all elections were publicly funded. Next, a law should be passed to prevent retired congress people from lobbying for any private company of any kind. Then people wouldn't have to spend all their time in congress lining up money for the next election, nor would they owe favors to anyone.

Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 21:19

Sam F, all of those goals seem very nice but it would probably be better if we just dissolved back into 50 states save for an interstate system and a very small navy for common defense, maybe four nuclear submarines total, the American people will be best off without a government completely working it out for themselves, if some of them work it out in completely different ways without hurting each other so be it. Besides even a libertarians would have to acknowledge democracy best works for smaller populations. We may never be able to curb the will to power of evil men but we can diminish their abilities to fleece the public if we are not subject to them.

Jay , July 8, 2019 at 11:42

Peter King?

Really now.

Not a credible source, no matter how invention filled Russia-gate is. And no matter how clear it is that in 2016 the FBI was poking around campaign Trump and likely telling the White House what it found.

Bif Webster , July 8, 2019 at 13:28

I agree that King isn't the best of messengers, but we can also go to others who are not right-wing to see something fishy went on.

Those text messages convinced me something was going on. And that was before all the other stuff came to light.

I think this will be about who has more dirt on the other side you know, leverage?

Jeff Harrison , July 8, 2019 at 11:41

Thank you, Ray. Forgive my cynicism but the US government is so corrupt, has wielded illegitimate power for so long, and has covered the tracks of countless functionaries who have not upheld the constitution that I doubt this will go anywhere. I have been quoting Ben Franklin for some time "you have a republic, if you can keep it." I don't think we can. A reading of "A History of Venice" by John J. Norris would be appropriate here. The most serene republic lasted for essentially 1,000 years from roughly 800 to not quite 1800, first as a democracy, later as an oligarchy. Much like us, including having the most feared secret service in Europe at the time, Venice kept its power through trade but at least we don't hoist the new president up on a chair so that he can throw golden Ducats to the crowd on Wall Street the way that a new Doge would.

I don't see that as necessarily much of a plus.

Steven Berge , July 8, 2019 at 11:40

I don't suppose anything will happen to anybody important about this. After all, nothing happened to anybody when they were caught mass spying on any and all american citizens, even before they made it legal.

Drew Hunkins , July 8, 2019 at 11:32

Unfortunately Webb and Parry exposed much of these gangster criminal "intel" savages for running guns and drugs to Central American pseudo fascist mercenary sadists throughout much of the late 1970s through the '80s. I say unfortunately b/c nothing much ever came along by way of true justice, by way of the criminal players rotting in maximum security jail cells for years on end, not unlike the crack or heroin addict who steals a $400 television.

Jill , July 8, 2019 at 11:15

This has been one long crime against the American people. King should read what he knows into the Congressional Record. I have no sympathy for Trump's fear of the deep state. He has sent people to die knowing full well that his actions were based on lies, lies that would result in the deaths of civilians as well as our own military. If he is going to do that, then he should have the courage to face the deep state. That's partial penance for all the deaths he has caused.

I also don't care about Trump's personal issue about being surveilled. He personally supports that against everyone else. That is why I feel this is a crime against our people as a whole. Our constitution has been stripped bare. We don't have the rule of law. Mass surveillance covering the globe is current reality. It is dangerous. It is wrong. It is lawless. It is a disaster.

Further, Russiagate was used to keep real opposition away from Trump. His supporters doubled down on "liking" Trump because he appeared to be a victim of these lies. Democrats meanwhile learned to further worship the IC. They ignored Trump's actual unlawful behavior, and, in the case of war crimes, still support Trump on every war/regime change action etc. recommended to them by their IC "resistance" "leaders".

People won't speak to one another because of this division, all based on lies. Democrats want Assange put to death because he exposed truthful information about Clinton. Neighbor has turned against neighbor over this. We have stopped talking and stopped thinking about whether claims make sense or have evidence behind them. Political parties have become cults with cult leaders. Meanwhile, many who think it was wrong to use surveillance against Trump, accept mass surveillance against everyone else, including themselves.

This has been one of the most effective propaganda tools I have ever seen against our populace. It has created a divided, unthinking populace who is ripe for the picking by evil men and women. I am truly hoping that once this is exposed people will stop this madness and pull together for a common good. But I'm quite worried that, like most cults, when the leader is shown to be wrong, people cling to them even more.

I cannot believe what Russiagate has done to our own people. I am terrified at the wars it has/may yet cause and the cruelty against others, both foreign and domestic, which it has wrought.

Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 21:51

What else would you call it, there have always been nefarious agents in one government or another for one gangster interest or another, whether was Milner's roundtable or Dulles's Gladio werewolves, these are nefarious individuals there is no gray area in that, however they may conduct themselves and their personal lives, it is not sloppy journalism, is to call something what it is, a this shadow government working in many instances against the direct interest of the American people, I'm not trying to be you over the head with this but Mr. McGovern was once upon a Time swimming in the same waters and he knows what he is talking about. The deep state maybe several different factions but all of it at least so far is fairly I'm Accountable, this thing must be named.

AnneR , July 8, 2019 at 14:18

First the Disclaimer: I'm not a supporter of either side of the one party two headed monster political machine, not of either HRC or DT, both, and their "parties," making me want to puke.

I am curious about the following: "He [DT] has sent people to die knowing full well that his actions were based on lies, lies that would result in the deaths of civilians as well as our own military. If he is going to do that, then he should have the courage to face the deep state. That's partial penance for all the deaths he has caused."

While I have no doubt that DT has been responsible for civilian deaths (I am far less concerned about military deaths – join the military and you cannot expect not to have to chance it, particularly in a warmongering nation state; if the recruit doesn't recognize this reality, then they need to do some reading), *most* such deaths in those countries we (the US and its vassal states and proxies) have been happily bombing, shelling, destroying one way or another, even since the late 1980s (not therefore including the appalling and illegal warring on Vietnam et al) are down, not to DT, but rather to presidents: BC, GHB, GWB, BO. Pretty evenly divided betwixt the two heads, wouldn't you say?

That's not to excuse DT (and I wouldn't excuse HRC either – think Libya; as bad as MA, if with different forms of warfare; but then they're buddies, like attracting like).

We – the US – need to stop killing other peoples (let's cry for the war-making profiteers), stop destroying other countries (and for our corporate-capitalists who plunder them); need to mind our own "shop" and business. And stop pretending that we're such a wonderful, white-hatted, "good" nation.

Jill , July 8, 2019 at 15:15

AnneR,

We have had war criminal presidents from the legacy parties, period. Barr is a party to war crimes so I share other's doubts that he will do anything about actual justice. He may be in on the current winning side of the IC and they may be purging some enemies at this time. That is the only thing I see Barr being involved in.

Speaking as someone who has done counter-recruitment in schools, I will just give you my experience. Students are tracked from grade school. A file is kept on them with over a thousand data points. These files are taken by recruiters and used to "pitch" the military to young people. I don't know if you were sophisticated at 16. I was a little bit but not much. So here's an example–they told one young woman who had a single mother that if she went in the military she would not be a burden on her mother any longer. They understood the family had few resources and they played on this young woman's "guilt" over being a financial "drain" on her mother. No, recruiters do not tell the truth to those they meet. They lie and they lie very well because they have excellent information to help them tell the correct lies. That girl is dead and I mourn her death.

Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 22:05

AnneR, you have so much anger, I understand, it is terrible what our nation has done and is continuing to do, it has gone on so long that many of the people currently perpetrating the crimes against foreign populations are themselves of descendents of peoples the US has victimized. It's the propaganda, the United States is one of the most heavily propagandize societies in the world, we make the Soviets look like children. No one wants you to have sympathy for Donald Trump, you do not have to agree or like a person to see that the cartel seeking to damage him is also simultaneously against your interests and they are against your interests whether you're from the left or the right because they do not have an ideology just it will to power.

Dunderhead , July 8, 2019 at 22:09

Jill that was an incredibly cogent description of the mess we are currently in, congratulations on such clarity, peace out.

David Otness , July 9, 2019 at 00:18

With you on all that you state, Jill. It's really exposed the U.S. population for what we unfortunately are, if not what we've become. So reminiscent of the darker days of the Cold War. A stark education has just played out to this point. I wonder how many have learned anything at all from it?

[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 09, 2019] Aldous Huxley said something that points exactly what happening in the world now

Notable quotes:
"... Huxley died at 5:20pm, London time, on 22 November 1963. About ten minutes later, CS Lewis died. Just under an hour after that, of course, JFK was shot and killed in Dallas. There may never have been a deadlier 70 minutes for celebrity ..."
"... Fifty years ago, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C. S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. In 1982, philosophy professor Peter Kreeft imagined the three of them in conversation after their deaths. ..."
"... I think there's a good deal to be said for this this point of view in in regard to the permanence of any dictatorship. " ..."
Jul 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Robjil says: July 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm GMT 500 Words @ChuckOrloski

Chuck,

There another famous person who died that day. Aldous Huxley.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/eclipsed-in-death-we-remember-jfk-but-what-about-aldous-huxley-or-cs-lewis-8957192.html

Poor old Aldous Huxley. In other circumstances, his name would be all over the place today, the 50th anniversary of his death. Yet, just moments after his demise, the Brave New World author had the misfortune, if that's the right word, of becoming a key member of the "eclipsed celebrity death club".

Huxley died at 5:20pm, London time, on 22 November 1963. About ten minutes later, CS Lewis died. Just under an hour after that, of course, JFK was shot and killed in Dallas. There may never have been a deadlier 70 minutes for celebrity

A book has been written about these three deaths on the same day by Peter Kreeft. He imagines them talking together in the heavens.

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/trevin-wax/the-day-c-s-lewis-john-f-kennedy-and-aldous-huxley-died/

Fifty years ago, three great men died within a few hours of each other: C. S. Lewis, John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley. In 1982, philosophy professor Peter Kreeft imagined the three of them in conversation after their deaths.

Positioning Lewis as a proponent of ancient Western theism, Kennedy as a modern Western humanist, and Huxley as an ancient Eastern pantheist, Kreeft wrote a conversational book entitled Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. "

Aldous Huxley said something that points exactly what happening in the world now. We are lead by a wild species. The Zios don't want to be domesticated by freedom of speech. Spare the rod ( of freedom of speech) spoil the child. The Zios want to be wild forever. They want to do whatever they want on earth with no scolding feedback.

This question and answer talk was at Berkeley Univ. on March 20 1962. This fear of being domesticated is why the ADL went crazy on 6/6/19, closing down websites and videos all over the internet.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5hJp5JrOTuQ?start=578&feature=oembed

9:23 t0 10:44

Another point which was made by Sir Charles Darwin in his book "The Next Million Years" which I think was one would with in different terms .

I envisaged in brave new world .I mean here he points out that the human species is still a wild species, it has never been domesticated .

I mean domesticated species is one which has been tamed by another species. Well, until we get an invasion from Mars we shall not be tamed by another species. All we can do is to try to tame ourselves.

An oligarchy tries to tame ourselves but the oligarchy still remains wild. I mean however much it succeeded in taming the domesticating the rest of the race it from it must remain wild. And this was the part of the fable the dramatic part of the fable of brave new world is that the people in the upper hierarchy who were not ruthlessly conditioned could break down.

I mean this Charles Darwin insists that because man is wild he can never expect to domesticate himself because the people on top would always be undomesticated sooner or later always run wild. I think there's a good deal to be said for this this point of view in in regard to the permanence of any dictatorship. "

[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.

... ... ...

[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] 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 30, 2019] Aggressive US Lies and Misleads to Justify War on Iran by William Boardman

Notable quotes:
"... The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests. ..."
"... Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown. ..."
"... Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began: ..."
"... He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. ..."
"... Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. ..."
"... There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack ..."
"... Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise: ..."
"... The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013

The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.

Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.

First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.

Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:

This assessment is based on intelligence .

He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .

Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation

The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .

There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.

Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:

Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.

The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.

Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:

40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.

The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.

Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .

[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 27, 2019] Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Highly recommended!
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens JOHN CHUCKMAN , Jun 26, 2019 2:10:12 PM | 23

Yesterday the news agencies Associated Press and Reuters mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. They made it sound as if Rouhani insulted U.S. President Donald Trump as 'mentally retarded'. Rouhani never said that.

The agencies previously made a similar 'mistake'.

A 2005 speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was famously misquoted. Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president headlined the Guardian at that time. Others used similar headlines. The New York Times wrote :

Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
...
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

The statement was used by the G.W. Bush administration and others to whip up hostility against Iran :

Ever since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.

Here, for example, is R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, recently: "Given the radical nature of Iran under Ahmadinejad and its stated wish to wipe Israel off the map of the world, it is entirely unconvincing that we could or should live with a nuclear Iran."

However Ahmedinejad never used those words :

"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

Despite the above and other explanations the false "wipe Israel off the map" translation never died. Years later it still reappeared in Guardian pieces which required it to issue multiple corrections and clarifications.

Now, as the Trump administration is pushing for war on Iran, a similar mistranslation miraculously happened. It were again 'western' news agencies who lightened the fire:

The Associated Press @AP - 7:52 utc - 25 Jun 2019

BREAKING: Iran's President Rouhani mocks President Trump, says the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation."

Farsi speakers pointed out that the Rouhani never used the Farsi word for "retarded":

Sina Toossi @SinaToossi - 13:49 utc - 25 Jun 2019

A lot of Western media is reporting that Iranian President Rouhani called Trump "mentally retarded." This is inaccurate.
Regarding Trump, he just said "no wise person would take such an action [the new sanctions imposed]."

Reza H. Akbari @rezahakbari - 15:58 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Absolutely incorrect. There is a word for "retarded" in Persian & Rouhani didn't use it. Prior to him saying "mental disability" he even prefaced his comment by saying "mental weakness." Those who speak Persian can listen & judge for themselves. Here is a video clip of Rouhani's comment: link

But the damage was already done:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 14:42 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Iran leadership doesn't understand the words "nice" or "compassion," they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..

....The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more...

.... Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement , put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!

Reuters , which also peddled the mistranslation, gleefully connected the dots :

Cont. reading: Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Excellent summary of how malevolence works in many subtle ways.

Jonathan Gillispie , Jun 26, 2019 1:11:48 PM | 4

Trump was right more than he realizes that the press is the enemy of the people. They goad nations into unnecessary and bloody war.

Don Wiscacho , Jun 26, 2019 1:32:54 PM | 13
This follows in the footsteps of a rich history of mistranslating and obfuscating which is rarely, if ever, corrected by our Guardians of Truth. I will not hold my breath for AP to pull its tweet out issue any sort of correction. The war machine is revving up, truth be damned.

To add a few obfuscations to the list of mistranslations: the Palestinian intifada. Sounds scary, no? Violence against the benevolent Israelis. Because what does intifada actually mean? Uprising, which by its nature suggests oppression, something which just 'can't' be happening in Palestine, hence the need for intifada.
Or take jihad, 'a pillor' of Islam. Again, very scary, as jihad 'means' suicide bombs and killing infidels. What the Guardians of Truth never mention is that jihad in Islam is a very, very broad term that includes such things as helping the poor or less fortunate, educating oneself, quiet reflection, and prayer. Jihad as meaning 'holy war' was a sense meaning derived much later than the founding of the religion, as a reaction to very real threats to believers of the time, the Crusades and Mongol invasions. That this specific sense meaning was essentially confined to history afterward, only to be revived by Wahhabists and takfiris, and one not believed in by the vast majority of Muslims, is never explained. 'Cause all them crazy Muslims believe in jihad!

In all cases where the boogeyman of the day needs concocting, rest assured the 'mainstream' press, with AP in the lead, will be there to build a gleaming edifice mistruths, omissions, and lies.

Uncle Jon , Jun 26, 2019 1:36:27 PM | 14
Ahmadinejad's true and correct translation reads: "Zionism should be wiped from the pages of history."

Now who can argue with that.

jared , Jun 26, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 17
In approximately 17 months, the american public can make strides to fix this mess.
I guess that is a long time for the iranians, but still maybe best option.
dh , Jun 26, 2019 1:51:03 PM | 18
Just in case there is any doubt in American minds here is the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. He thinks the sanctions are working well. Iran is panicking.

Good job guys. Keep squeezing.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-ambassador-iran-panicking-increased-us-sanctions

wagelaborer , Jun 26, 2019 2:43:01 PM | 31
They mistranslate Trump all the time, or they spin what he says. It is amazing to watch.

For instance, at the Helsinki meeting, where he met with Putin and they discussed multiple topics, but the press ignored any topic but demanding that Trump denounce Putin and "admit" that Putin helped him steal the election, and that he was therefore not the legitimate president.

Obviously, Trump was not going to say that, so he said that he was the legitimate president, and the mockingbird media spun that into "the president is a traitor to America because he said that 17 national intelligence agencies are lying".

michaelj72 , Jun 26, 2019 4:02:36 PM | 40
.....The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies,
the priests lie .
These lies mean that the country wants to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons .

And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the
enormous caravans from beneath,
stringing together the vague and foolish words.
It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open
It's a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines --
This is the thrill that leads the President on to lie....


Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked at Last, originally published by City Lights books 1970

Virgile , Jun 26, 2019 5:10:59 PM | 48
Maybe the translation is inacurate but the message had the expected reaction from Trump: Tweet furor.
It is good that Trump realizes that he does not have the monopole of insulting leaders.
The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war. How could it give a lesson to Iran who won a 8 years war against Iraq despite the support that the USA, the Gulf countries and Western countries gave to Iraq.
Loud noise and indecisive actions: The disaster of the USA foreign policy
Abx , Jun 26, 2019 5:20:42 PM | 49
I remember watching CNN translate Khamenei's "Nuclear Power" to "Nuclear Weapons" right on live TV in 2013. This is not new.
/div> Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law , Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Kooshy , Jun 26, 2019 5:45:20 PM | 53
b-
I am a Persian speaker and is true that president Rouhani never said Trump is retarded, we now have way passed the point that insults can matte. Nevertheless it was better if President Rouhani would have called Trump and the rest of the ruling US regime like what the whole world has now come to understand, a true and unique collection of retards on a shining hill.
0use4msm , Jun 26, 2019 6:24:08 PM | 57
Reminds me of when Nikita Khruschev attempted to explain in 1956 his view that that capitalism would destroy itself from within by quoting Marx: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." This was notoriously mistranslated into English as "We will bury you", as if the Soviets were out to kill all westerners themselves. Of course this mistranslated was quoted time and time again in western media, fueling Cold War paranoia for years to come.
juandonjuan , Jun 26, 2019 6:31:20 PM | 59
blue @ 19 The news media are wedded to the state which is wedded to the banking system which are all subsidiaries of global capitalism. They don't need to correct themselves. They may have the occasional family feud, but they're all on the same team. They will admit to "mistakes" being made, but only long after it makes no difference.
We have a FREE PRESS in America-Pravda on the Potomac, Izvestia on the Hudson.
Have a look sometime at the Venn Diagrams that portray the overlapping/interlocking memberships of the regulatory/financial/corporate leadership class.
But more than that, whatever the idea of a free press once meant, with the rise of digital corporate networking "platforms", not subject to any accountability, the barriers to entry of any competing narratives to the mainstream discourse are nearly insurmountable. Except maybe through subversion?
What is missing is a true public 'Marketplace of Ideas'
ADKC , Jun 26, 2019 7:00:39 PM | 63
The deliberate mis-translations of non-english speaking "adversaries" of the US is common in the msm. Putin is frequently and deliberately mis-translated to make him appear dictatorial and aggressive.
pj , Jun 26, 2019 7:11:03 PM | 65
I listened to Rohani's speech. He said that if JCPOA is bad, it is bad for all parties; and if it is good, it is good for all parties. They cannot expect for JCPOA to be bad for them and good for us. They withdrew from the JCPOA and expect us to stay with the agreement. This is what he meant when he said: White house has been affected by mental inability and mental disability.
Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:26:38 PM | 72
ADKC
Iran is at war. US and gang are trying to destroy Iran as a nation. The biggest asset in times of war is deception. Used by both the attacker and the attacked.
karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:39:51 PM | 75
Khamenei has Tweeted a series of tweets, and his scribe has posted what he tweeted along with other words at his website in English so there's no mistranslation. Here's one of the series of 6:

"The graceful Iranian nation has been accused & insulted by world's most vicious regime, the U.S., which is a source of wars, conflicts & plunder. Iranian nation won't give up over such insults. Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened & remain powerful."

They were made 14+ hours ago, yet I'm the first to post notice of them here?!

goldhoarder , Jun 26, 2019 8:39:33 PM | 80
The USA government excels at propaganda. It always has. Doesn't matter if it babies and incubators, mistranslated leaders of targeted countries, or supposed mass graves. BTW... what ever happened to all those mass graves in Iraq? HRW was going to dig them all up and document them. Hundreds of thousands. Most Americans I talk to still believe in this. Was it true? Saddam himself had claimed it wasn't true. That it was Kurdish propaganda to gain sympathy. He claimed the Anfal campaign was only to push the Kurds off the border so he could control arms smuggling and that casualties were minimal. Looking into the search. They are graves with a few hundred here and there but where are the rest of the bodies? If you google Iraq mass graves there are more articles about ISIS mass graves than the Anfal campaign. There were people killed in the South during the Shia uprising after the first gulf war than there was for the Anfal campaign. Was that a lie too? Nearly every American believes it still.

PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor

Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT First published on Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/jul/18/iraq.iraq1

Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.

In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'

Arata , Jun 26, 2019 10:40:53 PM | 98
Anyone who can undestand Farsi ( Persian language) can litsen Rouhani's speech. He did not name "Trump", he said " White House".
I have been watching CNN news channel who said that Rouhani made a personal attack on Trump! That was not true.

There was no personal attack on Rouhani's speech.
Importantly, the context of the speech and conclusion is diffent from western media reports and western translations.

I would like give few links of some Iranian news agencies, reporting Rouhani's speech for International use, as reference here:

1) FrasNews Agency

Rouhani said:

"These days, we see the White House in confusion and we are witnessing undue and ridiculous words and adoption of a scandalous policy,"

..."The US sanctions are crime against humanity. The US recent measures indicate their ultimate failure. The new US measures are the result of their frustration and confusion over Iran. The White House has mental disability,"


http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980405000859

2) ISNA English

"They are having mental problems and today, the White House has become mentally paralysed and don't know what to do".
https://en.isna.ir/news/98040402431/Sanctioning-Supreme-leader-of-Iran-ridiculous-President-Rouhani

ISAN French

Le président iranien, affirmant que les États-Unis, malgré de nombreuses tentatives de pression exercées par divers leviers sur l'Iran, ont échoué dans leurs objectifs, a poursuivi : "Une étrange frustration et une grande confusion règnent au sein du Corps dirigeant de la Maison Blanche. Ils se sentent déçus car ils n'ont obtenu aucun résultat, ils s'attendaient à voir l'Iran brisé dans l'espace de quelques mois, mais ils ont fini par constater que les Iraniens agissent de plus en plus fermement, de manière plus créative que jamais ".

https://fr.isna.ir/news/98040402385/Les-actions-américaines-sont-inhumaines-Rohani

3) TasnimNews

The president also decried the new US sanctions against Iran, saying the White House has been thrown into confusion as its officials are making "inappropriate and ridiculous" comments and adopting the policy of disgrace.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/06/26/2041386/iran-urges-us-europe-to-return-to-jcpoa

Paora , Jun 26, 2019 11:18:41 PM | 101
0use4msm @54

Wow that's amazing! Probably the best known Khrushchev 'quote', presented as evidence of his boorish nature, is an intentional mistranslation. And the Marx quote is not exactly obscure, it's from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto for eff sake! At least it makes a change from the 'lets just make things up' cottage industry of Lenin & Stalin 'quotes'.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26, 2019 11:23:51 PM | 102
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain (or some other student of wisdom)
...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/books/famous-misquotations.html
Apr 26, 2017 - Mark Twain is one of many who gets credit for famous quotations he never wrote or said. ... credited with saying "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" ... Proverbial wisdom, in which a quotation is elevated to the status of a proverb because its source is unknown;.
Circe , Jun 27, 2019 10:19:52 AM | 136 Noirette , Jun 27, 2019 10:50:17 AM | 137
Mistranslations are a classical cheap n easy way to sway opinion.

Interesting that the examples b quotes, and most of those promoted currently by the US-uk-eu, afaik, understand, are intended to project into the voice of Iranians, Russians, Syrians, utterances, declarations, to be labelled insults, slander, threats, impropriety, even rage, coming from these parties, as

there is nothing much else to display!

(Spanish is too comprehensible > does not apply to Mexico, Cuba, S. America.)

Often cultural matters play a role, but are ignored. Ahmadinejad was endlessly vilified and mocked by the W-MSM for saying what was translated as there are no homosexuals in Iran (no idea what the original formulation was) - which 'obviously' can't be 'true.'

Besides homosexuality being unacceptable in conservative rule-books, Iran is, or was (to 2010) above (or with) Thailand the no. 1. practitioner / destination for sex change operations. Iran had super educated docs, great hospitals, etc.

Ahmadinejad was relying on a kind of fundamentalist principle where the 'soul' or the 'essential quality' of a person is what is tantamount, what counts above all. The physical manifestation, here the human body, can be transformed to be in harmony with the deep-felt or 'innately' ascribed orientation or 'spirit.' So, no homosexuals in Iran, or only a few who are in 'transition.' (Not denying real suffering of gays in Iran, other story.)

The W, in first place the US, is doing precisely the same with its 'gender change' promotion, as applied to children and young teens. Here too, 'feelings' and 'identity' override 'nature' : the physical can be overturned, overcome, fixed.

Such cultural issues play a role in mis-translations, deliberate or not. It may appear that I wandered far off topic, I just picked a topical comprehensible ex. Sharia law is more complex..

[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] The first rule of political hypocrisy: Justify your actions by the need to protect the weak and vulnerable

Highly recommended!
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.

Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.

[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 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] 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] The difference between old and new schools of jounalism: old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1." Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.

Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."

Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

[Jun 19, 2019] America s Suicide Epidemic

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... A suicide occurs in the United States roughly once every 12 minutes . What's more, after decades of decline, the rate of self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 people annually -- the suicide rate -- has been increasing sharply since the late 1990s. Suicides now claim two-and-a-half times as many lives in this country as do homicides , even though the murder rate gets so much more attention. ..."
"... In some states the upsurge was far higher: North Dakota (57.6%), New Hampshire (48.3%), Kansas (45%), Idaho (43%). ..."
"... Since 2008 , suicide has ranked 10th among the causes of death in this country. For Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, however, it comes in second; for those between 35 and 45, fourth. The United States also has the ninth-highest rate in the 38-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Globally , it ranks 27th. ..."
"... The rates in rural counties are almost double those in the most urbanized ones, which is why states like Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Dakota sit atop the suicide list. Furthermore, a far higher percentage of people in rural states own guns than in cities and suburbs, leading to a higher rate of suicide involving firearms, the means used in half of all such acts in this country. ..."
"... Education is also a factor. The suicide rate is lowest among individuals with college degrees. Those who, at best, completed high school are, by comparison, twice as likely to kill themselves. Suicide rates also tend to be lower among people in higher-income brackets. ..."
"... Evidence from the United States , Brazil , Japan , and Sweden does indicate that, as income inequality increases, so does the suicide rate. ..."
"... One aspect of the suicide epidemic is puzzling. Though whites have fared far better economically (and in many other ways) than African Americans, their suicide rate is significantly higher . ..."
"... The higher suicide rate among whites as well as among people with only a high school diploma highlights suicide's disproportionate effect on working-class whites. This segment of the population also accounts for a disproportionate share of what economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have labeled " deaths of despair " -- those caused by suicides plus opioid overdoses and liver diseases linked to alcohol abuse. Though it's hard to offer a complete explanation for this, economic hardship and its ripple effects do appear to matter. ..."
"... Trump has neglected his base on pretty much every issue; this one's no exception. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This post describes how the forces driving the US suicide surge started well before the Trump era, but explains how Trump has not only refused to acknowledge the problem, but has made matters worse.

However, it's not as if the Democrats are embracing this issue either.

BY Rajan Menon, the Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of International Relations at the Powell School, City College of New York, and Senior Research Fellow at Columbia University's Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. His latest book is The Conceit of Humanitarian Intervention Originally published at TomDispatch .

We hear a lot about suicide when celebrities like Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade die by their own hand. Otherwise, it seldom makes the headlines. That's odd given the magnitude of the problem.

In 2017, 47,173 Americans killed themselves. In that single year, in other words, the suicide count was nearly seven times greater than the number of American soldiers killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2001 and 2018.

A suicide occurs in the United States roughly once every 12 minutes . What's more, after decades of decline, the rate of self-inflicted deaths per 100,000 people annually -- the suicide rate -- has been increasing sharply since the late 1990s. Suicides now claim two-and-a-half times as many lives in this country as do homicides , even though the murder rate gets so much more attention.

In other words, we're talking about a national epidemic of self-inflicted deaths.

Worrisome Numbers

Anyone who has lost a close relative or friend to suicide or has worked on a suicide hotline (as I have) knows that statistics transform the individual, the personal, and indeed the mysterious aspects of that violent act -- Why this person? Why now? Why in this manner? -- into depersonalized abstractions. Still, to grasp how serious the suicide epidemic has become, numbers are a necessity.

According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control study , between 1999 and 2016, the suicide rate increased in every state in the union except Nevada, which already had a remarkably high rate. In 30 states, it jumped by 25% or more; in 17, by at least a third. Nationally, it increased 33% . In some states the upsurge was far higher: North Dakota (57.6%), New Hampshire (48.3%), Kansas (45%), Idaho (43%).

Alas, the news only gets grimmer.

Since 2008 , suicide has ranked 10th among the causes of death in this country. For Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, however, it comes in second; for those between 35 and 45, fourth. The United States also has the ninth-highest rate in the 38-country Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Globally , it ranks 27th.

More importantly, the trend in the United States doesn't align with what's happening elsewhere in the developed world. The World Health Organization, for instance, reports that Great Britain, Canada, and China all have notably lower suicide rates than the U.S., as do all but six countries in the European Union. (Japan's is only slightly lower.)

World Bank statistics show that, worldwide, the suicide rate fell from 12.8 per 100,000 in 2000 to 10.6 in 2016. It's been falling in China , Japan (where it has declined steadily for nearly a decade and is at its lowest point in 37 years), most of Europe, and even countries like South Korea and Russia that have a significantly higher suicide rate than the United States. In Russia, for instance, it has dropped by nearly 26% from a high point of 42 per 100,000 in 1994 to 31 in 2019.

We know a fair amount about the patterns of suicide in the United States. In 2017, the rate was highest for men between the ages of 45 and 64 (30 per 100,000) and those 75 and older (39.7 per 100,000).

The rates in rural counties are almost double those in the most urbanized ones, which is why states like Idaho, Kansas, New Hampshire, and North Dakota sit atop the suicide list. Furthermore, a far higher percentage of people in rural states own guns than in cities and suburbs, leading to a higher rate of suicide involving firearms, the means used in half of all such acts in this country.

There are gender-based differences as well. From 1999 to 2017, the rate for men was substantially higher than for women -- almost four-and-a-half times higher in the first of those years, slightly more than three-and-a-half times in the last.

Education is also a factor. The suicide rate is lowest among individuals with college degrees. Those who, at best, completed high school are, by comparison, twice as likely to kill themselves. Suicide rates also tend to be lower among people in higher-income brackets.

The Economics of Stress

This surge in the suicide rate has taken place in years during which the working class has experienced greater economic hardship and psychological stress. Increased competition from abroad and outsourcing, the results of globalization, have contributed to job loss, particularly in economic sectors like manufacturing, steel, and mining that had long been mainstays of employment for such workers. The jobs still available often paid less and provided fewer benefits.

Technological change, including computerization, robotics, and the coming of artificial intelligence, has similarly begun to displace labor in significant ways, leaving Americans without college degrees, especially those 50 and older, in far more difficult straits when it comes to finding new jobs that pay well. The lack of anything resembling an industrial policy of a sort that exists in Europe has made these dislocations even more painful for American workers, while a sharp decline in private-sector union membership -- down from nearly 17% in 1983 to 6.4% today -- has reduced their ability to press for higher wages through collective bargaining.

Furthermore, the inflation-adjusted median wage has barely budged over the last four decades (even as CEO salaries have soared). And a decline in worker productivity doesn't explain it: between 1973 and 2017 productivity increased by 77%, while a worker's average hourly wage only rose by 12.4%. Wage stagnation has made it harder for working-class Americans to get by, let alone have a lifestyle comparable to that of their parents or grandparents.

The gap in earnings between those at the top and bottom of American society has also increased -- a lot. Since 1979, the wages of Americans in the 10th percentile increased by a pitiful 1.2%. Those in the 50th percentile did a bit better, making a gain of 6%. By contrast, those in the 90th percentile increased by 34.3% and those near the peak of the wage pyramid -- the top 1% and especially the rarefied 0.1% -- made far more substantial gains.

And mind you, we're just talking about wages, not other forms of income like large stock dividends, expensive homes, or eyepopping inheritances. The share of net national wealth held by the richest 0.1% increased from 10% in the 1980s to 20% in 2016. By contrast, the share of the bottom 90% shrank in those same decades from about 35% to 20%. As for the top 1%, by 2016 its share had increased to almost 39% .

The precise relationship between economic inequality and suicide rates remains unclear, and suicide certainly can't simply be reduced to wealth disparities or financial stress. Still, strikingly, in contrast to the United States, suicide rates are noticeably lower and have been declining in Western European countries where income inequalities are far less pronounced, publicly funded healthcare is regarded as a right (not demonized as a pathway to serfdom), social safety nets far more extensive, and apprenticeships and worker retraining programs more widespread.

Evidence from the United States , Brazil , Japan , and Sweden does indicate that, as income inequality increases, so does the suicide rate. If so, the good news is that progressive economic policies -- should Democrats ever retake the White House and the Senate -- could make a positive difference. A study based on state-by-state variations in the U.S. found that simply boosting the minimum wage and Earned Income Tax Credit by 10% appreciably reduces the suicide rate among people without college degrees.

The Race Enigma

One aspect of the suicide epidemic is puzzling. Though whites have fared far better economically (and in many other ways) than African Americans, their suicide rate is significantly higher . It increased from 11.3 per 100,000 in 2000 to 15.85 per 100,000 in 2017; for African Americans in those years the rates were 5.52 per 100,000 and 6.61 per 100,000. Black men are 10 times more likely to be homicide victims than white men, but the latter are two-and-half times more likely to kill themselves.

The higher suicide rate among whites as well as among people with only a high school diploma highlights suicide's disproportionate effect on working-class whites. This segment of the population also accounts for a disproportionate share of what economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have labeled " deaths of despair " -- those caused by suicides plus opioid overdoses and liver diseases linked to alcohol abuse. Though it's hard to offer a complete explanation for this, economic hardship and its ripple effects do appear to matter.

According to a study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve , the white working class accounted for 45% of all income earned in the United States in 1990, but only 27% in 2016. In those same years, its share of national wealth plummeted, from 45% to 22%. And as inflation-adjusted wages have decreased for men without college degrees, many white workers seem to have lost hope of success of any sort. Paradoxically, the sense of failure and the accompanying stress may be greater for white workers precisely because they traditionally were much better off economically than their African American and Hispanic counterparts.

In addition, the fraying of communities knit together by employment in once-robust factories and mines has increased social isolation among them, and the evidence that it -- along with opioid addiction and alcohol abuse -- increases the risk of suicide is strong . On top of that, a significantly higher proportion of whites than blacks and Hispanics own firearms, and suicide rates are markedly higher in states where gun ownership is more widespread.

Trump's Faux Populism

The large increase in suicide within the white working class began a couple of decades before Donald Trump's election. Still, it's reasonable to ask what he's tried to do about it, particularly since votes from these Americans helped propel him to the White House. In 2016, he received 64% of the votes of whites without college degrees; Hillary Clinton, only 28%. Nationwide, he beat Clinton in counties where deaths of despair rose significantly between 2000 and 2015.

White workers will remain crucial to Trump's chances of winning in 2020. Yet while he has spoken about, and initiated steps aimed at reducing, the high suicide rate among veterans , his speeches and tweets have never highlighted the national suicide epidemic or its inordinate impact on white workers. More importantly, to the extent that economic despair contributes to their high suicide rate, his policies will only make matters worse.

The real benefits from the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act championed by the president and congressional Republicans flowed to those on the top steps of the economic ladder. By 2027, when the Act's provisions will run out, the wealthiest Americans are expected to have captured 81.8% of the gains. And that's not counting the windfall they received from recent changes in taxes on inheritances. Trump and the GOP doubled the annual amount exempt from estate taxes -- wealth bequeathed to heirs -- through 2025 from $5.6 million per individual to $11.2 million (or $22.4 million per couple). And who benefits most from this act of generosity? Not workers, that's for sure, but every household with an estate worth $22 million or more will.

As for job retraining provided by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the president proposed cutting that program by 40% in his 2019 budget, later settling for keeping it at 2017 levels. Future cuts seem in the cards as long as Trump is in the White House. The Congressional Budget Office projects that his tax cuts alone will produce even bigger budget deficits in the years to come. (The shortfall last year was $779 billion and it is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2020.) Inevitably, the president and congressional Republicans will then demand additional reductions in spending for social programs.

This is all the more likely because Trump and those Republicans also slashed corporate taxes from 35% to 21% -- an estimated $1.4 trillion in savings for corporations over the next decade. And unlike the income tax cut, the corporate tax has no end date . The president assured his base that the big bucks those companies had stashed abroad would start flowing home and produce a wave of job creation -- all without adding to the deficit. As it happens, however, most of that repatriated cash has been used for corporate stock buy-backs, which totaled more than $800 billion last year. That, in turn, boosted share prices, but didn't exactly rain money down on workers. No surprise, of course, since the wealthiest 10% of Americans own at least 84% of all stocks and the bottom 60% have less than 2% of them.

And the president's corporate tax cut hasn't produced the tsunami of job-generating investments he predicted either. Indeed, in its aftermath, more than 80% of American companies stated that their plans for investment and hiring hadn't changed. As a result, the monthly increase in jobs has proven unremarkable compared to President Obama's second term, when the economic recovery that Trump largely inherited began. Yes, the economy did grow 2.3% in 2017 and 2.9% in 2018 (though not 3.1% as the president claimed). There wasn't, however, any "unprecedented economic boom -- a boom that has rarely been seen before" as he insisted in this year's State of the Union Address .

Anyway, what matters for workers struggling to get by is growth in real wages, and there's nothing to celebrate on that front: between 2017 and mid-2018 they actually declined by 1.63% for white workers and 2.5% for African Americans, while they rose for Hispanics by a measly 0.37%. And though Trump insists that his beloved tariff hikes are going to help workers, they will actually raise the prices of goods, hurting the working class and other low-income Americans the most .

Then there are the obstacles those susceptible to suicide face in receiving insurance-provided mental-health care. If you're a white worker without medical coverage or have a policy with a deductible and co-payments that are high and your income, while low, is too high to qualify for Medicaid, Trump and the GOP haven't done anything for you. Never mind the president's tweet proclaiming that "the Republican Party Will Become 'The Party of Healthcare!'"

Let me amend that: actually, they have done something. It's just not what you'd call helpful. The percentage of uninsured adults, which fell from 18% in 2013 to 10.9% at the end of 2016, thanks in no small measure to Obamacare , had risen to 13.7% by the end of last year.

The bottom line? On a problem that literally has life-and-death significance for a pivotal portion of his base, Trump has been AWOL. In fact, to the extent that economic strain contributes to the alarming suicide rate among white workers, his policies are only likely to exacerbate what is already a national crisis of epidemic proportions.


Seamus Padraig , June 19, 2019 at 6:46 am

Trump has neglected his base on pretty much every issue; this one's no exception.

DanB , June 19, 2019 at 8:55 am

Trump is running on the claim that he's turned the economy around; addressing suicide undermines this (false) claim. To state the obvious, NC readers know that Trump is incapable of caring about anyone or anything beyond his in-the-moment interpretation of his self-interest.

JCC , June 19, 2019 at 9:25 am

Not just Trump. Most of the Republican Party and much too many Democrats have also abandoned this base, otherwise known as working class Americans.

The economic facts are near staggering and this article has done a nice job of summarizing these numbers that are spread out across a lot of different sites.

I've experienced this rise within my own family and probably because of that fact I'm well aware that Trump is only a symptom of an entire political system that has all but abandoned it's core constituency, the American Working Class.

sparagmite , June 19, 2019 at 10:13 am

Yep It's not just Trump. The author mentions this, but still focuses on him for some reason. Maybe accurately attributing the problems to a failed system makes people feel more hopeless. Current nihilists in Congress make it their duty to destroy once helpful institutions in the name of "fiscal responsibility," i.e., tax cuts for corporate elites.

dcblogger , June 19, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Maybe because Trump is president and bears the greatest responsibility in this particular time. A great piece and appreciate all the documentation.

Svante , June 19, 2019 at 7:00 am

I'd assumed, the "working class" had dissappeared, back during Reagan's Miracle? We'd still see each other, sitting dazed on porches & stoops of rented old places they'd previously; trying to garden, fix their car while smoking, drinking or dazed on something? Those able to morph into "middle class" lives, might've earned substantially less, especially benefits and retirement package wise. But, a couple decades later, it was their turn, as machines and foreigners improved productivity. You could lease a truck to haul imported stuff your kids could sell to each other, or help robots in some warehouse, but those 80s burger flipping, rent-a-cop & repo-man gigs dried up. Your middle class pals unemployable, everybody in PayDay Loan debt (without any pay day in sight?) SHTF Bug-out bags® & EZ Credit Bushmasters began showing up at yard sales, even up North. Opioids became the religion of the proletariat Whites simply had much farther to fall, more equity for our betters to steal. And it was damned near impossible to get the cops to shoot you?

Man, this just ain't turning out as I'd hoped. Need coffee!

Svante , June 19, 2019 at 7:55 am

We especially love the euphemism "Deaths O' Despair." since it works so well on a Chyron, especially supered over obese crackers waddling in crusty MossyOak™ Snuggies®

https://mobile.twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1140998287933300736
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=apxZvpzq4Mw

DanB , June 19, 2019 at 9:29 am

This is a very good article, but I have a comment about the section titled, "The Race Enigma." I think the key to understanding why African Americans have a lower suicide rate lies in understanding the sociological notion of community, and the related concept Emil Durkheim called social solidarity. This sense of solidarity and community among African Americans stands in contrast to the "There is no such thing as society" neoliberal zeitgeist that in fact produces feelings of extreme isolation, failure, and self-recriminations. An aside: as a white boy growing up in 1950s-60s Detroit I learned that if you yearned for solidarity and community what you had to do was to hang out with black people.

Amfortas the hippie , June 19, 2019 at 2:18 pm

" if you yearned for solidarity and community what you had to do was to hang out with black people."
amen, to that. in my case rural black people.
and I'll add Hispanics to that.
My wife's extended Familia is so very different from mine.
Solidarity/Belonging is cool.
I recommend it.
on the article we keep the scanner on("local news").we had a 3-4 year rash of suicides and attempted suicides(determined by chisme, or deduction) out here.
all of them were despair related more than half correlated with meth addiction itself a despair related thing.
ours were equally male/female, and across both our color spectrum.
that leaves economics/opportunity/just being able to get by as the likely cause.

David B Harrison , June 19, 2019 at 10:05 am

What's left out here is the vast majority of these suicides are men.

Christy , June 19, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Actually, in the article it states:
"There are gender-based differences as well. From 1999 to 2017, the rate for men was substantially higher than for women -- almost four-and-a-half times higher in the first of those years, slightly more than three-and-a-half times in the last."

jrs , June 19, 2019 at 1:58 pm

which in some sense makes despair the wrong word, as females are actually quite a bit more likely to be depressed for instance, but much less likely to "do the deed". Despair if we mean a certain social context maybe, but not just a psychological state.

Ex-Pralite Monk , June 19, 2019 at 10:10 am

obese cracker

You lay off the racial slur "cracker" and I'll lay off the racial slur "nigger". Deal?

rd , June 19, 2019 at 10:53 am

Suicide deaths are a function of the suicide attempt rate and the efficacy of the method used. A unique aspect of the US is the prevalence of guns in the society and therefore the greatly increased usage of them in suicide attempts compared to other countries. Guns are a very efficient way of committing suicide with a very high "success" rate. As of 2010, half of US suicides were using a gun as opposed to other countries with much lower percentages. So if the US comes even close to other countries in suicide rates then the US will surpass them in deaths. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_methods#Firearms

Now we can add in opiates, especially fentanyl, that can be quite effective as well.

The economic crisis hitting middle America over the past 30 years has been quite focused on the states and populations that also tend to have high gun ownership rates. So suicide attempts in those populations have a high probability of "success".

Joe Well , June 19, 2019 at 11:32 am

I would just take this opportunity to add that the police end up getting called in to prevent on lot of suicide attempts, and just about every successful one.

In the face of so much blanket demonization of the police, along with justified criticism, it's important to remember that.

B:H , June 19, 2019 at 11:44 am

As someone who works in the mental health treatment system, acute inpatient psychiatry to be specific, I can say that of the 25 inpatients currently here, 11 have been here before, multiple times. And this is because of several issues, in my experience: inadequate inpatient resources, staff burnout, inadequate support once they leave the hospital, and the nature of their illnesses. It's a grim picture here and it's been this way for YEARS. Until MAJOR money is spent on this issue it's not going to get better. This includes opening more facilities for people to live in long term, instead of closing them, which has been the trend I've seen.

B:H , June 19, 2019 at 11:53 am

One last thing the CEO wants "asses in beds", aka census, which is the money maker. There's less profit if people get better and don't return. And I guess I wouldn't have a job either. Hmmmm: sickness generates wealth.

[Jun 18, 2019] Every empire is a dictatorship. No nation can be a democracy that s either heading an empire, or a vassal-state of one by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... The actual Deep State are always the aristocrats, themselves, the people who run the revolving door between 'the private sector' (the aristocracy's corporations) and the government. ..."
"... All of the well-financed candidates for the top offices are actually the Deep State's representatives, and virtually none are the representatives of the public, because the voters have been deceived, and were given choices between two or more candidates, none of whom will represent the public if and when elected. ..."
"... Is that Democratic Party initiative anything else than insincere political theater, lying to their own gullible voters, just being phonies who manipulate voters to vote for them instead of who are actually serving them? ..."
"... Is that what democracy is, now: insincere political theater? Is that "democracy"? America's voters are trapped, by liars, so it's instead mere 'democracy'. It's just the new form of dictatorship. But it's actually as ancient as is any empire. ..."
"... Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, was just as evil, and just as insincere, as Trump, but only a far more skillful liar, who deceived his voters to think that he would fight corruption , work to improve relations with Russia , provide a public option in his health-insurance plan , and otherwise work to reduce economic inequality , to improve the economic situation for disadvantaged Americans , and to prosecute banksters . ..."
"... If the UK elect Jeremy Corbyn all bets are off, he will expose ALL corrupt politicians media and foreign powers. Why do you think there is such a concerted effort to prevent him gaining office, even Pompeo has said "the US will prevent him becoming PM" ..."
"... But they won't LET you decentralize, Annie. It doesn't suit them. Millions of others do indeed share your concern, but merely imagining a better system doesn't make it happen. It doesn't get through the layers and layers of entrenched investment in the current system, or through the layers and layers of ruthless militarism protecting it. Our enemy will never step aside and voluntarily make way for something worthy of the name, "society". ..."
"... By all measures: capitalism is due another crisis Taleb's Black Swan is in clear view we can expect the unexpected. No one can predict the timing or severity: but the debt hangover from GFC 1 makes GFC 2 look potentially worse. ..."
"... Trumps promises before the election about the trillions wasted in futile wars, and promising to redirect those trillions into US infrastructure etc, turned out to be outrageous lies. Here are some quotes from HL Mencken which in my opinion sum up the passengers in the out of control US clown car, Trump, Bolton, Pence and Pompeo. ..."
"... The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Every empire is a dictatorship. No nation can be a democracy that's either heading an empire, or a vassal-state of one. Obviously, in order to be a vassal-state within an empire, that nation is dictated-to by the nation of which it is a colony.

By contrast, 'enemy' nations are ones that the imperial power has placed onto its priority-list of nations that are yet to become conquered. There are two main reasons to conquer a nation. One is in order to be enabled to extract, from the colony, oil, or gold, or some other valuable commodity. The other is in order to control it so as to be enabled to use that land as a passageway for exporting, from a vassal-nation, to other nations, that vassal-nation's products.

International trade is the basis for any empire, and the billionaires who own controlling blocs of stock in a nation's international corporations are the actual rulers of it, the beneficiaries of empire, the recipients of the wealth that is being extracted from the colonies and from the domestic subjects. The idea of an empire is that the imperial nation's rulers, its aristocracy, extract from the colonies their products, and they impose upon their domestic subjects the financial and military burdens of imposing their international dictatorship upon the foreign subjects.

Some authors say that there is a "Deep State" and that it consists of (some undefined elements within) the intelligence services, and of the military, and of the diplomatic corps, of any given dictatorship; but, actually, those employees of the State are merely employees, not the actual governing authority, over that dictatorship.

The actual Deep State are always the aristocrats, themselves, the people who run the revolving door between 'the private sector' (the aristocracy's corporations) and the government. In former times, many of the aristocrats were themselves governing officials (the titled 'nobility'), but this is no longer common. Nowadays, the aristocracy are the individuals who own controlling blocs of stock in international corporations (especially weapons-making firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, because the only markets for those corporations are the corporation's own government and its vassal states or 'allies'); and such individuals are usually the nation's billionaires, and, perhaps, a few of the mere centi-millionaires.

A small number, typically less than 100, of these extremely wealthy individuals, are the biggest donors to politicians, and to think tanks, and to other non-profits (these latter being also tax-write-offs to their donors, and so are tax-drains to the general public) that are involved in the formation of the national government's policies.

Of course, they also are owners of and/or advertisers in the propaganda-media, which sell the aristocracy's core or most-essential viewpoints to the nation's subjects in order to persuade those voters to vote only for the aristocracy's selected candidates and not for any who oppose the aristocracy. These few, mainly billionaires, are the actual Deep State -- the bosses over the dictatorship, the ultimate beneficiaries in any empire. In order to maintain this system, of international dictatorship or empire, the most essential tool is deceit, of the electorate, by the aristocracy. The method of control is: the bought agents of the Deep State lie to the public about what their polices will be if they win, in order to be able to win power; and, then, once they have won power, they do the opposite, which is what they have always been paid by the Deep State (the aristocracy) to help them to do. Thereby, elections aren't "democratic" but 'democratic': they are mere formalities of democracy, without the substance of democracy.

All of the well-financed candidates for the top offices are actually the Deep State's representatives, and virtually none are the representatives of the public, because the voters have been deceived, and were given choices between two or more candidates, none of whom will represent the public if and when elected. Here are some recent examples of this system -- the imperial system, international dictatorship, in action: During Donald Trump's Presidential campaign, he said :

The approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness, and idiocy. They're fighting each other and yet we're fighting both of them. You know, we were fighting both of them. I think that our far bigger problem than Assad is ISIS, I've always felt that. Assad is, you know I'm not saying Assad is a good man, 'cause he's not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it's ISIS. I think, you can't be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other."
Assad is allied with Russia against the Saudis (who are the chief ally of the U.S. aristocracy), so the U.S. (in accord with a policy that George Herbert Walker Bush had initiated on 24 February 1990 and which has been carried out by all subsequent U.S. Presidents) was determined to overthrow Assad, but Trump said that he was strongly opposed to that policy. Months before that, Trump had said :
I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can't be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can't go -- and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won't be able to solve the problem. We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we'll start thinking about it. But we can't be fighting Assad. And when you're fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you're fighting -- you're fighting a lot of different groups. But we can't be fighting everybody at one time."
In that same debate (15 December 2015) he also said:
In my opinion, we've spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we've had, we would've been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It's not like we had victory. It's a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart."
Did he do that? No. Did he instead intensify what Obama had been trying to do in Syria -- overthrow Assad -- yes.

As the U.S. President, after having won the 2016 Presidential campaign, has Trump followed through on his criticism there, against the super-hawk, neoconservative, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham? No. Did he instead encircle himself with precisely such super-hawks, such neoconservatives? Yes.

Did he intensify the overthrow-Assad effort as Graham and those others had advocated? Yes.

Did America's war against Syria succeed? No.

Did he constantly lie to the voters? Yes, without a doubt.

Should that be grounds for impeaching him? A prior question to that one is actually: Would a President Mike Pence be any different or maybe even worse than Trump? Yes.

So: what, then, would be achieved by removing Trump from office? Maybe it would actually make things a lot worse. But how likely would the U.S. Senate be to remove Trump from office if the House did impeach Trump?

Two-thirds of the U.S. Senate would need to vote to remove the President in order for a President to be removed after being impeached by the House. A majority of U.S. Senators, 53, are Republicans. If just 33 of them vote not to convict the President, then Trump won't be removed. In order to remove him, not only would all 47 of the Democrats and Independents have to vote to convict, but 20 of the 53 Republicans would need to join them. That's nearly 40% of the Republican Senators.

How likely is that? Almost impossible.

What would their voters who had elected them back home think of their doing such a thing? How likely would such Senators face successful re-election challenges that would remove those Senators from office? Would 20 of the 53 be likely to take that personal risk?

Why, then, are so many Democrats in the House pressing for Trump's impeachment, since Trump's being forced out of the White House this way is practically impossible and would only install a President Pence, even if it could succeed? Is that Democratic Party initiative anything else than insincere political theater, lying to their own gullible voters, just being phonies who manipulate voters to vote for them instead of who are actually serving them?

Is that what democracy is, now: insincere political theater? Is that "democracy"? America's voters are trapped, by liars, so it's instead mere 'democracy'. It's just the new form of dictatorship. But it's actually as ancient as is any empire.

There's nothing new about this -- except one thing: the U.S. regime is aiming to be the ultimate, the last, the final, empire, the ruler over the entire world; so, it is trying especially hard, 'to defend freedom, democracy and human rights throughout the world', as Big Brother might say.

Trump's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, was just as evil, and just as insincere, as Trump, but only a far more skillful liar, who deceived his voters to think that he would fight corruption , work to improve relations with Russia , provide a public option in his health-insurance plan , and otherwise work to reduce economic inequality , to improve the economic situation for disadvantaged Americans , and to prosecute banksters .

He abandoned each one of those stated objectives as soon as he won against John McCain, on 4 November 2008, and then yet more when he defeated Mitt Romney in 2012.

And aren't some of those promises the same ones that candidate Trump had also advocated and then abandoned as soon as he too was (s)elected ? THE THREAT TO THE EMPIRE The heroic fighters for the freedom of everyone in the world are the whistleblowers, who report to the public the corruption and evil that they see perpetrated by their superiors, their bosses, and perpetrated by people who are on the public payroll or otherwise obtaining increased income by virtue of being selected by the government to become government contractors to serve an allegedly public function.

All liars with power hate whistleblowers and want to make special examples of any part of the press that publishes their truths, their facts, their stolen documents. These documents are stolen because that's the only way for them to become public and thereby known to the voters so that the voters can vote on the basis of truths as in a democracy, instead of be deceived as in a dictatorship.

Even if the truth is stolen from the liars, instead of being kept private ("Confidential") for them, are the whistleblowers doing wrong to steal the truth from the liars? Or, instead, are the whistleblowers heroes: are they the authentic guardians of democracy and the precariously thin wall that separates democracy from dictatorship?

They are the latter: they are the heroes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such heroes are also martyrs -- martyrs for truth, against lies. Every dictatorship seeks to destroy its whistleblowers. That's because any whistleblower constitutes a threat to The System -- the system of control. In all of U.S. history, the two Presidents who pursued whistleblowers and their publishers the most relentlessly have been Trump and Obama.

The public are fooled to think that this is being done for 'national security' reasons instead of to hide the government's crimes and criminality. However, not a single one of the Democratic Party's many U.S. Presidential candidates is bringing this issue, of the U.S. government's many crimes and constant lying, forward as being the central thing that must be criminalized above all else, as constituting "treason."

None of them is proposing legislation saying that it is treason, against the public -- against the nation. Every aristocracy tries to deceive its public in order to control its public; and every aristocracy uses divide-and-rule in order to do this. But it's not only to divide the public against each other (such as between Republicans versus Democrats, both of which are actually controlled by the aristocracy), but also to divide between nations, such as between 'allies' versus 'enemies' -- even when a given 'enemy' (such as Iraq in 2003) has never threatened, nor invaded, the United States (or whatever the given imperial 'us' may happen to be), and thus clearly this was aggressive war and an international war-crime, though unpunished as such.

The public need to fear and hate some 'enemy' which is the 'other' or 'alien', in order not to fear and loathe the aristocracy itself -- the actual source of (and winner from) the systemic exploitation, of the public, by the aristocracy.

The pinnacle of the U.S. regime's totalitarianism is its ceaseless assault against Julian Assange, who is the uber-whistleblower, the strongest protector for whistleblowers, the safest publisher for the evidence that they steal from their employers and from their employers' government. He hides the identity of the whistleblowers even at the risk of his own continued existence.

... ... ...

On 20 May 2019, former British Ambassador Craig Murray (who had quit so that he could blow the whistle) headlined "The Missing Step" and argued that the only chance that Assange now has is if Sweden refuses to extradite Assange to the US in the event that Britain honors the Swedish request to extradite him to Sweden instead of to the US (The decision on that will now probably be made by the US agent Boris Johnson instead of by the regular Tory Theresa May.)

How can it reasonably be denied that the US is, in fact (though not nominally) a dictatorship ?

All of its allies are thus vassal-nations in its empire. This means acquiescence (if not joining) in some of the US regime's frequent foreign coups and invasions; and this means their assisting in the spread of the US regime's control beyond themselves, to include additional other countries.

It reduces the freedom, and the democracy, throughout the world; it spreads the US dictatorship internationally. That is what is evil about what in America is called "neoconservatism" and in other countries is called simply "imperialism." Under American reign, it is now a spreading curse, a political plague, to peoples throughout the world. Even an American whistleblower about Ukraine who lives in the former Ukraine is being targeted by the US regime .

This is how the freedom of everyone is severely threatened, by the US empire -- the most deceitful empire that the world has ever experienced. The martyrs to its lies are the canaries in its coal mine. They are the first to be eliminated.

Looking again at that rank-ordered list of 23 countries, one sees the US and eight of its main allies (or vassal-nations), in order: US, UK, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Japan, France, Indonesia. These are countries where the subjects are already well-controlled by the empire. They already are vassals, and so are ordained as being 'allies'.

At the opposite end, starting with the most anti-US-regime, are: S. Africa, India, Russia, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, S. Korea, Turkey. These are countries where the subjects are not yet well-controlled by the empire, even though the current government in some of them is trying to change its subjects' minds so that the country will accept US rule.

Wherever the subjects reject US rule, there exists a strong possibility that the nation will become placed on the US regime's list of 'enemies'. Consequently, wherever the residents are the most opposed to US rule, the likelihood of an American coup or invasion is real. The first step toward a coup or invasion is the imposition of sanctions against the nation. Any such nation that is already subject to them is therefore already in danger.

Any such nation that refuses to cooperate with the US regime's existing sanctions -- such as against trading with Russia, China, Iran, or Venezuela -- is in danger of becoming itself a US-sanctioned nation, and therefore officially an 'enemy'. And this is why freedom and democracy are ending. Unless and until the US regime itself becomes conquered -- either domestically by a second successful American Revolution (this one to eliminate the domestic aristocracy instead of to eliminate a foreign one), or else by a World War III in which the US regime becomes destroyed even worse than the opposing alliance will -- the existing insatiable empire will continue to be on the war-path to impose its dictatorship to everyone on this planet.


ANDREW CLEMENTS

This should be taught in schools'
I will get my coat
Ramdan
"Our only hope is to organize the overthrow of the corporate state that vomited up Trump. Our democratic institutions, including the legislative bodies, the courts and the media, are hostage to corporate power. They are no longer democratic. We must, like liberation movements of the past, engage in acts of sustained mass civil disobedience and non-cooperation. By turning our ire on the corporate state, we name the true sources of power and abuse. We expose the absurdity of blaming our demise on demonized groups such as undocumented workers, Muslims, African-Americans, Latinos, liberals, feminists, gays and others. We give people an alternative to a Democratic Party that refuses to confront the corporate forces of oppression and cannot be rehabilitated. We make possible the restoration of an open society. If we fail to embrace this militancy, which alone has the ability to destroy cult leaders, we will continue the march toward tyranny." Chris Hedges
Andrew Paul
Surely, as well as some billionaires and centi-millionaires, there are other perhaps more institutionalised individuals with power to dispose of much even more clandestine wealth hidden in black budgets operated by and for the interests of unaccountable military and intelligence services in the putative empire, and there is also 'organised crime' and there are wealthy religious organisations, and these too can strongly influence politicians and the public opinion-forming 'narrative' shaping this false 'democracy' in the name of an elitist, highly hierarchical, socially as well as environmentally destructive global empire under full spectrum dominance.

At the global level the most viable alternative to this, I suggest, and barring destructive world war (but perhaps following a US and even a UK civil war, unfortunately), will be a world federation or confederation with a high council at which all cultures and social interest-groups, great and small, of this world are properly, and preferably directly democratically, represented.

Many thanks for the food for thought here.

Yarkob
"So: what, then, would be achieved by removing Trump from office? Maybe it would actually make things a lot worse."

See: Saddam Hussein

mark
We could get President Pocahontas or President Buttplug instead.
ANDREW CLEMENTS
President silence of the pestilent
Wilmers31
We see a merger today between Raytheon and United Technologies. Here one para from 0hedge:

"Of course, there is a simpler way to boost profit margins that avoids cutting costs – just boost revenue, which of course would require war. Luckily, the Trump admin's neocon hawks are doing everything in their power to make sure that that's precisely what happens as the stock of the combined company will continue its relentless levitation."

Don't let them use you – don't enlist. Freedom might still be ended, but less profitable for them.

mark
As another man at another time asked, "What is to be done?"

The power of the billionaires, their bought and paid for politicians, and their servile media need to be broken.

In living memory, tax rates in the UK and US reached 98% and 91% respectively. There's no need to go back anywhere near those confiscatory levels, just ensure those people do actually pay SOME taxes. Last year, Amazon and Netflix should have paid over $16 billion in taxes. They paid nothing – they were actually given rebates of over $4 billion. Boeing hasn't paid a cent in taxes for 15 years. The same applies to a rogues' gallery of all the big boys, Google, Starbucks, General Electric, Boots, to name but a few. Profits are made to disappear and turned into losses by financial sleight of hand. An inflated level of debt is incurred to finance share buy backs instead of R&D, reinvestment and training. Trillions are salted away illegally in tax havens. The working and middle classes, 99.9% of the population, endure decades of austerity, declining wages, salaries and benefits, disappearing pensions, endemic insecurity. Rocketing house prices, £500,000 for a crappy one bed London flat. Children unable to leave home. Education and health privatised or becoming so. All public services or formerly public services declining to third world standards. A level of inequality not seen since Dickensian times. A financialised, spiv and shyster economy. A parasitic financial elite bleeding productive businesses dry, committing crime with impunity, and looting the public Treasury of untold trillions. Criminal wars of aggression abroad, taking the lives and destroying the future of tens of millions.

All this and much more needs to be changed.
But how?
Easier said than done. But is it?

We have seen what happens when anger and outrage are mobilised into an irresistible force.
This can happen surprisingly easily.
Things like the MPs expenses scandal, the Gilets Jaunes in France, Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US, political chaos in the EU. whatever you think of those developments, one way or another. The elites have a very tenuous grip on power, which can be broken quite easily.
All of the above characteristics of our present system can be changed by public pressure. It can be done.
Tax avoidance and tax havens can be closed down. If the big boys can't see which way the wind is blowing, they will do after a few of them are jailed. Anything that works against the public interest targeted for radical change. Public utilities and rail companies that fail to clean up their act properly regulated and if necessary nationalised. Housing and health treated as human needs and human rights. The NHS and a massive post war social housing programme went ahead though the country was completely bankrupt. It is a question of will and priorities. All this can be done. It is doable. All it needs is the mobilisation of sufficient outrage. And there are many recent examples of this.

Frank Poster
"The elites have a very tenuous grip on power, which can be broken quite easily.
All of the above characteristics of our present system can be changed by public pressure. It can be done."

Easily? Sorry Mark, I agree with your sentiments but there's nothing easy about it whatsoever, and you must be living on a different planet to me, sorry to say – let's examine each of your examples –

MPs expenses scandal : minimal effect, the buggers carry on, and with a self-appointed overseer.

Gilets Jaunes : smashed, sadly.

Brexit : this is not democracy, it's a US / neocon hijack of Britain.

Trump : Enriching the rich even more.

Political chaos in the EU : it's a US tactic to "shake the tree" and knock the confidence in the EU, it became too strong a competitor for the US. Divide and conquer is their game with the EU. Tariffs will follow, and they are doing exactly the same to China, and indeed Russia.

It's sad that the most common social purpose in European modern history is being attacked not only by the right wing nutters, but also the blinkered Trotskyists on the left.

mark
You're right about some of the outcomes. The point I was trying to make is that it's not possible to paper over the cracks any more. People realise that they have been lied to and the system does not work for them, if it ever did. This may sound nebulous, but it has an effect. The credibility and influence of the MSM has been shredded by its own mendacity and lack of integrity. This has far reaching consequences which may not be readily apparent on a day to day basis. But it is important. The same applies to all the institutions and organs of the state. The world is becoming increasingly turbulent and unstable, and support for elites and the systems they represent is dwindling rapidly. The whole economic and financial system is like a house of cards. At such times, change that had previously been inconceivable becomes inevitable. Of course, there is no guarantee that these changes will be positive, like Russia in 1917 or Germany in 1933.
Frank Poster
Pfff, what happened to the new OffG function to be able to edit one's posts, it's disappeared!
OffG
It vanished during our DoS attack – we haven't managed to get it back yet. Infuriating, I know.
Gezzah Potts
Clearly explained analysis of the deep shit we're all in. Unfortunately tho I don't see a second American revolution breaking out anytime soon. I think the large majority have been too crushed by the system; many working 2 or 3 jobs just to survive, many a couple paychecks away from being homeless, many living in cars or under bridges, and sadly, the large large majority lap up the propaganda spewed out by the stenographers. And believe it. Which leaves us with the next option for stopping this evil blood drenched Empire. And that is probably where we're heading. Scary times Eric.
mark
You may be right, GP. When I lived in America I was quite shocked by the low standard of living of very many people. Working 2 or 3 jobs, unable to run a car, health care completely out of their reach, living in houses like wooden shacks. Even buying food a problem. Completely ignorant of the outside world.

Half a million are now homeless, with third world shanty towns next to the gated developments of the rich, the streets covered with human faeces, TB, typhoid and tapeworm becoming major problems.

What I see is this becoming worse and forming a critical mass, when it can no longer be ignored. As such, there are grounds for optimism. Things becoming so bad that they can no longer be tolerated. Perhaps that is unrealistic, I don't know.

George
"Working 2 or 3 jobs, unable to run a car, health care completely out of their reach, living in houses like wooden shacks. Even buying food a problem. Completely ignorant of the outside world."

Hey – but haven't you heard? That's FREEDOM!

Gezzah Potts
Appreciate both your comments Mark, and yes, the Gilets Jaunes are probably the best current example of people fighting back against the system and saying Enough. I've never been to the UK so can't really judge from first hand experience, know the situation in United States by a fair bit of reading on the levels of poverty and precariousness state many live in, tho here in Australia the levels of cognitive dissonance, apathy and groupthink (derived from mainstream media) seem very high, and I speak to lots of people while out selling The Big Issue mag. About the angriest people get here is griping about Aussie politicians. I don't get any sense of anger or disgust at the Actual economic system.
wardropper
"Things becoming so bad that they can no longer be tolerated" ?
Nothing a couple more wars couldn't fix, Mark
mark
You may be right, but the outcome of any wars that are currently being threatened, Iran, Venezuela, DPRK, Russia, China, would be the final nail in the coffin of the AngloZionist Empire.
wardropper
My greatest worry is that this AngloZionist Empire doesn't care about anything at all – not even the nails in their own coffin.
They fondly imagine some kind of capitalistic "rapture" is going to whisk them off to "Money Heaven" and we will be left with their crap and their puke all over our planet.
I no longer think it's exaggerated to talk of demonic beings here, and if they are not demonic, then why are they acting as if they were?
nwwoods
FWIW, Tulsi Gabbard uttered a full-throated defense of both Assange and Manning.
Steve
It has to be remembered that Assange is an Australian and Manning was born in West Wales to a UK mother. These countries must stand up for their citizens.
nwwoods
Given the recent federal police raids on Australian journalists, it seems unlikely that Australia will be coming to the aid of Julian Assange any time soon.
Tutisicecream
Yes this is true. Tulsi Gabbard is the real deal and a bellwether of the current corrupt system and its stupefying echo chambers. She has no chance at the moment, but that's not the point. She exposes the corruption of the aristocracies and their corrupt system and shills.

As we are here. Take the Fruadian Tulsi ticks all their supposed PC boxes and yet their is no mention of her anywhere. But "Creepy Joe" Biden who epitomises the corrupt entitlement the system offers is reported on add nauseum.

As the Fraud, can't attack her it appears they can't report on her either. So her good campaign work is reported on the alt media, you know where the fake stuff is!

So there you have it, a perfect example of a faux feedback loop

Oh, and excellent article by Eric as well.

Frank Poster
She won't last long then, unfortunately.
nwwoods
No, I am hoping that the DNC doesn't change the rules in order to block her from at least the first round of televised debate. But I'm not holding my breath.

BTW, I read somewhere that DNC intends to split the first (D) debate into two groups, ostensibly because of the ridiculous number of candidates, which stands at 24, last I looked.
DNC is going to make certain that only centrist liberals are on the same debate stage with Joe Biden, "the only real progressive in the race" (in his own words).
Bernie and Tulsi will probably be dining at the kids table, if at all.

Ramdan

Frank Poster

Good point, I agree with you.
der einzige
If these sentences of Mr. Eric are true

Of course, they also are owners of and/or advertisers in the propaganda-media, which sell the aristocracy's core or most-essential viewpoints to the nation's subjects in order to persuade those voters to vote only for the aristocracy's selected candidates and not for any who oppose the aristocracy.

These few, mainly billionaires, are the actual Deep State -- the bosses over the dictatorship, the ultimate beneficiaries in any empire.

the rest of Assange is a lie

What Mr. Mossange did in these media which promoted him? Who he worked for? for Arab Springs? for Rothschilds? What he did on tea in The Economics, Guardian, NYT, The Bild etc.? What?

Einstein
Excellent piece.
DunGroanin
JA is a thorn in their side.
JC is a stake through their heart.

The v'empires fear is palpable.

Neither the throwing of the book or the kitchen sinks full of shit at their nemesises is working, as these polls demonstrate.

Hillarious. Bring on the much delayed GE.

wardropper
Sorry to be a wet blanket, but, frankly, it's been a long time since a GE fixed anything
Elections, as I think George Carlin said, are only there to make us think we have a voice.
Steve
If the UK elect Jeremy Corbyn all bets are off, he will expose ALL corrupt politicians media and foreign powers. Why do you think there is such a concerted effort to prevent him gaining office, even Pompeo has said "the US will prevent him becoming PM"
wardropper
I think there is a misunderstanding here, Steve. I couldn't agree with you more, especially about the concerted efforts (which I noticed a long time ago) to prevent Corbyn from gaining office.

My "wet-blanket" point is really only connected with your last quote from Pompeo, "The US will prevent him becoming PM". Surely no one today is under any illusions as to whether Pompeo means what he says, much as I would love to throw a spanner in his works.

Nothing would please me more, either, than to learn that I had been overly pessimistic. But I still have no doubts that Pompeo could and would fix any election that suited him. He has already admitted, in another context, to lying, cheating, stealing and killing.

Rhisiart Gwilym
Pompous Hippo, TIGW – The Insane Geriatric Walrus, Donny Les Tweets, Elliott Demon, Veryfew Pence and the rest of the delusional criminal inadequates of the DCSwamp may be against JC and wish to stop him, but – judging by their steadily-increasing ineffectualness on the world stage (how're those regime changes in Syria and Venezuela going? how's the bankrupting-Russia-with-sanctions going?) – they may not be too effective at preventing his entry to Downing Street.
wardropper
I pray you're right. Those dull-witted thugs may indeed be increasingly ineffectual, but the fact that they are still committed to their insane agenda continues to cost the world a great deal of suffering.
different frank
People will be the good sheeple that the establishment want them to be.
They will vote who they are told to vote for.
Hate who they are told to hate.
Fear who they are told to fear.

Devoid of all independent thought. Forever sleeping. Always conforming. Always consuming. The sheeple serve their establishment masters well. maybe a crumb will fall from the big table. They can fight each other for that. good sheep. baaa

kevin morris
We're all sheeple!
wardropper
Assange isn't.
Annie Besant
I will first quote the final passage from your tract which reads "Unless and until the US regime itself becomes conquered -- either domestically by a second successful American Revolution (this one to eliminate the domestic aristocracy instead of to eliminate a foreign one), or else by a World War III in which the US regime becomes destroyed even worse than the opposing alliance will -- the existing insatiable empire will continue to be on the war-path to impose its dictatorship to everyone on this planet." Whist it has not yet sunk in to the heads of the faceless perpetrators within the Hegemon, it is true to say that a much greater proportion, the greater percentage of humanity are now enlightened to the truth that should a global nuclear conflict break out, either by accident or design, there would be no living person remaining to gloat over the spoils.

This is where "American Exceptionalism" meets its nemesis, for at that moment all their power, influence, wealth, and vanity would evanesce as the towers of Mammon are reduced to rubble. Even their nuclear bunkers would provide no safe haven and there would be even less time for them to come to their senses, for we are contemplating the total extinction of the human species here.

Even in the face of an almost overwhelming resignation to fate, I am well aware that I am not alone in the belief that our planet will survive until that time when our sun ceases to exist. Perhaps we can share Mr Zuess's suggestion that the key to our survival here is by "domestic revolution" whereby within national limits, any country can create a groundswell of solidarity working to find a humane fix for the broken socio-economic system which thrives on the incompetence of dysfunctional leaders. This can be brought about by de-centralisation in matters of how our citizens are governed, rather than the current situation where our citizens are controlled and monitored, both in public and in private.

Localised government, informed by local people, can address all the issues in respect of which there are many who currently feel disempowered and thereby render themselves vulnerable to the general apathy and malaise that is fertile ground for the mischief of authority. This is a matter of systemic transformation and it is taking place right now with innumerable (largely unreported) peace, education, economic and apolitical bodies. Working together on a global basis, realising the interconnectedness of our lives, we will replicate the chain reaction of an atomic device. However, in our case it will be the gradual acceleration of our energies, all directed towards the betterment of all our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters on this planet who ask for one thing, and one thing only – that being an end to all this narcissism, cowardice, arrogance and greed, that are the dramatic personae for this litany of misery which has been inflicted by devilish forces upon the masses of humanity over centuries. No matter how small or insignificant my personal effort is here, I am now convinced that there are millions of others who feel the same. This is why the movement is growing at such a pace. When all our creative, and positively directed energies eventually coalesce we will approach the point of critical mass. At that time we will see the brainwashed troops of the military hegemon suddenly attain enlightenment and throw down their weapons – and the cowards who have previously been in control will flee to exile on some nice sunny beach. This is going to happen because I have already seen it.

wardropper

But they won't LET you decentralize, Annie. It doesn't suit them. Millions of others do indeed share your concern, but merely imagining a better system doesn't make it happen. It doesn't get through the layers and layers of entrenched investment in the current system, or through the layers and layers of ruthless militarism protecting it. Our enemy will never step aside and voluntarily make way for something worthy of the name, "society".

Somebody, somewhere, sometime, is going to have to insist.

BigB
Annie is absolutely right: I think we need to start looking ahead. Neoliberal capitalism is dead: it cannot be revived because there are neither the mineral or energy primary resource assets left for permanent expansionism. Monetizing debt is short term firefighting – fighting fire with fire, debt with debt. We need to stop thinking like capitalists: assessing consciousness and wellbeing against fake GDP and monetized debt prosperity and start thinking as humanists. Like Annie.

By all measures: capitalism is due another crisis Taleb's Black Swan is in clear view we can expect the unexpected. No one can predict the timing or severity: but the debt hangover from GFC 1 makes GFC 2 look potentially worse.

Then capitalism has one more shot of adrenaline (more easing; ZIRPS; savings 'haircuts'; going cashless; potentially a change in reserve) then what? Fascism or socialism. Angry people make for fascism. Peaceful people make for socialism. Materialism won't be that much of an option: apart from the grotesque levels of conspicuous ersatz wealth that will build up in the meantime.

Capitalism is time-limited and finite: humanism is time-independent and limitless. We chose to measure our wealth and happiness in terms of finite resources that were bound to run short. Perhaps now we can turn to the one non-finite resource we have overlooked – ourselves?

wardropper
Philosophically, I'm with you 100%, BigB.

But it's also the crux of your own matter as to where the mechanisms for choosing either fascism or socialism really are in our current system.
Many of us here want to know what to DO, rather than merely pass judgment on what is wrong.

For example, by nature, I am very inclined to follow Annie's path, but we have to know exactly what is the nature of the colossal resistance we will definitely encounter. Will we be stuck in jail, or even "permanently disappeared", because we can think for ourselves?

Or will the media simply keep up their current assault on our intelligence and education until, after a decade or two, nobody is left who could rub two coherent sentences together?

harry law
Trumps promises before the election about the trillions wasted in futile wars, and promising to redirect those trillions into US infrastructure etc, turned out to be outrageous lies. Here are some quotes from HL Mencken which in my opinion sum up the passengers in the out of control US clown car, Trump, Bolton, Pence and Pompeo.

[Jun 18, 2019] Have the neoliberal ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid

Notable quotes:
"... The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i ..."
"... When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid. ..."
"... When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it. ..."
"... This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies. ..."
"... Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag". ..."
"... As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that. ..."
"... If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual? ..."
"... The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency. ..."
"... But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 5:42pm

The Gulf of Credibility - I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in https://t.co/P1wE1Y886i

-- Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) June 14, 2019

When the ruling elite wanted a war with Iraq they invented incubator babies and WMD programs that didn't exist. Their inventions were far fetched, but not unbelievable. However, the idea that the paranoid dictator Saddam was just going to hand over his most powerful weapons to religious fanatics that hated his guts, was laughably stupid.

When the ruling elite wanted a war with Libya they invented a genocidal, Viagra-fueled, rape army. Their invention was far fetched, and bit lazy, but you could be forgiven for believing that the Mandarins believed it.

This latest anti-Iran warmongering is just plain stupid. It's as if they don't really care if anyone believes the lies they are telling. For starters, look at the shameless liar who is telling these lies.

You mean "Mr. We Lied, We Cheated, We Stole"? What a disgraceful character... pic.twitter.com/pMtAgKaZcG

-- Brave New World (@ClubBayern) June 13, 2019

Then there are the many problems of their "proof".

Where is the video of the Iranians PLACING explosives & detonating them? Removal would be prudent by any Navy/CG. Also location of explosives is VERY high off waterline ...Weird. It's not a limpet mine, it's a demo charge. Had to be put on by fairly high boat w/ a long gaff/pole https://t.co/3qzB7TrrYv

-- Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) June 14, 2019

The distress call went out at 6 am. So, according to CENTCOM's analysis of this video, they're suggesting that 10 hours after the tanker was hit, the IRGC just casually pulled up to the tanker to remove unexploded limpet mine in broad daylight?!

-- Rosalind Rogers راز (@Rrogerian) June 14, 2019

BREAKING: Owner says Kokuka Courageous tanker crew saw "flying objects" before attack, suggesting ship wasn't damaged by mines.

-- The Associated Press (@AP) June 14, 2019

The Japanese company that owns the ship has refused to cooperate in this false flag mission.

But in remarks to Japanese media, the president of the company that owns the ship said the vessel wasn't damaged by a mine. "A mine doesn't damage a ship above sea level," said Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo, the owner and operator of the vessel. "We aren't sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship," he said.

When the propaganda begins to fall apart and @realDonaldTrump tries to find another way to start a war to win an election. pic.twitter.com/r8Cp7BNQ7z

-- Bamboozll (@bamboozll) June 14, 2019

Looking at this incident/narrative from any/every angle leaves one to conclude "false flag".

Finally, there is the question of "why"?

What would Iran hope to accomplish by this? I found one establishment source that tried to rationalize.

Iran denied responsibility, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif descending to bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad.

If you're not inclined to believe the Trump administration – and such skepticism is entirely reasonable – most detectives would still tell you that the most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime.

To those seeking logic behind the attacks, though, it may be hard to see why Iran would do this – but that assumes that the regime in Tehran is a rational actor.

The Gulf of Oman attacks are especially hard to explain: targeting Japanese shipping on the very day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on a well-publicized peace mission would seem extraordinarily counterproductive, even for a regime with an almost fanatical commitment to self-harm.

Have you ever noticed that everyone that we want to start a war with is crazy? Regimes that stand solid for generations under hostile conditions are always run by maniacs. You'd think that insanity would prevent them from taking power in the first place, but that seems to only be true with our allies.

As for the "most obvious culprit is usually responsible for the crime" that also happens to be "bazaar-level conspiracy theories involving a false-flag operation by Israel's Mossad". Because Mossad actually does that.

Since the U.S.'s tightening of sanctions has squeezed Iranian oil exports, nobody else's should be allowed to pass through waters within reach of the IRGC.

The Iranians know that these threats, if repeated, can lose their power if not followed with action. The attacks on the tankers, then, can be explained as a demonstration that Khamenei's attack dogs have some teeth.

There is another rationale. If Iran does eventually agree to negotiate with the U.S., it will want to bring some bargaining chips to the table – something it can exchange for the removal of sanctions. In the negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran was able to offer the suspension of its nuclear program. It doesn't have that particular chip now, although Tehran has recently threatened to crank up the centrifuges again.

Meanwhile, the regime may have calculated that the only way to secure some kind of negotiating position is blackmail: End the sanctions, or we take out some more tankers, and send oil prices surging.

This almost sounds logical, except for one thing: Iran tried that in 1988 and it didn't work. It only caused the one thing the U.S. was itching for: to kill some Iranians.
Do you think that they've forgotten? Or that the U.S. is less warlike? Oh wait. Iranians are crazy and can't be reasoned with, amirite?

US public radio @NPR does not mention it was Iranians who saved the crew. That's how terrible they are at journalism

-- boomerWithaLandline (@Irene34799239) June 14, 2019

The only real question is, why such a transparent lie? Has the ruling elite gotten lazy or stupid? Or do they think that we are that lazy and stupid? I have an alternative theory .

For the last two years, as you've probably noticed, the corporate media have been not so subtly alternating between manufacturing Russia hysteria and Nazi hysteria, and sometimes whipping up both at once. Thus, I've dubbed the new Official Enemy of Freedom "the Putin-Nazis." They don't really make any sense, rationally, but let's not get all hung up on that. Official enemies don't have to make sense. The important thing is, they're coming to get us, and to kill the Jews and destroy democracy and something about Stalin, if memory serves. Putin is their leader, of course. Trump is his diabolical puppet. Julian Assange is well, Goebbels, or something. Glenn Greenwald is also on the payroll, as are countless "useful idiots" like myself, whose job it is to sow division, discord, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, anti-Hillaryism, collusion rejectionism, ontological skepticism, and any other horrible thing you can think of.

Their bullsh*t lies have gotten lazy and stupid because real effort isn't required to start a war and kill a lot of people.

WoodsDweller on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:18pm

I'm going to go with "desperate"

Something's happening to move up the time table, and it isn't the election, we're already in plenty of wars, another one won't help El Trumpo.

Sirena on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
Who is playing who?

That is the question, I ask thee? If El Trumpo was going to drain the swamp, why did he take these cretins, Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel, Abrams into his cabinet? Is the tail, wagging the dog as usual?

TheOtherMaven on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:31pm
All of the above

Lazy, stupid, and desperate.

Alligator Ed on Fri, 06/14/2019 - 6:33pm
The answer to your title is YES

The elite are both lazy and stupid. Even the Orange Man will not be sucked into another Douma style false flag operation. The reasons why this is a basic false flag is obvious. If anybody reading about this doesn't understand the culprits responsible weren't Iranian, then they should be interviewed for mental competency.

My money, the little that I have, is on either the Saudis or the Israelis; maybe even both.

But Pompous Mike and Bolt-on Bolt-off need to be removed from any semblance of governmental authority. I could go on but this whole affair is making me tired...I'm going back to my swamp.

[Jun 18, 2019] America's Managerial Elite Has Failed, But We Can't Get Rid of Them

Jun 19, 2019 | www.oftwominds.com

The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken.

America's managerial elite came to do good and stayed to do well--at the expense of everyone beneath them. Now that they've entrenched themselves at the top of the status quo, there's no way to dislodge them, even as their failure to address what's broken, much less actually fix what's broken, insures systemic breakdown.

In government, the managerial elite is known as The Deep State : those who remain in power regardless of who's in elected office. In local government, managerial elites often shift positions, moving from elected office to a plum position in the bureaucracy where they can draw a big paycheck out of sight until they retire.

In Corporate America, managerial elites also move around, leaving sinking ships (that they may well have helped sink) as needed, and moving to think tanks or academia if their failures start multiplying.

Changing elected officials does nothing to dislodge our managerial elite overlords. The new mayor, governor or president comes and goes, and all the major institutions--education, higher education, healthcare, national defense, critical infrastructure--continue down the same path of enriching entrenched insiders while the institution fails its core missions.

If you think this chart of soaring student loan debt is a sign of "success," you are 1) delusional 2) protected from the dire consequences of this failure 3) getting your paycheck from this failed system. That in a nutshell is the state of the nation: those who are protected from the consequences of failure are loyal to the Establishment, as are the millions drawing a paycheck from systems they know are irredeemable failures.

Let's review the central institutions of the nation:

  1. Healthcare: a failed system doomed to bankrupt the nation.
  2. Defense: a failed system of cartels and Pentagon fiefdoms that have saddled the nation with enormously costly failed weapons systems like the F-35 and the LCS.
  3. Higher Education: a bloated, failed system that is bankrupting an entire generation while mis-educating them for productive roles in the emerging economy. (I cover this in depth in The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy .)
  4. Foreign policy: Iraq: a disaster. Afghanistan: a disaster. Libya: a disaster. Syria: a disaster. Need I go on?
  5. Political governance: a corrupt system of self-serving elites, lobbyists, pay-to-play, corporate puppet-masters, and sociopaths who see themselves as above the law.

In Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform , I explain why the only possible output of these systems is failure .

The sole output of America's managerial elite is self-serving hubris.

In an open market, failed leadership has consequences. Customers vanish and the enterprise goes bankrupt, or shareholders and employees rally to fire the failed leadership.

In our state-cartel system, failed leadership only tightens its grip on the nation's throat. The Deep State can't be fired, nor does it ever stand for election. The two political parties are interchangeable, as are the politicos who race from fund-raiser to fund-raiser.

It's tempting to blame the individuals who inhale the wealth and power of our failed system, but it's the system, not the individuals , though a more corrupt, craven, self-serving lot cannot easily be assembled.

Centralized hierarchies concentrate power at the top of the pyramid. That power is a magnet for everyone who seeks to wield power and enrich themselves in the process.

In the financial system, this concentration of power is visible in the chart below: the super-rich have become immensely richer in the past few decades of central banks' vast expansion of credit and financialization.

As systems become more complex, the need for a professional class to manage the overwhelming complexity grows. This class excels at appearing to manage complexity while ignoring the larger dynamics driving the system over the cliff.

And so we have endless meetings of highly paid people over trivial issues while the entire system careens toward meltdown. "Stakeholders" multiply in endless profusion, dooming every project to a glacial process that increases the sums paid to manage the glacial process and pushes the final cost to the moon.

The self-serving managerial elite always has one answer for every problem: give us more money. If the budget expands by 10% and nothing actually changes for the better, then the "solution" is a 25% increase in funding.

Budgets expand by leaps and bounds, but none of the systemic problems are ever resolved.

It's not hard to figure out why: look at the system's incentives. If systems were radically simplified and made more efficient, the need for an ever-expanding class of permanent managers would diminish. And so the solution is always more fodder for the managerial elite: more complexity, more meetings, more accumulation of power, more managers and always, more money.

Thus it is no surprise that the calls for "free" college and "Medicare for All" are rising: the managerial elite that has bankrupted higher education and healthcare while enriching themselves desperately needs to be bailed out, lest the systems they've steered toward the fiscal cliff deservedly go broke.

In a similar set of incentives, few weapons systems ever come in under budget when the Pentagon can always come up with another $10 or $20 billion for cost over-runs.

The system is broken, and the managerial elite will keep it broken because it serves their interests to keep it broken. Unfortunately we'll all suffer when the managerial elite is no longer able to stave off the dire fiscal consequences of their self-serving leadership.

[Jun 16, 2019] When false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

... ... ...

As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.

[Jun 16, 2019] Cover-Ups and Truth Tellers

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

In a May, 22, 2019 appearance in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared that "I don't do cover-ups ." Various news outlets immediately started to enumerate a long list of bona fide cover-ups associated with the president.

... ... ...

Unfortunately, Trump's behavior is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cover-ups. One can surmise that just by virtue of being the head of the U.S. government, the president -- any president -- must be directly or indirectly associated with hundreds of such evasions. That is because, it can be argued without much paranoia, that every major division of the government is hiding something -- particularly when it comes to foreign activities.

Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

The fact that much of this violence is done to other innocent people trying to get a peaceful night's rest is "classified" information. So woe be it to the truth tellers who defy these rationalizations and sound off. For they shall be cast out of our democratic heaven into one of the pits of hell that pass for a U.S. prison -- or, if they are fleet-footed, chased into exile.

[Jun 16, 2019] Trump s Lies vs. Your Brain by Maria Konnikova

Notable quotes:
"... But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. ..."
"... Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. ..."
"... Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream ..."
"... In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. ..."
"... Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at the New Yorker and author, most recently, of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time .

All presidents lie. Richard Nixon said he was not a crook, yet he orchestrated the most shamelessly crooked act in the modern presidency. Ronald Reagan said he wasn't aware of the Iran-Contra deal; there's evidence he was. Bill Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman; he did, or close enough. Lying in politics transcends political party and era. It is, in some ways, an inherent part of the profession of politicking.

But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it. A whopping 70 percent of Trump's statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false, while only 4 percent were completely true, and 11 percent mostly true. (Compare that to the politician Trump dubbed "crooked," Hillary Clinton: Just 26 percent of her statements were deemed false.)

Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and '90s found him categorically different from the other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them. In his own autobiography, Trump used the phrase "truthful hyperbole," a term coined by his ghostwriter referring to the flagrant truth-stretching that Trump employed, over and over, to help close sales. Trump apparently loved the wording, and went on to adopt it as his own.

On January 20, Trump's truthful hyperboles will no longer be relegated to the world of dealmaking or campaigning. Donald Trump will become the chief executive of the most powerful nation in the world, the man charged with representing that nation globally -- and, most importantly, telling the story of America back to Americans. He has the megaphone of the White House press office, his popular Twitter account and a loyal new right-wing media army that will not just parrot his version of the truth but actively argue against attempts to knock it down with verifiable facts. Unless Trump dramatically transforms himself, Americans are going to start living in a new reality, one in which their leader is a manifestly unreliable source.

What does this mean for the country -- and for the Americans on the receiving end of Trump's constantly twisting version of reality? It's both a cultural question and a psychological one. For decades, researchers have been wrestling with the nature of falsehood: How does it arise? How does it affect our brains? Can we choose to combat it? The answers aren't encouraging for those who worry about the national impact of a reign of untruth over the next four, or eight, years. Lies are exhausting to fight, pernicious in their effects and, perhaps worst of all, almost impossible to correct if their content resonates strongly enough with people's sense of themselves, which Trump's clearly do.

***

What happens when a lie hits your brain? The now-standard model was first proposed by Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert more than 20 years ago. Gilbert argues that people see the world in two steps. First, even just briefly, we hold the lie as true: We must accept something in order to understand it. For instance, if someone were to tell us -- hypothetically, of course -- that there had been serious voter fraud in Virginia during the presidential election, we must for a fraction of a second accept that fraud did, in fact, take place. Only then do we take the second step, either completing the mental certification process (yes, fraud!) or rejecting it (what? no way). Unfortunately, while the first step is a natural part of thinking -- it happens automatically and effortlessly -- the second step can be easily disrupted. It takes work: We must actively choose to accept or reject each statement we hear. In certain circumstances, that verification simply fails to take place.

As Gilbert writes, human minds, "when faced with shortages of time, energy, or conclusive evidence, may fail to unaccept the ideas that they involuntarily accept during comprehension."

When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.

Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream...

... ... ...

In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. Trump won over Republican voters, as well as alienated Democrats, by declaring himself opposed to "Washington," "the establishment" and "political correctness," and by stoking fears about the Islamic State, immigrants and crime. Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people:

"The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. When people read an article beginning with George W. Bush's assertion that Iraq may pass weapons to terrorist networks, which later contained the fact that Iraq didn't actually possess any WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the initial misperception persisted among Republicans -- and, indeed, was frequently strengthened.

In the face of a seeming assault on their identity, they didn't change their minds to conform with the truth: Instead, amazingly, they doubled down on the exact views that were explained to be wrong.

It's easy enough to correct minor false facts if they aren't crucial to your sense of self. Alas, nothing political fits into that bucket.

With regard to Trump specifically, Nyhan points out that claims related to ethno-nationalism -- Trump's declaration early in the campaign that Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border, for instance -- get at the very core of who we are as humans, which "may make people less willing or able to evaluate the statement empirically." If you already believe immigrants put your job at risk, who's to say the chastity of your daughters isn't in danger, too? Or as Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker puts it, once Trump makes that emotional connection, "He could say what he wants, and they'll follow him."

... ... ...

[Jun 16, 2019] Cult of the Irrelevant -- National Security Eggheads Academics

Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support. As Benjamin Friedman and I wrote in a 2015 article on the subject, think tanks undertake research with an operational mindset: that is, "the approach of a passenger riding shotgun who studies the map to find the ideal route, adjusts the engine if need be, and always accepts the destination without protest."

As former senator Olympia Snowe once put it, "you can find a think tank to buttress any view or position, and then you give it the aura of legitimacy and credibility by referring to their report." Or consider the view of Rory Stewart, now a member of parliament in the UK, but once an expert on Afghanistan who was consulted on the Afghan surge but opposed it:

It's like they're coming in and saying to you, "I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?" And you say, "I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff." And they say, "No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt." And you say, "Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt." And then they say, "We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart, and he says "

Or look at how policymakers themselves define relevance. Stephen Krasner, an academic who became a policymaker, lamented the uselessness of much academic security studies literature because "[e]ven the most convincing empirical findings may be of no practical use because they do not include factors that policy makers can manipulate."

The explicit claim here is that for scholarship to be of any practical use, it must include factors that policymakers can manipulate. This reflects a strong bias toward action, even in relatively restrained presidencies.

To take two recent examples, the Obama administration blew past voluminous academic literature suggesting the Libya intervention was likely to disappoint. President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

♦♦♦

As Desch tracks the influence of scholars on foreign policy across the 20th century, a pattern becomes clear: where scholars agree with policy, they are relevant. Where they do not, they are not.

In several of the cases Desch identifies where scholars disagreed with policy, they were right and the policymakers were tragically, awfully wrong. In the instances where scholars differed with policy at high levels, Desch blames their "unrealistic expectations" for causing "wartime social scientists to overlook the more modest, but real, contribution they actually made" to policy. But why would we want scholars to trim their sails in this way? And why should social scientists want to be junior partners in doomed enterprises?

Social scientists have produced reams of qualitative and historically focused research with direct relevance to policy. They publish blog posts, tweets, excerpts, op-eds, and video encapsulations of their work. The only thing left for them to do is to convey their findings via interpretive dance, and a plan for doing that is probably in the works already. In the meantime, it should be simultaneously heartening and discouraging for policy-inclined scholars to realize that It's Not Us, It's Them.

In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws -- and thinking about how they might help rebuild.

Justin Logan is director of programs and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.


Oleg Gark June 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm

[Karl Rove] said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' [ ] 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do'.

Experts, shmexperts! Who needs realism when you're creating your own reality.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:56 am
I was thinking -- the academics involved in policy are in think tanks and then

"It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support."

but what I found intriguing is the assessment concerning most of the research being faulty or dead wrong in various ways.

Given that and the real world success of the think tank players who develop foreign policy Dr. Desch should consider the matter a wash --

Those on the field aren't scoring any big points. in fact they seem intend on handing the ball over to the opposing team repeatedly.

trying to predict and then replicate human behavior is a very dicey proposition.

enjoyed the reference to the ongoing debate quantative analysis verses qualitative.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
Sadly when the numbers quantative research ruled they could really be abusive in stating what the data meant.

Nowhere is this more evident than with crime stats.

polistra , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:23 am
Excellent article.

Another question occurs to me: Who are the executives or politicians trying to impress when they bring in captive consultants or scholars? Ordinary people (customers or voters) don't care. Customers just want a good product, and voters just want sane policies.

Competing leaders know the game and don't bother to listen.

So who's the audience for the "thinkers"?

JohnT , says: June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
In so much of the world's leadership today it is not science that is being ignored and corrupted so much as rational thought and a personal insight mature enough to find indisputable the need for the opinion of others.
But, to this post's point, I once had a statistician with a doctorate in his profession casually state their numbers predicted Stalin would fail. In response, my thought was when in the history of the known galaxy did putting a soulless person in charge ever not fail? Compassion alone would predict that outcome.
Taras 77 , says: June 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm
The absolute most corrupting influence in current foreign policy discussion is the growth of the mis-named growth of "think" tanks. One can discern immediately the message when determining author and organization.

Moar war, russia, iran, et al are threats, moar military spending, support israel at all costs, etc, etc.

These 'think' tanks are extremely well funded by oligarchs and foreign money so the bottom line is directed towards pre-selected objectives. Even the state dept is getting into the act to atk pro-Iran activists.

Where is the level playing field?

Kouros , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm
While the academics might be deemed irrelevant when views differ, the government in-house analysts might even loose their jobs if their positions differ from those of the decision makers. I know I lost mine, and it wasn't even in foreign policy or national security
Christian J Chuba , says: June 13, 2019 at 7:13 am
It's the mentality of forever war that considers diversity subversive.

The purpose of Think Tanks and foreign policy experts (misnamed) is to rally the troops against our enemies list, not to improve our interaction with the rest of the world but to defeat them. To them, it is always WW2. Yemen must die because we can connect them to Iran; they are Dresden.

BTW I know the author was talking about actual experts. They have all been purged and dismissed as Arabist or enemy sympathizers. Track records don't matter, to them we are at war and will always be so.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

*Silently screams in frustration*

And this is why I ended up ultimately disappointed with Obama. The man was utterly incapable of standing up to what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway. "Hope and change," my butt. The hoped for change never did arrive in the end.

Say what you will about Trump, he surely doesn't give a flying fart about wisdom, conventional or otherwise. Instead of driving the car off a cliff, he just sets it on fire from the get go to save on gas.

Dr. Diprospan , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
I liked the article.
A good reminder that if people did not heed the divine warning in Paradise,
but chose the disastrous advice of the serpent, then what can we expect
from modern politicians? Wrong, dangerous behavior seems to be inherent
in the human mentality, otherwise who would smelt metals, descend into mines,
discover America, study radiation?
Cult of the Irrelevant reminds me of the 80 and 20 statistical, empirical principle,
where out of 100 things, articles, words, recommendations, 20% are useful,
80% are useless. However for 20 useful percent to form, you need a statistical
pressure of 80 useless.
"Practice is the criterion of truth." Having eaten the forbidden apple, people were driven out of paradise, but instead they learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Without this property, it would be impossible to recognize "the effective treatments"significantly exaggerated by dishonest pharmacologists..

[Jun 14, 2019] The Twilight of Equality Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy by Lisa Duggan

Notable quotes:
"... For example, she discusses neoliberal attempts to be "multicultural," but points out that economic resources are constantly redistributed upward. Neoliberal politics, she argues, has only reinforced and increased the divide between economic and social political issues. ..."
"... Because neoliberal politicians wish to save neoliberalism by reforming it, she argues that proposing alternate visions and ideas have been blocked. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

S. Baker 5.0 out of 5 stars Summary/Review of Twilight of Equality November 27, 2007

Duggan articulately connects social and economic issues to each other, arguing that neoliberal politics have divided the two when in actuality, they cannot be separated from one another.

In the introduction, Duggan argues that politics have become neoliberal - while politics operate under the guise of promoting social change or social stability, in reality, she argues, politicians have failed to make the connection between economic and social/cultural issues. She uses historical background to prove the claim that economic and social issues can be separated from each other is false.

For example, she discusses neoliberal attempts to be "multicultural," but points out that economic resources are constantly redistributed upward. Neoliberal politics, she argues, has only reinforced and increased the divide between economic and social political issues.

After the introduction, Duggan focuses on a specific topic in each chapter: downsizing democracy, the incredible shrinking public, equality, and love and money. In the first chapter (downsizing democracy), she argues that through violent imperial assertion in the Middle East, budget cuts in social services, and disillusionments in political divides, "capitalists could a