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DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin

Dems became the party of corruption: the organization did conspire against Sanders

Who are those "experts" who tell us those were Russians? Are those the same "experts" who found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Or the same who claim that Hillary bathroom email server was never breached?

“The same people on the Clinton team who made enormous efforts to claim her private email server—which operated unencrypted over the Internet for three months, including during trips to China and Russia, and which contained top-secret national-security data—was not hacked by the Russians now are certain that the DNC server was hacked by the Russians” http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/unpacking-the-dnc-emails/

News US Presidential Elections of 2016 Recommended Links  Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Questions about Huma Abedin email forwarding Hillary Clinton email scandal Obama: a yet another Neocon
Hillary Clinton email scandal Demonization of Putin Who hacked whom propaganda game Swiftboating Trump: Khan gambit against Trump at the Democratic Convention Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Deception as an art form
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Bill Clinton Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Hillary Clinton defense of the middle aged rapist of a 12 years old girl Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic Madeleine Albright
Clinton Cash The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich Crisis of Character A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They O Hillary the Other Woman Dolly Kyle Amazon.com Books The Clintons' War on Women Roger Stone, Robert Morrow Amazon.com Books Bill Clinton New Gilded Age President Patrick J. Maney 9780700621941 Amazon.com Books The Secret Life of Bill Clinton The Unreported Stories Ambrose Evans-Pritchard  Amazon.com Books Partners in Crime The Clintons' Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit Jerome Corsi  Amazon
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  Pathological lying Female Sociopaths American Exceptionalism Lawrence Summers Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy
Diplomacy by deception Corruption of Regulators The Deep State Machiavellism Noble Lie Hillary role in cover up of Bill Clinton sexapades Nation under attack meme
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism  Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Strauss and the Neocons Predator state The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite  

Introduction

These people have no shame. Vote Trump!

USMarines, Guardian Jun 25, 2016

I didn’t have a conspiracy with that woman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  HRC

Today, while reading Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables ,
 I unexpectedly came across a passage which fittingly describes the DNC:

They are practiced politicians, every man of them, and skilled to adjust those
 preliminary measures which steal from the people, without its knowledge,
the power of choosing its own rulers…This little knot of subtle schemers
will control the convention, and, through it, dictate to the party.

Roland , July 28, 2016 at 7:39 am

Wikileaks proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Democratic National Committee under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in fact, served as the Hillary Clinton Coronation Committee, operating, step by step, to ensure that the front-runner would become the party’s nominee. There nothing democratic about National Democratic Committee. It is an elitarian structure dominated by neoliberals (Clinton wing of the party), which have nothing to do with democracy, but a lot with Wall Street domination of the political life in the country.   They also served as a powerful catalyst of rising far right nationalism.  Essentially Bill Clinton created Trump.

But instantly after the revelations neocon propaganda machine was put in overdrive to fed the US lemmings (aka voters)  that the diabolical Russian hackers were behind the DNC hack. In other words this Rove-style plot try to brainwash the public that what the DNC actually did was not reprehensible, but its exposure was:

For Dem [media] tycoons, it’s habit. They stand behind Hill for Imperial hegemony and Full Spectrum Dominance wherever money can be extorted, always the case in our squalid, half-assed military debacles. They get that looting nations and winning wars are not the same, and only one of them matters. For Repub Capos it’s a stickier wicket but not much. For a Conservative to even consider backing a Democrat, and a Clinton at that, would have been unthinkable last May, but since no Republicans actually are conservative, they figure why cling to yesterday, and they go with their lack of principles. What horrifies them in Trump is not his racism, sexism, or crudity: those are their hole cards, beloved of their Redneck Division. What actually outrages them is that in knocking imperialism, policing the world and puppeteering NATO and Japan, in shrinking empire and friending Russia, he threatens directly the War Machine and its limitless sugar tit from Congress.

Despite all this "Russians are coming" smoke screen and attempt to divert attention on Russia that Clinton campaign tried to propagate via subservant MSM, the truth is that the Democratic National Committee under its Obama-installed leader Wasserman-Schultz (and that means with direct blessing of the Obama, who put his political weight behind Hillary and shielded Hillary from criminal prosecution) had from day one schemed against other primary candidates and first of all Bernie Sanders to get Clinton elected. Welcome to the USSR comrades: Politburo knows everything and will decide what is best for you. You need just relax and vote as they say.  Everything will be fine (100-Page Report Shows Staggering Evidence of Election Fraud in Democratic Primary Cosmoso)

A recent report from Election Justice USA shows as many as 184 delegates were stolen from Bernie Sanders due to election fraud in the Democratic Primary

While it’s unclear whether the super delegates would have voted for Sanders, the EJUSA report does make one thing clear: Bernie Sanders won the majority of pledged delegates in the Democratic Primary at 2030 to Hillary Clinton’s 2021.

These numbers were arrived at by EJUSA’s intensive research and verification into claims of voter suppression, unintended party affiliation changes, heavy voter purging, and registrations never being honored by the Board of Elections in various counties throughout the U.S. during the Democratic Primary. In some cases, signatures were even forged on party affiliation documents and evidence of computer hacking being involved has come to light.

The fact that the emails exposed a coordinated effort to rob Bernie (which is a criminal offence in any state that called itself democratic as it interfere with the will of the people) was swiped under the carpet.  The DNC emails released by WikiLeaks showed that the Democratic National Committee has been implementing a coordinated multi-staged plan to undermine Bernie Sanders’ campaign. It also reveled an attempt to control media coverage (so that it benefitted Hillary) and the neoliberal MSM collusion with the DNC. It is now clear that the democratic presidential primary was rigged from the start and Hillary is an illegitimate candidate.

If nothing else, the crooked primaries process revealed just how much the DNC has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Clinton family, that can't even maintain the pretense of neutrality or impartiality--as the DNC's charter requires. And it's also exposed just how much the Fourth Estate has abandoned even the pretense of being the public's watch-dogs for the role of being the Clinton's lapdogs -- fitting classic definition of the "courtier press".  Now they are shamelessly preying on peoples' lack of understanding of computers trying to hide their criminal behaviour by "Putin did it" smoke screen.  They are also shamelessly preying on naive peoples' trust in experts, which has serious downstream effects when these "experts" are debunked. The way that the Russia-Trump storyline has been pounded into our consciousness by the media and the Democratic Party, including at the convention in prime time, is a calculated effort to take our eye off the ball and is a classic “shoot the messenger” tactic.

Clinton is trying to market herself as the Serious/Safe candidate, but her campaign is acting completely hysterical. Intead of welcoming transparency and investigating corrupt DNC officials involved in the plot against Sanders, they try to "kill the messenger" trick. This whole Putin-hack thing if a pure anti-Russian hysteria. There is no proof that Russia or Russian hackers were involved.  And if hack was really sophisticated there will be no proof as after certain amount of time evidence (connection logs on routers and such) disappeared.  NSA might still have something but they typically do not revel what they know.

\Instead this is another demonstration of how corrupt Hillary is as a politician. Like mafia boss she will stop at nothing at achieving her goals -- in this case the goal is to become the President of the USA. And this is not the first instance of "Hillary" poisonous  effect on anything she touches. Let's remember that she went into State Department to get the foreign policy experience and now has a record on it that should have every sane person saying keep her away from sharp objects and things that go "boom".

Funny though, formally Schultz takes her orders from Obama, as the Chairman of the Party, the DNC Board of Directors and team Hillary.   If any blame should go around, it should splash onto all individuals in DNC, not just Schultz.  Moreover, her boss, "constitutional scholar" Obama, in this particular case also looks like a regular Chicago Mafiosi: he and his DNC accomplishes  swindle the millions of Americans who donated on average $27 to Bernie's campaign hoping (falsely as we know now) that it was a fair contest... 

Why did "Crooked Hillary" directly her puppets in DNC to sabotage Bernie? She didn't need to, as she got super delegates in her pocket from the very start.  But like many sociopaths she did because she can. Now many Bernie backers won't vote for her.  As this election is about establishment (and that means that people are not voting for, they're voting against) and Hillary is an establishment candidate. A female successor of neoliberal "bait and switch" king Obama; who is widely hated because of his support of TPP. ) i think she lost quit a bit of votes due to this scandal.  This election cycle the vote against establishment politicians might be stronger than the vote for them. That's why Jeb Bush lost.

We shouldn't get roped into discussing allegations about who leaked the emails. That's what Hillary wants the conversation to be about. It is the content of emails and thier authenticity  that matter. The fact is these emails show the DNC fixed the nomination for Hillary. This has been so downplayed by the mainstream media as it shows them in their true light.  Compare their coverage (or the lack of thereof) to the 24x7 coverage Melania Trump's plagiarised speech got.

We shouldn't get roped into discussing allegations about who leaked the emails. That's what Hillary wants the conversation to be about. It is the content of emails and their authenticity  that matter. The fact is these emails show the DNC fixed the nomination for Hillary. This has been so downplayed by the mainstream media as it shows them in their true light.  Compare their coverage (or the lack of thereof) to the 24x7 coverage Melania Trump's plagiarized speech got.

Michael109,   

Clinton, who received 3.1m from Wall Street for speeches last year, and who was "extremely careless" with national security and who clearly lied under oath to Congress had the entire system rigged in her favour and millions of mostly younger people who supported Sanders have received a slap in the face by a corrupt Dem Party.

Clinton has dragged the party into the sewer with her. They should have told her to step down months ago. This is a shameful Dem convention

Like Clinton foundation and its affiliate entities, the DNC, could be considered a criminal enterprise or racketing influenced organization. Those who haven’t realized that, or worse, who shill for them are willfully ignorant, amoral, or unethical.  Clinton has dragged the party into the sewer with her. They should have told her to step down months ago. This is a shameful Dem convention

VietnamVet

The 2016 election cannot be looked at in isolation. The wars for profit are spreading from Nigeria through Syria to Ukraine. Turkey was just lost to the Islamists and is on the road to being a failed state. The EU is in an existential crisis due to Brexit, the refugee crisis and austerity. Western leadership is utterly incompetent and failing to protect its citizens.

Globalization is failing. Its Losers are tipping over the apple cart. Humans are returning to their tribal roots for safety. The drums for war with Russia are beating. Clinton / Kaine are 100% Status Quo Globalists. Trump / Pence are candidates of change to who knows what. Currently I am planning on voting for the Green Party in the hope it becomes viable and praying that the chaos avoids Maryland.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and DNC staff served as part of Clinton campaign and designed and amplified phony attacks on Sanders. Krugman plays the role of Clinton surrogate, using campaign talking points and spin to claim that Sanders is “over the edge”. They launched a a systematic attack  basically questioning his authenticity. These are mostly cheap swiftboating attacks and straw man arguments coming from the mainstream media and DNC insiders. The attacks are usually passive-aggressive, as in the New York Times ignoring him for long stretches and then coming up with the occasional dismissive "he can't possibly win, because we say so" tripe. They often reek of cheerful condescension. See this and this.

Then there was more dangerous theme casting Sanders as a convenient prop for Hillary Clinton, a supporting actor who exists only for the cosmetic purpose of "pushing her to the left." This trope is becoming so over-used that people are beginning to notice that it is a dirty trick. These are dangerous times for non-establishment politicians due to domination of neoliberal Political Correctness and corporate neoliberal propaganda (The Swift-boating of Bernie Sanders ):

We had the expected political reaction—the DNC, under the enlightened leadership of Hillary supporter Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has decided PAC money from lobbyists is OK after all, thus freeing up David Brock’s Hillary PAC to do whatever the hell it wants. The head of the Democratic party in Iowa, who has a pro-Hillary license plate, has ruled out any sort of recount on the voting in Iowa, about which a number of questions had been raised, but the media appears to have moved on... 

Hillary definitely has the 1% vote locked up ... but they are, after all, just 1%.

The best analysis of DNC leak that I have found so far is Peter van Buren article in American Canservative Unpacking the DNC Emails The American Conservative (July 26, 2016), His 11 point really cover all the bases:

... ... ...
  1. The same people on the Clinton team who made enormous efforts to claim her private email server—which operated unencrypted over the Internet for three months, including during trips to China and Russia, and which contained top-secret national-security data—was not hacked by the Russians now are certain that the DNC server was hacked by the Russians.
  2. Many in Camp Clinton and the media labeled Bernie Sanders’ supporters paranoid when they claimed that the DNC was working against them. The hacked emails confirm that the DNC was in fact working against them. One official proposed getting “someone,” presumably a reporter, to ask Sanders if he’s an atheist to discredit him in religious areas.
  3. Claims of pro-Clinton media bias were dismissed during the primaries. The hacked emails confirm that the DNC was working closely with the media to seek negative coverage of Sanders and positive coverage of Clinton.
  4. Politico now admits it was a “mistake” sending the DNC an article draft in advance. The writer showed the draft to the DNC even before his own editors saw it.
  5. Facebook admits to blocking WikiLeaks links to the DNC email hack from its newsfeeds (but blames spam filters).
  6. The DNC appears to have expended significantly more effort against Bernie Sanders than it did against any of the Republican candidates.
  7. Instead of focusing on the contents of the hacked emails and the dirty tricks they exposed, many mainstream-media outlets headlined instead the Clinton-campaign talking point that the Russians hacked the emails and released them in an effort to derail her candidacy in favor of Donald Trump’s. Many of the same stories suggest Trump is some sort of pro-Putin stooge.
  8. On 60 Minutes, Clinton refused to say that intervention by the DNC to favor one candidate was “improper.” Her non-answer was edited out of the broadcast when it ran on Sunday; the network later released it online.
  9. After DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation following this week’s Democratic convention, the Clinton campaign announced Wasserman Schultz would be hired by them as “honorary chair of Hillary’s campaign’s 50-state program to elect Democrats in every part of the country, and as a surrogate for her campaign nationally.”
  10. Wasserman Schultz will be replaced as DNC chair by (only now former) CNN commentator Donna Brazile. Brazile argued the pro-Clinton side of debates on CNN throughout the primary season.
  11. In the hacked emails, Brazile said “I will cuss out the Sanders camp!” over complaints by Sanders of inadequate representation by the DNC. In March, while still employed by CNN, Brazile called Sanders’ decision to run as a Democrat (rather than an independent) for the additional media exposure “extremely disgraceful.”

Sadly, Bernie Sanders, his campaign sabotaged by the DNC—and what were once “paranoid” accusations now proved—still endorses Hillary Clinton and will still speak at the Democratic National Convention. It pains me to say, as his once-supporter, that the man has no courage. Even Ted Cruz stood up for himself in front of the Republicans in Cleveland. It is a sad day when we learn Ted Cruz has more guts than Bernie Sanders.

Those who are calling all this a coup of sorts—they’re wrong. It’s a surrender. But in the words of Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make?

Peter Van Buren blew the whistle on State Department waste and mismanagement during the “reconstruction” of Iraq in his book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. He writes about current events at We Meant Well. His latest book is Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent. His next work will be a novel, Hooper’s War.

All this dirty tricks define the future of Democratic Party. Seriously. Less and less people are believing that Democrat represents them. I think half of trade union members will vote Trump. That's  a direct result of the sellout by Bill Clinton of Democratic Party to Wall Street.  A vote for Mrs Clinton means a continuation of the rule of financial oligarchy what we've experienced since Reagan, and that is not acceptable.  Another four years of amoral enrichment of transnational corporations that Hillary election guarantee is just kicking can down the road.

Attempt to blame Russians and Putin

Seems Putin controls Trump and Clinton! The man is amazing.

Only Jedi Knights can stop him.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,”
 Donald J. Trump said, referring to messages deemed personal by Hillary Clinton
 and deleted from her private email server.

 

Bullsh**t that MSM are now propagating is essentially a variation of the old theme  "The Russians are Coming".  Here is nice satire on the topic (washingtonsblog.com):

MC: President Putin, did the Russian government hack the DNC email server and then publically release those emails through Wikileaks the day before the Democratic convention?

Putin: Yes.

MC: Yes! Are you serious?

Putin: I’m quite serious.

MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?

MC: How can you justify this open meddling in United States politics?

Putin: Your question should be what took Russia so long. The US oligarchs and their minions surround us with military bases and nuclear missiles, damage our trade to Europe, and seek to destabilize our domestic politics.  These emails are nothing in the big picture. But they’re sort of funny, don’t you agree?

MC: I’m not sure that funny is the right word.  What do you mean by that?

Putin:   You’ve got Hillary Clinton running as a strong and independent woman. Of course, nobody would know who she is had she not married Bill Clinton. She’s not independent. Quite the contrary. She had to marry a philandering redneck to get to where she is. When it comes to strength, I can say only this. How strong can you be if you have to cheat and create a rigged game to win the nomination?

MC: Anything else about your leak to cheer us up?

Putin: This situation is the epitome of ironic humor. After the emails were released, the focus was all on DNC Chair and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. That’s fine for now but what happens when people start asking why Wasserman-Schultz had the DNC screw Sanders and boost Hillary? Did she just wake up one day and decide this on her own?. Not likely. She was and remains Hillary’s agent.   It will take people a while to arrive that answer. When enough people hear about Wasserman-Schultz’s key role in the Clinton campaign, everything will be clear.   It’s adios Hillary. That inevitable conclusion, by the way, is the reason the DNC made such a big deal about Russia hacking the DNC.  That was diversion one right out of the gate.

DNC and Clinton are going to push the Russian card very hard in anticipation of further stories and revelations of corruption, money laundering, etc.  Technical analysis provided is some idiotic, entry level nonsense. And it should ne complete dulsh*t as those cases are very complex and can used smokescreen -- deflecting attention from a read source (for example Israel) to Russians (Israel has large Russian speaking population, that is well represented in security services of the country).

When the USA opened this can of worm with Stixnet (discovered around mid 2010) and Flame (discovered around 2012), they did not expect a blowback. Now it start coming: it is simply impossible to secure "normal" Microsoft-based IT system against any sophisticated adversary. Remember that we live in the period when developed by NSA and "friends" Flame and Stixnet worm are part of the recorded history. And  technologies used in them are well studied by all major world three letter agencies. They became a part of their workbook.  And the response to their devilishness they generated even more devilish methods of attack of any IT infrastructure based on Microsoft technologies, to say nothing about such low hanging fruit as completely  corrupt  DNC with semi-competent IT staff using pathetic Microsoft Exchange based email system: (naked capitalism):

However, in this short post I want to focus on a much narrower question: Can we ever know who hacked the DNC email? Because if we can't, then clearly we can't know the Russians did. And so I want to hoist this by alert reader JacobiteInTraining from comments :

Yup, as a former server admin it is patently absurd to attribute a hack to anyone in particular until a substantial amount of forensic work has been done. (read, poring over multiple internal log files…gathering yet more log files of yet more internal devices, poring over them, then – once the request hops out of your org – requesting logfiles from remote entities, poring over *those* log files, requesting further log files from yet more upstream entities, wash rinse repeat ad infinitum).

For example, at its simplest, I would expect a middling-competency hacker to find an open wifi hub across town to connect to, then VPN to server in, say, Tonga, then VPN from there to another box in Sweden, then connect to a PC previously compromised in Iowa, then VPN to yet another anonymous cloud server in Latvia, and (assuming the mountain dew is running low, gotta get cracking) then RDP to the target server and grab as many docs as possible. RAR those up and encrypt them, FTP them to a compromised media server in South Korea, email them from there to someones gmail account previously hacked, xfer them to a P2P file sharing app, and then finally access them later from a completely different set of servers.

In many cases where I did this sort of analysis I still ended up with a complete dead end: some sysadmins at remote companies or orgs would be sympathetic and give me actual related log files. Others would be sympathetic but would not give files, and instead do their own analysis to give me tips. Many never responded, and most IPs ended up at unknown (compromised) personal PCs, or devices where the owner could not be found anyway.

If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence you might get lucky – but that demographic mostly points back to script kiddies and/or criminal dweebs – i.e., rather then just surreptitiously exfiltrating the goods they instead left messages or altered things that seemed to indicate their own backgrounds or prejudices, or left a message that was more easily 'traced'. If, of course, you took that evidence at face value and it was not itself an attempt at obfuscation.

Short of a state actor such as an NSA who captures it ALL anyway, and/or can access any log files at any public or private network at its own whim – its completely silly to attribute a hack to anyone at this point.

So, I guess I am reduced to LOL OMG WTF its fer the LULZ!!!!!

And :

Just to clarify on the "…If the hacker was sloppy and left other types of circumstantial evidence…" – this is basically what I have seen reported as 'evidence' pointing to Russia: the Cyrillic keyboard signature, the 'appeared to cease work on Russian holidays' stuff, and the association with 'known Russian hacking groups'.

That's great and all, but in past work I am sure my own 'research' could easily have gotten me 'associated' with known hacking groups. Presumably various 'sophisticated' methods and tools get you closer to possible suspects…but that kind of stuff is cycled and recycled throughout the community worldwide – as soon as anything like that is known and published, any reasonably competent hacker (or org of hackers) is learning how to do the same thing and incorporating such things into their own methods. (imitation being the sincerest form of flattery)

I guess I have a lot more respect for the kinds of people I expect to be getting a paycheck from foreign Intelligence agencies then to believe that they would leave such obvious clues behind 'accidentally'. But if we are going to be starting wars over this stuff w/Russia, or China, I guess I would hope the adults in the room don't go all apesh*t and start chanting COMMIES, THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!, etc. before the ink is dry on the 'crime'.

The whole episode reminds me of the Sony hack , for which Obama also blamed a demonized foreign power. Interestingly - to beg the question here - the blaming was also based on a foreign character set in the data (though Hangul, not Korean). Look! A clue!

JacobiteInTraining's methodology also reminds me of NC's coverage of Grexit. Symbol manipulators - like those in the Democrat-leaning creative class - often believe that real economy systems are as easy to manipulate as symbol systems are. In Greece, for example, it really was a difficult technical challenge for Greece to reintroduce the drachma, especially given the time-frame, as contributor Clive remorselessly showed. Similarly, it's really not credible to hire a consultant and get a hacking report with a turnaround time of less than a week, even leaving aside the idea that the DNC just might have hired a consultant that would give them the result they wanted (because who among us, etc.) What JacobiteInTraining shows us is that computer forensics is laborious, takes time, and is very unlikely to yield results suitable for framing in the narratives proffered by the political class. Of course, that does confirm all my priors!

Readers, thoughts?

Update Addition by Yves:

Another reader, Hacker, observed (emphasis original):

There is a problem with those who argue that these are sophisticated Nation State attackers and then point to the most basic circumstantial evidence to support their case. I'd bet that, among others, the Israelis have hacked some Russian servers to launch attacks from and have some of their workers on a Russian holiday schedule. Those things have been written about in attack analysis so much over the last 15-20 years that they'd be stupid not to.

Now, I'm not saying the Israelis did it. I'm saying that the evidence provided so far by those arguing it is Russia is so flaky as to prove that the Russia accusers are blinded or corrupted by their own political agenda.

Update [Yves, courtesy Richard Smith] 7:45 AM. Another Medium piece by Jeffrey Carr, Can Facts Slow The DNC Breach Runaway Train? who has been fact-checking this story and comes away Not Happy. For instance:

Thomas Rid wrote:

One of the strongest pieces of evidence linking GRU to the DNC hack is the equivalent of identical fingerprints found in two burglarized buildings: a reused command-and-control address - 176.31.112[.]10 - that was hard coded in a piece of malware found both in the German parliament as well as on the DNC's servers. Russian military intelligence was identified by the German domestic security agency BfV as the actor responsible for the Bundestag breach. The infrastructure behind the fake MIS Department domain was also linked to the Berlin intrusion through at least one other element, a shared SSL certificate.

This paragraph sounds quite damning if you take it at face value, but if you invest a little time into checking the source material, its carefully constructed narrative falls apart.

Problem #1: The IP address 176.31.112[.]10 used in the Bundestag breach as a Command and Control server has never been connected to the Russian intelligence services. In fact, Claudio Guarnieri , a highly regarded security researcher, whose technical analysis was referenced by Rid, stated that "no evidence allows to tie the attacks to governments of any particular country."

Mind you, he has two additional problems with that claim alone. This piece is a must read if you want to dig further into this topic.

NOTES

[1] More than a talking point but, really, less than a narrative. It's like we need a new word for these bite-sized, meme-ready, disposable, "throw 'em against the wall and see if they stick" stories; mini-narrative, or narrativelette, perhaps. "All the crunch of a real narrative, but none of the nutrition!"

[2] This post is not about today's Trump moral panic, where the political class is frothing and stamping about The Donald's humorous (or ballbusting, take your pick) statement that he "hoped" the Russians had hacked the 30,000 emails that Clinton supposedly deleted from the email server she privatized in her public capacity as Secretary of State before handing the whole flaming and steaming mess over to investigators. First, who cares? Those emails are all about yoga lessons and Chelsea's wedding. Right? Second, Clinton didn't secure the server for three months. What did she expect? Third, Trump's suggestion is just dumb; the NSA has to have that data, so just ask them? Finally, to be fair, Trump shouldn't have uttered the word "Russia." He should have said "Liechtenstein," or "Tonga," because it's hard to believe that there's a country too small to hack as fat a target as Clinton presented; Trump was being inflammatory. Points off. Bad show.

Pavel , July 28, 2016 at 4:01 am

For those interested, the excellent interviewer Scott Horton just spoke with Jeffrey Carr, an IT security expert about all this. It's about 30 mins:

Jeffrey Carr, a cyber intelligence expert and CEO of Taia Global, Inc., discusses his fact-checking of Josh Marshall's TalkingPointsMemo article that claims a close alliance between Trump and Putin; and why the individuals blaming Russia for the DNC email hack are more motivated by politics than solid evidence.

–The Scott Horton Show: 7/25/16 Jeffrey Carr

Carr makes the point that even supposed clues about Russian involvement ("the default language is Cyrillic!") are meaningless as all these could be spoofed by another party.

Separately it just shows again Team Clinton's (and DNC's) political deviousness and expertise how they –with the full support of the MSM of course –have managed to deflect the discussion to Trump and Russia from how the DNC subverted US democracy.

pretzelattack , July 28, 2016 at 4:15 am

and again, we see the cavalier attitude about national security from the clinton camp, aggravating the already tense relationship with russia over this bullshit, all to avoid some political disadvantage. clinton doesn't care if russia gets the nuclear launch codes seemingly, but impact her chances to win the race and it's all guns firing.

dk , July 28, 2016 at 4:59 am

"… all these could be spoofed by another party."

Well yeah, and I could be a bot, how do you know I'm not?

Absent any other evidence to work with, I can accept it as credible that a clumsy Russian or Baltic user posted viewed and saved docs instead of the originals; par for the course in public and private bureaucracies the world over. It would have been useful to see the original Properties metadata; instead we get crapped up copies. That only tells me the poster is something of a lightweight, and it at least somewhat suggests that these docs passed through multiple hands.

But that doesn't mean A) the original penetration occurred under state control (or even in Russia proper), much less B) that Putin Himself ordered the hack attempts, which is the searing retinal afterimage that the the media name-dropping and photo-illustrating conflation produces.

Unspoofed, the Cyrillic fingerprints still do not closely constrain conclusion to A, and even less to B.

Another name for the trick DNC used is "Catch a chief" -- a deflection of attention from their own criminal behaviour. But they should now be really afraid about what can come next from Wikileaks or elsewhere. I don't think Hillary was capable to understand how easy it is to find corruption, especially when there's a email trail.  And this lack of understanding is a typical feature of a sociopath (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/could-hillary-clinton-be-a-sociopath/ )

As Guardian reported (The Guardian) Clinton campaign tried old "dog eat my homework" trick blaming everything on Putin and trying to ignore the content of them and the dirty laundry they expose:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, saying its hackers stole Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails and released them to foment disunity in the party and aid Donald Trump.

Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said on Sunday that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, [and are] releasing these emails for the purpose of helping Donald Trump”.

“I don’t think it’s coincidental that these emails are being released on the eve of our convention here,” he told CNN’s State of the Union, alluding to the party’s four-day exercise in unification which is set to take place this week in Philadelphia.

“This isn’t my assertion,” Mook said. “This is what experts are telling us.”

In a statement, the Clinton campaign repeated the accusation: “This is further evidence the Russian government is trying to influence the outcome of the election.”

Classic scapegoating. As Guardian commenter noted "Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak??

As life exceeds satire, one can imagine that within a week Wikileaks will produce those "missing e-mails". And later Hillary's Wall Street speeches, following the next appeal from Trump.

In any case a major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like behaviors like a Mafioso clan, and when caught red handed start to deflect attention via corrupt and subservant MSM, changing focus into Russia and Putin instead. Great journalism!" The Guardian

 atopic  

I find very I interesting that, somehow, the initial DNC leak story failed to make a headline position (a day late, at that) on the Guardian, but now that it's blown up on other channels, the DNC's ridiculous conspiracy theory/distraction attempt gets top billing here. Ridiculous.

Why is the (potential) perpetrator of the leak more significant than the content of the leak?? A major US establishment party explicitly levied it's resources against a candidate it didn't like, and somehow we're talking about Putin instead. Great journalism.

 
Chanze Jennings ->  atopic

The Guardian has sunk to a new low and has entirely no shame. It's a sad day for journalism when Twitter has more integrity than most news outlets. And they wonder why newspapers are going the way of the Dodo. Remember when real journalists presented stories with little bias and tried hard to stick to the facts?

BTW there are some real experts on this and they have a different opinion. Check comments for the blog post: 

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/07/nsa-whistleblower-not-so-fast-on-claims-russia-behind-dnc-email-hack.html


 

Heat on Sanders for betrayal of his supporters

DNC betrayed Bernie Sanders and the rest of America. But at this moment Sanders already folded. In other words, the Clinton mafia again created a mess. And they are now turning to Sanders — the very one they betrayed — to come in and clean it up. In effect Clinton mafia wants Sanders persuade  his supporters not to harbor any ill feelings over being stabbed in the back. That gave him perfect opportunity to reneg of his promised and run as independent or with Green Party

Bernie caved. A pity really, but understandable given the fact that the collusion between a corrupt Hillary campaign and a mendacious "free" media meant that even getting to the Convention floor was a struggle.

NYT now is afraid to open comments on this as they will swamped with denunciation of Hillary.  Sanders lied to his supporters that Trump represents bigger danger then Killary. nobody represent bigger danger then Killary.  Bernie Sanders, hypocrite, or canny operator? Is this another hostage situation and with what Clinton criminal cartel threatened him ?  “This campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, or any other candidate who sought the presidency,” Sanders told a New Hampshire crowd Tuesday in a speech endorsing Hillary Clinton. “This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crisis that we face.” Posting under the hashtag #SandersSellsOut, sanders supporters drew parallels with a previous uncomfortable endorsement of a presidential candidate, labeling it “another hostage situation.” Most view his endorsement on Monday, as the infidelity in a relationship and a bad break up.

Democratic voters are now splintered over neoliberal globalization, much like Republican supporters. Most already made decisions whom they will support and Clinton mafia has little chances to move those who reject their criminality and support of neoliberal globalization. It was actually Bill Clinton who sold the party to Wall Street making it another wing on neoliberal party of globalist and transnational corporations.

The Democrats' dirty laundry was aired at a worse possibly time for Hillary and I hope she will pay for DNC manipulations full price. It is clear after the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the Republican presidential primaries that voters are revolting against the neoliberal globalization that dominated the US and Britain economic and foreign policy since the 1970th, if not earlier.  The willingness of people to be intimidated by bought neoliberal economists into supporting cosmopolitan outcomes appears for the moment to have been exhausted.

Corrupt to the core MSM ignore the event and try to distract readers with scapegoating nonsense

ABC and CNN are essentially part of the DNC propaganda wing. They and most other MSM were trying to reshape this mess to reduce the amount of damage.  Stephanopolis worked for Bill Clinton. And donated $75,000 to Hillary's campaign. And now he is trying to paint Trump as having ties to the Putin regime.

They try do not touch Hillary connections with Saudi, revive email scandal, touch Clinton cash skandal,  etc. They really behave like they are part of Clinton campaign. And readers noticed that as is evident from comments (The 4 Most Damaging Emails From the DNC WikiLeaks Dump - ABC News):

Kintbury  -> Mr. Fusion 21 hours ago

You are going to have to do a heck of a lot better than that. A Saudi Prince has admitted to funding a large portion of Hillary's campaign. That is a tie. All the money she took from those countries while benefiting them as Secretary of State is a tie.

Know Mei > deanbob
"Spoken like someone who has never been a member of the Democratic Party and has no understanding of what we do," Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Oh, believe me, Debbie, the American people know what the Democratic Party and the Republican Party does. Both parties embellish, manipulate, grant high positions to big donors, plot, backstab and railroad the vote of the American electorate. However, business as usual did not work well for the Republican Party elitists this primary season. Donald Trump beat the Republican Party elitists at their game. Bernie Sanders attempted to do the same to the Democratic Party.
Alti  -> ADLives 2 days ago

I think they are being short-sighted. Trump will in all likelihood win now and I don't see him sticking to the script. The media has completely betrayed the American public on this story. From Facebook and Twitter blocking and deleting stories re: same initially - to now with the non-articles we are getting from the big news agencies. Finding decent, honest news coverage shouldn't be so hard.

William Carr > Know Mei •

“Both parties embellish, manipulate, grant high positions to big donors, plot, backstab and railroad the vote of the American electorate”

America needs international monitors to oversee our elections

In reality Wikileaks exposed the blatant corruption of the primary process for voters. The elephant was in the room, but the real situation with Democratic Party primary process is now  suppressed.


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[Feb 12, 2017] It would be an understatement to say that Dems adopted the neoliberal ideology of their opposition

Notable quotes:
"... We're hoping for judges' consciences, and loyalty to country over party, and common sense, to save us. ..."
"... "administration that is unconstrained by conscience and logic", we have had that continuously since 1980. ..."
"... You get worked up over a travel ban but not Obama's US bombing wedding parties. Or taking out 14 non combatants and losing n MV 22 to get a few smart phones. ..."
"... Do you have stock in both refugee referral companies and Lockheed? ..."
"... poor pk has grabbed the alt right's the concession over cognitive bias, false analogy and cherry picked faux facts. ..."
"... Does anyone take this guy seriously anymore? This is Chicken Little, Sky-Is-Falling nonsense from a PhD Nobelist? Certainly the guy has lost his marbles, and someone needs to put him in a padded room. At least be kind, and retire him. ..."
"... Electoral college exists until "they" gut/get rid of states rule on amendments in the US constitution. ..."
"... Why republicans should be focused on voter suppression, if Democrats are working relentlessly to move blue collar workers and lower middle class voters to far right ? ..."
"... 'dollar democracy' is deeper than that. ..."
"... Wrong. Progressive neoliberals helped give us Trump. Nobody forced Hillary to give speeches to Goldman Sachs or to give Bush a blank check for war. ..."
"... Blaming the few who didn't vote Hillary. What about the many who stayed home? You're an example of learned helplessness. Like the wife who won't leave her abusive husband. ..."
"... If Trump got 37% of votes of people with postgraduate degree that's tell you something about Democratic Party. That only can means that Democratic Party smells so badly that most people can not stand it, not matter what is the alternative. As in "you should burn in hell". ..."
"... It's kind of reversal of voting for "lesser evil" on which Bill Clinton counted when he betrayed the working class and lower middle class. Worked OK for a while but then it stopped working as he essentially pushed people into embraces of far right. ..."
"... I doubt that Trump is a political cycle outlier. He is a sign of the crisis of neoliberal political system, which pushes authoritarian figures as "Hail Mary Pass", when Hillarius politicans are proved to be un-electable. ..."
"... And despite his "bastard liberalism" he is the symbol of rejection of liberalism, especially outsourcing/offshoring and neoliberal globalization. Or more correctly his voters are. ..."
"... "America as we know it will soon be gone." Don't you think that much of it is already gone? We did not see ourselves as a nation of cowards years ago, but that's what we now appear to be. ..."
"... "We did not see ourselves as a nation of cowards years ago, but that's what we now appear to be." USAnians have been cowards for generations. The transition from corporatist dyarchy to one-party authoritarianism is and was inevitable. ..."
"... It seems we live in a system where two parties fight to a draw and then volatility in the system acts as a coin toss and we get new leadership. The people line up approximately half and half for the two. ..."
"... Where do you see a draw? The republicans control the house, the senate, the executive branch, the majority of state legislatures, the majority of state governorships, and will soon control the supreme court. ..."
"... The Republicans have embraced the idea that this is a battle, and that their 50% need to win and keep their heels on the neck of the other 50%. The Democrats seem more conflicted about this fight, partly because some of them have bought the neoliberal ideology of their opposition. ..."
"... "some of them have bought the neoliberal ideology of their opposition." i like the understatement. ..."
Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
yuan -> DeDude... , February 10, 2017 at 09:49 AM
"The real question is how much support he has a year from now when most of his voters realize that the majority of what he directly or implicitly promised them, turns out to be a lie."


I'm sure that people in Kansas were telling themselves this 7 years ago.

DeDude -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 12:52 PM
Yep - and they were right. The democrats lost the next midterm election. The midterm blowback is that of both an energized opposition and of a lot of disappointed followers.
ilsm -> DeDude... , February 10, 2017 at 04:04 PM
If the libruls think Obama's multinational collateral damage from senseless bombing by drone and expensive aircraft is not worth protesting, then rallies and faux moral indignation against a travel ban are incongruous to reason.
sanjait -> Estate Agent - Emily ... , February 10, 2017 at 10:31 AM
"It's not quite that bad."

We can only hope.

But we have an administration that is unconstrained by conscience and logic and a GOP majority in both houses of Congress that shows scant willingness to stand against the administration on anything.

The only remaining check between now and 2018 is the fear Congresspersons might have of losing their seats, and the judiciary.

The former is very weak though, because rapid Trump supporters make up the majority of the GOP voting base, so GOP congressmen are going to stay in line to avoid primary challenges. Their party is almost completely captured by the wingnut wing.

Also, few at-risk GOP Senators are even up for re-election in 2018.

The latter is our only real hope, and even that is tenuous. Judges can be fickle and peculiar, but most GOP judges were selected for their partisan loyalty. Most will go along with almost anything the GOP wants, and as time passes, Trump is going to add more judges, and he will be damn sure to pick ones that go along with anything he wants.

We're hoping for judges' consciences, and loyalty to country over party, and common sense, to save us. But when the GOP picks judges they select against those traits.

ilsm -> sanjait... , February 10, 2017 at 04:08 PM
"administration that is unconstrained by conscience and logic", we have had that continuously since 1980.

You get worked up over a travel ban but not Obama's US bombing wedding parties. Or taking out 14 non combatants and losing n MV 22 to get a few smart phones.

Do you have stock in both refugee referral companies and Lockheed?

ilsm : , February 10, 2017 at 04:09 AM
poor pk has grabbed the alt right's the concession over cognitive bias, false analogy and cherry picked faux facts.
Benedict@large -> ilsm... , February 10, 2017 at 05:04 AM
Does anyone take this guy seriously anymore? This is Chicken Little, Sky-Is-Falling nonsense from a PhD Nobelist? Certainly the guy has lost his marbles, and someone needs to put him in a padded room. At least be kind, and retire him.
RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> Benedict@large... , February 10, 2017 at 05:30 AM
You certainly cannot expect Krugman to criticize the constitutional political system of dollar democracy that gave us a choice between Trump and Hillary through first past the post elections and party caucuses any more than you can expect him to criticize lifetime congressional seats and a SCOTUS unanswerable to the people.

I believe even Krugman will criticize gerrymandering, which is a safe target since it is implemented at the state rather than federal level.

pgl -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 05:59 AM
DeLong is - at least when it comes to the Electoral College. This system is sort of telling the folks in California that they really do not matter.
ilsm -> pgl... , February 10, 2017 at 06:10 AM
Electoral college exists until "they" gut/get rid of states rule on amendments in the US constitution.

Democracy is one thing within toen lesser in states........ the rest is republic the 'burgs' not wanting to be run from Morningside Hts.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to pgl... , February 10, 2017 at 06:12 AM
The electoral college although problematic is not the best place to start. Campaign finance, gerrymandering, legislative term limits, and an alternative to first past the post voting are all state to state neutral, allowing a large and powerful electoral consensus to form without undue obstacles except for elite authority itself.

These are all assessable solidarity issues. The fear of reversal for Roe V. Wade makes petition and referendum to overturn SCOTUS decisions more difficult first time around, but not impossible since Citizens United. Liberals on the fence only need consider the polling numbers comparing those two SCOTUS decisions to see that petition and referendum to overturn SCOTUS would not threaten Roe V. Wade, but rather end the threat to Roe V. Wade. OTOH, the electoral college is a state by state issue and small states are not going to give it up. New York and California will need to subdivide into a bunch of small states to ever change that.

The constitutional ratification procedure can be hijacked by a solidarity electoral movement only so long as the solidarity is large and cohesive.

yuan -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 08:39 AM
And, IMO, you are not seeing the forest for the trees. The republican party is laser focused on voter suppression. And they will not waste a crisis or supreme court judge slot.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-north-carolina-voter-id-law-20160902-story.html

"A review of these documents shows that North Carolina GOP leaders launched a meticulous and coordinated effort to deter black voters, who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats."

When the Supreme court becomes un-deadlocked Jim Crow will destroy opposition to Trumpism.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 09:27 AM
You are certainly correct in their intent and if the South less Virginia, which was purple enough to go for Hillary in 2016, were the entire country then you would be correct in the impending reality.

The reality is uncertain though because many of the Trump voters were racists and misogynists, but then many of the Trump voters were just reacting to an opportunity to strike back at the corporatist hegemony in control of the political establishment. The corporatist controlled dollar democracy has dominated the conversation about the advantages of trade regardless of trade deficits for over thirty years now. A rebellion is long overdue. The US Constitution provides sufficient political tools to the electorate to stage a revolution using electoral means, but not by just choosing between establishment political parties without providing an electoral agenda of its own along with solidarity in imposing bipartisan anti-incumbency sanctions for failure to perform.

yuan -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 09:42 AM
"The US Constitution provides sufficient political tools to the electorate to stage a revolution using electoral means"

And I see a mostly corrupt legal system that has already proven willing to overturn the will of the people.

sanjait -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 10:39 AM
Great. While Trump tries to tear down democracy, the supposed representatives of "the people" will keep talking about shit like how much they hate NAFTA.
ilsm -> sanjait... , February 10, 2017 at 04:16 PM
I won't type much here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sk3sURDS4IA

The opening rif is cool.

Monster, Steppenwolf

I need to play this once a week!

libezkova said in reply to yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 07:57 PM
"And, IMO, you are not seeing the forest for the trees. The republican party is laser focused on voter suppression."

With all due respect, I do not believe that.

Why republicans should be focused on voter suppression, if Democrats are working relentlessly to move blue collar workers and lower middle class voters to far right ?

ilsm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 04:13 PM
'dollar democracy' is deeper than that.

it is 99% the system

but you got to do the right system

or the left one

trouble is like tamany

cannot see the system to fix

ken melvin : , February 10, 2017 at 05:22 AM
Paul Krugman didn't give us Trump, the progressives who can't stand dems, demonized Hillary, either didn't vote or voted for Trump gave us Trump. Idee fixe and big picture are not the same.
Peter K. -> ken melvin... , February 10, 2017 at 05:38 AM
Wrong. Progressive neoliberals helped give us Trump. Nobody forced Hillary to give speeches to Goldman Sachs or to give Bush a blank check for war.

"We're re-learning today what we should have learned in the 30s ... economic stagnation breeds reaction and intolerance"

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/02/lets-not-debate-immigration.html

Blaming the few who didn't vote Hillary. What about the many who stayed home? You're an example of learned helplessness. Like the wife who won't leave her abusive husband.

yuan -> Peter K.... , February 10, 2017 at 08:56 AM
"Wrong. Progressive neoliberals helped give us Trump. Nobody forced Hillary to give speeches to Goldman Sachs or to give Bush a blank check for war."

How many Goldman Sachs banksters does Trump have in his administration? I lost count.

The best predictor of a Trump vote was a tendency towards sexism and racism. And Trump voters were generally well-off middle class whites, not the underclass who either stayed home or predominantly voted for Clinton.

Peter K. -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 09:09 AM
"The best predictor of a Trump vote was a tendency towards sexism and racism. And Trump voters were generally well-off middle class whites, not the underclass who either stayed home or predominantly voted for Clinton."

Trump won the uneducated vote. Many of those people ain't middle class.

"How many Goldman Sachs banksters does Trump have in his administration? I lost count."

Yeah they own both parties. Democrats need to be for the people, not corporations. You are pretty naive for being leftwing. Probably you just get off on being argumentative.

yuan -> Peter K.... , February 10, 2017 at 09:38 AM
"Trump won the uneducated vote. Many of those people ain't middle class." I see you are pimping Trump's faux-populist mythology again. Clinton won the majority of votes of those earning less the $50,000 and Trump won the majority of votes for those who earn more than $50,000.

http://www.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls

Peter K. -> yuan... , February 10, 2017 at 11:55 AM

high school or less [18 percent of total]

Clinton 46 %
Trump 51 %

some college [32% of total]

Clinton 43%
Trump 51%

college graduate [32%]
Clinton 49%
Trump 44%

postgraduate [18%]
Clinton 58%
Trump 37%

yuan -> Peter K.... , February 10, 2017 at 05:49 PM
has it ever occurred to you that older white voters can be middle/upper class without having a college degree?

it's ironic that many of these same people oppose unions, social insurance (e.g. pensions), and free education (GI bill) despite having benefited from these socialist programs.
FYIGM

libezkova said in reply to Peter K.... , February 10, 2017 at 08:05 PM
If Trump got 37% of votes of people with postgraduate degree that's tell you something about Democratic Party. That only can means that Democratic Party smells so badly that most people can not stand it, not matter what is the alternative. As in "you should burn in hell".

It's kind of reversal of voting for "lesser evil" on which Bill Clinton counted when he betrayed the working class and lower middle class. Worked OK for a while but then it stopped working as he essentially pushed people into embraces of far right.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to pgl... , February 10, 2017 at 06:16 AM
My wife says Liz Warren will run in 2020 and win. I am hoping that it will be someone off radar now that gets elected as the youngest POTUS in history. We need a sea change with full millennial backing.
Jay -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 06:32 AM
You're wife's prediction for next president will keep DeVos.

"A taxpayer-funded voucher that paid the entire cost of educating a child (not just a partial subsidy) would open a range of opportunities to all children. . . . Fully funded vouchers would relieve parents from the terrible choice of leaving their kids in lousy schools or bankrupting themselves to escape those schools.

the public-versus-private competition misses the central point. The problem is not vouchers; the problem is parental choice. Under current voucher schemes, children who do not use the vouchers are still assigned to public schools based on their zip codes. This means that in the overwhelming majority of cases, a bureaucrat picks the child's school, not a parent. The only way for parents to exercise any choice is to buy a different home-which is exactly how the bidding wars started.

Under a public school voucher program, parents, not bureaucrats, would have the power to pick schools for their children-and to choose which schools would get their children's vouchers."

Remember which side of the debate is pro-choice and which side of the debate is pro teacher's union.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron said in reply to Jay... , February 10, 2017 at 09:38 AM
I am not for either side. My wife's mother was a teacher as was her older sister. I am not sure what she thinks of the teacher's union.

The pedagogical system is so oriented to a system of establishment indoctrination that the average private school is just as bad as the average public school and even the worst public schools are no worse than the worst private schools. Only the best private schools stand out along with a few of the charter schools as better than their public school counterparts and even then not by a great margin. The problem is the pedagogical approach itself. It is also a matter of who taught the teachers? We have developed a system that aspires to mold us all into obedient followers and it works very well. It is also self-replicating.

ilsm -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 04:26 PM
Putting up "competition" against public education which as evolved since the Northwest Ordinance is a crusade for the tea party.

But they would trip WW III, war to keep Russia from breaking up the Frankensteins of East Europe!

The system is: who makes money.

yuan -> Jay... , February 10, 2017 at 10:02 AM
"Remember which side of the debate is pro-choice and which side of the debate is pro teacher's union."

Who needs labor and civil rights when we have capitalist billionaires who will give us "school choice vouchers", "right to work laws", and "deregulation"!

sanjait -> RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 10:47 AM
Complaining about the electoral college being screwed up is like complaining that human nature is screwed up.

It's true, but almost pointless, because it won't change in the foreseeable future.

libezkova said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , February 10, 2017 at 08:11 PM
I doubt that Trump is a political cycle outlier. He is a sign of the crisis of neoliberal political system, which pushes authoritarian figures as "Hail Mary Pass", when Hillarius politicans are proved to be un-electable.

And despite his "bastard liberalism" he is the symbol of rejection of liberalism, especially outsourcing/offshoring and neoliberal globalization. Or more correctly his voters are.

Peter K. -> The People's Pawn... , February 10, 2017 at 06:19 AM
Trump said the Iraq war was a disaster. He bragged about being against the war before it started. He used the Iraq war against Jeb Bush and Hillary as an example of the corrupt elite's incompetence.

This infuriates thoughtless partisans like Krugman to no end.

The appellate court ruled against Trump's Muslim band even more strongly than the lower court judge.

sanjait -> Peter K.... , February 10, 2017 at 10:55 AM
"Trump said the Iraq war was a disaster. He bragged about being against the war before it started."

That is a very sneaky way of talking around the fact that Trump never said anywhere on record before the war that he was against it.

wally : , February 10, 2017 at 06:20 AM
"America as we know it will soon be gone." Don't you think that much of it is already gone? We did not see ourselves as a nation of cowards years ago, but that's what we now appear to be.
yuan -> wally... , February 10, 2017 at 09:13 AM
"We did not see ourselves as a nation of cowards years ago, but that's what we now appear to be." USAnians have been cowards for generations. The transition from corporatist dyarchy to one-party authoritarianism is and was inevitable.
ilsm -> wally... , February 10, 2017 at 04:36 PM
poor pk's [whatever it is] America is not my [or a lot of peoples'] America. America like freedom is a perspective thing!
point : , February 10, 2017 at 06:41 AM
It seems we live in a system where two parties fight to a draw and then volatility in the system acts as a coin toss and we get new leadership. The people line up approximately half and half for the two.

I'm having a hard time understanding why if half support the new leadership established by the operations of the system, that we should worry this a threat to the system itself.

For if that's what we think, it seems we have far bigger problems than simple disagreement to worry about. It seems those among us who think that way should be planning as revolutionaries to change this doomed system that except for luck has not yet careened over the edge into whatever.

yuan -> point... , February 10, 2017 at 09:33 AM
Where do you see a draw? The republicans control the house, the senate, the executive branch, the majority of state legislatures, the majority of state governorships, and will soon control the supreme court.
Julio -> point... , February 10, 2017 at 10:41 AM
The Republicans have embraced the idea that this is a battle, and that their 50% need to win and keep their heels on the neck of the other 50%. The Democrats seem more conflicted about this fight, partly because some of them have bought the neoliberal ideology of their opposition.
yuan -> Julio ... , February 10, 2017 at 12:23 P
"some of them have bought the neoliberal ideology of their opposition." i like the understatement.

[Feb 12, 2017] Democratic Party Sugar High

Feb 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : February 11, 2017 at 07:05 AM , 2017 at 07:05 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/10/opinion/democratic-party-sugar-high.html

Democratic Party Sugar High

by Timothy Egan

FEB. 10, 2017

These are giddy times for the forces of reason and light. A surge of resistance to a bumbling and unstable president has sent millions of people into the streets, into the faces of politicians, and into bookstores to make best sellers again of authoritarian nightmare stories.

And all of that hasn't changed the fact that Democrats, the opposition party, are more removed from power than at almost any point in history. Republicans control everything in Washington, two-thirds of state legislative chambers and 33 governor's mansions.

Every day brings some fresh affront to decency, some assault on progress, some blow to the truth. The people who run the White House can't spell, can't govern, can't get through a news cycle without insulting an ally or defaming a cherished institution. Republicans just shrug and move on, in lock step with a leader who wants to set the country back a century. From their view, things are going swimmingly.

Outraged about the ban on people from Muslim-majority nations? So what. About half of the nation, and a majority of Republicans, are in favor of it. Upset over the return of Wall Street pirates to power? President Trump's supporters aren't.

Democrats haven't been able to stop a single one of Trump's gallery of ill-qualified, ethically challenged and backward-thinking cabinet appointees. His pick for labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, doesn't believe people should be paid a living wage to stir a milkshake, and he hired an undocumented immigrant to clean his house. He'll fit right in.

Millions of reasonable people are appalled that a madman is in charge of the country. But tell that to Mitch McConnell when he cuts off the right of a fellow senator to speak. Or tell it to Paul Ryan when he can't find his copy of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold. These invertebrate leaders don't care if Trump's residence is a house of lies. They don't care that their president is a sexual predator, or that his family is using the office to enrich themselves. All they care about is the R stitched to his jersey.

When Adlai Stevenson was told that all thinking people were with him in his race for president, he famously responded: "That's not enough. I need a majority."

And so, too, do the Democrats. This week, the powerless party went into their winter cave for an annual retreat - three days of soul-searching and strategizing.

"This is our moment in history," the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, told her fellow Ds. "This man in the White House is incoherent, incompetent and dangerous. And we have to protect children and other living things from him."

Feels good, right? Sorry. The Democrats shouldn't mistake a sugar high for nutrition. They're still getting their butts kicked. Being Not Trump gained them only a net of six seats in the House in November's election, and will not be enough to win a majority in 2018.

Reliance on identity politics and media-cushioned affirmation, and a blind spot to the genuine pain of the white working class, is precisely what produced a President Trump. For the next year, Democrats should filter their policy initiatives through the eyes of the person Trump claims to speak for - the forgotten American.

Of course, Trump's phrase was lifted from somewhere else. Franklin Roosevelt first rode to victory in 1932 by urging fellow citizens to put faith in "the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid."

Roosevelt actually did something for that overlooked American - Social Security, minimum wage, building roads, bridges and dams - and was rewarded with a majority coalition that carried the United States to new heights. Therein lies the way back to power for Democrats.

When Democrats lost the South - for multiple generations, as it turned out - it put them in a deep hole, forcing them to rely on a surge of young and Latino voters to turn the demographic tide, or candidates with broad appeal beyond the party strongholds on the coasts.

President Obama left office with soaring approval numbers and a great legacy. But Democrats also lost 1,034 state and federal offices in his time. Whites are still 70 percent of the vote. If Democrats continue to hemorrhage voters among the working class, they will never see the presidency, or even expect to govern in one house, for a long time.

The way out is not that difficult. Yes, they should engage in hand-to-hand combat in the capital. And certainly, Democrats must turn to the courts when the rule of law is broken. But they have to be for something, as well - a master policy narrative, promoting things that help average Americans. The old Broadway adage was how it will play in Peoria. For Democrats, they should think of Joe Biden's Scranton, Pa., every time they take to a podium.

Julio -> Peter K.... , February 11, 2017 at 03:22 PM
"This man in the White House is incoherent, incompetent and dangerous. And we have to protect children and other living things from him."

Yes, Ms. Pelosi. Unfortunately, we knew this before the election. Which you and your party lost.

Chris G -> Julio ... , February 12, 2017 at 05:52 AM
The follow-up to Pelosi's statement is "No [kidding]. What actions are you taking to protect said children and living things?"

What's the plan for supporting Water Protectors and DAPL protesters? What's the plan for shutting down the Senate after McConnell and co exercise the nuclear option to force a vote on Gorsuch? What's the plan for preventing a vote on Gorsuch? How about CBP personnel who ignore court orders? Not an unreasonable expectation that some will - what to do about them? Expressions of outrage are easily ignored if there's no follow-up action. Perpetrators' lives need to be made difficult.

Julio -> Chris G ... , February 12, 2017 at 09:35 AM
Yep. No specifics. If I hear another vacuous statement about how they will "fight" for children, minorities etc. I will puke.

[Jan 26, 2017] Clinton's bad economics - which is neoliberal economics - was also bad politics.

Jan 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : January 26, 2017 at 07:28 AM

Sanjait -> Peter K....

Hillary proposed around $1.8 trillion / 10 years in total new spending programs as of early last year, then added more throughout the campaign season.

We've talked about this a number of times before and yet you insist on pretending that infrastructural spending is the only spending because your whole backward ideology is predicated on lying about what Hillary Clinton actually proposed. Seek mental help and stop being such a mendacious twat.

Reply Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 07:35 PM

Seems like Sanjait is the mendacious twat who gets really angry when proven wrong. He can't argue the facts, like other centrists, so they try to shout you down.

Clinton's bad economics - which is neoliberal economics - is bad politics. If you google Hillary infrastructure spending you get:

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/fixing-americas-infrastructure/

"That's why Hillary Clinton has announced a $275 billion, five-year plan to rebuild our infrastructure-and put Americans to work in the process"

Trump won the election partly on his promises to rebuild the infrastructure bigly. The Senate Democrats have upped the ante with a trillion dollar 10 year plan. That's twice as much as Hillary's plan.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democrats-set-to-unveil-a-trump-style-infrastructure-plan/2017/01/23/332be2dc-e1b3-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html

They know its good politics. The Post article says Trump was thinking a trillion (via tax incentives and private-public partnerships) but his friend is quoted as saying more like $500 billion over ten years - Hillary sized.

Why wasn't Hillary's plan larger? Read Krugman's blog post from yesterday.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/reagan-trump-and-manufacturing/

Too much fiscal expansion causes the Fed to raise rates and the dollar to appreciate. Did Hillary or her economics surrogates ever explain this? No. Alan Blinder did say that Hillary's fiscal plan wouldn't be large enough to cause the Fed to alter it's rate hike path.

Krugman says fiscal deficits near full employment causes interest rates to rise, like it's an economic law.

He's missing the middle factor, inflation. Fiscal deficits cause inflation which cause the Fed to raise raise rates.

Oh yeah he left out the Fed also.

I repeated the story about Clinton dropping his middle class spending bill in favor of deficit reduction but of course the neoliberals ignore it.

J.W. Mason:

http://jwmason.org/slackwire/what-does-crowding-out-even-mean/

"The master parable for this story is the 1990s, when the Clinton administration came in with big plans for stimulus, only to be slapped down by Alan Greenspan, who warned that any increase in public spending would be offset by a contractionary shift by the federal reserve. But once Clinton made the walk to Canossa and embraced deficit reduction, Greenspan's fed rewarded him with low rates, substituting private investment in equal measure for the foregone public spending. In the current contest, this means: Any increase in federal borrowing will be offset one for one by a fall in private investment - because the Fed will raise rates enough to make it happen."

Sanjait wasn't even aware that the Fed has switched over to the corridor system and will use IOER to help control inflation as it raises rates. He assumed Dani Rodrik was a woman.

And he presumes to go around and call people names about technical issues that can be debated rationally with reference to the facts?

Peter K. -> pgl... , January 26, 2017 at 08:37 AM

... ... ...

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/the-legacy-of-the-clinton-bubble

"In 1992, Bill Clinton campaigned on the promise of a short-term stimulus package. But soon after being elected, he met privately with Alan Greenspan, chair of the Federal Reserve Board, and soon accepted what became known as "the financial markets strategy." It was a strategy of placating financial markets. The stimulus package was sacrificed, taxes were raised, spending was cut-all in a futile effort to keep long-term interest rates from rising, and all of which helped the Democrats lose their majority in the House. In fact, the defeat of the stimulus package set off a sharp decline in Clinton's public approval ratings from which his presidency would never recover.

It is easy to forget that Clinton had other alternatives. In 1993, Democrats in Congress were attempting to rein in the Federal Reserve by making it more accountable and transparent. Those efforts were led by the chair of the House Banking Committee, the late Henry B. Gonzalez, who warned that the Fed was creating a giant casino economy, a house of cards, a "monstrous bubble." But such calls for regulation and transparency fell on deaf ears in the Clinton White House and Treasury.

The pattern was set early. The Federal Reserve became increasingly independent of elected branches and more captive of private financial interests. This was seen as "sound economics" and necessary to keep inflation low. Yet the Federal Reserve's autonomy left it a captive of a financial constituency it could no longer control or regulate. Instead, the Fed would rely on one very blunt policy instrument, its authority to set short-term interest rates. As a result of such an active monetary policy, the nation's fiscal policy was constrained, public investment declined, critical infrastructure needs were ignored. Moreover, the Fed's stop-and-go interest-rate policy encouraged the growth of a bubble economy in housing, credit, and currency markets.

Perhaps the biggest of these bubbles was the inflated U.S. dollar, one of several troubling consequences of the Clinton administration's free-trade policies. Although Clinton spoke from the left on trade issues, he governed from the right and ignored the need for any minimum floor on labor, human rights, or environmental standards in trade agreements. After pushing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress on the strength of Republican votes, Clinton paved the way for China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) only a few years after China's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

During Clinton's eight years in office, the U.S. current account deficit, the broadest measure of trade competitiveness, increased fivefold, from $84 billion to $415 billion. The trade deficit increased most dramatically at the end of the Clinton years. In 1999, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit surpassed $338 billion, a 53 percent increase from $220 billion in 1998.

In early March 2000, Greenspan warned that the current account deficit could only be financed by "ever-larger portfolio and direct foreign investments in the United States, an outcome that cannot continue without limit." The needed capital inflows did continue for nearly eight Bush years. But it was inevitable that the inflows would not be sustained and the dollar would drop. Perhaps the singular success of Bill Clinton was to hand the hot potato to another president before the asset price bubble went bust."

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 26, 2017 at 08:39 AM
http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-30/opinion/op-56424_1_deficit-reduction

"The downward spiral began with Clinton's 1993 abandonment of his original threefold economic program--deficit reduction, economic stimulus and government investment in the nation's physical and human infrastructure. Facing opposition to the last two, Clinton abandoned them and focused on deficit reduction. This painted him into a corner that makes it near impossible to achieve any programmatic progress in this term--and so makes unlikely any hope of a second.

The 1993 story has been cast as the victory of the "deficit hawks," sober economists intent on reducing the gap between federal spending and tax revenues, over the purely political advocates of spending on the investment programs. But the common perception--that the "hawks" represented the responsible economic community, as against the irresponsible politicians--is not true.

Almost every one of the economists in the Clinton Administration had earlier espoused economic policies where stimulus took priority over deficit control. Rightly frightened by the mounting deficits of the Reagan-Bush years, however, by the 1990s they had abandoned their roots for Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's "responsible" economics--where reduction of the deficit and fear of inflation were the operative factors."

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 26, 2017 at 08:44 AM
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/interview/clinton-reich/

"Now, the irony is that Wall Street had never squawked when the first George Bush was spending like gangbusters or when Ronald Reagan was spending like mad. But the thought was that a Democratic administration has to sort of prove its chops, prove itself capable of being much more fiscally responsible than its Republican predecessors because it's a Democratic administration. Well, to us, to me, to those on my side of the debate, that sounded absurd. I mean, yes, let's satisfy the bond traders to some extent. Obviously, we have to get the deficit down somewhat. But let's not sacrifice the Clinton agenda.

....

Reich: The desire to do it all, to have the Clinton priorities and yet satisfy Wall Street led to this extraordinary effort to go line by line by line through the budget and to try to extract enough. And then the question was, "Well, how much is enough?" Do you bring the budget deficit down from five percent of the gross domestic product down to two and a half percent? Which is, basically, cutting the deficit by half. That's what many of us said we're perfectly fine to do.

Others, who were the deficit hawks, said, "No, no, no, no. You actually have to reduce the absolute amount of the deficit by half. That was your campaign promise, that's what we need to do. That's the only way we're going to satisfy Wall Street."

And in the background, Alan Greenspan, as head of the Fed, was whispering in ears -- Lloyd Bentsen's ear, and I think also the President's ear, "If you don't get this budget deficit down, I am not going to cut short-term interest rates. And if I don't cut short-term interest rates, by the time you face the next election in 1996, this economy is not going to be growing buoyantly, and you may not be re-elected." That's called extortion."

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 26, 2017 at 08:47 AM
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/08/the-waning-of-the-bond-market-vigilantes/

The Waning of the Bond Market Vigilantes

by Peter Frase

It wasn't so long ago that American politicians lived in fear of the bond market. During the Clinton administration, James Carville famously said that "I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody." That phenomenon gave rise to the concept of the "bond market vigilantes," which Krugman loves to employ.

But today, the bond market vigilantes are not much in evidence. Or rather, they are in evidence, but they suddenly seem unable to have much of an impact on US fiscal policy. Bill Gross, of the ludicrously enormous bond fund PIMCO, is running around screaming about the need for more borrowing and more stimulus. But he has no effect, because it turns out that while bond investors have powerful ways of constraining US government borrowing, they have only indirect and weak means of expanding it.

The United States has a large debt that is routinely rolled over, and it generally runs a budget deficit (Clinton interregnum aside). If bond investors start demanding higher interest rates on government debts, this immediately raises the cost of borrowing for the US government. This, in turn, has knock-on effects throughout the economy, as interest rates rise for everyone and economic activity is thereby constrained. For these reasons, the US government has powerful incentives to avoid doing things that cause the interest rate on treasuries to rise.

Today, however, we find ourselves in the opposite situation: what the bond market seems to want most of all is for the US to borrow more money and stimulate the economy. That's the best explanation for the incredibly low yield on Treasury bonds, which is negative in real terms over some time periods. And yet the US is not borrowing more; instead both parties are demanding insane policies that will cause a second recession, ostensibly based on fallacious notions about the magical effects of budget cutting and a nonsensical conception of the relationship between government and household finances.

The problem here is that the power of the bond market is asymmetrical. When the interest rate on Treasuries go up, this immediately makes all of the government's activities more expensive, and hence forces changes in fiscal planning. But when the interest rate falls to near zero, this only presents an opportunity for expanded borrowing, an opportunity that can easily be thrown away if the political system is too insane and dysfunctional to take advantage of it.

Hence the bond vigilantes sit on the sidelines, impotent and hopeless. Just like the rest of us.

...

[Jan 26, 2017] But Clintons negative effects were also related to the weakening the only countervailing force remaining on the way of the neoliberalism -- trade unionism. So he played the role of subversive agent in the Democratic Party. His betrayal of trade union political interests and his demoralizing role should be underestimated.

Notable quotes:
"... Most of the major changes he mentions are clearly and explicitly the consequence of policy changes, mostly by Republicans, starting with Reagan: deregulation, lower taxes on the wealthy, a lack of antitrust enforcement, and the like. ..."
Jan 26, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
DrDick, January 25, 2017 at 11:07 AM
This is frankly rather disingenuous. Most of the major changes he mentions are clearly and explicitly the consequence of policy changes, mostly by Republicans, starting with Reagan: deregulation, lower taxes on the wealthy, a lack of antitrust enforcement, and the like.

libezkova -> DrDick... January 25, 2017 at 09:29 PM

The first POTUS who cut tax rates was JFK.

sanjait -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 11:20 AM
Read through the link and it's not nearly that simple, especially when you consider the fact that some trends, though plausibly or certainly reinforced through policy, aren't entirely or even primarily caused by policy.
DrDick -> sanjait... , January 25, 2017 at 01:45 PM
I did not say they were the *only* factors, but they are the primary causes. If you look at the timelines and data trends it is pretty clear. Reagan broke the power of the Unions and started deregulation (financialization is a consequence of this), which is the period when the big increases began. Automation plays a secondary role in this. what has happened is that the few industries which are most conducive to automation have remained here (like final assembly of automobiles), while the many, more labor intensive industries (automobile components manufacturing) have been offshored to low wage, not labor or environmental protections countries.
libezkova -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 05:39 PM
Both parties participated in the conversion of the USA into neoliberal society. So it was a bipartisan move.

Clinton did a lot of dirty work in this direction and was later royally remunerated for his betrayal of the former constituency of the Democratic Party and conversion it into "yet another neoliberal party"

Obama actually continued Bush and Clinton work. He talked about 'change we can believe in' while saving Wall street and real estate speculators from jail they fully deserved.

DrDick -> libezkova... , January 25, 2017 at 07:40 PM
Clinton contributed, but the Republicans did all the real heavy lifting. I was in my late 20s and early 30s during Reagan.
libezkova -> DrDick... , January 25, 2017 at 09:25 PM
Very true. Republicans were in the vanguard and did most heavy lifting. That's undeniable.

But Clinton's negative effects were also related to the weakening the only countervailing force remaining on the way of the neoliberalism -- trade unionism. So he played the role of "subversive agent" in the Democratic Party. His betrayal of trade union political interests and his demoralizing role should be underestimated.

[Jan 24, 2017] The soul of the Democrats is right now being decided by a tug-of-war between the Brock camp and the Soros camp

Notable quotes:
"... Of course they want to co-opt it. That's what Obama did in 2008. But I think the Bernie wing has completely lost patience with any such strategy. ..."
Jan 24, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

RC AKA Darryl, Ron : January 24, 2017 at 03:28 AM

, -1
It was a gathering of what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) railed against during his presidential campaign as "the establishment." The conference, organized by longtime Clinton family operative David Brock, was dominated by Clintonfolk. Jon Cowan, president of the ardently centrist Third Way think tank, was among the most prominent panelists, alongside Hillary Clinton confidante Maya Harris, "Morning Joe" regular Harold Ford and even embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


But the overwhelming analysis emanating from Brockapalooza was essentially a haute couture Berniecrat gripe: The Democratic Party has been writing off way too much of the electorate by assuming it doesn't need ― or can't win ― the votes of working-class people.


"I think there's a sense that some portion of the Democratic Party shares the blame for what happened," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told reporters. "The Democrats acquiesced in many ways to policies making people's lives worse."


He was referring obliquely to the legacy of former President Bill Clinton ― deregulating high finance, gutting welfare, feeding mass incarceration ― which leaders of a party ostensibly devoted to empowering the powerless have been reluctant to acknowledge.


"How many bankers went to jail?" Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the sole senator to endorse Sanders in the Democratic primary, asked the crowd on Saturday morning in reference to the 2008 financial crisis. "None," he concluded.


There were real disagreements about the right course of action. But speaker after speaker said the party's reliance on demographic trends had made it complacent on matters of economic justice. This had cost Democrats not just the presidency, but governorships and hundreds of state legislature seats across the country.


"The Democratic coalition lives in the economy, all right?" former Bill Clinton campaign manager James Carville told reporters. "The idea that somehow it's only white working-class people that live in an economy blacks, Hispanics, unmarried women, gay people ― they're like everybody else."

Tom aka Rusty said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , January 24, 2017 at 04:37 AM
Brockapalooza indeed did happen.

Some of the "autopsy" articles (there are dozens) indicate the soul of the Democrats is right now being decided by a tug-of-war between the Brock camp and the Soros camp.

Not healthy.

New Deal democrat said in reply to RC AKA Darryl, Ron... , January 24, 2017 at 05:06 AM
What I found interesting is that Brockapalooza (great name!) was a gathering of the, ahem, neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party, and what they seem to have concluded is that they desperately need Bernie's supporters, a/k/a the democratic wing of the Democratic Party, and it's enthusiasm.

Of course they want to co-opt it. That's what Obama did in 2008. But I think the Bernie wing has completely lost patience with any such strategy.

libezkova -> New Deal democrat... , January 24, 2017 at 09:05 AM
New Deal democrat,

"Of course they want to co-opt it. That's what Obama did in 2008. But I think the Bernie wing has completely lost patience with any such strategy."

Very true. Cooptation is what they specialize at. Will not work this time, as in "too little too late".

But what is worse is the "neoliberalization" of Democratic Party under Clinton opened the door for far right renaissance.

So neolib Dems created a rather dangerous situation. In a way, Bill Clinton is a godfather of Trump.

RC AKA Darryl, Ron -> New Deal democrat... , January 24, 2017 at 05:38 AM
Just the fact that the DNC donor club has acknowledged the problem and recognized that Bernie was onto the solution is a really big deal. This may be the first time since the party split in 1968 that they have come to grips with working class economics rather than just relying on identity politics and big funding. It's not like they should throw identity politics under the bus. They just need to learn how to play to their entire constituency rather than assume one or both of them has no other choice.

[Jan 22, 2017] Reich 7 Hard Truths for Democrats-The Future Is Bleak Without Radical Reforms naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... ballot tampering ..."
"... The Party's top leaders are aging, and the back bench is thin. ..."
"... of running as a Democrat going forward. ..."
Jan 22, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
EndOfTheWorld , January 22, 2017 at 6:06 am

"If the party doesn't understand these seven truths .a third party will emerge to fill the void." That's what will happen, since the so-called "leaders" of the Democratic Party are not going to admit all that stuff, no matter how true it is. They're not very smart.

Carolinian , January 22, 2017 at 8:38 am

Yes it's hard to believe any of this will happen as even now the Dems are circling the wagons with "The Resistance." Also is Sanders even a Democrat? Didn't he go back to being an independent after the convention?

And just a thought on "authoritarian." Our greatest progressive president–Roosevelt–was accused by many at the time of being authoritarian with moves like packing the court. As pointed out yesterday he even created internment camps for Japanese-Americans which would horrify progressives today. It's unfortunate that one must have power–that thing which corrupts–in order to accomplish anything in government so perhaps what ultimately matters is the character of the person wielding that power. Given that it's now the Donald that may seem bleak–remains to be seen–but Reich's distinction between the "good" populists and the the authoritarian ones is a bit artificial and simplistic.

The Repubs have something at stake–their money–in every election and recognize that getting, or suppressing, votes is the key. Perhaps Lambert is right that what really matters is simply getting more people to vote.

Richard Burt , January 22, 2017 at 10:26 am

"Reich's distinction between the "good" populists and the the authoritarian ones is a bit artificial and simplistic." That inputting it mildly. But FDR had a Socialist Party to his Left. And he was elected four times in a row. It wasn't until Reagan that FDR's progressive programs and tax rates began to be dismantled.

lyman alpha blob , January 22, 2017 at 10:30 am

"Didn't he go back to being an independent after the convention?"

Yes he did (very quietly) and he really should start reminding people of that. He kept his word and fulfilled his promises to help Clinton but that ended with the election.

And what does he get in return? Turncoat Dems making sure we all get to continue to pay more money for prescription drugs right out of the gate. If the Dems are going to continue to thwart the people's agenda as they did with his prescription drug amendment, he needs to take the kid gloves off.

Will Bill , January 22, 2017 at 12:08 pm

"Also is Sanders even a Democrat? Didn't he go back to being an independent after the convention?"

So what if he did? Far more important are his ideals, his values, and his vision. They are right in line with the Democratic Party – of 1933, which is where today's corporate party needs to return to get back in power and steer this country in a better direction.

Dirk77 , January 22, 2017 at 8:52 am

If anyone has ever lived in DC, you realize that being well educated doesn't make you intelligent, and being intelligent doesn't make you wise. That said, if in your life you've had success in doing some particular thing, it's hard to change when it no longer works. Even Einstein, smart guy that he was, was an example of that.

If the problems of the party go as deep as Reich says, it would be far more effective for the dems to just fire everyone at the top of their organization and replace them with random people they meet on the street.

collins , January 22, 2017 at 9:50 am

Precisely; Donald Trump was – and is- the Third Party candidate. That's why the Republican establishment tried to destroy him. His ability to break into the GOP through the back door belies the media Imbroglio about his "inexperience".
But love him or hate him – or more prudently, reserve judgment for 4 years – he IS the Third Party candidate. I don't understand why so many academics don't get that. Around 3-4 yrs ago David Brooks warned that the landscape was ripe for a successful 3rd party prez, but he thought it would be a Tech billionaire.
Which was faulty – Silicon Valley had the Democratic establishment already safely tucked away in the Cloud.

Em Tee , January 22, 2017 at 10:24 am

Bernie was the other third party candidate. The difference is that the press could not get a hold on Trump, was transfixed by Trump, his 'trumping'-by-tweeting, and the constant coverage he was able to garner.
On the other hand, the press purposefully shunned and shut the door on Bernie, on his wax from no-percent support to the groundswell in May and June. Remember the empty podium coverage waiting on Trump, and the no coverage of Bernie's barn-burning speech in June. The press was supporting-at any cost- Hillary and the main-line Dem. system. And it WAS rigged.
In Canada, they simply re-branded, to the NDP the New Democratic Party.
Personally I revile two party politics, and I think both parties ignore the new populism, and the rejection of party politics, at their peril.
Perhaps the reason Occupy progressive populism, and the Democrats are foundering is their fundamental tolerance– they simply can't hold their noses anymore to tow the party line at the obvious expense of those who are still being left out and marginalized. The main stream democratic party aids and abets at keeping the status quo going.
Bernie said it best at the hearing the other day: we are NOT a compassionate country.

sid_finster , January 22, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Trump and Bernie were the third party candidates. Bernie was in many ways the preferable of the two, but he was eliminated because he insisted on playing nice and not going for the jugular.

Richard Burt , January 22, 2017 at 10:21 am

You are so right. Sad! Strange to read Reich now after having seen him interviewed at the end of Adam Curtis's documentary The Century of the Self and making similar points. How is going to solve the problem of moneyed elites? Sanders was the third party, the anti-establishment Dem. And look what happened. Corey Booker may be 2020 nominee. Looking very bad for Dems.

NotTimothyGeithner , January 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Booker doesn't have a prayer. He's basically the Democratic version of the Republican general the GOP jack booters get hot and heavy over periodically. The nominee in 2020 probably won't be terrible if someone tolerable runs.

The 2008 and 2016 primaries were dominated by Hillary and Obama/Oprah's celebrity profiles. Everyone else has to campaign and interact with people they can't pre-screen. The nostalgia voters won't have a set candidate and will be two years along.

Back in 2008, I went to New Hampshire during the season, and I stood behind Holy Joe Lieberman in a line at Dunkin' Donuts. This is what Booker will encounter on the trail: actual voters. When he is asked about prescription drugs at every stop and has every local teachers union hounding him, he will be dropped by even the media that loves losers such as the Dandy Senator from South Carolina.

Richard , January 22, 2017 at 6:14 am

Clintonites can be made to service Trump administrations washrooms complete with trendy tip hats and stools-

Look for this action from genuine American all for one, and one for all people who are clearly set apart from the Trump hand maidens that wrought present-

Love f l o w s both pos and neg balanced centered action and can be felt in any creature emanating an eagalitarian nature quite foreign to those referrred to as Clinton ite herein

The cherry shaman in all will point the way look for it!!!

fresno dan , January 22, 2017 at 6:37 am

4. The Party's moneyed establishment-big donors, major lobbyists, retired members of Congress who have become bundlers and lobbyists-are part of the problem. Even though many consider themselves "liberal" and don't recoil from an active government, their preferred remedies spare corporations and the wealthiest from making any sacrifices.

The moneyed interests in the Party allowed the deregulation of Wall Street and then encouraged the bailout of the Street. They're barely concerned about the growth of tax havens, inside trading, increasing market power in major industries (pharmaceuticals, telecom, airlines, private health insurers, food processors, finance, even high tech), and widening inequality.

================================================
"They're barely concerned about the growth of tax havens, inside trading, increasing market power in major industries "
au contraire – I would say they are very, VERY concerned and that's the problem.

I used to believe "you can do well and you can do good"
I don't believe it any more.
I suspect a good number of other people don't believe it either

Expat , January 22, 2017 at 6:48 am

I think if the only thing Democrats take away from the election is "OMG an egotistical billionaire with dreadful hair and tacky taste has just become president" then they all deserve to be shipped to Somalia. (In fact, they do all deserve to be shipped to Somalia but that is not the point).

The fact that America and the redneck, ignorant deplorables can elect Trump and consider him as a man of the people, a fighter for the common man, and someone who cares about America first tells you just how detached and elite our elected class has become. It's like hiring John Wayne Gacy to babysit your teenage sons because all the other sitters creep you out!

Democrats are not left-wing. They are, at best, centrist but mainly ego-centrist. Washington has sold out to the rich and powerful, mainly Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The election of Trump was the desperate cry of America begging for anything other than bent, self-serving officials like Hillary Clinton.

I don't think Trump is the answer but I don't think he will be as bad as we expect. I think Obama discovered that the establishment was more powerful than his desire for change. Trump will face the same forces, though I think it is possible that Trump will try to call their bluff.

But as for the Democratic Party? Fuck 'em. Disband the party, arrest the members, waterboard them, and execute them all for treason. Then move on to the Republicans. When there are no politicians left, start all over. Ah, I can dream, can't I?

BINKY , January 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm

So a suicide pact. Government of, by, and for the people means you play some meager role and are thus a politician.
Maybe step away from the gleeful destruction of what political structure we have and step up to be a solver instead. Oh, but one might have to test their cherished notions in the marketplace, or face up if they fail.
What Reich really needs to be saying is that it is time to take back the reins and clean up the party. We are unlikely to become a multiparty state and the internet surveillance system will track down dissenters. The IWW used to break anti union towns by flooding the jails. Flood the party and you can own it as the nurses union did for Bernie. Or carp on the internet.

ChiGal in Carolina , January 22, 2017 at 7:02 am

So it depends on the framing whether the rallies yesterday go towards #6, a movement, not a party.

Though explicitly embracing an intersectional stance and NOT explicitly Dem or Rep, and while disavowing that it was more anti-Trump than pro rights, justice, health care, and equality, the pussy hats belie that too much of this was aimed at Trump personally and not the Establishment (Empire), whose policies D or R are literally killing us, whether on the battlefield or the home front. And the speakers were weighted toward Establishment Ds.

We can dismiss the outpouring as not connected to an analysis of the underlying reasons for Trump (and initiatives spearheaded by women are usually dismissed).

Or we can embrace it, build on it. I think a lot of unaffiliated voters were amongst the rank and file, so NOT all about Clinton.

Art Eclectic , January 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

I disagree with that to an extent. I marched yesterday and it was clear to everybody that it was way bigger than Trump. The fight is not against Trump, the fight is against everything the Republican Party stands for and Trump is just their current hood ornament. The Women's March was the People's March against all things Republican.

IdahoSpud , January 22, 2017 at 7:06 am

Odd that he never mentions how Dems either stick lefties in a veal pen or drown them in the bathtub

Richard Burt , January 22, 2017 at 10:22 am

Nicely put.

ChiGal in Carolina , January 22, 2017 at 7:10 am

Damn, can't get past moderation. Third, very brief try:

It really depends on the framing whether the rallies yesterday go towards #6, a movement, not a party.

stukuls , January 22, 2017 at 7:21 am

"It will pull people into politics."

Of course third parties pull people into politics. Geez. Just not into your politics.

David S , January 22, 2017 at 7:22 am

If Bernie represents the future of the party then its sad seeing him stump around him Schumer who represents everything that is wrong with it. His best bet is to get away from the Democratic party and run as an independent, but alas the campaign finance problem. By operating inside the party, he'll be nothing more than Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. He'll be the Ron Paul of the Democratic Party.

ChrisAt RU , January 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

~Sigh~ yes, this and the continued presence of Brock, etc etc

There is no #killItWithFire option available for the architects to failed neolib compromise with the Dems.

#FeatureRequest

Richard Burt , January 22, 2017 at 10:23 am

"He'll be the Ron Paul of the Democratic Party." LOL

Em Tee , January 22, 2017 at 10:26 am

I don't think Bernie had a financing problem. The genius is that he did it truly grass-roots. The problem was that the democratic party power structure screwed him, was tone deaf, and lost to Trump, aided and abetted by the press.

HotFlash , January 22, 2017 at 10:26 am

I wonder. Chuck might be hanging around Bernie, not the other way around. Perhaps because he smells a clue - politicians are supposed to be good at that. Or maybe he is Bernie's minder.

DNC Dems may try to marginalize Bernie, but 1.) he's a crafty old guy, 2.) he got a *lot* of votes.

BTW, another article on "what is wrong with the Dems" that doesn't mention superdelegates. Until that is abolished, it's all handwaving.

johnnygl , January 22, 2017 at 11:06 am

That is a good point. Looking at how the battle lines have been drawn on the dnc chair fight, schumer looks like a swing vote who got behind bernie. It was after that when the obama wing of the party resisted and pushed tom perez, who seems to be the biggest opponent of ellison. It really looks like the clintons are vanquished and the obama wing is now the right wing of the dem party.

Carla , January 22, 2017 at 7:24 am

Reich left out a key number: Democrats hold only16 governorships.

"Among the states, there are 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats, and 1 independent that hold the office of governor." Wikipedia.

Here's another error: "Even in its purist form, authoritarian populism doesn't work because it destroys democracy."

Too late. The Democrats have already done that.

Art Eclectic , January 22, 2017 at 11:41 am

Exactly. A smarter Dem party would look at the strategy the Republicans used over the course of 20 years to get where they are today. Abandoning the 50 state strategy was the stupidest thing the Dems ever did, we can see exactly how well that worked by the numbers.

ALL of who believe in equality, civil rights, tolerance, good jobs, health care for all, quality education for all, and an end to lobbyists and financial engineers running the country need to start running for those seats. The only way we take things back is to start local.

PhilK , January 22, 2017 at 7:32 am

Reich should win a Nobel Prize here - he's right up there with Krugman and Obama.

Shorter Reich: The confrontation of the Irresistable Force of populism with the Immovable Object of donor control will result in the Oxymoron of "radical reform".

jo6pac , January 22, 2017 at 8:17 am

LOL Thanks

Amerika had a round of radical reform and little Robert was standing right by big dog when he signed away Amerika to the banksters and jailers.

The demodog party is dead

craazyboy , January 22, 2017 at 9:59 am

I've always been suspicious of Reich, but here I'll give him an "A" for tuning in his snow filled crystal ball and delivering the "soul searching" critique of the Democratic Party many of us have been waiting for and expecting. Pretty much hits the nail on the head, I'd say.

The caveat, of course, is that Reich is not the Commander in Chief of the Democratic party. Towards the end, I think he alludes to that too.

Art Eclectic , January 22, 2017 at 11:44 am

After yesterday, the Democratic party is running to catch up with where their constituency is headed. That March didn't stop at 1 pm Saturday. They'll attempt to get out in front, but Team Bernie will be there ahead of them.

oh , January 22, 2017 at 12:46 pm

One more "populist" article by Robert Reich. I know he's a party hack and will return to the fold once they tell him to sit down. He just provides a false air of "independence" to the bought and sold Democraps. People like him who keep returning to the fold are the very reason that the Dims are in trouble.

jim courtright , January 22, 2017 at 8:04 am

This is a time for historians to review and to revisit the ("Fighting Bob") LaFollette Wisconsin tactics in the early 1900s which came after nearly a generation of political corruption. Progressivism needs to integrate itself in some way into the current populism.

NotTimothyGeithner , January 22, 2017 at 8:15 am

The Clinton wing* of the party needs to be wiped out. Bill ushered in the end of the 70 year Democratic majorities, destroyed the party at the local level, and led to George W. Bush. When the Clintonistas were sidelined, the Democrats won commanding majorities in both houses and the White House in two elections and established a major gotv operation. Obama brings in Rahm Emmanuel and kaboom. Clintonistas were tolerated and look what happened.

*Don't we really mean a few hundred voters connected to the Clinton Administration or campaigns that only hold power over people who are largely voting because of the "D" next to a name?

allan , January 22, 2017 at 8:17 am

To understand how utterly rotten the Democratic elite is,
and unwilling to learn from the past, recent and not so recent, look no further
than the tongue bath given at Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing to Joe Lieberman,
who is literally a traitor to the party:

Were the moment not so fraught with high political drama, it might have felt like a college reunion. Lieberman was returning to his old stomping grounds on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon to offer what bipartisan cover he could for Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary.

"I've known Joe a long time," Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, told me on Wednesday. "He's a good guy. We served together."

in interviews, several members of the Democratic caucus spoke to their personal affection for Lieberman. "I think Joe Lieberman is a good friend of mine, and I think everybody has the right to say what they think," Virginia Sen. Mark Warner told me.

"Joe's a friend Joe has integrity," Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said in an interview in the Dirksen Senate Building on Wednesday.

Added Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, the progressive Democrat who took his seat in 2014: "Lieberman's a great friend, even if we disagree on important issues. He remains a good friend, despite our occasional disagreements."

anonymous in Southfield, MI , January 22, 2017 at 10:00 am

The definition of friendship is stretched very thin when it covers over differences that spread between say the likes of Lieberman and Sanders. Sanders lambasted Betsy DeVos as she deserved to be; the woman lied to the Senate about her vice chairmanship of the Prince foundation-an organization that has devoted million$ to the concept of 'converting' gays, lesbians and bisexuals. She is obviously ashamed of her involvement (fairly recent as IRS documents show her listed in 2014) and for political expediency wants to distance herself from that scene. Competent psychological studies show that such so called conversion efforts always fail resulting in what has to be termed cruelty and deep disillusionment.That Lieberman would rise to such duplicity shows a complete lack of personal integrity. How someone with integrity could have such a 'friend' is to put the word friendship into the realm of meaninglessness.

GWJones , January 22, 2017 at 8:30 am

IdahoSpud, Carla, fresno dan, stukuls and David S are all right on the money!

Reich is a little better than Michael Moore (who yesterday told the demonstrators to put a call to their Congressional and Senate reps right there with brushing their teeth every day), but that's not saying much. I didn't even see the call for voter registration and against Jim Crow election fraud in his essay, just "drawing more people into politics".

Face it, the Democratic Party is irremiably sick to the point that it needs to be put down and a new party formed without the Clintonite DNA.

David , January 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

An almost philosophical question: is there a "Democratic Party" as an institution, separate from the career ambitions of those who have just lost power and what to take it back? I rather suspect not, because that would imply a set of values and beliefs and institutional interests to which individuals would subscribe, and which, under certain circumstances, they might be prepared to put ahead of their personal ambitions.But, at least from across the water, I don't get that impression at all; rather it looks like a group of ambitious and unscrupulous hacks, manipulating the politics of identity to provide themselves with a power base, but now finding that tactic doesn't work any more. If that's so, then the "Democrats" of Reich's article are trapped in a vicious circle: they are only interested in reclaiming personal power, so they have no ideology or beliefs to offer a mass electorate, so they'll never regain power. The best they can hope for is that Trump makes such a mess of things that a desperate nation turns to them for salvation. I suppose anything is possible.

David , January 22, 2017 at 8:42 am

If the foundation of one's strategy is that your adversary fails, then you've already lost. The Dems need an overhaul, good and proper.

Benedict@Large , January 22, 2017 at 9:43 am

Centrism is not an ideology.

Richard Burt , January 22, 2017 at 10:29 am

That is a brilliant comment. My answer to your almost philosophical question is "No." I think that identity politics will persist. Sad!

anonymous in Southfield, MI , January 22, 2017 at 10:34 am

I say that you make a very good point about Democrats not being able to find an ideological map; or rather more exactly: bleating loudly about following the map that the majority of voters want and ask to be followed and then sidestepping constantly to follow another path inimical to what is being proclaimed. Mr. Obama did that with his dance around the subject of universal health care or single payer. We, in the center of the progressive wing, were led to believe he was for it. Then he abandoned us to the expediency of the day by genuflecting low and high before the priesthood of the Health Insurance carriers and pharmaceutical companies. The latter essentially wrote The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which is tragically misnamed on both halves; it neither protects patients nor allows the vast majority of subscribers to find affordable insurance for themselves and/or their families.

But this is typical of so called centrists such as Obama and the Clintons; they artfully present themselves as being on the right side of the map (protect the environment, keep Social Security and Medicare in place, form an alliance with minorities to advocate for an expansion of rights and liberties, to name some of the more visible tenets) and then betray their so called allies on a regular basis. The self proclaimed Liberals (they can't be by the very definition of the word) get away with it because the specter of a very much more seriously flawed ilk is very real; it seems to be the sworn duty of the Republican party to regularly present the sad evil of a lessor nature. This time around, strategic planning on the part of Trump and total organizational incompetency on the part of Clinton caused her to throw out her chances. Essentially the Democratic party Centrists had their 60 year train of bluffs derailed by a clownish charlatan who delights in performing acts of cruelty and sadism in public.

anonymous in Southfield, MI , January 22, 2017 at 11:46 am

6. The life of the Party-its enthusiasm, passion, youth, principles, and ideals-was elicited by Bernie Sanders's campaign. This isn't to denigrate what Hillary Clinton accomplished-she did, after all, win the popular vote in the presidential election by almost 3 million people.

There's the nub of a major problem; what Hillary Clinton did not accomplish was to win votes that aligned with the map of each state in terms of the Electoral College. The map of Michigan shows what I mean; if the reader were to click on the blue counties in the SE portion of the state and find Washtenaw county one would see Clinton got 68% of the vote there. In a county that has one of the largest Universities (49,000 students and employees) in the country, a premier world class hospital system that has 26,000 employees (some overlap with U of M) and two high schools that in a rarity of aristocratic schooling, sill offer classes in the art of playing in a symphony orchestra-in such a county we find the heart of so called American Liberalism. Blue county indeed, blue stocking would be more like it. And I'm ok with all that.

My point is that HRC appealed (Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein did too, the center of the Michigan Green party is in Ann Arbor, the Washtenaw county seat ) in large part to the people whose demographics are so clearly delineated in that county. By and large (broad brush here) better educated, situated in larger urban centers that are the vibrant hubs of the surrounding areas and most of all, people who are opinion leaders. So in Ann Arbor we have large dollops of college professors, medical and legal professionals, successful business managers and thousands of college students and millennials -many of whom followed the lead of the Democratic party into Hillary's camp after Bernie was forced out by the duplicity of the party leadership. All of whom would have been very deeply engaged in the political swirl of activity.

Wayne County, where Detroit is located, has some different demographics where the support of people of Color would be the major force. Hillary's ability to gain support in the African American community is beyond my comprehension but it does explain what happened in the vote in Detroit.

But the proclivity outside the Large urban centers (Genesee County, Flint, is much like Wayne County demographically) is steep and we see Clinton lost here as elsewhere across the country. Clinton lost out and the much ballyhooed Centrist Democrats lost because they did not speak to the average working class person who lives in dreadful fear of one thing-losing a good paying job and not having food, housing, clothing, transportation and medical care. Fear driven politics, as Bernie Sanders pointed out a kajillion times, is not a pretty picture. People Living in a world of fear is a good thing for Centrists like Clinton and Obama (Trump too) because it makes for a host of malleable minds open to manipulation.

waum , January 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm

I disagree with your analysis. In Michigan, Hillary's margin of loss was smaller than the drop-off in voting in Wayne county (which includes Detroit as well as other urban/suburban cities). What we saw was closer to a withdrawal of consent by the population. The votes are there for the left to win by large margins. But the voters must be asked for their votes through policies that provide tangible benefits. They (we) were already fooled once at the state level and national by a smooth-talking neoliberal Democrat that only offered more of the same once in office. The only thing that can turn this around for the Democrats is a discussion of real benefits and proposals that can only be delivered by government (e.g., single-payer healthcare). I am not sure this is possible in the "blue" states, where the party apparatus is still strong. I think reform in the Democrat party will have to start in the "red" states, where the parties have been decimated by neglect.

Sound of the Suburbs , January 22, 2017 at 8:45 am

Try thinking ..

We know the neoliberal ideology tends to hollow out the middle class.

This is most pronounced in the US where they have embraced the neoliberal ideology the hardest

Let's work out why ..

Everyone has blindly followed Milton Freidman's neo-liberal ideology without thinking .

Trade Fundamentals.

For free trade and an internationally competitive workforce you need a low cost of living so you can pay similar wages to your competitors.

Reference – The Corn Laws and Laissez-Faire
It's all about the cost of living.

The US has probably been the most successful in making its labour force internationally uncompetitive with soaring costs of housing, healthcare and student loan repayments.

These all have to be covered by wages and US businesses are now squealing about the high minimum wage.

US (and all Western) labour has been priced out of global labour markets by the high cost of living.

What did Milton Freidman miss?
The cost of full price services actually has to be paid by businesses in wages.

Milton Freidman took costs off the wealthy and placed them on business.

The West then let massive housing booms roar away raising housing costs through mortgage payments and rent, these costs have to covered by business in wages.

Student loan costs are rising and again these costs have to covered by business in wages.

2017 – Richest 8 people as wealthy as half of world's population

It is important not to tax the wealthy to provide subsidised housing, education and healthcare that result in lower wage costs because?

I don't know, you tell me, is it to maintain ridiculous levels of inequality?

Why does the middle class disappear?

The high costs of living in the West necessitates high wages and everything gets off-shored to maximise profits.

Low paying service sector jobs that cannot be off-shored and highly paid executive and technical jobs are all that's left, the rest was off-shored, it's the way neo-liberalism works

The middle class disappears.

The populists rise and with a neoliberal left they turn right.

Protectionism, it's the only option, we've made such a mess of it all.

Sound of the Suburbs , January 22, 2017 at 8:46 am

With the hollowed out neo-liberal Western economy the Government has to make up the difference between low wages and the high cost of living (tax credits UK).

(The private sector option – Payday loans – only 2000% interest UK)

The high levels of unemployment, need high levels of benefits due to the high cost of living.

Government debt soars and you can't recoup it off the wealthy as it wouldn't be neo-liberal.

Sound of the Suburbs , January 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

Trump may not have to worry about NAFTA as the Mexican's have discovered neo-liberalism.

They are removing the subsidies off petrol and foodstuffs, raising the cost of living and minimum wage.

Mexico's days as a low wage economy are numbered.

If they then have a ridiculous housing boom to inflate housing costs like the West, the cost of living and the minimum wage will soon be the same in Mexico as the West.

The land of cheap labour will be no more.

roadrider , January 22, 2017 at 9:37 am

The Party is on life support.

Can I submit a DNR for them?

edmondo , January 22, 2017 at 9:43 am

After writing this dreck, flash forward to 2019 when Reich endorses Cory Booker for president as "a breathe of fresh air that America needs."

The Democrats are toast.

Pelham , January 22, 2017 at 10:09 am

Would voter registration really do much to remedy the situation with the Electoral College? Wouldn't it be necessary for liberals and progressives en masse to leave their safe spaces in the blue islands and migrate to red or reddish outposts like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan? Or is that too horrible to contemplate?

A few years back a libertarian group decided to target one state where they could move in great numbers to eventually bring about a libertarian paradise. After considerable study and strategizing, they settled on New Hampshire, a state with a small population already somewhat friendly to libertarian ideas that could more easily be tipped to a libertarian agenda. The result, however, was underwhelming.

Reich is right, I believe, is saying the Democratic Party must unreservedly advance a very bold agenda to become a movement. But where is the motivation? As noted, the Iron Law of Institutions applies. The great majority of Dems with an iron grip on the party mechanisms are happy as clams with their wonderful combination of virtue signaling and money raking. In fact, right now with Trump in the White House and Republicans controlling Congress, these Dems are in pretty close to the ideal situation. With minority status, they and their filthy corporate, financial and Big Pharma donors can virtue signal all the more flamboyantly and rest completely assured that they'll never actually have to implement anything. Perfect!

Meanwhile, the rest of us can fritter away our time believing that there is an "inside game" in the party when, in fact, there is no such possibility.

Katharine , January 22, 2017 at 10:12 am

Catullus 76?! I don't think so, Lambert. I know my Latin is extremely rusty, but I see nothing there that could lead to that translation. As for what I do see, this is a family blog.

But now I really wish you could come up with the source of what you quoted.

craazyman , January 22, 2017 at 11:12 am

it's the 15th and 16th lines. Google it!

Oy vey already . . . :-) worn down from the march?

Step up yer game Katharine, are you tired?
(that's a Catullus-like line, here's another . . .)
What heavy signs and roars exhausted you,
(and another . . .)
When, with that great sexist Queen, Madonna
You hurled curses that would make a whore flinch

haha ahhahahahahha ahahahahha. I have one more cupcake to eat today!

Katharine , January 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

"it's the 15th and 16th lines" of a fourteen-line poem.

This is the first I heard cupcakes could make you see double–and vertically at that! Be careful you don't fall downstairs.

craazyman , January 22, 2017 at 11:44 am

this is what I get Googling. It in fact is the 15th and 16th lines! no kidding . . . also it's not at all a porno piece (not that he wasn't capable of that), but if you read the English translation it's very very spiritual.

Carmen 76 (in Latin by Catullus) Listen to 76 in Latin
<>

Available in Latin, Brazilian Port., Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Rioplatense, Scanned, and Vercellese. Compare two languages here. Listen to this text here.

Siqua recordanti benefacta priors voluptas
est homini, cum se cogitat esse pium,
nec sanctum violasse fidem, nec foedere nullo
divum ad fallendos numine abusum homines,
multa parata manent in longa aetate, Catulle,
ex hoc ingrato gaudia amore tibi.
Nam quaecumque homines bene cuiquam aut dicere possunt
aut facere, haec a te dictaque factaque sunt.
Omnia quae ingratae perierunt credita menti.
Quare iam te cur amplius excrucies?
Quin tu animo offirmas atque istinc te ipse reducis,
et dis invitis desinis esse miser?
Difficile est longum subito deponere amorem,
difficile est, verum hoc qualubet eficias:
una salus haec est, hoc est tibi pervincendum,
hoc facias, sive id non pote sive pote.
O di, si vestrum est misereri, aut si quibus umquam
extremam iam ipsa in morte tulistis opem,
me miserum aspicite et, si vitam puriter egi,
eripite hanc pestem perniciemque mihi,
quae mihi subrepens imos ut torpor in artus
expulit ex omni pectore laetitias.
Non iam illud quaero, contra me ut diligat illa,
aut, quod non potis est, esse pudica velit:
ipse valere opto et taetrum hunc deponere morbum.
O di, redite mi hoc pro pietate mea.

Katharine , January 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Many thank yous! My copy was apparently produced by one of those dratted editors who think they know a better organization, and his 76 starts and ends, "Paedicabo ego vos et irrumabo," which the notes quaintly explain as "colloquial expressions of no particular force." You can see why I was at sea!

Now I'm going to have to find a source with conventional order and annotate this book so I'm not cast adrift again.

NotTimothyGeithner , January 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

http://www.vroma.org/~hwalker/VRomaCatullus/076.html

It looks reasonable, but I can't be sure anymore without practice.

Pespi , January 22, 2017 at 10:19 am

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674064300
FDR had to work to purge the Democratic party to change it from a half reactionary planters party into a progressive party. The Sanders rump will have to do the same, the leadership needs to be torn to shreds, neolibs and republicans in sheeps clothing like Tim Kaine need to be flushed down massive toilets. Or the party is dead, like the British Labour party

Richard Burt , January 22, 2017 at 10:31 am

Thank you for the link. I had never known about the purge. I will check out the book.

Carolinian , January 22, 2017 at 12:58 pm

From the link–perhaps why you haven't heard of it.

the purge failed, at great political cost to the president

Since I grew up around here I'm not sure when the South has ever been purged of conservatives. Now days however they are more interested in being toadies to big business than in getting out the fire hoses. It took other presidents to moderate the race problem.

Em Tee , January 22, 2017 at 10:36 am

Maybe a re-brand, led by Bernie, with a very simple few point platform, and then recruiting candidates at local, county, state and national level to pledge to tow the line (Think Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street becomes Occupy Elected Positions (for real small D democratic reform.)
I'm OK with America first- I'd love to occupy fewer nations in the Mideast, stop killing brown folks, park the drone fleet, have health CARE (not insurance) for all where all pay in and all can benefit, lower-carbon renewable energy, income tax reform, re-instating the draft as national service, and converting the military back to a department of defense, amongst other bigger ideas.
I think 'we' have about 14 months to get it together and going.

Pespi , January 22, 2017 at 11:20 am

And I think that's a message that absolutely resonantes. I can talk to old folks who've been indoctrinated by fox news and younger people who just haven't read anything and so believe in alt right foolishness, and we can all agree on basic principles. People need decent food, housing, good education for their children, and jobs they can do with dignity.

What is the current democratic party offering to meet that criteria? If you're so poor you can't afford to drop a penny in a crack in the sidewalk you'll be put on an (X)year wait list for subsidized housing? If you're poor and can't find a job we can put you on the shadow welfare system, disability. But if you find a job, you have to pay us back. You can have a pittance in food stamps if you've got no bread. As for the jobs, that's a big middle finger, go take a 4.5 hour round trip bus ride to work in amazon warehouse, loser. I have friends who work in the social services and as they report it, things are grim.

It's not a winning program, it's not an adequate program, it's basically a social safety net tuned to be as painful and minimal as possible while still meeting some definitional criteria.

Most people would also like to stop destroying random countries for the profit of about 18 people.

John Wright , January 22, 2017 at 11:38 am

Tearing the leadership to shreds appears to be the only solution, but is it even possible today, given that FDR had a massive and immediate economic crisis to force the change?

When anyone casts about for "Progressive"(trademarked, Democratic party) Democrats, the same few names come up: Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, who in their support of H Clinton and Obama's policies look more establishment than progressive.

My concern is the only lesson the current crop of Democrats will learn from the shutting down of the Clinton Foundation is that their "personal wealth opportunity window" is closing as their power to deliver the goods to the elite is quite weakened.

One can visualize them doubling down to become even more neolib than before while giving Obama like fiery speeches to their supporters.

The Democrats have no bench depth. They don't have a second team ready to play a different game.

Pespi , January 22, 2017 at 11:43 am

And the people with experience organizing leftist movements are not near public office. We're probably closer to a panic of 1873 than the great depression, in those terms. , but that helped build the left and labor coalitions that were able to make America semi civilized during FDR's time

johnnygl , January 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm

Nice, now we have an instruction manual.

Today's dem party planter class still likes the sharecropper system of labor relations. It's just been repacked as the gig economy or tracked relentlessly like amazon's warehouse workers.

Anonymous , January 22, 2017 at 10:29 am

Regardless of the issues and frailty of the Democratic party what keeps me up at night is realizing that the very process of democracy is at great risk. The aggressive free press/media that would need to fight for the truth has been whittled away over the years and fears their corporate masters. Now we have a President and Press Secretary who call every fact that goes against their intentions 'fake news' and from what I can tell their supporters simply believe them. Years of a weak press and unchallenged Fox News and talk radio have set the stage for this. The blatant lies about the numbers in attendance for the inauguration told by Trump and his Press Secretary and the refusal of the later to take any questions, sets the stage for a leader who will do and say anything and dismiss any facts or contrary opinions as invalid and 'fake'. With a President enamored with Oligarchy who has no concern for ethics or earned respect and Republicans having dominance in Congress (and the usual love for power at any cost) how is actual democracy going to function. Are there actually any remaining checks and balances?

Lambert Strether Post author , January 22, 2017 at 10:57 am

Let me terrify you some more. Half of Clinton supporters (per YouGov poll, link on request) believe that the Russians were responsible for ballot tampering in 2016, for which there's no evidence at all. And all it took was a few months of propaganda. That epistemic closure on the liberal side is as readily produced as it has been on the conservative side is what keeps me up at night. Why, I'm so old I remember when "progressives" (whoever, in retrospect, they were) called themselves "the reality-based community."

Pespi , January 22, 2017 at 11:29 am

Our 'centrist' mainstream media has always happily lied in service of war and fear, but the shift to fox news stylehysteria based on nothing, nothing at all, is shameful and might just kill it. Or maybe not, maybe it's good for ratings

johnnygl , January 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm

Hold on now, let's look at the positives

1) corp media credibilty at record lows.
2) republicans i've met don't like sanders, but often respect him and find him honest.
3) republicans defending wikileaks and calling intel agencies filthy liars.

All these things make the next war a MUCH harder sell!!!

HotFlash , January 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

The Party's top leaders are aging, and the back bench is thin.

This is a very good thing.

pespi , January 22, 2017 at 10:43 am

There are a lot of young, charged up young lions and lionnesses ready to tear the democratic party to shreds and build a peoples party. This big march is a demonstration that the country doesn't want the explicit rule of oligarchy. It's up to us (cliche) to actually organize, actually support real left candidates for public office, from the city council of the smallest town all the way to the senate.

Megacorps need to be afraid, they need to put 100% of their money in the republican party, because some ferocious democrats are going to grab whatever's left over in the dirty money jar and spend it to chop their legs out.

Gaylord , January 22, 2017 at 10:33 am

Alt Golden Rule: money determines policy. Unless Citizens United is reversed and elections become a public service as intended, there will be no substantial change for the public's benefit. With Republicans in control of Congress, this constitutional crisis won't be resolved. Due to human shortsighted folly, the Revolution belongs to Nature.

Eclair , January 22, 2017 at 10:37 am

My in-laws live in south-western New York and north-western Pennsylvania, basically in the same place that their Swedish and German ancestors settled in the mid-1800's. Our cousin still farms the same acres that his family purchased in 1863. My brother-in-law works for the county, mending roads in summer, snow-plowing through the nights of 'lake-effect' snow in winter. They both voted for Trump.

When I talked to my brother-in-law, back last May, he told me he was making the same amount of money his Dad (a union trucker) had made, just before his retirement. He and his county co-workers have been squeezed for the last decade; 'austerity' has resulted in them doing more work with fewer people. He now rides alone, without a 'wingman', during the long dark nights of plowing on icy county roads. He has seen no help, no sympathy even, from the Democrats. He liked what he had heard about Bernie Sanders, but, by his own admission, didn't know that much about him (thank you CNN for bloviating about Trump, 24/7). He felt that Trump was listening.

Our cousin, the farmer, serves as an elected supervisor for his township. He, like many farmers, is deeply conservative and a hereditary Republican. Last weekend, on our usual Sunday night phone conversation, he expressed his horror that the county commissioners had paid $60,000 to hire a lobbyist to represent their county (not a wealthy one) at the state capitol. His comment: isn't this what we elect our state legislator to do? He then went on to talk about the big topic of the day in the township, the spraying of township roads (all dirt) with saline solution to keep the dust down in summer. Turns out the 'saline solution' is waste fracking fluid, water combined with unknown chemicals. People living along the treated roads have been complaining that they don't want this chemically-laced water sprayed on their doorsteps and our cousin agrees with them. If they don't want it, don't do it.

I have always considered myself a Democrat; but I find myself in agreement on so many points with my in-laws who voted for Trump. A society has to give more respect, monetary as well as moral, to the workers who keep our roads repaired and free of snow; they perform a social good that keeps our economy humming. You can't keep on squeezing them and then recoil in horror when they vote for someone who says he feels their pain.

Our cousin is a family farmer, he conserves the land in the best possible way; he provides local food; veggies, fruits, eggs and meat. He is concerned about soil and water, the basics of life. He is trying to compete with corporate agri-businesses. He wants elected officials to do their job and represent their constituents. He has seen no help from the Democrats but, frankly, is not particularly sanguine about Trump.

And then, at dinner last week, with a group of friends, most of whom are mid-Western conservatives, one of the women, usually quiet, started talking about the Ox-Fam report and how terrible it was that only a few billionaires had as much money as the poorest half of the population. Another friend, also conservative, countered with the usual, I suppose you want everyone to make $65,000 a year, but she was quickly silenced by the others who took the position that no one 'needs' compensation of $18 million.

So, the fractures are appearing, the narrative of the 1% is horrifying even the free-market conservatives. We're all getting tossed about in the big caldera formed by the disappearing legitimacy of the governing classes. If we can ignore the old divisive labels of republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, right, left, and begin to coalesce around a few major agreements; healthy communities with resources for people to have adequate food, shelter, clothing and education and satisfying work; clean air and water and productive soils that provide local food . we have the opportunity to form a new political party. Or, maybe a couple of parties.

But, reform the Democratic party? From what I have seen of our local establishment Dems, they are more concerned with holding on to their pitiful positions of power than they are with crafting a Sanders-like platform. They can no more envision crossing lines and allying with disaffected Republicans than they can see themselves shape-shifting.

Light a Candle , January 22, 2017 at 11:22 am

Thanks for taking the time to post your really thoughtful comment.

I think in this American election, especially with the Democratic primary, a lot of progressive voters (not just in the States) woke up to what was really going on. That the DNC was deeply corrupt and that democracy is only a very thin facade.

craazyman , January 22, 2017 at 11:51 am

very interesting and thoughtful, there's reality there.

Annotherone , January 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Thank you for this recounting of your, and your family's, experiences. I found it helpful – and oddly reassuring.

MB , January 22, 2017 at 10:43 am

Half the country, well closet to 2/3 on electoral basis , and thats what counts, voted for someone like trump over clinton. The democrats and media is still in denial over WHY.

So nothing will change.

Whining like petchulant children.
Liberalism..too far..

PalmettoFrond , January 22, 2017 at 11:27 am

and unpresidented for good measure

Orwell , January 22, 2017 at 11:14 am

The nation was not born without great pain, and what will emerge from its remnants over the next century will resemble what we know no more than the infant U.S. in its day resembled the British Empire. Those who sit and wait for reform of irrelevant institutions (let's start with our "three branches") will still be waiting in ten years. Their ship has sailed, with or without them. Whether for better or for worse remains a destiny to be found out for, and by, every individual.

casino implosion , January 22, 2017 at 11:16 am

Lambert nails it in the intro. Quite a few of us Bernie Bros, like me, happily voted for Trump. It was worth every minute of his doubtless corrupt and incompetent reign to see the vile Clinton machine go down like a flaming Zeppelin. From the ruins will emerge a new Democratic Party. once the OWS kids are all out of grad school and ready to take charge of their new world.

FluffytheObeseCat , January 22, 2017 at 1:05 pm

The OWS "kids" will be too broke and indebted for anything but obedience to their employer/master once they are out of grad school.

John , January 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Debbie Wasserman-Schultz standing next to Kamala Harris on the podium at yesterday's march does not bode well for the future of the Clinton gutted and failing Democratic party. She didn't get to speak but she had slithered her way on the stage. The Democratic party will have to be pried out of their cold dead hands or abandoned.

Sam Adams , January 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Democrats will change when the rice bowls are empty, no sooner.

Norb , January 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm

For those well versed in political science, when does political theatre evolve into a genuine political action-successful or not? In America, there is an atmosphere of unreality to most political protest. A sense that everyone is playing their particular part in a scripted drama. The desire for self preservation steers dissenters into embracing these scripted roles. Marching in "designated protest areas" and feeling the satisfaction of being arrested for the "cause" have proven ineffectual and can be seen as actually counterproductive, as the fake moral courage acquired by these actions are often used as a cudgel to beat down those who see this type of effort as pointless. These efforts only use display to challenge power, while leaving the underlying structure and ideology intact.

A new manifesto must be written and circulated for the current age, allowing individuals to subscribe to stated goals or not. Reich's 7 points elude to this idea of proclamation, but come off instead as a hapless plea. Those trying to resist the status quo are hopelessly stuck in trying to change the minds of the oppressors instead of rallying the oppressed to a new vision. Inequality and loss of opportunity must be addressed and those in power must be held to proclaiming their stand on the issue. Currently, they are allowed to lie or just not answer the question. This also explains much about the current Russia mania. The failures of capitalism must be obfuscated and alternatives quashed at all costs- period. For what does Russia stand for if not an alternative to capitalism. The anti-socialism and anti-communism conditioning will enter overdrive.

Taking land and occupying it either directly or indirectly has always been the way to forge human societies or pull them apart. In the larger sense, finding ways to take and hold ground for use to a particular end is the foundation of power. Labor has been made passive in America. Labor not exercising its right to strike and boycott is powerless in the face of owners overwhelming use of force and violence. Compromise positions don't work as proven out by our current situation. Fake opposition and desperately hanging onto utopian notions of a "fair and equal" capitalism, only allow the status quo to remain so.

It seems capitalist evolution has a good chance in leading to a delusional authoritarian dystopia. A world in which everything is turned into a commodity worthy of exchange for profit. The needs of the time have so far outrun the political process that some drastic event seems the only way of breaking the stalemate.

Kpl , January 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

My dear Bob, why talk of popular vote. Why not talk of counties won? You will understand that Trump won hands down.

Kpl , January 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

My dear Bob, why talk of popular vote. Why not talk of counties won? You will understand that Trump won hands down.

Marsh Hen , January 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

really? I'd heard he was short handed.

Lambert Strether Post author , January 22, 2017 at 2:17 pm

> why talk of popular vote. Why not talk of counties won?

Because talking about the popular vote is kinda like talking about yardage gained instead of touchdowns scored?

mb , January 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Democrats and protestors in pussy hats, dont realize that the half of country that voted for Trump, hasnt begin to get aroused and angry yet. They are the half that pays for 90% of taxes, and they also have guns, which the liberals dont.

Outis Philalithopoulos , January 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm

There are plenty of rich Democrats, some of whom pay taxes. Is your "90%" figure an estimate, or do you have a source for it?

Mb , January 22, 2017 at 2:00 pm

Bottom 50% pay 2.75% of taxes. Most of democrats base . This is at heart of problem

Outis Philalithopoulos , January 22, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Many Democrats disparaged poor Republican voters over the recent election cycle and you respond by disparaging the Democratic base as predominantly poor? Do you think this is a good strategy?

Lambert Strether Post author , January 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm

They pay 90% of the taxes? Link, please

Norm , January 22, 2017 at 1:21 pm

The current dregs that make up the Democratic party are people who have neither ideals nor courage. That's why Bernie looked so good compared to them, but when push came to shove, Bernie's guts and idealism went AWOL. None of these people will ever be transformed or transform themselves into something other than loathsome non-entities. The same is true of the Republican party, but while it is much hated by the public, the same public keeps them in power because they appear less loathsome than the Democrats. But any notion that the Republican establishment had a lock on all those people who vote for them was torn to shreds by Trump, and to a lesser extent, by his fellow non-establishment-sanctioned candidate Cruz.

The Democrats will not fix themselves. Possibly the remains of the party apparatus will be taken over, Trump style, by some capable demagogue who can fire up the voters. We can hope that whoever this may be it will be an improvement over our current prospects. A slim hope indeed, but despair is lousy option too,

Lambert Strether Post author , January 22, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Oh, bullshit. As we've said over and over, Sanders did exactly what he promised he would do. If you didn't read the packaging before buying the product, that's on you. And if you thought you were getting a savior instead of the best alternative, that's on you too. I'm sick of the whinging on this, not only because it's untrue, but because its disempowering.

John k , January 22, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I was pretty disappointed at the extent to which he campaigned for her, especially as Dnc leaks emerged, but I'm over it. He's clearly critically needed now to push progressive agenda forward.

I do wish he would speak mor for single payer and less for Obamacare as reps struggle mightily for a way to repeal the latter without angering the part of their base that has no alternative, there may be a real opening for something better how about this compromise; the group with greatest need is elderly under 65, maybe drop age to 55, get nose further under tent.
And non health corps should support, reduces health care costs to corps that do provide coverage, plus covering sickest workers cuts overall costs of covering a work force so encourages corps that don't to begin covering workers this last bit might mollify insurance a little, maybe give extra tax break to corps that cover. Some cuts to corp taxes better than others
And a 50-year old will see a benefit that kicks in pretty soon, he'll like the change even though it doesn't yet affect him. Trump demographics

How about a list of the top 100 opportunities for progressive candidates, whether the hopefully vulnerable neolib opponent is dem or rep?

Mark K , January 22, 2017 at 1:21 pm

To my mind, Reich's #4 doesn't go far enough. If the Democrats want to get serious about radical reform, they need to completely forswear the cultivation of "major donors," and rely on small donations. Sanders' campaign showed it can be done; there is no reason it should not be a sine qua non of running as a Democrat going forward.

Lambert Strether Post author , January 22, 2017 at 2:23 pm

I agree completely. Of course, that would make it harder for lizards like Brock to sun themselves as shindigs for donors in Florida, but maybe Brock would consider taking one for the team.

Heliopause , January 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Many good points but I would say #5 is the most important. Instead what I'm getting from major media & many Dems is the same garbage they've been giving us all along. Be nice if they were actually FOR something.

skippy , January 22, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Trump or Hillary? Wrong question. Rather, we need to realize that in so far as it is the choice the leaders propose, it is a trap, which now we cannot escape but from which we can take instruction for the future. In the liberal culture in which we have all been educated-Republicans or Democrats–we are used to looking for saviors from above. We attach ourselves to the powerful. We look upward for emancipation, but radical change and democratization come from below. That's where the hardness is, but that's what scares us. We are soft because we don't know our own strength, and as long as we don't know it, we are subjects–not citizens.

We should see in both the Trump and the Sanders partisan defections from the mainstream parties the glimmer of a potential-in fact, a necessity–of organizing a party of the people. We could even call it Party of the Basket of Deplorables, for if we exclude the "messy masses" (the term Marx and Engels used, to mock the contempt in which they were held by the arrogant elite), we admit that democracy hasn't a prayer. They are "messed up," but are they to blame, who have ceased to matter, or even exist, on the front of the class war that has been launched against democracy-that is, against us all?

The color line must be erased. That is an imperative for unity. In America, racism is the endemic, the recurring plague. It is the root of our political disunity. So that is the first task: educate it out of existence. Engels, who shared his life with Mary Burns, Irish Republican radical, well understood the racism against the Irish pervading the English working class. This was no mere psychological disorder. It arose because the manufacturers of the Midlands imported Irish labor as scabs to break strikes. Nevertheless he saw in the English working class the strength required for a social revolution:

"England exhibits the noteworthy fact that the lower a class stands in society and the more 'uneducated' it is in the usual sense of the word, the closer is its relation to progress and the greater is its future." – snip

http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/19431

Lambert Strether Post author , January 22, 2017 at 2:27 pm

> Mary Burns, Irish Republican radical

I didn't know that. Got a link?

Persona au gratin , January 22, 2017 at 3:07 pm

How are British/Irish conflicts even remotely racist? I appreciate the mutual hostility, but how could they even tell each other apart, other than relatively minor speech patterns and social habits? That's hardly racism. Your larger point is well taken, but race and class issues in the US are a bit more entrenched and complicated than your analogy might suggest. By design, I think.

Outis Philalithopoulos , January 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm

The "relatively minor speech patterns" would have entirely sufficed to make the distinction. There are parts of the world where people from towns only a few miles apart can be distinguished through fairly minor intonational differences. See also the history of the word "shibboleth."

David , January 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Indeed, there's little direct antagonism between the English and the Irish today and hasn't been for a long time. By contrast, the "racism" discourse in the US seems to persist because it serves the political interests of certain groups. Most of the rest of the world has gone beyond this way of thinking and I'm always surprised the US is so far behind.

TedWa , January 22, 2017 at 2:13 pm

The main street media has us in a vice grip where they say they can not properly cover more than 2 parties. (!!??) This 2 party system is bursting at the seams where every election is a tie or hairsbreadth away from a tie. As long as we keep electing the same people, the democrats are going nowhere, and their neolib philosophy will hang on to the every end – because it pays. They don't care that they're going to hell.

Jess , January 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm

"Democrats have to stop squabbling and understand the dire future ahead of us."

Good fucking luck with that.

Jess , January 22, 2017 at 2:34 pm

"The Party's moneyed establishment-big donors, major lobbyists, retired members of Congress who have become bundlers and lobbyists-are part of the problem."

No, they are the core of the problem.

different clue , January 22, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Well . . . the millions of eager members of the Klinton Koolaid Kult are also a problem. They will never ever vote for a Sanders figure. Never ever. They will nourish their lust for vengeance against the Sanders primary voters and workers for decades to come.

Just go read a blog findable under the words Riverdaughter The Confluence and read the comments and you will see what I mean. Put your nose up real close to the screen so you can smelllll the Klintonism.

blucollarAl , January 22, 2017 at 3:24 pm

In June, 1858, in one of the great speeches in the history of our country and our politics, Lincoln declared, quoting the New Testament, and in the teeth of the undeniable and unresolvable antagonism between pro and anti-slavery citizens, that "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Lincoln's hope was that this country would not "dissolve". But at the same time he foresaw the inevitably of civil war as the only realistic albeit tragic way in which an America divided on grounds as fundamental as slavery for some versus (political) freedom for all, could resolve its "crisis" and "cease to be divided".

For Lincoln there was no other alternative. There are many times when inhabitants of the "house" disagree. Such is to be expected and disagreements are normally resolved sooner or later. The house endures. But there are those other (rare) times when "agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented". A "crisis" is reached, and eventually the nation "will become all one thing or all the other." Civil war cruelly declares a victor and a loser.

There was no way to compromise. The deepest narratives by which each side, pro-slavery and pro-"freedom" (Lincoln's word), understood the meaning of the American Republic, the great Enlightenment-inspired experiment in representative democratic government, and ultimately what it means to live in community, organize ourselves politically, socially, economically, and what counts to being a human person, were mutually exclusive. How do you "negotiate" away this conflict? How do you dialectically transcend it? Either the laborer in our cotton fields and plantation households is a human person or not. When the organization of society depends on how we answer explicitly in argument and slogan or implicitly in our unquestioned assumptions, questions about the origins and purposes of life itself, war could only appear to Lincoln as inevitable, even if he refused at this point (1858) to come right out and say it.

A question for us to think about: When, since the time of Lincoln, slavery, and the Civil War, has America been as fundamentally divided as it is now, today, 2017? When have the basic stories that we tell ourselves and that we have assimilated into our habits of head and heart, been more deeply and irreconcilably opposed? Where and what is the dialectical resolution between coastal cosmopolitans chasing a "good life" understood as an ever expanding, protected, and affirmed "market" for individual choice and self- inventing "lifestyles", and the flyover country provincials living in communities devastated by the corrosive solvency of aggressive finance capital on the make, weakened by disappearing communities, impotent traditions, mocked religion, broken families, and constant anxiety about providing the daily bread? And when have the imaginations of those so opposed been less able to conceive workable solutions that embrace both sides? Are there solutions that are able to embrace both sides?

Can the institution of representative democracy, arguably a product of the Age of Reason with its belief in "nature and nature's God" and the "inalienable natural rights" that can be discovered by the enlightened human intellect, survive in post-Enlightenment post-modernism with its hermeneutics of suspicion in which there are no admitted "facts", no unifying "truths", and "right" is a function of "might", the Will to Power.

[Jan 22, 2017] It's urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths:

Jan 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
libezkova : January 22, 2017 at 10:12 AM
, 2017 at 10:12 AM
Robert Reich:

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/reich-7-hard-truths-democrats-future-bleak-without-radical-reforms

It's urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths:

1. The Party is on life support. Democrats are in the minority in both the House and Senate, with no end in sight. Since the start of the Obama Administration they've lost 1,034 state and federal seats. They hold only governorships, and face 32 state legislatures fully under GOP control. No one speaks for the party as a whole. The Party's top leaders are aging, and the back bench is thin.

The future is bleak unless the Party radically reforms itself. If Republicans do well in the 2018 midterms, they'll control Congress and the Supreme Court for years. If they continue to hold most statehouses, they could entrench themselves for a generation.

2. We are now in a populist era. The strongest and most powerful force in American politics is a rejection of the status quo, a repudiation of politics as usual, and a deep and profound distrust of elites, including the current power structure of America.

That force propelled Donald Trump into the White House. He represents the authoritarian side of populism. Bernie Sanders's primary campaign represented the progressive side.

The question hovering over America's future is which form of populism will ultimately prevail. At some point, hopefully, Trump voters will discover they've been hoodwinked. Even in its purist form, authoritarian populism doesn't work because it destroys democracy. Democrats must offer the alternative.

3. The economy is not working for most Americans. The economic data show lower unemployment and higher wages than eight years ago, but the typical family is still poorer today than it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation; median weekly earning are no higher than in 2000; a large number of working-age people-mostly men-have dropped out of the labor force altogether; and job insecurity is endemic.

Inequality is wider and its consequences more savage in America than in any other advanced nation.

4. The Party's moneyed establishment-big donors, major lobbyists, retired members of Congress who have become bundlers and lobbyists-are part of the problem. Even though many consider themselves "liberal" and don't recoil from an active government, their preferred remedies spare corporations and the wealthiest from making any sacrifices.

The moneyed interests in the Party allowed the deregulation of Wall Street and then encouraged the bailout of the Street. They're barely concerned about the growth of tax havens, inside trading, increasing market power in major industries (pharmaceuticals, telecom, airlines, private health insurers, food processors, finance, even high tech), and widening inequality.

Meanwhile, they've allowed labor unions to shrink to near irrelevance. Unionized workers used to be the ground troops of the Democratic Party. In the 1950s, more than a third of all private-sector workers were unionized; today, fewer than 7 percent are.

5. It's not enough for Democrats to be "against Trump," and defend the status quo. Democrats have to fight like hell against regressive policies Trump wants to put in place, but Democrats also need to fight for a bold vision of what the nation must achieve-like expanding Social Security, and financing the expansion by raising the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes; Medicare for all; and world-class free public education for all.

And Democrats must diligently seek to establish countervailing power-stronger trade unions, community banks, more incentives for employee ownership and small businesses, and electoral reforms that get big money out of politics and expand the right to vote.

6. The life of the Party-its enthusiasm, passion, youth, principles, and ideals-was elicited by Bernie Sanders's campaign. This isn't to denigrate what Hillary Clinton accomplished-she did, after all, win the popular vote in the presidential election by almost 3 million people. It's only to recognize what all of us witnessed: the huge outpouring of excitement that Bernie's campaign inspired, especially from the young. This is the future of the Democratic Party.

7. The Party must change from being a giant fundraising machine to a movement.It needs to unite the poor, working class, and middle class, black and white-who haven't had a raise in 30 years, and who feel angry, powerless, and disenfranchised.

ilsm -> libezkova... , January 22, 2017 at 11:02 AM
1. the party is run by crooks

2. the party is f the bankers

3. our bankers are doing very well

4. our bankers are the party

5. we don't have anything that sells except for our bankers

6. DNC crooks are the life of the party

7. party needs more GLBT and abortion issues to get the plundered to buy in

Peter K. -> libezkova... , January 22, 2017 at 11:29 AM
Some uncomfortable truths from Reich.

"6. The life of the Party-its enthusiasm, passion, youth, principles, and ideals-was elicited by Bernie Sanders's campaign."

point -> libezkova... , January 22, 2017 at 11:44 AM
Cruising all my lefty bookmarked sites, this is the only one (Reich's bog) that comes even close to saying the Democratic Party is risking permanent irrelevance unless sufficient grass roots anger topples the leadership wholesale and rebuilds from the bottom.
Peter K. -> point... , January 22, 2017 at 11:50 AM
That's what happened to the Republican party. Trump toppled the establishment by tapping into people's anger about the "carnage." Now we'll see what he actually does. I don't think think even he knows what he'll do.

Meanwhile establishment Democrats deny that there is any carnage.

Brexit and Trump only happened b/c of a weird uptick in racism and sexism. B/c of social media.

LOLWUT?

[Jan 21, 2017] Divide and Rule Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election

Notable quotes:
"... both ..."
"... No One Left to Lie To ..."
"... about one kind of hate ..."
"... trumping another kind of hate ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Appeal to Reason ..."
"... Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014) ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
Listen and you can hear the sneering "elite" liberal left narrative about how the big dumb white working class is about to get screwed over by the incoming multi-millionaire- and billionaire-laden Trump administration it voted into office. Once those poor saps in the white working class wake up to their moronic mistake, the narrative suggests, they'll come running back to their supposed friends the Democrats.

Trump Didn't Really Win Over Working Class America: Clinton Lost it

It's true, of course, that Trump is going to betray white working class people who voted for him in the hope that he would be a populist champion of their interests – a hope he mendaciously cultivated. But there are three basic and related problems with the scornful liberal-left storyline. The first difficulty is that the notion of a big white proletarian "rustbelt rebellion" for Trump has been badly oversold. "The real story of the 2016 election," the left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio notes , "is not that Trump won over working class America, so much as Clinton and the Democrats lost it The decline of Democratic voters among the working class in 2016 (compared to 2012) was far larger than the increase in Republican voters during those two elections" If the Democrats had run Bernie Sanders or someone else with "a meaningful history of seeking to help the working class," DiMaggio observes, they might well have won.

Populism-Manipulation is a Bipartisan Affair

Second, betraying working class voters (of all colors, by the way) in service to concentrated wealth and power (the "One Percent" in post-Occupy Wall Street parlance) is what presidents and other top elected officials from both of the reigning capitalist U.S. political parties do. What did the white and the broader (multiracial) working class experience when the neoliberal corporate Democrats Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama held the White House? Abject disloyalty towards egalitarian-sounding campaign rhetoric and a resumption of (big) business (rule) as usual. An ever-increasing upward distribution of income, wealth, and power into fewer hands.

It's an old story. In his 1999 book on Bill and Hillary Clinton, No One Left to Lie To , the still left Christopher Hitchens usefully described "the essence of American politics, when distilled," as "the manipulation of populism by elitism. That elite is most successful," Hitchens added, "which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most 'in touch' with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently 'elitist.' It is no great distance from Huey Long's robust cry of 'Every man a king' to the insipid 'inclusiveness' of [Bill Clinton's slogan] 'Putting People First,' but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve' tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers."

True, the Republicans don't manipulate populism in the same way as the Democrats. The dismal, dollar-drenched Dems don the outwardly liberal and diverse, many-colored cloak of slick, Hollywood- , Silicon Valley-, Ivy League-and Upper West Side-approved bicoastal multiculturalism. The radically regressive and reactionary Republicans connect their manipulation more to white "heartland" nationalism, sexism, hyper-masculinism, nativism, evangelism, family values, and (to be honest) racism.

But in both versions, that of the Democrats and that of the Republicans, Goldman Sachs (and Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America et al.) always prevails. The "bankrollers and bankers" atop the Deep State continue to reign. The nation's unelected deep state dictatorship of money (UDSDoM, UDoM for short) continues to call the shots. That was certainly true under the arch-neoliberal Barack Obama , whose relentless service to the nation's economic ruling class has been amply documented by numerous journalists, authors (the present writer included ) and academics.

Obama ascended to the White House with record-setting Wall Street contributions. He governed accordingly, from the staffing of his administration (chock full of revolving door operatives from elite financial institutions) to the policies he advanced – and the ones he didn't, like (to name a handful) a financial transaction tax, the re-legalization of union organizing, single-payer health insurance, a health insurance public option, tough conditions on bankers receiving bailout money, and the prosecution of a single Wall Street executive for the excesses that created the financial meltdown.

Anyone who thinks that any of that might have changed to any significant degree under a Hillary Clinton presidency is living in a fantasy world. She gave every indication that a president Clinton 45 would be every bit as friendly to the finance-led corporate establishment (the UDoM) as the arch-neoliberal Cliinton42 and Obama44 presidencies. She was Wall Street's golden/Goldman/Citigroup girl.

We are Not the 99 Percent

Third, elite liberals and left liberals often miss a key point on who white (and nonwhite) working class people most directly interact when it comes to the infliction of what the sociologist Richard Sennett called " the hidden injuries of class ." It is through regular contact with the professional and managerial class, not the mostly invisible corporate and financial elite, that the working class mostly commonly experiences class inequality and oppression in America.

Working people might see hyper-opulent "rich bastards" like Trump, Bill Gates, and even Warren Buffett on television. In their real lives, they carry out "ridiculous orders" and receive "idiotic" reprimands from middle- and upper middle-class coordinators-from, to quote a white university maintenance worker I spoke with last summer, "know-it-all pencil-pushers who don't give a flying fuck about regular working guys like me."

This worker voted for Trump "just to piss-off all the big shot (professional class) liberals" he perceived as constantly disrespecting and pushing him around.

It is not lost on the white working class that much of this managerial and professional class "elite" tends to align with the Democratic Party and its purported liberal and multicultural, cosmopolitan, and environmentalist values. It doesn't help that the professional and managerial "elites" are often with the politically correct multiculturalism and the environmentalism that many white workers (actually) have (unpleasant as this might be to acknowledge) some rational economic and other reasons to see as a threat to their living standards, status, and well-being.

The Green Party leader and Teamster union activist Howie Hawkins put it very well last summer. "The Democratic Party ideology is the ideology of the professional class," Hawkins said. "Meritocratic competition. Do well in school, get well-rewarded." (Unfortunately, perhaps, his comment reminds me of the bumper sticker slogan I've seen on the back of more than a few beat-up cars in factory parking lots and trailer parks over the years: "My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.") "The biggest threat to the Democrats isn't losing votes to the Greens," Hawkins noted. It is losing votes to Trump, who "sounds like he's mad at the system. So they throw a protest vote to him."

The white maintenance worker is certainly going to get screwed by Trump's corporate presidency. You can take that to the bank. He would also have gotten shafted by Hillary's corporate presidency if she had won. You can take that down to your favorite financial institution too. And the worker's anger at all the "big shots" with their Hillary and Obama bumper stickers on the back of their Volvos and Audis and Priuses is not based merely on some foolish and "uneducated" failure to perceive his common interests with the rest of the "99 percent" against the top hundredth.

We are the 99 Percent, except, well, we're not. Among other things, a two-class model of America deletes the massive disparities that exist between the working-class majority of Americans and the nation's professional and managerial class. In the U.S. as across the world capitalist system, ordinary working people suffer not just from the elite private and profit-seeking capitalist ownership of workplace and society. They also confront the stark oppression inherent in what left economists Robin Hahnel and Mike Albert call the "corporate division of labor"-an alienating, de-humanizing, and hierarchical subdivision of tasks "in which a few workers have excellent conditions and empowering circumstances, many fall well below that, and most workers have essentially no power at all."

Over time, this pecking order hardens "into a broad and pervasive class division" whereby one class - roughly the top fifth of the workforce -"controls its own circumstances and the circumstances of others below," while another (the working class) "obeys orders and gets what its members can eke out." The "coordinator class," Albert notes, "looks down on workers as instruments with which to get jobs done. It engages workers paternally, seeing them as needing guidance and oversight and as lacking the finer human qualities that justify both autonomous input and the higher incomes needed to support more expensive tastes." That sparks no small working class resentment.

It comes with ballot box implications. Many white workers will "vote against their pocketbook interests" by embracing a viciously noxious and super-oligarchic Republican over a supposedly liberal (neoliberal) Democrat backed by middle- and upper middle- class elites who contemptuously lord it over those workers daily. The negative attention that dreadful Republican (Trump) gets from "elite" upper-middle class talking heads in corporate media often just reinforces that ugly attachment.

2016: Hate Trumped Hate

It doesn't help the Democrats when their top candidates channel elitist contempt of the working in their campaign rhetoric. Here's how the silver-tongued Harvard Law graduate Obama referred to white working-class voters in old blue-collar towns decimated by industrial job losses in the early spring of 2008: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Amusingly enough, these reflections were seized on by his neoliberal compatriot and rival for the Democratic nomination, the Yale Law graduate Hillary Clinton. She hoped to use Obama's condescending remarks to resuscitate her flagging campaign against a candidate she now accused of class snotty-ness. "I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America," she said. "His remarks are elitist and out of touch." Clinton staffers in North Carolina even gave out stickers saying "I'm not bitter."

How darkly ironic is to compare that (failed) campaign gambit from nearly nine years ago with the campaign Hillary ran in 2016! Hillary's latest and hopefully last campaign was quite consciously and recklessly about contempt for the white working class. As John Pilger recently reflected :

"Today, false symbolism is all. 'Identity' is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatised millions of [white working class and rural – P.S.] voters as 'a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic - you name it'. Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white mostly working-class majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war. Trump understood this."

The "deplorables" comment was a great gift to Trump, whose staffers gave people buttons saying "I'm an Adorable Deplorable."

Disappointed Hillary voters have chanted "Love Trumps Hate" while marching against the incoming quasi-fascist president. But, really, the 2016 U.S. presidential election was about one kind of hate – the "heartland" white nationalist Republican version – trumping another kind of hate , the more bi-coastal and outwardly multicultural and diverse Democratic version.

Let us not forget former Obama campaign manager David Ploufe's comment to the New York Times last March on how the Hillary campaign would conduct itself against a Trump candidacy: "hope and change, not so much; more like hate and castrate."

Meanwhile, the nation's UDoM rules on, whichever party holds nominal power atop the visible state. Pardon my French, but the working class (of all colors) is fucked either way.

Goldman Sachs Wins Either Way

We might also think of the essence of American politics as the manipulation of identity politics – and identity-based hatred – by elitism. Reduced to a corporate-managed electorate (Sheldon Wolin), the citizenry is identity-played by a moneyed elite that pulls the strings behind the duopoly's candidate-centered spectacles of faux democracy. As the Left author Chris Hedges noted three years ago , "Both sides of the political spectrum are manipulated by the same forces. If you're some right-wing Christian zealot in Georgia, then it's homosexuals and abortion and all these, you know, wedge issues that are used to whip you up emotionally. If you are a liberal in Manhattan, it's – you know, they'll be teaching creationism in your schools or whatever Yet in fact it's just a game, because whether it's Bush or whether it's Obama, Goldman Sachs always wins. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs." (We can update that formulation to say "whether it's Trump or where it's Hillary.")

For all their claims of concern for ordinary people and beneath all their claims of bitter, personal, and partisan contempt for their major party electoral opponents, the Republican and Democratic "elites" are united with the capitalist "elite" in top-down hatred for the nation's multi-racial working-class majority.

The resistance movement we need to develop cannot be merely about choosing one of the two different major party brands of Machiavellian, ruling class hate. The reigning political organizations are what Upton Sinclair called (in the original Appeal to Reason newspaper version of The Jungle ) "two wings of the same bird of prey." We must come out from under both of those two noxious wings and their obsessive and endless focus on the quadrennial candidate-centered electoral extravaganzas, which have replaced the recently closed Ringling Brothers show as the greatest circus in the world. We cannot fall prey anymore to the reigning message that meaningful democratic participation consists of going into a voting booth to mark a ballot once every four years and then going home to (in Noam Chomsky's words ) "let other [and very rich ] people run the world [into the ground]." Join the debate on Facebook

Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Jan 21, 2017] Theres class warfare, all right, but its my class, the rich class, thats making war, and were winning

Notable quotes:
"... In the face of the enormous political chasm between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, a strategy of elite-led, bipartisan deal-cutting premised on calls for "shared sacrifice" leaves this grossly inequitable economic and political fabric intact. As such, the 99 percent are caught in the vise of small-bore policies from their supposed friends and allies while their opponents encircle them with scorched-earth politics. ..."
"... The Obama administration and much of the leadership of the Democratic Party took extreme care not to upset these basic interests. As a consequence, they squandered an exceptional political opportunity. The financial crisis and the Great Recession were one of those moments when members of the business sector were "stripped naked as leaders and strategists," in the words of Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Great Depression was another. ..."
"... As he put the House of Morgan and other bankers on trial, Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, helped popularize during the age of Al Capone a term not heard today: the "bankster." These hearings compelled Roosevelt to support stricter financial regulation than he might have otherwise. ..."
"... One cannot talk about crime in the streets today without talking about crime in the suites. ..."
"... The political intransigence lavishly on display in the Republican Party - which repeatedly brought Congress to a caustic standstill - obscured how a major segment of the Democratic Party was loath to mount any major challenge to the entrenched financial and political interests that have captured American politics today. ..."
"... For all the bluster about political polarization, the debate over what to do about the economy, the social safety net, and financial regulation - like the elite discussions over what to do about mass incarceration - oscillated within a very narrow range defined by neoliberalism for much of Obama's tenure. Indeed, the president repeatedly bragged that the federal budget for discretionary spending on domestic programs had shrunk under his watch to the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president. ..."
Jan 21, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

Vast and growing economic inequalities rooted in vast and growing political inequalities are the preeminent problem facing the United States today. They are the touchstone of many of the major issues that vex the country - from mass incarceration to mass underemployment to climate change to the economic recovery of Wall Street but not Main Street and Martin Luther King Street.

In the face of the enormous political chasm between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, a strategy of elite-led, bipartisan deal-cutting premised on calls for "shared sacrifice" leaves this grossly inequitable economic and political fabric intact. As such, the 99 percent are caught in the vise of small-bore policies from their supposed friends and allies while their opponents encircle them with scorched-earth politics.

The Obama administration and much of the leadership of the Democratic Party took extreme care not to upset these basic interests. As a consequence, they squandered an exceptional political opportunity. The financial crisis and the Great Recession were one of those moments when members of the business sector were "stripped naked as leaders and strategists," in the words of Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. The Great Depression was another.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt came into office, the Hoover administration was thoroughly discredited, as was the business sector. FDR recognized that the country was ready for a clean break with the past, and symbolically and substantively cultivated that sentiment. The break did not come from FDR alone. Massive numbers of Americans mobilized in unions, women's organizations, veterans' groups, senior citizen associations, and civil right groups to ensure that the country switched course.

During the Depression, President Roosevelt was forced to broaden the public understanding of crime to include corporate crime. The Senate's riveting Pecora hearings during the waning days of the Hoover administration and the start of the Roosevelt presidency turned a scorching public spotlight on the malfeasance of the corporate sector and its complicity in sparking the Depression.

As he put the House of Morgan and other bankers on trial, Ferdinand Pecora, chief counsel of the Senate Banking Committee, helped popularize during the age of Al Capone a term not heard today: the "bankster." These hearings compelled Roosevelt to support stricter financial regulation than he might have otherwise.

One cannot talk about crime in the streets today without talking about crime in the suites. Over the past four decades, the public obsession with getting tougher on street crime coincided with the retreat of the state in regulating corporate malfeasance - everything from hedge funds to credit default swaps to workplace safety. Keeping the focus on street crime was a convenient strategy to shift public attention and resources from crime in the suites to crime in the streets.

As billionaire financier Warren Buffet quipped in 2006, "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." President Obama's persistent calls during his first term for a politics that rose above politics and championed "shared sacrifice" denied this reality and demobilized the public. It thwarted the consolidation of a compelling alternative political vision on which new coalitions and movements could be forged to challenge fundamental inequalities, including mass imprisonment and the growing tentacles of the carceral state.

The political intransigence lavishly on display in the Republican Party - which repeatedly brought Congress to a caustic standstill - obscured how a major segment of the Democratic Party was loath to mount any major challenge to the entrenched financial and political interests that have captured American politics today.

For all the bluster about political polarization, the debate over what to do about the economy, the social safety net, and financial regulation - like the elite discussions over what to do about mass incarceration - oscillated within a very narrow range defined by neoliberalism for much of Obama's tenure. Indeed, the president repeatedly bragged that the federal budget for discretionary spending on domestic programs had shrunk under his watch to the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

[Jan 16, 2017] DemoRats still c annot reconcile with the fact that your corporatist, neoliberal, war monger candidate lost and thier the Third Way betryal of working class did not pay them this time

Jan 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm : January 16, 2017 at 05:55 PM
poor democrats!

Cannot reconcile your corporatist, neoliberal, war monger losing to a TV star who suggests we should not tilt with a nuclear power with insane doctrine defining when peace should be breeched; you say the winner is 'illegitimate' or make up relations with a nationalist leader who does not toe the 'one worlder' line.

US should be Denmark!

libezkova -> ilsm... , January 16, 2017 at 06:42 PM
Trump was right to point out that the Clintons and their allies atop the Democratic National Committee rigged the game against Bernie.

This rigging was consistent with the neoliberal corporate Democratic Party elite's longstanding vicious hatred of left-wing of the party and anti-plutocratic populists. They hate and viciously fight them in the ranks of their pro-Wall Street Party. It's "Clinton Third Way Democrats" who essentially elected Trump, because Bernie for them is more dangerous than Trump.

The Democratic party became a neoliberal party of top 10% (may be top 20%), the party of bankers and white collar professionals. "Soft" neoliberals, to distinguish them from "hard" neoliberals (GOP).

Under Bill Clinton the Democrats have become the party of Financial Oligarchy. At this time corporate interests were moving to finance as their main activity and that was a very profitable betrayal for Clintons. They were royally remunerated for that.

Clintons have positioned the Dems as puppets of financial oligarchy and got in return two major things:

  1. Money for the Party (and themselves)
  2. The ability to control the large part of MSM, which was owned by the same corporations, who were instrumental in neoliberal takeover of the USA. When the neoliberal media have to choose between their paymasters and the truth, their paymasters win every time. Like under Bolshevism, they are soldiers of the Party.

In any case, starting from Clinton Presidency Democratic Party turned into a party of neoliberal DemoRats and lost any connection with the majority of the USA population. Like Republicans they now completely depends on "divide and conquer" strategy. Essentially they became "Republicans light." And that's why they used "identity wedge" politics to attract African American votes and minorities (especially woman and sexual minorities; Bill Clinton probably helped to incarcerate more black males than any other president). As if Spanish and African-American population as a whole have different economic interests than white working class and white lower middle class.

So Dems became a party which represents an alliance of neoliberal establishment and minorities, where minorities are duped again and again (as in Barack Obama "change we can believe in" bait and switch classic). This dishonest playing of race and gender cards was a trademark of Hillary Clinton campaign.

See

10 reasons why #DemExit is serious. Getting rid of Debbie Wasserman Schultz is not enough by Sophia A. McClennen

http://www.salon.com/2016/07/29/10_reasons_why_demexit_is_serious_getting_rid_of_debbie_wasserman_schultz_is_not_enough/

[Jan 16, 2017] Paul Krugman With All Due Disrespect

Notable quotes:
"... What do you call dumping a Ukraine president? And Qaddafi, blowing up the middle east, and funding al Qaeda? Fraud/treason, both Clinton neocon connections same as Reagan, shruBush and Obama. ..."
"... "In Yugoslavia, the U.S. and NATO had long sought to cut off Serbian nationalist and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic from the international system through economic sanctions and military action. In 2000, the U.S. spent millions of dollars in aid for political parties, campaign costs and independent media. Funding and broadcast equipment provided to the media arms of the opposition were a decisive factor in electing opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica as Yugoslav president, according to Levin. "If it wouldn't have been for overt intervention Milosevic would have been very likely to have won another term," he said." ..."
"... Google Camp Bonesteel. A large NATO base funded mostly by you to keep Serbia under wraps. Enforcing the Clinton neocon "just peace". With threat of US' brand of expensive high tech mass murder. ..."
"... Democrats voting against legalizing drug imports from Canada (Hall of Shame:) Bennett, Cory Booker, Cantwell, Carper, Casey, Coons, Donnelly, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Menendez, Murray, Tester, and Warner. ..."
"... progressive neoliberals are libertarians and market idolators' lackies that want gays to get their wedding cakes from Christian bakeries. ..."
"... 30000 destroyed e-mails, denying the public access to records. How many felony counts is 30000? Read the Federal Records Act. ..."
Jan 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> DrDick... , January 16, 2017 at 05:44 PM
What do you call dumping a Ukraine president? And Qaddafi, blowing up the middle east, and funding al Qaeda? Fraud/treason, both Clinton neocon connections same as Reagan, shruBush and Obama.

The recondite democrat bar for traitor is very high. As arcane as the demo-neolib definition of progressive!

ilsm -> New Deal democrat... , January 16, 2017 at 05:48 PM
The center has moved to the Reagan republican side except for its abhorrence of any judeo-christian sexual code.

Neutrality is shameful when the time is siding with the immoral.

llisa2u2 : , January 16, 2017 at 12:05 PM
The old saying what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Well considering all that the Republican party and leadership has dissed out for 8 years or so. Hey, they need to be dissed right back. Trump has set the "TONE" that all is fair as he set the rules, established the rule-book way below the belt, loves playing in the swamp and slinging mud. He deserves any and all that gets slung back from in and out of the swamp, in all global directions! Unfortunately everyone else will be the only citizens to suffer. He's just way above the maddening crowd, and protected by all his cronies!
ilsm -> llisa2u2... , January 16, 2017 at 04:14 PM
yup, only difference between the neocons of Kagan and Bush and progressive neolibs is gay rights.
Jay : , January 16, 2017 at 12:54 PM
US is a master of manipulating foreign elections.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-us-intervention-foreign-elections-20161213-story.html

"In Yugoslavia, the U.S. and NATO had long sought to cut off Serbian nationalist and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic from the international system through economic sanctions and military action. In 2000, the U.S. spent millions of dollars in aid for political parties, campaign costs and independent media. Funding and broadcast equipment provided to the media arms of the opposition were a decisive factor in electing opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica as Yugoslav president, according to Levin. "If it wouldn't have been for overt intervention Milosevic would have been very likely to have won another term," he said."

ilsm -> Jay... , January 16, 2017 at 03:38 PM
Google Camp Bonesteel. A large NATO base funded mostly by you to keep Serbia under wraps. Enforcing the Clinton neocon "just peace". With threat of US' brand of expensive high tech mass murder.

MLK's memory is defiled by the fake liberals grabbing it for revolting political gain.

JohnH : , January 16, 2017 at 01:28 PM
Democrats voting against legalizing drug imports from Canada (Hall of Shame:) Bennett, Cory Booker, Cantwell, Carper, Casey, Coons, Donnelly, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Menendez, Murray, Tester, and Warner.

Presumably many, like Cantwell, are avid supporters of 'free' trade--trade that is rigged in favor of certain special interests. Legalizing drug imports from Canada would have hurt the special interests that fund their campaigns.

Only a prelude to Democrats caving to Trump...

ilsm -> JohnH... , January 16, 2017 at 03:35 PM
progressive neoliberals are libertarians and market idolators' lackies that want gays to get their wedding cakes from Christian bakeries.
ilsm -> ken melvin... , January 16, 2017 at 03:34 PM
30000 destroyed e-mails, denying the public access to records. How many felony counts is 30000? Read the Federal Records Act.
B.T. -> ken melvin... , January 16, 2017 at 04:40 PM
What drove the assassination of Bernie Sanders campaign?

People who ask if Trump is illegitimate need to ask if Hillary was as well.

After all, we aren't talking about literal rigging right? Just leaks with bad timing?

DeDude : , January 16, 2017 at 02:14 PM
Considering that Trump and the GOP majority got millions less votes than their democratic counterparts, one can question the legitimacy (but not the legality) of the laws they pass - since they would not represent the will of the people.
ilsm -> DeDude... , January 16, 2017 at 03:32 PM
poor dud
libezkova -> DeDude... , January 16, 2017 at 06:09 PM
Yes that's true. But all those votes belong to just two places: NYC and California.

You have a problem here my democratic friend.

ilsm : , January 16, 2017 at 03:27 PM
por pk!

I start this sermon with poor pk, and those who of unsound logic who think he is not jumped the shark poor pk.

John Lewis.......

From Dr King's Vietnam Sermon Apr 1967:

"Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal."

The liberals' silence is betrayal! All the democrat sponsored fake liberal agendas around this holiday remain damnably silent about the evil that is Clinton/Obama war to end "unjust peace".

Here is my comment for poor pk, Lewis and the whining do-over tools:

Last week US drones killed 3 supposed terrorists in Yemen, they were supposed to be al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). No charges, no jury, no judge.

AQAP is related to the guys Obama is funding to take down Assad and put Syria in ruinous hate filled group of jihadis like run amok in Libya.

So silent on deadly evil; but so boisterous about affronts to gay people wanting nice cakes!

Lewis and his crooked neoliberal ilk have been milking Dr. King for 50 years!


Chris Herbert : , January 16, 2017 at 04:17 PM
Hey, if it's politics every pathology from torture to assassination to bombing civilians is approved. If you did it as a person, you would be immediately incarcerated. This nation state worship, or religious worship in many parts of the world, is infused with pathology. It's in our DNA apparently. We are over killers par excellence. Only rats are as good. I'm betting on the rats.
ilsm -> Chris Herbert... , January 16, 2017 at 06:01 PM
why we have Dr King and Gandhi.

I like the rat metaphor for neolibs and GOP.

Jesse : , January 16, 2017 at 05:35 PM

"Politicians were mostly people who'd had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers."

George R. R. Martin

ilsm : , -1
poor democrats!

Cannot reconcile your corporatist, neoliberal, war monger losing to a TV star who suggests we should not tilt with a nuclear power with insane doctrine defining when peace should be breeched; you say the winner is 'illegitimate' or make up relations with a nationalist leader who does not toe the 'one worlder' line.

US should be Denmark!

[Jan 15, 2017] The Congressional defeat, insured by Democrats, of the proposal by Bernie Sanders to allow the import of drugs from Canada to lower drug prices in the United States

Jan 15, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH -> anne...
, January 14, 2017 at 08:00 AM
The Congressional defeat, insured by Democrats, of the proposal by Bernie Sanders to allow the import of drugs from Canada to lower drug prices in the United States.
'
This is only the beginning of Democrats' appeasement of Trump and Republicans...it will be stunning to watch how much damage Republicans can do during Trump's first 90 days with only a slim majority in the Senate. During the first 90 days under Obama, who had a true electoral mandate and big majorities in both houses, Democrats basically sat on their hands, blaming Republicans for their unwillingness to do much for the American people.
Observer -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 08:50 AM
So if we matched Canada, we'd see a 30% decrease, of a segment which comprises 10% of health care spending, or 3% overall decrease.

"PwC's Health Research Institute projects the 2017 medical cost trend to be the same as the current year – a 6.5% growth rate."

So reaching Canadian spending levels would counter ~ 6 months of health care cost increases. Reaching OECD levels buys you another couple of months.

Put another way, reaching OECD levels for drug spending closes 10% of the US-OECD spending gap.

Not nothing, but "fixing" drug prices seems more like an emotional (i.e. political) talking point than a real silver bullet for health care costs.

http://www.pwc.com/us/en/health-industries/health-research-institute/behind-the-numbers.html

pgl -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 11:17 AM
Ever noticed that marketing costs are 30% of revenue? This is a by product of the monopoly power in this sector. Dean Baker has often noted we could have the government do the R&D and then have real competition in manufacturing.
libezkova -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 10:40 PM
Don't be a lobbyist for Big Farma.

You forgot that those researchers often produce useless or even dangerous drags, which are inferior to existing. Looks as scams practiced with hypertension drugs.

This rat race for blockbuster drugs is the same as corruption in financial industry.

http://www.alternet.org/story/148907/15_dangerous_drugs_big_pharma_shoves_down_our_throats

pgl -> anne... , January 14, 2017 at 11:16 AM
Actually the industry profile is very relevant but goes in a different direction - if US firms were compelled to charge market (not monopoly) prices, we would better compete with foreign firms.
pgl -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 11:14 AM
Any excuse to charge sky high prices for drugs that don't cost that much to manufacture? If these monopoly profits were not so high, we would buy more drugs and employ more people.
Observer -> pgl... , January 14, 2017 at 12:57 PM
Do you think we would really buy materially more drugs if prices were lower? Particularly enough more, at those (30-50%?) lower prices, to generate the funds to employ more people?

(If that actually generated at much or more funds, it would seem like the pharma companies, seeking to make as much money as possible, would have already set prices at that lower per unit level.)

In any case, that seems like a LOT more drugs.

Perhaps Anne has data on the number of scripts per person in the US vs OECD.

pgl -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 01:06 PM
There are lots of poor people who don't take drugs because they can't afford them. This will become especially true if the Republican repeal Obamacare.
anne -> Observer... , January 14, 2017 at 09:05 AM
The point of course is wildly exploiting ordinary people in need of healthcare in every possible way, or a reflection of what we have come to. Returning now to the market...

[Jan 15, 2017] 'How's That Hopey, Changey Stuff' Palin Asks NPR

Jan 15, 2017 | www.npr.org
Conservative activists in Nashville this week for the first-ever National Tea Party Convention gave a hero's welcome to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who closed the event with a speech Saturday night. Palin praised the Tea Party movement and delivered a scathing - sometimes mocking - critique of both the economic and national security policies of the Obama administration.

After three days of workshops and speeches by movement leaders far less well-known, Tea Party convention delegates got to see a bona fide conservative superstar.

"I am so proud to be an American," she called out to the cheering crowd Saturday night in a hotel ballroom at the Opryland resort. "Thank you so much for being here tonight. Do you love your freedom?"

She drew more big cheers when she told Tea Partiers that America is ready for another revolution.

This was the rare Palin speech these days to be open to the press, and she used the opportunity to tear into the president. She described his foreign policy as not recognizing the true threats America faces. She cited the decision to criminally charge the suspect in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt as a move that she says puts the country at grave risk.

Article continues after sponsorship

"Because that's not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this. They know we're at war, and to win that war we need a commander in chief and not a professor of law standing at the lectern."

Related NPR Stories Two-Way: Watch The Speech Feb. 7, 2010 Two Views Of The Tea Party's Appeal Feb. 6, 2010

On the economy, she accused the White House of pushing a stimulus package that hasn't created the promised jobs. Millions of dollars have been wasted, she said.

Palin also says the Obama administration has not been transparent, as promised during the campaign.

"This was all part of that hope and change and transparency. Now, a year later, I gotta ask the supporters of all that, 'How's that hopey, changey stuff working out?'

[Jan 13, 2017] Brexit and Labour Disaster

Notable quotes:
"... In the case of the US, a Republican donor-class candidate should have been a Democrat donor-class candidate. Owing to the particular corruption of the Democratic party over the last 8 years, effectively run by the Clinton crime family, the field was unofficially limited to just one. The collapse of the Republican establishment from below still makes my heart sing. Would that the same might occur among Democrats. ..."
"... `I do not understand the pushback [against transnational causes for these events]. Do they really believe that Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, the rise of many right-wing populist parties in Europe etc. have nothing to do with economics? That suddenly all these weird nationalists and nativists got together thanks to the social media and decided to overthrow the established order? People who believe this remind me of Saul Bellow's statement that "a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong."' ..."
"... These are not idiomatic one-off events due to contingent political situations peculiar to each individual country. ..."
"... Something bigger is going on. If Marine LePen wins in France (and I predict she will), that will provide even more evidence. This looks like a global rebellion against globalization + neoliberal economics because the bottom 96% are realizing they're getting screwed and all the benefits are going to the top 6% of professional class + licensed professionals + top 1% in the financial robber barony. ..."
"... Because the 'soft' left, in collaboration with the soft right (and the hard right) have worked assiduously since roughly about 1979 to destroy the 'hard left'. ..."
"... If you help crush the communists then don't be surprised if, in 20 years time, you get the Nazis, because people who hate the system will vote to destroy it, and they will use whatever weapons are to hand to do so . If 'left wing' options aren't available, they will choose 'right wing' ones. ..."
"... I think that the Democratic Party is unlikely to hand over power to the average man and woman in America, but I'm sure that the Republican Party is even less likely to do so; anybody who voted Republican in 2016 because it seemed the best chance of getting power for the average man and woman was played for a sucker. ..."
"... The original Nazis emerged and rose to power in a context where the Communists were trying to destroy the system, and also seeking to crush the Social-democrats; close to the opposite of the pattern you're describing. ..."
"... And Trump, as we all know, is highly suspicious of the EU. Moreover, there is likely to be a battle between the 'liberal (in the highly specific American sense) leaning' intelligence services (the CIA etc.) and the Trump administration. ..."
"... And, thanks to Obama, the CIA, NSA etc. have far more leeway and freedom to act than they did even 20 years ago. It is also possible/likely that MI5/MI6 might be 'let off the leash' by a British (or English) nationalist orientated Conservative Government. ..."
"... you must know why you yourself aren't doing it, and the reasons that apply to you could easily apply to other people as well. ..."
"... There are people making statements daily about how what the Tories are doing is not in the interest of the vast majority of people; but with what effect? ..."
Jan 08, 2017 | crookedtimber.org

by Henry on January 5, 2017 A piece I wrote on Brexit and the UK party system has just come out in Democracy. More than anything else, I wrote the article to get people to read Peter Mair. I didn't know Mair at all well – he was another Irish political scientist, but was based in various European universities and in a different set of academic networks than my own. I met him once and liked him, and chatted briefly a couple of times after that about email. I wish I'd known him better – his posthumously edited and published book, Ruling the Void is the single most compelling account I've read of what has gone wrong in European politics, and in particular what's gone wrong for the left. It's still enormously relevant years after his death. The ever ramifying disaster that is the British Labour party is in large part the working out of the story that Mair laid out – how party elites became disconnected from their base, how the EU became a way to kick issues out of politics into technocracy, and how it all went horribly wrong.

The modern Labour Party is caught in an especially unpleasant version of Mair's dilemma. Labour's leaders tried over decades to improve the party's electoral prospects in a country where its traditional class base was disappearing. They sought very deliberately and with some success to weaken its party organization in order to achieve this aim. However, their success created a new governing class within Labour, one largely disconnected from the party grassroots that it is supposed to represent. Ed Miliband recognized this problem as party leader and tried to rebuild the party's connection to its grassroots. However, as Mair might have predicted, there weren't any traditional grassroots out there to cultivate. Mair argued that the leadership and the base were becoming disengaged from each other, so that traditional parties were withering away. Labour has actually taken this one stage further, creating a party in which the leadership and membership are at daggers drawn, each able to stymie the other, but neither able to prevail or willing to surrender.
J-D 01.05.17 at 11:53 pm ( 8 )

This has all changed. Class and ethnic and religious identities no longer provide secure foundations for European parties, which have more and more tried to become "catchalls," appealing to wide and diffuse groups of voters. People are not attached to parties for life anymore, often waiting until just before Election Day to decide whom to vote for. Party membership figures across Western Europe have shrunk by more than half in a generation.

Do you evaluate this change (on balance) positively or negatively? and why?

Also, since I'm commenting anyway, one minor query:

(Some European countries had different parties for Catholics and Protestants.)

Which countries did you have in mind? There are few European countries that have (or had) both enough Catholics for a significant Catholic party and enough Protestants for a significant Protestant party.

  • I know about the Netherlands, which had separate Catholic and Protestant parties until the 1970s, when the Catholic party merged with the main Protestant parties (although there's still a small Protestant party on the margins), but that's just one country.
  • Germany had a distinct Catholic party (but no specifically Protestant party) under the Wilhelmine Reich and the Weimar Republic, but not the Federal Republic;
  • Switzerland has a Catholic-based party but no specifically Protestant-based party; where else? (There's Northern Ireland, of course, but that's a bit different.) What am I missing?
John Quiggin 01.06.17 at 1:47 am ( 10 )

The Labour Party is so weak that the Conservatives do not need to worry about Labour defeating them in the next election, or perhaps in the election after that.

I don't think this is obvious, precisely because of the volatility of the situation. I remember people saying this about the Cameron government in 2015 and I objected at the time that no-one knew how the Brexit referendum will turn out. Now Cameron is gone and just about forgotten. It's true that the Conservatives are still in, but it's a very different crew.

More importantly, we haven't yet seen what Brexit means, in any sense. May has been coasting on the referendum result, and Labour has been wedged, unable to oppose the referendum outcome and also unable to criticise May's Brexit policy because she either doesn't have one or isn't telling. This can't continue forever (presumably not beyond March), and when the situation changes, anything can happen.

Some scenarios where the Conservatives could come badly unstuck

(a) they put up a "have cake and eat it" proposal that is rejected so humilatingly that they look like fools, then cave in and accept minor concessions on migration in return for a face-saving soft Brexit
(b) hard Brexit becomes inevitable and the financial sector flees en masse
(c) train-crash Brexit with no agreement and a massive depression

The only scenarios I can see that would cement the current position are
(a) a capitulation by the EU on migration etc, with continued single market access
(b) an economically successful hard Brexit/non-fatal train crash

It seems to me that (a) is politically infeasible and (b) is economically unlikely

That's not to gloss over Labour's problems or your diagnosis, with which I generally agree.

mclaren 01.06.17 at 4:11 am ( 11 )
" how party elites became disconnected from their base, how the EU became a way to kick issues out of politics into technocracy, and how it all went horribly wrong."
This sounds exactly like what has happened to the Democratic party in America. Which suggests that there's something transnational going on, much larger than the specific political situation in any given country
kidneystones 01.06.17 at 4:21 am ( 12 )
The essay is excellent as we might expect, Henry. I'm not convinced that Labour had any other choice but to elect Corbyn. Single data points are always suspect, but the decision by the Labor bigwig (have succeeded in forgetting which) to mock 'white-van man' clearly suggests she was playing to a constituency within Labour primed to share in a flash-sneer at the prols. I'd have expected as much from any Tory. I have other quibbles, the decision by Labour to take a position on the referendum and on Remain always seemed critical to forcing Labour to adopt anti-immigrant Tory-light postures in order to have it both ways with working-class voters hostile to London and Brussels.

More problematic is this paragraph: "Research by Tim Bale, Monica Poletti, and Paul Webb shows that these new members tend to be well-educated and heavily left-wing. They wanted to join the Labour Party to remake it into an unapologetically left-leaning party. However, the research suggests that they aren't prepared to put in the hard grind. While most of them have posted about Labour on social media or signed a petition, more than half have never attended a constituency meeting, and only a small minority have gone door to door or delivered leaflets. They are at best a shaky foundation for remaking the Labour Party." Your questionable decision to deploy 'they' and 'them' muddies the reality a bit, as does your decision to rely on metrics from the past to predict future behavior.

I take your point that failing to attend a political rally, or go door-to-door, means something in a time when populist parties are in the 'ascent.' But as you point out this rise can only occur because the 'old parties' have failed so badly to connect activists and members. Again, that said, I'm still not convinced all is doom and gloom. Labour activists opposed to EU membership were effectively gagged/shamed by the elite right up to the present. It is only now this week, that Labour has elected to make English compulsory for new immigrants: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/chuka-umunna-immigrants-should-be-made-to-learn-english-on-arrival-in-uk-classes-esol-social-a7509666.html

Labour wasn't anything but Tory-lite until Jeremy and the new influx of members. I'm not personally in favor of the new policy. It does seem to me more Tory-lite. But the battles are now more out in the open. My guess is that Labour will survive and will rule again, but only if the party can persuade Scotland and Wales to remain part of the UK. Adopting Tory-lite policies is precisely what alienated Scots Labour voters and drove them into the arms of the SNP, so that's that the PLP gives you.

Britain is entering a period of flux: jobs, housing, respect for all – including all those dead, white people who made such a mess of the world, and respect for all forms of work, and greater social and economic movement within Britain will likely go over quite well with large sections of the electorate. Strong borders and a sensible immigration policy is part of that.

kidneystones 01.06.17 at 6:58 am ( 14 )
@10 "This sounds exactly like what has happened to the Democratic party in America. Which suggests that there's something transnational going on, much larger than the specific political situation in any given country"

"This sounds " Yes, in general terms. Yet, the donor-class candidates could have and should have won in Brexit and in the US.

In the case of the Brexit, I argued before and after that simply allowing Labour candidates and members to express their own views publicly, rather than adhere to a (sufficiently unpopular) particular policy set by Henry's elite would have negated the need to adopt anti-immigrant Tory lite stances – a straddle that fooled nobody and drove Labour voters to UKIP in not insignificant numbers.

In the case of the US, a Republican donor-class candidate should have been a Democrat donor-class candidate. Owing to the particular corruption of the Democratic party over the last 8 years, effectively run by the Clinton crime family, the field was unofficially limited to just one. The collapse of the Republican establishment from below still makes my heart sing. Would that the same might occur among Democrats.

Had, however, the Clinton campaign actually placed the candidate in Wisconsin, in Michigan, and in Pennsylvania rather than bank on turning off voters, we'd be looking at a veneer of stability covering up the rot now on display.

The point being: there's always something transnational going on. I explained Brexit to my own students as a regional rebellion against London, as much as Brussels. Henry's essay is good on Brexit and UKIP. Both the US and UK outcomes could have been avoided.

@12 Thank you for this, Gareth.

J-D 01.06.17 at 7:33 am ( 15 )
kidneystones

Britain is entering a period of flux: jobs, housing, respect for all – including all those dead, white people who made such a mess of the world, and respect for all forms of work, and greater social and economic movement within Britain will likely go over quite well with large sections of the electorate.

If Britain were to enter a period of jobs, housing, and respect for all, with greater social and economic mobility, it would be reasonable to expect most people to be pleased; but there's no evidence that anything of the kind is happening, or is going to happen.

Igor Belanov 01.06.17 at 9:26 am ( 16 )
Layman @ 6

"The PLP didn't opt to get along, they opted to fight, and got mauled."

They lost the battle but are winning the war.

Corbyn has been keeping a very low profile since his re-election, proposals for reform such as mandatory reselection seem to have been dropped, and the left of the party is squabbling over whether it remains a Corbyn fan club or an active agent for the democratisation of the party. Party policy remains inchoate and receives little media publicity.

Michels hasn't been disproved just yet, and I suspect the party remains immune to lasting reform, short of a major split.

J-D 01.06.17 at 10:39 am ( 17 )
Igor Belanov

I suspect the party remains immune to lasting reform, short of a major split.

There are plenty of examples from the UK and other countries, including the Labour Party itself, of parties undergoing major splits, and the evidence doesn't suggest that the experience is conducive to lasting reform.

gastro george 01.06.17 at 10:40 am ( 18 )
@Layman @Igor

Yes, after the second election, the PLP have opted for the long game, with the expectation that a disastrous General Election (one of the reasons why the talk up the possibility of an early one at every opportunity) will see a return to "normality". In the meantime, the strategy is to make Corbyn an irrelevance, hence the lack of coverage in the MSM, except for a drip of mocking articles of which today's by Gaby Hinsliff in the Graun is typical.

Corbyn and his organisation don't help themselves but, faced with such irredentism, they have little leverage on the situation.

Dan Hardie 01.06.17 at 11:06 am ( 19 )
You don't make a single mention of Scotland, which is a massive omission to make. (And frankly, it's a particularly odd mistake for an Irishman: it's supposed to be the English who blithely assume that where they live is coterminous with the whole United Kingdom).

I like a lot of the essay, but it's gravely weakened by the fact that you're prepared to discuss things like political elites and class allegiance- and, in a European context, religious allegiance- but you don't mention national or regional political identities. You really can't leave those things out and give an accurate picture of current British politics.

Chris Bertram 01.06.17 at 12:53 pm ( 23 )
I agree that a Labour revival isn't coming along soon. The problem is that a lot of people in Labour think and hope that it might, and that makes them very unwilling to start thinking about electoral alliances, because they are committed to standing candidates everywhere.

Labour, imo, needs some further and serious bad shocks to get them into the frame of mind that could make an anti-Tory alliance possible. Once it is, FPTP could turn from the secret of Tory success into the mechanism for their destruction. But 2020 might be too soon.

Guano 01.06.17 at 3:28 pm ( 25 )
Re Chris Bertram #22

Forming coalitions and alliances requires negotiation and making trade-offs and active listening: unfortunately there are probably too many people in the Labour Party who would find that very difficult. They appear not to be willing to negotiate even with their own members.

Igor Belanov 01.06.17 at 4:10 pm ( 26 )
Chris Bertram @ 22

I really can't see the obsession with an 'anti-Tory alliance'. Given that it involves allying with a party who recently were effectively part of a pro-Tory alliance, it only works in any sense if you think that the Tories have morphed into the far-right, or if you have a well-worked out programme of constitutional reform you want to implement.

The bit that concerns involving the SNP particularly baffles me. Given that they have been at daggers drawn with the Labour Party in Scotland, and that they are highly unlikely to step aside from any of their 90-odd % of Scottish seats to give their alliance partner a few more MPs, it seems a non-starter. This impression is magnified when you consider that the spectre of a Labour-SNP minority government was thought to have scared off potential Labour voters at the last election.

Dipper 01.06.17 at 8:02 pm ( 34 )
Corbyn is just awful. A toxic mix of naivity, ego, and blundering stupidity.

His concept of role is almost non-existant. He walks onto a train without having pre-booked, finds it difficult getting two seats together, and decides on the spot that all trains must be nationalised. He spots a man sleeping rough and decides ending rough sleeping is his top priority. He blunders around like he's just landed from another planet, sees an injustice and thinks he, Jeremy, is the first person ever to see such a terrible thing, and decides on the spot to make it his top priority to eliminate this evil by the simple policy expedient of saying he will eliminate it.

He doesn't do policy in any recognisable sense. He does positioning statements which he assembles with mates and puts on his personal web site. Take his "Manifesto for Digital Democracy". It claims to be a policy, but in reality its just a list of Things That Jeremy Thinks Are Good. It doesn't appear to have gone through a discussion process or approval process. It is not clear if this is a party policy or just a personal document.

His position on Brexit is a disaster. On the issue which is coming to define politics in the UK he is neither clearly for it nor clearly against it. He gives the impression he finds it a dull subject. He is at best second choice for everyone, first choice for no-one; at worst, he is an irrelevance.

Worse, he appears completely oblivious to the power games being played out in his name. Neighbouring constituencies are to be carved up so Jeremy's seat can be preserved. His son Seb is given a job in John McDonnell's office. He is effectively held captive by a North London clique who look after him, tell him he's great, and then use his "policies" as a checklist against which to assess conformance of MPs to The One True Corbyn Way and pursue vendettas.

His personality is completely unsuited to the job of Leader, let alone Prime Minister. Even if you believe in Jeremy's policies you need to find someone else to implement them because he lacks any of the requisite capabilities.

Nothing is going to magically get better.

No matter how bad things get, under Jeremy they can always get worse.

references:

J-D 01.06.17 at 8:22 pm ( 35 )
effectively gagged/shamed

Any argument which treats being gagged and being shamed as effectively equivalent is not worth taking seriously.

Layman 01.06.17 at 9:05 pm ( 37 )
'Unofficially limited' dies give one the wiggle room to assert just about anything. It's a way of lying which can't be rebutted. If you say 'but there were 3 candidates', he'll respond that he did say 'unofficially' limited. If you say 'but two of them did quite well', he'll respond that he did, after all, say 'unofficially' limited. So he can take a case where there was actually a competitive race, and make it seem like there was never a competitive race. Of course, his post is, officially, approved by the moderators
djr 01.06.17 at 10:22 pm ( 38 )
While most of them have posted about Labour on social media or signed a petition, more than half have never attended a constituency meeting, and only a small minority have gone door to door or delivered leaflets.

There's a strong feel of "young folks aren't doing politics the way my generation used to do politics" about this, especially given the activities you're complaining they're not doing. Is posting on social media achieving more or less than posting leaflets to fill up people's recycling bins?

mclaren 01.07.17 at 3:43 am ( 43 )
kidneystones @14 claims: "I explained Brexit to my own students as a regional rebellion against London, as much as Brussels."

If that's correct, why did we get: [1] Trump/Sanders in the U.S., [2] Brexit in the UK, [3] repudiation of Matteo Renzi along with the referendum in Italy, [4] a probable win for Marine LePen in France (wait for it, you'll be oh-so-shocked when it happens)?

`I do not understand the pushback [against transnational causes for these events]. Do they really believe that Trump, Brexit, Le Pen, the rise of many right-wing populist parties in Europe etc. have nothing to do with economics? That suddenly all these weird nationalists and nativists got together thanks to the social media and decided to overthrow the established order? People who believe this remind me of Saul Bellow's statement that "a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is strong."'

Interview with economist Branko Milanovic in The New Republic, http://glineq.blogspot.de/2016/12/full-text-of-my-new-republic-interview.html?m=1

Scottish economist Mark Blyth has been making the same point: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2016/12/15/when-does-democracy-fail-when-voters-dont-get-what-they-asked-for/?utm_term=.0b8b5cf98cc4

I would suggest kidneystones is simply wrong. These are not idiomatic one-off events due to contingent political situations peculiar to each individual country.

Something bigger is going on. If Marine LePen wins in France (and I predict she will), that will provide even more evidence. This looks like a global rebellion against globalization + neoliberal economics because the bottom 96% are realizing they're getting screwed and all the benefits are going to the top 6% of professional class + licensed professionals + top 1% in the financial robber barony.

kidneystones 01.07.17 at 5:33 am ( 44 )
@43 Actually, I make no claim against trans-national developments. Quite the opposite.

Elsewhere, I've written that we are dealing with a world-wide tension between advocates of globalization and their opponents. Where you differ is in determinations and outcomes, which I argue are based on the actors, actions and dynamics of each state and which are, as such, unique. There is nothing at all inevitable about any of this and JQ very sensibly reminds us of the volatility of the present moment.

What is clear to me at least is that ideas and actions matter. Labour need not have decided in 2014, or so, to ban members from advocating either a referendum, or leaving the EU. I dug all this up at the time and the timeline is easy enough to recreate.

Austria stepped back from the brink, as did Greece when it repudiated Golden Dawn. The French right and left worked together to keep the presidency out of the hands of the FN, although it's less clear how that successful these efforts will be in the future.

The next few years will be telling. I see no reliable evidence to indicate good fortune, or end times. The safest bet is more of the same, repackaged, with all the predictable shrieks and yells about 'never before' etc. that usually accompanies the screwing of the lower orders. The donor class is utterly dedicated to retaining power. I think JQ is spot on regarding alliances. We didn't come this far just to have the wheels fall off.

The populism of the right (which I support in large measure) points the way. I'd have preferred to see a populism of the left win, but too many are/were unwilling to burn down establishment with the same willingness and enthusiasm of those on the right. Indeed, this thread has several vocal defenders of an utterly corrupt Democratic party apparatus busted cold for colluding to steal the nomination. There's a reason donors forked over 1.2 billion to the Clinton crime family and it wasn't to help Hillary turn over power to the average woman and man in America.

Ya think?

J-D 01.07.17 at 6:46 am ( 45 )
mclaren

How does voting for Trump look like 'rebellion against the financial robber barony'?

For that matter, how does voting 'No' in the Italian referendum look like 'rebellion against the financial robber barony'?

Hidari 01.07.17 at 9:15 am ( 46 )
@43, 45

Because the 'soft' left, in collaboration with the soft right (and the hard right) have worked assiduously since roughly about 1979 to destroy the 'hard left'.

'High points' in this 'epic battle' include Neil Kinnock's purging of Militant, the failure of the trade union establishment to (in any meaningful sense) support the miners' strike (1984), the failure of the Democratic party establishment to get behind McGovern (1972), Carter's rejections of Keynesianism (and de facto espousal of monetarism) in roughly 1977, Blair's war on 'Bennism', the tolerance of/espousal of Reaganite anti-Communism by most sectors of the British left by the late 1980s/early 1990s, and so on.

So what we are left with nowadays is angry working class people who would, in previous generations (i.e. the 1950s, and 1960s) have voted Communist or chosen some other 'radical' left wing option (and who did vote in such a way in the 1950s/1960s) no longer have that option.

What the 'soft left' hoped is that, with 'radical' left wing options off the table, the proles would STFU and stop voting, or at least continue to vote for a 'nice' 'respectable' soft left party.

What they failed to predict is that (as they were designed to do) neo-liberal policies immiserated the working class, leaving that class angrier than ever before.

And so, the working class wanted to lash out, to register their anger, their fury. But, as noted before, the 'traditional' way to do that was off the table. Ergo: Trump, Brexit etc.

If you help crush the communists then don't be surprised if, in 20 years time, you get the Nazis, because people who hate the system will vote to destroy it, and they will use whatever weapons are to hand to do so . If 'left wing' options aren't available, they will choose 'right wing' ones.

We have all read this story book before: the 'social democrats' connived with the German state to crush the 1918/1919 working class uprising, and then were led, blubbering, to Dachau 20 years later. One wonders how many of them reflected that they themselves might be partially responsible for their fate.

In the same way: the 'soft left' connived and collaborated with the Right to crush the 'radical left' in the US and the UK (and worldwide) and then were SHOCKED!! and AMAZED!! that the Right don't really like them very much and were only using them as a tool to defeat the organised forces of the working class, and that with the 'radicals' out of the way, the parties of the 'soft left' (with no natural allies left) can now be picked off one by one, at the Right's leisure.

Boo hoo, so sad, oh well, never mind.

J-D 01.07.17 at 9:58 am ( 47 )
kidneystones

Ya think?

I think that the Democratic Party is unlikely to hand over power to the average man and woman in America, but I'm sure that the Republican Party is even less likely to do so; anybody who voted Republican in 2016 because it seemed the best chance of getting power for the average man and woman was played for a sucker.

(Incidentally, if 'the donor class' means the same thing as 'rich people', wouldn't it be clearer to refer to them as 'rich people'? and if 'the donor class' means something different from 'rich people', what constitutes the difference?)

gastro george 01.07.17 at 10:04 am ( 48 )
@Dipper

Any tirade against Corbyn is entirely pointless, because you're not addressing the reasons why he was elected, or what he represents. I think most of those that support him have a varying degree of criticism, and many would prefer a more able leader. The problem for Labour is that there is not a more able leader available that understands the need to ditch Third Way nonsense. If any of the PLP "big beasts" had done this in any meaningful way, instead of plotting against him, they would be leader by now.

J-D 01.07.17 at 10:21 am ( 49 )
Hidari

So what we are left with nowadays is angry working class people who would, in previous generations (i.e. the 1950s, and 1960s) have voted Communist or chosen some other 'radical' left wing option (and who did vote in such a way in the 1950s/1960s) no longer have that option.

In the US, only tiny numbers of voters supported Communist candidates in the 1950s and 1960s. It's true that the option of voting Communist no longer exists, because the Communist Party has stopped running candidates, but that seems to be a realistic response by the party to its derisory level of voter support. If there are people who still want to follow the Communist line, what they would have done in 2016 is turn out to vote against Trump (that's what the party was urging on its website; the information is still accessible).

In Italy, on the other hand, it's true that large numbers of voters supported Communist candidates in the 1950s and 1960s; and in Italy, voters still have the option of supporting Communist candidates, but the numbers of those who choose to do so have become much smaller.

People who voted for Trump weren't doing so because they were denied the option of voting Communist; and people who voted 'No' in the Italian referendum weren't doing so because they were denied the option of voting Communist.

If you help crush the communists then don't be surprised if, in 20 years time, you get the Nazis, because people who hate the system will vote to destroy it, and they will use whatever weapons are to hand to do so.

The original Nazis emerged and rose to power in a context where the Communists were trying to destroy the system, and also seeking to crush the Social-democrats; close to the opposite of the pattern you're describing.

Hidari 01.07.17 at 10:56 am ( 50 )
@28, @41

Yes, and another situation where 'mostpeople' have failed to follow the logic of a situation through. Many intellectuals can see that it is not in the EU's interests for the UK to prosper out of the EU lest it 'encourager les autres'. Fewer have pointed out that this works the other way, too. It is no longer in the UK's interests for the EU to prosper (or, indeed, to continue), and a new nationalist orientated Conservative government might make moves in this direction.

As Jeremy Corbyn alone has had the perspicacity to point out, insofar as there is a political movement in the UK that is most closely aligned with Donald Trump's Republicanism, it is the Conservatives under May (the UK's latest intervention vis a vis the UN and Israel was a blatant attempt to curry favour with the new American administration).

And Trump, as we all know, is highly suspicious of the EU. Moreover, there is likely to be a battle between the 'liberal (in the highly specific American sense) leaning' intelligence services (the CIA etc.) and the Trump administration. Assuming Trump wins (not a certainty) it is possible/likely that Trump will use the newly 'energised' intelligence services to pursue a more 'American nationalism' orientated policy, and it is likely that this new approach will see the EU being viewed as much more of an economic competitor to the US, rather than a tool for the containment of Russia, as it is primarily seen at the moment.

And, thanks to Obama, the CIA, NSA etc. have far more leeway and freedom to act than they did even 20 years ago. It is also possible/likely that MI5/MI6 might be 'let off the leash' by a British (or English) nationalist orientated Conservative Government.

It is not implausible, therefore, that the US and the UK will use what 'soft' power they have to weaken the EU and sow division wherever they can. And of course the EU has enough problems of its own, such that these tactics might work. Certainly it is highly possible that the EU will simply not exist by 2050, or at least, not in the form that we have it at present.

Igor Belanov 01.07.17 at 11:48 am ( 51 )
dsquared @22

"One of the consequences of the phenomenon you're discussing is that volatility is incredibly high. I'd never before seen a politically party as totally, irredeemably fecked as Fianna Fail in 2010, but look at them now."

I think this is just one of the features of postmodern politics. For potential governmental parties they only have to retain enough support to be a realistic alternative, and even with 20% of the vote Fianna Fail had enough of a profile that an opportunistic campaign of opposition could lead to them recovering their fortunes to some extent at the next election. I suspect that even PASOK and New Democracy will receive a similar bounce at the next Greek election.

These kind of stances usually involve avoiding too close a link to certain social groups and maintaining a distance from potentially principled and activist party memberships. This explains the hostility of Labour MPs towards Corbyn and the left of the party. They feel that ideological commitments and an orientation towards the poor and disadvantaged will reduce the party's freedom of maneuver, damaging their chances of capitalizing electorally on Tory failure.

Of course, they have not provided any reason why anyone of a left-wing persuasion should support such a cynical and opportunistic worldview, apart from the fact that the Tories are evil. And they then wonder why many people are alienated from politics.

gastro george 01.07.17 at 3:03 pm ( 52 )
@Hidari

"Fewer have pointed out that this works the other way, too. It is no longer in the UK's interests for the EU to prosper (or, indeed, to continue) "

Interesting, I'd not seen that elsewhere. I'd be pretty certain that this is the objective of people like Hannan.

".. and it is likely that this new approach will see the EU being viewed as much more of an economic competitor to the US, rather than a tool for the containment of Russia, as it is primarily seen at the moment."

Maybe less to do with competition than regulation? The Trump view is presumably that anything that restricts continued plundering of the economy, especially transnational institutions.

@Igor

"I think this is just one of the features of postmodern politics. For potential governmental parties they only have to retain enough support to be a realistic alternative "

"This explains the hostility of Labour MPs towards Corbyn and the left of the party. They feel that ideological commitments and an orientation towards the poor and disadvantaged will reduce the party's freedom of manoeuvre, damaging their chances of capitalising electorally on Tory failure."

Very good.

gastro george 01.07.17 at 3:05 pm ( 53 )
" The Trump view is presumably against anything that "
Ronan(rf) 01.07.17 at 3:22 pm ( 54 )
"Perhaps these parties are in fact in sync with global political trends because they are all nationalist parties and nationalism is clearly on the rise at the moment. "

Yes, they are clearly part of the nationalist turn. Or at least I assume that is true of Plaid Cymru and the SNP, but it definitely is of Sinn Fein, who are policy wise a leftist party, but ideologically first and foremost a nationalist one. You can see this in polling on their support base, which tends to be more reactionary* and culturally conservative than even the irish centre right parties, yet Sinn Fein as a political party often takes position (such as their strong support for gay marriage) in opposition to the preferences of a large chunk of their base.

This Is particularly the case with immigration, where for going on a decade local politicians have noted that this is one of the concerns they often hear in constituency work that they don't make a priority in national politics. It's difficult to (as Sinn Fein does) see yourself (rightly or wrongly) as the nationalism of a historically oppressed minority, and to support the rights of that minority in the north (I'm making no normative claims on the correctness of their interpretation) and then attack other minorities. This is why they're institutionally , and seemingly ideologically, commited to diversity and multiculturalism in the south of ireland, while also being fundamentally a nationalist party. (Question is (1) does this posture survive the current leadership , and (2) is it enough to stave off explicitly nativist parties**) Afaict this is also true of the snp, I don't know about PC.

But there's still a lot of poison in it. "Anti englishness" , which a lot of this, (at least implicitly") can encourage , might be more acceptable than anti immigrant sentiment, but it's still qualitatively the same mind set.

*this is 're a big chunk if their base, but by no means the full story.

**basically what happens to the independent vote, which is (afaict)possibly the real populist turn in ireland.

Daragh 01.07.17 at 5:06 pm ( 55 )
dsquared @22 and Hidari @39

At the risk of sounding like I'm simply saying 'but Ireland is special!' I think the (partial) resurgence of Fianna Fail is a bit of a sui generis phenomenon. Irish politics have historically been tribal in a way that makes UK voters look like an exemplar of rational choice theory. It is only the very slightest exaggeration to say that my father's vote in every general election he has participated in was determined in 1922, several decades before his birth – I'm sure other Irish Timberteers have experienced similar. Even then, FF is still far away from the kind of hegemonic dominance it enjoyed prior to the crash – when a poll result of 38% would have been regarded as disastrous – and the FF/FG combined vote total is still struggling to hit 60%. While I'd agree that this looks like pretty strong evidence for the 'resurgence of the right' thesis of European politics at first glance, the failure of the left in Ireland is more due to a) Sinn Fein and Labour being deeply imperfect vessels for the transmission of left-wing politics (albeit for very different reasons) b) the low-cost of entry into the Irish political system due to PR-STV leading to a splintering of the political left.

Additionally, the attempt by former Fine Gael deputy Lucinda Creighton to tap into the supposed right-wing resurgence via the Renua party ended in an electoral curb-stomping as comprehensive as it was satisfying to witness. So I don't think a surge in popularity for 'the right' is what's going on here.

It should also be noted that Michael Martin is an infinitely more talented politician than Enda Kenny (even though that is a bit of a 'world's tallest dwarf' comparison), and has explicitly positioned FF to the left of FG, but also as a fundamentally 'centrist' and 'moderating' force. In other words, he's pursuing a political strategy similar to that of Tony Blair, and is reaping political dividends for doing so. Shocking, I know! (And FWIW – I have a deep, fundamental dislike of FF and all it stands for and would never consider voting for them, lest anyone think I'm here to carry water for Martin).

Unfortunately, for those arguing the 'Jeremy Corbyn is only getting clobbered in the polls because of the perfidy of the PLP/the biased right-wing media/dark forces within MI5' the Irish experience doesn't offer much comfort. After 2010 the various hard-left groupuscules in Ireland put aside their factional differences and were able to mount a relatively united front in two successive elections, and under leaders like Richard Boyd Barrett, Joe Higgins and Clare Daly. All of these individuals are relatively charismatic, as well as possessing strong skills as political communicators (attributes even Corbyn's most ardent defenders would admit he is lacking in).

They also had an issue, in the form of water charges, that allowed them to develop an extremely clear, very popular political position which resonated with large swathes of the electorate in every region of the country (again, something UK Labour is severely missing).

The results? Just over 5% of the vote in the last election for a total of 10 TDs, and basically zero influence over the actual governance of the country.

This is not because of some vast array of structural forces and barriers are arrayed against them (as discussed above, PR-STV makes the barrier to entry into Irish politics very low). It is because, as with Corbyn, the electorate neither trusts them to competently administer the state, nor supports their vision for its future socio-economic development. You can argue that the electorate are ignorant, or mistaken in this regard, but given that Corbyn has at various points in his career argued that East Germany, Cuba and Venezuela represent optimal socio-economic systems, I would argue that they're probably right on this particular question.

RichardM 01.07.17 at 5:10 pm ( 56 )
In the US, only tiny numbers of voters supported Communist candidates in the 1950s and 1960s.

The effect is not direct. It comes down to the fact that for the average working person, there two main ways they could be significantly better or worse off; wages could be higher, or tax could be lower.

One of those is a thing that is promised by political parties, one isn't.

The actual rate of tax, or the feasibility or secondary effects of changing, don't really matter. Leaving the EU, whatever else it means, means not paying tax to it. A belief that the tax paid to the EU ends up as a net benefit to the payee requires a level of trust in the system that is easy to argue against.

The US has lower taxes than any other developed democracy, and so presumably wouldn't carry on functioning as one if you cut further. Which means to deliver further tax cuts, you need a politician who doesn't understand, doesn't care, or just possibly is in hock to those who wish the US harm.

Traditional Communists similarly considered the collapse of the system to be more of a goal than a worry. Without them, arguments against higher wages always prevail.

Barry 01.07.17 at 5:12 pm ( 57 )
Kidneystones: "Owing to the particular corruption of the Democratic party over the last 8 years, effectively run by the Clinton crime family, the field was unofficially limited to just one."

Seconding Belle here – 'effectively run' means 'defeated by another, and forced to work your way back up'.

novakant 01.07.17 at 8:04 pm ( 59 )
The Labour Party as a functioning opposition seems to have vanished – seriously: what did the general public hear from them over the last year or so apart from party infighting and accusations of anti-semitism?

I still support many of Corbyn's policies and ironically so does much of the general public . But he lost my trust with his ridiculous wavering over Brexit and ineffectiveness as a politician in general.

I actually don't think it would be too hard to organize an effective opposition considering the fact that the Tories have no idea at all what they are doing and their policies are not in the interest of the vast majority of people. But you have to hit them over the head with this on a daily basis and I have no idea why nobody does it.

Dipper 01.07.17 at 8:06 pm ( 60 )
gastro george @48

Any tirade against Corbyn is entirely pointless

Well I wouldn't say it was entirely pointless. It is important to establish a baseline, and in this case the baseline is that Corbyn's leadership is most unlikely to deliver electoral success for Labour.

But your main point is a fair one, so time to try a different tack.

Policy is a misleading guide to whether a party is left or right. The current conservative party is running a significant deficit, is committed to maintaining the NHS free at the point of use, has implemented a living wage, has introduced same-sex marriage, and at the last election touted state spending as the way to improve economic performance. all these policies were traditionally associated with left-wing parties.

Policy is free, and it isn't particularly sticky. Given those features, policy is not a particularly reliable feature. No private company would make policy its chief USP as it can easily be replicated and customers show little loyalty based on policy. So if policy is not a route to political identity, what is?

What voters want from a political party is that the party holds them and their interests paramount as it goes about its business. When it implements a policy, it makes sure that policy is implemented in a way that benefits them and their group. They want to be sure that in the difficult and complex world of politics, the people they have voted for will look after their interests. The modern Conservative party understand this. So Teresa May puts her target market – Just managing families – dead centre in her Downing Street speech. And so far she has very high levels of public support.

By contrast, Labour doesn't seem to know who it represents, who it is batting for, and what it wants for them. It doesn't give clear signals about where British workers stand in its hierarchies of priorities. Until someone stands up and clearly articulates a vision of ambition for the mass of the people then Labour will get out-fought in all significant political debates.

J-D 01.07.17 at 8:21 pm ( 61 )
Hidari

Certainly it is highly possible that the EU will simply not exist by 2050, or at least, not in the form that we have it at present.

What a weak and trivial assertion.

It is possible that the US will not exist by 2050 in the form that we have it at present. It is possible that the UK will not exist by 2050 in the form that we have it at present. It is possible that the Conservative Party [the Democratic Party] [the Labour Party] [the Republican Party] will not exist by 2050 in the form that we have it at present. It is possible that MI5 [MI6] [the CIA] [the NSA] will not exist by 2050 in the form that we have it at present. [Lather, rinse, repeat.]

'The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.' (Winston Churchill, A History Of The English-Speaking Peoples )

Hidari 01.07.17 at 9:28 pm ( 62 )
@52
Yeah maybe I should clarify that. Obviously much of the UK's trade is done with the EU so in that sense the UK does have an economic interest in the EU prospering, but only in terms of individual states. The UK (arguably) does not have an interest, any more in the EU as a unified political/economic entity and if, as seems plausible, the UK now moves in a more Trumpian direction, this tendency might well continue.

@55 Your evidence argues against your own argument. You have persistently argued, across many CT threads, that the only and sole reason that Labour is doing badly right now is because of Corbyn. And then the evidence you provide is that the left is doing badly in Ireland too. Do you see the problem?

The fact is that if there was any serious alternative to Corbyn, the PLP would have put him or her forward in the recent leadership election, and s/he would probably have won. But there is no such candidate because the problems the Labour party face are much more deeply rooted than the current crisis caused by the Corbyn leadership and these problems are faced by almost every centre-left political party in the West . (The 'radical' left, as I pointed out above, having essentially vanished in almost all of the developed world).

Let's not forget that as recently as the late 1990s, almost every country in Europe was governed by the centre left. Now, almost none* of them are. That's the scale of the collapse. Indeed the usual phrase for this phenomenon is 'Pasokification'. Not Corbynification (at least not yet).

Corbyn certainly doesn't have a solution to this problem but then nobody else does either, so there you go.

http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21695887-centre-left-sharp-decline-across-europe-rose-thou-art-sick

*depending, of course, on what you mean by 'centre left'.

djr 01.07.17 at 10:44 pm ( 64 )
All elections for the last few decades:
Many people in the UK: "Can we have our share of the benefits of globalisation?"
Tacit cartel: "After the City has taken the lion's share and we've had our cut, there might be something left that you can have."

Referendum:
Tacit cartel: "Vote Remain or everybody will lose the benefits of globalisation!"

John Quiggin 01.07.17 at 10:51 pm ( 65 )
It's obviously in the interests of (hard) Brexiteers that the EU should fail, but it's not clear what they can do to promote this end, except in the sense that hard Brexit itself will be mutually damaging. Supporting ideological soulmates like Le Pen might help but could be a two edged sword (do Le Pen voters welcome British support?)

By contrast, there's a great deal that the EU can do to harm the UK at modest cost, for example, by objecting whenever they try to carry over existing WTO arrangements made under EU auspices.

J-D 01.07.17 at 10:58 pm ( 66 )
Igor Belanov

Of course, they have not provided any reason why anyone of a left-wing persuasion should support such a cynical and opportunistic worldview, apart from the fact that the Tories are evil.

Preventing people from doing evil seems like a powerful motivation to me.

J-D 01.08.17 at 12:09 am ( 68 )
RichardM

Traditional Communists similarly considered the collapse of the system to be more of a goal than a worry. Without them, arguments against higher wages always prevail.

It's commonplace for minimum wages to be increased without Communists playing any role.

djr 01.08.17 at 12:54 am ( 69 )
JQ @ 65

Yes, there's a definite thread of wanting to make the EU fail from the Brexiters (at the same time as believing that it's going to fail anyway, which is why we should get out). As you say, it's not clear what the UK could do to make this happen, especially from the outside pissing in.

Vice versa, whatever "the EU" thinks about wanting the UK to fail, "the EU" can't do much about it, and the interests of the member states' governments may or may not be the same. On the other hand, if there's one way to get them to respond with one voice, the UK attempting to damage Germany's relationship with France might be it.

J-D 01.08.17 at 3:03 am ( 72 )
Dipper

What voters want from a political party is that the party holds them and their interests paramount as it goes about its business. When it implements a policy, it makes sure that policy is implemented in a way that benefits them and their group. They want to be sure that in the difficult and complex world of politics, the people they have voted for will look after their interests. The modern Conservative party understand this. So Teresa May puts her target market – Just managing families – dead centre in her Downing Street speech.

Anybody who thinks that the Conservatives are going to hold paramount the interests of 'just about managing' families has been played for a sucker.

kidneystones 01.08.17 at 5:06 am ( 73 )
Corbyn, like Trump, is the consequence – not the cause of the some twenty years of failed policies. Vastly more popular than Corbyn isn't saying much. Some 20 percent of those who pulled the lever in November for Trump don't believe he's qualified for his new position.

Henry's essay does a good job, I think, of identifying the general problem Labour faces. As for the leadership, it's going go be extremely difficult to find a senior Labour PLP big beast who did not vote for the Iraq war/Blairites, or who did not oppose even the referendum on Brexit, not to mention Leave. Both of these issues are deal-breakers, it seems, for some of the more active members still remaining in Labour. Left-leaning Labour voters, especially those in Scotland, are unhappy with Tory-lite and with the pro-war positions of the Blairites. Labour voters hostile to London generally (many in Wales), and to the focus on Europe, rather than depressed regions of Britain, are unlikely to rally around PLP figures who spent much of the run-up to the vote calling Leave supporters closet racists.

Actions and decisions have consequences and the discussions that seem to distress a few here and there (not to mention Labour's low-standing in the polls) are both long overdue and essential if Labour plans on offering a coherent platform on anything. Running on the NHS and education and even housing was fine for a while, and might still be so. Intervening in Syria, Libya, and Iraq complicates matters considerably, as does forcing Labour supporters to adhere to either side of the Remain/Leave case.

A little civility and good will here and there would do a world of good, but I'm aware that discussion is better suited to Henry's earlier post on science fiction.

J-D 01.08.17 at 6:58 am ( 74 )
kidneystones

Corbyn, like Trump, is the consequence – not the cause of the some twenty years of failed policies.

So, what you're saying is that the present is the consequence and not the cause of the past? is that it?

Shall we ponder for a moment?

Actions and decisions have consequences

Thank you, Captain Obvious! Your work here is done.

ZM 01.08.17 at 7:20 am ( 75 )
"It's obviously in the interests of (hard) Brexiteers that the EU should fail, but it's not clear what they can do to promote this end, except in the sense that hard Brexit itself will be mutually damaging."

I don't think this is right. Australia has neighbours that we aren't in a trade and currency and migration zone with, but I don't think Australia wants these countries to fail economically or any other way. I don't see why Britain would want the EU to fail - the UK is better off being neighbours with stable prosperous countries in the EU than a lot of failed states pulling out of the EU I would think .??

"While most of them have posted about Labour on social media or signed a petition, more than half have never attended a constituency meeting, and only a small minority have gone door to door or delivered leaflets."

My observations is that people do more voluntary work of this hands on kind with non-profit advocacy groups than political parties.

Maybe as the major political parties became more similar, and weren't polarised in the sense they were in the post-war era to the 80s, people prefer to volunteer for specific causes they believe in, rather than for major political parties.

J-D 01.08.17 at 7:57 am ( 76 )
ZM

It's not 'Britain' that wants the EU to fail; it's the people who were strong supporters of UK withdrawal from the EU who want that, because to them failure of the EU would provide vindication, or at least a plausible appearance of it.

novakant 01.08.17 at 9:19 am ( 77 )
you must know why you yourself aren't doing it, and the reasons that apply to you could easily apply to other people as well.

I wasn't aware that I was supposed to organize the opposition.

There are people making statements daily about how what the Tories are doing is not in the interest of the vast majority of people; but with what effect?

Seriously, I don't see that. Now there might be a big media conspiracy to drown out these voices, but I think it's more plausible that the current Labour leadership is just not very good at this game.

Hidari 01.08.17 at 10:05 am ( 78 )
'I don't see why Britain would want the EU to fail - the UK is better off being neighbours with stable prosperous countries in the EU than a lot of failed states pulling out of the EU I would think .??'

Yeah just to be absolutely precise (again) I don't think the UK would ever want the EU to fail, exactly. But if the perception gains ground that the EU is trying to shaft the UK (and remember it's in the EU's interests to do just that) 'tit for tat' moves can spiral out of control and might be politically popular.

The joker in the pack is the new Trump Presidency. Almost all American Presidents since the war have been (either de facto or de jure) pro-EU for reasons of realpolitik. Trump might go either way but we know he holds grudges. In recent months Angela Merkel chose to give Trump veiled lessons on human rights, whereas the May administration has done its utmost to ditch all its previous 'opinions' and fawn all over him.Who is Trump likely to like most?

If the UK goes to Trump and begs for help in its economic war with the EU, Trump might listen.

More generally (and a propos of nothing, more or less), it might be 'number magic' but at least since the late 19th century 'Western' history tends to divide into 30 year blocks (more or less). You had the 40 year bloc between the Franco-Prussian war and 1914. Then of course the 30 years of chaos between 1914 and 1945. Then the Trente Glorieuses between 1945 and 1975. Finally we had the era of the 'two neos': neoliberalism at home, and neoconservatism abroad (AKA the 'let them eat war' period) between 1976 and 2006.

We now seem to be moving into a new era of Neo-Nationalism, with a concommitant suspicion of trans-national entities (e.g. the EU), a rise in interest in economic protectionism, and increasing suspicion of immigration. Needless to say, this is not a Weltanschauung that makes things easy either for the Left or for Liberals. One might expect both the soft and hard right to thrive, on the other hand.

Igor Belanov 01.08.17 at 10:25 am ( 79 )
JD @66

"Preventing people from doing evil seems like a powerful motivation to me."

The problem is that merely asserting that the Tories are bad does not necessarily mean that people will (or even should) automatically assume that you are a viable or less evil alternative. Indeed, the response of the Labour Party's leading lights after the 2015 election was to minimise the distance between themselves and the Tories, and their actions during the 'interregnum' between Miliband and Corbyn demonstrated that they were quite willing to connive with evil in the shape of Tory welfare policy as they assumed it would appease 'aspirational voters'.

This is the crux of the divide within the Labour Party. Corbyn's political career has concentrated on defending those at home or abroad who cannot or find it difficult to defend themselves. The majority of Labour's career politicians argue that these people are politically marginal and defending their interests will not win elections or achieve political power. To some extent they have a point, but they fail to acknowledge that their own brand of cynical opportunism has alienated not just many Labour members but also many potential voters.

The accusations of anti-Semitism and sympathy for dictators made by Corbyn's enemies were so virulent not just in an attempt to smear his reputation, but also to try and salve their own consciences, having thrown so many of their moral scruples aside in an increasing futile quest to secure the support of the mythical median voter.

gastro george 01.08.17 at 10:46 am ( 80 )
@Dipper

Where to start

"Policy is a misleading guide to whether a party is left or right."

You what?

I would have thought that policy, by which I mean actually implemented policies and actions, with real effects, rather than rhetoric, sound-bites or general bullshit, is precisely how we determine if a party is left or right.

As for the remainder of that paragraph:

"The current conservative party is running a significant deficit "

As any decent economist, and even George Osborne, will tell you, the deficit is an outcome of the economy, not under the direct control of the chancellor so, despite the rhetoric, it's not really meaningful to use as a policy target. Further, IIRC, in the history of modern advanced economies, I believe they have run deficits in something like 98% of years, so the presence of a deficit is hardly unusual if you're in government.

" is committed to maintaining the NHS free at the point of use "

This is just a bullshit phrase and, in the context of actual policy, entirely meaningless. The Tory party has a long term project to privatise large sections of the NHS, and is currently driving it into the ground as a means to this end. New Labour laid the foundations for this to happen, so is equally to blame. No self-respecting left party would go anywhere near those policies.

" at the last election touted state spending as the way to improve economic performance."

More sound-bites. Nothing is delivered. Believe it or not, the state spends money with this aim all of the time. The scope of what new spending is to be delivered is likely to be small.

The other items sound like you think that we are still in the centrist liberal nirvana of Blair/Clegg/Cameron where we were governed by managerialist technocrats, concerned with "what works", delivering much the same policy no matter who was elected, only competing with each other on the basis of media platitudes. But that has caused massive resentment, failed, and is the reason for Brexit and Corbyn. Precisely because none of those parties were delivering policies that benefited most people.

Indeed, I think that you will find that 600,000 Labour Party members believe that there is, or rather should be, a big dividing line in policy between themselves and the Tory Party.

"The modern Conservative party understand this. So Teresa May puts her target market – Just managing families – dead centre in her Downing Street speech."

This reads like it has come directly from Central Office. Do you really believe that the Tories give two hoots about "just managing families"? Did Hammond reduce Osborne's austerity plan in any way in the last Budget?

Labour, as a whole, certainly doesn't seem to know who it represents ATM. There are multiple reasons for that: an irredentist PLP, a media sympathetic to the PLP and determined to trivialise or ignore Corbyn, and the disorganisation and incoherence of Corbyn and his organisation amongst them. But deposing Corbyn and returning to neoliberal bullshit won't solve the reasons why he exists.

bruce wilder 01.08.17 at 7:01 pm ( 81 )
Brexit has not happened yet, so it can be whatever you want it to be: that freedom to project counterfactuals tends to accentuate the centrifugal not the consensual as far as diversity of opinion is concerned. I actually think Corbyn is unusually wise for a Labour leader to mumble and fumble a lot at this stage. If it is a personal failing, it is appropriate to circumstances. The Tories have given themselves a demolition job to do. If your opponent is handling dynamite, best not to get close and certainly a bad idea to try to snatch it from them.

From the standpoint of Labour constituencies like Corbyn's own in North London, taking The City down a peg or three would possibly be a means of relief, but if any Brexit negotiating "event" triggered an exodus of financial sector players the immediate political fallout would be akin to the sky falling and certainly would cause consternation among Tory donor groups not that supportive of May's brand. And, failing to invoke Article 50 is likely to be corrosive to the Tories in ways that benefit Labour as much as the Liberal Democrats only if Labour refrains from expressions of hostility to Leave voters - a point too subtle for some Blairites, apparently.

There are a lot of different ways for Brexit to sink the Tory ship. May could be forced to procrastinate on invoking Article 50. Invoking Article 50 by Royal Prerogative could bring on a constitutional crisis, or at least a dispute over whether Article 50 has been invoked at all in a way that satisfies the Treaty. Having invoked, the EU may well step in their own dog poop, with overtly hostile or simply opportunistic gambits, underestimating the costs imo but otherwise as JQ suggests.

The whole negotiating scheme will almost certainly run aground on sheer complexity and the unworkable system of decision-making in the European Council. That could result in procrastination in an endless series of extensions that keep Britain effectively in for years and years. Or, one side or both could just let the clock run out, with or without formally leaving negotiations. Meanwhile, at home, in addition to The City, Scotland and Ireland are going to be nervous, possibly hysterical.

I suppose if you think the EU is fine just as it is, it is easy to overlook the glaring defects in its design, particularly the imperviousness to reformist, adaptive politics. The EU looks to go down with the neoliberal ship - hell, it is the neoliberal ship! I suppose the sensible Labour position on the EU would be a set of reform proposals that would paper over different viewpoints within the Labour Party, but that is not possible, because EU reform is not possible, which is why Brexit is the agenda. Corbyn's instincts seem right to me; Labour should not prematurely oppose Brexit alienating Leave voters nor should it start a love-fest for an EU that might very shortly make itself very ugly toward Britain.

The Euro certainly and the EU itself may well break before the next General Election in Britain opening up policy possibilities for Tories or Labour that can scarcely be imagined now. It is not inconceivable to me that Scandanavia, Netherlands and Switzerland might be persuaded to form a downsized EU2 sans Euro with Britain and a reluctant Ireland.

In my view, Corbyn as a political personality is something of a stopped clock, but as others have pointed out, Labour like other center-left neoliberal parties have been squandering all their credibility in post-modern opportunism. A stopped clock is right more often than one perpetually fast or slow.

Labour has a chance to remake itself as a membership party while the Tories play with Brexit c4 (PE-4). Membership support is what distinguishes Labour from the Liberals and transforming Labour into a new Liberal party is apparently what Blair had in mind. Let Brexit mature as an issue and let Labour try out the alternative model of an active membership base.

J-D 01.08.17 at 7:40 pm ( 82 )
novakant

I wasn't aware that I was supposed to organize the opposition.

You're not, of course. But when you wrote 'I have no idea why nobody does it', it wasn't immediately clear to me that what you meant was 'I have no idea why the Labour leadership doesn't do it' (where 'it' referred back to 'hit them over the head with this', and 'them' referred back to 'the vast majority of people' and 'this' referred back to 'the fact that the Tories have no idea at all what they are doing and their policies are not in the interest of the vast majority of people').

There are people making statements daily about how what the Tories are doing is not in the interest of the vast majority of people; but with what effect?

Seriously, I don't see that.

Perhaps that's a result of where you've chosen to look. Seriously, where have you looked? have you, for example, looked at the Labour Party's website?

J-D 01.08.17 at 7:44 pm ( 83 )
Igor Belanov
If you think Labour is just as evil as the Conservatives, then obviously you have no motivation to support Labour against the Conservatives.

Is that what you think, that Labour is just as evil as the Conservatives?

bruce wilder 01.08.17 at 8:34 pm ( 84 )
Sidenote to J-D @ 8 on parties with religious identification

The disappearance of religious affiliation or identity as an organizing principle in Europe is interesting. You might recall that the British Tory Party was an Anglican Party, committed to establishment and the political disability of Catholics and Dissenters, as defining elements of their credo. Despite the extreme decline in religious observance in Britain, I imagine there remain strong traces of religious identity in British party identification patterns.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Greek Orthodox Church plays a political role in Greece and Cyprus, though the current SYRIZA government is somewhat anti-clerical. Anti-clerical doctrines have been revived in France by tensions with Muslims.

[Jan 12, 2017] Sanders problem isn't his age. He looks like a hypocrite supporting Ds no matter how abnoxious

Notable quotes:
"... I guess the good part is that writers, though shaking their heads, are admitting Sanders has even more closely aligned with the Ds and their money and his reputation from 20 years ago is no longer enough to coast on and will lose if he runs in 2020. ..."
Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Waldenpond , January 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Sanders problem isn't his age. He looks like a hypocrite supporting Ds no matter how noxious, being the first to trot out a Trump tweet on the floor (he was memed for it), doing a Russia, Russia, Russia townhall.

Every time he does this, a few more dozen are 'done'. Imploring Sanders to choose people over money?

I guess the good part is that writers, though shaking their heads, are admitting Sanders has even more closely aligned with the Ds and their money and his reputation from 20 years ago is no longer enough to coast on and will lose if he runs in 2020.

[Jan 12, 2017] Many Areas of Appalachia and Mississippi Delta Have Lower Life Expectancy Than Bangladesh

Notable quotes:
"... "A lot of the inequality in the U.S. comes from rent seeking. It comes from firms and industry seeking special protection or special favors from the government To the very considerable extent that inequality is generated by rent seeking, we could sharply reduce inequality itself if rent seeking were to be somehow reduced." ..."
"... "In all areas of economics, the rules of the game are critical-that is emphasized by the fact that similar economics exhibit markedly different patterns of distribution, market income, and after tax and transfers income. This is especially so in an innovation economy, because innovation gives rise to rents-both from IPR and monopoly power. Who receives those rents is a matter of policy, and changes in the IPR regime have led to greater rents without having any effects on the pace of innovation," said Stigltz. ..."
"... Other than the loss of income, he said, "many men in the Rust Belt in Appalachia have lost meaningful work and are unable to find another. People want work that provides them with some agency-they want a chance to prosper, to have the satisfaction of succeeding in something. They would also appreciate the experience of developing in the course of a career, to have self expression through imagining and creating new things. The good jobs in manufacturing offered these men the prospect of some learning, some challenges, and some attendant promotions. The bottom-rung jobs in retailing services that these men are forced to take do not. In losing their good jobs, then, these men were losing the meaning of their very lives. The rise of suicide and drug related deaths among Americans might be evidence of just that sense of loss." ..."
"... The last four decades of slow growth in the U.S., said Phelps, fit Alvin Hansen's definition of secular stagnation "to a tee." Phelps traced the roots of this secular stagnation, characterized by slower growth and loss of innovation, to a "corporatist ideology that had come to permeate the government at all levels" starting with the 1960s, and has "replaced the individualist ideology supporting capitalism" ever since. ..."
"... The gap between the elite professionals and the heartlands is so wide than only someone with unimpeachable credentials like his might penetrate their Panglossian bubble. ..."
"... I am not optimistic that the greed can be punctured ..."
"... Honestly, greed might just be so thoroughly baked into the makeup of base instinct that it is unreachable. My Father reminds me regularly that males are intrinsically sexually competitive, which drives them to acquire territory, resources, and access to females at whatever the cost. To ask humans not to be greedy is to be tinkering with deep biological drives tied to successful reproduction. ..."
"... The last thirty years have been all about "firms and industry seeking special protection or special favors from the government" while everyone has been talking about the opposite thing, "free markets". Why has it taken so long to notice this? ..."
"... "Eat People" ..."
"... The elites should worry the day when the mob turns from destructive introspection, to directed agency at an external foe. That foe being the rent seekers and economic manipulators of injustice. Propaganda and monopoly violence don't last forever, and the hysterical response of the bourgeoisie to this possibility is what we are witnessing. ..."
Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Trump's unexpected Presidential win appears to have delivered a wake-up call to the economics discipline. At a major industry conference, the annual Allied Social Sciences Associations meeting, a blue-chip panel of four Nobel Prize winners, Angus Deaton, Joe Stiglitz, Roger Myerson and Edmund Phelps, was in surprising agreement that capitalism had become unmoored and in its current form was exacerbating inequality. These may seem like pedestrian observations, but the severity of the critique, as reported in the Pro-Market blog , was striking.

No video of the panel is available yet; I hope one is released soon and will post it if/when that happens.

Tellingly, even though the panelists also included a fall in innovation, globalization and secular stagnation as contributing to inequality, the discussion focused on rent-seeking.

Deaton was blistering by the normally judicious standards of the academy. Recall that he and his wife Anne Case performed the landmark study, published at the end of 2015, that showed that the death rate had increased among less educated middle aged whites, due largely to addiction and suicides . Thus the plight of economic losers is more vivid to Deaton than his peers, and he sees the disastrous human cost as a direct result of rent-seeeking and untrammeled monopolies. Key extracts :

"A lot of the inequality in the U.S. comes from rent seeking. It comes from firms and industry seeking special protection or special favors from the government To the very considerable extent that inequality is generated by rent seeking, we could sharply reduce inequality itself if rent seeking were to be somehow reduced."

While some forms of inequality could be linked to progress and innovation, said Deaton, inequality in the U.S. does not stem from creative destruction. "A lot of the inequality in the U.S. is not like this. It comes from rent seeking. It comes from firms and industry seeking special protection or special favors from the government," he said.

Deaton highlighted a particularly salient example of rent seeking: the American health care system which, he said, "seems optimally designed for rent seeking and very poorly designed to improve people's health."

Deaton outflanked Stiglitz on the left. Stiglitz argued that taxes could help reduce inequality, in concert with other policies to curb rent extraction:

"In all areas of economics, the rules of the game are critical-that is emphasized by the fact that similar economics exhibit markedly different patterns of distribution, market income, and after tax and transfers income. This is especially so in an innovation economy, because innovation gives rise to rents-both from IPR and monopoly power. Who receives those rents is a matter of policy, and changes in the IPR regime have led to greater rents without having any effects on the pace of innovation," said Stigltz.

Deaton begged to differ:

"I don't think that rent seeking, which is incredibly profitable, is very sensitive to taxes at all. I don't think taxes are a good way of stopping rent seeking. People should deal with rent seeking by stopping rent seeking, not by taxing the rich," he said.

Deaton is clearly outraged by how opiate manufacturers (meaning Purdue Pharma) have profited by killing poor whites:

"There are around 200 thousand people who have died from the opioid epidemic, were victims of iatrogenic medicine and disease caused by the medical profession, or from drugs that should not have been prescribed for chronic pain but were pushed by pharmaceutical companies, whose owners have become enormously rich from these opioids," said Deaton, who later advocated for a single-payer health care system in the U.S., saying: "I am a great believer in the market, but I think we need a single-payer health care system. I just don't see any other sensible way to address it in this country."

Mind you, the Case/Deaton study, despite its shattering findings, got front page treatment and then the press and pundits moved on to the next hot news tidbit. Matt Stoller had a tweetstorm yesterday on this issue, related to the impending revamping, which almost certainly means further crapification, of Obamacare. You can read the whole tweetstorm staring here . These were the linchpin of his argument:

... ... ...

Edmund Phelps, who leans conservative but is know for being eclectic, echoed Deaton's observations:

Other than the loss of income, he said, "many men in the Rust Belt in Appalachia have lost meaningful work and are unable to find another. People want work that provides them with some agency-they want a chance to prosper, to have the satisfaction of succeeding in something. They would also appreciate the experience of developing in the course of a career, to have self expression through imagining and creating new things. The good jobs in manufacturing offered these men the prospect of some learning, some challenges, and some attendant promotions. The bottom-rung jobs in retailing services that these men are forced to take do not. In losing their good jobs, then, these men were losing the meaning of their very lives. The rise of suicide and drug related deaths among Americans might be evidence of just that sense of loss."

The last four decades of slow growth in the U.S., said Phelps, fit Alvin Hansen's definition of secular stagnation "to a tee." Phelps traced the roots of this secular stagnation, characterized by slower growth and loss of innovation, to a "corporatist ideology that had come to permeate the government at all levels" starting with the 1960s, and has "replaced the individualist ideology supporting capitalism" ever since.

Even though the panelists disagreed somewhat on remedies, all were troubled by Trump's policy proposals However, it's still telling that even if protectionism might not be a great remedy (or would have to be applied surgically to yield meaningful net gains, something Trump's team appears unwilling to game out), the group seemed constitutionally unable to accept that globalization had made the working classes in the US worse off even when that is exactly what the Samuelson-Stopler theorem predicted. For instance:

Phelps, for instance, criticized Trump's assertion that job and income losses among the American working class were caused by trade and not by losses of innovation, and the President-elect's "assumption that supply-side measures to boost after-tax corporate profits will bring generally heightened incomes and employment to America," which he said runs the risk of explosion in public debt and a deep recession.

The most hazardous, said Phelps, "is the assumption that by bullying corporations, such as Ford, and stepping in to aid other corporations, such as Google, the Trump administration can achieve various objectives that will widely boost employment."

Nevertheless, the very fact that a panel like this didn't even dispute the claim that rent-seeking was the biggest contributor to the big jump in inequality is in and of itself a big step forward.

I wish Deaton would go a speaking tour of wealthy Democratic Party enclaves or become regular on NPR (assuming the tote-bag carrying classes did not swiftly demand his removal). The gap between the elite professionals and the heartlands is so wide than only someone with unimpeachable credentials like his might penetrate their Panglossian bubble.

Synoia , January 12, 2017 at 5:14 am

The gap between the elite professionals and the heartlands is so wide than only someone with unimpeachable credentials like his might penetrate their Panglossian bubble.

Either these words, although I am not optimistic that the greed can be punctured, or class violence, coupled with a decline and fall of Continental empire.

The US is the only remaining 19th century empire, all the others have fallen to self-determination, and the EU appears to be falling apart for the same reasons.

I Have Strange Dreams , January 12, 2017 at 5:44 am

I am not optimistic that the greed can be punctured

That is it in a nutshell. Greed. One destructive emotion has been elevated as the guiding principle for our Western societies. The fail is baked into the cake. We are monkeys with nuclear weapons and Donald Trump is the new leader of the Free World™. What could possibly go wrong?

knowbuddhau , January 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

> We are monkeys with nuclear weapons.

Monkeys have tails. We're naked apes with nukes.

Jane Goodall reported on a chimp who hit on the novel tactic of banging fuel cans together to achieve alpha status. The noise scared his competitors witless. He didn't know what the cans were, what they were for, or what they held, but it worked anyway. For a little while.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.

Art Eclectic , January 12, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Honestly, greed might just be so thoroughly baked into the makeup of base instinct that it is unreachable. My Father reminds me regularly that males are intrinsically sexually competitive, which drives them to acquire territory, resources, and access to females at whatever the cost. To ask humans not to be greedy is to be tinkering with deep biological drives tied to successful reproduction.

Fiver , January 12, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Except we have millions upon millions of individual instances of US men over whom greed holds no power, and scores of historical societies and even today a handful of countries so constituted and evolved over time that there simply is no comparison on a scale of 'greed' with what goes on in the US.

Greed obviously has a biological basis, as does everything else humans do, but culture is quite capable of virtually erasing it.

UserFriendly , January 12, 2017 at 5:40 am

The webcast of the nobel pannel is here:
https://www.aeaweb.org/webcasts/2017/nobels.php

But if you guys find a copy of this panel, also mentioned in the pro market article, please post it.

"The Vested Interests Versus Rational Public Policy: Economists as Public Intellectuals," Stiglitz and Baker, along with James K. Galbraith of University of Texas at Austin, Stephanie Kelton from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and Lawrence Mishel from the Economic Policy Institute discussed competition, trade, consumer protections, and how to reach effective public policy. "We need to rewrite the rules of the market economy," said Stiglitz during the same panel.

ian , January 12, 2017 at 5:48 am

The last thirty years have been all about "firms and industry seeking special protection or special favors from the government" while everyone has been talking about the opposite thing, "free markets". Why has it taken so long to notice this?

Left in Wisconsin , January 12, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Very effective propaganda and a complicit MSM. I will say it again: spend a day or two at any statehouse in the country and you will see that the ENTIRE business of government is doing favors for business people and their lobbyists. The notion that business people are in favor of small or non-activist government is a big lie.

Which gets to a point that seems to get glossed over even by the better economists – that corporate "investment" in lobbying generally has a way better ROI than real investment, often times on the order of 1000-to-1 (for specific tax breaks).

I don't get what Deaton is saying about rent-seeking. Surely the return of the 90% tax bracket for high incomes and estates would put a dent into modern rent-seeking. When he says, "People should deal with rent seeking by stopping rent seeking, not by taxing the rich," what kind of policies is he talking about? Does he mean single payer, and extended that kind of economic organization to other industries? Once you get outside health care, that seems kind of radical for an economist.

ambrit , January 12, 2017 at 6:23 am

The Mississippi Delta is just north of where we live. The "rent seeking" is mixed up with Paternalism. Each feeds off of the other. What we have seen in our multi year search for affordable living space has been an unending stream of overpriced habitats, and insularity.

The Paternalism encourages an ethos of exploitation, the rent seeking finances it. At root, all these "base" motivations are "rational." Thus, any "rational" critique undergirds the edifice of selfishness.

A corollary of this is that any significant change requires a clean break with the past. An irrational ideology needs must arise, if only for long enough to nurture a radical change. As with the present American experience, an absurd excess is needed, and is looming. It sounds hardhearted, but a cleansing fire must purge the dross from out the gold of the nations soul. Before we allow horrified sentiment to deter us from this course, we must remember that the present system is itself the embodiment of hardheartedness. Why else do many cultures have a myth of a Phoenix in their socio-cultural tool kit? It has happened before. It will happen again.

As someone more erudite than myself likes to say; "Kill it with fire."

PlutoniumKun , January 12, 2017 at 6:27 am

My only worry is that when mainstream economists start accepting the problem of rent seeking, their solution is usually 'better, freer markets'. Its this logic which did so much damage to the national electricity networks of Europe and the UK railway system and (my personal bugbear), the domestic waste collection system in Europe. There is sometimes a fine distinction between highly regulated markets which benefit both private companies and the consumer (for example, in electricity generation and distribution), and manipulated regulated markets which benefit only the seller, such as with medicines.

cocomaan , January 12, 2017 at 9:24 am

Plus, from what I am gathering from the summary, statements about how it was innovation that destroyed jobs and not globalization seem to ignore the fact that the retraining and skills reeducation that's supposed to happen after "disruption" has become rent seeking.

Education has become a massive, government controlled, rent seeking operation in the form of student loans. Anyone seeking to better themselves with education now has become a victim.

Are taxes going to solve that, according to Stiglitz? As you say, is it going to be a "freer markets" solution? I don't know.

Art Eclectic , January 12, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Innovation destroyed jobs because Silicon Valley investors realized that corporations would pay HUGE dollars for new processes that eliminated people. Human labor is an enormous cost, not just in wages but in support (that useless HR team), benefits, and worst of all – pensions. The goal of the modern corporation is to reduce head count, not to make better and more innovative products/services. Once the investment community clued in on that, it was all about finding new ways to eliminate jobs.

Andy Kessler's book "Eat People" is all about this topic.

Normal , January 12, 2017 at 6:43 am

I'm not an economist but even I can see that trade can increase average income while decreasing incomes at the bottom of the distribution. Am I missing the point or are the Nobel laureates missing it?

Do they think that some new industry will appear by magic to fill the void?

Kat , January 12, 2017 at 6:48 am

Wow! If this is what it takes to capture the attention of the American elites then I think this society needs to think really hard about what's up with it.

KurtisMayfield , January 12, 2017 at 6:57 am

I wish Deaton would go a speaking tour of wealthy Democratic Party enclaves or become regular on NPR (assuming the tote-bag carrying classes did not swiftly demand his removal). The gap between the elite professionals and the heartlands is so wide than only someone with unimpeachable credentials like his might penetrate their Panglossian bubble.

You are never going to get the 10% to admit that their lifestyles are not possible without the underlying economic conditions described at this website. All you have to do is look at Massachusetts and see what "liberalism" has become there to understand this. The NIMBYism is rampant, and the isolation of minorities and people of other classes is so obvious that no one can deny that it happens. Most of the employment is so dependent on the rent seeking (Education, Biotech and Pharma, Technology, Medical) that there is no way that they could be convinced of another way.

Carolinian , January 12, 2017 at 8:48 am

I believe you are right and the hysteria after the recent election demonstrates this resistance to change (even if in the current case it may turn out to be bad change). The whole rationale of our so-called democracy is to allow change at the top without resorting to violence which is why attacks on the democratic process itself are the most sinister. Therefore the most interesting story of 2016 may not be the dreary two year slog itself but what happened afterwards. One comes to suspect that large portions of the "progressive" left have even less interest in democracy than the Republicans do. If only those pesky proles could be kept down the comfortable middle class of Boston could rest easy.

It's probably true that only when those middle class professionals themselves start to feel economic pain that we will see more enthusiasm for leveling and social cohesion. A crash in the stock market might do it or–god forbid–riots and chaos but it doesn't seem like there's a painless way out.

allan , January 12, 2017 at 8:31 am

Deaton highlighted a particularly salient example of rent seeking: the American health care system which, he said, "seems optimally designed for rent seeking and very poorly designed to improve people's health."

There is rent seeking even within sectors. Yesterday's Links had an article about large layoffs at one of the premier academic cancer centers, driven by losses due to overruns in implementing an electronic health records system.
Sh*t flows to the bottom and money floats to the top.

Norb , January 12, 2017 at 8:55 am

The elites should worry the day when the mob turns from destructive introspection, to directed agency at an external foe. That foe being the rent seekers and economic manipulators of injustice. Propaganda and monopoly violence don't last forever, and the hysterical response of the bourgeoisie to this possibility is what we are witnessing.

We need a new term or word for the class of people dedicated to the spread of inequality. The terms bourgeoisie, corporatists, capitalists, and fascists have been rendered ineffectual in raising the consciousness of working people to their plight. Occupy brought the 1% into consciousness, but there still is a lingering faith that somehow the business community can provide the necessities for a good life, if only "something" can be done to "free" their creative potential. My take on the Fake News phenomenon is yet another phase to keep the working population even more confused and misdirected. It is a strategy to double down on propaganda. Propaganda questioning the validity of propaganda.

In America, the psychic health of the nation is coming into question. Leadership that can provide a vestige of calm amid the rising storm brought about by economic uncertainty will easily gain followers. The crisis of leadership is daily becoming more acute.

Maybe a better strategy would be to come up with a new term for the 80% ruthlessly exploited by the current system. A new term is needed because all others have been corrupted into impotence.

Eclair , January 12, 2017 at 9:53 am

"In American, the psychic health of the nation is coming into question."

We are confused, in denial, projecting furiously Freud would have a field-day exploring our cognitive dissonance. All this 'fake news' has begun to undermine our vision of ourselves as 'the exceptional nation;' our mental pictures of soldiers handing out candy bars to starving child refugees have morphed into drone operators taking out toddlers at wedding parties.

We have elders preaching the American virtues of 'self reliance,' 'personal responsibility,' and the dangers of being coddled by an inefficient nanny state, while enjoying the benefits of a guaranteed monthly social security check deposited into their bank accounts, and having their hip replacements and open heart surgeries paid for by Medicare.

We are still entranced by our national narrative of 'go west, young man,' with acres of fertile prairie and lush coastal valleys ours for the taking; all we need to follow is our sacred 'work ethic' and success will be ours. Well, all the land is posted 'Private' and the water is in the process of being purchased by faceless corporate entities. And the native Americans, whose land we stole, are pissed and getting organized.

Spot on, Norb. We need new words, a new national narrative, a new vision of where we are, what crimes we committed to get here, how we have managed to bring the planet to the brink of destruction and, finally, how we can salvage what remains and forge a new identity, a better and more sustainable story.

Until then, the next few years (decades?) will be messy. But filled with promise.

Brian , January 12, 2017 at 10:16 am

The Webcast is up: https://www.aeaweb.org/webcasts/2017/nobels.php

oho , January 12, 2017 at 10:31 am

for all of the Media/Academia Left's obsession w/identity politics, the issues facing poor, rural African-Americas are forgotten and "uncool" to address-just as with Appalachian whites.

sad.

flora , January 12, 2017 at 10:35 am

Over several months many commenters have said something like the following: there can't be any real deflation because prices keep going up. Food, health care, rents, etc. If there's deflation why aren't prices coming down?

My opinion is you can have real deflation *and* increasing prices at the retail level if those prices are determined by monopoly pricing power – price jacking and uncontrolled rent seeking, which is what I think we have now. Iinstead of lowering prices for the little guy deflation increases the profits for the monopolists and rentiers through lowered base costs for them coupled with higher selling prices for customers, plus fees and other purely extractive costs. Monopolists and rentiers have deformed various markets in a way such that deflation *and* higher selling/access prices can co-exist, imo.

Great post. Thanks

flora , January 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

Longer comment lost in modland. Shorter: It's possible to have both deflation and rising sale prices if monopolists and rentiers are setting the sale price. imo.

Great post. Thanks.

Paul Whittaker , January 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

I keep hearing the idea that innovation can provide jobs: algorithms and robots consume many more than they produce, AI is taking jobs from insurance agents in Japan, all seem to point the other way. So the response is a basic minimum income, but with so much wealth off shored to tax havens and the rest building bombs to replace the ones being dropped daily, where do the experts see the money coming from? Sooner or later the mass' will have to stop buying the glossy widgets which pays for the yachts and mansions.

dbk , January 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

Yves, thanks very much for this. Speaking for myself, I'd really appreciate more posts/guest posts on this and related topics.

I'm currently reading Joe Bageant's Deer Hunting with Jesus, which addresses the desperation of small-town northern Virginia – I knew Bageant's work (had read his essays), but the book is great. Separate chapters, btw, on the mortgage scam in his hometown (for trailers, for heavens' sake) and on the health care system and how that's working out in rural Virginia (it's not, and it's a national disgrace).

Also apropos, yesterday I followed a post/thread on LGM (I know a few commenters here also follow them, I'm a big Erik Loomis fan). Post here: http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/01/the-philosophy-of-the-new-gilded-age#comments

It riffed off a piece by some person called Ben Shapiro, who was venting about health care being a consumer product (he compared it to buying expensive furniture). I think I finally realized that there are some people whose understanding of the value of human life and the basic rights of man differ so much from my own that the divide cannot be bridged, ever. (He also sort of compared sb who needs medical treatment but can't afford it to stealing bread. Made me wonder if he and his physician-wife had recently caught a production of Les Miserables.) I was so appalled at his thinking I couldn't even comment on the post.

I can't see how rent-seeking is to be reduced given the incoming regime, which appears to me to be filled with rent-seekers of the highest order.

It's heartening to see renowned economists identifying these issues (poverty/unemployment/increasing morbidity-mortality rates) as a genuine crisis – which it is, and it's only going to get worse; in a few years, it won't be the lower and middle classes that are affected, but the white-collar professional classes as well (i.e. the top 10%).

But as my Dad used to say, it's somehow "a day late and and a dollar short" – the Dems should have been addressing this crisis years ago – if a humble citizen-observer like this commenter saw it as a serious issue ten years ago, why didn't the professional policy guys?

juliania , January 12, 2017 at 12:27 pm

I wouldn't just credit the Trump candidacy for shining the light on rent seekers, but kudos to Yves for hosting economists who have also done this, among them Michael Hudson and (to a lesser degree) Bill Black.

At the risk of seeming un-intellectual, I confess to having been also enlightened by library reading the works of John Grisham – his theme is often how lawyers profit or do not profit from big pharma medications that are introduced with great fanfare only to be discovered as the cause of injury and/or death a few miles down the road. At which point the victims are rounded up by low-income lawyers seeking a big windfall. One only has to be aware of certain tv commercials to realize this is still happening, and it happens to low income people for the most part. In the novels they are always the ultimate victims, no matter what the outcome of the lawsuits. The money changes hands, but the poor get shafted.

dbk , January 12, 2017 at 1:42 pm

juliana – I like Grisham a lot, too; the fact that he is himself a native of the "poor south" (Arkansas, Mississippi) lends a gritty realism to his novels. More members of the credentialed classes should read him, maybe they'd understand what's happening in the heartland better.

sleepy , January 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm

I've never much cared for his legal thrillers, but I was really impressed by his semi-autobiographical novel, "A Painted House" set in rural east Arkansas in the 50s. My mother was from a small farm in that area and I grew up not far away in Memphis and visited east Arkansas often as a kid in the 50s and 60s. I am Grisham's age and the novel was spot on in my experience

PKMKII , January 12, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Thinking out loud here, so take with a grain of salt: could IPR-related rents be fixed by switching the "carrot" from monopoly on the IP to tax credits? Instead of "You are the only one that gets to sell this for X years, unless others pay you a fee," the creator of the IP gets a tax credit equal to a certain % of sales and/or profits that others make from use of said IP. This would, of course, be a non-transferable right to the credit; some company cannot come along and buy it out from the creator, nor can it be passed along to next of kin. Creator gets compensation, consumers avoid the artificial rent cost, and by opening up the IP to the market, competition and refinements can begin immediately.

flora , January 12, 2017 at 3:14 pm

shorter: current Bangladesh life expectancy is: males – ~ 70, females – ~73, total – ~71, world rank – 99th.

The declining life expectancy for too many rural US populations, especially for females, is caused by increased deaths in the 45-55 age range. Fewer are reaching the age of 60 or 70. Ergo, these areas have lower than Bangladesh's overall life expectancy. These early US deaths are numerous enough to lower the overall life expectancy of the US cohort, which is shocking.

flora , January 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm

adding: while the lowered overall US life expectancies are still above overall Bangladesh's, in US counties with these large increased death rates in the 45-55 age cohort the the counties life expectancy is lower than Bangladesh. There are so many of these US counties and such a large percentage of the population that the overall US life expectancy has tilted down.

UserFriendly , January 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm

And all of them with such a low median household income.
http://geof.red/m/4rv

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm

If the life expectancy of someone born in 2016 is, say, 80, that assumes the eco-system, that is the planet, is still around in 2096.

That's not a bad assumption.

Less safe is the assumption is that it will be as hospitable as it has been in the last 80 years.

My question, I guess, is, do they factor in Global Warming in calculating life expectancies?

mrheem , January 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

I suggest reading 'Deep South' by Paul Theroux for a scorching look at the day-to-day life of the denizens of this area. That it might, in some areas, be compared to the 'Third World' is, tragically, a compliment. How can these conditions exist in the richest country in the world? And how can one be an American and tolerate this?

Tim , January 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm

What were the economic conditions in Cambodia prior to Pol Pot and the killing fields? I'm too young, but I that seemed to be a more modern tail of the 90% taking out the top 10%.

There has to be some shred of truth to drive people to eliminate an entire swath of their population along economic lines only.

DOY , January 12, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Agree that this panel is very good news.

But the term "rent seeking" doesn't have much punch. To a moderately well educated reader, It sounds like something we would all do in a "capitalistic" system and therefore, in some sense, rational, and exempt from the jaundiced, deep consideration it deserves.

I believe that much of what ails us in the larger effort to make changes in (what's left of) the Republic, is our more or less universal aversion to using the proper vocabulary to address how one goes about "rent seeking," which is to engage in wholesale, long term and systematic bribery of public officials who can (and will) enshrine our sought for "market" advantages.

When did "bribery" morph into "campaign finance"? There may have been a time and place in American history when there could be fine distinctions, maybe even legitimate distinctions, drawn between the two, but today? Any trip to "the Hill" or our state legislatures, to advocate for a policy or law-unsupported by a major league checkbook-will convince a person that the Congress, etc. has devolved into a massive "system" for soliciting money in exchange for agreeing to vote against the public interest.

In short, I'd like to advocate that we bring back bribery into the "civic lexicon." The sooner the better.

Binky , January 12, 2017 at 4:24 pm

In a post-Reagan/Bush environment the third way Democrats simply adopted what seemed moderate in relation to the zeitgeist. The failure of all those poor rural people to pick up and move to where the jobs were is a choice which they must have rationally assessed the cost/benefit of and made decisions as autonomous adults.

Their failure to educate and train for the jobs of the future was a choice. They were warned. Like we are being warned now that we are redundant or soon to be, replaceable by peasants from abroad or algorithms at home. I don't think we are going to get the Star Trek economy. I think we are getting the Logan's Run, Aldous Huxley, Eloi vs. Morlock economy.

Winston , January 12, 2017 at 5:52 pm

When factories left NE for Midwest, what did NE do about that rust belt? Nothing! Still festering. When factories left MW for South what did MW do?

You should stop scapegoating foreigners. The problem lies within.

[Jan 12, 2017] Sanders problem isn't his age. He looks like a hypocrite supporting Ds no matter how abnoxious

Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Waldenpond , January 12, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Sanders problem isn't his age. He looks like a hypocrite supporting Ds no matter how noxious, being the first to trot out a Trump tweet on the floor (he was memed for it), doing a Russia, Russia, Russia townhall. Every time he does this, a few more dozen are 'done'. Imploring Sanders to choose people over money? I guess the good part is that writers, though shaking their heads, are admitting Sanders has even more closely aligned with the Ds and their money and his reputation from 20 years ago is no longer enough to coast on and will lose if he runs in 2020.

[Jan 12, 2017] Realignment and Legitimacy of neoliberalized by Clinton Democratic Party

Jan 12, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"Reeling from their inability to stop his election, envious of his power to make people believe his most ridiculous statements, and rinsed by a needy mood for self-soothing, the media and other American institutions are greeting the era of Trump by lowering their ethical and professional standards and indulging in attention-seeking hysteria. However cathartic it may be, the effect is suicidal for the media and dangerous for the nation" [ The Week ]. "[O]ur institutions can't temporarily suspend the very standards that grant them credibility and expect to survive." And it's always possible to make things worse

"[B]oth parties are built upon unstable coalitions. For Democrats, it is a coalition driven by demographics. The Democratic mantra for the last eight years has been built around the idea that an increasingly diverse and urbanizing electorate was going to build them a permanent Electoral College majority. But, as we saw in 2016 and every midterm election since 2008, the only Democrat who was able to mobilize the "Obama coalition" was Barack Obama himself" [Cook Political]. A coalition held together by one man isn't a coalition at all, as I pointed out in early in 2016. As for the Republicans: "Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell have had their policies and priorities teed up for years. They've just been waiting for a GOP president to help implement them. Trump, meanwhile, has shown an incredible, um, flexibility on issues, policies and priorities. Without an ideological core to drive him and with no experience in the give and take of the legislative process, there's no telling what, or how, he will govern."

"The [Democrat] party is approaching the confirmation process as one of the first steps in its rebuilding effort following painful November losses" [ RealClearPolitics ]. "That effort includes getting opposition research and outside messaging groups into high gear, fundraising off of certain confirmation hearing highlights or controversies regarding some nominees, and coming up with a way to paint the administration they will run against in four years in an unflattering light." Hysteria is good for fundraising, so expect it to continue.

So Booker signals he's going to run in 2020 by the noise he made at the Sessions hearing. Then he took care to build up his campaign warchest:

"In 2020, the Democrats could run Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce, Matt Damon, or Rosie O'Donnell. Some might guffaw at this idea. After all, wouldn't running a celebrity candidate further associate Democrats with coastal elitism?" [ The New Republic ]. "But Democrats' main problem last year wasn't in appealing to anti-elitist voters; it was in getting out the party's base. A magnetic, attractive movie star would have a far better chance of accomplishing that than just another accomplished, dowdy politician."

"Bernie Sanders can win in 2020, but he has to make a critical choice right now" [ CNBC ]. I wish Sanders were four years younger .

"Is Bernie's Revolution Taking Over The California Democratic Party?" [ Down with Tyranny ]. Yes, according this story in Links this morning . Note the role played by the (badass) National Nurses Union. Organizing infrastructure really, really helps and where else to you find it?

[Jan 12, 2017] Democrats cant win until they recognize how bad Obamas financial policies were

Notable quotes:
"... Bill Clinton's generation, however, believed that concentration of financial power could be virtuous, as long as that power was in the hands of experts. They largely dismissed the white working class as a bastion of reactionary racism. Fred Dutton, who served on the McGovern-Fraser Commission in 1970 , saw the white working class as "a major redoubt of traditional Americanism and of the antinegro, antiyouth vote." This paved the way for the creation of the modern Democratic coalition. Obama is simply the latest in a long line of party leaders who have bought into the ideology of these "new" Democrats, and he has governed likewise, with commercial policies that ravaged the heartland. ..."
Jan 12, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. : January 12, 2017 at 10:35 AM

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/12/democrats-cant-win-until-they-recognize-how-bad-obamas-financial-policies-were/

Democrats can't win until they recognize how bad Obama's financial policies were

He had opportunities to help the working class, and he passed them up.

By Matt Stoller January 12 at 8:25 AM

During his final news conference of 2016, in mid-December, President Obama criticized Democratic efforts during the election. "Where Democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte-sipping, you know, politically correct, out-of-touch folks," Obama said, "we have to be in those communities." In fact, he went on, being in those communities - "going to fish-fries and sitting in VFW halls and talking to farmers" - is how, by his account, he became president. It's true that Obama is skilled at projecting a populist image; he beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa in 2008, for instance, partly by attacking agriculture monopolies .

But Obama can't place the blame for Clinton's poor performance purely on her campaign. On the contrary, the past eight years of policymaking have damaged Democrats at all levels. Recovering Democratic strength will require the party's leaders to come to terms with what it has become - and the role Obama played in bringing it to this point.

Two key elements characterized the kind of domestic political economy the administration pursued: The first was the foreclosure crisis and the subsequent bank bailouts. The resulting policy framework of Tim Geithner's Treasury Department was, in effect, a wholesale attack on the American home (the main store of middle-class wealth) in favor of concentrated financial power. The second was the administration's pro-monopoly policies, which crushed the rural areas that in 2016 lost voter turnout and swung to Donald Trump.

Obama didn't cause the financial panic, and he is only partially responsible for the bailouts, as most of them were passed before he was elected. But financial collapses, while bad for the country, are opportunities for elected leaders to reorganize our culture. Franklin Roosevelt took a frozen banking system and created the New Deal. Ronald Reagan used the sharp recession of the early 1980s to seriously damage unions. In January 2009, Obama had overwhelming Democratic majorities in Congress, $350 billion of no-strings-attached bailout money and enormous legal latitude. What did he do to reshape a country on its back?

First, he saved the financial system. A financial system in collapse has to allocate losses. In this case, big banks and homeowners both experienced losses, and it was up to the Obama administration to decide who should bear those burdens. Typically, such losses would be shared between debtors and creditors, through a deal like the Home Owners Loan Corporation in the 1930s or bankruptcy reform. But the Obama administration took a different approach. Rather than forcing some burden-sharing between banks and homeowners through bankruptcy reform or debt relief, Obama prioritized creditor rights, placing most of the burden on borrowers. This kept big banks functional and ensured that financiers would maintain their positions in the recovery. At a 2010 hearing, Damon Silvers, vice chairman of the independent Congressional Oversight Panel, which was created to monitor the bailouts, told Obama's Treasury Department: "We can either have a rational resolution to the foreclosure crisis, or we can preserve the capital structure of the banks. We can't do both."

Second, Obama's administration let big-bank executives off the hook for their roles in the crisis. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) referred criminal cases to the Justice Department and was ignored. Whistleblowers from the government and from large banks noted a lack of appetite among prosecutors. In 2012, then-Attorney General Eric Holder ordered prosecutors not to go after mega-bank HSBC for money laundering. Using prosecutorial discretion to not take bank executives to task, while legal, was neither moral nor politically wise; in a 2013 poll, more than half of Americans still said they wanted the bankers behind the crisis punished. But the Obama administration failed to act, and this pattern seems to be continuing. No one, for instance, from Wells Fargo has been indicted for mass fraud in opening fake accounts.

Third, Obama enabled and encouraged roughly 9 million foreclosures. This was Geithner's explicit policy at Treasury. The Obama administration put together a foreclosure program that it marketed as a way to help homeowners, but when Elizabeth Warren, then chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, grilled Geithner on why the program wasn't stopping foreclosures, he said that really wasn't the point. The program, in his view, was working. "We estimate that they can handle 10 million foreclosures, over time," Geithner said - referring to the banks. "This program will help foam the runway for them." For Geithner, the most productive economic policy was to get banks back to business as usual.

Nor did Obama do much about monopolies. While his administration engaged in a few mild challenges toward the end of his term, 2015 saw a record wave of mergers and acquisitions, and 2016 was another busy year. In nearly every sector of the economy, from pharmaceuticals to telecom to Internet platforms to airlines, power has concentrated. And this administration, like George W. Bush's before it, did not prosecute a single significant monopoly under Section 2 of the Sherman Act. Instead, in the past few years, the Federal Trade Commission has gone after such villains as music teachers and ice skating instructors for ostensible anti-competitive behavior. This is very much a parallel of the financial crisis, as elites operate without legal constraints while the rest of us toil under an excess of bureaucracy.

With these policies in place, it's no surprise that Thomas Piketty and others have detected skyrocketing inequality, that most jobs created in the past eight years have been temporary or part time, or that lifespans in white America are dropping . When Democratic leaders don't protect the people, the people get poorer, they get angry, and more of them die.

Yes, Obama prevented an even greater collapse in 2009. But he also failed to prosecute the banking executives responsible for the housing crisis, then approved a foreclosure wave under the guise of helping homeowners. Though 58 percent of Americans were in favor of government action to halt foreclosures, Obama's administration balked. And voters noticed. Fewer than four in 10 Americans were happy with his economic policies this time last year (though that was an all-time high for Obama). And by Election Day, 75 percent of voters were looking for someone who could take the country back "from the rich and powerful," something unlikely to be done by members of the party that let the financiers behind the 2008 financial crisis walk free.

This isn't to say voters are, on balance, any more thrilled with what Republicans have to offer, nor should they be. But that doesn't guarantee Democrats easy wins. Throughout American history, when voters have felt abandoned by both parties, turnout has collapsed - and 2016, scraping along 20-year turnout lows, was no exception. Turnout in the Rust Belt , where Clinton's path to victory dissolved, was especially low in comparison to 2012.

Trump, who is either tremendously lucky or worryingly perceptive, ran his campaign like a pre-1930s Republican. He did best in rural areas, uniting white farmers, white industrial workers and certain parts of big business behind tariffs and anti-immigration walls. While it's impossible to know what he will really do for these voters, the coalition he summoned has a long, if not recent, history in America.

Democrats have long believed that theirs is the party of the people. Therefore, when Trump co-opts populist language, such as saying he represents the "forgotten" man, it seems absurd - and it is. After all, that's what Democrats do, right? Thus, many Democrats have assumed that Trump's appeal can only be explained by personal bigotry - and it's also true that Trump trafficks in racist and nativist rhetoric. But the reality is that the Democratic Party has been slipping away from the working class for some time, and Obama's presidency hastened rather than reversed that departure. Republicans, hardly worker-friendly themselves, simply capitalized on it.

There's history here: In the 1970s, a wave of young liberals, Bill Clinton among them, destroyed the populist Democratic Party they had inherited from the New Dealers of the 1930s. The contours of this ideological fight were complex, but the gist was: Before the '70s, Democrats were suspicious of big business. They used anti-monopoly policies to fight oligarchy and financial manipulation. Creating competition in open markets, breaking up concentrations of private power, and protecting labor and farmer rights were understood as the essence of ensuring that our commercial society was democratic and protected from big money.

Bill Clinton's generation, however, believed that concentration of financial power could be virtuous, as long as that power was in the hands of experts. They largely dismissed the white working class as a bastion of reactionary racism. Fred Dutton, who served on the McGovern-Fraser Commission in 1970 , saw the white working class as "a major redoubt of traditional Americanism and of the antinegro, antiyouth vote." This paved the way for the creation of the modern Democratic coalition. Obama is simply the latest in a long line of party leaders who have bought into the ideology of these "new" Democrats, and he has governed likewise, with commercial policies that ravaged the heartland.

As a result, while our culture has become more tolerant over the past 40 years, power in our society has once again been concentrated in the hands of a small group of billionaires. You can see this everywhere, if you look. Warren Buffett, who campaigned with Hillary Clinton, recently purchased chunks of the remaining consolidated airlines, which have the power not only to charge you to use the overhead bin but also to kill cities simply by choosing to fly elsewhere. Internet monopolies increasingly control the flow of news and media revenue. Meatpackers have re-created a brutal sharecropper-type system of commercial exploitation. And health insurers, drugstores and hospitals continue to consolidate, partially as a response to Obamacare and its lack of a public option for health coverage.

Many Democrats ascribe problems with Obama's policies to Republican opposition. The president himself does not. "Our policies are so awesome," he once told staffers. "Why can't you guys do a better job selling them?" The problem, in other words, is ideological.

Many Democrats think that Trump supporters voted against their own economic interests. But voters don't want concentrated financial power that deigns to redistribute some cash, along with weak consumer protection laws. They want jobs. They want to be free to govern themselves. Trump is not exactly pitching self-government. But he is offering a wall of sorts to protect voters against neo-liberals who consolidate financial power, ship jobs abroad and replace paychecks with food stamps. Democrats should have something better to offer working people. If they did, they could have won in November. In the wreckage of this last administration, they didn't.

[Jan 05, 2017] The Democratic Party nomenklatura is embarked on a massive media campaign to divert and reframe the election issues away from the economic and inequality concerns expressed by the Sanders campaign.

Notable quotes:
"... The US nomenclatura is embarked on a massive media campaign to divert and reframe the election issues away from the economic and inequality concerns expressed by the Sanders campaign. No "break up the banks", no "free public college", no "medicare for all", no campaign funding reform. ..."
"... At the moment, the Democratic Party is structurally fragile and its members have shied away from the kind of radical upheaval Republicans have been forced to embrace. Nonetheless, Democrats will soon face enormously risky decisions. ..."
"... I do wonder how years went by with no one in the Obama administration wavering from their belief that they couldn't prosecute any of the banksters. These didn't just make bad loans. They stole homes. If you're going to steal, steal big, has long been the lesson. ..."
Jan 05, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
RGC : Reply Thursday, January 05, 2017 at 08:16 AM
The US nomenclatura is embarked on a massive media campaign to divert and reframe the election issues away from the economic and inequality concerns expressed by the Sanders campaign. No "break up the banks", no "free public college", no "medicare for all", no campaign funding reform.

For a while we had the Russian hacking accusations, which have suddenly gone dormant (will we ever get proof?). Now we have divide and conquer identity issues. But no proposed alternatives to Trump for curing our economic malaise along the lines suggested by Sanders.

We are headed back to business as usual, with the right fighting the so-called center left (our two neoliberal factions) for dominance. Apparently conditions have not deteriorated enough yet for a populist uprising. How much more does it take before we reach a critical mass?

Dan Kervick -> RGC... , January 05, 2017 at 10:07 AM
Some change is happening. Even Cuomo is now seeking the seal of approval from Bernie for supporting a new college tuition plan for families making less than $125,000.

It's going to be a slow process though. There is a group within the Democratic Party that is on the way out historically, and they want to do nothing other than turn the Party's politics into nothing but vendettas, distraction and obstruction.

pgl -> Dan Kervick... , January 05, 2017 at 10:14 AM
This is classic Cuomo. Give a bit to the right - then a bit to the left. Of course the ultra-rich Uppity East Siders are whining we can't afford this while the Green Party is upset it does not also cover food and rent. You can't win in NYC politics no matter what you do.
Peter K. : , January 05, 2017 at 08:20 AM
From Thomas Edsall's NYTimes column:

" At the moment, the Democratic Party is structurally fragile and its members have shied away from the kind of radical upheaval Republicans have been forced to embrace. Nonetheless, Democrats will soon face enormously risky decisions.

Does the party move left, as a choice of Keith Ellison for D.N.C. chairman would suggest? Does it wait for internecine conflict to emerge among Republicans as Trump and his allies fulfill campaign promises - repealing Obamacare, enacting tax reform and deporting millions of undocumented aliens?"

It's funny how there has been no discussion of the DNC chair contest, and yet the progressive neoliberals here still whine that the forum isn't an echo chamber which reflects their views. And then they fantasize about banning people with whom they disagree.

Denis Drew : , January 05, 2017 at 08:27 AM
State governments famously (or infamously) give away billions in tax breaks to lure in firms that make jobs. 19 Republican governors -- by rejecting Medicaid expansion -- have rejected TAKING IN federal tax money to generate good medical jobs, not to mention the multiplier effect of new spending ...

.. and it's the states' own money that they sent to the federal government that they don't want to TAKE BACK ...

... oh, almost forgot; it's good for uninsured poor people too (almost forgot about that).

pgl -> Denis Drew ... , January 05, 2017 at 09:05 AM
Nice point. My DINO governor (Cuomo) was smart enough to take the Medicaid funding but he gives all sorts of stupid supply-side breaks to businesses.
im1dc -> pgl... , January 05, 2017 at 09:30 AM
I am under the belief that Gov. Cuomo and NY Governers generally give those tax breaks to keep businesses from moving to lower tax States.

Am I wrong to believe that NY State is a High Tax State compared to those in the South?

pgl -> im1dc... , January 05, 2017 at 09:38 AM
Yes but he is given them a complete tax holiday.
JF -> pgl... , January 05, 2017 at 09:38 AM
There was a reason why the Annapolis Convention that led almost directly to the Constitutional convention was organized on the need to stop interjurisdictional competition in the favoring of commercial interests so as to favor uniform commerce rules across the US, should the national legislature exercise on the matter.

I sure like competition, recognize the federal system as a having great socio-political value, even appreciate non-uniformity until it grabs the attention of more thoughtful view (experimentation), but more and more I think Congress should enact the law to proscribe these crony actions by States. Many politicians, and I've worked with many at the State level would appreciate it if these pandering and favoring pleadings just went away.

Peter K. : , January 05, 2017 at 08:39 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/04/business/economy/federal-reserve-minutes-interest-rates.html

Fed Officials See Faster Economic Growth Under Trump, but No Boom

By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM
JAN. 4, 2017

"Ms. Yellen has warned that fiscal stimulus, like a tax cut or a spending increase, could increase economic growth to an unsustainable pace in the near term, resulting in increased inflation. The Fed quite likely would seek to offset such policies by raising interest rates more quickly."

Progressive neoliberalism...

And Alan Blinder said Hillary's fiscal plans wouldn't be large enough to cause the Fed to alter its path of rate hikes.

And Trump promised more better infrastructure like clean airports.

And Trump won.

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 08:41 AM
I'm now thinking that Trump will have conflict with the Fed.

He lives for conflict and drama.

pgl : , January 05, 2017 at 09:04 AM
An update on the Chevy Cruze controversy. US consumption was 194,500 vehicles with 190,000 made here in the US. That's 97.7% of them being produced locally. Tweet that.
Peter K. : , January 05, 2017 at 09:30 AM
http://www.eschatonblog.com/2017/01/the-early-days.html

THURSDAY, JANUARY 05, 2017

The Early Days

I do wonder how years went by with no one in the Obama administration wavering from their belief that they couldn't prosecute any of the banksters. These didn't just make bad loans. They stole homes. If you're going to steal, steal big, has long been the lesson.

by Atrios at 09:30

Peter K. -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 09:31 AM
who paid for Hillary Clinton's speeches?
JF -> Peter K.... , January 05, 2017 at 09:45 AM
Can you spend time on the republicans too? Just asking for a little balance. You and I both share a dismay about the last eight years and the presidential campaign. Your energy focused on the party in power now, even a bit, would probably be helpful.

[Jan 03, 2017] How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump

Jan 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Peter K. -> reason ... , January 03, 2017 at 07:36 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

How the Obama Coalition Crumbled, Leaving an Opening for Trump

Nate Cohn

DEC. 23, 2016

....

Mr. Trump's gains among white working-class voters weren't simply caused by Democrats staying home on Election Day.

The Clinton team knew what was wrong from the start, according to a Clinton campaign staffer and other Democrats. Its models, based on survey data, indicated that they were underperforming Mr. Obama in less-educated white areas by a wide margin - perhaps 10 points or more - as early as the summer.

The campaign looked back to respondents who were contacted in 2012, and found a large number of white working-class voters who had backed Mr. Obama were now supporting Mr. Trump.

...

Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump ran against the establishment - and against a candidate who embodied it far more than John McCain or Mr. Romney did. The various allegations against Mrs. Clinton neatly complemented the notion that she wasn't out to help ordinary Americans.

Taken together, Mr. Trump's views on immigration, trade, China, crime, guns and Islam all had considerable appeal to white working-class Democratic voters, according to Pew Research data. It was a far more appealing message than old Republican messages about abortion, same-sex marriage and the social safety net.

...

Mrs. Clinton's gains were concentrated among the most affluent and best-educated white voters, much as Mr. Trump's gains were concentrated among the lowest-income and least-educated white voters.

She gained 17 points among white postgraduates, according to Upshot estimates, but just four points among whites with a bachelor's degree.

There was a similar pattern by income. Over all, she picked up 24 points among white voters with a degree making more than $250,000, according to the exit polls, while she made only slight gains among those making less than $100,000 per year.

These gains helped her win huge margins in the most well-educated and prosperous liberal bastions of the new economy, like Manhattan, Silicon Valley, Washington, Seattle, Chicago and Boston. There, Mrs. Clinton ran up huge margins in traditionally liberal enclaves and stamped out nearly every last wealthy precinct that supported the Republicans.

Scarsdale, N.Y., voted for Mrs. Clinton by 57 points, up from Mr. Obama's 18-point win. You could drive a full 30 miles through the leafy suburbs northwest of Boston before reaching a town where Mr. Trump hit 20 percent of the vote. She won the affluent east-side suburbs of Seattle, like Mercer Island, Bellevue and Issaquah, by around 50 points - doubling Mr. Obama's victory.

Every old-money Republican enclave of western Connecticut, like Darien and Greenwich, voted for Mrs. Clinton, in some cases swinging 30 points in her direction. Every precinct of Winnetka and Glencoe, Ill., went to Mrs. Clinton as well.

Her gains were nearly as impressive in affluent Republican suburbs, like those edging west of Kansas City, Mo., and Houston; north of Atlanta, Dallas and Columbus, Ohio; or south of Charlotte, N.C., and Los Angeles in Orange County. Mrs. Clinton didn't always win these affluent Republican enclaves, but she made big gains.

But the narrowness of Mrs. Clinton's gains among well-educated voters helped to concentrate her support in the coasts and the prosperous but safely Republican Sun Belt. It left her short in middle-class, battleground-state suburbs, like those around Philadelphia, Detroit and Tampa, Fla., where far fewer workers have a postgraduate degree, make more than $100,000 per year or work in finance, science or technology.

...

ilsm -> reason ... , -1
Clinton stood for neoliberals who do have the edge in income disparity.

The only thing liberal is the divergent morals

[Jan 02, 2017] How George Soros Destroyed The Democratic Party

Notable quotes:
"... George Soros saw America in terms of its centers of economic and political power. He didn't care about the vast stretches of small towns and villages, of the more modest cities that he might fly over in his jet but never visit, and the people who lived in them. Like so many globalists who believe that borders shouldn't exist because the luxury hotels and airports they pass through are interchangeable, the parts of America that mattered to him were in the glittering left-wing bubble inhabited by his fellow elitists. ..."
"... Trump's victory, like Brexit, came because the neoliberals had left the white working class behind. Its vision of the future as glamorous multicultural city states was overturned in a single night. The idea that Soros had committed so much power and wealth to was of a struggle between populist nationalists and responsible internationalists. But, in a great irony, Bush was hardly the nationalist that Soros believed. Instead Soros spent a great deal of time and wealth to unintentionally elect a populist nationalist. ..."
"... Soros fed a political polarization while assuming, wrongly, that the centers of power mattered, and their outskirts did not. He was proven wrong in both the United States of America and in the United Kingdom. He had made many gambles that paid off. But his biggest gamble took everything with it. ..."
"... They sold their souls for campaign dollars and look what it got them. lmfao. ..."
"... I wouldn't give Soros that much credit. Sure, he helped, but face it, mainstream corporate media is now the Ministry of Truth. And both the Democrat and Republican elites have been working overtime in the last 16 years to dismantle the Constitution and Bill of Rights. ..."
"... The Deplorables at least understand they have been betrayed by BOTH parties. ..."
"... I'm guessing that even without the billionaire polarizing meddler Soros, the limousine liberal group, made up of the crooked Clintons, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Washerwoman-Schitz, Chuck 'the fuck' Schumer and the Obamas, was more than enough to sink a very divided, primary election-rigged Democrat Party ..."
"... Neoliberal lobbyists have successfully co-opted the policies & talking points of the center-left over the last two decades, and in so doing, poisoned progressive politics with a deep affinity for Wall Street, financialization, and free trade. Under neoliberalism, equality for all took a back seat to representational diversity within Western popular culture, redistribution was repurposed to include corporate welfare programs & taxpayer funded bail-outs for banks, and tolerance became increasingly subdued by identity politics. ..."
"... It was the takeover by neoliberalism that heralded the beginning of the end for Social Democracy. Nothing else. The consequences of this neoliberal-sized myopia, stupidity & hubris include historically low levels of trust in public institutions, and a rapidly rising tide of right-wing populism & ethnic nationalism across the West. Neoliberal policy is responsible for the current state of affairs in our societies; ergo, its advocates & pundits are to be held accountable for such events as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. This fully includes legally accountable. ..."
"... Neoliberals control by divide and conquer tactics. ..."
"... I make a salient point about the detrimental influence of neoliberal & corporate lobbying on society, and soon after a troll appears to try divert attention away from the class struggle, and channel it right back to identity politics and the scapegoating of ethnic/religious minorities. It brings to mind the following quote, actually: ..."
"... " 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 pacificsts for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. " - Hermann Goering ..."
"... It makes one wonder what else neoliberals and the far-right might have in common beyond the mutual adoration for corporate welfare & racial hierarchy. ..."
"... Your corporate & neoliberal sponsors are the inheritors & beneficiaries of these " American legacies". And judging by the events of the 2008 financial crisis, they are far from being done with destroying the lives of people they somehow deem inherently "inferior". ..."
"... And, if you were to give any kind of balance to your comments, you'd refer to "leftists" like Brzezinski, Carter, Rubin, Billary Clinton, Summers and Jay Rockefeller as neoliberals. ..."
"... yep, soros is finishing the job begun by Scoop Jackson and the DLC. "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democratic and Republican parties" - G. Wallace 1968. He was right then, even more correct in 2014 ..."
"... Please. He was 14 and a half when the Nazis surrendered in Budapest (where he lived). Soros may be pernicious, but drop this "Nazi collaborator" bullshit. ..."
"... The Dems a party of "radical leftists"?? Are you kidding me? they are a bunch of corrupt liars at every party level that has even a slight real influence on state or national policies, by and large. The same ist true for the republicans. ..."
"... Oh, and Soros is no leftist billionaire either. He is a globalist, elitist NWO world government crook who wants to enslave mankind for his own personal enrichment no matter what. ..."
"... His "open society" and "reflexivity" bullsh!t is just some empty talk and blabbering to fool and deceive people. ..."
"... His only "principle" and "ideology" is "Soros first". he has more money than he can ever spend in his remaining life span, yet he still cannot grab enough $$. Leftist? Not! ..."
"... Soros did a great job helping Oblivio and Hillary obliterate the Democratic Party. ..."
"... And nobody seems to discuss how Putin became Public Enemy Number One in the minds of the Dems after Russia put out a warrant on Soros. Coincidence? ..."
"... Soros was only part of the problem for the democrats, Mostly the blame falls on the ones that let it go into ruin. So blinded by the money, couldn't see the obvious. ..."
"... "They have financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. They own your news, the media, your oil and your government. Yet most of you don't even know who they are. ..."
"... The corrupt avarice of the Clintons and the Chicago Mafia were all that was needed to complete the complete destruction. ..."
"... I can think of no finer display of corrupt pettiness than how they have acted since the election. And to think they almost ended up running this country. It does appear as if the Fortunes shine upon us. Time will tell. ..."
"... Kinda like all the "russian hacking" nonsense. The neoliberals bitches and moans about foreign interference in our election, but their entire national strategy relies upon same. ..."
"... Also funny how the democrat party has allowed itself to become the big money, corporate party. They rely on billionaire money to operate. All that money spend and they still couldn't get killery her crown. I never thought Id say this, but it looks like we all owe old georgie a big thank you for what he did. I doubt the germans would feel the same, but him destroying the neoliberals trying to remake it in his imagine did us a big favor this time around. ..."
"... Destroying political parties is the easiest thing on the world, as they are completely populated by greedy sociopaths. ..."
"... The neoliberals needs demons as they don't have an actual platform that is economically feasible. Unfettered immigrants coming in coupled with jobs leaving isn't sustainable. The old saying "we make it up in volume" applies. ..."
"... The Washington Post is now referred to as Bezos' Blog. Get with the program, man. ..."
"... If Trump is moderately successful in draining the swamp I think that bodes poorly for the neocon warmongering old guard wing of the party. And that is a good thing if it happens. ..."
"... The neocons can easily move over to the Democratic Party. Some of them already are. The Democrats would welcome them. ..."
"... Actually, that is where they came from. Bill Kristol sr., Perle, etc. were democrats until democrats became the anti war party in the 60's of George McGovern, they couldn't abide with that so they moved to the republican party which was historically more isolationist and anti war, because war was bad for business. ..."
"... Funny how you forgot the military-industrial complex, wall street, healthcare scam etc. That's where most of it goes, but they keep the sheeple blaming the poor. ..."
Jan 02, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Daniel Greenfield via FrontPageMag.com,

It was the end of the big year with three zeroes. The first X-Men movie had broken box office records. You couldn't set foot in a supermarket without listening to Brittney Spears caterwauling, "Oops, I Did It Again." And Republicans and Democrats had total control of both chambers of legislatures in the same amount of states. That was the way it was back in the distant days of the year 2000.

In 2016, Republicans control both legislative chambers in 32 states. That's up from 16 in 2000.

What happened to the big donkey? Among other things, the Democrats decided to sell their base and their soul to a very bad billionaire and they got a very bad deal for both.

... ... ...

Obama's wins concealed the scale and scope of the disaster. Then the party woke up after Obama to realize that it had lost its old bases in the South and the Rust Belt. the neoliberals had hollowed it out and transformed it into a party of coastal urban elites, angry college crybullies and minority coalitions.

Republicans control twice as many state legislative chambers as the Democrats. They boast 25 trifectas , controlling both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion. Trifectas had gone from being something that wasn't seen much outside of a few hard red states like Texas to covering much of the South, the Midwest and the West.

The Democrats have a solid lock on the West Coast and a narrow corridor of the Northeast, and little else. The vast majority of the country's legislatures are in Republican hands. The Democrat Governor's Association has a membership in the teens. In former strongholds like Arkansas, Dems are going extinct. The party has gone from holding national legislative majorities to becoming a marginal movement.

... Much of this disaster had been funded with Soros money. Like many a theatrical villain, the old monster had been undone by his own hubris. Had Soros aided the Democrats without trying to control them, he would have gained a seat at the table in a national party. Instead he spent a fortune destroying the very thing he was trying to control.

George Soros saw America in terms of its centers of economic and political power. He didn't care about the vast stretches of small towns and villages, of the more modest cities that he might fly over in his jet but never visit, and the people who lived in them. Like so many globalists who believe that borders shouldn't exist because the luxury hotels and airports they pass through are interchangeable, the parts of America that mattered to him were in the glittering left-wing bubble inhabited by his fellow elitists.

Trump's victory, like Brexit, came because the neoliberals had left the white working class behind. Its vision of the future as glamorous multicultural city states was overturned in a single night. The idea that Soros had committed so much power and wealth to was of a struggle between populist nationalists and responsible internationalists. But, in a great irony, Bush was hardly the nationalist that Soros believed. Instead Soros spent a great deal of time and wealth to unintentionally elect a populist nationalist.

... ... ...

Soros fed a political polarization while assuming, wrongly, that the centers of power mattered, and their outskirts did not. He was proven wrong in both the United States of America and in the United Kingdom. He had made many gambles that paid off. But his biggest gamble took everything with it.

"I don't believe in standing in the way of an avalanche," Soros complained of the Republican wave in 2010.

But he has been trying to do just that. And failing.

"There should be consequences for the outrageous statements and proposals that we've regularly heard from candidates Trump and Cruz," Soros threatened this time around. He predicted a Hillary landslide.

He was wrong.

... ... ...

The_Juggernaut -> Normalcy Bias , Jan 1, 2017 5:56 PM

They sold their souls for campaign dollars and look what it got them. lmfao.
AlaricBalth -> Croesus , Jan 1, 2017 6:31 PM
Where is the outrage concerning Soros' attempted hack of the 2016 election?
Perimetr -> AlaricBalth , Jan 1, 2017 6:34 PM
I wouldn't give Soros that much credit. Sure, he helped, but face it, mainstream corporate media is now the Ministry of Truth. And both the Democrat and Republican elites have been working overtime in the last 16 years to dismantle the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Deplorables at least understand they have been betrayed by BOTH parties.

Paul Kersey -> two hoots , Jan 1, 2017 7:11 PM
I'm guessing that even without the billionaire polarizing meddler Soros, the limousine liberal group, made up of the crooked Clintons, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Washerwoman-Schitz, Chuck 'the fuck' Schumer and the Obamas, was more than enough to sink a very divided, primary election-rigged Democrat Party
tazs -> For Ages We Shall Reign , Jan 1, 2017 9:17 PM
Soros also financed the entire conflict with Russia.

http://biblicisminstitute.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/the-truth-about-the-c...

weburke -> tazs , Jan 1, 2017 9:26 PM
he is under the control of others

also, the clinton group is and has been regular murderers.

cheka -> weburke , Jan 1, 2017 10:04 PM
a few decades ago the dims were viewed as the party of the working man

they ditched the working man to court the various hate groups - nyc skype, gay, black, illegal, globalist warmers, etc

apparently the hate groups don't have the time to vote their dim masters into office

Eirik Magnus Larssen -> cheka , Jan 2, 2017 4:27 AM
" they ditched the working man to court the various hate groups - nyc skype, gay, black, illegal, globalist warmers, etc "

Inclusive politics are not at the root of the crisis which the center-left is now experiencing on both sides of the Atlantic. Neoliberalism is.

Neoliberal lobbyists have successfully co-opted the policies & talking points of the center-left over the last two decades, and in so doing, poisoned progressive politics with a deep affinity for Wall Street, financialization, and free trade. Under neoliberalism, equality for all took a back seat to representational diversity within Western popular culture, redistribution was repurposed to include corporate welfare programs & taxpayer funded bail-outs for banks, and tolerance became increasingly subdued by identity politics.

Today, we witness this phenomenon across all major center-left parties & their associated media pundits. A prominent example would be the vocal support that mainstream neoliberal outlets, such as the Financial Times, Bloomberg, and The Economist, are consistently offering to the Social Democratic parties & candidates. These neoliberal platforms take on a public profile of social radicalism on key social issues, while they relentlessly advocate for unfettered free trade and a form of laissez faire capitalism at the same time.

It was the takeover by neoliberalism that heralded the beginning of the end for Social Democracy. Nothing else. The consequences of this neoliberal-sized myopia, stupidity & hubris include historically low levels of trust in public institutions, and a rapidly rising tide of right-wing populism & ethnic nationalism across the West. Neoliberal policy is responsible for the current state of affairs in our societies; ergo, its advocates & pundits are to be held accountable for such events as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. This fully includes legally accountable.

Paul Kersey -> Eirik Magnus Larssen , Jan 2, 2017 5:37 AM
Erik, when haven't England and the US been governed by neoliberals? Neoliberals control by divide and conquer tactics. In the US, elections have always been rural vs city, young vs old, white vs non-white. Even when Obama won, he didn't win the white vote, the rural vote or the old vote. Brexit, too, was about young vs old, rural vs city and white vs non-white.

In the big national elections, it comes down to which sides get out the vote. In the case of the Presidential election, the Democrats, who couldn't have picked a more entitled, crooked and repulsive candidate, just couldn't get out enough of their own vote out her. In the case of the Brexit election, it was the fear of the non-urban whites being over run by immigrants, that made the difference.

Eirik Magnus Larssen -> fleur de lis , Jan 2, 2017 8:09 AM
How much do your corporate sponsors pay for each attempt at disrupting public criticism of neoliberalism?
Eirik Magnus Larssen -> fleur de lis , Jan 2, 2017 9:22 AM
I make a salient point about the detrimental influence of neoliberal & corporate lobbying on society, and soon after a troll appears to try divert attention away from the class struggle, and channel it right back to identity politics and the scapegoating of ethnic/religious minorities. It brings to mind the following quote, actually:

" 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 pacificsts for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. " - Hermann Goering

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_G%C3%B6ring

It makes one wonder what else neoliberals and the far-right might have in common beyond the mutual adoration for corporate welfare & racial hierarchy.

Eirik Magnus Larssen -> fleur de lis , Jan 2, 2017 9:24 AM
The irony is thick:

1) https://www2.stetson.edu/library/green/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/prize_...

2) https://intercontinentalcry.org/colonialism-genocide-and-gender-violence...

Your corporate & neoliberal sponsors are the inheritors & beneficiaries of these " American legacies". And judging by the events of the 2008 financial crisis, they are far from being done with destroying the lives of people they somehow deem inherently "inferior".

Perhaps the legacies of class warfare & racial hierarchy should end.

Paul Kersey -> Eirik Magnus Larssen , Jan 2, 2017 10:10 AM
EML, would it kill you to be a bit more balanced in your comments? You always end up with a rant about the "far-right" and "identity politics". Do you deny that the far left constantly disparages Jews and working class whites, who these leftists refer to as "white trash" and "trailer trash"?

And, if you were to give any kind of balance to your comments, you'd refer to "leftists" like Brzezinski, Carter, Rubin, Billary Clinton, Summers and Jay Rockefeller as neoliberals. Try not being such a polarizing one-trick pony, or at least save yourself time by using the term, 'ditto' for your posts, since most of your posts appear to be redundant pleas for negative attention.

Hermann Goering, please. Now you are resorting to Godwin's Law. How pathetic.

Eirik Magnus Larssen -> shovelhead , Jan 2, 2017 9:40 AM
"I would suggest, rather than a take-over by this shadowy "Neo-Liberals", that the facts are that normal people don't want to be associated with..."

Are these the "normal people" you are referring to?

https://www.desmogblog.com/2016/09/15/dakota-access-pipeline-fake-twitte...

American Gorbachev -> cheka , Jan 2, 2017 8:40 AM
yep, soros is finishing the job begun by Scoop Jackson and the DLC. "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democratic and Republican parties" - G. Wallace 1968. He was right then, even more correct in 2014

in 2017 ??? time will tell

JungleCat -> tazs , Jan 2, 2017 9:54 AM
"...former Nazi collaborator" ??

Please. He was 14 and a half when the Nazis surrendered in Budapest (where he lived). Soros may be pernicious, but drop this "Nazi collaborator" bullshit.

fx -> For Ages We Shall Reign , Jan 2, 2017 4:02 AM
The Dems a party of "radical leftists"?? Are you kidding me? they are a bunch of corrupt liars at every party level that has even a slight real influence on state or national policies, by and large. The same ist true for the republicans.

Oh, and Soros is no leftist billionaire either. He is a globalist, elitist NWO world government crook who wants to enslave mankind for his own personal enrichment no matter what.

His "open society" and "reflexivity" bullsh!t is just some empty talk and blabbering to fool and deceive people.

He sold out his fellow jews to the Nazis back in the dark times of the 1930s/1940s; he virtually delivered them to the Nazio slaughterhouse and never ever regretted it. He is doing and always will do the same to everybody else.

His only "principle" and "ideology" is "Soros first". he has more money than he can ever spend in his remaining life span, yet he still cannot grab enough $$. Leftist? Not!

JRobby -> Paul Kersey , Jan 1, 2017 7:31 PM
Soros did a great job helping Oblivio and Hillary obliterate the Democratic Party.

Oblivio - Obliterate - Oblivion

WestVillageIdiot -> JRobby , Jan 1, 2017 7:38 PM
And nobody seems to discuss how Putin became Public Enemy Number One in the minds of the Dems after Russia put out a warrant on Soros. Coincidence?
strannick -> WestVillageIdiot , Jan 1, 2017 7:42 PM
Putin showed the world that you could aspire towards Christian nationhood, and take yourselves out from under the debt enslaved thumb of Zoinist Rothchild Bankers. For that he must be stopped.
cheka -> strannick , Jan 1, 2017 10:05 PM
if Russia would start taking 3rd world 'refugees' they could get back in skype good graces
buttmint -> cheka , Jan 2, 2017 2:21 AM
cheka...good point, you forgot the:

/sarc

strannick -> Paul Kersey , Jan 1, 2017 7:39 PM
Dear Democrats;

Next time, dont sell your soul to a very bad billionaire. Instead, listen to Putins Christmas speech

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-26/vladimir-putin%E2%80%99s-christ...

OneEyedJack -> Perimetr , Jan 1, 2017 7:01 PM
Soros was only part of the problem for the democrats, Mostly the blame falls on the ones that let it go into ruin. So blinded by the money, couldn't see the obvious.
Amun -> Blankone , Jan 1, 2017 8:51 PM
"They have financed both sides of every war since Napoleon. They own your news, the media, your oil and your government. Yet most of you don't even know who they are."

http://www.infowars.com/mr-burns-declares-war/

RiverRoad -> OneEyedJack , Jan 1, 2017 8:44 PM
The Clinton Machine took them all down, riding over anything and anyone who got in their way.
Theosebes Goodfellow -> Perimetr , Jan 2, 2017 12:19 AM
~"I wouldn't give Soros that much credit."~

Actually, I find this post to be a very accurate summation of what the 2016 election turned out to be. It is true that it was not Soros alone who created the evil that was done, but he was the money bags behind it.

The corrupt avarice of the Clintons and the Chicago Mafia were all that was needed to complete the complete destruction. What is disturbing is how incapable those whose guilt is writ in this fiasco are of coming to terms with their very own failures. All you see them do is try to blame others for their iniquities.

I can think of no finer display of corrupt pettiness than how they have acted since the election. And to think they almost ended up running this country. It does appear as if the Fortunes shine upon us. Time will tell.

greenskeeper carl -> AlaricBalth , Jan 1, 2017 6:57 PM
Since it came from Soros, Its "good" influence. Its only bad when such things hurt democrats. Kinda like all the "russian hacking" nonsense. The neoliberals bitches and moans about foreign interference in our election, but their entire national strategy relies upon same.

They import millions of foreigners who overwhelmingly vote democrat. They wouldn't stand a chance in a national election without a shitload of non americans voting. How exactly that isn't defined as 'foreign interference in our elections' is beyond me.

Also funny how the democrat party has allowed itself to become the big money, corporate party. They rely on billionaire money to operate. All that money spend and they still couldn't get killery her crown. I never thought Id say this, but it looks like we all owe old georgie a big thank you for what he did. I doubt the germans would feel the same, but him destroying the neoliberals trying to remake it in his imagine did us a big favor this time around.

New World Chaos -> greenskeeper carl , Jan 1, 2017 8:14 PM
Also have to thank Soros for Black Lives Matter. When the revolution comes, there will be a bunch of cops on our side, and most of the angry nutbags who kill random cops will be black, which means there will be even more cops on our side.

Within a few years maybe we will thank Soros for a fascist Europe and the giant enema which will follow. And the Farce will come full circle for this devil who got his start betraying his own people to the Nazis so he could steal their shit.

Amun -> New World Chaos , Jan 1, 2017 9:01 PM
"Zionists Sacrificed Jews to the Holocaust

The word "Holocaust" is a Biblical term for "burnt sacrifice." Why refer to genocide as "a sacrifice"? - See more at: https://www.henrymakow.com/2013/11/Zionists-Sacrificed-Jews-in-Holocaust...

"Excerpts from Perfidy are printed below. We begin with Adolf Eichmann's testimonial to Kastner's activities, which Hecht quoted from "Eichmann's Confessions" published in the November 28 and December 5, 1960 editions of LIFE magazine.

In Hungary my basic orders were to ship all the Jews out of Hungary in as short a time as possible. . . . In obedience to Himmler's directive, I now concentrated on negotiations with the Jewish political officials in Budapest . . . among them Dr. Rudolf Kastner, authorized representative of the Zionist Movement. This Dr. Kastner was a young man about my age, an ice-cold lawyer and a fanatical Zionist. He agreed to help keep the Jews from resisting deportation -- and even keep order in the collection camps -- if I would close my eyes and let a few hundred or a few thousand young Jews emigrate illegally to Palestine.

It was a good bargain. For keeping order in the camps, the price . . . was not too high for me ....We trusted each other perfectly. When he was with me, Kastner smoked cigarets as though he were in a coffeehouse. While we talked he would smoke one aromatic cigaret after another, taking them from a silver case and lighting them with a silver lighter. With his great polish and reserve he would have made an ideal Gestapo officer himself.Dr. Kastner's main concern was to make it possible for a select group of Hungarian Jews to emigrate to Israel. . . .

As a matter of fact, there was a very strong similarity between our attitudes in the S.S. and the viewpoint of these immensely idealistic Zionist leaders . . . . I believe that Kastner would have sacrificed a thousand or a hundred thousand of his blood to achieve his political goal. . . . "You can have the others," he would say, "but let me have this group here." And because Kastner rendered us a great service by helping to keep the deportation camps peaceful, I would let his group escape. After all, I was not concerned with small groups of a thousand or so Jews. . . . That was the "gentleman's agreement" I had with the Jews. (p.261) - See more at: https://www.henrymakow.com/2013/11/Zionists-Sacrificed-Jews-in-Holocaust...

SoDamnMad -> Croesus , Jan 2, 2017 3:18 AM
I would love for him to get "snatched" and dropped into the land of hackers. I am sure he would find the justice he deserves.

I wonder why the Simon Weisenthal Center never went after him.

Dennisen -> Normalcy Bias , Jan 1, 2017 5:57 PM
Sadly, everyone has a price. And he has the checkbook.
Oldwood -> Dennisen , Jan 1, 2017 6:31 PM
And he ain't done yet. The question is...how desperate will they become?
SWRichmond -> Oldwood , Jan 1, 2017 8:06 PM
Everyone, especially politicians. Destroying political parties is the easiest thing on the world, as they are completely populated by greedy sociopaths. As long as they are getting rich they are "winning".
Moe Hamhead -> NoWayJose , Jan 1, 2017 7:25 PM
I think Obama deserves a share of the credit. And Hillary, yes, of course Hillary deserves to take a bow as well.

And...., well Soros certainly was Executive Producer though.

insanelysane -> dogfish , Jan 1, 2017 6:51 PM
The Koch brothers stayed out of the fray as they do not like Trump. The neoliberals tried to make the Kochs a demon but no one was buying the bullshit. The neoliberals needs demons as they don't have an actual platform that is economically feasible. Unfettered immigrants coming in coupled with jobs leaving isn't sustainable. The old saying "we make it up in volume" applies.
dexter_morgan -> VWAndy , Jan 1, 2017 8:05 PM
Not this year really. They were not behind Trump, supported HRC if I am not mistaken, after Trump won the nomination.

Thing about the Krotch brothers that is different from Soros is they try to influence thing to benefit themselves financially, not necessarily to destroy the country, where Soros is flat out anti traditional American values and US constitution. The constitution is the only thing that has kept us from being a full blown totalitarian state run by global government so far, so it has to be destroyed in his mind.

I could be wrong, but don't think the Krotch brothers are out to destroy the constitution, just obscenely enrich themselves bordering on illegally.

WestVillageIdiot -> uncle_disgusting , Jan 1, 2017 7:40 PM
The Washington Post is now referred to as Bezos' Blog. Get with the program, man.
Yog Soggoth -> Midas , Jan 1, 2017 6:49 PM
Russians put the weeds in your lawn ... at night. Soros has always been a major problem for the entire world, and that is why the news will be very interesting this year, because everyone knows. Happy new year.
stant , Jan 1, 2017 5:58 PM
And now the Dems big donors want a audit of the 1.5 bill lost on the election. Looking at the carnage they won't be so generous in the future
Jacksons Ghost , Jan 1, 2017 6:00 PM
Hell has a special spot for this vermin, may he go there soon.
chosen , Jan 1, 2017 6:01 PM
Goodbye, Democratic Party. See you maybe in 16 years, but I doubt it. My guess is a different party will be formed to challenge the Republicans in 2032, and the Democrats will go the way of the Bull Moose Party, as in extinction.
dexter_morgan -> chosen , Jan 1, 2017 7:58 PM
The status of the national part of the Republican party seems a little up in the air to me. If Trump is moderately successful in draining the swamp I think that bodes poorly for the neocon warmongering old guard wing of the party. And that is a good thing if it happens.
chosen -> dexter_morgan , Jan 1, 2017 9:13 PM
The neocons can easily move over to the Democratic Party. Some of them already are. The Democrats would welcome them.
dexter_morgan -> chosen , Jan 1, 2017 11:17 PM
Actually, that is where they came from. Bill Kristol sr., Perle, etc. were democrats until democrats became the anti war party in the 60's of George McGovern, they couldn't abide with that so they moved to the republican party which was historically more isolationist and anti war, because war was bad for business.

Then the self perpetuating MIC that Eisenhower warned of became ascendant and then war was even more of a racket than it always was. Their influence came to the fore with Bush Sr.

Reagan had some in his administration, but he fired many or moved them out of positions of power when it came to his attention they were following their own agenda. And yet, he had enough to convince him of the Iran contra stuff.

red1chief -> ILIKEMITTENS , Jan 1, 2017 7:02 PM
Funny how you forgot the military-industrial complex, wall street, healthcare scam etc. That's where most of it goes, but they keep the sheeple blaming the poor.

[Jan 01, 2017] Now that 0bama is about to exit as US Pres, perhaps it is time to revisit the Who Is Worse: Bush43 v 0bama question.

Notable quotes:
"... Obama campaigned on change and vague promises, but still change. Instead he normalized atrocities that most of us had been screaming about in the Bush administration AND he didn't just squander the opportunities he had to change our course domestically because of the crash and the majorities in Congress, no he couldn't throw those away fast enough. ..."
"... Indeed. Bush was a known quantity. "Compassionate conservatism" was was blatantly hollow jingoism. My only surprise under W was how virulently evil Cheney was. ..."
"... The big O, though, was handed the opportunity to change the course of history. He took power with Wall Street on its knees. The whole world hungered for a change in course. Remember "never let a crisis go to waste". O turned Hope into blatantly hollow jingoism. ..."
"... Obama can be legitimately described as worse than Bush 43 because Obama ran as a "progressive" and flagrantly broke almost all of his promises and governed like a "Moderate" Republican. ..."
"... At the least, Bush, Sr. and Jr. ran as right wing politicos. The people basically got what they voted for with them. ..."
"... In August 1999, Barack Obama strolled amid the floats and bands making their way down Martin Luther King Drive on Chicago's South Side. Billed as the largest African-American parade in the country, the summer rite was a draw over the years to boxing heroes like Muhammad Ali and jazz greats like Duke Ellington. It was also a must-stop for the city's top politicians. ..."
"... Back then, Mr. Obama, a state senator who was contemplating a run for Congress, was so little-known in the community's black neighborhoods that it was hard to find more than a few dozen people to walk with him, recalled Al Kindle, one of his advisers at the time. Mr. Obama was trounced a year later in the Congressional race - branded as an aloof outsider more at home in the halls of Harvard than in the rough wards of Chicago politics. ..."
"... But by 2006, Mr. Obama had remade his political fortunes. He was a freshman United States senator on the cusp of deciding to take on the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton and embark on a long-shot White House run. When the parade wound its way through the South Side that summer, Mr. Obama was its grand marshal. ..."
"... A tight-knit community that runs through the South Side, Hyde Park is a liberal bastion of integration in what is otherwise one of the nation's most segregated cities. Mayor Washington had called it home, as did whites who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wealthy black entrepreneurs a generation removed from the civil rights battles of the 1960s. ..."
"... At its heart is the University of Chicago; at its borders are poor, predominately black neighborhoods blighted by rundown buildings and vacant lots. For Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a white Kansan mother and an African father and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, it was a perfect fit. ..."
"... "He felt completely comfortable in Hyde Park," said Martha Minow, his former law professor and a mentor. "It's a place where you don't have to wear a label on your forehead. You can go to a bookstore and there's the homeless person and there's the professor." ..."
Jan 01, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Now that 0bama is about to exit as US Pres, perhaps it is time to revisit the Who Is Worse: Bush43 v 0bama question.

Conventional wisdom among "Progressive" pundits, even good ones like SecularTalk, seems to be "yes, 0bama is better than Bush43, but that is a very low bar, & not a real accomplishment. 0bama still sucks".

IMHO, 0bama's relentless pursue of 1 Grand "Bargain" Ripoff & 2 TPP, may alone make him Even Worse than Bush43, as far as to damage inflicted on USians had 0bama been successful in getting these 2 policies. 0bama tried for years getting these 2 policies enacted, whereas Bush43 tried quickly to privatize SS but then forgot it, & IIRC enacted small trade deals (DR-CAFTA ?). Bush43 focus seemed to be on neocon regime change & War On Terra TM, & even then IIRC around ~2006 Bush43 rejected some of Darth Cheney's even more extremish neocon policy preferences, with Bush43 rejecting Cheney's desired Iran War.

IMHO both policies would've incrementally killed thousands of USians annually, far more than 1S1S or the Designated Foreign Boogeyman Du Jour TM could ever dream of. Grand Ripoff raising Medicare eligibility age (IIRC 67 to 69+ ?) would kill many GenX & younger USians in the future. TPP's pharma patent extensions would kill many USians, especially seniors. These incremental killings might exceed the incremental life savings from the ACA (mainly ACA Adult Medicaid expansion). Furthemore, 0bama could've potentially achieved MedicareForAll or Medicare Pt O – Public Option in ~2010 with Sen & House D majorities, & 0bama deliberately killed these policies, as reported by FDL's Jane Hamsher & others.

Bush43 indirectly killed USians in multiple ways, including Iraq War, War On Terra, & failing to regulate fin svcs leading to the 2008 GFC; however it would seem that 0bama's Death Toll would have been worse.

"What do you think?!" (c) Ed Schultz

How do Bush43 & 0bama compare to recent Presidents including Reagan & Clinton? What do you expect of Trump? I'd guesstimate that if Trump implements P Ryan-style crapification of Medicare into an ACA-like voucher system, that alone could render Trump Even Worse than 0bama & the other 1981-now Reganesque Presidents.

It does seem like each President is getting Even Worse than the prior guy in this 21st Century. #AmericanExceptionalism (exceptionally Crappy)

timbers , December 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

You hit the right priority of issues IMO, and would add a few bad things Obamanation did:

1). Bombing more nations than anyone in human history and being at war longer than any US President ever, having never requested an end but in fact a continuation of a permanent state of war declared by Congress.

2). The massive destruction of legal and constitutional rights from habeas corpus, illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of all people, to asserting the right to imprison, torture, and assassinate anyone anytime even America children just because Obama feels like doing it.

3). Austerity. This tanked any robust recovery from the 2008 recession and millions suffered because of it, we are living with the affects even now. In fact Obamanation's deep mystical belief in austerity helped defeat Clinton 2016.

Pat , December 31, 2016 at 9:18 am

HAMP. And not just ignoring bank mortgage fraud, but essentially enabling it and making it the norm.
Deporting more people than Presidents before him.
Passing the Korea and Columbia free trade pacts, even lying about what the pact did to get the Columbian one passed. KORUS alone made our trade deficit with Korea soar and lost an estimated 100,000 jobs in the US (and not those part time ones being created).
Had the chance to pass a real infrastructure repair/stimulus package, didn't.
Had the chance to put the Post Office in the black and even start a Postal Bank, didn't. Didn't even work to get rid of the Post Office killing requirement to fund its pension 75 years out.
Furthering the erosion of our civil rights by making it legal to assassinate American citizens without trial.
Instead of kneecapping the move to kill public education by requiring any charter school that receives federal funding to be non-profit with real limits on allowable administrative costs, expanded them AND expanded the testing boondoggle with Common Core.
Libya.
Expansion of our droning program.

While I do give him some credit for both the Iran deal and the attempt to rein in the Syria mistake, I also have to take points away for not firing Carter and demoting or even bringing Votel before a military court after their insubordination killing the ceasefire.

Should I continue. Bush was evil, Obama the more effective one.

John Wright , December 31, 2016 at 10:15 am

Bush's Iraq war will cost an estimated $3 trillion per Joseph Stiglitz.

That does not count all the damage done to Iraq/Afghanistan people and property and American's reputation.

Iraq's excess deaths due to the war were estimated at 500K to 655K.

On a population adjusted basis, this would be equivalent to the USA losing 5 to 6.55 million people to a foreign, unprovoked, power.

Bush scores quite high on being an effective evil, especially when viewed from outside the USA

I score him the winner vs Obama on total damage done to the USA and the world

j84ustin , December 31, 2016 at 10:52 am

Absolutely.

Pat , December 31, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Was that a disastrous choice? Certainly and it is a big one, but it also ignores how much of the disastrous choices attached to that decision Barack H. Obama has either continued or expanded upon. It also ignores how that war continues under Obama. Remember when we left Iraq? Oh, wait we haven't we just aren't there in the previous numbers.

http://time.com/4298318/iraq-us-troops-barack-obama-mosul-isis/

And what about Libya? You remember that little misadventure. Which added to our continued Saudi/Israeli determined obsession with Syria has led to a massive refugee crisis in Europe. How many were killed there. How much will that cost us fifteen years on?

https://www.ft.com/content/c2b6329a-9287-11e4-b213-00144feabdc0

I get that the quagmire was there before Obama. I also get that he began to get a clue late in his administration to stop listening to the usual subjects in order to make it better. But see that thing above about not firing people who undermined that new direction in Syria, and are probably now some of the most pressing secret voices behind this disastrous Russia Hacked US bull.

But I think only focusing on the original decision also ignores how effective Obama has been at normalize crime, corruption, torture and even assassination attached to those original choices – something that Bush didn't manage (and that doesn't even consider the same decriminalization and normalization done for and by the financial industry). Bush may have started the wheel down the bumpy road, but Obama put rubber on the wheel and paved the road so now it is almost impossible to stop the wheel.

TedWa , December 31, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Pat – don't forget about him putting banks above the law – unconstitutional and e v i l

JCC , December 31, 2016 at 12:40 pm

As mentioned, Bush is a very low bar for comparison, and if that's the best presidential comparison that can be made with Obama, then that says it all.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , December 31, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Mr. O long ago received my coveted Worst_President_Ever Award (and yes the judging included Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson).
Handed the golden platter opportunity to repudiate the myriad policy disasters of Bush (which as cited above cost trillions of dollars and millions of lives) he chose instead to continue them absolutely unchanged, usually with the same personnel. Whether it was unprosecuted bank crime in the tens of billions, foreign policy by drone bomb, health care mega-bezzle, hyper-spy tricks on everyday Americans, and corporo-fascist globalist "trade" deals, Mr. O never disappointed his Big Wall St, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and Big Surveillance-Industrial Complex constituents. Along the way he reversed the polarity of American politics, paving the way for a true corporo-fascist to say the slightest thing that might be good for actual workers and get into the White House. History will remember him as the president who lost Turkey and The Philippines, destroyed any remaining shreds of credibility with utterly specious hacking claims and war crime accusations of other nations, and presided over an era of hyper-concentration of billionaire wealth in a nation where 70% of citizens would need to borrow to fund a $400 emergency. Those failures are now permanently branded as "Democrat" failures. The jury is unanimous: Obama wins the award.

crittermom , December 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm

"HAMP. And not just ignoring bank mortgage fraud, but essentially enabling it and making it the norm."
Exactly. That is #1 on my list making him worst president ever.

Katharine , December 31, 2016 at 1:00 pm

I would question "ever" simply because I know I don't know enough about the history of previous presidents, and I doubt any of us do; even historians who focus on this kind of thing, supposing we had any in our midst, might be hard put to it to review all 44 thoroughly.

witters , December 31, 2016 at 7:47 pm

I like your epistemology! You don't know, but you do know others don't know either, even historians who clearly know a lot more on this than you.

Ed , December 31, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Declining empires tend to get entire series of bad kings.

Tom Bradford , December 31, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Cause or effect?

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 12:54 pm

I vote the mortgage fraud situation (see Chain of Title by David Dayen -not really a plug for the book) as the worst aspect of the Obama Administration. What to say about it? Regular readers of this site are well versed in the details but one aspect of it needs to be expounded upon; stand on the housetops and shout it kind of exposition: the mortgage fraud worked on millions (3, 5, 7, maybe 12 million) shows that rule of law is now destroyed in the land. Dictionary .com says this about the phrase

Rule of Law: the principle that all people and institutions are subject to and accountable to law that is fairly applied and enforced; the principle of government by law.

The World Justice Project has several pages on the topic and starts off with this:

* The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law.
* The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights.
* The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
* Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

I would invite the reader to take a moment and apply those principles to what is known about the situation concerning mortgage fraud worked on millions of homeowners during the past two decades.

The Justice Department's infamous attempts to cover up horribly harmful schemes worked by the mortgage industry perpetrators involved the cruel irony of aiding and abetting systemic racism. Not a lot was said in the popular press about the subject of reverse redlining but I'm convinced by the preponderance of evidence that overly complicated mortgage products were taken into the neighborhoods of Detroit (90% Black or Latin American, Hispanic) and foisted off on unsuspecting homeowners. Those homeowners did not take accountants and lawyers with them to the signing but that's how those schemes should have been approached; then most of those schemes would have hit the trashcan. Many a charming snake oil salesman deserves innumerable nights of uncomfortable rest for the work they did to destroy the neighborhoods of Detroit and of course many other neighborhoods in many other cities. For this discussion I am making this a separate topic but I realize it is connected to the overall financial skulduggery worked on us all by the FIRE sector.

However, let me return to the last principle promulgated by the World Justice Project pertaining to Rule Of Law and focus on that: "Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve." Now hear this: "are of sufficient number" for there, and gentle reader, please take this to bed with you at the end of your day: we fail as a nation. But look to the 'competent, ethical and independent' clause; we must vow to not sink into despair. This subject is a constant struggle. Google has my back on this: Obama, during both campaigns of '08 and '12, took millions from the very financial sector that he planned to not dismay and then was in turn very busy directing the Attorney General of The United States, the highest law officer in the country, to not prosecute. These very institutions that were in turn very busy taking property worth billions. 12 million stolen homes multiplied times the average home value = Trillions?

Finally, my main point here (I am really busy sharpening this ax, but it's a worthy ax) is the issue of systemic racism- that the financial institutions in this country work long hours to shackle members of minority neighborhoods into monetarily oppressive schemes in the form of mortgages, car loans, credit cards and personal loans (think pay day scammers) and these same makers of the shackles have the protection of the highest officials in the land. Remember the pitchforks Obama inveighed? Irony of cruel ironies, two black men, both of whom appear to be of honorable bearing, (Holder moved his chair right directly into the financiers, rent takers of Covington & Burling ) work to cement the arrangements of racist, oppressive scammers who of course also work their playbooks on other folks.

To finalize, the subject of rule of law that I have worked so assiduously to sharpen, applies to all of the other topics we can consider as failures of the Obama Presidency. So besides racism and systemic financial fraud we can turn to some top subjects that make '09 to '17 the nadir of the political culture of the United States of America. Drone wars, unending war in the Middle East, attempts to place a cloak of secrecy on the workings of the Federal Government, the reader will have their own axes to sharpen but I maintain if the reader will fervently apply and dig into the four principles outlined above, she, he, will agree that the principles outlining Rule of Law have been replaced by Rule of the Person.

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 1:02 pm

(3, 5, 7. 12 million) should be 3, 5, 7, maybe 12 million

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Here's one of many scholarly articles that reviews the subject of systemic racism in the finance and mortgage industries.
Am Sociol Rev. 2010 October 1; 75(5): 629–651. doi:10.1177/0003122410380868
Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
Jacob S. Rugh and Douglas S. Massey
Office of Population Research, Princeton University

Ray Phenicie , December 31, 2016 at 1:24 pm

Arghhh, the server is apparently napping-more caffeine please for the cables.
Here's one of many scholarly articles that reviews the subject of systemic racism in the finance and mortgage industries.
Am Sociol Rev. 2010 October 1; 75(5): 629–651. doi:10.1177/0003122410380868
Racial Segregation and the American Foreclosure Crisis
Jacob S. Rugh and Douglas S. Massey
Office of Population Research, Princeton University

hreik , December 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm

The book deserves to be plugged. I thought it was great. A fast and infuriating read. And very well written.

hreik , December 31, 2016 at 9:09 am

I dunno. President Obama is not great but the comments here make me feel like it's time for me to skedaddle. Thinking he might be worse than Shrub? 6″ tall, smh

Pat , December 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

Oh I admit it can be a tough choice, but you might really want to add up the good and the bad for both. Not surprisingly there is little good and a whole lot of long ongoing damage inflicted by the policies that both either embraced, adapted to or did little or nothing to stop.

Even if the list of bad was equal, I have to give Obama for the edge for two reasons. First because Bush pretty much told us what he was going to do, Obama campaigned on change and vague promises, but still change. Instead he normalized atrocities that most of us had been screaming about in the Bush administration AND he didn't just squander the opportunities he had to change our course domestically because of the crash and the majorities in Congress, no he couldn't throw those away fast enough.

Your position is obviously different.

And I don't give a damn what height either of them are, both are small people.

Lost in OR , December 31, 2016 at 11:14 am

Indeed. Bush was a known quantity. "Compassionate conservatism" was was blatantly hollow jingoism. My only surprise under W was how virulently evil Cheney was.

The big O, though, was handed the opportunity to change the course of history. He took power with Wall Street on its knees. The whole world hungered for a change in course. Remember "never let a crisis go to waste". O turned Hope into blatantly hollow jingoism.

In the end, the black activist constitutional lawyer turned his back on all that he seemed to be. Feint left, drive right.

With W we got what we expected. With O we got hoodwinked. What a waste.

ambrit , December 31, 2016 at 9:32 am

Look, if you don't like some of the comments you see, say so. We have some thick skinned people here. A little rancorous debate is fine. If some reasoned argumentation is thrown in, the comments section is doing it's job. (I know, I know, "agency" issues.)

Obama can be legitimately described as worse than Bush 43 because Obama ran as a "progressive" and flagrantly broke almost all of his promises and governed like a "Moderate" Republican.

At the least, Bush, Sr. and Jr. ran as right wing politicos. The people basically got what they voted for with them.

Finally, " it's time for me to skedaddle." WTF? I'm assuming, yes, I do do that, that you are a responsible and thoughtful person. That needs must include the tolerance of and engagement with opposing points of view. Where do you want to run to; an "echo chamber" site? You only encourage conformation bias with that move. The site administrators have occasionally mentioned the dictum; "Embrace the churn." The site, indeed, almost any site, will live on long after any of we commenters bite the dust. If, however, one can shift the world view of other readers with good argumentation and anecdotes, our work will be worthwhile.

So, as I was once admonished by my ex D.I. middle school gym teacher; "Stand up and face it. You may get beat, but you'll know you did your best. That's a good feeling."

craazyboy , December 31, 2016 at 11:47 am

Picking the #1 Worst Prez is a fallacy inherent in our desire to put things on a scale of 1 to 10. It's so we can say, in this case, #1 was the WORST, and then forget about #2 thru #10.

It's like picking the #1 Greatest Rock Guitar Player. There are too many great guitar players and too many styles. It's just not possible.

Even so, I'd like to see the Russian citizen ranking of Putin vs. Yeltsin. Secret ballot, of course.

ambrit , December 31, 2016 at 12:48 pm

America will be lucky if it avoids something similar to the earlier Russian people's ranking of Tsar Nicholas versus Karensky and subsequent events.

hreik , December 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I like your response. Thanks.

I don't think he's worse than Bush but I agree he was horribly dishonest to run as a progressive. He's far from progressive.

I think the ACA, deeply flawed as it is, was/is a good thing. It wasn't enough and it was badly brought out. I hope many thousands don't get tossed off health insurance.

My major criticism of him and most politicians is that he has no center. There is nothing for which he truly stands and he has a horrible tendency to try to make nice w the republicans. He's not progressive. Bernie, flawed also stands for something always has, always will.

Vatch , December 31, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Obama is highly deceptive, but I think that Bush (43) was worse. I doubt that Obama would have performed many of his worst deeds if Bush hadn't first paved the way. But we'll never know for sure, so it's possible to argue on behalf of either side of the dispute.

ambrit , December 31, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Sorry if I came across as harsh. I enjoy your arguments, so, I tried to encourage you to hang in there.
Happy New Year

hunkerdown , December 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

In other words, Obama's a Kissingerian realist, or a businessperson (but I repeat myself): only permanent interests.

Happy New Year, and try to don't run off so easy. :)

Yves Smith , December 31, 2016 at 6:58 pm

I have to tell you it is inaccurate in material respects, and many of the people who played important roles in the fight were written out entirely or marginalized.

Christopher Fay , December 31, 2016 at 7:35 pm

This one's a keeper. I have to take notes including writer's name, post title, dates. Good summary.

Ed , December 31, 2016 at 1:16 pm

GW Bush sort of had two administrations. The first two years and the last two years was sort of a generic Republican but sane administration, sort of like his father's, and was OK. The crazy stuff happened in the middle four years, which maybe not coincidentally the Republicans had majorities in both house of Congress.

Obama signed off on the Big Bailout (as did GW Bush, but my impression is that the worst features of the Big Bailout were on Obama's watch(), and that defined his administration. Sometimes you get governments defined by one big thing, and that was it. But I suspect he may have prevented the neocons from starting World War III, but that is the sort of thing we won't know about until decades have passed, if we make it that long.

tongorad , December 31, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Obama promised hope and change and delivered the exact opposite – despair and decline. Obama should be remembered as the Great Normalizer. All of the shitty things that were around when he was inaugurated are now normalized. TINA to the max, in other words.
It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics.

Jess , December 31, 2016 at 3:09 pm

"It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics."

Bingo. Hit that one dead solid perfect, right in the ten-ring.

Jess , December 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm

"It should be no shock to anyone that Trump was elected after what Obama did to American politics."

Bingo. You can say that again. Right in the ten-ring, dead solid perfect.

Montanamaven , December 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm

You got it. Obama was hired to employ "The Shock Doctrine" and he did. He was and is "a Chicago Boy"; the term Naomi Klein used for the neoliberals who slithered out of the basements of U of Chicago to visit austerity on the masses for the enhancement of the feudal lords. It is laughable that he said last week that he could have beaten Trump. As always, He implied that it was the "message" not the policy. And that he could "sell" that message better than Hilary. For him it was always about pitching that Hopey Changey "One America" spleel that suckered so many. The Archdruid calls this "the warm fuzzies". But the Donald went right into the John Edwards land of "The Two Americas". He said he came from the 1%; but was here to work for the 99% who had been screwed over by bad deals. We will see if the Barons will stand in his way or figure out that it might be time to avoid those pitchforks by giving a little to small businesses and workers in general. Like FDR, will they try to save capitalism?

The Donald has the bad trade deals right, but looks like he doesn't know what havoc Reagan wreaked on working people's household incomes and pension plans by breaking any power unions had and by coming up with the 401K scam; plus the Reagan interest rates that devastated farmers and ranchers and the idea of rewarding a CEO who put stock price above research and development and workers' salaries. But again, I believe it was a Democratic congress and a Democratic president Carter who eliminated the Usury law in 1979. From then on with stagnating wages, people began the descent into debt slavery. And Jimmy started the Shock Doctrine by deregulating the airlines and trucking. But he did penance. Can't see Obama doing that.

LT , December 31, 2016 at 6:13 pm

And once usary laws went away, credit cards were handed out to college students, with no co-sign, even if students had no work or credit history and were unemployed.
It took until just a few years ago before they revisted that credit card policy to students.

alex morfesis , December 31, 2016 at 6:22 pm

dont want to burst your bubble(or anyone elses) but obama is not and was not the power to the throne it was michelle and val jar (aka beria) it was a long series of luck that got that krewe anywhere near any real power mostly, it comes from the Univ of Chicago hopey changee thingee was a nice piece of marketing by david axelrod..

the grey lady

5-11-2008

In August 1999, Barack Obama strolled amid the floats and bands making their way down Martin Luther King Drive on Chicago's South Side. Billed as the largest African-American parade in the country, the summer rite was a draw over the years to boxing heroes like Muhammad Ali and jazz greats like Duke Ellington. It was also a must-stop for the city's top politicians.

Back then, Mr. Obama, a state senator who was contemplating a run for Congress, was so little-known in the community's black neighborhoods that it was hard to find more than a few dozen people to walk with him, recalled Al Kindle, one of his advisers at the time. Mr. Obama was trounced a year later in the Congressional race - branded as an aloof outsider more at home in the halls of Harvard than in the rough wards of Chicago politics.

But by 2006, Mr. Obama had remade his political fortunes. He was a freshman United States senator on the cusp of deciding to take on the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton and embark on a long-shot White House run. When the parade wound its way through the South Side that summer, Mr. Obama was its grand marshal.

but to capture the arrogance of hyde park (read the last line)

A tight-knit community that runs through the South Side, Hyde Park is a liberal bastion of integration in what is otherwise one of the nation's most segregated cities. Mayor Washington had called it home, as did whites who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wealthy black entrepreneurs a generation removed from the civil rights battles of the 1960s.

At its heart is the University of Chicago; at its borders are poor, predominately black neighborhoods blighted by rundown buildings and vacant lots. For Mr. Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a white Kansan mother and an African father and who spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, it was a perfect fit.

"He felt completely comfortable in Hyde Park," said Martha Minow, his former law professor and a mentor. "It's a place where you don't have to wear a label on your forehead. You can go to a bookstore and there's the homeless person and there's the professor."

also note how the lib racist grey lady can not bring themselves to name the parade it is the

bud billiken parade

peaceful, fun, successful

heaven forbid the world should see a giant event run by black folk that does not end in violence might confuse the closet racists

RudyM , January 1, 2017 at 12:17 am

There are enough examples of such things for it to be a reasonable expectation.

The parade also hasn't always gone without a hitch:

The 2003 parade featured B2K.[9] The concert was free with virtually unlimited space in the park for viewing. However, the crowd became unruly causing the concert to be curtailed. Over 40 attendees were taken to hospitals as a result of injuries in the violence, including two teenagers who were shot.[38] At the 2014 parade, Two teenagers were shot after an altercation involving a group of youths along the parade route near the 4200 block of King Drive around 12:30 pm.[39][40]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bud_Billiken_Parade_and_Picnic#Violence

dcrane , December 31, 2016 at 10:43 pm

On balance this one should go on the "Good" list for Bush 43:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President's_Emergency_Plan_for_AIDS_Relief

Yes, the abstinence-education dimension probably wasn't worth much, but that took up only a minority share of the funds.

Oregoncharles , December 31, 2016 at 11:14 pm

Yes, they've been getting steadily worse (more right-wing) since Carter, without regard to party. That's at least 30 years now.,

Cry Shop , December 31, 2016 at 8:49 am

Jerri-Lynn, do all these last minute moves by Obama fit the pattern you observed Obie-the-wan perform at Harvard?

Oregoncharles , December 31, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Clinton did it, too. I think it's a general pattern resulting from term limits – but in the case of sole executives, term limits do make sense.

[Dec 31, 2016] What Happened to Obamas Passion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael August 7, 2011

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

Bill Levine August 7, 2011

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

AnAverageAmerican August 7, 2011

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

cdearman Santa Fe, NM August 7, 2011

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

SP California August 7, 2011

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

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

farospace san francisco August 7, 2011

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

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

Richard Katz American in Oxford, UK August 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

An Ordinary American Prague August 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

martin Portland, Oregon August 7, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps all of these are true.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dec 27, 2016] Trumpism is the bastard neoliberalism which tries to combine domestic neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East.

Notable quotes:
"... The tough reality of economic development is that it will always be easier to move people to jobs than the jobs to people. Which is akin to telling many, many voters the only way possible way they can live an even modest lifestyle is to abandon their roots for the uniformity of urban life. They must sacrifice their identities to survive. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Follow the Brooklyn hipsters to the Promised Land. ..."
"... And it is an especially difficult pill given that the decline was forced upon the white working class; it was not a choice of their own making. The tsunami of globalization washed over them with nary a concern on the part of the political class. ..."
"... I would define Trumpism as "bastard neoliberalism" which tries to combine domestic "100% pure" neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East. ..."
"... That makes screams of "soft neoliberals" from Democratic Party at "hard neoliberals" at Republican Party really funny indeed. Both are essentially "latter-day Trotskyites", yet they scream at each other, especially Obama/Clinton supporters ;-) ..."
"... In this sense Krugman recent writings are really pathetic and signify his complete detachment from reality, or more correctly attempt to create an "artificial reality" in which bad wolf Trump is going to eat Democratic sheeple. And in which media, FBI, and Putin are responsible entirely for Hillary's loss. ..."
"... But in reality Democratic sheeple are just a different type of wolfs -- wolfs in sheep clothing. And Hillary was an old, worn "classic neoliberal" shoe, which nobody really want to wear. ..."
"... Trump does not intend to change the neoliberal consensus of what government should do domestically, and what should be the relationship between US government and business community. ..."
"... Globalists captured much of American society long ago by capturing the bulk of the nation's elite institutions -- the media, academia, big corporations, big finance, Hollywood, think tanks, NGOs, charitable foundations. So powerful are these institutions -- in themselves and, even more so, collectively -- that the elites running them thought that their political victories were complete and final. That's why we have witnessed in recent years a quantum expansion of social and political arrogance on the part of these high-flyers. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com
likbez : December 26, 2016 at 06:51 PM

I would like to remind an impressive takedown of Krugman and neoliberal "tsunami of globalization" by Tim Duy :
http://economistsview.typepad.com/timduy/2016/11/on-krugman-and-the-working-class.html
=== Start of quote ===

That Krugman can wonder at the source of the disdain felt toward the liberal elite while lecturing Trump's voters on their own self-interest is really quite remarkable.

I don't know that the white working class voted against their economic interest. I don't pretend that I can define their preferences with such accuracy. Maybe they did. But the working class may reasonably believe that neither party offers them an economic solution. The Republicans are the party of the rich; the Democrats are the party of the rich and poor. Those in between have no place.

That sense of hopelessness would be justifiably acute in rural areas. Economic development is hard work in the best of circumstances; across the sparsely populated vastness of rural America, it is virtually impossible. The victories are – and will continue to be – few and far between.

The tough reality of economic development is that it will always be easier to move people to jobs than the jobs to people. Which is akin to telling many, many voters the only way possible way they can live an even modest lifestyle is to abandon their roots for the uniformity of urban life. They must sacrifice their identities to survive. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. Follow the Brooklyn hipsters to the Promised Land.

This is a bitter pill for many to swallow. To just sit back and accept the collapse of your communities. And I suspect the white working class resents being told to swallow that pill when the Democrats eagerly celebrate the identities of everyone else.

And it is an especially difficult pill given that the decline was forced upon the white working class; it was not a choice of their own making. The tsunami of globalization washed over them with nary a concern on the part of the political class. To be sure, in many ways it was inevitable, just as was the march of technology that had been eating away at manufacturing jobs for decades. But the damage was intensified by trade deals that lacked sufficient redistributive policies. And to add insult to injury, the speed of decline was hastened further by the refusal of the US Treasury to express concern about currency manipulation twenty years ago. Then came the housing crash and the ensuing humiliation of the foreclosure crisis.

The subsequent impact on the white working class – the poverty, the opioid epidemic, the rising death rates – are well documented. An environment that serves as fertile breeding ground for resentment, hatred and racism, a desire to strike back at someone, anyone, simply to feel some control, to be recognized. Hence Trump.

EMichael -> likbez... , December 26, 2016 at 07:09 PM

What utter and complete garbage.

"And it is an especially difficult pill given that the decline was forced upon the white working class; it was not a choice of their own making. The tsunami of globalization washed over them with nary a concern on the part of the political class."

Yeah, that only happened to the white working class in their rural areas. Didn't happen in the cities.

"According to William Julius Wilson's 1996 book, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, "Between 1967 and 1987 Philadelphia lost 64% of its manufacturing jobs; Chicago lost 60%; Detroit 51%." This meant hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, disproportionately affecting African-Americans."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-nazi-propaganda-coordinate_us_58583b6fe4b08debb78a7d5c?

Just lovely, Duy takes a problem that happened to all of the working class and makes it a whites only problem.

There is a word for that.

EMichael -> likbez... , December 26, 2016 at 07:46 PM
By the way, there is also a word for anyone who implies that globalization was the main reason for the decline of the white working class.

It is a little nicer than the other word, but still bad.

Course, some people deserve both.

likbez -> likbez... , -1
I would define Trumpism as "bastard neoliberalism" which tries to combine domestic "100% pure" neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East.

That's what seems to be the key difference of Trumpism from "classic neoliberalism" or as Sklar called it "corporate liberalism".

From Reagan to Obama all US governments pray to the altar of classic neoliberalism. Now we have a slight deviation.

That makes screams of "soft neoliberals" from Democratic Party at "hard neoliberals" at Republican Party really funny indeed. Both are essentially "latter-day Trotskyites", yet they scream at each other, especially Obama/Clinton supporters ;-)

In this sense Krugman recent writings are really pathetic and signify his complete detachment from reality, or more correctly attempt to create an "artificial reality" in which bad wolf Trump is going to eat Democratic sheeple. And in which media, FBI, and Putin are responsible entirely for Hillary's loss.

But in reality Democratic sheeple are just a different type of wolfs -- wolfs in sheep clothing. And Hillary was an old, worn "classic neoliberal" shoe, which nobody really want to wear.

Trump does not intend to change the neoliberal consensus of what government should do domestically, and what should be the relationship between US government and business community.

But the far right movement that he created and led has different ideas.

So it might be an interesting period to watch.

John San Vant -> likbez. .. December 26, 2016 at 09:39 PM
again,, stop posting, Trump's team are globalist shills and will always be globalist shills.

likbez -> John San Vant ...

John,

I wonder what facts you have to label Trump's team "globalist shills". Robert W. Merry in his National Interest article disagrees with you

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/trump-vs-hillary-nationalism-vs-globalism-2016-16041

=== start of the quote ===

Globalists captured much of American society long ago by capturing the bulk of the nation's elite institutions -- the media, academia, big corporations, big finance, Hollywood, think tanks, NGOs, charitable foundations. So powerful are these institutions -- in themselves and, even more so, collectively -- that the elites running them thought that their political victories were complete and final. That's why we have witnessed in recent years a quantum expansion of social and political arrogance on the part of these high-flyers.

Then along comes Donald Trump and upends the whole thing. Just about every major issue that this super-rich political neophyte has thrown at the elites turns out to be anti-globalist and pro-nationalist. And that is the single most significant factor in his unprecedented and totally unanticipated rise. Consider some examples:

Immigration: Nationalists believe that any true nation must have clearly delineated and protected borders, otherwise it isn't really a nation. They also believe that their nation's cultural heritage is sacred and needs to be protected, whereas mass immigration from far-flung lands could undermine the national commitment to that heritage.

Globalists don't care about borders. They believe the nation-state is obsolete, a relic of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which codified the recognition of co-existing nation states.

Globalists reject Westphalia in favor of an integrated world with information, money, goods and people traversing the globe at accelerating speeds without much regard to traditional concepts of nationhood or borders.

=== end of the quote ===

I wonder how "globalist shills" mantra correlates with the following Trump's statements:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/28/donald-trump-globalization-trade-pennsylvania-ohio/86431376/

=== start of quote ===

"Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy ... but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache," Trump told supporters during a prepared speech targeting free trade in a nearly-shuttered former steel town in Pennsylvania.

In a speech devoted to what he called "How To Make America Wealthy Again," Trump offered a series of familiar plans designed to deal with what he called [Obama] "failed trade policies" - including rejection of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Pacific Rim nations and re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, withdrawing from it if necessary.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee also said he would pursue bilateral trade agreements rather than multi-national deals like TPP and NAFTA.

In addition to appointing better trade negotiators and stepping up punishment of countries that violate trade rules, Trump's plans would also target one specific economic competitor: China. He vowed to label China a currency manipulator, bring it before the World Trade Organization and consider slapping tariffs on Chinese imports coming into the U.S.

[Dec 17, 2016] Paul Krugman Useful Idiots Galore

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Useful Idiots Galore," terrifying.

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

One thought....

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

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

Seems a bit of a double standard.

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

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

the looking glass you all went through.

Trump has more convictions than any democrat

... ... ...

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

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

September 22, 2014

Snap Out of It
By David Brooks

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

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

October 21, 2014

Putin and the Pope
By Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

December 20, 2014

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

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

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

December 21, 2014

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

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

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

January 27, 2015

Czar Putin's Next Moves
By Thomas L. Friedman

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

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

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

September 15, 2015

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

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

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

September 20, 2015

Mr. Putin's Mixed Messages on Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RUSSIA'S UNFREE PRESS

The Boston Globe - Marshall Goldman - January 29, 2001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(No link; from their archives.)

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

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

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

February 7, 2001

Russia's Unfree Press
By Marshall I. Goldman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And there is outrage fatigue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

vlade , December 12, 2016 at 7:02 am

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

steelhead23 , December 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

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

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

sgt_doom , December 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

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

timotheus , December 12, 2016 at 7:43 am

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

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

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

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

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trumpening
December 12, 2016 at 8:05 am

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

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

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

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

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

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

jrs , December 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm

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

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

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

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

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

NotTimothyGeithner
December 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

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

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

schmoe , December 12, 2016 at 6:41 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NotTimothyGeithner , December 12, 2016 at 1:15 pm

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

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

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

samkoki , December 12, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Hogwash.

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

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

Bernie blasted your assertion about campaign finance to bits.

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

Adamski , December 13, 2016 at 5:59 am

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

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

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

aab , December 13, 2016 at 6:07 am

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

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

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

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

Clive , December 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

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

Normal , December 12, 2016 at 8:11 am

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

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

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

jrs , December 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm

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

fritter , December 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Waldenpond , December 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm

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

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

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

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

Waldenpond , December 12, 2016 at 2:13 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Yes what you said.

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

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

polecat , December 12, 2016 at 7:11 pm

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

and lots of Free birthcontrol ..

jrs , December 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm

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

Waldenpond , December 12, 2016 at 12:33 pm

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

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

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

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

HotFlash , December 12, 2016 at 9:09 am

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

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

Eclair , December 12, 2016 at 10:27 am

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

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

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

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

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

manymusings , December 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

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

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

juliania , December 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm

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

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

KYrocky , December 12, 2016 at 8:20 am

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

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

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

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

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

manymusings , December 12, 2016 at 8:23 am

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

cnchal , December 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

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

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

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

So, not anonymous at all.

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

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

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

flora , December 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm

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

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

cnchal , December 12, 2016 at 4:01 pm

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

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

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

Getting back to the meat of Bill's post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

juliania , December 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Well, I laughed myself silly over this one:

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

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

I mean, you do have to laugh sometimes.

Ignacio , December 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm

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

templar555510 , December 12, 2016 at 8:40 am

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

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

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

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

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

sharonsj ,