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Demexit: Abandonment of "neoliberalized" by Clinton Democratic party by working class and lower middle class

After twenty year of betrayal of working class Democrats face the consequences of their "Clinton strategy" in full force: workers abandoned them in droves

News Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Recommended Links Pro-War Neoliberal Democrats as Vichy Left Democratic Party Monday morning quarterbacking Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Bernie Sanders as sheepdog for Hillary TTP, NAFTA and other supernational trade treates DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders Populism Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak
Clinton Cash and Hillary Clinton links to financial industry Hillary Clinton email scandal Swiftboating Trump: Khan gambit against Trump at the Democratic Convention Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Hillary as a pathological liar Lesser evil trick of legitimizing a disastrous, corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections
US Presidential Elections of 2016 Obama: a yet another Neocon Hillary health issues Neoconservatism Bill Clinton With Bill possibly again occupying White House bedroom his sexapades became Hillary campaign issue Hillary Clinton defense of the middle aged rapist of a 12 years old girl
Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime American Exceptionalism Color revolutions Deception as an art form Madeleine Albrigh as a model for Hillary
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 Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Strauss and the Neocons Lawrence Summers Sandy Weill: the banker who bought Bill Clinton Robert Rubin, the man who helped to convert the USA into banana republic
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
Predator state The Iron Law of Oligarchy Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Politically Incorrect Humor  Etc
   

Bill, Hillary, Barack and the rest should do the decent and honorable thing: disappear completely, along with the rest of their vicious elitist Neoliberal Democrat ilk. Progressives who have insisted on backing these criminals – and who have tried to bully those of us on the actual left into joining them in that ugly and viciously circular embrace – need to make themselves over or just drop off the face of the political landscape and let people who are more serious and radical step in.

www.counterpunch.org - Nov 12, 2016, 7:00 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 (It was the Democrats' embrace of neoliberalism that won it for Trump Naomi Klein Opinion The Guardian, Nov 9, 2016)

The Democratic party became a neoliberal party of top 10% (may be top 20%), the party of bankers and highly paid 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 lost any connection with the majority of the USA population.  Bill Clinton was more Davos Man than Democrat. A puppet of  Robert Rubin, a prodigious fundraiser who became his Treasury Secretary, Clinton embraced neoliberal vision of a global future in which corporate investors were unregulated and the social contract was history. That's why the majority working-class Americans, feeling abandoned by the Democrats, got on the hook of the Republican re-definition of class struggle as  struggle for nation  sovereignty (which is the essence of nationalism.) In other  words, Democrats (and  Clintons personally) created conditions for the rise of far right and neofascism in the USA.  The fact that after Presidential Election of 2016 they recruited factions of intelligence agencies (Brennan faction in CIA, Comey faction in FBI) to depose Trump makes the situation even worse.

Like Republicans, Clinton Democrats now completely depends on "divide and conquer" strategy. Essentially they became "Republicans light." That's why they used "identity wedge" politics to attract African American votes (which is ironic as Bill Clinton probably helped to incarcerate more black males than any other president) and minorities (especially woman and sexual minorities.)

As if Spanish and African-American population, as a whole, have different economic interests then white working class and white lower middle class.

We can say that 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.

Clintons understood well that their  "The Third Way" turn represents the major betrayal of the working class, but they counted (and pretty successfully until 2016) on the fact that white working class "has nowhere to go" and will vote for them anyway, as a lesser evil. But in 2016 they were up to a big and unpleasant  surprise -- white working class turned to right wing populists. So Clinton Democrat are instrumentals in the big "Far right Renaissance". They essentially created all the necessary preconditions for it.

Clinton's strategy was that workers have nowhere to go, and that was true for almost two decades, But then came Trump....

All those hissy hits of Democrats (and neoliberals MSM controlled by  the  same interest groups; see, for example Krugman in NYT) after Hillary Clinton landmark defeat just reflect this fact.  As rejection of Democrats by lower middle and working class is now a permanent factor in US politics (The Democrats' Davos ideology won't win back the midwest Thomas Frank Opinion The Guardian, Apr 27, 2017)

 Clinton Dems now are trying to ally themselves with  intelligence  agencies (which became a real political force during 2018 elections), sliding to neofascism.  They position themselves as the Second War Party, trying  to outdid in jingoism Republicans. It is pretty ironic that Pelosi opposed Trump wall, which cost around 1% of the cost of F35 program (F-35 Program Costs Jump to $406.5 Billion in Latest Estimate). 

But as the head of "Davos Party" she wants to derail and if possible to impeach Trump: no even slightest deviation from neoliberal Washington consensus is allowed and now intelligence  agencies are recruited to ensure this.

It is clear that the US financial and  business elites represented in Davos are far more interested in global markets and corporate investors than they are in ordinary Americans' needs.
 

Essentially US Democrats are a wing of "Davos party" and that situation can't be changed by promoting  "National Security Democrats" (format staff of three letter agencies, or military)  to counter rising far right  in the USA. The latter is just a desperate move by the party brass after Hillary Clinton fiasco (which worked for Congress elections in 2018). If this works, it is only because due to blunders and betrayal of his voters by Trump, who became something like Republican Obama),  In any case, financial oligarchy still dominates (or more correctly have bought) the  Democratic Patty as Jeff Faux noted in his article in Nation (The Party of Davos The Nation , Jan 26, 2016):

Davos is rather the most visible symbol of the virtual political network that governs the global market in the absence of a world government. It is more like a political convention, where elites get to sniff one another out, identify which ideas and people are “sound” and come away with increased chances that their phone calls will be returned by those one notch above them in the global pecking order.

Americans are of course prominent members of this “Party of Davos,” which relies on the financial and military might of the US superpower to support its agenda. In exchange, the American members of the Party of Davos get a privileged place for their projects–and themselves. Whether it’s at Davos, at NATO headquarters or in the boardroom of the International Monetary Fund, heads turn and people listen more carefully when the American speaks.

“Davos Man,” a term coined by nationalist scholar Samuel Huntington, is bipartisan. To be sure, Democrats tend to be more comfortable with the forum’s informal seminar-style and big-think topics like global poverty, cultural diversity and executive stress. Bill Clinton goes often, and Al Gore, John Kerry, Robert Rubin, Madeleine Albright, Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats are familiar faces. Republicans generally prefer more private venues. George W. Bush, of course, doesn’t do anything unscripted. But people like Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, John McCain and Condoleezza Rice have all worked the Davos circuit.

That the global economy is developing a global ruling class should come as no shock. All markets generate economic class differences. In stable, self-contained national economies, where capital and labor need each other, political bargaining produces a social contract that allows enough wealth to trickle down from the top to keep the majority loyal. “What’s good for General Motors is good for America,” Dwight Eisenhower’s Defense Secretary famously said in the 1950s. The United Auto Workers agreed, which at the time seemed to toss the notion of class warfare into the dustbin of history.

But as domestic markets become global, investors increasingly find workers, customers and business partners almost anywhere. Not surprisingly, they have come to share more economic interests with their peers in other countries than with people who simply have the same nationality. They also share a common interest in escaping the restrictions of their domestic social contracts.

The class politics of this new world economic order is obscured by the confused language that filters the globalization debate from talk radio to Congressional hearings to university seminars. On the one hand, we are told that the flow of money and goods across borders is making nation-states obsolete. On the other, global economic competition is almost always defined as conflict among national interests. Thus, for example, the US press warns us of a dire economic threat from China. Yet much of the “Chinese” menace is a business partnership between China’s commissars, who supply the cheap labor, and America’s (and Japan’s and Europe’s) capitalists, who supply the technology and capital. “World poverty” is likewise framed as an issue of the distribution of wealth between rich and poor countries, ignoring the existence of rich people in poor countries and poor people in rich countries.

The conventional wisdom makes globalization synonymous with “free trade” among autonomous nations. Yet as Renato Ruggiero, the first director-general of the World Trade Organization, noted in a rare moment of candor, “We are no longer writing the rules of interaction among separate national economies. We are writing the constitution of a single global economy.” (Emphasis added.)

The best article that so far I managed to find about Demexit is Sophia A. McClennen article in Salon:

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

Salon.com

Shortly after Bernie Sanders publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton a new hashtag trended on Twitter: #DemExit.  The hashtag offered Sanders supporters a chance to vent their frustrations with the Democratic Party and with the sense that their candidate had been pressured into an endorsement.  Rather than reach out to these disaffected voters, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ignored them. Understood within the larger narrative that Sanders supporters were just whining brats who refused to concede and move on, #DemExit was dismissed as just more sour milk.

But now that the latest leak of DNC emails proves that Sanders supporters have a legitimate right to feel cheated, #DemExit increasingly seems like an appropriate response to a rigged system.

The new leak shows that the DNC never took the Sanders campaign seriously, even when he was winning state after state. Rather than recognize that Sanders was attracting new voters to the party, members of the DNC chose to mock them and close ranks around Clinton.

Here are 10 reasons why the #DemExit movement has a valid reason to want nothing to do with the DNC.  Having DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign is not enough for #DemExit supporters because their concerns run throughout the ranks of the DNC. Until party leaders take these concerns seriously they will have to spend their convention watching potential voters jump ship.

1.     Superdelegates

It is important to recognize that frustrations over party politics are not uniquely tied to the email leaks. The frustration over the superdelegate system is one clear example that distrust of the DNC goes deeper. The fact that the party even has superdelegates is a sign of its anti-democratic, pro-oligarchy stance. As Branko Marcetic of In These Times reports the superdelegate system was created specifically to challenge the will of voters. According to Marcetic, “When a Sanders supporter criticized superdelegate Howard Dean for sticking with Clinton despite Sanders’ landslide victory in Vermont, Dean tweeted back: “Superdelegates don’t represent the people.”

While there have been new negotiations to adjust the role of superdelegates, these concessions still give too much power to the party elite.

In addition, the fact that Clinton superdelegates were regularly reported by the media in her delegate tally contributed to the sense that Sanders couldn’t win.  So it was not just the existence of the superdelegates; it was the way they were covered by the corporate media that pissed off Sanders supporters. Any party with a superdelegate system should be prepared to alienate voters.  This time it worked.

2.     The Debate Schedule

The DNC created a debate schedule designed to make it hard for candidates to challenge Clinton’s status as the “presumptive” nominee.  Debates were held on weekends, at times that conflicted with other events, and were generally slotted to attract fewer viewers. From the start, well before it was clear that Sanders was gaining momentum, folks were already complaining that the debate schedule was slanted towards Clinton. According to a piece in The National Review from November some Democrats thought it was no accident the DNC scheduled a debate in Iowa on the night of a big Iowa Hawkeyes game.  The next two debates were also scheduled for less viewer heavy weekend slots.

The drama over the debate schedule got worse as the DNC refused to add more debates to give Sanders a chance to continue to build momentum.  As The Intercept reports the DNC laughed at the idea of adding another debate prior to the California primary, even though Fox News offered to host one.  Fox News wrote that, “the race is still contested, and given that you sanctioned a final trio of debates, the last of which has not yet been held, we believe a final debate would be an excellent opportunity for the candidates to, as you said when you announced these debates, ‘share Democrats’ vision for the country.’”  There never was a California debate set up. Not on Fox News or any other venue.

3.     Campaign finance

Back in April the Sanders campaign questioned “serious apparent violations” of campaign finance laws under a joint fundraising deal between Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  The Sanders camp alleged that the joint fundraising agreement offered Clinton a chance to “launder” money through the DNC.  “While the use of joint fundraising agreements has existed for some time — it is unprecedented for the DNC to allow a joint committee to be exploited to the benefit of one candidate in the midst of a contested nominating contest,” said Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager.

Politico reported that legal experts gave conflicting views on whether the practice constituted a violation of campaign finance law.  But whether or not it was legal was not the only point.  Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, who served for 13 years as general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, stated that “It clearly goes against what was intended for the joint fundraising committees.”  Given the already significant war chest Clinton had to run her campaign it is not surprising that Sanders supporters would find this news disturbing.

4.     Refusal to Address Claims of Election Fraud

According to a piece from the Observer on calls in California to have the DNC investigate election fraud, “Voter tampering has been frequently cited in California, with many alleging their party registration was changed without their consent. In Riverside County, district attorney Mike Hestrin confirmed voters’ party affiliations were changed without their knowledge.” And that was just one part of the story from California.

The primary elections were rife with claims of election fraud. From the purging of voter rolls (Brooklyn) to cutting poll locations (Arizona, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico), to the debacle of the California primary, there were numerous situations where the DNC could and should have called for an investigation. Despite the fact that in many cases it was Democratic voters that were directly affected, the DNC made no move to support voters’ claims of election fraud.

5.     The Democratic Party Platform

The recent fights over the DNC platform reveal a real lack of support for progressive policy, especially on key economic issues.  As Marcetic reported for In These Timesthere’s no denying that the platform compromises on certain core progressive values.”  While some suggested that the new platform was a “win” for Sanders, in the end the platform submits to corporate will on many issues

Committee delegates selected by Clinton and Wasserman Schultz voted down several measures dear to progressives’ hearts: “amendments advocating single-payer health care and a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, several proposals to halt climate change, language criticizing Israeli ‘occupation’ of Palestine and an amendment explicitly opposing the TPP trade agreement.” As Marcetic shows, delegates to the committee with corporate ties were among the most avid in promoting pro-business policy completely out of step with the sort of progressive values that once separated Democrats from Republicans. Unsurprisingly, those very same delegates were the ones connected to Clinton and Wasserman Schultz.

6.     Documented Attempts to Discredit / Dismiss Sanders

As if the previous issues were not evidence enough to justify the #DemExit movement, the Guccifer 2.0 leaks now offer Sanders supporters copious examples of ways that the DNC simply did not respect the Sanders campaign.  It is important to note that Wasserman Schultz was not alone in this general attitude. Even more disturbing, we have no examples of any DNC staffer suggesting that Sanders deserved a better shake than he was getting.  Some of the most egregious examples can be found here.

7.     DNC Collusion with Media

The corporate media was no ally to the Sanders campaign. With AP calling the primary for Clinton before California, New Mexico, New Jersey, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota were set to vote, many Sanders’ supporters felt betrayed by the press. As Bill Boyarsky reports for Truthdig, “The story was not just a scoop. It fed the hostility and cynicism of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ fervent supporters.”

The Guccifer 2.0 leaks also reveal a disturbing pattern of collusion between the media and the DNC to support Clinton and not Sanders.  Luis Miranda, the national communications director for the DNC, communicated with reporters from both Politico and the Wall Street Journal in efforts to discredit Sanders. In one email thread, Miranda told Politico he would “point out… some of the issues” with Sen. Sanders’ DNC committee appointments, but only “off the record.”  Miranda also helped craft “talking points”  to be used by the Clinton campaign in response to the Hillary Victory Fund’s money laundering allegations referenced above.

DNC Press Secretary Mark Paustenbach also vetted a Politico story by reporter Ken Vogel before it was sent to editors:  “Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it,” Paustenbach wrote to Miranda. “Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back.”

And then there are the messages that show how Wasserman Schultz pressured MSNBC after it criticized her “unfair” treatment of Sanders.

8.     False Claims of Neutrality

Perhaps one of the most enervating features of the story is the fact that the leaked documents counter Wasserman Schultz’s claims that the DNC was neutral.  There simply is no evidence of neutrality at all–only evidence of bias. It makes moments like Wasserman Schultz’s interview with “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah where he asked her to respond to allegations that she has been cock-blocking Sanders seem like an orchestrated cover-up exist and they make the DNC look really bad. Rather than worry about Russian hacks, the DNC should worry about its integrity.

Today the polling for a potential Donald Trump win is increasingly frightening.  Even Michael Moore is predicting a Trump win.  While there are a variety of forces that are working together to advance the Trump campaign, the DNC’s actions are certainly not helping. If Trump wins in November, the DNC will certainly bear a good portion of the blame.

Sophia A. McClennen is Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She writes on the intersections between culture, politics, and society. Her latest book, co-authored with Remy M. Maisel, is, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics


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[Mar 23, 2019] MoveOn on Twitter the list of 2020 presidential candidates who have made the decision to #SkipAIPAC continues to grow

Mar 23, 2019 | twitter.com

MoveOn ‏ 1:32 PM - 21 Mar 2019

& the list of 2020 presidential candidates who have made the decision to # SkipAIPAC continues to grow. Thank you for your leadership here @ PeteButtigieg , @ ewarren , @ BernieSanders , @ KamalaHarris , @ JulianCastro , @ BetoORourke , @ JayInslee ... who is next?

[Mar 20, 2019] Warren, Clinton and the sexist 'likability' narrative

Mar 20, 2019 | www.aol.com

In 2016, Cannon wrote that Warren would indeed bring more warmth than Clinton, pointing to an anecdote she shared on Facebook about how she would bake her mother a "heart shaped cake" as a child. He contrasted that with Clinton's sarcastic "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies" comment from 1992 , which was a response to ongoing questions about why she chose to continue her law practice when her husband was governor of Arkansas.

For some Bernie Sanders supporters, meanwhile, praising Warren was a way to deflect accusations of sexism. In a 2016 Huffington Post opinion piece titled, "I Despise Hillary Clinton And It Has Nothing to Do With Her Gender," Isaac Saul wrote that he "and many Sanders supporters would vote for Elizabeth Warren if she were in the race over Hillary or Bernie." ( Saul apologized to Clinton for being a "smug young journalist" and "Bernie Bro" in a follow up article months later, writing that his views of her changed after he endeavored to learn more about her history).

So what's going on here? Has Warren become incredibly unlikable over the past two years? Or is this change more an indication of her growing power. High-achieving women, sociologist Marianne Cooper wrote in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article , are judged differently than men because "their very success -- and specifically the behaviors that created that success -- violates our expectations about how women are supposed to behave." When women act competitively or assertively rather than warm and nurturing, Cooper writes, they "elicit pushback from others for being insufficiently feminine and too masculine." As a society, she says, "we are deeply uncomfortable with powerful women. In fact, we don't often really like them."

[Mar 20, 2019] Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who comes from the Sanders wing of the party, just told CNN in response to Brazile's op-ed that the she believes the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged by Aaron Blake

Nov 02, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

The former interim head of the Democratic Party just accused Hillary Clinton's campaign of "unethical" conduct that "compromised the party's integrity." The Clinton campaign's alleged sin: A hostile takeover of the Democratic National Committee before her primary with Sen. Bernie Sanders had concluded.

Donna Brazile's op-ed in Politico is the equivalent of taking the smoldering embers of the 2016 primary and throwing some gasoline on them. Just about everything she says in the piece will inflame Sanders's passionate supporters who were already suspicious of the Democratic establishment and already had reason to believe -- based on leaked DNC emails -- that the committee wasn't as neutral in the primary as it was supposed to be.

But the op-ed doesn't break too much new provable, factual ground, relying more upon Brazile's own perception of the situation and hearsay. In the op-ed, Brazile says:

Brazile sums it up near the end: "If the fight had been fair, one campaign would not have control of the party before the voters had decided which one they wanted to lead. This was not a criminal act, but as I saw it, it compromised the party's integrity."

None of this is truly shocking. In fact, Brazile is largely writing about things we already knew about. The joint fundraising agreement between the Clinton campaign and the DNC was already known about and the subject of derision among Sanders's supporters. But it's worth noting that Sanders was given a similar opportunity and passed on using it, as Brazile notes.

There were also those emails from the DNC hack released by WikiLeaks that showed some at the DNC were hardly studiously neutral . One email chain discussed bringing Sanders's Jewish religion into the campaign, others spoke of him derisively, and in one a lawyer who worked for both Clinton and the DNC advised the committee on how to respond to questions about the Clinton joint fundraising committee. The emails even cast plenty of doubt on Brazile's neutrality, given she shared with the Clinton campaign details of questions to be asked at a pair of CNN forums for the Democratic candidates in March 2016, before she was interim chair but when she was still a DNC official. Brazile, who was a CNN pundit at the time, lost her CNN job over that.

The timeline here is also important. Many of those emails described above came after it was abundantly clear that Clinton would be the nominee, barring a massive and almost impossible shift in primary votes. It may have been in poor taste and contrary to protocol, but the outcome was largely decided long before Sanders ended his campaign. Brazile doesn't dwell too much on the timeline, so it's not clear exactly how in-the-bag Clinton had the nomination when the alleged takeover began. It's also not clear exactly what Clinton got for her alleged control.

This is also somewhat self-serving for Brazile, given the DNC continued to struggle during and after her tenure, especially financially . The op-ed is excerpted from her forthcoming book, "Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House." Losses like the one in 2016 will certainly lead to plenty of finger-pointing, and Brazile's book title and description allude to it containing plenty of that.

But taking on the Clintons is definitely something that most in the party wouldn't take lightly. And Brazile's allegation that Clinton was effectively controlling the DNC is the kind of thing that could lead to some further soul-searching and even bloodletting in the Democratic Party. It's largely been able to paper over its internal divisions since the primary season in 2016, given the great unifier for Democrats that is President Trump.

Sanders himself has somewhat toned down his criticism of the DNC during that span, but what he says -- especially given he seems to want to run again in 2020 -- will go a long way in determining how the party moves forward.

[Mar 20, 2019] Opinion Elizabeth Warren Actually Wants to Fix Capitalism by David Leonhardt

Looks like Warren is acceptable candidate for NYT and Clinton wing of the Democratic Party.
Mar 15, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

... ... ...

Warren is trying to treat not just the symptoms but the underlying disease. She has proposed a universal child-care and pre-K program that echoes the universal high school movement of the early 20th century. She favors not only a tougher approach to future mergers, as many Democrats do, but also a breakup of Facebook and other tech companies that have come to resemble monopolies. She wants to require corporations to include worker representatives on their boards -- to end the era of "shareholder-value maximization," in which companies care almost exclusively about the interests of their shareholders, often at the expense of their workers, their communities and their country.

Warren was also the first high-profile politician to call for an annual wealth tax , on fortunes greater than $50 million. This tax is the logical extension of research by the economist Thomas Piketty and others, which has shown how extreme wealth perpetuates itself. Historically, such concentration has often led to the decline of powerful societies. Warren, unlike some Democrats, comfortably explains that she is not socialist. She is a capitalist and, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, is trying to save American capitalism from its own excesses.

"Sometimes, bigger ideas are more possible to accomplish," Warren told me during a recent conversation about the economy at her Washington apartment. "Because you can inspire people."

... ... ...

Warren's agenda is a series of such bold ideas. She isn't pushing for a byzantine system of tax credits for child care. She wants a universal program of pre-K and child care, administered locally, with higher pay for teachers and affordable tuition for families.

And to anyone who asks, "But how will you pay for that?" Warren has an answer. Her wealth tax would raise more than $250 billion a year, about four times the estimated cost of universal child care. She is, in her populist way, the fiscal conservative in the campaign.

... ... ...

David Leonhardt is a former Washington bureau chief for the Times, and was the founding editor of The Upshot and head of The 2020 Project, on the future of the Times newsroom. He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, for columns on the financial crisis. @DLeonhardt • Facebook [Sign up for David Leonhardt's daily newsletter with commentary on the news and reading suggestions from around the web.]

[Mar 20, 2019] Elizabeth Warren, Champion of Consumer Financial Protection by Drake Bennett

Notable quotes:
"... Elizabeth Warren has infuriated bankers and alienated half of Washington, all in the name of a new consumer protection agency she may not get to run ..."
"... At this point, Warren says, the banker made a confession. "We recognize that we have an unsustainable model, and it cannot work forever," she says he told her. "If we told people how much these things cost, they wouldn't use them." ..."
"... Warren's life is a blur of building and promoting the agency she dreamed up -- and that she may never get to lead. On leave from Harvard, she has spent hundreds of hours on Capitol Hill visiting with members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, and flown across the country meeting with the heads of the nation's major banks and many smaller ones. If most financial firms have yet to embrace the bureau, she's made some headway, at least, among the community banks. "Some of my colleagues have not gotten there yet because they are convinced she's close to the antichrist," says Roger Beverage, the head of the Oklahoma Bankers Assn. "I don't think she's doing anything but speaking from the heart on community banks." ..."
"... While Washington bickers, Warren has built the CFPB largely to her specs and almost entirely free of interference from Congress and the Administration, which devotes most of its attention to fixing the economy. Few Cabinet secretaries can claim to have left as indelible a mark on the departments they lead as Elizabeth Warren has already left on the one she doesn't. ..."
Jul 07, 2011 | bloomberg.com

Elizabeth Warren has infuriated bankers and alienated half of Washington, all in the name of a new consumer protection agency she may not get to run

Elizabeth Warren's admirers often refer to her as a grandmother from Oklahoma. This is technically true. It's also what you might call posturing. Warren, 62, is a Harvard professor and perhaps the country's top expert on bankruptcy law. Over the past four years she has managed to stoke a fervent debate over the government's role in protecting American consumers from what she sees as the predatory practices of financial institutions, and she has positioned herself as the person to oversee a new federal agency to rewrite the rules of lending. Warren is a grandma from Oklahoma in roughly the same way Ralph Nader is a pensioner with a thing about cars.

If the grandmother perception is plausible, it's largely because Warren has a gift for parables and for placing herself in the middle of them as the embodiment of moral force. Thus, her account of the precise moment she realized that changing the way banks lend was going to require a new federal bureaucracy -- and that it was up to her to create it.

Warren begins her tale in the spring of 2007, before the housing crash and the financial crisis. She was on a plane back to Boston after a series of discouraging meetings with credit-card company executives. She had tried to sell them on an idea called the "clean card" that grew out of her academic work and her side gig as a guest on such shows as Dr. Phil , where she dispensed empathy and advice to audience members who were one bad check away from losing everything. The concept was simple: Offer the equivalent of a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval to any credit-card company that disclosed all of its costs and fees up front, no fine print.

After a few meetings in which she was politely rebuffed, one executive walked Warren to the door and, with his arm around her, let her in on a trade secret: If he admitted that his card's actual rate was 17 percent, while his competitors were still claiming theirs was only 2.9 percent, his customers would desert him for the seemingly cheaper option, seal of approval or not. No credit-card company would ever go along with a clean card unless all of them did. And the only way to get all of them to do it was to require it by law.

At this point, Warren says, the banker made a confession. "We recognize that we have an unsustainable model, and it cannot work forever," she says he told her. "If we told people how much these things cost, they wouldn't use them."

Here she pauses for effect, and to take a sip of herbal tea. Warren is slight and kinetic, with wide, pale blue eyes behind rimless glasses. She punctuates her sentences with exclamations like "Holy guacamole!" It's difficult to tell whether these are spontaneous or deliberately deployed to soften her imposing professorial mien. Warren, who grew up poor and went to college on a debate scholarship, understands the power of expression. When she wants to underline a point, she leans in to conspire with her listener; then her voice goes quiet, as it does when she says she knew instantly the condescending executive was right. Her clean card was a flop.

And so, on the flight home, Warren turned to the problem of how to push those credit-card companies into doing the right thing. By landing time, she says, she had her answer: a powerful new federal agency whose sole mission would be to protect consumers, not only from confusing credit cards but from what she calls the "tricks and traps" of all dangerous financial products. The same way the Consumer Product Safety Commission guards against dangerous household products or the Food and Drug Administration watches out for contaminated produce and quack medications. The way Warren tells it, she pulled a piece of paper out of her backpack and got to work right there on the plane. "I started sketching out the problem and what the agency should look like."

It's a good story, even if the timeline is a little off. Warren's aides say she first pitched the idea of a consumer financial protection agency to then-Senator Barack Obama's office months before her fateful meeting with the executive. Whatever the idea's provenance, there's no doubting its influence. In a summer 2007 article in the journal Democracy , Warren outlined what her guardian agency would look like. "It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house," she wrote. "But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street -- and the mortgage won't even carry a disclosure of that fact to the homeowner." One was effectively regulated. The other was not.

The annals of academia are stuffed with provocative proposals. Most die in the library. A little over four years after she first dreamed it up, Warren's has become a reality. Last summer, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a package of financial reforms meant to prevent another economic meltdown. One of the bill's pillars is Warren's watchdog agency, now called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

On July 21, exactly a year after Dodd-Frank became law, the CFPB is scheduled to open for business with a broad mandate to root out "unfair, deceptive, or abusive" lending practices. Consolidating functions previously scattered across seven different agencies, the bureau will have the power to dictate the terms of every consumer lending product on the market, from mortgages and credit cards to student, overdraft, and car loans. It will supervise not only banks and credit unions but credit-card companies, mortgage servicers, credit bureaus, debt collectors, payday lenders, and check-cashing shops. Dozens of researchers will track trends in the lending market and keep an eye on new products. Teams of examiners will prowl the halls of financial institutions to ensure compliance. The bureau is already at work on its first major initiative: simplifying the bewildering bank forms you sign when you buy a house.

Warren's life is a blur of building and promoting the agency she dreamed up -- and that she may never get to lead. On leave from Harvard, she has spent hundreds of hours on Capitol Hill visiting with members of Congress, Democrat and Republican, and flown across the country meeting with the heads of the nation's major banks and many smaller ones. If most financial firms have yet to embrace the bureau, she's made some headway, at least, among the community banks. "Some of my colleagues have not gotten there yet because they are convinced she's close to the antichrist," says Roger Beverage, the head of the Oklahoma Bankers Assn. "I don't think she's doing anything but speaking from the heart on community banks."

One other person she has not yet won over: Barack Obama. The President has not nominated her to head the bureau. Instead, last fall he gave her the title of special assistant to the President and special adviser to the Treasury and tasked her with getting the place up and running. For now, she is the non-head of a non-agency. The White House refuses to say whether Obama will eventually put her up for the job, allowing only that he is considering several candidates. In the coded language of appointment politics, it is a signal that they are seriously considering passing Warren over for someone else. A White House official says the Administration would like to have a nominee in place before Congress leaves for its August recess.

There's a reason for their wariness. The White House is reluctant to antagonize congressional Republicans in the middle of contentious negotiations over the federal debt ceiling. Warren's position requires Senate approval, and Republicans, many of whom regard the CFPB as more clumsy government meddling in the free market, are vehemently opposed to allowing its creator to be installed at its helm. Republicans have used a parliamentary maneuver to keep the Senate from officially adjourning for its traditional summer break, thus depriving Obama of the opportunity to sidestep their objections and make Warren a recess appointment.

"She's probably a nice person, as far as I know," says Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Banking Committee, which will hold hearings on the eventual nominee for the post. Shelby has said Warren is too ideological to lead the agency, a judgment shared by many of his Republican colleagues. "She's a professor and all this," he says in a tone that makes it clear he is not paying her a compliment. "To think up something, to create something of this magnitude, and then look to be the head of it, I wouldn't do that," Shelby says. "It looks like you created yourself a good job, a good power thing."

Warren is not waiting for permission to do the job she may never get. She and her small team have hired hundreds of people, at a recent clip of more than 80 per month. The agency has already outgrown its office space and is divided between two buildings in downtown Washington -- with branches to be opened across the country. A fledgling staff of researchers is cranking out the CFPB's first reports, and its first bank examiners are being trained. Meanwhile, the office softball team has compiled a 2-3 record.

Above all, an institutional culture is emerging, and it is largely loyal to Warren and her idea of what the agency should be. She has attracted several top hires from outside the federal government. The bureau's chief operating officer, Catherine West, was previously president of Capital One; its head of research, Sendhil Mullainathan, is a behavioral economist and star Harvard professor; the chief of enforcement, Richard Cordray, is the former attorney general of Ohio; Raj Date, her deputy and head of the bureau's Research, Markets and Regulation Div., is a former banker at Capital One and Deutsche Bank. Warren, whose reputation as a scholar rests on her pioneering use of bankruptcy data, has imbued the place with her faith in quantitative analysis. Researchers she recruited and hired have begun to build the bureau's database of financial information, with a broad mandate to keep track of lending markets and find ways to make financial information more easily digestible.

While Washington bickers, Warren has built the CFPB largely to her specs and almost entirely free of interference from Congress and the Administration, which devotes most of its attention to fixing the economy. Few Cabinet secretaries can claim to have left as indelible a mark on the departments they lead as Elizabeth Warren has already left on the one she doesn't.

The CFPB's main offices are on two floors of a russet-colored office building a few blocks northwest of the White House. The government-gray cubicles and hallways spill over with new hires -- many of them young -- working 12- and 14-hour days elbow to elbow, pale and exuding a dogged cheerfulness that suggests that, no, they do not miss the sun. By the elevator bank is a calendar counting down the days until July 21.

Ten years ago, before she became a liberal icon, Warren was a popular Harvard professor known for taking a maternal interest in the students she chose as research assistants. She was famous, but only in the small corner of academia that cared about bankruptcy. "In my opinion she is the best bankruptcy scholar in the country," says Samuel Bufford, a law professor at Penn State who got to know Warren decades ago as a bankruptcy judge in California's Central District.

Work Warren did with Jay Westbrook, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and Teresa Sullivan, a sociologist who is now president of the University of Virginia, reshaped the scholarly understanding of bankruptcy. Analyzing thousands of filings and interviewing many of the debtors themselves, they found that those who go bankrupt weren't, as commonly assumed, primarily poor or financially reckless. A great many of them were solidly middle class and had been driven to bankruptcy by circumstances they did not choose or could not control: the loss of a job, a medical disaster, or a divorce. The explosion in consumer credit in recent decades had only exacerbated the situation -- almost without realizing it, households could now slide faster and further into debt than ever before.

Warren, Westbrook, and Sullivan all saw their bankruptcy findings as a window into the broader travails of the financially fragile middle class. More than her co-authors, though, Warren sought a larger audience for the message. In 2003, along with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, she wrote The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers & Fathers Are Going Broke , a book that combined arguments about the political and economic forces eroding middle-class financial stability with practical advice about how households could fight them. The language was sharper than in her academic work: "Subprime lending, payday loans, and the host of predatory, high-interest loan products that target minority neighborhoods should be called by their true names: legally sanctioned corporate plans to steal from minorities," Warren and Tyagi wrote.

The book got attention and Warren became a frequent TV guest. She was invited to give speeches and sit on panels on bankruptcy and debt. She was a regular on comedian Al Franken's radio show on the now defunct Air America network. "She's quite brilliant. She was always just an excellent guest," recalls Franken, now a Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota. "She has a very good sense of humor."

In 2003, Warren attended a fundraiser in Cambridge for Barack Obama, then running for U.S. Senate. When she walked up to shake his hand, he greeted her with two words: "predatory lending." As a senator, Obama would occasionally call Warren for her thoughts, though the two never became close.

It was the financial crisis that made Warren a star. In November 2008, in a nod to her growing reputation as a consumer advocate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chose Warren to chair the congressional panel overseeing the TARP financial rescue program. The reports she helped produce over the next two and a half years and the hearings she helped lead gave the panel a higher profile than even its creators had predicted, as she articulated concerns that many Americans had about the wisdom of a massive Wall Street bailout. In perhaps her most famous moment, Warren grilled Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on AIG's share of the aid money and how it was that so much of it had ended up simply reimbursing the investment banks the insurer owed money.

Warren used her role on the panel, and the newfound visibility it gave her, to push for her agency. She worked the idea into a special report the committee released in January 2009, among a list of recommendations to head off fut ure financial crises. She wrote op-ed pieces, was on TV constantly, and met with at least 80 members of Congress. She also brought the idea to the Administration. Over a long lunch at an Indian restaurant in Washington, she pitched the concept to White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, whom she knew from his tenure as Harvard's president. Inside Treasury, the idea was taken up by Michael Barr, a key architect of Dodd-Frank and a lawyer Warren had known for years. At least within the White House, Barr recalls, it wasn't hard to build support. "I think there was a general consensus that built pretty quickly that this was a good option," he says. "I didn't get any significant pushback on the idea." Barr's inside advocacy, combined with Warren's PR blitz, paid off. In June 2009, Obama released a "white paper" laying out his own financial regulatory proposals, and Warren's agency was in it.

Among the CFPB staff there is a strongly held belief that they have the opportunity not only to reshape an industry but reinvent what a government agency can be, to rescue the idea of bureaucracy from its association with sclerosis and timidity. People there emphasize that they are creating a 21st century agency. Still, there's a throwback Great Society feel to the place, with its faith in the abilities of very smart unelected administrators, armed with data, to iron out the inefficiencies and injustices of the world. "Nobody looks at consumer finance regulation as it existed over the past decade and says, 'Yeah, that seemed to work all right, let's do more of that,' " says Raj Date, a square-jawed 40-year-old who speaks in the confident, numbers-heavy parlance of Wall Street.

Regardless of whether the CFPB has a director by its July 21 "transfer date," there are certain things it will immediately begin to do. One is to send teams of examiners into banks and credit unions to make sure they are complying with existing consumer finance regulations. When the bureau is fully staffed up -- initially, it will have some 500 employees and an annual budget of around $500 million -- a majority of the people who work there will be examiners. The bureau has only supervisory power over banks with assets of more than $10 billion, though the rules it writes will still apply to smaller banks. Banks on the low end of the scale will see a team of examiners for a few weeks every two years, unless there are specific complaints to investigate. Most of the biggest banks, those with assets of $100 billion and up, will have CFPB examiners in residence year-round. The examiners will go to work parsing the terms of mortgages and other loans, searching for evidence of consumer harm. They'll look at how the products are marketed and sold to make sure it's done transparently, that costs and fees are disclosed up front.

What the bureau will not be able to do without a director is send its examiners into nonbank financial institutions. Dodd-Frank gives the CFPB jurisdiction over payday lenders, check cashers, mortgage brokers, student loan companies, and the like. Because this is an expansion of regulatory powers, it will not take effect until a permanent director is in place.

The bureau is less willing to discuss the specifics of what will happen when it finds evidence of wrongdoing. The press office refused to make the head of enforcement, Richard Cordray, available for an interview. Like other enforcement agencies, the CFPB will have a variety of measures at its fingertips: It will be able to give firms a talking-to, or issue so-called "supervisory guidance" papers on problematic financial products. It will be able to send cease-and-desist orders. And if all else fails, the bureau will be able to take offenders to court.

The CFPB will also have broad rule-making powers over everything from credit-card marketing campaigns to car loan terms to the size of bank overdraft fees. For now, it has confined itself to initiatives less likely to arouse wide opposition among financial firms. The major one at the moment is developing a clear, simple, two-page mortgage form that merges the two confusing ones borrowers now confront. Bureau staff met with consumer advocates and mortgage brokers last fall, then put up two versions of a possible new form on the bureau's website, where consumers were invited to leave critiques. About 14,000 people weighed in. The forms are now being shown to focus groups around the country. A new version is due out in August.

This lengthy process is meant to demonstrate the bureau's commitment to a sort of radical openness to counter accusations that it's a body of unaccountable bureaucrats. In another gesture, Warren's calendar is posted on the website so that anyone can see who has a claim on her time. The undeniable sense among bureau staffers that they are political targets tempers that commitment to transparency a bit. The press office is jittery about allowing reporters to talk to staff on the record, and Warren agreed to two interviews on the condition that Bloomberg Businessweek allow her to approve quotes before publication.

If the supervision and enforcement division is the long arm of the bureau, its eyes and brain will be Research, Markets and Regulations, headed by Raj Date. Teams of analysts will follow various markets -- credit cards, mortgages, or student loans -- to spot trends and examine new products. Economists and other social scientists on staff will help write financial disclosure forms that make intuitive sense. The benefits of this sort of work, Date argues, will extend beyond just protecting consumers. It will help spot signs of more systemic risks. If the bureau and its market research teams had been in place five years ago, he says, they would have spotted evidence of the coming mortgage meltdown and could have coordinated with the bureau's enforcement division to head it off. "If it was someone's job to be in touch with the marketplace and monitor what was going on," Date says, "it would have been very difficult not to notice that three different kinds of mortgages had gone from nothing to a very surprising share of the overall marketplace in the span of, honestly, like three years."

Were it not for a head of prematurely gray hair, Patrick McHenry could still pass for the college Republican he once was. Elected to Congress from North Carolina seven years ago at age 29, he speaks through an assiduous smile and arches his eyebrows as he listens -- furrowing them quizzically at arguments he disagrees with. In late May, McHenry assumed the role of Warren's chief antagonist in Congress. At an oversight hearing he was chairing, McHenry accused Warren of misleading Congress about whether she had given advice to Treasury and Justice Dept. officials who were investigating companies for mortgage fraud. McHenry said she had concealed her conversations. Warren insisted she had disclosed them.

The hearing then took a bizarre turn. McHenry called for a recess so members of the committee could go to the House floor for a vote. Warren replied that she had agreed to testify for an hour and could not stay any longer. "Congressman, you are causing problems," she said. "We had an agreement." Offended, McHenry shot back: "You're making this up, Ms. Warren. This is not the case." Warren's response, an outraged gasp, was played on cable news.

In a conversation a month later in his Capitol Hill office, McHenry is eager to emphasize that his problem is not with Warren, but with the bureau itself. That's not to say he feels he has anything to apologize for. "I've asked questions of a litany of Administration officials from Democrat and Republican Administrations, and I've never seen an action by any witness like I saw that day," he says.

Like most congressional Republicans -- and a broad array of business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Services Roundtable, and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions -- McHenry opposed the creation of the CFPB and voted against Dodd-Frank. At the time, the bureau's opponents argued that its seemingly noble goals would not only hurt financial firms -- depriving them of the ability to compensate for risky borrowers by charging higher interest rates -- they would also hurt borrowers. The prospect of limits on the sort of rates and fees they could charge would cause banks and payday lenders alike to lend less and to not lend at all to marginal borrowers at a time when the economy needed as much credit as it could get.

Where it's not actively harmful, McHenry argues, the bureau will be redundant. If there's fraud or deceptive marketing in the consumer lending market, the federal government can prosecute it through the Federal Trade Commission. Clearer mortgage forms are all well and good, but Congress can take care of that, he says, noting that he introduced legislation for a simpler mortgage form three years ago. In response to arguments like these, Warren simply points to the record of those existing regulators: the Fed and the Housing & Urban Development Dept. have haggled over a simpler mortgage form for years. As for fears that the bureau will cap the interest rates companies can charge, she notes that Dodd-Frank explicitly prevents it from doing that.

Warren has been uncharacteristically tightlipped about her own ambitions. She refuses to say whether she even wants the job and has never publicly expressed a desire for it. In a way, the White House may do her a favor by not nominating her. If the President decides to go with a compromise candidate to appease Republicans, she will be spared the indignity of being tossed aside. She can't be said to have lost a job she was never offered.

Yet Warren gives the distinct impression that she will not suffer long if the President passes her over. Harvard has more than its share of celebrity professors who have gone to Washington and returned. The experience could also lead to a different kind of life in politics: Democrats in Massachusetts have been urging her to come home to run for Senate against Republican Scott Brown. There would be books to write, television appearances to make, and, who knows, maybe a show of her own. And whatever happens, she will get to tell the second half of the story of how she started a government agency. Whether the story ends with her confirmation or being driven from town, it's almost certain that the character of Elizabeth Warren will come out looking just fine.

( Corrects the year Elizabeth Warren moved to Washington to work at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau )

[Mar 19, 2019] Elizabeth Warren had a good speech at UC-Berkeley. She focused on the middle class family balance sheet and risk shifting

Mar 19, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

rc, March 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Elizabeth Warren had a good speech at UC-Berkeley. She focused on the middle class family balance sheet and risk shifting. Regulatory policies and a credit based monetary system have resulted in massive real price increases in inelastic areas of demand such as healthcare, education and housing eroding purchasing power.

Further, trade policies have put U.S. manufacturing at a massive disadvantage to the likes of China, which has subsidized state-owned enterprises, has essentially slave labor costs and low to no environmental regulations. Unrestrained immigration policies have resulted in a massive supply wave of semi- and unskilled labor suppressing wages.

Recommended initial steps to reform:

1. Change the monetary system-deleverage economy with the Chicago Plan (100% reserve banking) and fund massive infrastructure lowering total factor costs and increasing productivity. This would eliminate

2. Adopt a healthcare system that drives HC to 10% to 12% of GDP. France's maybe? Medicare model needs serious reform but is great at low admin costs.

3. Raise tariffs across the board or enact labor and environmental tariffs on the likes of China and other Asian export model countries.

4. Take savings from healthcare costs and interest and invest in human capital–educational attainment and apprenticeships programs.

5. Enforce border security restricting future immigration dramatically and let economy absorb labor supply over time.

Video of UC-B lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A&feature=youtu.be

Jerry B, March 18, 2019 at 5:26 pm

As I have said in other comments, I like Liz Warren a lot within the limits of what she is good at doing (i.e. not President) such as Secretary of the Treasury etc. And I think she likes the media spotlight and to hear herself talk a little to much, but all quibbling aside, can we clone her??? The above comment and video just reinforce "Stick to what you are really good at Liz!".

I am not a Liz Warren fan boi to the extent Lambert is of AOC, but it seems that most of the time when I hear Warren, Sanders, or AOC say something my first reaction is "Yes, what she/he said!".

[Mar 19, 2019] Angry Bear " Elizabeth Warren, David Leonhardt, Redistribution, and Predistribution by Robert Waldmann

Mar 17, 2019 | angrybearblog.com
Politics Taxes/regulation I just had an unusual experience. I was convinced by an op-ed. One third of the way through "Elizabeth Warren Actually Wants to Fix Capitalism" by David Leonhardt, I was planning to contest one of Leonhard's assertions. Now I am convinced.

The column praises Elizabeth Warren. Leonhardt (like his colleague Paul Krugman) is careful to refrain from declaring his intention to vote for her in the primary. I am planning to vote for her. I mostly agreed with the column to begin with, but was not convinced by Leonard's praise of Warren's emphasis on aiming for more equal pre-fiscal distribution of income rather than just relying on taxes and transfers to redistribute.

In particular, I was not convinced by

This history suggests that the Democratic Party's economic agenda needs to become more ambitious. Modest changes in the top marginal tax rate or in middle-class tax credits aren't enough. The country needs an economic policy that measures up to the scale of our challenges.

Here two issues are combined. One is modest vs major changes. The other is that predistribution is needed in addition to redistribution, as discussed even more clearly here

"Clinton and Obama focused on boosting growth and redistribution," Gabriel Zucman, a University of California, Berkeley, economist who has advised Warren, says. "Warren is focusing on how pretax income can be made more equal."

The option of a large change in the top marginal tax rate and a large middle class tax credit isn't considered in the op-ed. I think this would be excellent policy which has overwhelming popular support as measured by polls (including the support of a large fraction of self declared Republicans). I note from time to time that, since 1976 both the Democrats who have been elected president campaigned on higher taxes on high incomes and lower taxes on the middle class (and IIRC none of the candidates who lost did).

This is also one of my rare disagreements with Paul Krugman , and, finally one of my rare disagreements with Dean Baker ( link to a book which I haven't read).

After the jump, I will make my usual case. But first, I note Leonardt's excellent argument for why "soak the rich and spread it out thin" isn't a sufficient complete market oriented egalitarian program. It is phrased as a question.

"How can the next president make changes that will endure, rather than be undone by a future president, as both Obama's and Clinton's top-end tax increases were?"

Ahh yes. High taxes on high income and high wealth would solve a lot of problems. But they will be reversed. New programs such as Obamacare or Warren's proposed universal pre-K and subsidized day care will not. Nor will regulatory reforms such as mandatory paid sick leave and mandatory paid family leave. I am convinced that relatively complicated proposals are more politically feasible, not because it is easier to implement them, but because it is very hard to eliminate programs used by large numbers of middle class voters.

I'd note that I had already conceded the advantage of a regulatory approach which relies on the illusion that the costs must be born by the regulated firms. Here I note that fleet fuel economy standards are much more popular than increased gasoline taxes. One is a market oriented approach. The other is one that hides behind the market as consumers don't know that part of the price of a gas guzzler pays the shadow price of reducing fleet average milage.

OK my usual argument after the jump

It is unusual for me to disagree with Baker, Leonhardt, and (especially) Krugman. I am quite sure that the Democratic candidate for president should campaign on higher taxes on the rich and lower taxes for the non-rich.

To be sure, I can see that that isn't the only possible policy improvement. Above, I note the advantages of hiding spending by mandating spending by firms and of creating entitlements which are very hard for the GOP to eliminate. I'd add that we have to do a lot to deal with global warming. Competition policy is needed for market efficiency. I think unions and restrictions on firing without cause have an effect on power relations which is good in addition to the effect on income distribution.

But I don't understand the (mildly) skeptical tone. I will set up and knock down some straw men

1) Total straw -- US voters are ideological conservatives and operational liberals. They reject soaking the rich, class war, and redistribution. To convince them to help the non rich, one has to disguise what one is doing.

This is especially silly, and no one in the discussion argues this (anymore -- people used to argue this). The polls and elections are clear. US voters want higher taxes on high incomes and on the wealthy. Also Congress has gone along -- the effective tax rate on the top 1% was about the same after Obama as before Reagan

2) Extremely high marginal tax rates are bad for the economy. Here this is often conceded, in particular by people arguing for modest increases in the top marginal tax rate. The claim is not supported by actual evidence. In particular the top rate was 70% during the 60s boom.

3) High tax rates cause tax avoidance. This reduces efficiency and also means that they don't generate the naively expected revenue. There is very little evidence that this is a huge issue . In particular there was a huge increase in tax sheltering after the 1981 Kemp-Roth tax cuts and reforms. It is possible to design a tax code which makes avoidance difficult (as shown by the 1986 Kemp-Bradley tax reform). It is very hard to implement such a code without campaigning on soaking the rich and promoting class uh struggle.

4) More generally, redistribution does not work -- the post tax income distribution is not equalized because the rich find a way. This is super straw again. All the international and time series evidence points the other way.

I don't see a political or policy argument against a large increase in taxes on high incomes (70% bracket starting at $400,000 a year) used to finance a large expansion of the EITC (so most households receive it).

I think a problem is that a simple solution does not please nerds. I think another is that a large fraction of the elite would pay the high taxes and it is easier to trick them into trying to make corporations pay the costs.

But I really don't understand.


Denis Drew , March 17, 2019 3:51 pm

First, whenever anybody (that I hear or read) talks about what to do with the revenue from higher taxes on the rich, they always suggest this or that government program (education, medical, housing). I always think of putting more money back in the pockets of my middle 59% incomes to make up for the higher consumer prices they will have to pay when the bottom 40% get unionized.

Of course the 59% can use that money to pay taxes for said government programs -- money is fungible. But, that re-inserts an important element or dimension or facet which seems perpetually forgotten (would not be in continental Europe or maybe French Canada).

Don't forget: predistribution goal = a reunionized labor market. Don't just look to Europe for redistribution goals -- look at their predistribution too.

Bert Schlitz , March 17, 2019 10:14 pm

Nobody in the 60's that was taxed at a marginal 70% rate paid 70%. The top effective rate was about 32-38%, which was far higher than today, but you get the point. The income tax code was as much control of where investment would take place as much as anything ..Ronald Reagan whined about this for years. Shove it grease ball. There was a reason why.

Redistribution won't work because the system is a debt based ponzi scheme. The US really hasn't grown much since 1980, instead you have had the growth in debt.

You need to get rid of the federal reserve system's banks control of the financial system, which they have had since the 1830's in terms of national control(from Hamilton's Philly, which was the financial epicenter before that) and de Rothschild free since the 1930's(when the bank of de Rothschild ala the Bank of England's reserve currency collapsed). Once we have a debt free currency that is usury free, then you can develop and handle intense changes like ecological problems ala Climate Change, which the modern plutocrats cannot and will not solve.

They have been ramming debt in peoples face since 1950 and since 1980 it has gotten vulgar. They know they are full of shit and can't win a fair game.

run75441 , March 18, 2019 6:09 am

Robert:

Would you agree a secure healthcare system without work requirements for those who can not afford healthcare is a form of pre-distribution of income? Today's ACA was only a step in the right direction and is being tampered with by ideologs to limit its reach. It can be improved upon and have a socio-economic impact on people. Over at Medpage where I comment on healthcare, the author makes this comment:

"Investing in improvements in patients' social determinants of health -- non-medical areas such as housing, transportation, and food insecurity -- is another potentially big area, he said. "It's a major opportunity for plans to position around this and make it real. The more plans can address social determinants of health, [the more] plans can become truly organizations dedicated to health as opposed to organizations dedicated to incurring medical costs, and that to me is a bright future and a bright way to position the industry."

Many of the "social determinants of health" are not consciously decided by the patient and are predetermined by income, social status or politics, and education. What is being said in this paragraph makes for nice rhetoric and is mostly unachievable due to the three factors I suggested. And yes, you can make some progress. People can make healthy choices once the pre-determinants to doing so are resolved.

Another factor which was left dangling when Liebermann decided to be an ass is Long Term Healthcare for the elderly and those who are no longer capable. Medicare is only temporary and Medicaid forces one to be destitute. There is a large number of people who are approaching the time when they will need such healthcare till death. We have no plans for this tsunami of people.

The tax break was passed using Reconciliation. In 7-8 years out, there is a planned shift in taxes to be levied on the middle income brackets to insure the continuamce of Trump's tax break for the 100 or so thousand households it was skewed towards. If not rescinding the tax break then it should be fixed so it sunsets as did Bush's tax break due to its budget creating deficit. Someone running for the Pres position should be discussing this and pointing out how Republicans have deliberately undermined the middle income brackets.

We should not limit solutions to just income when there are so many areas we are lacking in today.

Mu $.02.

Robert Waldmann , March 18, 2019 4:47 pm

I guess I consider food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security old age pensions and disability pensions to be redistribution. My distinction is whether it is tax financed. Providing goods or services as in Medicare and food stamps seems to me basically the same as providing cash as in TANF and old age pensions.

There is also a difference between means tested and age dependent eligiability, but I don't consider it fundamental.

I assert that Medicare (especially plan B) is a kind of welfare basically like TANF and food stamps.

(and look forward to a calm and tranquil discussion of that opinion).

run75441 , March 18, 2019 9:01 pm

Robert:

Medicare is 41% funded by general revenues. The rest comes from payroll taxes and beneficiary premiums. Advantage plans cost more than traditional Medicare for providing the same benefits and also extract a premium fee. I do not believe I have been mean to you. I usually question to learn more. I am happy to have your input.

I am writing for Consumer Safety Org on Woman's healthcare this time and also an article on the Swiss struggling to pay for cancer fighting drugs.

I am always looking for input.

[Mar 15, 2019] Will Democrats Go Full Hawk by Jack Hunter

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president. ..."
"... Bravo Congressman Khanna. And to those progs who share his sympathies with those of us who have consistently opposed US military adventurism. Howard Dean's comments that American troops should take a bullet in support of "women's rights" in Afghanistan (!) only underscores why he serves as comic relief and really should consider wearing tassels and bells. ..."
"... Trump – and Bernie – put their fingers on the electoral zeitgeist in 2016: the oligarchy is out of control, its servants in Washington have turned their backs on the middle class, and we need to stop getting into stupid, needless wars. ..."
"... "Principles", LOL? What principles? When have Democrats ever not campaigned on a "bring them home, no torture, etc" peace platform and then governed on a deep state neocon foreign policy, with entitlements to drone anyone on earth in Obama's case? At least horrible neocon Republicans are honest enough to say what they believe when they run. ..."
"... Hillary was full hawk. It was Trump who said he was less hawkish. Yeah, he hasn't lived up to that either. But Democrats can't go hawkish in response. They already were the hawks. ..."
Mar 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When President Donald Trump announced in December that he wanted an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, there was more silence and opposition from the Left than approval. The 2016 election's highest-profile progressive, Senator Bernie Sanders, said virtually nothing at the time. The 2018 midterm election's Left celeb, former congressman Beto O'Rourke, kept mum too. The 2004 liberal hero, Howard Dean, came out against troop withdrawals, saying they would damage women's rights in Afghanistan.

The liberal news outlet on which Warren made her statement, MSNBC, which had already been sounding more like Fox News circa 2003, warned that withdrawal from Syria could hurt national security. The left-leaning news channel has even made common cause with Bill Kristol and other neoconservatives in its shared opposition to all things Trump.

Maddow herself has not only vocally opposed the president's decision, but has become arguably more popular than ever with liberal viewers by peddling wild-eyed anti-Trump conspiracy theories worthy of Alex Jones. Reacting to one of her cockamamie theories, progressive journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted , "She is Glenn Beck standing at the chalkboard. Liberals celebrate her (relatively) high ratings as proof that she's right, but Beck himself proved that nothing produces higher cable ratings than feeding deranged partisans unhinged conspiracy theories that flatter their beliefs."

The Trump derangement that has so enveloped the Left on everything, including foreign policy, is precisely what makes Democratic presidential candidate Warren's Syria withdrawal position so noteworthy. One can safely assume that Sanders, O'Rourke, Dean, MSNBC, Maddow, and many of their fellow progressive travelers' silence on or resistance to troop withdrawal is simply them gauging what their liberal audiences currently want or will accept.

Warren could have easily gone either way, succumbing to the emotive demands of the Never Trump mob. She instead opted to stick to the traditional progressive position on undeclared war, even if it meant siding with the president.

... ... ...

Jack Hunter is the former political editor of Rare.us and co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Senator Rand Paul.


WorkingClass March 13, 2019 at 10:36 pm

Only a crushing defeat and massive casualties on the battlefield will cause ANY change in foreign policy by either party.
PAX , says: March 13, 2019 at 10:45 pm
The antiwar movement is not a "liberal" movement. Hundreds of mainly your people addressed the San Francisco board of supervisors asking them to condemn an Israeli full-fledged attack on Gaza. When they were finished, without objection from one single supervisor, the issued was tabled and let sink permanently in the Bay, never to be heard of again. Had the situation been reversed and Israel under attack there most probably would have been a resolution in nanoseconds. Maybe even half the board volunteering to join the IDF? People believed Trump would act more objectively. That is why he got a lot of peace votes. What AIPAC wants there is a high probability our liberal politicians will oblige quickly and willingly. Who really represents America remains a mystery?
Donald , says: March 13, 2019 at 11:40 pm
"That abiding hatred will continue to play an outsized and often illogical role in determining what most Democrats believe about foreign policy."

True, but the prowar tendency with mainstream liberals ( think Clintonites) is older than that. The antiwar movement among mainstream liberals died the instant Obama entered the White House. And even before that Clinton and Kerry and others supported the Iraq War. I think this goes all the way back to Gulf War I, and possibly further. Democrats were still mostly antiwar to some degree after Vietnam and they also opposed Reagan's proxy wars in Central America and Angola. Some opposed the Gulf War, but it seemed a big success at the time and so it became centrist and smart to kick the Vietnam War syndrome and be prowar. Bill Clinton has his little war in Serbia, which was seen as a success and so being prowar became the centrist Dem position. Obama was careful to say he wasn't antiwar, just against dumb wars. Gore opposed going into Iraq, but on technocratic grounds.

And in popular culture, in the West Wing the liberal fantasy President was bombing an imaginary Mideast terrorist country. Showed he was a tough guy, but measured, unlike some of the even more warlike fictitious Republicans in that show. I remember Toby Ziegler, one of the main characters, ranting to his pro diplomacy wife that we needed to go in and civilize those crazy Muslims.

So it isn't just an illogical overreaction to Trump, though that is part of it.

polistra , says: March 14, 2019 at 2:18 am
Won't happen. Gabbard is solid and sincere but she's not Hillary so she won't be the candidate. Hillary is the candidate forever. If Hillary is too drunk to stand up, or too obviously dead, Kamala will serve as Hillary's regent.
ked_x , says: March 14, 2019 at 2:48 am
The problem isn't THAT Trump is pulling the troops out of Syria. The problem is HOW Trump is pulling the troops out of Syria. The Left isn't fighting about 'keeping troops indefinitely in Syria' vs pulling troops out of Syria'. Its a fight over 'pulling troops out in a way that makes it so that we don't have to go back in like Obama and Iraq' vs 'backing the reckless pull out Trump is going to do'.
Kasoy , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:42 am
Will Democrats go full hawk?

For Democrats, everything depends on what the polls say, which issues seem important to get elected. They will say anything, no matter how irrational & outrageously insane if the polls say Democrat voters like them. If American involvement in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan are less important according to the polls, Democratic 2020 hopefuls will not bother to focus on it.

For True Christian conservatives, everything depends on how issues line up to God's laws. Polls do not change what is morally right, & what is morally evil.

Connecticut Farmer , says: March 14, 2019 at 8:47 am
"I am glad Donald Trump is withdrawing troops from Syria. Congress never authorized the intervention."

Bravo Congressman Khanna. And to those progs who share his sympathies with those of us who have consistently opposed US military adventurism. Howard Dean's comments that American troops should take a bullet in support of "women's rights" in Afghanistan (!) only underscores why he serves as comic relief and really should consider wearing tassels and bells.

M. Orban , says: March 14, 2019 at 9:35 am
Having grown up under communism, I learned that it is dangerous but inevitable that propagandists eventually come to believe their own fabrications.
Argon , says: March 14, 2019 at 11:23 am
Kasoy: "For True Christian conservatives, everything depends on how issues line up to God's laws. Polls do not change what is morally right, & what is morally evil."

I think that needs the trademark symbol, i.e True Christians™

What do True Scotsmen do?

Dave , says: March 14, 2019 at 12:53 pm
Recent suggests that more Christian Identity Politics will not keep us out of unwise wars.
Dave , says: March 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm
The Second Coming of Jack Hunter. Given his well-documented views on race, it's no surprise he's all in on Trump. That surely outweighs Trump's massive spending and corruption that most true libertarians oppose.
EarlyBird , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:04 pm
Trump – and Bernie – put their fingers on the electoral zeitgeist in 2016: the oligarchy is out of control, its servants in Washington have turned their backs on the middle class, and we need to stop getting into stupid, needless wars.

Of course, the left would come out against puppies and sunshine if Trump came out for those things.

But if they are smart, they'd recognize that on war, or his lack of interest in starting new wars, even the broken Trump clock has been right twice a day.

Erin , says: March 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm
The flip side of this phenomenon is that so many Republican voters supported Trump's withdrawal from Syria. Had it been Obama withdrawing the troops, I suspect 80-90% of Republicans would have opposed the withdrawal.

This does show that Republicans are listening to Trump more than Lindsey Graham or Marco Rubio on foreign policy. But once Trump leaves office, I fear the party will swing back towards the neocons.

Andrew , says: March 14, 2019 at 5:14 pm
"Principles", LOL? What principles? When have Democrats ever not campaigned on a "bring them home, no torture, etc" peace platform and then governed on a deep state neocon foreign policy, with entitlements to drone anyone on earth in Obama's case? At least horrible neocon Republicans are honest enough to say what they believe when they run.

Dopey Trump campaigned on something different and has now surrounded himself with GOP hawks, probably because he's lazy and doesn't know any better.

Bernie, much like Ron Paul was, 180 degrees away, is the only one who might do different if he got into office, and the rate the left is going he may very well be the nominee.

Mark Thomason , says: March 15, 2019 at 11:23 am
Hillary was full hawk. It was Trump who said he was less hawkish. Yeah, he hasn't lived up to that either. But Democrats can't go hawkish in response. They already were the hawks.

The least bad comment on Democrats is that everyone in DC is a hawk, not just them.

[Mar 12, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Ads Banned From Facebook

Mar 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google," read the ads which began to run on Friday, According to Politico . "We all use them. But in their rise to power, they've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor."

As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation , and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people. To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it's time to break up our biggest tech companies. -Elizabeth Warren

Facebook confirmed with Politico that the ads had been taken down and said said the company is reviewing the matter. "The person said, according to an initial review, that the removal could be linked to the company's policies about using Facebook's brand in posts ."

Around a dozen other ads placed by Warren were not affected.

[Mar 09, 2019] Gone When They Get Your Vote

Notable quotes:
"... I'll be honest here and admit that Democrats irritate me more than Republicans for this one simple reason. ..."
"... I've come to expect Republicans to be malicious -- there is honesty in their advertisement. However, it's the Democrats who smile like foxes as they pretend to be our allies only to stab us in our backs the minute they get elected. ..."
Mar 09, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

...He brilliantly exposed the false-distinction between Democrats and Republicans as a choice between the lesser of the same evil.

Malcom X's last speech after Feb. 1965 firebombing of his home https://vimeo.com/192326332

"Foxes and wolves usually are of the same breed. They belong to the same family -- I think it's called canine. And the difference is that the wolf when he shows you his teeth, you know that he's your enemy; and the fox, when he shows you his teeth, he appears to be smiling. But no matter which of them you go with, you end up in the dog house."

It took a mean mugging by reality -- one that shook me out of cognitive dissonance -- for me to realize that Democrats are no different than Republicans. They differ in their methods, but in the end they feast on us regardless of their gang affiliation. Both parties are subsidiaries of corporations and oligarchs; our entire political system is based on two factions bamboozling their respective bases while manufacturing dissension on all sides.

... ... ...

Now that I've shed my political blinders, I see how this game is played. I'll be honest here and admit that Democrats irritate me more than Republicans for this one simple reason.

I've come to expect Republicans to be malicious -- there is honesty in their advertisement. However, it's the Democrats who smile like foxes as they pretend to be our allies only to stab us in our backs the minute they get elected.

They have maintained power for decades by successfully treading on the pains of marginalized groups as they concurrently enact legislation and regulations that inflame the very injustices they rail against.

If there is one group that has been leveraged the most by Democrats, it's the descendants of slaves and "black" diaspora as a whole. For generations, supposed liberals -- who now call themselves progressives -- have cunningly used the pains of "African-Americans" to further their own agendas. The Democrat's most loyal voting bloc have time and time again been taken advantage of only to be tossed to the side as soon as Democrats gain power. They talk a good game and pretend to be for us right up until election day, soon as the last ballot is counted, they are nowhere to be found.

[Mar 09, 2019] Zabinski Point for democrats

Mar 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Summer , March 6, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Re: Loyalty Oath

That's the Democrats for ya! When they don't have any useful ideas they go and grab the Republican's old, bad ones out of the trash.

Carey , March 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm

"Loyalty Oath"? We are in what country, in what year?

*Why* did he sign on with the Dems? Could've had ballot access with the Greens, and
everything else from the Dem association is a net-negative, IMO.

Lucy/Football2020

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 6, 2019 at 3:59 pm

I want to say this is the Zabinski Point (apparently the lowest dry point in the geographic US) in the D party's recent history, but I fear it could get lower still.

Wukchumni , March 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Nope, the name of the lowest point is even more appropriate for the donkey show

Badwater

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , March 6, 2019 at 4:20 pm

I guess I was misinformed by that moive, Zabriskie Point.

Wukchumni , March 6, 2019 at 5:12 pm

The actual lowest point in the state might be at the bottom of the artificially created lake-the Salton Sea, as at the surface it's -236 feet, and the claim is the bottom is 5 feet higher than Badwater, but who knows.

It was created in 1905, when a diversion of the Colorado River went out of control for 2 years, until they were able to stop the flow.

ambrit , March 6, 2019 at 5:22 pm

"Zabriskie Point." A truly apt metaphor for the modern political landscape.
My favourite foreign movie metaphor for the Democrat Party would be Bertolucci's "The Conformist."

[Mar 09, 2019] Warren Takes Her Amazon, Facebook Breakup Proposal to SXSW

Mar 09, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com
On Friday she called for legislation that would designate large technology companies as "platform utilities," and for the appointment of regulators who'd unwind technology mergers that undermine competition and harm innovation and small businesses.

"The idea behind this is for the people in this room," for tech entrepreneurs who want to try out "that new idea," Warren told a packed and enthusiastic crowd. "We want to keep that marketplace competitive and not let a giant who has an incredible competitive advantage snuff that out."

Warren said venture capital "in this area" has dropped by about 20 percent because of a perceived uneven playing field. She didn't provide more detail or say where she obtained her figures.

[Mar 09, 2019] Warren's Plan to Break Up Big Tech Should Focus on Amazon

Mar 09, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Elizabeth Warren's proposal to break up "Big Tech" companies is sure to stoke debate and add to the tension between the Democratic Party and reliably Democratic Silicon Valley. While breaking up Big Tech isn't likely to happen anytime soon, one nuance in her proposal is worth thinking about, and that's whether tech companies that operate large marketplaces should also be able to participate in said marketplaces.

The most obvious impact this would have would be on Amazon. While in the universe of the American retail industry Amazon's market share remains in the single digits, in e-commerce it's got around 50 percent market share . When consumers shop on Amazon, they're presented with items sold by Amazon, and also items that Amazon doesn't own or warehouse but merely hosts the listings. It's also increasingly getting into the advertising business, so that when you're searching you'll be presented with a list of sponsored products in addition to whatever results a search may generate.

A third-party seller on Amazon has a difficult relationship with Amazon, which can act both as partner and competitor. Amazon can use its huge data sets to see how successful third-party sellers and products are, and if they meet a certain profitability threshold Amazon can decide to compete with that third-party seller directly.

Someone might say, isn't that what grocery stores or Costco do with private label goods or Costco's Kirkland brand? But the difference is that in physical retail, there are all sorts of stores where a producer can sell their products -- Walmart, Target, Costco, major grocery chains, and so on. In e-commerce, with half the market share, Amazon has a dominant position. While in the short run Amazon being able to compete with its third-party sellers may be good for consumers, who can end up with lower prices, in the long run it may mean fewer producers even bother to come up with new products, feeling that eventually Amazon will crowd them out of the marketplace.

Would restricting Amazon, which has grown so quickly and is popular with consumers, harm the economy? Government's antitrust fight with Microsoft a generation ago ended up paying dividends for innovation. In the 2000s a common critique of Microsoft was that it "missed" the internet, and smartphones, and social media, but to some extent that may have been because the company feared an expansion in emerging technologies would bring back more scrutiny from the government. As a result, new tech platforms and companies bloomed. The same could happen in the next decade if Amazon's ambitions were reined in a little.

"Break up Big Tech" is an easy emotional hook, but hopefully Warren's proposal will get all Americans to think more about the power of tech companies and their platforms, and whether regulatory changes would best serve both consumers and producers.

[Mar 09, 2019] According to the text of the application Dems candidates swear to be "faithful" to the "interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party," but not to its principles. That's because there aren't any.

Mar 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Note that the candidate swears to be "faithful" to the "interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party," but not to its principles. That's because there aren't any.

Readers may enjoy picking through the bafflegab, because I think you could drive a whole fleet of trucks through the loopholes. Here, for example, is Benjamin Studebaker's view : "A Second Term for Trump is Better Than Beto."

Nobody, after all, said that success had to be immediate ; perhaps a short term failure improves the ultimate welfare and prospects for success for the party.

In a way, this McCarthy-ite armraising is a kludge, another symptom of a fraying system: Exactly as we can no longer, apparently, trust voters to pick a President, and so must give veto power to the intelligence community, so we can no longer trust primary voters to pick a candidate, and the "National Chairperson" must step in if they somehow get the wrong answer. Pesky voters!

[Mar 06, 2019] The faces of US elit: The marasmic McCain, marasmic Pelosi, and hysterical Max Boot, the openly lying Clapper and the hate-filled profiteer Brennan

Notable quotes:
"... The next two weeks will show whether Trump is the real deal, or just another schlub. ..."
Jul 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

annamaria > , July 27, 2017 at 8:06 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig

His greatest accomplishment may well be that he has caused Washington's Swamp Dwellers to rise from the ooze and expose themselves for all the world to see. That's weakened them immeasurably, perhaps fatally. To be sure, that's no small thing, and the next Trump to come along is now on full alert as to who & what to bring with him.
You nailed it. Even if they do eventually succeed in foiling Trump, things will never be the same again. The whole world is watching the circus in Washington, and so Washington's brand ('democracy') is now shot. 2016 was indeed an annus mirabilis! " things will never be the same again. The whole world is watching the circus in Washington.."

It looks and sounds like dementia – as if a sick person behaving inappropriately, showing unprovoked aggression (like some Alzheimer patients), using silly or senseless phrasing, and having the unreasonable demands and uncontrolled fits of rage like a spoiled child. The marasmic McCain, marasmic Pelosi, and hysterical Max Boot, the openly lying Clapper and the hate-filled profiteer Brennan.

What a panopticon.

Here is an outline of the current state of "western values" by Patrick Armstrong: http://turcopolier.typepad.com

Jeff Davis > , July 27, 2017 at 8:54 pm GMT

As I have written here and elsewhere, President Swamp Drainer needs to get control of the DoJ. He got rid of Comey, which was good, but got Rosenstein and Mueller in response. Meanwhile Jeff Sessions is twiddling his thumbs re the Russia witch hunt. Perhaps his recusal was appropriate, but he's not doing anything whatsoever regarding Swamp Draining. So it feels like he's a disingenuous old guard GOPer, who wants to obstruct any real progress, while dragging his feet with do-nothingness obscured behind a facade of law enforcement community boosterism. By this tactic the GOP attempts to stall until 2020, when it can then point at Trump's failures (failures they have enabled by their stalling, wink wink) and then campaign to take "their" party back. In short, Sessions may just be an anti-Trump "mole" planted in the single most important position with regard to swamp draining, in order to ***prevent*** any swamp draining.

Let me be clear: in the last 24 years the DC political class has gone almost entirely criminal, with the last 13 years dedicated to serial war crimes. In this sort of situation the DoJ, AG, and FBI head, becomes corrupted, and turns away from the rule of law to become a shield for the DC criminal despotism.

So watch closely what happens next. Just today rumors have come out -- though I've been speaking of this for several weeks now -- that there is talk in the White House about ***recess appointments*** . We have reached the crucial moment, and I for one am surprised that, as important as this is, it has not been prominent in public discussion until now. The "August" was scheduled to begin at the end of business tomorrow, July 28th. Because of the health care business, McConnell has postponed it for two weeks, so let's call it for close of business Friday, August 11th. That's fifteen days from now.

When Congress goes home fifteen days from now, this country and the world may very well change forever. Go to Wikipedia and look up "recess appointment". Here's what you will find:

" a recess appointment is an appointment by the President of a federal official while the U.S. Senate is in recess.

Recess appointments are authorized by Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which states:

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session .

If Trump is the fighter I think he is, then this is what he has been waiting for, ever so patiently these last six months. Notice that the Congress cannot countermand recess appointments. Recess appointments end by expiration, and then only at the end of the following Congressional session. Other than impeachment, Congress cannot stop Trump from doing this .

So Trump dumps Sessions, purges the anti-Trump prosecutors from previous administrations, and appoints a new FBI head and dozens of fire-breathing swamp-draining prosecutors who immediately start doling out orange jumpsuits. He could -- not saying that he would execute this "nuclear option" -- but he could lock up virtually the entire Congress on war crimes charges; Neocons for conspiracy to commit war crimes; Cheney, Addington, Yoo, and Bybee to the Hague for torture; Hillary and Obama for Libya.

Control of the DoJ is the key.

The next two weeks will show whether Trump is the real deal, or just another schlub.

[Mar 05, 2019] The Sad Story of Trump University by Michael Warren

Feb 26, 2016 | www.weeklystandard.com

In a recent issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Matt Labash highlighted the sad story of Trump University, one of the Donald's biggest failures. Here's an excerpt:

But most egregious was Trump University, a purported real estate school that attracted the attention of New York's attorney general, who brought a $40 million suit on behalf of 5,000 people. The New York Times described Trump U as "a bait-and-switch scheme," with students lured "by free sessions, then offered packages ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 for sham courses that were supposed to teach them how to become successful real estate investors." Though Trump himself was largely absentee, one advertisement featured him proclaiming, "Just copy exactly what I've done and get rich." While some students were hoping to glean wisdom directly from the success oracle, there was no such luck. At one seminar, attendees were told they'd get to have their picture taken with Trump. Instead, they ended up getting snapped with his cardboard cutout. What must have been a crushing disappointment to aspiring real estate barons is a boon to Republican-primary metaphor hunters.

Read the whole article here , which documents Trump at his Trumpiest, from his penchant for cheating at golf to his sensitivity to being called a "short-fingered vulgarian."

Michael Warren is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard.

[Mar 05, 2019] David Cay Johnston on the Crony Capitalism, and Part 2 on Plans for Funding For Your Old Age

Mar 05, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

David Cay Johnston on the Crony Capitalism, and Part 2 on Plans for Funding For Your Old Age

"A pension is not a 'gratuity.' A pension is wages you could have taken in cash, but prudently and conservatively set aside for your old age. It's your money. If your employer, for every pay period, does not set aside and designate it to go into a pension plan, your employer is stealing from you. The way to get this is to require pay stubs to itemize the amount of money that has been contributed to your pension plan."

David Cay Johnston

"Capitalism is at risk of failing today not because we are running out of innovations, or because markets are failing to inspire private actions, but because we've lost sight of the operational failings of unfettered gluttony. We are neglecting a torrent of market failures in infrastructure, finance, and the environment. We are turning our backs on a grotesque worsening of income inequality and willfully continuing to slash social benefits. We are destroying the Earth as if we are indeed the last generation."

Jeffrey Sachs

"We are coming apart as a society, and inequality is right at the core of that. When the 90 percent are getting worse off and they're trying to figure out what happened, they're not people like me who get to spend four or five hours a day studying these things and then writing about them -- they're people who have to make a living and get through life. And they're going to be swayed by demagogues and filled with fear about the other, rather than bringing us together.

President Theodore Roosevelt said we shall all rise together or we shall all fall together, and we need to have an appreciation of that.

I think it would be easy for someone to arrive in the near future and really create forces that would lead to trouble in this country. And you see people who, they're not the leaders to pull it off, but we have suggestions that the president should be killed, that he's not an American, that Texas can secede, that states can ignore federal law, and these are things that don't lack for antecedents in America history but they're clearly on the rise.

In addition to that, we have this large, very well-funded news organization that is premised on misconstruing facts and telling lies, Faux News that is creating, in a large segment of the population -- somewhere around one-fifth and one-fourth of it -- belief in all sorts of things that are detrimental to our well-being.

So, no, I don't see this happening tomorrow, but I have said for many years that if we don't get a handle on this then one of these days our descendants are going to sit down in high-school history class and open a textbook that begins with the words: The United States of America was and then it will dissect how our experiment in self-governance came apart."

David Cay Johnston, May 2014

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zaKYPn0zJKc

https://www.youtube.com/embed/sZbqr2AzoOo

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[Mar 05, 2019] Democratic senator to introduce tax on trading [Video]

Mar 05, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

CNBC Videos

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) is expected to introduce a new tax bill today. The senator says his bill would tax the sale of stocks, bonds and derivatives at a 0.1 rate. It would apply to any transaction in the United States. The senator says his proposal would clamp down on speculation and some high frequency trading that artificially creates more market volatility.

[Mar 04, 2019] Trump calls for 21st century Glass-Steagall banking law

Notable quotes:
"... As Sen. Elizabeth Warren has famously said with respect to cabinet and other political appointments, "Personnel Is Policy." You can see the outline of the Trump administration's real policies being shaped before our eyes via his proposed cabinet appointees, covered by Politico and other sites. ..."
"... Sanders, Warren and others should hold Trump's feet to the fire on the truly populist things he said and offer to work with him on that stuff. Like preserving Social Security and Medicare and getting out of wars. ..."
Nov 11, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
allan November 10, 2016 at 2:35 pm

Trump calls for '21st century' Glass-Steagall banking law [Reuters, Oct. 26]

Financial Services [Trump Transition Site, Nov. 10]

Oddly, no mention of Glass-Steagall, only dismantling Dodd-Frank. Who could have predicted?

File under Even Victims Can Be Fools.

Chauncey Gardiner November 10, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Not surprised at all. The election is over, the voters are now moot. As Sen. Elizabeth Warren has famously said with respect to cabinet and other political appointments, "Personnel Is Policy." You can see the outline of the Trump administration's real policies being shaped before our eyes via his proposed cabinet appointees, covered by Politico and other sites.

Dr. Roberts November 10, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Also no mention of NAFTA or renegotiating trade deals in the new transition agenda. Instead there's just a bunch of vague Chamber of Commercesque language about making America attractive to investors. I think our hopes for a disruptive Trump presidency are quickly being dashed.

Steve C November 10, 2016 at 4:18 pm

Sanders, Warren and others should hold Trump's feet to the fire on the truly populist things he said and offer to work with him on that stuff. Like preserving Social Security and Medicare and getting out of wars.

As to the last point, appointing Bolton or Corker Secretary of State would be a clear indication he was just talking. A clear violation of campaign promises that would make Obama look like a choirboy. Trump may be W on steroids.

pretzelattack November 10, 2016 at 5:17 pm

sure he may be almost as bad as Clinton on foreign policy. so far he hasn't been rattling a saber at Russia.

Steve C November 10, 2016 at 6:25 pm

Newland also is pernicious, but as with many things Trump, not as gaudy as Bolton.

anti-social socialist November 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Yathink?
https://www.ft.com/content/aed37de0-a767-11e6-8898-79a99e2a4de6

Katniss Everdeen November 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm

I can't imagine how he's neglected to update his transition plan regarding nafta. After all, he's already been president-elect for, what, 36 hours now? And he only talked about it umpteen times during the campaign. I'm sure he'll renege.

Hell, it took Clinton 8 hours to give her concession speech.

On the bright side, he managed to kill TPP just by getting elected. Was that quick enough for you?

[Mar 04, 2019] Obama corruption: Warren troubled by Obama speaking fees

Apr 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Shot: "Obama's $400,000 Wall Street Speech Is Completely In Character" [ HuffPo ].

Chaser: "Ask all the bankers he jailed for fraud."

JohnnyGL , April 27, 2017 at 2:25 pm

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/330912-warren-troubled-by-obamas-speaking-fee

This just in .Saint Obama is no longer infallible among Dems. Winds of change are blowing. Six months ago, you couldn't get away with saying this kind of thing.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , April 27, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Clinton is down.

Now Obama.

Pelosi? For how long?

Only one big Democrat left – Schumer. Very few target him for challenge, yet.

curlydan , April 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm

He probably said to himself, "What did I make in a year as president? Oh yeah, $400,000. Now that's what I want to make in an hour"

jrs , April 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

you gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues, and you know it don't come easy

David Carl Grimes , April 27, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Obama's not concerned about optics anymore.

fresno dan , April 27, 2017 at 3:35 pm

JohnnyGL
April 27, 2017 at 2:25 pm

"The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Obama will receive the sum - equal to his annual pay as president - for a speech at Cantor Fitzgerald LP's healthcare conference, though there has been no public announcement yet."

=======================================
Sheer coincidence that what Obama campaigned on and what Obama governed on appear to be influenced by rich people. Physics prevents single payer health care .dark energy, dark matter, dark, dark, money ..

Until a strong majority of dems are ready to say what is patently obvious to anyone even mildly willing to acknowledge reality, i.e., that policy is decided not by a majority of voters, but by a majority of dollars, than there is simply no hope for reform.

[Mar 04, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is right Corruption is rotting the U.S. from within by Helaine Olen

Aug 22, 2018 | www.washingtonpost.com

... just as the day was ending, news broke that Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-Calif.), an early Trump backer, was indicted for misusing campaign funds for personal expenses big and small, including dental bills and a trip to Italy.

And this sort of behavior isn't even what Warren is targeting.

Warren's bill takes on what is usually termed the legalized corruption, the dirty dealings of Washington. Among other things, the legislation would:

The goal? To make government once again responsive to voters, not the corporations and the wealthy donors responsible for the vast majority of the $3.37 billion spent lobbying Washington in 2017. That money buys results, but only for the people paying the bills. As Warren said:

Corruption has seeped into the fabric of our government, tilting thousands of decisions away from the public good and toward the desires of those at the top. And, over time, bit by bit, like a cancer eating away at our democracy, corruption has eroded Americans' faith in our government.

This is not hyperbole. A 2014 academic study found the U.S. government policy almost always reflected the desires of the donor class over the will of the majority of voters, while a 2016 report by the progressive think tank Demos determined political donors have distinctly different views from most Americans on issues ranging from financial regulation to abortion rights. A tax reform package that showers benefits on corporations and the wealthiest among us? Consider it done. But a crackdown on drug pricing, buttressing of Social Security without cutting benefits, expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, or progress combating global warming, all of which majorities say they want? Not so fast.

Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) said on June 5 that she will introduce "sweeping anti-corruption legislation to clean up corporate money sloshing around Washington." (Georgetown Law)

It's not just what laws get passed, but who is held accountable under those laws. No one in a high position went to jail for the financial crisis. Foreclosure fraud on the part of the banks was punished with a slap on the wrist – if that. All too many corporations treat their customers with complete impunity, as scandals ranging from the Equifax hack to Wells Fargo's many misdeeds demonstrate. It feels as if there is no one minding the store -- if you are rich and connected enough, that is.

This behavior leaves us enraged, feeling like outsiders peering in on our own elected government. A Gallup poll found 3 out of 4 voters surveyed described corruption as " widespread throughout the government " -- in 2010. There's a reason Trump's claim he would "drain the swamp" resonated. No one, after all, thought Trump was clean. His stated argument was, in fact, the opposite. He claimed his success a businessman navigating the corrupt U.S. system gave him just the right set of insight and tools to clean up Washington.

We all know now that was just another audacious Trump con. The tax reform package almost certainly benefited his own bottom line, though we don't know that for sure since he has not released his taxes. Andrew Wheeler , the acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a former lobbyist for the coal industry. Alex Azar , the secretary of Health and Human Services, is a former top executive of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. At the Education Department, the revolving door is alive and well, with former George W. Bush administration officials who went on to work at for-profit institutions of higher education returning to government service to advise Betsy De Vos who is -- surprise! -- cutting the sector multiple breaks.

And all this, under our current laws, is allowed.

To be clear, this is not a matter of Republicans Good, Democrats Bad. As Warren put it on Tuesday, "This problem is far bigger than Trump." An Obama-era attempt to slow the revolving door was riddled with loopholes that allowed the appointment of Wall Street insiders to too many regulatory posts. Subsequently, more than a few Obama appointees have gone on to work for big business as lobbyists.

Corruption, legal or illegal, rots the system from the inside out. In an environment where it seems anything goes, it's not hard to think that, well, anything goes -- like Cohen and Manafort, who almost certainly would have gotten away with their behavior if not for the Mueller investigation, and Hunter, who ignored multiple warnings from his campaign treasurer and instead continued to do such things as pass off the purchase of a pair of shorts as sporting equipment intended for use by "wounded warriors."

There is, of course, no way Warren's bill would clean up this entire festering mess. But healthy democracies need government officials -- elected and unelected -- to behave both ethically and honestly. Warren is putting our governing and business classes on notice. Simply saying the law is on your side isn't good enough. The voters won't stand for that.

[Mar 04, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's anti corruption crusade evaporates when foreign policy is raised by Sam Husseini

Aug 22, 2018 | mondoweiss.net
     

On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren addressed the National Press Club , outlining with great specificity a host of proposals on issues including eliminating financial conflicts, close the revolving door between business and government and, perhaps most notably, reforming corporate structures .

Warren gave a blistering attack on corporate power run amok, giving example after example, like Congressman Billy Tauzin doing the pharmaceutical lobby's bidding by preventing a bill for expanded Medicare coverage from allowing the program to negotiate lower drug prices. Noted Warren: "In December of 2003, the very same month the bill was signed into law, PhRMA -- the drug companies' biggest lobbying group -- dangled the possibility that Billy could be their next CEO.

"In February of 2004, Congressman Tauzin announced that he wouldn't seek re-election. Ten months later, he became CEO of PhRMA -- at an annual salary of $2 million. Big Pharma certainly knows how to say 'thank you for your service.'"

But I found that Warren's tenacity when ripping things like corporate lobbyists' "pre-bribes" suddenly evaporated when dealing with issues like the enormous military budget and Israeli assaults on Palestinian children.

... ... ...

Said Warren of her own financial reform proposals: "Inside Washington, some of these proposals will be very unpopular, even with some of my friends. Outside Washington, I expect that most people will see these ideas as no-brainers and be shocked they're not already the law.

Why doesn't the same principle apply to funding perpetual wars and massive human rights abuses against children?

Sam Husseini is an independent journalist, senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact .org. Follow him on twitter: @samhusseini

ckg
August 22, 2018, 10:46 am OpenSecrets shows that Senator Warren has received funds from the pro-Israel PAC Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs for the 2018 election cycle. Among the largest funders of this PAC are billionaire venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker and his wife. At the start of Israel's 2014 massacre in Gaza, the PAC issued a statement in support of Israel.
just
August 22, 2018, 12:36 pm No surprise there, ckg. I cannot think of anyone in Congress nor in the US cabinet that is not 99-100% in Israel supporters' pockets. Nor can I think of anyone that is diplomatically focused. Nor can I think of anyone that is seriously objecting to the slaughter in Yemen, the ongoing attempt to topple Assad, and the endless war in Afghanistan, etc.

Then there's this: the US and too many others pay/subsidize Israel for the privilege of dictating foreign policy and for their own selfish, ridiculous claims of being 'surrounded by enemies'. A nuclear- armed state (though never inspected nor properly declared) keeps this trope/cliché alive???

How many billions should Americans and others pay to Israel for nothing in return?

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2018/03/understanding-military-aid-israel-180305092533077.html Log in to Reply

Maghlawatan
August 23, 2018, 7:10 am Standing up to the Israel lobby now is suicidal. Nobody will risk a career to support a dissident until the dam breaks as it always does.

Power doesn't work linearly. It goes in cycles. Zionism is tied up with money which is a function of the economic system. Warren is playing a long game. She knows the people at the Fed are clueless. She knows there is going to be an awful crash. She knows there will be a new economic system based on the people rather than the elites..

Zionism is living on fumes in DC

https://youtu.be/uDT0xSsrVIg

[Mar 04, 2019] Elizabeth Warren criticized Obama unsaturable greed

Notable quotes:
"... By Joshua Weitz, a research associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network and an incoming graduate student in the PhD program in political science at Brown University ..."
Jun 02, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. How many ways can you spell "payoff"?

By Joshua Weitz, a research associate at the Academic-Industry Research Network and an incoming graduate student in the PhD program in political science at Brown University

Since leaving office President Obama has drawn widespread criticism for accepting a $400,000 speaking fee from the Wall Street investment firm Cantor Fitzgerald, including from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Only a few months out of office, the move has been viewed as emblematic of the cozy relationship between the financial sector and political elites.

But as the President's critics have voiced outrage over the decision many have been reluctant to criticize the record-setting $65 million book deal that Barack and Michelle Obama landed jointly this February with Penguin Random House (PRH). Writing in the Washington Post, for example, Ruth Marcus argues that while the Wall Street speech "feels like unfortunate icing on an already distasteful cake," the book deal is little more than the outcome of market forces fueled by consumer demand: "If the market bears $60 million to hear from the Obamas, great."

[Mar 04, 2019] Warren by name, saying he was wrong to claim at a commencement address at Rutgers last year that "the system isn't as rigged as you think." "No, President Obama, the system is as rigged as we think"

May 04, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Obama centrists don't have to worry just about Sanders' popularity. Elizabeth Warren, who is increasingly appearing as a plausible presidential candidate for 2020, has also risen as an economic populist critic of the former president.

She has been perfectly willing to challenge Obama by name, saying he was wrong to claim at a commencement address at Rutgers last year that "the system isn't as rigged as you think." "No, President Obama, the system is as rigged as we think," she writes in her new book This Fight Is Our Fight. "In fact, it's worse than most Americans realize." She even went so far as to say she was "troubled" by Obama's willingness to take his six-figure speaking fee from Wall Street. There is indeed a fight brewing, but it's not Obama v. Trump, but Obama v. Warren-Sanders.

And this is where the real difficulty lies for the Democrats. The trouble with the popular and eminently reasonable Sanders-Warren platform-reasonable for all those, Obama and Clinton included, who express dismay over our country's rampaging levels of Gilded Age-style inequality-is that it alienates the donor class that butters the DNC's bread. With Clinton's downfall, and with the popularity of economic populism rising in left circles, Obama has to step in and reassert his more centrist brand of Democratic politics. And what better way to do so than by conspicuously cashing a check from those who would fund said politics?

[Mar 04, 2019] Oh please, stop quoting Andy Slavitt, the United Healthcare Ingenix algo man. That guy is the biggest crook that made his money early on with RX discounts with his company that he and Senator Warren's daughter, Amelia sold to United Healthcare.

Mar 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

MedicalQuack , , November 15, 2017 at 10:31 am

Oh please, stop quoting Andy Slavitt, the United Healthcare Ingenix algo man. That guy is the biggest crook that made his money early on with RX discounts with his company that he and Senator Warren's daughter, Amelia sold to United Healthcare.

He's out there trying to do his own reputation restore routine. Go back to 2009 and read about the short paying of MDs by Ingenix, which is now Optum Insights, he was the CEO and remember it was just around 3 years ago or so he sat there quarterly with United CEO Hemsley at those quarterly meetings.

Look him up, wants 40k to speak and he puts the perception out there he does this for free, not so.

diptherio , , November 15, 2017 at 11:25 am

I think you're missing the context. Lambert is quoting him by way of showing that the sleazy establishment types are just fine with him. Thanks for the extra background on that particular swamp-dweller, though.

a different chris , , November 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Not just the context, it's a quote in a quote. Does make me think Slavitt must be a real piece of work to send MQ so far off his rails

petal , , November 15, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Alex Azar is a Dartmouth grad (Gov't & Economics '88) just like Jeff Immelt (Applied Math & Economics '78). So much damage to society from such a small department!

sgt_doom , , November 15, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Nice one, petal !!!

Really, all I need to know about the Trumpster Administration:

From Rothschild to . . . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross

Since 2014, Ross has been the vice-chairman of the board of Bank of Cyprus PCL, the largest bank in Cyprus.

He served under U.S. President Bill Clinton on the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. Later, under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Ross served as the Mayor's privatization advisor.

[Mar 03, 2019] Elizabeth Warren GRILLS Betsy DeVos At Confirmation Hearing

She raise important question about Trump university
Notable quotes:
"... That was brutally enlightening. I mean, I heard from the news that she didn't have a clue about education, but I didn't know it was this bad. America's education system desperately needs to be improved, but I don't see that coming with her... ..."
"... Senator Warren's zeal and interrogation skills are both admirable. ..."
Mar 03, 2019 | www.youtube.com

FrostScience , 2 years ago

Warren is my hero. Keep up the great work Elizabeth!

Shaoul Rick Chason , 2 years ago

Warren for President, 2020

AfternoonBaboon , 1 year ago

"Put the pen down, dear, we both know you're not writing anything" - Olenna Tyrell

PRESTIGIOUS691 , 2 years ago

DeVos is clueless, another idiotic pick for swamp cabinet!!

Kristina V. , 2 years ago

Warren sounds like a teacher telling her student why they're failing.

Rondell Threadgate , 1 year ago

I am an Australian observer, What I see of Elizabeth Warren, she should be the next American President, 1, she has a brain, 2, she has dignity, 3, she knows what she is dong, (she has a clue, unlike the current one ) no one scares this woman.

Melissa Warren , 2 years ago

She is so SAVAGE. I love Elizabeth Warren for this!

Cupid Betty , 1 year ago

This is so funny. As so soon as Warren said "oh good", DeVos was going down.

whm5609 , 2 years ago

Betsy deVos got raked over the coals by both Franken and Warren... deVos isn't qualified to be a teacher's aid for a kindergarten class much less run the D. of Ed. scary!

Paul Copland , 2 years ago

We need more Elizabeth Warrens in America. And we need new rules in our governance. Can you imagine if this was a real life corporate board interview. Would DeVos be hired by that board? Be honest....... DeVos was beyond stupid here.

Lucas Sg , 2 years ago

That was brutally enlightening. I mean, I heard from the news that she didn't have a clue about education, but I didn't know it was this bad. America's education system desperately needs to be improved, but I don't see that coming with her...

D Allen , 2 years ago

Education Secretary wanted, no experience necessary, top salary paid, full benefits.......man sign me up!

Clyde Mccray , 2 years ago

I am not a fan either way of DeVos, but this was nothing but a platform for Warren to fast talk over her, and a way to slam Trump, call him a crook and fraud, and be condescending non-stop.

Elizabeth Warren has some good ideas at times, but this was bullying and showboating on her part and she wasted her time lecturing instead of really giving her a real opportunity to answer a few strong questions to see where she stood on certain topics. Pity.

Has Warren been held accountable for the billions of waste and fraud committed by the congress in the past 8 years on failed policies, laws, etc.

And by the way, how many people in Washington, D C have had experience running a Trillion dollar bank? What a rather dumb question since the answer is NOBODY.

DeVos never stood a chance.

Guitar73 T , 2 years ago

"Destroys?" She basically ask her a bunch of questions she already knew the answer to just to point out she hasn't taken out a student loan or has experience overseeing a trillion dollar program. Then Liz proceeds to derive her own answer prior to Besty answering herself.

A cop may not have saved someones life before so by that logic the cop is not qualified to save lives? Sure, she may not have experience with student loans but that doesn't mean she doesn't understand compound interest, inflation and economics. Maybe these hearings would be a better use of tax payer's money if they weren't merely a forum to broadcast the fact that you don't like someone's political affiliations.

RcMx , 2 years ago

So having focused on being a community organizer is fine for running for president, but somehow NOT for running a federal agency under a president? Meanwhile, when it comes to following the spirit of regulations as opposed to regulations themselves, which (if any) were NOT violated when a certain senator used to be a professor at Harvard and proclaimed that she was of American Indian heritage, while such a classification "coincidentally" benefited whomever claimed it?

Having said that, Senator Warren's zeal and interrogation skills are both admirable. So is the way in which Betsy Devos diplomatically handles such an onslaught of pointed questions that some say are agenda-driven.

This is democracy at work and it's refreshing to see. Thanks Youtube and all who helped bring this about.

nfl doesn't matter , 2 years ago

Senator Warren. You are a US Senator. What is your plan for insuring the United States won't run up 10's of trillions of debt which will bankrupt our country? Senator Warren, have you ever balanced a budget? Do you know what a balanced budget is? Senator Warren, what is your plan for protecting US citizens from criminal illegal aliens? Do you know, Senator Warren, we already have laws in place to protect US citizens from criminal illegal aliens? They're called immigration laws.

[Mar 03, 2019] Warren is buddies with Suze Orman. I will never vote for her for this reason alone.

Mar 03, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Michael O , 1 hour ago

Warren is buddies with Suze Orman. I will never vote for her for this reason alone.

[Mar 03, 2019] Elizabeth Warren To Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan You Should Be Fired CNBC

Mar 03, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Tc Linn , 1 year ago (edited)

Tim Sloan has all the characteristics of a crook. He is remorseless, misleading, lacks responsibility, tries to cause confusion of the facts, and a manipulator. This guy was the CFO and claims he was removed from the scams. Yeah right!

Lily Reyes , 5 months ago (edited)

He should be fired for sure, fired straight to jail.

Realistic Man , 1 month ago

I know Tim Sloan did not do a good job and Senator Warren grilled him to the point where I feel bad for him. She is so good at finding out the truth and cornering the guilty like a rat.

Shauneille Morton , 1 month ago

Tim Sloan is a criminal psychopath and a habitual liar.

crayzmoe , 2 months ago

87% of CEO are crooks

J F , 3 weeks ago (edited)

Good job standing up against this loony who thinks she's a Native American.

Jeff Luallin , 3 weeks ago

I don't know all the ins-and-outs of Tim Sloan, probably some fair criticism, but he doesn't strike me as a crook. For Pocahontas to say he should be "fired", the same charge could be made at Pocahontas - that she should resign (fire herself from the Senate); the scam of her claiming Native American heritage to further her career was TOTALLY bogus.

[Mar 03, 2019] Fed Chair Jerome Powell answers Sen. Elizabeth Warren's questions on bank mergers - YouTube

Mar 03, 2019 | www.youtube.com

A E. , 4 days ago

This was a great line of questioning by Warren.

Boris Psenicnik , 3 days ago

Great job Ms. Warren!!!

James Powers , 4 days ago

If she would shut up about being an Indian and attacking Trump and focus on attacking the banks she would win I'm a Trump supporter and I would vote for her. She is great on the fed

Barry Calvert , 1 day ago

I hope she becomes the POTUS... They will kill her is=f she gets close. You think they dont like Trump ? They control him, they cant control her...

shiftnow , 3 days ago

Bravo Sen. Warren. Way smart, way informed and who gives a shit about DNA, Truth is, we're all a little bit Native American.

[Mar 03, 2019] Elizabeth Warren on controversy I shouldn't have done it

Trump is a dangerous and in his own way very capability media person, a propagandist who is capable fully exploit this story. She really needs to call Trump Pinocchio to neutralize this line of attack
Notable quotes:
"... She has too much excess baggage to run for president. She reminds me a little bit of Hillary mixed with Trump. She used to or still supports Susie Orman, the self proclaimed financial wizard. Orman is a lier and has cheated many people and has made a lot of money off people who fell for her get rich sceems. Orman is a lot like Trump. I don't mind having a woman president but just not this ine! ..."
"... Donald and Fred Trump both claimed that their family is from Switzerland when they are are actually 2nd and 3rd generation German immigrants and still have a whole town of living relatives in Germany. I'm sure we need to demand Donald Trump take a DNA test and also exhume and test Fred Trump's remains . I mean since these matters are clearly so important to everyone. Come on let's dig up the president's dead father to solve a petty political dispute! ..."
"... CNN literally can't do an interview without being obsessed with race. ..."
"... She mentions her native ancestry. It's a point of pride to her, she has no shame of it. Trumps bullying her lead her to get the DNA test. It made her look foolish, like she would do anything to shut the bully up. Whatever her action they have a reaction of insulting her. Because they are racist. ..."
"... OMG, What controversy with Warren?? No one outside of DC cares about the ancestry.. Trump is literally a Mob Boss... ..."
Mar 03, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Laura B , 2 hours ago

Is this the only dirt they can come up with. Lol 😊 Elizabeth Warren 2020

angelmushahf , 3 hours ago

Most White ppl in the U.S. think they are Cherokee, even though they aren't. In fact, I know White conservatives who claim Cherokee. Sure she went a step too far 30-40yrs ago, but at least she actually cares about Natives. Conservatives, on the other hand, claim to be Native Americans, support DAPL, could care less about them and mock Natives any chance they get

independent vote , 3 hours ago

This is FK'D. trump has committed EVERY political error in the book, breaks laws, THANK'D MATT GAETZ FOR THREATENING COHEN, cheats on wives..

BUT ELIZABETH WARREN IS IN TROUBLE ?

Queer Radical Social-Anarchist Punk-Rock Vegan , 3 hours ago

--Principal Chief Richard Sneed "It's media fodder. It's sensationalism. That's what it is,. All it takes is for one person to say they're offended, and then everybody does a dog pile. But to me, it's 'Wait a second. Let's get to some of the facts here.' Sen. Warren has always been a friend to tribes. And we need all the allies we can get."

Brian Young , 3 hours ago

I see the hate on the comments...it looks like the KKK types are here donning their MAGA hats. Are they tight? Lowering your, already low, IQs further? Yeah

James Burns , 3 hours ago

The whole DNA thing is such a silly, irrelevant distraction. It's so utterly unimportant. But we're now going to find that those sideshows become the focus of the race rather than any real discussion on policy. I'm becoming more and more convinced that people are increasingly too stupid or simply lazy and cynical to bother thinking about things that actually matter.

CC , 1 hour ago

Why? The poor learned the loopholes just like the rich. That's why she checked the native American box. And the hypocrisy of "President" Trump's past brought out from the time he stated he was running, this women was right next to Hillary knocking him down.

I don't buy the soft casual talk about not going to the past. She messes with the wrong man and then her skeletons came our of the closet. She deserved it

Slap Daddy , 3 hours ago

Nothing we First Nations people despise more than a white person so ashamed of themselves try and pretend they are one of us . We have more respect for white people who are strong and proud of their own people . She is not only very weak , she is a traitor to her people . We do not respect people ashamed of themselves .

Ezequiel H , 3 hours ago

Why so many stupid trump supporters in the comment section. This story is very relevant to many Americans my family included .

marzipanjoyjoy , 2 hours ago

I also hope all you upright citizens are out there demanding a boycott of Chuck Norris. I'm sure you're outraged by Walker Texas Ranger, correct? You know that tv show where one of the whitest guys in America claimed both in the show and outside of the show for marketing purposes that he is native American. I assume you all want Chuck Norris to take a DNA test and prove it right? Guys? Right?

Rob Wealer , 3 hours ago

They should simply agree on what is the proper genetic mix that is acceptable ideologically to determine which genetic mix is less or not acceptable so that the proper mistreatment of the lesser sort can be determined and enforced by popular consensus. This seems almost to be having the force and effect of law socially and politically. This is becoming a strange mix of nostalgic notions of virtue while at the same time embracing the basic premise of Nuremburg.

chip block , 2 hours ago (edited)

She has too much excess baggage to run for president. She reminds me a little bit of Hillary mixed with Trump. She used to or still supports Susie Orman, the self proclaimed financial wizard. Orman is a lier and has cheated many people and has made a lot of money off people who fell for her get rich sceems. Orman is a lot like Trump. I don't mind having a woman president but just not this ine!

Juantarde , 55 minutes ago

I'm happy as long as Elizabeth Warren is in ANY part of government where she can continue to kick major ass on the republican crooks.

marzipanjoyjoy , 2 hours ago

Donald and Fred Trump both claimed that their family is from Switzerland when they are are actually 2nd and 3rd generation German immigrants and still have a whole town of living relatives in Germany. I'm sure we need to demand Donald Trump take a DNA test and also exhume and test Fred Trump's remains . I mean since these matters are clearly so important to everyone. Come on let's dig up the president's dead father to solve a petty political dispute!

Jasion Sail , 2 hours ago

CNN literally can't do an interview without being obsessed with race. Warren would probably had a chance if they gave her a support like they do Harris. ...now here comes the twist I actually do not support her or anyone on the left but she didn't even get a solid chance she might as well drop out now and endorse someone.

Mister Sarajevo , 3 hours ago (edited)

Why do Bernie Bros hate her so much when she's basically doing the same thing but w/ less yelling, finger wagging & condescension?

2degucitas , 1 hour ago

She mentions her native ancestry. It's a point of pride to her, she has no shame of it. Trumps bullying her lead her to get the DNA test. It made her look foolish, like she would do anything to shut the bully up. Whatever her action they have a reaction of insulting her. Because they are racist.

Jason Milton , 2 hours ago

OMG, What controversy with Warren?? No one outside of DC cares about the ancestry.. Trump is literally a Mob Boss...

Lefty Jones , 2 hours ago

It's so annoying how anytime a decent person fucks up nowadays they're forced to spend like an entire year apologizing, and that's only if they don't automatically lose their entire career right after said fuck up. She admits she shouldn't have done it, great, now lets get back to policy.

TheRealMVP , 3 hours ago

I just don't understand how some people can't accept her apology for the Native American fiasco, yet they give trump all the slack in the world. This is a man who bragged about grabbing women by the pussy..... The double standard is just ridiculous.

[Mar 03, 2019] If Elizabeth Warren is nominated for president, and I hope she will be, I believe we will see the most virulent, vile and vituperative campaign imaginable against her by the right, the wealthy and the corporate interests.

Taxation itself does not solve the problem. You also need to cut MIC. Only in this case orginary americans will benefit. Andf that Mmieans that Eligeth Warren will face tremendous slander campaign neocons.
Mar 03, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

voreason Ann Arbor, MI Jan. 29

If Elizabeth Warren is nominated for president, and I hope she will be, I believe we will see the most virulent, vile and vituperative campaign imaginable against her by the right, the wealthy and the corporate interests. It will be a battle for the soul of this country. But if anyone can make the case to the middle class for real economic and tax reform in the face of the attacks that such a plan will face, Elizabeth Warren is the person to do it. She has a first class intellect, she has remarkable communication skills and, as she says, this is her life. She's not running in order to "be" president, she's running to enact policies that have the potential of turning the tide in this country in favor of the people and away from the plutocrats. And in this, she will face real opposition from many within her own party. It's going to be an interesting two years.

Robert Seattle Jan. 28

Paul, it would be great if you could compare the revenue effects of this Warren proposal with the actual tax policies that were in effect during the Eisenhower administration. It seems that the progressive taxation rates of that era, topping out at about 90% marginal rates, should and could be the "gold standard" for comparison with current plans.

The neolib/libertarian campaign, stretching back to those years and even earlier, has been wildly successful in brainwashing Americans with regard to both public finance and the link with tax structures. And the removal of controls on money in politics has us in a truly toxic environment that in my view has already tipped us into an oligo-klepto-plutocracy. The ravaging of all three branches of government has reached critical mass, and we're teetering on the brink in a way that may not be reversible.

Dawne Touchings Glen Ridge, NJ Jan. 29

Any candidate who is promising health care for all and a substantial response to climate change and crumbling infrastructure, has to be talking taxation of the wealthy either by income tax or wealth tax or both. Otherwise, they are just blowing smoke. Elizabeth has that combination in her platform.

Bill from Honor Jan. 29

@White Buffalo

It is a tragic commentary on the American political system that FDR felt he had to make a compromise with the Devil in order to gain the passage of progressive legislation.

The situation continues today with the institutions of the electoral college and especially the US Senate, where the population of several small easily manipulated states can hold equal power to representatives of states with many times more people. In our times the circumstances often result in gridlock when the Senators from progressive states refuse to compromise with these who represent minority viewpoints.

Tom Miller Oakland, California Jan. 29

Warren Buffett and other billionaires who are socially committed should endorse Senator Warren's proposal and her candidacy. Let Trump call her names; she knows what she's doing and is truly on our side.

Jay Arthur New York City Jan. 29

The national debt as a % of GDP was higher after WWII than it is now. Then we had three decades of prosperity along with a steady decline in the debt. How? High marginal tax rates. Since Reagan's election the debt has steadily increased, so that now it's almost as high as it was in 1945. We solved this problem before, we can solve it again. Warren and AOC are right on.

PATRICK G.O.P. is the Party of "Red" Jan. 29

There is a very simple logic to focus on; The corruption of Republicans from campaign donations to legislation as directed by wealthy's lobbyists enriching their wealthy benefactors, to gross wealth inequality as a result, is overwhelming justification to get that wealth back to the nation through progressive taxation. Tax the wealthy before they export America's wealth. It isn't trickling down as much as trickling Up and Out of the country.

mrpoizun hot springs Jan. 28

The idea that a couple of extra percentage points of taxes on fifty million dollars could be considered to be outrageous shows how radical the right-wing has become in this country.

Someone who has that much income- I was going to say "earned", but it's the lower-class working people who earn it for them- would not even miss that money. And how much money can you actually spend in a way that makes you happy, or happier, anyway?

Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Taz

In real life, Obama already increased taxes for the extreme rich, and Hillary's campaign agenda included additional tax increases. So this is merely a logical continuation of what Democrats have always stood for.

bill washington state Jan. 29

I've noticed two things that have happened in my lifetime. Many Billionaires and near billionaires have proliferated while at the same time social security has become more precarious and homelessness has exploded.

And of course our overall national debt has dramatically increased. Nobody needs a billion dollars or even ten percent of it for that matter. Not sure if Warren's plan is the best but it would generate a ton of money to improve the collective good and it still wouldn't dent the billionaires much.

SAF93 Boston, MA Jan. 29

I for one, would be happy to pay the extra taxes that Senator Warren proposes, should I ever amass over $50million in wealth!

JW New York Jan. 29

The downside to this proposal is that my newest Bugatti Veyron I was planning to gold-plate may have to be silver-plated instead. Worse, my tenth beach house estate I was planning on building on the island I purchased off Fiji may have to be scaled back to a bungalow occasionally rented out to cover the utilities. Oh, the pain. And forget about me trying a hostile takeover of a major media outlet I will not name.

CH Indianapolis IN Jan. 29

Prof. Krugman, why do you give credit to Elizabeth Warren's party rather than to Elizabeth Warren herself? Her party will deserve credit if they can get beyond the corporatists and nominate her. Otherwise, no. Last night on Lawrence O'Donnell, Sen. Warren explained how the wealthy have manipulated the system for years to accumulate more and more wealth.

Their lobbyists persistently ask Congress for small, subtle changes in the law that benefit them. Because the individual changes seem minor, Congress often goes along, but, over the years, they add up to major benefits allowing the wealthiest to accumulate more and more assets.

Billionaire Howard Schultz's ability to self-fund a presidential campaign and the Koch political network's efforts to make its own preferred policies exemplify another reason for taxing the wealthiest. They can and do use their vast resources to cause significant harm to the country.

Sherrie California Jan. 29

Watched Sen. Warren on MSNBC last night and she did well to explain her plan to us "regular folks," rare for a politician. Just ask Paul Ryan.

This plan can work if we don't let Republicans lie about its benefits. Nail the Fox crew to the wall in siding with their uber rich boss Murdoch, who loathes the plan (I wonder why). This plan can work if it still contains tax break goodies for the 90%---all levels. We all have to join together and we all have different economic concerns. That's a fact.

This plan can work if the public realizes it prevents tapping into Social Security or Medicare or cutting benefits. This plan can work if we can hear over and over again how the money will be spent on climate change, healthcare, college tuition, infrastructure, cyber security, and poverty, to name a few. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This plan will work if they point to the Republican tax debacle giveaway of 2018 did NOTHING to help any of those problems but was a major giveaway to the rich who did not reinvest into the economy but cashed in instead.

Meredith New York Jan. 29

The ripple effects of more fair, adequate, progressive tax rates are huge throughout the society. Low tax rates and tax havens for the rich and corporations lets mega donors keep increasing their donations (investments) in our politicians and elections, thus their dominance over lawmaking.

This effectively subverts our professed ideals of equality and citizen influence. It subverts our constitution, bill of rights, and the safeguards of our 3 equal branches. Big money values infect our executive, legislative and judicial branches. The S. Court legalized unlimited donor money (investments) in our elections, pretending that any limits would subvert the 1st Amendment's Free Speech. We see the effects on tax laws and weak regulations giving huge advantage to the donor elites. In effect they are regulating our govt.

johnj san jose Jan. 28

@Mystery Lits

You are wrong in every argument you make. You don't live in isolation, you live in an organized society that makes your wealth possible. There would be no wealth in the US if we didn't have a functioning society, and there would be no functioning society without taxation and government functions. And "the rich" didn't go anywhere in the fifties and sixties when the taxation was much higher than today. Also these 0.1 to 0.01% that Warren is proposing to tax don't pay vast majority of the taxes, it's the upper 10% that pays the majority.

Gene S Hollis NH Jan. 28

I agree that the tax rates from the 1950's were economically, fiscally and socially sound. Were it not a violation of the constitutional ban on bills of attainder, I would propose a more rigorous tax be applied to the Kochs and the Adelsons. When it comes to spending more on Medicare (which I interpret to mean more than the current 17-18% of GDP), however, we should not. I recently had a health problem while traveling in Germany. I spent 4 days in a teaching hospital (University Clinic of Bonn--UKB). Not only did I receive excellent care, which my American doctor told me was as good as any care available here, but the bill came to around $4300 (€3700). That included three diagnostic procedures. The Medicare-approved payments for the same care would have been about $28,000. Throwing more money down the bottomless pit of U.S. medical practice is futile. The proceeds of such a capital levy as that proposed by Ms.Warren would be better spent on addressing hunger, on infrastructure and on retiring some of the national debt

Ralph Averill New Preston, Ct Jan. 28

A tax on significant accumulated wealth is past due. The same for inherited wealth. Apparently the hated "Death Tax" doesn't go far enough. Many self-made millionaires promote the benefits of pulling one's self up by one's boot straps. Why are they so adamant about denying the opportunity to their children?

When Warren Buffett turned over much of his wealth to charity through Bill Gates, he was asked if he wasn't giving away his children's inheritance. Buffett responded, (paraphrase,) "My children have enough to do whatever they want. They do not have enough to do nothing." In my perfect world, it would be difficult to be very rich or very poor, and no one would ever go without.

Meredith New York Jan. 29

Nice headline---Eliz Warren does Teddy Roosevelt--- who broke up the trusts in the progressive era. And Bernie Sanders aimed to do Franklin Roosevelt. Sanders had the quixotic idea to restore the New Deal. But he was soundly bashed and trashed by Krugman and most NYT columnists/reporters.

Even if he wasn't their ideal candidate, his proposals should have been given the respect of serious discussion, like we now are getting for Ocasio and Warren. Do a compare and contrast on policy---Warren and Sanders. Interesting to see what we can learn.

Jose C North Gotham Jan. 29

Speaking of billionaires, I just heard Howard Schultz on NPR trashing Warren's wealth tax plan. So what does this say? Even a so-called progress wealthy person really doesn't want to give up a scintilla of coin. I think the counter-argument, that increasing the income of the 0.1% with tax breaks, does not lead to significant increases in prosperity for everybody - the "lifts all boats" ruse. A recent article in the NY Times shows that this is the case. That is, yachts are being lifted, dinghies are getting shredded by their propellers.

Blunt NY Jan. 28

Ignoring the irrelevance of the Teddy Roosevelt comparison (hardly has anything to do with the rest of his article anyway), this is pretty good from a guy who did all he could to kill Bernie against Hillary. Bernie would have said pretty much the same as Warren then and probably would agree with the proposals now. So Dr K, good to have you back in the midst of the progressives and assume you had a lapse of reason for the past 3 or 4 years. Saez, Piketty and Zucman are fantastic. I am delighted the first two are helping Warren. Ps. All three deserve the Nobel Prize. At least as much as you did.

Jack Mahoney Brunswick, Maine Jan. 29

I was disappointed that she didn't run in 16. She knows that large swaths of our population are under-educated, superstitious, and under the impression that their little arsenals will make a dent should their conspiracy theories that heroically place them behind bushes at Lexington and Concord at odds with the US government somehow come to pass. As someone who has taught school, she appears to understand that trying to engage the back row not only fails to produce positive results but also annoys and appalls those who showed up in good faith. Similarly, she appears to know that the best way to enlighten is to lay out the facts as accessibly as possible and trust that those viewing the facts can come to logical conclusions. Note that if her theory is fatally flawed, so is the Republic. Adlai Stevenson, when told that every thinking American would vote for him, reportedly was chagrined and noted that to win he needed a majority. That was in the 1950's, when sensible tax policies had not been hijacked by dark messaging funded by those who had so much to gain if American safety nets such as Social Security and, in the 1960's, Medicare, could be misconstrued as the insidious tentacles of the Red Menace. The messengers of deceit, thanks to Citizens United, no longer have to whisper doom from the shadows. Rest assured that if EW moves toward the nomination we will be frightened by slick ads that equate gross wealth not with a cancerous concentration but with American lifeblood.

Barbara Iowa Jan. 29

@JW Not sure why anyone on the left sneers at Sanders. Did you know that Sanders has an approval rating of something like 80% in Vermont, a state that used to be full of Republicans and still has plenty of conservatives? People who pay serious attention to Sanders like and respect him. We'll actually be very lucky if we get someone with Sanders' magnetism. If you listen closely, his anger is at injustice, not at other people. He cares about everyone.

Frank Columbia, MO Jan. 29

Why do we have college football coaches making $6million per year ? Because slightly lesser coaches make $5million per year. They could all get by very nicely on a quarter million per year. It's the same with the 1% : they need their fortune only in comparative terms. In the meantime 80% of us live in an economy comprising about 20% of our country's wealth, a very poor country in itself indeed.

Berkshire Brigades Williamstown, MA Jan. 28

Liz has always been ahead of the curve. She knows well that it's time for Democrats to right the ship of state by reducing income and wealth inequality before it sinks our democracy. Go Liz! Go Dems! Go big .. before it's too late!

M Lindsay Illinois Jan. 29

"...public opinion surveys show overwhelming support for raising taxes on the rich." Yet, congress refuses to support such tax reform. I guess that tells us that most politicians are serving and protecting their wealthy political donors rather than our country.

SherlockM Honolulu Jan. 29

Here's a fine way to make America great again. Yes, let's go back to the marginal tax rates of the prosperous '50's. What have we got to lose?

JLM Central Florida Jan. 29

@Linda

One summer in Sigourney, Iowa, when I was a small boy, my grandfather took me into the library Carnegie built and talked about it with great pride. By the way, he served in both world wars and was a prominent Republican. Oh, how times have changed.

Joe White Plains Jan. 29

This is going to be a tough choice for average voters. Work till the day you die, live in squalor and penury in old age as the social safety net is cut, and condemn your family to ever decreasing living standards -- or in the alternative, tax the accumulated wealth of billionaires. Decisions, decisions, decisions...

John Wesley Baltimore MD Jan. 29

RICH- THE ANSWER IS NOT CLASS WARFARE VS THE RICH...I'm not rejecting this proposal out of hand but Warren/Picketty have been putting the cart before the horse-she needs to identify and focus on a fiscal need, THEN assemble tax policy to pay for it in an earmarked way...and it has to be gradual, ideally phased in over 10 plus years. Suggestions ? What do we need to establish Medicare for all ? Or address infrastructure problems over next 10-20 years ? Or make SS solvent ? Determine the revenue you need, not the "revenge" you might want vs the "rentiers" - and I think a very good place to start would be top tax advantages accounts very heavily at high rates.Its absurd Mitt Romney has like what $200 million in his IRA and hes only taking the RMD ?? Tax any income to an IRA with a balance over say $10 million....nobody needs a tax break at that level.

Jesse DENVER, CO Jan. 29

But billionaires are the job creators, the noble stewards of finance and cap... and I'm laughing. Tax the rats. If they complain, tax them more. Let them move to Singapore and share their crocodile tears with crocodiles (does Singapore have crocodiles?)

America's oligarchs have given the working class 40 years of wage slavery and we've given them a life in the clouds. Time to renegotiate.

A.G. Alias St Louis, MO Jan. 29

@John Homan

It's I thought was about taxing the rich more, not only on high incomes but on high net worth also. Rajiv said about how the rich donate to causes that reduce their taxes, by say, electing more tax-cutting Republicans. The Koch brothers are good examples. I didn't quite get your criticism of Rajiv.

george Iowa Jan. 29

This column " Elizabeth Warren does Teddy Roosevelt " says a lot about Professor Warren but very little about Teddy. I read a column yesterday by Charlie Pierce where he goes into detail about TR`s New Nationalism speech.

There are parts of this speech that are real eye openers such as - The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man's making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.

Or- We must have complete and effective publicity of corporate affairs, so that the people may know beyond peradventure whether the corporations obey the law and whether their management entitles them to the confidence of the public. It is necessary that laws should be passed to prohibit the use of corporate funds directly or indirectly for political purposes; it is still more necessary that such laws should be thoroughly enforced. Corporate expenditures for political purposes, and especially such expenditures by public-service corporations, have supplied one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs. This speech spends a lot of time praising the Saviors of our Country, The Civil War Veterans. And it also says a lot about the proper place for Capital and Corporations, servants not masters.

Marx and Lennon Virginia Jan. 29

@George

I might agree with you if this was a momentary phenomenon, but it's not. The imbalance that is finally plain to all began with subtle changes in the balance between capital and labor in the early 1970s. The truly rich understood what they were doing. They found a fulcrum that allowed them to pry money and power from the increasingly vulnerable middle and lower classes, so they did. To correct this by less drastic means will take at least that long again. I doubt we can wait another 45 years, so yes. We need to use the taxation authority as the fulcrum to pry back the people's fair share. There is no other option as far as I can see.

CallahanStudio Los Angeles Jan. 29

@Tom:

Your characterization of the argument as suggesting that "we should just take all the money from individuals because we can" is as complacent as your reference to Lenin and Mao. Did you miss the part where Krugman points out that we have already used progressive taxation in this country to advance the collective economic good? U.S. economic policy from the Great Depression to Reagan unleashed a rising tide that truly floated all boats in the U.S. economy.

It was the gratuitous tax giveaways to the wealthy advocated by Milton Friedman, among others, that gave our wealth distribution its present hourglass configuration.

Tim W Seattle Jan. 29

Let's add another thing: scrap the cap on the amount of wages subject to the 6.2% Social Security tax, currently set at $128,400. Why should someone making $20 million a year only pay the SS tax on the first $128,400? Scraping the cap would make SS solvent forever, and could even reduce the percentage we're taxed.

dwalker San Francisco Jan. 29

@Robert Elizabeth Warren is a good explainer, and when she starts banging on a point she's convincing. Importantly, she doesn't do it just once, she makes it a theme to be hammered.

A great lesson of the Vietnam War was that it is *repetition* that drives change -- in that case, TV news repeatedly showing flag-draped coffins coming home, covering marching protesters, exposing atrocities, etc.

Whether through timidity or laziness or slavishness to big money donors, Democrats have failed to create a momentum on the idea of wealth inequality that would persuade the public. This will change with Elizabeth Warren and, if he chooses to run, Bernie Sanders. In this regard, a prediction: At some point before November 2020, we will hear the phrase "I welcome their hatred."

Ellen San Diego Jan. 28

Far from radical, the ideas of Warren, Sanders, and AOC are sensible, logical, and fair. Bring on any politician who means business such as these proposals and can articulate them, isn't a billionaire already, and doesn't have a tawdry history of being entangled with Wall Street, and watch him/her win.

Andrew Zuckerman Port Washington, NY Jan. 29

@dmckj

Progressive taxation isn't all that progressive anymore. Capital gains and even earned income of incredible amounts of money as well as stock options are taxed at low rates. In case no one has noticed, the AMT is a bust. It doesn't work and when it does, it harms the upper middle class rather than the super-rich.

The "high-end earners" pay a lot (but not enough) because they are the only ones who have so much income that taxing them does not adversely affect the economy. We have rich folks who can afford giant yachts and not so rich folks who can't survive an unexpected $400 bill. That is not the way the economy should work. Eventually, income inequality will even weaken corporate profits and destroy the economy. Even large corporations need customers who can buy their products.

Rima Regas Southern California Jan. 28

FDR 2.0 must address the social class the Great Recession created. Those are the now 50-60 year olds and millennials who lost jobs, pensions, and are still underemployed and in the gig economy.

Starting in ten years, if nothing is done,very will have 95 million or so homeless. Leaving it to states to construct affordable housing won't do. We need Universal Basic Income. This is needed regardless of whether the GOP and Trump's scams cause a depression. Bernie and Elizabeth would easily demand Congress act on these ideas. Bloomberg and Schultz? Not on your life. A decent future is progressive. We need FDR 2.0. we need to be done with triangulation.

The GOP is an untrustworthy partner. --- Things Trump Did While You Weren't Looking [2019] https://wp.me/p2KJ3H-3h2

Constance Warner Silver Spring, MD Jan. 28

Let's hope Warren succeeds, whether she becomes President or not. I recall that under Eisenhower-era rates of taxation, the middle class and the working class had a lot better deal than we have today. Heck, we even had a better deal under Nixon-era rates of taxation. It's weird to be nostalgic for Nixon, but look at what's in the White House now.

JP MorroBay Jan. 29

Thanks for a great column again, and yes, Ms. Warren in on the right track. Now if we could only get the corporate media to stop trivializising her policies as "nerdy" we might get somewhere.

DocBrew Central WI Jan. 29

While Warren's proposal and ACO's marginal tax ideas both have merit, let's be honest- ideas such as these have no chance until campaign finance reform occurs. Given the current composition of the SOCTUS that seems impossible for several decades, as the obscenely rich simply buy the government they want.

Kwip Victoria, BC Jan. 29

@Brenda

I suggest that you rethink your position. I appreciate the frustration with the current system but the public school system is habitually underfunded. The $40k is not a direct benefit to each child. Look into that. And maybe look at Finland where schooling is considered one of the most important benefits to a country. As a result you see the best university graduates going into teaching because they make a very good salary and they are supported by an administration that supports their efforts, efforts that come with passion for helping kids.

Murray Illinois Jan. 29

A 2% tax on wealth is not much more than what many of us pay the financial industry to 'manage' our savings. The investment funds take their percentage, and the companies managing the portfolio take theirs. Small investors tend to pay a higher percentage in fees than larger investors. When all is taken into account, people living paycheck to paycheck pay the highest percentage, of what ends up being zero wealth. This 'wealth tax' would help rectify the imbalance.

Whole Grains USA Jan. 29

I'm very impressed with Elizabeth Warren,not just for her tax proposals, but because she is so intelligent - and genuine. Some say that she is too heady to win but she certainly has more charisma than Adlai Stevenson, who lost in the 1950s because he was too intellectual. And he didn't have a catchy slogan such as "I Like Ike." Unfortunately, it's all about how politicians are perceived. I would like to see Warren more poised and not afraid to express her sense of humor.

Karen Brooklyn Jan. 29

@Brenda

If talent and drive - particularly talent - were the deciding factor in wealth accumulation, the descendants of Fred Trump would be living on the street.

Julie Parmenter Jan. 29

@Linda

We have a Carnegie library in our small town of 2400 in rural Indiana. It is still in use as a community resource center and town history museum. It is a beautiful sturdy brick building and I assume it will be around for 100 more years. We just outgrew it and had to build a new one. Carnegie will be remembered for this, not his great wealth. Same with Gates and Buffett.

SteveHurl Boston Jan. 28

I've generally been impressed with Warren's economic analyses, going back a couple of years before she ran for Senate. A close version of this plan deserves support. If it seems "radical," it's probably because the USA drifted so far to the right. I blame disco and "Grand Theft Auto."

CDN NYC Jan. 28

Her tax proposal would be a nightmare to implement. How do you value thinly traded assets (real estate, art, antiques, etc.)? Hire a valuation expert? Have the IRS contesting it every year? Litigate? Please, tax all dividends as ordinary income, eliminate/change the duration for long term cap gains treatment, make inherited assets have a zero cost basis, etc. Simple to implement, enforce, ideas.

4Average Joe usa Jan. 29

In 1906, Representatives and Senators did not spend 4.5 days a week, every in a cubicle, begging for money, calling rich people all day. We have elected telemarketers. (no insult intended to telemarketers.)

Elizabeth Bennett Arizona Jan. 29

It's not surprising that "the usual suspects" are already trying to disarm Elizabeth Warren's well thought out tax plan. Many American billionaires are nouveau riche, and don't have the sense of responsibility that the very wealthy used to feel towards the less fortunate. And the Republican party is right there egging them on to resist fair taxation--like Elizabeth Warren's proposal.

Christy WA Jan. 29

I'm all for her. Warren is by far the smartest presidential candidate in the Democratic pack and I'm all for supertaxing the superrich -- as well as making mega-corporations pay the proper taxes they've been evading for so long.

Stephen Boston Canada Jan. 29

@George

The confiscation of excessive wealth is exactly the point and that point is a practical one -- to mitigate the tendency of unregulated large scale economies to form parasitic aristocracies that lead to resource deprivation in vast portions of the society's population. And this is not a scapegoating of the wealthy, it is refusing to worship them, it is to call them back to Earth and ask of them what is asked of each of us.

Mjxs Springfield, VA Jan. 29

"Malefactors of great wealth," Theodore Roosevelt called them. Prosperity that delivers unbelievable amounts of wealth to a very few while the other 99% struggle is not sustainable.

TR was no wild-eyed Socialist: he was a man of wealth and property and wished to remain so. He and FDR were both blue-blooded aristocrats. Both were saving capitalism by restraining its excesses.

Pinewood Nashville, TN Jan. 29

@Tom,

Whether you realize it or not, the good old USA takes away the wealth of individuals and hands it over to the government to allocate. The rest of your statement, about tyrants, is just wrong. You are equating communism with taxation, a silly thing to do. Educate yourself.

Alex Washington D.C. Jan. 29

@Peter Wolf

I agree with you 1000%. I'm tired of people arguing that certain persons would not be good candidates because they sound too smart. That's the dumbest argument I've heard so far. If someone sounds smart, then GOOD. I hope they ARE smart.

Right now we are a laughing stock of the world because our leaders are actually proud to sound stupid and boorish. Out with charisma and in with intellect and expertise, please. I wouldn't want Tom Hanks performing brain surgery on me, nor do I want him in the White House (much as I enjoy seeing him on the big screen

[Mar 03, 2019] There was a time when being rich carried a responsibility to contribute more to the world than those with less; a responsibility to serve society overall, and one's country and community in particular

Mar 03, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Yuri Asian Bay Area Jan. 29 Times Pick

This isn't about taxing wealth. It's about taxing power, privilege and greed. This isn't about punishing oligarchy. This is about saving democracy. The concentration of wealth parallels the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it is economic climate change with consequences equally as dire as global warming on all lifeforms.

The challenge will be no less difficult, replete with a powerful lobby of deniers and greed-mongers ready for war against all threats to their power and position. Their battle cry is apres moi, le deluge -- as if taxing wealth and privilege is barbarians at the gate and the demise of civilization rather than curbing cannibals driven not by hunger but voracious greed. Everywhere climate change deniers are being drowned out by a rational majority who now see the signs of global warming in every weather report and understand what this means for their children if we continue to emulate ostriches.

Likewise, the same majority now sees the rising tide of inequality and social dysfunction and what that means for the future as a global caste system condemns nearly all of us -- but mainly our progeny -- to slavery in servitude to our one percent masters.

Elizabeth Warren is no nerd. She's our Joan of Arc. And it's up to us to make sure she isn't burned alive by the dark lords as she rallies us to win back our country and our future.

Paul Rogers Montreal Jan. 29

@Yuri Asian:

the two issues, inequality of wealth and global warming, are related. The vast wealth of the Koch Brothers enables them to drown out rational debate with propaganda. Propaganda must be abolished.

Yuri Asian Bay Area Jan. 29

@FunkyIrishman I think Trump intentionally or inadvertently has destroyed anything resembling the status quo. It's the political equivalent of Newton's Third Law of Motion: that for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Trump is the ugly face of unbridled power and privilege, leavened only by vainglory ignorance.

He's the equivalent of melting icecaps and stranded polar bears when it comes to the concentration of wealth and economic climate change. His utter failure will be the rational majority's success in plowing a better and more equitable path forward. There's been nothing more radical than Trump. He's made radical solutions compelling and necessary. And inevitable.

hm1342 NC Jan. 29

@Yuri Asian: "This isn't about taxing wealth. It's about taxing power, privilege and greed." Their is plenty of power, privilege and "greed" in our nation's capital, and it is practiced daily by individuals who are elected and un-elected.

Yuri Asian Bay Area Jan. 29

@Jim Thanks for your reply and appreciation. I'm lucky to be an Editor's Pick as there are so many great comments by thoughtful and articulate NYT readers, particularly those who follow Krugman's columns. I agree with your sense of wealth as a social disease that's highly contagious. We need a vaccine and I hope Sen. Warren is it and she inoculates a strong majority by 2020.

November 2018 has Come; 2020 is Coming Vallejo Jan. 28

@Anne-Marie

Hislop

I agree, Anne - Marie. There was a time when being rich carried a responsibility to contribute more to the world than those with less; a responsibility to serve society overall, and one's country and community in particular. Also the rich were expected to have better manners and more discerning taste than those who worked because they had the free time to study and model grace and refinement.

In addition, the wealthy were expected to be patrons of the arts, the sciences, and religion by contributing money and time to support practioners, research, and experimentation in these areas.

Finally, the wealthy were expected to raise children who were role models, leaders, and volunteers who contributed emotionally and spiritually to their schools and communities.

Compare Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt to Paris Hilton or the tRump family.

Phyliss Dalmatian Wichita, Kansas Jan. 28

Amen and hallelujah, and I'm an atheist. For those asleep or oblivious, we're in the new gilded age. But faux gold, as evidenced by the occupant sitting in the Oval Office.

These " Job Creators " are creating Jobs only for shady attorneys and accountants specializing in creative mathematics, sham Corporations, Trusts and TAX avoidance. See: the Trump Family.

What's the average, law abiding citizen to do ??? Absent actually eating the Rich, WE must overhaul the entire system.

Warren is very nerdy, and very necessary. Unfortunately, the great majority of Men will not vote for any Woman, not yet. See: Trump. She would be a most excellent choice for VP, the back-up with a genius IQ and unstoppable work ethic. President ??? A modern day, working man's Teddy OR Franklin Roosevelt, and His name is Senator Sherrod Brown, Of the very great state of Ohio. MY native state. Think about it, it's the perfect pair.

Ray Zielinski Champaign, IL Jan. 28

@Peter Wolf

I particularly like Elizabeth Warren's ability to talk policy. But as a career academic I also realize that she sounds to most like a law professor giving a lecture. Unfortunately, I don't think this is a winning formula but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Nana2roaw Albany NY Jan. 28

Yesterday a billionaire threatened the Democratic Party with certain defeat in the 2020 Presidential election if the Party chose a candidate not to his liking. Increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few will ultimately spell the end of our democracy.

Gustav Durango Jan. 28

If there were ever a politician for our time, the second and more egregious gilded age, it should be Elizabeth Warren. She INVENTED the Consumer Financial Protection Burueau! She has studied the big banks and Wall Street for decades! She knows how they operate better than anyone on the planet. She is the Teddy Roosevelt of our time, but are we smart enough to elect her?

Ralph Philadelphia, PA Jan. 28

My wife and I find Warren to be the most impressive candidate we've seen in a long time. She has the mastery of detail that can actually move our country to where it should be. No lazy demagoguery, either -- and she communicates well.

George Minneapolis Jan. 29 Times Pick

The primary purpose of taxes should be to raise necessary revenues, not the confiscation of "excessive" wealth. Making the case for the moral and practical necessity to contribute more would be more effective than the tiresome scapegoating of the wealthy.

FunkyIrishman member of the resistance Jan. 28

@RR I happen to live in one of those Scandinavian paradises. I, nor my family, have ever had a problem with ''care''. We also have higher education paid for through a moderately higher tax structure. (perhaps 10% average higher than the U.S.) I sleep like a baby and all is taken care of. (as well as 5 weeks vacation per year) You are welcome to visit anytime.

andrewm L.I. NY Jan. 28

@Shiv, the wealthiest 20% of Americans also have about 90% of the wealth (as of 2013, probably higher now). According to the Wall Street Journal, the top 20% in income paid about 87% of individual federal income taxes in 2018. But income tax is just a portion of tax. Personal income taxes were about 48% of federal revenues in 2017, payroll tax was 35%.

Since payroll taxes are regressive, the top 20% of income tax payers pay a considerably lower percentage of total taxes than the percentage of the nation's wealth they control. Saying those paying more in taxes than they receive in direct benefits and services are 'paying all the taxes' is simplistic and deceptive. It isn't even accurate to say that they are completely funding the transfers and services to the bottom 50%, since the federal government operates at a deficit.

The deficit is covered in large part by debt owed to the social security fund, which is funded through payroll taxes. When you include state and local taxes, it looks like the percentage of total taxes paid by each income quintile is not far off from the percentage of total income that they bring in.

The tax system in the U.S. overall is 'barely progressive'. https://www.ctj.org/who-pays-taxes-in-america-in-2015 / https://whorulesamerica.ucsc.edu/power/wealth.html https://www.wsj.com/articles/top-20-of-americans-will-pay-87-of-income-tax-1523007001

Joe Ryan Bloomington IN Jan. 28

We probably all remember the scene where Chinatown's detective, J. J. Gittes, asks the bad guy, Noah Cross, "How much are you worth?" And Cross says, "I've no idea."

There are two take-aways from this. One is the low marginal utility of wealth at Mr. Cross's level. This is what makes the optimal progressivity of a wealth tax positive. But the second is the literal take-away: he really doesn't know. Nobody knows.

So, as Prof. Piketty points out (pp. 518ff of his book), the value of even a nominal wealth tax in terms of transparency -- forcing the system to determine what the distribution of wealth actually is -- is substantial, aside from revenue generation. If we're going to give wealth a vote, via Citizens United etc., then wealth should at least have to register.

Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Robert

As this op-ed shows, even a majority of Republicans ALREADY supports this idea. So the problem is not so much getting rid of the GOP's fake news, but having a voter turnout where the demographics of those who vote reflect the demographics of the entire population. In 2016, a whopping 50% of citizens eligible to vote, didn't vote. And the lack of political literacy among many progressives has certainly been a factor here. So what is needed is for ordinary citizens to start engaging in real, respectful debates with their family, friends, neighbors, colleagues etc. again, to make sure that everybody votes. Only then will we have more impact on what happens in DC than Big Money.

Umesh Patil Cupertino, CA Jan. 28

@DazedAndAmazed

This is a superb insight you are providing....the 'critique' of Late Capitalism from the perspective of 'Systems Stability'. I work in the field of Distributed Systems Management though Cloud for Living. The way with Distributed Decision Making is, in a number of situations it is a lot more resilient and powerful. There are advantages of Command & Control decision making (war for example). But in Late Capitalism that concentration of Decision Making in hand of few has gone too far.

To understand all this, to figure out the relevance of Distributed Decision Making, to articulate all this to masses and then to formulate sane policy proposals out of all that - that is not a simple task. So Sen. Warren, please continue the 'nerding'. I am Kamala Harris constituency, but the intellectual heft Warren is bringing to this campaign; I love that. She needs to bring her such big guns for a couple of marquee social issues as well as about America's Foreign Policy. Obviously, it cannot degenerate into 63 details policy papers like HRC.

The trick is to make the campaign about few core issues and then there to 'have the house cleaned' - completely worked out theory, understanding, explanation and policy proposals. Hope E. Warren does that, she is capable no doubt. (Predictable election cycles - such a good thing with American System....for a while just to think and discuss things apart from the Orange Head in White House - it is so refreshing...)

Thomas New York Jan. 28

J suspect that the notion that proposals to raise taxes sharply on the wealthy are too left-wing for American voters is wishful thinking or propaganda by the wealthy, on whom many pundits and analysts rely, one way or another, for their jobs. "It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." I don't know whether I agree with Warren on enough things to support her, but I hope this idea influences the Democratic platform and becomes reality.

John B St Petersburg FL Jan. 28

@Tom The current Republican Party is toxic – to democracy, truth, ethics, human health, human survival, equality, education, nature, love... most anything a decent person values. We can get rid of it and still have a two-party system of reasonable people who disagree on the best way to solve problems.

Ellen San Diego Jan. 28

@DazedAndAmazed

I read somewhere that the Davos crowd was intent on speeding up the development of robots to do those jobs so they wouldn't have to deal with pesky humans who want an occasional break.

Rajiv California Jan. 29

As a person who has done fairly well, there is no end to your "needs" once your start getting wealthy. Let's take flying. First, you are happy to get a deal every now and then on a flight to Hawaii. After a while, you earn status, so now you want to be first in line, have baggage privileges and get into premium economy with an extra 5 inches of leg space. Then, it's enough status to "earn" business class upgrades. Next you have to have business class on every flight, so you pay up. There's first class, but now you can afford NetJets where you get fractional ownership of a jet to fly almost anytime you like. If you get even wealthier, you get your own jet with an on demand staff. It's "worth it" as your time is valuable. It goes on and on. Every time you get more, you can't live without it. You feel like you deserve it because you've worked so hard for that money. Knowing some of those super rich, they will complain about those fascist attacking their success. They "donate" a lot to candidates whose job it is to protect their wealth. While Warren's ideas via Piketty are really interesting, maybe we need to work on our culture and values so people understand what they are doing when they expect that jet with a staff that waits in them like royalty. Then let's invest in the IRS to stop the cheating that deprives our citizens of at least $200 billion/year. After that, let's look at closing loopholes and increasing taxes.

Bonnie Luternow Clarkston MI Jan. 29 Times Pick

Until we get the money out of elections, the moneyed will control those elected. I'm not sure what our elected officials are more afraid of - meeting with their electorate and facing our anger, or voting against Grover Norquist et al.

Peter Czipott San Diego Jan. 28

During the primaries and the subsequent campaign, Democratic candidates should run explicitly and continually as new Teddy Roosevelts, using his words and images of him -- presenting the Democratic Party as the Roosevelt Republican alternative when it comes to taxation policy. It would reduce right-wing attempts to cast them as Maduros-in-waiting to pure late-night comic fodder: which is what they properly are. In fact, they should identify past Republican champions of as many of their policy proposals as possible and run as "Democrats: the Real Republicans."

Bruce Shigeura Berkeley, CA Jan. 28

Warren, Ocasio-Cortez, and Bernie have blown open up a discussion that had been locked down since Reagan -- tax the rich. Krugman is too timid.

Time to radically redistribute wealth from the capitalist class to the people in the form of jobs and social benefits.

Tax the banks and corporation to 40+% and end all tax incentives -- corporate welfare. Apple used its tax break to buy back stock to enrich investors. Facebook bought up competitors like Instagram and suppresses start-ups. A hedge fund bought Toys R Us, loaded it with debt, then bankrupted it.

The right-wing turn of rural white Americans is largely due to economic anxiety resulting from the industrialization of agriculture and global commodification of grain -- all the profits leave farm communities for mega-corporations based in cities and Wall Street, as well as global capitalist de-industrialization.

Americans on both the right and left believe the system is rigged, because it is. Warren's tax on personal assets is the first baby step. To win 2020, Democrats have to secure the vote of minorities, women, and Millennials, and peel off some white working-class voters. They have to fight for working people against the capitalists.

Thinker Upstate Jan. 28

@dajoebabe

And we have to keep educating people, in large part at taxpayers expense, so they can continue to speak up as you have. The idea that everything, education, healthcare, prescriptions, housing, food, etc has to be on a max-out-profit basis is not sustainable for a decent society. If you look into the history of successful billionaire families who might profess that government should not be used to create equal financial opportunity, you may find that they have benefited from U.S. government policies themselves to get to where they are. So why prevent others from having the opportunity to join them ?

sdavidc9 Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut Jan. 29

@Bill A small transaction tax on sales of stocks would not raise that much money. What it would do is much more useful -- put program trading and the arbitraging of tiny, tiny price differences on huge, huge trades out of business. The sort of liquidity they provide is not needed by the market and is not worth the price we pay for it.

Glenn Ribotsky Queens Jan. 28

Absolutely agree with R. Law--the carried interest loophole has got to go. That's probably contributed more to the aggrandizement of oligarchical fortunes than just about anything else. But I'd also add two more modest suggestions: --Eliminate the cap on individual Social Security contributions. There's no reason it should fade to black at $132,900 gross annual income. It should be applicable to ALL earned (and unearned) income. --Institute a small stock trade/financial transactions tax; even a 0.1% rate here would raise significant revenue, and it also might curb a lot of wild equities speculation. But, of course, none of this is likely until we can get big money out of politics; it's impossible to get representatives to represent their actual constituents, rather than their oligarchic campaign funders, if the latter are the prime source of campaign money. So, as the risk of repeating myself: --Publicly funded elections, with low three digit limits on individual campaign contributions and NO corporate, organizational, church, or (yes, even) union contributions. No PAC's, 501's, or any other letter/number combinations. --Reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. --Legislative repeal of the Citizens United decision.

White Buffalo SE PA Jan. 29

@Tom "Wealthy people reinvest their money in economic ventures that grow their wealth, which generates greater productivity while creating jobs and wealth for the society." Like, for example, the investments that caused the 2008 Republican Great Recession for example? That plan hasn't worked since Reagan. And taxing 2%-3% of enormous wealth is hardly taking away "all the wealth of individuals!" We also need to roll back estate tax to pre-Reagan policies.

Roger California Jan. 29

@George

The moral and practical necessity is that oligarchy is antithetical to democracy. I would think that was obvious.

sdavidc9 Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut Jan. 29

@Tom

So businessmen and financiers need checks and balances, and these checks and balances include high taxation and occasionally breaking a business into pieces because it is too big and powerful. We broke up Rockefeller's company. We should be thinking about Amazon, Google, Facebook, and even Microsoft. We are using Word and Excel because Microsoft owned the operating system they run under, not because they were better products. Now we are stuck with their strengths, weaknesses, and odd habits.

calhouri cost rica Jan. 28

Boy do I wish I could share Dr, Krugman's hopefulness. But after the Supreme Court decision equating money with speech and one of the two major political parties literally a "wholly owned subsidiary" of those very 0.01%, as the ancestral Scot in laments, "I hae me doots."

Schrodinger Northern California Jan. 28

@Blair A Miller....Rewarded for hard work and talent? Well that is the myth. There is a case to be made that capitalism rewards greedy and unethical people who have a talent for working the system. There is also no question that it rewards monopolists and the fortunate.

Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Kurt Heck It doesn't. That's precisely why we have to stop the GOP strategy to pass tax cut after tax cut for the wealthiest all while making life even more difficult for the other, very hard-working 99%. And if you believe that in order to be a billionaire today you must work hard, it's time to update your info. Most of them inherited a fortune already, together with the knowledge needed to engage in financial speculation, which in the 21st century is totally disconnected from the real economy - or rather, they PAY experts to engage in financial speculation, and that's it.

It's time for the most industrious to at least be able to pay the bills, get the education and healthcare they want, and become represented in Congress again. THAT is why we need a tax increase for the extreme rich, all while increasing the minimum wage, and expanding Medicaid and Medicare. THAT is how we'll finally become an entirely civilized country too. Not by adding trillions and trillions to the debt just to make the extreme wealthy even wealthier, as the GOP just did again.

K D P Sewickley, PA Jan. 29

The NYTimes reported in October, "Over the past decade, Jared Kushner's net worth has quintupled to almost $324 million. And yet, for several years running, Mr. Kushner paid almost no federal income taxes." Let's not get lost in the details of how we do it: taxing wealth, making income taxes more progressive, restoring the estate tax, or something else. Let's remember that Jared Kushner is the poster boy for our current (extremely unfair) tax system.

Souvient St. Louis, MO Jan. 29

I care about taxes and wealth inequality, so I like that Warren is talking about them. I'm also a bit of a policy wonk, so I like the fact that Warren focuses on policy issues. As a classically trained economist, though, I know how quickly others' eyes glaze over when I get too excited about anything related to finance or economics. The vast majority of people lack the patience for it. Too many think they understand far more than they really do because they read a handful of articles and watched CNBC a couple times. And when people believe they already know something, they're unlikely to greet new ideas with an open mind. A wealth tax makes sense to me on a lot of levels. I just hope Senator Warren keeps the explanation as simple as possible. For every wonk she wins over, she risks pushing two rubes away if she makes it any more complicated. It's unfortunate that we live in the Twitter era of gadfly attention spans, but we do. Dems need to do a better job of distilling their platform to bumper stickers. If they do that, the polity might actually remember some of their talking points.

Matthew Carnicelli Brooklyn, NY Jan. 28

Win or lose, Elizabeth Warren will bring the lion's share of ideas to this presidential season. It's one to say that you support a trendy concept, but it's quite another to have thought through the implications of your proposals - and be prepared to first defend, and then implement them. Warren is, and will be - from Day 1. We shouldn't settle for "hope and change" this time; we need a President in 2021 capable of thinking her way through a maze of societal problems, and unafraid to passionately, untiringly champion her preferred option.

Paul, as an aside, do you think that we would have lost the House of Representatives in 2010 if someone had opted for that much larger stimulus package that you, Joe Stiglitz and Robert Reich were recommending (thus causing the economy to more quickly and fully rebound in time for the midterms)?

Barry of Nambucca Australia Jan. 29

@Tom A 2% tax on wealth from $50 million to $1000 million, will have minimal impact on the mega rich, with hopefully maximum benefit going to those who need government assistance.

HL Arizona Jan. 29

@George

The primary purpose of Citizens United was to allow the wealthy a back door into stealing our public institutions and public contracts along with reducing the taxes on passive income for their own personal expansion of wealth. While I agree this is a form of class warfare, the rich have won the war. Instead of thinking of this as confiscation, consider it insurance for keeping your head up.

ruth goodsnyder sandy hook, ct. Jan. 29

@Charlie

Love "Pinocchio". It is perfect. He needs to be made fun of. I think that would drive him crazy.

Ashleigh Adams Colorado Jan. 29

As Yascha Mounk has been saying for years, democracy isn't about a firm belief in the power of the people, or a belief in personal liberty - above all, its support is determined by one thing: whether it is delivering results for the majority of the population. If it doesn't, it loses support; and unfortunately, for decades now, it hasn't been delivering results. Even Obama, the great liberal hope, stacked his cabinet and advisors with the likes of Geithner, Bernanke, and Sommers, appointing people to the FTC who were too soft to trust-bust or aggressively tackle mergers. I am of the belief that Trump was a warning. We got him because ordinary people have been losing faith that the government is working for them. If we want to regain that faith, we need a government (meaning both an Executive and a Legislature) that is prepared to go full FDR in 2021. Trust bust corporations that have decreased power of workers by consolidating labor market, and the power of consumers by monopolizing goods and services. Expand social security. Cut the red tape to build millions of desperately-needed housing units. Take away the excess wealth of the plutocrats, and their political power. Expand voting rights. Make unionization easier, and healthcare more affordable by socializing it. Without this, we run the risk of losing our democracy. 2020 is do or die. Warren has a record of fighting for this. She has my vote.

hen3ry Westchester, NY Jan. 28

If the people who make their fortunes in America because of Americans don't want to support the country that helped them perhaps they should consider this: our sweat, our hard work, and our tears were a vital part of their success. It doesn't matter how brilliant the idea is or smart the inventor is or how cleverly the product is marketed. If the public isn't ready for it, it won't sell and money won't be made. There is a lot of luck involved in making a fortune. Part of that luck depends upon us and our willingness to buy into what is being sold. Yes, the inventor or the creator has to have the drive to succeed. S/he has to accept failure, work very hard, and have faith that s/he will succeed.

It's nonsense to claim that Bill Gates would not have created Windows if he knew he'd be taxed at very high rates. He didn't know if it would succeed as well as it did. The purpose of taxes is to support the country. It's to have a government that can fund basic research to help us, create nationwide rules to ensure that milk in New York is milk in North Dakota, and to regulate those little things like roads, bridges, water safety, and keep the country safe. Any exceedingly rich corporation or person who doesn't want to support that is not patriotic in the least. They are greedy.

Mark Cheboygan Jan. 28

Make America Great Again. Repeal the Bush and Trump tax cuts.

Tom New Jersey Jan. 28

@JSH

The American Revolution was a revolt of American born property holders, not of the peasants or the slaves. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are both very strong on property rights. The rights of an individual to own property free from seizure by the government is at the heart of Liberalism. We live in a two party state. If we truly eliminated the Republican party we'd be no different than China. America only gets better if the Republican party gets better. The Democratic party could use some improvement too. I support Warren's tax plan. It's a reasonable and sensible move, not just a bunch of poorly thought out hot air.

Peter J. New Zealand Jan. 28

This is but one in a long line of cogent reasonable suggestions to tax mega rich a little more. Unfortunately while the economics makes sense, these schemes fail politically because enough of the vast majority of much poorer people in the middle class can be convinced that there is something unfair by singling out the successful.

The Steve Jobs story, whereby a poor boy with a great idea should be able to make tons of money. The only way a change will come is if the middle class' eyes can be opened to the fact that for every Steve Jobs there are thousands of Jay Gatsbys who inherited their wealth and privilege and who now spend much of their time and money ensuring that the laws are written so that they can keep their wealth.

The inequity of the present laws, via tax loopholes and corporate subsidies to favour the very rich should be highlighted, showing the middle class how they are constantly being ripped off in order to fund the rich.

Ellis6 Sequim, WA Jan. 29

There are polls and then there is reality. In Alabama in 2003, a newly-elected conservative Republican governor proposed a constitutional amendment to raise taxes on the wealthiest Alabamans. The measure was defeated 67.5%-32.5% with low-income voters opposing it by a significant margin. In Washington in 2010, voters defeated a referendum to impose a modest income tax on the state's wealthiest residents. (There is no income tax in Washington.)

It seems unlikely that in the state with the country's most regressive tax system that 65% of the voters are wealthy. Despite language in the referendum that guaranteed it could never be applied to lower incomes without a vote of the people and a provision to lower property taxes by 20%, paranoia, not reason, ruled the day. It lost 65%-35%.

Polling is easy. But when concrete proposals go to the voters, the wealthy interests overwhelm voters with fear and lies, and the voters, complacent and ill-informed, can be easily manipulated. Conservative Alabama and liberal Washington State both defeated measures that would have helped their state finances significantly.

The money raised was to be spent on education, health care for the elderly and other radical things some of which would have helped the poor, but lower income voters cast their votes as though, despite their current conditions, they'd be subject to the taxes tomorrow or next month or next year.

Tom New Jersey Jan. 28

@Acajohn "Why isn't there one billionaire or multi billion dollar company that actually takes pride in paying their fair share?" Like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, the two richest men in America, who have pledged to follow Carnegie's example, and taken actions to do so?

WK Green Brooklyn Jan. 29

@DBman

The notion that Sanders has no deep understanding of the policies that he champions is a stroke of common wisdom that is not very wise, as anyone who ever bothered going to he web site would find. In 2016, at least, it was chalk full of issues and positions with a long section on how it could be paid for.

Krugman seemed to shun him for reasons that were never clear to me, but Sanders' proposals had the ear of quite a few economists.

Even Krugman's crush, Thomas Piketty was intrigued. I'm thrilled that both Warren and Sanders are in this, and if the primary were today I could probably toss a coin. But I find this constant picking at Bernie Sanders and his "flailing arms" to be grating and uninformed. It's akin to asking him to just smile more.

Bejay Williamsburg VA Jan. 29

Not just Roosevelt. "The consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property... Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise." - Thomas Jefferson, October 28, 1785.

"An enormous proportion of property vested in a few individuals is dangerous to the rights, and destructive of the common happiness, of mankind; and therefore every free state hath a right by its laws to discourage the possession of such property." - Benjamin Franklin, July 29, 1776.

"All property ... seems to me to be the creature of public convention. Hence the public has the right of regulating descents and all other conveyances of property, and even of limiting the quantity and the uses of it." - Benjamin Franklin, December 25, 1783.

Jerry in NH Hopkinton, NH Jan. 28

Bring back the inheritance tax on large estates and we have a winner!

aem Oregon Jan. 28

Senator Warren should consider a few adjustments to her plan. First, tax capital gains income at the same rate as earned income. Eliminate the carried interest deduction and close some other egregious loopholes (including the new "pass through" income loophole). Finally, give the wealth tax a nine year period after which it would have to be renewed. Call it a "Patriotism Tax". Pledge to use it for infrastructure improvements and debt reduction. I think that could be very popular.

Tom New Jersey Jan. 28

@FunkyIrishman

That is a radical plan, one tried many times before. It fails because humans are not perfect, and not perfectible. They try to accumulate wealth and power, are jealous of each other's possessions and mates, and try to create circumstances that favor their offspring over others of the next generation.

The fields of human evolutionary biology and psychology tell us that your plan can not and will not work. Not only that, countless Utopians have tried this in the past. Most fail within months, even with a small group of people who all supposedly love one another. All societies founded on the belief that humans are perfectible have failed. Societies founded on the belief that humans will be venal, corrupt, and power-hungry tend to have the safeguards that allow them to survive. That's why the constitution is full of "checks and balances". Don't think you can replace them with a society of peace and love where we will all live in quiet harmony. You can only replace them with better checks and balances if you hope to succeed. John Lennon's "Imagine" is a lovely song. But it's just a wish list, not a manifesto.

Acajohn Chicago Jan. 28

@Linda

Yes, what kind of person, especially one with obscene wealth, prefers to keep every penny rather than pay taxes that make our country function? Why isn't there one billionaire or multi billion dollar company that actually takes pride in paying their fair share?

Alan J. Shaw Bayside, New York Jan. 28

@Yabasta

Sanders said little about taxation. In his debates with Clinton, he advocated scrapping the ACA and starting de novo, whereas Clinton suggested legislation to improve it. Thanks in part to Sanders' attacks on Clinton, both personally and on policy, Trump got elected and the Republicans have tried in every possible way to destroy it. On this issue, will Pelosi and Warren follow the so-called progressivism of Sanders?

Laurie USA Jan. 29

@John Homan

I don't get your criticism of Rajiv either. Rajiv know what he is talking about. The rich can never have enough; more is not enough. We see it all the time. We need to eliminate the dynasties and equalize the democracy.

Mark Thomason Clawson, MI Jan. 28

Existing wealth and annual income are two very different things. Both are now problems. Existing wealth disparity is the accumulation of all the last 40 years of income disparity, plus the "work the money did" to pile itself up higher. Our laws magnified the wealth disparity. That was deliberate and calculated. Our laws allow it to pile up without the former taxation at death to trim it back. We charge only half the tax rate on the "work" of the money itself, the special "capital gains" rate. It is specially privileged from taxes, which is entirely new over these last few Presidential Administrations. It was said that would encourage job growth. It never did. Nobody who knew anything about the subject ever really believed it would. What is now proposed by Warren is to fix what they so deliberately broke. This would not come up if they had not done that first. And if we hadn't done this, we'd have had the job growth this stifled, from the consumer purchasing power it took to pile up as wealth, much of it speculative and overseas.

Stevenz Auckland Jan. 28

Conservative voters are against taxes because *if* they get rich they don't want to pay them. As a liberal I, on the other hand, would be *delighted* to have to pay this tax!

Charlton Price Jan. 28

@George

Tax policy also should strive to assess from each taxpayer according to the means of that tax payer. Note the source of that statement of principle.

Thomas Washington DC Jan. 29

By all means let's tax the rich. But what I find most alarming is Kamala Harris's call for yet ANOTHER tax cut for the middle class. Every since the days of Saint Ronnie, Americans have been misled into believing they deserve tax cut after tax cut. And the result for the commons (those goods and services that we share) has been disastrous. Americans already pay lower taxes than most of the developed world. Yet the candidates are also calling for more benefits: Medicare for All and free college. The defense establishment continues to clamor for more resources. What we need is to increase taxes on the rich along with a robust tax enforcement system, so that Americans see that EVERYONE is pulling their weight, according to their means.

Eitan Israel Jan. 29

Redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation is as American as apple pie. In addition to taxing wealth, there should be a significant estate tax on the top 1%. Getting rich is for many the American Dream, but that does not entitle the rich to endless wealth forever. Others should have an opportunity to take their shot.

PB USA Jan. 28

A couple of points: at the turn of the 20th Century (about the time that Teddy Roosevelt was railing against the rich), John D Rockefeller had more lawyers on staff than the United States Government. Rockefeller's net worth at that point (they had not yet broken up Standard Oil at that point), was $1 billion, at a time when the total receipts of the US Government were $700 billion.

Krugman also mentions Piketty and his book. A central theme in Piketty's book, not mentioned here, was that there is no countervailing force that naturally takes us back to a more equitable distribution of wealth.

That only occurred because the world suffered through two world wars, and a depression, out of which came a determination by FDR to use government as a countervailing force. And so it is not an accident that the Republican Party is trying to kill government because that is the only large, countervailing force known to be effective. Do we really want a world where a Jeff Bezos has more lawyers on staff than the US Government? Don't laugh; something similar has happened in the past.

Quinn New Providence, NJ Jan. 29

@dajoebabe For the last 40 years, we have had the GOP tell us that government is the problem and lower tax rates will supercharge economic growth. Now we have a nation with a superpower's army, third rate infrastructure, a porous social safety net and a mediocre education system. Granted that government cannot solve all problems (nor should it try!), but the evidence is clear that the effects of our disinvestment in ourselves is now coming to the fore. If we are truly at the point where raising the marginal tax rate on a very small number of households will cause economic collapse, then our capitalist system has failed and should be replaced.

Rick Morris Montreal Jan. 29 Times Pick

Interesting ideas, but to get Americans (read Republicans) to swallow this whole is doubtful. Perhaps some marketing is in order. Let's not call this a tax. Let's call it a gift. High value households would give to the government agency of their choice (Social Security, Veteran's Affairs, EPA etc..), garner a modest tax credit as in charity donations, and as a plus receive a full accounting of how their money was spent by an independent auditor. Their gifts could be publicized on social media, thus generating the kind of attention that could generate higher and higher donations. Just a thought.

Daniel Salazar Naples FL Jan. 29

We could also use Teddy Roosevelt's anti-corruption and environmental values as well. I think he is one Republican completely disowned by the current Republican Party. While I do not believe Elizabeth Warren has any chance to be President, her candidacy will certainly force intelligent debate on the Democratic Platform for 2020. She will make a tremendous Treasury Secretary and break the Goldman Sachs stranglehold on that position.

John Kell Victoria Jan. 28

Let's not stop with progressive taxes on the income and wealth of corporations and individuals. We need to ban monopolies outright, and limit the market share of oligopolies to something like 20%. And we should even limit the fraction of a corporations' shares (e.g. 10%) that can be owned by any one entity (corporal or corporate), and make privately-held corporations go public once they reach a certain size.

There's a lesson we can learn from Mother Nature: "Too big to fail" really means "Too big to exist"!

Michael Skadden Houston, Texas Jan. 28

Maybe Piketty instead of Teddy Roosevelt -- but the rates for the wealthy should be higher, especially for passive income, to force the rich if for no other to avoid taxation to invest their money in the economy.

Osama Jan. 29

@George.

"Poverty exists not because we can't feed the poor, but because we can't satisfy the rich."

Elin Minkoff Florida Jan. 28

@Linda: Your comment is just wonderful, and gets to the crux of what is right, fair, decent, moral. Some super wealthy people will always be superficial and greedy, and others will always be generous, and have profound character and depth.

People who are remembered with the greatest respect, fondness, reverence, and joy, are not those who have amassed fortunes, but those who have done what they could with their fortunes, for those who would never have fortunes. Or people who sacrificed for others, if not with their fortunes, then by other means. It is not desirable to be remembered for being selfish, greedy, and financially predatory like trump and his ilk.

David Henan Jan. 29

Aside from the fact that a a massive concentration of wealth is inimical to a functioning democracy because it inevitably leads to a concentration of power, if the tax code is meant to give incentives to productive behavior, what is less of an incentive to being productive than inheriting hundreds of millions of dollars?

I personally knew an heiress from one of the most famous wealthy families of the 20th century; the name would be familiar. She was a good person, but a drug addict. So was her brother. No one needs to start life with a hundred million dollars. It's not healthy.

Jan Schreuder New York Jan. 29

@John Coctosin

tax and spend is what a government is for. Spending it on infrastructure as opposed to increasing the already bloated pentagon budget and not on a wall, would be preferable. And reallocation, so that for instance teaching becomes a viable career choice again, would be a very useful government task. I don't know whether mr. Coctosin ever worked in the private industry but if he did he must have seen a lot of waste. Though willful blindness is of course "so expected from" the right.

Balance FL Jan. 29

@George

"Conficatory taxes on excessive wealth" is a sin tax-a tax on greed. There is only so much money on person can use in a lifetime if it is to be more than a competitive status and power symbol and is not given back as an investment to build society and the future.

The numbers-$50 million are HUGE. Anyone, with that kind of money who could resent paying 1% toward the future and toward society is simply, selfishly and sinfully, GREEDY! It's about time the excessively wealthy, who do not allow their wealth to trickle down as wages, or even trickle through the economy as investments for the benefit of society, are taxed because it has become apparent that only taxes will force them to let go of their wealth.

John B St Petersburg FL Jan. 29

@thewriterstuff

Trump making his tax returns public has nothing to do with IRS staffing. And yes, a better staffed IRS does a better job of catching tax cheats. (No idea why they never nailed Trump's father, though.)

Ana Luisa Belgium Jan. 28

@Gwen Vilen

We will only have a government for the people if it's a government BY the people. That means politicians who REALLY are just like you and me, not always very charismatic, not always your ideal best friend, or a "savior", or common sense spiritual leader such as Michelle Obama, but instead people who flaws, all while being decent citizens, with a very clear moral compass, AND the skills and intellectual capacity to know how to design new, science-based law projects and how to obtain political agreements in DC without even THINKING of starting to stop implementing already existing law (= shutting down the Executive branch of government).

14 Recommend
Duane McPherson Groveland, NY Jan. 29

@Peter Wolf,

Warren would be an excellent Cabinet member. But people vote for President on an emotional level, and I don't think Warren has that emotional charisma. It's excellent that she is running and running early, because that way she can set some of the parameters of discussion, which is what she's doing now.

Ken Tillson, New York Jan. 29

Just how much money does somebody really need? The Bezos divorce is going to result in two people having "only" 70 billion dollars each. 1 billion, 10 billion, 70 billion; at some point, how can you tell? At some point, doesn't it just become a number?

Jim MA/New England Jan. 29

@Yuri Asian Best comment I have read on this subject, Thank you. It should be understood that the wealthy just don't care and are very un- American. Wealth in our society will equal slavery for everyone else and it has already begun. See the republican tax plan if you have any doubts.

White Buffalo SE PA Jan. 29

@Tom

Two points: If you add the compound interest forgone on the amount paid in SS taxes I wonder if the calculation changes. The wealth of the over 65 group is very differentially distributed, just like wealth in general. Think what the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, the Walmart heirs and Warren Buffet do to that distribution.

Just because Ellen is 70 does not mean she is participating in the relative wealth growth of the over 65 cohort you note. I imagine with few exceptions most very wealthy people are over 65, but that does not mean the reverse is true, that most over 65 are wealthy or even comfortable. For a large number SS is their main source of support, and rampant ageism makes it very difficult for even healthy over 65 years to find a job to supplement it.

Taxing SS is a form of double taxation. People with high incomes could still be taxed on their income after excluding SS. Or, since you are so concerned about the people collecting more in SS than they paid in, taxation could start on all benefits exceeding that figure. (And you seem totally unconcerned with all the people who collect nothing or much less than they paid in. If you are worried about one group not being in balance you should be equally worried about the other group not being in balance.

I am ok with both because I consider SS to be an insurance program. I don't pay income taxes on my insurance proceeds paid for by premiums on which I did pay taxes.

Doug Keller Virginia Jan. 29

The shutdown taught a clear lesson: people squarely located in the middle class (in this case, federal workers) cannot afford to miss a single paycheck.

Add that awareness to the cluelessness of the wealthy who, with the attention brought to them by their position in the trump administration, put that cluelessness on full display -- and add the awareness that the trump tax break benefitted the wealthy only while saddling the nation with debt -- put those together, and we will find positive support for what amounts to a relative pinprick of sacrifice from the ultra wealthy, as proposed by Warren and likeminded Congresswomen.

Jane S Philadelphia Jan. 29

@George

American public policy is designed to concentrate wealth at the top and impoverish the bottom. Progressive taxation is but one measure to correct the economic structure that results in death and destitution, even among fully employed workers. Health care for all and living wages are additional measures.

Extreme poverty in America is a result of public policy which further enriches the wealthy. Course correction is a moral imperative.

Quinn New Providence, NJ Jan. 29

@Tom

It's a giant leap to say that a 2% tax or a higher marginal rate is the confiscation of wealth. It's also a giant leap imply that only the very wealthy reinvest their money. Where do you think the dividends and gains in your 401K account go? They are reinvested! The key point is that many of the very wealthy have used their wealth and influence to change the tax code and other laws to their benefit. There is zero evidence that a lower marginal tax rate on the wealthy has any correlation to job creation, but there is a very strong correlation between lower tax rates and income disparity.

PATRICK G.O.P. is the Party of "Red" Jan. 29

Taxes are the necessary fact of a thriving civilization. When confronted by the trained mindset of anti-tax rhetoric issuing from a clone of selfish leadership, I simply say; if it were not for taxes, we'd all be driving on rutted dirt roads and dying young. Tax the rich so they survive the slings and arrows of discontent they created. They will thank us for it later.

Duffy Currently Baltimore Jan. 29

@George

I'actually tired of the rich scapegoating the poor. Like Romney calling them takers. The wealthy will be fine, don't worry.

Duane McPherson Groveland, NY Jan. 28

@GP,

You already pay a wealth tax, if you own a home. It's called "property tax". Why should the very wealthy not pay a property tax, too? But in the present condition, they do not, and can easily hide their wealth from view, and pass it to their heirs without paying any tax. Which just adds and adds to the concentration of wealth among the few.

Clyde Pittsburgh Jan. 29

Of course it makes perfect sense. Which is why those uber-rich people will not allow this to happen. They'll do everything they can to shut down Ms. Warren. It's what they do

JMM Worcester, MA Jan. 28

If I were doing tax policy from scratch, I'd include both the Warren wealth tax, a progressive income tax culminating with the AOC 70% marginal rate, treat capital gains as regular income, eliminate the carried interest loophole, and investigate the taxing of all "non-profits" including religious and political organizations. I would replace the standard deduction and personal exemption with a universal basic income. I would reduce the military budget and provide at least a buy-in to medicare.

Anything less that than, I don't consider "radical."

Wendy Maland Chicago, IL Jan. 28

If the Democratic party continues to do nothing to address the problem of the top .1 percemt owning 90 percent of American wealth, we are destined to sit idly by as the heartbreaking inequities and divisions of this country deepen.... and this means, too, that we will be doing very little to address the deeper causes of a certain kind of American desperation and violence.

It's time to address the radically warped system with sensible countermeasures. This is, in my view, a moderate position that moderate, sensible politicians will promote. Doing nothing to address this enormous problem is the most radical position of all.

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ Jan. 29

@hm1342

I work and pay taxes and have done so for 40 years. I'm happy to pay taxes, not because I'm dependent on them, but because I realize a few things that make you uncomfortable:

1. No one does it by themselves; we all rely on others at work, at home and in life; we're part of society; we are not solo warriors on some mystical heroic island

2. Not everyone is as fortunate as I; I'm glad the poor, the disabled, the unlucky, the elderly, the uneducated and the unskilled can get a modicum of government assistance when their chips are own

3. Canadians and Europeans and the Japanese do not suffer from 'dependency' syndrome; they're hardworking people with healthy market economies who have decent government that regulate healthcare extortion and corporate extortion to a minimum; it's a pretty humane arrangement

4. Corporations and CEO's have been redistributing upward for about fifty years; 20:1 CEO:worker pay was the 1960's norm....now a 350:1 ration is common.

5. Tax rates for the rich and corporations have collapsed from the 1950's to 2019; the right-wing pretends they're high, but they're not. 6. America has the greatest health-care rip-off in the world at 17% of GDP; it's an international 'free-market' disgrace that no foreign country would touch a 300-foot pole because it would bankrupt them, just as it bankrupts Americans.

Keep living in a 1787 time tunnel and see where it gets you. Or buy a calendar...and evolve.

Judy M Los Angeles Jan. 28

[Drive toward] Equality is the basis of society; it has always been close to my heart. Thank you, Paul Krugman, for standing clearly for economic equality.

Gini Green Bay, Wi Jan. 29

@George

The purpose of taxes is not only to fund public necessities, but also to encourage society to behave in a manner which is good for all of society.

Thus, in World War 2 income tax was set quite high, to discourage consumption of scarce resources.

It is not scapegoating the wealthy to have them pay a proportional share of their wealth to fund the public good, and to, in a small way, discourage inherited wealth. It is through our society that they are able to accumulate their wealth, it follows that they should have incentive to preserve and further that society.

Duane McPherson Groveland, NY Jan. 28

I agree completely with a progressive tax on net wealth. Piketty proposed this in "Capital in the Twenty-first Century" back in 2014. I'm happy to hear that Elizabeth Warren has picked up the idea.

The elegance of it is that it does not prevent the wealth-motivated from seeking high incomes and accumulating a lot of wealth in their lifetime. But it reduces the incentive to earn an ever-higher income, and it prevents the wealthy from creating wealth dynasties.

And consider this: even a 90% tax on inherited wealth would mean, for someone who accumulated a $10 billion estate, that their heirs would receive a $1 billion inheritance as a grubstake. Not a bad start in life, if I say so myself.

Marvin Raps New York Jan. 29

Almost any tax measure to re-distribute wealth is appropriate in a nation that values economic justice. However, answering the question of just how people accumulate billions, while so many others struggle so hard to remain in place. First, it is necessary to dispense with the fiction that the wealthy earned it so let them keep it.

No one person or one family EARNS billions. The hard work necessary to create wealth belongs to many hard working and creative people and to numerous public institutions that make its creation possible.

Both are entitled to a fair share of the wealth they help to create. It is the laws and even traditions that allow one individual to CAPTURE and keep so much wealth. And those laws and traditions need to be changed.

Start with a Living Wage plus full benefits for all workers and salary scales that are reasonable, not the 1:300 that some CEO's currently enjoy. End golden parachutes for retiring or even fired executives and tax unearned income at the same rate as earned income. Equal opportunity cannot stand without economic justice.

John Griswold Salt Lake City Utah Jan. 29

@George

No, part of the purpose of taxes should be to counteract the normal power of capital that causes the formation of massive personal fortunes which distort the economy relied on by all. It's not scapegoating to try to put our economy back in balance, to curtail its division into the Main St. economy, currently starved by that wealth division so heavily favoring the fabulously wealthy, and the shadow economy of Wall St. gambling, commodity market manipulation, and asset ownership.

[Mar 03, 2019] I like the idea of Warren tax, but it may be very difficult to value certain kinds of assets and how they may have appreciated

Mar 03, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

JimB NY Jan. 29

I like the idea, although it may be very difficult to value certain kinds of assets and how they may have appreciated. For example, if the Republican Congressman you bought as a freshman goes on to win a Senate seat, how much would his value have increased?

[Mar 03, 2019] Warren Trump 'may not even be a free person' by 2020 by QUINT FORGEY

Feb 10, 2019 | www.politico.com

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Sunday said that President Donald Trump "may not even be a free person" by 2020, suggesting the president might become ensnared by the special counsel's investigation before she has a chance to face him in a general election.

"Every day there is a racist tweet, a hateful tweet -- something really dark and ugly," Warren said during a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "What are we as candidates, as activists, as the press going to do about it? We're going to chase after those every day?"

She added: "Here's what bothers me. By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be president. In fact, he may not even be a free person."

The jab marks Warren's first foray into campaign-trail skirmishing with Trump since entering the Democratic presidential fray with a Saturday announcement event in Lawrence, Mass.

During her kickoff speech, Warren, a consumer protection advocate and former Harvard Law School professor, attacked Trump as being part of a "rigged system that props up the rich and the powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else."

Earlier Saturday, Trump mocked Warren's rollout and took aim at the controversies surrounding her past claims of Native American heritage, which intensified Wednesday after The Washington Post revealed that she had identified herself as American Indian on her Texas State Bar registration card.

"Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President," Trump tweeted. "Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?"

"See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!" the president added, in what many Democrats judged to be a reference to the forced relocation of several Native American tribes in the Southeast U.S. in the 1830s known as the Trail of Tears.

[Mar 03, 2019] Warren shuts down donor dinners, insider access by By NATASHA KORECKI

Feb 25, 2019 | www.politico.com

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced Monday her campaign will shun fundraising through some of the old-fashioned means: dinners, donor calls and cocktail parties.

In an email to supporters Monday, Warren also said she won't sell access to big-name donors as candidates often do to raise money for a presidential bid.

Warren has demonstrated as much in organizing events where she poses for photos with anyone who stands in line and requests it. Typically, candidates put a premium on such access, sometimes charging thousands of dollars for a personal photograph.

"My presidential primary campaign will be run on the principle of equal access for anybody who joins it," Warren said in a message to supporters.

"That means no fancy receptions or big money fundraisers only with people who can write the big checks. And when I thank the people giving to my campaign, it will not be based on the size of their donation. It means that wealthy donors won't be able to purchase better seats or one-on-one time with me at our events. And it means I won't be doing 'call time,' which is when candidates take hours to call wealthy donors to ask for their support."

The self-imposed restrictions allow Warren to distinguish herself from the field at a time when candidates are in a mad race for donations from small donors.

The Democrat, who launched a full-fledged campaign earlier this month, has already vowed not to take money from lobbyists or super PACs.

She has rejected all PAC money and challenged others in the sprawling field of candidates to reject PAC money. A group of competitors have said they wouldn't take corporate PAC money -- including Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a prospective candidate, shattered records in the 2018 midterms after rejecting PACs and relying on small-dollar donors.

Warren's move, though, takes that promise a step further, saying she won't spend time making donor calls or that she will host private fundraising dinners or receptions.

While Warren did hold fundraisers in her years as a senator, she hasn't held any since she first launched her exploratory bid Dec. 31, according to her campaign.

Warren has a proven network of small dollar donors, but she's also seemed to lag others in the primary field in early fundraising, including Harris and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose one-day $6 million haul swamped all his competitors in the field.

[Feb 26, 2019] The DNC takes Deep State to a whole new level. They have this thing called "Superdelegates", which has veto power over the little people

Feb 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

Anon [427] Disclaimer , says: February 26, 2019 at 7:51 pm GMT

The DNC takes Deep State to a whole new level. They have this thing called "Superdelegates", which has veto power over the little people.

The SJWs and Bernie bots may be too dumb to know who their real daddies are, but the Superdelegates know exactly whose ring they need to kiss to regain power: the same globalist capitalist Davos scums who now have Trump exactly where they want him, between their legs sucking up while busy implementing their agendas of endless wars and endless immigration.

The Superdelegates will never let things get too far with the socialists, they're good for entertainment, to give off the pretense of a real race. I'm betting my money on Kirsten Gillibrand -- Dems know if there's a woman who could beat Trump, she needs to be a blonde. Uncle Joe has too many skeletons in his closet. It's just a matter of time before the cockroaches come out of the woodwork and #MeToo him into the orbits.

[Feb 26, 2019] Warren Joins Bernie In Rejecting Private Fundraisers.. For Now - YouTube

Feb 26, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Jonathan Powling , 7 hours ago

Send a buck to Tulsi. 65,000 donors baby

Mister Methuselah , 6 hours ago

What's wrong with Tulsi's fundraisers? They are not PAC money and $125/plate is not that expensive. Tulsi has a huge disadvantage, because she isn't getting any coverage. Tulsi's dinners are not sponsored by Corporate money.

Rosannasfriend , 6 hours ago (edited)

Warren said to Cenk Uygur(in a NEW interview!) that her refusal of corporate donations only extends to the primaries. She said [we] need corporate donations- or as she calls them- "everything in our arsenal to beat Trump". Still want to lump her in with Bernie?

Max Waller , 7 hours ago (edited)

Never Completely Trust anyone, so thoroughly research everyone before supporting anyone on anything to be fully aware of who benefits and how, since you may or may not benefit at all 11:16 hours Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday, 26 February 2019

un mog , 6 hours ago

Im not too mad about Tulsi, especially when a "large" donation is 200 or more. I think large should be considered more than 500

[Feb 19, 2019] Rhetoric and platitudes aren't enough

Feb 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Matt Chew , , 1 week ago

Liz Warren is talking about what Bernie talked about in '16. I'm concerned that she has progressive rhetoric but centrist instincts. Her voting record isn't as progressive as I believe is necessary. She needs to be able to withstand scrutiny if she hopes to attract progressive voters. Rhetoric and platitudes aren't enough... #LeadersNeedToLeadByExample

Steven H , 1 week ago

I don't think I'm alone in finding a big difference that was not mentioned in the video. While I greatly appreciate Elizabeth Warren, and those clips you showed from earlier today were very encouraging, there is just a quality Bernie and Tulsi share that is very rare among politicians. Something about the way they speak, their past actions, and ways they don't speak, just hit home really hard a believability that they are extremely genuine and from the heart. I see some of this from EW, but, Bernie and Tulsi are just incredibly impressive in regard to this quality... it doesn't feel like supporting a politician, it feels like supporting a kind of way of being and appreciation for what we all are so many of us try to make our way of life. fwiw, I think it's also a big part of AOC's appeal.

[Feb 19, 2019] What's the difference between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is a cautious, cowardish (her behaviour during 2016 was disgusting), but pretty energetic careerist. Her views will quickly change under pressure, so good talking points will never translated into real policies. The fact the wealthy control the USA is not news. This is the fact of life and always be. the question is how to reach optimal middle point when interest of the bottom 80% standard of living do not deteriorate.
Probably close to Barack Obama who also utters all right things during election complain and then blatantly betrayed his voters.
She clearly is the top anti-corruption candidate and will expose the level of corruption in Washington. So she is preferable to Kamala Harris and other establishment candidates.
The fight between organized and rich few and unorganized and poor many became hotter right now. But what is the power base of anti-neoliberal movement. That can be only trade unions, which were decimated. So the first step might be to restore the power of unions.
Notable quotes:
"... Elizabeth Warren is a progressive with no backbone who supports the military industrial complex ..."
"... Warren missed her moment when she failed us in 2016. She'd be VP today, and thinking about running in 2024. She shied away and instead, we have Trump ..."
Feb 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com

christina hayes , 1 week ago

Elizabeth Warren is weak. She did not have the courage to stand up to the Clinton machine in 2016 when she could have made a difference by standing up against corruption. Now she is waffling on what it means when she says she supports Medicare for All, as now she is open to tweaking the Republican "Affordable" Care Act. She won't fight for us. We need real fighters. We need Bernie and Tulsi.

Bacon Strips , 1 week ago

Kamala Harris Record is horrendous. It is absolutely disgusting. She is literally jumping on the bandwagon just to get elected.

Rik Longenecker , 1 week ago

She's a great ally, but not a leader. She's waffling on Medicare for all. Bernie or Tulsi will lead.

Unapologetic , 1 week ago

I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Elizabeth Warren but in the last few years she's shown that she's not as reliable as i thought she was. She's way to soft when it comes to calling out the corruption in the dem party. She's also shown she's more willing to bend to the will of the Dem establishment and that is not the kind of President we need right now.

I'll be posting a video on her campaign soon & unfortunately I'll have to tear into her a lot more than you did in this video

tmcfootball96 , 1 week ago

Elizabeth Warren is a progressive with no backbone who supports the military industrial complex. She will lose to Trump if she gets the nominee. Tulsi is a real progressive with balls. #Tulsi2020

INF Flux , 1 week ago

Warren missed her moment when she failed us in 2016. She'd be VP today, and thinking about running in 2024. She shied away and instead, we have Trump.

I don't think she has the ability to motivate she could have had back then. I don't think she has the savvy to beat Trump. We need Tulsi or Bernie, the rest would lose in the general.

tomjulio2002, 1 week ago

Sorry but there is no comparison between Warren and Sanders.

Warren is either at best a coward (see primary 2016) or at worst a con (at lot of words but no action when it matters). So not much will change with her, except that Trump would be gone. Then we will get a worse than Trump next time around when people get even more disappointed and desperate.

For Sanders, you know for sure that he means what he says and that he intends to try.

The question is whether he will have the courage to go for it when the going gets tough. Or will he buckle like he did at the 2016 convention thinking best to get half a loaf than risking to get nothing.

With Sanders, there is at least a chance (albeit a slim one in my opinion) of big changes happening on the issues like Medicare for all, Green New Deal, Free public college...

For me, Warren is a no go.

Also Gabbard is clearly a fighter but I am still hazy on some of her positions. But I will take her before I even take another look at Warren (if somehow Warren becomes the nominee).

[Feb 18, 2019] Weren't superdelegates people who, in the era before cars, would represent groups who are unable to travel to the voting stations (long distances)

Feb 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

VcasF VcasF 3 days ago

Weren't superdelegates people who, in the era before cars, would represent groups who are unable to travel to the voting stations (long distances).

The superdelegates have the "right" to change the vote because their candidate could die while the superdelegate is traveling. or any major development.

When they return to cast the vote they have a choice.

In the 21st century it is unacceptable to keep such traditions and policies.

[Feb 17, 2019] GOP Donors Vs. GOP Voters

Feb 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

From J.D. Vance's appearance last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight Vance has just said that the donor elites of the GOP are out of touch with the party's base. More:

CARLSON: But more broadly, what you are saying, I think is, that the Democratic Party understands what it is and who it represents and affirmatively represents them. They do things for their voters, but the Republican Party doesn't actually represent its own voters very well.

VANCE: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, look at who the Democratic Party is and look, I don't like the Democratic Party's policies.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Most of the times, I disagree with them. But I at least admire that they recognize who their voters are and they actually just as raw cynical politics do a lot of things to serve those voters.

Now, look at who Republican voters increasingly are. They are people who disproportionately serve in the military, but Republican foreign policy has been a disaster for a lot of veterans. They are disproportionately folks who want to have more children. They are people who want to have more single earner families. They are people who don't necessarily want to go to college but they want to work in an economy where if you play by the rules, you can you actually support a family on one income.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: Have Republicans done anything for those people really in the last 15 or 20 years? I think can you point to some policies of the Trump administration. Certainly, instinctively, I think the President gets who his voters are and what he has to do to service those folks. But at the end of the day, the broad elite of the party, the folks who really call the shots, the think tank intellectuals, the people who write the policy, I just don't think they realize who their own voters are.

Now, the slightly more worrying implication is that maybe some of them do realize who their voters are, they just don't actually like those voters much.

CARLSON: Well, that's it. So I watch the Democratic Party and I notice that if there is a substantial block within it, it's this unstable coalition, all of these groups have nothing in common, but the one thing they have in common is the Democratic Party will protect them.

VANCE: Yes.

CARLSON: You criticize a block of Democratic Voters and they are on you like a wounded wombat. They will bite you. The Republicans, watch their voters come under attack and sort of nod in agreement, "Yes, these people should be attacked."

VANCE: Yes, that's absolutely right. I mean, if you talk to people who spent their lives in D.C. I know you live in D.C.

CARLSON: Yes.

VANCE: I've spent a lot of my life here. The people who spend their time in D.C. who work on Republican campaigns, who work at conservative think tanks, now this isn't true of everybody, but a lot of them actually don't like the people who are voting for Republican candidates these days.

[Feb 15, 2019] Trump = Obama = CIA meddling in every country. Presidents never change, only the perception of the morons changes

Notable quotes:
"... Why does the USA care about internal Venezuelan politics? Because it cares about every country's politics and demands every country bow down and kneel to the USA. The voters, aka morons, support this, both liberal and right wing, and have for generations. ..."
"... The morons pay their taxes to meddle in other countries and for a giant military to slaughter people who do not obey. ..."
Feb 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

never-anonymous says: February 14, 2019 at 6:21 pm GMT 100 Words

@nietzsche1510

Venezuela invasion thing is double-faceted: a trap for Trump & a bluff. if the invasion is, then bye-bye 2020 election, mission accomplished. if no invasion on sight then the bluff of Pompeo-Bolton-Abrams is called & the 2020 reelection assured. Venezuela in the role of bait.

The real issue lies in the voting class which cowers in fear all day long and seeks saviors every four years via rigged circus. Trump = Obama = CIA meddling in every country. Presidents never change, only the perception of the morons changes.

Why does the USA care about internal Venezuelan politics? Because it cares about every country's politics and demands every country bow down and kneel to the USA. The voters, aka morons, support this, both liberal and right wing, and have for generations.

The morons pay their taxes to meddle in other countries and for a giant military to slaughter people who do not obey. Freedom at the point of a gun. Nothing quite says democracy like having the US president tell the Venezuelans how to run their country.

[Feb 13, 2019] MoA - Russiagate Is Finished

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... You can take this to the bank. Hardcore Russiagaters will never give up their belief in collusion and Russian influence in the 2016 campaign -- never. Congress and Mueller will be accused of engaging in a coverup. ..."
"... Thus, even if the Mueller report is underwhelming, I think that the Democrats and TDS-saturated Trump opponents will attempt to rehabilitate it by pretending that it contains important loose ends that need to be pursued. In other words, to perpetuate the Mueller-driven political Russophobia by all other available means. ..."
"... Russiagate has exposed the great degree of corruption within the Justice Department bureaucracy, particularly within FBI, and within the entire Democrat Party. ..."
"... Since this is obviously not going to be allowed to happen, and since these people get away with everything, expect this to never end, despite all evidence to the contrary. It doesn't matter if they've been exposed as CIA propagandists or Integrity Initiative stooges, the game goes on...and on.... the job security of these disgraced columnists is the greatest in the Western world. ..."
"... Stephen Cohen discusses how rational viewpoints are banned from the mainstream media, and how several features of US life today resemble some of the worst features of the Soviet system. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/12/stephen-cohen-on-war-with-russia-and-soviet-style-censorship-in-the-us/ ..."
"... The US needs an enemy, how else can they ask NATO members to cough up 2% of GDP [just for one example Germany's GDP is nearly 4 Trillion dollars [2017] for defence spending, what a crazy sum all NATO members must fork out to please the US, but then most of that money must be spent on the US MIC 'interoperability' of course. ..."
"... Another great damage of Russiagate was the instigating of a nuclear arms race directed primarily at Russia, and ideologically justified by its diabolical policies. ..."
"... Russiagate was very successful. You just have to understand the objectives. It was a great distraction. Diverting peoples attention from the continued fleecing of the "real people" which are the bottom 90% by the "Corporate People" and their Government Lackeys. ..."
"... It provided an excuse for the acting CEO (a figurehead) of the Corporate Empire to go back on many of the promises made that got him elected, and to fill the swamp with Neocon and Koch Brother creatures with the excuse the Deep State made him do it. More proof that there is no deception that is too ridiculous to be believed so long as you have enough pundits claiming it to be so ..."
"... If you've done just a cursory look into Seth Rich, you'd be very suspicious about the story of his life and death. IMO Assange/Wikilleaks were set up. And Flynn was set up too. What they are doing is Orwellian: White Helmets, election manipulation, propaganda, McCarthism, etc. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. ..."
"... See also this primer on Mueller's MO. ..."
"... The button pushers behind the Trump collusion and Russia election hacking false narratives got what they wanted: to walk the democrats and republicans straight into Cold War v2; to start their campaign to suppress alternative voices on the internet; to increase military spending; and more, more, more war. ..."
"... Russiagate was very successful <=pls read, re-read Pft @ 46.. he listed many things. divide and conquer accomplished. a nation state is defined as an armed rule making structure, designed by those who control a territory, and constructed by the lawyers, military, and wealthy and run by the persons the designers appoint, for the appointed are called politicians. ..."
"... At the beginnng of Russiagate, I wrote on Robert Parry's Consirtium News that Russiagate is Idiocracy piggy-backing on decades and literally billions of dollars of anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda. How hard would it be to brainwash an already brainwashed population? ..."
"... The purveyors of Russiagate will re-compose themselves, brush off all reports and continue on. One just cannot get away from one's nature, even when that nature is pure idiocy. ..."
"... Russiagate will not go away unfortunately because it has evolved in the "Russiagate Industry". As mentioned by others, the Russiagate Industry has been very profitable for many industries and people. Russiagate has generated an entire cottage industry of companies around censorship and "find us a Russian". Dow Jones should have an index on the Russiagate Industry. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

For more than two years U.S. politicians, the media and some bloggers hyped a conspiracy theory. They claimed that Russia had somehow colluded with the Trump campaign to get him elected.

An obviously fake 'Dirty Dossier' about Trump, commissioned by the Clinton campaign, was presented as evidence. Regular business contacts between Trump flunkies and people in Ukraine or Russia were claimed to be proof for nefarious deals. A Russian click-bait company was accused of manipulating the U.S. electorate by posting puppy pictures and crazy memes on social media. Huge investigations were launched. Every rumor or irrelevant detail coming from them was declared to be - finally - the evidence that would put Trump into the slammer. Every month the walls were closing in on Trump.

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/qjUvfZj-Fm0

At the same time the very real Trump actions that hurt Russia were ignored.

Finally the conspiracy theory has run out of steam. Russiagate is finished :

After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.
...
Democrats and other Trump opponents have long believed that special counsel Robert Mueller and Congressional investigators would unearth new and more explosive evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russians. Mueller may yet do so, although Justice Department and Congressional sources say they believe that he, too, is close to wrapping up his investigation.

Nothing, zero, nada was found to support the conspiracy theory. The Trump campaign did not collude with Russia. A few flunkies were indicted for unrelated tax issues and for lying to the investigators about some minor details. But nothing at all supports the dramatic claims of collusion made since the beginning of the affair.

In a recent statement House leader Nancy Pelosi was reduced to accuse Trump campaign officials of doing their job:

"The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people. ...

No one called her out for spouting such nonsense.

Russiagate created a lot of damage.

The alleged Russian influence campaign that never happened was used to install censorship on social media. It was used to undermine the election of progressive Democrats. The weapon salesmen used it to push for more NATO aggression against Russia. Maria Butina, an innocent Russian woman interested in good relation with the United States, was held in solitary confinement (recommended) until she signed a paper which claims that she was involved in a conspiracy.

In a just world the people who for more then two years hyped the conspiracy theory and caused so much damage would be pushed out of their public positions. Unfortunately that is not going to happen. They will jump onto the next conspiracy train continue from there.

Posted by b on February 12, 2019 at 01:38 PM | Permalink

Comments next page " Legally, Maria Butina was suborned into signing a false declaration. If there were the rule of law, such party or parties that suborned her would be in gaol. Considering Mueller's involvement with Lockerbie, I am not holding my breath. FWIW the Swiss company that made the timers allegedly involved in Lockerbie have some comments of its own .


james , Feb 12, 2019 2:00:14 PM | link

thanks b..

I will be really glad when this 'get Russia' craziness is over, but I suspect even if the Mueller investigation has nothing, all the same creeps will be pulling out the stops to generate something... Skripal, Integrity Initiative, and etc. etc. stuff like this just doesn't go away overnight or with the end of this 'investigation'... folks are looking for red meat i tell ya!

as for Maria Butina - i look forward to reading the article.. that was a travesty of justice but the machine moves on, mowing down anyone in it's way... she was on the receiving end of all the paranoia that i have come to associate with the western msm at this point...

Zanon , Feb 12, 2019 2:03:26 PM | link
Considering Mueller hasn't produced its report nor the House dito, its way to early to say Russia gate is "finished".
Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 2:11:44 PM | link
And Russiagate was used ...
... by Hillary to justify her loss to Trump

Hillary's loss is actually best explained as her throwing the election to Trump . The Deep State wanted a nationalist to win as that would best help meet the challenge from Russia and China - a challenge that they had been slow to recognize.

=
... to smear Wikileaks as a Russian agent

The DNC leak is best explained as a CIA false flag.

=
... to remove and smear Michael Flynn

Trump said that he fired Flynn for lying to VP Pence but Flynn's conversations with the Russian Ambassador after Obama threw them out for "meddling" in the US election was an embarrassment to the Administration as Putin's Putin's decision not to respond was portrayed as favoritism toward the Trump Administration.

Rob , Feb 12, 2019 2:28:50 PM | link
You can take this to the bank. Hardcore Russiagaters will never give up their belief in collusion and Russian influence in the 2016 campaign -- never. Congress and Mueller will be accused of engaging in a coverup. This is typical behavior for conspiracy theorists.
bj , Feb 12, 2019 2:30:41 PM | link
Jimmy Dore on same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgBxfHdb4OU Enjoy!
Ort , Feb 12, 2019 2:34:14 PM | link
I hope that Russiagate is indeed "finished", but I think it needs to be draped with garlic-clove necklaces, shot up with silver bullets, sprinkled with holy water, and a wooden stake driven through its black heart just to make sure.

I don't dispute the logical argument B. presents, but it may be too dispassionately rational. I know that the Russiagate proponents and enthralled supporters of the concept are too invested psychologically in this surrealistic fantasy to let go, even if the official outcome reluctantly admits that there's no "there" there.

The Democratic Party, one of the major partners mounting the Russophobic psy-op, has already resolved to turn Democratic committee chairmen loose to dog the Trump administration with hearings aggressively flogging any and all matters that discredit and undermine Trump-- his business connections, social liaisons, etc.

They may hope to find the Holy Grail: the elusive "bombshell" that "demands" impeachment, i.e., some crime or illicit conduct so heinous that the public will stand for another farcical impeachment proceeding. But I reckon that the Dems prefer the "soft" impeachment of harassing Trump with hostile hearings in hopes of destroying his 2020 electability with the death of a thousand innuendoes and guilt-by-association.

Thus, even if the Mueller report is underwhelming, I think that the Democrats and TDS-saturated Trump opponents will attempt to rehabilitate it by pretending that it contains important loose ends that need to be pursued. In other words, to perpetuate the Mueller-driven political Russophobia by all other available means.

Put more succinctly, I fear that Russiagate won't be finished until Rachel Maddow says it's finished. ;)

worldblee , Feb 12, 2019 2:38:17 PM | link
Once a hypothesis is fixed in people's minds, whether true or not, it's hard to get them to let go of it. And let's not forget how many times the narrative changed (and this is true in the Skripal case as well), with all past facts vanishing to accommodate a new narrative.

So I, like others, expect the fake scandal to continue while many, many other real crimes (the US attempted coup in Venezuela and the genocidal war in Yemen, for instance) continue unabated.

karlof1 , Feb 12, 2019 2:43:34 PM | link
Putin solicits public input for essential national policy goals . If ever there was a template to follow for an actual MAGAgenda, Putin's Russia provides one. While US politicos argue over what is essentially Bantha Pudu, Russians are hard at work improving their nation which includes restructuring their economy.

Russiagate has exposed the great degree of corruption within the Justice Department bureaucracy, particularly within FBI, and within the entire Democrat Party.

BlunderOn , Feb 12, 2019 2:48:51 PM | link
mmm...

I very much doubt it it is over. Trump is corrupt and has links to corrupt Russians. Collusion, maybe not, but several stinking individuals are in the frame for, guess what - ...bring it on... The fact that Hilary was arguably even worse (a point made ad-nauseum on here) is frankly irrelevant. The vilification of Trump will not affect the warmongers efforts. He is a useful idiot

james , Feb 12, 2019 2:52:33 PM | link
for a take on the alternative reality some are living in emptywheel has an article up on the nbc link b provides and the article on butina is discussed in the comments section... as i said - they are looking for red meat and will not be happy until they get some... they are completely zonkers...
Blooming Barricade , Feb 12, 2019 2:55:18 PM | link
Now that this racket has been admitted as such, I expect all of the media outlets that devoted banner headlines, hundreds of thousands of hours of cable TV time, thousands of trees, and free speech online to immediately fire all of their journalists and appoint Glenn Greenwald as the publisher of the New York Times, Michael Tracey at the Post, Aaron Matte at the Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at the Daily Beast.

Since this is obviously not going to be allowed to happen, and since these people get away with everything, expect this to never end, despite all evidence to the contrary. It doesn't matter if they've been exposed as CIA propagandists or Integrity Initiative stooges, the game goes on...and on.... the job security of these disgraced columnists is the greatest in the Western world.

jayc , Feb 12, 2019 3:03:51 PM | link
Stephen Cohen discusses how rational viewpoints are banned from the mainstream media, and how several features of US life today resemble some of the worst features of the Soviet system. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/12/stephen-cohen-on-war-with-russia-and-soviet-style-censorship-in-the-us/
Heath , Feb 12, 2019 3:18:29 PM | link
It turned out getting rid of the Clintons has been a long term project.
Harry Law , Feb 12, 2019 3:21:58 PM | link
The US needs an enemy, how else can they ask NATO members to cough up 2% of GDP [just for one example Germany's GDP is nearly 4 Trillion dollars [2017] for defence spending, what a crazy sum all NATO members must fork out to please the US, but then most of that money must be spent on the US MIC 'interoperability' of course.

Then of course Russia has to be surrounded by NATO should they try and take over Europe by surging through the Fulda gap./s

Then of course there are the professional pundits who have built careers on anti Russian propaganda, Rachel Maddow for instance who earns 30,000$ per day to spew anti Russian nonsense.

folktruther , Feb 12, 2019 3:27:32 PM | link
Another great damage of Russiagate was the instigating of a nuclear arms race directed primarily at Russia, and ideologically justified by its diabolical policies.

I'm sorry b is so down on Conspiracy Theories, since they reveal quite real staged homicidal false flag operations of US power. Feeding into the stigmatizing of the truth about reality is not in the interests of the earth's people.

frances , Feb 12, 2019 3:31:11 PM | link
somehow I see this "revelation: tied to Barr's approaching tenure. I think they (FBI/DOJ) didn't want his involvement in their noodle soup of an investigation and the best way to accomplish that was to end it themselves. I also suspect that a deal has been made with Trump, possibly in exchange for leaving his family alone.

So we will see no investigation of Hillary, her 650,000 emails or the many crimes they detailed (according to NYPD investigation of Weiner's laptop) and the US will continue to be at war all day, every day. Team Swamp rules.

Ash , Feb 12, 2019 3:35:06 PM | link
Meanwhile, MSM is prepping its readers for the possibility that the Mueller report will never be released to us proles. If that's the case, I'm sure nobody will try to use innuendo to suggest it actually contains explosive revelations after all...
Heath , Feb 12, 2019 3:38:37 PM | link
@16

Harry, its vitally important as the US desperately wants to keep Europe under its thumb and to stop this European army which means Europe lead by Paris and Berlin becomes a world power. Trump's attempts to make nice with Russia is to keep it out of the EU bloc.

Anne Jaclard , Feb 12, 2019 3:54:47 PM | link
Well, the liberal conspiracy car crash ensured downmarket Mussolini a second term, it appears...Hard Brexit Tories also look likely to win thanks to centrist sabatoge of the left. You reap what you sow, corporate presstitutes!
wagelaborer , Feb 12, 2019 4:05:25 PM | link
Sane people have predicted the end of Russiagate almost as many times as insane people have predicted that the "smoking gun that will get rid of Trump" has been found. And yet the Mighty Wurlitzer grinds on, while social media is more and more censored.

I expect it all to continue until the 2020 election circus winds up into full-throated mode, and no one talks about anything but the next puppet to be appointed. Oops, I mean "elected".

Jen , Feb 12, 2019 4:15:57 PM | link
Ort @ 7:

You also need to behead the corpse, stuff the mouth with a lemon and then place the head down in the coffin with the body in supine (facing up) position. Weight the coffin with stones and wild roses and toss it into a fast-flowing river.

Russiagate won't be finished until a wall is built around Capitol Hill and all its inhabitants and worker bees declared insane by a properly functioning court of law.

Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 4:16:59 PM | link
frances @18:
I also suspect that a deal has been made with Trump, possibly in exchange for leaving his family alone. So we will see no investigation of Hillary ...
Underlying your perspective is the assumption that USA is a democracy where a populist "outsider" could be elected President, Yet you also believe that Hillary and the Deep State have the power to manipulate government and the intelligence agencies and propose a "conspiracy theory" based on that power.

Isn't it more likely that Trump made it clear (behind closed doors, of course) that he was amenable to the goals of the Deep State and that the bogus investigation was merely done to: 1) cover their own election meddling; 2) eliminate threats like Flynn and Assange/Wikileaks; 3) anti-Russian propaganda?

Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 4:33:16 PM | link
Jen

Steven Cohen once lamented that there were no "wise men" left in foreign policy. All the independent realists were shut out.

Michael McNulty , Feb 12, 2019 4:49:32 PM | link
US anti-Russian hysteria is moving into that grey area beyond McCarthyism approaching Nazism.
Circe , Feb 12, 2019 4:58:40 PM | link
Dowd, Trump's former lawyer on Russiagate stated there may not even be a report. If this is the case then the Zionist rulers have gotten to Mueller who no doubt figured out that the election collusion breadcrumbs don't lead to Putin, they lead to Netanyahu and Zionist billionaire friends! So Mueller may have to come up with a nothing burger to hide the truth.
Danny , Feb 12, 2019 5:02:34 PM | link
B is the only alternative media blogger I've followed for a significant amount of time without becoming disenfranchised. Not because he has no blind spot - his is just one I can deal with... optimism.

hopehely , Feb 12, 2019 5:14:49 PM | link

I will believe Russiagate is finished when expelled Russian staff gets back, when the US returns the seized Russian properties, when the consulate is Seattle reopens and when USA issues formal apology to Russia.

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 12, 2019 5:14:49 PM | link

bevin , Feb 12, 2019 5:16:18 PM | link
Nobody has ever advanced the tiniest shred of credible evidence that 'Russia' or its government at any level was in any way implicated either in Wikileaks' acquisition of the DNC and Podesta emails or in any form of interference with the Presidential election.

This has been going on for three years and not once has anything like evidence surfaced.

On the other hand there has been an abundance of evidence that those alleging Russian involvement consistently refused to listen to explore the facts.

Incredibly, the DNC computers were never examined by the FBI or any other agency resembling an official police agency. Instead the notorious Crowdstrike professionally russophobic and caught red handed faking data for the Ukrainians against Russia were commissioned to produce a 'report.'

Nobody with any sense would have credited anything about Russiagate after that happened.

Thgen there was the proof, from VIPS and Bill Binney (?) that the computers were not hacked at all but that the information was taken by thumbdrive. A theory which not only Wikileaks but several witnesses have offered to prove.

Not one of them has been contacted by the FBI, Mueller or anyone else "investigating."

In reality the charges from the first were ludicrous on their face. There is, as b has proved and every new day's news attests, not the slightest reason why anyone in the Russian government should have preferred Trump over Clinton. And that is saying something because they are pretty well indistinguishable. And neither has the morals or brains of an adolescent groundhog.

Russiagate is over, alright, The Nothingburger is empty. But that means nothing in this 'civilisation': it will be recorded in the history books, still to be written, by historians still in diapers, that "The 2016 Presidential election, which ended in the controversial defeat of Hillary Clinton, was heavily influenced by Russian agents who hacked ..etc etc"

What will not be remembered is that every single email released was authentic. And that within those troves of correspondence there was enough evidence of criminality by Clinton and her campaign to fill a prison camp.

Another thing that will not be recalled is that there was once a young enthusiastic man, working for the DNC, who was mugged one evening after work and killed.

Baron , Feb 12, 2019 5:16:49 PM | link
The 'no collusion' result will only spur the 'beginning of the end' baboons to shout even more, they'll never stop until they die in their beds or the plebs of the Republic made them adore the street lamp posts, you'll see. The former is by far more likely, the unwashed of American have never had a penchant for foreign affairs except for the few spasms like Vietnam.
Circe , Feb 12, 2019 5:20:11 PM | link
There was collusion alright but the only Russians who helped Trump get elected and were in on the collusion are citizens of ISRAEL FIRST, likewise for the American billionaires who put Trump in the power perch. ISRAEL FIRST.

That's why Trump is on giant billboards in Israel shaking hands with the Yahoo. Trump is higher in the polls in Israel than in the U.S. If it weren't that the Zionist upper crust need Trump doing their dirty work in America, like trying today get rid of Rep. Omar Ilhan, then Trump would win the elections in Ziolandia or Ziostan by a landslide cause he's been better for the Joowish state than all preceding Presidents put together. Mazel tov to them bullshet for the rest of us servile mass in the vassal West and Palestinians the most shafted class ever. Down with Venezuela and Iran, up with oil and gas. The billionare shysters' and Trump's payola is getting closer. Onward AZ Empire!

Les , Feb 12, 2019 5:24:36 PM | link
He proved himself so easy to troll during the election. It wouldn't surprise me if aim of the domestic intelligence agencies all along was to get him elected and have a candidate they could manipulate.
Zachary Smith , Feb 12, 2019 5:38:03 PM | link
@ Harry Law #16

At least Germany has the good sense not to throw taxpayer money at the F-35. German F-35 decision sacrifices NATO capability for Franco-German industrial cooperation I don't know what they have in mind with a proposed airplane purchase. If they need fighters, buy or lease Sweden's Gripen. If attack airplanes are what they're after, go to Boeing and get some brand new F-15X models. If the prickly French are agreeable to build a 6th generation aircraft, that would be worth a try.

Regarding Rachel Maddow, I recently had an encounter with a relative who told me 1) I visited too many oddball sites and 2) he considered Rachel M. to be the most reliable news person in existence. I think we're talking "true believer" here. :)

Zachary Smith , Feb 12, 2019 5:43:19 PM | link
@ Les @42
It wouldn't surprise me if aim of the domestic intelligence agencies all along was to get him elected and have a candidate they could manipulate.

Considering how those "intelligence agencies" are hard pressed to find their own tails, even if you allow them to use both hands, it would surprise me.

That Trump would turn out to be a tub of jello in more than just a physical way has been a surprise to an awful lot of us.

Pft , Feb 12, 2019 5:44:54 PM | link

Russiagate was very successful. You just have to understand the objectives. It was a great distraction. Diverting peoples attention from the continued fleecing of the "real people" which are the bottom 90% by the "Corporate People" and their Government Lackeys.

It provided an excuse for the acting CEO (a figurehead) of the Corporate Empire to go back on many of the promises made that got him elected, and to fill the swamp with Neocon and Koch Brother creatures with the excuse the Deep State made him do it. More proof that there is no deception that is too ridiculous to be believed so long as you have enough pundits claiming it to be so

Allowed the bipartisan support for the clamp down on alt media with censorship by social media (Deep State Tools) and funded by the Ministry of Truth set up by Obama in his last days in office to under the false pretense of protecting us from foreign governments interference in elections (except Israel of course) . Similar agencies have been set up or planned to be in other countries followig the US example such as UK, France, Russia, etc.

Did anyone really expect Mr "Cover It Up " Mueller to find anything? Mueller is Deep State all the way and Trump is as well, not withstanding the "Fake Wrestling " drama that they are bitter enemies. All the surveillance done over the past 2-3 decades would have so much dirt on the Trumpet they could silence him forever . Trump knew that going in and I sometimes wonder if he was pressured to run as a condition to avoid prosecution. Pretty sure every President since Carter has been "Kompromat"

Jackrabbit , Feb 12, 2019 6:29:51 PM | link
james, bevin

If you've done just a cursory look into Seth Rich, you'd be very suspicious about the story of his life and death. IMO Assange/Wikilleaks were set up. And Flynn was set up too. What they are doing is Orwellian: White Helmets, election manipulation, propaganda, McCarthism, etc. If you're not angry, you're not paying attention.

stevelaudig , Feb 12, 2019 6:34:12 PM | link
Russians and likely at the behest of the Russian state interfered and it was fair payback for Yeltsin's election. It is time to move on but not in feigned ignorance of what was done. Was it "outcome" affecting, possibly, but not clearly and if the US electoral college and electoral system generally is so decrepit that a second level power in the world can influence then its the US's fault.

It's not like the 2000 election wasn't a warning shot about the rottenness of system and a system that doesn't understand a warning shot deserves pretty much what it gets. But there's enough non-hype evidence of acts and intent to say yes, the Russians tried and may have succeeded. They certainly are acting guilty enough. but still close the book move and move on to Trump's 'real' crimes which were done without a Russian assist.

spudski , Feb 12, 2019 6:52:50 PM | link
@38 bevin @47 james

I seem to recall former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray saying that it was not a hack and that he had been handed a thumb drive in a field near American University by a disgruntled Democrat whistleblower. Further, I seem to recall William Binney, former NSA Technical Leader for intelligence, conducting an experiment to show that internet speeds at the time would not allow the information to be hacked - they knew the size of the files and the period over which they were downloaded. Plus, Seth Rich. So why does anyone even believe it was a hack, @32 THN?

Johan Meyer , Feb 12, 2019 6:55:54 PM | link
Just another comment re Mueller. There is a great documentary by (Dutch, not Israeli---different person) Gideon Levy, Lockerbie Revisited. The narration is in Dutch, but the interviews are in English, and there is a small segment of a German broadcast. The documentary ends abruptly where one set of FBI personnel contradict statements by another set of FBI personnel. See also this primer on Mueller's MO.
frances , Feb 12, 2019 7:11:07 PM | link
reply to Les 42
"It wouldn't surprise me if aim of the domestic intelligence agencies all along was to get him elected and have a candidate they could manipulate."

Not the intelligence agencies, the Military IMO. They knew HC for what she was; horrifically corrupt and,again IMO,they know she is insane.

They saw and I think still see Trump as someone they could work with, remember Rogers (Navy) of the NSA going to him immediately once he was elected? That was the Military protecting him as best they could.

They IMO have kept him alive and as long as he doesn't send any troops into "real" wars, they will keep on keeping him alive.
This doesn't mean Trump hasn't gone over to the Dark Side, just that no military action will take place that the military command doesn't fully support.

Again, I could be wrong, he could be backed by fiends from Patagonia for all I really know:)

AriusArmenian , Feb 12, 2019 8:44:27 PM | link
The button pushers behind the Trump collusion and Russia election hacking false narratives got what they wanted: to walk the democrats and republicans straight into Cold War v2; to start their campaign to suppress alternative voices on the internet; to increase military spending; and more, more, more war.
james , Feb 12, 2019 9:34:59 PM | link
ot - further to @65 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK5YFos56ZU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kK5YFos56ZU

as jr says - welcome to the rabbit hole..

ben , Feb 12, 2019 10:11:05 PM | link
Hope you're right b. Maybe now we can get on with some real truths.
  1. That there is really only one party with real influence, the party of $.
  2. That most of the Dems belong to that club, and virtually all the Repubs.
  3. That the U$A is not a real democracy, but an Oligarchy.
  4. That the corporate empire is the greatest purveyor of evil the world has ever known.

And these are just a few truths. Thanks for the therapy b, hope you feel better...

Circe , Feb 12, 2019 10:52:22 PM | link
Boy, I hope Jackrabbit sees this. Everyone knows I believe Trump is the anointed chosen of the Zionist 1%. There was no Russia collusion; it was Zionist collusion with a Russian twist...
Circe , Feb 12, 2019 11:11:17 PM | link
Oh yeah! Forgot to mention the latest. Trump is asking Kim to provide a list of his nuclear scientists! Before Kim acts on this request, he should call up the Iranian government for advise 'cause they have lots of experience and can warn Kim of what will happen to each of those scientists. They'll be put on a kill-list and will be extrajudicially wacked as in executed. Can you believe the chutzpah? Trump must think Kim is really stupid to fall for that one!

Aye! The thought of six more years of Zionist pandering Trump. Barf-inducing prospect is too tame.

PHC , Feb 13, 2019 2:25:44 AM | link

Russiagate is finished. So, now is the time to create Chinagate. But how ??

V , Feb 13, 2019 2:25:48 AM | link
The view from the hermitage is, we are in the age of distractions. Russiagate will be replaced with one of a litany of distractions, purely designed to keep us off target. The target being, corruption, vote rigging, illegal wars, war crimes, overthrowing sovereign governments, and political assasinations, both at home and abroad. Those so distracted, will focus on sillyness; not the genuine danger afoot around the planet. Get used to it; it's become the new normal.
Circe , Feb 13, 2019 3:53:19 AM | link
@76Hw
I have yet to read anything more delusional, nay, utterly preposterous. Methinks you over-project too much. Even Trump would have a belly-ache laugh reading that sheeple spiel. You're the type that sees the giant billboard of Zionist Trump and Yahoo shaking hands and drones on and on that our lying eyes deceive us and it's really Trump playing 4-D chess. I suppose when he tried to pressure Omar Ilhan into resigning her seat in Congress yesterday, that too was reverse psychology?

Trump instagramed the billboard pic, he tweeted it, he probably pasted it on his wall; maybe with your kind of wacky, Trump infatuation, you should too!

Starring role

Circe , Feb 13, 2019 4:15:37 AM | link
Russiagate is finished because Mueller discovered an embarrassing fact: The collusion was and always will be with Israel. Here's Trump professing his endless love for Zionism: Trump Resign
snake , Feb 13, 2019 5:13:14 AM | link

Russiagate was very successful <=pls read, re-read Pft @ 46.. he listed many things. divide and conquer accomplished.
a nation state is defined as an armed rule making structure, designed by those who control a territory, and constructed by the lawyers, military, and wealthy and run by the persons the designers appoint, for the appointed are called politicians.

Most designs of armed nation states provide the designers with information feedback and the designers use that information to appoint more obedient politicians and generals to run things, and to improve the design to better serve the designers. The armed rule making structure is designed to give the designers complete control over those targeted to be the governed. Why so stupid the governed? ; always they allow themselves to be manipulated like sheep.

When 10 angry folks approach you with two pieces of ropes: one to throw over the tree branch under which your horse will be supporting you while they tie the noose around your neck and the other shorter piece of rope to tie your hands behind ..your back you need at that point to make your words count , if five of the people are black and five are white. all you need do is say how smart the blacks are, and how stupid the whites are, as the two groups fight each other you manage your escape. democrat vs republican= divide to conquer. gun, no gun = divide to conquer, HRC vs DJT = divide to conquer, abortion, no abortion = divide to conquer, Trump is a Russian planted in a high level USA position of power = divide to conquer, They were all in on it together,, Muller was in the white house to keep the media supplied with XXX, to keep the law enforcement agencies in the loop, and to advise trump so things would not get out of hand ( its called Manipulation and the adherents to the economic system called Zionism
For the record, Zionism is not related to race, religion or intelligence. Zionism is a system of economics that take's no captives, its adherents must own everything, must destroy and decimate all actual or imaginary competition, for Zionist are the owners and masters of everything? Zionism is about power, absolute power, monopoly ownership and using governments everywhere to abuse the governed. Zionism has many adherents, whites, blacks, browns, Christians, Jews, Islamist, Indians, you name it among each class of person and walk of life can be found persons who subscribe to the idea that they, and only they, should own everything, and when those of us, that are content to be the governed let them, before the kill and murder us, they usually end up owning everything.

snake , Feb 13, 2019 6:08:16 AM | link
Here might the subject matter that Russia Gate sought to camouflage https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/02/13/588433/US-Saudi-Arabia-nuclear-deal-nuclear-weapons 'This comes as US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been holding secret talks with Saudi officials on sharing US nuclear technology.'

Finally, a hypothesis to explain

1. why the Joint non nuclear agreement with Iran and the other nuclear power nations, that prevented Iran from developing nuclear weapons, was trashed? Someone needs to be able to say Iran is developing ..., at the right time.

2. Why Netanyohu made public a video that claimed Iran was developing nuclear stuff in violation of the Iran non nuclear agreement, and everybody laughed,

3. Why the nuclear non proliferation agreement with Russia, that terminated the costly useless arms race a decade ago, has been recently terminated, to reestablish the nuclear arms race, no apparent reason was given the implication might be Russia could be a target, but

4. why it might make sense to give nukes to Saudi Arabia or some other rogue nation, and

5. why no one is allowed to have nuclear weapons except the Zionist owned and controlled nation states.

Statement: Zionism is an economic system that requires the elimination of all competition of whatever kind. It is a winner get's all, takes no prisoners, targets all who would threaten or be a challenge or a threat; does not matter if the threat is in in oil and gas, technology or weapons as soon as a possibility exist, the principles of Zionism would require that it be taken out, decimated, and destroyed and made where never again it could even remotely be a threat to the Empire, that Zionism demands..

Hypothesis: A claim that another is developing nuclear weapon capabilities is sufficient to take that other out?

Kiza , Feb 13, 2019 8:26:29 AM | link
I am glad that most commenters understand that Russiagate will not go away. But the majority appear to miss the real reason. Russiagate is not an accusation, it is the state of mind.

At the beginnng of Russiagate, I wrote on Robert Parry's Consirtium News that Russiagate is Idiocracy piggy-backing on decades and literally billions of dollars of anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda. How hard would it be to brainwash an already brainwashed population?

The purveyors of Russiagate will re-compose themselves, brush off all reports and continue on. One just cannot get away from one's nature, even when that nature is pure idiocy. Of course, the most ironic in the affair is that it is the so called US "intellectuals", academics and other assorted cretins who are the most fervent proponents. If you were wondering how Russia can make such amazing defensive weapons that US can only deny exist and wet dream of having, there is your answer. It is the state of mind. The whole of US establishment are legends in their on lunch time and totally delusional about the reality surrounding them - both Russiagate and MAGA cretins, no report can help the Russiagate nation.

Finally, I am thinking of that crazy and ugly professor bitch from the British Cambridge University who gives her lectures naked to protest something or other. I am so lucky that I do not have to go to a Western university ever again. What a catastrophic decline! No Brexit can help the Skripal nation.

NemesisCalling , Feb 13, 2019 8:46:48 AM | link
Russiagate is finished, but is DJT also among the rubble?

Hardly any money for the border wall and still lingering in the ME?

If Hoarsewhisperer proves to be correct above re: DJT, he will really have to knock our socks off before election 2020. To do this he will have to unequivocally and unceremoniously withdraw from the MENA and Afghanistan and possibly declare a National Emergency for more money for the wall.

The problem is, when he does this, he will look impulsively dangerous and this may harm his mystique to the lemmings who need a president to be more "presidential."

My money is on status quo all the way to 2020 and the rethugz hoping the Dems will eat their own in an orgy of warring identities.

I would love to be proven wrong.

morongobill , Feb 13, 2019 9:52:25 AM | link
Rush Limbaugh has been on a roll with his analysis of Russiagate, in fact, his analysis is in line with the writer/editor here at MOA.
Bart Hansen , Feb 13, 2019 10:52:12 AM | link
The collusion story may be faltering, but the blame for Russia poisoning the Skripals lives on. The other night on The News Hour, "Judy" led off the program with this: "It has been almost a year since Kremlin intelligence officers attempted to kill a Russian defector in the British city of Salisbury by poisoning him with a nerve agent. That attack, and the subsequent death of a British woman, scared away tourists and shoppers, but authorities and residents are working to get the town's economy back on track. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports."
Erelis , Feb 13, 2019 12:15:48 PM | link

Russiagate will not go away unfortunately because it has evolved in the "Russiagate Industry". As mentioned by others, the Russiagate Industry has been very profitable for many industries and people. Russiagate has generated an entire cottage industry of companies around censorship and "find us a Russian". Dow Jones should have an index on the Russiagate Industry.

Here is one recent example. You know the measles outbreak in the US Pacific Northwest. Yup, the Russians. How do we know. A government funded research grant. The study found that 899 tweets caused people to doubt vaccines. Looks like money is to be had even by academics for the right results.

Measles outbreak: Anti-vaccination misinformation fueled by Russian propagandists, study finds
https://www.oregonlive.com/clark-county/2019/02/measles-outbreak-anti-vaccination-misinformation-fueled-by-russian-propagandists-study-finds.html

[Feb 12, 2019] Rubio One-Ups Sanders And Schumer With Plan To Curb Corporate Buybacks

Notable quotes:
"... To that end, the senator from Florida on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to limit corporate buybacks. Unlike a plan pitched by Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer earlier this month, Rubio's plan would seek to end preferential tax treatment of share buybacks, by decreeing that any money spent on buybacks would be considered - for tax purposes - a dividend paid to shareholders, even if individual investors didn't actually part with any stock. ..."
"... Any tax revenue generated by these changes could then be used to encourage more capital investment, Rubio said. As part of the proposal, Rubio would make a provision in the tax law that allows companies to deduct capital investment permanent (that provision is currently set to expire in 2022). ..."
"... But before lawmakers take their next steps toward regulating how and when companies should return excess capital to shareholders, they might want to take a look at a column recently published by WSJ's "Intelligent Investor" that expounds a concept called "the bladder theory." ..."
"... But the law most likely to govern here is the Law of Unintended Consequences. ..."
"... That companies bought back a record $1 trillion worth of stock last year while employers like GM slashed jobs and closed factories has stoked criticisms of the Trump tax cuts, but as the gulf between the rich and the poor grows ever more wide (a phenomenon for which we can thank the Federal Reserve and other large global central banks) it's worth wondering: facing a simmering backlash to one of the most persistent marginal bids in the market place, have investors already become too complacent about proposals like Rubio's? ..."
"... Worse, since they're largely funded by increased corporate debt (!) they amount to corporate strip-mining by senior management. This is disgraceful and dangerous. The debt will bust some corporations when the inevitable next downturn comes. ..."
"... This buyback cancer, which has grown rapidly because of corrupt SEC thinking and perverse tax incentives, requires urgent treatment. ..."
Feb 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

For better or worse, Republican Senator and one-time presidential candidate Marco Rubio isn't about to let the Democrats own the fight to curtail one of the most flagrant examples of post-crisis corporate excess. And if he can carve out a niche for himself that might one day help him credibly pitch himself as a populist firebrand, much like the man who went on to claim the presidency after defeating him in the Republican primary, well, that sounds to us like a win-win.

To that end, the senator from Florida on Tuesday unveiled a proposal to limit corporate buybacks. Unlike a plan pitched by Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer earlier this month, Rubio's plan would seek to end preferential tax treatment of share buybacks, by decreeing that any money spent on buybacks would be considered - for tax purposes - a dividend paid to shareholders, even if individual investors didn't actually part with any stock.

According to CNBC , the plan calls for every shareholder to receive an imputed portion of the funds equivalent to the percentage of company stock they own, which, of course, isn't the same thing as directly handing capital to shareholders (it simply changes the tax rate that the company buying back the shares would pay).

Ultimately, Rubio hopes that these changes would discourage companies from buying back stock. Those companies that continued to buy back shares would help contribute to higher revenues by increasing the funds that can be taxed, while also raising the rate at which this money can be taxed. Any tax revenue generated by these changes could then be used to encourage more capital investment, Rubio said. As part of the proposal, Rubio would make a provision in the tax law that allows companies to deduct capital investment permanent (that provision is currently set to expire in 2022).

But before lawmakers take their next steps toward regulating how and when companies should return excess capital to shareholders, they might want to take a look at a column recently published by WSJ's "Intelligent Investor" that expounds a concept called "the bladder theory."

Overall, however, buybacks (and dividends) return excess capital to investors who are free to spend or reinvest it wherever it is most needed. By requiring companies to hang onto their capital instead of paying it out, Congress might - perhaps - encourage them to invest more in workers and communities.

But the law most likely to govern here is the Law of Unintended Consequences. The history of investment by corporate managers with oodles of cash on their hands isn't encouraging. Hugh Liedtke, the late chief executive of Pennzoil, reportedly liked to quip that he believed in "the bladder theory:" Companies should pay out as much cash as possible, so managers couldn't piss all the money away.

That companies bought back a record $1 trillion worth of stock last year while employers like GM slashed jobs and closed factories has stoked criticisms of the Trump tax cuts, but as the gulf between the rich and the poor grows ever more wide (a phenomenon for which we can thank the Federal Reserve and other large global central banks) it's worth wondering: facing a simmering backlash to one of the most persistent marginal bids in the market place, have investors already become too complacent about proposals like Rubio's?

We ask only because the Dow soared more than 350 points on Tuesday, suggesting that, even as Rubio added a bipartisan flavor to the nascent movement to curb buybacks, investors aren't taking these proposals too seriously - at least not yet.

Celotex
This still doesn't address the insider trading aspect of stock buybacks, with insiders front-running the buyback.

vladiki

No one's arguing that if a company's groaning with cash then buybacks make sense. But it's the other 95% of of them that are the problem. Compare the 20 year graphs of buybacks with corporate profits, corporate debt, corporate tax paid, corporate dividends paid.

They tell you what everyone in higher management knows - that they're a tax-free dividend mechanism pretending to be "capital rationalisation".

Worse, since they're largely funded by increased corporate debt (!) they amount to corporate strip-mining by senior management. This is disgraceful and dangerous. The debt will bust some corporations when the inevitable next downturn comes.

This buyback cancer, which has grown rapidly because of corrupt SEC thinking and perverse tax incentives, requires urgent treatment.

james diamond squid

Everyone is in on this ponzi. I'm expecting tax deductions for buying stocks/homes.

[Feb 12, 2019] We have elections that are far more like Soviet elections than the average 'conservative' voter can allow himself to imagine. The great difference Soviet elections and ours today is who what entity owns the system, meaning which cultural values rule, dictate.

Feb 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Jake , says: February 12, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT

The USSR had elections of various types. They meant nothing because the Party owned everybody.

We have elections that are far more like Soviet elections than the average 'conservative' voter can allow himself to imagine. The great difference Soviet elections and ours today is who – what entity – owns the system, meaning which cultural values rule, dictate.

Ours is the Anglo-Zionist Empire. This is the end game of the Judaizing heresies that destroyed Christendom. This nightmare is where WASP culture leads and always lead.

[Feb 12, 2019] Labels do matter: The democrats really shot themselves in the foot when they decided to take the stand that those who want less immigration or legal immigration are "racists".

Krugman is a dangerous neoliberal propagandist... And he essentially kills Democratic Party appeal to voters by trying to equate protest against immigration and racism.
To claim the Clinton neoliberal Democrats who are directly or indirectly responsible for killing of million of "brown people" and bombing a dozen of countries support for civil rights is a real, Nazi-propaganda like, stretch...
Feb 12, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Concerned Citizen Feb. 5 Times Pick

I consider myself socially conservative and economically liberal and I very bitterly reject the idea that I am a "racist". The left has to stop tossing around the word "racist" to essentially mean "anything they dislike" and "anyone they disagree with". I am not a racist, and I defy anyone to prove I am. Dr. Krugman, if you are going to call 50% of the voters in the US "racists"....well, consider what happened when your pal Hillary called us "deplorables in a basket". How'd that work out for her?

Trajan The Real Heartland Feb. 5 Times Pick

Democrats love to eat their own. We have one of the most racist presidents to ever hold office in modern times, yet some Democrats are going after Northam over some dumb stunt that happened decades ago. Is he a good leader NOW? Does he support good policies NOW? Is Northam's behavior really any worse (blackface versus sexual misconduct) than someone who just got a seat on the Supreme Court? Wow, this is like watching an episode of The Twilight Zone. Republicans have a strategic advantage because, while Democrats get all twisted up in identity politics, Republican leaders are only tightly focused on serving the rich and powerful at the expense of average Americans. No party disunity there. Democrats need to start focusing on the basic, kitchen table issues that average Americans care about, like affordable health care, affordable housing and affordable higher education. With that strong streak of self-destruction that runs through Democrats, Nancy Pelosi is needed more than ever in the people's House where badly needed legislation has to move forward.

Allright New york Feb. 5 Times Pick

A Democrat could beat Trump if he was pro-single payer, pro family, pro-union, anti-war, and for the aggressive taxing of ultra high wealth if he could just shut down the flagrant abuse of our immigration laws and border. That candidate can't win the primary though because not welcoming the infinite number of suffering illegal immigrants to share these expensive benefits or wanting law and order to immigration earns a label of "racist" in the Democratic Party. Trump will win in 2020 unless dems stop with the wild misuse of the word racist.

Patrick Wisconsin Feb. 5 Times Pick

"Racial hostility" is what I, a white male, feel from the Democrats. It's a common thread among the reluctant Trump supporters I know - they are disgusted by Trump, but they won't support the Democrats for that reason. My 66-year-old father recently said to me, for the first time, "well, you know, I'm a racist."

This man voted for Obama, but I wouldn't be surprised if he casts his vote for Trump in 2020 because the left has lost all credibility in his eyes. They call my dad a racist over and over, but he knows he's a fair person, so he's accepted that the "racist" label isn't that big of a deal.

Don B Massachusetts Feb. 5 Times Pick

I have a hard time getting my head around the author's use of "racist". For example 'economically liberal, socially conservative politicians -- let's be blunt and just say "racist populists."' Where does he get that connection from? Certainly not from any dictionary I have seen. I realize that the left has adopted the habit of calling everyone they disagree with "racist", but this article seems to completely disconnect the word from its meaning. In fact, I have to wonder whether any of the labels he is using, "conservative", "liberal", "populist", etc. are anchored to their literal meanings. Making sense of what he is talking about is impossible if his words have no well defined meaning.

KBronson Louisiana Feb. 5 Times Pick

This analysis is simple, elegant, and completely wrong. Libertarians are far from a majority, but far more than 4%. Probably about 20-25%. "Live and let live" isn't quite that dead. The two party kakistocracy gives people few opportunities to express it in elections. Sorry Professor, but there are plenty of us who don't care who you marry, make cakes for, dress up as, smoke, grow, say, write, spend your money on, put in your or in your body, just so long as you leave us alone. In a dim past it was called Liberalism. Before that it was called Liberty.

54 Recommend
Paul Virginia Feb. 5 Times Pick

On economic issues, especially on social programs, the public is to the left of the Democrats but the numbers of the public who are racist populist are sizable enough for the Republicans to successfully exploit it every election cycle. That's why Trump carried the white working class voters and enough of the suburban and college educated white voters to win the electoral votes.

This is the dilemma of the Democrats for they cannot win elections without working class white support. Racism, and the history of it, is like a curse spelled upon the American political system and as long as there are politicians, mostly Republicans, and others who politically and financially benefit from appealing to racism, true democracy and racial harmony will never arrive in America.

Steve Sonora, CA Feb. 5 Times Pick

Dr. Krugman appears to bewail the demise of the "Rockefeller Republican." As should we all.

49 Recommend
Allright New york Feb. 5 Times Pick

The democrats really shot themselves in the foot when they decided to take the stand that those who want less immigration or legal immigration are "racists". That is the wedge the will drive off the most important block which is the working class midwestern men. If only there were a democrat or an outsider that could stomach being called a racist who was conservative on immigration but liberal on economics, pro-worker, families then he could beat Trump. Otherwise with Kamala or someone that does not appeal to rust-belt workers, there will be 4 more years of Trump. Mark my words.

grantgreen west orange Feb. 5 Times Pick

I take issue with two ideas of Mr Krugman: the statement that Trump is not a true 'racist populist' ...what does that mean anyway? , and that Democrats are moving too left, endangering their prospects. The first idea is that Trump is not keeping a racist agenda is clearly false. His Muslim ban, immigration policies and mass detentions are all following thru on racist ideas. Why Krugman does not feel these are somehow playing to a racist base, and is faking begs credulity. The second idea that Dems are moving too far is not supported by polls that show a majority of people support Medicare for all and taxes on billionaires. The country's middle class has been beaten down for 30 years and now is the time to correct that!

27 Recommend
Jay Florida Feb. 5 Times Pick

"Voters want an economic move to the left -- it's just that some of them dislike Democratic support for civil rights, which the party can't drop without losing its soul." The Democratic Party lost its soul long ago Paul. It lost it when it championed free trade, unguarded borders, Nafta, destroyed defense budgets, tolerated the indecency of Bill Clinton, allowed unions to become corrupt, failed to fix Social Security and bankrupted every American downtown and small business for the pursuit of the mythological better jobs and better living through more imports of products from China as our factories closed and our industries moved offshore. The Democratic Party has betrayed America for the last 30 years and now you're lamenting the loss of Democratic Party members and conservative left wingers. The Democrats moved too far left many years ago. The issues Paul are jobs, industry, affordable housing and healthcare, education for our children, and retirement with dignity. Not to forget safety without sacrificing our right to self-defense. The Republicans and the Democrats equally and together polluted our Democratic institutions. They've corrupted our judicial processes and disenfranchised minorities. We don't need a coffee billionaire or any other billionaire. We need decent, hardworking, intelligent and socially responsible citizens who want legitimate government and institutions. Not corruption from Wall St. or Washington DC. Where are the legitimate candidates?

[Feb 11, 2019] There is no democracy in US. There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties

Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 7, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT

@Cassander There is no democracy in US. There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties. How come you did not notice? Or you just came from enchanted kingdom?
Authenticjazzman , says: February 7, 2019 at 5:42 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova " There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties"

Wrong again. There is in fact war between the cowardly, appeasing, Republicans, and the insane blue-haired democrats.

The Democrats are so fricking crazy, so far in outer space that any attempt at working with them is pure futility.

AJM

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 8, 2019 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Authenticjazzman You are absolutely correct. I just did not wanted to go into such a details. It is not my stile.

[Feb 11, 2019] Noticeble decay of Democratic leadership -- which is now, apparently, two old crazy people, one of which has active dementia creates preconditions for a loot and burn approach to governing the US.

Notable quotes:
"... Much the same could have been said about the last days of the USSR, or for that matter the last phase of the 30 Years War or the Napoleonic Wars. As back then, so now: The old elite and new authoritarians actively crushing the new group, well, they are are actively crushing _themselves_ at an even greater rate than they are crushing the new group. ..."
"... Example: Decay of Democratic leadership -- which is now, apparently, two old crazy people, one of which has active dementia. Waiting in the wings we see various groups that hate each other and propose what is pretty clearly a loot and burn approach to governing the US. They vary only in whom they will loot and what they will burn. ..."
"... Example: Decay of the media, which now knows it is as ineffective as Russian propaganda towards the USSR's end, and apparently either doesn't care or is unable to change. ..."
"... If resource scarcity prompts armed response, well, humanity has enough shiny new weapons _and untried weapons technologies_ to produce destruction as surprising in its extent as WW I and WW II were for their times [1] (or as the self supporting tercio was during the 30 Years War). ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Counterinsurgency , says: February 3, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT

The third trend is the only place where hope can reside. This trend – what I have previously ascribed to a group I call the "dissenters" – understands that radical new thinking is required. But given that this group is being actively crushed by the old liberal elite and the new authoritarians, it has little public and political space to explore its ideas, to experiment, to collaborate, as it urgently needs to.

Much the same could have been said about the last days of the USSR, or for that matter the last phase of the 30 Years War or the Napoleonic Wars. As back then, so now: The old elite and new authoritarians actively crushing the new group, well, they are are actively crushing _themselves_ at an even greater rate than they are crushing the new group.

Example: Decay of Democratic leadership -- which is now, apparently, two old crazy people, one of which has active dementia. Waiting in the wings we see various groups that hate each other and propose what is pretty clearly a loot and burn approach to governing the US. They vary only in whom they will loot and what they will burn.

Example: Decay of the media, which now knows it is as ineffective as Russian propaganda towards the USSR's end, and apparently either doesn't care or is unable to change.

Example: Reaction to yellow vests in France, which drew the reactions described in Cook's article (at the root of this comment thread). "Back to your kennels, curs!" isn't effective in situations like this, but it seems to be the only reply the EU has.

New groups take over when the old group has rotted away. At some point, Cook's third alternative will be all that is left. The real question is what will be happening world wide at that point. If resource scarcity prompts armed response, well, humanity has enough shiny new weapons _and untried weapons technologies_ to produce destruction as surprising in its extent as WW I and WW II were for their times [1] (or as the self supporting tercio was during the 30 Years War).

Counterinsurgency

1] To understand contemporary effect of WW I on survivors, think of a the survivors of a group playing paintball who accidentally got hold of grenade launchers but somehow didn't realize that until the game was over. WW II was actually worse -- people worldwide really expected another industrialized war within 20 years (by AD 1965), this one fought with nuclear weapons.

[Feb 11, 2019] AOC Campaign Finance Primer Goes Viral

Notable quotes:
"... By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans. ..."
"... Quip, then Clear, Simple Statement. ..."
"... The thing that worries me is that congress might find some way to remove her or shut her up if she continues to ruffle neoliberal feathers like this. ..."
"... Fascinating as this is, I worry that AOC might get the "Rosa Luxembourg" treatment from the present day power elites. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

AOC Campaign Finance Primer Goes Viral Posted on February 10, 2019 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

Wow. strengthening ethics rules for the executive branch reached such a huge audience.

This is a must-watch clip. I hesitate to add much commentary, as anything I write will likely not add all that much, and might instead only distract from the original.

Nonetheless, full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes! I will hazard adding some commentary.

I only ask that you watch the clip first. It'll only take five minutes of your time. Just something to ponder on what I hope for many readers is a lazy, relaxing Sunday. Please watch it, as my commentary will assume you've done so.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/j_gxiMTIudA

How to Explain What's At Stake with a Complex Subject

I've spent many, many years thinking about how business influences public policy – and trying to get people to understand some of the details of how that's done, in a variety of contexts.

Here, AOC breaks down one aspect of the problem, and clearly and succinctly explains what's the deal, in terms that've obviously resounded with people and led them to share her primer with their friends.

Quip, then Clear, Simple Statement. She opens with a self deprecating aside – perhaps a bit too self-deprecating, as she doesn't pause long enough to elicit many chuckles. Am I imagining a sense of "What's she up to?" emanating from the (sparse) crowd in that quick initial establishing shot of the hearing chamber?

And then explains what she's up to:

Let's play a lightning round game.

I'm gonna be the bad guy, which I'm sure half the room would agree with anyway, and I want to get away with as much bad things as possible, really to enrich myself and advance my interests, even if that means putting my interests ahead of the American people.

I've enlisted all of you as my co-conspirators, so you're going help me legally get away with all of this."

Framing. Turning this into a lightning round taps into popular culture. Most TV viewers know what a lightning round is, certainly far more than regularly watch congressional hearings on C-Span.

And using the Q & A format requires those summoned to testify at the hearing to affirm each of her points. This reminded me a bit of the call and response technique that some preachers employ.

By structuring this exercise in a lightning round format, each witness can only answer yes or no, allowing little room to obfuscate – I'm looking at you, Bradley A. Smith, chairman of the Institute for Free Speech (IFS). (Here's a link to the Washington Post op-ed AOC refers to: Those payments to women were unseemly. That doesn't mean they were illegal. )

AOC has no time for any waffling, "Okay green light for hush money, I can do all sorts of terrible things, It's totally legal now for me to pay people off " She's not just working from a great script – but is quick on her feet as well. Nice!

Simple Language, Complex Points

The language is simple, and sounds like the way ordinary people speak – "bad guy," Followed later by "super bad guy."

"Totally."

"Okay great."

"Fabulous."

"Okay, so, awesome."

I think it's easier for her to do this, because she's not a lawyer. Even when she's discussing questions of legality, she doesn't slip into legalese -- "super legal" isn't the sort of phrase that would trip easily from the tongues of most lawyers– even recovering ones, or those who got sidetracked into politics.

Repetition of One Point: This is All Legal

AOC channels Michael Kinsley's observation, "The scandal isn't what's illegal, the scandal is what's legal." I hesitate to repeat that saying here, as for political junkies, it's been been heard all too many times before.

AOC fleshes out the details of a message many Americans understand: the system is broken, and under the current laws, no one's going to jail for doing any of this stuff. Instead, this is standard operating procedure in Washington. And that's the case even though as this May headline for report by the Pew Research Centre's headline makes clear: Most Americans want to limit campaign spending, say big donors have greater political influence .


Brindle , February 10, 2019 at 12:24 pm

AOC has great skill in understanding how language works, it is kind of mesmerizing watching her thinking and talking on her feet -- she intertwines big narratives with smaller ones seamlessly. Just brilliant.

notabanker , February 10, 2019 at 1:47 pm

She is gifted. She has demonstrated remarkable poise in her reactions to Pelosi. She refuses to sling dirt, instead acting in deference to her power with a confidence that her own principles will eventually prevail. It's an incredibly wise approach and extremely counter-intuitive to most.

Oso , February 10, 2019 at 4:11 pm

by supporting pelosi, calling her a progressive she shows acknowledgement of her role in the system. it may be the confidence that her principles of being part of the club will prevail. if you pay any attention at all to the system you'd understand it isn't broken, it works as designed.

notabanker , February 10, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Here's the specific interview I was referring to:
https://www.msnbc.com/mtp-daily/watch/full-interview-rep-ocasio-cortez-on-the-democratic-party-green-new-deal-2020-candidates-1439077443625

Catman , February 10, 2019 at 4:15 pm

This past summer right around the time she went to Iowa with Bernie that she was on a Sunday morning talk show. The host asked a question that was pointed and would pin most pols into a corner they'd likely not want to be pinned to. AOC hesitated, thought, and said, "Yes, i'll grant that. I agree with that." or something very similar.
Her hesitation and then acceptance told me two things:
1. She knows herself and she's not frightened by it. Other pols lapse into meaningless nonsense and think defense first. AOC just moves forward aggressively because she's confident in what she believes in.
2. She knows her audience. She understands who she's talking to.
Criticism just bounces off someone like that.

Joe Well , February 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm

I had already seen the Now This video, and what is striking to me is that we have social media content producers like Now This that are willing to treat AOC seriously and give a platform for her ideas, unlike the TV news or most newspapers. Now This and AJ+ (Al Jazeera social video) specialize in making videos viral, so they are the proximate cause of this video going viral, unlike some earlier AOC videos.

Now This is owned by Group Nine Media which is an independent startup that has received millions in venture funding as well as a significant investment by Discovery Media, according to Wikipedia.

Also, Facebook's role is interesting because they are still allowing at least some left-leaning videos to go viral.

How much longer will we have these outlets before they turn into CNN, MSNBC, NYT, etc.?

Ashburn , February 10, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for this, JLS. I was very impressed with AOC when I first saw her campaign video in her race against Joe Crowley. Since that time she has become a force of nature not just in Washington but across the country and internationally. I believe she is most impressive politician I have ever seen and I am in my late sixties. She is simply thrilling to watch and I think she appeals to many outside of her progressive base. Naturally the Washington Post, with its neocon and neoliberal editorial page, will use every tool at its disposal to discredit her and any other progressive.

Hepativore , February 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

The thing that worries me is that congress might find some way to remove her or shut her up if she continues to ruffle neoliberal feathers like this.

While it would be a very extreme measure, do you think that Congress might try to place her under Censure, and possibly even try building a case for Congressional Expulsion on bogus charges? It would be a very underhanded thing to do, but on the other hand, the neoliberals in both parties in Washington D.C. probably want to mount her head on a wall at this point.

flora , February 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm

AOC isn't beholden to the corporate donor/lobbyist/consultant owners of the Dem estab. If she isn't spending 30 hours a week dialing-for-dollars, and is free to represent her voters interests, she might give other Dems ideas, especially the younger ones . Gasp! can't have that! (/s)

https://www.businessinsider.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-slams-corruption-in-oversight-hearing-2019-2

see also dialing-for-dollars:
http://www.startribune.com/how-dialing-for-dollars-has-perverted-congress/378184931/

JohnnyGL , February 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm

I saw this one on Friday .captivating and jaw-dropping. I almost couldn't believe she just got as blunt as that.

I wonder if she's preparing anything to get a little revenge on Pelosi for the brilliantly withering scorn she dropped on the GND, turning it into the "Green Dream". I found myself laughing and annoyed at the same time.

Pelosi knows she's got a grip on the reigns of power and she's happy to rub it in the face of the new freshman class of what she sees as little more than noisemakers (not to dismiss the power of the noisemakers, they've done more than I could have anticipated).

AOC and friends have cards to play .let's see how they play them. They can't directly attack her, of course, they need her. But they can get attention, pressure and embarrass her to take various actions.

Susan the Other , February 10, 2019 at 12:59 pm

AOC is not reacting to Trump's socialism challenge. She is ignoring it as if it came from someone unqualified to be president. Imagine that. Or from masterful legislators so compromised by corruption they will only change when they get good and frightened. It might take a while because they have been too impervious to fear anything for so many decades they might not realize they are in danger. They might as well be very, very stupid. No, she's not taking the bait. Instead, she is pointing out what a corrupt thing both branches of government are, the legislature and, even worse and more dangerous, the president, and not merely because he is controlled by the military. She's playing chess for now. Checkmate will probably come from left field in the form of an economic collapse. Nothing to see here. Move along.

ambrit , February 10, 2019 at 1:54 pm

Fascinating as this is, I worry that AOC might get the "Rosa Luxembourg" treatment from the present day power elites.
Murder has become a standard operating procedure for American operatives overseas; see drone warfare as an example. The logic of Empire predicts that in general, the tactics used by the Empire overseas will be brought back to the Homeland for eventual use against domestic 'enemies.'
The 'Tinfoil Hat Cadres' can cite numerous examples of domestic killings with suspicious ties to internal politics. In the main, these 'examples' of evil are tied to individuals and smaller groups of the power elites. I fear that political murder has become normalized inside America's political classes.
Many here joke about "Mr. or Mz. 'X' better not take any small airplane flights for the foreseeable future." It may be a 'joke' to us, but it certainly is not a joke to those viewing their impending demise from 10,000 feet up in the air.

Hepativore , February 10, 2019 at 2:55 pm

They probably will not have to go to that much trouble. They can always invent a quasi-legal or illegal procedure to remove her from the senate, like the example I gave above with Censure or Expulsion. Plus, this will be officially-sanctioned by Washington D.C. and all of the major media outlets will be able to portray it as getting rid of a troublemaker who did not want to be a team player.

philnc , February 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm

Freuddian slip that, " remove her from the senate"? Actually, there have been open calls from within the establishment to primary her, or most recently, to gerrymander her House district out of existence. But that would just free her up to run for US Senate. It has been suggested that possibility might cause Sen. Schumer to put the kabosh on any effort to eliminate her district. As for a primary challenge, while it certainly would mean lots of walking around money for a select group of Democratic political consultants (the Republicans seem to have slurped up all the foreign regime-change work for this cycle), given AOC's position as the first or second most popular politician in the country (right up there with Bernie), that seems like a fool's errand.

Adam Eran , February 10, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Nice to know that anyone is saying this in a public forum.

In a bit of coincidence, I heard and adviser to Jerry Brown recite the current political system's creed, saying that just because candidates get money from special interests doesn't mean they're captives to those interests. It was astonishing to hear because the speaker said this without the slightest hesitation The rest of us in the room paused for a moment.

I replied that psychological studies demonstrate that if I give you a piece of gum, not millions in campaign contributions, you're likely to be more favorably disposed to what I say.

so we agreed to disagree. Personally, I've interpreted reciting this creed as a kind of initiation the prerequisite to belong to the religion that currently governs the country, not as something the guy actually believed. Like Michael Corleone's recitation at his children's christening Sure, it's a toxic religion, but there are so many of those the cult of vengeance, for example (why else would Americans incarcerate so many people).

dk , February 10, 2019 at 3:31 pm

The context of AOC's hypothetical 100%-PAC-financed campaign:

Meet the Most Corporate PAC-Reliant Reps in Congress

Here are the eight House representatives who took more than two-thirds of their overall campaign funding in the 2018 cycle from PACs representing corporations and corporate trade associations:

https://readsludge.com/2019/01/16/meet-the-most-corporate-pac-reliant-reps-in-congress/

Wyoming , February 10, 2019 at 3:33 pm

My interpretation of the relationship between Pelosi and AOC.

I don't think at all that Pelosi is out to crush AOC. She certainly does not agree with most of AOC's policies (after all Pelosi's path to power was different and she is irrevocably wedded to it) but I think she operates on a different plane here.

Pelosi's rise to power was arduous and her success came from her brilliance in overcoming a wide range of obstacles. She is focused, smart, relentless and ruthless. She earned her power and will not give it away. (what she uses her power for is not really relevant in this discussion)

I think she recognizes in AOC a woman not that dissimilar to herself but separated by a couple of generations. She will not try and destroy her as AOC is not a meaningful threat to her and she can leverage politically from AOC's huge impact in ways only Pelois is likely to know how to do. She will make AOC earn her own power by proving she can overcome obstacles and has the smarts and fortitude to take what she wants in spite of what her opponents do to stop her (opponents come from all directions in politics) – just as she did. That kind of behavior is what Pelosi respects. She could have prevented AOC from being on the committee she used as a platform for the above exposure of corruption but she did not – and it is certain that Pelosi was aware of the potential for AOC to use it to her advantage, or not. So AOC just passed a test there will be many more. She may eventually fall, or she may be one of the rare occurrences of someone rising to prominence and changing the world. She is where she is at at 29 years old! I am sure that scares the crap out of her political opponents as anyone can see tremendous upside for her should she continue to develop. Here's wishing her luck – we need people like her more than any other kind by far.

John k , February 10, 2019 at 7:21 pm

I'd take it, but sounds wishful. Never underestimate incompetence. Pelosi is where she is not because of brilliance but because she is the bag lady.
Pelosi might have made a deal to get her support for speaker, which was more important to her.
Or she might think that AOC would quiet down once she got up on the totem pole, just as she would have done.
Seems unlikely for somebody that believes in the rich and powerful Uber alles would otherwise support somebody that wants to topple that temple.

notabanker , February 10, 2019 at 8:45 pm

AOC's appointment to Fin Svcs is an interesting one. House Oversight Environmental sub committee is useful to Pelosi to have AOC go after Trump, but I'm not sure what Pelosi gets out of the Fin Svcs committee. A quid pro quo for Speaker support makes some sense on the surface.

Interesting as well, AOC turned down an appointment to the Select GND committee and explained it as a timing issue, being asked after her previous two appointments and not having the bandwidth to take on the Select committee and do her job well.

I can read some things into that:
– AOC values those two committee assignments. She's pretty wise to not bite off more than she can chew.
– That Select committee is pretty meaningless. She got the resolution she wanted introduced.
– Did Pelosi underestimate her early and then try to bury her with work? Or did she force her to compromise either the spotlight she will have tearing people up on FS and Oversight or the content of the GND resolution?

I think you have two very savvy political women facing off here, both know it, and both are working a long term game of chess. The generational gap is a huge advantage and disadvantage for both. For now, they are going to leverage it/each other and play their roles. Sometime before the DNC convention in 2020 pieces are going to be played that changes the dynamic. The outcome of that will dictate the path post 2020 convention. The odds of a progressive House are slim. Progressive President a little better. AOC will need Pelosi especially with a Progressive Presidency. Pelosi will need her with a Progressive President. Centrist President relegates AOC to noise in terms of actual House business.

Will be interesting.

VietnamVet , February 10, 2019 at 5:24 pm

AOC is exposing the corruption of paid politics. Virginia Democrats, Donald Trump, and Jeff Bezos illuminate the dark secrets that the plutocratic system uses to keep the connected in line. This is breaking down. Oligarchs are at war. Neoliberalism is stealing life away from the little people and destroying the world. She is a noble in the good old fashion classical sense. Compare her to Adam Schiff. This is visceral. This is good versus evil.

Octopii , February 10, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Brings back fond memories of Alan Grayson's rundowns of the republican healthcare plan (if you do get sick, die quickly) and socializing losses (now we all own the red roof inn).

Wukchumni , February 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

This was my favorite Grayson grilling, watch Bernanke squirm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0NYBTkE1yQ

Clark , February 10, 2019 at 8:56 pm

AOC was even more riveting than Alan Grayson. I'd forgotten about the Bernanke grilling, although his marvelous skewering of the Fed general counsel (Alvarez, I think his name was) about where all the gazillion dollars of bailout money went was also pretty special. "Answer the question." "Congressman, I did answer the question." "No you didn't. Answer the question."

voteforno6 , February 10, 2019 at 6:39 pm

We're going to see more of this in the future remember, AOC doesn't do "call time," so she'll have plenty of opportunities to engage in hearings like this.

Kael , February 10, 2019 at 7:31 pm

She and the panel missed an important opportunity to point out that what gets you on a committee is raising money from the industry regulated by that committee. Instead they just said there is no illegality in working on related legislation.

Maybe this uniquely Article I corruption, didn't fit with her The President Is Even Worse thesis. But she has the skills to tie it to Article II, revolving door scams. I hope she does so soon.

polecat , February 10, 2019 at 8:21 pm

I know that Big Oil is a baddie nic on AOC's quiver, but why not hit at the black heart of HighFinance,, and their kin, WhiteShoeBoy Big-n-Legal who are, mostly likely, some of the biggest, and most manipulative donors around. I think loosing arrows constantly the earl cos., to the exclusion of other nefarious principals might loose some steam, especially when most of the country's citizens rely considerably on FFs as a means of fueling their ground transport, to say nothing of air travel. An example : She could hit Biden by name, with regard to his imput and substantial influence, in passing legislation that has only screwed a generation .. or few !!
So, if she's serious for change, for the better, for the Commons, she needs some specific bulleyes to aim at, many of whom are within her own party !

Richard , February 10, 2019 at 9:11 pm

It's not clear to me how this hearing happened, Can anyone enlighten? Can AOC just schedule her own hearings on her own topics, call her own witnesses? I have no idea how those committees work.

Parker Dooley , February 10, 2019 at 10:38 pm

Apologies to Barry Manilow, but --

I've been alive forever
And I wrote the very first law
I put the weasel words together
I am power and I write the laws

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws

My home lies far above you
But my claws are deep into your soul
Now, when I ignore your cries
I'm young again, even though I'm very old

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws

Oh my greed makes you dance
And lets you know you have no chance
And I wrote foreclosure laws so you must move
Dejection fills your heart
Well, that's a real fine place to start
It's all for me it's not for you
It's all from you, it's all for me
It's a worldwide travesty

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws

I write the laws that make my wealth increase
I write the laws of war and other hateful things
I write the laws that let the poor folks die
I write the laws, I write the laws
I am power and I write the laws

[Feb 10, 2019] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exposes the Problem of Dark Money in Politics NowThis - YouTube

Highly recommended!
Feb 10, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Published on Feb 8, 2019

'We have a system that is fundamentally broken.' -- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is explaining just how f*cked campaign finance laws really are.
" Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe

In the latest liberal news and political news, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines at a recent congressional hearing on money in politics by explaining and inquiring about political corruption. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, aka AOC, went into the issues of lobbyists and Super PACs and how the political establishment, including Donald Trump, uses big money to their advantage, to hide and obfuscate, and push crooked agendas. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is a rising star in the Democratic Party and House of Representatives.

#AlexandriaOcasioCortez #AOC #DarkMoney #politics

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Patrick NEZ , 2 days ago

Good for her. Unfortunately a number of American citizens aren't intelligent enough to realize this exact scenario is playing out right now!

Avembe , 2 days ago

OMG this lady is just a nuclear weapon by herself.

ATX World , 2 days ago

Love this feisty congresswoman. I can see why AOC is dislike by the right and even many democrats. She's in DC to work for the American ppl and not enrich herself or special interest. Love the 2018 class and hope they make changes and clean up DC.

TrueDaxian , 2 days ago

AOC is amazing, pointing out all the fundamental wrongs in our political system. I hope she stays in Congress as long as possible to spread her influence.

Lani Tuitupou , 2 days ago

True bravery and leadership in the face of corruption ! I love this woman

Michael Zinns , 2 days ago

AOC is speaking out when no one else will about the corruption in Washington. She is disliked because she is actually fighting for people. This makes me want to move to New York just so I can vote for her. Keep it up the pressure.

Aracelis Morales Garcia de Ramos , 2 days ago

She is going to be needing extra security. She's poised to take them down and we know how these things have been handled in the past. I'm loving her fearlessness but worry for her safety. May she be protected and blessed. SMIB

[Feb 09, 2019] An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reportedly told insurance executives in private not to worry about Democrats' push for "Medicare for All.

Feb 09, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , February 06, 2019 at 05:22 PM

Oops, Speaker Pelosi caught paving over Medicare For All

https://theintercept.com/2019/02/05/nancy-pelosi-medicare-for-all/

"An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reportedly told insurance executives in private not to worry about Democrats' push for "Medicare for All." (The Intercept)"

Ryan Grim...February 5 2019...6:00 a.m.

"Less than a month after Democrats -- many of them running on "Medicare for All" -- won back control of the House of Representatives in November, the top health policy aide to then-prospective House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Blue Cross Blue Shield executives and assured them that party leadership had strong reservations about single-payer health care and was more focused on lowering drug prices, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

Pelosi adviser Wendell Primus detailed five objections to Medicare for All and said that Democrats would be allies to the insurance industry in the fight against single-payer health care. Primus pitched the insurers on supporting Democrats on efforts to shrink drug prices, specifically by backing a number of measures that the pharmaceutical lobby is opposing.

Primus, in a slide presentation obtained by The Intercept, criticized single payer on the basis of cost ("Monies are needed for other priorities"), opposition ("Stakeholders are against; Creates winners and losers"), and "implementation challenges." We have recreated the slides for source protection purposes.

Democrats, Primus said, are united around the concept of universal coverage, but see strengthening the Affordable Care Act as the means to that end. He made his presentation to the Blue Cross executives on December 4..."...

Christopher H. said in reply to im1dc... , February 06, 2019 at 07:14 PM
so how do you feel about that?
Mr. Bill -> Christopher H.... , February 06, 2019 at 09:52 PM
Personally, I am aghast. The Congress critters are in bed with the medical monopolies. One example, among many:

The congressional endorsement of the ban on the importation of less expensive drugs, claimed as a matter of safety, is a travesty. In the last several months, I have had two of the drugs I take daily, recalled because the Chinese manufacturers shipped the drugs with a measurable concentration of a known carcinogen in them. Safety, my aching ......

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , February 06, 2019 at 09:55 PM
It was not the FDA that discovered the contamination, it was the EU.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , February 06, 2019 at 10:07 PM
Democrats in action on health care include Max Baucus,Tom Daschle, and most infamously, Billy Tauzin:

"Two months before resigning as chair of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which oversees the drug industry, Tauzin had played a key role in shepherding through Congress the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill. Democrats said that the bill was "a give-away to the drugmakers" because it prohibited the government from negotiating lower drug prices and bans the importation of identical, cheaper, drugs from Canada and elsewhere. The Veterans Affairs agency, which can negotiate drug prices, pays much less than Medicare does. The bill was passed in an unusual congressional session at 3 a.m. under heavy pressure from the drug companies.[4][5]

As head of PhRMA, Tauzin was a key player in 2009 health care reform negotiations that produced pharmaceutical industry support for White House and Senate efforts.[6]

Tauzin received $11.6 million from PhRMA in 2010, making him the highest-paid health-law lobbyist.[7] Tauzin now is on the Board of Directors at Louisiana Healthcare Group. "

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , February 06, 2019 at 10:15 PM
Baucus in action :

"Advocate groups attended a Senate Finance Committee meeting in May 2009 to protest their exclusion as well as statements by Baucus that "single payer was not an option on the table." Baucus later had eight protesters removed by police who arrested them for disrupting the hearing. Many of the single-payer advocates said it was a "pay to play" event.[44][45][46] A representative of the Business Roundtable, which includes 35 memberships of health maintenance organizations, health insurance and pharmaceutical companies, admitted that other countries, with lower health costs, and higher quality of care, such as those with single-payer systems, have a competitive advantage over the United States with its private system.[47]

At the next meeting on health care reform of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus had five more doctors and nurses removed and arrested.[48][49][50] Baucus admitted a few weeks later in June 2009 that it was a mistake to rule out a single payer plan[51] because doing so alienated a large, vocal constituency and left President Barack Obama's proposal of a public health plan to compete with private insurers as the most liberal position.[51]

Baucus has used the term "uniquely American solution" to describe the end point of current health reform and has said that he believes America is not ready yet for any form of single payer health care. This is the same term the insurance trade association, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), is using. AHIP has launched the Campaign for an American Solution, which argues for the use of private health insurance instead of a government backed program"

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , February 06, 2019 at 10:20 PM
Daschle:

"Daschle co-wrote the 2008 book Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis ISBN 9780312383015.[55] He and his co-authors point out that "most of the world's highest-ranking health-care systems employ some kind of 'single-payer' strategy - that is, the government, directly or through insurers, is responsible for paying doctors, hospitals, and other health-care providers." They argue that a single-payer approach is simple, equitable, provides everyone with the same benefits, and saves billions of dollars through economies of scale and simplified administration. They concede that implementing a single-payer system in the United States would be "politically problematic" even though some polls show more satisfaction with the single-payer Medicare system than private insurance.[56]"

Health care giant Aetna will be the first official client for the former Democratic leader, who's now running his own consulting shop within the law firm Baker Donelson. Daschle will lobby for the health insurer on Obamacare implementation and Medicare and Medicaid rule changes, according to a filing with the Senate Secretary.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , February 06, 2019 at 10:38 PM
"For fifteen years, Tauzin was one of the more Conservative Democrats in the United States House of Representatives. Even though he eventually rose to become an assistant majority whip, he felt shut out by some of his more liberal colleagues and sometimes had to ask the Republicans for floor time. When the Democrats lost control of the House after the 1994 elections, Tauzin was one of the cofounders of the House Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate-to-conservative Democrats.

.......

However, on August 8, 1995, Tauzin himself became a Republican"

Republicans in action ..... ?

[Feb 09, 2019] Americans Are Tired Of The Same Old Pandering And Stale Ideas We're Going To Keep Offering Them

This is from October 2017. nothing changed...
Notable quotes:
"... Voters by the millions dislike our cozying up to Wall Street, our hopelessly out-of-touch elitism, our support for never-ending military entanglements, our blindness to the plight of rural communities decimated by globalization, and our failure to expand opportunities for American workers. So what are we going to do about it? Well, after taking all this into account, after taking a good hard look at ourselves and doing some serious soul-searching, I'm pleased to announce that .... Democrats will continue to run on the same set of platitudes we've been trotting out since at least the 1990s. ..."
Oct 06, 2017 | www.theonion.com

If last year's election showed us anything, it's that anger and resentment are on the rise. I hear it from small business owners and working-class families, from millennials and retirees. There's a sense that we've lost our way, and that the blame rests squarely on our nation's leadership. Simply put, Americans are sick of being patronized and sick of the same old ideas that we, as Democrats, are going to keep offering them over and over and over again.

The frustration is palpable. People are fed up with the status quo. Citizens from all walks of life are sitting around their dinner tables, talking about how they've had it with all the usual proposals that, once more, we will be repackaging and spoon-feeding to them in a way that's entirely transparent and frankly condescending.

That's something every American can count on.

It's no wonder voters are furious. Politics-as-usual has failed them, and they desperately want change that the Democratic Party has no plan to bring about in any meaningful way. But let me assure you, when our constituents tell us they've had enough broken promises, when they say our actions haven't addressed their needs, we listen. We hear your concerns -- hear them loud and clear -- then immediately discard them and revert back to the exact same ineffectual strategies we've been rallying behind for years.

It doesn't take a genius to see what the polls are telling us. Voters by the millions dislike our cozying up to Wall Street, our hopelessly out-of-touch elitism, our support for never-ending military entanglements, our blindness to the plight of rural communities decimated by globalization, and our failure to expand opportunities for American workers. So what are we going to do about it? Well, after taking all this into account, after taking a good hard look at ourselves and doing some serious soul-searching, I'm pleased to announce that .... Democrats will continue to run on the same set of platitudes we've been trotting out since at least the 1990s.

[Feb 09, 2019] 5 Things To Know About Cory Booker

Feb 09, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

1. WHY DOES BOOKER WANT TO BE PRESIDENT?

Hopes it could finally be his ticket out of New Jersey.

... ... ...

[Feb 07, 2019] I am 70 and am thinking that when I was growing up the US Democrats represented the concepts of socialism and the Republicans that of capitalism. Today I see the Democrats as representing capitalism and Republicans representing fascism.

Feb 07, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Feb 7, 2019 9:29:56 PM | link

I just had this insight and wanted to share it here.

I am 70 and am thinking that when I was growing up the US Democrats represented the concepts of socialism and the Republicans that of capitalism. Today I see the Democrats as representing capitalism and Republicans representing fascism.

A commenter on another thread asked me about my China socialism focus and referred to the US Interstate highway system initiated in the Eisenhower era when the marginal tax rate was in the low 90 percent range. America has and continues to embrace aspects of socialism they refuse to believe exists in America.......the effects of MSM brainwashing and propaganda. China is attempting a mixed economy favoring socialism AFAICT

[Feb 06, 2019] House Democrats Will Expand Russiagate in 2019 to Push Trump Toward War

Feb 06, 2019 | sputniknews.com

Radio Sputnik's Loud and Clear spoke with Daniel Lazare, a journalist and author of three books, "The Frozen Republic," "The Velvet Coup" and "America's Undeclared War," about what we can expect from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation in 2019, its third year of operation.

"A House committee can keep the ball rolling indefinitely," Lazare noted. "Nothing solid has turned up about collusion in the Russiagate story. Yet, the story keeps going and going, a new tidbit is put out every week, and so the scandal keeps somehow perpetuating itself. And even though there's less and less of substance coming out, so I expect that'll be the pattern for the next few months, and I expect that the Democrats will revv this whole process up to make it sort of seem as if there really is an avalanche of information crashing down on Trump when there really isn't."

investigation, noting it had produced little to nothing of substance in support of the thesis justifying its existence: that Russia either colluded with the Trump campaign or conspired to interfere in the US election to tilt it in Trump's favor.

Indeed, report after report on the data that has been provided to Congress by tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google show an underwhelming performance by any would-be Russian actors. In contrast to the apocalyptic claims by Democrats and the mainstream media about the massive disinformation offensive waged by Russian actors, the websites, social media accounts, post reach and ad money associated with "Russians" is always dwarfed by the equivalent actions of the Trump campaign and the campaign of its rival in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton, along with their throngs of supporters across the US corporate world, both of whom sunk hundreds of millions into winning the social media game.

Among the chief motivations for Democrats going into 2019 is that "Democrats are now the party of war," Lazare said, noting that Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi called Trump's prospective withdrawal from Syria a "Christmas gift to ISIS [Daesh]."

"This is the raison d'etre for Russiagate: they're trying to maneuver Trump into hostilities with Russia, China, North Korea, etc. I mean, this is foreign policy by subterfuge it's about keeping 2,000 troops in Syria as well, and getting Americans' heads blown off in Afghanistan, all of which the Democrats want to do. The whole thing is backroom government of the worst kind."

[Feb 06, 2019] The modern Republican Party is all about cutting taxes on the rich and benefits for the poor and the middle class. And Trump, despite his campaign posturing, has turned out to be no different.

Feb 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

Meanwhile, the modern Republican Party is all about cutting taxes on the rich and benefits for the poor and the middle class. And Trump, despite his campaign posturing, has turned out to be no different.

Hence the failure of our political system to serve socially conservative/racist voters who also want to tax the rich and preserve Social Security. Democrats won't ratify their racism; Republicans, who have no such compunctions, will -- remember, the party establishment solidly backed Roy Moore's Senate bid -- but won't protect the programs they depend on.


Charles Pewitt , says: February 6, 2019 at 7:51 pm GMT

Paul Krugman is a baby boomer, pissant globalizer bastard, but he has made reasonable comments about immigration in the past.

Paul Krugman is a high IQ moron who has occasional bouts of clarity on the anti-worker aspects of mass legal immigration and illegal immigration. Krugman had it right in 2006 when he said that mass immigration lowers wages for workers in the USA.

Krugman in NY Times 2006:

First, the benefits of immigration to the population already here are small. The reason is that immigrant workers are, at least roughly speaking, paid their "marginal product": an immigrant worker is paid roughly the value of the additional goods and services he or she enables the U.S. economy to produce. That means that there isn't anything left over to increase the income of the people already here.

My second negative point is that immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That's just supply and demand: we're talking about large increases in the number of low-skill workers relative to other inputs into production, so it's inevitable that this means a fall in wages. Mr. Borjas and Mr. Katz have to go through a lot of number-crunching to turn that general proposition into specific estimates of the wage impact, but the general point seems impossible to deny.

Hypnotoad666 , says: February 6, 2019 at 11:05 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt I agree Paul Krugman is a high IQ moron.

However, Krugman is also a relentless partisan hack. So his expert analysis always ends up supporting the current Democrat talking points -- whatever they may be.

Here, Krugman is disparaging any move to the center as the DNC wants to keep the Dems unified on the left and keep Schultz (or anyone like him) out of the race. Of course, the real reason Schultz has massively negative polling is because the Democrat establishment has been savaging him for precisely this reason.

Likewise, to Krugman a "Racist" politician is anyone who holds the same immigration position as Krugman did in 2006, which is now anathema to the Dem's new Open Borders electoral strategy.

It's only a matter of time until Krugman starts talking up Kamala Harris as the best thing that could happen for the economy.

TG , says: February 7, 2019 at 12:16 am GMT
Bottom line: Krugman – like any economist who was gifted with a fake Nobel Prize in Economics by his wealthy patrons (the Nobel Prize in Economics does not exist – check out wikipedia!) – is a whore whose only function is to protect the left flank of our corrupt and rapacious elite.

He's not a moron, and he's certainly not a liberal. His job – which pays very well mind you – is to pretend to be a sorta-kinda Keynesian New Dealer, but in reality, anything that the rich wants, he will end up defending. And even if he sorta kinda claims to be opposing something that the rich want which will impoverish the rest of us, when it comes to the bottom line, he will ruthlessly attack any opposition to these policies.

[Feb 05, 2019] Problem with the corrupt, sclerotic and comatose Democratic establishment (Pelosi, Schumer)

First of all financial oligarchy should be taxes and Glass-Steagall reinstalled. Reinstallation of Grass-Steagall is very important as well as raising capital gains taxes. So Warren should concentrate on attacking financial casino first...
Notable quotes:
"... We already saw this with minimum wage proposals, where minimum wages were raised by voter initiative, while Democratic candidates refuse to endorse them and lost. ..."
"... Yet kurt insists that we shouldn't be critical of the corrupt and comatose Democratic leadership, even though they clearly don't represent the vast majority of Democrats. I mean, what's democracy for, if not to follow corrupt leaders in lock step? ..."
"... If the Democratic elite is so enamored of taxing the wealthy, why is it that the DCCC never manages to stand candidates who share that view? ..."
"... Democratic perfidy on taxes dates back to JFK, when Kennedy (a plutocrat) starting cutting them on the his class. After that Tip O'Neill exacerbated the Democratic sell-out by embracing Reagan's tax cuts. ..."
"... It is time for America to live up to it's hyperbole. There are two parties in America. The GOP represents the top 1 %. The Clinton Democrats represent the top 10 %. ..."
"... The unrepresented 90 %, pay the bills, fight the wars, and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. ..."
"... A 50% reduction in the military budget would serve two masters. Firstly, it may force, a long overdue, economic efficiency on an out of control, wasteful monopolist, that has lost it's way. I'm pretty sure they can provide, at the least, the lame defense they have been providing, at half the cost. Secondly, with the savings, we can provide our citizens with health care, including dental. ..."
"... Our military will scream loudly, like the despots they idolize. Luckily, we have a cadre of true American soldiers that can replace the corrupt dogs of war, currently in control. ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com
JohnH, January 29, 2019 at 12:04 PM
Litmus test for Democrats:
  • Warren wealth tax
  • AOC Green New Deal
  • AOC 70% Tax

Polls show that Democrats overwhelmingly favor the two AOC proposals and probably the Warren proposal as well.

Problem is that the corrupt, sclerotic and comatose Democratic establishment (Pelosi, Schumer) would rather squelch such proposals, preferring to lose elections to endorsing and enacting them.

We already saw this with minimum wage proposals, where minimum wages were raised by voter initiative, while Democratic candidates refuse to endorse them and lost.

Democrats' mantra--'no, we can't.'

JohnH -> kurt... , January 31, 2019 at 07:34 AM
Green New Deal, wealth tax, and 70% income tax are campaign issue made in heaven for Pelosi, Schumer, and party leaders...but they are nowhere to be found. They regard the proposals as politically unfeasible, because their handlers are staunchly opposed.

Yet kurt insists that we shouldn't be critical of the corrupt and comatose Democratic leadership, even though they clearly don't represent the vast majority of Democrats. I mean, what's democracy for, if not to follow corrupt leaders in lock step?

JohnH -> kurt... , February 01, 2019 at 01:17 PM
Fact free assertion: "Pelosi is supportive of a much higher marginal rate." LOL!!!

If the Democratic elite is so enamored of taxing the wealthy, why is it that the DCCC never manages to stand candidates who share that view?

kurt (as usual) is delusional...or is gullible enough to believe their words and ignore their action.

Christopher H. said in reply to kurt... , February 01, 2019 at 02:34 PM
"Oh - Pelosi is supportive of a much higher marginal rate and welcomes AOC and has said so repeatedly so there's that."

Stop you're lying.

"You and your bretheren should double check your thoughts about Pelosi and Schumer - recognize the difference between political posturing and reality - and then check to see if what you believe has a real basis in reality or if it is just the bothsidism of the press providing you with the BS position of the right."

Follow your own advice. You lie constantly and are full of it.

JohnH -> kurt... , February 01, 2019 at 02:02 PM

Democratic perfidy on taxes dates back to JFK, when Kennedy (a plutocrat) starting cutting them on the his class. After that Tip O'Neill exacerbated the Democratic sell-out by embracing Reagan's tax cuts.

Pelosi is following a long tradition of Democrats who pander to the wealthy...behaving like Republicans but trying to make-believe that they represent we, the people.

Gerald -> JohnH... , January 31, 2019 at 07:55 AM
There are serious objections on the left to the Warren plan, one of which appeared yesterday: http://time.com/5516903/elizabeth-warren-wealth-tax-income-assets/ Tons of objections on the right, of course, to everything on your litmus test. :)
JohnH -> Gerald... , January 31, 2019 at 02:11 PM
Sure, we should fix the income tax...but that largely leaves out established wealth...plutocrats who largely live off their rents.

I pay at a rate of almost 2% on my house...France had a wealth tax...it can be done. Sweeping it under the rug, as Democrats love to do, only guarantees that it will be buried, the implicit Democratic position.

In any case, the income tax and wealth tax proposals are ideal for Democrats...if they want to win elections rather than simply pander to their wealthy donors.

Mr. Bill -> JohnH... , January 31, 2019 at 07:47 PM
It is time for America to live up to it's hyperbole. There are two parties in America. The GOP represents the top 1 %. The Clinton Democrats represent the top 10 %.

The unrepresented 90 %, pay the bills, fight the wars, and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.

Time for equality is long past due.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:14 PM
A 50% reduction in the military budget would serve two masters. Firstly, it may force, a long overdue, economic efficiency on an out of control, wasteful monopolist, that has lost it's way. I'm pretty sure they can provide, at the least, the lame defense they have been providing, at half the cost. Secondly, with the savings, we can provide our citizens with health care, including dental.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:19 PM
Our military will scream loudly, like the despots they idolize. Luckily, we have a cadre of true American soldiers that can replace the corrupt dogs of war, currently in control.

[Feb 05, 2019] Capitalists need their options regulated and their markets ripped from their control by the state. Profits must be subject to use it to a social purpose or heavily taxed. Dividends executive comp and interest payments included

Feb 05, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:22 PM

Is anyone else tired of the longest, least productive waste of war in American history ? What have we achieved, where are we going with this ? More war.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:31 PM
We are being fed a fairy tale of war about what men, long dead, did. And the reason they did it. America is being strangled by the burden of belief that now is like then.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:46 PM
By the patrician men and women administrators, posturing as soldiers like the WW2 army, lie for self profit. Why does anyone believe them ? Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, each an economic decision, rather than a security issue.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , January 31, 2019 at 08:48 PM
America is dying on the same sword as Rome, for the same reason.
Plp -> JF... , January 31, 2019 at 07:28 AM
Capitalists need their options regulated and their markets ripped from their control by the state. Profits must be subject to use it to a social purpose or heavily taxed. Dividends executive comp and interest payments included
Julio -> mulp ... , January 31, 2019 at 08:58 AM
Well done! Much clearer than your usual. There are several distinct motivations for taxes. We have been far enough from fairness to workers, for so long, that we need to use the tax system to redistribute the accumulated wealth of the plutocrats.

So I would say high marginal rates are a priority, which matches both objectives. Wealth tax is needed until we reverse the massive inequality supported by the policies of the last 40 years.

Carbon tax and the like are a different thing, use of the tax code to promote a particular policy and reduce damage to the commons.

Gerald -> Julio ... , January 31, 2019 at 04:14 PM
"...we need to use the tax system to redistribute the accumulated wealth of the plutocrats. So I would say high marginal rates are a priority..."

Forgive me, but high marginal rates (which I hugely favor) don't "redistribute the accumulated wealth" of the plutocrats. If such high marginal rates are ever enacted, they'll apply only to the current income of such plutocrats.

Julio -> Gerald... , January 31, 2019 at 06:22 PM
You merged paragraphs, and elided the next one. The way I see it, high rates are a prerequisite to prevent the reaccumulation of obscene wealth, and its diversion into financial gambling.

But yes that would be a very slow way to redistribute what has already accumulated.

Gerald -> Julio ... , February 01, 2019 at 04:48 AM
Didn't mean to misinterpret what you were saying, sorry. High rates are not only "a prerequisite to prevent the reaccumulation of obscene wealth," they are also a reimposition of fair taxation on current income (if it ever happens, of course).
Global Groundhog -> Julio ... , February 02, 2019 at 01:39 PM
Wealth tax is needed until we reverse the massive inequality supported by the policies of the last 40 years. Carbon tax and the like are a different thing, use of the tax code to promote a particular policy and reduce damage to the commons.
"

more wisdom as usual!

Although wealth tax will be unlikely, it could be a stopgap; could also be a guideline to other taxes as well. for example, Elizabeth points out that billionaires pay about 3% of their net worth into their annual tax bill whereas workers pay about 7% of their net worth into their annual tax bill. Do you see how that works?

it doesn't? this Warren argument gives us a guideline. it shows us where other taxes should be adjusted to even out this percentage of net worth that people are taxed for. Ceu, during the last meltdown 10 years or so ago, We were collecting more tax from the payroll than we were from the income tax. this phenomenon was a heavy burden on those of low net worth. All this needs be resorted. we've got to sort this out.

and the carbon tax? may never be; but it indicates to us what needs to be done to make this country more efficient. for example some folks, are spending half a million dollars on the Maybach automobile, about the same amount on a Ferrari or a Alfa Romeo Julia quadrifoglio, but the roads are built for a mere 40 miles an hour, full of potholes.

What good is it to own a fast car like that when you can't drive but 40 -- 50 miles an hour? and full of traffic jams. something is wrong with taxation incentives. we need to get a better grid-work of roads that will get people there faster.

Meanwhile most of those sports cars just sitting in the garage. we need a comprehensive integrated grid-work of one way streets, roads, highways, and interstates with no traffic lights, no stop signs; merely freeflow ramp-off overpass interchanges.

thanks, Julio! thanks
again
.!

JF -> Global Groundhog... , February 04, 2019 at 05:42 AM
Wonderful to see the discussion about public finance shifting to use net worth proportions as the focus and metric.

Wonderful. Let us see if press/media stories and opinion pieces use this same way of talking about the financing of self-government.

Mr. Bill -> anne... , February 03, 2019 at 08:15 PM
Jesus Christ said, in so many words, that a man's worth will be judged by his generosity and his avarice.

" 24And the disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 26They were even more astonished and said to one another, "Who then can be saved?"

[Feb 02, 2019] "They Are Suspicious of Beto" Why Are Democrats Trying to Annihilate an O'Rourke Campaign Before It Has Even Started

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post, ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.vanityfair.com

"People on the left that identify as Democratic socialist, the left that supports Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for them, Bernie got robbed in 2016," said Michael Kazin, the Georgetown University historian and co-editor of Dissent. "They think the Establishment is always looking for someone to go against Bernie -- to run against progressives in the party and stop them from being ascendant. I think they are suspicious of Beto because he has taken oil and gas money, he's becoming the darling of big donors, and Obama likes him."

Being liked by Obama, who won two presidential elections and left office with an 90 percent favorable rating among Democrats, might not seem like a disadvantage in a Democratic primary. But to many on the left, Obama's sins are plentiful: he bailed out Wall Street, half-assed the stimulus package and health-care reform, deported more undocumented immigrants than any president, and prosecuted drone warfare that left piles of civilian casualties across the Middle East. What especially chafes Sanders-style progressives is that Obama cloaked a centrist neoliberal agenda in a soaring, feel-good rhetoric that charmed voters and made them forget about all the bad stuff.

Obama was cool. So is O'Rourke. The lines, then, are quickly being drawn: Beto is just a Davos Democrat on a skateboard.

"I'm not sure we need another Obama, or another of any Democrat we've had recently," Elizabeth Bruenig recently wrote in The Washington Post, urging caution before Democrats rush to O'Rourke's corner. "I think the times both call for and allow for a left-populist candidate with uncompromising progressive principles. I don't see that in O'Rourke." She labeled O'Rourke "progressive-ish," pointing to his "thin" statements on energy regulation and his membership in the New Democrat Coalition, "a centrist caucus with Clintonian views on health care, education, and trade."

[Jan 29, 2019] These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don t be fooled by their progressive veneer by Bhaskar Sunkara

Highly recommended!
Taming of financial oligarchy and restoration of the job market at the expense of outsourcing and offshoring is required in the USA and gradually getting support. At least a return to key elements of the New Deal should be in the cards. But Clinton wing of Dems is beong redemption. They are Wall Street puddles. all of the them.
Issues like Medicare for All, Free College, Restoring Glass Steagall, Ending Citizen's United/Campaign finance reform, federal jobs guarantee, criminal justice reform, all poll extremely well among the american populace
If even such a neoliberal pro globalization, corporations controlled media source as Guardian views centrist neoliberal Democrats like Booker unelectable, the situation in the next elections might be interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... Bhaskar Sunkara is a Guardian US columnist and the founding editor of Jacobin ..."
"... 2016 has shown that the Democratic party is beyond redemption. When it comes down to the choice of either win with a platform that may impact the wealth and power of their owners, or losing, they will always choose the latter, and continue as useful (and well paid) idiots in the charade presented as US democracy. ..."
Jan 15, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

In their rhetoric and policy advocacy, this trio has been steadily moving to the left to keep pace with a leftward-moving Democratic party. Booker , Harris and Gillibrand know that voters demand action and are more supportive than ever of Medicare for All and universal childcare.
Gillibrand, long considered a moderate, has even gone as far as to endorse abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) and, along with Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders' single-payer healthcare bill. Harris has also backed universal healthcare and free college tuition for most Americans.

But outward appearances aren't everything. Booker, Harris and Gillibrand have been making a very different pitch of late -- on Wall Street. According to CNBC , all three potential candidates have been reaching out to financial executives lately, including Blackstone's Jonathan Gray, Robert Wolf from 32 Advisors and the Centerbridge Partners founder Mark Gallogly.

Wall Street, after all, played an important role getting the senators where they are today. During his 2014 Senate run, in which just 7% of his contributions came from small donors, Booker raised $2.2m from the securities and investment industry. Harris and Gillibrand weren't far behind in 2018, and even the progressive Democrat Sherrod Brown has solicited donations from Gallogly and other powerful executives.

When CNBC's story about Gillibrand personally working the phones to woo Wall Street executives came out, her team responded defensively, noting her support for financial regulation and promising that if she did run she would take "no corporate Pac money". But what's most telling isn't that Gillibrand and others want Wall Street's money, it's that they want the blessings of financial CEOs. Even if she doesn't take their contributions, she's signaling that she's just playing politics with populist rhetoric. That will allow capitalists to focus their attention on candidates such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who have shown a real willingness to abandon the traditional coziness of the Democratic party with the finance, insurance and real estate industries.

Gillibrand and others are behaving perfectly rationally. The last presidential election cost $6.6bn -- advertising, staff and conventions are expensive. But even more important than that, they know that while leftwing stances might help win Democratic primaries, the path of least resistance in the general election is capitulation to the big forces of capital that run this country. Those elites might allow some progressive tinkering on the margins, but nothing that challenges the inequities that keep them wealthy and their victims weak.

Big business is likely to bet heavily on the Democratic party in 2020, maybe even more so than it did in 2016. In normal circumstances, the Democratic party is the second-favorite party of capital; with an erratic Trump around, it is often the first.

The American ruling class has a nice hustle going with elections. We don't have a labor-backed social democratic party that could create barriers to avoid capture by monied interests. It's telling that when asked about the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper's recent chats with Wall Street political financiers, a staff member told CNBC: "We meet with a wide range of donors with shared values across sectors."

Plenty of Democratic leaders believe in the neoliberal growth model. Many have gotten personally wealthy off of it. Others think there is no alternative to allying with finance and then trying to create progressive social policy on the margins. But with sentiments like that, it doesn't take fake news to convince working-class Americans that Democrats don't really have their interests at heart.

Of course, the Democratic party isn't a monolith. But the insurgency waged by newly elected representatives such as the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna and others is still in its infancy. At this stage, it isn't going to scare capital away from the Democratic party, it's going to make Wall Street invest more heavily to maintain its stake in it.

Men like Mark Gallogly know who their real enemy is: more than anyone else, the establishment is wary of Bernie Sanders . It seems likely that he will run for president, but he's been dismissed as a 2020 frontrunner despite his high favorability rates, name recognition, small-donor fundraising ability, appeal to independent voters, and his team's experience running a competitive national campaign. As 2019 goes on, that dismissal will morph into all-out war.

Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats gaining power. It's afraid of the Democrats who will take them on -- and those, unfortunately, are few and far between.

Bhaskar Sunkara is a Guardian US columnist and the founding editor of Jacobin

memo10 -> Karen Maddening , 15 Jan 2019 14:05

Just like universal health care, let's give up, it's too hard, we're not winners, we're not number one or problem solvers and besides, someone at some time for some reason might get something that someone else might not get regardless if that someone else needs it. Let's go with the Berners who seem to believe there will never be none so pure enough to become president.

The corporate state does not cast the votes. The public does.

Leaning farther to the left on issues like universal healthcare and foreign wars would be agreeing with the public. Not only the progressive public, but the GENERAL public. The big money donors are the ONLY force against the Democrats resisting these things.

mp66 , 15 Jan 2019 13:38
2016 has shown that the Democratic party is beyond redemption. When it comes down to the choice of either win with a platform that may impact the wealth and power of their owners, or losing, they will always choose the latter, and continue as useful (and well paid) idiots in the charade presented as US democracy.
Pete Healey , 15 Jan 2019 13:31
Bernie's challenge will "morph into all-out war". "Wall Street isn't afraid of corporate Democrats", blah, blah, blah. But we're going to continue to play along? Why? Oh yeah, Bhaskar Sunkara will have us believe "There is no alternative". Remember TINA? Give it up, man, just give it up.
yayUSA , 15 Jan 2019 13:17
Tulsi entering is big news.
Danexmachina , 15 Jan 2019 12:31
One dollar, one vote.
If you want Change, keep it in your pocket.
We can't turn this sinking ship around unless we know what direction it's going. So far, that direction is just delivering money to private islands.
Democrats have a lot of talk, but they still want to drive the nice cars and sell the same crapft that the Republicans are.
Taxing the rich only works when you worship the rich in the first place.
Tim Cahill , 15 Jan 2019 12:00
Election financing is the single root cause for our democracy's failure. Period.

I really don't care too much about the mouthing of progressive platitudes from any 2020 Dem Prez candidate. The only ones that will be worth voting for are the ones that sign onto Sanders' (or similar) legislation that calls for a Constitutional amendment that allows federal and state governments to limit campaign contributions.

And past committee votes to prevent amendment legislation from getting to a floor vote - as well as missed co-sponsorship opportunities - should be interesting history for all the candidates to explain.

Campaign financing is what keeps scum entrenched (because primary challengers can't overcome the streams of bribes from those wonderful people exercising their 'free speech' "rights" to keep their puppet in govt) and prevents any challenges to the corporate establishment who serve the same rich masters.

Lenny Dirges -> Vintage59 , 15 Jan 2019 11:55
Lol, Social Security, Medicare, unemployement protections, so many of the things you mentioned, and so much more, were from the PROGRESSIVE New Deal, which managed to implement this slew of changes in 5 years! 5 years! You can't criticize "progressives" in one sentence and then use their accomplishments to support your argument. Today, the New Deal would be considered too far left by most so called "pragmatic liberals." I assume you are getting fully behind the proposed "Green New Deal" then, right?
memo10 -> L C , 15 Jan 2019 11:54

Vintage59 pointed out lots of things people have changed. Here's an exhaustive list of the legislation passed by people who didn't get elected but were more progressive than the people who did:

There is also a steadily growing list of Democrats who did worse in elections than a hypothetical Democratic candidate had been projected to do.

The party can either continue being GOP-Lite or it can start winning elections. It can't do both.

memo10 -> 2miners , 15 Jan 2019 11:49

Forget it Bernie and Co. -with the women haters in his ranks and his apparent tepid support from African Americans he's way off the pace

Way off the pace compared to who? Trump?

memo10 -> IamDolf , 15 Jan 2019 11:44

Nobody is going to get elected on a far left platform. Not in the USA and not anywhere. That's just a fact. And everybody is going to need $$$ in the campaign. Of course candidates are going to suck up to Wall street and business in general.
And we would have been a thousand percent better off with HRC in the white house than we are now with the Trumpostor.

We don't need a candidate with far-left platform, we need one that is left-leaning at all. HRC and her next generation of clones are mild Republicans.

memo10 -> xxxaaaxxx , 15 Jan 2019 11:40

Those who want to push the Democrats to the left in order to win perhaps need to stop talking to each other and talk to people who live outside of LA and NY. If you stay within your bubble it seems the whole world thinks like you.
How old will Sanders be in 2020?

The people (outside the coasts) lean to the left some big issues. Medicare for all. Foreign wars. etc.

A sane person might ask why in the hell the left-side party is leaning farther to the right than the general public.

memo10 -> Peter Krall , 15 Jan 2019 11:17

Sanders is a dinosaur. If there is a reason for Wall Street to be wary of him then it is that the mentally challenged orange guy may win another term if the Democrats run with Sanders.

Hopefully, Sanders will understand what many of his supporters do not want to see: At some time age becomes a problem. If the Democrats decide to move to the left rather than pursuing a pragmatic centrist approach, Ocasio-Cortez might be an option. If they opt for the centrist alternative, it might be Harris or Gillibrand. Or, in both cases, a surprise candidate. But Sanders' time is over, just as Biden's Bloomberg's.

It's true, but Trump is such a clusterfuck that an 80yo president is still be a better situation. Many countries have had rulers in their 80s at one time or another.

Trump is clearly showing early-stage dementia now. Compare footage of him 10+ years ago to anything within the last 6-12 months and it's obvious. The stress levels of being the POTUS + blackmailed by Putin + investigations bearing down on him . . . it's wearing him down fast.

L C -> HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 11:15
Anti-trust would be a very good place to start with.

Universal healthcare is a lot harder than you seem to think. I'd love it, but getting there means putting so many people out of work, it'll be a massive political challenge, even if corporations have no influence. Progressives might be better off focusing on how to ensure the existing system works better and Medicaid can slowly expand to fill the universal roll in the future.

Vintage59 -> BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 11:05
Wall Street is a casino. The House never loses.
Vintage59 -> Lenny Dirges , 15 Jan 2019 11:02
Everything changes constantly.

Where has offering candidates who actually have a chance to win gotten us? Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, the ADA, Title 9, Social Security, and more. None of these exist without constant changes. All took years to pass against heavy opposition. None went far enough. All were improvements.

The list of wrongheaded things that were also passed is longer but thinking nothing changes because it takes time is faulty logic.

ytram -> ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:30
Our capitalist predators are still alive and well. The finance, insurance, and real estate
organizations are the worst predators in the USA.
They will eat your babies if you let them.

[Jan 24, 2019] Nancy Pelosi fits the classic Soviet politburo member with their private dachas on the Black Sea. Nancy believes she is now the opposition leader with the mandate from the Party of Davos to ensure the defeat of Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Nancy believes she is now the opposition leader with the mandate from the Party of Davos to ensure the defeat of Trump. ..."
Jan 24, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Jack , a day ago

Sir

Nancy Pelosi is worth several hundred million dollars. I don't think she's a Marxist in the classical sense. Although she would fit the classic Soviet politburo member with their private dachas on the Black Sea. I would argue she and her ilk across both parties have enabled massive market concentration across many many sectors just in the past 4 decades. They're elitists who back an oligarchy of their fellow elitists. They are the basis for the symbiotic relationship between Big Business and Big Government. As Steve Bannon calls them, they're the Party of Davos. IMO, the only difference between the two parties are their rhetoric. Both of course engage in identity politics with the Democrats focused on the SJW virtue signaling while the Republicans have for decades channeled the evangelicals.

Trump is an outsider. They consider him to be an uncouth nouveau riche. And are appalled that his media savvy upended their Borg candidates. Nancy believes she is now the opposition leader with the mandate from the Party of Davos to ensure the defeat of Trump. This brouhaha over SOTU is just the first skirmish. I wouldn't underestimate Trump in these media centered battles. While the corporate media who as Bannon calls the opposition party creates the perception of a Trump administration in chaos, the Deplorables are still backing him. His approval rating at this midway point in his presidency is no worse than Obama and even GOP megagod Reagan. It's the reaction of the people from the heartland when he served the Clemson team Big Macs and fries compared to the derisive commentary of the urban/suburban crowd.

McConnell is also a card carrying member of the Party of Davos or else he would have jumped to invite Trump to speak from the Senate. But Trump's shtick is the people's leader. So he should speak from a heartland location. Your suggestion is a good one. Another could be a cornfield in Iowa, the first primary state where all the Democrats presidential contenders will be camping out soon.

[Jan 22, 2019] Neoliberal Dems circled wagons and used Russiagate to avoid the necessary changes: they are now doomed

Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

ravioliollie -> lullu616 , 15 Jan 2019 08:55

As usual, the pledge ultimately never changes, New jobs and No increase in taxes. Americans love tag lines even though our infrastructure, poor education et al is the result of fear of taxation. Both parties use the same tag line, we certainly get what we pay for.
TempsdesRoses , 15 Jan 2019 08:47
Yep,
The party has circled its wagons.
They insist that the Evil Vlad stole the last election.
Therefore, no need to examine Obama's centrist/neoliberal policies and the socio-economic conditions that fueled the rejection of Hillary.
We're doomed to repeat our errors.
The farcical DNC leadership echoes the days of Brezhnev's intransigent politburo.

[Jan 22, 2019] The neoliberalism of the Democratic Party elite (and most of the rank and file) is one big factor in our 2016 loss.

Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Art Glick

, 15 Jan 2019 09:44
The neoliberalism of the Democratic Party elite (and most of the rank and file) is one big factor in our 2016 loss. Even voters too ignorant to see Trump for what he really was - voters that are misinformed to the point that they unwittingly and continually vote against their own best interests - realized how much the Dems have sold out to Wall Street.

HRC would have been nominated in '08 if she had kissed more Wall Street you-know-what. That's why they anointed Obama who then proceeded to squander eight years of opportunity to remove big money from politics and enact progressive reforms to health care, the environment, etc.

Bernie is a bit long in the tooth, so I am all in for Liz Warren. She's the only one with both the courage and the intelligence to take on the big money that controls our politics.

Therefore, you can expect the Russian trolls to be coming for her in force. If you read anything negative about Warren in the coming months, check the source and don't trust the accuracy.

[Jan 22, 2019] Mounting a campaign against plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity.

Jan 22, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"Mounting a campaign against [financial] plutocracy makes as much sense to the typical Washington liberal as would circulating a petition against gravity.

What our modernized liberal leaders offer is not confrontation but a kind of therapy for those flattened by the free-market hurricane: they counsel us to accept the inevitability of the situation."

Thomas Frank, Rendezvous With Oblivion

[Jan 22, 2019] The French Anti-Neoliberal Revolution. On the conditions for its success by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The French bourgeoisie is the politically most experienced ruling class in Europe. It has no illusions about the challenge it faces. Le Point put its file on the revolt of the vests under the self-telling title "What is waiting us". ..."
"... But it's not only the king who is naked. The whole system is naked. In the many pages devoted by the magazine to demonstrate that what the Vests want is unfeasible, not even a single serious word is written about what needs to be done to deal with the deep causes which led the French to revolt. Today's capitalism of Macron, Merkel and Trump does not produce a Roosevelt and New Deal or Popular Fronts – and we have to wait to see if it will produce a Hitler as some are trying to achieve. For the time being, it only produces Yellow Vests! ..."
"... In Oscar Wilde's masterpiece "The Picture of Dorian Gray", the main character looks every night at his horrible real self in the mirror. But he looks at it alone. ..."
"... This is where Macron made his most fatal mistake, being arrogant and markedly cut off from reality – with the confidence given to him by the mighty elite forces, which elected him and by his contempt of the common people which characterizes him. ..."
"... Observing Macron, the people understood what lied ahead for them. They felt their backs against the wall – they felt that they had only themselves to rely on, that they had to take themselves action to save themselves and their country. ..."
"... This was the decisive moment, the moment the historical mission of Macron was achieved . By establishing the most absolute control of Finance over Politics, he himself invited Revolution. His triumph and his tragedy came together. ..."
"... Many established "leftists" or "radical" intellectuals, who used to feverishly haul capitalism over the coals – although the last thing they really wanted was to experience a real revolution during their lifetime – they too, stand now frightened, looking at an angry Bucephalus running ahead of them. They prefer a stable capitalism, of which they can constitute its "consciousness", writing books, appearing on shows and giving lectures, analyzing its crises and explaining its tribulations. They idea that the People could at some point take seriously what they themselves said, never crossed their minds either! ..."
"... Today, four out of five French people disapprove of Macron's policies and one in two demands that he resigns immediately. We assume that this percentage is greater than the percentage of Russians who wanted the ousting of Tsar Nicholas II in February 1917. ..."
"... France is currently almost in a state of Power Vacuum . The president and the government cannot in essence govern and the people cannot tolerate them. It is not a situation of dual power, but a situation of dual legitimacy , in Mélenchon 's accurate description. ..."
"... This is a typical definition of a revolutionary situation . As history teaches us, the emergence of such a situation is necessary but not sufficient condition for a victorious Revolution. What is required in or order to turn a rebellion into a potentially victorious Revolution, is a capable and decided leadership and an adequate strategy, program and vision. These elements do not seem to exist, at last not for now, in today's France, as they did not exist in May 1968 or during the Russian Revolution of February 1917. Therefore, the present situation remains open to all possible eventualities; there must be no doubt however, that this is the beginning of a period of intense political and class conflicts in Europe, and that the Europe, as we know it, is already history. ..."
"... Or at least, for the people to be given the opportunity to develop an effective way of controlling state power. ..."
"... By reversing Marx's famous formula in German Ideology , the ideas of the dominant class do not dominate society. This is why the situation can be described as revolutionary. ..."
"... Although it is difficult to form an opinion from afar about how the situation may unfold, the formation of a such a United Front from grassroots could perhaps offer a way out with regards to the need for a political leadership for the movement, or even of the need to work out a transitional economic program for France, which must also serve as a transitional program for Europe . ..."
"... Contrary to how things were a century ago, certain factors such as the educational level of the lower social classes, the existence of a number of critical, radical thinkers with the necessary intellectual skills and the Internet, render such a possibility a much more realistic scenario today, than in the past. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.defenddemocracy.press

The magazine Le Point is one of the main media outlets of the French conservative "centre-right". One of its December issues carries the cover title France Faces its History. 1648, 1789, 1830, 1848, 1871 four centuries of revolutions.

The cover features also a painting by Pierre-Jérôme Lordon, showing people clashing with the army at Rue de Babylone , in Paris, during the Revolution of 1830. Perhaps this is where Luc Ferry, Chirac's former minister, got his idea from, when, two days ago, he asked the Army to intervene and the police to start shooting and killing Yellow Vests.

Do not be surprised if you haven't heard this from your TV or if you don't know that the level of police repression and violence in France, measured in people dead, injured and arrested, has exceeded everything the country has experienced since 1968. Nor should you wonder why you don't know anything about some Yellow Vest's new campaign calling for a massive run on French banks. Or why you have been lead you to believe that the whole thing is to do with fuel taxes or increasing minimum wage.

The vast majority of European media didn't even bother to communicate to their readers or viewers the main political demands of the Yellow Vests ; and certainly, there hasn't been any meaningful attempt to offer an insightful interpretation of what's happening in France and there is just very little serious on-the-ground reporting, in the villages and motorways of France.

Totalitarianism

Following Napoleon's defeat in Waterloo, European Powers formed the Holy Alliance banning Revolutions.

Nowadays, Revolutions have just been declared inconceivable (Soros – though not just him – has been giving a relentless fight to take them out of history textbooks or, as a minimum, to erase their significance and meaning). Since they are unthinkable they cannot happen. Since they cannot happen they do not happen.

In the same vein, European media sent their journalists out to the streets in Paris on Christmas and New Year's days, counted the protesters and found that they weren't too many after all. Of course they didn't count the 150,000 police and soldiers lined up by Macron on New Year's Eve. Then they made sure that they remain "impartial" and by just comparing numbers of protesters, led viewers to think that we are almost done with it – it was just a storm, it will pass.

The other day I read a whole page article about Europe in one of the most "serious" Greek newspapers, on 30.12. The author devoted just one single meaningless phrase about the Vests. Instead, the paper still found the way to include in the article the utterly stupid statement of a European Right-Wing politician who attributed the European crisis to the existence of Russia Today and Sputnik! And when I finally found a somewhat more serious article online about the developments in France, I realized that its only purpose was to convince us that what is happening in France surely has nothing to do with 1789 or 1968!

It is only a pity that the people concerned, the French themselves, cannot read in Greek. If they could, they would have realized that it does not make any sense to have "Revolution" written on their vests or to sing the 1789 song in their demonstrations or to organize symbolic ceremonies of the public "decapitation" of Macron, like Louis XV. And the French bourgeois press would not waste time everyday comparing what happens in the country now with what happened in 1968 and 1789.

Totalitarianism is not just a threat. It's already here. Simply it has omitted to announce its arrival. We have to deduce its precence from its results.

A terrified ruling class

The French bourgeoisie is the politically most experienced ruling class in Europe. It has no illusions about the challenge it faces. Le Point put its file on the revolt of the vests under the self-telling title "What is waiting us".

A few months ago, all we had about Macron in the papers was praise, inside and outside of France – he was the "rising star" of European politics, the man who managed to pass the "reforms" one after the other, no resistance could stop him, he would be the one to save and rebuild Europe. Varoufakis admired and supported him, as early as of the first round of the 2017 elections.

Now, the "chosen one" became a burden for those who put him in office. Some of them probably want to get rid of him as fast as they can, to replace him with someone else, but it's not easy – and even more so, it is not easy given the monarchical powers conferred by the French constitution to the President. The constitution is tailored to the needs of a President who wants to safeguard power from the people. Those who drafted it could not probably imagine it would make difficult for the Oligarchy also to fire him!

Read also: Scandaleux : le fondateur du parti fasciste ukrainien Svoboda reçu à l'Assemblée et au Sénat !

And who would dare to hold a parliamentary or presidential election in such a situation, as in France today? No one knows what could come out of it. Moreover, Macron does not have a party in the sense of political power. He has a federation of friends who benefit as long as he stays in power and they are damaged when he collapses.

The King is naked

"The King is naked", points out Le Point's editorial, before, with almost sadistic callousness, posing the question: "What can a government do when a remarkable section of the people vomits it?"

But it's not only the king who is naked. The whole system is naked. In the many pages devoted by the magazine to demonstrate that what the Vests want is unfeasible, not even a single serious word is written about what needs to be done to deal with the deep causes which led the French to revolt. Today's capitalism of Macron, Merkel and Trump does not produce a Roosevelt and New Deal or Popular Fronts – and we have to wait to see if it will produce a Hitler as some are trying to achieve. For the time being, it only produces Yellow Vests!

They predicted it, they saw it coming, but they didn't believe it!

Yet they could have predicted all that. It would have sufficed, had they only taken seriously and studied a book published in France in late 2016, six months before the presidential election, highlighting the explosive nature of the social situation and warning of the danger of revolution and civil war.

The title of the book was "Revolution". Its author was none other than Emmanuel Macron himself. Six months later, he would become the President of France, to eventually verify, and indeed rather spectacularly, his predictions. But the truth is probably, that not even he himself gave much credit to what he wrote just to win the election.

By constantly lying, politicians, journalists and intellectuals reasonably came to believe that even their own words are of no importance. That they can say and do anything they want, without any consequence.

In Oscar Wilde's masterpiece "The Picture of Dorian Gray", the main character looks every night at his horrible real self in the mirror. But he looks at it alone.

This is where Macron made his most fatal mistake, being arrogant and markedly cut off from reality – with the confidence given to him by the mighty elite forces, which elected him and by his contempt of the common people which characterizes him.

Unwise and Arrogant, he made no effort to hide – this is how sure he felt of himself, this is how convinced his environment was that he could infinitely go on doing anything he wanted without any consequences (same as our Tsipras). Thus, acting foolishly and arrogantly, he left a few million eyes to see his real face. This was the last straw that made the French people realize in a definite way what they had already started figuring out during Sarkozy's and Hollande's, administration, or even earlier. Observing Macron, the people understood what lied ahead for them. They felt their backs against the wall – they felt that they had only themselves to rely on, that they had to take themselves action to save themselves and their country.

There was nobody else to make it in their place.

Macron as a Provocateur. Terror in Pompeii

This was the decisive moment, the moment the historical mission of Macron was achieved . By establishing the most absolute control of Finance over Politics, he himself invited Revolution. His triumph and his tragedy came together.

It was just then, that Bucephalus (*) sprang from the depths of historical Memory, galloping without a rider, ready to sweep away everything in his path.

Now those in power look at him with fear, but fearful too are both the "radical right" and the "radical left". Le Pen has already called on protesters to return to their homes and give her names to include in her list for the European election!

Mélenchon supports the Vests – 70% of their demands coincide with the program of his party, La France Insoumise – but so far he hasn't dared to join the people in demanding Macron's resignation, by adopting the immense, but orphan, cry of the people heard all over France: "Macron resign". Perhaps he feels that he hasn't got the steely strength and willpower required for attempting to lead such a movement.

The unions' leadership is doing everything it can to keep the working class away from the Vests, but this stand started causing increasing unrest at its base.

Read also: Macron Prepares a Social War

Many established "leftists" or "radical" intellectuals, who used to feverishly haul capitalism over the coals – although the last thing they really wanted was to experience a real revolution during their lifetime – they too, stand now frightened, looking at an angry Bucephalus running ahead of them. They prefer a stable capitalism, of which they can constitute its "consciousness", writing books, appearing on shows and giving lectures, analyzing its crises and explaining its tribulations. They idea that the People could at some point take seriously what they themselves said, never crossed their minds either!

In fact, this is also a further confirmation of the depth of the movement. Lenin , who, in any event knew something about revolutions, wrote in 1917: "In a revolutionary situation, the Party is a hundred times farther to the left than the Central Committee and the workers a hundred times farther to the left than the Party."

"Revolutionary Situation" and Power Vacuum

Today, four out of five French people disapprove of Macron's policies and one in two demands that he resigns immediately. We assume that this percentage is greater than the percentage of Russians who wanted the ousting of Tsar Nicholas II in February 1917.

France is currently almost in a state of Power Vacuum . The president and the government cannot in essence govern and the people cannot tolerate them. It is not a situation of dual power, but a situation of dual legitimacy , in Mélenchon 's accurate description.

This is a typical definition of a revolutionary situation . As history teaches us, the emergence of such a situation is necessary but not sufficient condition for a victorious Revolution. What is required in or order to turn a rebellion into a potentially victorious Revolution, is a capable and decided leadership and an adequate strategy, program and vision. These elements do not seem to exist, at last not for now, in today's France, as they did not exist in May 1968 or during the Russian Revolution of February 1917. Therefore, the present situation remains open to all possible eventualities; there must be no doubt however, that this is the beginning of a period of intense political and class conflicts in Europe, and that the Europe, as we know it, is already history.

People's Sovereignty at the center of demands

Starting from fuel tax the revolting French have now put at the centre of their demands, in addition to Macron's resignation, the following:

  • preserving the purchasing power of the poorest social strata, e.g. with the abolition of VAT on basic necessities to ensure decent standards of living for the entire population,
  • the right of people to provoke referendums on any issue, the Citizens' Initiative Referendum (RIC), including referendums to revoke elected representatives (the President, MPs, mayors, etc. ) when they violate their mandate, all that in the context of establishing a Sixth French Republic .

In other words, they demand a profound and radical " transformation " of the Western bourgeois-democratic regime, as we know it, towards a form of direct democracy in order to take back the state, which has gradually and in a totalitarian manner – but while keeping up democratic appearances – passed under direct and full control of the Financial Capital and its employees. Or at least, for the people to be given the opportunity to develop an effective way of controlling state power.

These are not the demands of a fun-club of Protagoras or of some left-wing or right-wing groupuscule propagating Self-Management or of some club of intellectuals. Nor are they the demands of only the lowest social strata of the French nation.

They are supported, according to the polls and put forward by at least three quarters of French citizens, including a sizeable portion of the less poor. In such circumstances, these demands constitute in effect the Will of the People, the Will of the Nation.

The Vests are nothing more than its fighting pioneers. And precisely because it is the absolute majority of people who align with these demands, even if numbers have somewhat gone down since the beginning of December, the Vests are still wanted out on the streets.

By reversing Marx's famous formula in German Ideology , the ideas of the dominant class do not dominate society. This is why the situation can be described as revolutionary.

And also because it is not only the President and the Government, who have been debunked or at least de-legitimized, but it's also the whole range of state and political institutions, the parties, the unions, the "information" media and the "ideologists" of the regime.

The questioning of the establishment is so profound that any arguments about violence and the protesters do not weaken society's support for them. Many, but not all, condemn violence, but there are not many who don't go on immediately to add a reminder of the regime's social violence against the people. When a famous ex-boxer lost his temper and reacted by punching a number of violent police officers, protesters set up a fundraising website for his legal fees. In just two hours they managed to raise around 120.000 euro, before removing the page over officials' complaints and threats about keeping a file on anyone who contributes money to support such causes.

Read also: Greece: Creditors out to crush any trace of Syriza disobedience

Until now, an overwhelming majority of the French people supports the demands while an absolute majority shows supports for the demonstrations; but of course, it is difficult to keep such a deadlock and power-void situation going for long. They will sooner or later demand a solution, and in situations such as these it is often the case that public opinion shifts rapidly from the one end of the political spectrum to the other and vice versa, depending on which force appears to be more decisive and capable of driving society out of the crisis.

The organization of the Movement

Because the protesters have no confidence in the parties, the trade unions, or anyone else for that matter, they are driven out of necessity into self-organization, as they already do with the Citizens' Assemblies that are now emerging in villages, cities and motorway camps. Indeed, by the end of the month, if everything goes well, they will hold the first " Assembly of Assemblies ".

Similar developments have also been observed in many revolutionary movements of this kind in various countries. A classic example is the spontaneous formation of the councils ( Soviets ) during the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917.

Although it is difficult to form an opinion from afar about how the situation may unfold, the formation of a such a United Front from grassroots could perhaps offer a way out with regards to the need for a political leadership for the movement, or even of the need to work out a transitional economic program for France, which must also serve as a transitional program for Europe .

Contrary to how things were a century ago, certain factors such as the educational level of the lower social classes, the existence of a number of critical, radical thinkers with the necessary intellectual skills and the Internet, render such a possibility a much more realistic scenario today, than in the past.

Because the movement's Achilles' Heel is that, while it is already in the process of forming a political proposition, it still, at least for now, does not offer any economic alternative or a politically structured, democratically controlled leadership.

Effective Democracy is an absolute requirement in such a front, because it is the only way to synthesize the inevitably different levels of consciousness within the People and to avoid a split of the movement between "left" and "right", between those who are ready to resort to violence to achieve their ends and those who have a preference for more peaceful, gradual processes.

Such a " front " could perhaps also serve as a platform for solidifying a program and vision, to which the various parties and political organizations could contribute.

In her Critique of the Russian Revolution Rosa Luxemburg , the leader of the German Social Democracy was overly critical of the Bolsheviks , even if, I think, a bit too severe in some points. But she closes her critique with the phrase: " They at least dared "

Driven by absolute Need, guided by the specific way its historical experience has formed its consciousness, possessing a Surplus of Consciousness, that is able to feel the unavoidable conclusions coming out of the synthesis of the information we all possess, about both the "quality" of the forces governing our world and the enormous dangers threatening our countries and mankind, the French People, the French Nation has already crossed the Rubicon.

By moving practically to achieve their goals at a massive scale, and regardless of what is to come next, the French people has already made a giant leap up and forward and, once more in its history, it became the world's forerunner in tackling the terrible economic, ecological, nuclear and technological threats against human civilization and its survival.

Without the conscious entry of large masses into the historical scene, with all the dangers and uncertainties that such a thing surely implies, one can hardly imagine how humanity will survive.

Note

(*) Bucephalus was the horse of Alexander the Great, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucephalus

[Jan 17, 2019] The farcical DNC leadership echoes the days of Brezhnev's intransigent politburo

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

TempsdesRoses , 15 Jan 2019 08:47

Yep,
The party has circled its wagons.
They insist that the Evil Vlad stole the last election.
Therefore, no need to examine Obama's centrist/neoliberal policies and the socio-economic conditions that fueled the rejection of Hillary.
We're doomed to repeat our errors.

The farcical DNC leadership echoes the days of Brezhnev's intransigent politburo.

Brassic , 15 Jan 2019 08:21
Excellent article. Thank you.

This is the realistic perspective we have to adopt in the US: the Democratic establishment is part of the neoliberal machinery that has generated Bush's wars, Obama's bank bailouts, deportations, and drone executions, and now Trump's anti-democratic populism.

[Jan 17, 2019] In regards to the Hillary v Bernie question, it also didn't help that the primary vote was wildly skewed by so-called 'superdelegates,' who don't actually commit their votes until the DNC convention

Notable quotes:
"... Bernie's bid was crushed by Clinton's superdelegates. No amount of throwing money against him in the direct sense was doing any good. He took popular positions on issues and stubbornly stayed on-message. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

cagnusdei -> cagnusdei , 15 Jan 2019 10:53

In regards to the Hillary v Bernie question, it also didn't help that the primary vote was wildly skewed by so-called 'superdelegates,' who don't actually commit their votes until the DNC convention, but were being counted by the media as having already voted for Hillary, which made it appear to many of the uninformed that Bernie didn't have any chance of winning, which may have been intended to keep Bernie supporters home on primary day under the assumption that Hillary was unbeatable.
ehmaybe -> HobbesianWorlds , 15 Jan 2019 10:52
As sensible as your suggestions may be, what you're calling for would require at least three constitutional amendments to be practical - including scrapping the first amendment.

Maybe we should strive towards attainable goals instead?

cagnusdei -> lullu616 , 15 Jan 2019 10:50
Didn't help that the ostensibly neutral DNC was sending emails saying that they should play up Bernie Sanders' Jewish faith (among other attack strategies), fed debate questions to the Clinton campaign or tried to limit opportunities for Bernie and Hillary to share a stage together.

Bernie Sanders is widely considered by many to be one of the most popular American politicians, more than Trump and certainly more popular than Hillary. I think an interesting phenomenon to notice is the lengths the GOP, in particular, will go to in order to convince the average voter that anything that cuts taxes is inherently good for the 'little guy,' while anything that raises taxes is bad. Trump's recent tax cuts are a good example. Most of the actual cuts go toward the corporations and ultra-wealthy, which just increases the deficit while shifting the proportion of taxes paid onto the middle class. It's a con that many Americans are inexplicably susceptible to believing, for some reason.

ConBrio -> cnzewi , 15 Jan 2019 10:45

Progressive believe in inclusion and if that is "moralistic rhetoric" then so be it.

The litany goes "round and round.

Hillary Clinton:

" you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it!

"Barack Obama:

"Referring to working-class voters in old industrial towns decimated by job losses, the presidential hopeful said: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion "

There's liberal "inclusion" for you!

memo10 -> GRBnative , 15 Jan 2019 10:34
Bernie's bid was crushed by Clinton's superdelegates. No amount of throwing money against him in the direct sense was doing any good. He took popular positions on issues and stubbornly stayed on-message.

[Jan 17, 2019] The Coke or Pepsi and parties is a perfect corporatist arrangement, which guarantee filtering out any opposition to the oligarchy in 99 percent of elections

Only a severe political crisi can shake this "controlled duopoly" of the US coporatism.
Jan 16, 2019 | theguardian.com

William Williamson, 15 Jan 2019 10:38

Well put. All the USA has is Coke or Pepsi. With a lot of masquerading in between. A couple people who aren't on THE payroll, or wanting to be.
MyGenericUsername , 15 Jan 2019 07:38
Half of Americans don't bother voting for president. Why is the American media full only of people who insist that the country is divided in half between Democrat and Republican supporters? Where are the people of influence who think it's a problem and reflects poorly on the country that half of eligible voters don't see a reason to participate, and that it's worth changing things in order to get more people to change their minds about that?

Both parties are content with being unpopular, but with political mechanisms ensuring they stay in power anyway. The Democrats aren't concerned with being popular. They're content with being a token opposition party that every once in a while gets a few token years with power they don't put to any good anyway. It pays more, I guess.

CanSoc , 15 Jan 2019 07:34
It still looks like if Americans want to live in a progressive country, they'll have to move to one. But as it is clear that the neoliberalism of establishment Democrats has little or nothing to offer the poor and working class, or to non-wealthy millennials, the times they are a-changing.

[Jan 16, 2019] The travesty of the US elections

These corporate-Dem candidates are not being forced to sell out to win elections. Quite the opposite in fact. They are risking losing their elections for the sake of selling out.
Jan 16, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

BaronVonAmericano , 15 Jan 2019 07:54

Surely, many will comment that Democrats have no choice but to take the money in order to be competitive. I have one truism for such folks to ponder: Why would you trust your allegiance to those who don't care if you win?

Basic logic: rich people win the general election either way, so long as the primary-winning Democrat is in their pocket (the GOP is always on their side). So this monetary affection is certainly more about fixing an no-lose general than it is about ousting Trump, or any Republican.

[Jan 14, 2019] As Democratic Elites Reunite With Neocons, the Party's Voters Are Becoming Far More Militaristic and Pro-War Than Republicans

Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

"As Democratic Elites Reunite With Neocons, the Party's Voters Are Becoming Far More Militaristic and Pro-War Than Republicans" [Glenn Greenwald, T he Intercept ].

'But what is remarkable about the new polling data on Syria is that the vast bulk of support for keeping troops there comes from Democratic Party voters, while Republicans and independents overwhelming favor their removal.

The numbers are stark: Of people who voted for Clinton in 2016, only 26 percent support withdrawing troops from Syria, while 59 percent oppose it. Trump voters overwhelmingly support withdraw by 76 percent to 14 percent."

Those of you who followed my midterms worksheets will recall that the liberal Democrat establishment packed the ballot with MILOs (candidates with Military, Intelligence, and Law enforcement backgrounds, or Other things, like being a DA), preparing the way for further militarization of the Party, and ultimately for war.

[Jan 12, 2019] Tucker Carlson Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating Fox News

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 2, 2019. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | www.foxnews.com
Tucker: America's goal is happiness, but leaders show no obligation to voters

Voters around the world revolt against leaders who won't improve their lives.

Newly-elected Utah senator Mitt Romney kicked off 2019 with an op-ed in the Washington Post that savaged Donald Trump's character and leadership. Romney's attack and Trump's response Wednesday morning on Twitter are the latest salvos in a longstanding personal feud between the two men. It's even possible that Romney is planning to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. We'll see.

But for now, Romney's piece is fascinating on its own terms. It's well-worth reading. It's a window into how the people in charge, in both parties, see our country.

Romney's main complaint in the piece is that Donald Trump is a mercurial and divisive leader. That's true, of course. But beneath the personal slights, Romney has a policy critique of Trump. He seems genuinely angry that Trump might pull American troops out of the Syrian civil war. Romney doesn't explain how staying in Syria would benefit America. He doesn't appear to consider that a relevant question. More policing in the Middle East is always better. We know that. Virtually everyone in Washington agrees.

Corporate tax cuts are also popular in Washington, and Romney is strongly on board with those, too. His piece throws a rare compliment to Trump for cutting the corporate rate a year ago.

That's not surprising. Romney spent the bulk of his business career at a firm called Bain Capital. Bain Capital all but invented what is now a familiar business strategy: Take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth, and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions. Romney became fantastically rich doing this.

Meanwhile, a remarkable number of the companies are now bankrupt or extinct. This is the private equity model. Our ruling class sees nothing wrong with it. It's how they run the country.

Mitt Romney refers to unwavering support for a finance-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy as the "mainstream Republican" view. And he's right about that. For generations, Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars. Modern Democrats generally support those goals enthusiastically.

There are signs, however, that most people do not support this, and not just in America. In countries around the world -- France, Brazil, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, and many others -- voters are suddenly backing candidates and ideas that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. These are not isolated events. What you're watching is entire populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives.

Something like this has been in happening in our country for three years. Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution that he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions.

But they're less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be gone, too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter.

The answer used to be obvious. The overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven't so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. And yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.

The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It's happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They're what our leaders should want for us, and would want if they cared.

But our leaders don't care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders. Substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can't solve our problems. They don't even bother to understand our problems.

One of the biggest lies our leaders tell us that you can separate economics from everything else that matters. Economics is a topic for public debate. Family and faith and culture, meanwhile, those are personal matters. Both parties believe this.

Members of our educated upper-middle-classes are now the backbone of the Democratic Party who usually describe themselves as fiscally responsible and socially moderate. In other words, functionally libertarian. They don't care how you live, as long as the bills are paid and the markets function. Somehow, they don't see a connection between people's personal lives and the health of our economy, or for that matter, the country's ability to pay its bills. As far as they're concerned, these are two totally separate categories.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective, and yet reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you'll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that. Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.

Both sides miss the obvious point: Culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can't separate the two. It used to be possible to deny this. Not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. How do we know? Consider the inner cities.

Thirty years ago, conservatives looked at Detroit or Newark and many other places and were horrified by what they saw. Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal.

What caused this nightmare? Liberals didn't even want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster, in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had a ready explanation for inner-city dysfunction and it made sense: big government. Decades of badly-designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what conservatives called a "culture of poverty" that trapped people in generational decline.

There was truth in this. But it wasn't the whole story. How do we know? Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit.

This is striking because rural Americans wouldn't seem to have much in common with anyone from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly.

Yet, the pathologies of modern rural America are familiar to anyone who visited downtown Baltimore in the 1980s: Stunning out of wedlock birthrates. High male unemployment. A terrifying drug epidemic. Two different worlds. Similar outcomes. How did this happen? You'd think our ruling class would be interested in knowing the answer. But mostly they're not. They don't have to be interested. It's easier to import foreign labor to take the place of native-born Americans who are slipping behind.

But Republicans now represent rural voters. They ought to be interested. Here's a big part of the answer: male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry, all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many places were the schools and the hospitals, both traditional employers of women. In many places, women suddenly made more than men.

Now, before you applaud this as a victory for feminism, consider the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don't want to marry them. Maybe they should want to marry them, but they don't. Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out-of-wedlock births, and all the familiar disasters that inevitably follow -- more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation.

This isn't speculation. This is not propaganda from the evangelicals. It's social science. We know it's true. Rich people know it best of all. That's why they get married before they have kids. That model works. But increasingly, marriage is a luxury only the affluent in America can afford.

And yet, and here's the bewildering and infuriating part, those very same affluent married people, the ones making virtually all the decisions in our society, are doing pretty much nothing to help the people below them get and stay married. Rich people are happy to fight malaria in Congo. But working to raise men's wages in Dayton or Detroit? That's crazy.

This is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it's still 1961, and the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.

For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it's more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids.

Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandberg explained that our first duty is to shareholders, above our own children. No surprise there. Sandberg herself is one of America's biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich.

We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They're day traders. Substitute teachers. They're just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows.

What's remarkable is how the rest of us responded to it. We didn't question why Sandberg was saying this. We didn't laugh in her face at the pure absurdity of it. Our corporate media celebrated Sandberg as the leader of a liberation movement. Her book became a bestseller: "Lean In." As if putting a corporation first is empowerment. It is not. It is bondage. Republicans should say so.

They should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good. Why is it defensible to loan people money they can't possibly repay? Or charge them interest that impoverishes them? Payday loan outlets in poor neighborhoods collect 400 percent annual interest.

We're OK with that? We shouldn't be. Libertarians tell us that's how markets work -- consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives. OK. But it's also disgusting. If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it's happening in the inner city or on Wall Street.

And by the way, if you really loved your fellow Americans, as our leaders should, if it would break your heart to see them high all the time. Which they are. A huge number of our kids, especially our boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that, because new technology has made it odorless. But it's everywhere.

And that's not an accident. Once our leaders understood they could get rich from marijuana, marijuana became ubiquitous. In many places, tax-hungry politicians have legalized or decriminalized it. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner now lobbies for the marijuana industry. His fellow Republicans seem fine with that. "Oh, but it's better for you than alcohol," they tell us.

Maybe. Who cares? Talk about missing the point. Try having dinner with a 19-year-old who's been smoking weed. The life is gone. Passive, flat, trapped in their own heads. Do you want that for your kids? Of course not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. Because they don't care about us.

When you care about people, you do your best to treat them fairly. Our leaders don't even try. They hand out jobs and contracts and scholarships and slots at prestigious universities based purely on how we look. There's nothing less fair than that, though our tax code comes close.

Under our current system, an American who works for a salary pays about twice the tax rate as someone who's living off inherited money and doesn't work at all. We tax capital at half of what we tax labor. It's a sweet deal if you work in finance, as many of our rich people do.

In 2010, for example, Mitt Romney made about $22 million dollars in investment income. He paid an effective federal tax rate of 14 percent. For normal upper-middle-class wage earners, the federal tax rate is nearly 40 percent. No wonder Mitt Romney support