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Bernie Sanders -- partially turncoat, partially a Roosevelt democrat

News US Presidential Elections of 2016 Recommended Links FBI Mayberry Machiavellians James Comey role in preventing Sanders from leading the Democratic ticket Venezuella: another "bombs for oil" scenario after Libya? Andrew McCabe role
Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Questions about Huma Abedin email forwarding Clinton Cash: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Brennan elections machinations Steele dossier Hillary as a pathological liar Do the US intelligence agencies influence the US Presidential elections?
DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin Is Hillary Clinton a toxic manager? Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Hillary role in Libya disaster  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary the warmonger Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump
Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Female Sociopaths NIST Guidelines on Electronic Mail Security (dated February 2007) Beyond your cable modem - How not to do DOCSIS networks NIST Guidelines on Securing Public Web Servers Skeptic Quotations Humor

Introduction

 

The quadrennial political game of least worst, or how to scare the public to vote for presidential candidates who serve corporate power, comes this season with a new twist. Donald Trump, if he faces Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bloomberg, will continue to be an amalgamation of Adolf Hitler, Al Capone and the Antichrist.

But should Bernie Sanders manage to evade the snares, traps and minefields laid for him by the Democratic Party elites, should he miraculously become the party’s nominee, the game of least worst will radically change. All the terrifying demons that inhabit Trump will be instantly exorcised. But unlike in the biblical story of Jesus driving the demons into a herd of swine, they will be driven into the senator from Vermont.

Trump will become the establishment’s reluctant least worse option. Sanders will become a leper. The Democratic and Republican party elites, joining forces as they did in the 1972 presidential election, will do to Sanders what they did to George McGovern, who lost in 49 of the 50 states.

“If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he’ll ruin our economy and doesn’t care about our military,” former Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (net worth $1.1 billion) tweeted. “If I’m Russian, I go with Sanders this time around.”

 ~ Chris Hedges Truthdig, Feb 17, 2020

 

 

First the neoliberal press tried to demolished his candidacy. With NYT and WaPo as two the most rabid pro-Hillary dogs. Despite neoliberal presstitutes efforts to sink his candidacy, Sanders managed to stay competitive almost all the way to the California primary in June.  Then he folded and blatantly betrayed his voters, his principles and himself. 

In December 2017 we leaned than it was FBI who actually pushed Bernie under the bus by swiping under the carpet changes against Hilary connected with her abuse of private email server.  See Strzok-gate. This is like Praetorian Guard selection a new emperor.

But  in retrospect this old fogey (he will be 80 in 2021) turned out to be a sellout. People who want to tame Wall street and restore some parts of the New Deal Capitalism regulations destroyed by neoliberals have no leader to represent their interests. I can now imagine a feelings of Bernie's supporters who will feel duped (M of A , Jun 13, 2016)

Bernie Sanders folded. This without gaining any significant concession from Hillary Clinton on programmatic or personal grounds. (At least as far as we know.) He endorsed Clinton as presidential candidate even as she gave no ground for his voters' opinions. This disenfranchises the people who supported him.

... ... ...

I expect the "Not Hillary" protest vote to be very strong in the November election. There is still more significant dirt to be dug up about her and her family foundation. Trumps current lows in the polls will recover when the media return to the "close race" mantra that makes them money. He still has a decent chance to win.

Betrayal of his own principles

June 12, 2016 was a very sad day when  Bernie finds himself endorsing someone who is the complete opposite to the politics he claims to champion. What was his BS campaign and all that rhetoric for? A disgusting spectacle ( Democracy And The Future Of The United States - ICH):

Bernie is a fake. He was and I guess, still is a test case for the system. Lucifer wants to see how far he can go – and what is it that the people want to hear. Accordingly, will be adjusted the discourse of the two candidates. Sanders has a (Senate) voting record which does not portray what he pledges to stand for.

... ... ...

Sanders, early on has said that if he should not succeed, he would support Killary. Hello! what message does that convey? – That he would support a warmonger par excellence? – Europeans like many Americans have been fooled by Bernie’s charm and rebellious appearance. All fake!

But signs of this were visible during Berne Sanders campaign. One that  alerted many people is he carefully avoided to emphasize the weak spots in Hillary candidacy: her role in launching Libya war and serious of highly paid speeches (read bribes) from major Wall Street firms. 

thebuzzinsider

Tuesday morning Bernie Sanders united the Democrat party by announcing his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, but not everyone is happy, with some of his supporters calling him a sell-out.

Beginning his speech by giving thanks to the 13 million Americans who voted for him during the primaries, Sanders announced that he would be endorsing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nominee and intends to do everything he can to ensure that she will become the “next president of the United States.”

“[T]his campaign is not really about Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or any other candidate who sought the presidency,” Sanders said in the rally. “This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face.”

Sanders began to compare Clinton with Republican nominee, Donald Trump, explaining the differences between the two and using these differences as his reasons for endorsing her. Sanders admitted during the rally that he and Clinton do disagree on a number of issues but he also claimed that on Sunday, July 10, during the Democratic Platform Committee the two campaigns were able to come together significantly.

“Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here today,” Sanders said at the end of the rally.

This proclamation is a far cry from how his stance was a couple months ago, when he claimed that Clinton wasn’t qualified for the presidency.

“I don’t believe that she is qualified,” Sanders said in a Philadelphia rally back in April, as reported by thinkprogress.org. “[I]f she is, through her super PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. I don’t think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC.”

Trump was one of the first to call Sanders a sell-out on Twitter, comparing his endorsement of “Crooked Hillary Clinton” to Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.

“I am somewhat surprised that Bernie Sanders was not true to himself and his supporters,” Trump tweeted. “They are not happy that he is selling out!”

While some Democrats are happy that the party has seemed to have finally united, like the Communications Workers of America who have now changed their endorsement from Sanders to Clinton, other supporters share Trumps sentiments, feeling outraged and disappointed at Bernie’s sudden change of heart.

“A Sanders endorsement of Clinton would be the ultimate betrayal of his supporters, especially those of us that poured money into his campaign.”

“Bernie, if you endorse Hillary Clinton, after is NOW A PROVEN FACT she lied to the American people, then you sir are a FRAUD.”

“Bernie, endorsing Clinton destroys every point you made and everything you stood for in the race. You are letting the people who supported you down. You made a promise to fight in the end, but instead you are conceding. You are not the elected leader you lead us to believe in. Shame on you.”

These are just some of the comments people have been leaving on Sander’s Facebook page, as reported on the Forward Progressives website.

Other supporters have asked him to wait for the Democrats Party convention, to run in a third-party or to join Jill Stein in the Green Party ticket.

Now that Sanders has endorsed Clinton, Clinton’s campaign will most likely focus on convincing his supporters to join them in their fight for the presidency.

Some prominent left wing thinkers such as Chris Hedges viewed US Senator Sanders as a corporate sellout from the very beginning (Chris Hedges on Bernie Sanders and the Corporate Democrats)

Some prominent left wing thinkers such as Chris Hedges viewed US Senator Sanders as a corporate sellout from the very beginning (Chris Hedges on Bernie Sanders and the Corporate Democrats):

Nader: “Bernie Sanders wants to break up the New York banks, he wants to impose a Wall Street transaction tax, he wants to regulate drug prices, he’s for full Medicare for all — everybody in, nobody out, free choice of doctor and hospital — he wants to get rid of these corporate tax havens, he’s pushing for a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, he wants to stronger labor unions. What’s not to like?”

Hedges: “Because he [Bernie Sanders] did it within the Democratic establishment. . . .He’s lending credibility to a party that is completely corporatized. He has agreed that he will endorse the candidate, which, unless there is some miracle, will probably be Hillary Clinton. So what he does is he takes all of that energy, he raises all of these legitimate issues and he funnels it back into a dead political system. . .

“That was the role of Van Jones in the last election,” Hedges said. “He was running around, using the language of Occupy — Occupy the Vote — and that is what Bernie has done. I don’t understand. He fought the Democratic establishment in Vermont his entire career. Now he has sold out to it.”

“Bernie has also not confronted the military industrial complex at all,” Hedges said. “On a personal level, having spent seven years in the Middle East, I’m just not willing to forgive him for abandoning the Palestinians and giving carte blanche to Israel. He was one of 100 Senators who stood up like AIPAC wind up dolls and approved Israel’s 51-day slaughter last summer of Palestinians in Gaza — the Palestinians who have no army, no navy, artillery, mechanized units, command and control.”
 

Some biographic details

Adapted from Wikipedia

Bernard "Bernie" Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician. He is the junior United States Senator from Vermont and has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election. As a presidential candidate he is the candidate without a party, as Democratic Party established is controlled by financial oligarchy after Bill Clinton sold his party to Wall street ("Third Way  betrayal", similar to the trick Tony Blair performed in the UK).

An independent politician since 1979, Sanders described himself as a democratic socialist (and probably with his political views might fit Social Democratic Party of Germany). He favors the creation of employee-owned cooperative enterprises and has praised Scandinavian-style social democracy. He caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for purposes of committee assignments. Since January 2015, Sanders has been the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Budget Committee. He is also associated with the Vermont Progressive Party and was a member of the Liberty Union Party from 1971 to 1979.

After several unsuccessful runs for office, Sanders was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont's largest city, in 1981. He was reelected to three more two-year mayoral terms before being elected to represent Vermont's at-large congressional district in the United States House of Representatives in 1990. He served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to succeed the retiring Republican-turned-independent Jim Jeffords in the U.S. Senate in 2006. In 2012 he was reelected by a landslide. Sanders was the only independent member of the House during most of his service and is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history.

Since his election to the Senate, Sanders has emerged as a leading progressive voice on the issues of income inequality, climate change, and campaign finance reform. He rose to national prominence on the heels of his 2010 filibuster of the proposed extension of the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy. In response to the speech, hundreds of people signed online petitions urging Sanders to run in the 2012 presidential election and pollsters began measuring his support in key primary states. As a supporter of President Obama, Sanders declined to run in 2012, but began expressing an interest in a 2016 presidential run in December of 2013.

Sanders announced his intentions to seek the Democratic Party's nomination for President on April 30, 2015, in an address on the Capitol lawn. His campaign was officially launched on May 26 with an event in Burlington, Vermont.

Dirty MSM games and tricks with election polls

It is well known that the key idea of polls is to influence electorate. Not to inform but influence. So int he USA they are a very dirty game.  Desirable result that conditions those who did not yet decided to vote "for the winner" can be achieved in a very subtle way. For example if electorate of one candidate is younger, you can run poll using landline phones. How subgroup is selected is also important:

3.14e-9  

Yes, how they ask the questions is important, and it’s also important to note which subgroups were asked the questions. Some questions were limited to respondents who had voted in a previous Democratic primary. That means the results don’t include Independents and Republicans who might cross party lines. Also, those who voted in a past primary are far more likely to be familiar with HRC than Sanders.

Lastly, confidence in Bernie rose for some questions. Interestingly enough, there was an increase in the number of people who thought he could competently handle a foreign crisis. Sargent’s bias is pretty clear. Entire poll here:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/11/12/us/politics/document-poll.html

Of course this election cycle much depends on how angry people really are with the establishment. I think many viscerally dislike Clinton and Jeb! for that reason.  I think not many understand that Dem and Repug are actually one neoliberal party representing its soft and hard wings, correspondingly. And both intend to harm or even destroy the country with their neoliberal policies to serve interests on top 0.01%.  And that the case with Dems since Bill Clinton sold the part to Wall Street. The vast body of american people wants change (and not Obama's fake "change we can believe in")  but they don’t have a place at the table…

Gaius Publius  provide a good analysis of now MSM sell establishment candidate to lemmings in his July 10, 2015 post in Naked capitalism blog (The Clinton Campaign Notices the Sanders Campaign, or How to Read the Media)

Taking Apart the Insider Game

The most important thing to consider when thinking about the Sanders campaign is this. Everyone else who’s running, on both sides, is an insider playing within — and supporting — the “insider game,” the one that keeps insiders wealthy and outsiders struggling, the one where the wealthy and their retainers operate government for their benefit only. What sets Sanders apart is his determination to dismantle that game, to take it apart and send its players home (back to the private sector) or to jail.

Two examples should make this clear. One is Fast Track and the “trade” agreements being forced upon us. The pressure to pass these agreements is coming equally from mainstream Democrats like Barack Obama, a “liberal,” and from mainstream Republicans, supposed “conservatives.” They may differ on “rights” policy, like abortion rights, but not on money matters. Trade agreements are wealth-serving policies promoted by people in both parties who serve wealth, which means most of them. People like Sanders, Warren and others, by contrast, would neuter these agreement as job-killing profit protection schemes and turn them into something else.

A second example involves Wall Street banks, in particular, a policy of breaking them up, reinstating Glass-Steagall, and prosecuting Wall Street fraud. Can you imagine any announced candidate doing any of these things, save Bernie Sanders?

In both of these cases, Sanders would aggressively challenge the insider profit-protection racket, not just give lip service to challenging it. Which tells you why he is so popular. Many of us in the bleachers have noticed the insider game — after all, it’s been happening in front of us for decades— and most of us are done with it. Ask any Tea Party Republican voter, for example, what she thinks of the bank bailout of 2008-09. She’ll tell you she hated it, whether she explains it in our terms or not.

And that’s why Sanders, like Warren before him, draws such enthusiastic crowds. The pendulum has swung so far in the direction of wealth that the nation may well change permanently, and people know it. People are ready, just as they were in 2008, prior to eight years of betrayal. People have been discouraged about the chance for change lately, but they’re ready for the real thing if they see it.

The Clinton Campaign Notices Sanders

There’s been an attempt to downplay the Sanders candidacy since the beginning, to sink his campaign beneath a wave of silence. That ended a bit ago, and the press has begun to take notice, if snippily. Now the Clinton campaign is noticing, if the New York Times is to be believed. I found the following fascinating, for a number of reasons.

The piece first along with some news, then a little exegesis (my emphasis):

Hillary Clinton’s Team Is Wary as Bernie Sanders Finds Footing in Iowa

The ample crowds and unexpectedly strong showing by Senator Bernie Sanders are setting off worry among advisers and allies of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who believe the Vermont senator could overtake her in Iowa polls by the fall and even defeat her in the nation’s first nominating contest there.

The enthusiasm that Mr. Sanders has generated — including a rally attended by 2,500 people in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Friday — has called into question Mrs. Clinton’s early strategy of focusing on a listening tour of small group gatherings and wooing big donors in private settings. In May, Mrs. Clinton led with 60 percent support to Mr. Sanders’ 15 percent in a Quinnipiac poll. Last week the same poll showed Mrs. Clinton at 52 percent to Mr. Sanders’s 33 percent.

“We are worried about him, sure. He will be a serious force for the campaign, and I don’t think that will diminish,” Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, said Monday in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Some of Mrs. Clinton’s advisers acknowledged that they were surprised by Mr. Sanders’ momentum and said there were enough liberal voters in Iowa, including many who supported Barack Obama or John Edwards in 2008, to create problems for her there.

“I think we underestimated that Sanders would quickly attract so many Democrats in Iowa who weren’t likely to support Hillary,” said one Clinton adviser, who like several others spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly share views about the race. “It’s too early to change strategy because no one knows if Sanders will be able to hold on to these voters in the months ahead. We’re working hard to win them over, but yeah, it’s a real competition there.”

I don’t want to quote the whole thing (well, I do, but I can’t). So I encourage you to read it. There’s much there worth noticing.

What to Look at When the Times Reports on Clinton

Now, some exegesis, meta-reading of the media, especially corporate media like the Times. My three main points are bulleted below.

Bottom Line

If you like this exercise in reading behind the media, please read the article again with the above thoughts in mind. Is this original reporting (i.e., reporters starting a conversation), or did the campaign make the first approach? Does the article carry Clinton water, subtly support the campaign? Are any opposing viewpoints featured at the top, or are they buried below the point where most people stop reading?

This Times story may be a completely honest exercise in independent journalism. There certainly is a Sanders phenomenon, and it’s detailed honestly and factually, so there’s value in reading it. But there’s an obvious bias toward Clinton messaging in the reporters’ own prose, so I’m suspicious, and you should be as well.

I’ll also say that most stories about campaigns operate this way, as do many other news stories involving public figures. What will make reporting the Sanders campaign different is what I wrote above — Sanders wants to take apart the insider game. What major media outlet will help Sanders do that, will shut the door to corporate favors, media access and other prizes from a future Clinton administration, in order to be even-handed?

My guess is few or none.

An interesting discussion on Naked Capitalism about Sanders candidacy

In the post by By Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York  10 Economic Facts that Power the Sanders Insurgency  (naked capitalism, Nov 13, 2015) and subsequent readers discussion contains so far the most interesting discussion of Sanders and his (pretty lonely) current  position in the presidential race. Being a an anti-establishment candidate is a difficult job as economic and political power belong to the establishment by definition. BTW that's why you should not believe blindly the US polls -- they are designed to sway electorate, not to inform it).

Here are 10 crucial economic facts that provide the glue for the Sanders message. (The charts are taken from Runaway Inequality: An Activist’s Guide to Economic Justice.)

1. The Rich are Getting Richer, The Rest of Us are Not.

There always has been a significant gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of America. But that gap was kept under control largely through governmental tax, banking and labor policies.

You could make a lot of money in this country, but after the New Deal, unions made sure you paid a decent wage to your workers, and government made sure the wealthy provided ample tax revenues. This allowed working people also to enjoy a rising standard of living.

But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken. After 1980, the incomes of the top 1% exploded while the wages of the bottom 90% stagnated….and not by accident.

average_income_of_top_1_percent

2. Wall Street/CEO Greed

Most of us haven’t had a real raise (after inflation) for more than a decade. Meanwhile we see our CEOs and their Wall Street partners rake in astronomical sums. The data backs up what we see and sense. As this chart shows, the gap between the pay of the top CEOs and the average worker has jumped from 45 to 1 in 1970 to an astounding 829 to one today.

The game is rigged and Sanders is calling them on it.

wage_gap-top_100_ceos_vs_average_workers

3. The Biggest Banks are Getting Bigger.

One of the most outrageous economics facts of life is the engorgement of too-big-to-fail banks.  We are told that they now are under control. But nothing could be further from the truth.

The top four banks have grown even larger since the Great Recession. No wonder crowds roar when Bernie says “If a bank is too big to fail, I think it’s too big to exist.”

percentage_of_all_banking_assets

4. Students are Crippled with Debt.

Sanders wants to tax Wall Street speculation and use the money to fund free higher education.  And for good reason. Debt peonage is hitting college students as banks load them up with onerous loans. Sanders believes it’s time for us to catch up with many other developed nations that already provide free higher education.

student_loans_1

5. We lead the developed world in child poverty

Nothing more clearly reflects the values of a country than how it treats its children. And nothing is more painful and inexcusable than children living in poverty.

The countries of northern Europe – Iceland, Finland, Nether­lands, Norway, Denmark and Sweden – have nearly eradicated childhood poverty. These also are the countries that have the lowest levels of inequality. They have made a conscious choice: less inequality, less child­hood poverty.

But in a country like ours so engulfed by runaway inequal­ity, child poverty becomes the responsibility of the poor. In other words, if your kids are poor it’s your fault. Don’t expect society to feed them.

Bernie does indeed expect society to feed the poor. And so should we.

percentage_of_children_living_in_poverty

6. You can’t live on the minimum wage

America is the only country in the developed world in which you can work full time and still live in poverty.  That’s because our federal minimum wage is a disgrace. As the chart below shows, the real buying power of the minimum wage, after taking into account of inflation, has been on the decline since its peak in the 1960s. That’s why one of Sanders’ biggest applause lines is

“A minimum wage of $7 an hour is a starvation wage. I applaud those cities—Seattle, Los Angeles and others—that have raised the minimum wage to $15 an            hour. And that is exactly what we will do at the federal level.”

rise_and_fall_of_minimum_wage

7. The tax system favors the rich

We all know that the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. They hire the best lawyers to help make their incomes vanish on IRS papers. They shift money abroad. They use their influence to create and abuse loopholes. And they sell us the lie that decreasing taxes on the rich make all boats rise.

The chart below shows the result on the state and local levels.  The sad truth is that the poorer you are, the more you pay as a percent of your income.

rich_pay_lower_state_tax_rates

8. The Rich Buy the Political System

As our economy fractures under the weight of runaway inequality, so does our entire democracy. Money is pouring into politics, especially since the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling.  As the chart below makes clear, corporations and financial institutions are taking full advantage as they flood the political process through Super PACS.

Sanders wants Super PACS outlawed and Citizens United overturned.

9. “The American Dream” is Fading Away

Many Americans still believe in the American Dream — the idea of genuine upward mobility. We cherish the idea that our children will do as well or better than we have done.

But we’re getting a wake up call.

The chart below shows that the odds of rising above your father’s economic position in the U.S. is about 50/50. In Denmark, you have about a seven to one chance of doing better.

No wonder Bernie wants us to learn a thing or two from the Danes

odds_youll_be_stuck_in_same_class_as_your_parents

10. The Largest Police State in the World

Freedom pays the price for runaway inequality. Because we refuse to use government to provide decent paying work for all those who are willing and able to work, we leave vast tracks of our cities mired in poverty.

We allow institutional racist practices (especially in housing, education and criminal justice) to trap more people of color on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder.

Instead of using government to create jobs, we use government to fund prisons.

Instead of a War on Poverty we have declared war on the poor.

As a result, we now have more prisoners both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the population than any country in the world. And if you compare the chart below with the first chart in this article, you’ll find that the incarceration surge started with the onset of runway inequality.

number_of_federal_and_state_prisoners

Taking Them On

Perhaps Bernie’s biggest applause line is the one that sets us on our course. His campaign cannot succeed in one election. We need to connect with our neighbors and colleagues and help organize and mobilize for change.

“This campaign is sending a message to the billionaire class: Yes, we have the  guts to take you on.”

Let’s hope he’s right.

tim s

There is much more to a candidates platform than simply economics, which readers of NC know to be as much pseudo-science as anything, and the Fed, which fails to live up to ideals for the common good, and actually preserves the status quo which is such a problem these days.

RP is a mixed bag for certain, but you get a sense that he is at least honest, which is a radical change in itself, and there is much for readers of this blog to latch onto. For instance:

To be sure, many of his positions are headscratchers, for sure, such as his belief in privatization and “free markets”. These are very idealistic, and as you probably focus on, the readers of NC will call BS on very quickly.

Still, when having to choose between the internally conflicted and the pathological liar, it is no surprise that many will choose the internally conflicted.

fresno dan, November 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

I agree.
And one other point: Paul, and every one else elected, so far at least, is not a Napoleon or Caesar, so most platforms are 99.9% baloney. (well, more accurately, most platforms are the same as it ever was – the candidates just say a lot of words to make it appear they are going to do something different – yesterday’s LINKS about how Obama didn’t REALLY oppose Bush’s policies, just that they didn’t go through a process to make them legal)

At least with Paul, there was some evidence that he would TRY to dial back all the war mongering….

Jim Haygood, November 13, 2015 at 9:57 am

‘Ron Paul knows nothing about the Fed and Economics for which he claims to be an expert.’

He only wrote a book about it:

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

Perhaps you don’t agree with his conclusions.

Lambert Strether, November 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

To be fair, plenty of people write books on topics of which they know nothing, or worse/less than nothing. All neo-liberal economists, for example.

Nigelk, November 13, 2015 at 1:53 pm

Ron Paul? Seriously? Did I drive through a wormhole this morning and arrive in Fall 2007?

jrs, November 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

That’s what they’ll be saying about Sanders in 4 years. I don’t mind Sanders as the best choice there is perhaps. But come on folks, none of this stuff has any hope really. A revolution? Well I don’t hope for one either, but at least movement building might work. Other than that it’s 5 minutes in the voting booth and get on with your life.

Jagger, November 13, 2015 at 2:04 pm

I would be curious how anybody who reads this blog could possibly be for Ron Paul, let alone have voted for him.

Ron Paul is anti-war. Who else is anti-war amongst the Repub/Dem tickets? Maybe Sanders. He did vote against the Iraqi invasion but wouldn’t condemn Israel over the last air war on Gaza. Jury is still out on him.

bob

Is this a different Ron Paul?

https://web.archive.org/web/20021212201652/http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2001/tst100801.htm

washunate

We should remember that the image of the United Nations as a benevolent peacemaker is a myth, as evidenced by the sad history of its military actions over the past 30 years. In virtually every instance its so-called “peacekeeping missions” have done nothing but intensify regional conflicts. Kosovo and Somalia are poignant examples of UN policy gone bad, creating lasting resentment and instability rather than peace.

Uh, that sounds like pretty classic Ron Paul. Are you saying that acting as the world’s police force bombing civilian infrastructure in Serbia was a good idea and that things are hunky dory in Somalia today? Do you support the current effort to wage war on the Assad government in Syria?

You didn’t answer Jagger’s question.

washunate, November 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Maybe we don’t need experts. Maybe the God of Authority is a False God. Maybe instead of trying to fight war better, we should stop trying.

That’s the thing about the three biggest things Paul stood for (end the Fed, end the drug war, end the Iraq war): they were ends. Not new programs that require advanced degrees and subject matter expertise, but rather, stopping horrible programs run by horrible people for horrible purposes.

Now maybe you disagree that they’re horrible, and that’s fine. Personally, I vehemently oppose the drug war and the US empire, but I’m not opposed to the Fed. To me, it just does what politicians tell it to do. But the point is, that’s a matter of personal opinion, not expertise.

I wonder only half-jokingly if your comment is satire, too. I assume it was unintentional, but it sounds exactly like the whiny Democratic pundit enforcers complaining about Alan Grayson and FDL working with evil Republicans like Grover Norquist on Audit the Fed legislation. The era in which people can be intimidated via guilt by association is over. There are far more independents than Democrats today.

If you don’t understand how a 2008 Ron Paul supporter could be interested in fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics, and power, then all I can surmise is that you don’t want to understand. If you are genuinely curious, this link might be a particularly useful refresher on the tone of the day to day politics of the time:

https://shadowproof.com/2010/05/06/video-transcript-ron-paul-says-sanders-switched-and-watered-down-audit-the-fed/

TarheelDem, November 13, 2015 at 9:00 am

The rhetoric Occupy Wall Street was not usurped by the Democratic Party until it was crushed completed in an orchestrated multi-city police state take-down by Democratic and Republican mayors. I see no candidates talking about the right of free speech and assembly to petition government for the redress of grievances. I did not see that sort of repression happen with the Tea Party, which was receiving massive financing from the start. The two movements are not equivalent in how they have been received by the two parties.

wbgonne, November 13, 2015 at 10:21 am

Given that OWS and the Tea Party have been usurped by the respective national parties, and both movements are anti-status quo, my opinion is they should join forces. Also, considering there is little difference at the end of the day, between the republican and democrat parties, that they play both sides against the middle, if Trump and Sanders had an ounce of humility between them, they would both quit their party and run on a split ticket.

A couple of quibbles. First, OWS was not usurped by the Democrats: it was opposed, undermined and ultimately crushed by the Democratic Establishment, starting at the top with the Obama Administration all the way down to the mayors, many of whom were Democrats too. The Tea Party began as a populist movement but was largely hijacked by the GOP corporatists. That said, there is clearly a lot of populist energy on both the Right and the Left. Sanders carries the ball forward almost without misstep. Trump, however, is a decidedly mixed bag: while he is anti-TPP — a huge plus — he also opposes wage increases and probably holds many other anti-populist views that just haven’t surfaced yet.

But the biggest problem with the merger you propose, however, is the one that has bedeviled populism since the 70s: identity politics issues. While I generally try not to over-emphasize such issues, they should not be discounted either. They should certainly not be disparaged. Let me put it this way: no self-respecting progressive could collaborate with someone who wishes Operation Wetback were our national immigration policy. Overt racism, sexism and homophobia cannot be accepted but political correctness should be rejected too as the antagonizing and divisive factor it is. In order for the merger you posit to occur — which would be a wonderful development — both the Left and the Right must downplay identity politics issues because those are the wedges that keep the two ends of economic populism from joining.

Jagger, November 13, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Identity politics is in the DNA of the Democratic party. Abandoning identity politics is simply not going to happen for a few generations at best.

WindyCity, November 13, 2015 at 3:17 pm

There is discontent on the left and the right. That’s what feeding the candidacies of Tea Party darlings like Trump and Carson and the Democratic Socialist Sanders. Working- and middle-class folks across the political spectrum have been hit hard with unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, debt-slavery, and on and on. Those on the right blame immigration, Obama, and big government; those on the left blame corporate tyranny and capitalist greed. It’s probably naive of me, but I do see an opening for a Sanders to draw support from the right. His message ought to resonate with the disaffected, disenfranchised, and disillusioned in all quarters. I’ve already heard reports of some Tea Baggers throwing in with him. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a significant movement.

Eric Patton

But as the chart below shows the bond has been broken.

I don’t like the passive voice here. Who broke the bond? And why?

I recommend Noam Chomsky. Pay attention to Chomsky’s comments about the dismantling of the Bretton Woods system in the early 70s. Also pay attention when Chomsky talks about the “crisis of democracy” and the very conscious destruction of the US educational system.

cwaltz, November 13, 2015 at 7:03 am

I have to laugh at anyone who argues they don’t like redistribution because it’s the equivalent of saying I don’t like an economy. The reality is in capitalism you have redistribution. Businesses don’t keep the money you give it for goods and services, they redistribute it. The problem is they redistribute it poorly. They put an inordinately large emphasis on rewarding the guy on the top of the totem pole regardless of his contributions(that’s why you have CEOs walking away with multimillion dollar parachutes) while paying peanuts to what is often the face of their organization.

The Tea Party has a real critical thinking issue if it thinks any of this has anything to do with winners and losers. You can be a hard worker spending 17 years busting your backside only to find a CEO like Trump has decided that the business isn’t profitable enough. Guess what? When he files for bankruptcy he’ll get to keep his house, and be insulated from economic consequences that led to the bankruptcy. Meanwhile the same couldn’t be said for that worker whose major “bad decision” was placing his lot in with the wrong company at the wrong time under the wrong leadership.

Paul Tioxon, November 13, 2015 at 10:06 am

A Million Student March yesterday was the national day of protest across the nation by university students marching for the cancellation of student debt and $15/hr wages for student jobs. Locally, in Philly, they tied up traffic marching from North to South down Broad St and from West To East across Market St converging at City Hall for a rally against debt, for the $15/hr wage and in solidarity with Mizzou and Yale against racism on campus. Helicopter coverage and on site reporters interviewed the students, allowing them to get their message across in their own words. A Google news search shows similar coverage from Pittsburgh, Reno, Oakland, Vanderbilt etc etc. The report linked below references Bernie Sanders remarks as an inspiration. One student in front of City Hall demanding student debt cancellation presented the case that since a college degree is a necessity, why are they forced into debt for something that society requires of them to live any kind of life worth living? Necessities of life should not require you to borrow money and go into debt. That is similar to buying you supplies from the mining company so you can go down to the mines and work. Candles and picks are required to mine, so why does your paycheck have to cover that cost? The students are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

http://6abc.com/news/philly-students-hit-the-streets-for-million-student-march/1081368/

Vatch , November 13, 2015 at 11:06 am

This is an excellent list of problems in the U.S. economy (some of them affect other parts of the world, too). Whether or not a person currently supports Senator Bernie Sanders, one should ask which candidates for public office are most likely to sincerely try to solve these problems. There are other non-economic issues, but the average person won’t have a say in solving other problems unless most of the 10 problems in the list are, at the very least, partly solved.

3.14e-9, November 13, 2015 at 12:53 pm

This article won’t convince anyone with half a brain of anything. It’s a bunch of opinion, with weasel words such as “My strong impression is.” That he cites Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank is all anyone needs to know. They’ve been hammering on the same opinion over and over with pretty much the same set of “facts,” including inaccuracies such as Sanders’s alleged support for the bombing of Gaza last summer. Sanders was one of a small minority of senators who actually didn’t sign on to that resolution (S. Res. 498) and he didn’t vote for it, because there is no vote on resolutions. They are approved by an arcane Senate rule called “unanimous consent,” which is not what it sounds like, but it makes a great story for Chris Hedges and others who are just pissed off that Sanders chose to run as a Democrat.

Ultimately, this article is just more of the same ol’ — which is ironic, given that that’s what most of this crowd says about Sanders.

WindyCity, November 13, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Chris Hedges takes the same view. I am fully sympathetic with the harsh criticisms leveled at Sanders regarding his support for empire and his relative indifference to foreign policy. Also, he’s clearly not a socialist (nor could he be, considering his support for US militaristic hegemony). He is a liberal social democratic in the FDR tradition, and what he advocates is the restitution and strengthening of New Deal restraints on capitalism aimed at reducing inequality. He does support worker self-directed enterprises (cooperative businesses owned and run by workers) and has introduced legislation to provide federal support for such endeavors. This does suggest he’s mindful of what genuine socialism is about, though he hasn’t highlighted these ideas in the campaign.

My own view is that Sanders could provide an impetus for more movement-led change, provided that the energy and hope that he has generated, especially among young people, be channeled into organizing efforts and civil disobedience after the election process has concluded. I have little doubt that Clinton will win the nomination, but if, instead of succumbing to depression and disillusionment after Sanders has been defeated, his enthusiastic supporters take their anger and commitment into movement-building, his campaign will have made an important contribution.

A big problem is that Sanders has pledged to support the Democratic candidate if it’s not him. I don’t see how he could really get behind the cynical, opportunistic neocon, neoliberal Clinton, but we’ll see. It does look like he’ll push the less worse argument on his supporters, and that would be unfortunate.

Vatch, November 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

The article misrepresents some things. For example, these statements are false, or at the very least, exaggerations:

1) support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including President Obama’s recent decision to maintain a troop presence; 2) blank-check support of Israel, including its savage bombing campaign in Gaza last year;

1 ) Sanders voted against the war in Iraq and against the Patriot Act. See this for links and this for the Iraq vote in the House.
2 ) Sanders has been very critical of Israel’s behavior in Gaza. See this for more information and links.

Meant as a reply to Linda J.

Tom Stone, November 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Since reform is not going to happen we need to provide local police departments with more armored vehicles and finish doing away with the 2nd amendment.
The 1st and 4th are gone, it’s time for sensible people to get with the program.
Wesley Clarke is calling for FEMA camps to be opened to hold “Extremists”.
And he’s considered a moderate…
The system is broken, get in line or get hurt.

Lonely fight against neoliberalism

Sanders is probably among very few US politicians who oppose both theory and practice of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA with the election of Ronald Reagan. Now neoliberalism is 35 years old and already experienced one crisis (2008) which severely undermined its credibility. But it recovered and continue to exist in "zombie" (and really bloodthirsty) state: people understand that as a social system it is discredited, but have no viable alternative. What Sanders tried to propose is such an alternative in a form of resurrection of elements of New Deal. This is a tremendously difficult task. He does not enjoy support on financial oligarchy and thus face well organized and well fed Hillary campaign or discrediting him as a viable candidate. One positive thing about this duel that in rate face to face encounters Sanders might prevail over "not so bright"  Hillary.

Neoliberalism is a new form of corporatism based on the ideology of market fundamentalism, dominance of finance in the economy (and restoration of the political power of financial oligarchy) and cult of the rich ("greed is good") instead of ideology based on racial or national superiority typical for classic corporatism. Like many religious doctrines it belongs to the class of Theological Voluntarism (with some pseudo mathematical voodoo attached as a justification; actually even this is not new. Iranian ayatollahs in the past needed to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics) , but unlike most philosophies and relations it does not try to suppress greed. On the contrary it pronounces it to be a virtue ("Greed is good"). All actions are covered under smokescreen of propaganda which is unprecedented in its cynicism, hypocrisy and contempt to the ordinary people.  Probably exceeding cynicism of the USSR leadership which covered the same redistribution ( in case of the USSR mainly to military industrial complex and nomenklatura ) policies with Big Brother style slogans like  "The Party cares for the wellbeing of the people".  This is a tailor-made ideology for powerful interests, large international corporations who simply do want to have their way. They created a political system that is the very opposite of what our leadership, the mass media, opinion leaders, think tanks etc. proclaim as the world's foremost exemplary of democracy. The typical for corporatism union of corporate power and government was transformed by the US elite into a flavor of corporatism which Sheldon Wolin called "inverted totalitarianism" which is just another nickname for neoliberalism.  Unlike traditional corporatism of  Nazi Germany, and Italy the American neoliberal system is designed not to mobilize the populace, but to distract it, to encourage a sense of dependency (by cultivating fear, calling everything a "war", for example "war on terror") as well as encouraging political disengagement (as in Reagan quote: "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." ) . Those dirty tricks allowed corporate elite to take full political power and kill remnants of unions political  power while citizenry shows little interest or concern. In other words powerful corporate interests which were the key promoters of neoliberalism and the key beneficiaries of its spread. They ingeniously used the Cold War as a pretext of dismantling of the New Deal  ( Pt 1-8 Hedges & Wolin Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist - YouTube):

HEDGES: And the Cold War. So the Cold War arises. And this becomes the kind of moment by which capital, and especially corporate capital, can dismantle the New Deal and free itself from any kind of regulation and constraint to deform and destroy American democracy. Can you talk about that process, what happened during that period?

WOLIN: Well, I think the first thing to be said about it is the success with which the governing groups manage to create a Cold War that was really so total in its spread that it was hard to mount a critical opposition or to take a more detached view of our relationship to the Soviet Union and just what kind of problem it created.

And it also had the effect, of course, of skewing the way we looked at domestic discontents, domestic inequalities, and so on, because it was always easy to tar them with the brush of communism, so that the communism was just more than a regime. It was also a kind of total depiction of what was the threat to -- and complete opposite to our own form of society, our old form of economy and government.

HEDGES: And in Politics and Vision, you talk about because of that ideological clash, therefore any restriction of capitalism which was defined in opposition to communism as a kind of democratic good, if you want to use that word, was lifted in the name of the battle against communism, that it became capitalism that was juxtaposed to communism rather than democracy, and therefore this empowered capital, in a very pernicious way, to dismantle democratic institutions in the name of the war on communism.

WOLIN: Oh, I think there's no question about that, the notion that you first had to, so to speak, unleash the great potential capitalism had for improving everybody's economical lot and the kind of constraints that had been developed not only by the New Deal, but by progressive movements throughout the 19th century and early 20th century in the United States, where it had been increasingly understood that while American economic institutions were a good thing, so to speak, and needed to be nurtured and developed, they also posed a threat.

They posed a threat because they tended to result in concentrations of power, concentrations of economic power that quickly translated themselves into political influence because of the inevitably porous nature of democratic representation and elections and rule, so that the difficulty's been there for a long time, been recognized for a long time, but we go through these periods of sleepwalking where we have to relearn lessons that have been known almost since the birth of the republic, or at least since the birth of Jeffersonian democracy, that capitalism has its virtues, but it has to be carefully, carefully watched, observed, and often controlled.

Later Wendy Brown, professor in Berkley advanced Professor Wolin ideas to a new level  in her book Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (Zone Books, 2015). Notable quotes from her interview (What Exactly Is Neoliberalism):

"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."

"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."

"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."

"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."

"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."

"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."

"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."


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[Mar 16, 2020] I think those are just actors, playing the part that was written for them in the beginning of their career.

Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

willie , Mar 16 2020 0:28 utc | 48

As an european and for the first time interested in the primaries,I wonder why there's only Bernie,and nobody else is ever mentionned as being his faithful second,or faithful lieutenant capable and willing to continue Bernies movement for social justice and more equality in society and of course universal health care.

Is he the kind of guy that can't stand someone challenging him? Has he deliberately created a vacuum around himself to avoid that to happen?

In France we have someone like him, Melenchon, who creates diversion in the left when it is needed to the oligarchie and faking to reunite the left, but shrieking back from victory. But coming with a bag full of words and leftist phrases that I generally can approve of. But never attacking any french government on the maintaining of thousands of troops abroad.

I think those are just actors, playing the part that was written for them in the beginning of their career. Do you know that Daniel Cohn-Bendit from the '68 Paris movement is regarded by many,as being a CIA stooge from the beginning,in the same way as Guaido,Wong,Navalny,that would make May'68 a couloured revolution avant la lettre.

Yes,I think A User gives a good description of the phenomenon.So how come there's only Bernie,and nobody to take the torch from him?


Smith , Mar 16 2020 2:48 utc | 59

It's crazy all the president candidates are all old people in their 70s.

They should be in retirement home or hospital in the middle of a goddamn pandemic.

Tulsi Gabbard is constantly snubbed.

SharonM , Mar 16 2020 0:57 utc | 50
@48 willie

It's very new and interesting to me what you said here:

"Do you know that Daniel Cohn-Bendit from the '68 Paris movement is regarded by many, as being a CIA stooge from the beginning, in the same way as Guaido, Wong, Navalny, that would make May'68 a couloured revolution avant la lettre."

I did not know that! Thank you:)

Bernie had Tulsi Gabbard inspired by him, supporting him, and only needing him to recognize her in any way. But he's about as trustworthy as a CIA agent. He just ignored her, didn't support her, then let the State media and his party erase her. It's a grotesque election.
There have been so many times I've heard and read people say, "If the American people found out about 9/11 they'd go crazy", or, "If the American people found out about the amount of fraud/rigging in our elections, they wouldn't stand for it", etc., etc. Bullshit. The American people will do whatever the hell the TV tells them to do.


[Mar 16, 2020] Sanders has never been a real candidate. He always was an evangelical Socialist ideologue, a Pied Piper, for dopey students and young people who latched onto his notions

The US Presidential elections are, one way or another, mainly instruments for creating consent
Notable quotes:
"... Bernie has a long standing deal with the Democrats to play nice ..."
Mar 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder , Mar 15 2020 17:48 utc | 2

Bernie Sanders is not a political candidate. He is an evangelical Socialist ideologue.

He has no personality to battle opponents. He makes proclamations of his ideology.

He has never "fought back".

He has no instinct for debating. He believes, therefore, in his mind, he is correct. He expects others to follow his lead.

He has never been a real candidate. He was a distraction, a Pied Piper, for dopey students and young people who latched onto his notions.

When you offer free rewards and your turnout goes down, you are over as a "candidate".

Biden is brain damaged. He is a very dangerous stalking horse for the return of the Magic Negro, Obama, and the sociopathic Hillary Clinton.

If Biden wins in November, expect more war and a very long recession. Social chaos will look racial, but it will be a battle for the Second Amendment, Free Speech, and Traditional Values versus the Soulless Liberalism intended to establish Feudalism 'round the globe.

Everything in the Dem Primary and Convention is rigged. Bernie never had a chance. He could care less. He never expected to be President. He just wanted big crowds to listen to his Polemics.


SteveK9 , Mar 15 2020 18:25 utc | 6

#4

The guy is 78, what makes you think he cares about Vermont ... trying for the first 100-year-old Senator? He's never been able to do anything in Congress anyway. His big shot was spoiled by the Wicked Witch of the East. He would be President now, if not for her.

jef , Mar 15 2020 18:46 utc | 8
Bernie has fought long and hard. Look at his record, he has fought and succeeded in accomplishing more for the people than any other politician.

What everyone is assuming is that if Bern becomes an ugly asshole just like all the others before him TPTB would allow him to be the candidate or god forbid the POTUS. NEVER gunna happen!

There is only one way We The People can get the representation we need and want it to come out and state in the clearest possible way that Dems and Repubs are serving the same masters with the same basic agenda and represent one party. We must then form a new party and put everything we have behind it. It has to be a radical revolution and Bernie has made it clear that he will fight for all of us. Which by the way is exactly what all the top Dems are saying we don't need. Him getting elected under existing conditions would change NOTHING and he knows it. Forcing him to go

People who put all of the responsibility for achieving this on Bernies shoulders are ignorant chicken shits that don't deserve anything better than Biden, Cliton, Trump.

Kali , Mar 15 2020 18:48 utc | 9
#6 Bernie has a long standing deal with the Democrats to play nice or they will do all they can to ruin him. What else explains his reluctance to go after Biden like he should have earlier in the campaign? Either way, we will see what happens, maybe he will go after him, maybe not. I think he won't. I hope he does.
NOBTS , Mar 15 2020 19:08 utc | 13
If Bernie is real; ie. not sheep-dogging for Hillary again, he can prove it by dropping out immediately and throwing his delegates to Tulsi. This is the only shot to thwart the convention designs of the Dame Named Clinton.
Hey Bernie! Throw a Hail Tulsi Pass now!
chili palmer , Mar 16 2020 3:33 utc | 64
Bernie absolutely will not fight. For the record, at Democrat Party platform meetings in July 2016 he wouldn't put up the slightest fight against TPP . His position against TPP had gained him many followers. Union heads who had been anti-TPP until then showed up and were stongly pro-TPP as were Hillary and Obama:

7/9/16, " Bernie Sanders Defeated on Trade in Democratic Platform Fight, " NBC News, Alex Seitz-Wald, Orlando, Fla.

"Bernie Sanders failed to get strong language opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership inserted in the draft Democratic platform at a party meeting here Saturday....It was clear as a string of trade union presidents lined up at the microphone to oppose the Sanders amendments that his forces were outmatched.... (parag. 11)

The Obama administration supports it [TPP], and the desire to avoid embarrassing the president carried the day, with the labor unions acting as a political shield for the White House. Delegates twice Saturday morning voted down stronger opposition language as Sanders supporters booed and chanted "sellout." Some eventually walked out of the meeting entirely."...

The only topic on the 2020 election agenda should be that the US must be broken into parts. The weapons dictatorship that runs the US won't be stopped any other way.

Jackrabbit , Mar 16 2020 3:49 utc | 65

Bernie allowed Biden to co-opt his "message" on every point.

Even on his signature healthcare initiative, sheepdog Bernie rolled over. Bernie should've/could've asked why we should trust that Biden would get a 'public option' when Obama failed to do so (an Obama-Biden campaign promise).

Bernie also showed that he's got no interest in winning by failing to attack Biden on character issues ( just as he wouldn't attack Hillary on character issues in 2016). Any real candidate would've brought up Hunter Biden's dealings in Ukraine and China.

Bernie also pulled many punches, like:


Bernie's quixotic insurgency isn't anti-establishment. He's leading people into a dead end. And hoping you won't notice.

!!

/div>

Bernie is not there to be president, never was. his tribal mission is to dog herd the progressives into voting for the lesser evil Judeo-Zionist DNC´s pick. the day is not far when the name Sanders will have an entry in the common dictionary of the American language defined as "mass deception".

Posted by: nietzsche1510 , Mar 16 2020 8:45 utc | 76

Bernie is not there to be president, never was. his tribal mission is to dog herd the progressives into voting for the lesser evil Judeo-Zionist DNC´s pick. the day is not far when the name Sanders will have an entry in the common dictionary of the American language defined as "mass deception".

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Mar 16 2020 8:45 utc | 76

Piero Colombo , Mar 16 2020 11:34 utc | 85

Willie @48 / 84
There's no need for Sanders to designate a Dauphin: at every election the Owners of the Country trot out a shepherd dog, to bark the disgruntled people back to the fold, keeping them from burning down the Democrat abomination down. And yes, the sheeple are just as stupid as we think they are. Wallace, Mc Govern, Jackson, Kucinich, Sanders... the Owners always have a sheepdog ready. No matter if heshehe is a well-meaning, sincere populist like Kucinich or a warmongering imperialist buzztard like Sanders, or even worse, the sheepdog is the wolf in person, like Obama, the stupid sheep keep obeying the dog and voting for more of the same.
Because, see, their Hopium addiction has addled their brains. You just don't go to war relying on heroin addicts; it's just as bad with those who need their daily dose of Hope (when there is none.) They can't follow logic.

/div>

#13 You are right, absolutely Tulsi would make mincemeat of Biden and the establishment and Trump. They know it. But Bernie has surrounded himself with people who see reality through an establishment lens, which means they look forward to a career in the establishment political job market. They have convinced Bernie to ignore Tulsi because of a variety of reasons 1. Some are neocons 2. Some are Hinduphobes 3. Some are both 4. The rest know the establishment is dead set against Tulsi because she is a revolutionary. So even though she would win easily if Bernie gave his support to Tulsi, I can't see him doing that. Let us pray he does because at this point we need a miracle to save us from either Trump, Biden, or some other establishment lackey.

Posted by: Kali , Mar 15 2020 19:20 utc | 15

#13 You are right, absolutely Tulsi would make mincemeat of Biden and the establishment and Trump. They know it. But Bernie has surrounded himself with people who see reality through an establishment lens, which means they look forward to a career in the establishment political job market. They have convinced Bernie to ignore Tulsi because of a variety of reasons 1. Some are neocons 2. Some are Hinduphobes 3. Some are both 4. The rest know the establishment is dead set against Tulsi because she is a revolutionary. So even though she would win easily if Bernie gave his support to Tulsi, I can't see him doing that. Let us pray he does because at this point we need a miracle to save us from either Trump, Biden, or some other establishment lackey.

Posted by: Kali | Mar 15 2020 19:20 utc | 15

Kadath , Mar 16 2020 11:39 utc | 87
Well that's it Bernie is done and he made sure to s*** on his own movement as he stumbled off the stage back to his 3 mansions. He had already lost with super Tuesday, but he had a chance to save his legacy with a strong debate performance if he managed to squeeze some public commitments out of Biden for his followers. Instead he meekly assented to Biden's coronation, what was the point of the debate for Bernie's movement? they got nothing out of Biden, heck, Biden even made a point of trashing Medical Care for all and demanding that all of Bernie's people embrace him as their rightful king. Bernie's people got NOTHING from Biden and the DNC, the will continue to get NOTHING from them until they show the DNC that they will boycott the next election and make the DNC lose elections they would otherwise win. sure the Democrats will blame them for Trump 2020, but the Democrats lost the moderates in 2000 but they still came back to pander to them, time to make them pander to Bernie's people!
Trailer Trash , Mar 16 2020 13:39 utc | 93

>Bernie Sanders has only ever been a clever tool to mobilize
> the young voters. Never designed to actually have a chance. Just whip up dreams
> Posted by: Jezabeel | Mar 16 2020 9:03 utc | 79

... and then crush the dreams so the dreamers drift away in disgust.

Christian J Chuba , Mar 16 2020 13:12 utc | 91
Sadly Bernie is done

1. No one is talking about last night's debate because of the Coronavirus. It doesn't show up on my 'Bing' homepage and there isn't even mention of it on the few liberal websites that I visit except for Counterpunch and there was only one there.

2. The one exchange that I found on CNN / FOX was the 'Italy moment' which was meh when Bernie should have hit it out of the park. In fact, FOX even made it look like it was a homerun for Biden when it was not.
https://edition.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/03/16/joe-biden-bernie-sanders-debate-healthcare-coronavirus-pandemic-orig-me.cnn

[Mar 16, 2020] Bernie is a sheepdog who will make every attempt to coerce his followers to vote Biden

Notable quotes:
"... I actually watched the debate. Bernie is done. He's just too nice to be president. He had numerous chances to call joe out on his lies and passed on almost all of them. ..."
"... The disappointment isn't as big a shock. I don't like him losing. But I am absolutely disgusted that he won't call out the cheating, lying, and election fraud. ..."
Mar 16, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Pricknick on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 9:40pm

"You will copy my agenda".

And boy did he. I actually watched the debate. Bernie is done. He's just too nice to be president. He had numerous chances to call joe out on his lies and passed on almost all of them.

I'm very happy I didn't donate to his campaign this year. He is a sheepdog who will make every attempt to coerce his followers to vote blech no matter who.

Not I.

entrepreneur on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 9:48pm
Glad I didn't watch, and have been tapering down my expectations

of Bernie over the past week. The disappointment isn't as big a shock. I don't like him losing. But I am absolutely disgusted that he won't call out the cheating, lying, and election fraud.

And there is nothing that could get me to vote for Biden.

@Pricknick

mimi on Mon, 03/16/2020 - 12:35am
Just woke up and listen to this live stream ...

@janis b @janis b
I think it's the worst discussions of a couple's divorce arguments in front of their attorneys in court.

Joe Biden is talking way too much. Sanders is amazingly restrained in his verbal responses.

1. Shut this president down now.
2. Joe Biden talk less and lie less. For me you are unacceptable.
3. Bernie is not toast and just needs to fight on.
4. The media will not help us, despite the best efforts. I am glad though that I can watch the live stream of the debate.

Do not worry about how much it costs. If you can't stand listening anymore, stop listening.
... ... ...

[Mar 16, 2020] Sanders slams Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak

Mar 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Wood , 2 hours ago

This coronavirus is the whole point of Bernie. Now the government wants to jump in and act. Sometimes think about your neighbors instead of yourself.

Apostropheisss Mansion , 2 hours ago

I was shocked when I seen women literally FIGHTING over a 12 pk of Toilet Tissue. 1 instance of WHY the public is not told things as they truly are...you are freaking out over TISSUE..

Vince Miller , 2 hours ago

Bernie calls out Biden's lies and tells America to go see for themselves on YouTube.

TheDarkKnight , 1 hour ago

Biden lied through his teeth, and bernie didn't have guts to say "ur lying"

oj drummin , 2 hours ago

Bernie has the strength and wits to hang out with Anderson Cooper and talk policy after the debate. Biden is probably in the hospital hooked up to an I V .

Stephen B. Smith , 1 hour ago (edited)

Don't ever talk about how much it costs when it comes to medicare for all when it comes to the lives and wellbeing of Americans. But the federal government can find $1.5T laying around to donate to wall street. Give me a break Biden!!! That is a republican talking point. Biden is and have always been a closet republican.

Cilvar Frey , 1 hour ago

3:53 USA in a nutshell. "How can I make a fortune on [insert whatever event you could exploit here]?" F**kin' pathetic.

FitChef Joe Garcia , 2 hours ago

Bernie is more coherent and rational than Biden. I was hoping Bernie would pull the Hunter Burisma card.

singingchef23 , 2 hours ago

I've paid very close attention to CNN and I've noticed that there is barely ANYTHING that highlights the lies and contradictions of Biden. Corporate media is part of why the DNC will lose if they push Biden vs Trump. Trump will absolutely DESTROY JOE HIS RECORD IS THE SAME AS HILLARY AND THAT COST YOU LAST TIME

DT_ , 1 hour ago

Biden is a liar ! We already have one of those in the White House now

P Sanchez , 2 hours ago

I am a Sanders supporter and I am aware he will likely not get the nomination. I was hoping Biden would try and win me over, but he barely tried. He only solidified that Bernie is the real deal and Biden is just a bum.

mmafighting , 3 hours ago div tabindex="0" role="article

"> I hope they postpone the primaries, CDC has recommended against gatherings of over 50 people. All voting stations are going to have over 50 people. Move the primaries back, let's focus on the crisis at hand first. In the meantime let's have more of these long debates where we can handle the issues.. 1 on 1 let America decide who they want after. I have a feeling the longer they talk, the more people will understand Bernie has the record and the plan that will transform this great nation as well as the Energy and Enthusiasm to beat Trump. P.S for the people saying I'm just trying to buy Bernie time, you are right, however you also have to remember older people are way more secepptible to the Corona Virus.. and old people vote for Biden. Do all these senior citizens want to stand in line for hours with the virus going around? Imagine old the old people waiting to vote for Biden in Florida, the retirement capital of America. Bernie's young people are going to come out anyway.. this race still might have 1 more twist

Rrosa Seconda , 58 minutes ago

Thank You, Anderson. It is heroic of you to give BERNIE quality air time! WE THE PEOPLE have an important choice to make: we must vote for the most honest, creatively intelligent, compassionate and prepared candidate to see us through what is ahead.

[Mar 16, 2020] Half Of Young American Democrats Believe Billionaires Do More Harm Than Good

Notable quotes:
"... "The billionaire class is 'up there' because they are standing on our backs pinning us down." ..."
Mar 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Half Of Young American Democrats Believe Billionaires Do More Harm Than Good by Tyler Durden Sun, 03/15/2020 - 21:25 With income inequality the political hot potato du-jour and wealth concentration at its most extreme since the roaring twenties, is it any wonder that even Americans' view of what used to be called 'success' is now tainted with the ugly taste of partisan 'not-fair'-ism.

Income inequality is roaring...

Wealth concentration is extreme to say the least...

But still, according to Pew Research's latest survey , when asked about the impact of billionaires on the country, nearly four-in-ten adults under age 30 (39%) say the fact that some have fortunes of a billion dollars or more is a bad thing...

...with 50% of young Democrats.

"The recent reigning conventional wisdom over the last several decades of what I call the 'Age of Capital' is that [billionaires] are 'up there' because they are smarter than us," said Anand Giridharadas, author of "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World."

But the Pew data, he says, suggest that young Americans are concluding that billionaires have amassed their wealth "through their rigging of the tax code, through legal political bribery, through their tax avoidance in shelters like the Cayman Islands, and through lobbying for public policy that benefits them privately. "

"Bernie Sanders taught a lot of people [about wealth inequality], including people who did not vote for him," Giridharadas said.

"The billionaire class is 'up there' because they are standing on our backs pinning us down."

The good news - for the rest of America's "capitalists" - is that a majority (58%) say the impact of billionaires on America is neither bad nor good.

Finally, one quick question - where were all these under-30s when Bernie needed them the most in the Primaries? Was it all just virtue-signaling pro-socialist bullshit after all?

[Mar 13, 2020] Extraordinary Democratic Delusions and the Madness of the Crowd by M. G. Piety

Notable quotes:
"... New York Review of Books ..."
"... Encyclopedia Britannica ..."
"... Tomasky points out that Sanders, even if he were elected, would be unable to implement many of the programs that are part of his platform, that the best he'd get in terms of healthcare, for example, would be "a Bidenesque public option," meaning, I presume, and option such as Biden is advocating for now ..."
"... New York Review of Books ..."
"... The Daily Beast, ..."
"... The American Prospect, ..."
"... New York Review of Books ..."
"... New York Review of Books ..."
"... Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism ..."
"... The Corporate Coup d'Etat ..."
"... M.G. Piety teaches philosophy at Drexel University. She is the editor and translator of Soren Kierkegaard's Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs . Her latest book is: Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard's Pluralist Epistemology . She can be reached at: mgpiety@drexel.edu ..."
Mar 13, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Just when I am starting to think that the New York Review of Books is not irredeemably idiotic on political issues, they publish an article that is so conspicuously incoherent and outrageously out of touch with the political climate in the U.S. that it is destined to be anthologized in perpetuity in collections with "Clueless" in the title. The article, " The Party Cannot Hold ," by Michael Tomasky is about the current state of the Democratic party.

The current divide in the Democratic party, writes Tomasky, "is about capitalism -- whether it can be reformed and remade to create the kind of broad prosperity the country once knew, but without the sexism and racism of the postwar period, as liberals hope; or whether corporate power is now so great that we are simply beyond that, as the younger socialists would argue, and more radical surgery is called for."

Hmm, he's right, of course, that there is a faction of the Democratic party that wants to reform capitalism, to remake it to create the kind of broad prosperity the country once knew. The thing is, that faction is the "younger" one. The older, "liberal," Democrats have concentrated almost all their efforts on getting rid of sexism and racism, laudable goals to be sure, but oddly disconnected in the "liberal" imagination from economic issues.

Tomasky is also correct, of course, that a growing number of people in this country think Capitalism in any form is simply morally bankrupt and that we need a new socioeconomic system entirely. Few of these people, however, are registered Democrats. Most of them aren't even Social Democrats since the overthrow of capitalism hasn't been a part of the Social Democratic platform since the middle of the last century, at least according to Encyclopedia Britannica . Indeed, Wikipedia defines " Social democracy " as "a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist- oriented economy" (emphasis added). That Social Democrats are planning the overthrow of capitalism would be disturbing news to the many capitalists countries in Europe where they are an important political force.

Tomasky points out that Sanders, even if he were elected, would be unable to implement many of the programs that are part of his platform, that the best he'd get in terms of healthcare, for example, would be "a Bidenesque public option," meaning, I presume, and option such as Biden is advocating for now , because as Americans know too well, politicians almost never deliver on campaign promises. The electorate is nearly always forced to accept some watered-down version of what they've been promised, if indeed, they get any version of it at all. That's clearly part of the reason so many people support Sanders.

Few of Sanders supporters are so politically naïve that they think once he was in office we'd have universal healthcare. They assume they'd get something less than that. They also assume, however, and history suggests, correctly, that if Biden were elected, they'd get something less than he is promising, which means they'd get -- nothing at all! It's either disingenuous or idiotic of Tomasky to suggest that there's essentially no difference between Sanders' and Biden's healthcare plans, since even a child will tell you that something is clearly better than nothing.

Tomasky assumes that only if someone other than Sanders gets the nomination would the left "try to increase its leverage by, for example, running left-wing candidates against a large number of mainstream Democratic House incumbents." I kid you not, he actually said that. See, that's what happens when you don't pay sufficient attention to what is going on around you. Or perhaps Tomasky is simply being disingenuous again and hoping that the average reader of the New York Review of Books hasn't been following the Sanders campaign and the calls of both Sanders and his supporters for bringing about sweeping political change by running left-wing candidates against a large number of mainstream Democratic House incumbents.

"If Sanders wins the nomination," writes Tomasky, "it becomes absolutely incumbent upon Democratic establishment figures to get behind him, because a second Trump term is unthinkable. But the reality is," he continues, "that a number of them won't."

Hmm. Why is it that a number of "Democratic establishment figures" would rather have a second term of Trump than even one term of Sanders? That's not my charge, I feel compelled to remind readers here. It's Tomasky who came right out and admitted that! Yes, the Democratic establishment, despite it protestations to the contrary, would rather have a second term of Trump than even one term of Sanders according to Michael Tomasky, editor-in-chief of Democracy, a special correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and a contributing editor for The American Prospect, as well as a contributor to the New York Review of Books .

Why is that? Well, because as Tomasky observes himself earlier in the article, "Democrats have, since the 1990s, gotten themselves far too indebted to certain donor groups, notably Wall Street and the tech industry." Yes, this is the same Tomasky who began the article in question by characterizing these very same Democrats, now in the pocket of Wall Street and the tech industry, as wanting to reform capitalism, to remake it to create the kind of broad prosperity the country once knew.

Biden is apparently not the only prominent Democrat who appears to be suffering from some kind of dementia.

That's not the only dotty thing Tomasky says in the article. "In a parliamentary system," he says, "Biden would be in the main center-left party." Okay, yeah, maybe, if we suddenly had a parliamentary system in the U.S. In any other country that presently has a parliamentary system Biden would be in the center-right party, if not actually the far-right party.

The view that Sanders supporters are mostly young socialists is delusional. The very same issue of the New York Review of Books includes an excellent article about our current health-care crisis entitled " Left Behind " by Helen Epstein. Epstein explains that substantial numbers of the working poor support Sanders and that "117,000 Pennsylvanians who voted for Sanders in the [2016] primary cast their general election ballots for Trump." Hmm, it seems unlikely that those 117,000 Pennsylvanians were all young socialists.

Tomasky's world doesn't even cohere with the world as represented by other contributors to the publication in which his article appears, let alone to the real, concrete world. It exists only in his fevered imagination and the similarly fevered imaginations of other Democrats who delude themselves that they are "centrists" rather than right-wing neoliberals. There are bits and pieces of the truth in Tomasky's vision of the disunity in the Democratic party but he puts those bits together like a child forcing pieces of a puzzle where they don't belong.

What Tomasky fails to appreciate is just how mad, in the sense of angry, the average American voter is. Epstein writes that "[i]f you include those who have left the workforce altogether, the U.S. employment rate is almost as high as it was in 1931." She cites Anne Case and Angus Deaton as observing in Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism that "[t]he amount American spend unnecessarily on health care weighs more heavily on our economy than the Versailles Treaty reparations did on Germans in the 1920s."

Oh yeah, people are angry. Few people are blaming capitalism as such, but nearly everyone who's suffering economically appears to be blaming the political establishment, and blaming the Democrats just as much as the Republicans. This is clear from the people interviewed in the 2019 documentary The Corporate Coup d'Etat . These are people who voted for Sanders in the 2016 primary, but who then voted for Trump in the general election. They're not socialists. They're just angry. Really angry, and they're angry at both sides of the political establishment.

Tomasky is worried about the Democratic party, with its two fictional factions, breaking apart because he concludes "our [political] system militates against a schism." No third party, he thinks, could be a significant political force.

Oh yeah? Think again, Tomasky.

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: M. G. Piety

M.G. Piety teaches philosophy at Drexel University. She is the editor and translator of Soren Kierkegaard's Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs . Her latest book is: Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard's Pluralist Epistemology . She can be reached at: mgpiety@drexel.edu

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] A Sanders presidency would likely have been a major disappointment to Americans who want a more restrained and sensible foreign policy by Ted Galen Carpente

For those who opposed the USA foreign wars, the loss of Sanders is not that a great loss. Only Tulsi was a real anti-war candidates.
Notable quotes:
"... although he seemed reluctant to endorse Clinton’s earlier 1995 decision to bomb Serb positions in Bosnia, he did nothing to oppose that step either. ..."
"... When the administration led a full-scale NATO air war against Serbia to force Belgrade to withdraw from its restless, predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo, Sanders was on board. He voted for a Senate Concurrent Resolution (sponsored by Senator Joe Biden) that authorized the president to conduct air operations and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Sanders’ vote on that measure was especially telling. There was substantial opposition to the resolution in both houses of Congress. Indeed, the authorization failed on a tie vote in the House—with Sanders voting for war. It was apparent that there were numerous legislators who were more dovish than Bernie Sanders regarding the Kosovo intervention. ..."
"... He also signed on to the so-called war on terror during George W. Bush’s administration, voting for the dangerously vague authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in 2001 ..."
"... His opposition to military interventions certainly became more tepid again once Barack Obama entered the Oval Office. Contrary to Hillary Clinton’s jibe during a 2016 presidential primary debate that Sanders had endorsed the U.S.-led military campaign against Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, he only sponsored and voted for a resolution condemning Qaddafi and calling on the UN to pressure him to leave office. ..."
"... Sanders did not speak out against the war once it began, even though Obama ostentatiously declined even to seek congressional approval. ..."
"... A similar murkiness characterized his stance on the civil war in Syria. He supported Obama’s decision to send 250 U.S. troops to that country, ostensibly to train and assist “moderate” Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime. When Obama asked for congressional approval in 2013 for air strikes in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, though, Sanders had adopted a noncommittal stance, stating that he would keep an open mind but had several concerns and reservations. ..."
"... Once Donald Trump took office, Sanders became more consistently vocal in his opposition to U.S. military involvement in Syria. He condemned the Trump administration’s missile strikes on Syria for another alleged chemical weapons incident as “illegal and unauthorized”—a much stronger stance than he took when Obama proposed such retaliation in 2013. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Although he resists announcing the end of his candidacy, Bernie Sanders has almost no chance of becoming the Democratic Party nominee for president following his weak performances on both Super Tuesday and the six primaries the subsequent week. The impending demise of his presidential bid may come as a disappointment to some Americans who held out hope that a Sanders presidency would usher-in a more peaceful U.S. foreign policy. Sanders himself fosters the image that he is a staunch advocate of peace, asserting at one point that "I apologize to no one" for opposing the Iraq war and other conflicts.

Despite his claims, there were several unsettling aspects to his foreign policy track record. He has been more anti-war in his public statements and writings than in his actual voting record. His opposition to dubious U.S. military interventions has been noticeably more persistent and intense when Republican presidents initiated such missions than when Democratic presidents did so. Sanders has been disturbingly susceptible to arguments that so-called humanitarian wars are justified to protect suffering civilian populations from the abuses of brutal dictators. He is vocal that presidents need to seek explicit approval from Congress before launching armed interventions, but even on that issue his record is inconsistent. Sanders failed to condemn Bill Clinton or Barack Obama for brazenly bypassing Congress and waging major presidential wars in Kosovo and Libya, respectively, much less moving to generate congressional action to stop their usurpation of the war power. Apparently, White House invocations of the humanitarian war justification encouraged him to maintain silence in those cases.

Indeed, although he seemed reluctant to endorse Clinton’s earlier 1995 decision to bomb Serb positions in Bosnia, he did nothing to oppose that step either. Indeed, Sanders became noticeably more hawkish regarding the Balkan conflicts as the decade wore on. When the administration led a full-scale NATO air war against Serbia to force Belgrade to withdraw from its restless, predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo, Sanders was on board. He voted for a Senate Concurrent Resolution (sponsored by Senator Joe Biden) that authorized the president to conduct air operations and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Sanders’ vote on that measure was especially telling. There was substantial opposition to the resolution in both houses of Congress. Indeed, the authorization failed on a tie vote in the House—with Sanders voting for war. It was apparent that there were numerous legislators who were more dovish than Bernie Sanders regarding the Kosovo intervention.

He also signed on to the so-called war on terror during George W. Bush’s administration, voting for the dangerously vague authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in 2001, as did virtually every other member of Congress. Sanders was warier, though, of Bush’s propaganda offensive for a war to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Congressional Democrats were badly split on that issue. In contrast to party heavyweights such as Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Kerry, Sanders remained firmly in the faction that resisted military action and favored continued inspections and diplomacy with respect to Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. He voted against the October 2002 joint resolution authorizing Bush to use force, if necessary. Sanders would later boast “I not only voted against that war; I helped lead the effort against that war.” How much his stance reflected sincere, prescient aversion to a regime-change war with uncertain and potentially destabilizing ramifications, and how much reflected partisan hostility to the actions of a Republican president, though, is nearly impossible to determine.

His opposition to military interventions certainly became more tepid again once Barack Obama entered the Oval Office. Contrary to Hillary Clinton’s jibe during a 2016 presidential primary debate that Sanders had endorsed the U.S.-led military campaign against Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, he only sponsored and voted for a resolution condemning Qaddafi and calling on the UN to pressure him to leave office. However, even though he attacked Clinton for pushing the Libya intervention as Obama’s secretary of state, (making the snarky comment “I’m not quite the fan of regime change that she is),” Sanders did not speak out against the war once it began, even though Obama ostentatiously declined even to seek congressional approval.

A similar murkiness characterized his stance on the civil war in Syria. He supported Obama’s decision to send 250 U.S. troops to that country, ostensibly to train and assist “moderate” Syrian rebels trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime. When Obama asked for congressional approval in 2013 for air strikes in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, though, Sanders had adopted a noncommittal stance, stating that he would keep an open mind but had several concerns and reservations.

Once Donald Trump took office, Sanders became more consistently vocal in his opposition to U.S. military involvement in Syria. He condemned the Trump administration’s missile strikes on Syria for another alleged chemical weapons incident as “illegal and unauthorized”—a much stronger stance than he took when Obama proposed such retaliation in 2013.

A similar hardening pattern occurred with his attitude toward Washington’s support of the Saudi-Arabian-United Arab Emirates war in Yemen. Sanders said little about that offensive when it began in 2015 and continued in 2016. When Trump continued Washington’s support, though, Sanders became steadily more negative. He voted for a December 2018 Senate resolution to end the U.S. assistance to the Saudi war effort. The following month, he co-sponsored a bipartisan joint resolution mandating the removal of all U.S. forces from Yemen not authorized by Congress. Both the Senate and House passed that measure, but supporters were unable to override President Trump’s subsequent veto.

The overall recent trend of his views does suggest a more serious commitment to opposing dubious military ventures and insisting on the restoration of the congressional war power. Some observers saw a dramatic change bordering on a revolutionary one in his foreign policy perspective. That may be true with respect to policy in the Muslim world. In March 2019, he signed a pledge along with Senator Elizabeth Warren and other progressives, calling on the United States to end its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Yet, when Trump announced a partial withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria in late 2019, Sanders joined in the Democratic-led hawkish chorus condemning the move as a betrayal of Washington’s Kurdish allies in Syria.

It is even less certain whether Sanders’ alleged advocacy of restraint applies to U.S. policy in other regions. He has loyally supported the Democratic Party’s promotion of a confrontational policy toward Russia, including backing U.S. military aid to Ukraine. Sanders also at times has embraced the rhetorical neo-McCarthyism epitomized by the Left’s repeated innuendos about Trump allegedly doing Vladimir’s bidding—even though the president’s Russia policy actually has been more hardline than the policy Obama pursued.

Responding to media revelations in February 2020 that he had received a briefing from U.S. intelligence agencies that the Kremlin was trying to assist his presidential bid, Sanders lashed out and stressed his opposition to Moscow’s supposed policies. “Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia," Sanders said. "Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts.”

Sanders exhibits few dovish sentiments when it comes to policy toward Russia, and that stance is troubling. Russia is the one power in the world that has the strategic weaponry to end American civilization in an armed conflict. Caution and restraint is more essential regarding Washington’s relations with that country than any other.

A widespread impression exists that Bernie Sanders is the ideological successor to such antiwar Democratic Party stalwarts as Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. But Sanders’ performance regarding issues of war and peace is more murky and complex. At best, he has been an inconsistent, ambivalent, advocate of a more peaceful U.S. foreign policy. Granted, his policy views seem less hawkish and meddlesome than those of Joe Biden. And arguably they are better than those of Donald Trump, who has talked the talk but rarely walked the walk when it comes to curtailing Washington’s foolish overseas interventions. Nevertheless, a Sanders presidency would likely have been a major disappointment to Americans who want a more restrained and sensible foreign policy.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at the National Interest, is the author of 12 books and more than 850 articles on international affairs. His most recent books are Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (2019) and NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur (2019).

[Mar 12, 2020] How 'Bernie Bros' Were Invented, Then Smeared as Sexist, Racist and unAmerican as Borscht by Jonathan Cook

Looks like DNC run a pretty sophisticated smear campaign against Sanders ...
Notable quotes:
"... It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities ..."
"... The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The Democratic presidential nomination race is a fascinating case study in how power works – not least, because the Democratic party leaders are visibly contriving to impose one candidate, Joe Biden, as the party's nominee, even as it becomes clear that he is no longer mentally equipped to run a local table tennis club let alone the world's most powerful nation.

Biden's campaign is a reminder that power is indivisible. Donald Trump or Joe Biden for president – it doesn't matter to the power-establishment. An egomaniacal man-child (Trump), representing the billionaires, or an elder suffering rapid neurological degeneration (Biden), representing the billionaires, are equally useful to power. A woman will do too, or a person of colour. The establishment is no longer worried about who stands on stage – so long as that person is not a Bernie Sanders in the US, or a Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities. What concerns it far more is that we might overcome those divisions and unify against it, withdrawing our consent from an establishment committed to endless asset-stripping of our societies and the planet.

Neither Biden nor Trump will obstruct the establishment, because they are at its very heart. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power.

Although a pretty face or a way with words are desirable, incapacity and incompetence are no barrier to qualifying, as the two white men groomed by their respective parties demonstrate. Both have proved they will favour the establishment, both will pursue near-enough the same policies , both are committed to the status quo, both have demonstrated their indifference to the future of life on Earth. What separates the candidates is not real substance, but presentation styles – the creation of the appearance of difference, of choice.

Policing the debate

The subtle dynamics of how the Democratic nomination race is being rigged are interesting. Especially revealing are the ways the Democratic leadership protects establishment power by policing the terms of debate: what can be said, and what can be thought; who gets to speak and whose voices are misrepresented or demonised. Manipulation of language is key.

As I pointed out in my previous post , the establishment's power derives from its invisibility. Scrutiny is kryptonite to power.

The only way we can interrogate power is through language, and the only way we can communicate our conclusions to others is through words – as I am doing right now. And therefore our strength – our ability to awaken ourselves from the trance of power – must be subverted by the establishment, transformed into our Achilles' heel, a weakness.

The treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters by the Democratic establishment – and those who eagerly repeat its talking points – neatly illustrates how this can be done in manifold ways.

Remember this all started back in 2016, when Sanders committed the unforgivable sin of challenging the Democratic leadership's right simply to anoint Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential candidate. In those days, the fault line was obvious and neat: Bernie was a man, Clinton a woman. She would be the first woman president. The only party members who might wish to deny her that historic moment, and back Sanders instead, had to be misogynist men. They were supposedly venting their anti-women grudge against Clinton, who in turn was presented to women as a symbol of their oppression by men.

And so was born a meme: the "Bernie Bros". It rapidly became shorthand for suggesting – contrary to all evidence – that Sanders' candidacy appealed chiefly to angry, entitled white men. In fact, as Sanders' 2020 run has amply demonstrated, support for him has been more diverse than for the many other Democratic candidates who sought the nomination.

So important what @ewarren is saying to @maddow about the dangerous, threatening, ugly faction among the Bernie supporters. Sanders either cannot or will not control them. pic.twitter.com/LYDXlLJ7bi

-- Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 6, 2020

How contrived the 2016 identity-fuelled contest was should have been clear, had anyone been allowed to point that fact out. This wasn't really about the Democratic leadership respecting Clinton's identity as a woman. It was about them paying lip service to her identity as a woman, while actually promoting her because she was a reliable warmonger and Wall Street functionary . She was useful to power.

If the debate had really been driven by identity politics, Sanders had a winning card too: he is Jewish. That meant he could be the United States' first Jewish president. In a fair identity fight, it would have been a draw between the two. The decision about who should represent the Democratic party would then have had to be decided based on policies, not identity. But party leaders did not want Clinton's actual policies, or her political history, being put under the microscope for very obvious reasons.

Weaponisation of identity

The weaponisation of identity politics is even more transparent in 2020. Sanders is still Jewish, but his main opponent, Joe Biden, really is simply a privileged white man. Were the Clinton format to be followed again by Democratic officials, Sanders would enjoy an identity politics trump card. And yet Sanders is still being presented as just another white male candidate , no different from Biden.

(We could take this argument even further and note that the other candidate who no one, least of all the Democratic leadership, ever mentions as still in the race is Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of colour. The Democratic party has worked hard to make her as invisible as possible in the primaries because, of all the candidates, she is the most vocal and articulate opponent of foreign wars. That has deprived her of the chance to raise funds and win delegates.)

. @DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020

Sanders' Jewish identity isn't celebrated because he isn't useful to the power-establishment. What's far more important to them – and should be to us too – are his policies, which might limit their power to wage war, exploit workers and trash the planet.

But it is not just that Democratic Party leaders are ignoring Sanders' Jewish identity. They are also again actively using identity politics against him, and in many different ways.

The 'black' establishment?

Bernie Sanders' supporters have been complaining for some time – based on mounting evidence – that the Democratic leadership is far from neutral between Sanders and Biden. Because it has a vested interest in the outcome, and because it is the part of the power-establishment, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is exercising its influence in favour of Biden. And because power prefers darkness, the DNC is doing its best to exercise that power behind the scenes, out of sight – at least, unseen by those who still rely on the "mainstream" corporate media, which is also part of the power-establishment. As should be clear to anyone watching, the nomination proceedings are being controlled to give Biden every advantage and to obstruct Sanders.

But the Democratic leadership is not only dismissing out of hand these very justified complaints from Bernie Sanders' supporters but also turning these complaints against them, as further evidence of their – and his – illegitimacy. A new way of doing this emerged in the immediate wake of Biden winning South Carolina on the back of strong support from older black voters – Biden's first state win and a launchpad for his Super Tuesday bid a few days later.

It was given perfect expression from Symone Sanders, who despite her surname is actually a senior adviser to Biden's campaign. She is also black. This is what she wrote: "People who keep referring to Black voters as 'the establishment' are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing."

People who keep referring to Black voters as "the establishment" are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing.

-- Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) March 3, 2020

Her reference to generic "people" was understood precisely by both sides of the debate as code for those "Bernie Bros". Now, it seems, Bernie Sanders' supporters are not simply misogynists, they are potential recruits to the Ku Klux Klan.

The tweet went viral, even though in the fiercely contested back-and-forth below her tweet no one could produce a single example of anyone actually saying anything like the sentiment ascribed by Symone Sanders to "Bernie Bros". But then, tackling bigotry was not her real goal. This wasn't meant to be a reflection on a real-world talking-point by Bernie supporters. It was high-level gaslighting by a senior Democratic party official of the party's own voters.

Survival of the fittest smear

What Symone Sanders was really trying to do was conceal power – the fact that the DNC is seeking to impose its chosen candidate on party members. As occurred during the confected women-men, Clinton vs "Bernie Bros" confrontation, Symone Sanders was field-testing a similar narrative management tool as part of the establishment's efforts to hone it for improved effect. The establishment has learnt – through a kind of survival of the fittest smear – that divide-and-rule identity politics is the perfect way to shield its influence as it favours a status-quo candidate (Biden or Clinton) over a candidate seen as a threat to its power (Sanders).

In her tweet, Symone Sanders showed exactly how the power elite seeks to obscure its toxic role in our societies. She neatly conflated "the establishment" – of which she is a very small, but well-paid component – with ordinary "black voters". Her message is this: should you try to criticise the establishment (which has inordinate power to damage lives and destroy the planet) we will demonise you, making it seem that you are really attacking black people (who in the vast majority of cases – though Symone Sanders is a notable exception – wield no power at all).

Symone Sanders has recruited her own blackness and South Carolina's "black voters" as a ring of steel to protect the establishment. Cynically, she has turned poor black people, as well as the tens of thousands of people (presumably black and white) who liked her tweet, into human shields for the establishment.

It sounds a lot uglier put like that. But it has rapidly become a Biden talking-point, as we can see here:

NEW: @JoeBiden responds to @berniesanders saying the "establishment" is trying to defeat him.

"The establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African Americans they are the establishment!" @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/43Q2Nci5sS

-- Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) March 4, 2020

The DNC's wider strategy is to confer on Biden exclusive rights to speak for black voters (despite his inglorious record on civil rights issues) and, further, to strip Sanders and his senior black advisers of any right to do so. When Sanders protests about this, or about racist behaviour from the Biden camp, Biden's supporters come out in force and often abusively, though of course no one is upbraiding them for their ugly, violent language. Here is the famous former tennis player Martina Navratilova showing that maybe we should be talking about "Biden Bros":

Sanders is starting to really piss me off. Just shut this kind of crap down and debate the issues. This is not it.

-- Martina Navratilova (@Martina) March 6, 2020

Being unkind to billionaires

This kind of special pleading by the establishment for the establishment – using those sections of it, such as Symone Sanders, that can tap into the identity politics zeitgeist – is far more common than you might imagine. The approach is being constantly refined, often using social media as the ultimate focus group. Symone Sanders' successful conflation of the establishment with "black voters" follows earlier, clumsier efforts by the establishment to protect its interests against Sanders that proved far less effective.

Billionaires should not exist. https://t.co/hgR6CeFvLa

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 24, 2019

Remember how last autumn the billionaire-owned corporate media tried to tell us that it was unkind to criticise billionaires – that they had feelings too and that speaking harshly about them was "dehumanising". Again it was aimed at Sanders, who had just commented that in a properly ordered world billionaires simply wouldn't exist. It was an obvious point: allowing a handful of people to control almost all the planet's wealth was not only depriving the rest of us of that wealth (and harming the planet) but it gave those few billionaires way too much power. They could buy all the media, our channels of communication, and most of the politicians to ringfence their financial interests, gradually eroding even the most minimal democratic protections.

That campaign died a quick death because few of us are actually brainwashed enough to accept the idea that a handful of billionaires share an identity that needs protecting – from us! Most of us are still connected enough to the real world to understand that billionaires are more than capable of looking out for their own interests, without our helping them by imposing on ourselves a vow of silence.

But one cannot fault the power-establishment for being constantly inventive in the search for new ways to stifle our criticisms of the way it unilaterally exercises its power. The Democratic nomination race is testing such ingenuity to the limits. Here's a new rule against "hateful conduct" on Twitter, where Biden's neurological deficit is being subjected to much critical scrutiny through the sharing of dozens of videos of embarrassing Biden "senior moments".

Twitter expanding its hateful conduct rules "to include language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability or disease." https://t.co/KmWGaNAG9Z

-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 5, 2020

Yes, disability and age are identities too. And so, on the pretext of protecting and respecting those identities, social media can now be scrubbed of anything and anyone trying to highlight the mental deficiencies of an old man who might soon be given the nuclear codes and would be responsible for waging wars in the name of Americans. Twitter is full of comments denouncing as "ableist" anyone who tries to highlight how the Democratic leadership is foisting a cognitively challenged Biden on to the party.

Maybe the Dem insiders are all wrong, but it's true that they are saying it. Some are saying it out loud, including Castro at the debate and Booker here: https://t.co/0lbi7RFRqG

-- Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 6, 2020

Russian 'agents' and 'assets'

None of this is to overlook the fact that another variation of identity politics has been weaponised against Sanders: that of failing to be an "American" patriot. Again illustrating how closely the Democratic and Republican leaderships' interests align, the question of who is a patriot – and who is really working for the "Russians" – has been at the heart of both parties' campaigns, though for different reasons.

Trump has been subjected to endless, evidence-free claims that he is a secret "Russian agent" in a concerted effort to control his original isolationist foreign policy impulses that might have stripped the establishment – and its military-industrial wing – of the right to wage wars of aggression, and revive the Cold War, wherever it believes a profit can be made under cover of "humanitarian intervention". Trump partly inoculated himself against these criticisms, at least among supporters, with his "Make America Great Again" slogan, and partly by learning – painfully for such an egotist – that his presidential role was to rubber-stamp decisions made elsewhere about waging wars and projecting US power.

I'm just amazed by this tweet, which has been tweeted plenty. Did @_nalexander and all the people liking this not know that Mueller laid out in the indictments of a number of Russians and in his report their help on social media to Sanders and Trump. Help Sanders has acknowledged https://t.co/vuc0lmvvKP

-- Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) December 8, 2019

Bernie Sanders has faced similar smear efforts by the establishment, including by the DNC's last failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – in his case, painting him as a "Russian asset". ("Asset" is a way to suggest collusion with the Kremlin based on even more flimsy evidence than is needed to accuse someone of being an agent.) In fact, in a world where identity politics wasn't simply a tool to be weaponised by the establishment, there would be real trepidation about engaging in this kind of invective against a Jewish socialist.

One of the far-right's favourite antisemitic tropes – promoted ever since the publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion more than 100 years ago – is that Jewish "Bolsheviks" are involved in an international conspiracy to subvert the countries they live in. We have reached the point now that the corporate media are happy to recycle evidence-free claims, cited by the Washington Post, from anonymous "US officials" and US intelligence agencies reinventing a US version of the Protocols against Sanders. And these smears have elicited not a word of criticism from the Democratic leadership nor from the usual antisemitism watchdogs that are so ready to let rip over the slightest signs of what they claim to be antisemitism on the left.

But the urgency of dealing with Sanders may be the reason normal conventions have been discarded. Sanders isn't a loud-mouth egotist like Trump. A vote for Trump is a vote for the establishment, if for one of its number who pretends to be against the establishment. Trump has been largely tamed in time for a second term. By contrast, Sanders, like Corbyn in the UK, is more dangerous because he may resist the efforts to domesticate him, and because if he is allowed any significant measure of political success – such as becoming a candidate for president – it may inspire others to follow in his footsteps. The system might start to throw up more anomalies, more AOCs and more Ilhan Omars.

So Sanders is now being cast, like Trump, as a puppet of the Kremlin, not a true American. And because he made the serious mistake of indulging the "Russiagate" smears when they were used against Trump, Sanders now has little defence against their redeployment against him. And given that, by the impoverished standards of US political culture, he is considered an extreme leftist, it has been easy to conflate his democratic socialism with Communism, and then conflate his supposed Communism with acting on behalf of the Kremlin (which, of course, ignores the fact that Russia long ago abandoned Communism).

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Let me tell this to Putin -- the American people, whether Republicans, Democrats, independents are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections." pic.twitter.com/ejcP7YVFlt

-- The Hill (@thehill) February 21, 2020

Antisemitism smear at the ready

There is a final use of weaponised identity politics that the Democratic establishment would dearly love to use against Sanders, if they need to and can get away with it. It is the most toxic brand – and therefore the most effective – of the identity-based smears, and it has been extensively field-tested in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn to great success. The DNC would like to denounce Sanders as an antisemite.

In fact, only one thing has held them back till now: the fact that Sanders is Jewish. That may not prove an insuperable obstacle, but it does make it much harder to make the accusation look credible. The other identity-based smears had been a second-best, a make-do until a way could be found to unleash the antisemitism smear.

The establishment has been testing the waters with implied accusations of antisemitism against Sanders for a while, but their chances were given a fillip recently when Sanders refused to participate in the annual jamboree of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent lobby group whose primary mission is to ringfence Israel from criticism in the US. Both the Republican and Democratic establishments turn out in force to the AIPAC conference, and in the past the event has attracted keynote speeches from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Sanders has refused to attend for decades and maintained that stance this month, even though he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the last primaries debate, Sanders justified his decision by rightly calling Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "racist" and by describing AIPAC as providing a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights".

Trump's Vice-President, Mike Pence, responded that Sanders supported "Israel's enemies" and, if elected, would be the "most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation" – all coded suggestions that Sanders is antisemitic.

But that's Mike Pence. More useful criticism came from billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is himself Jewish and was until last week posing as a Democrat to try to win the party's nomination. Bloomberg accused Sanders of using dehumanising language against a bunch of inclusive identities that, he improbably suggested, AIPAC represents. He claimed :

"This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity and political party. Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the US-Israel relationship."

Where might this head? At the AIPAC conference last week we were given a foretaste. Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK and a friend to Conservative government leader Boris Johnson, was warmly greeted by delegates, including leading members of the Democratic establishment. He boasted that he and other Jewish leaders in the UK had managed to damage Jeremy Corbyn's electoral chances by suggesting that he was an antisemite over his support, like Sanders, for Palestinian rights.

His own treatment of Corbyn, he argued, offered a model for US Jewish organisations to replicate against any leadership contender who might pose similar trouble for Israel, leaving it for his audience to pick up the not-so-subtle hint about who needed to be subjected to character assassination.

WATCH: "Today I issue a call to the Jews of America, please take a leaf out of our book and please speak with one voice."

The Chief Rabbi speaking to the 18,000 delegates gathered at the @AIPAC General Session at their Policy Conference in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/BOkan9RA2O

-- Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) March 3, 2020

Establishment playbook

For anyone who isn't wilfully blind, the last few months have exposed the establishment playbook: it will use identity politics to divide those who might otherwise find a united voice and a common cause.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's identity, especially if it is under threat, maligned or marginalised. But having an attachment to an identity is no excuse for allowing it to be coopted by billionaires, by the powerful, by nuclear-armed states oppressing other people, by political parties or by the corporate media, so that they can weaponise it to prevent the weak, the poor, the marginalised from being represented.

It is time for us to wake up to the tricks, the deceptions, the manipulations of the strong that exploit our weaknesses – and make us yet weaker still. It's time to stop being a patsy for the establishment. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Mar 11, 2020

Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

Notable quotes:
"... One almost feels sorry for Bernie Sanders, who, even at this late stage, still seems to believe that he can drag Joe Biden to the 'left' and secure something/anything? for all those millions of ordinary Americans who supported Bernie's dream of a more just and equal America. ..."
"... Poor Bernie and poor ordinary Americans. It ain't gonna work. Bernie knows that the Demorcratic party has chosen Biden, not him and his political dream is over, once again. ..."
"... With Joe having these " miraculous " wins in the primaries yet bringing nothing new to the table I can only conclude we are set for another 4 yrs of Trumpelstiltskin and his money grubbing ways. ..."
"... Tulsi is inspirational. I'm not talking 'politics' but regarding her willingness to speak truth to corruption. ..."
"... The self-evident externalities of 40 years of unfettered neoliberalism (war, lies, injustice, extreme wealth inequality, etc) now seem to be approaching some sort of explosive end-point. ..."
"... These problems are too entrenched for real politicians to sort out, so what we have instead is a form theatre, albeit a third-rate form of theatre with abysmal actors taking on roles that are far too difficult for them: Trump vs Biden would be the apotheosis this morass. ..."
"... As it turned out, the security state's narrative was easy to pull off because Sander is weak, lacks courage, and was never in it to win it. He never fought back against the DNC. ..."
"... He never called out the cheating in Iowa. There were thousands of volunteers that would be willing to protest on his behalf. Timid Bernie just let it go. ..."
"... Instead Bernie, kept saying "Biden is my good friend" or "Biden can beat Trump." WTF, if Biden can beat Trump then why are you running? Are you campaigning for Biden? ..."
"... The final nail was Tulsi's tweet asking for Biden and Bernie's support for her to right to participate in the next debate. Yang and Marianne Williamson tweeted yes of course, but Bernie was silent. On subsequent mainstream media news appearances Bernie totally ignored Tulsi's candidacy. That was it – Bernie is a lackey – completely intimidated by the DNC. ..."
"... "Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a top contender to head up the World Bank. Bloomberg endorsed Biden immediately after dropping out of the 2020 race. ..."
"... Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as Treasury secretary. Warren dropped out of the race last week after disappointing losses on Super Tuesday but hasn't yet made an endorsement. Axios reported that Warren's name had been floated as part of an effort to unite the fractured Democratic Party around Biden. Some of Biden's advisers have also suggested Warren as a vice-presidential candidate for that reason. ..."
"... Seems Bernie has reprised his role as sheep dog. Probably the reason the Orwellian DNC unpersoned Tulsi is that she probably refused to play. ..."
"... Hundreds of thousands of ballots in California and Texas were discarded. Warren purposely stayed in the race to screw Bernie in Minnesota and Massachusetts, while Klobuchar and Buttigeg dropped out to prop-up Biden. ..."
"... And as I mentioned, Bernie is his own worst enemy, or as I also speculated he was never in it to win it. ..."
"... Blackmail ? The Clinton campaign exercising leverage over Sanders during the election – Podesta/wikileaks emails. 'This isn't in keeping w the agreement. Since we clearly have some leverage, would be good to flag this for him'. https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/47397 ..."
"... Unfortunately. Trump may end up botching the corona crisis and lose, but whoever wins it's going to be four more years of everything getting worse. ..."
"... Some research on 'possible' fraudulent hidden computer counting from first super Tuesday. http://tdmsresearch.com/ ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The handful of American citizens who have by some miracle escaped the wave of death caused by the coronavirus will be braving the toilet-paper maddened crowds to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today.

There's several more rounds of voting before the convention in July, but this is the last before the next debate on March 15th.

The process is kinda moot at this point.

The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden.

Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian .

Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance.

None of the mainstream media have questioned the validity of results or the fairness of the electoral process, although given the DNC's history you'd be forgiven for doing so.

After Biden's win, Trump immediately went on the offensive (so to speak), questioning Biden's mental acuity . This is likely just a taste of things to come.

It has to be said, Biden is vulnerable in this area. Seeing as he seemingly can't go a single public appearance without forgetting what day it is , what position he's running for , the words of the Declaration of Independence , who his wife is , or his own name .

Given this, you have to wonder what the point of the exercise is. Biden will likely be mauled by Trump, so are the Democrats even trying to win? Is the plan for Biden to have "health problems" before the convention, forcing the DNC to pick its own candidate? Or is the plan to have him run, win and then get Ned Starked by his vice-president whoever he or (more likely) she may be?

Whatever the plan turns out to be, progressives and leftists all over America will likely be disappointed in Bernie. If last time is anything to go by, no matter how obviously he (and more importantly his voters) get screwed over, Sanders will just let it happen.

It seems like Bernie is a serial offender here. Setting up hope only to fold faster than Superman on laundry day when the pressure is on. You wonder if he's being used as a tool to engage the youth vote, or just a puppet designed to funnel all real leftist thinkers into a political cul-de-sac.

The other Great White Hope of American leftists – or should that be "Great Native American hope"? – Elizabeth Warren, dropped out last week but is yet to endorse her fellow "progressive", Bernie Sanders. This could mean she's spiteful, or it could mean she's angling to be Biden's VP nominee. Either way, no real surprise and no real loss. Warren always talked a better game than she played and she didn't talk all that well.

Oh, and the DNC changed their debate eligibility rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard . Something both the other candidates and the vast majority of the mainstream media have been quiet about.

Questions arise

Are the democrats really rallying behind Joe Biden? why?! Are they planning to throw the race? Is Joe Biden going senile? Who will each candidate pick as a running mate? Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

NOBTS ,

If Bernie is real; ie. not sheep-dogging for Hillary again, he can prove it by dropping out immediately and throwing his delegates to Tulsi so she can debate Joe Biden on Sunday; then watch the fur fly. .last chance for the left.
Seriously, the only positive play left for Bernie, (if positive change is his intent )would be to immediately drop out and throw a "Hail Tulsi Pass" downfield ahead of the Sunday debate.

michaelk ,

One would imagine that Tulsi Gabbard would tick all the liberal/left boxes and virtues the Guardian pretends to adore and aspire to. She seems almost too perfect in my eyes another story perhaps? Anyway, one wonders what all those politically correct and so obvioulsy woke feminist ladies at the Guardian have against Tulsi? The Guardian seems to have decided that its future lies overseas, in America, which is very odd for a newspaper/platform based in the UK? Consequently, they are increasingly obsessed with moving closer and closer to the Democrat party in the US.

This is like the BBC that keeps talking to Americans about absolutely everything of importance that happens in the world and seeking their insights and opinions to a truly remarkably degree, considering how little they know and understand about the rest of the world and how poor they are at foreign languages and historical knowledge. Christ they know next to nothing about their own history, let alone the rest of the world! The idea that all these Americans are authorities on the world is ridiculous.

Harry Stotle ,

The ghosting of Gabbard illustrates how the MSM act in concert, and how they look after their own, i.e. backing those understand their role as puppets for corporate backers.

It also illustrates how the likes of the Guardian turn identity politics off and on like a tap, but more importantly how even shibboleths like identity politics are still secondary to an economic model that has placed us on the road to armegeddon.

Maxine ,

Well, Tulsi is FAR from "too perfect" .She voluntarily took part in the Bush/Cheny invasion of Iraq .How could anybody with a working mind have believed the lies of these nortorious criminals? .And what sort of judgement did this show? .Just as bad, she is a big fan of India's monstrous Right-Wing leader, Modi .Nevertheless, the DNC's throwing her out of the debate is another hideous sign of its corruption .Like her or not, she should have her opinions heard by the public.

Maxine ,

Don't get me wrong, I find the Gaurdian as despicable as CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the NYT and the rest of the American MSM .OffG is a god-send.

Admin2 ,

Thanks Maxine!

michaelk ,

One almost feels sorry for Bernie Sanders, who, even at this late stage, still seems to believe that he can drag Joe Biden to the 'left' and secure something/anything? for all those millions of ordinary Americans who supported Bernie's dream of a more just and equal America.

Poor Bernie and poor ordinary Americans. It ain't gonna work. Bernie knows that the Demorcratic party has chosen Biden, not him and his political dream is over, once again.

Now it's all about stopping the 'monster' Trump first and foremost. The coming election won't actually be about anything of real substance, nothing like Bernie's political ideas about healthcare and education; but it'll be a crass referendum about Trump's personality. Biden, of course, doesn't really have a personality anymore, that's going fast, along with his mental capacity.

Trump will smash him to pieces and be re-elected again. Four more years, at least.

Maxine ,

I would have voted for Bernie in 2016 if the DNC hadn't rigged the primary on behalf of Hillary .But I was overwhelmingly disappointed that he in the end supported her .Sadly, I am appalled that once again he announced he would support Biden if the latter won the primary this time. How could he?. Hillary and Biden are diametrically opposed to every one of Sander's professed principles!

Andy ,

With Joe having these " miraculous " wins in the primaries yet bringing nothing new to the table I can only conclude we are set for another 4 yrs of Trumpelstiltskin and his money grubbing ways.

As for Michelle Obama coming into the fight , I can only laugh and carry on with my life. I fail to see what she has to offer, other than being Barry's wife. Not really awe – inspiring stuff. Young Hilary must be turning in her coffin at the thought of being pipped to the post, as the first female President by another ex presidents wife.

We truly are living in bizarro times. The men behind the curtain must be laughing their collective arses off at the results of this circus they have created.

binra ,

Tulsi is inspirational. I'm not talking 'politics' but regarding her willingness to speak truth to corruption.

harry stotle ,

America dispensed with the idea of democracy some time ago.

The self-evident externalities of 40 years of unfettered neoliberalism (war, lies, injustice, extreme wealth inequality, etc) now seem to be approaching some sort of explosive end-point.

There may be a full blown international conflict, rather than asymmetrical power used to intimidate weaker states (led by the USA, and backed to the hilt by Britain, Israel, and KSA).

These problems are too entrenched for real politicians to sort out, so what we have instead is a form theatre, albeit a third-rate form of theatre with abysmal actors taking on roles that are far too difficult for them: Trump vs Biden would be the apotheosis this morass.

Pity more citizens in America fail to understand what has been done to them, or what this corrupt regime has inflicted on rest of the world.

Britain is no better – to expose what is happening we need a functioning MSM but what we have instead is the Guardian and BBC: platforms that are now infamous for churning out low calibre, or fake news.

different frank ,

https://twitter.com/i/status/1237466070145007617

Seamus Padraig ,

Is the plan for Biden to have "health problems" before the convention, forcing the DNC to pick its own candidate?

That's my theory. I think they're going to suddenly 'discover' that Joltin' Joe has 'health problems' and then roll out their real candidate on the second ballot at the convention this summer–probably Michelle Obama.

Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

I think our only hope now is that the Corona Virus kills all other politicians in the US, leaving only Tulsi alive. Of course, the DNC would probably still find some way to deny her the nomination somehow

michaelk ,

The DNC's election tactics were superb. Corrupt, rotten, foul and manipulative as well, but they worked. The swathe of candidates at the start gave the impression of a democratic and fair race, whilst deflecting people away from the stark choice of supporting Biden or Sanders from the beginning.

Whilst Trump succeeded by first capturing the Republican party and then going on to win the presidential election; Sanders chose not to follow that strategy, apparently believing, though it's an extraordinary thing to believe, that the leadership of the party was going to allow him to win the nomination 'fairly.'

Biden against Trump is going to be the worst, most grotesque, election contest, ever seen in the United States. Two totally unworthy candidates battling it out over the rotting corpse of a dying democracy. Probably the best result would be if most people just stayed at home on election day and boycotted the entire ghastly event.

wardropper ,

Yes. People should just stay home. But of course there is a regular percentage of observers who are incensed by the idea that people will realize how little effect their vote truly has.

"It's treason not to vote", they rage, quite oblivious to the really treasonous system which manipulates votes according to something quite different from the interests of democracy.

wardropper ,

It would be interesting to see, (although it's not going to happen) how the media, faced with an absolute zero voting turnout, would still manage to yap on about a "neck and neck race", with the most corrupt party emerging the clear winner after all

Gary Weglarz ,

The Democratic Party candidate selection process continues to roll along providing all the tension and suspense of an impending colonoscopy – sans anesthetic. It has been clear since 25 (yes 25) Democratic Party challengers have already "dropped out" of the race – that divide and conquer would be the order of the day. Spread the electorate out among a ridiculous number of mainstream centrist candidates and then throw all that support to one candidate – Joe Biden. Why would the party establishment choose Biden? Perhaps the following recent quote from Joe might shed some light. In trying to reference the Declaration of Independence Biden had the following to say to a crowd at a campaign rally:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men and women created by -- you know, you know . . . the thing."

Since we all know "the thing" is said to "work in mysterious ways" – one can deduce that the Democratic Party elites are perhaps depending upon "the thing" to work some sort of a miracle for them. At any rate it is all rather "mysterious" indeed.

Since Tulsi Gabbard has had the temerity to not join the 25 brain-dead placeholders and to "drop out" herself, and since she has further shown the very bad form of continuing to speak to anyone who will listen about America's illegal amoral regime-change wars – she has sadly had to be simply – "disappeared." Yes, I know, this term is usually associated with the death-squad democracies my government supports endlessly and shamelessly in Latin America, but if nothing else our American MSM have shown that you don't need death squads when they are on the job. They are quite capable of completely and entirely "disappearing" anyone sharing a message that has not been – "oligarchy approved." Trying to find reference to Tulsi in MSM is like trying to get through a day without being brutally reminded of Joe Biden's blinding dementia problem – pretty much impossible.

As the author suggests the Democratic Party establishment surely must have some plan other than simply sabotaging Sanders and then throwing a demented Biden to the Orange One to act as a pinata during the presidential debates. We American's do love "reality TV," but this I fear would be about as crass and horrific a spectacle as watching someone drown puppies on live television. Surely we must assume that the DNC and party oligarchy plan to use Biden as yet another "place-holder" to be replaced between now and fall presidential debates. The name "Hillary 'the rot' Clinton comes to mind – and suddenly one is reminded that there are worse things in life than a colonoscopy.

Of course the actual credibility of all of this spectacle to date depends upon one actually believing that both the polling numbers, and the voting processes, are honest and ethical and accurate, which seems to me to be about as likely as "you know, you know . . . the thing," performing some sort of a "miracle" on behalf of the Democratic Party so that it can valiantly vanquish the Orange One – using of all things – a dementia sufferer.

From my limited vantage point here in southern California it would appear that America is very much like a runaway train speeding toward a very very thick brick wall while gaining speed minute by minute. This train of course has no "driver" – save the inexorable laws of history as they pertain to crumbling "empires."

With that in mind I think I'll go shopping again so I can pretend none of this is happening – while joining with my neighbors in "hoarding" as much toilet paper as I possibly can! Actually, truth be told, the local toilet paper supply is now long gone and people are now hoarding paper towels – (I kid you not) – which of course portends a lot of very very sore bottoms by the time this is all over.

Seamus Padraig ,

You can have a dogshit sandwich or a catshit sandwich, just so long as its kosher.

So true! +1000

Charlotte Russe ,

Unfortunately, for all of Bernie's enthusiastic supporter 2020 was a redux of 2016. Amnesia, initially sets in caused by the initial excitement. Bernie's campaign overwhelms those yearning for change. Sanders is cognizant of how young voters and the marginalized are economically suffering. He knows exactly what to say to arouse an audience of thousands.

Devoted crowds eagerly rally around Bernie anticipating the upcoming primaries, believing he'll win everyone of them. After all, how could anyone be against a message promoting social justice.

And lo and behold, right out of the box the security state shenanigans begin. A "Shadow app" surfaces in Iowa, followed by a narrow win in New Hampshire. And although Bernie won the popular vote in the first two primaries he still comes out the loser to CIA Pete. However, not to be deterred Bernie won the Nevada caucus in a landslide. That was the moment when security state needed to make its move. It was now or never. These ghouls could not let Bernie pick up any more momentum. If they did, it would be too late to stop him–Milwaukee could turn into a bloodbath. It was time for the intelligence agencies to take a stand.

Clyburn a sellout bourgeois conservative black was called upon to do his duty. You don't get to be a "misleader" of the poor and the dejected if you won't convince them to smile while jumping off a cliff.

Slick Clyburn, gathered all the other crooked black politicians and they united in force behind brain dead Biden. When misleader Clyburn speaks his downtrodden constituency listens. South Carolina was a wipeout–Biden overwhelmingly won. And that's all the security state needed. Using the state-run mainstream media news propaganda machine in 72 hours Biden's campaign was raised like Lazarus from the dead.

Drooling Joe, received a slew of slick endorsements from all the longtime party hacks. A narrative was easily generated– Sanders was a loser and only Biden could beat Trump. At the end of day, don't you dumbasses want to beat Trump. So let's unite behind alzheimer Joe–he's our best chance.

As it turned out, the security state's narrative was easy to pull off because Sander is weak, lacks courage, and was never in it to win it. He never fought back against the DNC.

He never called out the cheating in Iowa. There were thousands of volunteers that would be willing to protest on his behalf. Timid Bernie just let it go. There were other things showing Bernie's lack of interest in winning. He stupidly embraced the Russiagate concocted narrative and then was victimized by it himself. He refused to tear into Biden describing in detail how every piece of reactionary legislation Joe passed was based on payoffs he'd received for either his son or his brother. In South Carolina, Bernie never used the millions donated to play video clips proving Biden is a warmongering racist.

Instead Bernie, kept saying "Biden is my good friend" or "Biden can beat Trump." WTF, if Biden can beat Trump then why are you running? Are you campaigning for Biden?

The final nail was Tulsi's tweet asking for Biden and Bernie's support for her to right to participate in the next debate. Yang and Marianne Williamson tweeted yes of course, but Bernie was silent. On subsequent mainstream media news appearances Bernie totally ignored Tulsi's candidacy. That was it – Bernie is a lackey – completely intimidated by the DNC.

Naturally the DNC didn't want Tulsi near the debate stage–she's the bravest of the lot. Tulsi would have proved Biden was a crook and a war criminal. Tulsi presence would be a boom for bernie, but Bernie didn't want that since he was in cahoots with the DNC.

And in the end, that's what it was always all about NOTHING. Bernie is the Tammy and Jim Baker of politics a prophet of false hope. He gathers up all the guiless and guillibe and then tosses them into the lion's den.

In Biden's case it's easy to know why the slithering DC establishment gang embraced him with open arms -- they all wanted to come back home

Here are some of the people Biden is considering for senior positions, per Axios:

Every loathsome contemptible neoliberal military interventionist is waiting in the wings to continue where Obama left off ..

Gall ,

Super Tuesday was so obviously rigged. The vote in California deviated from exit polling by over 15% and don't get me started on that Shadow app used for the Iowa caucus. The only difference wasn't as blatantly obvious as the last Primary.

Seems Bernie has reprised his role as sheep dog. Probably the reason the Orwellian DNC unpersoned Tulsi is that she probably refused to play.

Charlotte Ruse ,

Hundreds of thousands of ballots in California and Texas were discarded. Warren purposely stayed in the race to screw Bernie in Minnesota and Massachusetts, while Klobuchar and Buttigeg dropped out to prop-up Biden.

In avid Bernie locations polling centers were closed. And when all else failed voting machines are hacked. No one should underate the power of state-run mainstream media propaganda they hammered Sanders and launded the creep Biden.

And as I mentioned, Bernie is his own worst enemy, or as I also speculated he was never in it to win it.

The elections are more democratic in Afghanistan. When I previously commented on several posts the Democratic Party Primaries need to be monitored by a UN Raconteur many found it amusing.

Maxine ,

Why did Bernie become a candidate if he were not in it to win? .I can't figure that one out.

Eric McCoo ,

Blackmail ? The Clinton campaign exercising leverage over Sanders during the election – Podesta/wikileaks emails. 'This isn't in keeping w the agreement. Since we clearly have some leverage, would be good to flag this for him'. https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/47397

RealPeter ,

There is a lot in what Charlotte says. Unfortunately. Trump may end up botching the corona crisis and lose, but whoever wins it's going to be four more years of everything getting worse.

Andy ,

Some research on 'possible' fraudulent hidden computer counting from first super Tuesday. http://tdmsresearch.com/

Ken ,

The fix is in for the status quo, and it's quite likely another 4 years of the orange asshole.

RobG ,

The real left in America was destroyed in the early 20th century. What goes now is a complete joke. https://www.youtube.com/embed/LehcJeNbFBw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Geoffrey Skoll ,

Everybody knows (listen to Leonard Cohen) Tulsi Gabbard does not exist, just like everybody knows Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, Assad, that Putin Nazi, spread some kind of Bad Gas in Douma, repeatededly over several years since 2014, which the Intrepid White Helmets made better–just watch their Hollywood, Oscar winning movie. Of course Joe Biden is senile, else why would he challenge our carrot-topped Fearless leader, and everybody knows that Putin-Nazi Boris and Natasha tried to rig the 2016 election but were thwarted by Moose-Squirel, and other CIA assets.

[Mar 11, 2020] The toilet-paper maddened crowds will be braving coronavirus to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today

Now this became a real circus.
Notable quotes:
"... The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden. Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian . ..."
"... Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance. ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The toilet-paper maddened crowds will be braving coronavirus to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today.

There's several more rounds of voting before the convention in July, but this is the last before the next debate on March 15th.

The process is kinda moot at this point.

The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden. Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian .

Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance.

... ... ...

Whatever the plan turns out to be, progressives and leftists all over America will likely be disappointed in Bernie. If last time is anything to go by, no matter how obviously he (and more importantly his voters) get screwed over, Sanders will just let it happen.

The other Great White Hope of American leftists – or should that be "Great Native American hope"? – Elizabeth Warren, dropped out last week but is yet to endorse her fellow "progressive", Bernie Sanders. This could mean she's spiteful, or it could mean she's angling to be Biden's VP nominee. Either way, no real surprise and no real loss. Warren always talked a better game than she played and she didn't talk all that well.

Oh, and the DNC changed their debate eligibility rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard . Something both the other candidates and the vast majority of the mainstream media have been quiet about.

Questions arise Are the democrats really rallying behind Joe Biden? why?! Are they planning to throw the race? Is Joe Biden going senile? Who will each candidate pick as a running mate? Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

[Mar 11, 2020] "I think it would be a real, real disaster for the Democratic party if, you know, I'm running against you and you have more votes than me and I say, well, wait a second, I don't want Rachel. I want somebody else who didn't get as many votes as she did, let's count the superdelegates' vote on the second ballot

Looks like Creepy Joe is up to "Pyrrhic Victory"
Notable quotes:
"... Last time around in 2016 you talked about 2016, you remember before the very first vote was cast in Iowa, Hillary Clinton had 500 superdelegates set aside. 500 superdelegates. I thought that that was totally outrageous and absurd and undemocratic. ..."
"... We fought very hard in the Democratic rules process to get rid of all superdelegates. That is my preference. I think it should be the decision of the people, not Washington insiders. We lost, but what we did get is not getting rid of all superdelegates at convention voting but on the first ballot there will be no superdelegates. ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

Sanders said.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: If at the end of the day it turns out that Vice President Biden is going to have more delegates than you do heading into the convention, will you drop out?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of course I'm going to drop out. He will win. We'll run through -- I suspect we will run through the process letting people have a right to vote, but if Biden walks into the convention or at the end of the process has more votes than me, he's the winner.

MADDOW: And that's true whether or not he has a majority or just a plurality?

SANDERS: Absolutely. That's what I've said. Here's the story, and there's some confusion about this. Last time around in 2016 you talked about 2016, you remember before the very first vote was cast in Iowa, Hillary Clinton had 500 superdelegates set aside. 500 superdelegates. I thought that that was totally outrageous and absurd and undemocratic.

We fought very hard in the Democratic rules process to get rid of all superdelegates. That is my preference. I think it should be the decision of the people, not Washington insiders. We lost, but what we did get is not getting rid of all superdelegates at convention voting but on the first ballot there will be no superdelegates.

In other words, we go into the first ballot, it is representatives, delegates who are represented by the people, and I think that that's right. And what I have said is I think it would be a real, real disaster for the Democratic party if, you know, I'm running against you and you have more votes than me and I say, well, wait a second, I don't want Rachel. I want somebody else who didn't get as many votes as she did, let's count the superdelegates' vote on the second ballot, you know what that would do to the Democratic electorate? People would say the person who got the most votes didn't get selected.

MADDOW: Most delegates.

SANDERS: Most delegates, I'm sorry, most delegates.

[Mar 10, 2020] Didn't take long for Sanders to make COVID-19 a POTUS campaign issue

Mar 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 9 2020 23:05 utc | 76

Didn't take long for Sanders to make COVID-19 a POTUS campaign issue . "After former Vice President Joe Biden on Monday morning declined to address or answer questions about the coronavirus during an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sen. Bernie Sanders urged the public to tune in to a COVID-19 roundtable discussion the senator is hosting Monday afternoon in Detroit alongside nurses, physicians, and other medical professionals:

"'This crisis is another clear example of why we must guarantee healthcare as a right for every single man, woman, and child in this country,' Sanders wrote. 'This crisis is another example of why we need universal paid family leave in this country, so people who are sick can stay home, recover, and prevent the virus from spreading. This crisis is another example of why we must take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry.'

"'Health experts agree that the spread of the coronavirus will likely get worse before it gets better,' Sanders added. 'Donald Trump must stop spreading lies and fear, and leave the science to scientists and health professionals, not politicians. We must make certain that we are prepared for a pandemic.'"

What a comparable example. Sanders is on top of the issue and acting on it while Biden is doing the same as Trump by showing his ignorance and inability to act rapidly on a major problem. A video of the discussion is available at the link.

[Mar 10, 2020] Once sheep dog, always sheep dog

9 March 2020
Notable quotes:
"... The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change. ..."
"... It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus. ..."
"... One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump. ..."
"... African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party. ..."
"... The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post ..."
"... What the Washington Post ..."
"... the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris. ..."
"... Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. ..."
"... More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.wsws.org

The campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is making a last-ditch stand in the Michigan primary Tuesday, amid mounting indications that the Democratic Party as a whole has moved decisively into the camp of his main rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders cancelled rallies in Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois -- all states where he trails Biden in the polls -- in order to concentrate all his efforts in Michigan, where he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris endorsed Biden, the latest of nine former presidential contenders to announce their support for their one-time rival, joining Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Beto O'Rourke, John Delaney, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Deval Patrick. Harris is to join Biden for a campaign rally in Detroit Monday.

The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change.

Former Vice President Biden is the personification of the decrepit and right-wing character of the Democratic Party. In the past 10 days alone, Biden has declared himself a candidate for the US Senate, rather than president, confused his wife and his sister as they stood on either side of him, called himself an "Obiden Bama Democrat," and declared that 150 million Americans died in gun violence over the past decade. This is not just a matter of Biden's declining mental state: it is the Democratic Party, not just its presidential frontrunner, that is verging on political senility.

It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus.

One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump.

Even more revolting, if that is possible, is the embrace of Biden by the black Democratic politicians. The former senator from Delaware is identified with some of the most repugnant episodes in the history of race relations in America: the abusive treatment of Anita Hill, when she testified against the nomination of Clarence Thomas, before Biden's Judiciary Committee; an alliance with segregationist James Eastland on school integration in the early 1970s, highlighted at a debate by Kamala Harris, eight months before she endorsed Biden; and the passage of a series of "law-and-order" bills that disproportionately jailed hundreds of thousands of African Americans, all of them pushed through the Senate by Biden.

How did a politician who boasted of his close relationships with Eastland and Strom Thurmond become the beneficiary of a virtual racial bloc vote by African Americans in the Southern states? Because African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party.

The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post by Colbert King, a former State Department official and local banker, a prominent member of the African American elite in the nation's capital, who wrote in outrage, "America's black billionaires have no place in a Bernie Sanders world."

King denounced the suggestion that black CEOs and billionaires are "greedy, corrupt threats to America's working families or the cause of economic disparities and human misery." Voicing the fears of his class, he continued, "I know there are those out there who buy the notion that America consists of a small class of privileged, rapacious super-rich lording over throngs of oppressed, capitalist-exploited workers. You can see it in poll numbers showing the share of Americans who prefer socialism to capitalism inching upward."

What the Washington Post columnist reveals is what Bernie Sanders has done his best to cover up: the Democratic Party is a party of the capitalist class. It can no more be converted to socialism than the CIA can become an instrument of the struggle against American imperialism.

True, Sanders can dredge up Jesse Jackson for a last-minute endorsement, proof that demagogues engaged in diverting mass left-wing sentiment into the graveyard of the Democratic Party recognize and embrace each other across the decades. But with that exception, the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris.

Harris's statement is worth quoting. "I have decided that I am with great enthusiasm going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States," she said. "I believe in Joe. I really believe in him, and I have known him for a long time." The senator was no doubt responding to the incentives dangled in front of her by Biden after she left the race last December, when he gushed, "She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general."

Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. New Sanders television ads in Michigan feature a United Auto Workers member declaring that his state "has been decimated by trade deals," while Sanders declares that Biden backed NAFTA, drawing the conclusion, "With a record like that, we can't trust him to protect American jobs or defeat Donald Trump." The Vermont senator will find that very few auto workers follow the political lead of the corrupt gangsters who head the UAW.

More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump.

Indeed, in appearances on several Sunday television interview programs, Sanders went out of his way to repeat, as he said on Fox News, "Joe Biden is a friend of mine. Joe Biden is a decent guy. What Joe has said is if I win the nomination, he'll be there for me, and I have said if he wins the nomination, I'll be there for him "

[Mar 10, 2020] We probably do not need election of Sanders to crash stock market. Coronavirus will do the job just fine

What will happen if Biden dies from Coronavirus after the convention?
Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Aumua , March 9, 2020 at 4:36 am

I guess another mixed positive is that it shows you don't need Bernie Sanders to crash the stock markets. The thing is quite unstable on its own thank you very much.

Divadab , March 9, 2020 at 7:16 am

Yes- quite illuminating to see the contempt Dem party worthies hold for us and the office of President

[Mar 09, 2020] The One-Choice Election by Chris Hedges

Highly recommended!
Sanders is not a panacea. He is a sheep dog. But neoliberal oligarchs and the Deep State are afraid of sheep dog too. They need puppets.
Bernie Sanders is actually trying to save the Democratic Party from irrelevance. But irrelevance does not bother party bureaucracy and Clintons who still rule the party that much: all they want is money and plush positions.
Notable quotes:
"... Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power -- which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery -- and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. ..."
"... Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty. ..."
"... Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. ..."
"... Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it. ..."
"... Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No. ..."
"... Biden represents the old neoliberal order . He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

There is only one choice in this election. The consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden. The oligarchs, with Trump or Biden, will win again. We will lose. The oligarchs made it abundantly clear, should Bernie Sanders miraculously become the Democratic Party nominee, they would join forces with the Republicans to crush him. Trump would, if Sanders was the nominee, instantly be shorn by the Democratic Party elites of his demons and his propensity for tyranny. Sanders would be red-baited -- as he was viciously Friday in The New York Times' " As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity " -- and turned into a figure of derision and ridicule.

The oligarchs preach the sermon of the least-worst to us when they attempt to ram a Hillary Clinton or a Biden down our throats but ignore it for themselves. They prefer Biden over Trump, but they can live with either.

Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power -- which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery -- and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. It is impossible working within the system to shatter the hegemony of oligarchic power or institute meaningful reform. Change, real change, will only come by sustained acts of civil disobedience and mass mobilization, as with the yellow vests movement in France and the British-based Extinction Rebellion . The longer we are fooled by the electoral burlesque, the more disempowered we will become.

I was on the streets with protesters in Philadelphia outside the appropriately named Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic Convention when hundreds of Sanders delegates walked out of the hall. "Show me what democracy looks like!" they chanted, holding Bernie signs above their heads as they poured out of the exits. "This is what democracy looks like!"

Sanders' greatest tactical mistake was not joining them. He bowed before the mighty altar of the corporate state. He had desperately tried to stave off a revolt by his supporters and delegates on the eve of the convention by sending out repeated messages in his name -- most of them authored by members of the Clinton campaign -- to be respectful, not disrupt the nominating process and support Clinton. Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty.

After the 2016 convention, Sanders held rallies -- the crowds pitifully small compared to what he had drawn when he ran as an insurgent -- on Clinton's behalf. He returned to the Senate to loyally line up behind Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose power comes from his ability to funnel tens of millions of dollars in corporate and Wall Street money to anointed Democratic candidates. Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. He endorsed Democratic candidates who espoused the neoliberal economic and political positions he claims to oppose. Sanders, who calls himself an independent, caucused as a Democrat. The Democratic Party determined his assignments in the Senate. Schumer offered to make Sanders the head of the Senate Budget Committee if the Democrats won control of the Senate. Sanders became a party apparatchik.

Sanders apparently believed that if he was obsequious enough to the Democratic Party elite, they would give him a chance in 2020 , a chance they denied him in 2016. Politics, I suspect he would argue, is about compromise and the practical. This is true. But playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about being complicit in the charade. Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it.

Sanders is wounded. The oligarchs will go in for the kill. They will subject him to the same character assassination, aided by the courtiers in the corporate press, that was directed at Henry Wallace in 1948 and George McGovern in 1972, the only two progressive presidential candidates who managed to seriously threaten the ruling elites since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The feckless liberal class, easily frightened, is already abandoning Sanders, castigating his supporters with their nauseating self-righteousness and championing Biden as a political savior.

Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No.

Biden represents the old neoliberal order . He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office.

By voting for Biden , you endorse the humiliation of courageous women such as Anita Hill who confronted their abusers. You vote for the architects of the endless wars in the Middle East. You vote for the apartheid state in Israel. You vote for wholesale surveillance of the public by government intelligence agencies and the abolition of due process and habeas corpus. You vote for austerity programs, including the destruction of welfare and cuts to Social Security . You vote for NAFTA, free trade deals, de-industrialization, a decline in wages, the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and the offshoring of jobs to underpaid workers who toil in sweatshops in China or Vietnam. You vote for the assault on public education and the transfer of federal funds to for-profit and Christian charter schools. You vote for the doubling of our prison population, the tripling and quadrupling of sentences and huge expansion of crimes meriting the death penalty. You vote for militarized police who gun down poor people of color with impunity. You vote against the Green New Deal and immigration reform. You vote for limiting a woman's right to abortion and reproductive rights. You vote for a segregated public-school system in which the wealthy receive educational opportunities and poor people of color are denied a chance. You vote for punitive levels of student debt and the inability to free yourself of debt obligations through bankruptcy . You vote for deregulating the banking industry and the abolition of Glass-Steagall. You vote for the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations and against universal health care. You vote for bloated defense budgets. You vote for the use of unlimited oligarchic and corporate money to buy our elections. You vote for a politician who during his time in the Senate abjectly served the interests of MBNA , the largest independent credit card company headquartered in Delaware, which also employed Biden's son Hunter.

There are no substantial political differences between the Democrats and Republicans. We have only the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists adopt tolerant positions on issues regarding race, religion, immigration, women's rights and sexual identity and pretend this is politics. The right wing uses those on the margins of society as scapegoats. The culture wars mask the reality. Both parties are full partners in the reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism. It only depends on how you want it dressed up.

"By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes" that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party "pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system," political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes.

The Democrats will once again offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate totalitarianism. What the public wants and deserves will again be ignored for what the corporate lobbyists demand. If we do not respond soon to the social and economic catastrophe that has been visited on most of the population, we will be unable to thwart the rise of corporate tyranny and a Christian fascism.

We need to reintegrate those who have been pushed aside back into the society, to heal the ruptured social bonds, to give workers dignity, empowerment and protection. We need a universal health care system, especially as we barrel toward a global pandemic. We need programs that provide employment with sustainable wages, job protection and pensions. We need quality public education for all Americans. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and end the squandering of our resources on war. We need to halt corporate pillage and regulate Wall Street and corporations. We need to respond with radical and immediate measures to curb carbon emissions and save ourselves from ecocide and extinction. We don't need a "Punch and Judy" show between Trump and Biden. But that, along with corporate tyranny, is what we seem fated to get, unless we take to the streets and tear the house down.

[Mar 09, 2020] There are no options left for neoliberal Dems. Biden is a typical political Zugzwang. The only hope is Coronavirus (as an act of God). Otherwise it looks like they already surrendered elections to Trump.

Highly recommended!
Mar 09, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , March 9, 2020 12:11 pm

> Listen to Cornel West for a real understanding of what has happened and what are our options.

There are no options left for neoliberal Dems. This is a typical political Zugzwang. The only hope is Coronavirus (as an act of God). Otherwise it looks like they already surrendered elections to Trump.

Biden is a dead end into which neoliberal Dems drove themselves.
See, for example

https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/march/on-super-Tuesday

A possibility remains, therefore, that the Democrats will conduct a 'brokered convention'. Secondary candidates like Buttigieg and Warren had lately put themselves in the anti-popular posture of endorsing such a proceeding (though there's been nothing like it since the 1950s): at a brokered convention, a candidate with a solid plurality can be denied the nomination on the first ballot and defeated later by a coalition.

If Biden now runs far ahead of Sanders, he may sew it up in advance.

On the other hand, his verbal gaffes (announcing himself a candidate for the Senate rather than the presidency; saying 'I was a Democratic caucus') and his fabricated or false memories (a non-existent arrest in South Africa for demonstrating against the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela) have exposed a cognitive fragility that some people fear could make him ridiculous by November.

A Biden-Trump contest in 2020 would resemble Clinton-Trump in at least one respect. It would be a case, yet again, of the right wing of the Democratic Party making the conventional choice against the party's own insurgent energy.

The Democrats and their media outworks are treating Latinos, African Americans and whites as separate nations. Women are a nation, too – parsed (where useful) as Latino, African American or white.

So the answer to Trump's divide and conquer comes in the form of these college-certified categories that self-divide and surrender.

The only other weapon of note has been an attempted revival of the Cold War. On 23 February, the New York Times led with two anti-Sanders hatchet jobs, targeting him as both a destroyer of the Democratic Party and a possible Russian agent

But the mainstream media and their captive party, the party and its captive media, show no sign of letting up the pressure. A recent leak from a misinterpreted fragment of a report by the Director of National Intelligence became a two-day Red Scare

The truth is that the corporate-liberal media are comfortable with the Trump presidency. They have prospered wonderfully from his entertainment value, even as they staked out a high ground in the anti-Trump 'resistance'. It will be hard to deny the plausibility of the charge likely to issue soon from the Sanders campaign, namely that 'the fix is in'; and that, once more, the people are being denied their proper voice – at first through an organised propaganda campaign that was fed into debates as well as news coverage, and at last through public co-ordination by the party establishment to guide Democrats into the one acceptable box.

[Mar 09, 2020] Don't Expect a Democratic President to Roll Back Trump's Policies by Robert Fisk America's health care, its poor, its black and Hispanic minorities and the contest between

Notable quotes:
"... Faced with Zionism at its most aggressive, most US presidents tend to mellow, discovering long-standing friendships among those who most infuriate them. But Sanders has talked of Palestinian suffering and dignity on numerous occasions – which neither Biden nor Warren have yet chosen to do on the campaign – and his contention that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promotes "bigotry" aroused perhaps too much fury from the pro-Israeli lobby group ..."
"... Its boss, Howard Kohr, is well aware that neither Sanders nor Warren – nor, apparently, Biden, though we'll see about this -- had any interest in attending this year's AIPAC conference. His latest remarks, clearly directed at the man who could be America's first Jewish president, are worthy of serious examin ..."
"... Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders don't amount to a hill of beans in the Middle East .

And many American voters – save for pro-Israeli lobbyists, liberal Jewish groups and disparate Muslim organisations – don't care a hill of beans about the fears of Israel and the Arabs. But both Muslims and Jews in the region have been carefully studying what the three remaining Democrat contenders have said about two-state solutions, Israeli colonies in the West Bank and the US embassy, currently in Jerusalem courtesy of Donald Trump. It's time we did the same.

First of all, despair all ye who think the Democrats are going to reverse Trump's disastrous transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Those who believe that a Democrat president will simply roll back on Trump's disastrous policies – not just over the embassy but anywhere else in the Middle East – had better shake off their illusions. History doesn't go backwards. None of the Democratic candidates would commit to reversing Trump's embassy decision when asked; only Sanders spoke vaguely of returning it to Tel Aviv. The rest chickened out by suggesting, rather outrageously, that the existence of the embassy in Jerusalem would become part of future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – something which was never part of the original Oslo negotiations nor any UN resolution.

Elizabeth Warren announced in the South Carolina debate last month that the decision should be left up to "Israel and Palestine" – presumably suggesting that the 'capital' of a two-state solution was up to them, even though Bibi Netanyahu believes it's all wrapped up – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, full stop. And "Palestine", Warren should have been aware, doesn't as a state actually exist.

"But it's not up to us to determine what the terms of a two-state solution are," quoth she. " The best way to do that is to encourage the parties to get to the negotiating table themselves." Repeatedly asked if she would move the embassy back to Tel Aviv, Warren equally repeatedly said that "we should let the parties determine the capital." Later she rather eerily referred to "capitals" – without explaining if she was thinking of a Palestinian "capital" in the village of Abu Dis, the grim little solution that Madeleine Albright half-heartedly supported two decades ago.

Sanders, of course, captured the imagination and fury of Arabs and Israelis (and Israel's supposed friends in America) by his characterisation of Netanyahu as a "reactionary racist" – a description he may now choose to soften. Faced with Zionism at its most aggressive, most US presidents tend to mellow, discovering long-standing friendships among those who most infuriate them. But Sanders has talked of Palestinian suffering and dignity on numerous occasions – which neither Biden nor Warren have yet chosen to do on the campaign – and his contention that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promotes "bigotry" aroused perhaps too much fury from the pro-Israeli lobby group .

Its boss, Howard Kohr, is well aware that neither Sanders nor Warren – nor, apparently, Biden, though we'll see about this -- had any interest in attending this year's AIPAC conference. His latest remarks, clearly directed at the man who could be America's first Jewish president, are worthy of serious examin ation. "A growing and highly vocal and energised part of the electorate fundamentally rejects the value of the US-Israeli alliance," he said. " The leaders of this movement say they support Israel's right to defend herself. But every time Israel exercises that right, they condemn Israel."

Kohr wasn't referring here to BDS, the boycott, divest and sanctions movement which does frighten Israeli leaders, but the increasingly worried men and women in America – young Jewish liberals prominent among them – who are disgusted by the suffering faced by the Palestinians in Gaza. Unafraid of Sanders' unwise use of the word "socialism" – which used to be quite acceptable in Israel many years ago – they are searching, I suspect, for a morality in international politics which the US regularly suspends when confronted by Israel's colonial project in the West Bank.

"Israel cannot afford false friends," Kohr continued in a very clear assault on Sanders' condemnation of the Israeli government and its now yet-again elected prime minister, an attack he described as "demonising Israel". Last spring, Kohr spoke of the "intense hatred" of Israel which, he contended, was moving from the margins to the centre of US politics. " Israel has been able to count on its friendship with the United States," he now says.

But George W Bush and Obama "each understood that America's commitment to Israel's safety must be consistent, it must be unequivocal [sic], and it must be dependable." In reality – a quality often lost in any discussion of US-Israeli relations in Washington – Obama was angered by Netanyahu's constant interference in US politics, his lone appeals to Congress over the president's head and his absolute refusal to postpone or close down or abandon the steady theft of Palestinian Arab land for Jewish colonies between Jerusalem and the Jordan river. Kohr's reference to the necessity of America's "unequivocal" support is not quite what he meant.

The correct word – had he dared to say it – would have been "uncritical". And Sanders is not uncritical. In the strait-jacket, fearful debates which pass for serious television discussion in the United States, condemnation of Israel and its grotesque occupation of another people's land – if not splashed with accusations of antisemitism – is regarded as off-limits, unacceptable, even immoral.

Sanders has broken this silly convention. And thus he must be dismissed as a "socialist' (this is partly his fault, of course) and a "radical", a word which my elderly Dad would probably have interpreted as a 'Bolshie'. Sanders is not a Bolshevik – though he sometimes looks like one when he's on the stump – and his real threat to Israel is that in the eyes of his supporters, he is honest, and seen to be honest. The fact that Sanders is Jewish and represents the bravest of America's liberal Jewish community is all the more frightening to Israel's right-wing supporters.

And so we come to Joe Biden, a man whom Netanyahu used to run rings around when Biden was Obama's vice president. In 2010, the Netanyahu government blithely announced 1,600 new settlement houses on occupied Palestinian land shortly after Biden's arrival on an official visit to Israel. Huffily arriving 90 minutes late for dinner with Netanyahu, Biden condemned the decision – and said no more. Four years later, addressing the Saban Forum, part of the right-wing Brookings Institute, Biden spent much time condemning Iran, praising Obama's $17 billion financial support for Israel's military – which he calculated at $8.5 million a day – and referring obliquely to the grave reservations which the Obama administration had about Israel as "tactical disagreements", "tactical divides", "normal disagreements" and "different perspectives".

Only at the very end of his 2014 peroration did Biden mildly condemn "expanding settlement activity and construction and the demolition of homes of attackers [sic]" as "counterproductive". He referred to "terrorist" attacks by Palestinians and "vigilante attacks" by Jewish settlers. And that's pretty much what we can expect of a Biden presidency.

He might, conceivably, try to roll back Trump's destruction of the Iranian nuclear agreement into which Obama put so much energy – but just as he will not commit himself to reversing Trump's decision on the US embassy transfer to Jerusalem, he's likely to search for another nuclear agreement to take the place of the Obama one – which, in his perverse and hopeless way, is what Trump has been suggesting.

The trouble is that while former Democrat candidates are now ganging up to destroy Sanders' chances of nomination – along with a significant portion of the US "liberal" press – Trump, barring a virus-induced economic collapse, is unlikely to spend much time worrying about a Biden candidacy.

Just as they prefer a "safe pair of hands" to protect the party, so the Democrat elite and the "old" liberals fear the moral crusade upon which Sanders might embark – about health and human rights just as much as the Middle East. Better to avoid conflict with Israel, too. And that was Hilary Clinton's policy, wasn't it? And that's how Sanders went off the rails in the last presidential election, finally asking his supporters to give their vote to Hillary, as they shouted: "No! No! No!" Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared.

[Mar 07, 2020] The Neoliberal Plague by Rob Urie

Highly recommended!
Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.
We can view "Creepy Joe" and Trump as representatives of "neoliberal plague" The slogan should be " No Pasaran " ( Dolores Ibárruri's famous battlecry appeal for the defense of the Second Spanish Republic)
Notable quotes:
"... For those who aren't familiar with Albert Camus' The Plague , disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. ..."
"... Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care ('skin in the game') means that only very sick people will 'buy' health care they can't afford. ..."
"... If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent's crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. ..."
"... While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. ..."
"... If priorities seem misplaced, you haven't been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era's round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger. ..."
"... But how likely is it that people will 'demand' too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. ..."
"... Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career's worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn't helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce. ..."
Mar 07, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

For those who aren't familiar with Albert Camus' The Plague , disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. Today, by way of the emergence of a lethal and highly communicable virus (Coronavirus), we -- the people of the West, have an opportunity to reconsider what we mean to one another. The existential lesson is that through dread and angst we can choose to live, with the responsibilities that the choice entails, or just fade away.

Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care ('skin in the game') means that only very sick people will 'buy' health care they can't afford.

Market provision of virus test kits, vaccines and basic sanitary aids will, in the absence of government coercion, follow the monopolist's model of under-provision at prices that are unaffordable for most people. The most fiscally responsible route, in the sense of assuring that the rich don't pay taxes, is to let those who can't afford health care die. If this means that tens of millions of people die unnecessarily, markets are a harsh taskmaster. ( 3.4% mortality rate @ 2X – 3X the contagion rate of the Spanish Flu @ 4 X 1918 population).

If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent's crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. According to Ryan Grim of The Intercept, Bill Clinton eliminated the ' reasonable pricing ' requirement for drugs made by companies that receive government funding. This has bearing on both commercially developed Coronavirus test kits and vaccines.

Leaving aside technical difficulties that either will or won't be resolved, how would any substantial portion of the 80% of the population that lives hand-to-mouth be effectively quarantined when losing an income creates a cascade effect of evictions, foreclosures, starvation, repossessions, shut-off utilities, etc.? The current system conceived and organized to make desperate and near desperate workers labor with the minimum of pay and benefits is a public health disaster by design.

While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. The same Federal Reserve that has been engineering a non-stop rise in stock prices since Wall Street was bailed out in 2009 knows perfectly well how narrowly stock ownership is concentrated amongst the rich -- it publishes the data. It quickly lowered the cost of financial speculation as the cost of Coronavirus tests and a vaccine -- and the question of who will bear them, remain indeterminate.

If priorities seem misplaced, you haven't been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era's round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.

The brutality of the logic used by the Obama administration in constructing the ACA, Obamacare, is worthy of exploration. The premise behind the 'skin in the game' idea is neoliberalism 101, developed by a founder of neoliberalism, economist Milton Friedman, to ration health care. The basic idea is that without a price attached to it, people will 'demand' more health care than they need. That from a public health perspective, oversupplying health care is better than undersupplying it, is ignored under the premise that public health concerns are communistic. (Read Friedman).

But how likely is it that people will 'demand' too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. Through the 'market' pricing mechanism that existed, the incentive was for people to avoid purchasing healthcare because it was / is wildly overpriced. Not considered was that through geographical and specialist 'natural monopolies,' health care providers had an incentive to undersupply health care by providing high-margin services to the rich.

Furthermore, why would a healthcare system be considered from the perspective of individual users? In contrast to the temporal sleight-of-hand where Obamacare 'customers' are expected to anticipate their illnesses and buy insurance plans that cover them, the entire premise of health insurance is that illnesses are unpredictable. Isn't the Coronavirus evidence of this unpredictable nature? And through the nature of pandemics, it is known that some people will get sick and other people won't. Not known is precisely who will get sick and who won't.

While there are public health emergency provisions in Obamacare that may or may not be invoked, why does it make sense in any case to require that people anticipate future illnesses? Such a program isn't health care and it isn't even health insurance. It is gambling. Guess right and you live. Guess wrong and you die. Why should we be guessing at all? Prior to Obamacare, health insurance companies gamed the system with life and death decisions. In true neoliberal fashion, Obamacare randomized the process as health insurers continue to game the system.

As I understand it, the public health emergency provision in Obamacare might cover virus testing and the cost of a vaccine if one is ever found. Great. What about care? How many readers chose a plan that covers Coronavirus? How many days can you go without a paycheck if you get sick or are quarantined? Who will take care of your children and for how long? How will you pay your rent or mortgage? Who will deliver groceries to your house and how will you pay for them? How will you make the car payment before they repossess it and how will you get to work without it if you recover?

The rank idiocy -- and the political content, of the frame of individual 'consumers' overusing health care quickly devolves to the fact that some large portion of the American people can't afford to go to the doctor when they need to. Even if they can afford the direct costs, they can't afford the indirect costs. When Obamacare was passed, the U.S. had the worst health care outcomes among rich countries. Ten years later, the U.S. has the worst healthcare outcomes among rich countries . And medical bankruptcies are virtually unchanged since Obamacare was passed.

The reason for focusing on Obamacare is it is the system through which we encounter the Coronavirus. In the narrow political sense of getting a health care bill passed, Obamacare may or may not have been 'pragmatic.' In a public health care sense, it is a disaster decades in the making. The problem wasn't / isn't Mr. Obama per se. It is the radical ideology behind it that was posed as pragmatism. Mr. Obama's success was to get a bill passed -- a political accomplishment. It wasn't to create a functioning healthcare system.

The otherworldly nature of neoliberal theory has led to a most brutal of social philosophies. Mr. Obama later put his energy into lengthening drug company patents to give drug companies an economic advantage provided by the government. Economist Dean Baker has made a career out of hammering this general point home. Michael Bloomberg benefited from government support for both technology and finance. His fortune of $16 billion in 2009 followed stock prices higher to land him at $64.2 billion in 2020.

Donald Trump inherited a large fortune that likewise followed stock and Manhattan real estate prices higher. Both he and Mr. Bloomberg could have put their early fortunes into passive portfolios and received the returns that they claim to be the product of superior intelligence and hard work. Analytically, if the variability of these fortunes tracks systemic, rather than personal, factors, then systemic factors explain them. The same is true of most of the great fortunes of the epoch of finance capitalism that began around 1978.

The point of merging these issues is that they represent flip sides of the neoliberal coin. In a broad sense, neoliberalism is premised on economic Darwinism, the quasi-religious (it isn't Darwin) idea that people land where they deserve to land in the social order. This same idea, that systemic differences in economic outcomes are evidence of systemic causes, applies here. However, differences in intelligence, initiative and talent don't map to systemic outcomes , meaning that concentrated wealth isn't a reward for these.

The ignorant brutality of this system appears to be on its way to getting a reality check through a tiny virus. Unless the Federal government figures this out really fast, most of the bodies will be carried out of poor and working class neighborhoods like mine. Few here have health insurance and most health care providers in the area don't take the insurance they do have. More than a day away from work and many of my neighbors will no longer have jobs. Evictions are a regular state of affairs in good times. There are no resources to facilitate a larger-picture response.

Liberalism, of which neoliberalism is a cranky cousin, lives through a patina of pragmatism until the nukes start flying or a virus hits. Getting healthcare 'consumers' to consider their market choices follows a narrow logic up to the point where none of the choices are relevant to a public health emergency. One I plus another I plus another I doesn't equal us. The fundamental premise of neoliberalism, the Robinsonade I, has always been a cynical dodge to let rich people keep their loot.

The mortality rate and contagion factor recently reported for Coronavirus (links at top) place it above the modern benchmark of the Spanish Flu of 1918 in terms of potential lethality. What should make people angry is how the reconfiguration of political economy intended to make a few people really rich has put the rest of us at increased risk. These are real people's lives and they matter.

Finally, for students of neoliberalism: there is no conflation of neoliberalism with neoclassical economics here. Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career's worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn't helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Mar 04, 2020] Russiagate should be viewed as classic, textbook case of gaslighting and projecting election interference

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference. ..."
"... Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

MrWebster on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 1:00pm

What you describe is probably why Russiagate spread so easily to so many people. Nothing happened in previous elections? Everything you describe never happened as you point out. The American electoral system was and is pristine and virginal.

Until the Russians came and destroyed American democracy through social media themes, memes, and retweets.

The American electoral system was never brutally corrupted by rigged votes, voter suppression on the scale of hundreds of thousands, deliberately miscounted votes, voter fraud, etc. Americans never did to each other anything as bad as what the Russians did to Americans.

Of course, for me never worked as I worked in primaries of a democratic machine dominated city. I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference.

Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn.

[Mar 03, 2020] Super Tuesday Bernie vs The DNC Round Two

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

No matter who comes away with the nomination, it has to be asked "was any of this process legitimate?". We know from a plethora of examples that US elections are not fair. They border on meaningless most of the time. The DNC's doubly so, having argued in court they have no duty to be fair.

Any result, then, you could safely assume was contrived, for one reason or another.

If the Buttigieg-Klobuchar-Biden gambit works, we end up with Trump vs. Biden. And, realistically, that means a second Trump term.

Biden is possibly senile and definitely creepy . Watching him shuffle and stutter through a Presidential campaign would be almost cruel.

Politically, he has all of Hillary's weaknesses, being a big-time establishment type with a pro-war record, without even the "I have a vagina" card to play.

He'll get massacred.

Is that the plan?

There's more than enough signs that Trump has abandoned all the policies that made him any kind of threat to the political establishment. Four years on: no wars ended, no walls built, no swamp drained. Just more of the same. He's an idiot who talked big and got co-opted. It happens.

The Senate and other institutions might talk about Trump being a criminal or an idiot or a "Nazi", but the reality is he's barely perceptibly different from any other POTUS this side of JFK.

#TheResistance was a puppet show. A weak game played for toy money. When it really counts, they're all in it together. Biden getting on the ticket would be a public admittance of that. It would mean the DNC is effectively throwing the fight. Trump is a son of a bitch, but he's their son of a bitch. And that's much better than even the idea of President Bernie.

... ... ...

falcemartello ,

Does it really matter?
Empire of kaos will never move one inch to change the status quo.
The quaisi fascist state that most western /antlantacist nations have become it will make no difference
Gianbattista Vico"Their will always be an elite class" Punto e basta.
Name me one politico that made any difference to we the sheeple in the modern era.
If someone were to mention FDR I will scream.
Aldo Moro got murdered by the deep state for only suggesting to make a pact with Berlinguer the head of Il Partito Communista Italiano.

[Mar 03, 2020] Let s Talk About Your Alleged #Resistance by Joe Giambrone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children . ..."
"... What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race. ..."
"... Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough. ..."
"... Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed. ..."
"... Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite. ..."
"... How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children. ..."
"... The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation. ..."
"... The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. ..."
"... But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates. ..."
"... I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years. ..."
"... Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then. ..."
"... We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy. ..."
"... 'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root. ..."
"... Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns ..."
"... Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken. ..."
"... Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." ..."
"... Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Editor Joe Giambrone

In 2016, Hillary Clinton deserved to lose, and she did. Her deception, her cheating in the primary elections , was well-documented, despicable, dishonest, untrustworthy. Her money-laundering scheme at DNC should have been prosecuted under campaign finance laws.

Her record of warmongering and gleefully gloating over death and destruction was also well established. On national TV she bragged about the mutilation of Moammar Qaddafi: "We came, we saw, he died!"

Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children .

This person was undeserving of anyone's support.

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race.

His opponents have instead opted for every nonsensical conspiracy theory and McCarthyite smear they can concoct, including the most ridiculous of all: the Putin theory , without a single shred of evidence to support it.

Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough.

Bernie wins, and he has the best overall shot of changing the course of history, steering America away from plutocracy and fascism.

That crucial race is happening right now in the primaries . If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday.

It's either Trump or Bernie. That's your choice. Your only choice.

Where is your so-called "#Resistance" now?


Ben Barbour ,

Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed.

Bernie also voted for Clinton's 1999 bombing campaign on Kosovo.

All that said, yes, Bernie is the best option.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite.

When they spout bullshit that 20% of UK workers could miss work 'due to coronavirus', when we have had precisely 36 deaths in a population of 65 million plus, you know that like climate change, they spout the 1% probability as the mainstream narrative .

It just shows what folks are up against when media is so cravenly serving those who do not pay them.

Charlotte Russe ,

"If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday."

While Bernie spent more than three decades advocating for economic social justice Biden spent those same three decades promoting social repression."

"The 1990s saw Biden take aim at civil liberties, authoring anti-terror bills that, among other things, "gutted the federal writ of habeas corpus," as one legal scholar later reflected. It was this earlier legislation that led Biden to brag to anyone listening that he was effectively the author of the Bush-era PATRIOT ACT, which, in his view, didn't go far enough. He inserted a provision into the bill that allowed for the militarization of local law enforcement and again suggested deploying the military within US borders."

How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children.

The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation.

The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. In fact, they're saying more than that–if uninvited workers and the marginalized dare to enter they'll be tossed out on their arse

In plain sight the mainstream media news is telling millions that NO one can stop the military/security/surveillance/corporate state from their stranglehold over the corrupt political duopoly.

I say fight and don't give-up! Be prepared–organize a million people march and head to Milwaukee– the future of the next generation is on the line.

But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates.

But if Biden, makes it to the Oval Office he'll be "less" than a figurehead. Biden, will be as mentally acute as the early bird diner in a Florida assisted living facility after a recent stroke. The national security state will seize control– handing the "taxidermied Biden" a pen to idiotically sign off on their highly insidious agenda ..

Ken Kenn ,

Pretty straightforward for me ( I don't know about Bernie? ) but if the Super delegates and the DNC hierarchy decide to hand the nomination over to Biden then Bernie should stand as an independent. At least even in defeat a left marker would be placed on the US political table away from the Corporate owners and the shills that hack for them in the media and elsewhere. At least ordinary US people would know that someone is on their side.

Corbyn in the UK was described as a ' Marxist' by the Tories and the unquestioning media. Despite all that ' Marxist ' Labour got 33% of the vote. People will vote for a ' socialist '

Charlotte Ruse ,

Unfortunately, Bernie won't abandon the Democratic Party. However, there's a ton of Bernie supporters who will vote Third Party if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

paul ,

I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years.

That's when he hasn't been shilling for regime change wars in Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and elsewhere against "communist dictators."

Bernie will get shafted again shortly and fall into line behind Epstein's and Weinstein's best mate Bloomberg or Creepy Joe, or Pocahontas, or whoever.

If by some miracle they can't quite rig it this time and Bernie gets the nomination, the DNC will just fail to support him, and allow Trump to win. They would rather see Trump than Bernie in the White House.

Just like Starmer, Thornberry, Phillips and all the Blairite Backstabber Friends of Israel were more terrified of seeing Jezza in Number Ten than any Tory.
Dr. Johnson said that getting remarried represented the triumph of hope over experience.

The same applies to people expecting any positive change from people like Bernie, Tulsi, or Jezza.

The system just doesn't allow it.

pete ,

Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then.

Gezzah Potts ,

We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy.

clickkid ,

"The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday." Sorry Joe, but where have you been for the last 50 years" Elections are irrelevant. Events change the world – not elections. The only important aspect of an election is the turnout. If you vote in an election, then at some level you still believe in the system.

Willem ,

Sometimes Chomsky can be useful

'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root.

Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns.'

If true, the question is, what are we not allowed to say? Or is Chomsky wrong, and are we allowed to say anything we like since TPTB know that words cannot, ever, change political action as for that you need power and brutal force, which we do not have and which, btw Chomsky advocates to its readers not to try to use against the nation state?

So maybe Chomsky is not so useful after all, or only useful for the status quo.

Chomsky's latest book, sold in book stores and at airports, where, apparantly, opinions of dissident writers whose opinions go beyond the bounds of the consensus of elites, are sold in large amounts to marginalize those opinions out of society, is called 'Optimism over despair', a title stolen from Gramsci who said: 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.'

But every time I follow Chomsky's reasoning, I end in dead end roads of which it is quite hard to find your way out. So perhaps I should change that title into 'nihilism over despair'. If you follow Chomsky's reasoning

clickkid ,

Your Chomsky Quote: "'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. .. " Tell that to the Yellow Vests.

ajbsm ,

Despite the deep state stranglehold .on the whole world there seems to be a 'wind' blowing (ref Lenin) of more and more people turning backs on the secret service candidates – not just in America. Power, money and bullying will carry on succeeding eventually the edifice is blown away – this will probably happen, it will be ugly and what emerges might not even be better(!) But the current controllers seem to have a sell by date.

Ken Kenn ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. A revolution can only come about when the Bourgeoisie can no longer continue to govern in the old way. In other words it becomes more than a want – more of a necessity of change to the ordinary person.

We have to remember that in general ( it's a bit of a guess but just to illustrate a point ) that a small majority of people in any western nation are reasonably content – to an extent. They are not going to rock the boat that Kennedy tried to make the tide rise for or that Thatcher and her mates copied with home owner ship and the right to get into serious debt. This depends on whether you had/have a boat in the first place. If not you've always been drowning in the slowly rising tide.

Sanders as I've said before is not Castro. He has many faults but in a highly parameterised p Neo liberal economic loving political and media world he is the best hope. Not great stuff on offer but a significant move away from the 1% and the 3% who work for them ( including Presidents and Prime Misister ) so even that slight shift is plus for the most powerful country on planet earth.

I have in the past worked alongside various religious groups as an atheist as long as they were on the right( or should that be left?) side on an issue.

Now is not the time for the American left to play the Prolier than though card.

Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken.

wardropper ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. But didn't the Storming of the Bastille happen for that very reason? I think people are waiting for just one spark to ignite their simmering fury – just one more straw to break the patient camel's back. Understandably, the "elite" (which used to mean exalted above the general level) are in some trepidation about this, but, like all bullies their addiction to the rush of power goes all the way to the bitter end – the bitter end being the point at which their target stands up and gives them a black eye. It's almost comical how the bully then becomes the wailing victim himself, and we have all seen often enough the successfully-resisted dictatorial figure of authority resorting to the claim that he is now being bullied himself. But this is a situation of his own making, and our sympathy for him is limited by our memory of that fact.

Ken Kenn ,

Where's the simmering fury in the West. U.S. turnout is pathetically low. Even in the UK the turnout in the most important election since the First World War was 67%. I see the result of the " simmering fury " giving rise to the right not the left. Just that one phrase or paragraph of provocative words will spark the revolution?

... ... ...

wardropper ,

My point, which I thought I made clearly enough, was that the fury is simmering , and waiting for a catalyst. I also think an important reason for turnout being low is simply that people don't respond well to being treated like idiots by an utterly corrupt establishment. They just don't want to participate in the farce.

Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it."

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and, like you, I am quite happy to back Sanders as by far the best of a pretty rotten bunch. Perhaps China is indeed leading in many respects right now, but becoming Chinese doesn't seem like a real option for most of us at the moment . . . Incidentally I have been to China and I found the people there as interesting as people anywhere else, although I particularly enjoyed the many things which are completely different from our western cultural roots.

Rhisiart Gwilym ,

Speaking of the Clintons' death toll, didn't Sanders too back all USAmerica's mass-murdering, armed-robbery aggressions against helpless small countries in recent times? And anyway, why are we wasting time discussing the minutiae of the shadow-boxing in this ridiculous circus of a pretend-democratic 'election'? Watching a coffin warp would be a more useful occupation.

I go with Dmitry Orlov's reckoning of the matter: It doesn't matter who becomes president of the US, since the rule of the deep state continues unbroken, enacting its own policies, which ignore the wishes of the common citizens, and only follow the requirements of the mostly hyper-rich gics (gangsters-in-charge) in the controlling positions of this spavined, failing empire. (My paraphrase of Dmitry.)

USPresidents do what their deep-state handlers want; or they get impeached, or assassinated like the Kennedy brothers. And they all know this. Bill Hick's famous joke about men in a smoke-filled room showing the newly-'elected' POTUS that piece of film of Kennedy driving by the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza, Dallas, is almost literally true. All POTUSes understand that perfectly well before they even take office.

Voting for the policies you prefer, in a genuinely democratic republic, and actually getting them realised, will only happen for USAmericans when they've risen up and taken genuine popular control of their state-machine; at last!

Meanwhile, of what interest is this ridiculous charade to us in Britain (on another continent entirely; we never see this degree of attention given to Russian politics, though it has a much greater bearing on our future)? Our business here is to get Britain out of it's current shameful status, as one of the most grovelling of all the Anglozionist empire's provinces. We have a traitorous-comprador class of our own to turn out of power. Waste no time on the continuous three-ring distraction-circus in the US – where we in Britain don't even have a vote.

wardropper ,

The upvotes here would seem to show what thinking people appreciate most. Seeing through the advertising bezazz, the cheerleaders and the ownership of the media is obviously a top priority, and I suspect a large percentage of people who don't even know about the OffG would agree.

John Ervin ,

Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. And that much still holds true. Game. Set. Match. Any questions?

Antonym ,

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous.

US deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016: they would love him to become string puppet POTUS in 2020. Trump is more difficult to control so they hate him.

John Ervin ,

Just one more Conspiracy Realist, eh! When will we ever learn? "The deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016 ." That gives some sense of the ease with which they pull strings, nicely put. One variation on the theme of your metaphor: "They savored him as one might consume a cocktail olive at an exclusive or entitled soirée."

It is painfully clear by any real connection of dots that he is simply one of their stalking horses for other game. And that Homeland game (still) doesn't know whether a horse has four, or six, legs.

*****

"Puppet Masters, or master puppets?"

Antonym ,

It is painfully clear that US Deep state hates Trump simply by looking at the Russiagate they cooked him up.

Fair dinkum ,

The US voters have surrounded themselves with a sewer, now they have to swim in it.

[Mar 03, 2020] Whacking Rich is a reminder to Sanders what the party establishmen is capable of

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.unz.com

An alternative view that has been circulating for several years suggests that it was not a hack at all, that it was a deliberate whistleblower-style leak of information carried out by an as yet unknown party, possibly Rich, that may have been provided to WikiLeaks for possible political reasons, i.e. to express disgust with the DNC manipulation of the nominating process to damage Bernie Sanders and favor Hillary Clinton.

There are, of course, still other equally non-mainstream explanations for how the bundle of information got from point A to point B, including that the intrusion into the DNC server was carried out by the CIA which then made it look like it had been the Russians as perpetrators. And then there is the hybrid point of view, which is essentially that the Russians or a surrogate did indeed intrude into the DNC computers but it was all part of normal intelligence agency probing and did not lead to anything. Meanwhile and independently, someone else who had access to the server was downloading the information, which in some fashion made its way from there to WikiLeaks.

Both the hack vs. leak viewpoints have marshaled considerable technical analysis in the media to bolster their arguments, but the analysis suffers from the decidedly strange fact that the FBI never even examined the DNC servers that may have been involved. The hack school of thought has stressed that Russia had both the ability and motive to interfere in the election by exposing the stolen material while the leakers have recently asserted that the sheer volume of material downloaded indicates that something like a higher speed thumb drive was used, meaning that it had to be done by someone with actual physical direct access to the DNC system. Someone like Seth Rich.

... ... ...

Given all of that back story, it would be odd to find Trump making an offer that focuses only on one issue and does not actually refute the broader claims of Russian interference, which are based on a number of pieces of admittedly often dubious evidence, not just the Clinton and Podesta emails.

Which brings the tale back to Seth Rich. If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery, it most materially impacts on the Democratic Party as it reminds everyone of what the Clintons and their allies are capable of.

It will also serve as a warning of what might be coming at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July as the party establishment uses fair means or foul to stop Bernie Sanders. How this will all play out is anyone's guess, but many of those who pause to observe the process will be thinking of Seth Rich.


plantman , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm GMT

Excellent roundup.

I don't ascribe to the idea that the intel agencies kill American citizens without a great deal of thought, but in Rich's case, they probably felt like they had no choice. Think about it: The DNC had already rigged the primary against Bernie, the Podesta emails had already been sent to Wikileaks, and if Rich's cover was blown, then he would publicly identify himself as the culprit (which would undermine the Russiagate narrative) which would split the Democratic party in two leaving Hillary with no chance to win the election.

I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich but eventually realizing that there was no other way to deflect responsibility for the emails while paving the way for an election victory.

If Seth Rich went public, then Hillary would certainly lose.

I imagine this is what they were thinking when they decided there was really only one option.

james charles , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm GMT
"I have watched incredulous as the CIA's blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton's corruption."
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/

"The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich"
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

niteranger , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:08 am GMT
@plantman It's more than Hillary losing. It would have been easy to connect the dots of the entire plot to get Trump. Furthermore, it would have linked Obama and his cohorts in ways that the country might have exploded. This was the beginning of a Coup De'tat that would have shown the American political process is a complete joke.

... ... ...

Carlton Meyer , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 1:04 am GMT
To understand why the DNC mobsters and the Deep State hate him, watch this great 2016 interview where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the "Clinton Crime Family." This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:18 am GMT
Well, here was my own take on the controversy a couple of years ago, and I really haven't seen anything to change my mind:

Well, DC is still a pretty dangerous city, but how many middle-class whites were randomly murdered there that year while innocently walking the streets? I wouldn't be surprised if Seth Rich was just about the only one.

Julian Assange has strongly implied that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC emails that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. So if Seth Rich died in a totally random street killing not long afterward, isn't that just the most astonishing coincidence in all of American history?

Consider that the leaks effectively nullified the investment of the $2 billion or so that her donors had provided, and foreclosed the flood of good jobs and appointments to her camp-followers, not to mention the oceans of future graft. Seems to me that's a pretty good motive for murder.

Here's my own plausible speculation from a couple of months ago:

Incidentally, I'd guess that DC is a very easy place to arrange a killing, given that until the heavy gentrification of the last dozen years or so, it was one of America's street-murder capitals. It seems perfectly plausible that some junior DNC staffer was at dinner somewhere, endlessly cursing Seth Rich for having betrayed his party and endangered Hillary's election, when one of his friends said he knew somebody who'd be willing to "take care of the problem" for a thousand bucks

https://www.unz.com/announcement/new-software-releaseopen-thread/#comment-1959442

https://www.unz.com/isteve/was-seth-rich-murdered-by-the-russians-the-democratic-elite-or-the-democratic-base/#comment-2069185

Let's say a couple of hundred thousand middle-class whites lived in DC around then, and Seth Rich was about the only one that year who died in a random street-killing, occurring not long after the leak.

Wouldn't that seem like a pretty unlikely coincidence?

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:45 am GMT
"If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery ."

Heroism is the proper term for what Seth Rich did. He saw the real treachery, against Bernie Sanders and the democratic faithful who expect at least a modicum of integrity from their Party leaders (even if that expectation is utterly fanciful, wishful thinking), and he decided to act. He paid for it with his life. A young, noble life.

In every picture I've seen of him, he looks like a nice guy, a guy who cared. And now he's dead. And the assholes at the DNC simply gave him a small plaque over a bike rack, as I understand it.

Seth Rich: American Hero. A Truth-Teller who paid the ultimate price.

Great reporting, Phil. Another home run.

(And thanks to Ron for chiming in. Couldn't agree more. As a Truth-Teller extraordinaire, please watch your back, Bro. And Phil, too. You both know what these murderous scum are capable of.)

Biff , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:46 am GMT
When the FBI doesn't fully investigate a crime(DNC-emails/9-11/JFK-murder) the only conclusion is " coverup ".
John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 7:31 am GMT
I suppose American security services could have been involved.

That would explain the poor police investigation and lack of information and questions answered.

But Hillary and her dirty associates were quite capable of hiring a hit.

That would also explain the lack of information, since DC, unlike any other city, is literally controlled by the Federal government.

This is a very vicious woman despite her clownishly made-up face.

Her words after Gaddafi's murder were chilling.

She is said to have been responsible too for pressuring for the final push to get Waco out of the headlines. 80 folks incinerated.

She also joked about Assange, "can't we just drone him or something?"

And there was the dirty business at Benghazi.

She is indeed a woman capable of anything. A contemporary Borgia.

Daniel Rich , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 9:33 am GMT
Because the {real} killers of JFK, MLK and RFK were never detained and jailed/hanged, why would one expect a lesser known, more ordinary individual's murder [Seth] to be solved?
hobo , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:27 am GMT
Seymour Hersh, in a taped phone conversation, claimed to have access to an FBI report on the murder. According to Hersh, the report indicated tha FBI Cyber Unit examined Rich's computer and found he had contacted Wikileaks with the intention of selling the emails.

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report ( 7 min)

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

Antiwar7 , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:33 am GMT
Another reason Assange may not want to reveal it, if Seth Rich was a source for Wikileaks, could be that Seth Rich didn't act alone, and revealing Seth's involvement would compromise the other(s).

Or it could simply be that Wikileaks has promised to never reveal a source, even after that source's death, as a promise to future potential sources, who may never want their identities revealed, to avoid the thought of embarrassment or repercussions to their associates or families.

Incidentally, they only started really going after Assange after the Vault 7 leaks of the CIA's active bag of software tricks. I think, for Assange's sake, they should instead have held on to that, and made it the payload of a dead man's switch.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:05 am GMT
I'm not sure how credible the source is but Ellen Ratner, the sister of Assange's former lawyer and a journalist, told Ed Butowsky that Assange told her that it was Seth Rich. She asked Butowsky to contact Rich's parents. She confirms the Assange meeting in an interview, link below. Butowsky does not seem to be a credible source but Ratner does. If it was Seth Rich then I have no doubt that his brother knows the details and the family does not want to lose another son.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_YyuWpjTbg0?feature=oembed

The story has gone nowhere.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:42 am GMT
"According to Assange's lawyers, Rohrabacher offered a pardon from President Trump if Assange were to provide information that would attribute the theft or hack of the Democratic National Committee emails to someone other than the Russians."

Not to quibble on semantics but Rohrabacher met with Assange to ask if he would be willing to reveal the source of the emails then Rohrabacher would contact Trump and try to make deal for Assange's freedom. Rohrabacher clarified that he never talked to Trump or that he was authorized by Trump to make any offer.

The MSM has been using the "amnesty if you say it was not the Russians" narrative to hint at a coverup by Russian agent Trump. Normal for the biased MSM.

Giraldi's link "Assange did not take the offer" has nothing to do with Rohrabacher's contact. It's just a general piece on Assange acting as a journalist should act.

https://www.rohrabacher.com/news/my-meeting-with-julian-assange

Alfred , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
@plantman I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich

Have you never had to deal with a psychopath? That is not the way they reason.

She would have done it in the "national interest"

DaveE , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 2:21 pm GMT
I'm of the opinion Ron Unz seems to share, that Rich was not a particularly "big hitter" in the DNC hierarchy and that his murder was more likely the result of a very nasty inter-party squabble. I seem to recall a LOT of very nasty talk between the Jewish neocons in the Bush era and the decent, traditional "small-government" style Republicans who greatly resented the neocons' hijacking of the GOP for their demonic zionist agenda.

Common sense would suggest that the zionist types who have (obviously) hijacked the DNC are at least as nasty and ruthless as the neocons who destroyed any decency or fair-play within the GOP. It's not exactly hard to believe that these Murder, Inc. types (also lefties of their era) wouldn't hesitate to whack someone like Rich for merely uttering a criticism of Israel, for example.

Hell, Meyer Lansky ordered the hit-job on Bugsy Seigel for forgetting to bring bagels to a sit-down ! There was a great web-site by a mobster of that era, long since taken down, who described the story in detail. I forget the names .. but I'll see if I can't find a copy of some of the pieces posted at least a decade ago .

It's not exactly hard to imagine some very nasty words being exchanged between the Rahm Emmanuel types and decent Chicago citizens, for example, who genuinely cared for their city and weren't afraid of The Big Jew and his mobster cronies . to their detriment I'm sure.

We're talking about organized crime, here, folks. The zionists make the so-called (mostly fictitious) Sicilian Mafia look like newborn puppies. They wouldn't hesitate to whack a guy like Rich for taking their favorite space in the bicycle rack.

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm GMT
@John Chuckman A long time ago I read in the London Guardian ( before it's reputation was in tatters) that the witch kept a list of all who pissed her off and updated it every night.
A quick search and here it is https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/14/hillary-clinton-hitlist-spreadsheet-grudge
Altai , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm GMT
My only trouble with the Seth Rich thing is, it seems a bit extreme, they seem quite callous in murdering foreigners but US citizens in the US who are their staffers? If they really were prepared to go out and kill in this way, they're be a lot more suspicious deaths.

What makes the case most compelling is the very quick investigation by police that looks like they were told by somebody concerned about how the whole thing looked to close up the case nice and quickly. That and the fact that he was shot in the back, which doesn't make sense for an attempted robbery turned murder.

However, it may also be that as in so many cities in the US, murder clearance rates for street shootings (Little forensic evidence, can only go by witness accounts or through poor alibis from usual suspects and their associates. In this case there is also no connection between Rich and any possible shooter with no witnesses.) are just so very low that DC police don't bother and Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

But then maybe for the reasons above a place like DC is perfect to just murder somebody on the street and that's why they were so brazen about it.

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:47 pm GMT
@Altai

Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

Well, upthread someone posted a recording of a Seymour Hersh phone call that confirmed Seth Rich was the fellow who leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks, thereby possibly swinging the presidential election to Trump and overcoming $2 billion of Democratic campaign advertising.

Shortly afterwards, he probably became about the only middle-class white in DC who died in a "random street killing" that year. If you doubt this, see if you can find any other such cases that year.

I think it is *extraordinarily* unlikely that these two elements are unconnected and merely happened together by chance.

[Feb 26, 2020] A serious US politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal.

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Levtraro , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm GMT

I suspect his open-borders advocacy and Russia-bashing too are lies; these are lines of defence against internal forces. It makes sense for him to take those positions while he seeks the nomination. If he gets it, he can betray those positions. A serious politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal. At the end of the day, he is a hardened politician like the rest.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Democrats' Quandary In a Struggle Between Oligarchy and Democracy, Something Must Give by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year ..."
"... Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class? ..."
"... This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent. ..."
"... But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC. ..."
"... Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... History of Rome ..."
"... Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again. ..."
"... So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day. ..."
"... Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton. ..."
"... And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy. ..."
"... I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez. ..."
"... I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

To hear the candidates debate, you would think that their fight was over who could best beat Trump. But when Trump's billionaire twin Mike Bloomberg throws a quarter-billion dollars into an ad campaign to bypass the candidates actually running for votes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, it's obvious that what really is at issue is the future of the Democrat Party. Bloomberg is banking on a brokered convention held by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in which money votes. (If "corporations are people," so is money in today's political world.)

Until Nevada, all the presidential candidates except for Bernie Sanders were playing for a brokered convention. The party's candidates seemed likely to be chosen by the Donor Class, the One Percent and its proxies, not the voting class (the 99 Percent). If, as Mayor Bloomberg has assumed, the DNC will sell the presidency to the highest bidder, this poses the great question: Can the myth that the Democrats represent the working/middle class survive? Or, will the Donor Class trump the voting class?

This could be thought of as "election interference" – not from Russia but from the DNC on behalf of its Donor Class. That scenario would make the Democrats' slogan for 2020 "No Hope or Change." That is, no from today's economic trends that are sweeping wealth up to the One Percent.

All this sounds like Rome at the end of the Republic in the 1st century BC. The way Rome's constitution was set up, candidates for the position of consul had to pay their way through a series of offices. The process started by going deeply into debt to get elected to the position of aedile, in charge of staging public games and entertainments. Rome's neoliberal fiscal policy did not tax or spend, and there was little public administrative bureaucracy, so all such spending had to be made out of the pockets of the oligarchy. That was a way of keeping decisions about how to spend out of the hands of democratic politics. Julius Caesar and others borrowed from the richest Bloomberg of their day, Crassus, to pay for staging games that would demonstrate their public spirit to voters (and also demonstrate their financial liability to their backers among Rome's One Percent). Keeping election financing private enabled the leading oligarchs to select who would be able to run as viable candidates. That was Rome's version of Citizens United.

But in the wake of Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada, a brokered convention would mean the end of the Democrat Party pretense to represent the 99 Percent. The American voting system would be seen to be as oligarchic as that of Rome on the eve of the infighting that ended with Augustus becoming Emperor in 27 BC.

Today's pro-One Percent media – CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times have been busy spreading their venom against Sanders. On Sunday, February 23, CNN ran a slot, "Bloomberg needs to take down Sanders, immediately."[1]Given Sanders' heavy national lead, CNN warned, the race suddenly is almost beyond the vote-fixers' ability to fiddle with the election returns. That means that challengers to Sanders should focus their attack on him; they will have a chance to deal with Bloomberg later (by which CNN means, when it is too late to stop him).

The party's Clinton-Obama recipients of Donor Class largesse pretend to believe that Sanders is not electable against Donald Trump. This tactic seeks to attack him at his strongest point. Recent polls show that he is the only candidate who actually would defeat Trump – as they showed that he would have done in 2016.

The DNC knew that, but preferred to lose to Trump than to win with Bernie. Will history repeat itself? Or to put it another way, will this year's July convention become a replay of Chicago in 1968?

A quandary, not a problem . Last year I was asked to write a scenario for what might happen with a renewed DNC theft of the election's nomination process. To be technical, I realize, it's not called theft when it's legal. In the aftermath of suits over the 2016 power grab, the courts ruled that the Democrat Party is indeed controlled by the DNC members, not by the voters. When it comes to party machinations and decision-making, voters are subsidiary to the superdelegates in their proverbial smoke-filled room (now replaced by dollar-filled foundation contracts).

I could not come up with a solution that does not involve dismantling and restructuring the existing party system. We have passed beyond the point of having a solvable "problem" with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). That is what a quandary is. A problem has a solution – by definition. A quandary does not have a solution. There is no way out. The conflict of interest between the Donor Class and the Voting Class has become too large to contain within a single party. It must split.

A second-ballot super-delegate scenario would mean that we are once again in for a second Trump term. That option was supported by five of the six presidential contenders on stage in Nevada on Wednesday, February 20. When Chuck Todd asked whether Michael Bloomberg, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar would support the candidate who received the most votes in the primaries (now obviously Bernie Sanders), or throw the nomination to the super-delegates held over from the Obama-Clinton neoliberals (75 of whom already are said to have pledged their support to Bloomberg), each advocated "letting the process play out." That was a euphemism for leaving the choice to the Tony-Blair style leadership that have made the Democrats the servants' entrance to the Republican Party. Like the British Labour Party behind Blair and Gordon Brown, its role is to block any left-wing alternative to the Republican program on behalf of the One Percent.

This problem would not exist if the United States had a European-style parliamentary system that would enable a third party to obtain space on the ballots in all 50 states. If this were Europe, the new party of Bernie Sanders, AOC et al. would exceed 50 percent of the votes, leaving the Wall Street democrats with about the same 8 percent share that similar neoliberal democratic parties have in Europe ( e.g ., Germany's hapless neoliberalized Social Democrats), that is, Klobocop territory as voters moved to the left. The "voting Democrats," the 99 Percent, would win a majority leaving the Old Neoliberal Democrats in the dust.

The DNC's role is to prevent any such challenge. The United States has an effective political duopoly, as both parties have created such burdensome third-party access to the ballot box in state after state that Bernie Sanders decided long ago that he had little alternative but to run as a Democrat.

The problem is that the Democrat Party does not seem to be reformable. That means that voters still may simply abandon it – but that will simply re-elect the Democrats' de facto 2020 candidate, Donald Trump. The only hope would be to shrink the party into a shell, enabling the old guard to go way so that the party could be rebuilt from the ground up.

But the two parties have created a legal duopoly reinforced with so many technical barriers that a repeat of Ross Perot's third party (not to mention the old Socialist Party, or the Whigs in 1854) would take more than one election cycle to put in place. For the time being, we may expect another few months of dirty political tricks to rival those of 2016 as Obama appointee Tom Perez is simply the most recent version of Florida fixer Debbie Schultz-Wasserman (who gave a new meaning to the Wasserman Test).

So we are in for another four years of Donald Trump. But by 2024, how tightly will the U.S. economy find itself tied in knots?

The Democrats' Vocabulary of Deception

How I would explain Bernie's program. Every economy is a mixed economy. But to hear Michael Bloomberg and his fellow rivals to Bernie Sanders explain the coming presidential election, one would think that an economy must be either capitalist or, as Bloomberg put it, Communist. There is no middle ground, no recognition that capitalist economies have a government sector, which typically is called the "socialist" sector – Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, roads, anti-monopoly regulation, and public infrastructure as an alternative to privatized monopolies extracting economic rent.

What Mr. Bloomberg means by insisting that it's either capitalism or communism is an absence of government social spending and regulation. In practice this means oligarchic financial control, because every economy is planned by some sector. The key is, who will do the planning? If government refrains from taking the lead in shaping markets, then Wall Street takes over – or the City in London, Frankfurt in Germany, and the Bourse in France.

Most of all, the aim of the One Percent is to distract attention from the fact that the economy is polarizing – and is doing so at an accelerating rate. National income statistics are rigged to show that "the economy" is expanding. The pretense is that everyone is getting richer and living better, not more strapped. But the reality is that all the growth in GDP has accrued to the wealthiest 5 Percent since the Obama Recession began in 2008. Obama bailed out the banks instead of the 10 million victimized junk-mortgage holders. The 95 Percent's share of GDP has shrunk.

The GDP statistics do not show is that "capital gains" – the market price of stocks, bonds and real estate owned mainly by the One to Five Percent – has soared, thanks to Obama's $4.6 trillion Quantitative Easing pumped into the financial markets instead of into the "real" economy in which wage-earners produce goods and services.

How does one "stay the course" in an economy that is polarizing? Staying the course means continuing the existing trends that are concentrating more and more wealth in the hands of the One Percent, that is, the Donor Class – while loading down the 99 Percent with more debt, paid to the One Percent (euphemized as the economy's "savers"). All "saving" is at the top of the pyramid. The 99 Percent can't afford to save much after paying their monthly "nut" to the One Percent.

If this economic polarization is impoverishing most of the population while sucking wealth and income and political power up to the One Percent, then to be a centrist is to be the candidate of oligarchy. It means not challenging the economy's structure.

Language is being crafted to confuse voters into imagining that their interest is the same as that of the Donor Class of rentiers , creditors and financialized corporate businesses and rent-extracting monopolies. The aim is to divert attention from voters' their own economic interest as wage-earners, debtors and consumers. It is to confuse voters not to recognize that without structural reform, today's "business as usual" leaves the One Percent in control.

So to call oneself a "centrist" is simply a euphemism for acting as a lobbyist for siphoning up income and wealth to the One Percent. In an economy that is polarizing, the choice is either to favor them instead of the 99 Percent.

That certainly is not the same thing as stability. Centrism sustains the polarizing dynamic of financialization, private equity, and the Biden-sponsored bankruptcy "reform" written by his backers of the credit-card companies and other financial entities incorporated in his state of Delaware. He was the senator for the that state's Credit Card industry, much as former Democratic VP candidate Joe Lieberman was the senator from Connecticut's Insurance Industry.

A related centrist demand is that of Buttigieg's and Biden's aim to balance the federal budget. This turns out to be a euphemism for cutting back Social Security, Medicare and relate social spending ("socialism") to pay for America's increasing militarization, subsidies and tax cuts for the One Percent. Sanders rightly calls this "socialism for the rich." The usual word for this is oligarchy . That seems to be a missing word in today's mainstream vocabulary.

The alternative to democracy is oligarchy. As Aristotle noted already in the 4 th

Confusion over the word "socialism" may be cleared up by recognizing that every economy is mixed, and every economy is planned – by someone. If not the government in the public interest, then by Wall Street and other financial centers in their interest. They fought against an expanding government sector in every economy today, calling it socialism – without acknowledging that the alternative, as Rosa Luxemburg put it, is barbarism.

I think that Sanders is using the red-letter word "socialism" and calling himself a "democratic socialist" to throw down the ideological gauntlet and plug himself into the long and powerful tradition of socialist politics. Paul Krugman would like him to call himself a social democrat. But the European parties of this name have discredited this label as being centrist and neoliberal. Sanders wants to emphasize that a quantum leap, a phase change is in order.

If he can be criticized for waving a needlessly red flag, it is his repeated statement that his program is designed for the "working class." What he means are wage-earners and this includes the middle class. Even those who make over $100,000 a year are still wage earners, and typically are being squeezed by a predatory financial sector, a predatory medical insurance sector, drug companies and other monopolies.

The danger in this terminology is that most workers like to think of themselves as middle class, because that is what they would like to rise into. That is especially he case for workers who own their own home (even if mortgage represents most of the value, so that most of the home's rental value is paid to banks, not to themselves as part of the "landlord class"), and have an education (even if most of their added income is paid out as student debt service), and their own car to get to work (involving automobile debt).

The fact is that even $100,000 executives have difficulty living within the limits of their paycheck, after paying their monthly nut of home mortgage or rent, medical care, student loan debt, credit-card debt and automobile debt, not to mention 15% FICA paycheck withholding and state and local tax withholding.

Of course, Sanders' terminology is much more readily accepted by wage-earners as the voters whom Hillary called "Deplorables" and Obama called "the mob with pitchforks," from whom he was protecting his Wall Street donors whom he invited to the White House in 2009. But I think there is a much more appropriate term: the 99 Percent, made popular by Occupy Wall Street. That is Bernie's natural constituency. It serves to throw down the gauntlet between democracy and oligarchy, and between socialism and barbarism, by juxtaposing the 99 Percent to the One Percent.

The Democratic presidential debate on February 25 will set the stage for Super Tuesday's "beauty contest" to gauge what voters want. The degree of Sanders' win will help determine whether the byzantine Democrat party apparatus that actually will be able to decide on the Party's candidate. The expected strong Sanders win is will make the choice stark: either to accept who the voters choose – namely, Bernie Sanders – or to pick a candidate whom voters already have rejected, and is certain to lose to Donald Trump in November.

If that occurs, the Democrat Party will evaporate as its old Clinton-Obama guard is no longer able to protect its donor class on Wall Street and corporate America. Too many Sanders voters would stay home or vote for the Greens. That would enable the Republicans to maintain control of the Senate and perhaps even grab back the House of Representatives.

But it would be dangerous to assume that the DNC will be reasonable. Once again, Roman history provides a "business as usual" scenario. The liberal German politician Theodor Mommsen published his History of Rome in 1854-56, warning against letting an aristocracy block reform by controlling the upper house of government (Rome's Senate, or Britain House of Lords). The leading families who overthrew the last king in 509 BC created a Senate chronically prone to being stifled by its leaders' "narrowness of mind and short-sightedness that are the proper and inalienable privileges of all genuine patricianism."[2]

These qualities also are the distinguishing features of the DNC. Sanders had better win big!

________________

[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/22/opinions/bloomberg-needs-to-take-down-sanders-lockhart/index.html . Joe Lockhart, opinion. For the MSNBC travesty see from February 23, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/23/msnbc-full-blown-freakout-mode-bernie-sanders-cements-status-democratic-frontrunner, by Jake Johnson.

[2]Mommsen, History of Rome , 1911: 268.


divadab , February 25, 2020 at 7:55 am

I wonder how much of the rot at the top of the Dem party is simple dementia. By the age of 70, half of people have some level of dementia. Consider Joe Biden – is anyone in the public sphere going to state the obvious – that he has dementia and as such is unfit for office?

Fred1 , February 25, 2020 at 8:32 am

First, my priors. I voted for Sanders in 2016, will vote for him in 2020, and expect him to be elected president. Further I believe that where we find ourselves today is the result of at least 40 years of intentional bi-partisan policies. Both parties are responsible.

If Sanders, upon being elected, were able to snap his fingers and call into existence his entire program, it would immediately face a bi-partisan opposition that would be funded by billions of dollars, which would be willing to take as long as necessary, even decades, to roll it back.

Just electing Sanders is only the first step. There must be a committed, determined follow through that must be willing to last decades as well for his program to stick. And there will be defeats along the way.

Several observations. If Hillary had beaten Trump, Sanders would have trudged back to Vermont and would never have been heard from again. The MSM would have dismissed his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class. But she didn't, so here we are, which is fantastic.

Some on Resistance Twitter claim that if Sanders is the nominee, Trump will win a 48 sweep. Possible, but very unlikely. But if it did happen, the MSM would once again dismiss his program as being completely unacceptable to the voting class, and Sanders would trudge back to Vermont never to be heard from again.

So if his program requires a decade long follow through, what are the least bad outcomes? If the D's deprive him of the nomination at the convention, even though he has far and away more pledged delegates, the MSM cannot dismiss his program as it would in the two previous scenarios, and his program would live to fight another day.

If he loses to Trump, but closely, which can mean a lot of different things, his program would live to fight another day. Moreover, if the D's are seen to actively collude with Trump, this less bad outcome would be even better.

I am an old geezer and don't expect to live long enough to see how all of this plays out. But I am very optimistic about his program's long term prospects. There is only one bad outcome, a Trump 48 state sweep, which I consider very unlikely. But most importantly, the best outcome, his election, and the two least bad outcomes, the D's stealing the nomination from him or his losing a close general election, all still will require a decades long commitment to make his program permanent.

I wish I were younger.

a different chris , February 25, 2020 at 8:55 am

>a Trump 48 state sweep

Where do people get this? Take a deep breath. Trump may or may not win. But if he does, the best he can hope for is a skin-of-his-teeth victory. Seriously, he lost the popular vote by a ton to Hillary freaking Clinton.

And stuff is beginning to crumble around him on the Right. The Dow drops. Oops Richie Rich gets uneasy.

Hammered by a 5 star general. The Deplorables kids were raised to look up to generals, not New Yawk dandys. How does this affect them? And it's still February.

Sailor Bud , February 25, 2020 at 8:34 am

Just an FYI: The five-volume Mommsen "History of Rome" referenced in the text is available in English on Project Gutenberg, free and legal to download. Probably everyone here knows this, but just in case

Dan , February 25, 2020 at 8:44 am

How about Bernie call himself "Roosevelt Democrat" instead of "Democratic Socialist". It would give all those in the senior demographic a better understanding of what Sander's policies mean to them as opposed to the scary prospect of the "Socialist" label.

Oxley Creek Boy , February 25, 2020 at 10:12 am

The Democrats should have been slowly disarming the word "socialist" for at least the last decade. In principle, it's not difficult – as Michael Hudson says – "Every economy is a mixed economy" – and in a very real sense everyone's a socialist (even if only unconsciously). I'm not saying that bit of rhetorical jujitsu would magically turn conservative voters progressive but you'll never get to the point where you can defend socialist programs on the merits if you always dodge that fight. It's just a shame that Bernie Sanders has to do it all in a single election cycle and I don't think choosing a different label now would help him much.

flora , February 25, 2020 at 11:37 am

He could even compare himself to the earlier Roosevelt: Teddy Roosevelt.

By 1900 the old bourbon Dem party was deeply split between its old, big business and banking wing – the bourbons – and the rising progressive/populist wing. It was GOP pres Roosevelt who first pushed through progressive programs like breaking up railroad and commodity monopolies, investigating and regulating meat packing and fraudulent patent medicines, etc. Imagine that.

lyman alpha blob , February 25, 2020 at 1:30 pm

I just finished Stoller's book Goliath and according to him, Teddy wasn't quite as progressive as we are often led to believe. He wasn't so much opposed to those with enormous wealth – he just wanted them to answer to him. He did do the things you mentioned, but after sending the message to the oligarchs, he then became friendly with them once he felt he'd brought them to heel. He developed quite the soft spot for JP Morgan, according to Stoller.

TR wanted to be the Boss, the center of attention with everyone looking up to him. As one of his relatives said, he wanted to be the baby at every christening and the corpse at every funeral.

I find Bernie to be a lot more humble.

Balakirev , February 25, 2020 at 12:51 pm

I have a sense that changing his party affiliation label at any point in time since Sanders began running for president in 2016 would be a godsend to his enemies in both hands of the Duopoly. They'd tar him loudly as a hypocrite without an ounce of integrity, using personal politics to distract from the issues.

Meanwhile, we can expect to see the Socialist (and Communist, and Russia-Russia-Russia) nonsense reiterated as long as Sanders has strong visibility. He's extremely dangerous to both parties and their owners. I don't' believe the DNC will let him take the convention, but if he does, I'll bet the Dems give him minimal support and hope he fails–better the devil you know, etc.

political economist , February 25, 2020 at 9:56 am

It's time to put your money in reality futures by putting all that you can into supporting Bernie, AOC, etc. and all your local candidates that support at least democratic socialism and ourrevolution the DSA Justice Dems or other groups that have people but need money. I was having a conversation with a friend who was complaining that he was getting too many emails from Bernie asking for money after he had given the campaign a "modest amount". My suggestion was in honor of his children and grandchildren he should instead GIVE 'TIL IT FEELS GOOD. My spouse and I, I told him, gave the max to Bernie and now we don't give upset when he asks for more. There will likely never be a moment like this in history and there may not be much of a history if things go the wrong way now. He agreed.

Debra D. , February 25, 2020 at 10:11 am

Exactly right. I gave Bernie the max in 2019 and will keep giving throughout 2020. This campaign is about not just me, but all of us. It's now. We must fight for this change as has always been the historical precedent.

BillC , February 25, 2020 at 11:55 am

OK, you two gave me the push I needed to max out my contributions to Bernie too. Let's hope Bernie's (oops OUR) bandwagon keeps gathering steam!

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Another 2019 Bernie maxer here.

I feel blessed to have been able to give at this level. And I believe that I did this for a lot of people who aren't able to donate at all.

steven , February 25, 2020 at 11:13 am

I was more than a little honked when Sanders appeared to roll over and support HRC in 2016 in spite of the obvious fraud perpetrated on him and his supporters, not to mention the subsequent treatment they received at the hands of the DNC and Tom Perez.

I am coming to understand that might have been necessary within the context of one last desperate attempt to work with the Democratic party. But now I find myself wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea for Sanders and his supporters to make it absolutely clear their attempts to work within 'the system' are finished if they are robbed again; maybe even starting work immediately on establishing a party not controlled by Wall Street lickspittle or knuckle-dragging no-nothings?

Little as it has been the answer has a lot to do with my willingness to pour more money into repetitively self-defeating behavior.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:49 pm

Bernie is a long-distance runner and strategizes like one. First work on finishing your races. Then worry about where you place.

Debra R. , February 25, 2020 at 11:28 am

I am a somewhat old geezer, too, who caucused for Bernie in 2016 and 2020. This article is very good and helps me understand why I feel the way I do. I was disappointed in Obama, who didn't follow through on the things I cared about, and I was devastated when Clinton was crowned the Democratic nominee well before the Convention, all the while holding onto a smidgen of hope that somehow Bernie would pull through as the nominee.

I was ecstatic when Bernie announced his candidacy for 2020. He is our only hope, and now we have a second chance. But now I am spending half my time screaming at people on tv and online who can't even hear me, and even if they could, they don't give a s–t what I think. It's Clinton 2.0–same thing all over again, four years later. Just who do these people (DNC, MSM, and others with a voice) think they are, to decide for the Democratic voters which candidate will be the nominee, who won't be the nominee, without regard to what the voters want? They are a bunch of pompous as–s who have some other motive that I am not savvy enough to understand. Is it about money in their pockets or what?

It should be as simple as this–Bernie is leading in the polls, if they are to be believed, and good people of all demographics want him to be our next President. He is a serious contender for the nomination. Show the man some much-earned respect and put people on MSM and publish articles by writers who help us understand what the anti-Bernie panic is about and why we shouldn't panic. Help us to explain his plans if he hasn't explained it thoroughly enough instead of calling him crazy. But to dismiss him as if he has the plague is not furthering the truth, and it is a serious injustice to the voting public. Naked Capitalism can't do it alone.

HotFlash , February 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm

There is a lot of good analysis out there, mainly on Youtube. I particularly like The Hill's Rising. A young progressive Democrat and a young progressive Republican (who even knew there was such a thing!) 'splain a lot of the antipathy. Another good source is Nomiki Konst, who is working on reforming the Dem party from within. Here she talks to RJ Eskow about how the DNC is structured and how she hopes to provide tools for rank-and-file Dems to wrest the levers of power from the establishment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ7wm6DCPV4

notabanktoadie , February 25, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Private sector cannot operate without same. Harrold

The problem is that the population, including FDR in his time, have been duped into believing that the private sector REQUIRES government privileges for private depository institutions, aka "the banks."

So currently we have no truly private sector to speak of but businesses and industry using the public's credit but for private gain.

Susan the other , February 25, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Last night's Democracy Now was interesting. Amy seems to be less of a commie hater than she recently was with her participation in the Russia-Russia-Russia smears against Trump. She held court last night with Paul Krugman and Richard Wolff discussing just exactly what "socialism" means. It was a great performance.

Krug seemed a little shellshocked about the whole discussion and he said we shouldn't even use the term "socialism" at all because all the things Bernie wants are just as capitalist – that capitalism encompasses socialism. But he stuttered when he discussed "single-payer" which he claimed he supported – his single payer is like Pete Buttigieg's single-payer-eventually. He tried to change the subject and Amy brought him straight back.

Then Wolff, who was in excellent form, informed the table that "socialism" is a moveable feast because it can be and has been many things for the advancement of societies, etc. But the term always means the advancement of society. Then Krug dropped a real bomb – he actually said (this is almost a quote) that recently he had been informed by Powell that debt isn't really all that important.

Really, Krug said that. And he tried to exetend that thought to the argument that anybody can provide social benefits – it doesn't require a self-proclaimed "socialist".

Richard Wolff confronted that slide with pointing out that it hasn't happened yet – and he left Krug with no excuses. It was quite the showdown. Nice Richard Wolff is so firmly in Bernie's camp.

Krug looked evasive – and I kept wishing they had invited Steve Keen to participate.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Economic Anxiety Hypothesis has Become Absurd(er)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The key promise of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA in 1980 with the election of Reagan (aka "the Quiet Coup") was that "the rising tide lifts all boats." -- the redistribution of the wealth up somehow will lift the standard of living of lower strata of the population too. This was a false promise from the very beginning (like everything about neoliberalism, which is based on lies and fake economics in any case). So anger accumulated and now became the key factor in elections. This anger is directed against the neoliberal establishment. ..."
"... The anger toward immigrants is, in fact, a displaced and projected anger against the elimination of meaningful and well-paid jobs and replacing them with McJobs, the process that was the key factor in lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of the population. ..."
"... The other part of this anger is directed toward the USA financial oligarchy (personified by such passionately hated figures as Lloyd "we are doing God's" Blankfein, private equity sharks, and figures like Wexner/Epstein) and "political establishment" the key figures of which many people would like to see hanging from street lamp posts (remember "Lock her up" movement in 2016). ..."
"... That's why the neoliberal establishment was forced to use to dirty tricks like Russiagate to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade. ..."
"... In Marxist terms, the USA entered the period called the "revolutionary situation" when the ruling neoliberal elite couldn't govern "as usual" and "the deplorable" do not want to live "as usual". The situation when according to Hegel, "quantity turns into quality," or as Marx said "ideas become a material force when they grip the mind of the masses." ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

I am old enough to remember when many very serious people ascribed the rise of Donald Trump to economic anxiety. The hypthesis never fit the facts (his supporters had higher incomes on average than Clinton's) but it has become absurd. The level of self reported economic anxiety is extraordinarily low

Gallup reports "Record High optimism about Personal Finances in U.S." with 74% predicting they will be better off next year.

Yet now the Democratic party has an insurgent candidate candidate in the lead. I hasten to stress that I am not saying Sanders supporters have much in common with Trump supporters (young vs old, strong hispanic support vs they hate Trump etc etc etc). But both appeal to anger and advocate a radical break with business as usual. Both reject party establishments. Also Warren if a little bit less so.

Trump's 2016 angry supporters still support him *and* they are still angry. He remains unpopular in spite of an economy performing very well (and perceived to be performing very well).

Whatever is going on in 2020, it sure isn't economic anxiety.

Yet there is clearly anger and desire for radical change.

I don't pretend to understand it, but I think it probably has a lot to do with relative economic performance and increased inequality. I can't understand why the reaction of so many Americans to this would be to hate immigrants and vote for Trump, but, then I don't watch Fox News.

One other thing which it isn't is rejection of the guy who came before Trump. Obama has a Real Clear Politics average favorable rating of 59% and unfavorable of 36.1 % vastly vastly better than any currently active politician. (Sanders is doing relatively very well at net -2.7 compared to Obama's + 22.9) He is not rejected. He is not considered a failure. Yet only a small majority is interested in any sort of going back to the way things were.


likbez , February 25, 2020 12:37 am

Robert ,

Trump's 2016 angry supporters still support him *and* they are still angry.

Many Trump "angry supporters" in 2016 used to belong to "anybody but Hillary" class (and they included a noticeable percentage of Bernie supporters, who felt betrayed by DNC) .

They are lost for Trump as he now in many aspects represents the "new Hillary" and the slogan "anybody but Trump" is growing in popularity. Even among Republicans: Trump definitely already lost a large part of anti-war Republicans and independents. As well as. most probably, a part of working class as he did very little for them outside of effects of military Keynesianism.

I suspect he also lost a part of military voters, those who supported Tulsi. They will never vote for Trump.

He also lost a part of "technocratic" voters resentful of the rule of financial oligarchy (anti-swampers), as his incompetence is now an undisputable fact.

He also lost Ron Paul's libertarians, who voted for him in 2016.

How "Coronavirus recession", if any, might affect 2020 elections is difficult to say, but in any case this is an unfavorable for Trump event.

EMichael , February 25, 2020 10:39 am

"I can't understand why the reaction of so many Americans to this would be to hate immigrants and vote for Trump, but, then I don't watch Fox News."

Coming to you since 1965. It's just that immigrants are now added to blacks. Trump took 50 years of the Southern Strategy, took the dogwhistles completely out of the closet and wore his racism right on his chest. Helped that he had over 50 years of experience as a racist, it came naturally to him.

And he attracted a new rw base, those who were not satisfied with dog whistles and/or did not hear them.

likbez , February 25, 2020 12:19 pm

I don't pretend to understand it, but I think it probably has a lot to do with relative economic performance and increased inequality.

It is actually very easy to understand: the middle class fared very poorly since 1991. See https://www.cnbc.com/id/44962589 . Now "the chickens come home to roost," so to speak.

The key promise of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA in 1980 with the election of Reagan (aka "the Quiet Coup") was that "the rising tide lifts all boats." -- the redistribution of the wealth up somehow will lift the standard of living of lower strata of the population too. This was a false promise from the very beginning (like everything about neoliberalism, which is based on lies and fake economics in any case). So anger accumulated and now became the key factor in elections. This anger is directed against the neoliberal establishment.

The anger toward immigrants is, in fact, a displaced and projected anger against the elimination of meaningful and well-paid jobs and replacing them with McJobs, the process that was the key factor in lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of the population.

The other part of this anger is directed toward the USA financial oligarchy (personified by such passionately hated figures as Lloyd "we are doing God's" Blankfein, private equity sharks, and figures like Wexner/Epstein) and "political establishment" the key figures of which many people would like to see hanging from street lamp posts (remember "Lock her up" movement in 2016).

Resentment against spending huge amounts of money for wars for sustaining and enlarging the global USA-centered neoliberal empire is another factor. In this sense, impoverishment and shrinking of the middle class in the USA is similar to the same impoverishment during the last days of the British colonial empire.

That's why the neoliberal establishment was forced to use to dirty tricks like Russiagate to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade.

In Marxist terms, the USA entered the period called the "revolutionary situation" when the ruling neoliberal elite couldn't govern "as usual" and "the deplorable" do not want to live "as usual". The situation when according to Hegel, "quantity turns into quality," or as Marx said "ideas become a material force when they grip the mind of the masses."

In 2016 that resulted in the election of Trump.

Add to this the fact that the neoliberal establishment (represented by both parties) now is clearly anti-social (the fact that a private equity shark Romney was a presidential candidate and then was elected as senator tells a lot about the level of degradation) and is unwilling to solve burning problems with medical insurance, minimal wage and other "the New Deal" elements of social infrastructure.

Democratic Party platform now is to the right of Eisenhower republicans.

That dooms the party candidates like CIA-democrat Major Pete, or "the senator from the credit card companies" Biden, and create an opening for political figures like Sanders (which are passionately hated by DNC)

[Feb 23, 2020] Looks like the USA intelligence (or, more correctly semi-intelligence) agencies work directly from KGB playbook or Bloomberg as Putin's Trojan Horse in 2020 elections

Highly recommended!
Surprising lack on intelligence in intelligence community. But after Brennan and "ruptured" Pompeo as CIA chiefs who would be surprised?" Or more correctly utter despise of ordinary Americans: 'nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people' ~ H L Mencken.
But seriously, if Putin does now have the power to decide US elections, he simply makes his preferred choice one day before the election. There is no reason to open cards right now. You could not make this up. What we have now is Government by Gossip and Innuendo with intelligence crooks on the frontline of spreading the disinformation.
Notable quotes:
"... The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity. ..."
"... The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict. ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A careful reading of the news provides that Mike Bloomberg, who had two Russian grandfathers, is Putin's asset.

Consider:

Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump - New York Times , February 20 2020

Rather than impersonating Americans as they did in 2016, Russian operatives are working to get Americans to repeat disinformation , the officials said. That strategy gets around social media companies' rules that prohibit "inauthentic speech."

It is Bloomberg, working as a Russian operative, who pays the trolls that repeat disinformation.

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg 'spam' accounts - The Hill , February 21, 2020

The temporary employees recruited by Bloomberg's camp are given the title "deputy field organizer" and make $2,500 a month to promote his White House bid among their followers . The employees can choose to use campaign-approved language in their posts.

Twitter said the practice violated its "Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy," which was established in 2019 to respond to Russia's expansive troll network that was tapped in 2016 to meddle in the U.S. elections.

Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign - Washington Post , February 21 2020

In that closed hearing for the House Intelligence Committee, lawmakers were also told that Sanders had been informed about Russia's interference. The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections.

Here are Bloomberg's behind the scene machinations which are sowing division and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. This is exactly what Russia wants.

Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy - Politico , February 20, 2020

Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him -- and block Bernie Sanders -- in the event of a brokered national convention.
...
It's a presumptuous play for a candidate who hasn't yet won a delegate or even appeared on a ballot. And it could also bring havoc to the convention , raising the prospect of party insiders delivering the nomination to a billionaire over a progressive populist.

Lock him up!


Peter | Feb 22 2020 10:27 utc | 4

Mike Bloomberg Is Putin's Agent

This should have been obvious for some time.

The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity.

The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict.

This is why from Sanders to Warren to Gabbard to Bloomberg to Trump everyone is on the PUTIN payroll or subconsciously exposed to some mind controlling rays he sends via satellite to the USA.

The PUTIN is the invention by the Russian Federation after their successful evil attempt to evade the good intentions of the EMPIRE to embrace Russia in its sphere of peaceful tranquility.

Bad PUTIN.

Christoph , Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

"The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections" WaPo, 2/21/20.

This level if clinical delusion is reminiscent of the Führer's last days in the bunker.

How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?

Brendan , Feb 22 2020 13:10 utc | 15
I know, I know, it's a waste of time trying to ridicule the media when they're already doing that to themselves. Satire is definitely dead when the Washington Post reports about "two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow". WaPo's attempts to explain that the purpose of this bizarre behavior is "sowing division" makes it look even more incredible.
/div> The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd , Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd | Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

Trailer Trash , Feb 22 2020 13:49 utc | 23
>How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?
> Posted by: Christoph | Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

I'm thinking the Bermuda Triangle would fit right in with their magical thinking and mad delusions.

Jackrabbit , Feb 22 2020 13:58 utc | 24
Bloomberg + Trump = Checkmate?

Trump will say b writes "fake news" .

Damn you Putin!

!!

jared , Feb 22 2020 14:02 utc | 25
Perhaps the intelligence community would just tell us who we should vote for so as not to fall into Putins trap.

[Feb 15, 2020] How does one say Adam Schiff without laughing? by title="View user profile." href="https://caucus99percent.com/users/alligator-ed">Alligator Ed

Highly recommended!
Feb 15, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

At the end of this essay, you may find a song which reasonably applies to Donald Trump directed to Democrats.

How does one say Adam Schiff without laughing? It's hard to continue typing while contemplating the Burbank Buffoon. Yet AS is making obscene flatus-like noises about impeachment 2.0. He and Nervous Nancy will conspire with chief strategist Gerald Nadler about extending the charges of 1.0 to 2.0.

Second verse
Same as the first

Obstructing leaking by firing leakers. That's one of the pending charges. Leutnant Oberst Vindman will be help up as the innocent victim of political retaliation. As I understand the military code of conduct, it says that the underling, Herr Oberst Vindman, went outside the chain of command and released classified information. In the military this is called insubordination, perhaps gross insubordination in view of the classified nature of the information.

Another charge to be filed on behalf of former Ambassador Yovanovich, is that her God-given Female rights were brutally violated as retaliation of advising Ukrainian officials to disregard Commander Cheeto.

There is no telling what additional non-crimes may be thrown at the feet at El Trumpo. All too horrible to contemplate--like someone throwing feces-contaminated dope needles onto Nervous Nancy's front lawn in Pacific Heights.

If this Shampeachment 2.0 (S2) occurs before November's election, Democrats will become as rare as dodo birds. If such proponents of S2 persist after the general election, they better have secure transportation to an extradition-free country.

If it gets bad enough, considering the Clinton Mafia's body count, would it be unreasonable to expect some untimely heart attacks and suicides with red scarves? On Clintonites? Soros et al.?

When the first shot and you don't kill the king, flee. But the DNC is going to attempt shot number 2. Trump WILL NEVER ALLOW A SECOND IMPEACHMENT TO OCCUR, no matter how patently worthless? Will the most powerful narcissist in the world allow the DNC / coup perpetrators to escaping Trumpian retribution?

Those doubting the Wrath of Q be prepared to be disabused of the impression that Q is pure fantasy. Fantasy--like GPS targeting a single small sniper drone to shoot someone from 3000 feet.

Sorry folks. I live in a swamp. I've stepped in shit with my eyes open. Many of you have too. Some of the excrement was of my own making.

Think about the singularly most effective and complex plot the world has ever seen, called 9/11. Think of the thousands of lives purposefully snuffed in then name of power and money. Call yourselves serfs--that's a euphemism. You--including me-- are nothing but ants. Goddam little ants that only Janes respect. There are no ascetic Janes in the penthouses of the elites.

But I digressed to the mysterious existence of morality in politics as a whole. Today's topic is more confined to the Democratic nomination.

Statement of Bias: Go Tulsi. Bravo Andy. The rest of you to the elsewhere--yeah, BS too.

The Dems are determined to grasp Defeat from the jaws of Defeat. Quite a trick. Like trying to borrow money from the Judge during a Bankruptcy trial.

I talked today with a freshman college student majoring in political science about her thought about the Shampeachment. She hadn't been paying attention. Not that I blame her. Her college freshman friend watched C-Span; wasn't impressed. We political aficionados know all about this political debauchery. If AS and NN attempt S2, expect many defections from the supporting vote.

Democrat respect has dwindled in the Independent sector. This is not to say the Repugnants are thereby more popular. They aren't. Trump is. Trump need that NH clown to challenge him in the Repugnant primary to prove exactly how powerful he is. Anybody notice who were in the audience, sitting nearby during Trump's post acquittal speech. Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham. The lamb and the lion laying together. They are both on the Trump Train. Even Richard Burr voted Trump in the impeachment. Mittens feared both his cojones would be excised if he voted against Trump on both counts. What a chickenheart.

But where are the Dems? Why, they are Here. Yes. Yes. And they are There. Yes. Yes. And they are Near. Yes. Yes. But....they are Far. Whither thou goest?

I refrain from pointed comments about AOC in further comments. The Squad is the iceberg floating away from the glacier which spawned it. Unsuitable to warm weather produced by political combat, the Squad faction will woke themselves up to dubious futures.

Establishment versus Bernie:

Not a contest. Spineless Bernie pretzelizes during first heated combat (which the Dem Debate Debacles were not). Won't take a second punch--the first during night 3 of the '16 DNC convention. Fist-shy now. Open Borders? WTF? Are you so nuts? If one offered a person the choice personal safety in their own homes and streets and free medical care for all--including the criminal aliens that A New Path Forward proposes--what do you think 85% of the public would choose?

Pandering.

The Left is also pushing strenuous avoidance of discussing issues in a platitude-depleted fashion. Yeah, Bernie's giving the same speech, with suitable modification, over 40 years. Consistency is a good thing, yeh? How about persistently beating your head with a hammer (while you still can)? Sounds like something Sun Tzu might not recommend.

Now, speaking of Las Vegas and the Nevada Primary. The culinary workers union will not endorse Bernie due to well-deserved or ill-deserved claims that M4A will abolish hard won union health benefits. And don't worry, the Shadow will be there, although Buttjiggle has now disavowed any further connection, along with David Plouffe.

Keeping the Bern off the campaign trail is going to infuriate the Woke Generation / Antifa. When--not if--the DNC cheats Bernie out of the nomination, if such proves necessary* will literally result in blood on the streets along with broken windows and flaming tires. Associate with that lot, eh? Given the choice of going into a biker bar, where brawls are always on the menu, or a discreet wine bar, which would one rather choose? Sorry, those are your only choices.

Nancy Pelosi, impressed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's former physical prowess, tears up her copy of the state of the union address. How decorous. How courteous. How polite. Seen around the world. Nigel Farage must be laughing his butt off, thinking about the shallow anti-Brexit campaigns against his were compared to our Coup. Nigel won. Trump . is. winning. Getting tired of winning yet?

I could go on for pages more of Dem stupidity, but why bother? Stupidity surrounds us.

Betting odds: DNC 1,999,999 to Bernie 1.

Place your bets.

For all the good it will do and I am sincere about this, I will vote Tulsi in the Dem primary.

Here is the song Dems need to heed. This is Donald Trump telling' y'all I'M NOT YOUR MAN

[Feb 09, 2020] What Separates Sanders From Warren (and Everybody Else)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities. ..."
"... The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity." ..."
Jan 16, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
In America, the term "middle class" has long been used to describe the majority of wage and salary earners, from those receiving a median annual income of around $50,000 to those who earn three or four times that amount. Whether Democrat or Republican, politicians from across the political aisle claim to represent the middle class -- that vast-yet-amorphous segment of the population where the managers and the managed all seem to fit together.

The term has always been somewhat problematic when it comes to politics. As Joan C. Williams observes in her 2017 book, "White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America," a "central way we make class disappear is to describe virtually everyone as 'middle class.' " The majority of Americans see themselves as middle class, including those in the top 10% earning several times the average income. According to Williams, a close friend of hers who "undoubtedly belonged to the top 1%" once referred to herself as middle class, a perspective that the author describes as "class cluelessness."

This cluelessness was also evident in a New York Times article last summer titled "What Middle Class Families Want Politicians to Know," which included interviews with a number of purportedly middle class families with household incomes of up to $400,000 (only one of the interviewees earned less than $100,000, with the average around $200,000).

The fact that people who earn a quarter-million dollars annually place themselves in the same category as those earning $70,000 tells us just how politically useless the term "middle class" has become in contemporary America. Even when we take into account geographic factors and fluctuations in the cost of living, there is little rational justification for categorizing a $60,000-a-year blue-collar worker with a lawyer or doctor earning in excess of $200,000.

Of course, some may argue that one's class is based largely on her own experience and perspective, but this confuses psychological feelings with concrete social and economic realities. As C. Wright Mills pointed out in his classic study, "White Collar: The American Middle Classes," just because people "are not 'class conscious' at all times and in all places does not mean 'there are no classes' or that 'in America everybody is middle class.' " Although subjective feelings are no doubt important, to accept that everyone who identifies as middle class must be middle class is to disregard objective economic realities.

One's class consciousness (or lack thereof) has important implications for one's political attitudes, and in America class consciousness has always been somewhat lacking compared to other countries. The United States has never had a true aristocratic class or feudal property relations like those in Europe, and in the 19th century, the "middle class" essentially stood for small capitalists and propertied farmers. Between the mid-19th century and mid-20th century, the country was transformed, in Mills' analysis, from a "nation of small capitalists into a nation of hired employees" -- a trend that sociologists call "proletarianization."

In the post-World War II era, thanks to the struggle of labor and the policies of the New Deal, which aimed to reduce inequality and mediate class tensions, many in the working class became comfortably middle class. In other words, the proletariat turned into a kind of "petty bourgeois," adopting the same values and attitudes as their employers, while accepting the status quo after a few adjustments. Ironically, this ended up undercutting more radical labor movements while preserving the economic system, which eventually came back to bite working people and their children.

The new middle class flourished until the capitalist class decided to revolt against the legacy of the New Deal toward the end of the 20th century. In the contemporary era, many who would have been middle-class in the postwar years have effectively been proletarianized once again, and economic inequality has returned pre-Great Depression heights. Proletarianization, Mills explained, "refers to shifts of middle-class occupations toward wage-workers in terms of: income, property, skill, prestige or power, irrespective of whether or not the people involved are aware of these changes. Or, the meaning may be in terms of changes in consciousness, outlook, or organized activity."

The proletarianization of the middle class over the past 50 years has had an enormously detrimental effect on communities across the country, but it has taken quite a while for many working people in America to recognize their new situation in terms of consciousness and outlook. The enduring popularity of the term "middle class" reflects this state of affairs.

In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has deliberately chosen to use "working class" over "middle class." Not surprisingly, that candidate is Sen. Bernie Sanders. "I am a candidate of the working class," Sanders recently declared on Facebook. "I come from the working class. That is my background, that's who I am. I fought for the working class as a mayor, a Congressman and a Senator. And that is the kind of president that I will be." Sanders, whose campaign is 100% grassroots-funded, wrote in a column last week for the Des Moines Register, " our campaign is focused on making sure the government stops representing billionaires and start representing us -- the working class of this country."

Though it may seem like a somewhat trivial distinction, when we look at the rest of the Democratic field, it's clear that Sanders has indeed distinguished himself from the other top candidates. For example, Sanders' opponent Joe Biden frequently speaks of the middle class but rarely the working class. "This country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers and CEOs and hedge fund managers. It was built by the American middle class," Biden declares on his campaign website, where he says that the middle class "isn't a number," but a "set of values." (In a way this is correct, but not in the sense that Biden seems to think.)

On the more progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren's website, where she lists her numerous plans, one searches in vain for any references to the working class, though there are plenty to the middle class.

How much this actually matters is, of course, debatable, but the term "working class" undoubtedly has far more implications and political significance than "middle class," which, like many overused words in the political lexicon, has lost all meaning. By using "working class" instead, Sanders appears to be trying to increase class consciousness in America, where those in the ruling class have often demonstrated the highest level of class consciousness (never failing to use their abundant resources to protect and advance their own interests).

The more young and working-class people come to recognize their own situation and place in the 21st century American economy, the more they seem to embrace "socialist" policies that are rejected by "middle class" sensibilities.

In the Democratic primaries, only one candidate has made raising levels of class consciousness part of his campaign strategy, and in an election that could very well be determined by working-class voters, this may be the strategy to defeat Trump.

[Feb 07, 2020] Moving independents is the primary task for Sanders

Highly recommended!
Many independents will abandon Trump in 2020. Trump lost all anti-war independents faction, for sure. His openly pro-isreal position will cost him some nationalists.
I think Sanders can knockout Trump by appointing Tulsi as the VP.
Feb 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

Sanders understands (as does Trump), that the 2020 battle is *not* for the 35-40% whose minds are basically made up at each end. Trying to win those over in any numbers (especially by shrieking invective at them) is a pathetic waste of time and effort.

The winning message must move the 20-30% of voters who either:

(a) voted Obama (hope, for something more than soothing patter) and then Trump (a giant stubby middle finger to the establishment).
(b) voted Obama in 2008 but have stayed at home since (what's the point? they're all lying scum)

Sanders simply doesn't bring socialism to America, because he doesn't have a New Deal (i.e. SocDem) party. That kind of movement will take time (and the upcoming global climatolo-economic crisis) to build up, under savage attack from the propertied unterests and continuously subverted by credentialed PMC weasels and Idpol misleadership grifters.

What Sanders the man *does* bring, today, is:

(1) unimpeachable integrity, steadfastness and sorely missed absence of smug BS and double talk;
(2) hardheaded enforcement of the existing laws of the land;
(3) delivery of universal Concrete Material Benefits© to the broad citizenry (not more 'GDP' gravy for the oligarchs) in finite time, freeing them to rejuvenate themselves, and over time, the Republic.

This last is vitally important, but must also be approached prudently lest the entire movement lose focus, overextend and fall prey to the next Trump .

IMHO, it must focus ruthlessly on delivering:

(a) single payer health care, to starve (if not incinerate) the bloated ticks gorging on the US health/elder 'care' . cesspool, I can't bring myself to call it a 'system'. This above all: without it, Americans simply can't compete in any world, walls and tariffs or not.

(b) *real* infrastructure, for the 80%. That's water and sewerage, cross-class public housing, and busways and light rail to coax Americans out of their cars and suburbs. It's not 5G, vanity EVs and high speed Acelas. And sorry Keynesians, shovel ready is a side benefit, not the primary purpose. There's a lot to do.

(c) an overhaul of American higher education (still rooted in 17th century divinity schools). Teaching (and medicine) must again become honored occupations in the country; administrators must give way to front line practitioners.

. Only then can Bernie move on to the more deeply embedded and multinational targets:

(a) big finance,
(b) extractive industries
(c) the MIC

These behemoths can really only be attacked during a time of crisis. Or they will simply crush their opponents like insects, or buy them off.

In the case of the MIC, Berniecrats will likely need to be content with strong reassertion of Federal oversight (more stick, less carrot), and disengagement from doing our 'allies' dirty work (Trump is already on that road, with one huge Ixception .)

Total dismantlement sounds very nice, but consider: whatever's left of US industrial power is concentrated in the MIC. America doesn't need to 'buy prosperity down at the armoury', but like FDR, Bernie and (Tulsi) will also need to have the keels laid down against whatever whirlwind we have reaped. Baring our breast and saying 'we deserve destruction for our sins' is a fatuous open invitation to fascism. FDR knew better.

[/rant]

[Feb 07, 2020] Sanders Called JPMorgan's CEO America's 'Biggest Corporate Socialist' Here's Why He Has a Point

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It is purely extractive ..."
"... By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation ..."
Feb 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I wish Sanders would use even more pointed messaging, like "socialism for the rich". But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets, this slap back at Dimon, who criticized Sanders and socialism at Davos, shows that the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

And banks are much bigger welfare queens than the public realizes. They get all sorts of subsidies, from underpriced deposit insurance to Federal guaranteed for most home mortgages to the Fed operating and backstopping the essential Fedwire system. These subsidies are so great that banks should not be considered to be private sector entities, yet we let them privatize their profits and socialize their train wrecks. As we wrote in 2010 :

More support comes from Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England, who in a March 2010 paper compared the banking industry to the auto industry, in that they both produced pollutants: for cars, exhaust fumes; for bank, systemic risk. While economists were claiming that the losses to the US government on various rescues would be $100 billion (ahem, must have left out Freddie and Fannie in that tally), it ignores the broader costs (unemployment, business failures, reduced government services, particularly at the state and municipal level). His calculation of the world wide costs:

.these losses are multiples of the static costs, lying anywhere between one and five times annual GDP. Put in money terms, that is an output loss equivalent to between $60 trillion and $200 trillion for the world economy and between £1.8 trillion and £7.4 trillion for the UK. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman observed, to call these numbers "astronomical" would be to do astronomy a disservice: there are only hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. "Economical" might be a better description.

It is clear that banks would not have deep enough pockets to foot this bill. Assuming that a crisis occurs every 20 years, the systemic levy needed to recoup these crisis costs would be in excess of $1.5 trillion per year. The total market capitalisation of the largest global banks is currently only around $1.2 trillion. Fully internalising the output costs of financial crises would risk putting banks on the same trajectory as the dinosaurs, with the levy playing the role of the meteorite.

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive . Even though we have described its activities as looting (as in paying themselves so much that they bankrupt the business), the wider consequences are vastly worse than in textbook looting.

Back to the current post. As to JP Morgan's socialism versus the old USSR's planned economy, one recent study which I cannot readily find due to the sorry state of Google offered an important correction to conventional wisdom.

Recall that Soviet Russia initially did perform extremely well, freaking out the capitalist world by industrializing in a generation. There was ample hand-wringing as to whether a less disciplined free enterprise system could compete with a command and control economy. Economists got a seat at the policy table out of the concern that capitalist economies needed expert guidance to assure that they could produce both guns and butter.

The study concluded that central planning had worked well in Soviet Russia initially, until the lower-level apparatchiks started gaming the system by feeding bad information so as to make their performance look better (for instance, setting way too forgiving production targets, or demanding more resources than they needed). The paper contended that the increasingly poor information about what was actually happening on the ground considerably undermined the central planning process. That is not to say there weren't also likely problems with motivation and overly rigid bureaucracies. But the evolution of modern corporations, of devaluing and ignoring worker input and treating them like machines that are scored against narrow metrics, looks as demotivating as the stereotypical Soviet factory.

Finally, this post conflates socialism, which includes New Deal-ish European style social democracy, with capitalist systems alongside strong social safety nets, which the public ownership and provision of goods and services. It should be noted that public ownership has regularly provided services like utilities very effectively.

By Paul Adler, Professor of Management and Organization, Sociology and Environmental Studies, University of Southern California. Originally published at The Conversation

Sen. Bernie Sanders called JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon the " biggest corporate socialist in America today " in a recent ad.

He may have a point – beyond what he intended.

With his Dimon ad, Sanders is referring specifically to the bailouts JPMorgan and other banks took from the government during the 2008 financial crisis. But accepting government bailouts and corporate welfare is not the only way I believe American companies behave like closet socialists despite their professed love of free markets.

In reality, most big U.S. companies operate internally in ways Karl Marx would applaud as remarkably close to socialist-style central planning. Not only that, corporate America has arguably become a laboratory of innovation in socialist governance, as I show in my own research .

Closet Socialists

In public, CEOs like Dimon attack socialist planning while defending free markets.

But inside JPMorgan and most other big corporations, market competition is subordinated to planning. These big companies often contain dozens of business units and sometimes thousands. Instead of letting these units compete among themselves, CEOs typically direct a strategic planning process to ensure they cooperate to achieve the best outcomes for the corporation as a whole .

This is just how a socialist economy is intended to operate. The government would conduct economy-wide planning and set goals for each industry and enterprise, aiming to achieve the best outcome for society as a whole.

And just as companies rely internally on planned cooperation to meet goals and overcome challenges, the U.S. economy could use this harmony to overcome the existential crisis of our age – climate change. It's a challenge so massive and urgent that it will require every part of the economy to work together with government in order to address it.

Overcoming Socialism's Past Problems

But, of course, socialism doesn't have a good track record.

One of the reasons socialist planning failed in the old Soviet Union, for example, was that it was so top-down that it lacked the kind of popular legitimacy that democracy grants a government. As a result, bureaucrats overseeing the planning process could not get reliable information about the real opportunities and challenges experienced by enterprises or citizens.

Moreover, enterprises had little incentive to strive to meet their assigned objectives, especially when they had so little involvement in formulating them.

A second reason the USSR didn't survive was that its authoritarian system failed to motivate either workers or entrepreneurs. As a result, even though the government funded basic science generously, Soviet industry was a laggard in innovation .

Ironically, corporations – those singular products of capitalism – are showing how these and other problems of socialist planning can be surmounted.

Take the problem of democratic legitimacy. Some companies, such as General Electric , Kaiser Permanente and General Motors , have developed innovative ways to avoid the dysfunctions of autocratic planning by using techniques that enable lower-level personnel to participate actively in the strategy process.

Although profit pressures often force top managers to short-circuit the promised participation, when successfully integrated it not only provides top management with more reliable bottom-up input for strategic planning but also makes all employees more reliable partners in carrying it out.

So here we have centralization – not in the more familiar, autocratic model, but rather in a form I call "participative centralization." In a socialist system, this approach could be adopted, adapted and scaled up to support economy-wide planning, ensuring that it was both democratic and effective.

As for motivating innovation, America's big businesses face a challenge similar to that of socialism. They need employees to be collectivist, so they willingly comply with policies and procedures. But they need them to be simultaneously individualistic, to fuel divergent thinking and creativity.

One common solution in much of corporate America, as in the old Soviet Union, is to specialize those roles , with most people relegated to routine tasks while the privileged few work on innovation tasks. That approach, however, overlooks the creative capacities of the vast majority and leads to widespread employee disengagement and sub-par business performance.

Smarter businesses have found ways to overcome this dilemma by creating cultures and reward systems that support a synthesis of individualism and collectivism that I call "interdependent individualism." In my research, I have found this kind of motivation in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanent physicians , assembly-line workers at Toyota's NUMMI plant and software developers at Computer Sciences Corp . These companies do this, in part, by rewarding both individual contributions to the organization's goals as well as collaboration in achieving them.

While socialists have often recoiled against the idea individual performance-based rewards, these more sophisticated policies could be scaled up to the entire economy to help meet socialism's innovation and motivation challenge.

Big Problems Require Big Government

The idea of such a socialist transformation in the U.S. may seem remote today.

But this can change, particularly as more Americans, especially young ones, embrace socialism . One reason they are doing so is because the current capitalist system has so manifestly failed to deal with climate change.

Looking inside these companies suggests a better way forward – and hope for society's ability to avert catastrophe.


Colonel Smithers , February 7, 2020 at 5:21 am

Thank you, Yves.

Just to add, as a former bank and buy side lobbyist, the industry is not always opposed to regulation. It's a barrier to entry.

This post is on the money. Banksters and their clients love corporate welfare and socialism for the rich, especially when so much of, for example, UK QE "leaked" into asset bubbles in emerging markets, commodities and real estate.

You are right to say that Sanders should use more pointed language. Like Nina Turner, he should call out oligarchs. That term is used for Russians and Ukrainians, but never for the likes of Zuckerberg, Musk, Dimon, Blankfein, Schmidt, Branson, Dyson, Arnault et al. The term regime should also be used. If it's good enough to delegitimise certain governments, it's good enough to describe the Trump and Johnson administrations. After all, William Hague in talks with the US government called the British government the Brown regime.

Feynman and Haldane are mentioned above. It emerged this week that Dominic Cummings, Johnson's main adviser, is an admirer of both, regarding them as free thinkers and technicians of substance, and championed Haldane's candidacy to be Bank of England governor. Johnson sided with Chancellor Sajid Javid.

Ignacio , February 7, 2020 at 6:21 am

Sanders should use more pointed language or may be not for the moment. May be after the Super Tuesday. He is being careful and that is good IMO. He doesn't want to give excuses for easy attacks. I would say, instead of "socialism for the rich", "socialism for the 1%" or the 0,1% even better. Sounds more neutral. A comment yesterday linked an article comparing Sanders with Gandhi and others and I think it was well pointed. The quiet and careful revolution!

skippy , February 7, 2020 at 6:30 am

Attack the economics and not the strawmen.

pretzelattack , February 7, 2020 at 7:02 am

what do you think of american democracy? i think it would be a good idea.

ObjectiveFunction , February 7, 2020 at 11:04 am

Sanders understands (as does Trump), that the 2020 battle is *not* for the 35-40% whose minds are basically made up at each end. Trying to win those over in any numbers (especially by shrieking invective at them) is a pathetic waste of time and effort.

The winning message must move the 20-30% of voters who either:

(a) voted Obama (hope, for something more than soothing patter) and then Trump (a giant stubby middle finger to the establishment).
(b) voted Obama in 2008 but have stayed at home since (what's the point? they're all lying scum)

Sanders simply doesn't bring socialism to America, because he doesn't have a New Deal (i.e. SocDem) party. That kind of movement will take time (and the upcoming global climatolo-economic crisis) to build up, under savage attack from the propertied unterests and continuously subverted by credentialed PMC weasels and Idpol misleadership grifters.

What Sanders the man *does* bring, today, is:

(1) unimpeachable integrity, steadfastness and sorely missed absence of smug BS and double talk;
(2) hardheaded enforcement of the existing laws of the land;
(3) delivery of universal Concrete Material Benefits© to the broad citizenry (not more 'GDP' gravy for the oligarchs) in finite time, freeing them to rejuvenate themselves, and over time, the Republic.

This last is vitally important, but must also be approached prudently lest the entire movement lose focus, overextend and fall prey to the next Trump .

IMHO, it must focus ruthlessly on delivering:

(a) single payer health care, to starve (if not incinerate) the bloated ticks gorging on the US health/elder 'care' . cesspool, I can't bring myself to call it a 'system'. This above all: without it, Americans simply can't compete in any world, walls and tariffs or not.

(b) *real* infrastructure, for the 80%. That's water and sewerage, cross-class public housing, and busways and light rail to coax Americans out of their cars and suburbs. It's not 5G, vanity EVs and high speed Acelas. And sorry Keynesians, shovel ready is a side benefit, not the primary purpose. There's a lot to do.

(c) an overhaul of American higher education (still rooted in 17th century divinity schools). Teaching (and medicine) must again become honored occupations in the country; administrators must give way to front line practitioners.

. Only then can Bernie move on to the more deeply embedded and multinational targets:

(a) big finance,
(b) extractive industries
(c) the MIC

These behemoths can really only be attacked during a time of crisis. Or they will simply crush their opponents like insects, or buy them off.

In the case of the MIC, Berniecrats will likely need to be content with strong reassertion of Federal oversight (more stick, less carrot), and disengagement from doing our 'allies' dirty work (Trump is already on that road, with one huge Ixception .)

Total dismantlement sounds very nice, but consider: whatever's left of US industrial power is concentrated in the MIC. America doesn't need to 'buy prosperity down at the armoury', but like FDR, Bernie and (Tulsi) will also need to have the keels laid down against whatever whirlwind we have reaped. Baring our breast and saying 'we deserve destruction for our sins' is a fatuous open invitation to fascism. FDR knew better.

[/rant]

Harry Shearer , February 7, 2020 at 11:28 am

Anybody citing Kaiser Permanente as a good example of anything has never known a person subjected to their distinctive form of "care".

David J. , February 7, 2020 at 7:32 am

Sanders was pretty direct last night at the CNN Town Hall. Flat out calls Trump a socialist. (youtube link to the question.)

Also, stick around for his answer to Cooper's followup question. Gloves are off.

LowellHighlander , February 7, 2020 at 7:43 am

Paul Adler's post here reminds me of John Kenneth Galbraith's New Industrial State, except Professor Adler was referring to the financial (i.e. parasitical) sector of the economy. Am I off the mark in thinking this?

Mel , February 7, 2020 at 11:13 am

You're right on. Galbraith showed that planning comes naturally from very large projects. Soviets went to planning because they couldn't bet the entire national economy on some gut feeling -- they needed to know what would happen. Ditto the gigantic industries in what JKG called the Planning Sector in the west. Projects spending millions or billions of dollars over many years couldn't be left to chance. Eliminating chance meant imposing control, which the gigantic industries could try to do, helped by their access to gigantic capital, and which the Soviets had done with State power.

IMHO the modern FIRE sector arose from the old Planning Sector. They eliminated the uncertainties that complicated their planning; they cut their ties with physical processes that brought those uncertainties; they dumped physical industries onto throwaway economies overseas (that could be abandoned if they failed); they finally became pure businesses that dealt only with nice, clean contracts. No muss, no fuss, no bother.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 12:41 pm

So planning is a tool of any organization, yet is required more the larger it becomes? While planning may make sense for a company with a single product such as automobiles, does it make sense for a conglomerate? I mean I think the purpose of a conglomerate is to contain many diverse product sectors to reduce risk of the conglomerate as a whole to any one sector. In that way each sector does its own planning, but the conglomerate as a whole does not, apart from choosing which companies to buy and sell, which can be considered a different type of planning? In that way are the goals of society planning are different from the goals of conglomerate planning or that of smaller single product sector companies? Yet in spite of these differences the techniques of planning are the same? Is that the main point of Alder's article? Can someone explain please.

DSB , February 7, 2020 at 8:44 am

Dimon – billionaire bank manager.

chuck roast , February 7, 2020 at 8:46 am

If you surf around a bit you can find links to Bernie's views and support of worker co-ops. There is nothing on his website. In light the burgeoning Socialist smear tsunami, it is probably not something he wants to emphasize right now. Imagine someone getting up at a CNN Town Hall and asking him about his attitude towards worker cooperatives. (corporate heads explode on golf-courses all over America)

Stadist , February 7, 2020 at 10:03 am

Modern theses about leadership, expertise and management underline agile learning and self leadership to everyone himself and within team and then within larger entities. While I'm somewhat pessimistic about these corporate trends they still look like they would work much better with worker co-ops than in traditional top down owned corporations. Basically they are asking higher dedication from workers, but this only works really well if the profits are shared with workers in somewhat equitable manner in my opinion.

Also it seems common nowadays that many coding/programming companies, especially the highly productive ones seem to act more akin to co-ops than monolithically led traditional companies. The programmers are often engaged more to the company by giving or selling them shares, and if this happens in large scale the company ownership structure can skew more towards worker owned 'co-op'-like entity than more hierarchical traditional company, where owners and workers are usually clearly separated.

The Rev Kev , February 7, 2020 at 9:57 am

Be nice if one could have posted the Forbes 400 but, listed next to each entry, is the amount of money that they receive from the Federal government both directly and indirectly.

inode_buddha , February 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

You might want to have a look at Open Secrets

https://www.opensecrets.org/

They conveniently list which money went where, and how the respective legislator voted.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

Yves here. So a banking industry that creates global crises is negative value added from a societal standpoint. It is purely extractive. [bold in the original]

Which leads to this obvious question: Why should banks be privileged, explicitly or implicitly, in any way then?

E.g. why should we have only a SINGLE payment system (besides grubby physical fiat, paper bills and coins) that recklessly combines what should be inherently risk-free deposits with the inherently at-risk deposits the banks themselves create? I.e. why should a government privileged usury cartel hold the entire economy hostage?

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:14 pm

If you mean "why" in the moral sense, which I believe you do, there is no answer.

If you mean why in the technical sense, examine this sentence:

>why should a government privileged usury cartel

It's not "government privileged", it owns the government. Anything the government is allowed to do outside of making Jamie Dimon et al richer are considered the actual privileges by this group, and can, will and have been retracted at will.

notabanktoadie , February 7, 2020 at 1:46 pm

If the banks cognitively "own" the government, it's because almost everyone believes TINA to government privileges for them.

This is disgracefully true of the big names of MMT, who should be working on HOW to abolish those privileges, not ignore or, in the case of Warren Mosler at least, INCREASE* them.

*e.g. unlimited, unsecured loans from the Central Bank to banks at ZERO percent.

Dirk77 , February 7, 2020 at 11:03 am

That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works, and that what is best for human society is some middle ground between the two is a very important message. So I'm very glad for this post. I realize that a black and white way of perceiving the world is an easy one. Yet as Alder points out, humans are both individuals and social beings. If people in this world could get back to thinking more like Ancient Greece in its appreciation for the golden mean, we would have a much better chance of surviving. Dispensing with all these useless socialism vs capitalism discussions would be a great time saver. I realize most people believe in some middle ground, yet making it explicit would simplify things quite a bit. As for the rest of the article, I need to think about it more. The corporate socialism idea does tie in with the link yesterday about limited liability.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm

>That neither extreme, capitalism or socialism, works,

Exactly! Because: There. Is. No. Economic. Equilibrium. Never was, never will be, anywhere and everywhere. Heck for billions of years, before humans existed let alone learned to talk, the world changed. Things developed, other things went extinct (although not in the heart-wrenching way of the Anthropocene, I personally am happy never to have met a T. Rex in truth), the way the world works even without us is continual change.

So adjust as necessary. Our healthcare system sucks, bring full bore socialism on it. Our corporate overlords suck, bring full bore free markets (kill patents to start) on them.

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm

You might want to re-think the "kill patents" idea. Our Founders liked them. I just had a patent "killed" by an examiner who "killed" 42 of 43 patents he examined. It was for a device which could be saving Corona/Flu victims Right Now. I am going to try to Donate the idea to Society, but preventing people from profiting from valid Novel ideas is not the solution. I realize Corporations abuse the Patent System, like every other thing they touch. But I am a low level individual who is trying to "innovate" and reduce illness. My main motivation was not monetary but it is always a factor.
I believe you have the wrong target on this issue.
My first rejection on a related patent was just received 2.5 years after initial filing. It took this long because the Govt. takes money from USPTO (which runs a surplus) and sends it to the General Fund. USA innovation friendly? Not the way I see it.

NoBrick , February 7, 2020 at 11:20 am

"But for those who complain about Sanders not going after important targets "

Consider the wisdom of Susan Webber:
"Wisdom of the CEO is comprimised work. These CEOs "know" that too much candor,
either individually or institutionally, is not a pro-survival strategy."

Diogenes , February 7, 2020 at 11:53 am

I think the comparison of banks to welfare queens is quite unfair.

To welfare queens, that is.

Assuming they exist outside of the sweaty PR fantasies of those of a certain political stripe, presumably even a welfare queen is not living 100% off of the munificence of the state, whereas the implied value of the "Too Big To Fail" guaranty subsidy was determined to be very nearly in the same amount as the annual profits of the recipient banks. In other words, they're complete wards of the state. Doesn't get much more socialistic than that.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2013-02-20/why-should-taxpayers-give-big-banks-83-billion-a-year-

In other words: "Socialism for me, markets for thee."

Susan the other , February 7, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Thank you, Yves for this post. Alder has very logical and accessible ideas. "Interdependent Individualism" is a good way to begin. When he says "socialists recoil against individual performance-based rewards" I can't help but think the rewards should be gifted from the workers to the bosses. Because that would be very change-promoting. Top down has a tendency to stagnate motivation – even offensively – like tossing them a few crumbs to keep them quiet. imo. This also really does sound Japanese. I'm not sure I can relate to the way they cooperate; from them there is not so much as a polite argument; certainly no sarcastic barbs. Americans are the exact opposite – we cooperate competitively in a sense. But Climate Change will dictate our direction regardless of decorum. My own sense of our dilemma is that "free market" corporations make their profits by extracting from labor and the exploitation of the environment, and by externalizing costs to society. Big disconnect. Huge, in fact. This is why "capitalism" has failed to address climate change. Anybody else notice that China has forbidden short selling as we speak? Just like the Fed did in 2009 with QE, etc. That's probably because if the economy crashes (regardless of how illogical it has become) it will take way too long to put back together. And there's work to be done. I remember Randy Wray dryly responding to Jacobin's criticism (of MMT) that the ideological socialists would rather see a bloody Marxist uprising than a peaceful evolution. I do think Wray is right on ideological blinders on both sides. One quibble I have with this very wise post is that it assumes (I think) that we cannot change our ways fast enough to mobilize adequately to address climate change. I think we've been doing it pretty aggressively since 2009. Literally a world war to control oil and maintain financial supremacy; serious consideration of our options by the political class (turning to MMT, etc.); slamming the breaks on trade and manufacturing; subsidizing essential industries. I'm sure there are other things going on under the radar. So I wouldn't discount our ability to mobilize – just our inability to admit it. Clearly we want to do things selectively.

a different chris , February 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm

>the Vermont Senator is landing punches, but choosing his fights carefully.

Yes, as Objective Function laid out nicely (funny word for this mess, but whatever) above – this isn't gonna be easy. If you hope to beat Mike Tyson in his prime, you don't start by trading heavy blows. Defeat him with small but continuous cuts from multiple directions.

twonine , February 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Speaking of Davos and Dimon, shouldn't that be "Biggest Corporate Criminals" ?

" senior leaders of three of the largest and most elite U.S. banks were serial criminals whose frauds are (we pray) without equal." -- William K. Black

monday1929 , February 7, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Wallstreet on parade website does great job laying out JPM's crime spree. They (JPM) just came off parole(?) in January on some Felony charges. Someone (Eliz. Warren?) might start a movement to prohibit public pensions / State and local Govts. from conducting business with any banks convicted of felonies or entering plea agreements more than, let's say, ten per year.
A convicted felon can not get a job at a bank run by a 22 times loser- Jamie Dimon, a fellow felon who should have some empathy.
Wallstreet on parade is one of few sites who discuss Citi's crimes, and the fact that the Federal Reserve tried to cover up (and succeeded until about 2012) the secret 2.5 TRILLIION in revolving loans provided to a bankrupt Citibank around 2009. This in addition to the hundreds of billions we did know about.
I do tend to harp on this because the felon Robert Rubin cost me about 500K in expired Put options on shittybank because of his blatant, felonious (per FCIC) lies right before the implosion. His referral for prosecution by the Financial Crises Inquiry Commission mysteriously withered away

[Jan 31, 2020] What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back by Bill Martin What follows originates in some notes I made in response to one such woman who supports Bernie. There are two main points.

Highly recommended!
Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

1. What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. These two played a major role in doing that in 2016, and now they're getting the band back together again. Okay, that's no mystery.

The real question is, What are Bernie supporters and those who (one way or another) support the Democrats, going to do about it? When and if Warren and Clinton succeed in taking Bernie down–and of course Biden and the Obamas are onboard for this, as well–will Democrats (and Dem-supporting "leftists," etc.) be so blinded by TDS that they'll just say,

"Oh well, we still have to vote for " Warren, Biden, etc.?

I think this runs parallel to what some have said about "letting the CIA help with the impeachment"–it's truly delusional, reactionary stuff. Likewise, people getting in a huff because "Bernie called her a liar on national television." No problem, apparently, that Warren first called Bernie a liar. Even more, no problem that Warren's whole life and career is based on a lie–a lie that, even now, she justifies with bullshit about how she "just loves her family so much." Indeed, Hillary's intervention in the following days was very likely intended to take attention away from Warren's attack on Sanders, as well as, of course, to once again put HRC out there as the potential savior at the convention.

It seems to me that the lesson here is that, if Bernie doesn't get the nomination, no other candidate (from among the frontrunners) is acceptable, especially because of the role they will have played in taking down Bernie and his movement.

I have two basic reasons for hoping Sanders can get the nomination and that there could be a Trump/Sanders election:

i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder. I really don't think it can happen -- and we're seeing major moves in this effort toward eliminating Bernie just in the week that has passed since I started writing this. However, this does mean that, if Bernie can build (much further) and lead the movement to seriously address these power structures, and even beat them in some significant ways, then something tremendous will have been accomplished -- "the harder they come, the harder they fall," or at least I hope so. ii. Despite what you and many others say and (I feel) are a bit too desperate to think, Sanders does have some things in common with Trump, at least thematically -- and a lot of my arguments in my articles have to do with the importance of these themes being out there, in a way that they never would have been with any other Republican, Hillary Clinton or any of the other current frontrunners besides Sanders, and any of the other media with the very important exceptions of Tucker Carlson, Steve Hilton, and perhaps a couple others on Fox News (perhaps Laura Ingram) -- and this is not only something that the anti-Trumpers absolutely hate, they hate it so much that they can't even think about it.

That is, Trump and Sanders have in common that they 1) profess that they want to do things that improve the lives of ordinary working people, and 2) profess that they want to draw back militarism.

What I emphasize is that these terms would not even be on the table if it weren't for Trump -- and yes, to some extent if it weren't for Bernie, but there is a way in which Bernie can only be out there at all because Trump has put these things on the table.

A lot of blowback against my articles has been against my argument that getting these terms and the discourse around them on the table is very important, a real breakthrough, and a breakthrough that both clarifies the larger terms of things and disrupts the "smooth functioning" (I take this from Marcuse) of the neoliberal-neoconservative compact around economics and military intervention.

Okay, maybe I'm right about this importance, maybe I'm not -- that's an argument I've dealt with extensively in my articles and that I'll try to deal with definitively in further writing -- but certainly a very important part of not letting Sanders be taken down by the other frontrunners (and HRC, and other nefarious forces, with Warren playing a special "feminist" and Identity Politics role here -- a role that does nothing to help, and indeed does much to hurt, ordinary working people of all colors, genders, etc.) will be to further sharpen the general understanding of the importance of these themes.

Significantly, there is a third theme which has emerged since the unexpected election of Donald Trump -- unexpected at least by the establishment and the nefarious powers (though they were thinking of an "insurance policy"); on this theme, I don't know that Sanders can do much -- working with the Democratic Party, he is too implicated in this issue, and he does not have whatever "protection" Trump has here.

What I am referring to are those nefarious powers behind the establishment and the ruling class, and that have taken on a life of their own -- I don't mind calling this the Deep State, but one can just think about the "intelligence community" and especially the CIA.

Whatever -- the point is that Trump has had to call them out and expose them in ways that they obviously do not like, and also his agenda of a world where the U.S. gets along well-enough with China and Russia at least not to risk WWIII, or, perhaps more realistically, not to tip the balance of things such that Russia goes completely over to a full alliance with China, a "Eurasian Union," which both Putin and Xi have spoken about, is not to their liking.

Whether Sanders would call out these nefarious factors if he were in a position to do so, I don't know -- I don't have great confidence that he would -- but it is also the case that he is not in a position to do so, these powers can easily dispose of Sanders in ways that they haven't been able to, so far, with Trump.

If one does think these themes are important, especially the first two (with further discussion reserved regarding the powers-behind-the-powers), then I wish that Trump-haters would open their minds for a moment and think about what it apparently takes in our social system to even begin to get these themes on the table.

In any case, regarding Sanders, the movement he is building will have to go even further with the first two themes if Sanders is nominated, and at least go some distance in taking on the third theme. This applies even more if Sanders were to be elected. (This is where you might take a look at the 1988 mini-series, A Very British Coup -- except that how things go down in the U.S. will not be so "British.") Here again, though, if Sanders is to build a movement that can openly address these questions, this will be tremendous, a great thing.

So this is it in a nutshell: If Sanders were to be nominated, then there is the possibility, which everyone ought to work to make a reality, that we could have an election based around the questions, What can be done to improve the lives of ordinary working people?, and, What can be done to curb militarism and end the endless interventions and wars?


Antonym ,

Bernie is a nice guy – too nice: no match for the shark pools from Fairfax county, Lower Manhattan or the Clinton clan . The 2016 DNC candidate selection revelations proved this.

The only untainted strong Democratic candidate is Tulsi Gabbard, but she has all Establishments against her.

Fair dinkum ,

Since Reagan's Presidency, all US elections have been about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The ship may be sinking slowly, but the outcome will be the same.

Gall ,

I'd say it was long before Ronnie got elected to office. Remember it was Carter and Zyb who got involved in the imperial quick sand of Afghanistan (mixing metaphors here) that is after being run out of 'Nam by a bunch of angry natives who had gotten tired of America "being a force for good" by reining "freedom and democracy" on them from the bomb bays of B 52s which I think is going to a be similar situation to what will soon happen in Iraq if we dawdle too long.

Elections have in reality become all pomp with no circumstance. Flip a coin and it always comes up heads. It's a stacked deck that public are asked to play every two years thinking the odds are in their favor when it never really is. Might as well head to Vegas following the dusty trail of Hunter S Thompson.

Charlotte Russe ,

It's not all that complicated Obama laid the groundwork ensuring Bernie's defeat when he interfered in deciding who would Chair the DNC. Tom Perez was Obama's pick. Bernie wanted Keith Ellison. Perez guaranteed neoliberal centrist Dems would maintain control. Tom Perez didn't disappoint– his nominations for the 2020 Democratic Convention standing committees are a like a who's who of centrism. Most of the folks on this "A list" would fit quite nicely in the Republican Party.

Bernie a FDR Democrat, is considered too radical by the wealthy who enjoy their Trumpian tax cuts and phony baloney stock market profits. If Trump, was just a bit less crude and not so overtly racist he'd be perfectly acceptable. Bernie, who thinks the working-poor are entitled to a living wage, healthcare, a college education, and clean drinking water is anathema to the affluent liberals who like everything just the way it is. They long for the Obama days when two wars were quietly expanded to seven, when the Wall Street crooks got a pass, and when health insurance lobbyists had their way with the federal government–the CIA was absolutely ecstatic with Obama. Trump was a bit of a speed bump for the security state, but nothing really threatening as he stuffed the pockets of the arms industry and the surveillance state with billions of working-class tax dollars. The Orangeman is having a few internecine battles with the intelligence agencies, but in the end they thoroughly had their way with the buffoon.

Bernie on the other hand, is a bit more complex. He can't be as easily attacked. Of course, the mainstream media news has all the usual Corbyn tricks in their bag, and Bernie could fall to the wayside like Corbyn if he's incapable of unapologetically fighting back. Bernie's working-class supporters want to see him give his attackers the one-two-punch and knock them out before the DNC Convention.

If Bernie manages to win numerous primaries the threat won't come from Warren or Hillary that's so 2016. The new insidious "Bernie enemy" is billionaire Bloomberg. Who is waiting in the wings If Biden takes a deep dive, Daddy Warbucks will make a play to cause a brokered convention. And that's when Perez and his Republican/Dems will takedown Bernie. Bernie's followers MUST come out swinging and not capitulate like they did last time. They have to force the issue, create a stir and threaten to abandon the Dems to start a Workers Third Party. Young progressives have this one big shot at making a difference, and they can't allow themselves to be sheepdogged into voting for another neoliberal who's
intent on maintaining the status quo. Remember, if you don't move forward you're actually moving backward into planetary ecocide.

Gall ,

Hey check this out. Seems the DNC is shaking in their boots about the possibility of a third party hijacking their "base":

https://www.mintpressnews.com/liberal-establishment-warning-third-parties-not-to-ruin-2020-election/264460/

Here's one from Whitney implying that they needn't worry because plans are in the works to install King Cyrus II as the permanent ruler with the help of his Zionist friends in the Department of Hebrew Security:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/liberal-establishment-warning-third-parties-not-to-ruin-2020-election/264460/

Even so it looks like Trump has decided to get rid of us noninterventionist and antiwar naysayers by fully bringing in the Dispensationalist Armageddon rapture embracing nut jobs who stand with the Talmudic genocidal racists in Israel who believe that Jesus Christ is boiling for an eternity in excrement and that his mother Mary was a whore:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52918.htm

I wish that this insanity was fantasy.

mark cutts ,

Hi Bill

we have witnessed in the UK the defamation of Corbyn the ' Left Disrupter ' as he wanted to throw back the normal state of political play.

He and the well meaning Labour Party was headed off at the pass.

We have to remember that the Ruling Class have to have fall back positions and that Biden is better than Bernie as is Warren and so on.

It appears to me that the DNC also has its fallback positions too and Bernie will be chopped by the Super Delegates once again on the altar of ' electabilty ' ( read any form of Socialism – American or British is not acceptatble to the PTB ) and that is how it may end.

The battle at the moment in the UK Labour Party is which leader will back up and support extra Parliamentary action in resistance to this very right wing Tory government?

In the US the thing is the same if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

Personally I would think that he would be a plus ( despite his foreign policy views ) but remember that Trump was a maverick Republican yet I'm not sure that Sanders would veer over to that position.

If he did then the " action " part of the steep learning curve would have to kick in to defend him and more to the point his genuinely progressive policies.

In the UK now Corbyn as the personification of ' Socialist ' threat is no longer doorstepped by the British media.

Instead the installation of a Leftish Centrist by the media ( i.e. a person that is -no threat to the existing order ) is a requirement.

This is all under the guise of a " Strong Opposition " to the right wing government.

Warren – not Biden seems to be that kind of favourite for the Ruling Class should Trump fall.

We had Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair – you in the US will get Warren.

I wish Bernie and his backers weel but I don't see it happening.

Maybe Tulsi Gabbard in another 4 years?

She and AOC are very good But this is not their time.

Not yet.

Richard Le Sarc ,

When I think of how Corbyn refused to fight back against ENTIRELY mendacious and filthy vilification as an 'antisemite', I think it might be possible that the MOSSAD told him that if he resisted he might end up, dead in his bath, like John Smith.

bevin ,

Where the world weary gather to tell us how they have been let down.
Bill nails it here:
" i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder ."

Anyone who believes that elections, as such, lead to great changes needs a keeper. And one who can read the US Constitution aloud for preference.
But this is not to say that at a time like this-and there have been very few of them in US history- when there is the possibility of a major candidate challenging some of the bases of the ruling ideology-albeit by doing little more than running on a platform of refurbished Progressivism- there is really no excuse for not insisting that the challenge be made and the election played out.
Sanders is not just challenging the verities of neo-liberalism but, implicitly undermining the political consensus that has supported the Warfare State since 1948.
The thing about Bernie is that he is authenticated by the enemies that he has enrolled against him and the dramatic measures that they are taking against him. Among those enemies are the Black Misleadership Class, and the various other faux progressives who are revealing themselves to be last ditch defenders of the MIC, Israel- AIPAC is now 'all in' in Iowa and New Hampshire- and the Insurance industry. It is an indication of the simplicity of Bernie's political task that no section of Congress gives more support to the Healthcare scammers than the representatives of the community most deprived by the current system. If he manages to get through to the people and persuade them that he will fight for Free Healthcare for all and other basic and long overdue social and economic reforms he can break the hold that the political parties have over a system everyone understands is designed to make the rich-who own both parties- richer and the great majority poorer. That has been the way that things have been going in the USA for at least 45 years.

Gall ,

Here's the point you've missed here Bill and that Bernie had a mass appeal to the Independents that is until he sold out to the "Democratic" establishment which out of the two parties has to be the least democratic since it adopted the elitist and plutocratic Super Delegate system that can ride roughshod over the actual democratic will of the voters.

Of course a cosmetic change has been made that these delegates aren't allowed to vote until the Convention but as I said it is "cosmetic" since that was originally the way this undemocratic system was set up in the "Democratic" party until Hillary Clinton used it as a psychological weapon during that sham called a "primary" to convince the hoi polo that her nomination or more accurately coronation was already a foregone conclusion.

There is also another factor that most voters are not aware of and that is the so called "Democratic" party has come up with a dictatorial "by law" that can nullify the result of the primary if the candidate isn't considered "democratic" enough by the Chairman of the DNC which in Bernie's case is very possible since technically he is an Independent running as a "Democrat". This is what Lee Camp the "Nuclear Option".

Explained here in his inimitable style:

https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/lee-camp-the-dncs-secret-nuclear-option-to-stop-bernie-sanders-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/

Personally I gave up on Bernie after he sold out and shilled for that warmongering harpy Hillary who if elected would accept it as a mandate to launch WW III while ironically trying to convince us all that the "noninterventionist", "antiwar" candidate was actually the greater of the two evils.

Yeah right.

Anyway no longer have any faith in the two party system. As far as I'm concerned they can both go to hell. I've already made my choice:

https://www.markcharles2020.com

He probably needs to adjust his message more to appeal to those of us who tend to be more Libertarian and is not exactly a Russell Means but with a little help from the American Indian Movement and others can probably "triangulate" his appeal to cover a broader political spectrum. Instead of what has been traditionally known as the "left".

Greg Bacon ,

After Obama, the golden liar and mass-murderer and now Tubby the Grifter, another liar and mass-murderer, I have no desire to vote in 2020, unless Tulsi is on the ticket.

If Sanders is smart and survives another back-alley mugging by the DNC and the Wicked Witch of the East, and gets the nod, he'll take on Tulsi–Mommy–as his VP.
If he does that, then Trump, Jared the Snake and Princess Bimbo will have to find another racket in 2021.

Gall ,

Yeah Trumpenstein is a far cry from the Silver Tongued Devil O-Bomb-em. Even so both of them sold us a bill of goods that neither of them delivered on.

But hey that's politics in America at least since Neoliberal prototype Wilson which is lie your ass off until you get elected at least.

Willem ,

Much magical thinking here.

If we act now and support Sanders things will change for the better?

I surely hope so, but hope and change is soo 2008.

And if the Hildebeast enters the race, life on earth will end?

Don't think so.

Perhaps we should do this different this time. Get away from the identity politics, look what is really needed, and demand for that, not caring about 'leadership'. You know, French yellow vests style. Actually if you look a little bit outside of the MSM bubble, you see demonstrations and people demanding better treatment from the government and corporations everywhere.

The US 2020 elections, will be a nothing burger I predict. Like all elections are nothing burgers and if they are not they will fake it, or call it 'populism' that needs to be stopped (and will be stopped).

I would have voted Sanders though, if I could vote for Sanders, Similar as I would have voted for Corbyn if I could have voted for Corbyn. Voting is a tic, a habit, an addiction that is difficult to get rid of, but deadly in the end since we have nothing to vote for, except to vote for more for them at the cost of everyone else, no matter what politicians say

It's liberating to lose some of your illusions and silly reflexes, although a bit painful in the beginning as is with all addictions. The story used to 'feel' so good.

See also https://act.represent.us/sign/the-problem/

Richard Le Sarc ,

If voting changed anything, it would be outlawed.

[Jan 29, 2020] Campaign Promises and Ending Wars

Highly recommended!
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

lizabeth Warren wrote an article outlining in general terms how she would bring America's current foreign wars to an end. Perhaps the most significant part of the article is her commitment to respect Congress' constitutional role in matters of war:

We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily. The United States should not fight and cannot win wars without deep public support. Successive administrations and Congresses have taken the easy way out by choosing military action without proper authorizations or transparency with the American people. The failure to debate these military missions in public is one of the reasons they have been allowed to continue without real prospect of success [bold mine-DL].

On my watch, that will end. I am committed to seeking congressional authorization if the use of force is required. Seeking constrained authorizations with limited time frames will force the executive branch to be open with the American people and Congress about our objectives, how the operation is progressing, how much it is costing, and whether it should continue.

Warren's commitment on this point is welcome, and it is what Americans should expect and demand from their presidential candidates. It should be the bare minimum requirement for anyone seeking to be president, and any candidate who won't commit to respecting the Constitution should never be allowed to have the powers of that office. The president is not permitted to launch attacks and start wars alone, but Congress and the public have allowed several presidents to do just that without any consequences. It is time to put a stop to illegal presidential wars, and it is also time to put a stop to open-ended authorizations of military force. Warren's point about asking for "constrained authorizations with limited time frames" is important, and it is something that we should insist on in any future debate over the use of force. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are still on the books and have been abused and stretched beyond recognition to apply to groups that didn't exist when they were passed so that the U.S. can fight wars in countries that don't threaten our security. Those need to be repealed as soon as possible to eliminate the opening that they have provided the executive to make war at will.

Michael Brendan Dougherty is unimpressed with Warren's rhetoric:

But what has Warren offered to do differently, or better? She's made no notable break with the class of experts who run our failing foreign policy. Unlike Bernie Sanders, and like Trump or Obama, she hasn't hired a foreign-policy staff committed to a different vision. And so her promise to turn war powers back to Congress should be considered as empty as Obama's promise to do the same. Her promise to bring troops home would turn out to be as meaningless as a Trump tweet saying the same.

We shouldn't discount Warren's statements so easily. When a candidate makes specific commitments about ending U.S. wars during a campaign, that is different from making vague statements about having a "humble" foreign policy. Bush ran on a conventional hawkish foreign policy platform, and there were also no ongoing wars for him to campaign against, so we can't say that he ever ran as a "dove." Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and ran on ending the U.S. military presence there, and before his first term was finished almost all U.S. troops were out of Iraq. It is important to remember that he did not campaign against the war in Afghanistan, and instead argued in support of it. His subsequent decision to commit many more troops there was a mistake, but it was entirely consistent with what he campaigned on. In other words, he withdrew from the country he promised to withdraw from, and escalated in the country where he said the U.S. should be fighting. Trump didn't actually campaign on ending any wars, but he did talk about "bombing the hell" out of ISIS, and after he was elected he escalated the war on ISIS. His anti-Iranian obsession was out in the open from the start if anyone cared to pay attention to it. In short, what candidates commit to doing during a campaign does matter and it usually gives you a good idea of what a candidate will do once elected.

If Warren and some of the other Democratic candidates are committing to ending U.S. wars, we shouldn't assume that they won't follow through on those commitments because previous presidents proved to be the hawks that they admitted to being all along. Presidential candidates often tell us exactly what they mean to do, but we have to be paying attention to everything they say and not just one catchphrase that they said a few times. If voters want a more peaceful foreign policy, they should vote for candidates that actually campaign against ongoing wars instead of rewarding the ones that promise and then deliver escalation. But just voting for the candidates that promise an end to wars is not enough if Americans want Congress to start doing its job by reining in the executive. If we don't want presidents to run amok on war powers, there have to be political consequences for the ones that have done that and there needs to be steady pressure on Congress to take back their role in matters of war. Voters should select genuinely antiwar candidates, but then they also have to hold those candidates accountable once they're in office.

[Jan 28, 2020] Sanders is like a geriatric Colonel Kurz, operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct by CJ Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In any event, no matter who they nominate, they have no chance of winning in November. How could they, given the total stranglehold the Russians now have on American democracy? ..."
www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 1 is winning the 2020 election, which isn't looking very promising. The Democratic Party is in shambles. According to the polls, their current front-runner is a senile, hair-sniffing, finger-sucking freak who never met a credit card company or a healthcare lobbyist he didn't like , and who rivals even Donald Trump when it comes to incoherent babbling.

Yes, that's right, folks, it's "Smilin' Joe" Biden, vanquisher of the razor-wielding, swimming-pool-gangster "Corn Pop " to the rescue!

As far as I've been able to gather, the plan is for Joe to out-"crazy" Trump (and thus win back the "bull goose loony" demographic) by going completely off his medication and having a series of scary-looking petit mal seizures on national television.

That is, unless the impossible happens, and Biden is vanquished by Bernie Sanders (a/k/a "The Magic Socialist" ), who Democratic Party bigwigs would sooner publicly immolate themselves than nominate, and who the corporate media are already accusing of being a lying, sexist. communist, crypto-Trump-loving, Jew-hating Jew .

Sanders, it seems, has gone totally "native." He's out there, in the heart of the American darkness, like a geriatric Colonel Kurz, operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.

According to the latest reconnaissance, he is building another "revolutionary" army of fanatical, doped-up, hacky-sacking "socialists" that he will lead into the convention in July and deliver to Biden, or Elizabeth Warren, or whichever soulless corporate puppet the party honchos eventually nominate, and then obsequiously stump for them for the next five months. (Or, who knows, maybe Michael Bloomberg will put the Democrats out of their misery and just buy the party and nominate himself.)

The "Crush Bernie" movement is just getting started, but you can tell the Resistance isn't screwing around. Hillary Clinton just officially launched her national " Nobody Likes Bernie " campaign at the star-studded 2020 Sundance Film Festival .

Influential Jewish journalists like Bari Weiss and Jeffrey Goldberg , and Ronald Lauder's newly-founded Anti-Semitism Accountability Project , have been Hitlerizing him, or, rather, Corbynizing him.

Obama has promised to "stop him," if necessary.

MSNBC anchor Joy Reid brought on a professional " body language expert " to phrenologize Sanders "live" on the air and, as I said, they're just getting started.

In any event, no matter who they nominate, they have no chance of winning in November. How could they, given the total stranglehold the Russians now have on American democracy?

As Adam Schiff just reminded everyone , unless Donald Trump is removed from office, " we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won ," because at any moment Putin could order Trump to pressure the Ukrainian president into investigating Biden's son's corruption by refusing to fund the Ukrainian military's resistance to Putin's secret plot to occupy the entire Ukraine and use it as a covert base from which to launch an all-out thermonuclear war against the United States (which Putin already controls through his puppet, Trump, and his network of nefarious Facebook bots, which, according to this expert on NPR , are already brainwashing gullible Black people into voting for Bernie Sanders this time, or at least refusing to vote for Biden, like they refused to vote for Hillary last time which, OK, I know, that sounds kind of racist, but we're talking NPR here, folks. These people aren't racists. They're liberals!)

OK, I got a little lost there the point is, if the election goes ahead, and Trump doesn't have an embolism or something, odds are, we're looking at four more years of Putin-Nazi occupation. Which brings us to

Non-Lethal Option No. 2

Resistance Non-Lethal Option No. 2 is, of course, the current impeachment circus. I don't even know where to start with this one.

After three and a half years of corporate-media-manufactured mass hysteria and Intelligence Community propaganda designed to convince the American public that Donald Trump is a "Russian asset" (and possibly Putin's homosexual lover ) and also literally the Resurrection of Hitler, the Democrats are trying to impeach the man for something that most Americans either (a) believe is common practice among members of the political class, (b) don't entirely understand, or (c) do, but don't give a shit about.

Seriously, it's like they held a contest to see if anyone could think of something that would out-anticlimax the Mueller report, and this is what the winner came up with an over-acted, sanctimonious snooze-fest, the stakes of which could not possibly be lower.

Sure, the corporate media are doing their best to cover every twist and turn of the "drama" as if the fate of democracy were hanging in the balance, but everybody knows it's a joke or, all right, almost everybody .

... ... ...


[Jan 23, 2020] An incredible level of naivety of people who still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Highly recommended!
The deep state clearly is running the show (with some people unexpected imput -- see Trump ;-)
Elections now serve mainly for the legitimizing of the deep state rule; election of a particular individual can change little, although there is some space of change due to the power of executive branch. If the individual stray too much form the elite "forign policy consensus" he ether will be JFKed or Russiagated (with the Special Prosecutor as the fist act and impeachment as the second act of the same Russiagate drama)
But a talented (or reckless) individual can speed up some process that are already under way. For example, Trump managed to speed up the process of destruction of the USA-centered neoliberal empire considerably. Especially by launching the trade war with China. He also managed to discredit the USA foreign policy as no other president before him. Even Bush II.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Trailer Trash , Jan 23 2020 18:30 utc | 44
>This is the most critical U.S. election in our lifetime
> Posted by: Circe | Jan 23 2020 17:46 utc | 36

Hmmm, I've been hearing the same siren song every four years for the past fifty. How is it that people still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Bureaucracies are reactionary and conservative by nature, so any new and more repressive policy Trumpy wants is readily adapted, as shown by the continuing barbarity of ICE and the growth of prisons and refugee concentration camps. Policies that go against the grain are easily shrugged off and ignored using time-tested passive-aggressive tactics.

One of Trump's insurmountable problems is that he has no loyal organization behind him whose members he can appoint throughout the massive Federal bureaucracy. Any Dummycrat whose name is not "Biden" has the same problem. Without a real mass-movement political party to pressure reluctant bureaucrats, no politician of any name or stripe will ever substantially change the direction of US policy.

But the last thing Dummycrats want is a real mass movement, because they might not be able to control it. Instead Uncle Sam will keep heading towards the cliff, which may be coming into view...


Per/Norway , Jan 23 2020 19:31 utc | 62

The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE to believe A politician will/can change anything and give your consent to war criminals and traitors?
NO person(s) WILL EVER get to the top in imperial/vassal state politics without being on the rentier class side, the cognitive dissonans in voting for known liars, war criminals and traitors would kill me or fry my brain. TINA is a lie and "she" is a real bitch that deserves to be thrown on the dump off history, YOUR vote is YOUR consent to murder, theft and treason.
DONT be a rentier class enabler STOP voting and start making your local communities better and independent instead.

Per
Norway

Piotr Berman , Jan 23 2020 20:19 utc | 82
The amount of TINA worshipers and status quo guerillas is starting to depress me. <- Norway

Of course, There Is Another Way, for example, kvetching. We can boldly show that we are upset, and pessimistic. One upset pessimists reach critical mass we will think about some actions.

But being upset and pessimistic does fully justify inactivity. In particular, given the nature of social interaction networks, with spokes and hubs, dominating the network requires the control of relatively few nodes. The nature of democracy always allows for leverage takeover, starting from dominating within small to the entire nation in few steps. As it was nicely explained by Prof. Overton, there is a window of positions that the vast majority regards as reasonable, non-radical etc. One reason that powers to be invest so much energy vilifying dissenters, Russian assets of late, is to keep them outside the Overton window.

Having a candidate elected that the curators of Overton window hate definitely shakes the situation with the potential of shifting the window. There were some positive symptoms after Trump was elected, but negatives prevail. "Why not we just kill him" idea entered the window, together with "we took their oil because we have guts and common sense".

From that point of view, visibility of Tulsi and election of Sanders will solve some problems but most of all, it will make big changes in Overton window.

[Nov 27, 2019] Obama Admits He Would Speak Up Only To Stop Bernie Sanders Nomination

Highly recommended!
The question is who will listed to Obama after his "change we can believe in" betrayal. Also is not he a war criminal? Obama election was probably the most slick false flag operation even conducted by intelligence agencies. Somebody created for him complexly fake but still plausible legend.
That Obama desire to interfere in 2020 election also shows gain that that he a regular completely corrupt Clinton neoliberal. The worst king of neoliberals, wolfs in sheep's clothing.
And the fact that CIA democrats dominates the Democratic Party actually is another reason from "Demexit" from the Democratic party of workers and lower middle class. The sad fact that the USA Corporate Dems recently became the second pro-war militarist party, and learned to love intelligence agencies; two things unimaginable in 60th and 70th.
Notable quotes:
"... Image source: Getty ..."
Nov 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As we noted earlier, a bombshell admission from Politico today exploring Obama's substantial behind the scenes influence as Democratic kingmaker : included in the lengthy profile on the day-to-day of the former president's personal office in the West End of Washington D.C. and his meeting with the field of Democratic candidates, is the following gem :

"Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him."

Image source: Getty

And crucially, when asked about that prior statement reported in Politico, an Obama spokesperson did not deny that he said it.

The frank admission underscores what many independent analysts, not to mention prior damning WikiLeaks DNC disclosures , have pointed out for years: that the establishment controlling the Democratic party has continuously sought to rig the system against Bernie.

"Since losing 2016, Dem elites have waged a prolonged effort to stop Bernie. Bernie is the obvious answer to the neoliberal Clinton-Obama legacy voters rejected..." journalist Aaron Maté observed of the Politico quote.

Here's the stunning and deeply revealing section in full, which began by outlining Obama's 'advice-giving' throughout meetings with Democrat contenders including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and others :

Publicly, he has been clear that he won't intervene in the primary for or against a candidate , unless he believed there was some egregious attack. "I can't even imagine with this field how bad it would have to be for him to say something," said a close adviser. Instead, he sees his role as providing guardrails to keep the process from getting too ugly and to unite the party when the nominee is clear.

There is one potential exception: Back when Sanders seemed like more of a threat than he does now, Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him. (Asked about that, a spokesperson for Obama pointed out that Obama recently said he would support and campaign for whoever the Democratic nominee is.)

And a further deeply revealing but more laughable quote comes later as follows: "Obama designed his post-presidency in 2016, at a time when he believed Hillary Clinton would win and Biden would be out of politics." So the reality is... far from the idea that the Dem elites would back the actual nominee the party puts forward, clearly the die has already been cast against Bernie just like the last time around against Hillary in 2016.

Politico author Ryan Lizza later in the story quotes a "close family friend," who described that Obama's "politics are not strong left of center."

"I mean it's left, but he's nowhere near where some of the candidates are currently sitting, at least when he got himself elected," the source claimed.

This means in the mind of Obama and other top party influencers and kingmakers, Bernie and other popular outliers like Tulsi Gabbard have already long been sidelined. Tulsi, it should also be noted, is one of the couple of candidates who did not bother to stop by Obama's D.C. office for a 'blessing' and advice.

[Sep 15, 2019] Donald Trump as the DNC s nominee by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
DNC is a criminal organization and the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz escaped justice is deeply regreatable.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0. ..."
"... Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy. ..."
"... The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party. ..."
"... I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party. ..."
"... As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. ..."
"... They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration. ..."
"... If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I ..."
"... My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: Breaking Up the Democratic Party, by Michael Hudson - The Unz Review

I hope that the candidate who is clearly the voters' choice, Bernie Sanders, may end up as the party's nominee. If he is, I'm sure he'll beat Donald Trump handily, as he would have done four years ago. But I fear that the DNC's Donor Class will push Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or even Pete Buttigieg down the throats of voters. Just as when they backed Hillary the last time around, they hope that their anointed neoliberal will be viewed as the lesser evil for a program little different from that of the Republicans.

So Thursday's reality TV run-off is about "who's the least evil?" An honest reality show's questions would focus on "What are you against ?" That would attract a real audience, because people are much clearer about what they're against: the vested interests, Wall Street, the drug companies and other monopolies, the banks, landlords, corporate raiders and private-equity asset strippers. But none of this is to be permitted on the magic island of authorized candidates (not including Tulsi Gabbard, who was purged from further debates for having dared to mention the unmentionable).

Donald Trump as the DNC's nominee

The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0.

DNC donors favor Joe Biden, long-time senator from the credit-card and corporate-shell state of Delaware, and opportunistic California prosecutor Kamala Harris, with a hopey-changey grab bag alternative in smooth-talking small-town Rorschach blot candidate Pete Buttigieg. These easy victims are presented as "electable" in full knowledge that they will fail against Trump.

Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy.

The Democratic Party's role is to protect Republicans from attack from the left, steadily following the Republican march rightward. Claiming that this is at least in the direction of being "centrist," the Democrats present themselves as the lesser evil (which is still evil, of course), simply as pragmatic in not letting hopes for "the perfect" (meaning moderate social democracy) block the spirit of compromise with what is attainable, "getting things done" by cooperating across the aisle and winning Republican support. That is what Joe Biden promises.

The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party.

The Democratic National Committee worries that voters may disturb this alliance by nominating a left-wing reform candidate. The DNC easily solved this problem in 2016: When Bernie Sanders intruded into its space, it the threw the election. It scheduled the party's early defining primaries in Republican states whose voters leaned right, and packed the nominating convention with Donor Class super-delegates.

After the dust settled, having given many party members political asthma, the DNC pretended that it was all an unfortunate political error. But of course it was not a mistake at all. The DNC preferred to lose with Hillary than win with Bernie, whom springtime polls showed would be the easy winner over Trump. Potential voters who didn't buy into the program either stayed home or voted green.


follyofwar , says: September 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm GMT

No votes will be cast for months, so I don't know how Mr. Hudson can say that Sanders is "clearly the voters choice." He would be 79 on election day, well above the age when most men die, which is something that voters should seriously consider. Whoever his VP is will probably be president before the end of Old Bernie's first term, so I hope he chooses his VP wisely.

In any case I laugh at how the media always reports that Biden, who has obviously lost more than a few brain cells, has such a commanding lead over this field of second-raters. The voters, having much better things to do, haven't even started to pay attention yet.

And, how could anyone seriously believe in these polls anyway? Only older people have land lines today. If calling people is the methodology pollsters are using, then the results would be heavily skewed towards former VP Biden, whose name everyone knows. I lost all faith in polls when the media was saying, with certainty, that Hillary was a lock to win against the insurgent Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate beside Trump with charisma today. With her cool demeanor, she is certainly the least unlikeable. She would be Trump's most formidable opponent. But the democrats, like their counterparts, are owned by Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Sadly, most democrats still believe that the party is working in their best interests, while the republicans are the party of the rich.

If you watch the debates tonight, which I will not be, you will notice that Tulsi Gabbard won't be on stage. That is by design. She is a leper. At least the republicans allowed Trump to be onstage in 2016, which makes them more democratic than the democrats. Plus they didn't have Super Delegates to prevent Trump from achieving the nomination he had rightfully won. Something to think about since the DNC, not the voters, annointed Hillary last time.

If the YouTube Oligarchs still allow it, I plan on watching the post-debate analysis with characters like Richard Spencer and Eric Striker. Those guys are most entertaining, and have insights that are not permitted to be uttered in the controlled, mind-numbing farce of the mainstream media.

anon [110] Disclaimer , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
> When neoliberals shout, "But that's socialism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us socialism."

True, true! Also, when the neoliberals shout, "But that's nationalism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us nationalism."

One plus one is

Dutch Boy , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT
Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.
Biff , says: September 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Dutch Boy

Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.

Elizabeth Warren is phony as phuck(PAP). Just like forked tongued Obama she's really just a tool for the neo-liberal establishment, which does make her more likely.

Svevlad , says: September 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm GMT
@anon Hehe. I propose that the anti-neoliberals join forces to beat this terrible beast...
Altai , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:19 pm GMT
Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party.

As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. Many of them may be progressives but they refuse to understand the very non-progressive consequences of mass immigration (Or, one should say over-immigration) or globalisation more generally. The increasing defection of such individuals to the Liberal Democrats in Britain is a fascinating example. They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration.

It is interesting to see the see-saw effect of UKip and now the Brexit party in the UK (Well, in England). With them first drawing working class voters from Labour without increasing Conservative performance, bringing about a massive conservative majority and now threatening to siphon voters from the Tories with the opposite effect.

But UKip and later the Brexit party almost exist through the indispensable leadership of Nigel Farage and a very specific motivating goal of leaving the EU. I can't see a third party rising to put pressure on the mainstream parties.

If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I f the centre left refuses to understand this (Something that wouldn't have been hard for them to understand when they still drew candidates from the working classes) they will continue their slide into oblivion as they have done across the Western world. (Excluding 2 party systems and Denmark where they do understand this)

My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public.

The novel internet mass media outlets that allowed such unpoliced political discussion to reach mass audiences will be pacified by whatever means and America will slide into an Italian style trans-generational malaise at a national level for some time.

A123 , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:48 pm GMT
@Altai

Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

Trump is trying to change the RNC away from Globalist elites and towards Christian Populist beliefs and Main Street America. I am some what hopeful, as the U.S. is not alone in this trajectory. There is a global tail wind that should help the GOP change quickly enough.

The true test will be the 2024 GOP nomination. A bold choice will have to break through to keep the RNC from backsliding into the clutches of Globalist failure.

PEACE

davidgmillsatty , says: September 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
I think Sanders could have beat Trump in 2016. This time around it is not that clear because so many of his supporters in 2016 feel burnt.

Badly burnt. Or Bernt. He threw his support for Hillary, even if it was tepid, and then got a bad case of Russiagateitis which his base on the left really hated. His left base never bought Russiagate for a minute. We knew it was an internal leak, probably by Seth Rich, who provided all the information to Assange. He still seems to be a strong Israel supporter even if has stood up to Netanyahu.

And while it may seem odd, many of his base on the left have grown weary of the global climate change agenda.

He has not advocated nuclear power and there is a growing movement for that on the left, especially by those who think renewables will not generate the power we need.

But since Sanders does seem to attract the rural and suburban vote more than any other Democrat, Sanders has a chance to chip away at Trumps' base and win the Electoral College. Another horrible loss to rural and suburban America by the Democrats will cost them the EC again by a substantial margin, even if they manage to pull off another popular vote win.

A123 , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:20 am GMT
@bluedog

the republican party is as globalist as you can find,and I'm sure you will be the first one to inform us when the global elite including those in America throw in the towel,

Some elite Globalist NeverTrumpers, such as George Will and Bill Kristol, have thrown in the towel on the GOP. This allows their "neocon" followers to return to their roots in the war mongering Democrat Party. So it *IS* happening.

The real questions are:
-- Can it happen fast enough?
-- Can it be sustained after Donald Trump term limits out?

I'm not bold enough to say it is inevitable. All I will say is, "There are reasons to be at least mildly hopeful."

PEACE

RadicalCenter , says: September 13, 2019 at 3:45 am GMT
@follyofwar Based on gabbard's immigration statements, voting for her is also voting for our continuing displacement.
Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 4:22 am GMT
Has everyone forgot the last time the DNC openly cheated Sanders he said nothing publicly, but then endorsed Clinton? Sanders knows he is not allowed to become president, his role to prevent the formation of a third party, and to keep the Green Party small. Otherwise he would jump to the Green Party right now and may beat the DNC and Trump.

Sanders treats progressives like Charlie Brown. Once again, inviting them to run a kick the football, only to pull it away and watch them fall. He recently backed off his opposition to the open borders crazies, rarely mentions cuts to military spending to fund things, and has even joined the stupid fake russiagate bandwagon.

Note that he dismisses the third party idea as unworkable, when he already knows the DNC is unworkable. Why not give the Green party a chance? Cause he don't want to win knowing he'd be killed or impeached for some reason.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer The Stalinist DNC openly cheated Tulsi Gabbard when they left her off the debate stage last night. When asked about it on 'The View' recently, Sanders said nothing in her defense, or that she deserved to be on the stage. Nice way to stab her in the back for leaving her DNC position to support you last time, Bernie. Socialist Sanders wants to be president, yet is afraid of the DNC. Nice!

Those polls were rigged against Tulsi, and everyone who is paying attention knows it. But, far from hurting her candidacy by not making the DNC's arbitrary cut, her exclusion may wind up helping her. Kim Iverson, Michael Tracey, and comedian Jimmy Dore, anti-war progressive YouTubers with large, loyal followings, have lambasted the out-of touch DNC for its actions. Tucker Carlson on the anti-war right has also done so.

One hopes that the DNC's stupidity in censoring her message may wind up being the best thing ever for Tulsi's insurgent candidacy. We shall see. OTOH, who can trust the polls to tell us the truth of where her popularity stands.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm GMT
@RadicalCenter Do you forget about Trump's declaration that he wants the largest amount of immigration ever, as long as they come in legally? There are no good guys in our two sclerotic monopoly parties when it comes to immigration. Since both are terrible on that topic, at least Tulsi seems to have the anti-war principles that Trump does not.
Justvisiting , says: September 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Great comment.

Bernie has had many opportunities in the past few years to show real courage and stand for something, anything. He has failed every time.

I am actually beginning to feel sorry for him–he knows he has a mission, but he just can't seem to figure out what it is anymore

Getting old is not fun.

[Jul 30, 2019] The main task of Democratic Party is preventing social movements from undertaking independent political activity to their left and killing such social movements

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Besides preventing social movements from undertaking independent political activity to their left, the Democrats have been adept at killing social movements altogether. They have done – and continue to do – this in four key ways: ..."
"... i) inducing "progressive" movement activists (e.g. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and the leaders of Moveon.org and United for Peace and Justice today) to focus scarce resources on electing and defending capitalist politicians who are certain to betray peaceful- and populist-sounding campaign promises upon the attainment of power; ..."
"... (ii) pressuring activists to "rein in their movements, thereby undercutting the potential for struggle from below;" ..."
"... (iii) using material and social (status) incentives to buy off social movement leaders; ..."
"... iv) feeding a pervasive sense of futility regarding activity against the dominant social and political order, with its business party duopoly. ..."
"... It is not broken. It is fixed. Against us. ..."
"... The militarization of US economy and society underscores your scenario. By being part of the war coalition, the Democratic party, as now constituted, doesn't have to win any presidential elections. The purpose of the Democratic party is to diffuse public dissent in an orderly fashion. This allows the war machine to grind on and the politicians are paid handsomely for their efforts. ..."
"... By joining the war coalition, the Democrats only have leverage over Republicans if the majority of citizens get "uppity" and start demanding social concessions. Democrats put down the revolt by subterfuge, which is less costly and allows the fiction of American Democracy and freedom to persist for a while longer. Republicans, while preferring more overt methods of repressing the working class, allow the fiction to continue because their support for authoritarian principles can stay hidden in the background. ..."
"... When this political theatre in the US finally reaches its end date, what lies behind the curtain will surely shock most of the population and I have little faith that the citizenry are prepared to deal with the consequences. A society of feckless consumers is little prepared to deal with hard core imperialists who's time has reached its end. ..."
"... This wrath of frustrated Imperialists will be turned upon the citizenry ..."
Jul 30, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

g3 , July 30, 2019 at 4:08 am

Mainstream Dems are performing their role very well. Most likely I am preaching to the choir. But anyways, here is a review of Lance Selfa's book "Democrats: a critical history" by Paul Street :

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/hope-killers-by-paul-street/

Besides preventing social movements from undertaking independent political activity to their left, the Democrats have been adept at killing social movements altogether. They have done – and continue to do – this in four key ways:

i) inducing "progressive" movement activists (e.g. Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and the leaders of Moveon.org and United for Peace and Justice today) to focus scarce resources on electing and defending capitalist politicians who are certain to betray peaceful- and populist-sounding campaign promises upon the attainment of power;

(ii) pressuring activists to "rein in their movements, thereby undercutting the potential for struggle from below;"

(iii) using material and social (status) incentives to buy off social movement leaders;

iv) feeding a pervasive sense of futility regarding activity against the dominant social and political order, with its business party duopoly.

It is not broken. It is fixed. Against us.

Norb , July 30, 2019 at 7:18 am

The militarization of US economy and society underscores your scenario. By being part of the war coalition, the Democratic party, as now constituted, doesn't have to win any presidential elections. The purpose of the Democratic party is to diffuse public dissent in an orderly fashion. This allows the war machine to grind on and the politicians are paid handsomely for their efforts.

By joining the war coalition, the Democrats only have leverage over Republicans if the majority of citizens get "uppity" and start demanding social concessions. Democrats put down the revolt by subterfuge, which is less costly and allows the fiction of American Democracy and freedom to persist for a while longer. Republicans, while preferring more overt methods of repressing the working class, allow the fiction to continue because their support for authoritarian principles can stay hidden in the background.

I have little faith in my fellow citizens as the majority are too brainwashed to see the danger of this political theatre. Most ignore politics, while those that do show an interest exercise that effort mainly by supporting whatever faction they belong. Larger issues and connections between current events remain a mystery to them as a result.

Military defeat seems the only means to break this cycle. Democrats, being the fake peaceniks that they are, will be more than happy to defer to their more authoritarian Republican counterparts when dealing with issues concerning war and peace. Look no further than Tulsi Gabbard's treatment in the party. The question is really should the country continue down this Imperialist path.

In one sense, economic recession will be the least of our problems in the future. When this political theatre in the US finally reaches its end date, what lies behind the curtain will surely shock most of the population and I have little faith that the citizenry are prepared to deal with the consequences. A society of feckless consumers is little prepared to deal with hard core imperialists who's time has reached its end.

This wrath of frustrated Imperialists will be turned upon the citizenry.

[Apr 28, 2019] Biden has huge, exploitable weakness in relation Ukraine

Highly recommended!
Apr 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

A123 , says: April 25, 2019 at 12:33 am GMT

Democratic party candidate Biden has huge, exploitable weakness in relation Ukraine (1). Given that Biden is the most beatable name to come forward so far Trump and his administration will do nothing major to involve the U.S. with the internal affairs of Ukraine.

Macron and Merkel may wish to do something, but given personal unpopularity in their countries it is unclear what they can deliver.

For the next 12+ months nothing of any significance will happen. If the Dems are foolish enough to nominate Biden, it could become an issue next year. Trump and Putin would have aligned interests in stopping the Biden family's exploitation of Ukrainian resources.

____

(1) https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

[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 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 supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it's infuriating.

Our leaders rarely mention any of this. They tell us our multi-tiered tax code is based on the principles of the free market. Please. It's based on laws that the Congress passed, laws that companies lobbied for in order to increase their economic advantage. It worked well for those people. They did increase their economic advantage. But for everyone else, it came at a big cost. Unfairness is profoundly divisive. When you favor one child over another, your kids don't hate you. They hate each other.

That happens in countries, too. It's happening in ours, probably by design. Divided countries are easier to rule. And nothing divides us like the perception that some people are getting special treatment. In our country, some people definitely are getting special treatment. Republicans should oppose that with everything they have.

What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement. A country you might recognize when you're old.

A country that listens to young people who don't live in Brooklyn. A country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities. A country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the west side of Los Angeles. A country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash. A clean, orderly, stable country that respects itself. And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up in no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.

Video

What will it take a get a country like that? Leaders who want it. For now, those leaders will have to be Republicans. There's no option at this point.

But first, Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You'd have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.

Internalizing all this will not be easy for Republican leaders. They'll have to unlearn decades of bumper sticker-talking points and corporate propaganda. They'll likely lose donors in the process. They'll be criticized. Libertarians are sure to call any deviation from market fundamentalism a form of socialism.

That's a lie. Socialism is a disaster. It doesn't work. It's what we should be working desperately to avoid. But socialism is exactly what we're going to get, and very soon unless a group of responsible people in our political system reforms the American economy in a way that protects normal people.

If you want to put America first, you've got to put its families first.

Adapted from Tucker Carlson's monologue from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" on January 2, 2019.

[Jan 12, 2019] Tucker Carlson has sparked the most interesting debate in conservative politics by Jane Coaston

Highly recommended!
Tucker Carlson sounds much more convincing then Trump: See Tucker Leaders show no obligation to American voters and Tucker The American dream is dying
Notable quotes:
"... America's "ruling class," Carlson says, are the "mercenaries" behind the failures of the middle class -- including sinking marriage rates -- and "the ugliest parts of our financial system." He went on: "Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society." ..."
"... He concluded with a demand for "a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement." ..."
"... The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson's monologue, "A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I've ever cast for president. ..."
"... The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke ..."
"... Carlson wanted to be clear: He's just asking questions. "I'm not an economic adviser or a politician. I'm not a think tank fellow. I'm just a talk show host," he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask "the basic questions you would ask about any policy." But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the "religious faith" of market capitalism, one he believes elites -- "mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule" -- have put ahead of "normal people." ..."
"... "What does [free market capitalism] get us?" he said in our call. "What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years?" ..."
"... Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as "the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it." ..."
"... Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment. ..."
"... Ocasio-Cortez wants a 70-80% income tax on the rich. I agree! Start with the Koch Bros. -- and also make it WEALTH tax. ..."
"... "I'm just saying as a matter of fact," he told me, "a country where a shrinking percentage of the population is taking home an ever-expanding proportion of the money is not a recipe for a stable society. It's not." ..."
"... Carlson told me he wanted to be clear: He is not a populist. But he believes some version of populism is necessary to prevent a full-scale political revolt or the onset of socialism. Using Theodore Roosevelt as an example of a president who recognized that labor needs economic power, he told me, "Unless you want something really extreme to happen, you need to take this seriously and figure out how to protect average people from these remarkably powerful forces that have been unleashed." ..."
"... But Carlson's brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren't just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the "elites" whom he argues are its major drivers aren't working. The free market isn't working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, "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" -- sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left. ..."
"... Capitalism/liberalism destroys the extended family by requiring people to move apart for work and destroying any sense of unchosen obligations one might have towards one's kin. ..."
"... Hillbilly Elegy ..."
"... Carlson told me that beyond changing our tax code, he has no major policies in mind. "I'm not even making the case for an economic system in particular," he told me. "All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God or a function or raw nature." ..."
Jan 10, 2019 | www.vox.com

"All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God."

Last Wednesday, the conservative talk show host Tucker Carlson started a fire on the right after airing a prolonged monologue on his show that was, in essence, an indictment of American capitalism.

America's "ruling class," Carlson says, are the "mercenaries" behind the failures of the middle class -- including sinking marriage rates -- and "the ugliest parts of our financial system." He went on: "Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society."

He concluded with a demand for "a fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don't accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement."

The monologue was stunning in itself, an incredible moment in which a Fox News host stated that for generations, "Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars." More broadly, though, Carlson's position and the ensuing controversy reveals an ongoing and nearly unsolvable tension in conservative politics about the meaning of populism, a political ideology that Trump campaigned on but Carlson argues he may not truly understand.

Moreover, in Carlson's words: "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?"

The monologue and its sweeping anti-elitism drove a wedge between conservative writers. The American Conservative's Rod Dreher wrote of Carlson's monologue, "A man or woman who can talk like that with conviction could become president. Voting for a conservative candidate like that would be the first affirmative vote I've ever cast for president." Other conservative commentators scoffed. Ben Shapiro wrote in National Review that Carlson's monologue sounded far more like Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than, say, Ronald Reagan.

I spoke with Carlson by phone this week to discuss his monologue and its economic -- and cultural -- meaning. He agreed that his monologue was reminiscent of Warren, referencing her 2003 book The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents Are Growing Broke . "There were parts of the book that I disagree with, of course," he told me. "But there are parts of it that are really important and true. And nobody wanted to have that conversation."

Carlson wanted to be clear: He's just asking questions. "I'm not an economic adviser or a politician. I'm not a think tank fellow. I'm just a talk show host," he said, telling me that all he wants is to ask "the basic questions you would ask about any policy." But he wants to ask those questions about what he calls the "religious faith" of market capitalism, one he believes elites -- "mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule" -- have put ahead of "normal people."

But whether or not he likes it, Carlson is an important voice in conservative politics. His show is among the most-watched television programs in America. And his raising questions about market capitalism and the free market matters.

"What does [free market capitalism] get us?" he said in our call. "What kind of country do you want to live in? If you put these policies into effect, what will you have in 10 years?"

Populism on the right is gaining, again

Carlson is hardly the first right-leaning figure to make a pitch for populism, even tangentially, in the third year of Donald Trump, whose populist-lite presidential candidacy and presidency Carlson told me he views as "the smoke alarm ... telling you the building is on fire, and unless you figure out how to put the flames out, it will consume it."

Populism is a rhetorical approach that separates "the people" from elites. In the words of Cas Mudde, a professor at the University of Georgia, it divides the country into "two homogenous and antagonistic groups: the pure people on the one end and the corrupt elite on the other." Populist rhetoric has a long history in American politics, serving as the focal point of numerous presidential campaigns and powering William Jennings Bryan to the Democratic nomination for president in 1896. Trump borrowed some of that approach for his 2016 campaign but in office has governed as a fairly orthodox economic conservative, thus demonstrating the demand for populism on the right without really providing the supply and creating conditions for further ferment.

When right-leaning pundit Ann Coulter spoke with Breitbart Radio about Trump's Tuesday evening Oval Office address to the nation regarding border wall funding, she said she wanted to hear him say something like, "You know, you say a lot of wild things on the campaign trail. I'm speaking to big rallies. But I want to talk to America about a serious problem that is affecting the least among us, the working-class blue-collar workers":

Coulter urged Trump to bring up overdose deaths from heroin in order to speak to the "working class" and to blame the fact that working-class wages have stalled, if not fallen, in the last 20 years on immigration. She encouraged Trump to declare, "This is a national emergency for the people who don't have lobbyists in Washington."

Ocasio-Cortez wants a 70-80% income tax on the rich. I agree! Start with the Koch Bros. -- and also make it WEALTH tax.

-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 4, 2019

These sentiments have even pitted popular Fox News hosts against each other.

Sean Hannity warned his audience that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's economic policies would mean that "the rich people won't be buying boats that they like recreationally, they're not going to be taking expensive vacations anymore." But Carlson agreed when I said his monologue was somewhat reminiscent of Ocasio-Cortez's past comments on the economy , and how even a strong economy was still leaving working-class Americans behind.

"I'm just saying as a matter of fact," he told me, "a country where a shrinking percentage of the population is taking home an ever-expanding proportion of the money is not a recipe for a stable society. It's not."

Carlson told me he wanted to be clear: He is not a populist. But he believes some version of populism is necessary to prevent a full-scale political revolt or the onset of socialism. Using Theodore Roosevelt as an example of a president who recognized that labor needs economic power, he told me, "Unless you want something really extreme to happen, you need to take this seriously and figure out how to protect average people from these remarkably powerful forces that have been unleashed."

"I think populism is potentially really disruptive. What I'm saying is that populism is a symptom of something being wrong," he told me. "Again, populism is a smoke alarm; do not ignore it."

But Carlson's brand of populism, and the populist sentiments sweeping the American right, aren't just focused on the current state of income inequality in America. Carlson tackled a bigger idea: that market capitalism and the "elites" whom he argues are its major drivers aren't working. The free market isn't working for families, or individuals, or kids. In his monologue, Carlson railed against libertarian economics and even payday loans, saying, "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" -- sounding very much like Sanders or Warren on the left.

Carlson's argument that "market capitalism is not a religion" is of course old hat on the left, but it's also been bubbling on the right for years now. When National Review writer Kevin Williamson wrote a 2016 op-ed about how rural whites "failed themselves," he faced a massive backlash in the Trumpier quarters of the right. And these sentiments are becoming increasingly potent at a time when Americans can see both a booming stock market and perhaps their own family members struggling to get by.

Capitalism/liberalism destroys the extended family by requiring people to move apart for work and destroying any sense of unchosen obligations one might have towards one's kin.

-- Jeremy McLallan (@JeremyMcLellan) January 8, 2019

At the Federalist, writer Kirk Jing wrote of Carlson's monologue, and a response to it by National Review columnist David French:

Our society is less French's America, the idea, and more Frantz Fanon's "Wretched of the Earth" (involving a very different French). The lowest are stripped of even social dignity and deemed unworthy of life . In Real America, wages are stagnant, life expectancy is crashing, people are fleeing the workforce, families are crumbling, and trust in the institutions on top are at all-time lows. To French, holding any leaders of those institutions responsible for their errors is "victimhood populism" ... The Right must do better if it seeks to govern a real America that exists outside of its fantasies.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy , wrote that the [neoliberal] economy's victories -- and praise for those wins from conservatives -- were largely meaningless to white working-class Americans living in Ohio and Kentucky: "Yes, they live in a country with a higher GDP than a generation ago, and they're undoubtedly able to buy cheaper consumer goods, but to paraphrase Reagan: Are they better off than they were 20 years ago? Many would say, unequivocally, 'no.'"

Carlson's populism holds, in his view, bipartisan possibilities. In a follow-up email, I asked him why his monologue was aimed at Republicans when many Democrats had long espoused the same criticisms of free market economics. "Fair question," he responded. "I hope it's not just Republicans. But any response to the country's systemic problems will have to give priority to the concerns of American citizens over the concerns of everyone else, just as you'd protect your own kids before the neighbor's kids."

Who is "they"?

And that's the point where Carlson and a host of others on the right who have begun to challenge the conservative movement's orthodoxy on free markets -- people ranging from occasionally mendacious bomb-throwers like Coulter to writers like Michael Brendan Dougherty -- separate themselves from many of those making those exact same arguments on the left.

When Carlson talks about the "normal people" he wants to save from nefarious elites, he is talking, usually, about a specific group of "normal people" -- white working-class Americans who are the "real" victims of capitalism, or marijuana legalization, or immigration policies.

In this telling, white working-class Americans who once relied on a manufacturing economy that doesn't look the way it did in 1955 are the unwilling pawns of elites. It's not their fault that, in Carlson's view, marriage is inaccessible to them, or that marijuana legalization means more teens are smoking weed ( this probably isn't true ). Someone, or something, did this to them. In Carlson's view, it's the responsibility of politicians: Our economic situation, and the plight of the white working class, is "the product of a series of conscious decisions that the Congress made."

The criticism of Carlson's monologue has largely focused on how he deviates from the free market capitalism that conservatives believe is the solution to poverty, not the creator of poverty. To orthodox conservatives, poverty is the result of poor decision making or a lack of virtue that can't be solved by government programs or an anti-elite political platform -- and they say Carlson's argument that elites are in some way responsible for dwindling marriage rates doesn't make sense .

But in French's response to Carlson, he goes deeper, writing that to embrace Carlson's brand of populism is to support "victimhood populism," one that makes white working-class Americans into the victims of an undefined "they:

Carlson is advancing a form of victim-politics populism that takes a series of tectonic cultural changes -- civil rights, women's rights, a technological revolution as significant as the industrial revolution, the mass-scale loss of religious faith, the sexual revolution, etc. -- and turns the negative or challenging aspects of those changes into an angry tale of what they are doing to you .

And that was my biggest question about Carlson's monologue, and the flurry of responses to it, and support for it: When other groups (say, black Americans) have pointed to systemic inequities within the economic system that have resulted in poverty and family dysfunction, the response from many on the right has been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic .

Really, it comes down to when black people have problems, it's personal responsibility, but when white people have the same problems, the system is messed up. Funny how that works!!

-- Judah Maccabeets (@AdamSerwer) January 9, 2019

Yet white working-class poverty receives, from Carlson and others, far more sympathy. And conservatives are far more likely to identify with a criticism of "elites" when they believe those elites are responsible for the expansion of trans rights or creeping secularism than the wealthy and powerful people who are investing in private prisons or an expansion of the militarization of police . Carlson's network, Fox News, and Carlson himself have frequently blasted leftist critics of market capitalism and efforts to fight inequality .

I asked Carlson about this, as his show is frequently centered on the turmoils caused by " demographic change ." He said that for decades, "conservatives just wrote [black economic struggles] off as a culture of poverty," a line he includes in his monologue .

He added that regarding black poverty, "it's pretty easy when you've got 12 percent of the population going through something to feel like, 'Well, there must be ... there's something wrong with that culture.' Which is actually a tricky thing to say because it's in part true, but what you're missing, what I missed, what I think a lot of people missed, was that the economic system you're living under affects your culture."

Carlson said that growing up in Washington, DC, and spending time in rural Maine, he didn't realize until recently that the same poverty and decay he observed in the Washington of the 1980s was also taking place in rural (and majority-white) Maine. "I was thinking, 'Wait a second ... maybe when the jobs go away the culture changes,'" he told me, "And the reason I didn't think of it before was because I was so blinded by this libertarian economic propaganda that I couldn't get past my own assumptions about economics." (For the record, libertarians have critiqued Carlson's monologue as well.)

Carlson told me that beyond changing our tax code, he has no major policies in mind. "I'm not even making the case for an economic system in particular," he told me. "All I'm saying is don't act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God or a function or raw nature."

And clearly, our market economy isn't driven by God or nature, as the stock market soars and unemployment dips and yet even those on the right are noticing lengthy periods of wage stagnation and dying little towns across the country. But what to do about those dying little towns, and which dying towns we care about and which we don't, and, most importantly, whose fault it is that those towns are dying in the first place -- those are all questions Carlson leaves to the viewer to answer.

[Jan 11, 2019] Blowback from the neoliberal policy is coming

Highly recommended!
Seeing Tucker Leaders show no obligation to American voters suggest that the collapse of neoliberalism is coming...
Notable quotes:
"... Excessive financialization is the Achilles' heel of neoliberalism. It inevitably distorts everything, blows the asset bubble, which then pops. With each pop, the level of political support of neoliberalism shrinks. Hillary defeat would have been impossible without 2008 events. ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

bruce wilder, January 11, 2019 at 2:17 pm

Barkley insists on a left-right split for his analysis of political parties and their attachment to vague policy tendencies and that insistence makes a mess of the central issue: why the rise of right-wing populism in a "successful" economy?

Naomi Klein's book is about how and why centrist neoliberals got control of policy. The rise of right-wing populism is often supposed (see Mark Blyth) to be about the dissatisfaction bred by the long-term shortcomings of or blowback from neoliberal policy.

Barkley Rosser treats neoliberal policy as implicitly successful and, therefore, the reaction from the populist right appears mysterious, something to investigate. His thesis regarding neoliberal success in Poland is predicated on policy being less severe, less "shocky".

In his left-right division of Polish politics, the centrist neoliberals -- in the 21st century, Civic Platform -- seem to disappear into the background even though I think they are still the second largest Party in Parliament, though some seem to think they will sink in elections this year.

Electoral participation is another factor that receives little attention in this analysis. Politics is shaped in part by the people who do NOT show up. And, in Poland that has sometimes been a lot of people, indeed.

Finally, there's the matter of the neoliberal straitjacket -- the flip-side of the shock in the one-two punch of "there's no alternative". What the policy options for a Party representing the interests of the angry and dissatisfied? If you make policy impossible for a party of the left, of course that breeds parties of the right. duh.

Likbez,

Bruce,

Blowback from the neoliberal policy is coming. I would consider the current situation in the USA as the starting point of this "slow-motion collapse of the neoliberal garbage truck against the wall." Neoliberalism like Bolshevism in 1945 has no future, only the past. That does not mean that it will not limp forward in zombie (and pretty bloodthirsty ) stage for another 50 years. But it is doomed, notwithstanding recently staged revenge in countries like Ukraine, Argentina, and Brazil.

Excessive financialization is the Achilles' heel of neoliberalism. It inevitably distorts everything, blows the asset bubble, which then pops. With each pop, the level of political support of neoliberalism shrinks. Hillary defeat would have been impossible without 2008 events.

At least half of Americans now hate soft neoliberals of Democratic Party (Clinton wing of Bought by Wall Street technocrats), as well as hard neoliberal of Republican Party, which created the " crisis of confidence" toward governing neoliberal elite in countries like the USA, GB, and France. And that probably why the intelligence agencies became the prominent political players and staged the color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate ) in the USA.

The situation with the support of neoliberalism now is very different than in 1994 when Bill Clinton came to power. Of course, as Otto von Bismarck once quipped "God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America." and another turn of the technological spiral might well save the USA. But the danger of never-ending secular stagnation is substantial and growing. This fact was admitted even by such dyed- in-the-wool neoliberals as Summers.

This illusion that advances in statistics gave neoliberal access to such fine-grained and timely economic data, that now it is possible to regulate economy indirectly, by strictly monetary means is pure religious hubris. Milton Friedman would now be laughed out the room if he tried to repeat his monetarist junk science now. Actually he himself discarded his monetarist illusions before he died.

We probably need to the return of strong direct investments in the economy by the state and nationalization of some assets, if we want to survive and compete with China. Australian politicians are already openly discussing this, we still are lagging because of "walking dead" neoliberals in Congress like Pelosi, Schumer, and company.

But we have another huge problem, which Australia and other countries (other than GB) do not have: neoliberalism in the USA is the state religion which completely displaced Christianity (and is hostile to Christianity), so it might be that the lemming will go off the cliff. I hope not.

The only thing that still keeps neoliberalism from being thrown out to the garbage bin of history is that it is unclear what would the alternative. And that means that like in 1920th far-right nationalism and fascism have a fighting chance against decadent neoliberal oligarchy.

Previously financial oligarchy was in many minds associated with Jewish bankers. Now people are more educated and probably can hang from the lampposts Anglo-Saxon and bankers of other nationalities as well ;-)

I think that in some countries neoliberal oligarchs might soon feel very uncomfortable, much like Soros in Hungary.

As far as I understood the level of animosity and suppressed anger toward financial oligarchy and their stooges including some professors in economics departments of the major universities might soon be approaching the level which existed in the Weimar Republic. And as Lenin noted, " the ideas could become a material force if they got mass support." This is true about anger as well.

[Dec 22, 2018] British Security Service Infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft by Craig Murray

Highly recommended!
Craig Murray is right that "As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier." Collapse of neoliberal ideology and rise of tentions in neoliberal sociarties resulted in unprecedented increase of covert and false flag operations by British intelligence services, especially against Russia, which had been chosen as a convenient scapegoat. With Steele dossier and Skripal affair as two most well known.
New Lady Macbeth (Theresa May) Russophobia is so extreme that her cabinet derailed the election of a Russian to head Interpol.
Looks like neoliberalism cannot be defeated by and faction of the existing elite. Only when shepp oil end mant people will have a chance. The US , GB and EU are part of the wider hegemonic neoliberal system. In fact rejection of neoliberal globalization probably will lead to "national neoliberals" regime which would be a flavor of neo-fascism, no more no less.
Notable quotes:
"... The British state can maintain its spies' cover stories for centuries. ..."
"... I learnt how highly improbable left wing firebrand Simon Bracey-Lane just happened to be on holiday in the United States with available cash to fund himself, when he stumbled into the Bernie Sanders campaign. ..."
"... It is, to say the least, very interesting indeed that just a year later the left wing, "Corbyn and Sanders supporting" Bracey-Lane is hosting a very right wing event, "Cold War Then and Now", for the shadowy neo-con Institute for Statecraft, at which an entirely unbalanced panel of British military, NATO and Ukrainian nationalists extolled the virtues of re-arming against Russia. ..."
"... the MOD-sponsored Institute for Statecraft has been given millions of pounds of taxpayers' money by the FCO to spread covert disinformation and propaganda, particularly against Russia and the anti-war movement. Activities include twitter and facebook trolling and secretly paying journalists in "clusters of influence" around Europe. Anonymous helpfully leaked the Institute's internal documents. Some of the Integrity Initiative's thus exposed alleged covert agents, like David Aaronovitch, have denied any involvement despite their appearance in the documents, and others like Dan Kaszeta the US "novichok expert", have cheerfully admitted it. ..."
"... By sleuthing the company records of this "Scottish charity", and a couple of phone calls, I discovered that the actual location of the Institute for Statecraft is the basement of 2 Temple Place, London. This is not just any basement – it is the basement of the former London mansion of William Waldorf Astor, an astonishing building . It is, in short, possibly the most expensive basement in London. ..."
"... Which is interesting because the accounts of the Institute for Statecraft claim it has no permanent staff and show nothing for rent, utilities or office expenses. In fact, I understand the rent is paid by the Ministry of Defence. ..."
"... I have a great deal more to tell you about Mr Edney and his organisation next week, and the extraordinary covert disinformation war the British government wages online, attacking British citizens using British taxpayers' money. Please note in the interim I am not even a smidgeon suicidal, and going to be very, very careful crossing the road and am not intending any walks in the hills. ..."
"... I am not alleging Mr Bracey-Lane is an intelligence service operative who previously infiltrated the Labour Party and the Sanders campaign. He may just be a young man of unusually heterodox and vacillating political opinions. He may be an undercover reporter for the Canary infiltrating the Institute for Statecraft. All these things are possible, and I have no firm information. ..."
"... one of the activities the Integrity Initiative sponsors happens to be the use of online trolls to ridicule the idea that the British security services ever carry out any kind of infiltration, false flag or agent provocateur operations, despite the fact that we even have repeated court judgements against undercover infiltration officers getting female activists pregnant. The Integrity Initiative offers us a glimpse into the very dirty world of surveillance and official disinformation. If we actually had a free media, it would be the biggest story of the day ..."
"... As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier. ..."
"... You can bank on continued ramping up of Russophobia to supply "the enemy". ..."
Dec 13, 2018 | craigmurray.org.uk

in Uncategorized by craig

The British state can maintain its spies' cover stories for centuries. Look up Eldred Pottinger, who for 180 years appears in scores of British history books – right up to and including William Dalrymple's Return of the King – as a British officer who chanced to be passing Herat on holiday when it came under siege from a partly Russian-officered Persian army, and helped to organise the defences. In researching Sikunder Burnes, I discovered and published from the British Library incontrovertible and detailed documentary evidence that Pottinger's entire journey was under the direct instructions of, and reporting to, British spymaster Alexander Burnes. The first historian to publish the untrue "holiday" cover story, Sir John Kaye, knew both Burnes and Pottinger and undoubtedly knew he was publishing lying propaganda. Every other British historian of the First Afghan War (except me and latterly Farrukh Husain) has just followed Kaye's official propaganda.

Some things don't change. I was irresistibly reminded of Eldred Pottinger just passing Herat on holiday, when I learnt how highly improbable left wing firebrand Simon Bracey-Lane just happened to be on holiday in the United States with available cash to fund himself, when he stumbled into the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Recent university graduate Simon Bracey-Lane took it even further. Originally from Wimbledon in London, he was inspired to rejoin the Labour party in September when Corbyn was elected leader. But by that point, he was already in the US on holiday. So he joined the Sanders campaign, and never left.
"I had two weeks left and some money left, so I thought, Fuck it, I'll make some calls for Bernie Sanders," he explains. "I just sort of knew Des Moines was the place, so I just turned up at their HQ, started making phone calls, and then became a fully fledged field organiser."

It is, to say the least, very interesting indeed that just a year later the left wing, "Corbyn and Sanders supporting" Bracey-Lane is hosting a very right wing event, "Cold War Then and Now", for the shadowy neo-con Institute for Statecraft, at which an entirely unbalanced panel of British military, NATO and Ukrainian nationalists extolled the virtues of re-arming against Russia.

Nor would it seem likely that Bracey-Lane would be involved with the Integrity Initiative. Even the mainstream media has been forced to give a few paragraphs to the outrageous Integrity Initiative, under which the MOD-sponsored Institute for Statecraft has been given millions of pounds of taxpayers' money by the FCO to spread covert disinformation and propaganda, particularly against Russia and the anti-war movement. Activities include twitter and facebook trolling and secretly paying journalists in "clusters of influence" around Europe. Anonymous helpfully leaked the Institute's internal documents. Some of the Integrity Initiative's thus exposed alleged covert agents, like David Aaronovitch, have denied any involvement despite their appearance in the documents, and others like Dan Kaszeta the US "novichok expert", have cheerfully admitted it.

The mainstream media have tracked down the HQ of the "Institute for Statecraft" to a derelict mill near Auchtermuchty. It is owned by one of the company directors, Daniel Lafayeedney, formerly of D Squadron 23rd SAS Regiment and later of Military Intelligence (and incidentally born the rather more prosaic Daniel Edney).

By sleuthing the company records of this "Scottish charity", and a couple of phone calls, I discovered that the actual location of the Institute for Statecraft is the basement of 2 Temple Place, London. This is not just any basement – it is the basement of the former London mansion of William Waldorf Astor, an astonishing building. It is, in short, possibly the most expensive basement in London.

Which is interesting because the accounts of the Institute for Statecraft claim it has no permanent staff and show nothing for rent, utilities or office expenses. In fact, I understand the rent is paid by the Ministry of Defence.

Having been told where the Institute for Statecraft skulk, I tipped off journalist Kit Klarenberg of Sputnik Radio to go and physically check it out. Kit did so and was aggressively ejected by that well-known Corbyn and Sanders supporter, Simon Bracey-Lane. It does seem somewhat strange that our left wing hero is deeply embedded in an organisation that launches troll attacks on Jeremy Corbyn.

I have a great deal more to tell you about Mr Edney and his organisation next week, and the extraordinary covert disinformation war the British government wages online, attacking British citizens using British taxpayers' money. Please note in the interim I am not even a smidgeon suicidal, and going to be very, very careful crossing the road and am not intending any walks in the hills.

I am not alleging Mr Bracey-Lane is an intelligence service operative who previously infiltrated the Labour Party and the Sanders campaign. He may just be a young man of unusually heterodox and vacillating political opinions. He may be an undercover reporter for the Canary infiltrating the Institute for Statecraft. All these things are possible, and I have no firm information.

But one of the activities the Integrity Initiative sponsors happens to be the use of online trolls to ridicule the idea that the British security services ever carry out any kind of infiltration, false flag or agent provocateur operations, despite the fact that we even have repeated court judgements against undercover infiltration officers getting female activists pregnant. The Integrity Initiative offers us a glimpse into the very dirty world of surveillance and official disinformation. If we actually had a free media, it would be the biggest story of the day.

As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier.

You can bank on continued ramping up of Russophobia to supply "the enemy".

As both Scottish Independence and Jeremy Corbyn are viewed as real threats by the British Establishment, you can anticipate every possible kind of dirty trick in the next couple of years, with increasing frequency and audacity

[Nov 27, 2018] The political fraud of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal"

Highly recommended!
After Democratic party was co-opted by neoliberals there is no way back. And since Obama the trend of Democratic Party is toward strengthening the wing of CIA-democratic notthe wing of the party friendly to workers. Bought by Wall Street leadership is uncable of intruting any change that undermine thier current neoliberal platform. that's why they criminally derailed Sanders.
Notable quotes:
"... When you think about the issue of how exactly a clean-energy jobs program would address the elephant in the room of private accumulation and how such a program, under capitalism, would be able to pay living wages to the people put to work under it, it exposes how non threatening these Green New Deals actually are to capitalism. ..."
"... To quote Trotsky, "These people are capable of and ready for anything!" ..."
"... "Any serious measures to stop global warming, let alone assure a job and livable wage to everyone, would require a massive redistribution of wealth and the reallocation of trillions currently spent on US imperialism's neo-colonial wars abroad." ..."
"... "It includes various left-sounding rhetoric, but is entirely directed to and dependent upon the Democratic Party." ..."
"... "And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war." - New York Times tries to shame "disillusioned young voters" into supporting the Democrats ..."
"... It is an illusion that technical innovation within the capitalist system will magically fundamentally resolve the material problems produced by capitalism. But the inconvenient facts are entirely ignored by the corporate shills in the DSA and the whole lot of establishment politicians, who prefer to indulge their addiction to wealth and power with delusions of grandeur, technological utopianism, and other figments that serve the needs of their class. ..."
"... First it was Obama with his phoney "hope and change" that lured young voters to the Dumbicrats and now it's Ocacia Cortez promising a "green deal" in order to herd them back into the Democratic party--a total fraud of course--totally obvious! ..."
"... from Greenwald: The Democratic Party's deceitful game https://www.salon.com/2010/... ..."
Nov 27, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Raymond Colison4 days ago

they literally ripped this out of the 2016 Green Party platform. Jill Stein spoke repeatedly about the same exact kind of Green New Deal, a full-employment, transition-to-100%-renewables program that would supposedly solve all the world's problems.

When you think about the issue of how exactly a clean-energy jobs program would address the elephant in the room of private accumulation and how such a program, under capitalism, would be able to pay living wages to the people put to work under it, it exposes how non threatening these Green New Deals actually are to capitalism.

In 2016, when the Greens made this their central economic policy proposal, the Democrats responded by calling that platform irresponsible and dangerous ("even if it's a good idea, you can't actually vote for a non-two-party candidate!"). Why would they suddenly find a green new deal appealing now except for its true purpose: left cover for the very system destroying the planet.

To quote Trotsky, "These people are capable of and ready for anything!"

Greg4 days ago
"Any serious measures to stop global warming, let alone assure a job and livable wage to everyone, would require a massive redistribution of wealth and the reallocation of trillions currently spent on US imperialism's neo-colonial wars abroad."

Their political position not only lacks seriousness, unserious is their political position.

"It includes various left-sounding rhetoric, but is entirely directed to and dependent upon the Democratic Party."

For subjective-idealists, what you want to believe, think and feel is just so much more convincing than objective reality. Especially when it covers over single-minded class interests at play.

"And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war." - New York Times tries to shame "disillusioned young voters" into supporting the Democrats

Penny Smith4 days ago
It is an illusion that technical innovation within the capitalist system will magically fundamentally resolve the material problems produced by capitalism. But the inconvenient facts are entirely ignored by the corporate shills in the DSA and the whole lot of establishment politicians, who prefer to indulge their addiction to wealth and power with delusions of grandeur, technological utopianism, and other figments that serve the needs of their class.
Jim Bergren4 days ago
First it was Obama with his phoney "hope and change" that lured young voters to the Dumbicrats and now it's Ocacia Cortez promising a "green deal" in order to herd them back into the Democratic party--a total fraud of course--totally obvious!

Only an International Socialist program led by Workers can truly lead a "green revolution" by expropriating the billionaire oil barons of their capital and redirecting that wealth into the socialist reconstruction of the entire economy.

Master Oroko4 days ago
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's "Green New Deal" is a nice laugh. Really, it sure is funny hearing these lies given any credence at all. This showmanship belongs in a fantasy book, not in real life. The Democratic Party as a force for good social change Now that's a laugh!
Vivek Jain4 days ago
from Greenwald: The Democratic Party's deceitful game https://www.salon.com/2010/...
лидия5 days ago
"Greenwashing" of capitalism (and also of Zionist apartheid colony in Palestine) is but one of dirty tricks by Dems and their "left" backers.
Kalen5 days ago
Lies, empty promises, meaningless tautologies and morality plays, qualified and conditional declarations to be backpedalled pending appropriate political expediencies, devoid any practical content that is what AOC, card carrying member of DSA, and in fact young energetic political apparatchik of calcified political body of Dems establishment, duty engulfs. And working for socialist revolution is no one of them.

What kind of socialist would reject socialist revolution, class struggle and class emancipation and choose, as a suppose socialist path, accommodation with oligarchic ruling elite via political, not revolutionary process that would have necessarily overthrown ruling elite.

What socialist would acquiesce to legalized exploitation of people for profit, legalized greed and inequality and would negotiate away fundamental principle of egalitarianism and working people self rule?

Only National Socialist would; and that is exactly what AOC campaign turned out to be all about.

National Socialism with imperial flavor is her affiliation and what her praises for Pelosi, wife of a billionaire and dead warmonger McCain proved.

Now she is peddling magical thinking about global change and plunge herself into falacy of entrepreneurship, Market solution to the very problem that the market solutions were designed to create and aggravate namely horrific inequality that is robbing people from their own opportunities to mitigate devastating effects of global change.

The insidiousness of phony socialists expresses itself in the fact that they lie that any social problem can be fixed by current of future technical means, namely via so called technological revolution instead by socialist revolution they deem unnecessary or detrimental.

Me at home Kalen4 days ago
The technical means for achieving socialism has existed since the late 19th century, with the telegraph, the coal-powered factory, and modern fertilizer. The improvements since then have only made socialism even more streamlined and efficient, if such technologies could only be liberated from capital! The idea that "we need a new technological revolution just to achieve socialism" reflects the indoctrination in capitalism by many "socialist" theorists because it is only in capitalism where "technological growth" is essential simply to maintain the system. It is only in capitalism (especially America, the most advanced capitalist nation, and thus, the one where capitalism is actually closest towards total crisis) where the dogma of a technological savior is most entrenched because America cannot offer any other kind of palliative to the more literate and productive sections of its population. Religion will not convince most and any attempt at a sociological or economic understanding would inevitably prove the truth of socialism.

[Nov 12, 2018] The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation graveyard of social protest movements, and for good reason

Highly recommended!
The Democrats are politically responsible for the rise of Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump. ..."
"... The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man." ..."
"... This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers. ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Pelosi's deputy in the House, Steny Hoyer, sums up the right-wing policies of the Democrats, declaring: "His [Trump's] objectives are objectives that we share. If he really means that, then there is an opening for us to work together."

So much for the moral imperative of voting for the Democrats to stop Trump! As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump.

The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man."

This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers.

The same process is taking place internationally. While strikes and other expressions of working class opposition are growing and broad masses are moving to the left, the right-wing policies of supposedly "left" establishment parties are enabling far-right and neo-fascist forces to gain influence and power in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Poland to Brazil.

As for Gay's injunction to vote "pragmatically," this is a crude promotion of the bankrupt politics that are brought forward in every election to keep workers tied to the capitalist two-party system. "You have only two choices. That is the reality, whether you like it or not." And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war.

The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation "graveyard of social protest movements," and for good reason. From the Populist movement of the late 19th century, to the semi-insurrectional industrial union movement of the 1930s, to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the mass anti-war protest movements of the 1960s and the eruption of international protests against the Iraq War in the early 2000s -- every movement against the depredations of American capitalism has been aborted and strangled by being channeled behind the Democratic Party.

[Nov 07, 2018] There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9? ..."
"... So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.) ..."
"... I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense. ..."
"... If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. ..."
"... They claim there's a difference between the two parties? ..."
"... But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general. ..."
"... Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Debsisdead | Nov 7, 2018 6:19:36 AM | 9

It's not even decent theatre. Drama is much lacking, character development zilch. The outcome that dems take congress,& rethugs improve in senate is exactly as was predicted months ago.

The dems reveal once again exactly how mendacious and uncaring of the population they are. Nothing matters other than screwing more cash outta anyone who wants anything done so that the DC trough stays full with the usual crew of 4th & 5th generation wannabe dem pols guzzling hard at the corporate funded 'dem aligned' think tanks which generate much hot air yet never deliver. Hardly suprising given that actually doing something to show they give a sh1t about the citizenry would annoy the donor who would give em all the boot, making all these no-hopers have to take up a gig actually practising law.

These are people whose presence at the best law schools in the country prevented many who wanted to be y'know lawyers from entering Harvard, Cornell etc law school. "one doesn't go to law school to become a lawyer It too hard to even pull down a mil a year as a brief, nah, I studied the law to learn how to make laws that actually do the opposite of what they seem to. That is where the real dough is."

Those who think that is being too hard on the dem slugs, should remember that the rethugs they have been indoctrinated to detest act pretty much as printed on the side of the can. They advertise a service of licking rich arseholes and that is exactly what they do. As venal and sociopathic as they are, at least they don't pretend to be something else; so while there is no way one could vote for anyone spouting republican nonsense at least they don't hide their greed & corruption under a veneer of pseudo-humanist nonsense. Dems cry for the plight of the poverty stricken then they slash welfare.

Or dems sob about the hard row african americans must hoe, then go off to the house of reps to pass laws to keep impoverished african americans slotted up in an over crowded prison for the rest of his/her life.

Not only deceitful and vicious, 100% pointless since any Joe/Jo that votes on the basis of wanting to see more blackfellas incarcerated is always gonna tick the rethug box anyhow.

Yeah- yeah we know all this so what?

This is what - the dems broke their arses getting tens of millions of young first time voters out to "exercise their democratic prerogative" for the first time. Dems did this knowing full well that there would be no effective opposition to rethug demands for more domestic oppression, that in fact it is practically guaranteed that should the trump and the rethug senate require it, in order to ensure something particularly nasty gets passed, that sufficient dem congress people will 'cross the floor' to make certain the bill does get up.

Of course the dems in question will allude to 'folks back home demanding' that the dem slug does vote with the nasties, but that is the excuse, the reality is far too many dem pols are as bigoted greedy and elitist as the worst rethugs.

Anyway the upshot of persuading so many kids to get out and vote, so the kids do but the dems are content to just do more of the same, will be another entire generation lost to elections forever.

If the DNC had been less greedy and more strategic they would have kept their powder dry and hung off press-ganging the kids until getting such a turnout could have resulted in genuine change, prez 2020' or whenever, would be actual success for pols and voters.

But they didn't and wouldn't ever, since for a dem pol, hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens living on the street isn't nearly as problematic for them, as the dem wannabe pol paying off the mortgage on his/her DC townhouse by 2020, something that would have been impossible if they hadn't taken congress as all the 'patrons' would have jerked back their cash figuring there is no gain giving dosh to losers who couldn't win a bar raffle.

As for that Sharice Davids - a total miss she needed to be either a midget or missing an arm or leg to qualify as the classic ID dem pol. Being a native american lezzo just doesn't tick enough boxes. I predict a not in the least illustrious career since she cannot even qualify as the punchline in a circa 1980's joke.

Anton Worter , Nov 7, 2018 11:13:25 AM | link

@9

As you said, nothing will get out of the House, Pelosi can't lead. They can easily swing 3 Democrats, then Mike Pence puts the hammer down. If anything manages to crawl through, it won't even be brought to a vote in the Republican Senate. Trump can still us his bully pulpit to circle the White wagons, fly in even more than his current 1,125,000 H-visa aliens, and No Taxes for the Rich is now engraved in stone for the Pharoahs.

The imminent $1,500B Omnibus Deficit Bill Three will be lauded as a 'bipartisan solution' by both houses, and 2020 looks to be a $27,000B illegal, onerous, odious National Debt open Civil War.

There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9?

Smart money is moving toward the exits. This shyte is gonna blow. Let's move to Australia, before it becomes part of Xi's PRC String of Girls.

ken | Nov 7, 2018 12:44:13 PM | 69

Reading most of the comments explaining how the D's won/lost,,, the R's won/lost,,, Trump and company won/lost,,, but couldn't find one post about how America is losing due to the two suffocating party's and a greedy, disunited, selfish, electorate that wants it all free.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the Majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury,,,,,,, After that the Majority always votes for the candidate 'promising the most' ,,,,,,,
Alex Fraser.

The US, and West in general, is proof positive.

Russ | Nov 7, 2018 7:48:10 AM | 17

So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.)

It's no big surprise. Last two years it's been the normally self-assured Republicans who, because of their ambivalence about Trump, have uncharacteristically taken on the usual Democrat role of existential confusion and doubt. Meanwhile the Democrats, in a berserk batsh$t-insane way, have been more motivated and focused.

So what are these Democrats going to do with this control now that they have it?

I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense.

If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. And as for things which are technically only in the power of the Senate such as confirming appointments, here's the chance for the House to put public moral pressure on Democrats in the Senate. And there's plenty of back-door ways an activist House can influence Senate business. Only morbid pedantry, so typical of liberal Dembots, babbles about what the technical powers of this or that body are. The real world doesn't work that way. To the extent I pay attention at all to Senate affairs it'll be to see what the House is doing about it.

They claim there's a difference between the two parties? And they claim Trump is an incipient fascist dictator? In that case there's a lot at stake, and extreme action is called for. Let's see what kind of action we get from their "different" party in control of the House.

But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general.

Nor will any of these new-fangled fake "socialist" types take any action to change things one iota. Within the House Democrats, they could take action, form any and every kind of coalition, to obstruct the corporate-Pelosi leadership faction. They will not do so. This "new" progressive bloc will be just as fake as the old one.

Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake.

[Nov 05, 2018] Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power" warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner's sadistic leer

Highly recommended!
Nov 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

Extracted from Scum vs. Scum by Chris Hedge

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

The Democrats, who refuse to address the social inequality they helped orchestrate and that has given rise to Trump, are the party of racial and ethnic inclusivity, identity politics, Wall Street and the military. Their core battle cry is: We are not Trump! This is ultimately a losing formula. It was adopted by Hillary Clinton, who is apparently weighing another run for the presidency after we thought we had thrust a stake through her political heart. It is the agenda of the well-heeled East Coast and West Coast elites who want to instill corporate fascism with a friendly face.

Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power" warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner's sadistic leer. Janus-like, fascism seeks to present itself to a captive public as a force for good and moral renewal. It promises protection against enemies real and invented. But denounce its ideology, challenge its power, demand freedom from fascism's iron grip, and you are mercilessly crushed. Gross knew that if the United States' form of fascism, expressed through corporate tyranny, was able to effectively mask its true intentions behind its "friendly" face we would be stripped of power, shorn of our most cherished rights and impoverished. He has been proved correct.

"Looking at the present, I see a more probable future: a new despotism creeping slowly across America," Gross wrote. "Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion."

No totalitarian state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events. We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political campaigns. Trump is a master of this form of entertainment. Our emotional and intellectual energy is swallowed up by the modern equivalent of the Roman arena. Choreographed political vaudeville, which costs corporations billions of dollars, is called free elections. Cliché-ridden slogans, which assure us that the freedoms we cherish remain sacrosanct, dominate our national discourse as these freedoms are stripped from us by judicial and legislative fiat. It is a vast con game.

You cannot use the word "liberty" when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours a day and stores all of your personal information in government computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word "liberty" when you are the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You cannot use the word "liberty" when it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word "liberty" when the state empowers militarized police to use indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of American cities. You cannot use the word "liberty" when 2.3 million citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. The choice is between whom we want to clamp on our chains -- a jailer who mouths politically correct bromides or a racist, Christian fascist. Either way we are shackled.

Gross understood that unchecked corporate power would inevitably lead to corporate fascism. It is the natural consequence of the ruling ideology of neoliberalism that consolidates power and wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs. The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin , refining Gross' thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as "inverted totalitarianism." It was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent. Gross warned that we were being shackled incrementally. Most would not notice until they were in total bondage. He wrote that "a friendly fascist power structure in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or today's Japan would be far more sophisticated than the 'caesarism' of fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan. It would need no charismatic dictator nor even a titular head it would require no one-party rule, no mass fascist party, no glorification of the State, no dissolution of legislatures, no denial of reason. Rather, it would come slowly as an outgrowth of present trends in the Establishment."

Gross foresaw that technological advances in the hands of corporations would be used to trap the public in what he called "cultural ghettoization" so that "almost every individual would get a personalized sequence of information injections at any time of the day -- or night." This is what, of course, television, our electronic devices and the internet have done. He warned that we would be mesmerized by the entertaining shadows on the wall of the Platonic cave as we were enslaved.

Gross knew that the most destructive force against the body politic would be the war profiteers and the militarists. He saw how they would siphon off the resources of the state to wage endless war, a sum that now accounts for half of all discretionary spending. And he grasped that warfare is the natural extension of corporatism. He wrote:

Under the militarism of German, Italian, and Japanese fascism violence was openly glorified. It was applied regionally -- by the Germans in Europe and England, the Italians in the Mediterranean, the Japanese in Asia. In battle, it was administered by professional militarists who, despite many conflicts with politicians, were guided by old-fashioned standards of duty, honor, country, and willingness to risk their own lives.

The emerging militarism of friendly fascism is somewhat different. It is global in scope. It involves weapons of doomsday proportions, something that Hitler could dream of but never achieve. It is based on an integration between industry, science, and the military that the old-fashioned fascists could never even barely approximate. It points toward equally close integration among military, paramilitary, and civilian elements. Many of the civilian leaders -- such as Zbigniew Brzezinski or Paul Nitze -- tend to be much more bloodthirsty than any top brass. In turn, the new-style military professionals tend to become corporate-style entrepreneurs who tend to operate -- as Major Richard A. Gabriel and Lieutenant Colonel Paul L. Savage have disclosed -- in accordance with the ethics of the marketplace. The old buzzwords of duty, honor, and patriotism are mainly used to justify officer subservience to the interests of transnational corporations and the continuing presentation of threats to some corporate investments as threats to the interest of the American people as a whole. Above all, in sharp contrast with classic fascism's glorification of violence, the friendly fascist orientation is to sanitize, even hide, the greater violence of modern warfare behind such "value-free" terms as "nuclear exchange," "counterforce" and "flexible response," behind the huge geographical distances between the senders and receivers of destruction through missiles or even on the "automated battlefield," and the even greater psychological distances between the First World elites and the ordinary people who might be consigned to quick or slow death.

We no longer live in a functioning democracy. Self-styled liberals and progressives, as they do in every election cycle, are urging us to vote for the Democrats, although the Democratic Party in Europe would be classified as a right-wing party, and tell us to begin to build progressive movements the day after the election. Only no one ever builds these movements. The Democratic Party knows there is no price to pay for selling us out and its abject service to corporations. It knows the left and liberals become supplicants in every election cycle. And this is why the Democratic Party drifts further and further to the right and we become more and more irrelevant. If you stand for something, you have to be willing to fight for it. But there is no fight in us.

The elites, Republican and Democrat, belong to the same club. We are not in it. Take a look at the flight roster of the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein , who was accused of prostituting dozens of underage girls and ended up spending 13 months in prison on a single count. He flew political insiders from both parties and the business world to his secluded Caribbean island, known as "Orgy Island," on his jet, which the press nicknamed "the Lolita Express." Some of the names on his flight roster, which usually included unidentified women, were Bill Clinton, who took dozens of trips, Alan Dershowitz , former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President Larry Summers, the Candide -like Steven Pinker , whose fairy dust ensures we are getting better and better, and Britain's Prince Andrew. Epstein was also a friend of Trump, whom he visited at Mar-a-Lago.

We live on the precipice, the eve of the deluge. Past civilizations have crumbled in the same way, although as Hegel understood, the only thing we learn from history is "that people and governments never have learned anything from history." We will not arrest the decline if the Democrats regain control of the House. At best we will briefly slow it. The corporate engines of pillage, oppression, ecocide and endless war are untouchable. Corporate power will do its dirty work regardless of which face -- the friendly fascist face of the Democrats or the demented visage of the Trump Republicans -- is pushed out front. If you want real change, change that means something, then mobilize, mobilize, mobilize, not for one of the two political parties but to rise up and destroy the corporate structures that ensure our doom.

[Nov 03, 2018] Kunstler The Midterm Endgame Democrats' Perpetual Hysteria

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Party split into a four-headed monster comprised of Wall Street patrons seeking favors, war hawks and their corporate allies looking for new global rumbles, the permanent bureaucracy looking to always expand itself, and the various ethnic and sexual minorities whose needs and grievances are serviced by that bureaucracy. It's the last group that has become the party's most public face while the party's other activities – many of them sinister -- remain at least partially concealed. ..."
"... the Republicans are being forced to engage on some real issues, such as the need for a coherent and effective immigration policy and the need to redefine formal trade relations. (Other issues like the insane system of medical racketeering and the deadly racket of the college loan industry just skate along on thin ice. And then, of course, there's the national debt and all its grotesque outgrowths.) ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has become the party of bad ideas and bad faith, starting with the position that "diversity and inclusion" means shutting down free speech, an unforgivable transgression against common sense and common decency. It's a party that lies even more systematically than Mr. Trump, and does so knowingly (as when Google execs say they "Do no Evil"). Its dirty secret is that it relishes coercion, it likes pushing people around, telling them what to think and how to act. Its idea of "social justice" is a campus kangaroo court, where due process of law is suspended. And it is deeply corrupt, with good old-fashioned grift, new-fashioned gross political misconduct in federal law enforcement, and utter intellectual depravity in higher education. ..."
"... I hope that the party is shoved into an existential crisis and is forced to confront its astounding dishonesty. I hope that the process prompts them to purge their leadership across the board. ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kunstler: The Midterm Endgame & Democrats' "Perpetual Hysteria"

by Tyler Durden Fri, 11/02/2018 - 17:05 44 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Back in the last century, when this was a different country, the Democrats were the "smart" party and the Republicans were the "stupid" party.

How did that work?

Well, back then the Democrats represented a broad middle class, with a base of factory workers, many of them unionized, and the party had to be smart, especially in the courts, to overcome the natural advantages of the owner class.

In contrast, the Republicans looked like a claque of country club drunks who staggered home at night to sleep on their moneybags. Bad optics, as we say nowadays.

The Democrats also occupied the moral high ground as the champion of the little guy. If not for the Dems, factory workers would be laboring twelve hours a day and children would still be maimed in the machinery. Once the relationship between business and labor was settled in the 1950s, the party moved on to a new crusade on even loftier moral high ground: civil rights, aiming to correct arrant and long-lived injustices against downtrodden black Americans. That was a natural move, considering America's self-proclaimed post-war status as the world's Beacon of Liberty. It had to be done and a political consensus that included Republicans got it done. Consensus was still possible.

The Dems built their fortress on that high ground and fifty years later they find themselves prisoners in it. The factory jobs all vamoosed overseas. The middle class has been pounded into penury and addiction.

The Democratic Party split into a four-headed monster comprised of Wall Street patrons seeking favors, war hawks and their corporate allies looking for new global rumbles, the permanent bureaucracy looking to always expand itself, and the various ethnic and sexual minorities whose needs and grievances are serviced by that bureaucracy. It's the last group that has become the party's most public face while the party's other activities – many of them sinister -- remain at least partially concealed.

The Republican Party has, at least, sobered up some after getting blindsided by Trump and Trumpism. Like a drunk out of rehab, it's attempting to get a life. Two years in, the party marvels at Mr. Trump's audacity, despite his obvious lack of savoir faire. And despite a longstanding lack of political will to face the country's problems, the Republicans are being forced to engage on some real issues, such as the need for a coherent and effective immigration policy and the need to redefine formal trade relations. (Other issues like the insane system of medical racketeering and the deadly racket of the college loan industry just skate along on thin ice. And then, of course, there's the national debt and all its grotesque outgrowths.)

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has become the party of bad ideas and bad faith, starting with the position that "diversity and inclusion" means shutting down free speech, an unforgivable transgression against common sense and common decency. It's a party that lies even more systematically than Mr. Trump, and does so knowingly (as when Google execs say they "Do no Evil"). Its dirty secret is that it relishes coercion, it likes pushing people around, telling them what to think and how to act. Its idea of "social justice" is a campus kangaroo court, where due process of law is suspended. And it is deeply corrupt, with good old-fashioned grift, new-fashioned gross political misconduct in federal law enforcement, and utter intellectual depravity in higher education.

I hope that Democrats lose as many congressional and senate seats as possible. I hope that the party is shoved into an existential crisis and is forced to confront its astounding dishonesty. I hope that the process prompts them to purge their leadership across the board. If there is anything to salvage in this organization, I hope it discovers aims and principles that are unrecognizable from its current agenda of perpetual hysteria. But if the party actually blows up and disappears, as the Whigs did a hundred and fifty years ago, I will be content. Out of the terrible turbulence, maybe something better will be born.

Or, there's the possibility that the dregs of a defeated Democratic Party will just go batshit crazy and use the last of its mojo to incite actual sedition. Of course, there's also a distinct possibility that the Dems will take over congress, in which case they'll ramp up an even more horrific three-ring-circus of political hysteria and persecution that will make the Spanish Inquisition look like a backyard barbeque. That will happen as the US enters the most punishing financial train wreck in our history, an interesting recipe for epic political upheaval.

[Oct 13, 2018] To paraphrase Stalin: They are both worse.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... literally putting thousands upon thousands of children in concentration camps ..."
Oct 13, 2018 | crookedtimber.org

nikbez 10.07.18 at 3:22 am ( 10 )

ph 10.07.18 at 1:20 am (5)

Changing the rules, talks of changing the constitution, and the status of the SC because Dems can't find a positive message, or a positive candidate, or persuade the candidate to recognize and reach out to voters the Democratic party abandoned, reeks of defeatism and worse.

Exactly.

Clinton neoliberals (aka soft neoliberals) still control the Democratic Party but no longer can attract working-class voters. That's why they try "identity wedge" strategy trying to compensate their loss with the rag tag minority groups.

Their imperial jingoism only makes the situation worse. Large swaths of the USA population, including lower middle class are tired of foreign wars and sliding standard of living. They see exorbitant military expenses as one of the causes of their troubles.

That's why Hillary got a middle finger from several social groups which previously supported Democrats. And that's why midterm might be interesting to watch as there is no political party that represents working class and lower middle class in the USA.

"Lesser evil" mantra stops working when people are really angry at the ruling neoliberal elite.

As Slavoj Žižek aptly said " To paraphrase Stalin: They are both worse." ( http://inthesetimes.com/features/zizek_clinton_trump_lesser_evil.html _


bob mcmanus 10.07.18 at 2:27 pm ( 25 ) ( 25 )

control of the Senate, a relentlessly undemocratic institution
likbez 10.08.18 at 6:24 am (no link)
I think the US society is entering a deep, sustained political crisis and it is unclear what can bring us back from it other then the collapse, USSR-style. The USA slide into corporate socialism (which might be viewed as a flavor of neofascism) can't be disputed.

Looks like all democracies are unstable and prone to self-destruction. In modern America, the elite do not care about lower 80% of the population, and is over-engaged in cynical identity politics, race and gender-mongering. Anything to win votes.

MSM is still cheering on military misadventures that kill thousands of Americans, impoverish millions, and cost trillions. Congress looks even worse. Republican House leader Paul Ryan looks like 100% pure bought-and-paid-for tool of multinational corporations

The scary thing for me is that the USA national problems are somewhat similar to the ones that the USSR experienced before the collapse. At least the level of degeneration of political elite of both parties (which in reality is a single party) is.

The only positive things is that there is viable alternative to neoliberalism on the horizon. But that does not mean that we can't experience 1930th on a new level again. Now several European countries such as Poland and Ukraine are already ruled by far right nationalist parties. Brazil is probably the next. So this or military rule in the USA is not out of question.

Ship of Fools is what the US empire and the US society looks like now. And that's not funny. Look at "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution" by Tucker Carlson hits the mark when he says that the career politicians and other elites in this country have put the USA on a path of self-destruction.

Some other factors are also in play: one is that a country with 320 million population can't be governed by the same methods as a country of 76 million (1900). End of cheap oil is near and probably will occur within the next 50 years or so. Which means the end of neoliberalism as we know it.

Tucker states that the USA's neoliberal elite acquired control of a massive chunk of the country's wealth. And then successfully insulated themselves from the hoi polloi. They send their children to the Ivy League universities, live in enclosed compounds with security guards, travel in helicopters, etc. Kind of like French aristocracy on a new level ("Let them eat cakes"). "There's nothing more infuriating to a ruling class than contrary opinions. They're inconvenient and annoying. They're evidence of an ungrateful population Above all, they constitute a threat to your authority." (insert sarcasm)

Donald Trump was in many ways an unappealing figure. He never hid that. Voters knew it. They just concluded that the options were worse -- and not just Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, but the Bush family and their donors and the entire Republican leadership, along with the hedge fund managers and media luminaries and corporate executives and Hollywood tastemakers and think tank geniuses and everyone else who created the world as it was in the fall of 2016: the people in charge. Trump might be vulgar and ignorant, but he wasn't responsible for the many disasters America's leaders created .

There was also the possibility that Trump might listen. At times he seemed interested in what voters thought. The people in charge demonstrably weren't. Virtually none of their core beliefs had majority support from the population they governed .Beginning on election night, they explained away their loss with theories as pat and implausible as a summer action movie: Trump won because fake news tricked simple minded voters. Trump won because Russian agents "hacked" the election. Trump won because mouth-breathers in the provinces were mesmerized by his gold jet and shiny cuff links.

From a reader review:

The New Elite speaks: "The Middle Class are losers and they have made bad choices, they haven't worked as hard as the New Elite have, they haven't gone to SAT Prep or LSAT prep so they lose, we win. We are the Elite and we know better than you because we got high SAT scores.

Do we have experience? Uh .well no, few of us have been in the military, pulled KP, shot an M-16 . because we are better than that. Like they say only the losers go in the military. We in the New Elite have little empirical knowledge but we can recognize patterns very quickly."

Just look at Haley behavior in the UN and Trump trade wars and many things became more clear. the bet is on destruction of existing international institutions in order to save the USA elite. A the same time Trump trade wars threaten the neoliberal order so this might well be a path to the USA self-destruction.

On Capital hill rancor, a lack of civility and derisive descriptions are everywhere. Respect has gone out the window. Left and right wings of a single neoliberal party (much like CPSU was in the USSR) behave like drunk schoolchildren. Level of pettiness is simply amazing.

Adam Roberts 10.08.18 at 8:14 am ( 39 )
The fundamental rule of democratic electoral politics is this: tribes don't win elections, coalitions do. Trump's appeal is strongly tribal, and he has spent two years consolidating his appeal to that tribe rather than reaching out. But he won in 2016 (or 'won') not on the strength of that tribal appeal, but because of a coalition between core Trumpists and more respectable conservatives and evangelicals, including a lot of people who find Trump himself vulgar and repellent, but who are prepared to hold their noses. The cause célèbre (or cause de l'infâme) that Kavanaugh's appointment became ended-up uniting these two groups; the Trumpists on the one hand ('so the Libs are saying we can't even enjoy a beer now, are they?') and the old-school religious Conservatives, for whom abortion is a matter of conscience.

Given the weird topographies of US democratic process, the Democrats need to build a bigger counter-coalition than the coalition they are opposing. Metropolitan liberals are in the bag, so that means reconnecting with the working class, and galvanising the black and youth votes, which have a poor record of converting social media anger into actual ballot-box votes. But it also means reaching out to moderate religious conservatives, and the Dems don't seem to me to have a strategy for this last approach at all. Which is odd, because it would surely, at least in some ways, be easier than persuading young people to vote at the levels old people vote. At the moment abortion (the elephant in the Kavanaugh-confirmation room) is handled by the Left as a simple matter of structural misogyny, the desire to oppress and control female bodies. I see why it is treated that way; there are good reasons for that critique. But it's electorally dumb. Come at it another way instead, accept that many religious people oppose abortion because they see it as killing children; then lead the campaign on the fact that the GOP is literally putting thousands upon thousands of children in concentration camps . Shout about that fact. Determine how many kids literally die each year because their parents can't access free healthcare and put that stat front and centre. Confront enough voters with the false consciousness of only caring about abortion and not these other monstrosities and some will reconsider their position.

And one more thing that I have never understood about the Dems (speaking as an outsider), given how large a political force Christianity is in your country: make more of Jimmy Carter. He's a man of extraordinary conscience as well as a man of faith; the contrast with how he has lived his post-Presidential life and the present occupier of the White House could hardly, from a Christian perspective, be greater. If the Dems can make a love-thy-neighbour social justice Christianity part of their brand, leaving Mammon to the GOP, then they'd be in power for a generation.

[Oct 02, 2018] Kavanaugh is the Wrong Nominee by Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers

Highly recommended!
Oct 02, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The Kavanaugh confirmation process has been a missed opportunity for the United States to face up to many urgent issues on which the bi-partisans in Washington, DC are united and wrong.

Kavanaugh's career as a Republican legal operative and judge supporting the power of corporations, the security state and abusive foreign policy should have been put on trial. The hearings could have provided an opportunity to confront the security state, use of torture, mass spying and the domination of money in politics and oligarchy as he has had an important role in each of these.

Kavanaugh's behavior as a teenager who likely drank too much and was inappropriately aggressive and abusive with women, perhaps even attempting rape, must also be confronted. In an era where patriarchy and mistreatment of women are being challenged, Kavanaugh is the wrong nominee for this important time. However, sexual assault should not be a distraction that keeps the public's focus off other issues raised by his career as a conservative political activist.

The Security State, Mass Spying and Torture

A central issue of our era is the US security state -- mass spying on emails, Internet activity, texts and phone calls. Judge Kavanough enabled invasive spying on everyone in the United States . He described mass surveillance as "entirely consistent" with the US Constitution. This manipulation of the law turns the Constitution upside down a it clearly requires probable cause and a search warrant for the government to conduct searches.

Kavanaugh explained in a decision, "national security . . . outweighs the impact on privacy occasioned by this [NSA] program." This low regard for protecting individual privacy should have been enough for a majority of the Senate to say this nominee is inappropriate for the court.

Kavanaugh ruled multiple times that police have the power to search people, emphasizing "reasonableness" as the standard for searching people. He ruled broadly for the police in searches conducted on the street without a warrant and for broader use of drug testing of federal employees. Kavanaugh applauded Justice Rehnquist's views on the Fourth Amendment, which favored police searches by defining probable cause in a flexible way and creating a broad exception for when the government has "special needs" to search without a warrant or probable cause. In this era of police abuse through stop and frisk, jump out squads and searches when driving (or walking or running) while black, Kavanaugh is the wrong nominee and should be disqualified.

Kavanaugh also played a role in the Bush torture policy. Torture is against US and international law , certainly facilitating torture should be disqualifying not only as a justice but should result in disbarment as a lawyer . Kavanaugh was appointed by President Trump, who once vowed he would "bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding." Minimizing torture is demonstrated in his rulings, e.g. not protecting prisoners at risk of torture and not allowing people to sue the government on allegations of torture.

Torture is a landmine in the Senate, so Kavanaugh misled the Senate likely committing perjury on torture . In his 2006 confirmation, he said he was "not involved" in "questions about the rules governing detention of combatants." Tens of thousands of documents have been kept secret by the White House about Kavanaugh from the Bush era. Even so, during these confirmation hearings documents related to the nomination of a lawyer involved in the torture program showed Kavanaugh's role in torture policies leading Senator Dick Durbin to write : "It is clear now that not only did Judge Kavanaugh mislead me when it came to his involvement in the Bush Administration's detention and interrogation policies, but also regarding his role in the controversial Haynes nomination."

Durbin spoke more broadly about perjury writing: "This is a theme that we see emerge with Judge Kavanaugh time and time again – he says one thing under oath, and then the documents tell a different story. It is no wonder the White House and Senate Republicans are rushing through this nomination and hiding much of Judge Kavanaugh's record -- the questions about this nominee's credibility are growing every day." The long list of perjury allegations should be investigated and if proven should result in him not being confirmed.

This should have been enough to stop the process until documents were released to reveal Kavanaugh's role as Associate White House Counsel under George Bush from 2001 to 2003 and as his White House Staff Secretary from 2003 to 2006. Unfortunately, Democrats have been complicit in allowing torture as well, e.g. the Obama administration never prosecuted anyone accused of torture and advanced the careers of people involved in torture.

Shouldn't the risk of having a torture facilitator on the Supreme Court be enough to stop this nomination?

Corporate Power vs Protecting People and the Planet

In this era of corporate power, Kavanaugh sides with the corporations. Ralph Nader describes him as a corporation masquerading as a judge . He narrowly limited the powers of federal agencies to curtail corporate power and to protect the interests of the people and planet.

This is evident in cases where Kavanaugh has favored reducing restrictions on polluting corporations. He dissented in cases where the majority ruled in favor of environmental protection but has never dissented where the majority ruled against protecting the environment. He ruled against agencies seeking to protect clean air and water. If Kavanaugh is on the court, it will be much harder to hold corporations responsible for the damage they have done to the climate, the environment or health.

Kavanaugh takes the side of businesses over their workers with a consistent history of anti-union and anti-labor rulings. A few examples of many, he ruled in favor of the Trump Organizatio n throwing out the results of a union election, sided with the management of Sheldon Adelson's Venetian Casino Resort upholding the casino's First Amendment right to summon police against workers engaged in a peaceful demonstration -- for which they had a permit, affirmed the Department of Defense's discretion to negate the collective bargaining rights of employees, and overturned an NLRB ruling that allowed Verizon workers to display pro-union signs on company property despite having given up the right to picket in their collective bargaining agreement. In this time of labor unrest and mistreatment of workers, Kavanaugh will be a detriment to workers rights.

Kavanough opposed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling in favor of net neutrality, which forbids telecom companies from discrimination on the Internet. He argued net neutrality violated the First Amendment rights of Internet Service Providers (ISP) and was beyond the power granted to the FCC. He put the rights of big corporations ahead of the people having a free and open Internet. The idea that an ISP has a right to control what it allows on the Internet could give corporations great control over what people see on the Internet. It is a very dangerous line of reasoning in this era of corporations curtailing news that challenges the mainstream narrative.

In 2016, Kavanaugh was asked if he believed that money spent during campaigns represents speech, and is protected by the First Amendment and answered: " Absolutely. " Kavanaugh joined in decisions and wrote opinions consistent with efforts to oppose any attempt by Congress or the Federal Elections Commission to restrict campaign contributions or expenditures. His view that free speech allows unrestricted money in elections will add to the avalanche of big money politics . Wealthy elites and big corporations will have even greater influence with Kavanaugh on the court.

Kavanaugh will be friendly to powerful business and the interests of the wealthy on the Supreme Court, and will tend to stand in the way of efforts by administrative agencies to regulate them and by people seeking greater rights.

Women's Rights, Abortion and Sexual Assault

Judge Kavanaugh has not ruled on Roe v. Wade and whether the constitution protects a woman's right to have an abortion. In 2017, Kavanaugh gave a Constitution Day lecture to the conservative American Enterprise Institute where he praised Justice Rehnquist and one of the cases he focused on was his dissent in Roe. Rehnquist opposed making abortion constitutionally protected, writing, it was not "rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people." Shortly after that speech, Kavanaugh wrote a dissent that argued an immigrant minor in government detention did not have a right to obtain an abortion .

On the third day of his confirmation hearings, Judge Brett Kavanaugh seemed to refer to the use of contraception as "abortion-inducing drugs ." It was a discussion of a case where Kavanaugh dissented from the majority involving the Priests for Life's challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Kavanaugh opposed the requirement that all health plans cover birth control, claiming that IUDs and emergency contraception were an infringement of their free exercise of religion.

Kavanaugh clerked for Judge Kosinski who he describes as a mentor. Kosinski was forced to resign after being accused of harassing at least 12 women in the sanctity of his judicial chambers. Kavanaugh swears he never saw any signs that the judge was sexually harassing women, but the Democrats did not ask a single question about it.

Multiple accusers have come forward to allege Kavanaugh's involvement in sexual assault and abuse. While Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is viewed as credible – she was the only witness allowed to testify – it is not clear these allegations will be thoroughly reviewed. After being approved by the committee, the Republican leadership and President Trump agreed on a limited FBI investigation. It is unclear whether the FBI will be allowed to follow all the evidence and question all the witnesses. As we write this newsletter, the outcome has yet to unfold but Jeffrey St. Clair at Countpunch points out, "the FBI investigation will be overseen by director Christopher Wray, who was two years behind Brett-boy at both Yale and Yale Law. After graduation, they entered the same rightwing political orbit and both took jobs in the Bush Administration. How do you think it's going to turn out?"

Why don't Democrats, as Ralph Nader suggests , hold their own hearing and question all the witnesses? If there is corroborating evidence for the accusers, Kavanaugh should not be approved.

A Republican Political Operative As A Justice?

Kavanaugh has been a legal operative for the Republican Party involved in many high profile partisan legal battles. He spent three years working for Ken Starr on the impeachment of Bill Clinton where he pressed Starr to ask Clinton sexually graphic details about his relationship with Monica Lewinisky. He tried to expand the Starr investigation into the death of Vince Foster, whose death had been ruled a suicide. He was a lead author of the infamous Starr Report -- widely criticized as "strain[ing] credulity" and being based on "shaky allegations."

Kavanaugh was one of George W. Bush's lawyers in the litigation after the election in 2000, which sought to block a recount of ballots in Florida, resulting in a decision that handed the presidential election to Bush . In the Bush administration, he was involved in pushing for conservative judges as well as controversial policies like torture.

During his confirmation process, in response to the accusations of assault, he claimed they were "a calculated and orchestrated political hit" and "revenge on behalf of the Clinton's." He demonstrated partisan anger and displayed a lack of judicial temperament, making him unfit to serve on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh exposes the true partisan nature of the highest court, which is not a neutral arbiter but another battleground for partisan politics. The lack of debate on issues of spying, torture and more shows both parties support a court that protects the security state and corporate interests over people and planet. Accusations of sexual assault must be confronted, but there are many reasons Kavanaugh should not be on the court. The confirmation process undermines the court's legitimacy and highlights bi-partisan corruption.

[Aug 18, 2018] Sanders behaviour during election is suspect, unless you assume he acted as sheep dog for hillary

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Why didn't Sanders complain about DNC-Hillary collusion (he knew about it well before she captured the nomination - MSM didn't publicize it until after she had won). ..."
"... Why didn't Sanders make a big deal of Hillary's winning 6 of 6 coin tosses during the Iowa primaries. Character was an issue from the start of the race. Trump would later lambast "crooked Hillary". ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Aug 17, 2018 8:59:57 PM | 48

lysias @41

There were only two populists in the race: Trump and Sanders. One on Hillary's left (sheep-dogging voters to Hillary) and one on Hillary's right (Trump).

Why did any of the other 18 republicans turn populist? Why didn't they wait so long to complain about the coverage being provided to Trump?

Why were Republicans so adamantly against Trump after he won the nomination? Many said that they prefered Hillary - whom they had claimed to hate so much only months before? Answer: Trump had to be an outsider. That's what makes the populist so compelling. He has to be seen as taking on the establishment.

After such a contentious race, why did Trump quickly say that there would be no prosecution of Hillary? He has proven to be petty and vain yet he was so quick to forgive the Clintons?

Why did Trump wait so long to fire Comey? It's almost like it was timed for Comey to hand the baton to a special prosecutor.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Here's a few more questions (of many many other questions)

dumbass , Aug 17, 2018 9:41:12 PM | 53

>> Why did/didn't Sanders

Good questions. Asking them sequentially leads even a dumbass like me to conclude Sanders is a fraud.

Unfortunately, most Sanders supporters probably don't remember the issues long enough to reevaluate them collectively. Each issue appears to them during "the news cycle" as some one-off foible -- considered as misdemeanors and then forgotten before the next one occurs and thus never assembled mentally as evidence for a larger felony case.

[Jun 26, 2018] Identity politics has always served as a diversion for elites to pursue stealth neoliberal policies like decreasing public spending. Fake austerity is necessary for pursuing neoliberal privatization of public enterprises

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... In a mature society, it would not matter if someone was black, white, gay, Jewish, young, old, whatever but what policies they bring to the party. This article, going out of its way to label Nixon as LGBT and Sanders as Jewish, really only means that they are letting the other side set the rules and that is never a winning position. Unfortunately we do not live in a mature society. ..."
"... Not until people are done with identity politics will it be really possible to bring a new order into focus. Support Kamala Harris, for example, because she is not white and a woman? Not unless she has policies that the bulk of Americans want and is not just the old party in a new guise. I suspect that this use of the term 'progressive' is just a term to describe what the majority of Americans want out of their governments. People like Clinton, Pelosi, Waters and Albright can not and will not do this so time for them to be pushed aside. I think that the US Presidential election of 2020 will be very telling of how things play out as the results of the 2018 mid-terms are absorbed. ..."
"... I think identity politics has always served as a diversion for elites to play within the neoliberal bandwidth of decreasing public spending. Fake austerity and an unwillingness to use conjured money for public QE are necessary for pursuing neoliberal privatization of public enterprises. Therefore Bernie and his MMT infrastructure are anathema to corporate democrats and their Wall St. benefactors. ..."
"... Moral Monday represents what I deem as people over profit. I would rather be a spoiler than enable corporate sociopaths to.expand mass incarceration, end welfare as we know it, consider the killing of a half-million Iraqi children an acceptable cost, or oversee the first inverted debt jubilee in 2008 to forgive the liabilities of fraudsters by pauperizing debtors. ..."
"... Once you abandon class-based politics, and all parties accept the neoliberal consensus, you still have the problem of attracting support. You can only do that by turning to the politics of identity, as practised in Africa or the Balkans, where you seek to corral entire groups to vote for you, based on ethnicity, skin colour etc. ..."
"... Modern parties of the "Left" have taken over the methods, if not the ideology, of the old Communist parties, which is to say they present themselves as natural leaders, whom the membership should follow and vote for. ..."
"... Readers should examine the recent book Asymmetric Politics. The key point is that the Democratic Party is as described by David in some fair part an identity-based party, so it is supported by, e.g., many African-Americans. The Republican Party, unusual in the Western World, is not an identity based party; it is an idea-based party. It may not be very good at putting its ideas into effect, but it is an idea-based party that anyone can support. ..."
"... The Republicans are an "ideas-based" party? Well, I guess if you consider the interest-motivated "product" of Overclass-funded think tanks to be "idea-based," then OK. Me, I've haven't seen the Republicans as anything other than a class and (white) race-based party since I was a youth half a century ago. ..."
"... As for the cynicism of how the Democrats use identity politics: granted. Nevertheless, African-Americans have some tangible and valid reasons for voting for them, awful as they are. ..."
"... George Phillies didn't say the Republicans had "good" ideas. He just noted that the Republicans have "ideas". A "bad" idea is still an "idea". ..."
"... So Pelosi's final bequest to the public is a corrupt successor? What a world! ..."
"... Pelosi's been quoted a number of times saying, "we lead with our values". You certainly do, Mrs. Speaker! Thanks for making it clear! ..."
"... Come on, folks. By now you should have learned that what politicians say doesn't mean a damn thing -- it's what they do. The establishment is only interested in perpetuating the establishment. ..."
"... As far as I've seen, they trot out identity politics only when it suits their aims and it has nothing to do with what the voters actually want. ..."
"... Identity politics are to Democrats what religious politics are to Republicans: A pious high ground they use whenever they want to denounce anyone opposed to them as corrupt and immoral, but immediately gets shelved the moment it interferes with the money and power. ..."
"... To me, it's a dishonest policy erasure tactic for favoring establishment candidates. If you're against Hillary Clinton, it's must be ..."
"... Of course the most important identity is that of the worker, the person who must sell their labor power in the marketplace to survive. But you will rarely hear the Democrats discuss that identity. You might hear about "working families" and the "middle class" but it really means nothing. The Republicans use the same language and they are just as mendacious. ..."
"... Working families: Groups of people related genetically or by choice, all of whom, regardless of age, have to work to ensure they have food, clothing, and shelter. ..."
"... I can think of a couple of identity-words to offer to see if anyone identifies with them. Ex-middle class. Nouveau poor. ..."
"... Western Democrats focus too much on a minority which has barely any impact on the economy at the expense of the majority which actually dictates the general economic trend and therefore also creates the byproduct welfare/life quality of all the meme minorities to whom it trickles down. That's the issue here. The difference between normal people and minorities is that normal people know they don't matter in the larger picture, while minorities think they matter while at the same time asking to be treated as part of the normal people even though their very mentality is a paradox towards being normal. ..."
"... The West is simply too bankrupt on things that matter in the bigger picture and too involved in things that don't, a complete lack of prioritization. ..."
Jun 26, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

sgt_doom , June 26, 2018 at 2:07 pm

Eric Holder: Please declare for the US presidency

Eric Holder, former attorney general of the USA under President Obama, has publicly announced that he is considering a run for the White House in 2020. (Thanks to that WikiLeaked email awhile back, we know that Citigroup directed a newly elected President Obama to appoint him to the position of A.G.)

I fervently pray that Eric Holder, of Covington & Burling, declares himself a candidate!

Only then will the opportunity again present itself to expose Eric Holder -- and Covington & Burling -- in their involvement with the creation and operation of MERS (Mortgage Electronic Reporting System) and its connection to the global economic meltdown (2007 -- 2009), the greatest illegal wealth transfer and insurance swindle in human history!

How we would welcome such transparency of evil, how BlackRock profited from that economic meltdown, then oversaw the disbursement of those TARP bailout funds.

Exposure of the network of BlackRock and Vanguard and State Street and Fidelity; exposure of their major investors. Further exposure of the Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group and other such PE/LBO giants!

How the InterContinental Exchange (ICE) was involved in nefarious commodity price rigging, etc., manipulated derivatives dealing and how today they oversee LIBOR rates!

The further exposure of the influence and perfidy of the Group of Thirty (www.group30.org) and the Bretton Woods Committee (www.brettonwoods.org) -- oh how we'd love to see such exposure!

Please declare for the presidency, Mr. Holder!

drumlin woodchuckles , June 26, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Holder for President? Oh boy Mr. Peabody! That's great!

If a critical difference-making margin of non-voting Black non-voters in Milwaukee were willing to non-vote between Clinton and Trump even at the price of letting Trump take Wisconsin, that could mean that the Race Card is wearing thin. Who exactly would Mr. Holder be able to fool in Milwaukee? He would do well in Hyde Park though . . . getting the Guilty White Privilege Expiation vote. Will that be enough? Will the Madison vote be enough to make up for the Milwaukee non-vote?

You know who would be a perfect pair? Holder and Harris. Or Holder and Booker. Or some such. Seriously, if the DemParty nominates Holder, I will vote for Trump all over again. And at the Senate or Representative level, I would vote for an old legacy New Deal Democrat if there is one. But if they run a Clintonite, some protest Third Party looks very attractive by comparison.

The Rev Kev , June 26, 2018 at 1:54 am

In a mature society, it would not matter if someone was black, white, gay, Jewish, young, old, whatever but what policies they bring to the party. This article, going out of its way to label Nixon as LGBT and Sanders as Jewish, really only means that they are letting the other side set the rules and that is never a winning position. Unfortunately we do not live in a mature society.

If push came to shove you would have to describe both the Republican and Democrat parties as bastions of neoliberalism and both parties play games with identity politics as it fractures those who would oppose them and encourages internecine warfare. Like a kaleidoscope shifting focus, the 2008 crash has started off a shift in how politics is done and the success of Trump in the US, Brexit in the UK as well as other leaders is this shift in its first efforts of readjusting.

Not until people are done with identity politics will it be really possible to bring a new order into focus. Support Kamala Harris, for example, because she is not white and a woman? Not unless she has policies that the bulk of Americans want and is not just the old party in a new guise. I suspect that this use of the term 'progressive' is just a term to describe what the majority of Americans want out of their governments. People like Clinton, Pelosi, Waters and Albright can not and will not do this so time for them to be pushed aside. I think that the US Presidential election of 2020 will be very telling of how things play out as the results of the 2018 mid-terms are absorbed.

Larry Coffield , June 26, 2018 at 5:27 am

I think identity politics has always served as a diversion for elites to play within the neoliberal bandwidth of decreasing public spending. Fake austerity and an unwillingness to use conjured money for public QE are necessary for pursuing neoliberal privatization of public enterprises. Therefore Bernie and his MMT infrastructure are anathema to corporate democrats and their Wall St. benefactors.

Moral Monday represents what I deem as people over profit. I would rather be a spoiler than enable corporate sociopaths to.expand mass incarceration, end welfare as we know it, consider the killing of a half-million Iraqi children an acceptable cost, or oversee the first inverted debt jubilee in 2008 to forgive the liabilities of fraudsters by pauperizing debtors.

David , June 26, 2018 at 5:47 am

The obvious answer is "very" and this applies pretty much to every major allegedly leftist party in the western world.

The fact is that if you want to form a political party and take power, or even make good careers, you have to find supporters and get them to vote for you. Historically, after the growth of modern political parties, they differentiated themselves by reference to social and economic groups. In most countries there was a traditionalist party, often rural, with links to church and aristocracy and the socially conservative, a middle-class professional/small business party and a mass working class party often under middle-class leadership. Depending on the country, this could, in practice, be more than three or less than three distinct parties.

Once you abandon class-based politics, and all parties accept the neoliberal consensus, you still have the problem of attracting support. You can only do that by turning to the politics of identity, as practised in Africa or the Balkans, where you seek to corral entire groups to vote for you, based on ethnicity, skin colour etc. The problem is that whilst the old political distinctions were objective, the new ones are much more subjective, overlapping and sometimes in conflict with each other. After all, you are objectively employed or unemployed, a shareholder or landowner or not, an employee or an employer, you have debt or savings, you earn enough to live on or you don't. It's therefore easier to construct political parties on that basis than on the basis of ascriptive, overlapping and conflicting subjective identities.

Modern parties of the "Left" have taken over the methods, if not the ideology, of the old Communist parties, which is to say they present themselves as natural leaders, whom the membership should follow and vote for. This worked well enough when the markers were economic, much less well when they are identity based. Trying to herd together middle-class professional socially-liberal voters, and immigrants from a socially conservative background afraid of losing their jobs backfired disastrously for the Socialist party in the 2017 elections in France, and effectively destroyed the party. People don't like being instructed who it is their duty to vote for.

The other very clarifying moment of that election was the complete absence, up and down the western world, of voices supporting Marine Le Pen for President. Not a single voice was raised in her support, although her victory would have been epoch-making in terms of French politics, and certainly not Albright's.

That tells you everything you need to know, really.

George Phillies , June 26, 2018 at 11:31 am

Readers should examine the recent book Asymmetric Politics. The key point is that the Democratic Party is as described by David in some fair part an identity-based party, so it is supported by, e.g., many African-Americans. The Republican Party, unusual in the Western World, is not an identity based party; it is an idea-based party. It may not be very good at putting its ideas into effect, but it is an idea-based party that anyone can support.

Note that many Democrats are totally terrified by the idea that the Republican Party would become an identity-based party, namely the white people's party, because if the white vote supported the Republicans nationally the way it already does in the south the Democrats would, in the immortal words of Donald Trump, be schlonged.

Indeed, that support is now advancing up through the Appalachians into central Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York. West Virginia was once heavily Democratic.

And while some Democrats propose that America is becoming a majority-minority country, others have worked out that, e.g., persons of Hispanic or Chinese ancestry may over several generations follow the Irish and the Italians and the Hungarians and the Jews, none of whom were originally viewed* as being white, by being reclassified in the popular mind as being part of the white majority.

*Some readers will recall that quaint phrase "the colored races of Europe". At the time, a century and then a fair amount ago, it was meant literally. Anglo-Saxons were a race. Irishmen were a distinct race.

Michael Fiorillo , June 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

The Republicans are an "ideas-based" party? Well, I guess if you consider the interest-motivated "product" of Overclass-funded think tanks to be "idea-based," then OK. Me, I've haven't seen the Republicans as anything other than a class and (white) race-based party since I was a youth half a century ago.

That Republicans will distract, misdirect and dissemble to mask their class and race-based identity doesn't change the reality of it.

As for the cynicism of how the Democrats use identity politics: granted. Nevertheless, African-Americans have some tangible and valid reasons for voting for them, awful as they are.

drumlin woodchuckles , June 26, 2018 at 4:36 pm

George Phillies didn't say the Republicans had "good" ideas. He just noted that the Republicans have "ideas". A "bad" idea is still an "idea".

blennylips , June 26, 2018 at 7:25 am

Stephen Fry is back, taking another idea out for a walk in the latest Munk Debate:

Political Correctness
Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress
MAY 18, 2018
https://www.munkdebates.com/The-Debates/Political-Correctness

On the Con side: Stephen Fry, Jordan Peterson
On the Pro side: Michael Dyson, Michelle Goldberg

Stephen and Jordan complained at the end that it ended up about identity politics rather than the PC debate they'd rather have had.

IguanaBowtie , June 26, 2018 at 10:19 am

Dyson neatly derailed the whole thing with his 'mean white man' line. Could have just been Fry vs Goldberg too, Peterson talked past the others yhe whole time. Whole thing deserves a do-over.

blennylips , June 26, 2018 at 11:14 am

I agree IguanaB, Dyson was as awful as Mr. Fry was magnificent – but I could be as deluded as the next guy of course.

I loved how Fry gritted his teeth at being on the same side as Jordan, but considered the issues too important for a personal tantrum.

johnnygl , June 26, 2018 at 8:08 am

I'm really worried about a repeat of 2016 with a heavy dose of voter purges and reregistrations. Ocasio-Cortez will need a strong GOTV ground game to pull off the upset.

DJG , June 26, 2018 at 9:07 am

Cuomo may be part of a political dynasty, but I recall that when Mario Cuomo was sending out feelers about running for president, there was plenty of "Who's the furriner?" I can't find the quote, but some Southern politician opined that there weren't many Marios and fewer Cuomos in the South. (And when Geraldine Ferraro was on the ticket with Mondale, journalists and columnists "miraculously" discovered that her husband was a mafioso.) So there's white and there's white.

Not that I'd vote for Cuomo. And I certainly agree with Glenn Greenwald. But ethnic politics cut all different ways.

DJG , June 26, 2018 at 9:09 am

From the quotes above: 'Maybe we need to run Bland White Guy 2020 to appease the fake socialists and jackass mansplainers.'"

Just in case you wanted to have the National Conversation on the Deep Insights that Rebecca Solnit Has Bestowed on Us with Her Term "Mansplaining."

Carolinian , June 26, 2018 at 9:15 am

So Pelosi's final bequest to the public is a corrupt successor? What a world!

JohnnyGL , June 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

Pelosi's been quoted a number of times saying, "we lead with our values". You certainly do, Mrs. Speaker! Thanks for making it clear!

sharonsj , June 26, 2018 at 10:55 am

Come on, folks. By now you should have learned that what politicians say doesn't mean a damn thing -- it's what they do. The establishment is only interested in perpetuating the establishment.

Here in Pennsylvania, Republican senator Pat Toomey has stayed in office only because the Dem establishment here has refused to back Joe Sestak, a terrific but rebellious candidate, for years. Last time around, it endorsed a woman over Sestak and another fantastic male candidate–but she was as crappy as they come. As far as I've seen, they trot out identity politics only when it suits their aims and it has nothing to do with what the voters actually want.

drumlin woodchuckles , June 26, 2018 at 4:41 pm

If Sestak and his supporters started a little Third Party just for Pennsylvania, how many votes would he get? If he and his supporters called it the Revenge Against Betrayal Party, how many votes would he get?

Big Tap , June 26, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Exactly

PKMKII , June 26, 2018 at 11:10 am

Identity politics are to Democrats what religious politics are to Republicans: A pious high ground they use whenever they want to denounce anyone opposed to them as corrupt and immoral, but immediately gets shelved the moment it interferes with the money and power.

Jeff W , June 26, 2018 at 6:05 pm

To me, it's a dishonest policy erasure tactic for favoring establishment candidates. If you're against Hillary Clinton, it's must be because she's a woman, not because she's, say, a neoliberal, corporatist warmonger -- it deliberately supplants legitimate policy differences with identity. Not only is it breathtakingly dopey as a psychological theory -- because it's pretty obvious that someone could oppose a person based on those policy differences -- it's also obnoxiously presumptuous: "I'm going to substitute my statements as to motivation for yours." None of that matters, of course, as long as the work of erasing policy from the discourse is done.

Lee , June 26, 2018 at 11:38 am

And while it surely matters who is in congress and who sits in the oval office, possibly we should all become more focused and engaged with system change rather than just individuals running for office. (although damn am I impressed with Alexandria's keen appreciation of democracy), To that end I offer ideas from the brain of Gar Alperovitz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1-Ss5h9F9k

HotFlash , June 26, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Thank you, Lee. About a quarter of the way through Gar's talk and may need to take a little rest to let my soul catch up. For me, in my community which is being hard hit by gentrification and rents are, for many long-time residents, becoming unaffordable, this might be the exactly the right ideas at the right time. Tomorrow I will be going to the last meeting of our neighbourhood food co-op as it dissolves, after 10 years, and I can't decide whether I am more angry or sad. It was well-intentioned, but just couldn't make it work. Perhaps a bad plan, or maybe no systematic plan at all. Anyway. I never really expected to see my $1000 again when I bought that bond 10 years ago.

Meantime, I will listen to Gar finish his talk, and pro'ly get his book from the library.

So here is Gar talking about the Evergreen Co-ops of Cleveland: "That is a community-building, wealth-democratizing, decentralized, combination of community and worker ownership, supported by quasi-public procurement, through a planning system using quasi-public moneys. That is a planning system. {It} begins with a vision of community which starts by democratizing as far as you can from the ground up, building capacity at the national level or the regional level, to purchase and thereby stabilize the system in a form of economic planning. Now think about those things. Those are ideas in a fragmentary developmental process as the pain of the system grows and there are no other solutions. "

It is strong stuff, but reading it seems dense and dull, but Gar makes it all make sense on first hearing. So, in anyone interested in community economic action, do check it out.

Synoia , June 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

Which means, if you take this view, that their vocal support for the underlying principles of "identity politics" is both cynical and insincere.

There, removed the superfluous words.

Left in Wisconsin , June 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

Also noticing that Emily's List has failed to endorse either Nixon or Ocasio-Cortez. Why am I not shocked.

Livius Drusus , June 26, 2018 at 3:34 pm

Of course the most important identity is that of the worker, the person who must sell their labor power in the marketplace to survive. But you will rarely hear the Democrats discuss that identity. You might hear about "working families" and the "middle class" but it really means nothing. The Republicans use the same language and they are just as mendacious.

I wouldn't mind the slogans and euphemisms if there was some substance behind them. I get that Americans generally like to think of themselves as "middle class" whether they are making minimum wage or millions of dollars but at least put some substance behind your rhetoric.

Both parties are using identity politics to win elections while avoiding the economic issues that every poll indicates Americans care about the most. The result is an increasingly disillusioned and depressed population that hates the entire political system. Almost half of the eligible electorate stays home during election years. Non-voters tend to be poorer while the political junkies who are increasingly shrill, angry and unreasonable tend to be wealthier. These are the people who form the base for identity politics because they have the luxury to worry about such nonsense.

Elizabeth Burton , June 26, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Working families: Groups of people related genetically or by choice, all of whom, regardless of age, have to work to ensure they have food, clothing, and shelter.

drumlin woodchuckles , June 26, 2018 at 4:44 pm

I can think of a couple of identity-words to offer to see if anyone identifies with them. Ex-middle class. Nouveau poor.

Jean , June 26, 2018 at 6:20 pm

"It's about the children " Madeline Albright, when asked about 500,000+ dead Iraqi children caused by the sanctions she promoted said "We think the price was worth it " When will this nauseating hag slink off the public stage? https://fair.org/extra/we-think-the-price-is-worth-it/

Somebody , June 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm

An average person with their limited lifespan can barely manage a quota of about a dozen people to truly care about and about 70 to be acquainted with. Chances of any of those belonging to some of those special category people are low to the point of it being irrelevant and worthless to get acquainted with the categories themselves and their cultures/language, unless they live in a few congregation capitals on this planet like San Francisco, capitals which can be numbered on both my hands.

Unless the average person decides for themselves to care, trying to convince them to care about special identity is tantamount to attempting to rob them of their precious lifespan, over what? Superficial identities. There are religions which worship the supernatural. Now there's a religion which worships the superficial called Identity Politics or Social Justice Evangelism as i like to call it (as usual it has about as much to do with social justice as Christianity had to do with world peace, and all to do with identity masturbation), arisen jointly as a result of inflated and growing narcissism and unwarranted sense of self-importance personality disorders influenced by spending too much time on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Bah. Western Democrats focus too much on a minority which has barely any impact on the economy at the expense of the majority which actually dictates the general economic trend and therefore also creates the byproduct welfare/life quality of all the meme minorities to whom it trickles down. That's the issue here. The difference between normal people and minorities is that normal people know they don't matter in the larger picture, while minorities think they matter while at the same time asking to be treated as part of the normal people even though their very mentality is a paradox towards being normal.

The West is simply too bankrupt on things that matter in the bigger picture and too involved in things that don't, a complete lack of prioritization.

[Jun 09, 2018] Spooks Spooking Themselves by Daniel Lazare

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block " Siberian candidate " Trump. ..."
"... The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove , Halper's friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London's venerable Garrick Club, according to The Washington Post , Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous "golden showers" opposition research dossier, that Trump "reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin." ..."
"... Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn't work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal. Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as "The Walrus" for his impressive girth , other participants include: Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA. Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat. Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow. Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic. James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence. John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst). ..."
"... Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself "The Cambridge Security Initiative." Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt's international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor . ..."
"... Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale . In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump's future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd. ..."
"... As head of Britain's foreign Secret Intelligence Service, as MI6 is formally known, Dearlove played a major role in drumming up support for the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq even while confessing at a secret Downing Street meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the [regime-change] policy." When the search for weapons of mass destruction turned up dry, Clapper, as then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, argued that the Iraqi military must have smuggled them into neighboring Syria, a charge with absolutely no basis in fact but which helped pave the way for US regime-change efforts in that country too. ..."
"... Brennan was meanwhile a high-level CIA official when the agency was fabricating evidence against Saddam Hussein and covering up Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11. Wood not only continues to defend the Iraqi invasion, but dismisses fears of a rising fascist tide in the Ukraine as nothing more than "a crude political insult" hurled by Vladimir Putin for his own political benefit. Such views now seem distressingly misguided in view of the alt-right torchlight parades and spiraling anti-Semitism that are now a regular feature of life in the Ukraine. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... describes Mifsud as "an enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia" and "a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, that Mr. Putin attends," which tried to suggest that he is a Kremlin agent of some sort. ..."
"... But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange later tweeted photos of Mifsud with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a high-ranking British intelligence official named Claire Smith at a training session for Italian security agents in Rome. Since it's unlikely that British intelligence would rely on a Russian agent in such circumstances, Mifsud's intelligence ties are more likely with the UK. ..."
"... Stefan Halper then infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the FBI as an informant in early July, weeks before the FBI launched its investigation. Halper had 36 years earlier infiltrated the Carter re-election campaign in 1980 using CIA agents to turn information over to the Reagan campaign. Now Halper began to court both Page and Papadopoulous, independently of each other. ..."
"... The rightwing Federalist website speculates that Halper was working with Steele to flesh out a Sept. 14 memo claiming that "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and [are] considering disseminating it." Clovis believes that Halper was trying "to create an audit trail back to those [Clinton] emails from someone in the campaign so they could develop a stronger case for probable cause to continue to issue warrants and to further an investigation." Reports that Halper apparently sought a permanent post in the new administration suggest that the effort was meant to continue after inauguration. ..."
"... Notwithstanding Clovis's nutty rightwing politics , his description of what Halper may have been up to makes sense as does his observation that Halper was trying " to build something that did not exist ." Despite countless hyper-ventilating headlines about mysterious Trump Tower meetings and the like, the sad truth is that Russiagate after all these months is shaping up as even more of a "nothing-burger" than Obama administration veteran Van Jones said it was back in mid-2017. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted Papadopoulos and others on procedural grounds, he has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for corruption, and he has charged a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency with violating US election laws. ..."
"... As The Washington Post noted in an oddly, cool-headed Dec. 2 article , 2, 700 suspected Russian-linked accounts generated just 202,000 tweets in a six-year period ending in August 2017, a drop in a bucket compared to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months leading up to Election Day. ..."
"... Opposition research is intended to mix truths and fiction, to dig up plausible dirt to throw at your opponent, not to produce an intelligence assessment at taxpayer's expense to "protect" the country. And Steele was paid for it by the Democrats, not his government. ..."
"... Although Kramer denies it, The New Yorker ..."
"... But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press." ..."
"... It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree. But that's what the intelligence agencies are for, i.e. to spread fear and propaganda in order to stampede the public into supporting their imperial agenda. In this case, their efforts are so effective that they've gotten lost in a fog of their own making. If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice. ..."
"... "Russiagate" continues to attract mounting blowback at Clinton, Obama and the Dems. Might well be they who end up charged with lawbreaking, though I'd be surprised if anyone in authority is ever really punished. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-02/fbi-spying-trump-started-london-earlier-thought-new-texts-implicate-obama-white ..."
"... I've always thought that the great animus between Obama and Trump stemmed from Trump's persistent birtherist attacks on Obama followed by Obama's public ridicule of Trump at the White House Correspondants' Dinner. Without the latter, Trump probably would not have been motivated to run for the presidency. Without the former, Obama would probably not have gotten into the gutter to defeat and embarrass Trump at all costs. Clinton and Obama probably never recruit British spooks to sabotage and provide a pretense for spying on the campaigns of Jeb, Ted or Little Marco. Since these were all warmongers like Hillary and Obama, the issues would have been different, Russia would not have been a factor, and Putin would have had no alleged "puppet." ..."
"... The irony is that Clinton and Obama wanted Trump as her opponent. They cultivated his candidacy via liberal media bias throughout the primaries. (MSNBC and Rachel Maddow were always cutting away to another full length Trump victory speech and rally, including lots of jibber jabber with the faithful supporters.) Why? Because they thought he was the easiest to beat. The polls actually had Hillary losing against the other GOP candidates. The Dems beat themselves with their own choice of candidate and all the intrigue, false narratives and other questionable practices they employed in both the primaries and the general. That's what really happened. ..."
"... I agree that Hillary wanted Trump as an opponent, thought she could easily win. I've underestimated idiot opponents before, always to my detriment. Why is it that they are always the most formidable? The "insiders" are so used to voters rolling over, taking it on the chin. They gave away their jobs, replaced them with the service industry, killed their sons and daughters in wars abroad, and still the American people cast their ballots in their favor. This time was different. The insiders just did not see the sea change, not like Trump did. ..."
"... Long-time CIA asset named as FBI's spy on Trump campaign By Bill Van Auken https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/21/poli-m21.html ..."
"... What the MSM really needed was a bait which they could use to lure more dollars just like a horse race where the track owners needed a fast underdog horse to clean up. I believe the term is to be "hustled". The con men of the media hustlers decided they needed a way to cause all of the candidates to squirm uneasily and to then react to the news that Donald Trump was "in the lead". ..."
"... Those clever media folks. What a gift the Supreme Court handed them. But there was one little (or big) problem. The problem was the result of the scam put Trump in the White House. Something that no conservative republican would ever sign onto. Trump had spent years as a democrat, hobnobbed with the Clinton's and was an avowed agnostic who favored the liberal ideology for the most part. ..."
"... The new guy in the White House with his crazy ideas of making friends with Vladimir Putin horrified a national arms industry funded with hundreds of billions of our tax dollars every year propped up by all the neocons with their paranoid beliefs and plans to make America the hegemon of the World. Our foreign allies who use the USA to fight their perceived enemies and entice our government to sell them weapons and who urge us to orchestrate the overthrow of governments were all alarmed by the "not a real republican" peace-nick occupying the White House. ..."
"... It is probable that the casino and hotel owner in the White House posed an very threatening alternate strategy of forming economic ties with former enemies which scared the hell out of the arms industry which built its economy on scaring all of us and justifying its existence based on foreign enemies. ..."
"... So the MSM and the MIC created a new cold war with their friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post which published endless stories about the new Russian threat we faced. It had nothing to do with the 0.02% Twitter and Facebook "influence" that Russia actually had in the election. It was billed as the crime of the century. The real crime was that they committed the crime of the century that they mightily profited from by putting Trump in the White House in the first place with a plan to grab all the election cash they could grab. ..."
May 31, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

As the role of a well-connected group of British and U.S. intelligence agents begins to emerge, new suspicions are growing about what hand they may have had in weaving the Russia-gate story, as Daniel Lazare explains.

Special to Consortium News

With the news that a Cambridge academic-cum-spy named Stefan Halper infiltrated the Trump campaign, the role of the intelligence agencies in shaping the great Russiagate saga is at last coming into focus.

It's looking more and more massive. The intelligence agencies initiated reports that Donald Trump was colluding with Russia, they nurtured them and helped them grow, and then they spread the word to the press and key government officials. Reportedly, they even tried to use these reports to force Trump to step down prior to his inauguration. Although the corporate press accuses Trump of conspiring with Russia to stop Hillary Clinton, the reverse now seems to be the case: the Obama administration intelligence agencies worked with Clinton to block " Siberian candidate " Trump.

The template was provided by ex-MI6 Director Richard Dearlove , Halper's friend and business partner. Sitting in winged chairs in London's venerable Garrick Club, according to The Washington Post , Dearlove told fellow MI6 veteran Christopher Steele, author of the famous "golden showers" opposition research dossier, that Trump "reminded him of a predicament he had faced years earlier, when he was chief of station for British intelligence in Washington and alerted US authorities to British information that a vice presidential hopeful had once been in communication with the Kremlin."

Apparently, one word from the Brits was enough to make the candidate in question step down. When that didn't work with Trump, Dearlove and his colleagues ratcheted up the pressure to make him see the light. A major scandal was thus born – or, rather, a very questionable scandal. Besides Dearlove, Steele, and Halper, a bon-vivant known as "The Walrus" for his impressive girth , other participants include: Robert Hannigan, former director Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, UK equivalent of the NSA. Alexander Downer, top Australian diplomat. Andrew Wood, ex-British ambassador to Moscow. Joseph Mifsud, Maltese academic. James Clapper, ex-US Director of National Intelligence. John Brennan, former CIA Director (and now NBC News analyst).

In-Bred

A few things stand out about this august group. One is its in-bred quality. After helping to run an annual confab known as the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Dearlove and Halper are now partners in a private venture calling itself "The Cambridge Security Initiative." Both are connected to another London-based intelligence firm known as Hakluyt & Co. Halper is also connected via two books he wrote with Hakluyt representative Jonathan Clarke and Dearlove has a close personal friendship with Hakluyt founder Mike Reynolds, yet another MI6 vet. Alexander Downer served a half-dozen years on Hakluyt's international advisory board, while Andrew Wood is linked to Steele via Orbis Business Intelligence, the private research firm that Steele helped found, and which produced the anti-Trump dossier, and where Wood now serves as an unpaid advisor .

Everyone, in short, seems to know everyone else. But another thing that stands out about this group is its incompetence. Dearlove and Halper appear to be old-school paranoids for whom every Russian is a Boris Badenov or a Natasha Fatale . In February 2014, Halper notified US intelligence that Mike Flynn, Trump's future national security adviser, had grown overly chummy with an Anglo-Russian scholar named Svetlana Lokhova whom Halper suspected of being a spy – suspicions that Lokhova convincingly argues are absurd.

Halper: Infiltrated Trump campaign

In December 2016, Halper and Dearlove both resigned from the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar because they suspected that a company footing some of the costs was tied up with Russian intelligence – suspicions that Christopher Andrew, former chairman of the Cambridge history department and the seminar's founder, regards as " absurd " as well.

As head of Britain's foreign Secret Intelligence Service, as MI6 is formally known, Dearlove played a major role in drumming up support for the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq even while confessing at a secret Downing Street meeting that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the [regime-change] policy." When the search for weapons of mass destruction turned up dry, Clapper, as then head of the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, argued that the Iraqi military must have smuggled them into neighboring Syria, a charge with absolutely no basis in fact but which helped pave the way for US regime-change efforts in that country too.

Brennan was meanwhile a high-level CIA official when the agency was fabricating evidence against Saddam Hussein and covering up Saudi Arabia's role in 9/11. Wood not only continues to defend the Iraqi invasion, but dismisses fears of a rising fascist tide in the Ukraine as nothing more than "a crude political insult" hurled by Vladimir Putin for his own political benefit. Such views now seem distressingly misguided in view of the alt-right torchlight parades and spiraling anti-Semitism that are now a regular feature of life in the Ukraine.

The result is a diplo-espionage gang that is very bad at the facts but very good at public manipulation – and which therefore decided to use its skill set out to create a public furor over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

It Started Late 2015

The effort began in late 2015 when GCHQ, along with intelligence agencies in Poland, Estonia, and Germany, began monitoring what they said were " suspicious 'interactions' between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents."

Since Trump was surging ahead in the polls and scaring the pants off the foreign-policy establishment by calling for a rapprochement with Moscow, the agencies figured that Russia was somehow behind it. The pace accelerated in March 2016 when a 30-year-old policy consultant named George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser. Traveling in Italy a week later, he ran into Mifsud, the London-based Maltese academic, who reportedly set about cultivating him after learning of his position with Trump. Mifsud claimed to have "substantial connections with Russian government officials," according to prosecutors. Over breakfast at a London hotel, he told Papadopoulos that he had just returned from Moscow where he had learned that the Russians had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."

This was the remark that supposedly triggered an FBI investigation. The New York Times describes Mifsud as "an enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia" and "a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, that Mr. Putin attends," which tried to suggest that he is a Kremlin agent of some sort.

But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange later tweeted photos of Mifsud with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and a high-ranking British intelligence official named Claire Smith at a training session for Italian security agents in Rome. Since it's unlikely that British intelligence would rely on a Russian agent in such circumstances, Mifsud's intelligence ties are more likely with the UK.

After Papadopoulos caused a minor political ruckus by telling a reporter that Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize for criticizing Trump's anti-Muslim pronouncements, a friend in the Israeli embassy put him in touch with a friend in the Australian embassy, who introduced him to Downer, her boss. Over drinks, Downer advised him to be more diplomatic. After Papadopoulos then passed along Misfud's tip about Clinton's emails, Downer informed his government, which, in late July, informed the FBI.

Was Papadopoulos Set Up?

Suspicions are unavoidable but evidence is lacking. Other pieces were meanwhile clicking into place. In late May or early June 2016, Fusion GPS, a private Washington intelligence firm employed by the Democratic National Committee, hired Steele to look into the Russian angle.

On June 20, he turned in the first of eighteen memos that would eventually comprise the Steele dossier , in this instance a three-page document asserting that Putin "has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years" and that Russian intelligence possessed "kompromat" in the form of a video of prostitutes performing a "golden showers" show for his benefit at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. A week or two later, Steele briefed the FBI on his findings. Around the same time, Robert Hannigan flew to Washington to brief CIA Director John Brennan about additional material that had come GCHQ's way, material so sensitive that it could only be handled at "director level."

One player was filling Papadopoulos's head with tales of Russian dirty tricks, another was telling the FBI, while a third was collecting more information and passing it on to the bureau as well.

Page: Took Russia's side.

On July 7, 2016 Carter Page delivered a lecture on U.S.-Russian relations in Moscow in which he complained that " Washington and other western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change." Washington hawks expressed " unease " that someone representing the presumptive Republican nominee would take Russia's side in a growing neo-Cold War.

Stefan Halper then infiltrated the Trump campaign on behalf of the FBI as an informant in early July, weeks before the FBI launched its investigation. Halper had 36 years earlier infiltrated the Carter re-election campaign in 1980 using CIA agents to turn information over to the Reagan campaign. Now Halper began to court both Page and Papadopoulous, independently of each other.

On July 11, Page showed up at a Cambridge symposium at which Halper and Dearlove both spoke. In early September, Halper sent Papadopoulos an email offering $3,000 and a paid trip to London to write a research paper on a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean, his specialty. "George, you know about hacking the emails from Russia, right?" Halper asked when he got there, but Papadopoulos said he knew nothing. Halper also sought out Sam Clovis, Trump's national campaign co-chairman, with whom he chatted about China for an hour or so over coffee in Washington.

The rightwing Federalist website speculates that Halper was working with Steele to flesh out a Sept. 14 memo claiming that "Russians do have further 'kompromat' on CLINTON (e-mails) and [are] considering disseminating it." Clovis believes that Halper was trying "to create an audit trail back to those [Clinton] emails from someone in the campaign so they could develop a stronger case for probable cause to continue to issue warrants and to further an investigation." Reports that Halper apparently sought a permanent post in the new administration suggest that the effort was meant to continue after inauguration.

Notwithstanding Clovis's nutty rightwing politics , his description of what Halper may have been up to makes sense as does his observation that Halper was trying " to build something that did not exist ." Despite countless hyper-ventilating headlines about mysterious Trump Tower meetings and the like, the sad truth is that Russiagate after all these months is shaping up as even more of a "nothing-burger" than Obama administration veteran Van Jones said it was back in mid-2017. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted Papadopoulos and others on procedural grounds, he has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort for corruption, and he has charged a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency with violating US election laws.

But the corruption charges have nothing to do with Russian collusion and nothing in the indictment against IRA indicates that either the Kremlin or the Trump campaign were involved. Indeed, the activities that got IRA in trouble in the first place are so unimpressive – just $46,000 worth of Facebook ads that it purchased prior to election day, some pro-Trump, some anti, and some with no particular slant at all – that Mueller probably wouldn't even have bothered if he hadn't been under intense pressure to come up with anything at all.

The same goes for the army of bots that Russia supposedly deployed on Twitter. As The Washington Post noted in an oddly, cool-headed Dec. 2 article , 2, 700 suspected Russian-linked accounts generated just 202,000 tweets in a six-year period ending in August 2017, a drop in a bucket compared to the one billion election-related tweets sent out during the fourteen months leading up to Election Day.

The Steele dossier is also underwhelming. It declares on one page that the Kremlin sought to cultivate Trump by throwing "various lucrative real estate development business deals" his way but says on another that Trump's efforts to drum up business were unavailing and that he thus "had to settle for the use of extensive sexual services there from local prostitutes rather than business success."

Why would Trump turn down business offers when he couldn't generate any on his own? The idea that Putin would spot a U.S. reality-TV star somewhere around 2011 and conclude that he was destined for the Oval Office five years later is ludicrous. The fact that the Democratic National Committee funded the dossier via its law firm Perkins Coie renders it less credible still, as does the fact that the world has heard nothing more about the alleged video despite the ongoing deterioration in US-Russian relations. What's the point of making a blackmail tape if you don't use it?

Steele: Paid for political research, not intelligence.

Even Steele is backing off. In a legal paper filed in response to a libel suit last May, he said the document "did not represent (and did not purport to represent) verified facts, but were raw intelligence which had identified a range of allegations that warranted investigation given their potential national security implications." The fact is that the "dossier" was opposition research, not an intelligence report. It was neither vetted by Steele nor anyone in an intelligence agency. Opposition research is intended to mix truths and fiction, to dig up plausible dirt to throw at your opponent, not to produce an intelligence assessment at taxpayer's expense to "protect" the country. And Steele was paid for it by the Democrats, not his government.

Using it Anyway

Nonetheless, the spooks have made the most of such pseudo-evidence. Dearlove and Wood both advised Steele to take his "findings" to the FBI, while, after the election, Wood pulled Sen. John McCain aside at a security conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to let him know that the Russians might be blackmailing the president-elect. McCain dispatched long-time aide David J. Kramer to the UK to discuss the dossier with Steele directly.

Although Kramer denies it, The New Yorker found a former national-security official who says he spoke with him at the time and that Kramer's goal was to have McCain confront Trump with the dossier in the hope that he would resign on the spot. When that didn't happen, Clapper and Brennan arranged for FBI Director James Comey to confront Trump instead. Comey later testified that he didn't want Trump to think he was creating "a J. Edgar Hoover-type situation – I didn't want him thinking I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way."

But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press."

Since then, the Democrats have touted the dossier at every opportunity, The New Yorker continues to defend it , while Times columnist Michelle Goldberg cites it as well, saying it's a "rather obvious possibility that Trump is being blackmailed." CNN, for its part, suggested not long ago that the dossier may actually be Russian disinformation designed to throw everyone off base, Republicans and Democrats alike.

It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree. But that's what the intelligence agencies are for, i.e. to spread fear and propaganda in order to stampede the public into supporting their imperial agenda. In this case, their efforts are so effective that they've gotten lost in a fog of their own making. If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice.

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique , and his articles about the Middle East, terrorism, Eastern Europe, and other topics appear regularly on such websites as Jacobin and The American Conservative.


Vivian O'Blivion , June 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

Interesting technical detail.

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/04/mueller-russia-troll-case-620653

Mueller is trying to omit the normal burden of legal liability, "wilful intent" in his charges against the St Petersburg, social media operation. In a horrifically complex area such as tax, campaign contributions or lobbying, a foreign entity can be found guilty of breaking a law that they cannot reasonably have been expected to have knowledge of.

But the omission or inclusion of "wilful intent" is applied on a selective basis depending on the advantage to the deep state. From a practical standpoint, omission of "wilful intent" makes it easier for Mueller to get a guilty verdict (in adsentia assuming this is legally valid in America). Once the "guilt" of the St Petersburg staff is established, any communication between an American and them becomes "collusion".

This stinks.

Realist , June 3, 2018 at 4:50 am

"Russiagate" continues to attract mounting blowback at Clinton, Obama and the Dems. Might well be they who end up charged with lawbreaking, though I'd be surprised if anyone in authority is ever really punished. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-02/fbi-spying-trump-started-london-earlier-thought-new-texts-implicate-obama-white

I've always thought that the great animus between Obama and Trump stemmed from Trump's persistent birtherist attacks on Obama followed by Obama's public ridicule of Trump at the White House Correspondants' Dinner. Without the latter, Trump probably would not have been motivated to run for the presidency. Without the former, Obama would probably not have gotten into the gutter to defeat and embarrass Trump at all costs. Clinton and Obama probably never recruit British spooks to sabotage and provide a pretense for spying on the campaigns of Jeb, Ted or Little Marco. Since these were all warmongers like Hillary and Obama, the issues would have been different, Russia would not have been a factor, and Putin would have had no alleged "puppet."

The irony is that Clinton and Obama wanted Trump as her opponent. They cultivated his candidacy via liberal media bias throughout the primaries. (MSNBC and Rachel Maddow were always cutting away to another full length Trump victory speech and rally, including lots of jibber jabber with the faithful supporters.) Why? Because they thought he was the easiest to beat. The polls actually had Hillary losing against the other GOP candidates. The Dems beat themselves with their own choice of candidate and all the intrigue, false narratives and other questionable practices they employed in both the primaries and the general. That's what really happened.

backwardsevolution , June 3, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Realist – good post. I think what you say is true. Trump got too caught up in the birther crap, and Obama retaliated. But I think that Trump had been thinking about the presidency long before Obama came along. He sees the country differently than Obama and Clinton do. Trump would never have built up China to the point where all American technology has been given away for free, with millions of jobs lost and a huge trade deficit, and he would have probably left Russia alone, not ransacked it.

I saw Obama as a somewhat reluctant globalist and Hillary as an eager globalist. They are both insiders. Trump is not. He's interested in what is best for the U.S., whereas the Clinton's and the Bush's were interested in what their corporate masters wanted. The multinationals have been selling the U.S. out, Trump is trying to put a stop to this, and it is going to be a fight to the death. Trump is playing hardball with China (who ARE U.S. multinationals), and it is working. Beginning July 1, 2018, China has agreed to reduce its tariffs:

"Import tariffs for apparel, footwear and headgear, kitchen supplies and fitness products will be more than halved to an average of 7.1 percent from 15.9 percent, with those on washing machines and refrigerators slashed to just 8 percent, from 20.5 percent.

Tariffs will also be cut on processed foods such as aquaculture and fishing products and mineral water, from 15.2 percent to 6.9 percent.

Cosmetics, such as skin and hair products, and some medical and health products, will also benefit from a tariff cut to 2.9 percent from 8.4 percent.

In particular, tariffs on drugs ranging from penicillin, cephalosporin to insulin will be slashed to zero from 6 percent before.

In the meantime, temporary tariff rates on 210 imported products from most favored nations will be scrapped as they are no longer favorable compared with new rates."

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-tariffs/china-to-cut-import-tariffs-for-some-consumer-goods-from-most-favored-nations-idUSKCN1IW1PY

Trade with China has been all one way. At least Trump is leveling the playing field. He at least is trying to bring back jobs, something the "insiders" could care less about.

I agree that Hillary wanted Trump as an opponent, thought she could easily win. I've underestimated idiot opponents before, always to my detriment. Why is it that they are always the most formidable? The "insiders" are so used to voters rolling over, taking it on the chin. They gave away their jobs, replaced them with the service industry, killed their sons and daughters in wars abroad, and still the American people cast their ballots in their favor. This time was different. The insiders just did not see the sea change, not like Trump did.

Abe , June 2, 2018 at 2:20 am

"Pentagon documents indicate that the Department of Defense's shadowy intelligence arm, the Office of Net Assessment, paid Halper $282,000 in 2016 and $129,000 in 2017. According to reports, Halper sought to secure Papadopoulos's collaboration by offering him $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to London, ostensibly to produce a research paper on energy issues in the eastern Mediterranean.

"The choice of Halper for this spying operation has ominous implications. His deep ties to the US intelligence apparatus date back decades. His father-in-law was Ray Cline, who headed the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence at the height of the Cold War. Halper served as an aide to Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Alexander Haig in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

"In 1980, as the director of policy coordination for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, Halper oversaw an operation in which CIA officials gave the campaign confidential information on the Carter administration and its foreign policy. This intelligence was in turn utilized to further back-channel negotiations between Reagan's campaign manager and subsequent CIA director William Casey and representatives of Iran to delay the release of the American embassy hostages until after the election, in order to prevent Carter from scoring a foreign policy victory on the eve of the November vote.

"Halper subsequently held posts as deputy assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs and senior adviser to the Pentagon and Justice Department. More recently, Halper has collaborated with Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, the British intelligence service, in directing the Cambridge Security Initiative (CSi), a security think tank that lists the US and UK governments as its principal clients.

"Before the 2016 election, Halper had expressed his view – shared by predominant layers within the intelligence agencies – that Clinton's election would prove 'less disruptive' than Trump's.

"The revelations of the role played by Halper point to an intervention in the 2016 elections by the US intelligence agencies that far eclipsed anything one could even imagine the Kremlin attempting."

Long-time CIA asset named as FBI's spy on Trump campaign By Bill Van Auken https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/05/21/poli-m21.html

CitizenOne , June 1, 2018 at 11:19 pm

Sorry for not commenting on other posts as of yet. But I think I have a different perspective. Russia Gate is not about Hillary Clinton or Putin but it is about Donald Trump. Specifically an effort to get rid of him by the intelligence agencies and the MSM. The fact is the MSM created Trump and were chiefly responsible for his election. Trump is their brainchild starlet used to fleece all the republican campaigns like a huckster fleeces an audience. It all ties to key Supreme Court rulings eliminating campaign finance regulations which ushered in the age of dark money.

When billionaires can donate unlimited amounts of money anonymously to the candidate of their choosing what ends up is a field of fourteen wannabes in a primary race each backed by their own investor(s). The only way these candidates can win is to convince us to vote. The only way they can do that is to spend on advertising.

What the MSM dreamed of in a purely capitalistic way was a way to drain the wallets of every single one of the republican Super PACs. The mission was fraught with potential checkmates. Foe example, there could be an early leader who snatched up the needed delegates for the nomination early on which would have stopped the flow of advertising cash flowing to the MSM. Such possibilities worried the MSM and caused great angst since this might just be the biggest haul they ever took in during a primary season. How would they prevent a premature end of the money river. Like financial vampire bats, ticks and leeches they needed a way to keep the money flowing from the veins of the republican Super PACs until they were sucked dry.

What the MSM really needed was a bait which they could use to lure more dollars just like a horse race where the track owners needed a fast underdog horse to clean up. I believe the term is to be "hustled". The con men of the media hustlers decided they needed a way to cause all of the candidates to squirm uneasily and to then react to the news that Donald Trump was "in the lead".

It was a pure stroke of genius and it worked so well that Carl Rove is looking for a job and Donald Trump is sitting in the White House.

Those clever media folks. What a gift the Supreme Court handed them. But there was one little (or big) problem. The problem was the result of the scam put Trump in the White House. Something that no conservative republican would ever sign onto. Trump had spent years as a democrat, hobnobbed with the Clinton's and was an avowed agnostic who favored the liberal ideology for the most part.

What to do? Trump was now the Commander in Chief and was spouting nonsense that the establishment recoiled at such as Trumps plans to form economic ties with Russia rather than continue to wage a cold war spanning 65 years which the MIC used year after year to spook us all and guarantee their billions annual increase in funding. Trump directly attacked defense projects and called for de-funding major initiatives like F35 etc.

The new guy in the White House with his crazy ideas of making friends with Vladimir Putin horrified a national arms industry funded with hundreds of billions of our tax dollars every year propped up by all the neocons with their paranoid beliefs and plans to make America the hegemon of the World. Our foreign allies who use the USA to fight their perceived enemies and entice our government to sell them weapons and who urge us to orchestrate the overthrow of governments were all alarmed by the "not a real republican" peace-nick occupying the White House.

What to do? There was clearly a need to eliminate this bad guy since his avowed policies were in direct opposition to the game plan that had successfully compromised the former administration. They felt powerless to dissuade the Administration to continue the course and form strategies to eliminate Iran, Syria, North Korea, Libya, Ukraine and other vulnerable targets swaying toward China and Russia. They faced a new threat with the Trump Administration which seemed hell bent to discontinue the wars in these regions robbing them of many dollars.

It is probable that the casino and hotel owner in the White House posed an very threatening alternate strategy of forming economic ties with former enemies which scared the hell out of the arms industry which built its economy on scaring all of us and justifying its existence based on foreign enemies.

So the MSM and the MIC created a new cold war with their friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post which published endless stories about the new Russian threat we faced. It had nothing to do with the 0.02% Twitter and Facebook "influence" that Russia actually had in the election. It was billed as the crime of the century. The real crime was that they committed the crime of the century that they mightily profited from by putting Trump in the White House in the first place with a plan to grab all the election cash they could grab.

In the interim, they also forgot on purpose to tell anyone about the election campaign finance fraud that they were the chief beneficiaries of. They also of course forgot to tell anyone what the fight was about for the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Twenty seven million dollars in dark money was donated by dark money donors enabled by the Supreme Court's decisions to eliminate campaign finance regulations which enabled these donors to buy out Congress and elect and confirm a Supreme Court Justice who would uphold the laws which eliminate all the election rules and campaign finance regulations dating back to the Tillman Act of 1907 which was an attempt to eliminate corporate contributions in political campaigns with associated meager fines as penalties. The law was weak then and has now been eliminated.

In an era of dark money in politics protected by revisionist judges laying at the top of our federal judicial branch posing as strict constructionists while being funded by the corporatocracy that viciously fights over control of the highest court by a panicked republican party that seeks to tie up their domination in our Congress by any means including the abdication of the Constitutional authority granted to the citizens of the nation we now face a new internal enemy.

That enemy is not some foreign nation but our own government which conspires to represent the wealthy and the powerful and which exalts them and which enacts laws to defend their control of our nation. Here is a quote:

When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

Frederic Bastiat – (1801-1850) in Economic Sophisms

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 4:32 am

Different journalist covering much the same ground:

http://www.unz.com/mwhitney/why-is-the-new-york-times-misleading-the-american-people-about-the-paid-informant-who-was-spying-on-the-trump-campaign/

"Russiagate" is strictly a contrivance of the Deep State, American & British Spookery, and the corporate media propagandists. It clearly needs to be genuinely investigated (unlike the mockery being orchestrated by Herr Mueller from the Ministry of Truth), re-christened "Intellgate" (after the real perpetrators of crime), pursued until all the guilty traitors (including Mueller) who really tried to steal our democratic election are tried, convicted and incarcerated (including probably hundreds complicit from the media) and given its own lengthy chapter in all the history books about "The Election They Tried to Steal and Blame on Russia: How America Nearly Lost its Constitution." If not done, America will lose its constitution, or rather the incipient process will become totally irreversible.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 6:25 am

Your timing of events is confused.
The deep state didn't try and steal the election because they were overly complacent that their woman would win. Remember, they didn't try to use the dodgy, Steele dossier before the election.
What the deep state has done is reactively try to overcome the election outcome by launching an investigation into Trump. The egregious element of the investigation is giving it the title "investigation into collusion" when they in all probability knew that collusion was unlikely to have taken place. To achieve their aim (removing Trump) they included the line "and matters arising" in the brief to give them an open ended remit which allowed them to investigate Trump's business dealings of a Russian / Ukrainian nature (which may venture uncomfortably close to Semion Mogilevich).
If as you state (and I concur) there was no Russian collusion, then barring fabrication of evidence by Mueller (and there is little evidence of that to date) you have nothing to worry about on the collusion front. Remember, to date, Mueller has stuck (almost exclusively) to meat and potatoes charges like tax evasion and money laundering. If however the investigation leads to credible evidence that Trump broke substantive laws in the past for financial gain, then it is not reasonable to cry foul.

Seer , June 1, 2018 at 7:02 am

The Deep State assisted the DNC in knocking out Sanders. THAT was ground zero. Everything since then has been to cover this up and to discredit Trump (using him as the distraction). Consider that the Deep State never bothered to investigate the DNC servers/data; reason being is that they'd (Deep State) be implicated.

Skip Scott , June 1, 2018 at 7:29 am

Very true Seer. That is the real genesis of RussiaGate. It was a diversion tactic to keep people from looking at the DNC's behavior during the primaries. They are the reason Trump is president, not the evil Ruskies.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 8:13 am

We all seem agreed that the Russia collusion is an exercise in distraction. I can't say I know enough to comment with authority on whether the DNC would require assistance from the deep state to trash Bernie. From an outsider perspective it looked more like an application of massively disproportionate spending and standard, back room dirty tricks.
There is a saying; don't attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence. In this case, try replacing incompetence with MONEY.

dikcheney , June 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm

Totally agree with you Skip and the Mueller performance is there to keep up the intimidation and distraction by regularly finding turds to throw at Trump. Mueller doesnt need to find anything, he just needs to create vague intimations of 'guilty Trump' and suspicious associates so that no one will look at the DNC or the Clinton corruption or the smashing of the Sanders campaign.

Their actual agenda is to smother analysis and clear thinking. Thankfully there is the forensicator piecing the jigsaw as well as consortium news.

robjira , June 1, 2018 at 11:55 am

Spot on, Seer.

michael , June 1, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Those servers probably had a lot more pay-to-play secrets from the Clinton Foundation and ring-kissing from foreign big donors than what was released by Wikileaks, which mostly was just screwing over Bernie, which the judge ruled was Hillary's prerogative. Some email chains were probably construed as National Security and were discreetly not leaked.
The 30,000 emails Hillary had bit bleached from her private servers are likely in the hands of Russians and every other major country, all biding their time for leverage. This was the carrot the British (who undoubtedly have copies as well) dangled over idiot Popodopolous.

Uncle Bob , June 1, 2018 at 10:33 pm

Seth Rich

anon , June 1, 2018 at 7:42 am

Realist is likely referring to events before the election which involved people with secret agency connections, such as the opposition research (Steele dossier and Skripal affair).

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 9:32 am

Realist responded but is being "moderated" as per usual.

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 9:31 am

Hillary herself was a prime force in cooking up the smear against Trump for being "Putin's puppet." This even before the Democratic convention. Then she used it big time during the debates. It wasn't something merely reactive after she lost. Certainly she and her collaborators inside the deep state and the intelligence agencies never imagined that she would lose and have to distract from what she and her people did by projecting the blame onto Trump. That part was reactive. The rest of the conspiracy was totally proactive on her part and that of the DNC, even during the primaries.

Don't forget, the intel agencies led by Clapper, Brennan and Comey were all working for Obama at the time and were totally acquiescent in spying on the Trump campaign and "unmasking" the identities and actions of his would-be administration, including individuals like General Flynn. The cooked up Steele dossier was paid for by money from the Clinton campaign and used as a pretext for the intel agencies to spy on the Trump campaign. There is no issue on timing. The establishment was fully behind Clinton by hook or crook from the moment Trump had the delegates to win the GOP nomination. (OBTW, I am not a Trump supporter or even a Republican, so I KNOW that I "have nothing to worry about on the collusion front." I'm a registered Dem, though not a Hillary supporter.)

Moreover, if you think that Mueller (and the other intel chiefs) have been on the impartial up-and-up, why did the FBI never seize and examine the DNC servers? Why simply accept the interpretation of events given by the private cybersecurity firm (Crowdstrike) that the Clinton campaign hired to very likely mastermind a cover-up? That is exceptional (nay, unheard of!) "professional courtesy." Why has Mueller to this day not deposed Julian Assange or former British Ambassador Craig Murray, both of whom admit to knowing precisely who provided the leaked (not hacked) Podesta and DNC emails to Wikileaks? Why has Mueller not pursued the potential role of the late Seth Rich in the leaking of said emails? Why has Mueller not pursued the robust theory, based on actual evidence, proposed by VIPS, and supported by computer experts like Bill Binney and John McAfee, that the emails were not, as the Dems and the intel agencies would have you believe on NO EVIDENCE, hacked (by the "Russians" or anyone else) but were downloaded to a flash drive directly from the DNC servers? Why has Mueller not deposed Binney or Ray McGovern who claim to have evidence to bear on this and have discussed it freely in the media (to the miniscule extent that the corporate media will give them an audience)? Is Mueller after the truth, or is this a kangaroo court he is running? Is the media really independent and impartial or are they part of a cover-up, perpetrating numerous sins of both commission and omission in their highly flawed reportage?

I don't see clarity in what has been thus far been propounded by Mueller or any of Trump's other accusers, but I don't think I am the one who is confused here, Vivian. If you want to meet a thoroughly confused individual on what transpired leading up to this moment in American political history, just go read Hillary's book. Absolutely everyone under the sun shares in the blame but her for the fact that she does not presently reside in the White House.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 1:48 pm

You have presented your case with a great deal more detail and clarity than the original post that prompted my reply. You are also a great deal more knowledgeable than I on the details. I think we are 98% in agreement and I wouldn't like to say who's correct on the remaining 2%.
For clarity, I didn't follow the debates and wouldn't do so now if they were repeated. Much heat very little light.
The "pretext" that the intel agencies claim launched their actions against Trump was not the Steele dossier, at least that is what the intel agencies say. Either way your assertion that it was the dossier that set things off is just that, an assertion. I think this is a minor point.
On the DNC servers and the FBI we are 100% singing from the same hymn book and it all sticks. Mueller's apparent disinterest in the question of hack or USB drive does rather taint his investigation and thanks for pointing this out, I hadn't thought of that angle. I still think Mueller will stick to tax and money laundering and stay well clear of "collusion", so yes he may be running a kangaroo court investigation but the charges will be real world.
The MSM as a whole are a sick joke which is why we collectively find ourselves at CN, Craig Murray's blog, etc. I wouldn't like to attribute "collaboration" to any individual in the media. It was the reference to hundreds of journalists being sent to jail in your original post that set me off in the first place. When considering the "culpability" of any individual journalist you can have any position on a spectrum from; fully cognisant collaborator with a deep state conspiracy, to; a bit dim and running with the "sexy" story 'cause it's the biggest thing ever, the bosses can't get enough of it and the overtime is great. If American journalists are anything like their UK counterparts, 99% will fall into the latter category.
Don't have any issue with your final point. Hillary on stage and on camera was phoney as rocking horse s**te and everyone outside her extremely highly remunerated team could see it.
Sorry for any inconvenience, but your second post makes your points a hell of a lot clearer than the original.

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 4:26 pm

My purpose for the first post in this thread was to direct readers to the article in Unz by Mike Whitney, not to compress a full-blown amateur expose' by myself into a three-sentence paragraph. You would have found much more in the way of facts, analysis and opinion in his article to which my terse comments did not even serve as an abstract.

Quoting his last paragraph may give you the flavor of this piece, which is definitely not a one-off by him or other actual journalists who have delved into the issues:

"Let's see if I got this right: Brennan gets his buddies in the UK to feed fake information on Russia to members of the Trump campaign, after which the FBI uses the suspicious communications about Russia as a pretext to unmask, wiretap, issue FISA warrants, and infiltrate the campaign, after which the incriminating evidence that was collected in the process of entrapping Trump campaign assistants is compiled in a legal case that is used to remove Trump from office. Is that how it's supposed to work?

It certainly looks like it. But don't expect to read about it in the Times."

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 4:49 pm

Vivian – 90% of all major media is owned by six corporations. There most definitely was and IS collusion between some of them to bring down the outsider, Trump.

As far as individual journalists go, yeah, they're trying to pay their mortgage, I get it, and they're going to spin what their boss bloody well tells them to spin. But there is evidence coming out that "some" journalists did accept money from either Fusion GPS, Perkins Coie (sp) or Christopher Steele to leak information, which they did.

Bill Clinton passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that enabled these six media conglomerates to dominate the news. Of course they're political. They need to be split up, like yesterday, into a thousand pieces (ditto for the banks). They have purposely and with intent been feeding lies to the American people. Yes, some SHOULD go to jail.

As Peter Strzok of the FBI said re Trump colluding with Russia, "There was never any there, there." The collusion has come from the intelligence agencies, in cahoots with Hillary Clinton, perhaps even as high as Obama, to prevent Trump being elected. When that failed, they set out to get him impeached on whatever they could find. Of course Mueller is going to stick with tax and money laundering because he already KNOWS there was never any collusion with Russia.

This is the Swamp versus the People.

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 1:52 pm

Realist – another excellent post. "Is Mueller after the truth, or is this a kangaroo court he is running?" As you rightly point out, Mueller IS being very selective in what he examines and doesn't examine. He's not after the whole truth, just a particular kind of truth, one that gets him a very specific result – to take down or severely cripple the President.

Evidence continues to trickle out. Former and active members of the FBI are now even begging to testify as they are disgusted with what is being purposely omitted from this so-called "impartial" investigation. This whole affair is "kangaroo" all the way.

I'm not so much a fan of Trump as I am a fan of the truth. I don't like to see him – anyone – being railroaded. That bothers me more than anything. But he's right about what he calls "the Swamp". If these people are not uncovered and brought to justice, then the country is truly lost.

Realist , June 1, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Precisely. Destroy the man on false pretenses and you destroy our entire system, whether you like him and his questionable policies or not.

Some people would say it's already gone, but we do what we can to get it back or hold onto to what's left of it. Besides, all the transparent lies and skullduggery in the service of politics rather than principles are just making our entire system look as corrupt as hell.

michael , June 1, 2018 at 5:00 pm

When Mueller arrested slimy Manafort for crimes committed in the Ukraine and gave a pass to the Podesta Brothers who worked closely with Manafort, it was clear that Russiagate was a partisan operation.

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Michael – good point!

KiwiAntz , June 1, 2018 at 1:00 am

Its becoming abundantly clear now, that the whole Russiagate charade was had nothibg to do with Russia & is about a elaborate smokescreen & shellgame coverup designed to divert attention away from, firstly the Democratic Party's woeful defeat & its lousy Candidate choice in the corrupt Hillary Clinton? & also the DNC's sabotaging of Bernie Saunders campaign run! But the most henious & treacherous parts was Obama's, weaponising the intelligence agencies to spy (Halper) on the imaginary Mancharian Candidate Trump & to set him up as a Russia stooge? Obama & Hillary Clinton are complicent in this disgraceful & illegal activity to get dirt on Trump withe goal of ensuring Clinton's election win? This is bigger than Watergate & more scandalous? But despite the cheating & stacking of the card deck, she still lost out to the Donald? And this isn't just illegal its treasonous & willful actions deserving of a lengthy jail incarceration? HRC & her crooked Clinton foundation's funding of the fraudulent & discredited "Steele Dosier" was also used to implement Trump & Russia in a made up, pile of fictitious gargage that was pure offal? Obama & HRC along with their FBI & CIA spys need to be rounded up, convicted & thrown in jail? Perhaps if Trump could just shut his damn mouuth for once & get off twitter long enough to be able too get some Justice Dept officials looking into this, without being distracted by this Russiagate shellgame fakery, then perhaps the real criminal's like Halpert, Obama,HRC & these corrupt spooks & spies can be rounded up & held to account for this treasonous behaviour?

Sean Ahern , May 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm

Attention should be paid also to the role of so called progressive media outlets such as Mother Jones which served as an outlets for the disinformation campaign described in Lazare's article.
Here from David Corn's Mother Jones 2016 article:

"And a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump -- and that the FBI requested more information from him."
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/veteran-spy-gave-fbi-info-alleging-russian-operation-cultivate-donald-trump/

Not only was Corn and Mother Jones selected by the spooks as an outlet, but these so called progressives lauded their 'expose' as a great investigative coup on their part and it paved the way for Corn's elevation on MSNBC for a while as a 'pundit.'

Paul G. , May 31, 2018 at 8:46 pm

In that vein did the spooks influence Rachel Maddow or is her $30,000. a day salary adequate to totally compromise her microscopic journalistic integrity.

dikcheney , June 3, 2018 at 6:57 am

Passing around references to Mother Jones is like passing round used toilet paper for another try. MJ is BS it is entirely controlled fake press.

Abby , May 31, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Stefan Halper was being paid by the Clinton's foundation during the time he was spying on the Trump campaign. This is further evidence that Hillary Clinton's hands are all over getting Russia Gate started. Then there's the role that Obama's justice department played in setting up the spying on people who were working with the Trump campaign. This is worse than Watergate, IMO.

Rumors are that a few ex FBI agents are going to testify to congress in Comey's role in covering up Hillary's crimes when she used her private email server to send classified information to people who did not have clearance to read it. Sydney Bluementhol was working for Hillary's foundation and sending her classified information that he stole from the NSA.

Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were concerned about Obama knowing that Hillary wasn't using her government email account after he told the press that he only found out about it at the same time they did. He had been sending and receiving emails from her Clintonone email address during her whole tenure as SOS.

Obama was also aware of her using her foundation for pay to play which she was told by both congress and Obama to keep far away from her duties. Why did she use her private email server? So that Chelsea could know where Hillary was doing business so she could send Bill there to give his speeches to the same organizations, foreign governments and people who had just donated to their foundation.

Has any previous Secretary of State in history used their position to enrich their spouses or their foundations? I think not.

The secrets of how the FBI covered for Hillary are coming out. Whether she is charged for her crimes is a different matter.

F. G. Sanford , May 31, 2018 at 7:48 pm

If Hillary paid a political operative using Clinton Foundation funds – those are tax exempt charitable contributions – she would be guilty of tax fraud, charity fraud and campaign finance violations. Hillary may be evil, but she's not stupid. The U.S.Government paid Halper, which might be "waste, fraud and abuse", but it doesn't implicate Hillary at all. Not that she's innocent, mind you

Rob , June 1, 2018 at 2:14 am

I need some references to take any of your multitude of claims seriously. With all due respect, this sound like something taken from info wars and stylized in smartened up a little bit.

chris m , May 31, 2018 at 2:52 pm

the idea that Stefan Halper was some sort a of mastermind spy behind the so called "Russiagate" fiasco
seems very implausible considering what he seems to have spent doing for the past 40 years
going back to the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1980 and his efforts then.

i think he must have had a fairly peripheral role as to whatever or not was going on behind the scenes from 2016 election campaign, and the campaign to first stop Trump getting elected, and secondly, when that failed, to bring down his Presidency.

of course, the moment his name was revealed in recent days, would have shocked or surprised those of in the general
public, but not certainly amongst those in Government aka FBI/CIA/Military-industrial circles.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 4:36 pm

chris m – Halper is probably one of those people who hide behind their professor (or other legitimate) jobs, but are there at the ready to serve the Deep State. "I understand. You want me to set up some dupes in order to make it look like there was or could be actual Russian meddling. Gotcha." All you've got to do is make it "look like" something nefarious was going on. This facilitates a "reason" to have a phony investigation, and of course they make it as open-ended an investigation as possible, hoping to get the target on something, anything.

Well, they've no doubt looked long and hard for almost two years now, but zip. However, in their zeal to get rid of their opponent, who they did not think would win the election, they left themselves open, left a trail of crimes. Whoops!

This is the Swamp that Trump talked about during the election. He's probably not squeaky clean either, but he pales in comparison to what these guys have done. They have tried to take down a duly-elected President.

F. G. Sanford , May 31, 2018 at 5:09 pm

His role may have been peripheral, but I seem to recall that the Office of Net Assessments paid him roughly a million bucks to play it. That office, run from the Pentagon, is about as deep into the world of "black ops" spookdom as you can get. Hardly "peripheral", I'd say.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm

F. G. Sanford – yes, a million bucks implies something more than just a peripheral involvement, more like something essential to the plot, like the actual setting up of the plot. Risk of exposure costs money.

ranney , May 31, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Chris, I think the Halper inclusion in this complex tale is simply an example of how these things work in the ultra paranoid style of spy agencies. As Lazare explains, every one knew every one else – at least at the start of this, and it just kind of built from there, and Halper may have been the spark – but the spark landed on a highly combustible pile of paranoia that caught on fire right away. This is how our and the UK agencies function. There is an interesting companion piece to this story today at Common Dreams by Robert Kohler titled The American Way of War. It describes basically the same sort of mind set and action as this story. I'd link it for you if I knew how, but I'm not very adept at the computer. (Maybe another reader knows how?)

We (that is the American people who are paying the salaries of these brain blocked, stiff necked idiots) need to start getting vocal and visible about the destructive path our politicians, banks and generals have rigidly put us on. Does any average working stiff still believe that all this hate, death and destruction is to "protect" us?

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:07 pm

ranney – when you are on the page that you want to link to, take your cursor (the little arrow on your screen) to the top of the page to the address bar (for instance, the address for this article is:
"https://consortiumnews.com/2018/05/31/spooks-spooking ")

Once your cursor is over the address bar, right click on your mouse. A little menu will come up. Then position your cursor down to the word "copy" and then left click on your mouse. This will copy the link.

Then proceed back to the blog (like Consortium) where you want to provide the link in your post. You might say, "Here is the link for the article I just described above." Then at this point you would right click on your mouse again, position your cursor over the word "paste", and then left click on your mouse. Voila, your link magically appears.

If you don't have a mouse and are using a laptop pad, then someone else will have to help you. That's above my pay grade. Good luck, ranney.

irina , May 31, 2018 at 8:13 pm

If you are using a Mac, either laptop w/touch screen or with a mouse, the copy/paste function
works similarly. Use either the mouse (no need to 'right click, left click') or the touch screen
to highlight the address bar once you have the cursor flashing away on the left side of it.
You may need to scroll right to highlight the whole address. Then go up to Edit (there's also
a keyboard command you can use, but I don't) in your tool bar at the top of your screen.
Click on 'copy'. Now your address is in memory. Then do the same as described above to
get back to where you want to paste it. Put your cursor where you want it to be 'pasted'.
Go back to 'edit' and click 'paste'. Voila !

This is a very handy function and can be used to copy text, web addresses, whatever you want.
Explore it a little bit. (Students definitely overuse the 'paste and match style' option, which allows
a person to 'paste' text into for example an essay and 'match the style' so it looks seamless, although
unless carefully edited it usually doesn't read seamlessly !)

Remember that whatever is in 'copy' will remain there until you 'copy' something else. (Or your
computer crashes . . . )

ranney , June 1, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Irina and Backwards Evolution – Thanks guys for the computer advice! I'll try it, but I think I need someone at my shoulder the first time I try it.

backwardsevolution , June 1, 2018 at 8:53 pm

ranney – you're welcome! Snag one of your kids or a friend, and then do it together. Sometimes I see people posting things like: "Testing. I'm trying to provide a link, bear with me." Throw caution to the wind, ranney. I don't worry about embarrassing myself anymore. I do it every day and the world still goes on.

I heard a good bit of advice once, something I remind my kids: when you're young, you think everybody is watching you and so you're afraid to step out of line. When you're middle-aged, you think everybody is watching you, but you don't care. When you're older, you realize nobody is really watching you because they're more concerned about themselves.

Good luck, ranney.

irina , June 2, 2018 at 10:00 pm

I find it helpful to write down the steps (on an old fashioned piece of paper, with old fashioned ink)
when learning to use a new computer tool, because while I think I'll remember, it doesn't usually
'stick' until after using it for quite a while. And yes, definitely recruit a member of the younger set
or someone familiar with computers. My daughter showed me many years ago how to 'cut & paste'
and to her credit she was very gracious about it. Remember that you need a place to 'paste' what-
ever you copied -- either a comment board like this, or a document you are working on, or (this is
handy) an email where you want to send someone a link to something. Lots of other possibilities too!

mike , June 1, 2018 at 7:43 pm

No one is presenting Halper as a mastermind spy. He was a tool of the deep state nothing more.

Gary Weglarz , May 31, 2018 at 1:57 pm

It seems a mistake to frame the "Russiagate" nonsense as a "Democrat vs Republican" affair, except at the most surface level of understanding in terms of our political realities. If one considers that the Bush family has been effectively the Republican Party's face of the CIA/deep state nexus for decades, as the Clinton/Obama's have been the Democratic Party's face for decades now, what comes into focus is Trump as a sort of unknown, unexpected wild card not appropriately tethered to the control structure. Simply noting that the U.S. and Russia need not be enemies is alone enough to require an operation to get Trump into line.
This hardly means this is some sort of "partisan" issue as the involvement of McCain and others demonstrates.

One of the true "you can't make this stuff up" ironies of the Bush/Clinton CIA/deep state nexus history is worth remembering if one still maintains any illusions about how the CIA vets potential presidents since they killed JFK. During Iran/Contra we had Bush, the former CIA director now vice president, running a drugs for arms operation out the White House through Ollie North, WHILE then unknown Arkansas governor Bill Clinton was busy squashing Arkansas State Police investigations into said narcotics trafficking. Clinton obviously proved his bona fides to the CIA/deep state with such service and was appropriately rewarded as an asset who could function as a reliable president. Here in one operation we had two future presidents in Bush and Clinton both engaged in THE SAME CIA drug running operation. You truly can't make this stuff up.

Russiagate seems to be in the end all about keeping deep state policy moving in the "right direction" and "hating Russia" is the only entree on the menu at this time for the whole cadre of CIA/deep state, MIC, neocons, Zionists, and all their minions in the MSM. The Obama White House would have gladly supported Vlad the Impaler as the Republican candidate that beat Hillary if Vlad were to have the appropriate foaming at the mouth "hate-Russia" vibe going on.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Gary – great post.

irina , May 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm

Roger that. I would really like to see an inquiry re-opened into the
teenage boys who died 'on the train tracks' in Arkansas during the
early years of the Clinton-Bush trafficking. Many questions are still
unanswered. Speculation is that they saw something they weren't
supposed to see.

Mark Thomason , May 31, 2018 at 1:12 pm

This all grows out of the failure to clean up the mess revealed by the Iraq fiasco. Instead, those who did that remained, got away with it, and are doing more of the same.

Babyl-on , May 31, 2018 at 12:46 pm

So, here is my question – Who, ultimately does the permanent/bureaucratic/deep/Imperial* state finally answer to? Who's interests are they serving? How do they know what those interests are?

It could be, and increasingly it looks as if, the answer is – no one in particular – but the Saud family, the Zionist cabal of billionaires, the German industrialist dynasties, the Japanese oligarchy and never forget the arms dealers, all of them once part of the Empire now fighting for themselves so we end up with the high level apparatchiks not knowing what to do or who to follow so they lie outright to Congress and go on TV and babble more lies for money.

It's a great contradiction that the greatest armed force ever assembled with cutting edge robotics and AI yet at the same time so weak and pathetic it can not exercise hegemony over the Middle East as it seems to desire more than anything. Being defeated by forces with less than 20% of the US spend.

Abby , May 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm

You're right. They answer to no one because they are not just working in this country, but they think that the whole world is theirs.

To these people there are no borders. They meet at places like the G20, Davos and wherever the Bilderberg group decides to meet every year. No leader of any country gets to be one unless they are acceptable to the Deep State. The council of foreign relations is one of the groups that run the world. How we take them down is a good question.

Abe , May 31, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Following the pattern of mainstream media, Daniel Lazare assiduously avoids mentioning Israel and pro-Israel Lobby interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Israel-gate reality underlying all the Russia-gate fictions.

For example, George Papadopoulos is directly connected to the pro-Israel Lobby, right wing Israeli political interests, and Israeli government efforts to control regional energy resources.

Lazare mentions that Papadapoulos had "a friend in the Israeli embassy".

But Lazare conspicuously neglects to mention numerous Israeli and pro-Israel Lobby players interested in "filling Papadopoulos's head" with "tales of Russian dirty tricks".

Papadopoulos' LinkedIn page lists his association with the right wing Hudson Institute. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank part of pro-Israel Lobby web of militaristic security policy institutes that promote Israel-centric U.S. foreign policy.

https://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/hudson_institute/

The Hudson Institute confirmed that Papadopoulos was an intern who left the pro-Israel neoconservative think tank in 2014.

In 2014, Papadopoulos authored op-ed pieces in Israeli publications.

In an op-ed published in Arutz Sheva, media organ of the right wing Religionist Zionist movement embraced by the Israeli "settler" movement, Papadopoulos argued that the U.S. should focus on its "stalwart allies" Israel, Greece, and Cyprus to "contain the newly emergent Russian fleet".

In another op-ed published in Ha'aretz, Papadopoulos contended that Israel should exploit its natural gas resources in partnership with Cyprus and Greece rather than Turkey.

In November 2015, Papadapalous participated in a conference in Tel Aviv, discussing the export of natural gas from Israel with a panel of current and past Israeli government officials including Ron Adam, a representative of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Eran Lerman, a former Israeli Deputy National Security Adviser.

Among Israel's numerous violations of United Nations Resolution 242 was its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981. Recent Israeli threatened military threats against Lebanon and Syria have a lot to do with control of natural gas resources, both offshore from Gaza and on land in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights region.

Israeli plans to develop energy resources and expand territorial holdings in the Syrian Golan are threatened by the Russian military presence in Syria. Russian diplomatic efforts, and the Russian military intervention that began in September 2015 after an official request by the Syrian government, have interfered with the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis "dirty war" in Syria.

Israeli activities and Israel-gate realities are predictably ignored by the mainstream media, which continues to salivate at every moldy scrap of Russia-gate fiction.

Lazare need no be so circumspect, unless he has somehow been spooked.

Herman , May 31, 2018 at 4:13 pm

"Among Israel's numerous violations of United Nations Resolution 242 was its annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights in 1981. Recent Israeli threatened military threats against Lebanon and Syria have a lot to do with control of natural gas resources, both offshore from Gaza and on land in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights region."

And water. Rating energy and water, what's at the top for Israel. Israel would probably say both but Israel shielded by the US will take what it wants. That is already true with the Palestinians.. The last figure I heard is that the Palestinians are allocated one fifth per capita what is allocated to Israel's

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 11:59 am

A large swamp is actually an ancient and highly organized ecosystem. Only humans could create a lawless madness like Washington DC.

irina , May 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Yes that is a good description of a swamp. BUT, if it loses what sustains it --
water, in the case of a 'real' swamp and money in the case of this swamp --
it changes character very quickly and becomes first a bog, then a meadow.

I am definitely ready for more meadowland ! But the only way to create it
is to voluntarily redirect federal taxes into escrow accounts which stipulate
that the funds are to be used for (fill in the blank) Public Services at the
Local and Regional levels. Much more efficient than filtering them through
the federal bureaucracy !

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:21 pm

But how would one avoid prosecution for nonpayment of taxes?
That seems a very quiet way to be rendered ineffective as a resister.

irina , June 1, 2018 at 2:30 am

The thing is, you don't 'nonpay' them. The way it used to work, through the
Con$cience and Military Tax Campaign Escrow Account, was that you filed
your taxes as usual. (This does require having less withholding than you owe).
BUT instead of paying what is due to the IRS, you send it to the Escrow Account.
You attach a letter to your tax return, explaining where the money is and why it
is there. That is, you want it to be spent on _________________(fill in the blank)
worthy public social service. Then you send your return to the IRS.

When I used to do this, I stated that I wanted my tax dollars to be spent to develop
public health clinics at neighborhood schools. Said clinics would be staffed by nurse
practitioners, would be open 24-7 and nurses would be equipped with vans to make
House Calls. Security would be provided.

So you're not 'nonpaying' your taxes, you are (attempting) to redirect them. Eventually,
after several rounds of letters back and forth, the IRS would seize the monies from the
escrow account, which would only release them to the IRS upon being told to by the
tax re-director. Unfortunately, not enough people participated to make it a going concern.
But the potential is still there, and the template has been made and used. It's very scale-
able, from local to international. And it would not take that many 're-directors' to shift the
focus of tax liability from the collector to the payor. Because ultimately we are liable for
how our funds are used !

Bill , June 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm

this was done a lot during the Vietnam conflict, especially by Quakers. the first thing, if you are a wage earner, is to re-file a W2 with maximum withholdings-that has two effects: 1) it means you owe all your taxes in April. 2) it means the feds are deprived of the hidden tax in which they use or invest your withholding throughout the year before it's actually due(and un-owed taxes if you over over-withhold). Pretty sure that if a large number of people deprive the government of that hidden tax by under-withholding, they will begin to take notice.

Abe , May 31, 2018 at 11:54 am

Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence agency of the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom.

In 2013, GCHQ received considerable media attention when the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency was in the process of collecting all online and telephone data in the UK. Snowden's revelations began a spate of ongoing disclosures of global surveillance and manipulation.

For example, NSA files from the Snowden archive published by Glenn Greenwald reveal details about GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) unit, which uses "dirty trick" tactics to covertly manipulate and control online communities.

JTRIG document: "The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations"
https://edwardsnowden.com/docs/doc/the-art-of-deception-training-for-a-new.pdf

In 2017, officials from the UK and Israel made an unprecedented confirmation of the close relationship between the GCHQ and Israeli intelligence services.

Robert Hannigan, outgoing Director-General of the GCHQ, revealed for the first time that his organization has a "strong partnership with our Israeli counterparts in signals intelligence." He claimed the relationship "is protecting people from terrorism not only in the UK and Israel but in many other countries."

Mark Regev, Israeli ambassador to the UK, commented on the close relationship between British and Israeli intelligence agencies. During remarks at a Conservative Friends of Israel reception, Regev opined: "I have no doubt the cooperation between our two democracies is saving British lives."

Hannigan added that GCHQ was "building on an excellent cyber relationship with a range of Israeli bodies and the remarkable cyber industry in Be'er Sheva."

The IDF's most important signal intelligence–gathering installation is the Urim SIGINT Base, a part of Unit 8200, located in the Negev desert approximately 30 km from Be'er Sheva.

Snowden revealed how Unit 8200 receives raw, unfiltered data of U.S. citizens, as part of a secret agreement with the U.S. National Security Agency.

After his departure from GCHQ, Hannigan joined BlueteamGlobal, a cybersecurity services firm, later re-named BlueVoyant.

BlueVoyant's board of directors includes Nadav Zafrir, former Commander of the Israel Defense Forces' Unit 8200. The senior leadership team at BlueVoyant includes Ron Feler, formerly Deputy Commander of the IDF's Unit 8200, and Gad Goldstein, who served as a division head in the Israel Security Agency, Shin Bet, in the rank equivalent to Major General.

In addition to their purported cybersecurity activities, Israeli. American, and British private companies have enormous access and potential to promote government and military deception operations.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Thanks Abe. Sounds like a manual for slave owners and con men. What a tangled wed the rich bastards weave. The simple truth is their sworn enemy.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:19 pm

Interesting that a foreign power would be given all US communications data, which implies that the US has seized it all without a warrant and revealed it all in violation of the Constitution. If extensive, this use of information power amounts to information warfare against the US by its own secret agencies in collusion with a foreign power, an act of treason.

Seer , June 1, 2018 at 7:18 am

This has been going on for a LONG time, it's nothing new. I seem to recall 60 Minutes covering it way back in the 70s(?). UK was allowed to do the snooping in the US (and, likely, vice versa) and then providing info to the US. This way the US govt could claim that it didn't spy/snoop on its citizens. Without a doubt Israel has been extensively intercepting communications in the US..

Secrecy kills.

Sam F , June 1, 2018 at 8:23 am

Yes, but the act of allowing unregulated foreign agencies unwarranted access to US telecoms is federal crime, and it is treason when it goes so far as to allow them full access, and even direct US bulk traffic to their spy agencies. If this is so, these people should be prosecuted for treason.

F. G. Sanford , May 31, 2018 at 11:36 am

To listen to the media coverage of these events, it is tempting to believe that two entirely different planets are being discussed. Fox comes out and says Mueller was "owned" by Trump. Then, CNN comes out and says Trump was "owned" by Clapper. Clapper claims the evidence is "staggering", while video clips of his testimony reveal irrefutable perjury. Some of President Trump's policies are understandably abhorrent to Democrats, while Clinton's email server and charity frauds are indisputably violations of Federal statutes. Democrats are attempting to claim that a "spy" in the Trump campaign was perfectly reasonable to protect "national security", but evidence seems to indicate that the spy was placed BEFORE there was a legitimate national security concern. Some analysts note that, while Mueller's team appears to be Democratic partisan hacks, their native "skill set" is actually expertise in money laundering investigations. They claim that although Mr. Trump may not be compromised by the Russian government, he is involved with nefarious Russian organized crime figures. It follows, according to them, that given time, Mueller will reveal these illicit connections, and prosecution will become inevitable.

Let's assume, for argument, that both sides are right. That means that our entire government is irretrievably corrupt. Republicans claim that it could " go all the way to Obama". Democrats, of course, play the "moral high ground" card, insinuating that the current administration is so base and immoral that somehow, the "ends justify the means". No matter how you slice it, the Clinton campaign has a lot more liability on its hands. The problem is, if prosecutions begin, people will "talk" to save their own skins. The puppet masters can't really afford that.

"All the way to Obama", you say? I think it could go higher than that. Personally, I think it could go all the way to Dick Cheney, and the 'powers that be' are in no mood to let that happen.

Vivian O'Blivion , May 31, 2018 at 12:19 pm

The issue as I see it is that from the start everyone was calling the Mueller probe an investigation into collusion and not really grasping the catch all nature of his brief.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Counsel_investigation_(2017–present)

It's the "any matters arising " that is the real kicker. So any dodgy dealing / possible criminal activity in the past is fair game. And this is exactly what in happening with Manafort.
Morally you can apply the Nucky Johnson defence and state that everyone knew Trump was a crook when they voted for him, but legally this has no value.
There is an unpleasant whiff of deep state interference with the will of the people (electoral college). Perhaps if most bodies hadn't written Trump's chances off in such an off hand manner, proper due diligence of his background would have uncovered any liabilities before the election.
If there is actionable dirt, can't say I am overly sympathetic to Trump. Big prizes sometimes come with big risks.

David G , May 31, 2018 at 5:14 pm

My own feeling from the start has been that Mueller was never going to track down any "collusion" or "meddling" (at least not to any significant degree) because the whole, sprawling Russia-gate narrative – to the extent one can be discerned – is obviously phony.

But at the same time, there's no way the completely lawless, unethical Trump, along with his scummy associates, would be able to escape that kind of scrutiny without criminal conduct being exposed.

So far, on both scores, that still seems to me to be a likely outcome, and for my part I'm fine with it.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 5:29 am

My thoughts exactly. Collusion was never a viable proposition because the Russians aren't that stupid. Regardless of any personal opinion regarding the intelligence and mental stability of Donald Snr., the people he surrounds himself with are weapons grade stupid. I don't see the Russians touching the Trump campaign with a proverbial barge pole.

Bill , June 2, 2018 at 3:26 pm

it just happens that Trump appears to have been involved (wittingly or not), with the laundering a whole lot of Russian money and so many of his friends seem to be connected with wealthy Russian oligarchs as well plus they are so stupid, they keep appearing to (and probably are) obstructing justice. The Cohen thing doesn't get much attention here, but it's significant that they have all this stuff on a guy who is clearly Trump's bagman.

Steve Naidamast , May 31, 2018 at 3:15 pm

There is also quite an indication that the entire Mueller investigation is a complete smoke screen to be used as cannon fodder in the mainstream media.

On the one hand, Mueller and his hacks have found nothing of import to link Trump to anything close to collusion with members of the Russian government. And I am by no means a Trump supporter by any stretch of the imagination, except as a foil to Clinton. However, even my minimalist expectations for Trump have not worked out either.

In addition. the Mueller investigation has been spending what appears to be a majority of its time on ancillary matters that were not within the supposed scope and mandate of this investigation. Further, a number of indictments have come down against people involved with such ancillary matters.

The result is that if Mueller is going beyond the scope of his investigatory mandate, this may come in as a technicality that will allow indicted persons to escape prosecution on appeal.

Such a mandate, I would think, is the same thing as a police warrant, which can find only admissible evidence covered by the warrant. Anything else found to be criminally liable must be found to be as a result of a completely different investigation that has nothing to do with the original warrant.

In other words, it appears that the Mueller investigation was allowed to commence under a Republican controlled Congress for the very reason that its intent is simply to go in circles long enough for Republicans to get their agendas through, which does not appear to be working all too well as a result of their high levels of internecine party conflicts.

This entire affair is coming to show just how dysfunctional, corrupt, and incompetent the entirety of the US federal government has become. And to the chagrin of all sincere activists, no amount of organized protesting and political action will ever rid the country of this grotesque political quagmire that now engulfs the entirety of our political infrastructure.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 8:48 pm

Very true that the US federal government is now "dysfunctional, corrupt, and incompetent."
What are your thoughts on forms of action to rid us this political quagmire?
(other than ineffective "organized protesting and political action")
Have you considered new forms of public debate and public information?

Seer , June 1, 2018 at 7:34 am

All of this is blackmail to hold Trump's feet to the fire of the Israel firsters (such actions pull in all the dark swampy things). By creating the Russia blackmail story they've effectively redirected away from themselves. The moment Trump balks the Deep State will reel in some more, airing innuendos to overwhelm Trump. Better believe that Trump has been fully "briefed" on all of this. John Bolton was able to push out a former OPCW head with threats (knew where his, the OPCW head's children were). And now John Bolton is sitting right next to Trump (whispering in his ear that he knows ways in which to oust Trump).

What actual "ideas" were in Trump's head going in to all of this (POTUS run) is hard to say. But, anything that can be considered a threat to the Deep State has been effectively nullified now.

Vivian O'Blivion , June 1, 2018 at 8:22 am

Possible, but Manafort already tried to get his charges thrown out as being the outcome of investigations beyond the remit He failed.

Brendan , May 31, 2018 at 10:26 am

There's no doubt at all that Joseph Mifsud was closely connected with western intelligence, and with MI6 in particular. His contacts with Russia are insignificant compared with his long career working amongst the elite of western officials.
Lee Smith of RealClearInvestigations lists some of the places where Mifsud worked, including two universities:

"he taught at Link Campus University in Rome, ( ) whose lecturers and professors include senior Western diplomats and intelligence officials from a number of NATO countries, especially Italy and the United Kingdom.

Mifsud also taught at the University of Stirling in Scotland, and the London Academy of Diplomacy, which trained diplomats and government officials, some of them sponsored by the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council, or by their own governments."

Two former colleagues of Mifsud's, Roh and Pastor, recently interviewed him for a book they have written. Those authors could very well be biased, but one of them makes a valid point, similar to one that Daniel Lazare makes above:
"Given the affiliations of Link's faculty and staff, as well as Mifsud's pedigree, Roh thinks it's impossible that the man he hired as a business development consultant is a Russian agent."

Politically, Mifsud identifies with the Clintons more than anyone else, and claims to belong to the Clinton Foundation, which has often been accused of being just a way of funneling money into Hillary Clinton's campaign.

As Lee Smith says, if Mifsud really is a Russian spy, "Western intelligence services are looking at one of the largest and most embarrassing breaches in a generation. But none of the governments or intelligence agencies potentially compromised is acting like there's anything wrong."

From all that we know about Joseph Mifsud, it's safe to say that he was never a Russian spy. If not, then what was he doing when he was allegedly feeding stories to George Papadopoulos about Russians having 'dirt' on Clinton?

https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2018/05/26/the_maltese_phantom_of_russiagate_.html

David G , May 31, 2018 at 4:25 pm

I read somewhere that Mifsud had disappeared. Was that true? If so, is he back, or still missing?

Chet Roman , May 31, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Here are some excerpts that will answer your question from an article by Lee Smith at Realclearinvestigations, "The Maltese Phantom of Russiagate".

A new book by former colleagues of Mifsud's – Stephan Roh, a 50-year-old Swiss-German lawyer, and Thierry Pastor, a 35-year-old French political analyst – reports that he is alive and well. Their account includes a recent interview with him.

Their self-published book, "The Faking of Russia-gate: The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis," includes a recent interview with Mifsud in which he denies saying anything about Clinton emails to Papadopoulos. Mifsud, they write, stated "vehemently that he never told anything like this to George Papadopoulos." Mifsud asked rhetorically: "From where should I have this [information]?"

Mifsud's account seems to be supported by Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat who alerted authorities about Papadopoulos. As reported in the Daily Caller, Downer said Papadopoulos never mentioned emails; he spoke, instead, about the Russians possessing material that could be damaging to Clinton. This new detail raises the possibility that Mifsud, Papadopoulos' alleged source for the information, never said anything about Clinton-related emails either.

In interviews with RealClearInvestigations, Roh and Pastor said Mifsud is anything but a Russian spy. Rather, he is more likely a Western intelligence asset.

According to the two authors, it was a former Italian intelligence official, Vincenzo Scotti, a colleague of Mifsud's and onetime interior minister, who told the professor to go into hiding. "I don't know who was hiding him," said Roh, "but I'm sure it was organized by someone. And I am sure it will be difficult to get to the bottom of it."

Toby McCrossin , June 1, 2018 at 1:54 am

" The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis," includes a recent interview with Mifsud in which he denies saying anything about Clinton emails to Papadopoulos. Mifsud, they write, stated "vehemently that he never told anything like this to George Papadopoulos.""

Thank you for providing that explosive piece of information. If true, and I suspect it is, that's one more nail in the Russiagate narrative. Who, then, is making the claim that Misfud mentioned emails? The only source for the statement I can find is "court documents".

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 9:20 am

The election scams serve only to distract from the Israel-gate scandal and the oligarchy destruction of our former democracy. Mr. Lazare neglects to tell us about that. All of Hillary's top ten campaign bribers were zionists, and Trump let Goldman-Sachs take over the economy. KSA and big business also bribed heavily.

We must restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual donations, for democracy is lost.

We must eliminate zionist fascism from our political parties, federal government, and foreign policy. Obviously that has nothing to do with any ethnic or religious preference.

Otherwise the United States is lost, and our lives have no historical meaning beyond slavery to oligarchy.

Joe Tedesky , May 31, 2018 at 9:51 am

You are right Sam. Israel does work the fence under the guise of the Breaking News. Joe

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm

My response was that Israel massacres at the fence, ignored by the zionist US mass media.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 11:48 am

The extreme wealth and privileges of oligarchy depend on the poverty and slavery of others. Inequality of income is the root cause of most of our ills. Try to imagine what a world of economic equals would be like. No striving for more and more wealth at the expense of others. No wars. What would there be to fight over – everyone would be content with what they already had.

If you automatically think such a world would be impossible, try to state why. You might discover that the only obstacle to such a world is the greedy bastards who are sitting on top of everybody, and will do anything to maintain their advantages.

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 11:52 am

How do the oligarchs ensure your slavery? With the little green tickets they have hoarded that the rest of us need just to eat and have a roof over our heads. The people sleeping in the streets tell us the penalty for not being good slaves.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Very true, Mike. Those who say that equality or fairness of income implies breaking the productivity incentive system are wrong. No matter how much or how little wage incentive we offer for making an effort in work, we need not have great disparities of income. Those who can work should have work, and we should all make an effort to do well in our work, but none of us need the fanciest cars or grand monuments to live in, just to do our best.

Getting rid of oligarchy, and getting money out of mass media and elections, would be the greatest achievement of our times.

Joe Tedesky , May 31, 2018 at 5:30 pm

An old socialist friend of my dad's generation who claimed to have read the biography of Andrew Carnegie had told me over a few beers that Carnegie said, "that at a time when he was paying his workers $5 a week he 'could' have been paying them $50 a day, but then he could not figure out what kind of life they would lead with all that money". Think about it mike, if his workers would have had that kind of money it would not be long before Carnegie's workers became his competition and opened up next door to him the worst case scenario would be his former workers would sell their steel at a cheaper price, kind of, well no exactly like what Rockefeller did with oil, or as Carnegie did with steel innovation. How's that saying go, keep them down on the farm . well. Remember Carnegie was a low level stooge for the railroads at one time, and rose to the top .mike. Great point to make mike, because there could be more to go around. Joe

Steve Naidamast , May 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm

"We must restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual donations, for democracy is lost.

We must eliminate zionist fascism from our political parties, federal government, and foreign policy. Obviously that has nothing to do with any ethnic or religious preference."

Good luck with that!!!

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Well, you are welcome to make suggestions on how to save the republic.

john wilson , May 31, 2018 at 9:10 am

The depths of the deep state has no limits, but as a UK citizen, I fail to see why the American "spooks" need any help from we Brits when it comes state criminal activity. Sure, we are masters at underhand dirty tricks, but the US has a basket full of tricks that 'Trump' (lol) anything we've got. It was the Russians wot done mantra has been going on for many decades and is ever good for another turn around the political mulberry tree of corruption and underhand dealings. Whether the Democrats or the Republicans win its all the same to the deep state as they are in control whoever is in the White House. Trump was an outsider and there for election colour and the "ho ho ho" look what a great democracy we are, anyone can be president. He is in fact the very essence of the 'wild card' and when he actually won there was total confusion, panic, disbelief and probably terror in the caves and dungeons of the deep state.

Realist , May 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

I'm sure the result was so unexpected that the shadowy fixers, the IT mavens who could have "adjusted" the numbers, were totally caught off guard and unable to do "cleanly." Not that they didn't try to re-jigger the results in the four state recounts that were ordered, but it was simply too late to effectively cheat at that point, as there were already massive overvotes detected in key urban precincts. Such a thing will never happen again, I am sure.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 9:36 am

It appears that UK has long had a supply of anti-Russia fearmongers, presumably backed by its anti-socialist oligarchy as in the US. Perhaps the US oligarchy is the dumbest salesman, who believes that all customers are even dumber, so that UK can sell Russophobia here thirty years after the USSR.

Bob Van Noy , May 31, 2018 at 8:49 am

"But how could Trump think otherwise? As Consortium News founding editor Robert Parry observed a few days later, the maneuver "resembles a tactic out of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's playbook on government-style blackmail: I have some very derogatory information about you that I'd sure hate to see end up in the press."

Perfect.
Recently, while trying to justify my arguement that a new investigation into the RFK Killing was necessary, I was asked why I thought that, and my response was "Modus operandi," exactly what Robert Parry learned by experience, and that is the fundamental similarity to all of the institutionalized crime that takes place by the IC. Once one realizes the literary approach to disinformation that was fundamental to Alan Dulles, James Jesus Angleton, even Ian Fleming, one can easily see the Themes being applied. I suppose that the very feature of believability offered by propaganda, once recognized, becomes its undoing. That could be our current reality; the old Lines simply are beginning to appear to be ridiculous

Thank you Daniel Lazar.

Sam F , June 1, 2018 at 8:39 am

The recognition of themes of propaganda as literary themes and modus operandi is helping to discredit propaganda. The similarities of the CW false-flag operations (Iraq, Syria, and UK), and the fake assassinations (Skripal and Babchenko) by the anti-Russia crowd help reveal and persuade on the falsehood of the Iraq WMD, Syria CW, and MH-17 propaganda ops. Just as the similarities of the JFK/MLK/RFK assassinations persuade us that commonalities exist long before we see evidence.

Bob Van Noy , June 1, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Many thanks Sam F for recognizing that. As we begin to achieve a resolution of the 60's Kllings, we can begin to see the general and specific themes utilized to direct the programs of Assassination. The other aspect is that real investigation Never followed; and that took Real Power.

In a truly insightful book by author Sally Denton entitled "The Profiteers" she puts together a very cogent theory that it isn't the Mafia, it's the Syndicate, which means (for me at least) real, criminal power with somewhat divergent interests ok with one another, to the extent that they can maintain their Own Turf. I think that's a profound insight

Too, in a similar vain, the Grand Deceptions of American Foreign Policy, "scenarios" are simply and only that, not a Real possible solution. Always resulting in failure

Sam F , June 1, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Yes, it is difficult to determine the structure of a subculture of gangsterism in power, which can have many specialized factions in loose cooperation, agreeing on some general policy points, like benefits for the rich, hatred of socialism, institutionalized bribery of politicians and judges, militarized policing, destruction of welfare and social security, deregulation of everything, essentially the neocon/neolib line of the DemReps. The party line of oligarchy in any form.

Indeed the foreign policy of such gangsters is designed to "fail" because destruction of cultures, waste, and fragmentation most efficiently exploits the bribery structure available, and serves the anti-socialist oligarchy. Failure of the declared foreign policy is success, because that is only propaganda to cover the corruption.

SocraticGadfly , May 31, 2018 at 8:48 am

You know, not only Gay Trowdy but even Dracula Napolitano think people like Lazare , McGovern, etc. are overblown on this issue.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 1:47 pm

SocraticGadfly – Trey Gowdy hasn't even seen the documents yet, so he's hardly in a position to say anything. The House Intelligence Committee, under Chairman Nunes, are being stymied by the FBI and the Department of Justice who are refusing to hand over documents. Refusing! Refusing to disclose documents to the very people who, by law, have oversight. Nunes is threatening to hit them with Contempt of Congress.

Let's see the documents. Then Trey Gowdy can open his mouth.

Herman , May 31, 2018 at 8:32 am

What I take from this head spinning article is the paragraph about Carter Page.

"On July 7, 2016 Carter Page delivered a lecture on U.S.-Russian relations in Moscow in which he complained that "Washington and other western capitals have impeded potential progress through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption, and regime change." Washington hawks expressed "unease" that someone representing the presumptive Republican nominee would take Russia's side in a growing neo-Cold War

Mr. Page hit the nail on the head. There is no greater sin to entrenched power than to spell out what is going on with Russia. It helps us understand why terms like dupe and naïve were stuck on Carter Page's back.. Truth to power is not always good for your health.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

The tyrant accuses of disloyalty, all who question the reality of his foreign monsters.
And so do his monster-fighting agencies, whose budgets depend upon the fiction.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:25 am

Daniel Lazare – good report. "It sounds more like CIA paranoia raised to the nth degree." This wasn't a case of paranoia. This was a blatant attempt to bring down a rival opponent and, failing that, the President of the United States. This was intentional and required collusion between top officials of the government. They fabricated the phony Steele dossier (paid for by the Clinton campaign), exonerated Hillary Clinton, and then went to town on bringing down Trump.

"Was George Popodopolous set up?" Of course he was. Set up a patsy in order to give you reason to carry out a phony investigation.

"If the corporate press fails to point this out, it's because reporters are too befogged themselves to notice." They're not befogged; they're following orders (the major television and newspaper outfits). Without their 24/7 spin and lies, Russiagate would never have been kept alive.

These guys got the biggest surprise of their life when Hillary Clinton lost the election. None of this would have come out had she won. During the campaign, as Trump gained in the polls, she was heard to say, "If they ever find out what we've done, we'll all hang."

I hope they see jail time for what they've done.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:38 am

Apparently what has come out so far is just the tip of the iceberg. Some are saying this could lead all the way up to Obama. I hope not, but they have certainly done all they can to ruin the Trump Presidency.

JohnM , May 31, 2018 at 9:58 am

I'm adjusting my tinfoil hat right now. I'm wondering if Skripal had something to do with the Steel dossier. The iceberg may be even bigger than thought.

Sam F , May 31, 2018 at 10:18 am

It is known that Skripal's close friend living nearby was an employee of Steele's firm Orbis.

Chet Roman , May 31, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Exactly, his name is Pablo Miller and he is the MI6 agent who initially recruited Sergei Skripal. Miller worked for Orbis, Steele's company and listed that in his resume on LinkedIn but later deleted it. But once it's on the internet it can always be found and it was and it was published.

robjira , May 31, 2018 at 2:13 pm

John, both Moon Of Alabama and OffGuardian have had excellent coverage of the Skripal affair. Informed opinions wonder if Sergei Skripal was one of Steele's "Russian sources," and that he may have been poisoned for the purpose of either a) bolstering the whole "Russia = evil" narrative, or b) a warning not to ask for more than what he may have conceivably received for any contribution he may or may not have made to the "dossiere."

mike k , May 31, 2018 at 7:20 am

Interesting details in this article, but we have known this whole Russiagate affair was a scam from the get go. It all started the day after Trump's unexpected electoral win over Hillary. The chagrined dems came together and concocted their sore loser alibi – the Russians did it. They scooped up a lot of pre-election dirt, rolled it into a ball and directed it at Trump. It is a testament to the media's determination to stick with their story, that in spite of not a single scrap of real evidence after over a year of digging by a huge team of democratic hit men and women, this ridiculous story still has supporters.

David G , May 31, 2018 at 10:31 am

"It all started the day after Trump's unexpected electoral win over Hillary."

Not so.

Daniel Lazare's first link in the above piece is to Paul Krugman's July 22, 2016 NY Times op-ed, "Donald Trump, the Siberian Candidate". (Note how that headline doesn't even bother to employ a question mark.)

I appreciate that that Krugman column gets pride of place here since I distinctly remember reading it in my copy of the Times that day, months before the election, and my immediate reaction to it: nonplussed that such a risible thesis was being aired so prominently, along with a deep realization that this was only the first shot in what would be a co-ordinated media disinformation campaign, à la Saddam's WMDs.

Chet Roman , May 31, 2018 at 3:37 pm

Actually, I think the intelligence agencies' (CIA/FBI/DNI) plan started shortly after Trump gave the names of Page and Papadopoulos to the Washington Post (CIA annex) in a meeting on March 21, 2016 outlining his foreign policy team.

Carter Page (Naval Academy distinguished graduate and Naval intelligence officer) in 2013 worked as an "under-cover employee" of the FBI in a case that convicted Evgeny Buryakov and it was reported that he was still an UCE in March of 2016. The FBI never charged or even hinted that Page was anything but innocent and patriotic. However, in October 2016 the FBI told the FISA Court that he was a spy to support spying on him. Remember the FISA Court allows spying on him AND the persons he is in contact, which means almost everyone on the Trump transition team/administration.

Here is an excerpt from an article by WSJ's Kimberley Strassel:

In "late spring" of 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey briefed White House "National Security Council Principals" that the FBI had counterintelligence concerns about the Trump campaign. Carter Page was announced as a campaign adviser on March 21, and Paul Manafort joined the campaign March 29. The briefing likely referenced both men, since both had previously been on the radar of law enforcement. But here's what matters: With this briefing, Mr. Comey officially notified senior political operators on Team Obama that the bureau had eyes on Donald Trump and Russia. Imagine what might be done in these partisan times with such explosive information.

And what do you know? Sometime in April, the law firm Perkins Coie (on behalf the Clinton campaign) hired Fusion GPS, and Fusion turned its attention to Trump-Russia connections.

David G , May 31, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Most interesting, Chet Roman. Thanks.

My understanding is that Trump more or less pulled Page's name out of a hat to show the WashPost that he had a "foreign policy team", and thus that his campaign wasn't just a hollow sham, but that at that point he really had had no significant contact at all with Page – maybe hadn't even met him. It was just a name from his new political world that sprang to "mind" (or the Trumpian equivalent).

Of course, the Trump campaign *was* just a sham, by conventional Beltway standards: a ramshackle road show with no actual "foreign policy team", or any other policy team.

So maybe that random piece of B.S. from Trump has caused him a heap of trouble. This is part of why – no matter how bogus "Russia-gate" is – I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for old Cheeto Dust.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 6:56 am

Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal had some good advice:

"Mr. Trump has an even quicker way to bring the hostility to an end.

He can – and should – declassify everything possible, letting Congress and the public see the truth.

That would put an end to the daily spin and conspiracy theories. It would puncture Democratic arguments that the administration is seeking to gain this information only for itself, to "undermine" an investigation.

And it would end the Justice Department's campaign of secrecy, which has done such harm to its reputation with the public and with Congress."

What do you bet he does?

RickD , May 31, 2018 at 6:44 am

I have serious doubts about the article's veracity. There seems to be a thread running through it indicating an attempt to whitewash any Russian efforts to get Trump elected. To dismiss all the evidence of such efforts, and , despite this author's words, there is enough such evidence, seems more than a bit partisan.

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , May 31, 2018 at 6:55 am

What evidence? I've seen none so far. A lot of claims that there is such evidence but no one seems to ever say what it is.

backwardsevolution , May 31, 2018 at 7:06 am

RickD – thanks for the good laugh before bedtime. I'm with Mr. Merrell and I actually want to see some evidence. Maybe it was Professor Halper in the kitchen with the paring knife.

Realist , May 31, 2018 at 9:21 am

Unfortunately, what this guy says is what most Americans still seem to believe. When I ask people what is the actual hard evidence for "Russiagate" (because I don't know of any that has been corroborated), I get a response that there have been massive examples of Russian hacks, Russian posts, tweets and internet adverts–all meant to sabotage Hillary's candidacy, and very effective, mind you. Putin has been an evil genius worthy o