Softpanorama
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)

Contents Bulletin Scripting in shell and Perl Network troubleshooting History Humor

Two Party System as Polyarchy and anti-Democratic mechanisms of "first past the post" elections

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA looks more and more like a single party state -- it is governed by  Neoliberal party with two factions
 "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals"(Republican Party)

News Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Recommended Books Recommended Links Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite US Presidential Elections of 2016 Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking The Deep State Predator state
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite New American Militarism Electoral College Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Demexit Myth about intelligent voter
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neoliberalism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Protestant church on danger of neoliberalism
Donald Trump Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak DNC emails leak: switfboating Bernie Sanders and blaming Vladimir Putin National Security State  American Exceptionalism Libertarian Philosophy Nation under attack meme  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Pluralism as a myth
Principal-agent problem Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Non-Interventionism "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Bernie Sanders Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Jeb "Wolfowitz Stooge" Bush US Presidential Elections of 2012  Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
"There is one political party in this country, and that is the party of money. It has two branches, the Republicans and the Democrats, the chief difference between which is that the Democrats are better at concealing their scorn for the average man."

-- Gore Vidal

“The Democrats are the foxes, and the Republicans are the wolves – and they both want to devour you.” So what does that make Libertarians? Avian flu viruses?”

-- Leonard Pinkney

The race is no contest when you own both horses. That is why no matter which political party is in power nothing really changes other than the packaging. The puppets who drink at the champagne fountains of the powerful do the bidding of their masters. The people are superfluous to the process.

-- Daniel Estulin

Due to the side an introduction was moved to the separate page Polyarchy, Authoritarianism and Deep State

Summary

I subscribe to Kantian idea of the dignity in human, the idea that everyone is entitled to survival as well as thriving beyond survival. But does everybody is entitled to equal participation in ruling of the state ?  Or  in election of state leaders? Which is what democracy means. Is the democracy possible, if elections use "the first after the post" rule?  Another important question is "democracy for whom". There are always part of society living under the dictatorship and excluded from the democratic process.

My impression is that the Communist Party of the USSR made a grave mistake by not adopting "the first after the post" election system. In reality it would just legitimize the permanent Communist Party rule, as two factions of the CPSU competing for power (let's call them "Democratic Communists" and "Republican Communists") would exclude any real challenge for the one party rule that was practiced in the USSR under so called "one party" system. Which, while providing the same results,  looks more undemocratic then "first after the post" system, and thus  less safe for the rule of oligarchy as it generates resentment of the population.  

The "first after the post" system provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  No less effective the Societ one party rule, but more subtle and more acceptable to the population. Which is all what is needed to continuation of the rule of the oligarchy.  The same is true for the parties themselves. Iron law of olgarchy was actualy discovered by observing the evolution of the party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current ruling elite (or in less politically correct term oligarchy) experienced difficulties with the continuation of its rule and the existing methods of suppression and indoctrination of the lower part population stop working is called  "revolutionary situation". Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what was essentially an independent candidate -- Donald Trump.  It was clear that there is a widespread feeling that the current system is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wont to live under the current system, and the ruling oligarchy can't continue to rule using the same methods and its brainwashing/propaganda does not work anymore " a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings twice, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, often the ruling elite decides to unleash a foreign war and use "rally around the flag" effect  to suppress dissent and to restore the control (that's the real meaning of Samuel Johnson quote "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"). The pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016 in neoliberal MSM suggest that some part of the US elite is not totally hostile to this solution even in nuclear age. As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.”

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Even by promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems. The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the level achieved by communist propagandists in best days of the USSR.  And that happened because this time there is a slight chance that the election are not about choosing "soft neoliberal" vs. "hard neoliberal" but "soft neoliberal"  vs. (at least partially) "paleoconservative", who rejects the idea of neoliberal globalization and by extension the necessity of fighting constant wars for the expansion of the US led global neoliberal empire.   This heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state, and the hissy fit in neoliberal media and the just of intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" of political process (hackingate") were to be expected.

There is also an interesting question what kind of democracy the competition  of "Democratic Neoliberals" ("soft neoliberal/closet neocons) and "Republican Neoliberals: ("hard core" neoliberal/open neocons) in the USA demonstrates. And not only "democratcy for who" -- it is clera tha thtis is democracy for the top 1% or at best top 20% of population.

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience. They use university course in economics in the same (or more correctly slightly more subtle; using mathematics as smoke screen for indoctrination into neoliberal ideology)  way Soviet universities use the course of philosophy. In the USSR the courses of philosophy and political economy were obligatory for all university students and people did read both Marx and Lenin; but there were problem here -- as Marx famously said he was not a Marxist.  The same to a certain extent is true for Lenin, who was essentially a bridge between Marxism and national socialism.  This problem was solved by carefully pre-selecting "classics" works to only a subset that felt in like with Bolshevism.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation make this propaganda less effective, much like happened with neoliberal propganda in the USA in 2016. And people were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming.  Similar things happened inthe USA after 2008. Eventhoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion, started to have doubts.  And like Soviet population resorted to the alternative sources of information (for example Guardian, RT, Asia Times, to name a few).

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is much lower then it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marxs and Lenin much like modern incarnations of Jesus Christ in Soviet state). Let's honestly ask yourselves  what percentage of US voters can list key proposition of paleoconservative political platform vs neoliberal platform. Or define what the term "neoliberal" means. It is difficult also because the terms "neoliberalism" and "Paleoconservatism" are expunged from MSM. Like Trotsky writings were in the USSR. Assuming that this might well be the key difference between two frontrunner in the last Presidential race, this is really unfortunate.

The myth about intelligent voters

That means the hypothesis that majority of voters under "popular democracy" regime (where all citizens have a right to vote) understand what they are voting for ("informed voters" hypothesis)  is open to review (see Myth about intelligent voter).  Otherwise identity politics would not be so successful in the USA, despite being a primitive variation of classic "divide and conquer" strategy. In any democracy, how can voters make an important decision unless they are well informed?  But what percentage of US votes can be considered well informed?  And taking into account popularity of Fox News what percentage is brainwashed or do not what to think about the issues involved and operate based on emotions and prejudices? And when serious discussion of issues that nation faces are deliberately and systematically replaced by "infotainment" voters became just pawns in the game of factions of elite, which sometimes leaks information to sway public opinion, but do it very selectively. All MSM represent the views of large corporations which own them. No exception are allowed. Important information is suppressed or swiped under the carpet to fifth page in NYT to prevent any meaningful discussion. For example, ask several of your friends if they ever heard about Damascus, AR.

In any case one amazing fact happened during this election: republican voters abandoned Republican brass and flocked to Trump, while Democratic voters abandoned Democratic neoliberals and flocked to Sanders (although DNC managed to fix primaries, and then engaged in anti-Russian hysteria to hide this criminal fact).  See Trump vs. The REAL Nuts for an informed discussion of this phenomenon.

Mr. Trump’s great historical role was to reveal to the Republican Party what half of its own base really thinks about the big issues. The party’s leaders didn’t know! They were shocked, so much that they indulged in sheer denial and made believe it wasn’t happening.

The party’s leaders accept more or less open borders and like big trade deals. Half the base does not! It is longtime GOP doctrine to cut entitlement spending. Half the base doesn’t want to, not right now! Republican leaders have what might be called assertive foreign-policy impulses. When Mr. Trump insulted George W. Bush and nation-building and said he’d opposed the Iraq invasion, the crowds, taking him at his word, cheered. He was, as they say, declaring that he didn’t want to invade the world and invite the world. Not only did half the base cheer him, at least half the remaining half joined in when the primaries ended.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen.

The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their imperial ambitions. As in the efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieved by nomenklatura in Soviet Union outside of "Stalinism" period.  Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

The term "neoliberalism" is effectively prohibited from usage in major US MSM and all political discussion is forcefully turned into "infotainment" -- the clash of  personalizes. In other words discussion of key issues facing the country (politics in real sense of this word)  was replaced under neoliberal regime by "infotainment" with slick and often psychically beautiful "presstitutes" instead of olitical analysts.   But like was the case in the USSR neoliberal brainwashing gradually lost its effectiveness because it contradicts the reality. and neoliberalism failed to deliver promises of "rising tide lifting all board", or trickle down economy which justified tremendous enrichment of top 0.1%. 

Neoliberalism divides the society in  two classes like in old, good Marxism

Politically neoliberalism. like Marxism in the past, operates with the same two classes: "entrepreneurs" (modern name for capitalists and financial oligarchy) and debt slaves (proletarians under Marxism) who work for them. Under neoliberalism only former considered first class citizens ("one dollar -- one vote"). Debt slaves are second class of citizens and are prevented from political self-organization, which by-and-large deprives them of any form of political participation. In best Roman tradition it is substituted with the participation in political shows ("Bread and circuses") See Empire of Illusion The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges.  In this sense the role of the election is not election of the candidate of people want but legitimizing the candidate the oligarchy pre-selected. . They  helps to provide legitimacy for the ruling elite. 

The two party system invented by the elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for neoliberal regimes, which practice what Sheldon Wolin called inverted totalitarism. The latter is the regime in which all political power belongs to the financial oligarchy which rules via the deep state mechanisms, and where traditional political institutions including POTUS are downgraded to instruments of providing political legitimacy of the ruling elite. Population is discouraged from political activity. "Go shopping" as famously recommended Bush II to US citizens after 9/11.

But at the same time the struggle for political equality which is often associative with the word "democracy" is a vital human struggle, even if democracy itself is an unachievable and unrealistic ideal (see The Iron Law of Oligarchy).  In some sense too much talk about Democracy is very suspect and just characterize the speaker as a hypocrite with probably evil intentions, who probably is trying to mask some pretty insidious plans with "democracy promotion" smokescreen. The same is true for countries.  Especially for those which use  "export of democracy" efforts to mask their pretty much imperial ambitions. The efforts to expand and sustain the global neoliberal empire led by the USA.  See color revolutions for details.  Actually that makes the USA very similar the USSR with its leaders dream about global Communist empire led from Moscow. Both in the USA and the USSR there was too much talk about democracy, while actually practice was decidedly undemocratic. It was oligarchic rule in both cases. In the USA the situation is further complicated by amazing level of brainwashing of population via MSM, which definitely exceed the level achieve by nomenklatura in Soviet Union. Can you imagine the situation in the USSR when members of the ruling communist party were prohibited to show their affiliation and the words "communist" and "communism" was "discouraged" and their usage is suppressed  in MSM including leading newspapers Pravda and Izvestia (roughly analogical to WaPo and NYT).   That's the situation we have in the USA now.

Corporation as the role model for government under neoliberalism excludes the possibility of democracy

Everything should be organized like corporation under neoliberalism, including government, medicine, education, even military. And everybody is not a citizen but a shareholder  (or more correctly stakeholder), so any conflict should be resolved via discussion of the main stakeholders. Naturally lower 99% are not among them.

The great propaganda mantra of neoliberal governance is "wealth maximization". Which proved to be very seductive for society as a whole in reality is applied very selectively and never to the bottom 60% or 80%, or eve 99% of population.  In essence, it means a form of welfare economics for financial oligarchy while at the same time a useful smokescreen for keeping debt-slaves obedient by removing any remnants of job security mechanisms that were instituted during the New Deal. As the great American jurist and Supreme Court associate justice Louis Brandeis once said: “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.”

As under neoliberalism extreme wealth is the goal of the social system, there can be no democracy under neoliberalism. And this mean that pretentions of the USA elite that the USA is a bastion of democracy is plain vanilla British ruling elite style hypocrisy.  Brutal suppression of any move to challenge dominance of financial oligarchy (even such feeble as Occupy movement)  shows that all too well.

Like in case of communist regimes before, under neoliberalism we now face a regime completely opposite to democracy: we have complete, forceful atomization of public, acute suppression of any countervailing political forces (similar to the suppression of dissidents in the USSR in its effectiveness and brutality, but done in "velvet gloves" without resort to physical violence). That includes decimation of  labor unions and other forms of self-organization for the lower 80%, or even 99% of population.  Neoliberalism tries to present any individual, any citizen, as a market actor within some abstract market (everything is the market under neoliberalism). Instead of fight for political  and economic equality neoliberalism provides a slick slogan of "wealth maximization" which is in essence a "bait and switch" for redistribution of wealth up to the top 1% (which is the stated goal of neoliberalism aka "casino capitalism"). It was working in tandem with "shareholder value" mantra which is a disguise of looting of the corporations to enrich its top brass via outsize bonuses (IBM is a nice example where such an approach leads) and sending thousands of white-collar workers to the street. Previously it was mainly blue-collar workers that were affected. Times changed. 

The difference between democrats and republicans as (at least partially) the difference in the level of authoritarianism of two factions of the same "Grand neoliberal Party of the USA"

Both Democratic Party and Republican arty in the USA are neoliberal parties. So effectively we have one-party system skillfully masked as duopoly ;-). Communists could use the same trick, by having the part Socialist internationalists worker-peasants party of the USSR and Democratic internationalists peasant-worker party of the USSR, with leaders wet kissing each other behind the curtain as is the case in the USA. In the USA we have Cola/Pepsi duopoly that is sold as the shining example of democracy, although just the rule "the first after the post" prevents democracy from functioning as it eliminates minorities from governance. 

Political atmosphere at the USA since Reagan, when Republican drifted right and Democrats were bought by Wall Street really reminds me the USSR.  But still those parties reflect two different strata of the US population, which according to Marc J. Hetherington and Jonathan D. Weiler book Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics in the level of authoritarianism (for example, as measured by F-scale.). Many Republican politicians can be classified as Double High Authoritarians.

If we assume that this is true, the the large part of "verge issues" that so skillfully played in each election, and using which allow the elite to avoid addressing any fundamental issues facing the nation, such as race, gay marriage, illegal immigration, and the use of force to resolve security problems -- reflect differences in individuals' levels of authoritarianism. This makes authoritarianism an especially compelling explanation of contemporary American politics.

Events and strategic political decisions have conspired to make all these considerations more salient. While the authors acknowledge that authoritarianism is not the only factor determining how people vote, it does offer a an important perspective : a large part (at least white Americans) flock to the particular party based on proximity to their own level authoritarianism and corresponding worldview of the party.  In other words  the percentage of authoritarian/non-authoritarian personality in the population allow to predict, at least in part,  voting behavior of the the USA "white block" electorate.


Top updates

Softpanorama Switchboard
Softpanorama Search


NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Poliarchy Bulletin, 2015 Poliarchy Bulletin, 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

[Feb 27, 2017] 200 PM Water Cooler 2-24-17 naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... really exotic ..."
"... everything ..."
"... Still, if you know what you want computing-wise, you can buy it in a business-class model. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with an overpriced flavor of the month, in my opinion. The other virtue of business-class laptops is that basic things like durability, flexibility, and not crashing are a huge priority. ..."
"... I favour the Dell Latitude E6500. It is just old enough to have a 16:10 1920×1200 screen (matte!) and just new enough to have an Nvidia graphics card with vdpau support. Be sure to get those specs, some are lesser beasts. ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:13 am

Thanks, Clive.

I have never had a Mac laptop die instantly with no warning symptoms. One moment I was typing away, the next moment the screen was dark. I rebooted, and it went down for the count when I was typing in my password. Odd.

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 1:25 am

I encountered that – not on a Mac. Make sure the heat exchanger fins aren't mashed and the hot air can exit. That was the problem on mine. All it takes is one bump in the wrong place.

skippy , February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

Macbook Pro logic board repair; not turning on, step by step fix.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDjwYf_GzK0

disheveled one wire or reflow .

dontknowitall , February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

I have a 2011 MacBook Pro that suddenly died on me and would go to sad Mac face when I tried rebooting. After a lot of searching on the internet it turns out the model has a design error where a paper thin $15 data cable connects the hard drive to the motherboard by snaking under the hd and then over the mb rubbing in all the corners against metal as I moved my laptop from place to place. Eventually microscopic cracks develop in the data cable and dead Mac.

After replacing the cable twice the effective solution was taping electric tape under the cable at all spots where it rubbed and removing the two tiny screws that held down the cable at one spot but only worked to create stress on it. No more crashes.

Good luck on your fixit adventure Lambert, it can be strangely fun sometimes.

Ernesto Lyon , February 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I'm using a Windows laptop now for software engineering after years of Macs. It's OK after to get used to it. The bash shell is nice, if not perfect ( it is a real Ubuntu VM ). Apple UI is still better, but the experience continues to degrade for power users as they converge on IOS for their PCs.

If money were no object, Apple still is better, but you get a lot more for the money with Windows machines, as always.

I wonder how much longer Apple will be ae to charge steep premiums for their product line. I ditched iPhones for cheap Androids a couple years ago with no regrets as well.

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:08 am

I'm thinking I need to go the PC laptop/Ubuntu route for redundancy. All I really need to do is browse and write in a text editor, although I'd have to put up with an inferior outliner.

Readers, any suggestions for a rugged Ubuntu-friendly laptop for, say, $500?

And does Ubuntu essentially run on anything, or do I need to check the model number?

dimitris , February 25, 2017 at 2:50 am

2-gen old thinkpad (2015 vintage), like my daily driver, X250. X series or T series, says the consensus on reddit ( https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/ ), are still not quite crapified.

Avoid non-Intel graphics and non-Intel WiFi for better Linux compatibility.

Ubuntu has itself had signs of crapification lately (Amazon search integrated by default), so maybe Fedora?

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 10:36 pm
It's a difficult choice. They are all crapified now. Fedora with her GUI is a mixed blessing

May be OpenSuse is a better deal.

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 5:01 am

I've just spent a month loading Ubuntu (natively) on a MacBook Pro 5,5, and getting set up the way I want it. Seems to be working OK so far.

Took a bit of Googling. AskUbuntu (a StackExchange site) has been a great help.

Parker Dooley , February 25, 2017 at 8:22 am

Thinkpad T420. Runs Ubuntu just fine. Can usually be found for $250-300 off lease or refurbished. Usually comes with WIN7 Pro. May be a good idea to replace HD with an SSD.

philnc , February 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

2x on the SSD idea. We extended the useful life of my wife's old Thinkpad E ( a budget model with just an i3) by swapping one in.

ilpalazzo , February 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm

This. The last T with a good keyboard. If you stick in 8 GB RAM and an SSD it runs like new. If I were to get something for myself it would be this. My heavily modified T61 doesn't want to die though.

likbez , February 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm
I would recommend Dell Latitute such as E6440. Works well at a reasonable price.

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Latitude-E6440-DVD-Writer-Graphics/dp/B00JH11ITU

It is compatible with Ubuntu (actually most of Latitude models are compatible) but it is OK with Windows 7 too, if you use it only for browsing. It is now very easy to reinstall windows from Image if something went wrong, so it you do not do any scripting or processing, why bother. SSD disk would be a great upgrade, as somebody here already suggested. Even 250GB is OK for most needs.

You can also get a dock for it

Dell E-Port Plus Advanced Port Replicator with USB 3.0 for E Series Latitudes, 130W AC

Dell Latitude E6440 – Core i5 4200M / 2.5 GHz – Windows 7 Pro 64-bit – 4 GB RAM – 320 GB HDD – DVD-Writer – 14″ 1366 x 768 ( HD ) – Intel HD Graphics

Gman , February 25, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I hear ya, particularly regards iphones and the experiences of many people I've met who own them.

Into my fourth year with blackberry OS10 phone. Updates come along once in a blue moon, phone never freezes, it's robust, typing experience still unrivalled, OS a seamless dream, phone reception and network and wifi connectivity, in the UK anyway, a dream.

Only drawback is the battery life if you use the Internet (easily last all day + easily otherwise) but it looks like iphones aren't exactly all that on this front either.

Anyway I can swap out the battery if I ever need to and carry a spare charge bar too.

kgw , February 24, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Go to Linux, young man! Switched to Ubuntu 16.04, and haven't looked back

WJ , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Can you run linux on any kind of machine? and how hard is it to install and run if you're not super computer literate? If these are silly newbie questions (I'm sure they are), feel free just to refer me to a website or two. I've been using Mac OS X for the past few years, but every new iteration leads to a weaker Preview application and more bugs.

xformbykr , February 24, 2017 at 4:37 pm

i bought a windows laptop, and then removed and replaced its hard drive with a blank one. I installed linux from a DVD (obtained by purchasing a linux magazine, e.g., "linux format" or "linux user/developer") following on-screen instructions. It has been smooth sailing ever since. Meanwhile, the original hard drive with windows 8.1 sits in my spare parts box.

voislav , February 24, 2017 at 4:43 pm

It's the same as installing Windows in terms of difficulty and better for installing software. Typically, it will install out of the box with a full suite of software and all the drivers. For your Windows needs, running a Windows virtual machine inside Linux is a good option, most productivity software runs seamlessly, the only issues are for 3D graphics heavy games and applications.
I would recommend Linux Mint for newbies as the installation process is the easiest, it comes with all the necessary media drivers, and it gives you a Windows-like UI. Personally, I am not a big fan of the Ubuntu's native user interface, but that comes to personal preference.

Kurt Sperry , February 24, 2017 at 4:57 pm

I've got Mint on a dual-boot set-up and it's pretty easy and intuitive. That said, I almost always fire it up in Win10 because the software ecosystem is sooo much broader and VM is a kludge.

Ruben , February 25, 2017 at 2:28 am

A broader software ecosystem, apt analogy. It includes a lot more parasites, infectious diseases, and predators.

Anon , February 24, 2017 at 10:49 pm

> For your Windows needs, running a Windows virtual machine inside Linux is a good option, most productivity software runs seamlessly, the only issues are for 3D graphics heavy games and applications.

With KVM or Xen and capable hardware (VT-d or the AMD equivalent), you can pass through a PCIe device such as a graphics card to a VM. This allows you to run 3D applications at near-native performance.

Foppe , February 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Yes, pretty much. See here for instructions: https://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-macos
(While booting, you can choose the 'live' option, which runs the OS from USB.

WJ , February 24, 2017 at 8:18 pm

Thx!

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:20 am

I want the simplest and laziest solution possible. Can I buy a UBS stick with Ubuntu on it? Or should I go the route of buying an Ubuntu book with a CD, and making sure the laptop has a CD?

The last time I ran Linux, a good decade ago, the WiFi drivers were awfully fiddly. How are they today?

Anon , February 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

You can buy a USB stick or CD from various sources (just Google for that), but there's not much of a reason to - it's really easy to download the ISO and make one yourself (I'm assuming you have access to another desktop/laptop besides the broken one and aren't just posting from a phone; sorry if I'm wrong). The link Foppe provided has workable instructions for doing this on OS X using UNetbootin, but personally I just use 'dd' like: "sudo dd if=ubuntu.iso of=/dev/diskX bs=1m". But there's nothing wrong with UNetbootin, and there's also a Windows version if you happen to be using that: http://unetbootin.github.io .

My experience with Linux Wi-Fi drivers a decade ago sounds similar to yours, but today I find Ubuntu and other modern distros "just work" in this regard.

Irrational , February 25, 2017 at 9:36 am

Agree on the USB and driver points.
The only things we seem to have problems with is devices using proprietary software like the iPhone (seems to be very roundabout to get it to recognise photos) or GPSs (updating maps only works under Windows).
Hubby thinks Mint runs pretty nicely, but there is a new distribution out there called Elementary OS, which looks very similar to Mac OS and is apparently getting rave reviews.
Good luck

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 5:53 am

1. What anon says. Personally, creating a USB stick using that guide is less effort than searching for a store + having to wait, but YMMV.
2. USB installs faster than DVD, so not necessarily. I don't really see the need for a book - googling will tell you all you need, usually faster.
3. much better.

Zane Zodrow , February 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

My experience: Bought Ubuntu Linux CD for about $5 (latest LTS version), put it in, followed instructions, that's it. Follow instructions for dual boot to start if desired, computer asks if you want to run Windoze or Linux on startup. After finding I seldom chose the Windows option, I switched to straight Linux. This was about 8 years ago. If I want to play video games, I play on Playstation or Xbox. I've been using Open Office for all word processing and spreadsheets for about 12 years, with good results, Linux seems to do fine on any video / graphics I run into. Not be smug, but I manage to practically avoid dealing with Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

kgw , February 24, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Need I say more? .. ;~)

Contrary to what Kurt says, I find that the "software ecosystem" is more than adequate for all purposes. Did anyone mention that it is free, including most of the "ecosystem?"

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 5:21 am

One minor caution for those in academia.

The open source Linux word processors (OpenOffice, LibreOffice) can save as either open document format (odt) or MS Word format (doc, docx). BUT! Saving in a Word version will remove all your citation fields (EndNote, Zotero).

Keep the working version in odt, and only save in Word format when you're ready to submit.

visitor , February 24, 2017 at 6:20 pm

Can you run linux on any kind of machine?

I once saw a presentation held at one of those conference for hackers, where a guy managed to install and run linux on a hard disk. Not running linux from , but on the hard disk. There are sufficient electronics - processor, memory and ports - to run an operating system on a hard disk nowadays

More seriously:

a) If the machine is very recent (say less than 18 months old to be safe), linux is highly likely to run poorly on it, or not at all if it is extremely recent; you must give some time to the linux community for porting the system and developing the necessary drivers for new computer models.

b) If the machine is somewhat old (say more than 6 years), the usual mainstream linux (such as Mint, Ubuntu or OpenSuse) may no longer run on it because these systems set requirements on the hardware (typically the capabilities of the graphics card, or subtle features regarding virtual memory) that old computers do not fulfill. It is not really a problem to install linux on such hardware - provided one selects carefully the version of linux and the kind of graphical user interface to run, and is ready for some tweaking. I have done this several times with Debian, for instance.

c) With a really old (2000 vintage or older) or really exotic machine, then it will require serious system knowledge and dealing with a version of linux like Arch, Gentoo or Slackware.

d) If your machine is standard fare, between 18 months and 6 years old, linux is not an issue at all.

how hard is it to install and run if you're not super computer literate?

There are linux variants - Mint, Ubuntu and OpenSuse come to mind - that have an easy installation CD/DVD-based program with reasonable defaults. The result is a fully functional system with a graphical user interface and lots of standard software packages coming pre-installed, with the result comparable to a common Windows environment.

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 8:56 pm

If the machine is very new, more than likely everything will run poorly or not at all, and unless it's Linux it won't get much better because corporate software 'development' is more an annex of Brand Value than a thoughtful process. (See also corporate-led economic 'development'.)
I detest Apple gadget-worship (no phone/tablet at all, though I get why some people like them), but can still recommend secondhand desktop Macs, which suffer forced obsolescence eventually but not too quickly: staying about 5-7 years 'behind' the latest, replacing the fairly reliable hardware only when really necessary, has always worked for me including for music production (don't get me started on the superiority of chrome tape & Tascam analog multitrack machines, but a computer is useful for storage, post-production and proliferating submixes. And crucially, the 'Mini-Mac' of c.2010 is unusual in that it has a direct audio input, so no need even for Midi control, let alone wireless anything, which would leave years worth of analog studio equipment instantly helpless.)
Secondhand - wiped completely clean after purchase by someone who really knows what s/he's doing, of course - means no need for any 'Apple Account' or other direct interaction with that baleful organization whatsoever, and good open-source software of just about every kind (can't speak for video or image-heavy 'social' media, admittedly) is now readily available, ,which wasn't always the case. I'm well aware of many people's nightmares with Mac laptops of the same generations & similar software though: have never been able to figure out why the relative reliability should be so different between box types, except where those dreadful all-wireless, design-prizewinning 'lite' Macbooks (or whatever they're called) are concerned.

Praedor , February 24, 2017 at 6:48 pm

After you install Linux, you can then install a VM and install any Windows of your choice on the VM, be safe from viruses, and ruin any Windows software you might have to use without reboots.

oho , February 24, 2017 at 7:12 pm

That (running a secondary virtual machine) should be standard for anyone who's paranoid about viruses or has been burned once by losing a half-day's worth of productivity because of virus/malware.

best of all you can do it for free-linux + VMware virtual box player.

Praedor , February 24, 2017 at 8:07 pm

Besides installing and using windows on a VM (I've used VirtualBox (easy) and, more recently, the built in KVM hypervisor system to run windows and Whonix, a really nice, secure version of Tor. Run a Tor gateway and a Tor client in separate VMs and even if your Tor session got compromised, it is still separate from your actual system. It presents a fake MAC address AND a bogus IP. No way to ID your computer or IP address.

Altandmain , February 24, 2017 at 3:45 pm

How crapified these days are new laptops? Seems like many people these days are having IT issues.

They don't seem to be very upgradeable these days. Everything is soldered.

Last year, I bought a 4 or 5 year old used Dell Precision M4600 for cheap on eBay and upgraded it with an SSD. I had to replace the battery and am going to ghetto rig an IPS display (I screwed up and destroyed the delicate LVDS cable, so waiting for replacement). Upgraded the RAM too to 16 GB (it supports up to 32 GB of DDR3 in 4x 8GB SODIMMs). There isn't much room for upgrading the GPU – I was leaning towards seeing if I could get an old M5100 Firepro for cheap.

The thing is, the Dell Precision is Dell's top of the line workstation laptop and because it was so old, I could get it for cheap. Performance wise, with the end of Moore's Law, Sandy Bridge is only 20% slower than Skylake (the current latest generation – actually Kaby Lake now with the fresh, but that's still Skylake, only a couple of hundred MHz faster).

What about new laptops these days? The quality seems to be so-so at consumer prices. Getting used workstation grade laptops seems to be the way to go.

I'm thinking:
– Dell Precision
– HP Z series and the older workstation grade Elitebooks (new ones are now just consumer stuff and Z Books are now their workstation books)
– Lenovo P70 seems good too, but not as much room for upgrades (apparently their BIOS is very restrictive)

Some of the gaming laptops like the MSI GT7x seems to be decent as well.

I've heard negative things about the Apple OLED Macbook, which apparently has fewer ports than what is needed. Apparently iFixIt didn't rate it very well.

On my desktop, I dual boot between Linux Mint and Windows 10.

oho , February 24, 2017 at 4:09 pm

>>How crapified these days are new laptops?

I've been thinking that since 2010.

i bought used Dell Precisions for under $100 each over the past year from eBay.

As I hate the chiclet laptop keyboard and don't need Intel Core i7 level processing. And would rather take my chances w/a used laptop

1 w/a new SSD for use and 1 for spare parts w/ a tablet if I really need to be mobile.

If anyone knows/wants to learn intermediate-level DIY computer skills, I recommend trying used over new.

Altandmain , February 24, 2017 at 6:29 pm

The upgrades I think are worth it:

1. SSD (big time!)
2. Perhaps an IPS display if you care about good viewing
3. If you need it, enough RAM

Most people don't do things that stress out the CPU these days.

If you wait, you can often buy used with an IPS display nowadays.

OIFVet , February 24, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Second the SSD upgrade. My Kirabook is a joy. Came refreshingly free of bloatware out of the box, too.

Anon , February 24, 2017 at 10:44 pm

I agree with your list as a baseline set of requirements, but I'd add a HiDPI display (and IPS too, as you said; the only thing a TN panel is good for is punching). I have an rMBP and can't stand to use my standard-res (~100 ppi) external monitor. There are non-Mac laptops with HiDPI displays these days.

Software support for HiDPI is most mature on OS X (perfect, in fact), but I've done cursory testing in VMs and Windows 10 and Ubuntu's Unity seem to be getting there. There will probably be issues with certain third-party apps on those platforms, but I'd consider the upside to far outweigh the downside here.

Regarding keyboards (mentioned in the parent comment), it's totally subjective. I'm in the minority that loves chiclet keyboards. Besides the MBP keyboard, I use an Apple chiclet keyboard on my PC. I feel I type faster and more accurately on them (~180 wpm).

funemployed , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

I spent a while shopping for laptops not too long ago. I don't do macs, so I can't comment on them, but after spending way too much time researching I realized there's way better value and customization available if you just skip to the business-class models (and way fewer costly "features" you'll never use). Shopping for them online is a less aesthetically pleasing experience, as their sales folks are more concerned with reps establishing relationships with business customers (specifically IT dept heads who are not going to be impressed by the wonders of, for example, touch-screen PCs that raise support costs, laptop weight, and provide little to improve productivity).

Still, if you know what you want computing-wise, you can buy it in a business-class model. Otherwise you're going to be stuck with an overpriced flavor of the month, in my opinion. The other virtue of business-class laptops is that basic things like durability, flexibility, and not crashing are a huge priority. Employees almost universally treat their work laptops as badly as humanly possible. Because businesses buy in bulk and the good IT admins keep track of costs, you just can't make money on laptops with high upkeep costs and noticeably more-frequent-than-peer breakdowns. In the consumer market, durability is less important than selling expensive service plans and nudging people with means to re-up their computers more often than necessary, and basic functionality takes a back seat to appearing innovative and cool.

All that said, Dell, etc. don't want retail consumers going to their website and actually comparing business-class laptops to the retail models, so sometimes you have to dig or do creative google searching (I went with Toshiba partly because their business-class stuff is easy to buy online). Very happy so far.

bob , February 24, 2017 at 9:40 pm

The biggest difference between "consumer" and business laptops seems to be screen resolution. 1366×768 is where consumer stuff has been stuck for almost 10 years now.

Want better? Gotta go "business"

HP non big box models are still pretty good. There's huge variations in quality among most lines.

Irrational , February 25, 2017 at 9:39 am

And the possibility of getting non-reflecting, non-glossy screens in my experience when I last looked around two and 6-7 yrs ago, but maybe it has changed.

Kurt Sperry , February 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm

I got a Dell XPS 13 for about half of retail used from a highly motivated university student seller and it's a pretty damn nice piece of kit.

Grebo , February 24, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Used business machines are totally the way to go.

I favour the Dell Latitude E6500. It is just old enough to have a 16:10 1920×1200 screen (matte!) and just new enough to have an Nvidia graphics card with vdpau support. Be sure to get those specs, some are lesser beasts.

They cost $2000 when new so they tend to be lightly used by top execs rather than hammered by code monkeys, and you can get good ones for ~$140 on ebay.
Business machines also have dockability, a massive bonus if it's your main machine but you also want to take it out and about. Parts are cheap and plentiful. The Latitudes are so easy to open up you'll laugh.

thoughtfulperson , February 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm

I have an Elitebook and it works fine for my needs. I use it as a desktop replacement as well. I replaced the HD with a nice sized SSD and upgraded the memory. After my wife borrowed my computer to take to work at a local private school, I found 6 people had logged in on my machine to their online accounts! I decided to get her her own Elitebook after that. I guess they are about 4 years old now, but with the extra memory and SSD's they are pretty decent

Also, I installed ubuntu linux on my old laptops the Elitebooks replaced. Works fine. And free as pointed out above.

beth , February 24, 2017 at 8:08 pm

The trouble with LibreOffice/OpenOffice is when someone tries to share a MS word document with you and you are unable to open it and sign/or make changes.

Do you have a work-around for that?

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 9:01 pm

There's bound to be a better way of doing it, but having both installed and copying/pasting as necessary still works, at least with Open Office on an ageing but not superannuated copy of Mac OSX.

Chris , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 am

Current versions of OpenOffice/LibreOffice should open and save doc/docx files just fine (although some complex formatting might break).

The online version of MS Office is another option.

[Feb 27, 2017] The Logic of Lesser Evilism

Notable quotes:
"... der Hass sieht scharf ..."
"... demos ..."
"... ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.counterpunch.org
March 27, 2015 The Logic of Lesser Evilism

by Andrew Levine

by

From a logical point of view, the case is unassailable: when, for any reason, choosing between X and Y, anyone who, again for any reason, believes that X is better than Y, ought to choose X.

The argument is perfectly general: X and Y can stand for anything, and because "better than" means better all things considered, it always applies; contextual and other pertinent considerations are already taken into account. The availability of other alternatives, if any, does not alter the calculation.

The reasoning that supports lesser evil voting – and lesser evil politics generally – boils down to this argument.

From a rhetorical point of view, however, lesser evilism involves more than just the logical principle behind it. The reason is plain: except in a trivial sense, better choices are less bad only when the alternatives are bad or, more precisely, regarded as bad. Less bad choices are less evil only when the alternatives are or are thought to be bad indeed.

This is all that the "evil" in "lesser evilism" implies. Strictly speaking, evil is a religious, not a political, notion. But lesser evilism in politics is a secular phenomenon, and the force of the word is rhetorical only. Its religious origins and connotations are useful for giving the word a resonance that "bad" and even "very bad" lack; not for making any theological or otherwise portentous point.

Although the logic behind lesser evilism is impeccable, the principle seldom applies directly in real world circumstances. In political contexts especially, there are too many complicating factors, and there is too much indeterminacy.

This is why lesser evilism in politics – especially, electoral politics - can be, and often is, a bad idea.

* * *

An American example, still fresh in the mind, illustrates some of these points:

It is intuitively obvious to anyone to the left of, say, Rachel Maddow that, on the face of it, Barack Obama was a better choice for President than John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012. Anyone to the left of Cokie Roberts would probably agree as well.

Maddow, the star of the evening lineup at the cable news channel MSNBC, is a liberal idol and a Democratic Party – or "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" - cheerleader. Roberts is the doyenne of conventional wisdom, representing the dead center on network television and National Public Radio.

The 2008 and 2012 election results show that quite a few Americans, including some whose views are surely to the right even of Roberts', also thought Obama the better choice. After all, he won handily both times – even in 2012, after a miserable first term.

In 2008, many of those voters saw candidate Obama as a Rorschach figure upon whom they projected their hopes. To them, he was not a lesser evil; just the better choice.

This view of Obama is now nearly extinct - except perhaps on weekday evenings at MSNBC.

By 2012, the blinders had already been off for a while. Hardly anyone still harbored illusions about Obama.

Therefore the people who voted for him, the vast majority of them, were opting for the lesser of two evils.

Were they right? Was Obama truly the lesser evil? Perhaps; but the answer is not as obvious as it seemed to Obama voters back then, or as many people still believe.

For one thing, lesser evil Obama voters may have been looking at their X versus Y choice near-sightedly.

Myopia is a chronic problem in electoral contests because voters tend to focus on candidates' personalities or on what they believe they are likely to do if elected, neglecting other pertinent considerations.

Suppose, for instance, that Obama truly was less disposed than McCain in 2008 or Romney in 2012 to expand the wars he inherited from George Bush and Dick Cheney or to extend the range and intensity of the Bush-Cheney "Global War on Terror."

Of course, war making is not the only thing Presidents do, but even if we focus only on that, we can still wonder whether voters favoring peace who voted for Obama served their cause well.

With Obama in the White House, Congressional Democrats have felt obliged to back continuations of the Bush-Cheney wars, and the additional under-the-radar wars that America is now waging throughout the Muslim world. Were a President McCain or a President Romney in charge of the empire, they would likely now be more oppositional.

Democratic acquiescence in the Age of Obama was predictable; Democrats may not be good for much, but when one of their own is in the White House, they, like Hillary Clinton, stand by their man.

How many lesser evil voters for Obama factored this likely consequence of an Obama victory into their calculations? There is no way to know for sure, but a good bet would be – not many at all.

By 2012 especially, the evidence was plain: between 2006 and 2008, Congressional Democrats offered at least milquetoast resistance to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars; they would have offered yet more had not the Pelosiite leadership of the Party reined them in. When Obama took office, they became meeker than lambs.

Obama was seemingly the lesser evil in matters of war and peace but, even confining attention only to that, he may not have been the lesser evil all things considered. This, of course, is what matters in the end.

The kind of problem lesser evil voters in the United States faced in 2008 and 2012 is hardly unique, to the United States. But it is especially salient in American elections where there are effectively only two candidates with any chance of winning.

Unofficially, but most assuredly, America has a duopoly party system – in consequence of deeply entrenched practices and traditions, and thanks to laws that make ballot access difficult for candidates who are neither Democrats nor Republicans.

Therefore, in Presidential elections and most others as well, Americans face straightforward X versus Y choices. Independent or third party candidates have no chance of winning. They seldom even have a chance of affecting the outcomes in more than negligible ways.

However the logic behind lesser evilism applies even in the more democratic (less undemocratic) electoral systems of other so-called democracies, where easy ballot access is assured and where not all electoral contests are decided on a first-past-the post, winner-take-all basis.

Strategic voting is usually a more front-and-center issue in those circumstances, but the principle – if X is better than Y, choose X – is compelling everywhere.

* * *

Even so, its applications are often problematic – thanks to the level of abstraction from real world voting situations at which it is pitched. Voter myopia is not the only complication.

Myopic voters focus narrowly on personalities and policies, and therefore fail to take all pertinent considerations into account. Another danger is not looking far enough ahead.

Some of the problems this raises have nothing to do with the comparative merits and shortcomings of the candidates themselves; they are problems with lesser evil voting itself.

This is because elections in the present affect elections in the future; among other things, they can and often do initiate or continue trends.

As a general rule, but especially when the choices voters face remain above the threshold beneath which talk of lesser evil voting becomes rhetorically appropriate, choosing the better candidate is no guarantee that the choices will be better still the next time around or the time after that.

But once the lesser evil threshold is crossed, it does seem that the choices keep getting worse. There is no inherent reason why this must be so, but there is ample anecdotal evidence that bears out the suggestion that, in our time and place, lesser evil voting encourages a downward spiral, "a race to the bottom."

To be sure, America's deteriorating political culture cannot be blamed entirely, or even mainly, on the pervasiveness of this practice. The corruptions of money undoubtedly play a larger role.

Still, lesser evil voting does seem to feed upon itself – hastening a downward trend.

The consequences are especially damaging in a duopoly party system like ours, where choosing the lesser evil means choosing a Democrat or (in very rare instances) a Republican, further diminishing the already meager prospects of breaking free from the duopoly's stranglehold.

* * *

Is lesser evil voting itself an evil?

To say Yes would be to overstate the point – not just because the principle behind the practice is sound but, more importantly, because sometimes worse really is worse.

The problem, though, is that there is often no way to tell. There is too much indeterminacy.

Let's concede, for the sake of argument, that, all things considered, there has been less peace under the rule of Nobel laureate Obama than there would have been had the war-mongering McCain or the War Party pandering Romney defeated him in 2008 and 2012, respectively. Lets suppose, in other words, that the increased pusillanimity of Democrats in Congress swamped the advantages of electing a less bellicose leader.

It might still be the case that Obama's nominations for the Supreme Court and for other seats on the federal judiciary have been better, less retrograde, than McCain's or Romney's would have been. We can never know, of course, but there are no plausible grounds for doubting that this is the case.

Then how are we to apply the lesser evil principle, taking both considerations into account? How can voters make considered judgments that involve comparing apparently incomparable considerations?

And if the problem seems disabling with only two factors taken into account, what can we do when all the many respects in which X can be better or worse than Y must also be factored in?

Yet voters take the lesser evil route apparently without anguish or effort. How is this possible? How can they ignore so many complexities?

For those who voted for Obama, the answer is plain: it reduces to one word – Republicans.

As the 2016 election takes shape, it is looking like this will happen again, notwithstanding the effects of the race to the bottom. Once again, Republicans will be the reason why liberals will turn out in droves to vote for – God forbid! – Hillary Clinton.

However awful Democrats become, however Clinton-like, and however plain it may be that, where Democrats and Republicans are involved, worse can be and often is better, Republicans are there to make voting for the Democrat seem the clear lesser evil choice.

It is as if the Republican motto were: we will not be out-eviled. Bring on your Clintons and Bidens and, yes, your Obamas – and we will raise the ante a hundred, a thousand, fold.

This may have more to do with appearance than reality. But where Republicans are concerned, appearances tend to overwhelm. Even voters who expect the worst cannot help but be amazed at how awful Republicans sometimes are.

In just the past week, for example, there was the unmitigated, oh so Christian, nonsense pouring forth out of the mouth of Texas Senator and declared candidate for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz.

His audience of evangelicals at Liberty University reportedly loved it; so, it seems, did a gaggle of viciously Zionist donors in New York. One would think that nothing could make Hillary Clinton look good – but they do.

And then there is Scott Walker, and others even more risible. As Al Jolson, used to say: "you ain't heard nothin' yet."

Tea Party Republicans – are there any other kind? – probably think about Democrats in much the way that sane people think about the Tea Party.

Some of their reasons are even worth listening to because, as the Germans say, der Hass sieht scharf (hatred sees sharply).

But, in the end, when dealing with whack jobs or worse (like those Zionist donors falling in behind Cruz), the wisest course is to ignore them, as best one can. It is either that or stack up on blood pressure meds.

Unfortunately, ignoring them isn't always possible – because of the power they wield.

This is where Democratic Party cheerleaders like Rachel Maddow have a use. They are good for spreading the word when Republicans embarrass themselves – in other words, when they do anything at all.

What a dreary prospect the impending lesser evil election will be, what, as Chester A. Riley would say, a revolting development!

But we can always hope for a silver lining: we can hope that, with Hillary Clinton for the lesser evil, the American electorate may finally wake up from its acquiescent slumber.

The downward spiral is bound to bottom out eventually. If not with Clinton, who? And if not now, when?

* * *

Incomparability is not the only source of indeterminacy; sometimes it is hard to get a purchase on just how bad or good an alternative is.

Obama voters in 2008 and 2012 could be reasonably confident that McCain's or Romney's judicial appointments would be worse than their candidate's, but by how much? Who knows!

Yet the lesser evil voters who fell in behind Obama must have had some idea. Otherwise, how could they factor this consideration in with all the others?

Of course, they weren't exactly weighing plusses and minuses; they were making choices based on informed intuitions, as voters characteristically do.

Therefore, at least to some extent, their vote for Obama reflected a considered judgment. But with all the indeterminacies involved, it was a judgment made in conditions of uncertainty – and it may well have been wrong.

Indeterminacy is an even more disabling problem the more remote one is from the scene.

What, for instance, are Americans (or anyone living far away from the quotidian politics of the Promised Land), who care about peace and justice, to make of the recent election in Israel?

Was it best, all things considered, that Benjamin Netanyahu won? His victory does make the true face of Israeli intransigence harder to deny; and this, in turn, makes it harder for the leaders of the countries that make Israel's colonial project possible – the United States, especially - to justify enabling Israel's continuing predations.

Many Palestinians and a few Israelis on the scene, along with informed observers from abroad, have argued – seemingly cogently – that, Netanyahu's sheer awfulness notwithstanding, his victory was a good thing.

Some have even argued that the daily lives of Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories would be no better under Isaac Herzog than under Netanyahu. If they are right about that, then, at least from a Palestinian perspective, there is no doubt that it is better that Netanyahu won.

Of course, there are also cogent arguments on the other side.

And if we take other relevant perspectives into account – among others, those of Israeli Arabs and Jews - the situation becomes murkier still.

What then is the lesser evil conclusion?

Especially from the outside looking in, it is difficult to say. It is difficult from within as well. There is just too much indeterminacy involved.

* * *

One final point: we should be careful not to confuse lesser evil thinking with the kind of strategic maneuvering that is the heart and soul of politics, or with a political line based on what Lenin called "the concrete analysis of concrete situations."

Greek voters in last January's election, the ones whose highest priority was to end, or at least mitigate, the effects of, the brutal austerity regime that the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund had imposed on Greece, had two choices.

They could vote, as many did, for Syriza, the party now in power; or they could vote for Antarsya, a party to its left. Both parties seek an end to austerity politics. But Syriza is pledged to try to keep Greece in the Eurozone – at least until it becomes clear that the situation is hopeless. Antarsya favors immediate withdrawal.

Most anti-austerity voters chose Syriza. For some, this may have been a strategic choice; they may have thought that the more "moderate" of the two anti-austerity parties had a better chance of scoring enough votes to form the next government; or they may have thought that, were it to come to power, Syriza's chances were better than Antarsya's for winning over necessary public support in Greece and throughout Europe.

Others may have agreed with Syriza's analysis of the situation: that because fascism is a live threat in Greece today, and in other parts of Europe as well, that now is not a good time to risk causing increased financial instability in Greece and throughout Europe or otherwise to put the fragile economies of the continent in jeopardy.

Some of those Syriza voters might, under different circumstances, have preferred Antarsya's program. But in the circumstances they faced, they opted for Syriza instead.

These voters were not choosing the lesser evil or even the less good choice among acceptable alternatives. It might look like they were, but the similarities are superficial.

They were engaging in real politics.

This is what is supposed to happen in democracies, where, in theory, the demos , the people (in contrast to social and economic elites) rule. Elections are one way democratic politics gets done.

In actually existing democracies – our own and, until recently, Greece's – the opposite is the case. Social and economic elites do the politics, and then, when election time comes, they sell the voting public on the results they want – calling on the people to legitimize the outcomes with their votes.

Elites do not always get the candidates or parties they favor – indeed, they disagree among themselves - but they always win.

This is what our elections are about; and this is not about to change between now and November 2016.

At this point, it seems clear – let's say 85% likely - that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. If she is, then it is maybe 90% likely that she will be the lesser evil candidate with the most votes. What is 100% likely is that the demos will lose again.

If we do indeed have another President Clinton in our future, then it is also extremely likely that, this time, the true lesser evil will be the one who has the honor of doing the demos in.

In retrospect, Obama may not have been the lesser evil all things considered. But Clinton, if she runs, surely will be - not because voters now are less myopic than they used to be or because she is a better choice than Obama was. In fact, she is a worse choice – by far.

But she will be the real lesser evil because the Republican candidate, whether Jeb Bush or somebody even more ludicrous, is sure to seem utterly vile – even from the most far-sighted vantage point available.

And she will win because that Republican will scare even right-wing voters away – either because he will be so retrograde that even voters far to the right of Cokie Roberts' dead center will not be able to abide him, or because, like Mitt Romney in 2012, he will be so phony that Tea Partiers will refuse to jump on board.

Plutocrats will fuss – and spend – to keep that from happening, but their efforts will be in vain.

And so, one likely election result will be that there will be less evil than there might otherwise have been. But the downward trend of our politics will not change; quite the contrary, it will continue unabated.

And, needless to say, the election will have nothing to do with changing the world for the better.

For that, what is needed is the kind of politics that is now taking shape in the land where the idea of democracy first emerged – and in other countries on Europe's periphery, where finance capitalism's predations have been more than usually intense.

If it can happen in those places, under those conditions, it can happen anywhere.

It can certainly happen here. The indignation that gave rise to the Occupy movement cannot remain repressed forever. And it is surely not beyond our capacity to find ways to seize that energy, and use it to transform the economic and political conditions that make it both possible and necessary.

The Greeks are on to something, the Spaniards too – and the Portuguese, the Irish, the Italians and more. Even in Germany and other redoubts of finance capitalism, the idea is dawning that the same old, same old cannot go on much longer.

There must be a way for us too to ride the wave– even with a more than usually dreary electoral distraction looming in the months ahead.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What's Wrong With the Opium of the People . He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

[Feb 27, 2017] Tom Perez Elected Head of DNC

Notable quotes:
"... isn't going to wor ..."
"... isn't going to wor ..."
"... is all that works. ..."
"... and Haim Saban's opinion matters more than millions of BernieCrats because money. ..."
"... The Dems are set up pretty well for 2018. ..."
"... "We lost this election eight years ago," concludes Michael Slaby, the campaign's chief technology officer. "Our party became a national movement focused on general elections, and we lost touch with nonurban, noncoastal communities. There is a straight line between our failure to address the culture and systemic failures of Washington and this election result." ..."
"... The question of why-why the president and his team failed to activate the most powerful political weapon in their arsenal. ..."
"... Obama's army was eager to be put to work. Of the 550,000 people who responded to the survey, 86 percent said they wanted to help Obama pass legislation through grassroots support; 68 percent wanted to help elect state and local candidates who shared his vision. Most impressive of all, more than 50,000 said they personally wanted to run for elected office. ..."
"... But they never got that chance. In late December, Plouffe and a small group of senior staffers finally made the call, which was endorsed by Obama. The entire campaign machine, renamed Organizing for America, would be folded into the DNC, where it would operate as a fully controlled subsidiary of the Democratic Party. ..."
"... Republicans, on the other hand, wasted no time in building a grassroots machine of their own-one that proved capable of blocking Obama at almost every turn. Within weeks of his inauguration, conservative activists began calling for local "tea parties" to oppose the president's plan to help foreclosed homeowners. ..."
"... Your friend should share her script for success w/ the DNC leadership. ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on February 25, 2017 by Yves Smith Kiss that party goodbye. From the Wall Street Journal :

Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee Saturday, giving the party an establishment leader at a moment when its grass roots wing is insurgent.

Mr. Perez defeated Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and four other candidates in a race that had few ideological divisions yet illuminated the same rifts in the party that drove the acrimonious 2016 presidential primary between Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Perez fell one vote short of a majority on the first vote for chairman, with Mr. Ellison 13 votes behind him. The four second-tier candidates then dropped out of the race before the second ballot. On the second ballot, Mr. Perez won 235 of 435 votes cast.

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Somehow, I think most people knew that this was going to happen.

There's a good chance that Trump will end up being a 2 term president and that 2018 will be a disaster for the Democratic Party on the scale of 2010, 2014, and 1994. Meanwhile, they will surely blame the voters and especially the left, which is what they always do when they don't win.

I think that we should keep in mind that the US is a plutocracy and that at this point, the Democrats aren't even pretending to be a "New Deal" party for the people anymore. Perhaps its existence always was an outlet to contain and co-opt the left. At least now, the message is naked: the left is expected to blindly obey, but will never be given leadership positions.

In other words, the left is not welcome. I think that it is time for people to leave.

The only question at this point is, how hard is it going to be to form a third party? I don't see the Left as being able to reform the Democrats very easily. It may be so corrupt as to be beyond reform.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 4:05 pm

The time to leave the Democrat party was when Obama turned healthcare over to the insurance and pharma industries in 2009.

If it were easy to form a third party it would have been done by now. But then again, if it were easy, perhaps it wouldn't be necessary.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

or 1993 when NAFTA was passed and FDR started his 23-years-and-counting spinning in his grave?

sgt_doom , February 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm

At least 1993, although the ideal time would have been after the Coup of 1963, but unfortunately too many were still clueless than. (Had more than five people and Mort Sahl ever bothered to read the Warren Commission Report - where Lee Oswald was "positively ID'd by a waitress for the murder of Officer Tippit:

W.C.: So you went into the room and looked at the lineup, did you recognize anyone.

Helen Louise Markham: No, sir.

And there you have it, gentlement, a positive ID! And the rest of the so-called report was even worse . . . .)

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 10:13 pm

(Patting self on back) That's when I left it. God, was it really that long ago?

And responding to the earlier part of the string: no, it isn't easy to form a "3rd" party; and yes, there already is one. Just might be time to stop nit-picking about it and help. (In Oregon, there are about 6, two of them right-wing.)

Kshama Sawant, who is a socialist not a Green, is hoping (I think that's the exact word) to put together a Left coalition. I think the Green Party could be sold on that – for one thing, we would be much the largest portion. Certainly I could, as I'm pretty tired of spinning my wheels.

Remember, according to Gallup, the Dems are now down to 25% affiliation (Reps at 28 – the first time they've been higher, I think because they won the election.) Independents are the plurality by a wide margin. Something's going to give, and we should try to get ahead of the parade. It could easily get really nasty.

John Merryman , February 25, 2017 at 11:45 pm

The problem with third parties is the same with the math of this ballot. If Perez was one vote shy the first time, that means he only picked up 18 votes the second time. So all the other candidates mostly split the opposition. I'm sure if the democratic establishment felt the need, they would form a few front parties.
People, you are just going to have to wait for it to blow up and after that, coalesce around one cause; Public banking and money as a publicly supported utility.
It took a few hundred years to recognize government is a public function and drop monarchy.

energizer wabbit , February 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Beats me how anyone thinks "public banking" will change anything. In a capitalist system, banks are banks. They chase the highest return. That's not where the public interest (qua people) lies and never will be. And "government is a public function" so long as it serves its mandate: to make return on capital investment function smoothly.

Tomonthebeach , February 26, 2017 at 1:03 am

For those of use who never were in the Democratic Party, this choice ensures that many of us will be looking for another party. The DNC just gave us the same choice as the last election – Corrupt establishment or Fascism. The distinction these days is not worth pondering.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

Unfortunately the deck is too stacked against a 3rd party in US. This article is good on that and on why playing nice with Democrats is also no good:
https://medium.com/@petercoffin/the-democrats-will-disappoint-you-a-third-party-aint-happening-and-other-garbage-you-don-t-want-3eb0a80c154#.h7q0j2uvp

What people are doing right now with Donald Trump's GOP - forcing town halls, making a ruckus, holding everyone accountable - has to be the model for progressive change in American politics. Doing this stuff inside the system isn't going to wor k. Forming a party around ideology or ideas isn't going to wor k. Wearing the system down is all that works.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:43 am

Good article on DNC chair race:
https://medium.com/@MattBruenig/be-clear-about-what-happened-to-keith-ellison-78e31bad6f76#.ri3iw6i5i

Before this gets turned into another thing where the establishment Democrats posture as the reasonable adults victimized by the assaults of those left-wing baddies, let's just be very clear about what happened here. It was the establishment wing that decided to recruit and then stand up a candidate in order to fight an internal battle against the left faction of the party. It was the establishment wing that then dumped massive piles of opposition research on one of their own party members. And it was the establishment wing that did all of this in the shadow of Trump, sowing disunity in order to contest a position whose leadership they insist does not really matter.
The establishment wing has made it very clear that they will do anything and everything to hold down the left faction, even as they rather hilariously ask the left faction to look above their differences and unify in these trying times. They do not have any intent of ceding anything - even small things they claim are mostly irrelevant - to the left wing.

Nuggets321 , February 26, 2017 at 2:55 pm

isn't in nice to see the Dims being so effective when it comes to threats to its establishment ways?

Another Anon , February 25, 2017 at 4:06 pm

Reform may become possible only when the money spigot dries up.
At some point, the oligarchs may simply decide its not cost effective
to finance such losers. With no money, there are no rice bowls and so the
professional pols and their minions will either wither away or seek a new funding
model which may make possible a different politics.
I think it will take well under a decade to see how this plays out.

L , February 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

At some point, the oligarchs may simply decide its not cost effective to finance such losers.

Unless having a monopoly on both the winners and losers ensures a total control over the political system.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Unless?

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm

What is the cheapest way for oligarchs to maintain power in a pseudo-democracy?

If there is enough conflict among them, I suppose they'll continue to put money into both parties. Otherwise, why not just let one of the two slowly die? Electoral theatre is expensive.

Jason , February 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Electoral theatre is expensive.

The scary thing is that it's NOT expensive, compared to the size of the economy. As long as there's enough at stake for large companies and ultra-rich individuals, they can very easily buy two or even several parties.

(This is not to disagree with your main point, which is that they may let the Democrats die.)

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

But why bother with that extra bit, if it can instead be spent on a second or third bolt-hole?

But I suspect you are correct because the citizenry will revolt fairly quickly after the illusion completely dissolves. It's worth something to put that off for as long as possible.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

The United States' GDP was estimated to be $17.914 trillion as of Q2 2015.

Hillary spent less than $1.2B. Trump spent less than $700M.

So for less than $2B, or .00011148272 of the GDP, you can have your kabuki theater for the proles.

Entire election for ALL candidates cost just under $7B , or .00037904124 of GDP.

8 people have the same wealth as the bottom 50%.

And the Aristocrat Choir sings, "what's the ruckus?"

MG , February 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Yes it is when a very competitive Senate race is now $50M as a starting price tag and to run a viable Presidential campaign will likely be $1B as a floor in 2020.

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Nah, that'd never fly. Must have "choice".

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm

There'd still be 'choice' since we plebs would continue quixotically financing this/that with our cashless dollars (while they filter, oh say .30 of each, for the privilege).

At least, perhaps, until we finally get our sh*t together and genuinely revolt. How long will that take?

Foppe , February 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Hard to say, too few historical data points actually involving revolts.

witters , February 25, 2017 at 5:52 pm

The farce willl go on. After all, while the actual popular sovereignty expressed in voting might be minimal, and the information environment itself largely a corporate construction, its gives a concrete, personal, representation of popular sovereignty, and in so doing – and whatever the despondency of its voters and the emptiness of their choice – legitimates or "mandates" whatever it is the government does, and however corporate friendly it might be. And it may be – with its Private Public Partnerships, and revolving door from the corporate to public office (and back) – very corporate friendly indeed.

If this is the case, then the "China Model" is not, as some think, the ideal neoliberal political model. Explicitly authoritarian rule is, from the start, problematic in terms of popular sovereignty. If a corporate-friendly authoritarian regime is to avoid this, it has but one option. It must deliver economic growth that is both noticeable and widespread, and so do what neoliberal theory claims, but neoliberal practice isn't much, if at all, interested in providing.

We may well be in the midst of making a choice here

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

At least the China model provided growth unreal living standards from the desperate poverty that most Chinese were living in a generation ago.

It is certainly not without flaws. Corruption, inequality, and pollution are big problems.

That said,the US is following the corruption and inequality pretty well. With the Republicans and other corporations in control, they will surely make sure that pollution follows.

Actually it will be worse. The Chinese model ensured that China built up a manufacturing sector. It followed the economic growth trajectory of Japan after WW2 and later South Korea. The neoliberals won't do that.

Patricia , February 26, 2017 at 8:52 am

Which 'we' is that? I suspect we are well past the time when people like you and me can make that choice. 40-50 years past.

b1daly , February 26, 2017 at 1:50 am

By "revolt" what do you actually mean? Armed overthrow of the existing power structure? Or political revolt, forming a new party? Breaking the US up into smaller countries?

I'm having hard time imagining a radical restructuring of power in the US. Nor does it strikes me as particularly desirable, as my observation is that the new power structure is often just as bad as the existing one. But now has to deal with governing a fractured society.

Patricia , February 26, 2017 at 8:48 am

Whatever would be required to create necessary change. A series of actions emerging from a plan, ever-intensifying until the system-as-it-is has no more power.

Do you think hundreds of millions of people should continue to let themselves be trashed? That sort of thing never lets up but only increases over time.

This situation is not unlike spousal abuse. The most dangerous time for the abused is when the she/he decides to leave. And the after-effects usually land her/him in poverty but also peace and self-respect.

Kurt Sperry , February 25, 2017 at 8:51 pm

Yep, in a duopoly it is necessary to own and control both halves–even a perpetually losing one. That is cheap insurance against nasty surprises. American political parties and politicians are cheap as hell to buy in any event. Gazillionaire couch change can control entire parties.

L , February 26, 2017 at 12:57 am

Agreed, this is why even the soviets maintained a permitted show of opposition if only to keep people distracted.

freedeomny , February 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Yes

Steve Ruis , February 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

Oh, c'mon. The money spent to provide an illusion of democracy is chump change compared to the billions they are reaping from having bought the government. The plutocrats are not trying to effect change really, they like it pretty much as it is now. The purpose of the two parties is to distract us from what is really going on. The only plutocratic interest in what they do is fueled by perverse curiosity of what their new toy can do.

steelhead23 , February 26, 2017 at 9:57 am

Anon, I hope you are right. Somewhat lost in the news was the vote NOT to ban corporate donations to the DNC. To me, that is at least as telling as Ellison's loss. The Clintons may be gone, but their stench remains.

reslez , February 25, 2017 at 4:58 pm

I think we need to accept the strong likelihood that there will be a corporatist-dominated Constitutional Convention by 2025. First on the agenda: a constitutional amendment that requires a balanced federal budget. The globalist elites will slam on that lever to destroy what remains of the economic safety net. "Balanced budgets" are very popular with the deceived public but such an amendment will end general prosperity in this nation forever. Imagine what else they'll outlaw and ban and 1860 doesn't feel so far away.

Fred1 , February 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm

What surprises me is that Establishment Ds make no effort to defend themselves from attacks from the Left. It's like they don't care: no leftward movement on policy. They just call Bernie and the Brodudes names. What Sanders did to Hillary is a proof of concept. The most powerful Establishment D is mortally wounded by an attack from a no name senator from Vermont. This can be used against any Establishment D. The Brodudes initially may not have wanted to burn it down, but they now know they can. So what are the Establishment Ds doing to defend themselves?

JerseyJeffersonian , February 26, 2017 at 9:59 am

Closer and closer it comes as the Democrats have let state after state come under one-party Republican rule while unjustifiably preening themselves for their "moral rectitude" (while yet continuing to assist in looting the joint for a small percentage of the take ). That party has come to play their part in cementing the injustices and inequalities into place. Witness Obama, not only sitting on his hands when action against palpable injustice was needed, but actively collaborating in rigidifying the rotten structure. The quintessential globalist, authoritarian, war-loving Democrat, the only kind permissable, vide Perez.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 5:04 pm

There's a good chance that Trump will end up being a 2 term president and that 2018 will be a disaster for the Democratic Party on the scale of 2010, 2014, and 1994. Meanwhile, they will surely blame the voters and especially the left, which is what they always do when they don't win.

If Trump doesn't deliver the manufacturing jobs to the "undesirables" like he promised, if he dismantles ACA and leaves poor and working class "undesirables" to the wolf of some sort of privatization scheme health care w/ vouchers or tax breaks, if backtracking on financial sector reform leads to another economic meltdown, and if he and Bannon get another war, which metastasizes into asymmetrical warfare all over Western Europe and the US, then Trump's ability to get reelected is in serious jeopardy to say the least, no matter how lame the democratic challenger is. Bush's meltdown gave us a Black President for christs sake.

On the other hand, the down ticket races could continue to be the usual disaster for the dems unless they do a major reshift in their campaign strategies outside the blue states that includes strong populist economic messaging and pushing a strong safety net w/ a public option for health care (assuming the GOP wipes out ACA.)

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

There are a lot of "ifs" there that are looking like "wills" at the moment. He is playing true to type and delegating policy to whomsoever flatters him best whilst jetting off to Mar-a-Lago for a game of golf with his business buddies. With the exception of killing TPP (maybe?) and no immediate European conflicts with Russia, this is what I would have expected from him and, more importantly, Pence. The true believers seem to be getting their way, thus far.

That said, I wouldn't discount the power of his ability to deflect blame for the consequences of his actions. For the most part, those who voted for him truly believe that everything is someone else's fault, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

witters , February 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

'For the most part, those who voted for him truly believe that everything is someone else's fault, and I don't see that changing any time soon.'

And the vast majjority of those who voted against him! See the topic of today's post.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm

This is true, but don't you think the standards are different? At the moment nothing is either Parties fault, according to their leadership, but the reactions of both Party's base has been far different to date. Dems have been comparatively unsuccessful blaming Muslims, leftists and Russians for their problems whereas that is, and always has been, red meat for Republicans. Any stick to beat someone with just doesn't work as well for the Democratic Party. Claire McCaskill calls Bernie a communist and is vilified for it at the time, so now she is whining because her seat is at risk in '18? What did she expect when she knew, at the time, that she was alienating half the Party by so doing?

Dems are losing because they have the misfortune of not having more Republicans in their electoral base, however hard they have tried to include them in their "Big Tent" leadership. Republicans actively fear their base, and would never make such an egregious political mistake.

Matt , February 25, 2017 at 8:34 pm

I thought all of the candidates for the DNC Chair were really bad. Even the ever so popular Keith Ellison. This guy once advocated for an entire separate country to be formed comprising of only African Americans. Just curious, how "tolerant" and "inclusive" would the immigration policy be for that country if it were ever created? What would the trade policies be in that country? Would they let a white owned business like Wal-Mart move into a black neighborhood and put the local black owned businesses out of business? Keith Ellison is nothing more than a hypocrite every time he criticizes Donald Trump's policies and advocates for his impeachment.

The entire Democratic party is falling apart. They are trying to get elected because of their race, sex, and/or religion. Instead of trying to get elected based on the content of their character and their message. I truly believe the main reason Keith Ellison was even considered for the DNC Chair is because he is black and a Muslim.

The party rigged the primary against Bernie because they felt it was time that a woman became president instead of a man. Some democrats even called Bernie a white supremacist.

This identity politics is killing the party.

JerseyJeffersonian , February 26, 2017 at 9:40 am

This, in spades.

You know, "Where there is no vision, the people perish "?

Irredeemable Deplorable , February 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm

The God-Emperor's vision is crystal clear:

"@realDonaldTrump: The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally "rigged." Bernie's guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!" – Twitter

LMFAO

How about that new Clinton video, sure looks like she is going to run again in 2020 – please, Hilary, you go, girl!

Dugless , February 25, 2017 at 7:38 pm

The corporatist "third way" democrats are hoping for Trump to implode so that they can get back into the White House. They really don't think that they need progressives since it is undoubted in their opinion that Trump will certainly be fail on his promises and be unelectable in 2020 and they will be back in power. And they may be right but the dems still will have lost most of the states and many localities. It will be more of the Obama/Clinton wing at the top with all the "professional" hangers on facing down a Republican congress until the system collapses.

Brad , February 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

That's clearly what the Perez/Nate Coln Dems are banking on. Metro-suburban class alliance of multicultural service workers and their secular Republican employers nonplussed by Bush-style Trump clusterfark. Heard no "strong populist message" out of Perez's mouth in the DNC debates. Anything the Dems do there will be to elect more Blue Dogs to strengthen the conservative wing of the party and push the Sanders people back to the margins. That's all they care about right now.

But it's a completely passive strategy that is at the mercy of the Republicans. For "what if" President Bannon lays off the coke and, like Obama, doesn't do stupid?

The only real hazard the Trumpistas face is the timing of the next recession. And that will depend on part on the Fed. The rest is: don't start a war, just leave ACA sit there.

The Fed, the Fed, it all comes down to the Fed in the next 4 years. Has Bannon studied up on Jackson's Bank War?

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 11:22 pm

I was just at a "Community Meeting" with Rep. Peter DeFazio – one of the more progressive Dems. Huge turnout, again. Questions were more challenging than the ones to Wyden. Amazingly old audience – where are all the Bernie millennials?

Toward the end, I asked him (1) what he thought had happened to the Democrats over the last 8 disastrous years; and (2) whether he saw motion to fix the problem.

He responded with a passionate statement of progressive ideas, so I guess that answers #1; but he didn't answer Pt. 2 at all, really, which is a negative answer. He had actually been pretty critical of the party in earlier answers, and we had just learned that Perez would be chairing the DNC.

I was wearing a Green Party T-shirt, which I'm sure he recognizes. Oddly, both the first and last questions were from local Greens: the first, from the former city councillor who runs against him on a regular basis; and the last from my wife, about the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions movement. Time was limited, and we lined up for the microphones.

Lord Koos , February 26, 2017 at 1:45 pm

The wars won't matter to people as long as the propaganda is good enough (perhaps a helpful false flag incident as well) and as long as there is no draft. It's all about whipping up the patriotism we'll see if that still works.

P Walker , February 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm

The Democratic Party has always about "left containment." Their entire existence isn't about winning at all. It's about allowing establishment rule, which is why even when Democrats are elected the forward march into corporate rule continues unabated.

Burn it.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm

I like Lambert's phrase:

Kill it with FIRE.

fresno dan , February 25, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Altandmain
February 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Neither party is worth a bucket of warm spit – and both parties pay no attention what so ever to the vast majority their members, or the vast majority of the citizens. And neither party can be reformed. IMHO, the only question is if any new party constituted would be infiltrated and undermined from within before it could do anything.

kimsarah , February 25, 2017 at 11:47 pm

Nothing to fear if Van Jones starts the party.

BeliTsari , February 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

A series of storms was coming through, so I was tuning-around on TV, to find weather & stumbled upon coverage on MSNBC (the onliest way I'd ever end up there). The yammering bobble-head referred to actual lifelong Keynesian Democrats as "the FAR left." I simply assumed I'd tuned into FOX, since there's about 3 affiliates where I'm working. She kind of sneered the whole story. Why don't they just use CGI? Smart TV's, selfie cams and biosensors could ensure the viewer's attention; gauge reactions & report potential dissident proclivities? https://theintercept.com/2017/02/24/key-question-about-dnc-race-why-did-white-house-recruit-perez-to-run-against-ellison/ http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/eduardo-caraballo-puerto-rico-deportion-94795779.html http://www.juancole.com/2017/02/endangering-abiding-undocumented.html

MG , February 25, 2017 at 8:08 pm

This seems very much like a kneejerk reaction. Your assuming the economy doesn't go into recession by then which increasingly seems less and less likely as well as the GOP Congressional leadership or Trump showing much skill in executing their legislative agenda. A lot easier being the guy who chants out about how the guy in charge sucks and another entirely when they suddenly become the person in charge.

Unless Trump starts to deliver on jobs and meaningful wage growth, there will be inevitable backlash in 2018 at him and the GOP. It is going to be increasing when the rank and file American realizes that the GOP House tax plan goes for essentially a 20% VAT to be implemented on imported goods while they get a whopping income tax cut of 1-2%. Average American is a rube but eventually this will start to sink in as to just how short changed they'll be if it largely passes wholesale.

Adamski , February 25, 2017 at 10:19 pm

What if they do tax cuts for the rich without Social Security / Medicare cuts? What if they don't do much about Obamacare and don't lose votes that way either? And if the recovery continues, the labour market will tighten.

dcrane , February 26, 2017 at 3:36 am

Yes, and what if they *do* continue to put on a big show against "illegals" and allegedly unfriendly Muslim immigrants? And tinker just enough with NAFTA to claim a symbolic "win" against Mexico? This could be potent stuff.

If the Democrats haven't managed to come up with a candidate people can really get behind, it will be even easier for incumbency to pull Trump over the finish line again. Many Republicans who wouldn't vote for Trump this time "because Hitler" will have observed by then that the country survived Term I, and they'll get back in line, because Republicans always come home. The Democrats seem to think that since the election was close, all they need to do is run Obama V2 (Booker), thereby re-juicing the lagged African American turnout and putting a D back in the Oval Office. I think that ship has sailed now. If Trump truly bombs, then sure anyone will beat him. But as of now I'm not confident that he will simply fail and the numbers may only be more difficult for the Ds in 2020.

Richard H Caldwell , February 26, 2017 at 9:23 am

A very neat summation of my views.

Teleportnow , February 26, 2017 at 10:59 am

I seriously doubt Trump will be a one term president. DNC elections notwithstanding. If there's no "there" there in the, according to Trump, utterly nonexistent Russia scandal, why hide from the press? Take the questions. Call for an investigation himself. Nothing to hide? Quit hiding.

Irredeemable Deplorable , February 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Best news I've heard today. High fives all around.

As an oponnent of every Democrat and every Democrat "policy", I am overjoyed. Carry on.

Trumpslide 2020 t-shirts are already on sale, I'm ordering one.

Burritonomics , February 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Given very recent history, this is no surprise. Unfortunate, and I expect to see "resistance" activities nudged even more toward the same weary mainstream DNC tropes.

Vatch , February 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Well gosh, Alan Dershowitz just breathed a huge sigh of relief!

As for me, I probably have elevated levels of stress hormones. I need to visit my "happy place".

Harry , February 25, 2017 at 6:19 pm

the Dersh is probably just pleased none of his students has recently accused him of sexual assault.

Lee , February 25, 2017 at 4:13 pm

They also voted down a ban on taking all that yummy corporate cash.

aliteralmind , February 25, 2017 at 4:14 pm

They also voted down a motion to stop big money and lobbyist donations.

This is just another big fuck you to the progressive wing of the party. It's time to board the ship and start a mutiny. And if that doesn't work, sink the ship and build a new one.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

"This is just another big fuck you to the progressive wing of the party."

The message is undeniable: You're not welcome here. Thank you for your votes, thank you for your money, shut up, no you do not get to pick the candidate, Debbie and Donna did nothing wrong, no we are not getting rid of superdelegates, no we are not refusing corporate money, no you cannot have even a Clinton-endorsing kinda-progressive as Chair, no to free college, 'never ever' to universal health care, 'we're capitalists here', and Haim Saban's opinion matters more than millions of BernieCrats because money.

The ship be sinking.

integer , February 25, 2017 at 10:14 pm

and Haim Saban's opinion matters more than millions of BernieCrats because money.

"I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel."
Haim Saban

The D-party's biggest donor is a one-issue guy, and that issue is Israel but Russia!

In March 2008, Saban was among a group of major Jewish donors to sign a letter to Democratic Party house leader Nancy Pelosi warning her to "keep out of the Democratic presidential primaries."The donors, who "were strong supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign", "were incensed by a March 16 interview in which Pelosi said that party 'superdelegates' should heed the will of the majority in selecting a candidate."The letter to Pelosi stated the donors "have been strong supporters of the DCCC" and implied, according to The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, that Pelosi could lose their financial support in important upcoming congressional elections.

Poor ol' Haim must be soooo pissed that Clinton lost again. Hahaha.

integer , February 25, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I wasn't planning on commenting for a while but ended up leaving a comment here a few minutes ago and it disappeared into the ether. Probably something to do with the one of the links I included. No big deal.

Outis Philalithopoulos , February 25, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Not sure why it vanished in the first place, but it should be up now.

integer , February 25, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Thanks!

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 7:06 pm

Basically they are bought and paid for by the special interests of America and indeed foreign ones too.

kimsarah , February 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Re: "It's time to board the ship and start a mutiny. And if that doesn't work, sink the ship and build a new one."

That ship has passed, at least the first part.

L , February 25, 2017 at 4:17 pm

I stopped being a Democrat a few years ago. And I have not donated for some time. Yet I still receive constant requests for money to keep the consultants in airline miles. Every so often I think that perhaps it might be time to "come home" or at least that they aren't so bad anymore.

Then they go and do this.

At this point I see no reason to keep the ossified corpse of the Clinton Machine Democratic party going. It is clear that the last thing they want to do is listen to actual voters to decide their direction. All they have is the faint hope that Trump will be so godawful that everyone will love them again.

But then that was Hillary Clinton's campaign strategy

Vatch , February 25, 2017 at 4:31 pm

If your state requires you to register as a Democrat in order to vote in the Democratic primary, I recommend doing so. Then you can vote for outsiders in the 2018 and 2020 primaries. If your state has an open primary system, you don't have to taint yourself with official membership - just request the appropriate primary ballot and vote.

hreik , February 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm

This is my dilemma. In CT, you have to be R or D to vote in primary. I left the D's after the CA primary b/c I was so disgusted. I'll see what candidates are looking like when the time comes and make my decision then.

The leadership of the D party is just clueless.

Chauncey Gardiner , February 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm

They're not clueless. They just like the money too much.

freedeomny , February 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm

+1000000000

L , February 26, 2017 at 12:59 am

Given that most of them are professional fund raisers/candidates it is not surprising.

lb , February 25, 2017 at 5:46 pm

I deregistered as a Democrat in CA today after 17 years (though I was already pretty much out over the past few years, I let this be the final straw opposite inertia). The CA "top two" system for general elections only puts the top two vote-getters from any party during the primary on the ballot, ostensibly switching the election to one largely determined during the primary, by primary voters.

The California Democratic party allows those voters registered as not specifying a political preference to vote in the Democratic primary, so I might still end up voting among the various options, especially if someone like Brand New Congress puts up a real candidate here or there. During the 2016 primary, the D-party anti-Sanders shenanigans were evident even in CA. In some areas, unaffiliated voters who wanted a D-party ballot were misled or required to very strictly repeat a specific phrase, or they were given ballots with no effect on the D-party primary. I expect to have to be very careful to request and obtain the correct ballot in advance. (Let's hope that the slow takeover at lower levels within the state makes this less necessary).

It's going to be a long, hard slog on the left, whether occasionally peeking inside the tent or building something cohesive, not co-opted and effective outside the tent (where it seems the D-party has necessarily pushed many).

Katharine , February 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

But whatever you do, make sure you know your state's election law in advance, especially deadlines for registration changes, which may be earlier than you expect.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm

Yep, New York state being the perfect example.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 4:59 pm

"All they have is the faint hope that Trump will be so godawful that everyone will love them again."

Well, that and Nancy "we know how to win elections" Pelosi promising the Earth for votes to regain their majorities, again, only to then take all of that off of the table and start the cycle over again.

I really don't know how many times one can go to that well; we have seen this play before. Seems like an awful lot of people have caught on to the tactic at this point. Were that not the case, HIllary would probably be happily bombing Russia by now.

Biph , February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

The Dems are set up pretty well for 2018. Both Trump and Hillary are deeply unpopular and Hillary won't be a vote driver for the GOP in 2018 and Trump will be for the Dems. There are a bunch of important States with Gov races and whatever happens the next 20 months Trump and the GOP will own completely, they wont even have a recalcitrant legislative branch to point the finger at.
I always figured whoever won in 2016 was set up to be a one term POTUS. Best case scenario for Trump is that we tread water for the next 2-4 years and I don't think that will be enough get him a 2nd term although it might be enough to staunch GOP losses in 2020. If he gets gets into a messy hot war, fumbles a major natural disaster or sees an economic downturn in 4 years we'll be talking about the impending death of GOP.

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Those scenarios sound a little rosy considering the types of people we are talking about. They can take a lot of pain as long as someone else is feeling it more .and there is always someone else. If they cannot find a demographic to blame they will invent one; see the historic hatred for ObamaCare and the raucous town halls now defending the ACA; they don't have to make sense.

Also, too, Dems are defending more incumbencies in '18 than are the Reps., and the Republican Party has the machinery already in place to reduce the voting public down to just those that are more likely to vote for them. Just create a riot at a voting precinct, for example, jail whomsoever you want and take their stuff as is now foreshadowed in Arizona. They would love that stuff; "Beat those hippies!" And, after the Democratic Primaries, the Democratic Party will be in no position to take the high ground.

No, even if all that happens, I think the predicting the death of the GOP is way premature.

Biph , February 25, 2017 at 9:15 pm

His fans will vote for him, a lot of the the people who voted for him as the lesser of two evils will be demotivated to vote or will vote Dem as a check on him and this who voted for HRC as the lesser of two evils will be motivated. At best his popularity right now is about where GWB's was after he tried to privatize SS and just before Katrina and the public's view on Iraq flipped for good. I think 2018 will look a lot like 2006. Hate and spite will be on the Dems side in 2018 and those are great motivators.
Trump may have deep support, but it isn't very broad. He didn't win an 84 or even an 08 sized victory.
There is a reason the party in power does poorly in off year elections and Trump is the least popular newly elected POTUS in modern history.

Nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

I see your rationale, but then I look at Kansas and Wisconsin. Doubling down has never hurt them for long.

dcrane , February 26, 2017 at 3:52 am

It would be helpful to know, also, how many who normally vote Republican abstained or went 3rd party rather than vote for Trump. Maybe it wasn't that many (since Trump did get more votes than Romney after all), but many of these people will be voting for Trump in 2020 unless he completely tanks. It's never a good idea to underestimate the party loyalty of GOP voters. Beating Democrats is the Prime Directive.

Daryl , February 25, 2017 at 6:30 pm

I think the problem is that Republicans are much better at actually winning elections. How many seats can the Democrats actually regain? Keeping in mind that midterm voters skew older/Republican in any case.

Big River Bandido , February 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm

The Dems are set up pretty well for 2018.

Yes, set up well for failure.

Brad , February 25, 2017 at 9:03 pm

Looks like Darrell Issa is trying to outmaneuver Nate Coln.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/darrell-issa-bill-maher-jeff-sessions-recuse_us_58b10218e4b0780bac29b0d6 ?

http://issa.house.gov/ca-49-interactive-map

Ought to pull the new cold war, Russia-hating secular middle class Republicans and liberal Democrats. Who needs Latino service worker votes?

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm

Clinton Machine / Democratic party

You had it right the first time

der , February 25, 2017 at 4:33 pm

"We lost this election eight years ago," concludes Michael Slaby, the campaign's chief technology officer. "Our party became a national movement focused on general elections, and we lost touch with nonurban, noncoastal communities. There is a straight line between our failure to address the culture and systemic failures of Washington and this election result."

The question of why-why the president and his team failed to activate the most powerful political weapon in their arsenal.

Obama's army was eager to be put to work. Of the 550,000 people who responded to the survey, 86 percent said they wanted to help Obama pass legislation through grassroots support; 68 percent wanted to help elect state and local candidates who shared his vision. Most impressive of all, more than 50,000 said they personally wanted to run for elected office.

But they never got that chance. In late December, Plouffe and a small group of senior staffers finally made the call, which was endorsed by Obama. The entire campaign machine, renamed Organizing for America, would be folded into the DNC, where it would operate as a fully controlled subsidiary of the Democratic Party.

Instead of calling on supporters to launch a voter registration drive or build a network of small donors or back state and local candidates, OFA deployed the campaign's vast email list to hawk coffee mugs and generate thank-you notes to Democratic members of Congress who backed Obama's initiatives.

Republicans, on the other hand, wasted no time in building a grassroots machine of their own-one that proved capable of blocking Obama at almost every turn. Within weeks of his inauguration, conservative activists began calling for local "tea parties" to oppose the president's plan to help foreclosed homeowners.
https://newrepublic.com/article/140245/obamas-lost-army-inside-fall-grassroots-machine

Thomas Frank: "The even larger problem is that there is a kind of chronic complacency that has been rotting American liberalism for years, a hubris that tells Democrats they need do nothing different, they need deliver nothing really to anyone – except their friends on the Google jet and those nice people at Goldman. The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play except to vote enthusiastically on the grounds that these Democrats are the "last thing standing" between us and the end of the world. It is a liberalism of the rich, it has failed the middle class, and now it has failed on its own terms of electability."
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals

And so it goes, unless. The ruling class, the professional class D&R, the upper 10%, those who make more than $150 thousand, win no matter who sits in the Oval Office or controls all 3 branches, both look down on their respective bases, the deplorables. Taking a page from the TParty to fight harder, tougher, longer, louder and make Perez move left.

LT , February 25, 2017 at 6:06 pm

OFA: nothing but lobbyists for the private health insurance industry.

Ernesto Lyon , February 25, 2017 at 8:04 pm

150k in the Bay Area ain't rich, unless you bought a house 30 years ago.

a different chris , February 25, 2017 at 8:19 pm

People like to have stable decently paying jobs. But:

>our failure to address the culture

They will never get it, will they?

Oregoncharles , February 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

"The rest of us are treated as though we have nowhere else to go and no role to play "
And so far, they're right. At least, very few are going there. A lot are staying home, but that doesn't accomplish much.

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Take heart. One of my friends is a long-time progressive Democrat. She ran as a Clean Elections candidate and was elected to the Arizona legislature last November. She has never held office before.

It can be done.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Your friend should share her script for success w/ the DNC leadership.

Big River Bandido , February 25, 2017 at 7:54 pm

I think the friend should share *nothing* with the DNC, but *fight* them every step.

neo-realist , February 26, 2017 at 1:30 am

If they toss the script aside w/o using the prescriptions for winning, fight them.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:49 am

Agree, Big River Bandido. She should share with progressive Democratic primary challengers to those sorry Democrats only. Not that anyone at the DNC would ever listen anyway.

But good for her!

Will S. , February 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Kudos to your friend! I think progressives fighting for places in the state legislatures has to be our first step, especially with the census/redistricting looming

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 5:40 pm

Where do you live? 2/3'rds of the states have Republican governors and 66-70 percent Republican state legislatures. They have already been gerrymandered and are very likely to remain this way for AT LEAST a generation.

I live in Ohio. Democrat state legislators can do absolutely nothing. Not that this particularly bothers them. They collect their $60,000 salaries - not bad for a VERY part-time position– regardless.

readerOfTeaLeaves , February 25, 2017 at 6:23 pm

I'm guessing that you failed to mention - in addition to salary - per diem, plus payments into the state retirement system? I'm guessing that $60,000 is only the top part of the iceberg; best to look under the waterline to get the whole picture?

Daryl , February 25, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Sounds a lot better than Texas, where legislators are paid $600 a month, thus ensuring that only the independently wealthy can be legislators.

HotFlash , February 25, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Congratulations to your friend, and thanks to her for her service. If you tell me where to donate, I will happily do that, too.

To neo-realist February 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Your friend should share her script for success w/ the DNC leadership.

Hello/hola/etc. The DNC has that script, they don't care, and IMHO AZSlim's friend should stay as *far* away from the DNC as possible.

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Her name is Pamela Powers Hannley. Her campaign slogan was Powers for the People.

Arizona Slim , February 25, 2017 at 5:55 pm

And she is on the Interwebs at Powers for the People dot-net. (Using my phone to post. Need to learn how to copy and paste a link.)

HotFlash , February 26, 2017 at 1:55 am

TY, Ms Slim. Will look her up and send a buck or two, if I am permitted.

neo-realist , February 26, 2017 at 1:34 am

They had Howard Dean, and a script for 50 state success and tossed it. Yeah, I guess they at least should hold Perez's feet to the fire to make him go lefty populist on the ground, if he doesn't, toss him and fight them.

HotFlash , February 26, 2017 at 1:53 am

Look, people, we cannot even get ahold of their feet, let alone hold them to any fire. Eg, B Obama.

Katharine , February 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Brand New Congress just got out their fundraising email in response to the election:

The DNC just elected a chair who is pro-TPP, against single-payer, against tuition-free state universities and has no desire to transform our economy in meaningful ways. A chair who thinks the status quo is ok. It's a clear indicator that they're confident in their agenda, a confidence exemplified in the words of Nancy Pelosi who believes that Democrats "don't want a new direction".

Not badly put.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm

From the BNC web site. This looks good:

Our Goal

Elect a Brand New Congress that works for all Americans.

We're running 400+ candidates in a single campaign to rebuild our country.

Add Your Name

Join us if you believe it's time to reset our democracy.

Email
Please enter a valid email.
Zip
Please enter a valid zip code.

80% of Americans agree: Congress is broken. Both major parties have proven time and time again that they are either unwilling or unable to deliver results for the American people. But we have an alternative. We are recruiting and running more than 400 outstanding candidates in a single, unified, national campaign for Congress in 2018. Together, they will pass an aggressive and practical plan to significantly increase wages, remove the influence of big money from our government, and protect the rights of all Americans. Let's elect a Brand New Congress that will get the job done.

This list of sponsors DOESN'T:

Washington Post
Wall Street Journal
Wired
The Huffington Post
The Daily Beast
Slate
The Nation
The Frisky
Salon
Bustle
Boing Boing
Roll Call

****
No. Uh-uh. Time for BNP : Brand New Party!

marym , February 25, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Those seem to be just links to articles about them.

jopac , February 25, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Well I for one am relieved he's the new chair. I won't have to think there might be hope and change in the corp. owned demodog party. I'll celebrate with a glass of whine later.

Arizona Slim, Thanks for the good news in AZ. It was tried in my part of Calli but dnc did everything they good to elect repug instead of a real progressive.

Time to get firewood into the house

baldski , February 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm

In order for real representative government to appear on the American scene, two things have to happen:

1. Corporations have to be declared non-persons.

2. Money is declared not equal to speech.

Why do we have the situation we have now?

Two decisions by the Supreme Court. Santa Clara vs Southern Pacific RR and Buckley vs. Valeo. So, who is the real power in our Government? The Judicial.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Here's where it stands right now:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-joint-resolution/48

So if your Congress critter has not yet co-sponsored, get on 'em.

Roger Smith , February 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Thank you so much for this post!! I saw a video on the 1886 case in high school and was disgusted. In passing time I forgot the specifics and have been trying to locate that decision since. I kept thinking it was in the 1920s/30s

TheCatSaid , February 26, 2017 at 2:06 am

I'd add No. 3: Ranked preference voting. (Majority wins or run-offs do not cut it.)
In this case, if choosing among 4 candidates, and I rank all 4 of them, my first choice gets 4 points, my second choice gets 3 points, etc. If I only rank 2 of them, my first choice gets 2 points, my second choice gets 1 point. If I only rank 1 person, they get 1 point.

Try this out on anything where you've got 3 or more options, in a group of any size. It's amazing how much better the group consensus will be reflected in the results.

You can vote your genuine preference without concern for "spoilers" or dividing the opposition.

readerOfTeaLeaves , February 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm

Kiss that party goodbye.

Yup.

Aumua , February 26, 2017 at 2:49 am

And good riddance.

Seriously though, I kind of like this little game we play here, where we act surprised or shocked or something at the Democratic Party's complete lack of integrity. Like there was ever any question that 'they' might do the right thing. I honestly don't know about you guys, but I decided a long time ago that the Democrats and Republicans were just two tentacles of the same vampire squid or whatever, so.. why the outrage and/or disdain? cause it's diverting I suppose.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm

"The Cheaters At The DNC Just Chose Divorce Over Marriage Counseling"

http://www.newslogue.com/debate/355/CaitlinJohnstone

Caitlin Johnstone DGAF.

Patricia , February 25, 2017 at 5:27 pm

She posted a Trump tweet in that article:

"Congratulations to Thomas Perez, who has just been named Chairman of the DNC. I could not be happier for him, or for the Republican Party."

Yep, he did, 25 minutes ago: https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump

Ahahahahah

Bugs Bunny , February 25, 2017 at 5:50 pm

Hail to the chief of the *burn*

I guess I forgot how dumb the Dems were. Lucy and the football, I'll never learn.

Carl , February 25, 2017 at 8:14 pm

She's on fire, no question.

Ottawan , February 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Hold on to your negative prognoses, you'd be amazed what modern technique can do with a corpse.

They are clearly betting on Donnie blowing himself up and taking the Repubs with him. They are betting on looking less-dead in the aftermath.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:22 pm

"After he's burned the castle to the ground, who's going to rule the ashes? That's right baby, US!"

LT , February 25, 2017 at 5:49 pm

The Democratic Party will never let the Republican Party go down. Haven't we figured that out yet?
The only way to get rid of the Republican Party is to get rid of the Democratic Party.

WheresOurTeddy , February 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm

As usual, Greenwald sheds some light:

"He is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual," pronounced Saban about the African-American Muslim congressman, adding: "Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party."

"I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel," he told the New York Times in 2004 about himself
he attacked the ACLU for opposing Bush/Cheney civil liberties assaults and said: "On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk."

https://theintercept.com/2017/02/24/key-question-about-dnc-race-why-did-white-house-recruit-perez-to-run-against-ellison/

Dear Leftists Who Haven't Got The Message Yet:

YOU'RE NOT WELCOME HERE

Annotherone , February 25, 2017 at 6:46 pm

We're not welcome anywhere it seems – and that has to be flippin' ridiculous in a country of this size and diversity! Could there be a better time for the Democratic Socialists to expand and come forth ? Cornel West at the helm, to begin – perhaps persuading Bernie to join him.

NotTimothyGeithner , February 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Who will Team Blue blame for Senate losses in November 2018? Tau Cetians? Game of Thrones ending?

nippersdad , February 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm

I suspect that Correct the Record has an app for that already in place.

Octopii , February 26, 2017 at 1:13 am

From what I see already around the interwebs and comment sections, it will be blamed on the lefty radicals who are fracturing the party by resisting the borg. And Sanders. And Cornel West. Etc Etc

MDBill , February 26, 2017 at 11:23 am

Right. The people who refuse to play on their team any longer. The neoliberal arrogance and sense of entitlement is just staggering.

freedeomny , February 26, 2017 at 5:14 pm

You know – it almost doesn't even matter. The Dems will get corporation donations just in "case" they win. They really aren't terribly motivated. It's like being a salesperson with no sales goals.

On another note – The Turks guy (Cent? can't remember his name) said that it was time for a third party on his twitter account. Nina Turner "liked" it. I found that a little hopeful.

LT , February 25, 2017 at 5:43 pm

The Democrats obviously can't wait for that constitutional convention by the sadist wing of the Republican Party. The sooner it can no longer have any loopholes that cause any interpretation outside of corporations rule, the easier it will be for Democrats. No more worrying about doing good things for those pesky people.

oho , February 25, 2017 at 5:47 pm

if anyone wants to email Tom Perez and sent your congrats, Tom left an email trail in the Podesta cache.

https://search.wikileaks.org/?query=tomperez1&exact_phrase=&any_of=&exclude_words=&document_date_start=&document_date_end=&released_date_start=&released_date_end=&new_search=True&order_by=most_relevant#results

George Phillies , February 25, 2017 at 6:02 pm

The United States already has third parties. There is no real need to start another one. The Libertarian party is the radical antiauthoritarian center. The Green Party ought to be adequate for progressive Democrats. There is also a far-right christian theocrat Constitution Party.

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

As a registered Green, I am very sorry to tell you that the Green Party is not adequate. And I have no reason to think it ever will be.

Next.

Isolato , February 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Carla,

I've voted forJill twice now (and contributed moderately). She seems intelligent, well-spoken, progressive, passionate, everything we would want a candidate to be and nothing. If there was EVER a year to have broken through 5% sigh. So what's the problem?

Adam Reilly , February 26, 2017 at 5:24 pm

The problem is that there's widespread election fraud. You could see it in the Wisconsin and Michigan GE recounts and the Illinois Democratic Party Recount. The reality is that we don't have any trustworthy vote totals. Maybe Jill did a lot better (or maybe she didn't), maybe Hillary actually beat Donald (or maybe she didn't), maybe Bernie won the primary (okay, that one really isn't a maybe to me since it's very clear that Hillary used tricks to move IA and NV into her corner- which would have been fatal if she didn't, the CA, NY, AZ, PR, and RI primary debacles, DNC collusion etc).

Here are two videos that really helped me understand that this fraud is likely widespread:

Short video on the Wisconsin recount: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLra_4abmxc

Long video on the Illinois recount: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSNTauWPkTc&sns=em
–>The "good" part starts at minute 24. The underlying point becomes clear really quickly if you want to just watch a small portion, but the speaker who comes on around the hour mark is excellent.

Election Justice USA also had a great summary. There's a reason many places in Europe still do manual, verifiable counting. Voting security, even more than money in politics, is the biggest barrier to having a legitimate Democracy. Unfortunately, that may be even more difficult than money in politics, which at least could theoretically be altered by Congress to cover the whole country at once.

Massinissa , February 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

What Carla said about the greens. Also, the Libertarians are basically into neoliberalism. Theyre ok on social issues, but they aren't a real answer either.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm

My hope is that the #Notmypresident millennials take the next steps from Trump needs to be resisted and work for longer term gains and political power by getting active in local politics/down ticket races and local democratic party organizations to in effect bum rush the dems and make it the party that it wants the country to be.

Love doesn't conquer all, Corporate lobbyists do. Organize for power, win elections, work for change.

Brad , February 25, 2017 at 9:20 pm

We need a political movement, not a "third" party.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

Thanks, Brad. Exactly right.

PH , February 25, 2017 at 6:03 pm

I think most people here are seeing what happened, but wrong about the impact.

Head of DNC is not a good place to organize primary challenges, and that is what is needed. DNC head is mostly just bag man for corporate money. Not that much power but some visibility. Bernie guy gets in, and there are constant questions about loyalty to the party and big tent and being fair to blue dogs. And then questions of competence if not enough money is raised or not enough elections won. No winning likely.

Losing suits us better. Establishment is against Progressives. Fine. The war is on. Find primary challengers, and get them elected.

In my view, that has always been the only way forward.

LT , February 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Find primary challengers, even if they have no chance of winning. Even in districts stacked against them turn money in politics into the wealthy's biggest weakness. Make the ROI in elections too expensive to achieve.

Big River Bandido , February 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm

I agree with you that losing this worthless race serves our long-term interests better. This is war and clarity is always an advantage. Easier to fight them from a clear outside position.

However, we have not the resources or the power base (within the Democrat Party) to mount effective primary challenges. If that party is to be a vehicle for change, we will have to take it away from them starting at the lowest levels - local party offices - and gradually work our way up.

As we move up the chain, we purge all the deadwood.

Outagamie Observer , February 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm

At this point, perhaps progressives would have more luck joining the Republican Party in hopes of "reform" or "changing the platform". They would probably have more luck than with the Democrats. As for 2018 and 2020, the congressional Republicans will have no incentive to defend congress or the Presidency. They would rather have Democrats to blame things for than have to deal with President Trump (whom they detest).

ChrisAtRU , February 25, 2017 at 6:29 pm

Einstein's definition of #Insanity immediately comes to mind.

We'll see what #BernieCrats, #DSA and others can do at the grassroots level. Their (continued) #Resistance to the #corporatistDem structure is even more important now.

But gawd, WTF are establishment Dems thinking?

PH , February 25, 2017 at 7:00 pm

They are incredibly smug. Sure that the only way to win in purple states is to run Repub lite.

Oregoncharles , February 26, 2017 at 12:14 am

That's just what Rep. DeFazio just said – even though he himself wins by ridiculous margins in a "swing" district (the closest win for Hillary inthe country, he said) by being a progressive's progressive.

He's living disproof of his own point.

RickM , February 25, 2017 at 7:25 pm

I was a card-carrying member of DSA when it was DSOC! Long time ago. Time to start paying dues again, even from the political wilderness in which I find myself. Way past time, actually. The problem with waiting for the Democrat Party to hit bottom is this: There is no bottom to this abyss.

nick , February 25, 2017 at 8:50 pm

As someone doing DSA organizing I'll say that we will be thrilled to have you on board again. Interest is quite high among the Bernie youth, so the seats are full but experience, generational diversity, and gas money are in relatively short supply!

Carla , February 25, 2017 at 9:10 pm

That's it exactly. The Democrats have no bottom.

Octopii , February 26, 2017 at 9:22 am

Why have I never even heard of DSA or DSOC before this moment?

Adar , February 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Perhaps from lack of organization on their part? After the election my husband registered to join the DSA, and sent them money. Three months later, no acknowledgement of any kind, not even a dumb membership card. Not that the Democrats ever sent anything but requests for cash, but we expected better.

polecat , February 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm

WTF are esablishment Dems thinking ?? . OF ??

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

did I miss anything ?

ChrisAtRU , February 26, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Yeah, but if you blow all the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ you raise and still lose

#iHearYaThough

Dikaios Logos , February 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

The Washington Post's headline:
"Tom Perez becomes first Latino to lead Democratic Party"

Hmm.

ChrisAtRU , February 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

Yes, because that meaningless #IdPol nugget (if it's even true) is supposed to overcome his worthlessness as a progressive.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 12:28 pm

It's OK. They let Ellison be play chairman. The Identities are pleased.

BTW: Perez was born in Buffalo, NY, and Wikipedia lists his nationality as American. The WaPo headline is bullcrap, intended to distract readers from the real issues, and promote the Clinton wing to Latin Americans, an identity group that certainly would benefit more from the Sanders wing.

manymusings , February 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm

@neo-realist, @biph

Bush's meltdown did give us a Black President - but after 8 years, not 4 years. During the election I too thought whichever candidate won was poised to be a one-term President, but there's a big condition: there absolutely must be a compelling competing narrative, and a defined counter-platform. It doesn't matter what calamity results from a Trump-led-monopoly-republican federal government if they still dominate the narrative and the opposition is still just "resisting" (or has an incoherent laundry list). It's overly-optimistic to think the Rs will own bad outcomes, or that those in power ever necessarily do (if that were so, neither Bush nor Obama would have been re-elected).

I'll hand it to the dems, I thought they'd string things out. I didn't think they'd let it be this obvious, this quickly, that the counter force won't come from the democrat party. None of us thought it would, but maybe we thought they'd at least throw some dust in the air to try keep us guessing for a while.

The challenge for the Left remains organization and focus. The clarity delivered by the democrat party is helpful. No need to debate reform, that's been answered (at least for now). The democrat establishment has nothing to do with the Left. It is not the opposition per say but might as well be (think of it this way: an opponent would refute your work, try to tank or sabotage it; the democrats invite you over to steal it, mess it up, fail, blame you, and invite you over again, huffing that their own work is "essentially the same anyway" but insisting that they be in charge).

It's time to own the Realignment. One part of that is making a clear break from the democratic establishment in terms of agenda, priorities, solidarity, identity. Not just a quibble among the like-minded; a divorce. We are only serving its interests if we don't. Case in point, the linked article echoes the common refrain that between Perez and Ellison "ideological differences are few ". No, no, a thousand effing times no. That is wrong, and attempts to fit in or make common cause with the dem establishment only validate the self-serving Unity/Look Forward narrative whose purpose is obscure what's really at issue and at stake.

And the corollary to cutting losses on the dem establishment is the second part - building the realignment, which means finding and creating common cause where it's been latent or non-existent. A compelling, competing narrative must be a counterweight not just to Trump's blame-deflections, but to the drivel spewing (at least as subtext) from the establishments of both parties. The key is not to try make the Rs own the outcomes on their watch; it's to make the Establishment own them, and to make Trump own that he is the Establishment (or that he caters to it).

Everything else is secondary. Elections up and down the ballot (local, state and federal) may force decisions on voting for a party, but which party prevails is not important - it is incidental, relevant only if it serves the cause, not vice versa. The Left needs to be clear on the realignment, stop talking to and about parties, and take up common cause and concern where we can find it. I have a feeling that the Left is less defined and determined than we imagine, because we aren't really testing it yet. Illusions about the democratic party are gone. And that's a good thing.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

It doesn't matter what calamity results from a Trump-led-monopoly-republican federal government if they still dominate the narrative and the opposition is still just "resisting" (or has an incoherent laundry list). It's overly-optimistic to think the Rs will own bad outcomes, or that those in power ever necessarily do (if that were so, neither Bush nor Obama would have been re-elected).

If Trump owns a narrative on a brick and mortar foundation of higher unemployment in the battleground states, devastation of lives from another financial meltdown (Bush had already stolen the second term prior to it), devastation and death from a potential free market solution to health care–"here's a voucher, go chose the best deal cause it's all about giving you your freedom", and war that may end up being brought to the shores of Western Europe and the United States killing a whole bunch more than 9/11, it would be pretty difficult to come back and sell the medicine show elixir a second time. Promising a whole lot and delivering less than zero, I don't know if the "deplorables" will get fooled again by his fake populism when he comes back for their votes in four years when they're still unemployed, underemployed and in greater debt and or bankruptcy from increased medical care costs. I'm not saying this as a affirmation of neoliberal democratic people running for the presidency, but that a whole lot of nothing incumbent running on a world of shit that he's created is vulnerable to a candidate who may be a whole lot of nothing with less baggage.

And Trump would potentially be running on a bigger pile of poop that he's added to the domestic and foreign fronts of Obama and Bush. O and B brought us to the precipice of the cliff, but Trump incompetence GOP ideologue arrogance can drive us off the cliff.

manymusings , February 25, 2017 at 8:54 pm

We may be pointing at different parts of a continuum - how bad things are in four years relative to Trump promises, and why people believe things are so bad. We are likely closest on how bad things could be - I agree, the stuff Trump ran and won on is likely to be much, much worse - but I think I'm less inclined to see that as handing him electoral defeat in 2020. Of course it's always easier/better to be able to run on something delivered. And less-than-zero can and by logic should tank a President. But the why is important - especially when the electorate basically doesn't trust any of these clowns. No one really expects anything from Washington, and is used to things getting worse. If Trump can deflect and maintain his message - cast blame on various faces of the establishment, the democrats, media, eventually even the republicans - I don't think he's inevitably or even likely undone. I'm not saying nothing will ever catch up with . just saying it's not guaranteed. There are a lot of factors, but I think here's actually my main thing: it depends less on "holding him to account" or pointing at failures or making him own things, and more on advancing a coalition with a compelling voice, coherent platform - and not about party. In the end, pinning failures on Trump only succeeds if there's a concrete and appealing answer to "compared to what." Trump just won against The Establishment, and the classic establishment move is to point giddily at failures and mis-steps, and say here's where you can donate, and thanks for your vote. A successful opposition has to do better.

UserFriendly , February 25, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Is it too late to change my mind and support a Syrian no fly zone? I want this country to fail. I want it to stop existing. I absolutely hate everything about america. I want Both Clinton's and Obama's heads on a plate. If Bernie doesn't announce he's creating a new party then I'll just be sitting around thinking about the best way to undermine this shit hole of a country.

vidimi , February 26, 2017 at 12:32 am

impeach trump. start a civil war

the US as a superpower must end

Tom Denman , February 25, 2017 at 8:01 pm

The Democratic Party no longer stands for anything at all (witness its recent conversion to McCarthyism). Its actions are motivated by no purpose save its leaders' self-enrichment.

A political party without a raison d'ˆtre is little more than a walking corpse and there is nothing to be lost by leaving it.

stillfeelintheberninwi , February 25, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Though sad about the outcome of the DNC chair race, I think PH is right, DNC chair is probably just about raising the corporate $$. I'm sticking with the Tip O'Neil strategy, "all politics is local."

I joined the D party in 2014, mostly because I thought I had to get involved and help remove Scott W from the governor's mansion. What I saw was lethargic and not very welcoming. Couldn't get anyone to train me on how to canvas. I offered over and over to do data entry, web, social media.

In the summer of 2015, I got involved with a local issue and we WON. 8 people (no other Dems) and we stopped a bad deal the city was about to make. We did petitions and spoke at council meetings. Wrote op eds, did radio interviews, put up yard signs.

Through that I met an organizer from a progressive group and I told him that I was thinking of running for local office. He introduced me to the bare facts of how to run a campaign and put me in touch with another progressive group that runs candidate training seminars. I went to one of those seminars. I was listening to Bernie too:) His positive voice was a great inspiration. By the end of 2015, I knew I would run for the county board. All our local races are non-partisan and often uncontested. The incumbent would be running for her third term.

The local election is held during the spring Presidential primary. I live in Wisconsin. My area is completely red. The election I could best model from was the 2012 and Rich Santoruim won my district. I had access to the VAN as well and could see that Republicans dominated my district in this election. (It voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012) I planned my campaign based completely on meeting the voter at the door and listening. Turnout is usually pretty low, 30%. I figured 50 hrs at the doors would do it. Interestingly, almost every person I talked with didn't even know who represented them on the county board. It was surprisingly easy, the only stress was the heat of the Presidential primary and how that would bring unpredictability to my race.

Happy news, I won. More Happy news, I got involved with recruiting and helping people run for local office. We're at it right now. School board, city council. This is where it begins and this is where the ball has been dropped in Wisconsin. The Republican party has used the local offices very effectively to build their bench. What the Dems didn't do was build the bench.

In Wisconsin, this is so easy because the vast majority of the local offices are non-partisan. When someone asked me what party I was with, I would just say, "this is a non-partisan race." That was the end of that part of the conversation and we were on to something else. The other thing about the local elections is that very few people actually run a campaign, so if you do, you will win. Your name is the only name they will know.

I now have connected with other people in the state who are working on this strategy. It is going to take a while, but we will build the bench and take back the state. It isn't going to happen overnight.

I went to the first local Our Revolution meeting today. I was impressed. The organizer had exactly the same thought – we are going to fill the county board with progressives. Stuff is going to happen. We've got the people, that is what we need locally, not $$.

If only the Democratic party could see, they need to train up and use their people. Forget the big $$$.

Jean , February 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm

This is an inspiring story. The "silver lining" in these times is that people are taking their anger and disappointment and doing something about it at an actionable, local level. I went to a local assemblyman's town hall meeting yestesrday that had hundreds more attendees than were planned. The natives are restless.

hreik , February 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Great read and story. ty so much

David , February 25, 2017 at 9:28 pm

I, too, am in WI and running for city council. The only reason I'm willing to do so is *because* the local offices are nonpartisan – I am quite disillusioned with national politics and both parties. At least locally some good can be done. DC is irredeemable.

I will likely be using the WI open primary to vote for whichever candidate the DNC opposes, not that it will matter. If nothing else, I will feel better.

Stillfeelintheberninwi , February 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm

Thanks for running David. Let us know how it turns out.

neo-realist , February 25, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Congratulations, Bravo. You should touch base w/ the DNC. Advise them of your formula for winning, specifically the sorely needed bench building.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:55 am

as though they'd be interested!! lol.

he should go on doing exactly what he is doing and hurray for him!

John k , February 25, 2017 at 10:25 pm

Taking over the dem party, starting with local races, will be a very long struggle. Generations. Particularly considering candidates trying for dem nom will be attacked by corp dems tooth and nail.
The greens are very disorganized. So What? Take them over and organize them. This is doable, and with somebody like Bernie leading the charge you could pull in half the dem party plus indies and win elections in 2018 doesn't take that much support to win elections in three way races, look at GB.
and then be viable for pres in 2018.

Bernie has to give up on dems if he wants to move the needle. Perez win might just be that extra middle finger that gets him off the dime.

And trump tweet painfully on target

vidimi , February 26, 2017 at 12:23 am

they want party unity, but only on their terms

kimsarah , February 26, 2017 at 12:29 am

To heck with the local races, she's baaaaaaaaaaaack!

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-25/hillary-clinton-calls-resistance-we-need-stay-engaged-ill-be-you-every-step-way

landline , February 26, 2017 at 2:08 am

The forces of capital own both parties in a two party system. They will never give up either of them. Socialists, Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists, even progressive liberals and .must look elsewhere. Anything else is fruitless.

St. Bernard had his chance. He blew it. Time to move on from him and MoveOn and the like.

voteforno6 , February 26, 2017 at 4:35 am

Apparently, Valerie Jarrett was whipping votes on behalf of Barack Obama. That man really does have quite an oversized ego, even for a politician.

Otis B Driftwood , February 26, 2017 at 7:15 am

And so the DNC has learned nothing from the past election cycle and the repudiation of neoliberalism here and abroad. Confirms my decision to leave the party.

They're pathetic and hopeless.

Jen , February 26, 2017 at 8:40 am

Observations from the western border of the Granite State:

I decided to attend a local democrat meeting because the candidate I supported in the D primary for governor (Steve Marchand – he lost) was the keynote speaker. When I received my copy of Indivisible, and saw that one of the working groups for the night was focusing on "Fake News," I almost decided to stay home.

But I didn't. Steve was great. He, counter to the message of "we must play defense; we cannot offer positive alternatives," in Indivisible, repeatedly told us that "we cannot beat something with nothing." He spoke extensively about local organizing, and about appealing to all voters on the issues. He got a very enthusiastic response from the 100 or so people who turned out for the meeting. Our governor has a two year term, and while Steve said that he was not running for anything at the moment, he's clearly laying the ground for a 2018 run. He's getting out in front of every local Dem group, and doing meet and greets all over the state. Good for him.

We have a Berniecrat, Josh Adjutant, running for state party chair. He may not win, but he too, is out meeting with groups all over the state and getting his name out there. He narrowly lost a bid for state rep in a deeply republican district to a Free Stater, who hasn't shown up for a single vote since being elected. Last week the Free Stater resigned, and now there will be a special election. Josh is running again. He's likely to win this time.

After hearing that Perez won the DNC chair, my knee jerk reaction was to say the hell with it. However there are no viable third party options here, and the people who voted for Perez all come from the state party.

What I noticed among our Dem group, was a real desire to work on issues and develop a positive counter message.

So I'm going to get more involved and fight from within. I joined the "fake news" group, pushed to focus on policy, and volunteered to chair the group going forward.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 9:57 am

Great report, Jen. That's encouraging. Thanks for what you are doing.

We can support good individual Democrats and office holders and good primary candidates, but with absolutely illusions about sorry sorry party and its resolute determination to continue hippie punching.

Makes me sick when they go on about Russians and conflict of interest and ignore things that affect everyone's lives, and that's what they plan to do.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 12:19 pm

As I have been saying for years now, the ONLY purpose of the Democratic Party today is to crush its own left wing. Denying this at this point is a fool's errand.

Given this, how can any member of this same left ever justify another vote for any candidate this Democratic Party sponsors? You do not overcome such hostility by electing its representatives.

Does that mean you has to vote for people like Donald Trump? Unfortunately, it does. If you don't, you are not playing at the same level they are, and they will beat you until the cows come home. These are the people who do not cede power. These are the people it must be taken from.

Foppe , February 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Guess I should've posted this here instead:

"What all people have to realize," said Stuart Appelbaum, a labor leader from New York and Perez supporter who brought the chair process to its end Saturday afternoon by calling for the results to be accepted by acclamation, "is the real form of resistance is voting."

Glen , February 26, 2017 at 3:18 pm

The DNC is nothing but a political hedge fund for the .01%.

[Feb 27, 2017] Do we need any further proof that the Democratic Party is more interested in reconciling with the corporate elite than with its populist base?

Notable quotes:
"... In much the same way Blair's catastrophic prime ministerial terms as leader of the UK's mainstream 'Left' will be justifiably viewed unkindly through the lens of history, so too will corporate place man Obama's two abject 'Democratic' presidencies (although to be fair it was Billy boy who saw $ signs in his eyes and who really first started the rot proper for the Democrats.) ..."
"... Listen, Liberals ..."
"... Strangers in Their Own Land ..."
"... I live in a district shaped like a banana ..."
"... "If half of the Super Delegates had voted for the Sanders wing at the convention, wouldn't Sanders have been the Dem candidate?" ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DakotabornKansan , February 26, 2017 at 3:52 am

Do we need any further proof that the Democratic Party is more interested in reconciling with the corporate elite than with its populist base? Its core party leadership is against populist ideas. Liberalism of the rich having failed the middle and working classes, fails on its own terms of electability. It helped create today's shockingly disillusioned and sullen public.

Did the Charlie Brown left really believe that this time that Lucy wouldn't pull the football away and they wouldn't land on their kiesters? But the Democratic Party always pulls the ball away. It's their nature.

"The crucial tasks for a committed left in the United States now are to admit that no politically effective force exists and to begin trying to create one. This is a long-term effort, and one that requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement. Labor may be weak or in decline, but that means aiding in its rebuilding is the most serious task for the American left. Pretending some other option exists is worse than useless. There are no magical interventions, shortcuts, or technical fixes. We need to reject the fantasy that some spark will ignite the People to move as a mass. We must create a constituency for a left program - and that cannot occur via MSNBC or blog posts or the New York Times. It requires painstaking organization and building relationships with people outside the Beltway and comfortable leftist groves. Finally, admitting our absolute impotence can be politically liberating; acknowledging that as a left we have no influence on who gets nominated or elected, or what they do in office, should reduce the frenzied self-delusion that rivets attention to the quadrennial, biennial, and now seemingly permanent horse races. It is long past time for us to begin again to approach leftist critique and strategy by determining what our social and governmental priorities should be and focusing our attention on building the kind of popular movement capable of realizing that vision." – Adolph Reed Jr., "Nothing Left, The long, slow surrender of American liberals," Harper's Magazine, March 2014 issue

Don't waste any time pissing and moaning - organize!

It is time to revisit "Fighting Bob" LaFollette's Wisconsin tactics of the early 1900s.

If the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that we must become its soul.

"There never was a higher call to greater service than in this protracted fight for social justice." – Robert M. La Follette Sr.

Ernesto Lyon , February 26, 2017 at 4:15 am

There is a liberal propaganda state of the 10%. It is dogmatic and thus unfalsifiable.

Arguing with them is like arguing atheism to a fundamentalist. They cannot hear arguments that violate the structure of their religion. They simply do not parse.

Gman , February 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

I must say I really appreciated your analogy of neoliberalism and religion.

To extend it, if I may, religions cannot exist and persist without faith ie a conviction without the need for proof, or worse sometimes despite overwhelming personal or widespread evidence to the contrary.

Most established religions, unsurprisingly are rigidly hierarchical, controlling and equally require a self-serving, venal priesthood to act as conduits to interpret and explain (away?) the finer points, gross injustices and glaring contradictions thrown up by the current 'natural order' and structures it demands and imposes on its potentially questioning or waivering followers.

The 'religion's' arcane nature is maintained at all costs, and this is facilitated by a deliberately impenetrable jargon (to a credulous, often fearful laity whom mostly endure its harshest edicts), and all tied together by an over arching fallacious narrative predicated on fear that demands unconditional obedience and compliance or facing severe, lasting consequences for apostacy.

Keep losing the faith, people.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Maybe to some degree, but that is more in the general public. Not in the blue dog hierarchy.

Most of them are not that smart. Not intellectual. And certainly not devout.

They are clinging to their place in the world, and the chit-chat verities of the clique.

They are smug. And they think they know best how to win.

Gman , February 26, 2017 at 6:00 am

In much the same way Blair's catastrophic prime ministerial terms as leader of the UK's mainstream 'Left' will be justifiably viewed unkindly through the lens of history, so too will corporate place man Obama's two abject 'Democratic' presidencies (although to be fair it was Billy boy who saw $ signs in his eyes and who really first started the rot proper for the Democrats.)

Let's be realistic, really successful politicians are rarely shrinking violets, and are mostly to a man or woman sociopathic narcissists, but it is only in the modern age that these apparently credible, flag of convenience, self-serving, ideologically bereft personalities not only have the power to lead and dominate these long-established political parties during their relatively brief tenure, it appears they now also have the power to profoundly undermine or even possibly destroy them in the longer term.

Is it just a shame or coincidence that these once proud and powerful parties of waning influence happen to traditionally represent the interests of working people I wonder?

Andrew , February 26, 2017 at 6:51 am

What a frustrating situation. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the corporate Democrats really do have a death wish. I agree with many comments that it is incredibly destructive and stupid to double down on their losing strategies instead of embracing the Sanders wing of the party. I partly agree w/ Glenn Greenwald that electing Ellison would have been an easy way to welcome in the Sanders wing, but unlike him, I'm not sure the Dem chair really is just a symbolic position. It certainly is symbolic–and the corporate Dems have chosen potent (and loathesome) symbols in Debbie W-S and Donna B. But I disagree w/ Greenwald that it is only symbolic. I think the position does matter in many ways. In any case, in this election which came to be seen by Dems as a battle for control over the direction of the party, it is clear now who runs the show and is determined to continue running the show: the corporate shills of the Clinton/Obama Dems.

But I also see this as a failure of Ellison and the progressives. We have to play hardball if we're going to win. Ellison had the endorsement of many Dem stalwarts; he has a relatively strong record for a Democrat; emboldened with party authority, I believe he could have done a lot; and yes, he would have had great symbolic value. But he did not make a strong case for his leadership, as far as I can tell. He didn't declare loudly and clearly why the Dems have been losing and make a powerful case for why, now, the Dems need desperately to change. Instead he was having dinner with Perez, cutting side deals, and making a great effort to smile and please everyone. Haim Saban and the corporate Dems came after him with hateful islamophobic slanders; Ellison stepped back, spoke softly, praised Israel, and vowed to work closely with corporate Dems. And he still lost. These conciliatory positions will not cut it. Unless and until there's a vigorous position articulated within the party on the desperate need for drastic changes, we'll lose.

One reason why this is so frustrating is that across the country, I believe the landscape looks very promising for a progressive agenda–at least as progressive, or more so, than what Sanders articulated. The energy is there, and growing. But we still lack the organization. Where will it come from? Not from the Greens, I'm afraid. As much as I agree with Stein and the Greens positions on many issues, the Greens have over the decades proven that this is not a party interested in building grassroots power. For that you need broad and sustained efforts over time at the level of school boards and city councils, building toward winning candidates to positions at the county level, and mayors, and state representatives, and so on. You have to build a name for yourself and prove through smaller campaigns what you stand for and that you can win victories for your voters. And voters need to feel that it is their party, our party. The Greens have not done any of this. It's not enough to just have good ideas or be able to win a policy debate.

There's the Working Families Party, which has done some of this organizing and has some victories. But it's still woefully short of what is necessary. But I believe there's a lot of talent and potential on the left–and a growing and restless energy now under Trump. We have to be strong and clear that this corporate Dem program is unacceptable. We need to field local candidates on issues people care about, from city banking and municipally owned power and IT, to police violence, more community control in schools, and so on. Whether the people carrying out these potentially popular programs are Dems, Greens, Working FP or Socialists, matters less, it seems to me. But if people are convinced that only a reinvigorated Dem Party will be able to do it, then there needs to be a hostile takeover. The Clintonites & the Obama people, Haim Saban and their ilk: they're not our friends and must be denounced and opposed. These people are at best wishy-washy and mealy-mouthed when it comes to advocating for us; they continue to compromise rightward and adopt unpopular conservative agendas and to kick us in the teeth. Fuck them. We must articulate a positive, winnable agenda around issues we care about.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

See the comment above about local clubs. A good place to start.

Change is not going to come top down, even if that sounds like the easiest way. Too much ego and money invested in the old ways.

Blue Dogs are confident Progressives cannot win in rural states. We must prove them wrong.

Blue Dogs do not believe we can find credible primary challengers. They think we are just a bunch of whining idealists. We must prove them wrong - not on blogs - at the polls.

WhiteyLockmandoubled , February 26, 2017 at 1:25 pm

It is not only clubs. It's the party structure itself at the municipal and county level, which is generally occupied by a combination of well-meaning 10% liberals, eager corporate acolytes who see politics as a path of personal advancement but find the Republican social positions icky and whoever just shows up.

In many places it's mostly the latter. So, form your own club, yes, and go to local party meetings, yes, but more than anything else, work. Organize. Knock on your neighbor's door, listen to them and talk with them. Then do that again, and again, and again. Recruit your friends and colleagues to do the same. When the moment is right, get someone whose values you really trust to run for office, and if there's resistance from the existing party apparatus, well, run a contested primary. The people who do that work - registering, persuading and turning out voters, can take over the local structure of a party and win from the left.

And btw, if you're struggling to persuade others, don't give up. Get your egalitarian club together, and instead of complaining about how others don't get it, role play conversations with different types of voters, put your beer down, and go back out on the doors.

It's not actually complicated. Just hard work.

patrick , February 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Well put PH.

marku52 , February 26, 2017 at 2:54 pm

"Blue Dogs are confident Progressives cannot win in rural states. We must prove them wrong."

That's just been done, in Texas, of all places. Local organizing, person to person contact, and no TV money led to success. The exact opposite of HRC's campaign, of course.

It's a hopeful story, go read it.

http://harpers.org/archive/2017/03/texas-is-the-future/

Anti-Schmoo , February 26, 2017 at 7:31 am

American citizens are at the bottom of the bucket; shut up, stay poor, and forget the "myth" of a middle class.
These are some very simple truths, which Usian's seem loathe to accept or understand.
The evidence is clear with almost every comment offering nonsense solutions; year after precious year; ad infinitum
If there is a solution; I have no idea what that would be. But knowing and understanding the reality on the ground, gives a firm place to stand.
It's a place to start

allan , February 26, 2017 at 7:37 am

There is no better sign of the contempt that the Democratic leadership has for its constituents t
han the way Donna Edwards was treated in the primary for the open Senate seat from Maryland.
Maryland being Maryland, whoever won the Democrat primary was going to win the general.
The two leading candidates were Chris van Hollen, a slick fundraiser
high in Pelosi's train wreck House leadership,
and Donna Edwards, an African-American who was one of the most progressive House members.

Almost the entire Dem power structure (and, of course, the WaPo) went after Edwards guns blazing.
Oddly, Edwards critics were never accused of sexism or racism by Clinton supporters. Weird.

The DNC is important, but only part of the story. The DSCC and DCCC have been horror shows for years,
led by incompetent clowns, corporate fronts, or (in the case of Jon Tester, who ran the DSCC this past cycle),
sock puppets for people like Schumer.

And yet it seems to be impossible to discuss this stuff rationally with many Democrats.
Far easier for them to blame the party's woes on BernieBros.

human , February 26, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Or their support for Zephyr Teachout over Cuomo /s

There's a special place in Hell (and all that)

BeliTsari , February 26, 2017 at 8:03 am

Jeepers, you don't think some YOOJ, classy K Street "social networking advocacy solutions" firm will now be tasked to slap together a grassroots, Cumbaya warbling Democratic Socialist lemming forking oh, that's right been there, dun did that? We can't mock Trump's craven churls, spoon-fed C & K Street's große Lüge without turning the selfie-cam around on our geriatric children's crusade, awaiting some canny carny barker messiah?

RickM , February 26, 2017 at 8:21 am

Ha! I lost a good friend because I told him in November 2015 that if it comes down to Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump, she will lose the state-by-state contest while winning the popular vote, notwithstanding polls to the contrary. I didn't let up on that obviously correct assessment through all of 2016, and he finally told me my intellectual arguments rank down there with some of his fundamentalist relatives. Another was still predicting a Hillary landslide until 10:00 pm EST on Election Night. She is big on the "Stupid Trump Voters" meme, while blaming "me" for the outcome. Everyone needs to face the truth. The national Democrats only care about their membership in the Establishment, even if they are relegated to "inconsequential" as they are overtaken by events due to their abject fecklessness.

So be it. From 1974-2008 I voted for the Democrat as the "Left Wing of the Possible," in Michael Harrington's phrase, and for at least 20 years too long. Never again. As my brief colloquy here with a reader last night concluded, it's time to rejoin DSA as an elder and raise even more hell with the "kids"!

Katharine , February 26, 2017 at 9:14 am

I will continue to evaluate candidates on their merits, not their party affiliation. I can't stop donating to the party organization, since I did that years ago, but I can certainly tell it where to get off, whether in phone calls or using its reply-paid envelopes. I realize what travels in those may never be read by anyone but a data-entry clerk, if indeed they bother to enter the data, which I've always doubted.

Kokuanani , February 26, 2017 at 9:42 am

Well, I have to say that the volume of DNC et al. mail I receive has fallen to a trickle since I spent the past year returning their pre-paid donation envelopes with nasty comments. The pleading e-mails are gone as well. So someone is entering data.

SpringTexan , February 26, 2017 at 10:11 am

Yeah I always send those back with a note and usually a column explaining exactly how bad they are, whatever recent I've read that's good.

Vatch , February 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm

RickM, I'm curious. Do you know whether your former friend has seen either of these two recent articles?

Thomas Frank: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/09/donald-trump-white-house-hillary-clinton-liberals

Matt Stoller: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/12/democrats-cant-win-until-they-recognize-how-bad-obamas-financial-policies-were/

If a Hillary or Obama supporter has an open mind (yes, a few of them do have open minds - a Hillary supporter in my family admitted to me that Bernie would have been a better choice), these two articles can help them to understand what's been happening.

nycTerrierist , February 26, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Thanks for the great recap by Stoller.

RickM , February 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

Vatch: Let me try this again; first reply disappeared Beginning in early 2016 I tried to convince my liberal friends with facts such as those in your links, with no success whatsoever. Most of them stick to the "Stupid Trump Voter" meme, even when confronted with the work of Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberals and Ellie Russell Hochschild in Strangers in Their Own Land , which perfectly describes my many cousins in Louisiana, not one of whom is stupid to my knowledge. Different, yes, and for damn good reasons. Stupid, no. You can't be stupid and survive on an offshore oil rig. My particular liberals go no deeper than Rachel Maddow, whose Stanford-Oxford/Rhodes Scholar pedigree is all the authority they need. It goes without saying that Wellesley-Yale was/is just as authoritative, now and forevermore. Their epistemic closure/confirmation bias is simply the opposite side of the same coin the Tea Party or Alt-Right uses to explain markets or climate change or liberal fascism. As the president would say, "Sad!"

Vatch , February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Well, you tried. As Yves pointed out in her introduction, there are aspects of cultish thought processes here.

Of course the Obots and Hillaristas aren't the only cult members. Limbaugh's ditto-heads. some of the tea-partiers, and some of Trump's more enthusiastic supporters also fit that mold. I don't like to say this, but some of Bernie's supporters probably also qualify. Open mindedness can require a lot of effort.

David , February 26, 2017 at 8:59 am

I became a more active commenter on PoliticalWire during the primary season and was subject to considerable vitriol due to my lack of enthusiasm for HRC, which only increased in amount after the election when I refused to vote for her (going 3rd party instead). I hung on for a little while, trying to make my points re where I thought the country needed to go, but have simply stopped participating in the discussions as I realized that the system has to run its course and I am not going to be able to change that. And slamming one's head against a brick wall repeatedly does begin to hurt after a while. I think I'll just use my vote to support those I policies I think are good, or at the very least to block any candidates supported by the establishment. It isn't much, but it is something.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 1:30 pm

+1

Indeed, slamming one's head against a brick wall repeatedly does begin to hurt after a while.

marku52 , February 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm

I used was a regular reader of Kevin Drum for probably 10 years or so, back to the CalPundit days. The commentariat there became really hostile to any outside ideas as the primary wore on. The Closure is now complete, although some of the the really hostile commenters have disappeared (their David Brock paychecks stopped, I suppose) but still reality can't come into play. Even Drum himself was changing weekly about the loss (It's BernieBros! It's Comey! NO, it's the Russians! NO Wait, it's Comey)

Sad, he's done great work on lead and violent crime. I check in there once in a while just to take the temperature of the Delusion of the TenPercenters.

Self reflection still hasn't penetrated for any of the real reasons for Trump

Gman , February 26, 2017 at 9:00 am

A Paul Street quote from his excellent piece in CounterPunch entitled, 'Liberal Hypocrisy, "Late-Shaming," and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump,' should serve as an adequate riposte to the introspection and self-criticism averse Mr Doe,

'Arrogant liberals' partisan hypocrisy, overlaid with heavy doses of bourgeois identity politics and professional-class contempt for working class whites, is no tiny part of how and why the Democrats have handed all three branches of the federal government along with most state governments and the white working class vote to the ever more radically reactionary, white-nationalist Republican Party. Ordinary people can smell the rank two-facedness of it all, believe it or not. They want nothing to do with snotty know-it-all liberals who give dismal dollar Dems a pass on policies liberals only seem capable of denouncing when they are enacted by nasty Republicans.

Contrary to my online rant, much of the liberal Democratic campus-town crowd seems to feel if anything validated – yes, validated. of all things – by the awfulness of Herr Trump. It exhibits no capacity for shame or self-criticism, even in the wake of their politics having collapsed at the presidential, Congressional, and state levels.'

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/liberal-hypocrisy-late-shaming-and-russia-blaming-in-the-age-of-trump/

'

flora , February 26, 2017 at 12:12 pm

"much of the liberal Democratic campus-town crowd seems to feel if anything validated – yes, validated. of all things – by the awfulness of Herr Trump."

I've noticed the same. My guess is that, imo, the Dem estab has spent years teaching it's more left-ish base to accept losing – veal pen, 'f*cking hippies', Dem estab suggest marching for a cause then fail to support cause, march to show numbers and get nothing, elect Dem full control in 2008 and lose single-payer, end of Iraq war, roll back Bush tax cuts, renegotiate Nafta, etc. Lucy and the football. The left-ish part of the party has been groomed over 30 years to accept losing its fights. When Trump wins it just confirms "the way things are." No introspection required since it confirms the trained outlook. imo.

Katharine , February 26, 2017 at 9:06 am

This opinion masquerading as news appeared in The Sun:

Both Perez and his leading opponent, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, had rejected the left-versus-centrist narrative that developed around the race, and close observers agreed it was overblown.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-perez-dnc-20170225-story.html#nt=oft12aH-1li3

Close observers? Try hookah-smoking caterpillars.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 9:10 am

People often have an emotional commitment to their candidate. Upon losing, all Hillary supporters will not go "oh well." Many will be upset.

Better to focus on issues going forward.

Also, if you want to build a majority party, probably best not to devote ALL your energy to screaming what clueless assholes most ordinary Americans are. Most ordinary Americans do not agree with commenters here. One reason Blue Dogs are so willing to ignore you.

You can come up with lots of reasons. There are lots of reasons. But bottom line is that you not only have to be right; you have to convince.

And no, collapse of the world will not convince. It may make you feel like there is proof you were right, but that is a hollow victory.

We have to win elections. To do that, we need a generous and positive message. And we need the votes of many Democrats that will not agree with you on some things - perhaps many things.

It can be done. It will be difficult. But it can be done.

Most people with ridiculous political ideas are nice people. There are positive appeals that will work over time.

Angry and haughty is not the formula.

funemployed , February 26, 2017 at 2:12 pm

+1000

Tony , February 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

It is amazing how many people are still incapable of acknowledging how bad a candidate HRC was and how far they reach to come up with other reasons for her loss. I grew up in Midwest and have many friends and family who voted for Trump not because they liked him but because they found Clinton even more unappealing and even less trustworthy.

They looked at how the Clintons made tens of millions of dollars, Bill Clinton's decades of predatory behavior towards women, the hubris, lack of responsibility and poor decision making related to the Email issues and HRC's unwillingness to even minimally tend to her health and physically prepare for the months of campaigning. Her candidacy was based on years of amassing money and power and entitlement. Other than the potential to elect the first female president, there was absolutely nothing about HRC that was inherently appealing.

It was an extraordinary challenge to field a candidate even more unappealing than Trump to millions of swing voters, but the Democrats managed to do it. The Clintons are finished, over and have tarnished themselves for history. Anyone who could even imagine a 2020 HRC candidacy is delusional.

Benedict@Large , February 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Other than the potential to elect the first female president, there was absolutely nothing about HRC that was inherently appealing.

Indeed.

Anyone who could even imagine a 2020 HRC candidacy is delusional.

They will do it simply to mash her in our faces.

Remember, their goal is not to win. It is to keep us out. Running Hillary again serves that end just fine.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Remember, their goal is not to win. It is to keep us out. Running Hillary again serves that end just fine.

Wow. That's it. They'd rather drown true progressives than win.

jsn , February 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

So true.

But most progressives can't bring themselves to believe it until they find themselves being held with their own heads underwater.

Needless to say, the survivors tend to be somewhat radicalized!

JL , February 26, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Pretty much everything you claim drives people away from Clinton applies just as well to Trump. Look at how Trump made millions of dollars: sticking investors with losses, tax law arbitrage, and above all inheriting then failing to keep up with major equity indexes. Look at his hubris, and decades of predatory behavior towards women, e.g. behaviors related to the pageant he finances. Look at his history of poor decision making in business resulting in numerous bankruptcies. One thing is true, he did make deals that were good for himself: even as business ventures collapsed and other investors lost money, Trump personally usually had very limited losses. To my mind that's exactly the wrong kind of behavior we want for a president though.

I readily agree that HRC ran a flawed campaign with little to draw undecided voters, but even so there's a deep Clinton hatred in this country I've never understood. A large fraction of the population appears to view both Bill and Hillary as the coming of the anti-christ, for no good reason. That is, the Clintons seem to be pretty much garden-variety politicians with all the usual skeletons in the closet, but nothing that seems to stand out from the rest of the Washington ilk. If the hatred came from leftists betrayal could explain it, but most Clinton-haters seem to be deeply conservative. Maybe I was too young during the WJC years to understand the source.

oho , February 26, 2017 at 10:21 am

Gonna beat a belabored dead horse: "Superpredators" + "bring them to heel" + a campaign devoted to the identity politics of undocumented migration and not the plight of lower-class whites and African-Americans.

African-Americans have Facebook accounts and access to Youtube.

The 30,000-feet pundits glossed it and declared everything A-OK over but that 1996 archive footage left a viscerally bitter taste at street level.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 2:33 pm

African-Americans have Facebook accounts and access to Youtube.

At least for now they do. The internet as we know it is slowly going away.

flora , February 26, 2017 at 10:46 am

"it's remarkable to see how childish and self-destructive the posture of the orthodox Dem backers is. It isn't just the vitriol, self-righteousness, and authoritarianism, as if they have the authority to dictate rules and those who fail to comply can and must be beaten into line.

Sounds kinda like a cult.

I've run into this. My response is a blank stare followed by a vocally flat "oh" to whatever nonsense I'm hearing. I have the same response to very young children who are trying to tell me something. Although, with little children I try to smile and stay engaged.

flora , February 26, 2017 at 10:57 am

adding:
per Jeff – "It seems that my friends, my friends' friends, and I are exclusively to blame for the Trump Presidency and the Republican takeover of government."

Hillary was wooing the suburban GOP voters, not the working class industrial belt voters. Really, it's the suburban GOP voters' fault Trump won. /s

dbk , February 26, 2017 at 10:53 am

I appreciate two posts on this subject, which given the presumed insignificance and technocratic nature of the position (!), aroused a lot of ire on both sides of the Demo divide. (Anyone interested in real ire can just head over to LGM, where iirc four threads and about 2,000 comments have now been devoted to this topic of "nothing to see here, let's move on").

What is left to say, I wonder? What's the way forward for progressives who are genuinely interested in supporting possibly-radical new approaches to addressing economic inequality?

It occurred to me while reading the comments on this and the previous post that perhaps after all, it's not that ways forward are unknown to the legacy party members, but that they're unacceptable, because they would genuinely lessen the gap between rich-poor.

If so (and I'm starting to feel that this is the case), then working within the party could be quite difficult, although the arguments against 3rd party start-ups are compelling. There was a great quote from Bill Domhoff on this subject upthread with a powerful argument for continuing to work within the existing structures.

Apropos of Domhoff, I was thinking that one way might be to continue to work within the party, but to distinguish the progressive wing clearly, perhaps with a new name – I like Domhoff's Egalitarian Democratic Party, it sort of reminded me of Minnesota's DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) party. As others have noted on both threads, this would need to be purely grass-roots, local-to-state level work, and as Domhoff wisely notes, candidates need to be identified and encouraged to run for, well, everything. They would need to caucus with the Dems at the state level, but eventually could force Dems, if they gain sufficient numbers, to shift their positions on economic issues, thereby creating momentum.

These past few days, I've most enjoyed reading comments from people who are getting involved at the local level – that's so heartening. And also, I've watched a good number of Town Hall meetings – the crowds are also heartening, even if I wouldn't always have chosen the issues individual constituents addressed. This massive awakening and interest in political life across the country – I want to believe something positive will come of it.

Joel Caris , February 26, 2017 at 12:18 pm

I kind of wonder if a "Working Democrats" title would have a shot at catching on, coupled with a heavy focus on strong, universal economic policies: Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, some kind of student loan debt forgiveness, Glass-Steagall reinstatement, a constitutional amendment removing corporate personhood.

Hell, couldn't that seriously catch on in today's environment?

NotTimothyGeithner , February 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

Not to be that guy, but the problem is the perception the Democratic Party cares about those things and nostalgia.

The black guy with the Muslim sounding name became President while promising higher taxes, fair trade, and universal healthcare (perception matters) while running against a war crazy veteran and a war crazy lunatic who claim so to have dodged bullets.

Joel Caris , February 26, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I'm not sure I follow. Are you saying that the problem with such a move is it would be too easily co-opted due in part to too many people thinking the Democrats actually stand for these policies, despite the fact that the majority of them and the party apparatus actively works to undermine any movement in these directions?

Fair point if so. I think any such work via a faction within the party, so to speak, would have to make itself clear to those who have lost faith in the Democratic Party by taking active stances against the establishment and exhibiting some level of hostility toward a good faction of Democrats.

I would be all for a third party coalescence, but I'm sympathetic toward the idea that third parties simply don't get traction in our political system. So I lean a bit more toward an attempted hostile takeover of the Democratic Party. On the other hand, party's die; it may be that a third party route could work as a replacement for the Democrats once they die from actively abusing and thus hemorrhaging their base.

Alternatively, both approaches could work. A wing of the party actively hostile toward the establishment could jump ship to a third party if the Democrats were dying, joining forces to establish the replacement party. Or the vice versa could happen; if a progressive wing appeared to truly be winning and taking control of the Democrats, a sympathetic third party movement could jump in for the final push to clean house and reinvent the party from scratch.

I think it still comes back to the need for active movements and organizing around clear policies and principles, then taking the opportunity to gain nationwide traction whenever and however it presents itself. Personally, I just wish I had a clearer idea of where such efforts on my part would be best focused. (It's somewhat complicated by being in Portland, Oregon and having some decent Dems here, though there's still a lot of terrible ones and even the good ones I'm still wary of.)

drb48 , February 26, 2017 at 11:09 am

The Wall Street/establishment wing of the party has clearly learned nothing from the debacle of the last election and is clearly unwilling to learn. Sadly the same seems to be true for the "progressive" wing of the party – i.e. WheresOurTeddy has it exactly right IMHO but the "left" still won't abandon the dead hulk of FDR's party – which has rejected everything it formerly stood for – if the calls for "unity" from Ellison and others are any indication.

simham , February 26, 2017 at 11:13 am

CHANGE will happen until the stock market crashes or a MAJOR war occurs.

funemployed , February 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm

major wars don't happen anymore cause MAD. If one does, well, MAD.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I honestly don't see how things will truly get better, except with a lot of people suffering or dying. It seems that we're in this desperate last-gasp phase of trying to work a system that's supposed to be just, but hasn't been for decades. My entire life.

On Friday I witnessed the NJ Pinelands Commission vote for a 15 mile pipeline that should never have been approved. It's substantilaly for profit and export. They voted while 800 people were screaming their opposition, after five years of fierce opposition. Literally tallied the votes during the screaming. This is the commission whose mission is to "preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve." It was approved by a 9-5 vote. That's how far Governor Christie and big money has gamed the system.

Billionaires get to throw hired hands in between us and them (like politicians and police and receptionists and PR staff everyone's just "doing their job!" we are "rude" if we fight them because they have nothing to do with it!), we have to risk our bodies and time directly. We have to organize masses of people with hardly any resources and a diminishing internet, they write a check and get hired professionals with access to do their bidding as they sit in their comfy third homes. They write the procedures and laws, we get to yell and scream for ten minutes, then our voices tire and their decisions get rammed through anyway.

Oh, and they had a public comment AFTER the vote, which was in the agenda not as "vote" but "approve with conditions."

Something's gotta give.

Ep3 , February 26, 2017 at 11:36 am

What about us in Michigan? We have been manipulated and mentally changed from a strong union democratic state to a redneck, "wannabe backwards early 1900s southern state" that maintains a governor who knowingly fed thousands of people lead tainted water. And he continues to do nothing about it. If we do anything about it, the republican legislature will just gerrymander our districts again to maintain their power. I live in a district shaped like a banana, running east to west in the middle of the lower peninsula. 80% of the district (US house seat) has always been strong democratic. But the district was re shaped in the early nineties so that it was extended forty miles east to encompass a county that was once known as the capital of the KKK in Michigan. This swung the majority to republican. They are a minority, but with all the money.
As I was saying to someone yesterday, when I say something like "I don't like obamacare either", it is automatically assumed that I want trump & Paul Ryan to hand out vouchers. Yet when I follow up by stating I want Medicare for all, I am called a crazy Hillary loving liberal.

Katharine , February 26, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Well, you can always say scornfully that she never wanted anything as good for people as Medicare for all. But it's tough being in a spot like that. There is a relative of an inlaw whom I admire enormously because, living in a conservative rural area she nevertheless firmly states her progressive opinions, if necessary finishing up, "Anyway, that's what I think," in a way that let's people know she has formed her opinion and will not be changing it merely for fact-free hostile criticism. It takes amazing steadfastness to go on doing that.

EyeRound , February 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm

I live in a district shaped like a banana

Here in upstate NY my (state assembly) district's shape was once described as "Abe Lincoln riding on a vacuum cleaner." Like the one you describe, it was carefully constructed to include a wealthy minority so as to ensure that the "right" candidate always wins.

EyeRound , February 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm

"Do what I want. That's unity." Wasn't that one of W's wise injunctions? Now we hear it in motherly tones in HRC's video released on Friday. Is this anything like her debate response to Bernie, "I get things done. That's progress. (Therefore) I'm a progressive!"? Always need to look for what this kind of word-salad leaves out.

A note as to the Establishment Dems: In the Dem primary race there were 800 or so "Super Delegates" and almost all of them were locked into HRC before the primary race began. At the convention all but about 25 of them cast their votes for HRC. (Sorry, I don't have exact numbers.)

Now, who are these 435 Dem Party luminaries who are tasked with electing the DNC Chair? Am I right to assume that they are a carved-out chunk of the Super Delegates of yore? If I am, then the Establishment Dems are in big trouble, and they know it just from the numbers.

In other words, 200 of the 435 just voted for Sanders by proxy of Ellison. That's half. If half of the Super Delegates had voted for the Sanders wing at the convention, wouldn't Sanders have been the Dem candidate?

What we are seeing in the dulcet tones of HRC's "unity" video, together with the power punch of the monied interests in the DNC, is the public face of a party in panic, digging in with all of its claws. From this it seems that Bernie is a bigger threat than many folks may realize.

I don't mean to be Pollyanna-ish here. It's anybody's guess as to what to do with this state of affairs. But perhaps Bernie is on the right track with his efforts to take over the Dem Party?

With that in mind, the real dividing-line is wealth vs. poverty, income inequality, etc.,

mpr , February 26, 2017 at 1:44 pm

"If half of the Super Delegates had voted for the Sanders wing at the convention, wouldn't Sanders have been the Dem candidate?"

Uh, no because HRC got a clear majority of the elected delegates and 3.5m more votes in the primary. But hey, don't let me disturb your alternate reality, and enjoy the next four years !

tegnost , February 26, 2017 at 1:59 pm

your reality was created from whole cloth
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/new-york-primary-voter-purge

Those mean chair throwing bernie bros!
http://www.politifact.com/nevada/statements/2016/may/18/jeff-weaver/allegations-fraud-and-misconduct-nevada-democratic/
Can you say Debbie Wasserman Schultz?
How about Donna ( http://www.mediaite.com/tv/new-email-shows-donna-brazile-also-gave-clinton-questions-before-cnn-presidential-debate/ ) Brazile?
I'll think I'll stick with my alternate reality, you can keep your fake one.

tegnost , February 26, 2017 at 2:11 pm

and to your vote tally caucus states don't vote, the popular vote total of the primary is a meaningless comp

mpr , February 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm

True, if caucus states did vote (i.e. were democratic) HRC would have won by even more. See e.g http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/wash-primary1/ . I'm sure if the roles were reversed here you'd be screaming that the corrupt DNC was ignoring the democratic vote in favor of an undemocratic caucus.

But, as I said, enjoy the next four year. Maybe you really will – Trump is the alternate reality candidate after all.

aliteralmind , February 26, 2017 at 3:11 pm

I wouldn't exactly call it clear .

Eureka Springs , February 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Some of the things I want from a party.

A democratic process within. Establish polling and voting by all members, not some final 400 or super delegates.
The party writes, debates and endorses legislation, not lobbyists.
A serious cap on contributions. Complete immediate transparency on all money matters.
Issue based platform long before leadership or candidates.
A way which leadership or candidates and office holders must adhere to the party platform. Example if the party platform says expanded Single Payer (HR 676) for all then a vote for ACA would have been grounds for immediate removal from the party for sitting Reps. Note that would have meant basically every sitting prog would have received the boot. We would have all been better served had we primaried all of our so-called own long ago (including Sanders and Kucinich).

At the very least this should be established by a prog like wing within a party. For we have no way in which to hold usurpers to account.. or keep the eye sharply focused on issues. That's the lesson from '06 '08 '10. So many act blue/blue America candidates lied and to this day they continue to be among the least scrutinized.

I didn't see Sanders, Ellison etc. heading this way had they won. I don't see it in any existing third party.

LT , February 26, 2017 at 1:20 pm

There it is in black and white: the "new red scare" about Russia enabling feeble minds to be dismissive of criticisms about the establishment.

Donald , February 26, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Testing. I tried posting a long comment and it didn't make it.

Short version–Sanders did everything people said Nader should have done and Sanders was still treated like a pariah, so the self described pragmatists are really the intolerant fanatics. There was more, but I don't feel like retyping it, especially if I am having technical difficulties posting.

PH , February 26, 2017 at 2:13 pm

I agree that Sanders ran A primary campaign instead of third party, and so answered a big establishment talking point.

Beyond that, I see the campaigns as vastly different. Nader campaigned at the end of a long bubble. Bernie campaigned after the financial collapse and after years of doing nothing to help ordinary people.

I think Bernie's campaign was more powerful, and gives more of a springboard for future campaigns.

mike , February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

The part before the byline is reasonable and interesting. The DNC is acting to preserve their own power, not to win elections. Classic "iron law of oligarchy" stuff.

The part after the byline is less interesting. Why do we care what some anonymous guy on facebook says? Of what interest is there in a facebook argument between an activist and some rando? Is this more notable than a thousand other political arguments on facebook that occur every day?

Dan Brooks has written about the practice of "eggmanning", as a sort of counterpart to strawmanning– you can find people making basically any argument on social media, no matter how specious. http://combatblog.net/tom-hitchner-on-refuting-the-argument-no-one-is-making/ Elevating the voice of such a person just so you can dismantle their poorly chosen words does not make for compelling reading.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 26, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Mapping US / UK politics

Right – Tories / Conservatives / Republicans

Elitist Left – Whigs / Liberals / Neo-liberals / Democrats

Real Left – Labour (the US is not allowed this option)

You need a real left, liberals are not the real left.

Liberals have over-run the Labour party in the UK but progress is under-way to get things back to the way they should be.

Universal suffrage came along and the workers wanted a party of the left that represented them and wasn't full of elitist, left liberals.

The US has never allowed the common man and woman to have a party of their own, they need one, a real left not a liberal, elitist left descended from the Whigs.

Glen , February 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Well, I haven't voted Dem in the last two Presidential elections so no big loss.

It's the other thirty years of voting Dem that I wonder about. Maybe I could have made a difference back then.

TMc , February 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

This all makes me think the Democratic establishment are not honest actors. They would rather meekly accept corporate money and play the part of the always losing Washington Generals rather than come out swinging for progressive values.

habenicht , February 26, 2017 at 3:50 pm

As these events unfold, I think there is an application of Upton's SInclair's famous observation:

"It is difficult to get a man (or in this case party) to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

Gaylord , February 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

"If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it"
- George Carlin

[Feb 27, 2017] Whitney believes that Flynn's defenestration was the end of Trump's vaunted reconciliation with Russia policy.

Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
jo6pac , February 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm

As some one here pointed out. It's Friday time for some Jeffery St Clair.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/roaming-charges-exxons-end-game-theory/

Mike Whitney has a good article there also.

geoff , February 24, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Agreed– Whitney believes that Flynn's defenestration was the end of Trump's vaunted (around here anyway) reconciliation with Russia policy. New National Security Advisor McMaster is a Petraeus follower, and has repeatedly called out Russia as an aggressive power which must be contained and deterred with US and NATO military power.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/24/mcmaster-takes-charge-trump-relinquishes-control-of-foreign-policy/

EndOfTheWorld , February 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm

He's just an advisor. MacMaster will not make policy. But Trump is finding out, as many presidents have before him, that to a large extent the Pentagon runs itself. The military plans things way ahead of time. As president it's difficult to buck heads with the PTB on foreign policy. The best Trump may be able to do for the time being is stay out of war.

I would prefer an outright lovefest with Russia. I like their anti-GMO policy. Maybe in a few years.

[Feb 27, 2017] Even the most zealous Friedmanite or cheerleader for the 'creative class' would have a hard time passing those lies about prosperity for all Workers need to fight for thier rights

Notable quotes:
"... it's not the only one ..."
"... not ..."
"... competition ..."
"... Competitiveness ..."
Feb 27, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
paul Tioxon , February 24, 2017 at 3:03 pm

http://www.andnowuknow.com/bloom/east-coast-workers-call-strike-docks/melissa-de-leon/52651#.WK-hWW_yu70

https://gcaptain.com/spanish-dockworkers-plan-nine-day-strike/

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/port-liverpool-workers-set-ballot-12643143

Paid Outside agitators coordinating NATO seaport strikes. See, men can get together and march in the street around the world at the same time for a cause.

clinical wasteman , February 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm

Many thanks Paul for putting these things together. Encouraging and important for a bunch of reasons at once.

1. Even the most zealous Friedmanite (M. or T., does it matter?) or Richard Florida-type cheerleader for the 'creative class' (deceased) would have a hard time passing global logistics off as a 'dinosaur' industry.

With the disclaimer that most of what I'm about to recommend comes from friends/comrades or publications I'm somehow entangled with, there's serious thinking about the latent global power of logistics workers on the German 'Wildcat' site - [http://wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/100/e_w100_koper.html] for a recent example from a fair-sized English and huge German-language archive - and years' worth of great writing about much the same thing by Brian Ashton, a 1995-97 Liverpool dock strike organizer and one of the first people to describe coherently the industrial uses of what's now sold as 'the internet of things'. See eg. [http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/liverpools-docks-dust-and-dirt] (with images by David Jacques), but if you're interested it's worth searching that site and Libcom.org - just to start with - for more.

And 2.: because right now it can't be repeated often enough that face-to-face community experience can be a powerful source of class solidarity but it's not the only one . Cultural sameness is not the only possible basis for collective action for shared interests. It can happen in a meaningful way even over long distances and long periods, as shown by international support for the Liverpool Dockers of 95-7 (and the California port truck drivers of 2012? Please correct the latter if misremebered).

Admittedly this a sort of a priori principle for me, but not just because it sounds like something it would be nice to believe. No, it's because the 'choice' between globally co-ordinated hyperexploitation and perpetual petty warfare* between internally close-knit groups (with no way out of those groups for individuals or sub-collectives, thus: conscript warfare) is a recipe for general despair.

[*'Warfare' here applies literally in some cases and figuratively in others. But even when it stops short of physical violence it's competition , which puts it well on the way to global exploitation anyway. Who knows why it's not considered obvious that EU-type transnational management institutions and the National Preference revivalists 'opposed' to them share the same obsession with national Competitiveness . (And sub- and supra-national Competitiveness too, but it amounts to the same thing because each arena of economic bloodsports is supposed to toughen the gladiators (upscale slaves, remember) for the next one up.

Peer-to-peer prizefighting is officially healthy for everyone, because even what does kill me makes "my" brand/parent corporation/city/country/supra-national trading bloc stronger. And one day glorious victory over Emerging (capitalist) Planets will kill the Zero that screams in the Sum.)]

lambert strether , February 25, 2017 at 1:10 am

The supply chain . Now that's strategic.

Jeremy Grimm , February 25, 2017 at 1:18 pm

An economy - just like an Army - marches on its stomach. Supply chains for the US economy are long - reaching to distant countries including many countries that aren't our best of friends - and shallow - often depending on few to as few as a single source for many products and key components. Just-in-time deliveries support local inventories trimmed to within a few days of demand. The US economy has a great exposed underbelly.

[Feb 26, 2017] Israel attack on Syrian forces might be a provocative effor and it its jets have been attacked by Syrian or Russian forces, which would allow Israel to use this as a causus belli to attempt to seize more land from Syria and Lebanon in the name of national security

Notable quotes:
"... Russia isn't in Syria to solve the world's problems. It is there to destroy the takfiris before they can be unleashed on Russian territory. It is also there to aid an ally. It is doing this with minimal forces. The S-400 systems are there to defend Russian assets, no more. Shooting down an Israeli aircraft, which caused minimal damage, would lead to unpredictable consequences and distractions from the prime task. ..."
"... These kind of provocative operations have a very long history; they're been continually used by various actors in the Deep State to sabotage diplomatic peace efforts - from the Eisenhower era (the U2 flights taking place without Eisenhower's approval) to Ashton Carter's attack on Syrian government forces in Deir-Ezzor, the signature is pretty obvious. ..."
Feb 26, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Julian | Feb 22, 2017 2:12:18 AM | 10

Here we go yet again........

An Israeli military plane carried out an airstrike on the Syrian government forces stationed in the western countryside of Damascus near the Lebanese border.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201702221050928975-israeli-plane-attacks-syrian-army/

jfl | Feb 22, 2017 7:55:13 AM | 31
Israeli warplanes bombard military positions outside Damascus: Reports

A Syrian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an Israeli fighter jet crossed into Syria's airspace at around 3 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) on Wednesday after circling the skies of Lebanon's Beqaa Valley and flying above the eastern city of Baalbek, al-Masdar News reported.

i wonder if there really are 's-400' anti-aircraft defensees in syria. and if there are, i wonder if they really work.

i remember paveway explaining to me, the last time the israelis bombed syria, that in fact the airplane responsible was flying over israel and had fired a cruise missile, or someother type of 'standoff' weapon, across the border at that time.

the reasoning for not responding to that attack was said to be that the defensive weapon was much too expensive to waste on the missile, and that shooting down the plane over israel that actually launched the attack ... just couldn't be done.

that's obviously so emboldened the israelis that they now fly right into syrian airspace, like they own it. in fact they do.

the russian airforce is so busy acting as the turkish airforce over the portion of syria that erdogan has laid claim to that they cannot be bothered to defend hezbollah .., who've been doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the ground in syria.

i wonder if russia and tee-rump are coming to an understanding ... Trump Makes Good On Promise, Tells CIA To Stop Arming So-Called "Moderate" Rebels And Other Terrorists Groups In Syria ! .

tee-rump begins to end cia support of al-cia-duh in syria in return for russia's looking the other way when israel kills syria's allies and destroys their armory?

Yonatan | Feb 22, 2017 8:19:32 AM | 32
jfl @31

Russia isn't in Syria to solve the world's problems. It is there to destroy the takfiris before they can be unleashed on Russian territory. It is also there to aid an ally. It is doing this with minimal forces. The S-400 systems are there to defend Russian assets, no more. Shooting down an Israeli aircraft, which caused minimal damage, would lead to unpredictable consequences and distractions from the prime task.

Circe | Feb 22, 2017 1:46:11 PM | 71
Apparently, Defense is still seriously considering sending troops into Syria on the pretext of fighting ISIS. When asked about this at the press briefing today, Spicer, immediately brought up the fact that everyone knows Trump is considering "safe harbors" (he expressed it that way first) or safe zones in the context of this troop deployment issue. So was this a slip up? He then said he would get back to report further on the issue.

So, what happened to Syrian sovereignty and International Law? What's Trump up to? So now that Israel again bombed a Syrian base, is the U.S. going to join in this breach of sovereignty as well?

There's only one country that got permission to operate inside Syria militarily; that's Russia. So now that Putin has remained silent on Israel bombing Syrian bases, will he remain silent when the U.S. joins in on the action?

I believe the last time Israel and the U.S. breached the sovereignty of a country together to conduct military agression was in Lebanon, and look what happened there!

SmoothieX12 | Feb 22, 2017 2:11:27 PM | 73
@71
So, what happened to Syrian sovereignty and International Law? What's Trump up to?

He is up to claiming (at least some) credit for defeating ISIS. Considering US' track record of the last 16+ years in military (and geopolitical) affairs this is not an unreasonable thing to do from American point of view.

Posted by: nobody | Feb 22, 2017 2:22:34 PM | 76

Let's be clear that "islamic" means UK spookie. Muslim Brotherhood, the house of Saud, and the rest of it are Anglo-Zionist creatures. Never forget.

Posted by: nobody | Feb 22, 2017 2:22:34 PM | 76

Temporarily Sane | Feb 22, 2017 3:01:22 PM | 81
@75 nobody

Assad also made a point a few weeks ago to single out Iran, not Russia, as Syria's closest partner in its ongoing fight against Salafist/Wahhabi mercenaries.

Assad and Iran have always said dividing Syria is not an option; Russia has stated otherwise.

Putin has allowed Turkish troops into Syria. Why? How does this sit with Iran and the Syrian government?

If Assad "welcomes US troops to fight ISIS" (they're already there...illegally...and ISIS is a US creation as he well knows) he is a fool or someone is putting words in his mouth or, possibly, he was misquoted.

One needs only look at Libya's fate to see what happens to naive leaders who trust the US and assume its leaders and corporate "partners" are acting in good faith. Rule #1 Never EVER trust the USG and its mouthpieces.

nonsense factory | Feb 22, 2017 5:43:00 PM | 98
Note on the Israeli attacks on Syrian government forces and the lack of response from Syria or Russia:

This is called a provocative effort; what Israel desires above all else is to have its jets attacked by Syrian or Russian forces, which would allow Israel to use this as a causus belli to attempt to seize more land from Syria and Lebanon in the name of national security.

Turkey's shoot-down of a Russian jet was a very similiar operation, aimed at drawing in NATO to attack Syria (this was pre-coup effort, however, before Russia hit the economic sanctions button on Turkey).

These kind of provocative operations have a very long history; they're been continually used by various actors in the Deep State to sabotage diplomatic peace efforts - from the Eisenhower era (the U2 flights taking place without Eisenhower's approval) to Ashton Carter's attack on Syrian government forces in Deir-Ezzor, the signature is pretty obvious.

Another point: Clinton would have had a far easier time carrying out this agenda than anyone in the Trump administration will. And this is really all about one thing: preserving that massive $600 billion a year military-industrial budget and preventing a much-needed 50% cut, with the other $300 billion directed mainly to domestic infrastructure problems, i.e. roads, bridges, dams, public buildings, water supply systems, etc. etc. etc. Until that's done, the United States will continue to look more and more like the corrupt bloated Soviet Union of the Brezhnev era, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office.

[Feb 26, 2017] The War Hawks Rolled Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... Patronage by that soulless rat bastard Petraeus is certainly detrimental. They went for Flynn with everything they had, Bannon is indeed next ... An isolated Trump with adversarial or hidden agenda advisors would be easily rolled/influenced ... ..."
"... Dismayed by their insistence on using military force, John F. Kennedy said he would warn his successor "to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that just because they were military men their opinion[s] on military matters were worth a damn." ..."
"... But Lyndon Johnson needed no such advice, for like JFK, he had a disdain for the military. "Johnson brought with him to the presidency a low opinion of the nation's top military men and a long history of taking positions on military issues to enhance his political fortunes," says McMaster. ..."
"... Eisenhower's administration, in conjunction with the Dulles brothers in CIA & State, was even more hawkish than Truman. ..."
"... Nuclear weapons increased from 1,000 to 22,000 and tactical nuclear weapons were routinely deployed and considered 'conventional weapons' re possible usage from '53 onwards. The JCS recommended and the NSC endorsed using nuclear weapons against China in '53 and Eisenhower and Dulles communicated these threats to China. Under Eisenhower's NSC we overthrew Iran's Mossadeq in '53 and Guatemala's Arbenz in '54 on behalf of the 'United Fruit Company', etc. ..."
"... For McMaster to champion Eisenhower's JCS/NSC over the Kennedy's efforts to de-escalate nuclear Armageddon, is indicative of a rabid aggressive warhawk perspective. ..."
"... I've read elsewhere that in the early 1960's the US Mil wanted to (find a reason to) launch a first strike on Russia because THEY KNEW that the US had an overwhelming advantage that would dissipate over time. ..."
"... It will be interesting to see if Trump tries to regain the upper hand in this "battle" and what that might entail. Until and unless Trump losses Bannon, he maintains the optics of a threat to the neocon agenda. ..."
"... But since Trump is not a threat to those that own private finance of the world, what does it matter? Pick your CON...... Is it neocon? or Trumpcon? ..."
"... I don't think Trump & Flynn were fooled into the resignation/departure. I think they were responding to a real risk. ..."
"... Isn't it just a bit surreal that the entire Deep State Media (DSM) and most of the military is seemingly chomping at bit for WW3? Can that be real? And why has this Oroville Dam collapse of digital ink been spilled over global warming? Too much fluoride in the D.C. drinking water? ..."
"... Even the putatively "liberal" documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has branded Donald Trump a "Russian traitor" and has called for his impeachment for advocating good relations with Russia! Some of his Tweets: ..."
"... Given that the strategy is to reign in China (the only way to get jobs back to the US), the triad of Russia-China-Iran must first be broken. Iran is the current weak link. Break the links to Iran, buy/intimidate Russia off support for China. This also fits Israeli interest so will buy Trump time to put out other fires... but Flynn jumped the gun. ..."
"... In response Russia openly questions the motives of the new administration states it is reconsidering if it can negotiate with Trump at all. Two days later Flynn resigns. Do not confuse the announcement of the incident (14th - a day after Flynn resigns) with the timing of the event (10th, two days before his resignation). ..."
"... If there is one thing Trump detests, it is signalling the opposition what your true position really is. Same holds true with appointments, it is all smoke and mirrors, to confuse while real deals are cut. ..."
"... When has war NOT been in the service of wealth? Is that not what war is for? To create wealth in two ways: 1. by taking the wealth of others; 2. by creating a means by which surplus can be destroyed in order to be replaced? ..."
"... So, the deep state wins ... the world loses. Where is Trump in all of this? It doesn't matter ... and a real bloody revolution won't be enough. I truly can't wait until we provoke the Russians or the Chinese into starting a war that ends with lots of good old life cleansing mushrooms! ..."
"... yes, indeed. the pickings are slim. culling a more humane alternative from this gaggle of shit-stained, blood-soaked scumbags seems like an exercise in futility to me. ..."
"... Could Pence have been threatening to resign if Flynn was not fired? ..."
"... Any interesting idea, but Trump immediately after Flynn's anti-Iran speach launched his own anti-Iran tweetstorm. If anything, Flynn's speech might have been given in an effort to appease the Neocons demanding his head. Keep in mind he must have known he was in trouble before the rest of us did. ..."
"... Trump was viciously anti-Iran throughout his whole campaign, so nothing new there. It is doubtful Russia did not long ago see the idea of splitting them from China and Iran. It was talked about in the blogosphere for months. Russia was never going to be dumb enough to fall for it, but probably didn't mind letting the US try. ..."
"... At Trump's stage of life he could have opted for luxurious retirement in splendid isolation, but he's set himself one last challenge - to be the most famous person in History. He's already halfway there and he hasn't even done anything startlingly POTUS-ish yet... ..."
"... He is not as "anti-Russian" as it may seem. After all, Flynn himself had very little "love" for Russia and was merely a situational "ally", who understood, correctly, operational and strategic limitations of US Armed Forces. ..."
"... Anti-Russian mantras today are more of a self-psychotherapy nature than of real desire to fight Russia. Everybody in both militaries understand everything by now, but that is a totally different story altogether. Once brand new Russian military doctrine was published couple of years ago--many pieces of puzzle fell into their places. ..."
"... Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC: "Our job is to control exactly what people think . She's annoyed that Trump is interfering with their doing that job. ..."
"... Trump was thinking of John Bolton, a neo-con for the job. He obviously wanted to get one of them in his rank to better fight them. He also wanted to make a conciliatory gesture to the hardline republicans. ..."
"... Reminds me a lot of the Reagan White House. An Actor and poser as President, and sycophants doing the real work. ..."
"... Our lying eyes must still be deceiving us. Trump is being rolled cause he gets to keep his billionaire empire, fly back and forth with all the security detail to his estate in Florida on the taxpayers dime; keep his wife in the penthouse with security detail; have his sons do business for him all over the world with security detail – all this on the taxpayers dime. He's not sacrificing a thing for the job and he's so innocent. We must never, never blame Trump. ..."
"... I am glad that b pointed out that McMaster is a Petraeus protege. It gives us something to watch out for. Yes he's a student of and regrets the Viet Nam war. But we heard that before from Powell and Schwarzkopf. And look where they took us and how. (It's like Bernanke the student of the Great Depression admitting the Fed caused it and that it wouldn't happen again.) ..."
"... This time, it was Sergey Lavrov who caused a scandal, by calling for a post-Western world order. We are obliged to admit that NATO has lost its superiority in terms of conventional warfare – even though it easily maintains first place in terms of nuclear war. We are obliged to admit that after 15 years of uninterrupted war in the "Greater Middle East", the mirage of remodelling the region into micro-states, each with less than 10 million inhabitants, and the fantasy of eradicating secular régimes for the benefit of dictatorships run by the Muslim Brotherhood, have failed. ..."
"... Astoundingly, the Europeans persist in pursuing these goals, which have been imposed on them by Washington, but which the People of the United States and their President Donald Trump do not want any more. So the Europeans are counting on the deep US state (that is to say the Raven Rock Mountain Continuity of Government group who organised the attacks of 11 September). Their political leaders continue, as a preventive measure, to denounce Donald Trump's supposed racism and Islamophobia, the same people who applauded when George W. Bush and Barack Obama killed more than 3 million people. Their Press continually insults Donald Trump, whom it presents as capricious and incapable [3]. ..."
"... I don't think the neocon/neolib element, frantically as they may clog comments across the board, are going to win this battle, even if they take Trump down. They are never going to win over the US public, and what Trump is helping to do by shedding light on the tactics of his opponents is going to bring change even if he himself can't manage to do it. It is just a question of time. ..."
"... Now, instead of having a faker kicking the can down the road, we have somebody in office attempting to stem the tide of corruption. It may well be that he doesn't succeed. But what he doesn't succeed in doing, someone else will. Personally, I thank him for trying, and I thank the posters who tell us positive things about his efforts. I pray for him, and I pray for this country. The nasties will continue to drag us through the mire like the parasites they are. It's going to be unpleasant, but they cannot win. They are just going to make it hard on everyone for some time to come. ..."
"... Trump (or any other President, for that matter) will have to confront all of America's parasitic "friend and allies" with the devastating trade wars that are surely coming - since cumulative trade deficits are endangering the country's economic viability - and in that context, rapprochement with Russia is crucial for the US. It's not an option anymore, but an absolute necessity. Right now Americans are desperately trying to soften Russians up with the fake hysteria, but Moscow should just sit tight, and move on a chessboard in silence. ..."
"... i guess that explains why the whole world is against your exceptional 'warmongering' nation.. ..."
"... Some of McMaster's more provocative statements seems to be that he acknowledges that Russia and China are strategic threats to US domination of the world. Duh. Isn't that totally obvious? ..."
"... The question is what he will do about that problem? Col Lang at Turcopieler has come out strongly supporting McMaster as NSC advisor. Lang thinks he is the right person for that job right now. I have no idea but it may very well be that Flyn's obsession with Iran could have been very dangerous. Mc Master might just do the right thing in these very dangerous times. We will just have to wait and see. ..."
"... It's essential to look beyond the headlines to get a sense of what's really afoot. From the onset, as I've stated many times, the Trump Presidency is about deception and about replacing Obama's failed "Plan A" for global dominion with what we might call Henry Kissinger's "Plan B." ..."
"... Since the election campaign, certain themes have been clearly sounded: The nuclear deal with Iran was "bad" and new hostile sanctions are in order. Relations with Bibi Netanyahu's right-wing Likud government must again become special Washington priority. Relations with Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest financier of terrorism, must also be elevated. What has taken place in the four weeks since the inauguration? ..."
"... One has to ask themselves why aren't these protesters throwing a fit about this betrayal ..."
"... Fundamentally because the average person on this planet is effectively mesmerized & incapable of independent thought. This is not unique to the American Zombie. It is a global phenomena. ..."
"... But even the barely educated Coastal American Zombie -- who should not be confused with the completely uneducated Flyover American Zombies -- know at a subconscious level that their standard of living comes at the price of trampling of rights, both foreign and domestic. ..."
"... here in Italy youth unemployment has surpassed 40%. i see distant roiling clouds of uncertainty and glints of unrequited dreams in my daughters dark eyes. ..."
"... I watched the news conference Trump gave on Feb 17. You can find it at whitehouse.gov. I watched and listened to every word, and I saw nothing but an extremely strong man having fun, as he said, in bouncing the corrupt presstitutes around, working to play the Fake News meme against them, taunting and challenging them to ask an intelligent question. He praised those few journalists who asked about real things. He will change the press corps into true reporters eventually I think. It will pay their publishers better, as he says. ..."
"... Trump in his conference was talking to the people of the country. I have no doubt they're out there. I'm astonished to see so much formerly alt-news becoming the new public culture. Russia plays its part in fighting back against fake news, and Trump is a one-man juggernaut in this regard. I don't know how far he'll go. I don't know if they'll stop him. At a certain point, the energy required to stop him can only backfire into an explosion of truth and light that shows up the background subterfuges for what they are, in the clear light of day. And eventually, the establishment will have to make this same calculation, and every day they leave him alive is another day they drift further away from influence and it may already be too late. ..."
"... I don't know why anyone's missing Flynn. The guy's as dumb as a post. I don't know much about NcMaster but I know that Trump picked him, nobody else. ..."
"... If the CIA and the liberals wanted to load Trump up with hawks they would have "inserted" Bolton. But nobody gets to insert anybody for that job. No hearings, vetting or fuck all. ..."
"... I'm inclined to agree with you three, that Trump represents a way or style of leadership that confuses hell out of Capitol Hill and the Washington press corps, and which the latter lacks the language to describe and to communicate to the public at large. Trump has been President for barely a month but The Powers That (Shouldn't) Be are determined to cut him no slack. Everyone else is over-reading their own narrative over Trump and over-analysing what Flynn's resignation means for Trump. ..."
"... The other thing people have to remember is that the O'Bomber administration deliberately left unsigned bills or orders for the new administration to deal with once the Democrats realised that Killary Klinton had lost the election and the Electoral College. A lot of the flack Trump's government is getting stems from business left behind by Obama, such as the refugee visa ban targeting seven countries, based on a list of targeted nations in previous legislation approved by the Obama government. ..."
Feb 26, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Take Me | Feb 22, 2017 1:08:28 AM | 6
McMasters gave "acknowledgement" to his great friends and wise contributors in the forward of his book "Dereliction of Duty" to Fred and Kim KAGAN. Yes. Yes. The brother of Robert Kagan, husband of Cookies (aka fu*k the EU) Nuland. Then again. The comment board of MOA never met a ZIO-con-fascist-Russophobe-warmonger they didn't like. So what's the prob?

P.S. How many Soros-paid-thugs does it take to push over a hundred grave stones? Eh??? Betcha lots fewer than the ones in Maidan...

michaelj72 | Feb 22, 2017 1:44:18 AM | 7
right-wing pence, mad dog mattis, and tyrannus rex are running this administration. (priebus is the gofe with the republican party monsters and hacks, to keep them soothed and inline.)

unless they are geniuses, bannan and the Orange One are gonna continue to get further rolled by these guys

Outraged | Feb 22, 2017 1:48:40 AM | 8
@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 12:52:12 AM | 1

Indeed. Anyone McCain & Cotton endorses is extremely suspect. Commissioned as Lieutenant in 1984, started writing his 'Dereliction of Duty ' book in 1992, published in 1997, so ~20 years ago.

Patronage by that soulless rat bastard Petraeus is certainly detrimental. They went for Flynn with everything they had, Bannon is indeed next ... An isolated Trump with adversarial or hidden agenda advisors would be easily rolled/influenced ...

From a 2001 review of his book By Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., U.S. Army (ret.):

"I wondered how and why Vietnam had become an American war–a war in which men fought and died without a clear idea of how their actions and sacrifices were contributing to an end of the conflict." In searching for the answer, McMaster "discovered that the military's role in Vietnam decision-making was little understood and largely overlooked." Dereliction of Duty is his attempt to correct that deficiency.

As Henry Kissinger has said, "Presidents listen to advisers whose advice they think they need." In the Kennedy administration the most important determining factor would not be the advisers' relative position in organizational charts, but instead their "ability to establish a close personal rapport with the President." Thus, "under the Kennedy/Johnson system, the Joint Chiefs lost the direct access to the president, and thus the real influence on decision-making that the Eisenhower NSC [National Security Council] structure had provided."

McMaster says "Diminished JCS [Joint Chiefs of Staff] access to the president reflected Kennedy's opinion of his senior military advisers. Kennedy and the young New Frontiersmen viewed the Eisenhower JCS with suspicion .The Old Guard in the Pentagon were relegated to a position of little influence." McMaster follows this theme throughout his work, beginning with the rise of General Maxwell Taylor, brought back from retirement to serve as the "military representative of the president" and later chairman of the JCS.

McMaster also traces the rise of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara's "whiz kids"–particularly Alain Enthoven, McNamara's point man, whose "flair for quantitative analysis was exceeded only by his arrogance." Enthoven, writes McMaster, "held military experience in low regard and considered military men intellectually inferior." In return, "the military viewed Enthoven and the rest of McNamara's staff as adversaries."

The Cuban missile crisis only deepened the gulf between the JCS and the president. Dismayed by their insistence on using military force, John F. Kennedy said he would warn his successor "to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that just because they were military men their opinion[s] on military matters were worth a damn."

But Lyndon Johnson needed no such advice, for like JFK, he had a disdain for the military. "Johnson brought with him to the presidency a low opinion of the nation's top military men and a long history of taking positions on military issues to enhance his political fortunes," says McMaster. Taylor, by then JCS chairman, "demonstrated the same loyalty to Johnson that he had shown Kennedy. The other Chiefs and the JCS as an institution were the losers in status, influence and power..."

Eisenhower's administration, in conjunction with the Dulles brothers in CIA & State, was even more hawkish than Truman.

Nuclear weapons increased from 1,000 to 22,000 and tactical nuclear weapons were routinely deployed and considered 'conventional weapons' re possible usage from '53 onwards. The JCS recommended and the NSC endorsed using nuclear weapons against China in '53 and Eisenhower and Dulles communicated these threats to China. Under Eisenhower's NSC we overthrew Iran's Mossadeq in '53 and Guatemala's Arbenz in '54 on behalf of the 'United Fruit Company', etc.

For McMaster to champion Eisenhower's JCS/NSC over the Kennedy's efforts to de-escalate nuclear Armageddon, is indicative of a rabid aggressive warhawk perspective. The JCS wanted to actually invade Cuba, whether it risked war with the USSR or not.

Should he still hold these views ... a bad choice indeed.

Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 2:00:43 AM | 9
b:
Allegedly Flynn did not fully inform Vice-President Pence about his talk with the Russian ambassador. But that can not be a serious reason.
It is a serious reason. Flynn likely ran afoul of a old law called the "Logan Act", which prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in disputes involving the American government . It might be hard to prosecute Flynn but there are nevertheless serious political ramifications.

If Trump had tried to retain Flynn, over the objection of VP Pence, Trump risked being removed via impeachment or 25th Amendment because:

- If Trump asked Flynn to guide the Russian response to sanctions, then Trump could be guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors", or

- VP Pence could determine that Trump's keeping Flynn showed a pro-Russian bias that indicated that Trump was compromised (US intel agencies have already 'determined' that Russia influenced the elections to favor Trump).

That Flynn had not been truthful to Pence (from what we are told) and that Pence would not 'play ball' hint at Pence as an untrusted 'frenemy' . Indeed, Pence is apparently close to McCain. they traveled to Iraq together about 10 years ago, and Pence endorsed McCain in the 2016 election over Trump's wishes.

<> <> <> <> <>

I've read that Pence had made public statements that Flynn had NOT spoken to the Russians about sanctions but that was proven false by the transcripts.

Did Pence demand to know if Trump had asked Flynn to talk to the Russians about sanction? It would be a logical question - and one that would've been very threatening to Trump.

Trump hinted that he HAD asked, or authorized, Flynn to talk to the Russians about sanctions when Trump defended Flynn at the press conference saying:

- he's a great guy;

- he did nothing wrong - he did his job;

- If he HADN'T done what he did, Trump would've asked him to!!!

Outraged | Feb 22, 2017 2:22:21 AM | 11
@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 2:00:43 AM | 9

The excuse of the ~216 year old Logan Act is a non-starter.

Not only has no-one ever been convicted, no-one has ever even been prosecuted under it. It's questionable if it would even survive a challenge re being constitutionally valid. So no grounds for impeachment or 25th amendment, especially when the GOP holds Presidency, House & Senate, a clean sweep, thanks to the Trump-faction.

Only politically suicidal lunatics would impeach their own party President if they wished to be re-elected ...

Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 2:22:40 AM | 12
Outraged @8

Good comment.

I've read elsewhere that in the early 1960's the US Mil wanted to (find a reason to) launch a first strike on Russia because THEY KNEW that the US had an overwhelming advantage that would dissipate over time.

Of course this was before scientists warned that a full-scale nuclear war would mean human extinction.

I wonder about JCS unwillingness to be forthright with civilian leadership. Was Johnson trying to appease the anti-Russian hawks (without realizing that it would be impossible to withdraw until victory was achieved)? Was JCS happy to go along with a gradual escalation knowing that the conflict would grow?

In other words, how valid are McMaster's lessons? Monday morning quarter-backing? Would JCS go along with gradualism TODAY if they thought it was "in the right direction?"

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Isn't the use of extremists to fight a proxy war a form of gradualism?

psychohistorian | Feb 22, 2017 2:23:09 AM | 13
It will be interesting to see if Trump tries to regain the upper hand in this "battle" and what that might entail. Until and unless Trump losses Bannon, he maintains the optics of a threat to the neocon agenda.

But since Trump is not a threat to those that own private finance of the world, what does it matter? Pick your CON...... Is it neocon? or Trumpcon?

Somewhere out there is a anti-humanistic war-hawk analyst that is telling his boss that using nukes for military/empire purposes would give cover for Fukushima ecological damage..........maybe our species is not meant to evolve and grow........because we are not hearing these corporations (who are people, as Romney would say) screaming for global remediation of Fukushima for the sake of their future customers.......are we?

Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 2:46:01 AM | 14
Outraged @11

There's always a first time. It's as good an excuse as any. And Republicans would not be throwing the Presidency to the Democrats, they would be choosing an alternative Republican. One that many of them would prefer.

I don't think Trump & Flynn were fooled into the resignation/departure. I think they were responding to a real risk.

laserlurk | Feb 22, 2017 2:49:01 AM | 15
The thing that bothers me is why would well informed (are they really?) state officials who are supposed to know its own capabilities and those of a enemy-to-be, in this case Russia, want a conflict which is unwinnable? When one thinks about such option it sounds really surreal.

I can only think on shortsighted attempt to sell even more useless weapons to allies at a price and an excuse of a "commitment" to protect them if they increase defence budgets. So it is simply an extortion racket that EU shouldn't comply with, but instead should work with Russia to mend its socio-economic relations, as this is the only possible way of changing each other's minds, thus creating the long term stability on the European and Asian continents.

b. has wisely predicted, but it is not yet mentioning in the detail recent Libyan situation unfolding as an obvious current policy still is - stirr the trouble wherever you can to keep Russia busy or involved into it. That is stupid game that yields no result.

blues | Feb 22, 2017 2:51:20 AM | 17
Isn't it just a bit surreal that the entire Deep State Media (DSM) and most of the military is seemingly chomping at bit for WW3? Can that be real? And why has this Oroville Dam collapse of digital ink been spilled over global warming? Too much fluoride in the D.C. drinking water?

Even the putatively "liberal" documentary filmmaker Michael Moore has branded Donald Trump a "Russian traitor" and has called for his impeachment for advocating good relations with Russia! Some of his Tweets:
/~~~~~~~~~~
Um, @realDonaldTrump -- It's now noontime in DC & it appears you are still squatting in our Oval Office. I gave u til this morning to leave.
- Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 14, 2017

What part of "vacate you Russian traitor" don't you understand? We can do this the easy way (you resign), or the hard way (impeachment).
- Michael Moore (@MMFlint) February 14, 2017

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/michael-moore-donald-trump-vacate-russian-traitor-impeachment-us-president-michael-flynn-a7580796.html
\~~~~~~~~~~

Or maybe it's all a giant cover-up, a colossal red herring to put up a smoke-screen between the the benighted population and the calamitous impending Dollaropocalypse?

Doesn't everybody know that the Columbian Usa empire is on its very last legs, trapped between a crumbling Europe, survivalist Russia, and gluttonous China which has sucked in most of its productional systems?

Come about 2017 or 2018, they are desperately going to need on hell of a distracting dog and pony show and finale rack of fireworks to cover up the approaching ultra-depression supervolcano.

Outraged | Feb 22, 2017 3:17:57 AM | 18
@ Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 2:22:40 AM | 12
1. Of course this was before scientists warned that a full-scale nuclear war would mean human extinction.

2. Would JCS go along with gradualism TODAY if they thought it was "in the right direction?"

3. Isn't the use of extremists to fight a proxy war a form of gradualism?

1. It was first realized (1955) by the German physicist and Nobel laureate who had earlier first split the uranium atom, Otto Hahn, that only ten cobalt salted hydrogen bombs would be enough to extinguish life on earth, under revised calculations following the US Hydrogen bomb tests of the previous year. This was broadcast on radio throughout Europe in Feb 1955! . It was also the basis of the fictional Doomsday device in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb .

2. JCS would likely only want to deploy boots on the ground for a perceived clean, quick, limited war with a clearly defined, highly probable, resulting WIN. Something to get the scores up on the board, Hm, like Grenada redux ? Anything else is bad (military) politics.

It took almost two decades for the Military to recover from Vietnam, and the current military has certainly not yet recovered from Vietnam MkII, the combined Iraq & Afghanistan Wars, IMV. The best & most experienced/capable NCO's and junior officers exited service by choice, family pressure/responsibilities or literally burnt out through excessive tour rotations ... that will take another decade or more to recover from ...

3. Proxy wars are fine ... little risk, little downside, from their perspective ... see ~46 years of Cold War and current Cold War 2.0 (Lite).

les7 | Feb 22, 2017 3:38:58 AM | 19
Games and more Games

Given that the strategy is to reign in China (the only way to get jobs back to the US), the triad of Russia-China-Iran must first be broken. Iran is the current weak link. Break the links to Iran, buy/intimidate Russia off support for China. This also fits Israeli interest so will buy Trump time to put out other fires... but Flynn jumped the gun.

Putting Iran on notice without specific reason (it was not a ballistic missile test) exposed the strategy and gave both Russia and China reason to affirm their relation to Iran without cost. the deployment of troops to Europe could still be blamed on Obama and confusing times at the white house... but the Porter incident was deliberate and provocative - again playing the intimidation card before it would have best effect.

In response Russia openly questions the motives of the new administration states it is reconsidering if it can negotiate with Trump at all. Two days later Flynn resigns. Do not confuse the announcement of the incident (14th - a day after Flynn resigns) with the timing of the event (10th, two days before his resignation).

If there is one thing Trump detests, it is signalling the opposition what your true position really is. Same holds true with appointments, it is all smoke and mirrors, to confuse while real deals are cut.

rg the lg | Feb 22, 2017 4:54:16 AM | 20
When has war NOT been in the service of wealth? Is that not what war is for? To create wealth in two ways: 1. by taking the wealth of others; 2. by creating a means by which surplus can be destroyed in order to be replaced?

The whole Trump thing is to drain the swamp. The problem is that there is too much wealth involved in creating more wealth via war to reduce war. As an archetype, consider the F-35? The perfect war tool ... too expensive, totally unreliable, needing immediate replacement.

So, the deep state wins ... the world loses. Where is Trump in all of this? It doesn't matter ... and a real bloody revolution won't be enough. I truly can't wait until we provoke the Russians or the Chinese into starting a war that ends with lots of good old life cleansing mushrooms!

Viva la Muerte?

jfl | Feb 22, 2017 6:01:48 AM | 23
@19 les7, 'Given that the strategy is to reign in China (the only way to get jobs back to the US) ...'

zeit-fragen notes that tee-rump's got his eye on germany as well ... Germany threatened by currency war .

john | Feb 22, 2017 6:52:21 AM | 24
...the war-on-Russia hawks, that is about everyone of the "serious people" in Washington DC...

yes, indeed. the pickings are slim. culling a more humane alternative from this gaggle of shit-stained, blood-soaked scumbags seems like an exercise in futility to me. no room for elfin heroes, no siree bob.

I don't think we're getting out. I think that we must adapt. The human organism is fairly flexible, and the United States is being transformed into something truly hideous, and those who wish to continue to live here and function as Americans are going to have to find some way to adapt. You're going to have to find a way to drink foul water, breathe foul air, eat semi-poisonous and/or non-foods, and find some way to keep a job so that you can spend money to experience the thrill of these things (Frank Zappa)

or go east young man! life is but a quest! out there somewhere along the polyester, er, i mean silk, road fortune awaits.

lysias | Feb 22, 2017 7:09:41 AM | 26
Could Pence have been threatening to resign if Flynn was not fired?
Lysander | Feb 22, 2017 7:23:27 AM | 28
@Les7, #1 "If there is one thing Trump detests, it is signalling the opposition what your true position really is."

Any interesting idea, but Trump immediately after Flynn's anti-Iran speach launched his own anti-Iran tweetstorm. If anything, Flynn's speech might have been given in an effort to appease the Neocons demanding his head. Keep in mind he must have known he was in trouble before the rest of us did.

Lysander | Feb 22, 2017 7:29:42 AM | 30
Sorry, I meant @ #19. Also, Trump was viciously anti-Iran throughout his whole campaign, so nothing new there. It is doubtful Russia did not long ago see the idea of splitting them from China and Iran. It was talked about in the blogosphere for months. Russia was never going to be dumb enough to fall for it, but probably didn't mind letting the US try.
Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 22, 2017 9:38:57 AM | 33
...
It seems to me that Trump has been rolled with the attacks on Flynn and the insertion of McMaster into his inner circle. I wonder if he, and Bannon, recognize the same problematic development and have a strategy against it?
Posted by b at 12:19 AM

Yes He does. Bannon doesn't matter. Trump went into this with his eyes wide open. He told the borg their days are numbered as soon as he was sworn in. He thinks he's smarter than them and their Neocon spin tanks and I agree with him. At Trump's stage of life he could have opted for luxurious retirement in splendid isolation, but he's set himself one last challenge - to be the most famous person in History. He's already halfway there and he hasn't even done anything startlingly POTUS-ish yet...

SmoothieX12 | Feb 22, 2017 9:39:23 AM | 34
They replaced him with a militaristic anti-Russian hawk:

He is not as "anti-Russian" as it may seem. After all, Flynn himself had very little "love" for Russia and was merely a situational "ally", who understood, correctly, operational and strategic limitations of US Armed Forces.

Real situation in the US Armed Forces is not good, to put it mildly. 16 years and no tangible results, all wars are lost, the force is indeed "stretched thin", which is a euphemism for being demoralized and ineffective. Moreover, in some crucial aspects of warfare, all those proverbial "offsets" and alleged technological "superiority" simply do not exist anymore. In some--the technological lag became insurmountable. So, there is a real problem with military which, from the US military-strategic point of view, must be addressed.

Considering Trump being hellbent on attaining a full control of US foreign policy and Trump's personality -- it doesn't really matter what degree of anti-Russianness Trump will get from his National Security Adviser.

What Trump needs is a competent military man capable to explain to Trump limitations of US military power in order to adjust his foreign policy. McMaster is a competent man to do so--in this sense this appointment is a good thing and it really doesn't matter if Tim Cotton or McCain approve of this appointment, anti-Russian sentiment was inevitable within US military because comparisons are not only irresistible but highly warranted, especially when they are done not just over the period of the last 15 or so years, but over last 70-80.

Anti-Russian mantras today are more of a self-psychotherapy nature than of real desire to fight Russia. Everybody in both militaries understand everything by now, but that is a totally different story altogether. Once brand new Russian military doctrine was published couple of years ago--many pieces of puzzle fell into their places.

Bardi | Feb 22, 2017 9:50:56 AM | 36
b -- you said, "The only ally he still may have in the White House is his consigliere Steve Bannon."

"consigliere" -- advisor to a crime boss. Is that the word you wanted to use? I mean, I agree with the idea that trump views himself as a crime boss.

lysias | Feb 22, 2017 10:04:04 AM | 40
Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC: "Our job is to control exactly what people think . She's annoyed that Trump is interfering with their doing that job.

virgile | Feb 22, 2017 10:11:01 AM | 42
Trump was thinking of John Bolton, a neo-con for the job. He obviously wanted to get one of them in his rank to better fight them. He also wanted to make a conciliatory gesture to the hardline republicans.

Mc Master is a good compromise. Not a 100% neocon but a pragmatic sympathizer.

Trump will hold on Bannon as much as possible to prevent his vision to be blurred by the others. The next target of the dems is Bannon... What other bone can Trump give to the dems to chew on?

Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 22, 2017 10:38:28 AM | 46
Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC...
...
Posted by: lysias | Feb 22, 2017 10:04:04 AM | 40

Thanks. Great catch. A member of the borg blowing the whistle on herself... Who says they're not getting desperate?

ben | Feb 22, 2017 11:12:27 AM | 47
Oui @ 4: Man oh man, talk about a picture being worth a thousand words.

Reminds me a lot of the Reagan White House. An Actor and poser as President, and sycophants doing the real work.

@ 6: " The comment board of MOA never met a ZIO-con-fascist-Russophobe-warmonger they didn't like. So what's the prob?"

Obviously you're new here. Hang around a while, you may want to re-think that statement.
Or not.....

From The Hague | Feb 22, 2017 11:16:00 AM | 48
Flynn Fired for Iran, not for Russia
The official reason for firing Flynn so early on was allegedly his refusal to disclose all details to Vice President Pence and others of his pre-inauguration phone call to the Russian Ambassador in Washington, Sergey Kislyak, in the days before Trump became President.

Far more plausible as reason is the shoot-from-the-hip remarks of Flynn aimed at Iran in early February. Then Flynn held an unusual press conference in the White House to declare, "As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice." His remarks were aimed at Iran's testing of a ballistic missile and a recent attack on a Saudi naval vessel by Yemeni militants, which Washington said were backed by Teheran. Sounds tough, or? Real Rambo macho, a la USA again asserting its power in the region. Grrrrrrrowl!

There were many things wrong with that inane declaration of Flynn. One, it had no content, much like Obama's August 2012 "red line" statement on chemical weapons in Syria that almost got the US in a boots-on-the-ground war in Syria and resulted in a disastrous loss of US credibility in the Middle East. As Kissinger noted, the Obama "red line" disaster, "created the impression-and the reality-of an American strategic withdrawal from the region."

Moreover, there is no international ban on Iran's testing ballistic missiles. As former White House Middle East specialist Philip Gordon pointed out, "By issuing a warning so imprecise - in such a dramatic, public fashion - he has set himself and the United States up for either an embarrassing retreat or a risky confrontation." Ballistic missile tests are not a part of the Iran nuclear agreement or any UN Resolution.

As it sunk in within the neophyte Trump Administration what a stupid thing Flynn had done, even before the Administration even had picked all its ducks– let alone set them all in a neat row on Iran policy– it became clear Flynn had to fall on his sword. The Russian Ambassador was useful deflection.

Circe | Feb 22, 2017 11:23:12 AM | 49
@35

Face it, the only ones being 'rolled' here are all the Trump fan-boys on MoA.

Yep. Notice how all the usual Trump man-god fan-boys are all over this like white on rice, busy distancing their god from this Neocon blob he just excreted as Trump man-child must be the first blameless President ever! The buck can never stop with him. It's never his fault. The first White House press statement on Yemen pretended ZERO civilians were killed in Yemen mission until the leak indicated many civilians killed, but only the media lies; Trump never lies.

Trump poor thing is faultless; he can't think for himself; can't make decisions on his own anymore. Tom Cotton pushed McMaster; it's all Cotton's fault.

Oh-oh! Looks like Tom Cotton has been part of the Trump fan club for quite some time.

But here we are being led to believe Trump is being rolled by Neocons like Tom Cotton. Tom Cotton is to blame; he's rolling Trump! After all, Trump only put those MIC generals on his team for show. Those Goldman buddies are not really there to de-regulate and ensure the banking system works for them. The Zionists on his team agree with Trump; they want a one Jewish state only. Palestinians can move to Jordan and Egypt.

Our lying eyes must still be deceiving us. Trump is being rolled cause he gets to keep his billionaire empire, fly back and forth with all the security detail to his estate in Florida on the taxpayers dime; keep his wife in the penthouse with security detail; have his sons do business for him all over the world with security detail – all this on the taxpayers dime. He's not sacrificing a thing for the job and he's so innocent. We must never, never blame Trump.

Now let's get busy spinning 50 ways McMaster is someone else's fault and every other bad decision he's made so far was pushed on him by the deep state and billionaires club Trump belongs to.

On a more realistic note: a showdown looms today at Standing Rock as the Trumpian Army Corps is set to forcibly remove protesters.:

President Donald Trump last month ordered the Corps to grant pipeline builder Energy Transfer Partners the easement it needed to complete the project. The Corps complied this month and dropped plans to conduct an environmental study to identify a new route for the hotly disputed pipeline.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/22/standing-rock-activists-dig-in-ahead-of-deadline-to-clear-protest-camp.html

Big black oil must flow through Indian reserves. Who cares about their land.

But believe us! He's really blameless Trump man-child is. Next we'll be told Trump is the real Santa Claus.

Where's my umbrella? I should get ready for the barrage of ad homs.

Curtis | Feb 22, 2017 11:25:33 AM | 50
virgile 42
I saw Bolton on the short list and was glad he wasn't selected. One wishes these failures would go away.

I am glad that b pointed out that McMaster is a Petraeus protege. It gives us something to watch out for. Yes he's a student of and regrets the Viet Nam war. But we heard that before from Powell and Schwarzkopf. And look where they took us and how. (It's like Bernanke the student of the Great Depression admitting the Fed caused it and that it wouldn't happen again.)

SmoothieX12 | Feb 22, 2017 11:34:03 AM | 52
@48, From The Hague
Flynn Fired for Iran, not for Russia

Flynn was fired for making a policy statement without consulting (coordinating) with his really really big Boss. In military it is called "going over the head" and there is no higher head in US than President. It just happened so that it was made on Iran, whom Flynn doesn't like.

Circe | Feb 22, 2017 11:44:38 AM | 53
@48

Yeah right; because all the tweets Trump made before and after Flynn's statement threatening Iran were just the musings of a blowhard and not also supporting every word Flynn spewed. Now you don't want me to list all those tweets on Iran, do you? As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, even Trump parroted the threat about putting Iran on notice. Yep.

http://theweek.com/speedreads/677599/trump-puts-iran-notice-series-tweets

But there just has to be another reason for firing Flynn instead of the reality: Flynn misleading Pence on Russia phone calls.

@42 - Here's the doozie of all deluded excuses for Trump.:

Trump was thinking of John Bolton, a neo-con for the job. He obviously wanted to get one of them in his rank to better fight them. He also wanted to make a conciliatory gesture to the hardline republicans. Mc Master is a good compromise. Not a 100% neocon but a pragmatic sympathizer.

Ahhh-ha-haaaaaaa!

ProPeace | Feb 22, 2017 11:45:28 AM | 54
Some Internet gossip predicts some dire straits ahead of the US of A:
...Critical to note too about this massive Islamic spy ring, ..., is that in spite of the FBI's criminal targeting of Imran Awan, Democratic Party US Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz still has him on her payroll, despite his security clearance being revoked-and his wife, Hina Alvi, likewise, is still being employed by Democrat Party US Congressman Gregory Meeks.

And despite this massive Islamic spy ring, led by Imran Awan, being paid by the Democratic Party millions-of-dollars of US taxpayer money over the past decade, while they infiltrated nearly all of computer systems in the US Congress, ..., new reports are emerging that they didn't pay their bills, were involved for years in criminal activity, and owed substantial money to a radical Hezbollah fugitive-and who are now being reported to have received $100,000 from an unnamed, and unknowable, Iraqi politician while they had administrator-level access to the US House of Representatives' secret and secure computer network.

To the main Democratic Party official most responsible for this radical Islamic spy rings infiltration of the US Congress, this report notes, was the radical leftist US Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz-who spread these Islamic spies throughout the US Congress as "shared employees"-meaning they are hired by multiple offices, which split their salaries and used them as needed for computer services.

With the linkages of this massive radical Islamic spy network spreading to the top of the Democratic Party leadership, and over two dozen Democrat US Congressman and women, ..., these Democratic leftists are even now preparing for their mass arrest by FBI agents loyal to President Trump by showing their power of being able to quickly assemble street mobs-and that once this should happen, would flood America's cities with millions of radicals proclaiming President Trump was creating a dictatorship-therefore leading to the collapse of the United States as civil war would most certainly ensue.

In the mean time in Europe The hijacking of the Munich Security Conference, by Thierry Meyssan

This time, it was Sergey Lavrov who caused a scandal, by calling for a post-Western world order. We are obliged to admit that NATO has lost its superiority in terms of conventional warfare – even though it easily maintains first place in terms of nuclear war. We are obliged to admit that after 15 years of uninterrupted war in the "Greater Middle East", the mirage of remodelling the region into micro-states, each with less than 10 million inhabitants, and the fantasy of eradicating secular régimes for the benefit of dictatorships run by the Muslim Brotherhood, have failed.

Astoundingly, the Europeans persist in pursuing these goals, which have been imposed on them by Washington, but which the People of the United States and their President Donald Trump do not want any more. So the Europeans are counting on the deep US state (that is to say the Raven Rock Mountain Continuity of Government group who organised the attacks of 11 September). Their political leaders continue, as a preventive measure, to denounce Donald Trump's supposed racism and Islamophobia, the same people who applauded when George W. Bush and Barack Obama killed more than 3 million people. Their Press continually insults Donald Trump, whom it presents as capricious and incapable [3].

Horrified by the opinions of Donald Trump, according to whom NATO is "obsolete", they were reassured by the declarations of his ministers, who in essence, told them the same thing – NATO no longer needs to exist in its current format - it needs to be transformed into a defensive alliance, and if you want to be part of it, you will have to dedicate 2% of your Defence budget.

Obsessed by their imperialist lunacy, the Europeans were terrified by the possible abandon of their anti-Russian investments in Ukraine and Syria. There too, they were reassured by declarations which were nonetheless as vague as could be. Trump's ministers repeated that they would give up no interest vital to the USA in Ukraine, and that they would pursue a "political solution in Syria". So why did the Europeans understand that the People of the United States has vital interests on the banks of the Dnipro and that a "political solution in Syria" means replacing the Republic with the Muslim Brotherhood? Simply because that is what they were taught by the Obama administration – the administration that was rejected by the People of the United States.

Of course, everyone can see the struggle between the Trump administration on one side and the "Continuity of Government" group on the other. The mountains trembled when Donald Trump excluded the CIA and the Joint Chief of Staff from the National Security Council [4]. Everyone noticed the way in which the CIA, in response, refused Defence accreditation to six of the President's advisors, and accused the National Security advisor of being a Russian spy, forcing him to resign, and how they are still pursuing four other representatives from the Presidential team. But losing a few battles does not mean losing the war, and it is distressing that the Europeans – enslaved for so long – do not know this. How can they believe that Donald Trump was going to sweep away such a powerful "deep state" in just a few days? And how could they imagine that his first defeats would be enough to make him give up? [5]

Over the last few years, this Security Conference has been a way for Germany to serve as a link between the United States and their European partners. This year, its only goal was to force the European leaders to confirm their allegiance to the deep US state, without taking into account either the will expressed by the US People, or the change in the White House.

A preparatory document, drawn up by the German organisers of the Conference, was handed to the participants. The Press was careful not to mention it. It contains an article by Volker Perthes, author of the Feltman plan for the total and unconditional capitulation of the Syrian Arab Republic [6]. This eminent "expert" presents his vision of the "Greater Middle East", or rather the vision of the US "Continuity of Government" [7].

  1. [Even if we have not managed to remodel it,] this region will not be unaffected by the wars and the "Arab Spring". [We didn't do all that for nothing].
  2. The conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran has become a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Chiites [which masks our geopolitical ambitions].
  3. While everyone is caught up in this false religious conflict, no-one is paying any attention to the Palestinian situation [for the greater benefit of the colonial state of Israël].
  4. While the Europeans are unanimously tired of these bloodbaths taking place far from their homes, and hope for the long-awaited triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood, no-one in the Greater Middle East has yet admitted to having been beaten.
  5. During the war in Syria, the alliances have continually been sealed and unsealed at the regional level, the latest of which was the pact between Russia, Turkey and Iran, which should not last [luckily] any longer than the others.
  6. Syria and Iraq will not beat terrorism, and will not find peace other than by inclusive government [that is to say, by accepting to introduce al-Qaëda and Daesh into their governments].
  7. All of this could only end, for all the populations of the Greater Middle East, by a major international conference during which the Westerners would determine their future, just as, at the Congress of Vienna (1814), the Quadruple Alliance decided the fate of the rest of the world.

Quite clearly, neither faced with the vote of the US People, nor the Resistance of the Arab Peoples, do the European leaders intend to change – they can only be dismissed by the European People.

Gravatomic | Feb 22, 2017 11:46:22 AM | 55
The goal of controlling European gas markets, conduits and pipeline routes is a position that looks unwavering. Same old, same old and Trump has been maneuvered into it if he was ever adverse to it anyway. Bannon is a different cat, that's for sure.
pantaraxia | Feb 22, 2017 12:04:05 PM | 57
@50 Curtis
'I saw Bolton on the short list and was glad he wasn't selected. One wishes these failures would go away'

They never go away. The only way to get rid of them is to catch them napping in their crypts and drive a wooden stake through their hearts. (even that didn't work with Cheney)

from the Guardian:

"Previewing a possible future appointment, Trump also said during Monday's announcement that his administration will be asking John Bolton, a hardline senior diplomat in the George W Bush administration,

"to work with us in a somewhat different capacity He had a good number of ideas that I must tell you, I agree very much with."

Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 12:40:51 PM | 59
Mike @58

Oh yes, Trump's really gonna f*ck up Obama's saccharine paradise. YES WE CAN play fast and loose with the truth and "f*ck the EU!"

The good news: If you like your Dear Leader, you can keep your Dear Leader.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Citizens United ensures that neither Party reflects the will of the people. Vote PIRATE PARTY.

juliania | Feb 22, 2017 12:52:54 PM | 61
I don't think the neocon/neolib element, frantically as they may clog comments across the board, are going to win this battle, even if they take Trump down. They are never going to win over the US public, and what Trump is helping to do by shedding light on the tactics of his opponents is going to bring change even if he himself can't manage to do it. It is just a question of time.

Now, instead of having a faker kicking the can down the road, we have somebody in office attempting to stem the tide of corruption. It may well be that he doesn't succeed. But what he doesn't succeed in doing, someone else will. Personally, I thank him for trying, and I thank the posters who tell us positive things about his efforts. I pray for him, and I pray for this country. The nasties will continue to drag us through the mire like the parasites they are. It's going to be unpleasant, but they cannot win. They are just going to make it hard on everyone for some time to come.

telescope | Feb 22, 2017 1:01:56 PM | 63
Tactical retreat - and nothing more. There is simply no alternative to détente with Russia, since otherwise America will become completely isolated. That can't and won't be allowed to happen.

Trump (or any other President, for that matter) will have to confront all of America's parasitic "friend and allies" with the devastating trade wars that are surely coming - since cumulative trade deficits are endangering the country's economic viability - and in that context, rapprochement with Russia is crucial for the US. It's not an option anymore, but an absolute necessity. Right now Americans are desperately trying to soften Russians up with the fake hysteria, but Moscow should just sit tight, and move on a chessboard in silence.

America is boxed in, and the only way out of that box is through détente with Russia. Everything else leads to the national demise.

Jackrabbit | Feb 22, 2017 1:19:14 PM | 65
CarlD @64:
... can somebody clarify?
Some have forgotten (already!) that Obama issued an Executive Order to share NSA intel. So they are (mistakenly!) attributing Flynn's departure to his overly-aggressive posture toward Iran.
james | Feb 22, 2017 1:28:20 PM | 67
@62 horatio parker... i guess that explains why the whole world is against your exceptional 'warmongering' nation..
ToivoS | Feb 22, 2017 1:32:26 PM | 68
Some of McMaster's more provocative statements seems to be that he acknowledges that Russia and China are strategic threats to US domination of the world. Duh. Isn't that totally obvious?

The question is what he will do about that problem? Col Lang at Turcopieler has come out strongly supporting McMaster as NSC advisor. Lang thinks he is the right person for that job right now. I have no idea but it may very well be that Flyn's obsession with Iran could have been very dangerous. Mc Master might just do the right thing in these very dangerous times. We will just have to wait and see.

Les | Feb 22, 2017 1:35:55 PM | 69
It is like Goodfellas. They may know it's wrong but they all want to do it to get ahead, maintain their lifestyle, and stay in the club. Who you gonna call?

From The Hague | Feb 22, 2017 1:41:17 PM | 70
It's essential to look beyond the headlines to get a sense of what's really afoot. From the onset, as I've stated many times, the Trump Presidency is about deception and about replacing Obama's failed "Plan A" for global dominion with what we might call Henry Kissinger's "Plan B."

What did the abrupt firing of Flynn do to possibly aid world peace? Was he not the dear friend of normalizing relations with Putin's Russia? Was he not the ardent foe of the war-mongering neo-cons that dominated the foreign policies of George W. Bush and B. Obama? In a word, No. He wasn't.

The issue is not Flynn as though he single-handedly was about cleaning the filth out of the Augean Stables of the Washington intelligence community. The issue is the declared priority foreign policy of the Trump Project.

Since the election campaign, certain themes have been clearly sounded: The nuclear deal with Iran was "bad" and new hostile sanctions are in order. Relations with Bibi Netanyahu's right-wing Likud government must again become special Washington priority. Relations with Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest financier of terrorism, must also be elevated. What has taken place in the four weeks since the inauguration?

Not a new policy, post-Flynn. What is taking place is a strategic pivot, as planned, to build a war coalition for US control of the oil and gas of the Middle East. It is not about "peace" in cooperation with Russia in Syria. Never was.

See 48:
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/02/the-war-hawks-rolled-donald-trump.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb097c1cc1970d
Then:

Notable was that the stupid and imprecise threat from Flynn led both Russia and China to publicly declare their firm support of Iran, the opposite of what Plan B is supposed to bring. Three days before Flynn fell on his sword, the Kremlin Presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, stated, "Russia disagrees with a remark recently made by US President Donald Trump's that branded Iran as 'the number one terrorist state.' All of you know that Russia enjoys warm relations with Iran, we do cooperate on a range of issues, and we do appreciate our economic ties which, we hope, will go further."

james | Feb 22, 2017 1:50:08 PM | 72
M K Bhadrakumar Has Trump capitulated to Russophobes?

h | Feb 22, 2017 2:19:42 PM | 74
@54 - some of that gossip seems to me to be stretching the facts as are known a wee bit, such as -
With the linkages of this massive radical Islamic spy network spreading to the top of the Democratic Party leadership, and over two dozen Democrat US Congressman and women, ..., these Democratic leftists are even now preparing for their mass arrest by FBI agents loyal to President Trump by showing their power of being able to quickly assemble street mobs-and that once this should happen, would flood America's cities with millions of radicals proclaiming President Trump was creating a dictatorship-therefore leading to the collapse of the United States as civil war would most certainly ensue.

The word 'massive' is overstated given the facts as we know them - three brothers, two wives and I think a son who is 22 years old making $160k a year. Six people does not = massive. Also, no where have I read any hint of arrests of anyone other than the 5/6 mentioned in the reports I've read. That doesn't mean more arrests may not happen, they surely may, but until such time the dramatic tone offered by the author is, well, over the top dramatic.

As well, there are a plethora of excuses for these protests with one of the main one's being to distract, especially Dem/Indy voters from the grotesque loss by their Party leadership in 2016. Rather than holding these LOSERS accountable for LOSING significant power on the federal and state level, these LOSER leaders are doing everything they can to create havoc anywhere and every where BUT where it is most rightly deserved, on themselves and the rotten mess they've made out of a once healthy, viable Party.

Jimmy Dore did a four-part interview with Thomas Frank who wrote Listen, Liberal, or What Ever Happened to the Party of the People - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9u2aR19P3g Well worth one's time if interested to learn how these LOSER Leaders of the Dem Party helped Trump get elected and it's 'Not What You Think' Part 3 of the interview.
___________

b, here's a crazy thought to consider - who says Pence is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help him God? Flynn used the word 'scapegoat' for a reason. Maybe Pence went out there and said what he said and forgot or left out, purposely, or not key details Flynn did provide. Maybe it was Pence who screwed up. You can't fire a VP.

h | Feb 22, 2017 2:31:36 PM | 77
@65 ACLJ did this piece last weekend reminding their supporters what Obama did to expand EO 12333 surveillance powers to all 16 intelligence agencies a mere two weeks before departing the White House - https://aclj.org/national-security/is-the-intelligence-community-trying-to-subvert-our-national-security/

This totalitarian expansion of surveillance powers should scare the hell out of any thinking, engaged American. One has to ask themselves why aren't these protesters throwing a fit about this betrayal. Oh, and Trump hasn't rescinded the Order...yet. I guess he likes the expanded powers. Thank Obama and Team for that!

Temporarily Sane | Feb 22, 2017 2:49:38 PM | 78
b writes
It seems to me that Trump has been rolled with the attacks on Flynn and the insertion of McMaster into his inner circle. I wonder if he, and Bannon, recognize the same problematic development and have a strategy against it.

If regular people who aren't POTUS and don't have a team of advisors working for them can recognize it, I sure hope Trump can. Will he roll over and let the war ghouls have their way? I hope not, the consequences of a capitulation would be disastrous for the world. So far Trump's administration is suffering from a glaring lack of leadership and direction. He needs to seriously up his game.

Nur Adlina | Feb 22, 2017 2:51:47 PM | 79
The emperor has no clothes!...after bullying the rest for the past sixty years or so the ruling factions in the land of the free and brave cant even tie its shoe laces and keep falling on its face:-)..dang when was the last time you guys pulled your collective head out of your collective 'american' ass?..get over it folks USA aint exceptional no more, now go home and mend your backyards!
nobody | Feb 22, 2017 2:53:31 PM | 80
h: "One has to ask themselves why aren't these protesters throwing a fit about this betrayal."

Fundamentally because the average person on this planet is effectively mesmerized & incapable of independent thought. This is not unique to the American Zombie. It is a global phenomena.

But even the barely educated Coastal American Zombie -- who should not be confused with the completely uneducated Flyover American Zombies -- know at a subconscious level that their standard of living comes at the price of trampling of rights, both foreign and domestic.

It just 'feels' nicer, and more modern and cosmopolitan, to be a Coastal Zombie. Remember when that hag bleeted about "deplorables"? That was the dumbed down version of Lumpenproletariat for the barely educated Coastal American Zombies.

So, yes the CAZ turns a blind eye to Obama the war president just as FOAZ ignores the orange wonders' wall to wall swamp creature administration.

james | Feb 22, 2017 3:15:09 PM | 82
lots of conjecture, but nothing substantial to back any of it up.. i feel like i am reading an alternate version of the nyt or something..
nobody | Feb 22, 2017 3:25:32 PM | 83
Temporarily Sane | Feb 22, 2017 3:01:22 PM | 81

As far as I can tell, the designated successor of Yeltsin has made a secret deal with the Zionist entity.

Russia has never, ever, not once, been a friend of Iran.

Don't forget, it was Putin that went along with the completely laughable Iranian nuke threat and force that nation to sign on extended protocols and "joint" (meaning for the benefit of both foreign devils and turbaned devils) business agreement TO LOOT Iran that flushed Iran's sovereign rights down the hole.

And Russia didn't step up to help its "ally" Syria until SAA, Hezbollah & Quds force started turning things around. Then the "heroic" Russians showed up.

And of course, you must have noted that beyond that 1st peace making troika, since then it has been Russia/Turkey.

The awful thing here though is that there is not a single good guy to root for here on this planet.

They all stink to hell. Makes you wonder if they are not just different facades of one singular stinky evil cabal.

telescope | Feb 22, 2017 3:45:11 PM | 84
83.

Things were "turning around" in Syria before Russians showed up? LOL, you must be smoking some good Shia hashish.

The fact is, General Soleimani pitched his tent at the Red Square and was refusing to leave unless Moscow agreed to help - because Assad's regime was simply collapsing in an accelerating fashion.

If not for the Russians, it'd be all over long ago.

You are right, however, that Russia doesn't regard Iran as a friend, since Iran brands anyone but Shias as "infidels".

Penelope | Feb 22, 2017 3:53:43 PM | 85
Re: Flynn dismissal. Robt David Steele, ex-CIA, says Flynn fired over his investigation of Pizzagate. RDS's interview's on the Web. I've very ltd time just now. Haven't watched it.
Lozion | Feb 22, 2017 4:01:22 PM | 86
@84 Iran brands anyone but Shias as "infidels". Major facepalm.. The only country (with Syria) who ever tried to support (yes through Hezbollah) the Palestinian cause 99% of whow are Sunni..

lysias | Feb 22, 2017 4:13:57 PM | 89
You can't fire a VP, but you can leave him without any power, the way FDR did to John Nance Garner and then later to Harry Truman, the way JFK did to LBJ.
john | Feb 22, 2017 4:22:47 PM | 90
juliania says:

They are just going to make it hard on everyone for some time to come

i don't mean to impinge on your optimism, or to presume what your idea of 'recovery' might mean, but for some time to come sounds like a bit of a whitewash. the jig is up , and you'd do well to break this gently to your children. plant the seed.

here in Italy youth unemployment has surpassed 40%. i see distant roiling clouds of uncertainty and glints of unrequited dreams in my daughters dark eyes.

Grieved | Feb 22, 2017 4:54:24 PM | 93
I want to voice agreement with Hoarsewhisperer @33 and Juliania @61. Thanks for hanging in with these vastly deteriorated comments. I'm still reading, but not much to say at present.

I watched the news conference Trump gave on Feb 17. You can find it at whitehouse.gov. I watched and listened to every word, and I saw nothing but an extremely strong man having fun, as he said, in bouncing the corrupt presstitutes around, working to play the Fake News meme against them, taunting and challenging them to ask an intelligent question. He praised those few journalists who asked about real things. He will change the press corps into true reporters eventually I think. It will pay their publishers better, as he says.

I hold with my earlier assessment that he's letting people play with their current ideas and is himself throwing things at the refrigerator to see what sticks. In the end he'll do what works. It's madness to think anything is set in concrete yet - on the other hand, listen to his list of accomplishments achieved in his first few weeks, that no one pays attention to. I won't list them, since he does in his press conference.

Trump in his conference was talking to the people of the country. I have no doubt they're out there. I'm astonished to see so much formerly alt-news becoming the new public culture. Russia plays its part in fighting back against fake news, and Trump is a one-man juggernaut in this regard. I don't know how far he'll go. I don't know if they'll stop him. At a certain point, the energy required to stop him can only backfire into an explosion of truth and light that shows up the background subterfuges for what they are, in the clear light of day. And eventually, the establishment will have to make this same calculation, and every day they leave him alive is another day they drift further away from influence and it may already be too late.

I don't see Trump as having been rolled by anyone. I see everyone who tries to roll him being turned from roller to rollee, and often in public. I think it's a big mistake to over-analyze personnel and pronouncements at this juncture. What will matter are shovel-ready projects, economic improvements, and the hands of the doomsday clock turning gradually backwards. This is all the working people of the world want, in this wicked world of class warfare.

Trump is working, I believe from his own words, for the people and the nation as he in his patriotism conceives it to be. He will do many lesser things that I don't like, and a few major things that I may have to get on my knees to give adequate thanks for. And those few things are the only things that matter.

peter | Feb 22, 2017 5:08:56 PM | 96
I don't know why anyone's missing Flynn. The guy's as dumb as a post. I don't know much about NcMaster but I know that Trump picked him, nobody else.

If the CIA and the liberals wanted to load Trump up with hawks they would have "inserted" Bolton. But nobody gets to insert anybody for that job. No hearings, vetting or fuck all.

I wouldn't be too sure that Trump's main mission is to make peace with Russia. If it is then maybe he should tell his crew. He talks lots of shit but diplomatically it's no different than before. Sorry, I don't buy into it being some part of an incredibly intricate plan. You can't make honey out of dog shit.

Lochearn | Feb 22, 2017 5:40:08 PM | 97
Thanks too to Hoarsewhisperer @33 and Juliania @61, and Grieved, as usual. Comments lately are sounding more and more like those to be found on the Guardian.

ALberto | Feb 22, 2017 5:43:36 PM | 99
This,

Syrian media reported that Israeli aircraft targeted Syrian Army positions, including a convoy bearing weapons for the Hezbollah terrorist group, early Wednesday morning.

The strike was said to have occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m., in the Qalamoun Mountains, northeast of Damascus, close to the Lebanese border.

According to Arab media, outposts of the Syrian Army's 3rd Division were targeted in the strikes.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-jets-strike-outside-damascus-syrian-media/

and this,

I got this from Jim Hanke, former US Attache to Israel. Israel has C130 landing strips along highways south of the Dead Sea. They block traffic, and you can actually see this on Google Maps, which carries live traffic from Israel. They actually block the roads and bring in planeloads of jihadists, which is seen on the traffic analysis, which we have samples of below:

Israel then runs a ratline into Jordan, to the CIA run training camps there and onto the Saudi payroll .then up into Syria where they get Israeli air support and medical aid as well.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2017/02/22/sitrep-on-syria-and-iraq-new-us-policies-worse-than-ever-press-tv-interview/

the VT link features an interesting 5 minute video

Jen | Feb 22, 2017 5:50:42 PM | 100
Grieved @ 93 and also Hoarsewhisperer, Juliania:

I'm inclined to agree with you three, that Trump represents a way or style of leadership that confuses hell out of Capitol Hill and the Washington press corps, and which the latter lacks the language to describe and to communicate to the public at large. Trump has been President for barely a month but The Powers That (Shouldn't) Be are determined to cut him no slack. Everyone else is over-reading their own narrative over Trump and over-analysing what Flynn's resignation means for Trump.

The other thing people have to remember is that the O'Bomber administration deliberately left unsigned bills or orders for the new administration to deal with once the Democrats realised that Killary Klinton had lost the election and the Electoral College. A lot of the flack Trump's government is getting stems from business left behind by Obama, such as the refugee visa ban targeting seven countries, based on a list of targeted nations in previous legislation approved by the Obama government.

[Feb 26, 2017] The EPA that neoliberals want to destory was created by Nixon, more or less our last New Deal consensus President. The point of the EPA was to force industry to price in environmental externalities

Feb 26, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
jsn , February 24, 2017 at 12:04 pm

The EPA was created by Nixon, more or less our last New Deal consensus President. The point of the EPA was to force industry to price in environmental externalities which in the high price/high inflation vision of the New Deal would have created new jobs and real wealth while fostering investment in real innovation. The Reagan Revolution started by taking the ideological mush of Carter Administration proto-NeoLiberal thinking about anti-trust, monetarism and wage push inflation and applied Thatchers full bore "there is no such thing as society" NeoLiberalism. This new ideology justified gutting organized Labor, enforcing anti-trust FOR "efficiency" rather than AGAINST monopolistic, power concentrating, job eliminating industry consolidation and rationalized choking any growth in wages, labor power, as inflationary.

Once these policies were in place, the Government that implemented them went on a crusade against itself, the "big government" necessary to repair the damage it had itself just done: wages decoupled from productivity, consumer debt began its inexorable climb, government was branded "the problem, not the solution" and the Treasury inventory held at the Fed, necessary to underwrite the outstanding stock of the worlds dollar denominated, privately held (non USG) wealth, was re-branded, falsely, as a "burdensome debt on future generations". To that point, the Institutionalists and residual Functional Finance people responsible for fiscal and monetary policy clearly understood this "debt" was the necessary liability side to the assets held in dollar instruments outside the Federal Government (which continues to be the case: to reduce the Federal "debt" is to reduce the outstanding holdings of dollar wealth: every liability has its matching asset somewhere and to be rid of one is to be rid of the other).

The transfer of power from Labor to Corporations was a very apparent reality in industrialized areas, but an invisible shift outside the lives of the newly precariat industrial workers (I remember being mystified and frightened when laid off auto workers, some living in their cars, showed up in Austin in the mid 70s looking for work). Newly stagnant wages were blamed on "regulations" to convince the half of the population that lived outside the urban economies where the benefits of New Deal high cost, high inflation fiscal and monetary policy delivered the bulk of its benefits, that the new costs created by fiscal and monetary austerity were in fact caused by the EPA and work safety rules. In the new ideology of low costs and low inflation, incentives reversed and investment to to clean manufacturing was presented as a cost that industry couldn't afford that in fact caused industry to fire workers or reduce wages to pay for.

The low cost, low inflation rationale makes intuitive sense to conservative rural populations and was easily internalized by worker/producers who were now told to think of themselves as "consumers": for a consumer low cost low inflation is good, for a worker/producer, high wages and costs were good. High prices and high wages with moderately high inflation were a mechanism whereby growth was used to encourage investment in the public interest: environmental and safety regulations. Investments in these areas created new, better and safer processes and under the old anti-trust regime ensured productivity gains were shared with labor through the wage competition of full employment.

It's a long, complicated mess, but its an integrated problem. Real wealth, health, education and a clean environment are in the most important ways synonyms. They need to be pursued together and thought of holistically. Universal education; universal healthcare; universal, free, continuing education; a life sustaining environment are all real wealth and should never be confused with money or costs.

Dead Dog , February 24, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Good post, Sport. It's a mess that doesn't seem like it will fixed

There is no way US residents should put up with this shit.

I'd be movin if I could

jsn , February 24, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Where to? The environment is global, you can run but you can't hide.

I'll stay here and duke it out, if could just get a clear swing at something that would make a difference!

[Feb 25, 2017] Iraq Is It Oil naked capitalism

Feb 25, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Arthur MacEwan. Originally published at Triple Crisis

The Issue Revisited

Around the time that the United States invaded Iraq, 14 years ago, I was in an auditorium at the University of Massachusetts Boston to hear then-Senator John Kerry try to justify the action. As he got into his speech, a loud, slow, calm voice came from the back of the room: "O – I – L." Kerry tried to ignore the comment. But, again and again, "O – I – L." Kerry simply went on with his prepared speech. The speaker from the back of the room did not continue long, but he had succeeded in determining the tenor of the day.

Looking back on U.S. involvement in the Iraq, it appears to have been largely a failure. Iraq, it turned out, had no "weapons of mass destruction," but this original rationalization for invasion offered by the U.S. government was soon replaced by the goal of "regime change" and the creation of a "democratic Iraq." The regime was changed, and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain was captured and executed. But it would be very had to claim that a democratic Iraq either exists or is in the making-to say nothing of the rise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and the general destabilization in the Middle East, both of which the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped propel.

Yet, perhaps on another scale, the invasion would register as at least a partial success. This is the scale of O – I – L

The Profits from Oil

At the time of the U.S. invasion, I wrote an article for Dollars & Sense titled "Is It Oil?" (available online here ). I argued that, while the invasion may have had multiple motives, oil-or more precisely, profit from oil-was an important factor. Iraq, then and now, has huge proven oil reserves, not in the same league as Saudi Arabia, but in group of oil producing countries just behind the Saudis. It might appear, then, that the United States wanted access to Iraqi oil in order to meet the needs of our highly oil-dependent lifestyles in this country. After all, the United States today, with just over 4% of the world's population, accounts for 20% of the world's annual oil use; China, with around 20% of the world's population is a distant second in global oil use, at 13%. Even after opening new reserves in recent years, U.S. proven reserves amount to only 3% of the world total.

Except in extreme circumstances, however, access to oil is not a major problem for this county. And it was not in 2003. As I pointed out back then, the United States bought 284 million barrels of oil from Iraq in 2001, about 7% of U.S. imports, even while the two countries were in a virtual state of war. In 2015, only 30% as much oil came to the United States from Iraq, amounting to just 2.4% of total U.S. oil imports. Further, in 2015, while the United States has had extremely hostile relations with Venezuela, 24% of U.S. oil imports came from that country's nationalized oil industry. It would seem that, in the realm of commerce, bad political relations between buyers and sellers are not necessarily an obstacle.

For the U.S. government, the Iraq oil problem was not so much access, in the sense of meeting U.S. oil needs, as the fact that U.S. firms had been frozen out of Iraq since the country's oil industry was nationalized in 1972. They and the other oil "majors" based in U.S.-allied countries were not getting a share of the profits that were generated from the exploitation of Iraqi oil. Profits from oil exploitation come not only to the oil companies-ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, British Petroleum, and the other industry "majors"-but also to the companies that supply and operate equipment, drill wells, and provide other services that bring the oil out of the ground and to consumers around the world-for example, the U.S. firms Halliburton, Emerson, Baker Hughes, and others. They were also not getting a share of the Iraqi oil action. (Actually, when vice president to be Dick Cheney was running Halliburton, in the period before the invasion, the company managed to undertake some operations in Iraq through a subsidiary, in spite of federal restrictions preventing U.S. firms from doing business in Iraq.)

After the Troops

In the aftermath of the invasion and since most U.S. troops have been withdrawn, things have changed. "Prior to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, U.S. and other western oil companies were all but completely shut out of Iraq's oil market," oil industry analyst Antonia Juhasz told Al Jazeera in 2012. "But thanks to the invasion and occupation, the companies are now back inside Iraq and producing oil there for the first time since being forced out of the country in 1973."

From the perspective of U.S. firms the picture is mixed. Firms based in Russia and China have developed operations in Iraq, and even an Indonesian-based firm is involved. Still, ExxonMobil (see box) has established a significant stake in Iraq, having obtained leases on approximately 900,000 onshore acres and by the end of 2013 had developed several wells in Iraq's West Qurna field. Exxon also has agreements with the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq to explore for oil. Chevron holds an 80% stake and is the operator of the Qara Dagh block in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, but as of mid-2014 the project was still in the exploratory phase and there was no production. No other U.S. oil companies have developed operations in Iraq. The UK-headquartered BP (formerly British Petroleum) and the Netherlands-headquartered Shell, however, are also significantly engaged in Iraq.

While data are limited on the operations of U.S. and other oil service firms in Iraq, they seem to have done well. For example, according to a 2011 New York Times article:

The oil services companies Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford International [founded in Texas, now incorporated in Switzerland] and Schlumberger [based in France] already won lucrative drilling subcontracts and are likely to bid on many more. "Iraq is a huge opportunity for contractors," Alex Munton, a Middle East analyst for Wood Mackenzie, a research and consulting firm based in Edinburgh, said by telephone. "There will be an enormous scale of investment."

The Right to Access

While U.S. oil companies and oil service firms-as well as firms from other countries-are engaged in Iraq, they and their U.S. government supporters have not gained the full legal rights they would desire. In 2007, the U.S. government pressed the Iraqi government to pass the "Iraq Hydrocarbons Law." The law would, among other things, take the majority of Iraqi oil out of the hands of the Iraqi government and assure the right of foreign firms to control much of the oil for decades to come. The law, however, has never been enacted, first due to general opposition to a reversal the 1972 nationalization of the industry, and recently due to continuing disputes between the government in Baghdad and the government of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.

U.S. foreign policy, as I elaborated in the 2003 article, has long been designed not simply to protect U.S.-based firms in their international operations, but to establish the right of the firms to access and security wherever around the world. Oil firms have been especially important in promoting and gaining from this right, but firms from finance to pharmaceuticals and many others have been beneficiaries and promoters of the policy.

Whatever else, as the Iraq and Middle East experience has demonstrated, this right comes at a high cost. The best estimate of the financial cost to the United States of the war in Iraq is $3 trillion. Between the 2003 invasion and early 2017, U.S. military forces suffered 4,505 fatalities in the war, and allied forces another 321. And, of course, most of all Iraqi deaths: estimates of the number of Iraqis killed range between 200,000 and 500,000.

Altandmain , February 25, 2017 at 1:03 am

Basically the US seems to have invaded for the enrichment of the multinational corporations at the expense of the rest of the world. Americans will pay a monetary price, but worse many have died and many more have lost their lives.

Even if it had gone to plan, the average American would not have benefited. They would have paid the costs for war. Let us face the reality. There was no noble intent in invading Iraq. It was all a lie.

The ridiculousness of Paul Wolfowitz and his claim that invading Iraq could be paid for through its oil revenue has become apparent. It has destroyed the stability of the area. We should nor idealize Saddam, who was a horrible dictator, but the idea that the US is going to be able to invade and impose its will was foolish.

There was never any need to invade Iraq. If oil was the goal, Washington DC could easily have lifted the sanctions around Iraq. I doubt that the neoconservatives believed that Saddam was developing nuclear weapons of destruction or had anything to do with the 9-11-2001 attacks, which is why they claimed they invaded.

If this madness does not stop, it will do much more damage, and like the Soviet Union, bankrupt the US.

Mike , February 25, 2017 at 1:06 am

Great overview of the real tragedy of Iraq-US companies having to share the spoils.

It reminds me of Russia: the US seethes because Putin is the one looting the country and not them.

Back in the 90s President Clinton issued countless demands to Yeltsin about oil pipelines and output increases, showing great impatience when the Russians dared to suggest environmental impact studies. (See the linked UPI article.) If only Putin would have let us frack the Kremlin he'd be our best friend!

http://www.upi.com/Archives/1994/09/28/Clinton-presses-Yeltsin-on-oil-deals/6188780724800/

[Feb 25, 2017] The push for economic oligarchy under neoliberalism is continual, so must be the push back.

Notable quotes:
"... We find that Citizens United increased the GOP's average seat share in the state legislature by five percentage points. ..."
"... But in states with weak unions and strong corporations, the decision appeared to increase Republican seat share by as much as 12 points. ..."
Feb 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
geoff : February 25, 2017 at 09:14 AM , 2017 at 09:14 AM
Our research focuses on state legislative elections because we can more easily isolate the effect of Citizens United compared with other factors that influence election outcomes at various levels (such as the popularity of the president). Before 2010, 23 states had bans on corporations and union funding of outside spending. As a result of the court's ruling, these states had to change their campaign laws. We can then compare the changes before and after Citizens United in these 23 states with the same changes in the 27 states whose laws did not change. The effect of the court's ruling is then simply the differences between these two before-and-after comparisons.

We find that Citizens United increased the GOP's average seat share in the state legislature by five percentage points. That is a large effect - large enough that, were it applied to the past twelve Congresses, partisan control of the House would have switched eight times. In line with a previous study, we also find that the vote share of Republican candidates increased three to four points, on average.

We also uncovered evidence that these results stem from the influence of corporations and unions. In states where union membership is relatively high and corporations relatively weak, Citizens United did not have a discernible effect on the partisan balance of the state legislature. But in states with weak unions and strong corporations, the decision appeared to increase Republican seat share by as much as 12 points.

https://electionlawblog.org/?p=91308

election rigging, long game version, and usually much more effective than imaginary interstate busing.

The push for economic oligarchy is continual, so must be the push back.

[Feb 21, 2017] Globalisation and Economic Nationalism naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers', and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation. ..."
"... From an energy point of view globalisation is a disaster. The insane level of fossil fuels that this current world requires for transportation of necessities (food and clothing) is making this world an unstable world. Ipso Facto. ..."
"... Those who believe that globalisation is bringing value to the world should reconsider their views. The current globalisation has created both monopolies on a geopolitical ground, ie TV make or shipbuilding in Asia. ..."
"... Do you seriously believe that these new geographical and corporate monopolies does not create the kind bad outcomes that traditional – country-centric ones – monopolies have in the past? ..."
"... Then there is the practical issue of workers having next to no bargaining power under globalization. Do people really suppose that Mexican workers would be willing to strike so that their US counterparts, already making ficew times as much money, would get a raise? ..."
"... Basically our elite sold us a bill of goods is why we lost manufacturing. Greed. Nothing else. ..."
"... So proof is required to rollback globalization, but no proof was required to launch it or continue dishing it out? It's good to be the King, eh? ..."
"... America hasn't just gotten rid of the low level jobs. It has also gotten rid of supervisors and factory managers. Those are skills you can't get back overnight. For US plants in Mexico, you might have US managers there or be able to get special visas to let those managers come to the US. But US companies have shifted a ton, and I meant a ton, to foreign subcontractors. Some would put operations in the US to preserve access to US customers, but their managers won't speak English. How do you make this work? ..."
"... The real issue is commitment. Very little manufacturing will be re-shored unless companies are convinced that it is in their longterm interest to do so. ..."
"... There is also what I've heard referred to as the "next bench" phenomenon, in which products arise because someone designs a new product/process to solve a manufacturing problem. Unless one has great foresight, the designer of the new product must be aware there is a problem to solve. ..."
"... When a country is involved in manufacturing, the citizens employed will have exposure to production problems and issues. ..."
"... After his speech he took questions. I asked "Would Toyota ever separate design from manufacturing?" as HP had done, shipping all manufacturing to Asia. "No" was his answer. ..."
"... In my experience, it is way too useful to have the line be able to easily call the designer in question and have him come take a look at what his design is doing. HP tried to get around that by sending part of the design team to Asia to watch the startup. Didn't work as well. And when problems emerged later, it was always difficult to debug by remote control. ..."
"... How about mass imports of cheap workers into western countries in the guise of emigrants to push down worker's pay and gut things like unions. That factor played a decisive factor in both the Brexit referendum and the US 2016 elections. Or the subsidized exportation of western countries industrial equipment to third world countries, leaving local workers swinging in the wind. ..."
"... The data sets do not capture some of the most important factors in what they are saying. It is like putting together a paper on how and why white men voted in the 2016 US elections as they did – and forgetting to mention the effect of the rest of the voters involved. ..."
"... I had a similar reaction. This research was reinforcing info about everyone's resentment over really bad distribution of wealth, as far as it went, but it was so unsatisfying ..."
"... "Right to work" is nothing other than a way to undercut quality of work for "run-to-the-bottom competitive pay." ..."
"... I've noticed that the only people in favor of globalization are those whose jobs are not under threat from it. ..."
"... First off, economic nationalism is not necessarily right wing. I would certainly classify Bernie Sanders as an economic nationalist (against open borders and against "free" trade). Syriza and Podemos could arguably be called rather ineffective economic nationalist parties. I would say the whole ideology of social democracy is based on the Swedish nationalist concept of a "folkhem", where the nation is the home and the citizens are the folk. ..."
"... So China is Turmpism on steroids. Israel obviously is as well. Why do some nations get to be blatantly Trumpist while for others these policies are strictly forbidden? ..."
"... One way to look at Globalization is as an updated version of the post WW1 Versailles Treaty which imposed reparations on a defeated Germany for all the harm they caused during the Great War. The Globalized Versailles Treaty is aimed at the American and European working classes for the crimes of colonialism, racism, slavery and any other bad things the 1st world has done to the 3rd in the past. ..."
"... And yes, this applies to Bernie Sanders as well. During that iconic interview where Sanders denounced open borders and pushed economic nationalism, the Neoliberal interviewer immediately played the global guilt card in response. ..."
"... During colonialism the 3rd world had a form of open borders imposed on it by the colonial powers, where the 3rd world lost control of who what crossed their borders while the 1st world themselves maintained a closed border mercantilist regime of strict filters. So the anti-colonialist movement was a form of Trumpist economic nationalism where the evil foreigners were given the boot and the nascent nations applied filters to their borders. ..."
"... Nationalism (my opinion) can do this – economic nationalism. And of course other people think oh gawd, not that again – it's so inefficient for my investments- I can't get fast returns that way but that's just the point. ..."
"... China was not a significant exporter until the 2001 inclusion in WTO: it cannot possibly have caused populist uprisings in Italy and Belgium in the 1990s. It was probably too early even for Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, who was killed in 2002, Le Pen's electoral success in the same year, Austria's FPOE in 1999, and so on. ..."
"... In the 1930s Keynes realized, income was just as important as profit as this produced a sustainable system that does not rely on debt to maintain demand. ..."
"... "Although commercial banks create money through lending, they cannot do so freely without limit. Banks are limited in how much they can lend if they are to remain profitable in a competitive banking system." ..."
"... The Romans are the basis. Patricians, Equites and Plebs. Most of us here are clearly plebeian. Time to go place some bets, watch the chariot races and gladiatorial fights, and get my bread subsidy. Ciao. ..."
"... 80-90% of Bonds and Equities ( at least in USA) are owned by top 10 %. 0.7% own 45% of global wealth. 8 billionaires own more than 50% of wealth than that of bottom 50% in our Country! ..."
"... Globalisation has caused a surge in support for nationalist and radical right political platforms. ..."
"... Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems to be a move in that direction. ..."
"... Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers' ..."
"... and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. ..."
"... The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation. ..."
Feb 21, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DanielDeParis , February 20, 2017 at 1:09 am

Definitely a pleasant read but IMHO wrong conclusion: Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers', and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies. The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation.

From an energy point of view globalisation is a disaster. The insane level of fossil fuels that this current world requires for transportation of necessities (food and clothing) is making this world an unstable world. Ipso Facto.

We need a world where goods move little as possible (yep!) when smart ideas and technology (medical, science, industry, yep that's essential) move as much as possible. Internet makes this possible. This is no dream but a XXIth century reality.

Work – the big one – is required and done where and when it occurs. That is on all continents if not in every country. Not in an insanely remote suburbs of Asia.

Those who believe that globalisation is bringing value to the world should reconsider their views. The current globalisation has created both monopolies on a geopolitical ground, ie TV make or shipbuilding in Asia.

Do you seriously believe that these new geographical and corporate monopolies does not create the kind bad outcomes that traditional – country-centric ones – monopolies have in the past?

Yves Smith can have nasty words when it comes to discussing massive trade surplus and policies that supports them. That's my single most important motivation for reading this challenging blog, by the way.

Thanks for the blog:)

tony , February 20, 2017 at 5:09 am

Another thing is that reliance on complex supply chains is risky. The book 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed describes how the ancient Mediterranian civilization collapsed when the supply chains stopped working.

Then there is the practical issue of workers having next to no bargaining power under globalization. Do people really suppose that Mexican workers would be willing to strike so that their US counterparts, already making ficew times as much money, would get a raise?

Is Finland somehow supposed to force the US and China to adopt similar worker rights and environmental protections? No, globalization, no matter how you slice it,is a race to the bottom.

digi_owl , February 20, 2017 at 10:12 am

Sadly protectionism gets conflated with empire building, because protectionism was at its height right before WW1.

Altandmain , February 20, 2017 at 1:35 am

I do not agree with the article's conclusion either.

Reshoring would have 1 of 2 outcomes:

Basically our elite sold us a bill of goods is why we lost manufacturing. Greed. Nothing else.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 3:07 am

The conclusion is the least important thing. Conclusions are just interpretations, afterthoughts, divagations (which btw are often just sneaky ways to get your work published by TPTB, surreptitiously inserting radical stuff under the noses of the guardians of orthodoxy).

The value of these reports is in providing hardcore statistical evidence and quantification for something for which so many people have a gut feeling but just cann't prove it (although many seem to think that just having a strong opinion is sufficient).

Yves Smith Post author , February 20, 2017 at 3:27 am

Yes, correct. Intuition is great for coming up with hypotheses, but it is important to test them. And while a correlation isn't causation, it at least says the hypothesis isn't nuts on its face.

In addition, studies like this are helpful in challenging the oft-made claim, particularly in the US, that people who vote for nationalist policies are bigots of some stripe.

KnotRP , February 20, 2017 at 10:02 am

So proof is required to rollback globalization, but no proof was required to launch it or continue dishing it out? It's good to be the King, eh?

WheresOurTeddy , February 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm

KnotRP, as far as the Oligarchy is concerned, they don't need proof for anything #RememberTheHackedElectionOf2016

/s

Yves Smith Post author , February 20, 2017 at 6:48 am

You are missing the transition costs, which will take ten years, maybe a generation.

America hasn't just gotten rid of the low level jobs. It has also gotten rid of supervisors and factory managers. Those are skills you can't get back overnight. For US plants in Mexico, you might have US managers there or be able to get special visas to let those managers come to the US. But US companies have shifted a ton, and I meant a ton, to foreign subcontractors. Some would put operations in the US to preserve access to US customers, but their managers won't speak English. How do you make this work?

The only culture with demonstrated success in working with supposedly hopeless US workers is the Japanese, who proved that with the NUMMI joint venture with GM in one of its very worst factories (in terms of the alleged caliber of the workforce, as in many would show up for work drunk). Toyota got the plant to function at better than average (as in lower) defect levels and comparable productivity to its plants in Japan, which was light years better than Big Three norms.

I'm not sure any other foreign managers are as sensitive to detail and the fine points of working conditions as the Japanese (having worked with them extensively, the Japanese hear frequencies of power dynamics that are lost on Westerners. And the Chinese do not even begin to have that capability, as much as they have other valuable cultural attributes).

Katharine , February 20, 2017 at 10:24 am

That is really interesting about the Japanese sensitivity to detail and power dynamics. If anyone has managed to describe this in any detail, I would love to read more, though I suppose if their ability is alien to most Westerners the task of describing it might also be too much to handle.

Left in Wisconsin , February 20, 2017 at 10:39 am

I lean more to ten years than a generation. And in the grand scheme of things, 10 years is nothing.

The real issue is commitment. Very little manufacturing will be re-shored unless companies are convinced that it is in their longterm interest to do so. Which means having a sense that the US government is serious, and will continue to be serious, about penalizing off-shoring.

Regardless of Trump's bluster, which has so far only resulted in a handful of companies halting future offshoring decisions (all to the good), we are nowhere close to that yet.

John Wright , February 20, 2017 at 10:52 am

There is also what I've heard referred to as the "next bench" phenomenon, in which products arise because someone designs a new product/process to solve a manufacturing problem. Unless one has great foresight, the designer of the new product must be aware there is a problem to solve.

When a country is involved in manufacturing, the citizens employed will have exposure to production problems and issues.

Sometimes the solution to these problems can lead to new products outside of one's main business, for example the USA's Kingsford Charcoal arose from a scrap wood disposal problem that Henry Ford had.

https://www.kingsford.com/country/about-us/

If one googles for "patent applications by countries" one gets these numbers, which could be an indirect indication of some of the manufacturing shift from the USA to Asia.

Patent applications for the top 10 offices, 2014

1. China 928,177
2. US 578,802
3. Japan 325,989
4. South Korea 210,292

What is not captured in these numbers are manufacturing processes known as "trade secrets" that are not disclosed in a patent. The idea that the USA can move move much of its manufacturing overseas without long term harming its workforce and economy seems implausible to me.

marku52 , February 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm

While a design EE at HP, they brought in an author who had written about Toyota's lean design method, which was currently the management hot button du jour. After his speech he took questions. I asked "Would Toyota ever separate design from manufacturing?" as HP had done, shipping all manufacturing to Asia. "No" was his answer.

In my experience, it is way too useful to have the line be able to easily call the designer in question and have him come take a look at what his design is doing. HP tried to get around that by sending part of the design team to Asia to watch the startup. Didn't work as well. And when problems emerged later, it was always difficult to debug by remote control.

And BTW, after manufacturing went overseas, management told us for costing to assume "Labor is free". Some level playing field.

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2017 at 2:00 am

Oh gawd! The man talks about the effects of globalization and says that the solution is a "a more inclusive model of globalization"? Seriously? Furthermore he singles out Chinese imports as the cause of people being pushed to the right. Yeah, right.

How about mass imports of cheap workers into western countries in the guise of emigrants to push down worker's pay and gut things like unions. That factor played a decisive factor in both the Brexit referendum and the US 2016 elections. Or the subsidized exportation of western countries industrial equipment to third world countries, leaving local workers swinging in the wind.

This study is so incomplete it is almost useless. The only thing that comes to mind to say about this study is the phrase "Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" And what form of appropriate compensation of its 'losers' would they suggest? Training for non-existent jobs? Free moving fees to the east or west coast for Americans in flyover country? Subsidized emigration fees to third world countries where life is cheaper for workers with no future where they are?

Nice try fellas but time to redo your work again until it is fit for a passing grade.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 3:00 am

How crazy of them to have used generalized linear mixed models with actual data carefully compiled and curated when they could just asked you right?

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2017 at 4:19 am

Aw jeez, mate – you've just hurt my feelings here. Take a look at the actual article again. The data sets do not capture some of the most important factors in what they are saying. It is like putting together a paper on how and why white men voted in the 2016 US elections as they did – and forgetting to mention the effect of the rest of the voters involved.

Hey, here is an interesting thought experiment for you. How about we apply the scientific method to the past 40 years of economic theory since models with actual data strike your fancy. If we find that the empirical data does not support a theory such as the theory of economic neoliberalism, we can junk it then and replace it with something that actually works then. So far as I know, modern economics seems to be immune to scientific rigour in their methods unlike the real sciences.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 4:38 am

I feel your pain Rev.

Not all relevant factors need to be included for a statistical analysis to be valid, as long as relevant ignored factors are randomized amongst the sampling units, but you know that of course.

Thanks for you kind words about the real sciences, we work hard to keep it real, but once again, in all fairness, between you and me mate, is not all rigour, it is a lot more Feyerabend than Popper.

The Rev Kev , February 20, 2017 at 5:41 am

What you say is entirely true. The trouble has always been to make sure that that statistical analysis actually reflects the real world enough to make it valid. An example of where it all falls apart can be seen in the political world when the pundits, media and all the pollsters assured America that Clinton had it in the bag. It was only after the dust had settled that it was revealed how bodgy the methodology used had been.

By the way, Karl Popper and Paul Feyerabend sound very interesting so thanks for the heads up. Have you heard of some of the material of another bloke called Mark Blyth at all? He has some interesting observations to make on modern economic practices.

susan the other , February 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I had a similar reaction. This research was reinforcing info about everyone's resentment over really bad distribution of wealth, as far as it went, but it was so unsatisfying and I immediately thought of Blyth who laments the whole phylogeny of economics as more or less serving the rich.

The one solution he offered up a while ago was (paraphrasing) 'don't sweat the deficit spending because it is all 6s in the end' which is true if distribution doesn't stagnate. So as it stands now, offshoring arms, legs and firstborns is like 'nothing to see here, please move on'. The suggestion that we need a more inclusive form of global trade kind of begs the question. Made me uneasy too.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Please don't pool pundits and media with the authors of objective works like the one we are commenting :-)

You are welcome, you might also be interested in Lakatos, these 3 are some of the most interesting philosophers of science of the 20th century, IMO.

Blyth has been in some posts here at NC recently.

relstprof , February 20, 2017 at 4:30 am

"Gut things like unions." How so? In my recent interaction with my apartment agency's preferred contractors, random contractors not unionized, I experienced a 6 month-long disaster.

These construction workers bragged that in 2 weeks they would have the complete job done - a reconstructed deck and sunroom. Verbatim quote: "Union workers complete the job and tear it down to keep everyone paying." Ha Ha! What a laugh!

Only to have these same dudes keep saying "next week", "next week", "next week", "next week". The work began in August and only was finished (not completely!) in late January. Sloppy crap! Even the apartment agency head maintenance guy who I finally bitched at said "I guess good work is hard to come by these days."

Of the non-union guys he hired.

My state just elected a republican governor who promised "right to work." This was just signed into law.

Immigrants and Mexicans had nothing to do with it. They're not an impact in my city. "Right to work" is nothing other than a way to undercut quality of work for "run-to-the-bottom competitive pay."

Now I await whether my rent goes up to pay for this nonsense.

bob , February 20, 2017 at 11:24 pm

They look at the labor cost, assume someone can do it cheaper. They don't think it's that difficult. Maybe it's not. The hard part of any and all construction work is getting it finished. Getting started is easy. Getting it finished on time? Nah, you can't afford that.

Karl Kolchak , February 20, 2017 at 10:22 am

I've noticed that the only people in favor of globalization are those whose jobs are not under threat from it. Beyond that, I think the flood of cheap Chinese goods is actually helping suppress populist anger by allowing workers whose wages are dropping in real value terms to maintain the illusion of prosperity. To me, a more "inclusive" form of globalization would include replacing every economist with a Chinese immigrant earning minimum wage. That way they'd get to "experience" how awesome it is and the value of future economic analysis would be just as good.

The Trumpening , February 20, 2017 at 2:27 am

I'm going to question a few of the author's assumptions.

First off, economic nationalism is not necessarily right wing. I would certainly classify Bernie Sanders as an economic nationalist (against open borders and against "free" trade). Syriza and Podemos could arguably be called rather ineffective economic nationalist parties. I would say the whole ideology of social democracy is based on the Swedish nationalist concept of a "folkhem", where the nation is the home and the citizens are the folk.

Secondly, when discussing the concept of economic nationalism and the nation of China, it would be interesting to discuss how these two things go together. China has more billionaires than refugees accepted in the past 20 years. Also it is practically impossible for a non Han Chinese person to become a naturalized Chinese citizen. And when China buys Boeing aircraft, they wisely insist on the production being done in China. A close look at Japan would yield similar results.

So China is Turmpism on steroids. Israel obviously is as well. Why do some nations get to be blatantly Trumpist while for others these policies are strictly forbidden?

One way to look at Globalization is as an updated version of the post WW1 Versailles Treaty which imposed reparations on a defeated Germany for all the harm they caused during the Great War. The Globalized Versailles Treaty is aimed at the American and European working classes for the crimes of colonialism, racism, slavery and any other bad things the 1st world has done to the 3rd in the past.

Of course during colonialism the costs were socialized within colonizing states and so it was the people of the colonial power who paid those costs that weren't borne by the colonial subjects themselves, who of course paid dearly, and it was the oligarchic class that privatized the colonial profits. But the 1st world oligarchs and their urban bourgeoisie are in strong agreement that the deplorable working classes are to blame for systems that hurt working classes but powerfully enriched the wealthy!

And so with the recent rebellions against Globalization, the 1st and 3rd world oligarchs are convinced these are nothing more than the 1st world working classes attempting to shirk their historic guilt debt by refusing to pay the rightful reparations in terms of standard of living that workers deserve to pay for the crimes committed in the past by their wealthy co-nationals.

And yes, this applies to Bernie Sanders as well. During that iconic interview where Sanders denounced open borders and pushed economic nationalism, the Neoliberal interviewer immediately played the global guilt card in response.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 3:23 am

Interesting. Another way to look at it is from the point of view of entropy and closed vs open systems. Before globalisation the 1st world working classes enjoyed a high standard of living which was possible because their system was relatively closed to the rest of the world. It was a high entropy, strongly structured socio-economic arrangement, with a large difference in standard of living between 1st world and 3rd world working classes. Once their system became more open by virtue (or vice) of globalisation, entropy increased as commanded by the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics so the 1st world and 3rd world working classes became more equalised. The socio-economic arrangements became less structured. This means for the Trumpening kind of politicians it is a steep uphill battle, to increase entropy again.

The Trumpening , February 20, 2017 at 3:56 am

Yes, I agree, but if we step back in history a bit we can see the colonial period as a sort of reverse globalization which perhaps portends a bit of optimism for the Trumpening.

I use the term open and closed borders but these are not precise. What I am really saying is that open borders does not allow a country to filter out negative flows across their border. Closed borders does allow a nation to impose a filter. So currently the US has more open borders (filters are frowned upon) and China has closed borders (they can filter out what they don't want) despite the fact that obviously China has plenty of things crossing its border.

During colonialism the 3rd world had a form of open borders imposed on it by the colonial powers, where the 3rd world lost control of who what crossed their borders while the 1st world themselves maintained a closed border mercantilist regime of strict filters. So the anti-colonialist movement was a form of Trumpist economic nationalism where the evil foreigners were given the boot and the nascent nations applied filters to their borders.

So the 3rd world to some extent (certainly in China at least) was able to overcome entropy and regain control of their borders. You are correct in that it will be an uphill struggle for the 1st world to repeat this trick. In the ideal world both forms of globalization (colonialism and the current form) would be sidelined and all nations would be allowed to use the border filters they think would best protect the prosperity of their citizens.

Another good option would be a version of the current globalization but where the losers are the wealthy oligarchs themselves and the winners are the working classes. It's hard to imagine it's easy if you try!

What's interesting about the concept of entropy is that it stands in contradiction to the concept of perpetual progress. I'm sure there is some sort of thesis, antithesis, synthesis solution to these conflicting concepts.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 6:07 am

To overcome an entropy current requires superb skill commanding a large magnitude of work applied densely on a small substratum (think of the evolution of the DNA, the internal combustion engine). I believe the Trumpening laudable effort and persuasion would have a chance of success in a country the size of The Netherlands, or even France, but the USA, the largest State machinery in the world, hardly. When the entropy current flooded the Soviet system the solution came firstly in the form of shrinkage.

We need to think more about it, a lot more, in order to succeed in this 1st world uphill struggle to repeat the trick. I am pretty sure that as Pierre de Fermat famously claimed about his alleged proof, the solution "is too large to fit in the margins of this book".

susan the other , February 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

My little entropy epiphany goes like this: it's like boxes – containers, if you will, of energy or money, or trade goods, the flow of which is best slowed down so everybody can grab some. Break it all down, decentralize it and force it into containers which slow the pace and share the wealth.

Nationalism (my opinion) can do this – economic nationalism. And of course other people think oh gawd, not that again – it's so inefficient for my investments- I can't get fast returns that way but that's just the point.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 10:51 pm

I like your epiphany susan.

John Wright , February 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Don't you mean "It was a LOWER entropy (as in "more ordered"), strongly structured socio-economic arrangement, with a large difference in standard of living between 1st world"?

The entropy increased as a consequence of human guided globalization.

Of course, from a thermodynamic standpoint, the earth is not a closed system as it is continually flooded with new energy in the form of solar radiation.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Yes, thank you, I made that mistake twice in the post you replying to.

Hemang , February 20, 2017 at 4:54 am

The Globalized Versailles Treaty ! Permit me a short laughter . The terms of the crippling treaty were dictated by the victors largely on insecurities of France.

The crimes of the 1st against the 3rd go on even now- the only difference is that some of the South like China and India are major nuclear powers now.

The racist crimes in the US are even more flagrant- the Blacks whose labour as slaves allowed for cotton revolution enabling US capitalists to ride the industrial horse are yet to be rehabilitated , Obama or no Obama. It is a matter of profound shame.

The benefits of Globalization have gone only to the cartel of 1st and 3rd World Capitalists. And they are very happy as the lower classes keep fighting. Very happy indeed.

DorDeDuca , February 20, 2017 at 1:22 pm

That is solely class (crass) warfare. You can not project the inequalities of the past to the unsuspecting paying customers of today.

Hemang , February 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm

The gorgon cry of the past is all over the present , including in " unsuspecting" paying folks of today! Blacks being brought to US as slave agricultural labour was Globalisation. Their energy vibrated the machinery of Economics subsequently. What Nationalism and where is it hiding pray? Bogus analysis here , yes.

dontknowitall , February 20, 2017 at 5:40 am

The reigning social democratic parties in Europe today are not the Swedish traditional parties of yesteryear they have morphed into neoliberal austerians committed to globalization and export driven economic models at any cost (CETA vote recently) and most responsible for the economic collapse in the EU

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/02/15/austerity-was-a-bigger-disaster-than-we-thought/?utm_term=.e4b799b14d81

disc_writes , February 20, 2017 at 4:22 am

I wonder they chose Chinese imports as the cause of the right-wing shift, when they themselves admit that the shift started in the 1990s. At that time, there were few Chinese imports and China was not even part of the WHO.

If they are thinking of movements like the Lega Nord and Vlaams Blok, the reasons are clearly not to be found in imports, but in immigration, the welfare state and lack of national homogeneity, perceived or not.

And the beginnings of the precariat.

So it is not really the globalization of commerce that did it, but the loss of relevance of national and local identities.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 4:41 am

One cause does not exclude the other, they may have worked synergistically.

disc_writes , February 20, 2017 at 5:34 am

Correlation does not imply causation, but lack of correlation definitely excludes it.

The Lega was formed in the 1980s, Vlaams Blok at the end of the '70s. They both had their best days in the 1990s. Chinese imports at the time were insignificant.

I cannot find the breakdown of Chinese imports per EU country, but here are the total Chinese exports since 1983:

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/china/exports

China was not a significant exporter until the 2001 inclusion in WTO: it cannot possibly have caused populist uprisings in Italy and Belgium in the 1990s. It was probably too early even for Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands, who was killed in 2002, Le Pen's electoral success in the same year, Austria's FPOE in 1999, and so on.

The timescales just do not match. Whatever was causing "populism", it was not Chinese imports, and I can think of half a dozen other, more likely causes.

Furthermore, the 1980s and 1990s were something of an industrial renaissance for Lombardy and Flanders: hardly the time to worry about Chinese imports.

And if you look at the map. the country least affected by the import shock (France) is the one with the strongest populist movement (Le Pen).

People try to conflate Trumpism and Brexit with each other, then try to conflate this "anglo-saxon" populism with previous populisms in Europe, and try to deduce something from the whole exercise.

That "something" is just not there and the exercise is pointless. IMHO at least.

The Trumpening , February 20, 2017 at 5:05 am

European regionalism is often the result of the rise of the EU as a new, alternative national government in the eyes of the disgruntled regions. Typically there are three levels of government, local, regional (states) and national. With the rise of the EU we have a fourth level, supra-national. But to the Flemish, Scottish, Catalans, etc, they see the EU as a potential replacement for the National-level governments they currently are unhappy being under the authority of.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 4:28 am

Why isn't it working? – Part 1

Capitalism should be evolving but it went backwards. Keynesian capitalism evolved from the free market capitalism that preceded it. The absolute faith in markets had been laid low by 1929 and the Great Depression.

After the Keynesian era we went back to the old free market capitalism of neoclassical economics. Instead of evolving, capitalism went backwards. We had another Wall Street Crash that has laid low the once vibrant global economy and we have entered into the new normal of secular stagnation. In the 1930s, Irving Fisher studied the debt deflation caused by debt saturated economies. Today only a few economists outside the mainstream realise this is the problem today.

In the 1930s, Keynes realized only fiscal stimulus would pull the US out of the Great Depression, eventually the US implemented the New Deal and it started to recover. Today we use monetary policy that keeps asset prices up but cannot overcome the drag of all that debt in the system and its associated repayments.

In the 1920s, they relied on debt based consumption, not realizing how consumers will eventually become saturated with debt and demand will fail. Today we rely on debt based consumption again, Greece consumed on debt. until it maxed out on debt and collapsed.

In the 1930s Keynes realized, income was just as important as profit as this produced a sustainable system that does not rely on debt to maintain demand. Keynes was involved with the Bretton-Woods agreement after the Second World War and recycled the US surplus to Europe to restore trade when Europe lay in ruins. Europe could rebuild itself and consume US products, everyone benefitted.

Today there are no direct fiscal transfers within the Euro-zone and it is polarizing. No one can see the benefits of rebuilding Greece, to allow it to carry on consuming the goods from surplus nations and it just sinks further and further into the mire. There is a lot to be said for capitalism going forwards rather than backwards and making the same old mistakes a second time.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 5:25 am

Someone who has worked in the Central Bank of New York and who Ben Bernanke listened to, ensuring the US didn't implement austerity, Richard Koo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

The ECB didn't listen and killed Greece with austerity and is laying low the Club-Med nations. Someone who knows what they are doing, after studying the Great Depression and Japan after 1989. Let's keep him out of the limelight; he has no place on the ship of fools running the show.

sunny129 , February 20, 2017 at 6:42 pm

DEBT on Debt with QEs+ ZRP ( borrowing from future) was the 'solution' by Bernanke to mask the 2008 crisis and NOT address the underlying structural reforms in the Banking and the Financial industry. He was part of the problem for housing problem and occurred under his watch! He just kicked the can with explosive credit growth ( but no corresponding growth in the productive Economy!)and easy money!

We have a 'Mother of all bubbles' at our door step. Just matter of time when it will BLOW and NOT if! There is record levels of DEBT ( both sovereign, public and private) in the history of mankind, all over the World.

DEBT has been used as a panacea for all the financial problems by CBers including Bernanke! Fed's balance sheet was than less 1 Trillion in 2008 ( for all the years of existence of our Country!) but now over 3.5 Trillions and climbing!

Kicking the can down the road is like passing the buck to some one (future generations!). And you call that solution by Mr. Bernanke? Wow!

Will they say again " No one saw this coming'? when next one descends?

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 4:31 am

Why isn't it working? – Part 2

The independent Central Banks that don't know what they are doing as can be seen from their track record.

The FED presided over the dot.com bust and 2008, unaware that they were happening and of their consequences. Alan Greenspan spots irrational exuberance in the markets in 1996 and passes comment. As the subsequent dot.com boom and housing booms run away with themselves he says nothing.

This is the US money supply during this time:
http://www.whichwayhome.com/skin/frontend/default/wwgcomcatalogarticles/images/articles/whichwayhomes/US-money-supply.jpg

Everything is reflected in the money supply.

The money supply is flat in the recession of the early 1990s.

Then it really starts to take off as the dot.com boom gets going which rapidly morphs into the US housing boom, courtesy of Alan Greenspan's loose monetary policy.

When M3 gets closer to the vertical, the black swan is coming and you have an out of control credit bubble on your hands (money = debt).

We can only presume the FED wasn't looking at the US money supply, what on earth were they doing?

The BoE is aware of how money is created from debt and destroyed by repayments of that debt.

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/quarterlybulletin/2014/qb14q1prereleasemoneyc
reation.pdf

"Although commercial banks create money through lending, they cannot do so freely without limit. Banks are limited in how much they can lend if they are to remain profitable in a competitive banking system."

The BoE's statement was true, but is not true now as banks can securitize bad loans and get them off their books. Before 2008, banks were securitising all the garbage sub-prime mortgages, e.g. NINJA mortgages, and getting them off their books. Money is being created freely and without limit, M3 is going exponential before 2008.

Bad debt is entering the system and no one is taking any responsibility for it. The credit bubble is reflected in the money supply that should be obvious to anyone that cares to look.

Ben Bernanke studied the Great Depression and doesn't appear to have learnt very much.

Irving Fisher studied the Great Depression in the 1930s and comes up with a theory of debt deflation. A debt inflated asset bubble collapses and the debt saturated economy sinks into debt deflation. 2008 is the same as 1929 except a different asset class is involved.

1929 – Margin lending into US stocks
2008 – Mortgage lending into US housing

Hyman Minsky carried on with his work and came up with the "Financial Instability Hypothesis" in 1974.

Steve Keen carried on with their work and spotted 2008 coming in 2005. We can see what Steve Keen saw in 2005 in the US money supply graph above.

The independent Central Banks that don't know what they are doing as can be seen from their track record.

Jesper , February 20, 2017 at 4:51 am

Good to see studies confirming what was already known.

This apparently surprised:

On the contrary, as globalisation threatens the success and survival of entire industrial districts, the affected communities seem to have voted in a homogeneous way, regardless of each voter's personal situation.

It is only surprising for people not part of communities, those who are part of communities see how it affects people around them and solidarity with the so called 'losers' is then shown.

Seems like radical right is the preferred term, it does make it more difficult to sympathize with someone branded as radical right . The difference seems to be between the radical liberals vs the conservative. The radical liberals are too cowardly to propose the laws they want, they prefer to selectively apply the laws as they see fit. Either enforce the laws or change the laws, anything else is plain wrong.

Disturbed Voter , February 20, 2017 at 6:31 am

Socialism for the upper classes, capitalism for the lower classes? That will turn out well. Debt slaves and wage slaves will revolt. That is all the analysis the OP requires. The upper class will respond with suppression, not policy reversal every time. Socialism = making everyone equally poor (obviously not for the upper classes who benefit from the arrangement).

J7915 , February 20, 2017 at 11:15 am

Regrettably today we have socialism for the wealthy, with all the benefits of gov regulations, sympathetic courts and legislatures etc. etc.

Workers are supposed to take care for themselves and the devil take the hind most. How many workers get fired vs the 1%, when there is a failure in the company plan?

Disturbed Voter , February 20, 2017 at 11:59 am

The Romans are the basis. Patricians, Equites and Plebs. Most of us here are clearly plebeian. Time to go place some bets, watch the chariot races and gladiatorial fights, and get my bread subsidy. Ciao.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 5:39 am

Globalization created winners and losers throughout the world. The winners liked it, the losers didn't. Democracy is based on the support of the majority.

The majority in the East were winners. The majority in the West were losers.

The Left has maintained its support of neoliberal globalisation in the West. The Right has moved on. There has been a shift to the Right. Democracy is all about winners and losers and whether the majority are winning or losing. It hasn't changed.

sunny129 , February 20, 2017 at 6:54 pm

CAPITAL is mobile and the Labor is NOT!

Globalization( along with communication -internet and transportation) made the Labor wage arbitration, easy in favor of capital ( Multi-Nationals). Most of the jobs gone overseas will NEVER come back. Robotic revolution will render the remaining jobs, less and less!

The 'new' Economy by passed the majority of lower 80-90% and favored the top 10%. The Losers and the Winners!

80-90% of Bonds and Equities ( at least in USA) are owned by top 10 %. 0.7% own 45% of global wealth. 8 billionaires own more than 50% of wealth than that of bottom 50% in our Country!

The Rich became richer!

The tension between Have and Have -Nots has just begun, as Marx predicted!

Sound of the Suburbs , February 20, 2017 at 5:50 am

In the West the rewards of globalisation have been concentrated at the top and rise exponentially within the 1%.

How does this work in a democracy? It doesn't look as though anyone has even thought about it.

David , February 20, 2017 at 6:33 am

I think it's about time that we stopped referring to opposition to globalization as a product or policy of the "extreme right". It would be truer to say that globalization represents a temporary, and now fading, triumph of certain ideas about trade and movement of people and capital which have always existed, but were not dominant in the past. Fifty years ago, most mainstream political parties were "protectionist" in the sense the word is used today. Thirty years ago, protectionism was often seen as a left)wing idea, to preserve standards of living and conditions of employment (Wynne Godley and co). Today, all establishment political parties in the West have swallowed neoliberal dogma, so the voters turn elsewhere, to parties outside the mainstream. Often, it's convenient politically to label them "extreme right", although in Europe some left-wing parties take basically the same position. If you ignore peoples' interests, they won't vote for you. Quelle surprise! as Yves would say.

financial matters , February 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

Yes, there are many reasons to be skeptical of too much globalization such as energy considerations. I think another interesting one is exchange rates.

One of the important concepts of MMT is the importance of having a flexible exchange rate to have full power over your currency. This is fine as far as it goes but tends to put hard currencies against soft currencies where a hard currency can be defined as one that has international authority/acceptance. Having flexible exchange rates also opens up massive amounts of financial speculation relative to fluctuations of these currencies against each other and trying to protect against these fluctuations.

""Keynes' proposal of the bancor was to put a barrier between national currencies, that is to have a currency of account at the global level. Keynes warned that free trade, flexible exchange rates and free movement of capital globally were incompatible with maintaining full employment at the local level""

""Sufficiency provisioning also means that trade would be discouraged rather than encouraged.""

Local currencies can work very well locally to promote employment but can have trouble when they reach out to get resources outside of their currency space especially if they have a soft currency. Global sustainability programs need to take a closer look at how to overcome this sort of social injustice. (Debt or Democracy)

Gman , February 20, 2017 at 6:35 am

As has already been pointed out so eloquently here in the comments section, economic nationalism is not necessarily the preserve of the right, nor is it necessarily the same thing as nationalism.

In the UK the original, most vociferous objectors to EEC membership in the 70s (now the EU) were traditionally the Left, on the basis that it would gradually erode labour rights and devalue the cost of labour in the longer term. Got that completely wrong obviously .

In the same way that global trade has become synonymous with globalisation, the immigration debate has been hijacked and cynically conflated with free movement of (mainly low cost, unskilled) labour and race when they are all VERY different divisive issues.

The other point alluded to in the comments above is the nature of free trade generally. The accepted (neoliberal) wisdom being that 'collateral damage' is unfortunate but inevitable, but it is pretty much an unstoppable or uncontrollable force for the greater global good, and the false dichotomy persists that you either embrace it fully or pull up all the drawbridges with nothing in between.

One of the primary reasons that some competing sectors of some Western economies have done so badly out of globalisation is that they have adhered to 'free market principles' whilst other countries, particularly China, clearly have not with currency controls, domestic barriers to trade, massive state subsidies, wage suppression etc

The China aspect is also fascinating when developed nations look at the uncomfortable 'morality of global wealth distribution' often cited by proponents of globalisation as one of their wider philanthropic goals. Bless 'em. What is clear is that highly populated China and most of its people, from the bottom to the top, has been the primary beneficiaries of this global wealth redistribution, but the rest of the developing world's poor clearly not quite so much.

Eustache de Saint Pierre , February 20, 2017 at 7:11 am

The map on it's own, in terms of the English one time industrial Midlands & North West being shown as an almost black hole, is in itself a kind of " Nuff Said ".

It is also apart from London, where the vast bulk of immigrants have settled.

The upcoming bye-election in Stoke, which could lead to U-Kip taking a once traditionally always strong Labour seat, is right in the middle of that dark cloud.

Anonymous2 , February 20, 2017 at 7:51 am

The problem from the UK 's position, I suggest, is that autarky is not a viable proposition so economic nationalism becomes a two-edged sword. Yes, of course, the UK can place restrictions on imports and immigration but there will inevitably be retaliation and they will enter a game of beggar my neighbour. The current government talks of becoming a beacon for free trade. If we are heading to a more protectionist world, that can only end badly IMHO.

Eustache de Saint Pierre , February 20, 2017 at 11:30 am

Unless we get some meaningful change in thinking on a global scale, I think we are heading somewhere very dark whatever the relative tinkering with an essentially broken system.

The horse is long gone, leaving a huge pile of shit in it's stable.

As for what might happen, I do not know, but I have the impression that we are at the end of a cycle.

sunny129 , February 20, 2017 at 7:04 pm

That 'CYCLE" was dragged on ' unnaturally' with more DEBT on DEBT all over the World by criminal CBers.
Now the end is approaching! Why surprise?

Ignacio , February 20, 2017 at 8:15 am

This is quite interesting, but only part of the story. Interestingly the districts/provinces suffering the most from the chinese import shock are usually densely populated industrial regions of Europe. The electoral systems in Europe (I think all, but I did not check) usually do not weight equally each district, favouring those less populated, more rural (which by the way tend to be very conservative but not so nationalistic). These differences in vote weigthing may have somehow masked the effect seen in this study if radical nationalistic rigth wing votes concentrate in areas with lower weigthed value of votes. For instance, in Spain, the province of Soria is mostly rural and certainly less impacted by chinese imports compared with, for instance, Madrid. But 1 vote in Soria weigths the same as 4 votes in Madrid in number of representatives in the congress. This migth, in part, explain why in Spain, the radical rigth does not have the same power as in Austria or the Netherlands. It intuitively fits the hypothesis of this study.

Nevertheless, similar processes can occur in rural areas. For instance, when Spain entered the EU, french rural areas turned nationalistic against what they thougth could be a wave of agricultural imports from Spain. Ok, agricultural globalization may have less impact in terms of vote numbers in a given country but it still can be politically very influential. In fact spanish entry more that 30 years ago could still be one of the forces behind Le Penism.

craazyman , February 20, 2017 at 8:44 am

I dunno aboout this one.

All this statistical math and yada yada to explain a rise in vote for radical right from 3% in 1985 to 5% now on average? And only a 0.7% marginal boost if your the place really getting hammmered by imports from China? If I'm reading it right, that is, while focusing on Figure 2.

The real "shock" no pun intended, is the vote totals arent a lot higher everywhere.

Then the Post concludes with reference to a "surge in support" - 3% to 5% or so over 30 years is a surge? The line looks like a pretty steady rise over 3 decades.

Maybe I'm missing sommething here.

Also what is this thing they're callling an "Open World" of the past 30 years? And why is that in danger from more balanced trade? It makes no sense. Even back in the 60s and 70s people could go alll over the world for vacations. Or at least most places they coould go. If theh spent their money they'd make friends. Greece even used to be a goood place people went and had fun on a beach.

I think this one is a situation of math runing amuck. Math running like a thousand horses over a hill trampling every blade of grass into mud.

I bet the China factor is just a referent for an entire constellatio of forces that probably don't lend themselves (no pun intended) partiicularly well to social science and principal component analysis - as interesting as that is for those who are interested in that kind of thing (which I am acctually).

Also, I wouldn't call this "free trade". Not that the authors do either, but trade means reciprocity not having your livelihood smashed the like a pinata at Christmas with all your candy eaten by your "fellow countrymen". I wouldn't call that "trade". It's something else.

Ruben , February 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Regarding your first point, it is a small effect but it is all due to the China imports impact, you have to add the growth of these parties due to other reasons such as immigration to get the full picture of their growth. Also I think the recent USA election was decided by smaller percentage advantages in three States?

Steve Ruis , February 20, 2017 at 9:00 am

Globalisation is nothing but free trade extended to the entire world. Free trade is a tool used to prevent competition. By flooding countries with our cheaper exports, they do not develop the capacity to compete with us by making their own widgets. So, why are we shocked when those other countries return the favor and when they get the upper hand, we respond in a protectionist way? It looks to me that those countries who are now competing with us in electronics, automobiles, etc. only got to develop those industries in their countries because of protectionism.

Why is this surprising to anyone?

craazyman , February 20, 2017 at 10:41 am

Frank would never have sung this, even drunk! . . . .even in Vegas . .

Trade Be a Lady

They say we'll make a buck
But there is room for doubt
At times you have a very unbalanced way of running out

You say you're good for me
Your pickins have been lush
But before this year is over
I might give you the brush

Seems you've forgot your manners
You don't know how to play
Cause every time I turn around . . . I pay

So trade get your balances right
Trade get your balances right
Trade if you've ever been in balance to begin with
Trade get your balances right

Trade let a citizen see
How fair and humane you can be
I see the way you've treated other guys you've been with
Trade be a lady with me

A lady doesn't dump her exports
It isn't fair, and it's not nice
A lady doesn't wander all over the world
Putting whole communities on ice

Let's keep this economy polite
let's find a way to do it right
Don't stick me baby or I'll wreck the world you win with
Trade be a lady or we'll fight

A lady keeps it fair with strangers
She'd have a heart, she'd be nice
A lady doesn't spread her junk, all over the world
In your face, at any price

Let's keep society polite
Go find a way to do it right
Don't screw me baby cause i know the clowns you sin with
Trade be a lady tonight

Gaylord , February 20, 2017 at 10:56 am

Refugees in great numbers are a symptom of globalization, especially economic refugees but also political and environmental ones. This has strained the social order in many countries that have accepted them in and it's one of the central issues that the so-called "right" is highlighting.

It is no surprise there has been an uproar over immigration policy in the US which is an issue of class as much as foreign policy because of the disenfranchisement of large numbers of workers on both sides of the equation - those who lost their jobs to outsourcing and those who emigrated due to the lack of decent employment opportunities in their own countries.

We're seeing the tip of the iceberg. What will happen when the coming multiple environmental calamities cause mass starvation and dislocation of coastal populations? Walls and military forces can't deter hungry, desperate, and angry people.

The total reliance and gorging on fossil energy by western countries, especially the US, has mandated military aggression to force compliance in many areas of the world. This has brought a backlash of perpetual terrorism. We are living under a dysfunctional system ruled by sociopaths whose extreme greed is leading to world war and environmental collapse.

sunny129 , February 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Who created the REFUGEE PROBLEMS in the ME – WEST including USA,UK++

Obama's DRONE program kept BOMBING in SEVEN Countries killing innocents – children and women! All in the name of fighting Terrorism. Billions of arms to sale Saudi Arabia! Wow!

Where were the Democrats and the Resistance and Women's march? Hypocrites!

Anon , February 21, 2017 at 12:12 am

"Our lifestyle is non-negotiable." - Dick Cheney.

Ignacio , February 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm

What happened with Denmark that suddenly dissapeared?

fairleft , February 21, 2017 at 8:08 am

Globalisation has caused a surge in support for nationalist and radical right political platforms.
Just a reminder that nationalism doesn't have to be associated with the radical right. The left is not required to reject it, especially when it can be understood as basically patriotism, expressed as solidarity with all of your fellow citizens.

Trump's withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems to be a move in that direction.
Well, that may be true as far as Trump's motivations are concerned, but a major component (the most important?) of the TPP was strong restraint of trade, a protectionist measure, by intellectual property owners.

Yet, a return to protectionism is not likely to solve the problems of those who have lost ground due to globalisation without appropriate compensation of its 'losers'
Japan has long been 'smart' protectionist, and this has helped prevent the 'loser' problem, in part because Japan, being nationalist, makes it a very high priority to create/maintain a society in which almost all Japanese are more or less middle class. So, it is a fact that protectionism has been and can be associated with more egalitarian societies, in which there are few 'losers' like we see in the West. But the U.S. and most Western countries have a long way to go if they decide to make the effort to be more egalitarian. And, of course, protectionism alone is not enough to make most of the losers into winners again. You'll need smart skills training, better education all around, fewer low-skill immigrants, time, and, most of all strong and long-term commitment to making full employment at good wages national priority number one.

and is bound to harm growth especially in emerging economies.
Growth has been week since the 2008, even though markets are as free as they've ever been. Growth requires a lot more consumers with willingness and cash to spend on expensive, high-value-added goods. So, besides the world finally escaping the effects of the 2008 financial crisis, exporting countries need prosperous consumers either at home or abroad, and greater economic security. And if a little bit of protectionism generates more consumer prosperity and economic stability, exporting countries might benefit overall.

The world rather needs a more inclusive model of globalisation.
Well, yes, the world needs more inclusivity, but globalization doesn't need to be part of the picture. Keep your eyes on the prize: inclusivity/equality, whether latched onto nationally, regionally, 'internationally' or globally, any which way is fine! But prioritization of globalization over those two is likely a victory for more inequality, for more shoveling of our wealth up to the ruling top 1%.

[Feb 21, 2017] The Term "Deep State" in Focus: Usage Examples, Definition, and Phrasebook

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... The Atlantic ..."
"... derin devlet ..."
"... Glenn Greenwald, Democracy Now! ..."
"... Peggy Noonan, Patriot Post ..."
"... Breitbart ..."
"... Jefferson Morley, Alternet ..."
"... Greg Grandin, The Nation ..."
"... Benjamin Wallace, The New Yorker ..."
"... Counterpunch ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Marc Ambinder, NPR ..."
"... Marc Ambinder, Foreign Policy ..."
"... "Deep State Blooper" ..."
"... "Deep State Operation" ..."
"... "Deep State Actor" ..."
"... "Deep State Faction" ..."
"... That's ..."
"... Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq ..."
"... Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich ..."
"... within the territory of the State ..."
"... Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics ..."
"... "permanent government" ..."
"... "permanent government", ..."
"... "permanent government", ..."
"... "conducting killings" ..."
"... The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government ..."
Feb 21, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on February 20, 2017 by Lambert Strether By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

Since today is President's Day, there will be no Water Cooler. Which is a good thing, because this puppy took forever to write. –lambert

* * *

"It's called the ruling class because it rules." –Arthur Silber

Readers know that I've been more than dubious about that incredibly virulent earworm of a term, "deep state" ( December 1, 2014 ). However, in the last week or so, "deep state" is all over mainstream discourse like kudzu, and so it's time to look at it again. As we shall see, it's no more well-defined than before, but I'm hoping that if we aggregate a number of usage examples, we'll come up with a useful set of properties, and a definition. Following the aggregation, I'll propose a number of phrases that I hope can attenuate deep state 's virulence, and render it a sharper and more subtle analytical tool in posts and comments.

While the usage of "deep state" exploded last week after General Flynn's defenestration by Trump, it seems likely to me that the term had been spreading in the recent past before that, given that a series of politically motivated leaks by the "intelligence community" (IC) from summer 2016 onwards could colorably be attributed to such an entity. The examples are in no particular order; I haven't had the time to find a "patient zero."

Usage Examples of "Deep State"

1. The Atlantic . Since "deep state" as a term originated in Turkey ( derin devlet ), I'll start with a Turkish analyst:

There Is No American 'Deep State'

Zeynep Tufekci, a Turkish sociologist and writer at the University of North Carolina, tweeted a string of criticisms about the analogy Friday morning. " Permanent bureaucracy and/or non-electoral institutions diverging with the electoral branch [is] not that uncommon even in liberal democracies," she wrote. "In the Turkey case, that's not what it means. There was a shadowy, cross-institution occasionally *armed* network conducting killings, etc. So, if people are going to call non electoral institutions stepping up leaking stuff, fine. But it is not 'deep state' like in Turkey."

Comment: One danger I always face is projecting American politics onto other countries. Tufekci warns us the opposite is a bad idea too!

Properties: Permanent bureaucracy and/or non-electoral institutions; "shadowy," cross-institutional. We cross out "conducting killings" for the American context (or do we?).

2. Glenn Greenwald, Democracy Now! . Greenwald thinks the term is sloppy too (though "scientific" is a high bar):

The deep state, although there's no precise or scientific definition , generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions . They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret , in the dark, and so they're barely subject to democratic accountability, if they're subject to it at all. It's agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world's worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from-in fact, in opposition to-the political officials to whom they're supposed to be subordinate.

Comment: Later in the show, Greenwald says that the deep state is "almost engag[ing] in like a soft coup." Here's the Kristol tweet to which Greenwald alludes, explicitly applauding that coup with the bracing clarity so foreign to most Democrats:

I characterized Greenwald's soft coup - and Kristol's - more delicately as "a change in the Constitutional Order" ( "Federalist 68, the Electoral College, and Faithless Electors" ) but the sense is the same.

Properties: Kristol, not normal, not democratic, not constitutional; Greenwald: permanent power factions, agencies, especially intelligence agencies, which specialize in deception and require secrecy.

3. Peggy Noonan, Patriot Post :

Is [the current chaos], as some suggest, "deep state" revenge for the haughty, dismissive way Donald Trump spoke of the U.S. intelligence community during and after the campaign? Is it driven by the antipathy of the permanent government toward Mr. Putin, and a desire to bring down those, like Mr. Trump, who hope for closer relations with Russia?

It is a terrible thing if suddenly, in America, there is a government within the government that hates the elected government - and that secretly, silently, and with no accountability , acts on it.

Properties: Government within a government; secret; not accountable.

4. Breitbart . I don't normally cite to Breitbart, but since they're in the heart of the battle and have a usage example:

The "deep state" is jargon for the semi-hidden army of bureaucrats, officials, retired officials, legislators, contractors and media people who support and defend established government policies .

Comment: Interestingly, Breitbart finds it necessary to define the term for its readership, meaning it didn't originate on the right. Even more interestingly, Breitbart - very much unlike the more staid Peggy Noonan - urges, in my view correctly, that actors outside the alphabet agencies need to be considered.

Properties: Bureaucrats, officials (some retired), legislators, contractors, media. Brietbart doesn't use Janine Werel's term, Flexian - retired officials become talking heads, for example - but the concept is implicit.

5. Jefferson Morley, Alternet :

What Is the 'Deep State'-And Why Is It After Trump?

The Deep State is shorthand for the nexus of secretive intelligence agencies whose leaders and policies are not much affected by changes in the White House or the Congress . While definitions vary, the Deep State includes the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and components of the State Department, Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the armed forces.

With a docile Republican majority in Congress and a demoralized Democratic Party in opposition, the leaders of the Deep State are the most-perhaps the only-credible check in Washington on what Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) calls Trump's "wrecking ball presidency."

And Roger Stone, a man who knows his memes:

"This is an effort by the Deep State to destabilize the president," Stone said.

Comment: Morley, then, agrees with Kristol (the "only check" in Trump).

Properties: Intelligence agencies; permanent.

6. Greg Grandin, The Nation . A useful review of the literature:

What Is the Deep State?

So at least as long as there has been private property, there has been private plotting, and talk of a "deep state" has been a vernacular way of describing what political scientists like to call "civil society," that is, any venue in which powerful individuals, either alone or collectively, might try to use the state to fulfill their private ambitions, to get richer and obtain more power .

Much of the writing frames the question as Trump versus the Deep State, but even if we take the "deep state" as a valid concept, surely it's not useful to think of the competing interests it represents as monolithic , as David Martin in an e-mail suggests. Big Oil and Wall Street might want deregulation and an opening to Russia. The euphemistically titled "intelligence community" wants a ramped-up war footing. High-tech wants increased trade. In 1956, C. Wright Mills wrote that "the conception of the power elite and of its unity rests upon the corresponding developments and the coincidence of interests among economic, political, and military organizations." If nothing else, the "Trump v. Deep State" framings show that unity is long gone.

Comment: Grandin does give an early usage example, but I'm totally unpersuaded by his identification of the "deep state" with "civil society." Rather - as Breitbart, amazingly enough, suggests - the deep state more plausibly includes components of civil society (media, contractors, etc.).

Properties: Not monolithic; includes (components of) civil society.

7. Benjamin Wallace, The New Yorker :

The Deep-State Theory Cuts Both Ways

This pattern of dissent ["#TheResistance"], and its early successes, has brought about a vogue for the theory of the deep state, usually used in analyzing authoritarian regimes, in which networks of people within the bureaucracy are said to be able to exercise a hidden will of their own

The federal government employs two million people; its sympathies move in more than one direction. While many federal employees may want to oppose the White House, others (especially border-patrol and immigration agents, whose support Trump often cited on the campaign trail) have already been taking some alarming liberties to advance the President's politics.

Comment: Wallace urges that some Federal employees in the permanent bureaucracy are, in essence, "working toward the Fuhrer," which is a consequence of the deep state not being monolithic. He attributes the "vogue" for "deep state" to the resistance, but I (and most others cited here) think it's the Flynn firing.

Properties: Bureaucratic networks; hidden.

8. Counterpunch

A Deep State of Mind: America's Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup

So who or what is the Deep State?

It's the militarized police, which have joined forces with state and federal law enforcement agencies in order to establish themselves as a standing army. It's the fusion centers and spy agencies that have created a surveillance state and turned all of us into suspects. It's the courthouses and prisons that have allowed corporate profits to take precedence over due process and justice. It's the military empire with its private contractors and defense industry that is bankrupting the nation. It's the private sector with its 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances, 'a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.' It's what former congressional staffer Mike Lofgren refers to as 'a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies': the Department of Defense, the State Department, Homeland Security, the CIA, the Justice Department, the Treasury, the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a handful of vital federal trial courts, and members of the defense and intelligence committees."

Comment: Seems pretty big to be deep

Properties: Law enforcement, contractors, agencies, the courts.

9. New York Times

As Leaks Multiply, Fears of a 'Deep State' in America

Though the deep state is sometimes discussed as a shadowy conspiracy, it helps to think of it instead as a political conflict between a nation's leader and its governing institutions.

That can be deeply destabilizing, leading both sides to wield state powers like the security services or courts against one another, corrupting those institutions in the process.

In countries like Egypt, Mr. El Amrani said, the line is much clearer.

There, "the deep state is not official institutions rebelling," he said, but rather "shadowy networks within those institutions, and within business, who are conspiring together and forming parallel state institutions."

Comment: Weird all around: The President is the President , the Chief Magistrate of the United States. He's not the "nation's leader," like in the title of sone kinda hardback in the "Business" section of your airport bookstore. And quite frankly, the description of the deep state in Egypt ("shadowy network," "parallel state institutions") jibes with a several of the other usage examples I've collected, right here in the United States.

Properties: I'll use Egypt's! Network, shadowy, businesses forming parallel state institutions.

10. Marc Ambinder, NPR :

With Intelligence Leaks, The 'Deep State' Resurfaces

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how do you define the deep state?

AMBINDER: Well, I try to define it simply – maybe the national security and intelligence bureaucracy , the secret-keepers in the United States, people who have security clearances, who have spent 10 to 20 to 30 years working in and around secrets.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So when we're hearing about this term this week to do with Michael Flynn, what do we – what are people making that connection with potentially a huge group of people and this particular case?

AMBINDER: They're essentially alleging that the national security state, this metastate that exists and, again, traffics totally in secret – used its collective power in order to bring down a duly chosen national security adviser because they disagreed with him or they disagreed with his president or they disagreed with his policies. It is a term of derision, a term that suggests people are using their power for ill-begotten ends. And that, if true, sets up a crisis.

Comment: Ambinder, then, rejects putting a "civil society" construction on "deep state." (He also rejects Greenwald, and Kristol's, "soft coup.")

Properties: National security and intelligence bureaucracy; long-term.

11. Marc Ambinder, Foreign Policy . Ambinder gives an example of the deep state in action:

Trump Is Showing How the Deep State Really Works

The fact the nation's now-departed senior guardian of national security was unmoored by a scandal linked to a conversation picked up on a wire offers a rare insight into how exactly America's vaunted Deep State works. It is a story not about rogue intelligence agencies running amok outside the law, but rather about the vast domestic power they have managed to acquire within it.

Sometime before January 12, the fact that these [Flynn's] conversations [with the Russian ambassador] had occurred was disclosed to David Ignatius, who wrote about them. That day, Sean Spicer asked Flynn about them. Flynn denied that the sanctions were discussed. A few days later, on January 16, Vice President Mike Pence repeated Flynn's assurances to him that the calls were mostly about the logistics of arranging further calls when Trump was President.

Comment: Note the lack of agency in "was disclosed." Had the deep state not been able to use David Ignatius as a cut-out, the scandal would never have occured. Therefore, a media figure, a member of civil society, was essential to the operation of the Deep State, even though Ambinder's definition of the deep state doesn't reflect this.

Properties: Network; civil society.

* * *

So now I'm going to aggregate the properties suggested by these 10 sources, and make some judgements about what to keep and what to throw away. Throwing out Noonan's concept of "a government within a government", I get this. The deep state:

1. Gains power through (legal) control of state functions of secrecy and deception

2. Is "permanent"

3. Is not monolithic

4. Is composed of "cross-institutional" networks of individuals in both state (agencies, law enforcement) and civil society (media, contractors)

5. Is not democratic in its operation; and (potentially) is not accountable, not normal, not constitutional.

(Individuals within the deep state belong to factions that compete and cooperate, often in addition to their "day jobs," rather as in a "matrix management" construct.)

So, what'd I miss?

A "Deep State" Phrasebook

So, here are some phrases to use that reflect the above - very tentative - understanding. What I really want to do - and who know, maybe I'm trying to shovel back the tide here, too - is get away from the notion of "the" deep state. The deep state is not monolithic! Factional conflict within the deep state exists! So, in my view, the definite article is in this case disempowering; it prevents you from, as it were, knowing your enemy. So, if I have to join the chorus of people using the term, I'm going to think carefully about how do it. This list is a step toward doing that. (I'm going to use examples from the run-up to the Iraq War because it's less tendenitious and way less muddled than the Flynn defenestration.)

1. "Deep State Blooper" . I'm putting this first as an antidote to CT. Quoting Frank Herbert's Dune :

" [I]t occurred to Kynes that his father and all the other scientists were wrong, that the most persistent principles of the universe were accident and error."

It's important to put into our thinking right from the start that Deep State actors are not all-powerful, and that Deep State operations are not invariably successful. I mean, can anybody look at the foreign and nationally security outcomes from what these guys are doing and urge that the baseline for performane is very high? I don't think so. Accidents happen all the time, and these guys, for all the power their positions bring them, are accident-prone. (After all, they're not accountable, so they never get accurate feedback, in a typical Banana Republic power dynamic.

Example: "The Iraq WMD's yellowcake uranium episode was a Deep State Blooper." ( See here for details; the yellowcake uranium was part of the Bush administration's WMD propaganda operation to foment the Iraq War.)

2. "Deep State Operation" . I think it's important to view the Deep State (as defined above) as able to act opportunistically; although many Deep State Actors work for agencies, their operations are not bureaucratic in nature.

Example: "The White House Iraq Group was a Deep State propaganda operation that succeeded tactically but failed strategically" (See here for details ; the WHIG planted stories in the press to foment the Iraq War. They succeeded in that narrow goal, but the war itself was a debacle, and the damage to the credibility of the press as an institution took a hit.)

3. "Deep State Actor" . An individual can be a member of the Deep State as an official, and then later as media personality or contractor. (It also seems to me that once you have been within the intelligence community, you can never be said to have left it, since how could anyone know you have really left?

Example: "Leon Panetta is a consummate Deep State Actor." ( Panetta has been OMB Director, CIA Director, White House Chief of Staff, and Secretary of Defense. "[Panetta] regularly obtains fees for speaking engagements, including from the Carlyle Group.[55] He is also a supporter of Booz Allen Hamilton."

4. "Deep State Faction" . This is a no-brainer:

Example: "The Neoconservatives are a Deep State Faction."

Conclusions

I apologize for the length as I fought my way through the material, and I hope I haven't made any gross errors - especially political science-y ones! And any further additions to the Deep State Phraseology will be very welcome (but watch those definite articles!).

1 0 27 0 0 This entry was posted in Banana republic , Politics on February 20, 2017 by Lambert Strether . About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism ("Because markets"). I don't much care about the "ism" that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don't much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue - and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me - is the tens of thousands of excess "deaths from despair," as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics - even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton's wars created - bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow - currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press - a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let's call such voices "the left." Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn't allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I've been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

View all posts by Lambert Strether → Subscribe to Post Comments 109 comments Carolinian , February 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm

Gee you didn't even mention California's Bohemian Grove meeting where CEOs romp in togas and such.

And taken literally Deep State would presumably mean a secretive (deep) and more or less permanent ruling apparatus. We may have the latter but it doesn't seem all that secretive since they love to join think tanks and talk about their loony ideas. The term is often used to bolster conspiracy theories about how the CIA killed Kennedy and are secretly running the country. While recent movies like to portray CIA operatives as super human martial arts specialists they are just as likely boobs who make many mistakes but nevertheless don't mind ratting out Trump's phone calls as petty revenge. I'd say it's the not so secretive but still behind the scenes state we have to worry about. Think the CFR or that Kristol guy. In other words if the term means anything it could be the secondary tier of influencers who have the ear of our MSM.

sgt_doom , February 20, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Nothing theoretical about elements within the CIA (such as the fired Allen Dulles, and his still-in-the CIA cousin, Tracy Barnes - oopsy, Fake News never told you they were cousins, now did they?) - just requires a bit of reading and cross-referencing with declassified documents from the CIA, State and the FBI.

Deep State is really the financial-intelligence-complex who believes they are running things - the intel establishment was originally founded by the super-rich and their minions (such as Lovett and McCloy, etc.). When JFK was assassinated the Deputy Director of the CIA was Gen. Marshall Carter, recommended to McCone for that position by Nelson Rockefeller. And the fellow in charge of the reorganization of the CIA at the same time was Gen. Schuyler, Nelson Rockefeller's assistant.

You just have to look a bit . . .

Direction , February 20, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Juicy comment! Can you recommend any books or favorite articles?

James McFadden , February 20, 2017 at 11:42 pm

Some book recommendations about the deep state:

C. Wright Mills "The Power Elite" – describes how the indoctrination mechanisms create the deep state (military industrial political complex).

David Talbot "The Devil's Chessboard" – about the rise of the CIA and Allan Dulles

Laurence Shoup "Wall Street's Think Tank" – about the Council on Foreign Relations – the deep state's premier think tank

Michael Parenti "Dirty Truths" – about empire

John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" – CIA coups and soft coups

I'm sure other readers can recommend many more on this subject.

Caveat Emptor , February 21, 2017 at 12:39 am

The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
Mike Lofgren

The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy
Peter Dale Scott

WhatsNotToLike , February 21, 2017 at 10:27 am

James Galbraith, Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government

nonsense factory , February 21, 2017 at 12:55 am

There are a couple of books by Dan Briody that are very illuminating about how Deep State actors in government interface with corporate agendas:
The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money (2004)
The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group (2003)

I think of the Deep State as the military-industrial-intelligence-Congressional long-term national-security complex that grew up after World War II, there are perhaps four major elements:
(1) military and intelligence contractors who rely on the massive $600 billion military budget for their profits.
(2) executive branch bureaucrats who develop the contracts that are delivered to contractors (State/Pentagon/CIA/NSA/NRO/FBI/DOE etc.)
(3) Congressmembers (long-serving) on appropriations, intelligence, etc. committees who sign off on budget requests.
(4) Elements of mass media and think tanks who work overtime to promote the interests of the Deep State elements of the above actors.

It's a kind of self-perpetuating system that's primary agenda is to keep their budget from being cut by a healthy 50% – which is what we'd need to do to rebuild infrastructure, set up high-quality public education, and create a first-world health care system, i.e. to get up to German or Japanese standard-of-living norms.

Some have also pointed out that there's an element of the judicial branch that can be included in "Deep State" definitions (such as FISA Court); note that judicial review of executive foreign policy decisions is very rare in the American court system.

It's also factionalized; i.e. there's the nuclear weapons sector (DOE/NNSA and their contractors), the various Pentagon branches and their suppliers, NSA and their contractors, CIA and their contractors, etc. So they compete with each other for a share of the pie, but they all have a shared interest in preventing the overall pie from shrinking.

jo6pac , February 20, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Please a little help as Direction ask just to get us started. The dulles bros were truly evil and have trained their puppets well.

Vatch , February 20, 2017 at 7:18 pm

he intel establishment was originally founded by the super-rich and their minions (such as Lovett and McCloy, etc.).

Wow, Robert Lovett and John J. McCloy. For about three decades they were at the pinnacle of the United States Establishment. They were like Sejanus during the reign of Tiberius or Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. Very, very influential behind the scenes.

DH , February 20, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Yeah, and they totally missed Davos.

I always thought the original deep state was the networks of the Knights Templar, Masons, and Illuminati.

However, I was wrong – according to the definitions above, it is probably Treadstone and Blackbriar.

Enquiring Mind , February 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Rex Tillerson's dealing with the seventh floor apparatchiks at the State Department is another productive step in calling out the nomenklatura . Russian themes seem so popular these days.

Cat's paw , February 20, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Perhaps helpful to know the original provenance of the term it comes from Turkish journalism when one fine evening a sedan was involved in a nasty wreck. Passengers in said sedan included a high ranking military official, a state or federal(?) representative/official, a crime boss, and a beauty queen.

My understanding: trying to comprehend what such a collection of worthies were doing in the same car led journalists to coin the term deep state. A networked web of power interests/relations across sectors and institutions that operate beyond above below out of sight of normative or visible politics.

Emma , February 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Here are more details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susurluk_scandal

Charles Tuttle , February 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm

David Chibo in Unz Review Political Science's "Theory of Everything"
http://www.unz.com/article/political-sciences-theory-of-everything/

neo-realist , February 20, 2017 at 9:05 pm

I checked out that article from a previous post of the link and thought it was a very valuable, terrific and detailed explanation of Deep State theories w/ some fine literature recommendations.

Grebo , February 20, 2017 at 10:45 pm

The totality of truths is that the US "elephant" consists of a power elite hierarchy overseeing a corporatocracy, directing a deep state that has gradually subverted the visible government and taken over the "levers of power."

Complete with tables and diagrams! A must read IMHO.

oh , February 21, 2017 at 8:51 am

It's a good recommendation and well worth reading.

Qufuness , February 20, 2017 at 2:42 pm

People within the American Deep State are said to have compassed the removal of General Flynn, who was a prominent member of DS organizations himself, so yes, the DS is not a monolith. But are there powerful "permanent" factions with the DS that pursue long-term strategies?

There is another way of asking this. Much of what is now labelled "DS" grew out of the investment-banker+intelligence nexus in the immediate postwar period, or at least came to the surface around that time. America has made a series of disastrous unforced errors in the past 70 years, Vietnam and Iraq being the most prominent examples. While these errors have been harmful to the American people at large, is there a clique (besides the Military Industrial Complex) that benefits from these "errors," that has far-reaching goals that completely diverge from those of American constitutional democracy?

Minh , February 20, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Both Kennedy's and Diem brothers' assasinations and 911 mass murders were deep events to sell and organize war for the Empire part of American democracy. Not mentioning Peter Dale Scott is a minus of the listing of properties. What does the Deep state did ? 911 and JFK so Afghan Iraq and Vietnam wars.

ex-PFC Chuck , February 20, 2017 at 8:33 pm

It's my understanding that the investment banking crowd served as the government's intelligence arm on an informal, sub rosa basis well before WW II. Prescott Bush, GHWB's father, was involved in that.

Mark P , February 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Lambert, there is a Deep State in the U.S. as distinct from the mere ruling class (and yes, by definition, it has competing factions and power centers at different agencies).

A clarifying example of that is this guy, Andy Marshall, aka Yoda, who arguably had more effect on the direction of U.S. policy than any U.S. president over the last half-century and was finally removed from heading the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment just before his 95th birthday. That's power.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Marshall_(foreign_policy_strategist)#cite_note-5

Yet most people have never heard of Marshall and he never enriched himself particularly. You won't be able to tell the influence he exerted from his Wiki page either, except perhaps for the mention of Marshall 'proteges' being the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc. Furthermore, before Nixon installed him at the Pentagon, in the 1950s and 60s Marshall was at the RAND corporation helping to formulate nuclear strategy.

Here's an old trove of press material from over the years.
https://web.archive.org/web/20070309161816/http://portland.indymedia.org:80/en/2004/02/281049.shtml

Emma , February 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Interesting. And taking into account the comment from Cat's Paw above, I'd suggest to Lambert there are two distinct components to the term 'Deep State'. One element comprises the majority ie. the facilitators who foster the deep state, while the other element consists of the all-important minority ie. the instigators or 'deep state en nom propre' .

michael hudson , February 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I think the key to the "Deep state" is simply COVERT.
It is all covert activities that a public relations officer for the neocons and neoconservatives would not acknowledge in their fairy-tale view of the state.

Mark P. , February 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Yes.

Josh Stern , February 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Technical note – for CIA/Pentagon, a *covert* activity is something that is known, but where US influence or the extent of that is supposed to stay hidden – e.g. a coup d'etat. And a *clandestine activity* is something where the entire activity is supposed to stay hidden – e.g. CIA running Heroin and Cocaine, unlicensed human experimentation, or controlling the editorial desk & ownership if the Washington Post. In that sense, the clandestine activity are even deeper, and the set of people in the know, is even smaller.

Jim Haygood , February 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm

" barely subject to democratic accountability, if they're subject to it at all " - Glenn Greenwald

The $50 billion-plus black budget for the IC, covering many clandestine projects and activities, is not even subject to Congressional accountability. It is discussed verbally with the majority and minority leaders, and the ranking members of the intelligence committees.

Then the other 427 members (or at least a majority of them) are obliged on instructions from their caucus to whoop it through, without a clue (or even a right to ask) what is in it. To paraphrase the great stateswoman Nancy Pelosi, " We have to pass it to avoid finding out what's in it. "

Secret funding via this procedure is unconstitutional and illegitimate. Yet neither the president, the judiciary, nor anyone in Congress appears able to stop it. The IC is a fourth-stage cancer devouring the guts of the former republic.

Josh Stern , February 20, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Secret funding is a huge unknown. Everything from mostly legitimate front companies, to business donations for favors, to drug running. One would think, incorrectly, that the drug running is some kind of big secret the following links show it is not:
Collection of quotes from DEA agents, John Kerry, etc:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=5878115
Video with Robert Bonner, ex-head of DEA, on 60 minutes in 1993, just after he stepped down:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx1bL_Gp03g

Persona au gratin , February 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm

YES!

Crazy Horse , February 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

50 billion? That is just the cost of coffee and donuts. A week before 911 Rumsfeld acknowledged that 2.3 TRILLION dollars was missing and unaccounted for in the DOD budget.

" CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports, while its own auditors admit the military cannot account for 25 percent of what it spends.
"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld admitted.
$2.3 trillion - that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.
"We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-war-on-waste/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU4GdHLUHwU

Conveniently the accounting records that might have made possible an investigation of that little error were located in Building 7 of the WTC and in the exact section of the Pentagon which the skilled Saudi pilots targeted and and then vaporized their airliner leaving only a few token pieces on the lawn.Of course 911 is ancient history that nobody cares about anymore. Apparently we are in need of another accounting cleansing, since the Inspector General reports that an additional 6.5 TRILLLION has gone missing since then.

http://www.newstarget.com/2016-08-18-how-did-the-pentagon-lose-over-6-5-trillion-in-taxpayer-money.html

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2017 at 8:46 pm

What, me worry? those are all MMT dollars, after all plenty more where that came from.

ex-PFC Chuck , February 20, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Susan Lindauer, in her memoir of her role as a CIA asset serving as a go-between in the failed negotiations to avert the Iraq War ( Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq ), recounts that in the desperate last few weeks before March 20, 2003, she was paying her considerable expenses out-of-pocket. Her handler was having trouble getting her reimbursement approved, and by the time he did she was making a pest of herself about the fact that the negotiations had been deliberately sabotaged, and had become a pariah. At that point the handler had no difficulty, not to mention compunction, about simply stiffing her and diverting the funds to the McMansion he was building.

How much of that $50B black budget is similarly diverted?

Elasmo Branch , February 20, 2017 at 4:28 pm

"Covert" means the activity is against the law. "Clandestine" means the activity is secret but within the confines of the law. The military undertakes clandestine activity authorized by law, not covert activity. A US soldiers cannot break the law. On the other hand paramilitary activity is often covert.

For example, a US soldier on a clandestine mission is captured. Since the soldier is acting legally, albeit in secret, he is afforded all of the rights as a prisoner of war if he id's himself as a US soldier in uniform, name, rank, serial number. A CIA agent [likely a contractor and not a gov't employee] is captured on a covert mission, he can be summarily executed, legally, on the spot for a number of reasons: conducting warfare in civilian clothes and not in uniform, espionage, piracy, etc. There is grey area, for instance, if soldiers ingress to an area in civilian clothes [or the enemy's uniform] then put on their own uniforms before conducting an attack, as the SS did in the Ardenne.

Josh Stern , February 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

This article: Joseph Berger III. "Covert Action – Title 10, Title 50, and the Chain of Command." Joint Force Quarterly 67 (Q4 2012). http://ndupress.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/jfq/jfq-67/JFQ-67_32-39_Berger.pdf . is exactly on this topic. I take my definitions from there. The article does note that it takes some doing to resolve the different usages within CIA and DOD.

DH , February 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm

Sounds like the Koch Brothers network.

SerenityNow , February 20, 2017 at 2:52 pm

It seems to me that the Canadian "poet, academic and diplomat" author Peter Dale Scott should be included in any mention of "Deep State" Activities.

Here is an excerpt from his well foot-noted book:

"The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy"

He has many more interesting excerpts and articles on the same site :

Lambert Strether Post author , February 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I bought, read, and reviewed one of Scott's books; link in the first para .

NotSoSure , February 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Don't forget the final property of Deep State: "No objections to Goldman Sachs". At least in that one they see eye to eye with Trump.

ebr , February 20, 2017 at 3:12 pm

No Illuminati ? - but I jest.

It would be good if we could separate 'what is the deep state' and 'what are the factions of the deep state' and 'who belongs to the deep state' I suspect that Cambridge Analytics & their Facebook scraping could answer the question 'who belongs to the deep state' as they could they easier track a social network of people more loyal to each other than to the US Gov or the POTUS of the day. Asking the 'Deep State' to define itself could be an exercise in futility as members of the 'Deep State' likely mix ideology & the opportunity to make money in ways that blind them to the full implications of their actions.
Slate magazine today had an article up of a doctor who tried the revolving door and then wrote about it
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2017/02/going_undercover_through_washington_s_revolving_door.html
If you all need a fun book to read, try Interface by Neal Stephenson (written after Snow Crash and before Cryptonomicon)

UserFriendly , February 20, 2017 at 7:19 pm

IMO: Deep State: Anyone who will be in DC regardless of who is president and can still have some degree of power. They are sometimes well known people like Neera Tanden and sometimes they work in the IC. They are the people who no matter how many times they fuck up, destroy lives, lose a campaign, or completely fail at whatever task they are given, they can always count on a nice cushy paycheck and a new gig where they can [Family Blog} it up some more. The entire class of DC insiders who just can't fail down no matter what.

Carla , February 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm

A couple more books of interest: "National Security and Double Government" by Michael J Glennon (2014) and "The Deep State" by Mike Lofgren (2016).

ewmayer , February 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

A PDF version of Glennon's book is freely available online at the Harvard National Security Journal website.

REDPILLED , February 20, 2017 at 3:16 pm

DEEP STATE READING LIST:

The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot

The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the attack on U.S. Democracy by Peter Dale Scott

The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government by Mike Lofgren

Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World by Tom Engelhardt and Glenn Greenwald

Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky

The New Media Monopoly: A Completely Revised and Updated Edition With Seven New Chapters by Ben H. Bagdikian

They Rule: The 1% VS. Democracy by Paul Street

NATO's Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe (Contemporary Security Studies) by Daniele Ganser

An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King (Updated Edition) by William F. Pepper

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group by Daniel Estulin

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James W. Douglass

9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed by David Ray Griffin (2011)

JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by Fletcher L. Prouty (2011)

The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World by Fletcher L. Prouty (2011)

Mounting Evidence: Why We Need A New Investigation Into 9/11 by Paul W. Rea (2011)

The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War by Peter Dale Scott (2013)

JFK-9/11: 50 Years of Deep State by Laurent Guyenot (2014)

All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power by Nomi Prins (2014)

The Orwellian Empire by Gilbert Mercier (2015)

The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits from Global Violence and War
by Marc Pilisuk (2015)

Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (American Empire Project) by David Vine (2015)

The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (2016)

The End of the Republic and the Delusion of Empire by James Petras (2016)

Two web sites:

Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth: http://www.ae911truth.org/

Patriots Question 9/11 – Responsible Criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report: http://patriotsquestion911.com/

Jim Haygood , February 20, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Excellent list.

Don't forget the late, great Chalmers Johnson, who coined the term blowback and left us with guides such as The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic.

Lambert Strether Post author , February 20, 2017 at 4:05 pm

Chalmers Johnson is great.

Emma , February 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Another suggestion for your list of additional reading material:
https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:Democratic_State_v_Deep_State
It's a document/paper by Ola Tunander ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ola_Tunander ) who is quite familiar with the topic (see his experience/research of US/UK PSYOPs naval activities in Scandinavian waters ..).

Ulysses , February 21, 2017 at 9:21 am

Good book!!

dbk , February 20, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Yes, thanks for that list, much appreciated.

As long as we're on the subject, more or less, I have a question about Dark Money (I'm reading Mayer's book these days) and the Deep State: Do they overlap, or are they rivals? Or are their goals sometimes in sync and sometimes at odds with one another?

Another way of posing this question is this: If we assume that the President is not the preference of the Deep State, are we also to assume he was not the preference of Dark Money?

I'm having a hard time figuring out who's going after whom these days, and what short- and long-term objectives are being fought out, almost – but not quite – before our eyes.

Here's a case from a different field, education, which is the one I follow most closely. A blogger has recently identified the "blueprint" for the new Sec of Education to follow, laid out in a planning document by a Dark Money group which is below the radar (well, below my radar, anyway). It's pretty clear that the Sec is their cabinet member, but are there others? Were these appointments made in the form of favors called in? For what, though, if the Pres isn't part of this network?

The Sec of Education, it emerged in the course of contentious hearings, had contributed to no less than 23 Republican Senators' campaign war chests. What are we to conclude about them?

Anyway, here's the link to the post (link to the actual document through it – it was removed from the organization's own site, so is no longer available there):
http://www.eclectablog.com/2017/02/chilling-this-is-why-weve-been-trying-to-warn-the-usa-about-betsy-devos-destroying-the-wall-between-church-state.html

Josh Stern , February 20, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Another good book to mention, which plays a different role, is "Legacy of Ashes" by Tim Weiner. It covers a lot of CIA dirt – coups, assassinations, defying/lying to Presidents, etc. – but it is different because basically all of it is drawn from the CIA's own files. So it is purely historical and outside of any "conspiracy" controversy. The files are not complete. Richard Helms ordered the most incriminating ones destroyed in a giant purge in the early '70s – this is described in the book too. But what is there and was saved is often pretty dirty.

Scott Noble's film series is entertaining on free video: http://metanoia-films.org/counter-intelligence/

Persona au gratin , February 20, 2017 at 6:11 pm

To add: Family of Secrets : The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, by Russ Baker (2010).

JCC , February 20, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Definitely a good list. I've read a few of these books and want to read more on the list. And don't forget any of Sheldon Wolin's recent books and essays. This one is 13 to 14 years old and still appropriate – https://www.thenation.com/article/inverted-totalitarianism/

He points out the basic structure, I think, in which following the money makes the most sense.

neo-realist , February 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Pepper's last book on the MLK assassination, The Plot to Kill King: The Truth behind the Assassination of Martin Luther King would also be a worthy addition to the list.

Excellent discussion about it on this podcast.

https://kpfa.org/episode/guns-and-butter-june-29-2016/

ex-PFC Chuck , February 20, 2017 at 9:56 pm

I second your recommendation of Pepper's book.

Kim Kaufman , February 20, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Imo, a must read: Operation Gladio: The Unholy Alliance Between the Vatican, the CIA and the Mafia by Paul Williams. I think it's newer than most of the books above and connects a lot of dots.

peter , February 21, 2017 at 6:24 am

I've always throught that 'Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky' should be mandatory on high school curriculum as a speed course on intellectual self-defense.

nobody , February 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

Another for the list:

Conjuring Hitler: How Britain and America Made the Third Reich , by Guido Giacomo Preparata

nobody , February 21, 2017 at 10:24 am

Three essays by Charles Hollander: "Pynchon's Inferno," "Pynchon's Politics: The Presence of an Absence," and "Pynchon, JFK and the CIA: Magic Eye Views of The Crying of Lot 49."

PlutoniumKun , February 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm

I would put it simpler and define a 'Deep State' as a major (i.e. not minority rogue) element within the existing government structures (or quasi-government structures) which is willing to commit serious illegal acts or unauthorised acts of violence within the territory of the State to achieve its aims independent of the legally constituted government. In other words, I'd not define it by its structure or nature, but by what it actually does.

I'd define it this way to distinguish it from the sort of bureaucratic plotting which takes place within any large institution which finds itself led by someone who doesn't buy into the organisations core consensus. An example I would use would be Operation Gladio . If Operation Gladio had simply operated as designed, as a secretive military operation which government leaders may not have been aware of, then it was not an example of Deep State. But if, as alleged (but never proved), it carried out acts of terrorism and false flag operations with the specific aim of forcing elected governments to do what they didn't want to do, and this was part of a deliberate high level strategy (i.e. not just the act of a rogue element), then it would be an example of the Deep State at work within democratic western governments.

Put into contemporary terms, if the internal resistance to Trump takes the form of leaks, internal manoeuvres to slow down his agenda, etc., then that is 'normal' bureaucratic operations. If it takes the form of blackmail, false flag terrorist attacks, assassinations, etc., then it is the Deep State in operation.

Given that we know parts of the US and allied intelligence communities have for decades been involved in highly illegal operations around the world which has included torture, murder, blackmail and high level assassinations, is it really so far fetched that there is an element willing to do the same thing within the US?

Greg Taylor , February 20, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Defining "Deep State" by its actions is appealing. Would the military veto of Kerry-negotiated ceasefire in Syria count? Some officers acted without apparent authority and were not reprimanded as a result. Would this have transpired "within the territory of the State" and, thus, meet this definition? Should it?

PlutoniumKun , February 21, 2017 at 3:34 am

Thats an interesting question. There can be a fine line between bureaucratic infighting and actual illegal and anti-democratic actions. On my definition I would say 'no', its not Deep State in that the actions were insubordinate and dangerous, but they took place outside the US so arguably were more the result of a power struggle between government factions. It was the result I think of Obama's weakness as a leader, not an actual Deep State action.

Quentin , February 20, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Wouldn't any so-called Deep State be supported by factions in Congress? Sure. For instance, John McCain is in my view the epitome of the Deep State, one of its chief representatives, out in the open, a vanguard. The Clintons too, doubtless, though now outside government. If Congress gives no pushback, it bestows tacit/active agreement. Congress can rescind the privileges and power of all the organisations observers ascribe to the Deep State. So what's so mysterious? The notion of a Deep State's existence might just serve as a way to avoid responsibility, accountability, deny agency. Some shadowy bunch is running things, anything else new? On the other hand think tanks, contractors and subcontracters are less easily kept in place. Yet Congress can put an end to prisons for profit and erase one element of the deception, reduce the numbers if security clearances by defunding, etc. not things were are about to do. Eminence grise, one two buckle my shoe

sgt_doom , February 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

McCain is too stupid. To better understand the Deep State, one must go a bit higher up the ladder.

Look into the membership of the Bretton Woods Committee - the lobbyist group for the international super-rich (www.brettonwoods.org), and the Group of Thirty (www.group30.org).

Once you understand these two groups, you'll be more aware.

Persona au gratin , February 20, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Loved the Group of Thirty pictorials on their home page. I counted exactly one genuine person of color (aka, "token negro") among the melange, with a handful of "half and halfs" of former British colonial heritage who of course have had time to assimilate and duly "see the light" as to the wisdom of continued perpetual white northern European supremacy. As for the few token Asians, they'll come around soon enough as well, although they ARE amazing students, aren't they?

Kim Kaufman , February 20, 2017 at 10:06 pm

Politicians are the puppets not the puppetmasters.

Steve H. , February 20, 2017 at 3:47 pm

We can avoid definite articles, but this is a defining article, and could become the definitive article.

The most curious fact is that the phrase is showing up in the msm. I take it as confirmation of Lambert's point: 'Factional conflict within the deep state exists!'

roger gathmann , February 20, 2017 at 4:11 pm

I always attributed the use of the word to Peter Dale Scott. The Turkish phrase seems to me more of a parallel usage than the place from which the phrase is derived. In my cursory reading, the phrase originated in conspiracy theory – particularly around the assassination of JFK. I am not using conspiracy theory in a disparaging sense, since I don't think a belief in conspiracies (which is legally recognized, and was long one of the great themes of political science, from Aristotle to Montesquieu) is per se disqualifying. Scott, in the preface to Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, has a good take on the prototype of the Deep State – in his theory, there is always a deep political practice that is unacknowledged officially. For instance, Tammany New York of the late 19th century operated, on the surface, according to the legal order with a mayor and a bureaucracy, etc., but in practice, it was run by an elaborate system of kickbacks and the investment of certain private players with enormous governmental power. The Deep State, under this p.o.v., shouldn't be confused with bureaucrats and those invested with public power, but instead, is a collaboration between such bureaucrats and those in private positions who retain unacknowledged public power. To quote Scott: " A deep political system or process is one which habitually resorts to decision making and enforcement procedures outside as well as inside those publicly sanctioned by law and society." By this definition, the endorsement of Trump by the National Border Patrol Council and the way in which, under Obama, certain Border Patrol officials sought to impede or change processes for taking in and giving due process to refugees are evidences of a deep political process.

Cat's paw , February 20, 2017 at 5:33 pm

Well, Scott's Deep Politics is published in 93. The Turkish term Deep State appears in print around 96 (maybe as late as 98–I'd have to look around for a cite). While the terms are relatively synonymous they are by no means equal. Best I can tell, Scott's starts using the word Deep State widely in the mid-2000's.

Additionally, as I've come to understand it the term did not originate in conspiracy theory. Rather the term was picked up by conspiracy theorists from Turkish journalism as a useful shorthand for the alleged (and hidden) events and actors they were trying to describe. Personally, not that it matters, I think it's important to keep the original usage/meaning in mind. 1. b/c it was coined to describe a real yet inexplicable event–not speculation or a theory of some conspiracy: i.e., the JFK assassination. Wherein agents of military, representative government, and criminality (along with a "bimbo" straight out of central casting) who have no legitimate business doing business were obviously doing business–but what kind of business? Who knows, that's why it's Deep. 2. The term itself can easily drift into being an amorphous, ill-defined, but overdetermined and overly unified signifier on the order of "cabal" which is likely to happen anyway now that its wound its way into common parlance.

I may just be quibbling, but I don't see deep political processes like Tammany or Border Patrol shenanigans as being of the same phenomena as the so-called Deep State. Deep State would usually imply elements of the military or, more especially, elements of the security apparatus (public and private) at times coordinating with, at other times interfering with, known political/institutional actors, corporate power, and criminal concerns that might involve money laundering or drug and human trafficking. As most here are noting, it is factional and adversarial–a network of several or many discreet entities that coordinate, align, and conflict according to shifting interests. It's paralegal, parapolitical, paraeconomic (or paramarket), and parainstitutional.

And all of that to say that such a definition is wholly contingent upon there being empirical and on-going phenomena which corresponds approximately to the term itself.

Yves Smith , February 20, 2017 at 7:58 pm

Lambert debunked Scott's sloppy and internally inconsistent analysis, per the link he provided at the very top of the post. That's why he kept arguing against its use.

DonCoyote , February 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Thanks Lambert. Here's a bit more grist for this particular mill/passages from the rabbit hole (depending on what set of metaphors you like)

1) Paranoia , a tabletop RPG game from the 80's. "The game's main setting is an immense, futuristic city called Alpha Complex. Alpha Complex is controlled by The Computer, a civil service AI construct The Computer employs Troubleshooters, whose job is to go out, find trouble, and shoot it. Player characters are usually Troubleshooters The player characters frequently receive mission instructions from the Computer that are incomprehensible, self-contradictory, or obviously fatal if adhered to, and side-missions (such as Mandatory Bonus Duties) that conflict with the main mission each player character is generally an unregistered mutant and a secret society member (which are both termination offenses in Alpha Complex), and has a hidden agenda separate from the group's goals, often involving stealing from or killing teammates."

So: big on non-monolithic, also big on double/triple identities (troubleshooter/mutant/secret society), which we associate with the intelligence agencies, but also with revolving door politicians/lobbyists.

2) The "incomprehensible/self-contradictory/conflict with the main mission" made me think of seven/eleven/twelve (depending on scholarship/personal preference) chess, most recently attributed to BHO–that is, actions who on the surface don't seem to make sense given the situation, but which conspiracy theorists/true believers think are actually directed at a future/buried/hidden/alternative problem. Although this would seem to fit better with at least a semi-monolithic Deep Society, because it is strategy, and a non-monolithic Deep Society would presumably be less organized/more tactically inclined.

3) The Final Reflection , and especially the Klingon "equivalent" of chess, klin zha , and it's reflective version. Reflective klin zha is played with only one set of pieces. "The Reflective is not so much a variation but a strategic approach to an otherwise tactical game Once set up, the first to place is also the first to move. During each turn, the player chooses one piece, making all others the enemy. The player who captures the Goal on his turn is the victor." So I kill a piece protecting (next to) the goal, but on your turn you now control that piece, use it to capture the goal, and beat me.

So: a smaller (but still non-monolithic) Deep State, with a large unitary set of "pieces" (the non-Deep State?). Again, while there are two sides playing, they are both using the same pieces to try to do the same thing, and they only have "control of the board" some of the time.

So my takeaways: non-monolithic (and especially more than two sides), partial control (whether because of multiple/hidden identities or non-monolithic is unknown), and given the pathetic state of most of our media, most motives are "hidden", at least from casual view (cf for the media's "hidden" motives in today's links

sgt_doom , February 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm

Globalists against (non-deep state capitalists) economic nationalists?

susan the other , February 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Here's a reminder (from NC a while back). It is a waste of time to deliberate over the existence of the deep state. What's important is participating in a state – a society – that is well run; where inequality is always exposed; where propaganda is always obvious. It's impossible to define "the deep state." I think Lambert was right when he said the definition of the deep state always turned out to be a big hairball.

hemeantwell , February 20, 2017 at 8:15 pm

I agree with the spirit of what you're saying, but try this: I think that factional conflict, occurring during periods of systemic strain/crisis, is what leads otherwise contented and inertial sections of the state to act in ways that require concealment, either of actor or action. Reading a bit from the Glennon book linked above, wherein he makes much of Bagehot, reminded me of how the French political system used to be described as having something like a bureaucratic ballast keeping the ship of state from capsizing. That sort of conservative, continuity-maintaining function can grow claws, and that's what we're seeing now, particularly when US elites are trying to cobble a revised foreign/imperial policy to deal with China and Russia and the president is having trouble intoning the verities of US exceptionalism.

barrisj , February 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm

Well, that lengthy disquisition seems to indeed "validate" – as it were – the "deep state" terminology if not its epistemological derivation(s) at the very least, readers keeping to the various formulae offered for "correct usage" won't be whacked upside their haids by the moderators if the term appears in a comment.
Cheers.

Michael , February 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm

My first encounter with the idea of the Deep State was from Mike Lofgren's 2014 essay, "Anatomy of the Deep State", based upon his 25 year career as a Capitol Hill staffer. Here is the link:

http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm

Maybe worth a footnote or something? Is Charlie Wilson "deep state" in any way? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Wilson_(Texas_politician) And his apparently occasional bed partner, Joanne Herring? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanne_Herring

How about those little quiet gatherings of the Koch-convened sort, that attract so little "press" attention, at Palm Springs and etcetera? Is the "deep state" limited to Great Game and globalism, or is the long steady erosion of even the myth of "democracy" and the transformation of that word into its opposite, via the efforts of all those very small number of people who profit from killing public education and regulatory capture and ascension to elected positions in everything from little town councils and school boards to state legislatures and statehouses, constitute part of what might qualify as some sort of "deep state?" ALEC is not on everyone's tongue, after all, but the power the people in it exert, through long application, sure forks over a whole lot of what maybe most people would think of as "the general welfare" and "public goods." IS Davos "over?" Is Bilderburg?

Interesting how many of what would seem to me to be deep-staters are tied to Afghanistan, and of course Israel. One might even posit the Israelites have their own deep state, that has interlocking membership with players and factions and elements of the unelected and maybe public but mostly invisible thing that the phrase calls up in the minds of many of us.

Having named the demon, if there is ever any agreement on a name and frame, does that give us mopes any power over the demon, or just another opening for its immanence in our sad little lives?

integer , February 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm

The first step would seem to be forcing the demon out from the shadows and into the sunlight so everyone can get a good look at it. I imagine it will then lash out with everything it has like a cornered animal, which will harden public opinion against it, and then it will be game on for real. A very dangerous game, to be sure, but what is the alternative?

Horsewithnoname , February 20, 2017 at 5:04 pm

From http://www.oftwominds.com/blogfeb14/dollar-deep-state2-14.html [Charles Hugh Smith, 02/2014]
I have been studying the Deep State for 40 years, before it had gained the nifty name "deep state." What others describe as the Deep State I term the National Security State which enables the American Empire, a vast structure that incorporates hard and soft power–military, diplomatic, intelligence, finance, commercial, energy, media, higher education–in a system of global domination and influence.

Back in 2007 I drew a simplified chart of the Imperial structure, what I called the Elite Maintaining and Extending Global Dominance (EMEGD):

stockbrokher , February 20, 2017 at 5:14 pm

1. "Example: "The Iraq WMD's yellowcake uranium episode was a Deep State Blooper." (See here for details; the yellowcake uranium was part of the Bush administration's WMD propaganda operation to foment the Iraq War.)"

How is this an example of a blooper? It helped to achieve its intended goal. That it was exposed much later as a fabrication didn't vitiate its effect.

2. Surprised so many examples/references (especially here) but none with Wall Street as a primary Deep State actor. Read something revelatory ( to me, anyway) recently re the CIA ( post WWII) being engineered mostly by Wall Street for the sole purpose of protecting big U.S Corporate interests. Sorry no time to dig it up, but I'm sure others more knowledgeable can expound. (As SerenityNow notes, Scott's book puts WS in the title.)

Skip Intro , February 21, 2017 at 10:23 am

Good points.
What is interesting to me is the similarity of the modus operandi revealed in the yellowcake episode, where privileged information was 'leaked' to a tame 'journalist' to take out an enemy. In the case of the yellowcake, we generally accept the narrative that blowing Joe Wilson's wife's Non-Official Cover, but as part of a non-proliferation team, Valerie Plame was also in a position to directly interfere with WMD claims from the administration. OTOH, the WHIG and OVP are not very deep.
In addition, it is easy to point to the Iraq debacle as a failure on the part of the 'deep state' that contrived it, but a more cynical view would consider that a quick victory is less profitable than a slow defeat. In that light, apparently glaring errors, like the disbanding of the Iraqi Army, may be understood to be insurance that has paid off with a successful insurgency, a weakened state where oil can be bought or taken without any pesky national government interference, and eventually, trained military leaders for IS, the next-gen enemy with actual ground troops and conquered territory.

I was surprised that there wasn't a reference to Ike's warning about the Military Industrial Complex, which seems like the original American reference to an extra-democratic coalition of interests that could influence or control policy.
Another milestone would be the Iran-Contra affair, where we heard North and Poindexter drooling over an 'off the shelf operational capacity' to circumvent constitutional control of foreign policy (a market niche now filled by Erik Prince and Blackwater/Xe/Academi). In connection with this scheme, we also witnessed intelligence officials colluding with arms merchants to influence a US election by arming enemies, as well as running drugs into the US to fund said independent foreign policy. I think the illegality is well established, as for killings within the US territory, we can ask Orlando Letelier.

scraping_by , February 20, 2017 at 6:10 pm

Ran into an interesting passage in Kevin Phillips's 1994 book Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics . He speaks of an 'iron triangle' of politics, interest groups, and media that turns aside the cyclic outsider revolutions that would otherwise renew American political institutions. If Trump has this view of his populism, it makes sense he spends so much time disparaging the MSM; not just a celebrity feud, not just annoyance about bitchiness, but a reasoned effort to break an elite power tool.

If Phillips's iron triangle fits the description of a Deep State, and it can, this may be an actual conflict over principles and convictions. Because the elite believe deeply in their own position, and are convinced they're doing God's work.

PhilM , February 20, 2017 at 6:10 pm

To me this is the kind of synthetic journalism that really sifts meaning from noise. And uniquely, on this site, the reading lists and comments are sophisticated and thoughtful additions and refinements, like the peer review offered from any scholarly community. This article is not definitive; but it could grow and grow, and then one could easily call it "seminal." This is work that I happily pay for.

From the history of the 1930s: one notes that for Heydrich to consolidate his bosses' power over Germany, he felt it necessary to "declare war" on the existing German civil service in 1935–not just the police force, but the entire bureaucracy; and to seize control of the foreign intelligence services as well as the domestic. The only successful hold-out was the Abwehr, the military intelligence service, which succeeded in preserving its independence in a very much more closely circumscribed field.

So Heydrich definitely felt there was a "state within the state" that needed to be co-opted and ideologically purified and above all surveilled, before Hitler's power was secured. That, in my humble view, is what the "deep state" is. It's the most important part of the question "quis custodiet custodes ipsos," and why Plato had a philosopher king instead of just a bunch Guardians, and why a nobility requires a monarchy.

integer , February 20, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Yes it's great to see this issue being given the attention it deserves and being subjected to serious analysis by NC and the commentariat. Thanks Lambert!

witters , February 21, 2017 at 2:22 am

A philosopher king who was poor, lived on public provision, owned no property, had no family, and lived in accomodation from whom none could be forbidden. And so just & virtuous.

Gman , February 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Only relatively recently having become aware of the term, 'deep state' I would assume, in its most basic form, it refers to those mostly 'unseen' and 'unknown' conservative we know best types who wield uninterrupted, often disproportionate influence without having to suffer the dreadful inconvenience or potential indignity of seeking a periodic democratic mandate.

Watt4Bob , February 20, 2017 at 6:29 pm

It seems to me that there was a lot of talk about the birth of the DHS being the biggest reorganization of the federal government since the New Deal.

That talk included concerns that Bush was putting thousands of dead-enders in bureaucratic positions, and that they would be impossible to remove in the future.

From Occupy.com (May 2013);

But here's the strange thing: unlike the Pentagon, this monstrosity draws no attention whatsoever - even though, by our calculations, this country has spent a jaw-dropping $791 billion on "homeland security" since 9/11. To give you a sense of just how big that is, Washington spent an inflation-adjusted $500 billion on the entire New Deal.

We've been talking around here about the breaking of rice bowls and its affect on the credentialed class, the implication being the hysterical, unorganized revolt of people who feel their well-being threatened by the rise of Trump.

Bush II broke a lot of rice bowls when he leveraged the fearful post 9/11 environment to bring about the reorganization of the federal government under the DHS;

From Legislating Civil Service Reform:
The Homeland Security Act of 2002
; (emphasis mine)

The Administration presents their strategy as one that requires them
to have more control over federal personnel in order to provide national
security and protect America. For example, President Bush argued that he needed the freedom "to put the right people at the right place at the right
time to protect the American people."

The metaphor of physical placement-to "put" federal workers in particular places at particular times-is rationalized as a strategy to protect America,
much like one would move a Bishop or Knight in a chess game to protect
the King.

This physical placement metaphor was also picked up by the news
media. In one summary of the issues, an article in the Washington Post
noted, "The White House wants to retain the ability to remove
some employees from unions for national security reasons," and "Bush
wants the ability to move workers from one part of the department to
another to meet rapidly changing needs.

This metaphor of physical placement suggests that the Administration requires a particularly high degree of power and control over personnel,
but that degree of power is presented as rational and justified in light of national security.

To the extent that the audience is concerned about national security, then
they are invited to see the Administration strategy-in this case,
its need for power over personnel-as one that is consistent with that concern.

From the same paper, the other side of the argument ; (emphasis mine)

Union leaders saw this issue in a different light; they disputed the details of the proposal and also questioned the motives behind them.
Brian DeWyngaert, Assistant to the President of AFGE, saw the reforms
as an attempt by the administration to weaken the civil service system, to shift from "public administration" to "political administration."

DeWyngaert cites a paper, written by two former Republican personnel
management officials, that asserts, " The President can expect opposition
from official Washington's 'permanent government ,' a network that includes the career civil service, and its allies in Congress, the leaders of federal
unions, and the chiefs of managerial and professional associations
representing civil servants."

DeWyngaert expresses union distrust of the administration, arguing that
the real goal of the administration was to "control what agencies do
[ ] to change some of the personnel rules [ ] to the point where they are going to follow your line because you control their pay, their determination at will,
their layoff.

W4B;

What I'm pointing out, is that what we're calling the Deep State includes the "permanent government" mentioned above, and that in reorganizing the government under the control of the new DHS, the right, in the person of Bush II was attempting to replace a unionized, independent, New Deal flavored government bureaucracy with one that could be more easily controlled, because it was more politicized.

I'm saying that both the democratic, and the republican wings of the republican party have made peace with the notion of a more politicized "permanent government", and that more politicized "permanent government", is now showing its loyalty to the status quo by doing what's expected of it, joining the resistance.

PhilM , February 20, 2017 at 9:24 pm

This is exactly what I think, too, and what Heydrich recognized in 1935: that a large government has a hive mind. Without the SD ("Security Services"), the SS, and the Nazi Party organization, he could never have bent that hive mind, made of all those entrenched, entitled, relatively law-abiding functionaries, to his will.

Trump has none of those tools at his disposal, so there's no reason to expect his lasting very long or getting much done.

That's what makes the hysteria about his being like Hitler so very misplaced. If Trump had an organization like the Nazi party hundreds of thousands strong, ready to die in the streets for him, with operatives ready to put into place to take over the management of the government effectively at all upper levels, it would be another matter. As it is, he's grasping at straws from other talent pools. No wonder the bookies are giving him lower odds.

schultzzz , February 20, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Chris Hedges, on his RT show, recently defined it almost exclusively in terms of big business. I think the quote was something very short like, "It's Raytheon, Goldman, and Exxon!!!"

Which complicates things, as Trump's cabinet has reps from Goldman and Exxon in it.

neo-realist , February 20, 2017 at 10:36 pm

On that tip more or less, I recall watching a video of Dick Gregory and Mark Lane talking about the MLK Assassination, and Gregory made a point of saying more or less that the intelligence apparatus doesn't act unilaterally, but that it acts at the direction of the aristocrats, i.e., oligarchs, big business, etc. The aristocrats tells the apparatus to go after those governments and politicians that are acting against their interests.

In a documentary called King–Montgomery to Memphis (GREAT DOCUMENTARY), Harry Belafonte said that when King antagonized the "money power" , he was pretty much marked for death.

Anonymous , February 20, 2017 at 6:52 pm

Anecdotally, I was working with a former Senator at the time of the DHS formation who was still highly involved with the Bush administration. in fact Cheney had them on speed dial. I can tell you flat out that despite spouting the same garbage about freedom to reorganize on the fly, if you talked with them long enough the ability to fire employees at will ALWAYS ended up being the reason when anyone pinned him down about how departments would be reorganized on the fly. Very clearly it was about making sure that employees would know that they should show no integrity at all in doing their job most particularly in regards to either upholding the Constitution or recognizing the legal rights of any person, citizen of America or not.

Dave in Austin , February 20, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Deep state versus deep government

All modern states are bureaucratic. So the surface state which the public can replace, what we usually call "the government", is underpinned by a deep and essentially invisible substrate of people and institutions. The characteristics of the deep government are 1) opaque bureaucratic decision-making and written output designed to mislead not inform, 2) invisibility because the press cant easily turn the story into a narrative with individuals who represent good and evil, and because the national press (NYT, WP, and even the WSJ) no longer reports the news but filters the policies to either spark outrage or encourage cooperation, 3) The deep government employees are smart, educated and have come up through the ranks (think Bob Gates). They are great people, fun to be with but often incredibly insular and sure that "You people out there don't understand". And they are often right about that. Don't underestimate their knowledge.

Under most conditions the surface government, the deep government and the parts of the deep state outside the government (ie the press) are in general agreement and work together smoothly. Today the surface state (President, congress and soon probably the courts) are trying to bring about change that the individuals within the deep government fundamentally disagrees with on issues like immigration, national self-sufficiency and overseas threats. All major changes (our entry into WWI and WWII, the civil rights movement, tax and subsidy law, Obama's immigration program) generate resistance. Sometimes I agree with the deep, sneaky part of the government (entering WWII); other times, I don't (Vietnam, Bush in Iraq, Obama's immigration policy).

Our deep state is like that of most democracies and differs from authoritarian deep states in a number of fundamental ways: 1) our military is adamantly apolitical. All officers take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, not the government (in the late 1960s, as the military got sucked into domestic policing, many senior officers started reading and discussing the Constitution among themselves), 2) No U.S. deep state emerged out of our two formative struggles, the revolution and the Civil War . Much of the world (China, Russia and the colonies that became free in the 1950s and 60s) had a different history, 3) We have no ethnic and religious deep states- no Moslem Brotherhood, no Burmese Buddhist nationalist, although we do have passionate ethnic groups that prefer to operate out-of-sight (Jewish, Irish Catholic, Cuban, Indian to name a few) . 4) Countries that fight overseas wars or that fear internal revolutions all develop a deep state. All the ex-colonies that didn't (Iraq, Egypt, Guatemala and a hundred more) had the weak state overthrown and replaced with a strong and deep state. In the US the first deep state hints came after WWI (not WWII) with large caches of unappropriated money going into the hands of Naval Intelligence (who do you think paid for the Flying Tigers?). The original sin of our liberal deep state was the campaign to get us into WWII. A good cause- and a terrible precedent.

Finally, the deep government and the national elite are not the same. The deep government is largely a meritocracy filled with alert people who know which way the wind is blowing. If real Communists or real Fascists took over they would either stay inside, keep getting paid, and quietly try to undermine the new leaders or they would take early retirement. They don't write biographies or make statements because they are essentially private people immersed in their private lives, what the Communists used to call Careerists. The national elites are something else. They either feel independent (the hereditary rich, celebrities and Trump and the self-made billionaires) or are the insecure product of upper middle class families, Ivy League and second-level private colleges and good social backgrounds. They work in large institutions they don't own or control. The latter group wants to exercise power because it gives meaning to their otherwise uninteresting lives (think, academics, the non-profit sector and Federal judges). The self-made rich exercise power to become richer and because they love to control organizations that compete (Who owns all the NFL teams?). Both the deep state and the deep government are open to people of education, good breeding, ambition, discretion and good luck.

Is there any way to fix this? Probably not but nobody seems to bother the countries that don't do foreign adventures To roughly quote from the Bin Laden interview after 9/11, when he as asked "Why did you attack America?" he laughed and said "We didn't attack Switzerland". A better national press would help. If there are any billionaires out there interested in providing $100K salaries to real smart MBA students who like to dig, let me know. A few platoons of young I.F. Stones of various political hews might go a long way. But deep states are here to stay. The best we can do is monitor. analyze and publicize them.

Patricia , February 20, 2017 at 8:03 pm

What a fascinatingly bland presentation, revering deep state careerists for their solid private lives and good-breeding, while others are power-hungry insecure product searching for a cure to their dullness.

And calling for "platoons" of new IF Stones from among MBAs, of all places!

Thanks for the entertainment.

integer , February 20, 2017 at 10:31 pm

+1

Tomonthebeach , February 20, 2017 at 7:54 pm

As a retired member of the Deep State, I find it amusing at the imbecility of right- (or left) wing conspiracy nuts who can invent amazing chains of undermining collaboration across agency lines orchestrated by some powerful shadow demons.

If federal employees were really that effective, there would be no private sector wage gap, the VA and DOD would share a seamless electronic record system, and Snowden would have the Medal of Freedom, and HRC's fingerprints would have been all over the gun that killed Vince Foster.

The Deep State, if you want to call it that, exists so the people get the support and services they need despite confusing and often conflicting legislation, presidential directives, and agency regulations.

DH , February 20, 2017 at 8:27 pm

I generally apply Occam's Razor to conspiracy theories. It is generally more likely that events occur due to incompetence, lack of attention, or emotional reactions than conspiracy. To pull a secret conspiracy off successfully over a long time, you need to be really smart, really focused and not have many people, otherwise it is no longer secret.

The bigger the organization, the more likely you are to have a reversion to the mean of most of the population, and most people are more likely to turn a blind eye than participate in something that means they could lose their pension as well as getting home late for dinner.

So the biggest issue that Trump has with the bureaucracy is how to manage Parkinson's Law. He did in the private sector by running around saying "You're fired" but he can't do that to career civil servants. http://www.economist.com/node/14116121

I am sure that there are a bunch of bureaucrat top dogs that don't like the invasion of their turf. They are, after all, fundamentally political animals very jealous of their territory. Some of them might even talk to each other, but probably half of them despise the other half.

The biggest threat to us is that we slowly acquiesce to security theater that quietly gets more and more invasive. The police etc. are the most likely to be organized as some sort of "deep state" as some departments already have an us vs. them attitude.

JTMcPhee , February 20, 2017 at 8:43 pm

Tom, maybe one part of the bigger thing called "federal service" does that. I spent 13 years with the US EPA through the Reagan Revolution (and it was an amazing coup). A number of EPA employees, despite the threats of "RIFs" (reductions in force, or wholesale politically motivated firings), worked hard and quietly to do everything they could to slow the assault on "regulation" of sh!tty corporate behavior that threatened human health and the environment. There were a lot of go-alongs, usually later comers who were looking to get their resumes padded before moving to the dark side, but there were a lot who were serious in their commitment, and aware of their vulnerability, who continued to press for enforcement actions, regulations with teeth that required industries to spend money ("internalize") to install process changes and end-of-pipe-or-stack controls (which often resulted in increased profits for the corpos who had an excuse and tax deductions to update their plants. And there was continued insistence on doing the data gathering that supported the proofs of harm that pollution and toxics cause. There was an 'environmental justice" initiative despite the "f__k the poor" administration attitudes and policies, and a criminal enforcement operation that actually put corporate officers in jail and at least made them take notice of potential consequences. There are obviously still a lot of employees at EPA to take their mission to be protection of public health and the environment, preserving decades of data collection and soldiering on despite the "Mandate for Leadership" quackery and fear-and-loathing fomenting.

But your limiting the definition as you do is incomplete at best. The state security overlords, the oligokleptocracy, and the other inimical factions and parties that have been described in this post and comments, seem to me the real nuts and bolts of what 'deep state' is getting at. Not the many federal employees who, despite all the sh!t that flows down from above and laterally from the culture inside and outside the agencies, actually try to do the job of "positive governance," like a few people I have dealt with in the Social Security Admin, the VA, the CMS behemoth and a few others. I often wonder how people persist in those jobs and don't burn out or get fired. I was close to both while doing my thing at EPA, 1980-90 (the Reagan years - I had two-plus with Carter as president before that, to see how a less hostile-to-regulation-in-the-best-sense admin might operate.

Vatch , February 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Tom, I'm curious. In which department of the federal government were you employed?

integer , February 20, 2017 at 10:22 pm

Hard to take your comment seriously. Do you really think that the Deep State consists of federal employees who are concerned with VA and the rank and file of the DOD, or that they are interested in providing "support and services" to the people? I think it's likely that your belief that you were part of the Deep State is incorrect.

Mothy , February 20, 2017 at 8:01 pm

No discussion of the Deep State would be complete without reading "Spooks," by Jim Hougan. It was a seminal book written in 1980 (I believe) that introduced the notion of retiring IC operatives joining private company security apparati. Tell your compatriots you're acting on behalf of the government and a patriot will do ANYTHING. "The Conversation" was a depiction of one of the main characters in the book who had previously wiretapped most of Manhatten back in the early Sixties; he worked for either Hoffa or the Kennedy brothers or both. Really an unbelievable book getting more and more difficult to find. Ironically– or not– I believe it was Hougan's last piece of investigative journalism.

No Idea , February 20, 2017 at 9:14 pm

We cross out "conducting killings" for the American context (or do we?).

"Character assassination. What a wonderful idea. Ordinary assassination only works once, but this one works every day."
― Terry Pratchett, The Truth

Fool , February 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm

A succinct way that i like to think of the "deep state" is whoever the CIA works for.

Vatch , February 20, 2017 at 10:13 pm

"It's called the ruling class because it rules." –Arthur Silber

The rulers are the ones who rule. The ruling class includes non-rulers who are in the same socio-economic class as most of the people who rule.

buermann , February 21, 2017 at 12:48 am

I'd always assumed the concept originated with Peter Dale Scott, who, before he wrote the book "The American Deep State", used it all over the place in 2007's "The Road to 9/11". I've read neither but for excerpts, the concept merely referred to covert agencies acting outside the scope of democratic oversight - whether it's local police departments running out of control torture squads and black sites or national intelligence agencies acting as the private armies of the executive. That such groups might oust a sitting executive is of course the heart and soul of all his conspiracy mongering about the JFK assassination (I like his poetry an awful lot, but I remember trying to get through Cocaine Politics and either the sources didn't check out or they were untraceable, in any case I gave up on it).

https://books.google.com/books?id=op39ymd2um0C&printsec=frontcover&q=%22deep%20state%22

H. Alexander Ivey , February 21, 2017 at 1:18 am

If you want to find a consistent, broad, and useful meaning of a concept, and a phase or 'name' for that concept, look for books written on the subject. Postings, blogs, and even published articles do not have the authority that books have (it's not just because being hit upside the head with a book will hurt a lot more than with a blog posting, har,har).

My recommendation is Deep State, based on my understanding on Mike Lohgren's The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government .

I must say I personally don't like the term. When I use it with people who believe that Rep & Dem describe the US government, I get the old eye roll, tin foil hat outfitting treatment. Humm, maybe I'll lead in with the term 'Washington Consensus'. They get that one around here in Southeast Asia. They haven't forgotten or forgiven the IMF about the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

St Jacques , February 21, 2017 at 4:03 am

I hate the term deep state because, unlike the mic, for example, which has a clarity about it, it is so vague and malleable a term as to be almost useless except for Hollywood films and conspiracy nutters, but if there is such a thing, here is what it might look like:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8IvKx0c19w

Damson , February 21, 2017 at 6:56 am

It goes back to 9/11.

A must-read is the 'Collateral Damage' investigation in which the Office Of Naval Intelligence features as the main exposing agency of exactly this issue – a parallel power structure operating on a black budget:

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/File:Collateral_Damage_-_part_1.pdf

fairleft , February 21, 2017 at 7:36 am

The central task of the U.S. 'deep state' is to maintain or expand the permanent war economy. So it is the military-industrial complex. The top-of-food-chain spy agencies - whose primary task within the MIC is to create enemies and paranoia - are the brains and mouthpiece of the deep state.

begob , February 21, 2017 at 7:58 am

Didn't see any mention of organised crime. And does the DS distinguish between unlawful and illegal?

PH , February 21, 2017 at 8:53 am

Think kaleidoscope in motion. Colors are real but hard to predict. Preset patterns, but affected by outside movement.

I love histories, but I know they simplify and often mislead. Anyway, the trick is to spot the power emerging, not how it turned out with the last generation.

I suggest that the best approach looking forward is to start with the existing visible power bureaucracies both inside govt and outside govt but on its periphery.

For each behemoth, daily routine is the biggest driver. And with that usually goes shared values. Such things usually push events.

Offhand, I can think of a few starting points. If these separate bureaucracies are subject to some common control, I would like to know exactly who and exactly how.

Military/defense contractors. Mostly consumed with myopic concerns. Top generals and bureaucrats do think tank type stuff, but mostly technical. Obvious collusion with industry over defense budgets.

Not sure what attitude is toward Donald.

NSA and tech contractors. Foreign world to me, but obvious iceberg.

State Dept and White House and press chattering class. Propaganda organizations, basically. I am sure they have clubs and secret handshakes, but not sure should've called organized.

Main CIA. Narrow bureaucrats.

Off-the-books CIA intersecting with business. These have been the most spectacular stories and escapades. Edwin Wilson. Air America. Coups in the 50s. Maybe CIA assassination of Kennedy.

Did these operations drive history? Maybe. If those types of connections drive events today, what are they?

I do not see a unitary deep state.

Steven Greenberg , February 21, 2017 at 9:10 am

Nobody has raised the issue of COG. Here is one excerpt from Peter Dale Scott's book that talks about and somewhat defines it. Much more in the book of course.

One factor linking Dallas, Watergate, the 1980 "October Surprise" plot to prevent Carter's reelection, Iran-Contra, and 9/ 11 has been the background involvement in all these deep events of personnel from America's highest-level emergency planning, that is, Continuity of Government (COG) planning, known inside the Pentagon as "the Doomsday Project." The implementation of COG plans on 9/ 11 was the culmination of decades of such planning, and has resulted in the permanent militarization of the domestic United States, and the imposition at home of institutions and processes designed for domination abroad.

Scott, Peter Dale. The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (War and Peace Library). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Mattski , February 21, 2017 at 9:28 am

"Seems pretty big to be deep "

Not logical. The Deep State is those elements of the establishment that direct the course of government irrespective of e pluribus.

Perfectly good term, arising from popular usage, whose boundaries–hopefully needless to say–people who know better will not dictate anyway. Would have been much better, rather than to attack its use at the outset, just to investigate it. Elitist exercise, shaped like this.

[Feb 20, 2017] Republicans as the party of a better yesterday

Feb 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ken melvin : , February 20, 2017 at 02:49 PM
The Nostalgia of Trump: Remembering the days when birds fell from the sky from the polluted air in L.A., When the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, death from black lung desease, death from white lung desease, death by crushing, ...

I don't ever see nostalgia for Trump. I wish to see him expunged from the Nation's as quickly as possible.

cm -> ken melvin... , February 20, 2017 at 03:06 PM
I'm not sure what any of that has to do with nostalgia for Trump.

Quite a while back Paine (who seems to be back here) characterized contemporary Republicans as "the party of a better yesterday". This refers to many people's impression that when they were younger, at least looking back things were more hopeful and remembered quality of life better. This is independent from the things you mentioned. In my own observation the same phenomenon could be observed in prior generations of family and their acquaintances that experienced in various degrees WW1 and WW2 and the postwar fallouts. Life had always been better when they were young, war or not.

[Feb 20, 2017] Why Extreme Inequality Causes Economic Collapse naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Fig. 3a Income Share of U.S. Top 1% (Reich, 2013) & 3b Reich notes that the two peaks look like a suspension bridge, with highs followed by precipitous drops. (Original Source: Piketty & Saez, 2003) ..."
"... Paying for policy favors ..."
"... Removing constraints on dangerous behavior ..."
"... Increasing the public's vulnerability ..."
"... Increasing their own intake ..."
"... financial intermediaries. ..."
"... Or Ben Bernanke in his book "The Courage to Act": "Money is fungible. One dollar is like any other". ..."
"... "I adapted this general idea to show how, by affecting banks' loanable funds, monetary policy could influence the supply of intermediated ..."
"... no longer depend exclusively on insured deposits for funding, nondeposit sources of funding are likely to be relatively more expensive than deposits" ..."
"... The first channel worked through the banking system By developing expertise in gathering relevant information, as well as by maintaining ongoing relationships with customers, banks and similar intermediaries ..."
"... and thus hurt borrowers" (Bernanke [1983b]). ..."
"... A herding started by William McChesney Martin Jr, that thought "banks actually pick up savings and pass them out the window, that they are intermediaries ..."
"... obviously not so in any human activity. ..."
"... We believe Regenerative Economics can provide a unifying framework capable of galvanizing a wide array of reform groups by clarifying the picture of what makes societies healthy. But, this framework will only serve if it is backed by accurate theory and effective measures and practice. This soundness is part of what Capital Institute and RARE are trying to develop. ..."
"... haha, unfortunately it's the apex predator species that is in danger of sudden extinction as its prey declines. Of course the Darwinian analogy doesn't hold up well because Darwinian selection works on all individuals of a species without distinction. A much better analogy is a rigged game. ..."
Feb 20, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
According to a recent study by Oxfam International, in 2010 the top 388 richest people owned as much wealth as the poorest half of the world's population– a whopping 3.6 billion people. By 2014, this number was down to 85 people. Oxfam claims that, if this trend continues, by the end of 2016 the top 1% will own more wealth than everyone else in the world combined. At the same time, according to Oxfam, the extremely wealthy are also extremely efficient in dodging taxes, now hiding an estimated $7.6 trillion in offshore tax-havens.[3]

Why should we care about such gross economic inequality?[4] After all, isn't it natural? The scienc