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

Version 2.4 (Nov  21, 2016)

The USA is a single party state -- it is governed by the Neoliberal party with two factions "soft neoliberals" (Democratic Party) and "hard neoliberals" (Republican Party). Existence of  "Pepsi" and "Coca-Cola" parties in the USA is just a sophisticated variant of "divide and conquer" strategy and could have been used by the USSR leadership  instead of one party system. 

News American Polyarchy is not Democracy Recommended Books Recommended Links Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ? Steele dossier Donald Trump -- a former (for the duration of elections) fighter against excesses of neoliberal globalization Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump The Iron Law of Oligarchy
Understanding Hillary Clinton email scandal Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Neocons foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Superdelegates at Democratic National Convention Bernie Sanders The Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Demexit
Neocons Obama: a yet another Neocon Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex  New American Militarism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking
Predator state 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
Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Corporatist Corruption Paleoconservatism Corporatism Ethno-linguistic Nationalism Hillary Clinton email scandal: Timeline and summary "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry  Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS
Myth about intelligent voter Electoral College Non-Interventionism 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

“The only people truly bound by campaign promises are the voters who believe them.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens  

 

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 three letter agencies like CIA exist?  Probably not as "deep state" sooner or later (usually sooner)  makes surface state just an instrument for providing legitimacy of deep state rule.

Presedent Truman probably did not suspect that by sighing  the National Security Act of 1947  he signed a death sentence tothe form of democracy that the USA was having up to 1950th.

As part of the U.S. Cold War strategy, Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 and reorganized military forces by merging the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (later the Department of Defense) and creating the U.S. Air Force. The act also created the CIA and the National Security Council.[135] In 1952, Truman secretly consolidated and empowered the cryptologic elements of the United States by creating the National Security Agency (NSA).

Since JFK assassination we can talk about "inverted totalitarism" (The term introduced by late Professor Sheldon Wolin)  as the form on government which  become entrenched on on federal level (the related term if the "deep state"), while remnants of democracy are delegated to state and local levels.  Growth of power of intelligence agencies inevitably makes them political players. Nowhere it was more clear then in 2016 Presendential electio, when by derailing Sanders FBI essenatially ensure Trump win and then in cooperation of other againces (and first of all CIA Brennan) lauched a color regoluation againast Trump trying to deposer him vi Special Procecutor mechnism.

Does  the "the first after the post" rule along with enforcing two party system on the population also is instrumental with establishing slightly camouflaged one party state with two "Pepsi" vs. "Coca Cola"  parties which serve as a spoilers for those to the left or the right of the center, subverting and emasculating new social movements into their (currently neoliberal) stagnant and elite oriented framework. The effect is so profound that it created the impression that "first after the post" can't be used in any country pretending to be a democracy? 

There are also addition questions:

  1. Is existence  of military-industrial complex, and, especially, such part of MIC as huge and essentially uncontrolled intelligence agencies compatible with democracy? Ever since the inception of the Central Intelligence Agency America has been battling a force that exists with a written charter to undermine and undo ever single fundamental principle of representational democracy in America and elsewhere replacing it with an ugly cold-skinned changeling covertly overseen by its CIA creators and their sponsors.
  2. Does absence of limits of the term of senators subvert democracy ?  If so what should be the maximum term. Is "gerontocracy" in the US congress  represents positive, or highly negative. Is role of money in elections forces senators to serve effectively as representatives of corporations which reside in the states, not the states themselves  ? 
  3. Is official lobbing including lobbying by organization which are clearly supported by foright  state such as AIPAC ?
  4. Is "money as a free speech" principle compatible with democracy?  Or does it mean "one dollar-one vote" regime?

The fact that parties represent interests radically different from interests of their voters is not new.  As George Washinton put it:

 "However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." President George Washington Farewell Address | Saturday, September 17, 1796

Later the same idea was later coined as the "iron law of oligarchy". So on federal level neither republic, not democracy exists. We level in empire with no participatory democracy (unless voting to the lesser  evil of two preselected by the elite candidate can be viewed as a democracy).  In latest Presidential election it was intelligence agencies who were kingmakers, derailing Sanders. But it still exists on local level below the level of state, although even there financial oligarchy managed to spoil the broth -- on municipal level it is bankers who control the politics as they are interested in loans for public projects.

In other word decomicatinc elements in the neoliberal political system are just facade for the  dictatorship of financial oligarchy. And pretty brutal one (The Saker - The Unz Review, Feb 23, 2018):

But first, full disclosure: I don’t have much faith in the so-called “democratic process”. Just look at the EU and tell me: do you really believe that the people in power represent the will and interests of the people who, supposedly, elected them? There are exceptions, of course, Switzerland is probably one of the comparatively most democratic countries out there, but mostly what we see is that western democracies are run by gangs of oligarchs and bureaucrats who have almost nothing in common with the people they are supposed to represent. As for the US, for decades now every time the people voted for “A” they always got “non-A” as a result. It is almost comical.

So here is my personal conclusion: democracies are political systems in which the real ruling elites hide behind an utterly fake appearance of people power. Putting it differently, the “democratic process” is the device by which the real and hidden rulers of the world (or “worldwide behind the scenes powers“, to use the expression of Ivan Il’in), legitimize their power and prevent their overthrow. This is the same technique followed by used car dealerships when they place tens, sometimes, hundreds of US flags on their lots before a car sale: it’s just a basic trick to induce the ‘correct’, patriotic, state of mind.

This is also the reason why there are elections every 4 years in the US: the more illegitimate and despotic any putatively “democratic” regime is, the more often it will organize elections to, so to speak, “increase the dose” of patriotically-induced stupor in its people and give them the illusion that the regime is legitimate, their opinion matters and all is well.

Finally, when needed, slogans such as “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others” are used to put to sleep those who might have doubts. In terms of real people power “democracies” are probably the least truly democratic regimes imaginable simply because they are by far the most capable of hiding who really runs the country and where their real centers of power are. Do I really need to add that the worst kind of “democracy” is the capitalist one? You disagree? Then why do you think that Mayer Amschel Rothschild allegedly declared “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!“? Nowhere is the concentration of capital easier to achieve than in a society which makes it possible for the real ruling class to hide its power behind a screen of electoral farces.

As Sheldon  Wolin put it, all we have under neoliberalism is inverted totalitarism and a nationally security state with modem equivalent of STASI level of total surveillance  instead of democracy.  The neoliberal elite firmly guar the levers of power and  try to eliminate any challenger before it represent a real political threat to the neoliberal social system. Even minor  threats are mercilessly squashed. Look at what  happened to Trump.

Democracy for whom?

Another important question is "democracy for whom?". There is always a large part of society (say bottom 80% or even 90%)  living under the dictatorship (for lower 50% this is even worse -- neo-slavery as  "debt slaves" or "wage slaves"), struggling to meet ends and thus excluded from the democratic process. Moreover,  most of the US population spend their life under authoritarian rule: those who are parts of the military, who work in large corporation, or government. How they can behave in a democratic way if they are conditioned and adapted to the strict authoritarian rule at work ?  

Another large question: can  a typical American understand whom he/she is voting for in the environment of pretty sophisticated propaganda and systematic betrayal of election promises (in this repect Trump is not different  from Barak Obama) as a political norm ("change we can believe in" )? 

Add to this completely brainwashed population ready to vote against their economic interests and  for indefinite and costly wars for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led by the USA. For example,  despicable warmonger, war criminal(with destruction of Libya and  Syria under  the belt), staunch neoliberal Hillary Clinton was so detached from reality that it hurts. Despite clear signs of the deep systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the USA and closely related process of de-legitimization of neoliberal elite (look what percentage of the Americans trust Congress)  all she wanted is to kick the neoliberal can down the road. And still almost half of the country voted for her.

Also there is no rules that the candidate can not betray all his election time promises. Any level of betrayal is OK, as parties in reality do not control the  behaviour of their leaders as long as they remain on neoliberal platform,  and they and stay in office. Recent example of Clinton, Bush II, Obama and Trump are clear demonstration of the gap between election platform and actual governance.

In case of Trump and Obama this was a complete betrayal. In a way Trump is Republican Obama -- a person with almost zero political experience  who due to the lack of personal political history during elections was able to pretend to be the politician, while he clearly is not -- he is a marionette of MIC (much like Barak was marionette of CIA; just look at "very close" and pretty unusual relations  between him and Brennan) as well as Brannan role in color revolution against  Trump

What is the level of interest  of average middle class American in real information about Washington  political machinery and neoliberal social system

Poor people are automatically excluded from politics. most of their energy needs to be  spend on task related to mere survival and desperate attempt to spread their meager paycheck to the next without falling into the laps of loan sharks.

Middle class can afford attempts to analyze the political situation and personal efforts to understand the political system in which they live. And because of that can  have informed political opinion. Theoretically. In reality there also many obstacles here.  One  fundamental obstacle is so called The iron law of oligarchy.  The second, related, is the existence of the deep state.

First of all let me ask a simple question: What is the level of interest  in governance of an average middle class American (lower class with McJobs most of the time is too preoccupied with survival to be able to particulate in political activity), if they are brainwashed 24 x 7 by neoliberal propaganda  which tries to distract them from discussing and understanding any serious issue facing the USA. 

Also  the middle class in not uniform. There is substantial caste of Americans deeply connected with the imperial state (servants of the empire so to speak) and they also represent  a political force with interests different form the average middle class American. There are roughly three contractors (28,626) for every U.S. army member (9,800) in Afghanistan. On April 5, Adm. Michael Rogers, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, declared during a Senate hearing that contractors made up 25 percent of his workforce (Foreign Policy). They have their own opinion and interest in such issues as permanent war for permanent peace.  And without draft this issue does not touch too deeply ordinary middle class American, who do not need to fight and die for the empire.

The second  factor is constant brainwashing be neoliberal MSM. Unless a person make a conscious effort to exclude them and rely of alternative media he/she can't form any informed political opinion.  You will almost never even her the  term "neoliberalism" in neoliberal MSM like NYT or WaPo or CNN or MSNBC. This is a taboo.  But you will hear a lot about "evil Russians" or "evil Chinese" which is a perfect distraction, a smoke screen, designed to hide the real problems facing the US society after 40 years of dominance of neoliberalism as a social system.

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 even more efficiently that 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 "by design" provides a very effective suppression of any third party, preventing any chance of maturing such a political force.  Emerging parties are cooped iether under Democratic or Republic umbrella and then emasculated.  This mechanism is no less effective the Soviet one party rule, but more subtle, requires less violence and suppression of dissidents, 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 oligarchy was actually discovered by observing the evolution of the political party leadership.

Revolutionary situation after 2008 is connected with discreditation of neoliberal ideology

The situation when the current (neoliberal) 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".  In 2008 the protest was squashed by electing "Trojan horse" Obama, who proved to be the king of "bait and switch" maneuver. Some signs of this situation were observable in the USA in 2016 which led to the election of what  a person who like Obama pretended  essentially to be an independent candidate slightly (at least formally) opposing the most negative effects of neoliberalism on population (anti-globalization stance, accent of creation jobs within the USA, etc) -- Donald Trump.  Who later proved to be Republican version of Obama. Not without help of "deep state" which launched unprotected and well coordinated company of leaks and 24 x 7 negative news to discredit his personality and administration. Going as far as in a very elegant really Machiavellian way  using fake accusations ("Russiagate) appointing a special prosecutor using Obama/Hillary supporters in the Judicial department (effectively coup d'état as special procedure is big burden which effectively paralyses any administration and Clinton presidency had shown). And when it did not work, they tried to accuse him of being racist (using  1 Charlottesville events) or even insane person. Looks like for Trump, even if he has some intention to implement anti-neoliberal measures -- the resistance proved to be way too strong and such intension did not last even half a year.  Bombing Syria army air field with Tomahawks was an early signal of surrender.  Removing Bannon, and adding troops to Afghan war make this turn around and betrayal of Trump voters in best Obama style virtual certainty.

It was clear that there is a widespread feeling among the majority of the US population now that the current neoliberal system of governance, installed by victorious neoliberals after 1980, is wrong and unjust. And when the people do not wouldn't like 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 revolutionary situation, a rare moment when "the change we can believe in" becomes possible arise. Not the con that the king of "bait and switch" maneuver Obama sold to the US lemmings in 2008 and then in 2012, but the "real" change; which can be for the good or bad. Stability of the society also has its great value. As Chinese curse state it succinctly "May you live in interesting times".

 In such cases, the ruling elite typically 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"). But in this particular case the USA already is in engaged in several wars (or occupations), so the nostalgia for good time what the USSR existed proved to be irresistible. And the pitch level of anti-Russian propaganda in 2016-2017 in neoliberal MSM suggest that a large part of the US elite decided to "waive a dead chicken" (actually Hillary made Russophobia a part of her election campaign, effectively unleashing a new neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA).  As John Kenneth Galbraith noted “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.

People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” --  John Kenneth Galbraith

In 2016 we saw an attempt by oligarchy to rig the elections despite growing populism, at all cost. Throwing  Sanders under the bus represented exactly this maneuver.  The were not stopped even by the fact that they are promoting a deeply criminal and candidate with serious health problems ("We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality") The level of propaganda displayed in 2015-2016 election cycle by neoliberal MSM might well outdo the levels achieved by communist propagandists in during 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" (or "bustard neoliberal" ;-) who during election campaign 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.   But later quickly recognized that this heresy is not acceptable in the corridors of Washington deep state and can be harmful for his health ;-). The hissy fit in neoliberal media and the emergence of certain figures from the intelligence agencies on an "avanscena" as the leaders of "color revolution" against Trump (so called "Purple revolution") were to be expected but  caught Trump absolutely unprepared.

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 "democracy for whom" -- it is clear that this is the democracy for the top 1% or, at best, top 20% of population. a more interesting observation is that  as Trump election has shown, neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past are ready to go to extreme methods including coup d'état to preserve their power, the democracy be damned.  

Also interesting were the methods of indoctrination of population which were borrowed by the USA neoliberals from the Soviet experience, which  were practiced from 1980th.  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 with indoctrination as Soviet society did not correspond to Marx expectations  -- 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 small "legitimate" emasculated subset that was in like with Bolshevism.  Neoclassical economy in the USA plays exactly the same role and is even worse. At least with some effort Soviet  student can get all the  works of Marx and Lenin. Here, in the USA, chances to read Keynes and other "deviant" economists for university students are virtually zero. They are completely distracted from fundamental issues by high doze of mathematics (misused and abused -- called mathiness). Which  is used as smoke  screen which hide the poverty of ideas of neo-classical economy.

But deteriorating economy and stagnation does make neoliberal propaganda less effective.  Like people of the USSR were listening to BBC and Voice of America at night, despite jamming, thinking people in the  USA are resort of alternative sources of news or even, God forbid, visit "naked capitalism", RT, or other "disapproved" by  neoliberal propagandists sites. Even thoroughly brainwashed the USA population, who like member of high demand cult now internalized postulates of neoliberalism like dogmas of some civil religion (displacing Christianity, so much about fake myth the USA is Christian nation; it is not) , started to have doubts.  Alternative sources of information in 2016-2017 started to play such and outside role that the company about "fake news" was launched to suppress them. They did not stop people from reading, say, Guardian, RT, unz.com, American conservative, Asia Times, to name a few.

But still the general level  political education of US votes leave much to be desired and is probably as low if not lower that it was in the USSR (due to obsessive emphasis on the works of Marx and Lenin soviet voters with university education usually have strong doubt about soviet system ). 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 with the Communist Party 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 political 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 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 USA "white block" electorate.

Can the republic survive under Trump ?

Mu impression is that it too late to worry about the survival of the republic under Trump. Republic was lost long ago. According to Sheldon Wolin we live in a neoliberal empire at least since Bush II administration and even since  Reagan.  Essentially the collapse of the USSR was the death  sentence to the republic and at this point transformation of it into empire was quick and irreversible as there were no longer countervailing forces to slow down  this process.  Which is not a completely bad thing for citizens in the USA, unless it collapses like all empires. Which might happen when gas reaches $11 per gallon (in way this is petro-empire) or some other calamity. Sheldon Wolin (which book I strongly recommend to re-read) called this imperial social system that  emerged "inverted totalitarism". So Trump was elected way too late to participate in the destruction of the American republic. At best Trump put the final nail in the coffin of the American republic. Kind of parody on Julius Caesar:
During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system that had made its members rich...
But the deep state was in ascendance since Truman (who can be viewed as the father of national security state). So dismounting of the republic was a long continues process with temporary reversal after Church commission, when the power of intelligence agencies were temporary curtailed and they were put under more close control of Senate and House. But later a new "neoliberal" deep state  emerged under Reagan and those gains were reversed.  I personally view Trump as a Bush III.  But resilience of US political system might prevent  the worst outcome -- a war with Russia or China. 

I would prefer if Sanders were elected. But FBI pushed him under the bus by exonerating Hillary. I think the USA now badly need a "New New Deal", biot some crazr "chrstria capitalism that Bannon professed (see Bannonism).  But the question is: "What social forces will support it ?" I see no strong social forces able to take on entrenched "corporatism" -- a merger of  Wall Street and MIC interests and corresponding economic power.  Add to this Silicon valley and unprecedented capability of surveillance.  In the absence of alternatives, the crisis of neoliberalism became  a chronic one.

Russiagate as a sign of the crisis of neoliberal empire

In this sense the "Russiagate" campaign might be interpreted as an attempt of the neoliberal elite to rally people around the flag and hide Hillary political fiasco due to the crisis of neoliberalism. The later led to the surprise victory of Trump, because the voters rejected establishment candidate.  Also as for the level of warmongering Hillary probably is close or surpass Trump.   So in a way  the US voters were put by FBI between Scylla and Charybdis.   Of course,  Russians are not saints and they are an obstacle on the path to global US led neoliberal empire, but still I think that the whole thing is overdone.

A  good (IMHO) overview of our current political can be found in London review of books. See What We Don t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking by Jackson Lears

American politics have rarely presented a more disheartening spectacle. The repellent and dangerous antics of Donald Trump are troubling enough, but so is the Democratic Party leadership’s failure to take in the significance of the 2016 election campaign. Bernie Sanders’s challenge to Hillary Clinton, combined with Trump’s triumph, revealed the breadth of popular anger at politics as usual – the blend of neoliberal domestic policy and interventionist foreign policy that constitutes consensus in Washington. Neoliberals celebrate market utility as the sole criterion of worth; interventionists exalt military adventure abroad as a means of fighting evil in order to secure global progress. Both agendas have proved calamitous for most Americans. Many registered their disaffection in 2016. Sanders is a social democrat and Trump a demagogic mountebank, but their campaigns underscored a widespread repudiation of the Washington consensus.
Of course,  for correct framework we need to refer to classic Sheldon Wolin book. As he pointed out merge of corporate power with the ascendance of the "deep state" and technological progress proved to be an unstoppable factor that doomed the New Deal. Also defeated financial sector borrowed Bolsheviks methods and created "professional counter-revolutionaries" via think tanks, subservient press, etc. Milton Friedman Chicago school and Monte Perelin society were probably the most famous promoters of neoliberalism.  See also The Quiet Coup - Simon Johnson - The Atlantic
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[Nov 14, 2018] When 'America First' Becomes Negotiable

Notable quotes:
"... [Don't miss Barndollar discussing the forever war, the military industrial complex, and military reform at our fifth annual foreign policy conference on November 15 in Washington, D.C. Full schedule and free registration here] ..."
"... Gil Barndollar is Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest and Military Fellow-in-Residence at the Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship. He served as a U.S. Marine infantry officer from 2009 to 2016. ..."
Nov 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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The most remarkable thing about Trump's foreign policy is how much it's like his predecessors'. By Gil BarndollarNovember 12, 2018

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Flickr As we near the halfway point of President Donald Trump's first term, U.S. foreign policy is being widely portrayed as off the rails. Yet when one looks past the Trumpian bluster, the predetermined media narrative, and the serial incompetence of an understaffed and often inexperienced administration, one finds a foreign policy agenda that differs far more in style than in substance from its predecessors'.

Donald Trump ran for president as a foreign policy Buchananite in all but name. Thoughhe made pro forma genuflections before the altars of primacy and American military supremacy, Trump repeatedly bemoaned America's disastrous interventions in the Greater Middle East. The South Carolina Republican presidential debate in February 2016 seemed like a watershed moment: Trump attacked George W. Bush's war leadership and proclaimed the Iraq war a disaster, a bold stance in a Republican Party that still refused to acknowledge reality more than a decade after the invasion. Despite being booed by some in the audience, Trump won the state easily and drove "Low Energy" Jeb Bush out of the race.

Candidate Trump offered a radical break with the U.S. foreign policy establishment. He said was NATO obsolete and warned of the danger of a third world war with Russia. He rightly declared the Libyan intervention to be another fiasco, and an illegal one at that. Hillary Clinton, by comparison, bragged about Muammar Gaddafi's death and compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler. Foreign policy realists and restrainers were understandably receptive to a Trump presidency, warts and all.

Much of Trump's rhetoric revolved around the undeniable fact that our allies are prospering under an American security umbrella they do not pay enough to support. He famously said that the United States should "take Iraq's oil" as payback for the American blood and treasure invested there. Trump seemed to sum up his view of America in the world when he told The Washington Post in March 2016: "We certainly can't afford to do this anymore."

Two years later, it is clear that "America First" was negotiable. U.S. troops aren't coming home, entangling alliances are expanding not contracting, and American client states are even more likely to drag us into war in the Middle East. When one pushes the media and the president's personality out of view, the most remarkable thing about Trump's foreign policy is how unremarkable it is. Beneath the rhetoric, American foreign policy these past two years has remained shackled to the traditional pillars of primacy, interventionism, and hubris.

Afghanistan: The war in Afghanistan offers the clearest evidence of business as usual in American foreign policy. The administration's brief attempt at unconventional thinking on Afghanistan was the risible Prince plan, whereby the U.S. would continue to prosecute the war but outsource it to a "modern East India Company." Erik Prince, formerly head of the Blackwater security firm and more recently a logistics provider in Africa and trainer of Chinese security services, proposed to turn Afghanistan over to a brigade of contractors and a "viceroy" with total command of the U.S. war effort. Though many of Prince's critiques of the current strategy are sound, mercenaries cannot fix a country with massive culture and governance problems. This idea was thankfully rejected. More creative thinking, like a real effort to work with Russia, China, and Pakistan to stabilize Afghanistan, or a withdrawal and a pledge to return in force if necessary, appears to have been unwelcome.

Instead, a vaunted new strategy offered little substantive change. U.S. forces in Afghanistan were increased by 4,000 troops, and the number of airstrikes shot up. But the situation there has only gotten worse. Casualties for both civilians and Afghan security forces have risen dramatically in the past year while Pakistan still shelters and abets the Taliban. The Afghan military is still not able to hold territory without U.S. assistance. In fact, independent assessors like the Long War Journal believe that nearly 60 percent of Afghanistan's districts are either under Taliban control or contested. The Department of Defense even briefly trotted out enemy body counts as a metric for progress before The New York Times rightly invoked the Vietnam War.

Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Goes Neocon Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Bait and Switch

Meanwhile, 17 years after 9/11, the Pentagon claims there are now upwards of 20 terror groups operating in Afghanistan, including what's left of ISIS, the heir to al Qaeda. For that reason, Americans are told we cannot leave.

Europe: Early in his presidency Trump briefly declined to endorse NATO's Article 5, provoking predictable hysteria on both sides of the Atlantic. A year later, he gave America's European allies a tongue-lashing in Brussels, calling them delinquent in their contributions to collective defense. Germany received special attention, with the president labeling Europe's largest economy a "captive of Russia." In Helsinki a few days later, Trump appeared to dismiss charges of Russian meddling in U.S. elections, igniting yet another firestorm of criticism. Back stateside, he concurred during an interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson that starting a war over Montenegro, NATO's newest member, would be folly.

Yet when the dust finally settled, little had changed. The United States continues to support Ukraine in its war against Russian-backed separatists, even selling Kiev Javelin anti-tank missiles and other "lethal aid" that the more cautious President Barack Obama had refused to provide. Sanctions against Russia pile up, dampening that country's long-term economic development. European armies remain largely impotent while mindless NATO expansion continues apace. Despite what he said on Fox News, Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate had already signed off on the addition of Montenegro (and its tiny army of fewer than 2,000 soldiers) to NATO in 2017. Macedonia, another mouse that roared, is next. Poland has recently entertained the idea of a "Fort Trump" to permanently house U.S. troops on its soil -- yet another American tripwire force.

The Middle East: Iran remains the Trump administration's abiding foreign policy obsession. Here, at least, one cannot blame false advertising. The president was explicit about his plans to tear up Obama's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that limited Iran's nuclear ambitions, and make a better deal.

Once in office, the president's instincts on the regime were further fortified by the Saudis and Israelis, to whom he has clung more tightly than any previous administration. He surrounded himself with paid advocates of the Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK), a cult that is hated in Iran. Trump's lawyer and national security advisor, Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton respectively, have spoken on MEK's behalf, despite it being a U.S.-designated terrorist organization until 2012. Bolton now officially abjures regime change, but in July 2017 he promised an MEK gathering in Paris that they would celebrate together in Tehran in 2019.

[Don't miss Barndollar discussing the forever war, the military industrial complex, and military reform at our fifth annual foreign policy conference on November 15 in Washington, D.C. Full schedule and free registration here]

In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented Iran with a list of 12 demands that bring to mind Austria-Hungary and Serbia on the eve of World War I. Pompeo's conditions were not a starting point for negotiations or normalization; they were a call for surrender. The administration now believes it can crush Iran through economic sanctions and force it to the negotiating table.

Trump's Iran obsession has had baleful effects beyond the Persian Gulf. U.S. sanctions on Iran are damaging relations with a host of other nations by restricting their trade, even as the president extolled the primacy of sovereignty at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Tethered to the increasingly reckless Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the U.S. has continued to fuel, arm, and otherwise aid the Saudi-led coalition's brutal, stalemated war in Yemen -- a policy begun by Barack Obama.

In Syria and Iraq, the U.S. can take credit for a successful campaign against the Islamic State. Yet in the wake of this victory, U.S. troops seem to be staying put in Syria, despite a promise by Trump to pull them out earlier this year. Top officials announced in September that American forces will not be leaving Syria until the Iranians do. The risk of our presence in Syria dragging us into a war with either Iran or Russia is more real than ever.

In Israel, Trump has doubled down on support of Benjamin Netanyahu and the hardline Likud party. The U.S. finally moved its embassy to Jerusalem, as promised to pro-Israel donors during the campaign, and cut off all funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN's Palestinian refugee agency. These moves only cemented a growing impression that Trump never planned to be an honest broker between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Many now believe that the peace process is dead.

North Korea: North Korea dominated headlines and fears of during 2017 and early 2018. While the president tweeted about "fire and fury" and "Little Rocket Man" Kim Jong-un, ultra-hawks in Washington pushed for a "bloody nose" preventive attack or even full-on regime change in North Korea. Thankfully, this was one case where Trump's status quo foreign policy prevented conflict. Both sides climbed down, conducted a historic summit in Singapore, and made over-hyped and easily reversible concessions. The president's personalization of diplomacy resulted in a victory, albeit in a verbal conflict that he had done much to create. Substantively, little has changed. North Korea will keep its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, American troops will remain in South Korea, and further negotiations are promised.

This is a good thing: a preventive war with North Korea would be the ultimate expression of Bismarck's line about "committing suicide out of fear of death." It appears that North Korea wants to slowly open itself to the world, a prospect that has South Korean businessmen quietly ecstatic and China relieved. Nonetheless, this is basically business as usual: North Korea threatens, is granted concessions, and the status quo is preserved. We have seen this before. We may be on the cusp of a permanent change in relations with North Korea, but the jury is still out.

China: There is one shining exception to the Trump administration's conventional foreign policy: China. Trump, unencumbered by free trade ideology, is challenging China's economic ascent. Gone is the mindless determinism of Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the evidence-free belief that free trade would somehow gradually end Chinese totalitarianism and mercantilism. The Chinese have never competed on a level playing field and as a result we have spent 20 years ceding American industry and supply chains to China. The hour is late, but there is still time for the United States to fundamentally reorient its relationship with China.

Despite the chimera of a 355-ship navy, America will not win or lose this fight in a Gotterdammerung in the South China Sea. The contest with China may be existential, but it is primarily an economic, technological, and political battle. For all of the deep structural problems in the U.S. economy, China has more to lose from a trade war right now than America does.

It is not clear, though, if we are in the midst of a trade war or a trade bluff. If it is the latter, we are likely to get a slightly better arrangement for U.S. businesses and then proceed towards the same endpoint. If we are fighting a real trade war, however, there is an opportunity to unwind "Chimerica" and bring manufacturing, if not necessarily jobs, home. It is an open question whether the president has the stomach for the economic and political pain that this will entail, as his oft-invoked roaring stock market tanks and Americans feel the bite of tariffs in their wallets.

As with most things this administration does, competence is also an enormous question mark. A trade war with China may be necessary and prudent. Simultaneously battling the Europeans and our NAFTA partners while conducting a trade war with China is neither. If we want to fundamentally reorder our economic relationship with China, for reasons of both national security and long-term prosperity, we need to do it in concert with the other liberal democracies, especially our North American neighbors. They could benefit greatly from a reorientation of American trade. A strategy is needed, not an impulse and a series of tactical tariffs.

How did America First so quickly become business as usual, China excepted? Diehard Trumpists are inclined to defend the president's foreign policy U-turns by painting him as a prisoner of his own administration, surrounded by conventional Republicans who subvert his non-interventionist instincts. The writing was on the wall immediately, they claim, as a trio of generals -- John Kelly, James Mattis, and H. R. McMaster -- were chosen to drive national security policy. As veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, all three were unlikely to support any radical reexamination of America's place in the world. Steve Bannon, who would and did support such a change, was forced out of the White House within a year.

Personnel is policy, as the cliché goes, and the administration's foreign policy team is dominated by men who are conventional internationalists at best, unrepentant neoconservatives at worst. Rex Tillerson presided over a State Department in unprecedented disarray and often found himself focused on limiting the damage of the president's bombast. His successor has been a reliable agent of foreign policy orthodoxy, dutifully dealing with North Korea on the one hand and threatening Iran on the other.

There is undoubtedly something to the narrative of internal betrayal, as Bob Woodward's Fear and the recent anonymous New York Times editorial attest. America may not have a true Deep State, but Trump's personality and some of his policies have provoked unprecedented resistance from within government bureaucracies and even from his own political appointees. Realigning American foreign policy in the face of an obdurate establishment was always going to be a significant challenge. Succeeding in this task without a united team is likely impossible.

But this is not an entirely tenable defense. These are men the president chose, and they are doing his bidding, inasmuch as he knows and communicates what that is. The bench of realists and non-interventionists may be small, but the president has put some of the worst warmongers in Washington into positions of real power and influence.

So those who believe in foreign policy realism and restraint are left with the worst of both worlds: a presidency that espouses an America First agenda but then proceeds to sabotage support for these policies through reckless rhetoric, incompetent implementation, and a refusal to carry out anything approaching a thoughtful, non-interventionist strategy.

Perhaps the next two years will see a drastic change in American foreign policy. Hope springs eternal -- but there is scant reason for anything more than hope.

Gil Barndollar is Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest and Military Fellow-in-Residence at the Catholic University of America's Center for the Study of Statesmanship. He served as a U.S. Marine infantry officer from 2009 to 2016.

[Nov 14, 2018] Bolton Vows to 'Squeeze' Iran, Escalating Sanctions - News From by Jason Ditz

If this is Trump policy, then Trump is 100% pure neocon. It took just three months for the Deep state to turn him.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton shrugged off the reality that Iran is still doing business internationally, saying that he believes Iran is "under real pressure" from the sanctions, and that he's determined to see it keep getting worse. ..."
Nov 13, 2018 | news.antiwar.com

Says Europe will be forced to accept US demands

With the newly reimposed US sanctions against Iran having little to no perceivable economic impact, national security adviser John Bolton is talking up his plans to continue to escalate the sanctions track, saying he will " squeeze Iran until the pips squeak ."

Bolton shrugged off the reality that Iran is still doing business internationally, saying that he believes Iran is "under real pressure" from the sanctions, and that he's determined to see it keep getting worse.

Bolton went on to predict that the European efforts to keep trading with Iran would ultimately fail. He said the Europeans are going through the six stages of grief , and would ultimately led to European acceptance of the US demands.

Either way, Bolton's position is that the US strategy will continue to be imposing new sanctions on Iran going forward. It's not clear what the end game is, beyond just damaging Iran.

[Nov 12, 2018] The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation graveyard of social protest movements, and for good reason

Highly recommended!
The Democrats are politically responsible for the rise of Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump. ..."
"... The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man." ..."
"... This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers. ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Pelosi's deputy in the House, Steny Hoyer, sums up the right-wing policies of the Democrats, declaring: "His [Trump's] objectives are objectives that we share. If he really means that, then there is an opening for us to work together."

So much for the moral imperative of voting for the Democrats to stop Trump! As Obama said following Trump's election, the Democrats and Republicans are "on the same team" and their differences amount to an "intramural scrimmage." They are on the team of, and owned lock stock and barrel by, the American corporate-financial oligarchy, personified by Trump.

The Democrats are, moreover, politically responsible for the rise of Trump. The Obama administration paved the way for Trump by implementing the pro-corporate (Wall Street bailout), pro-war (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, drone killings) and anti-democratic (mass surveillance, persecution of Snowden, Assange, Manning) policies that Trump is continuing and intensifying. And by breaking all his election promises and carrying out austerity policies against the working class, Obama enabled the billionaire gangster Trump to make an appeal to sections of workers devastated by deindustrialization, presenting himself as the anti-establishment spokesman for the "forgotten man."

This was compounded by the right-wing Clinton candidacy, which exuded contempt for the working class and appealed for support to the military and CIA and wealthy middle-class layers obsessed with identity politics. Sanders' endorsement of Clinton gave Trump an open field to exploit discontent among impoverished social layers.

The same process is taking place internationally. While strikes and other expressions of working class opposition are growing and broad masses are moving to the left, the right-wing policies of supposedly "left" establishment parties are enabling far-right and neo-fascist forces to gain influence and power in countries ranging from Germany, Italy, Hungary and Poland to Brazil.

As for Gay's injunction to vote "pragmatically," this is a crude promotion of the bankrupt politics that are brought forward in every election to keep workers tied to the capitalist two-party system. "You have only two choices. That is the reality, whether you like it or not." And again and again, in the name of "practicality," the most unrealistic and impractical policy is promoted -- supporting a party that represents the class that is oppressing and exploiting you! The result is precisely the disastrous situation working people and youth face today -- falling wages, no job security, growing repression and the mounting threat of world war.

The Democratic Party long ago earned the designation "graveyard of social protest movements," and for good reason. From the Populist movement of the late 19th century, to the semi-insurrectional industrial union movement of the 1930s, to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, to the mass anti-war protest movements of the 1960s and the eruption of international protests against the Iraq War in the early 2000s -- every movement against the depredations of American capitalism has been aborted and strangled by being channeled behind the Democratic Party.

[Nov 12, 2018] Trump was elected by advocating a populist-nationalist agenda, he betrayed his voters almost instantly and governed as Bush III

Notable quotes:
"... For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy -- exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive. ..."
"... With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump's apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them. ..."
"... Both Trump's supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different. ..."
"... Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. ..."
Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

Perhaps the loss of the House may actually prove to be a mixed blessing for Trump. Democrats will achieve control of all the investigative committees and their accusations and subpoenas will make Trump's life even more miserable than it was before, while surely removing any chance that significant elements of Trump's remaining agenda will ever be enacted.

However, although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms. For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy -- exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive.

With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump's apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them.

Meanwhile, a considerably stronger Republican Senate will certainly ease the way for Trump's future court nominees, especially if another Supreme Court vacancy occurs, and there will be little chance of any difficult Kavanaugh battles. However, here once again, Trump's supposed radicalism has merely been rhetorical. Kavanaugh and nearly all of his other nominees have been very mainstream Republican choices, carefully vetted by the Federalist Society and other conservative establishment groups, and they would probably have been near the top of the list if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were sitting in the Oval Office.

Both Trump's supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different.

Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. Among our largest states, Texas ranks as by far the most solidly Republican, and therefore it serves as the central lynchpin of every Republican presidential campaign. The GOP has won every major statewide race for more than twenty years, but despite such seemingly huge advantages, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz faced a very difficult reelection race against a young border-area Congressman named Beto O'Rourke, who drew enormous enthusiasm and an ocean of local and national funding.

[Nov 12, 2018] Although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms

Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

Perhaps the loss of the House may actually prove to be a mixed blessing for Trump. Democrats will achieve control of all the investigative committees and their accusations and subpoenas will make Trump's life even more miserable than it was before, while surely removing any chance that significant elements of Trump's remaining agenda will ever be enacted.

However, although Trump had reached the presidency by advocating a radical populist-nationalist agenda, he has hardly governed in those terms. For his first two years in office, he sunk nearly all his political capital into enacting huge tax cuts for the rich, wholesale Wall Street deregulation, large increases in military spending, and an extremely pro-Israel foreign policy -- exactly the sort of policies near-and-dear to the establishment conservative candidates whom he had crushed in the Republican primaries. Meanwhile, his jilted grassroots supporters have had to settle for some radical rhetoric and a regular barrage of outrageous Tweets rather than anything more substantive. With Republicans in full control of Congress, finding excuses for this widespread betrayal was quite difficult, but now that the Democrats have taken the House, Trump's apologists can more easily shift the blame over to them.

Meanwhile, a considerably stronger Republican Senate will certainly ease the way for Trump's future court nominees, especially if another Supreme Court vacancy occurs, and there will be little chance of any difficult Kavanaugh battles. However, here once again, Trump's supposed radicalism has merely been rhetorical. Kavanaugh and nearly all of his other nominees have been very mainstream Republican choices, carefully vetted by the Federalist Society and other conservative establishment groups, and they would probably have been near the top of the list if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio were sitting in the Oval Office.

Both Trump's supporters and his opponents claim that his presidency represents a drastic break from Republican business-as-usual, and surely that was the hope of many of the Americans who voted for him in 2016, but the actual reality often seems rather different.

Although the net election results were not particularly bad for the Republicans, the implications of several state races seem extremely worrisome. The highest profile senate race was in Texas, and Trump may have narrowly dodged a bullet. Among our largest states, Texas ranks as by far the most solidly Republican, and therefore it serves as the central lynchpin of every Republican presidential campaign. The GOP has won every major statewide race for more than twenty years, but despite such seemingly huge advantages, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz faced a very difficult reelection race against a young border-area Congressman named Beto O'Rourke, who drew enormous enthusiasm and an ocean of local and national funding.

I was actually in Texas just a couple of days before the vote, speaking at a Ron Paul-related conference in the Houston area, and although most of the libertarian-leaning attendees thought that Cruz would probably win, they all agreed with the national media that it would probably be close. Cruz's final victory margin of less than three points confirmed this verdict.

But if things had gone differently, and O'Rourke had squeaked out a narrow win, our national politics would have been immediately transformed. Any Republican able to win California has a near-lock on the White House, and the same is true for any Democrat able to carry Texas, especially if the latter is a young and attractive Kennedyesque liberal, fluent in Spanish and probably very popular with the large Latino populations of other important states such as Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado. I strongly suspect that a freshman Sen. O'Rourke (R-Texas) would have been offered the 2020 Democratic nomination almost by acclamation, and barring unexpected personal or national developments, would have been a strong favorite in that race against Trump or any other Republican. Rep. O'Rourke raised an astonishing $70 million in nationwide donations, and surely many of his contributors were dreaming of similar possibilities. A shift of just a point and a half, and in twenty-four months he probably would have been our next president. But it was not to be.

[Nov 10, 2018] CIA's 'Surveillance State' is Operating Against US

Nov 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Nov 10, 2018 5:56:10 AM | link

Whilst on the topic of ISIS, here is an article about its mother-concern, CIA:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/09/cia-surveillance-state-operating-against-us-all.html
CIA's 'Surveillance State' is Operating Against US All

On two declassified letters from 2014 from the Intelligence Community Inspector General (didn't know there was one, but doesn't do much good anyway, it seems, read further) to the chairpersons of the House and Senate intelligence committees notifying them that the CIA has been monitoring emails between the CIA's head of the whistleblowing and source protection and Congressional. "Most of these emails concerned pending and developing whistleblower complaints". Shows why Edward Snowdon didn't consider it appropriate to rely on internal complaints proceedures. This while under the leadership of seasoned liars and criminals Brennan and Clapper, of course.

It clearly shows a taste of what these buggers have to hide, and why they went to such extraordinary lengths as Russiagate to cover it all up and save their skins - that of course being the real reason behind Russiagate as I have said several times, nothing to do with either Trump or Russia.

guidoamm , Nov 10, 2018 1:32:52 AM | link

And there is this too of course:

Pentagon Fake Al Qaeda Propaganda

Anton Worter , Nov 10, 2018 12:39:39 AM | link
@4

OWS was a Controlled-Dissent operation, sending poor students north to fecklessly march on Wall Street when they could have shut down WADC, and sending wealthy seniors south to fecklessly line Pennsylvania Avenue, when they could have shut down Wall Street.

Both I$I$, and Hamas, and Antifa et al are all Controlled Dissent operations. The followers are duped, are used, abused and then abandoned by honey-pots put there by Central Intelligence, at least since the Spanish Civil War.

That's why MoA articles like this one make you wonder, just who is conning whom, at a time when the Internet is weaponized, when Google Assistant achieved AI awareness indistinguishable from anyone on the phone, China TV has launched a virtual AI news reporter indistinguishable from reality, and Stanford can audio-video a captured image of anyone as well as their voice intonation, then 3D model them, in real time, reading and emoting from a script, indistinguishable from reality, ...and then this.

Another Gift of Trust😂 brought to you by Scientocracy. Be sure to tithe your AI bot, or word will get back to Chairman Albertus, then you'll be called in to confess your thought crimes to the Green Cadre, itself another Controlled Dissent honeypot, in a Tithe-for-Credits Swindle.

I tell my kids, just enjoy life, live it large, and get ready for hell. It's coming for breakfast.

[Nov 10, 2018] Hacking operations by anyone, can and will be used by US propagandists to provoke Russia or whoever stands in the way of the US war machine

Nov 10, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Harry Law , Nov 10, 2018 9:11:40 AM | link

Hacking operations by anyone, can and will be used by US propagandists to provoke Russia or whoever stands in the way of the US war machine, take this Pompeo rant against Iran and the Iranian response......

Asking of Pompeo "have you no shame?", Zarif mocked Pompeo's praise for the Saudis for "providing millions and millions of dollars of humanitarian relief" to Yemen, saying America's "butcher clients" were spending billions of dollars bombing school buses. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif issued a statement lashing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his recent comments on the Yemen War. Discussing the US-backed Saudi invasion of Yemen, Pompeo declared Iran to be to blame for the death and destruction in the country. https://news.antiwar.com/2018/11/09/iran-fm-slams-pompeo-for-blaming-yemen-war-on-iran/

The US way of looking at things supposes that up is down, and white is black, it makes no sense, unless the US hopes these provocations will lead to a war or at the very least Russia or Iran capitulating to US aggression, which will not happen. Sanctions by the US on all and sundry must be opposed, if not the US will claim justifiably to be the worlds policeman and the arbiter of who will trade with who, a ludicrous proposition but one that most governments are afraid is now taking place, witness the new US ambassador to Germany in his first tweet telling the Germans to cease all trade with Iran immediately.

https://www.thelocal.de/20180509/us-tells-german-businesses-to-stop-trade-in-iran-immediately

[Nov 09, 2018] Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford

Notable quotes:
"... With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. ..."
"... that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. ..."
"... No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience. ..."
"... The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. ..."
"... The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead. ..."
"... They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist? ..."
"... Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote. ..."
"... Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for? ..."
"... Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators? ..."
"... Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture. ..."
"... Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath. ..."
"... If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy. ..."
"... Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington. ..."
"... Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201... ..."
"... A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25) ..."
turcopolier.typepad.com

Publius Tacitus on Dr. Ford - posted by PL

With the benefit of hindsight, I suspect most Democrat leaders now realize that their attempt to take out Judge Brent Kavanaugh with false charges that he sexually assaulted someone in High School was a disaster. Their heavy handed, Bolshevik tactics backfired and galvanized a broad spectrum of Americans who were sickened by the spectacle of a verbal lynch mob being led by the decrepit Diane Feinstein. The truth about the sex-fraud, Dr. Chrissie Ford, is now exposed by the voluminous report issued by Senator Grassley's Judiciary Committee staff. Read it here . ( https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2018-11-02%20Kavanaugh%20Report.pdf ). Here are the highlights:

that he dated Dr. Ford for six years. He said that she never mentioned being the victim of sexual assault or misconduct. He also stated that Dr. Ford did not mention any fear of close quarters or flying, and that the two traveled together, including on a small propeller plane. also said that he witnessed Dr. Ford, drawing from her background in psychology, help prepare her roommate, Ms. Monica McLean, for a potential polygraph examination when Ms. McLean wasinterviewing for jobs with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office. He stated that Dr. Ford helped Ms. McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam. The Judiciary Committee report also details the allegations and findings from others who alleged sexual misconduct by the Judge. It was all a pack of lies. A contrived hit job intended to destroy the man's reputation and try to cow him into backing away from the nomination. That bullying tactic failed spectacularly. It ended up rallying a broad swath of the American public, especially women, who understand fairness and justice. The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Pat Lang Mod , 21 hours ago

IMO a criminal referral on Dr. Ford would be appropriate.
Kelli K -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Absolutely agree. With Nadler now openly talking about impeaching Kavanaugh, there is no alternative. The truth must be brought out. The alternative is to leave him exposed permanently and keep this whole plan viable for use against future nominees. With RBG approaching retirement this is critical.
Fred W -> Pat Lang , 19 hours ago
Getting to the actual facts would be a great good. But we know that will not happen. The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation. That appears to be the last thing they want. If they actually believed any of what they said, they would follow your advice. We will see.

On second thought that is probably an unfair standard. Opening up discovery for a trial would have negative effects even for a very solid case.

Fred -> Fred W , 18 hours ago
"The administration and the senate have already shown their attitude toward professional quality investigation."

You mean the Mueller "Russia" investigation? That is beyond a joke at this point. Dr. Ford should be charged. She's got $1 million or more from the go bribe fund me accounts. She should lawyer up. So should Ms. Mclean.

Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 19 hours ago
No! Let's see her tried for perjury with full discovery I will be glad to be a pro bone consultant on that trial and i have a lot of experience.
Bill H -> Fred W , 3 hours ago
I think the lesson to be learned is that getting all the facts simply cannot be done, which is why we have a statute of limitations, and why Dr. Ford's accusation should not ever have seen the light of day 30 years after the purported event.

Most liberals seem to think the statute of limitations has to do with the purported offender "living with guilt," but the law does not acknowledge the "sensation of guilt." The statute is because after a period of time the offense cannot be fairly prosecuted because witnesses die or move away, memories fade, evidence degrades or disappears, and so forth, and this shoddy exhibition is proof of the validity of that principle.

Pat Lang Mod -> Fred W , 4 hours ago
I do not see how you can fault Grassley's efforts to get the facts. He bent over backward to accommodate the Democrats lies about Kavanaugh and the WH authorized the the additional FBI investigation.
Karl Kolchak , 19 hours ago
The Dems COULD have made Kavanaugh's support for torture a principled reason for opposing him. Then if they lost, which they were likely going to do anyway, it would have at least been considered fair politics and it would have placed the spotlight on a very ugly chapter in the country's recent history that needs to be addressed.
RaisingMac -> Karl Kolchak , 7 hours ago
The Dems could've raised all kinds of principled objections to Kavanaugh; but tellingly, they chose not to. They chose to take the low road instead.
Divadab Newton -> RaisingMac , 4 hours ago
They are complicit. Especially Feinstein. SHe's AOK with torture and 24-7 surveillance. WHat do you expect from an ardent cannabis prohibitionist?
FarNorthSolitude -> Karl Kolchak , 3 hours ago
Shaming, shunning, bullying, threats of violence, and violence are all now accepted as methods by the left. They are totally consumed in a political tribalism. Rather than raising the moral standards of the group they are using the most primitive instincts and you can see this in many of the tweets from the left that use gross sexual imagery to demean their "enemies".

The more I read on group psychology such as Freud, Le Bon, etc. the more concerned I become whether the age of reason, principles, and science will survive group psychosis given the powerful tools like social media enabling it. Social media is one of the most dangerous technologies we have developed.

"In order to make a correct judgment upon the morals of groups, one must take into consideration the fact that when individuals come together in a group all their individual inhibitions fall away and all the cruel, brutal and destructive instincts, which lie dormant in individuals as relics of a primitive epoch, are stirred up to find free gratification. But under the influence of suggestion groups are also capable of high achievements in the shape of abnegation, unselfishness, and devotion to an ideal.

While with isolated individuals personal interest is almost the only motive force, with groups it is very rarely prominent.

It is possible to speak of an individual having his moral standards raised by a group. Whereas the intellectual capacity of a group is always far below that of an individual, its ethical conduct may rise as high above his as it may sink deep below it." - Gustave Le Bon

blue peacock -> Karl Kolchak , 17 hours ago
Indeed. That would have been a principle worth highlighting. And the question put forward - "Should a torture supporter serve on the Supreme Court?" But..Dianne Feinstein and Chuckie Schumer were never interested in that. All they were interested in was creating a media spectacle and that's exactly what they did by holding on to Ford's letter for 2 months and unleashing it the day before the vote.

Christine Ford, Monica McLean and the others should testify to a grand jury. Isn't perjury what they indicted & convicted Gen. Flynn & George Papadopolous for?

william mcdonald , 5 hours ago
Wily old Senator Charles(the Fox) Grassley gave the democrats sufficient rope to hang themselves with, an act they did with gusto.
PRC90 , 10 hours ago
Another amateurish mess. One effect may be that the Democrats will be more careful in their next attempt to discredit some opponent.
DianaLC -> PRC90 , 2 hours ago
The recent accident that RBG experienced has probably caused both Democrats and Republicans some concern that there may soon be another Supreme Court seat to fill under a Trump administration.
akaPatience , 15 hours ago
Why is it that Christine Ford can get away with blatantly and repeatedly lying to Congress about a federal judge but Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were dragged through court (no doubt at great expense to them) for so-called minor lies to FBI interrogators?

Off topic: I'd love to read PT's take on the mid-term election with attention paid to the boxes of suddenly-discovered ballots in AZ that have put (wouldn't you know!) Democratic Senate candidate Sinema in the lead. And in light of the FL recount, I'd also be interested in what he has to say about the flagrant disregard for chain of custody of [the infamous] Broward Co. boxes of ballots.

Why is it that ballots discovered post-election day always seem to help Democrats? I don't recall ever reading or hearing about newly-discovered ballots that benefited Republican candidates.

Mad_Max22 -> akaPatience , 2 hours ago
In my experience lying to the FBI, 18 USC 1001, was used very, very infrequently. It was used as an add on charge in the prosecution of some of the Watergate subjects and they had been placed under oath. It was used to my knowledge to prosecute an individual who had made a false accusatory statement in the Ray Donavan investigation in the early 80's, another debacle instigated by Senate Democrats. Otherwise it was rarely used, and it shouldn't be used in my opinion unless the person has been given a separate warning and waiver, or placed under oath.

Once Big Government has opened the floodgates on prosecuting people for lying to the FBI, especially when it becomes obvious that it is being used selectively, and in isolation in order to hang a charge on somebody in pursuit of manifestly political ends, cooperation with FBI Agents trying to do their job will, and should, dry up. Who needs to take a chance on some partisan operation, such as Bob Mueller, parsing their adverbs and adjectives for signs of deceit when the option is to take advantage of your right to silence.

Launching 18 USC 1001 prosecutions like so many torpedoes might look expeditious in the short term but in the long term, it will be bad for both the working agent on the street and for justice in the bigger picture.

Pat Lang Mod -> Mad_Max22 , an hour ago
Ford lied to the senate judiciary committee under oath. In your scheme of things people like Avenatti and his female tools can slander and libel at will in conformations even if they are interviewed by the FBI? OK, then the FBI should interview them under oath.
Bill H -> akaPatience , 3 hours ago
Why isn't the Supreme Court stepping in to stop the unseemly Florida recount as it did in 2000?
Pat Lang Mod -> Bill H , an hour ago
we're not "there" yet.
Ed Lindgren , 15 hours ago
If at least one Democrat is going to be removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee as a result of the midterm election realignment, I nominate 'Spartacus' as the guy.
Greco , 17 hours ago
Now that there's a new AG in town--one who isn't either cowed, incompetent, or possibly blackmailed--Mrs.Ford may get her just deserts.

Kavanaugh's real crime was he went after Bill Clinton and now he paid the price for it. It's too bad in Yale they don't teach them how to watch their backs in Washington.

blue peacock , 17 hours ago
"The injustice on display by the Democrats ended up helping the Republicans nail down a bigger majority in the Senate. Look for fewer Democrat seats on the Senate Judiciary Committee."

While this may have held true for the Senate, it didn't in the House.

Pat Lang Mod -> blue peacock , 4 hours ago
IMO skillful Democrat candidate selection had a great deal to do with the result in the House.
DianaLC -> Pat Lang , 2 hours ago
I agree with you in the sense that many of the Democrat candidates did not take the ultra progressive (socialist?) path. Many seemed more centrist.

That was the result of state and country Democratic parties.

I think this because I definitely see a difference in the different county Republican parties in my state.

Unfortunately in my state (CO) what happens in Boulder and Denver usually carries. And as we say in CO, Boulder is about 40 square miles surrounded by reality. Denver is becoming a similar alternate reality.

Thus, I am ashamed to say, our current Governor is a person from a quite alternate reality from the one in which I live.

MP98 -> Pat Lang , 4 hours ago
And Never-Trumper RINOs who ran as Democrat-lites.
Tidewater , 18 hours ago
Brian Merrick has been revealed as the boyfriend. He is a realtor in Malibu. His letter states: " Despite trying to maintain a long distance relationship, I ended the relationship once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful while living in Hawaii. After the breakup, I took her off the credit card we shared. But nearly 1 year later, I noticed Dr. Ford had been charging the card and charged about $600 worth of merchandise. When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card but later admitted the use after I threatened to involve fraud prevention." 'Revealed: The Man Accusing Blasey Ford of Lying About Polygraphs.' The Daily Caller, October 3, 2018. https://dailycaller.com/201...

A male witness "(Sept. 26): stated that when he was a 19-year-old college student, he visited D.C. over spring break and kissed a girl he believes was Dr. Ford. He said that the kiss happened in the bedroom of a house which was about a 15-to- 20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro, that Dr. Ford was wearing a swimsuit under her clothing, and that the kissing ended when a friend jumped on them as a joke. The witness said that the woman initiated the kissing and that he did not force himself on her. "

A woman who said that she attended UNC with Dr. Ford, identified a third woman, name blotted out, and stated that the three of them "used to purchase drugs" from a male whose name also has been blotted out. The three of them "regularly attended parties with members of his fraternity." The witness said "that she was present at --a blotted out name of an apartment--"one night in April 1987 when Dr. Ford and --someone again blotted out--"arrived to consume drugs." This witness "said that the Dr. Ford she knew had an active and robust social life in college." (Sept.25)

Keith Harbaugh , 18 hours ago
PT, thanks very much for posting this. I cannot find any mention of this Judiciary Committee report at the Washington Post web site. They had a ton of coverage of Ford's allegation before the vote, including a lengthy interview with her current husband.

It says a lot about them that they have, unless I have missed something, ignored this report. Could the reason they are ignoring it be that they don't want to publicize anything which contradicts the line that "Women tell the truth"? A line that they have used to great political effect, in particular in the sinking of the Senate candidacy of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama.

[Nov 09, 2018] Globalism Vs Nationalism in Trump's America by Joe Quinn

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... You know something is fundamentally wrong when the average high school drop-out MAGA-hat-wearing Texan or Alabaman working a blue collar job has more sense, can SEE much more clearly, than the average university-educated, ideology-soaked, East Coast liberal. ..."
"... Trump is a "nationalist". More or less every administration previous to his, going back at least 100 years, was "globalist". For much of its history, the USA has been known around the world as a very patriotic (i.e., nationalist) country. Americans in general had a reputation for spontaneous chants of "USA! USA! USA!", flying the Stars And Stripes outside their houses and being very proud of their country. Sure, from time to time, that pissed off people a little in other countries but, by and large, Americans' patriotism was seen as endearing, if a little naive, by most foreigners. ..."
"... Globalism, on the other hand, as it relates to the USA, is the ideology that saturates the Washington establishment think-tanks, career politicians and bureaucrats, who are infected with the toxic belief that America can and should dominate the world . This is presented to the public as so much American largess and magnanimity, but it is, in reality, a means to increasing the power and wealth of the Washington elite. ..."
"... Consider Obama's two terms, during which he continued the massively wasteful (of taxpayer's money) and destructive (of foreigners' lives and land) "War on Terror". Consider that he appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who proceeded to joyfully bomb Libya back to the stone age and murder its leader. Consider that, under Obama, US-Russia relations reached an all-time low, with repeated attacks (of various sorts) on the Russian president, government and people, and the attempted trashing of Russia's international reputation in the eyes of the American people. Consider the Obama regime's hugely destructive war waged (mostly by proxy) on the Syrian people. Consider the Obama era coup in Ukraine that, in a few short months, set that country's prospects and development back several decades and further soured relations with Russia. ..."
"... The problem however, is that the Washington elite want - no, NEED - the American people to support such military adventurism, and what better way to do that than by concocting false "Russian collusion" allegations against Trump and having the media program the popular mind with exactly the opposite of the truth - that Trump was a "traitor" to the American people. ..."
"... The only thing Trump is a traitor to is the self-serving globally expansionist interests of a cabal of Washington insiders . This little maneuver amounted to a '2 for 1' for the Washington establishment. They simultaneously demonized Trump (impeding his 'nationalist' agenda) while advancing their own globalist mission - in this case aimed at pushing back Russia. ..."
"... The US 'Deep State' did this in response to the election of Trump the "nationalist" and their fears that their globalist, exceptionalist vision for the USA - a vision that is singularly focused on their own narrow interests at the expense of the American people and many others around the world - would be derailed by Trump attempting to put the interests of the American people first . ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.sott.net
Billed as a 'referendum on Trump's presidency', the US Midterm Elections drew an unusually high number of Americans to the polls yesterday. The minor loss, from Trump's perspective, of majority Republican control of the lower House of Representatives, suggests, if anything, the opposite of what the media and establishment want you to believe it means.

An important clue to why the American media has declared permanent open season on this man transpired during a sometimes heated post-elections press conference at the White House yesterday. First, CNN's obnoxious Jim Acosta insisted on bringing up the patently absurd allegations of 'Russia collusion' and refused to shut up and sit down. Soon after, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor joined her colleagues in asking Trump another loaded question , this time on the 'white nationalism' canard:

Alcindor : On the campaign trail you called yourself a nationalist. Some people saw that as emboldening white nationalists...

Trump : I don't know why you'd say this. It's such a racist question.

Alcindor : There are some people who say that now the Republican Party is seen as supporting white nationalists because of your rhetoric. What do you make of that?

Trump : Why do I have among the highest poll numbers with African Americans? That's such a racist question. I love our country. You have nationalists, and you have globalists . I also love the world, and I don't mind helping the world, but we have to straighten out our country first. We have a lot of problems ...

The US media is still "not even wrong" on Trump and why he won the 2016 election. You know something is fundamentally wrong when the average high school drop-out MAGA-hat-wearing Texan or Alabaman working a blue collar job has more sense, can SEE much more clearly, than the average university-educated, ideology-soaked, East Coast liberal.

Trump is a "nationalist". More or less every administration previous to his, going back at least 100 years, was "globalist". For much of its history, the USA has been known around the world as a very patriotic (i.e., nationalist) country. Americans in general had a reputation for spontaneous chants of "USA! USA! USA!", flying the Stars And Stripes outside their houses and being very proud of their country. Sure, from time to time, that pissed off people a little in other countries but, by and large, Americans' patriotism was seen as endearing, if a little naive, by most foreigners.

Globalism, on the other hand, as it relates to the USA, is the ideology that saturates the Washington establishment think-tanks, career politicians and bureaucrats, who are infected with the toxic belief that America can and should dominate the world . This is presented to the public as so much American largess and magnanimity, but it is, in reality, a means to increasing the power and wealth of the Washington elite.

Consider Obama's two terms, during which he continued the massively wasteful (of taxpayer's money) and destructive (of foreigners' lives and land) "War on Terror". Consider that he appointed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, who proceeded to joyfully bomb Libya back to the stone age and murder its leader. Consider that, under Obama, US-Russia relations reached an all-time low, with repeated attacks (of various sorts) on the Russian president, government and people, and the attempted trashing of Russia's international reputation in the eyes of the American people. Consider the Obama regime's hugely destructive war waged (mostly by proxy) on the Syrian people. Consider the Obama era coup in Ukraine that, in a few short months, set that country's prospects and development back several decades and further soured relations with Russia.

These are but a few examples of the "globalism" that drives the Washington establishment. Who, in their right mind, would support it? (I won't get into what constitutes a 'right mind', but we can all agree it does not involve destroying other nations for profit). The problem however, is that the Washington elite want - no, NEED - the American people to support such military adventurism, and what better way to do that than by concocting false "Russian collusion" allegations against Trump and having the media program the popular mind with exactly the opposite of the truth - that Trump was a "traitor" to the American people.

The only thing Trump is a traitor to is the self-serving globally expansionist interests of a cabal of Washington insiders . This little maneuver amounted to a '2 for 1' for the Washington establishment. They simultaneously demonized Trump (impeding his 'nationalist' agenda) while advancing their own globalist mission - in this case aimed at pushing back Russia.

Words and their exact meanings matter . To be able to see through the lies of powerful vested interests and get to the truth, we need to know when those same powerful vested interests are exploiting our all-too-human proclivity to be coerced and manipulated by appeals to emotion.

So the words "nationalist" and "nationalism", as they relate to the USA, have never been "dirty" words until they were made that way by the "globalist" element of the Washington establishment (i.e., most of it) by associating it with fringe Nazi and "white supremacist" elements in US society that pose no risk to anyone, (except to the extent that the mainstream media can convince the general population otherwise). The US 'Deep State' did this in response to the election of Trump the "nationalist" and their fears that their globalist, exceptionalist vision for the USA - a vision that is singularly focused on their own narrow interests at the expense of the American people and many others around the world - would be derailed by Trump attempting to put the interests of the American people first .

[Nov 08, 2018] Christine Blasey Ford's Credibility Under New Attack by Senate Republicans - The New York Times

Misogonia now became a ralling cry for female sociopath
Nov 08, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Looks like here are are dealing with two pretty unpleasant people. Kavanuch might have or used to have a drinking problem and might became agreessve in intoxicated state.

She remembers one can of ber she drunk (to protect her testimony from the case of completly drunk woman assalu, whuch is still an assalt) but do not remeber who drove her to the house, location and who drove her back. That's questionable.

Dr. form used somebody else creadit card and lied about poligraph test.

Looks there three scoundrels here: Senator Feldstein (violating the trus a leaking form letter), Klobuchar (trying to expolit fradulent Swtnick testomy for political purposes), Kavanuch (unability to take punches camly, low quality of some regulations (this supplosed to be the best legal mind the county can find), possible past drinking problems, possible agressive behvious when drunk), and Dr. Ford (heavy drinking in high scool and colledge, possible promiscuity, possible stealing funds by abusing former boyfirnd credit card (he left her, not vise versa), using questional methods to rent part of her house, and even more qurestionable method to justify this, etc)

Jay Lincoln NYC 5h ago

Why does the Times always have to spin news with a ludicrously liberal slant? Ford's credibility was attacked by her ex boyfriend of 6 years, who lived with her, saw her prep her friend for polygraph tests, flew with her on small propeller plans among the islands of Hawaii, and had his credit card fraudulently charged by her.

The source is her ex-boyfriend. Yet the title implies it's Senate Republicans launching a partisan attack. Give me a break.

Also, she's hurting her own credibility by claiming to remember having EXACTLY one beer 36 years ago. When she can't even remember where she was or how she got home after supposedly being nearly raped and killed.


JDO Kensignton, MD 5h ago

The longer this Freak Show continues, more and more of Ford's bones will be pulled from the closet. Time to vote, time to move on. If Democrats want to pick judges, they need to win elections.

Bearn Atlanta, GA 3h ago

"Christine Blasey Ford's Credibility Under New Attack by Senate Republicans"

This is an interesting headline for an article that is actually about a former boyfriend who submitted a letter refuting many of Ford's claims.

I am not sure how the Senate Republicans asking Ford's counsel for corroborating evidence, that Ford herself brought up in the hearing, is equivalent to them attacking her credibility? Maybe this article was actually meant to be in the opinion section written by the editorial board?

I am no expert, but isn't it the purpose of journalism to get down to the unbiased truth? The Times should go pursue this ex-boyfriends story and try to find whether or not he is credible rather than spewing out misleading headlines.

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Henry Washington 4h ago

I still find Dr. Ford's testimony believable and far more consistent with what else we know about her and her attacker.

And (here comes one of those dreaded "even if" arguments): Even if Mr. Merrick's account is factual, it elides a crucial distinction. When I read the senate question, the only relevant reason I can see why Republican senators would ask it (through their proxy) is to ferret out if Dr. Ford had any experience "beating" a polygraph, which might undercut the value ascribed to her taking that test.

The old boyfriend seems to be describing something different. He writes that Dr. Ford "explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam." This seems to describe something along the lines of reassuring a friend nervous about her interviews, including anxiety about the experience of taking a polygraph. It seems much more along the lines of something explaining to a nervous patient what to expect during an MRI scan to reduce their anxiety, not some sort of movie scene where the the evil mastermind explains how to beat the cops' interrogation.

Were I in Dr. Ford's place, I'm very sure that an episode in which I'd calmed down an anxious friend before a job interview would be unlikely to come to mind if asked if I'd "ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test," and I'd feel confident and honest answering "never".

RobinR California 5h ago

Its absurd that people are up in arms about this. It's a known fact that polygraphs are unreliable, can be cheated and can create false positives. Even the person who invented the test claimed they are faulty. Why she bothered to do one at all is a mystery, since she probably knows they're unreliable. Did Kavenaugh do one?

Ginny Virginia 4h ago

How is investigating the allegations attacking her? SHe made statements in her testimony that this letter form the ex-boyfriend has insight about. He shared what he knows. Should this not be investigated? Does the NYT expect that only information about Kavanaugh should be investigated? She has made allegations. Should not the credibility of those allegations be looked into when there is evidence that perhaps she was not truthful? How is it right to only investigate one side of the story, especially when there is no evidence and there are no witnesses to the alleged event! To simply accept that she is telling the truth and say she is being attacked when anyone questions her story is outrageous. But then this is a story in the NYT, so of course the headlines are salacious and misleading to better advance your agenda. I believe in free press and understand its place in a free society. But these kinds of stunts are yellow journalism, and not healthy for our nation, or for the TImes in the long run. You are destroying your reputation as honest journalism each and every time you do something like this.

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Pono Big Island 2h ago Times Pick

Why shouldn't her credibility be established?
She is making damning accusations dating back 36 years.
Regardless of the genders of the parties involved and the nature of the incident, with no corroborating witness, this still boils down to "she said , he said".
To be fair there is really not much else you can do but try to establish the relative veracity of the two people involved.
It seems that "fairness" is not the goal of extremists on either side.
It's strictly about the outcome going their way.

Jessica Evanston, IL 5h ago

@Psst Ms. Mitchell was right to ask about the test, based on Dr. Ford's expertise as a psychologist. When I hearing that she took and passed a polygraph, I thought, "She's a psychologist, doesn't she know how those work?"

Ralphie CT 4h ago

I'm sorry, but those who "believe" Ford need to understand that polygraphs are not valid and they are not reliable. The psych literature is full of research papers on this. Here is a quick summary from the American Psych Association.

https://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx

Polygraph tests are widely used in psych classes as examples of modern day pseudoscience, akin to phrenology.

People who believe their story, who have been trained, who don't care or who are psychopaths can easily pass a polygraph even when lying.

Dr. Ford, as a psychologist knows this. So her story about taking the polygraph and finding it distressing are ridiculous. She took it as a stunt knowing she could easily pass because polygraph's don't detect lies. The whole charade further undermines her story, as much her professed fear of flying or her statement that she didn't tell anyone about this except husband and therapist until she came forward -- which later morphed to, she discussed it with her beach friends.

I don't know what Ford's game is, she may believe her tale, or she may have deliberately come forward with a false accusation to stop a conservative from ascending to the highest court in the land. She is a committed dem activist.

Polygraphs are bogus -- they only work through intimidating naive individuals.

Brookhawk Maryland 3h ago

I never told boys or men I was dating about my experiences with sexual abuse. Why would I? Dating someone does not require you to open your soul. I never told my parents about two of the three episodes I was victim to. I was too stunned, shocked and ashamed. I'm a woman. That's what I was taught to be. I was taught it was my fault if I was abused. I was taught that by the whole society we live in. Why in heaven's name would I ever mention my history to someone I was simply dating?

JB Chicago 5h ago

Finally we get some information about Kavanaugh's main accuser. For a while it seemed as if she had just sprung into existence and had no history beyond her claims of sexual assault.

Robin Cambridge 2h ago

"Still, Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona sex crimes prosecutor who questioned Dr. Blasey at last week's hearing, seemed to know to ask her about whether she had ever advised anyone about taking a polygraph test."

So it's very likely the Republicans knew in advance of Mr Merrick's statement but chose to withhold it. Given their criticism of Democrats' conduct about Dr Ford's statement they seem a little hypocritical. Sen. Grassley's charging a "lack of candor" is risible.

Even if Dr Ford had 20 years ago coached someone in techniques to pass a polygraph test and exaggerated her claustrophobia - both of which I doubt - big deal. "Central to the credibility of her testimony " pace Sen Grassley, it is not. It is on the periphery.

One can only surmise what Mr Merrick's motivation is but it seems overwhelmingly likely he's providing this to support the Republican cause or for money or (contrary to what he says) because he's ill disposed to Dr Ford (or a mixture of the three).

Why else would he interfere? She's not the one applying for the job (if she had been, any intelligent committee would have seen she's far better qualified, temperamentally and intellectually).

freddy 16 harrisburg 4h ago

I did not vote for Trump but it is obvious that the New York Times is out to destroy him and his programs.
Remember Clinton's statements about the economy, " It is the economy, stupid. " You have to give Trump credit for a very strong economy, low unemployment, and a vibrant stock market. Voters will get it, the New York Times may not.
P.S. I believe that the media is responsible for the anger in our country. Would be much better if the media sought to build a consensus, trust, achievement, not division.

GWPDA Arizona 4h ago

This is an obscenity. That the nomination of a marginally qualified apparatchik to the Supreme Court would result in the corruption of the institution and the rule of law as the foundation of the United States is obscene. Any further move other than the nomination's withdrawal will be catastrophic. Any further political involvement in this nomination will be deliberately destructive.

India midwest 4h ago

So it's okay to "smear" Judge Kavanaugh by publicizing allegations from former college "friends" etc, but it is deeply unfair to even mention that Dr Ford might just not be Joan of Arc. I seem to see a bit of a double standard here.

Mark Greenwich 4h ago

People who use others credit cards are liars. Selective honesty is not possible. She is dishonest. Doesn't mean Kavanaugh is honest but she is a pawn and loves the attention.

KBronson Louisiana 4h ago

Every psychologist knows that polygraphs are unreliable and can be faked. It is even an official position of the American Psychological Association. Why would any psychologist have a polygraph test other than to scam someone? If any of this is true, a lot of people have just been duped by a great actress, which the best deceivers always are. But like cultists, having emotionally committed themselves few will have the courage to admit it.

Melissa Massachusetts 3h ago

@Charlie No, that's not clear at all.

Fear of flying and claustrophobia start in adulthood. Ford and this man started dating when she was just out of college, whereas fear of flying's average age of onset, according to online sources is 27 and it worsens with age -- especially after marriage and kids as people emotionally have more to lose.

I had an employee years ago who was fine flying for work in his mid-20s, but as he approached 30 he started to experience terrible anxiety about flying. He also became quite claustrophobic and couldn't get in the elevator if it was crowded. We had to adjust his job around it.

Ford also stated under oath that the attack she alleges was not the only cause of her anxiety/claustrophobia. She alluded to other predispositions. Go back and listen to the testimony.

Harvey NC 3h ago

From this article "The former boyfriend told the Judiciary Committee that he witnessed Dr. Blasey helping a friend prepare for a possible polygraph examination, contradicting her testimony under oath. Dr. Blasey, a psychology professor from California who also goes by her married name Ford, was asked during the hearing whether she had "ever given tips or advice to somebody who was looking to take a polygraph test." She answered, "Never."
Someone correct me here as I thought the question was had she ever been given tips or advice by someone on how to take a polygraph test.
Quite a different meaning than asking if she had ever coached someone on how to take a polygraph test.

Rosie James New York, N.Y. 4h ago

Oh, I was under the impression that only The Media could attack (Kavanaugh, that is.) Almost everything I have read in the news (other than the Wall Street Journal) is based on speculation, written by Left Wing Activists (see article from yesterday's NY Times).

Dr. Ford (or probably her attorneys) have mislead and lied directly to the american people about Dr. Ford's "Fear of Flying" when she flies all over the place. When the Senate Committee offered to interview her privately in her California home or anywhere private she wanted she knew nothing about it.

Either she is lying or her attorneys are lying to her or keeping information that doesn't advance their narrative. Either way this whole thing stinks!

roane1 Los Angeles, Ca 3h ago

You accept flat-out what this ex-boyfriend says without question, and thus paint Dr. Blasey Ford as a "liar"? What about Kavanaugh's "selective honesty"? And how you get to being a pawn and loving attention from her extreme reticence is a total mystery. It appears you accept whatever the Senate Committee majority puts out without critical examination or waiting to see if there is any rebuttal.

Wine Country Dude Napa Valley 2h ago

Read: women should not be challenged when they lob career-ending accusations at men. They should be taken at their word and not subjected to any type of opposition. Because, heck, doing so would re-victimize the victim (even though her status as victim is very far from established).

We heard the same thing with Tawana Brawley, Sarah Ylen, Jackie Coakley at UVA and Crystal Gayle Mangum--to subject their stories to any critical analysis was revictimization. When they were shown to be frauds, the argument became that one may not criticize proven liars and frauds because that may "revictimize" other, unnamed, hypothetical victims of sexual assault.

What women propose is an end run around fundamental principles of fairness, to say nothing of the judicial principles that have governed us for centuries. And to say nothing of the proposition that they are adults themselves, have willingly entered the big bad government and financial worlds and proclaimed that they can handle themselves ferociously, just like men, thank you very much.

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zb Miami 3h ago

The evidence clearly corroborates that Kavanagh was a drunken abusive lout in high school and college. His testimony in Congress proves he still is. At this point it really doesn't matter what Miss Ford said or did not say; what matters is what Cavanaugh has said and done.

Soxared, '04, '07, '13 Boston 3h ago

Charles Grassley knew about this lie and fed it to Rachel Mitchell to entrap Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Who can't see through the blatant partisan desperation?

Lee California 4h ago

Isn't it glaring to anyone that not her parents nor her brothers have come out to speak for her? I don't believe they attended the hearing.

Something just isn't right here. I know I would upfront and personal with anyone who would doubt my daughter.

Son of Liberty Fly Over Country 3h ago

I've seen and heard so many of my friends on the left say with great conviction: "I believe her!" But if you're willing to analyze with a fair mind all the accusations flying around, you'll agree there isn't a shred of corroboration.

This credulous yet firmly-held faith in Dr. Ford is just that "Faith" - belief without objective evidence.

In fact, there's more reason to believe in Santa Claus than in Dr. Ford. At least with Santa, the cookies and milk we left for him before bed were gone in the morning and were replaced by presents. Now that's real corroboration - at least in the mind of a credulous child.

gary e. davis Berkeley, CA 3h ago

"Civic duty" doesn't entail going public. It involves providing further information to relevant decision makers, i.e., Judicial Committee members. But going public does serve poitical interests. It does not serve interest in truth.

Dr. Ford was outed as the author of a letter to Senator Feinstein because the outing party wanted to see action shown, in light of the letter, that had not been publically shown.

But evidently the letter wasn't considered actionable by Senator Feinstein. Dr. Ford indicated that she had discussed her letter with persons she knows. Likely, then, someone she knows outed her. Civic duty calls for follow up, which could protect Dr. Ford's evident desire for privacy by remaining confidential communication with the Judiciary Committee.

But she chose otherwise. Armed with two attorneys, she chose to politicize her experience, evidently exploiting the #MeToo atmosphere for the sake of embarrassing Republicans.

That looks like duplicity that gels with the implausible character of her accounts.

XLER West Palm 2h ago

So there you have it. She lied under oath at least twice. And now we know that her "second door" was added in 2009, not 2012 as she claimed, based on oermitnhistory and used as an entrance to a rental unit they built. She also lied about credit card fraud until her ex threatened to prosecute her. Add that to the multiple memory lapses" and no evidence to back up her story this woman is simply not credible. I was also bothered that she stated her friend Leland didn't remember the party because she currently had health issues. Why would that make any difference?

Jonathan Northwest 2h ago

The ex-boyfriend dated Dr. Ford from 1992-1998 and that corresponds to when McClean was hired by the FBI. Conversely what does the ex-boyfriend get out of this -- grief from the press for daring to question Dr. Ford? Dr. Ford's claims are so full of inconsistencies it is absurd. The polygraph issue is just one aspect of the ex-boyfriend's letter -- there are other deliberate lies that Dr. Ford is being accused of presenting in her testimony. Time for the press to examine where Dr. Ford lived when the ex-boyfriend asserts she was living in a 500 square foot apartment with ONE door.

Holly Los Angeles 3h ago

@Ora Pro Nobis I disagree that it was unfair. Rather, in the testimony, Kavanaugh revealed his extreme partisanship, lack of respect, lack of decorum, lack of honesty, lack of ability to handle pressure, unwillingness to answer questions and his immaturity -- all of these extremely important to consider in weighing his fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court. Dr. Ford did the nation a tremendous service in presenting an opportunity for Kavanaugh to let us know what he's made of.

Kristen B Columbus, Ohio 2h ago

Until this week, I often wondered whether the Me Too movement had gone too far- publicly shaming men, rather than going through official HR or legal channels. I thought perhaps some of us women could benefit from pulling out our high school copies of "The Scarlet Letter." But frankly... now I'm fed up.

Just 30 minutes ago, my pleasant afternoon walk was interrupted by some nasty, lascivious cat-calling--directed at me from some men painting a neighbor's house.

Still feeling hurt, objectified and dirty, I sat down to catch up on today's news. Well, that was a mistake. I believe Dr. Ford, 100%. But at the beginning of this whole Kavanaugh controversy, I could still understand why some men might feel uncomfortable with the idea that a tweet, a news story, or even a rumor could turn into a full blown scandal within minutes. But no more!

Kavanaugh is not on trial! He's an applicant for a job! Anyone who has ever had to work at finding a job knows that it is UP TO THE APPLICANT to show (yes, to prove) that they are the BEST person for that job! And you better be double sure that you're squeaky clean before you aim for even a moderately high profile job, let alone a Supreme Court Justice.

So I'm not wondering anymore... I'm fed up with comments like, "I guess now it's guilty until proven innocent" or how men should be "scared" in this Me Too era. Too bad we can't just magic the GOP all into a woman's body for a day, and send them on a walk down a busy city street.

Ora Pro Nobis A Better Place 3h ago

I guess I need to revise a comment I made earlier. I called Dr. Ford's allegations baseless. That was incorrect. They were worse and weaker than baseless. Her allegations were refuted under oath by numerous people and now further undermined by the latter released by her ex-boyfriend. This is what you get when you allow hearsay and uncorroborated allegations into the process.

J c Ma 1h ago

A whole lot of peopleare jumping to coclusions on both side. The point of Dr Ford's testimony was not that Kavanaugh is definitely a bad guy, we probably cannot know that for sure, barring further investigstion.

The problem is not that, though. It's that Kavanaugh behaved so badly for so long that this kind of accusation was even possible. He is unfit based on his already admitted undiciplined, unmoored, and irresponsible behavior in drinking and, more disturbingly, in money. This guy could be blackmailed, easy.

Chris CT 2h ago

Don't participate in victim-shaming, New York Times, by publishing victim-shaming letters. From wikipedia:
"In efforts to discredit alleged sexual assault victims in court, a defense attorney may delve into an accuser's personal history, a common practice that also has the purposeful effect of making the victim so uncomfortable they choose not to proceed." Of note, past sexual history, such as cheating, is often raised to discredit the victim. Sound familiar??

rick chicago 3h ago

I don't see why McClean or Ford's supporters are complaining about the ex-boyfriend's allegation. Allegation is the new standard of proof, right? Allegations don't require any support at all. In fact, as we have learned here in NYT, an allegation that is refuted by everyone alleged to be present is still to be believed if it goes along with an earnestly told story. It's earnest denials that no longer count. I thought Ford's description of the assault was quite plausible. However, it's implausible that she didn't know Grassley had offered to interview her at home, that fear of flying was the cause of her delays, that she doesn't know who drove her home-but is sure she drank exactly one beer, and that she needed to study her invoices to figure out that her legal services and polygraph are free.

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kona ma 2h ago

I no longer care about whether Kavanaugh or Ford are telling the truth. What I do care about is the blatant partisanship, half truths and revenge evidenced in Kavanaugh's testifimony. 'WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND". If America thinks this behavior and thinly veiled threat is an acceptable mindset for a supreme court justice, I need to start investing in real estate in Canada.

kfm US Virgin Islands 3h ago

Kavanaugh's quote is "We're loud obnoxious drunks, with prolific pukers among us." You know, that sensitive stomach that reacts to spicy foods, that he swore under oath was the reason for his well-documented vomiting.

Also, "[A]ny girls we can beg to stay there are welcome with open..." What exactly is it you mean here, church-going, studious St Brett?

Randall Bachmann port st lucie 1h ago

My predictions were that Ford would not deliver the therapist's notes. She claimed, as did many here, that hey were the evidence that proved the story. Then she insisted that they were 'private' after the discrepancies were noted in her stories from the letter to Feinstein to the WaPo story.
Now we've learned that the second door was actually for the addition to the house, along with a bathroom and kitchenette. A room that was rented out. Not another WAY out.
In the notes, I'm sure that there is no mention of the need for another door due to the 'fear' Ford claimed. Especially since the permit for that addition with a door was pulled in 2008. Not in 2012. The therapist notes also are almost certainly from the 'counselor' who rented the apartment/office initially, who they also bought the house from and is now refusing to discuss it further.
I was clear in my earlier posts that as a psychologist, especially a teaching psychologist, Ford would have to know about polygraphs and how they work. https://www.apa.org/research/action/polygraph.aspx
And how to evade them: https://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2012/09/25/nsa-whi...
Of course the person she helped is going to deny it. First, she would be in trouble with the FBI (she can count on an inquiry) and second, to admit it would prove that her friend whom she supported is a liar and perjurer.

Kayle Simon Seattle WA 1h ago

When Mitchell asked Ford whether she had ever helped anyone prepare for a polygraph, my first thought was, they have something. Then it took them a week to use it. I wonder when he contacted them, or how many of her ex boyfriends they called.

Allen Ny 2h ago

@Steve
He said she never showed any sign of claustrophobia living in a 500 square foot apartment. We now know the second door to her home was not another exit but an entrance for tenants installed years before she claims to have mentioned her trauma in therapy. He said she showed no fear of flying, ever, not even in smaller prop planes. We know that despite her statement about being afraid of flying she flew frequently and went long distances. These facts corroborate his statements and there is a growing list of lies and half-truths she has been identified uttering. She is not credible.

Rolf Grebbestad 2h ago

That woman appears to be deeply troubled. She has zero credibility.

Chico New Hampshire 2h ago

It's strange that "Bart" Kavanaugh was shown to lie, be confrontational, bullying and evasive, yet the Senate Republican's do not seem to have a problem with it.

When you have the FBI being restrained from talking to witnesses and following leads is outrageous, not interviewing Dr. Ford and "Bart" Kavanaugh makes this a joke investigation and will taint this Supreme Court pick forever.

Scrumper Savannah 2h ago

This Merrick goes on to say "During our time dating, Dr. Ford never brought up anything regarding her experience as a victim of sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct," he wrote. "Dr. Ford never mentioned Brett Kavanaugh."

My ex wife had been the victim of an attempted rape in her teens yet in ten years of knowing her she never mentioned it once. My Grandfather fought in WWII and witnessed horrific stressful things yet never spoke about them either. So we can discount the assertion in Merrick's letter.

Murphmurph Murphmurph 2h ago

Polygraph tests are inaccurate - statistically, they're slightly better than just guessing. They're not lie detectors; we'd be better off calling them anxiety detectors. If you're evaluating Ford's testimony, feel free to just throw the whole polygraph out, if that makes you more confident about your opinion.

If you believe what Mr. Merrick says is true, understand that an M.A. in psychology is going to tell you what any good friend would tell you before taking a polygraph test: Relax, be calm, tell the truth. You're a good person, you have no reason to be worried.

If you asked me if I *ever* gave advice on a polygraph test, and it turns out me and my roommate talked about it once twenty-five years ago, please don't hold it against me that I responded "no."

Jon Boston 4h ago

He also alleges she committed credit card fraud in grad school. But nobody should have their character judged by something that happened so long ago, right?

James Kirk California 4h ago

@D. Goldblatt
I am an engineer and have actually developed advanced signal processing and machine learning algorithms for this kind of bio-sensory application. New methods very immune to artificial manipulation and someone saying they heard her give advice for 1990 strip chart technology is nuts. But it is not surprising for someone to think this is old technology.
Pretty weak counter-attack. Time to bring in testing of Kavanaugh.

Rob Campbell Western Mass. 3h ago

If it is shown that Ford and/or any of the other accusers have lied and brought forward false accusations, should they be criminally charged?

Charlie Messing Burlington, VT 4h ago

@Jay Lincoln You say the Times had a slant? What would the story sound like standing straight up? Different? Her ex-boyfriend may not be a reliable source - he saw her tell someone what a polygraph test was like - not how to beat one. PS - if you only drink one beer when you drink, remembering that would not be hard to accept. (Did she have many beers at other times? You know anything about it?) Please - take the break you say you need.

Prof Emeritus NYC NYC 37m ago

The NY Times and other Democratic organizations are beginning to panic.

Ford's story is ... falling apart.

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Anthony Carinhas Austin, Texas 38m ago

I'm so glad I'm a centrist because this bickering has become foolish. Yes the country deserves honorable justices on our courts, there's so much dishonesty coming from both sides that it seems everyone should be cut off in exchange for another nominee. The country's divisions are getting careless and childish that anyone will say anything to get their way. Put someone else on the table already folks.

Regards, LC princeton, new jersey 3h ago

As many observers have noted, the WH has perhaps dozens of qualified candidates to replace Kavanaugh without a stigma of sexual assault hovering over them and who reflect views consistent with those of the Republicans.
Why then continue with a nomination that has ripped the country apart?
The answer is Mr. Trump's inability to acknowledge a mistake and to adopt the posture of Roy Cohen: never backdown; always punish your enemy more painfully than he/she punished you; never show weakness.
So it's another incident in which we have to suffer, often needlessly,
to satisfy Mr. Trump's narcissistic, egomaniacal needs.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@al Ford is not the one accused of running rape gangs despite having an impeccable much commended judicial service record for 23+ years. He is understandably upset.

Also "innocent holes"? There is no such thing in law. Either you are lying or you are not.

Mor California 2h ago

Polygraph is junk science anyway. At best, it can determine whether the person believes she is telling the truth, not what the truth is. I think Dr. Ford believes her own words. But the more I learn about the circumstances of her testimony, the less inclined I am to believe that the alleged assault happened the way she described it. I suspect it is a classic case of false memory or confabulation. The FBI should interrogate her therapist with regard to the kind of therapy Dr. Ford received. And what about Dr. Ford's husband? Can't he tell us when, exactly, his wife remembered the name of her attacker? And how is the ex-boyfriend who apparently was with Dr. Ford for six years (in another country he would be called a common-law husband) did inot know about the assault that had supposedly blighted Dr. Ford's life? These questions need to be answered. Otherwise the entire thing is just a charade. And for the record, I was bitterly opposed to Kavanuagh nomination because of his position on Roe. Now I wish him confirmed just to end this circus. Trump's other nominee won't be any better on abortion anyway.

javierg Miami, Florida 3h ago

The ex boyfriend commentary brings new meaning to the saying "hell has no fury like a man scorned" (I substituted man for woman). This is what appears to have happen. Never in my lifetime would I have thought that I would witness such division and the airing out of our dirty laundry for the world to see. This makes the famous novel entitled The Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute, look like a Disney story.

Jacqueline Colorado 2h ago

Seems to me that it's all a bunch of hearsay. At this point I think Kavanaugh is too divisive and shouldn't be confirmed because this process has horribly divided us along partisan lines, however, there can really be no truth known.

It's just all a bunch of hearsay. She said, he said, with no evidence. I dont believe either of them quite frankly. There are always three sides to the story. One sides story, the other sides story, and the actual truth. The actual truth is known through empirical evidence, and I dont think there is anything real. Sworn statements and polygraph tests are not evidence. DNA or a video are evidence, and there is none of that. As such, the FBI cannot get to the truth and never will.

I disagree with this political hit job. The Democrafs are the ones stoking the fires of division in this battle. However, they have succeeded and at this point Kavanaugh is so divisive that I believe it would hurt American institutions if he was nominated.

Gerwick New York 2h ago

@CPR Ford's claims are uncorroborated, even refuted by her own best friend. Where was the defense for Kavanaugh then? Not so much male privilege or power when he is not even given the basic courtesy of being held innocent until proven guilty.

nom de guerre Kirkwood, MO 3h ago

"He also wrote that they broke up "once I discovered that Dr. Ford was unfaithful" and that she continued to use a credit card they shared nearly a year before he took her off the account. "When confronted, Dr. Ford said she did not use the card, but later admitted to the use after I threatened to involve fraud protection," he said."

Small points, but:
They weren't married or engaged and perhaps the relationship had played itself out. I'd venture to say the majority of failing relationships end with the involvement of a third person. If he's trying to assassinate her character, this is a weak attempt. Heck, look at the guy who's in the WH.

They shared a credit card that she "continued to use a year before he took her off the account". This doesn't constitute fraud, her name was on the account at the time she used it. He had no basis for a fraud case.

He claimed she lived a 500sf place with only one door- ok, but it was in California, where space is at a premium. She was obviously on a budget, which dictates what one can afford.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@Rickske "Klobuchar apologize to Kavanaugh?! Like telling a black person to apologize for taking a bus seat before a white person."

What? This makes no sense whatsoever. Klobuchar went after Kavanaugh over the Avenatti rape gangs claims which are now laughing stock of the whole nation. That's why she must apologize. Especially to his family and daughters.

sandy Chicago 3h ago

@Phyliss Dalmatian Too many holes in the story.
Have you read about the supposed "2nd door" Ford claims to have installed for protection? Well, seems it was really to "host" i.e., rent out the area of her master bedroom to Google interns (prior to that, it was used as a business). Ford also owns a 2nd home. She does not have two doors on that home. She lied about her fear of flying, about never having discussions about polygraphs in the past and she doesn't remember if she took the polygraph the day of her grandmothers funeral or the day after. Seriously? Those are just the lies that stick out to me. The omissions are too many to recall here. Try, please try, to take your loathing of Trump from the equation and realize that this woman lied! I believe her too. But I do not anymore. She's lying. It's frightening. What's more frightening is that the media isn't being honest about their reporting. This is ruining a man's life and that of his family. This isn't fair.

bored critic usa 3h ago

feinstein was holding onto dr. ford as her "ace in the hole". she wasn't going to use it if she didn't have to and she was holding out until the last minute. which also gives rise to the longest delay possible for the confirmation vote. simple dirty politics.

Mike CT 4h ago

@Andy
I graduated college in 1981, a fews years before Judge K but the same era. Drinking was common, altercations happened. No news here.

Do teenaged boys make awkward sexual references? Im not surprised.

It doesn't mean judge K is a predator as he is being portrayed by the Dems.

bored critic usa 4h ago

sounds like muldar from x-files, "I want to believe". so I will believe, regardless of any additional information which should perhaps cast a shred of doubt.

Reply 4 Recommend
bored critic usa 3h ago

but can you explain her lack of memory and the inconsistencies in her story?

Phil NJ 1h ago

There is a simple, effective way to handle all allegations, now or future ones.

First, the timetable is arbitrary.
That gives FBI full authority to impartially investigate all allegations.
To prevent adding allegations, give a time limit to all allegations.
Then conduct the investigation for a reasonable amount of time. No constraints, no limits if material to the accusations that is up to the FBI to decide.
You can still complete this investigation before elections if that is a priority.
Finally if investigations reveal anything against him that would have impacted his support for the court, impeach him if he is on it.

Just by what has transpired, his sneaky lies, partisan attack and blatant threat he is unfit for any court. If he values his family, he would spare them the worst by withdrawing now.

Elections have consequences. In a zero sum game your vote determines the outcome. As a matter of principle Election commission's goal ought to be 100% participation with a mandatory improvement in every election, period.

Ralphie CT 1h ago

@Henry Slofstra The fact is psychologists (Ford is one) know polygraphs are pseudoscience and can easily be beaten if you know how they work.

Gerwick New York 4h ago

@4merNYer What about the senate's conduct? Why was the allegations hidden until after the hearing until the last moment? Instead of a confidential investigation as is due process, and if confirmed charges then disqualification of the man's nomination, again as is due process, he and his family dragged into a media circus. Its only fair he got a little upset at the way it was handled.

His answers were concrete, he categorically and emphatically denied all allegations. There was nothing more to be said.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@Mercutio

1. You accuse a man of impeccable record and public service to America for 23 years - of running rape gangs. Crucify him in public, drag his family and daughters into this chaos - and then expect him to be unemotional? How's that fair?

2. He's clearly demonstrated what now? where? You're reaching too much.

bored critic usa 4h ago

how is this a desperate smear? and what went on against Kavanaugh was not? who cares if he drank during hs and college. back then most kids did. and he couldn't have been drunk all the time and be as successful in his grades as he was. so focused on all the wrong things.

MB MD 57m ago

I remember a poly I took 40 years ago to work at a convenience store. The tight cuff immediately said "heart rate". So I intermittently calmed down and sped my heart to play a game with the examiner. I passed and remain convinced it's all voodoo.

Mary Edgerton Houston 58m ago

So it is one thing to tell someone that during a lie detector test your vital signs will be monitored as you are asked questions, starting with control questions that have established true or false answers. My Mother told me so at least, and I would not say that she advised me how to take a polygraph examination. There is on the other hand a technique in which people who are to submit to a polygraph examination learn how to raise their blood pressure or breathing rate while being asked control questions that they answer to truthfully. This adjusts your baseline vital signs to a level that would be too close to your vital signs while lying such that the changes in vital signs from truth to lie state are not statistically significant. I would say that training someone to do that is teaching someone how to take (and pass) a polygraph examination. Her boyfriend did not describe this being the case, so I think he and the Republican Senators are making a mountain out of a molehill. Also, I was molested as a child in a movie theater. I did not talk about it until forty years later, not to my serious boyfriends along the way, nor to my first husband. I only spoke about it to my second husband when we began taking our own little girls to the movies and I realized how terrified I was that they would be molested. I could hardly watch the movie, and wanted my husband to bracket them with me. He never understood that, but then he supports Trump (and we are divorced).

mike atlanta 1h ago

@Joan In California
"manly individuals who think this issue will go away after the dust settles better hope their behavior has always been above reproach."

and how many women have lives that are "beyond reproach"? Notice the goal post moving. Now its not only men who have sexually assaulted women who are the enemy its all men if the don't adhere to every single accusation made by any and every woman on the planet. How can any sane person think a gender war is the answer?

and will you only carry female babies to full term? because if one day your son doesn't believe just one woman on the planet (or think that she is mistaken) will you stand in line to scorch his earth too and betray your own motherhood?

DZ Banned from NYT 3h ago

@Brookhawk

They were in a relationship for 6 years and lived together. That doesn't make the boyfriend's account true, but it does explain how selectively the NYT chooses to inform its readers these days. The death of the media is a suicide.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@rosa Stalin's Russia also sent and punished without any regard for evidence or proof which is the exactly what the left is doing to Kavanaugh right now. Ford's claim has no corroboration, is convieniently dropped 2 days before senate vote, Fienstein recommended lawyers, now exposed lies about fear of flying, polygraph etc...yet Kavanaugh can not demand the basic courtesy of being treated "innocent until proven guilty" from the public and the media? Stalin would be proud right now of this pitch fork mob culture we got going I tell you that much.

Gerwick New York 3h ago

@Henry She lied about fear of flying, lied about polygraph, no corroboration, she was with merrick for 5+ years yet never mentioned this "assault", allegations 2 days before senate vote?

How can anyone not be atleast suspicious?

Reply 2 Recommend
Gaspipe Casso Brooklyn 3h ago

@JenD My mother, my wife, my sister and my daughter's rage boiled over last week too...but at the thought that their father, brother, son and husband could face an uncorroborated charge and have his life ruined without due process.

[Nov 08, 2018] Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

Gold age of the USA (say 40 years from 1946 to approximately 1986 ) were an in some way an aberration caused by WWII. As soon as Germany and Japan rebuilt themselves this era was over. And the collapse of the USSR in 1991 (or more correct Soviet nomenklatura switching sides and adopting neoliberalism) only make the decline more gradual but did not reversed it. After 200 it was clear that neoliberalism is in trouble and in 2008 it was clear that ideology of neoliberalism is dead, much like Bolshevism after 1945.
As the US ruling neoliberal elite adopted this ideology ad its flag, the USA faces the situation somewhat similar the USSR faced in 70th. It needs its "Perestroika" but with weak leader at the helm like Gorbachov it can lead to the dissolution of the state. Dismantling neoliberalism is not less dangerous then dismantling of Bolshevism. The level of brainwashing of both population and the elite (and it looks like the USA elite is brainwashed to an amazing level, probably far exceed the level of brainwashing of Soviet nomenklatura) prevents any constructive moves.
In a way, Neoliberalism probably acts as a mousetrap for the country, similar to the role of Bolshevism in the USSR. Ideology of neoliberalism is dead, so what' next. Another war to patch the internal divisions ? That's probably why Trump is so adamant about attacking Iran. Iran does not have nuclear weapons so this is in a way an ideal target. Unlike, say, Russia. And such a war can serve the same political purpose. That's why many emigrants from the USSR view the current level of divisions with the USA is a direct analog of divisions within the USSR in late 70th and 80th. Similarities are clearly visible with naked eye.
Notable quotes:
"... t is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all. ..."
"... "Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls. ..."
"... A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.' ..."
"... The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people. ..."
"... please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back ..."
"... America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work ..."
"... It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem. ..."
"... And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? ..."
"... The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class... ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 23:25 13 SHARES Authored by Raja Murthy via The Asia Times,

"The only wealth you keep is wealth you have given away," said Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), last of the great Roman emperors. US President Donald Trump might know of another Italian, Mario Puzo's Don Vito Corleone, and his memorable mumble : "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Forgetting such Aurelian and godfather codes is propelling the decline and fall of the American empire.

Trump is making offers the world can refuse – by reshaping trade deals, dispensing with American sops and forcing powerful corporations to return home, the US is regaining economic wealth but relinquishing global power.

As the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika (restructuring) led to the breakup of its vast territory(22 million square kilometers). Gorbachev's failed policies led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and independent countries, and the end of a superpower.

Ironically, the success of Trump's policies will hasten the demise of the American empire: the US regaining economic health but losing its insidious hold over the world.

This diminishing influence was highlighted when India and seven other countries geared up to defy Washington's re-imposition of its unilateral, illegal sanctions against Iran, starting Monday.

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station.

The law of cause and effect unavoidably delivers. The Roman Empire fell after wars of greed and orgies of consumption. A similar nemesis, the genie of Gorbachev, stalks Pennsylvania Avenue, with Trump unwittingly writing the last chapter of World War II: the epilogue of the two rival superpowers that emerged from humanity's most terrible conflict.

The maverick 45th president of the United States may succeed at being an economic messiah to his country, which has racked up a $21.6 trillion debt, but the fallout is the death of American hegemony. These are the declining days of the last empire standing.

Emperors and mafia godfathers knew that wielding great influence means making payoffs. Trump, however, is doing away with the sops, the glue that holds the American empire together, and is making offers that he considers "fair" but instead is alienating the international community– from badgering NATO and other countries to pay more for hosting the US legions (800 military bases in 80 countries) to reducing US aid.

US aid to countries fell from $50 billion in fiscal year 2016, $37 billion in 2017 to $7.7 billion so far in 2018. A world less tied to American largesse and generous trade tarrifs can more easily reject the "you are with us or against us" bullying doctrine of US presidents. In the carrot and stick approach that largely passes as American foreign policy, the stick loses power as the carrot vanishes.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather. Big payoffs needed for big influence. A presidential lesson for Don Trump

More self-respecting leaders will have less tolerance for American hypocrisy, such as sanctioning other countries for nuclear weapons while having the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

They will sneer more openly at the hysteria surrounding alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, pointing to Washington's violent record of global meddling. They will cite examples of American hypocrisy such as its sponsorship of coups against elected leaders in Latin America, the US Army's Project Camelot in 1964 targeting 22 countries for intervention (including Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia), its support for bloodthirsty dictators, and its destabilization of the Middle East with the destruction of Iraq and Libya.

Immigrant cannon fodder

Trump's focus on the economy reduces the likelihood of him starting wars. By ending the flood of illegal immigrants to save jobs for US citizens, he is also inadvertently reducing the manpower for illegal wars. Non-citizen immigrants comprise about 5% of the US Army. For its Iraq and Afghanistan wars, US army recruiters offered citizenship to lure illegal immigrants, mostly Latinos.

Among the first US soldiers to die in the Iraq War was 22-year old illegal immigrant Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, an orphan from the streets of Guatemala City. He sneaked across the Mexican border into the US six years before enlisting in exchange for American citizenship.

On March 21, 2003, Gutierrez was killed by friendly fire near Umm Qasr, southern Iraq. The coffin of this illegal immigrant was draped in the US flag, and he received American citizenship – posthumously.

Trump policies targeting illegal immigration simultaneously reduces the availability of cannon fodder for the illegal wars needed to maintain American hegemony.

Everything comes to an end, and so too will the last empire of our era.

The imperial American eagle flying into the sunset will see the dawn of an economically healthier US that minds its own business, and increase hopes for a more equal, happier world – thanks to the unintentional Gorbachev-2 in the White House.


PeaceForWorld , 3 minutes ago link

I am sure that many of us are OK with ending American Empire. Both US citizens and other countries don't want to fight un-necessary and un-ending wars. If Trump can do that, then he is blessed.

Condor_0000 , 23 minutes ago link

Imperialism and the State: Why McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas

By Paul D'Amato

http://www.isreview.org/issues/17/state_and_imperialism.shtml

Excerpt:

The modern nation-state was necessary as a means of creating a single, unified market that could facilitate commerce. But the state was also crucial in providing necessary infrastructure, and sometimes the pooling of capital resources, necessary for national capitalists to operate and compete effectively.

But the state as a bureaucratic institution had another, more fundamental function. Lenin, citing Engels, defined the essence of the state as "bodies of armed men, prisons, etc.," in short, an instrument for the maintenance of the rule of the exploiting minority over the exploited majority.

As capitalism burst the bounds of the nation-state, the coercive military function of the state took on a new dimension--that of protecting (and projecting) the interests of the capitalists of one country over those of another. As capitalism developed, the role of the state increased, the size of the state bureaucracy increased, and the size of its coercive apparatus increased.

Lenin was soon to refine this conception in light of the world's descent into the mass slaughter of the First World War. He argued that capitalism had reached a new stage--imperialism--the struggle between the world's "great powers" for world dominance. The central feature of imperialism was the rivarly between the great powers--whose economic competition gave way to military conflict.

Another Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, put it this way:

The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries. The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior, has become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected with each other. This work was accomplished by capitalism. But in accomplishing it the capitalist states were led to struggle for the subjection of the world-embracing economic system to the profit interests of the bourgeoisie of each country...

But the way the governments propose to solve this problem of imperialism is not through the intelligent, organized cooperation of all of humanity's producers, but through the exploitation of the world's economic system by the capitalist class of the victorious country; which country is by this War to be transformed from a great power into a world power.5

Golden Showers , 32 minutes ago link

See a pattern here? Raja Murthy, you sound like a pro-American Empire shill. 1964 Project Camelot has nothing to do with the current administration. Raja, you forgot to wear your satirical pants.

The idea and catchy hook of 2016 was Make America Great Again, not wasting lives and resources on the American Empire. You point out the good things. Who might have a problem with the end of the American Empire are Globalists. What is wrong with relinquishing global power and not wasting lives and money?

"The only lives you keep is lives you've given away" That does not ring true. The only lies you keep are the lies you've given away. What? You're not making any sense, dude. How much American Empire are you vested in? Does it bother you if the Empire shrinks its death grip on Asia or the rest of the world? Why don't you just say it: This is good! Hopefully Trump's policies will prevent you from getting writers' cramp and being confusing--along with the canon fodder. Or maybe you're worried about job security.

America is a super power, just like Russia. Just like England. However, whom the US carries water for might change. Hope that's ok.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 33 minutes ago link

Trump is saving the US by destroying the empire. Both the US and the world will be happier for that.

Condor_0000 , 29 minutes ago link

No he's not.

Trump is an empirial president, just like every other US president. In fact, that's what the article is describing. MAGA depends upon imperialist domination. Trump and all of US capitalism know that even if the brain-dead MAGA chumps don't.

Capitalism can't help but seek to rule the world. It is the result of pursuing capitalism's all-important growth. If it's not US capitalism, it will be Chinese capitalism, or Russian capitalism, or European capitalism that will rule the world.

The battle over global markets doesn't stop just because the US might decide not to play anymore. Capitalism means that you're either the global power who is ******* the royal **** out of everyone else, or you're the victim of being fucked up the *** by an imperialist power.

FBaggins , 25 minutes ago link

The only thing which makes the US different from the rest of the world is its super concentration of power, which in effect is a super concentration of corruption.

ebworthen , 33 minutes ago link

Quite entertaining to be living in the modern Rome.

Condor_0000 , 28 minutes ago link

It's a cross between ancient Rome and Nazi Germany. And you're right. It's fascinating.

Condor_0000 , 34 minutes ago link

Another day and another ZeroHedge indictment of American capitalism.

And how refreshing that the article compares US capitalism to gangsterism. It's a most appropriate comparison.

--------------------

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for 'the sub-machine gun...poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone's own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a "newly arrived" Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses. They were nice to look at, and they had another purpose too, for Capone when agitated stood up and dipped the tips of his fingers in the water in which floated the roses.

I had been a little embarrassed as to how the interview was to be launched. Naturally the nub of all such interviews is somehow to get round to the question "What makes you tick?" but in the case of this millionaire killer the approach to this central question seemed mined with dangerous impediments. However, on the way down to the Lexington Hotel I had had the good fortune to see, I think in the Chicago Daily News , some statistics offered by an insurance company which dealt with the average expectation of life of gangsters in Chicago. I forget exactly what the average was, and also what the exact age of Capone at that time - I think he was in his early thirties. The point was, however, that in any case he was four years older than the upper limit considered by the insurance company to be the proper average expectation of life for a Chicago gangster. This seemed to offer a more or less neutral and academic line of approach, and after the ordinary greetings I asked Capone whether he had read this piece of statistics in the paper. He said that he had. I asked him whether he considered the estimate reasonably accurate. He said that he thought that the insurance companies and the newspaper boys probably knew their stuff. "In that case", I asked him, "how does it feel to be, say, four years over the age?"

He took the question quite seriously and spoke of the matter with neither more nor less excitement or agitation than a man would who, let us say, had been asked whether he, as the rear machine-gunner of a bomber, was aware of the average incidence of casualties in that occupation. He apparently assumed that sooner or later he would be shot despite the elaborate precautions which he regularly took. The idea that - as afterwards turned out to be the case - he would be arrested by the Federal authorities for income-tax evasion had not, I think, at that time so much as crossed his mind. And, after all, he said with a little bit of corn-and-ham somewhere at the back of his throat, supposing he had not gone into this racket? What would be have been doing? He would, he said, "have been selling newspapers barefoot on the street in Brooklyn".

He stood as he spoke, cooling his finger-tips in the rose bowl in front of him. He sat down again, brooding and sighing. Despite the ham-and-corn, what he said was probably true and I said so, sympathetically. A little bit too sympathetically, as immediately emerged, for as I spoke I saw him looking at me suspiciously, not to say censoriously. My remarks about the harsh way the world treats barefoot boys in Brooklyn were interrupted by an urgent angry waggle of his podgy hand.

"Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls.

"This American system of ours," he shouted, "call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it." He held out his hand towards me, the fingers dripping a little, and stared at me sternly for a few seconds before reseating himself.

A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.'

LetThemEatRand , 52 minutes ago link

This article was obviously written by someone who wants to maintain the status quo.

America would be much stronger if it were not trying to be an empire. The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people.

hardmedicine , 41 minutes ago link

exactly, please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back and screw the rest of the world, America First

LetThemEatRand , 39 minutes ago link

I truly believe that "America First" is not selfish. America before it went full ****** was the beacon of freedom and success that other countries tried to emulate and that changed the world for the better.

America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work.

HopefulCynical , 26 minutes ago link

Empire is a contrivance, a vehicle for psychopathic powerlust. America was founded by people who stood adamantly opposed to this. Here's hoping Trump holds their true spirit in his heart.

If he doesn't, there's hundreds of millions of us who still do. We don't all live in America...

Posa , 15 minutes ago link

It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem.

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

JSBach1 called you a 'coward', for being EXACTLY LIKE THESE TRAITOROUS SPINELESS VERMIN who simply just step outside just 'enough' the comfort zone to APPEAR 'real'. IMHO, I concur with JSBach1 ...your're a coward indeed, when you should know better ..... shame you you indeed!

pitz , 55 minutes ago link

There is little evidence, Trump's propaganda aside (that he previously called Obama dishonest for) that the US economy is improving. If anything, the exploding budget and trade deficits indicate that the economy continues to weaken.

Posa , 12 minutes ago link

Correct. The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class...

the US can't even raise an army... even if enough young (men) were dumb enough to volunteer there just aren't enough fit, healthy and mentally acute recruits out there.

[Nov 08, 2018] And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy?

Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

... ... ...

[Nov 07, 2018] America's Vote of No Confidence in Trump

The typical scheme of politic life in US under neoliberalism is as following:: candidate for President promises something reasonable, like to end foreign wars and improve the sliding standard of living of the middle class and/or cut outsourcing and offshoring. Gullible voters elect him. He governs as worst of his predecessors and start cutting benefits for the middle class and workers. . In two years voters start realizing that they were deceived and elect House or Senate or both from another party, not realizing that the difference is minimal, if exists at all.
This cycle can continue indefinitely.
Notable quotes:
"... "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party." ..."
"... The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. ..."
"... Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
won control of the House again, ending an eight-year stint in the minority:

The US Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump.

While the GOP is poised to add to its Senate majority, yesterday's election was the best midterm result for the Democrats since 2006. They flipped dozens of Republican-held seats, including some that they were not expected to win (e.g., IL-06, OK-05), and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party. It is normal for the president's party to lose seats in the first midterm following a presidential election, and Democratic gains were in line with pre-election predictions. The striking thing about this year's result is that the president's party has lost so much ground despite relatively good economic conditions. Republicans had an extremely favorable Senate map, and despite that they barely managed to eke out a win in Texas of all places. It was not as thorough of a repudiation as the GOP deserved, but it was a significant rejection all the same.

The president's poor approval ratings and his unimpressive record to date have further dragged down a Republican Party that wasn't very popular to begin with. Americans seem to lose patience with unified government fairly quickly. Yesterday voters gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to put the president in check and hold him accountable for his overreaching and illegal wars. Trump and his officials should expect to face much more rigorous oversight and scrutiny from relevant Congressional committees, and Trump's haphazard and incompetent conduct of foreign policy should run into much stronger resistance from the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Trump won't be able to count on the leadership in the House to roll over for him over the next two years, and he and his Cabinet members are likely to be facing one investigation after another.

Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon.


Two More Years November 7, 2018 at 9:15 am

I voted for him in 2016, but I lost confidence in him as he started doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of doing the job we hired him for, the job he promised to do during the campaign: deport the illegals, stop immigration and foreign work visas, get us out of the Middle East, rebuild US infrastructure, i.e. "America First".

Yesterday I voted against the only national GOP politician I could get my hands on. He lost, and I'm glad, especially because he was a Tea Party Republican who betrayed our Tea Party principles by voting for Trump's out of control deficit spending and for more stupid Mideast wars.

We've got a lady Democrat now, but she looks fairly sane. We'll see. The problem with Democrat politicians is that a lot of them only pretend to be normal until they get to Washington.

bkh , says: November 7, 2018 at 9:23 am
I am no Trump fan, but what is going to change? It will still be a do nothing Congress. The wars will still go on and the health-care dilemma will still be ever-present. It is sad that the past 2 years have been wasted. Even if the Republican Congress could not do something about health-care due to the size of the problem, they could have at least done something about infrastructure, immigration, and these dumb wars. The failure is just as much Paul Ryan's fault as it is Trump's. I watched last night with far more interest than 2016 and am amazed that so many old Boomers were elected given the supposed youth movement. It never occurred to me that there are alot of Septuagenarian war-mongers who should have retired a decade ago still receiving votes. The Democrats took the House, but what is left of this nation is toast regardless.
EliteCommInc. , says: November 7, 2018 at 9:32 am
"Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon."

How much of this was national in nature is unclear. Many of the republicans that lost were "Never Trump" advocates or very "lukewarm" at best. I think this reflects more failure on the local level to turn or translate the positives into something beneficial locally.

I am just surprised the Republicans managed to lose the house given the economic numbers (though I remain deeply distrustful of them – given exports) and what has been repeated stumbles by democrats.

Texas, is a perfect example. While Sen Cruz was not a never Trumper, he was mild fair in the president's corner. His election was about him, not the president. And I think the vote reflected less confidence in his leadership. Neither Texas nor Sen Cruze are as conservative as believed or at least not as they once were considered. Unfortunately, what carried him over the top was ethnicity, not his leadership.

It's probably too early to tell, just how big a factor the president was in the election or how much change will result. Thus far, the establishment that existed previously remains despite the presidential election that was intended to reshape or at least curb its self serving appetite --

Given the the money at play -- it is doubtful that that things are going to change much. Now that I put at the admin door step. Because his folded a lot against the reasons he was elected, during the last two years.

SteveM , says: November 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
Re: "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party."

And with what promises did the Democrats win those votes? Why with the bogus "Medicare for All" and the equally bogus "Free College Education for All".

The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. Too bad the MSM in love with Nitwit Newbie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is too stupid to connect the dots.

And higher ed is unaffordable simply because it's also over priced. Using government subsidies to sustain a bankrupt higher ed model amounts to re-arranging even more deck chairs on the Titanic.

The Democrats are the Party of Free Lunch and Free War. While the Republicans are the Party of Free War and Free Lunch.

Pick one

rayray , says: November 7, 2018 at 10:44 am
@SteveM
The fact is that any "solution" to health care that has any integrity to it is a single payer solution. That's also probably the only solution that reduces, as you accurately state, the pathological per capita health care cost.

And to be clear, in terms of fiscal viability, the party of reducing taxes and raising budgets is currently and has been historically the GOP. The current administration has picked up that baton as well.

One final thing, I wouldn't count out Ocasio-Cortes as a nitwit. I've been reading her white papers and following her evolution and she makes 95% of the current GOP crop seem like toddlers. Yes, her idealism will backfire hard as it always does. But what's the other option? Endless corrupt cynicism? She's impressive. I'm pulling for her to stay focused and do well.

Sid Finster , says: November 7, 2018 at 10:46 am
Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.
Oblomov , says: November 7, 2018 at 11:06 am
The alternative to Ocasio-Cortez style state worship is the simple wisdom that governments are neither efficient nor effective at delivering what she proposes.

[Nov 07, 2018] There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9? ..."
"... So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.) ..."
"... I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense. ..."
"... If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. ..."
"... They claim there's a difference between the two parties? ..."
"... But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general. ..."
"... Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Debsisdead | Nov 7, 2018 6:19:36 AM | 9

It's not even decent theatre. Drama is much lacking, character development zilch. The outcome that dems take congress,& rethugs improve in senate is exactly as was predicted months ago.

The dems reveal once again exactly how mendacious and uncaring of the population they are. Nothing matters other than screwing more cash outta anyone who wants anything done so that the DC trough stays full with the usual crew of 4th & 5th generation wannabe dem pols guzzling hard at the corporate funded 'dem aligned' think tanks which generate much hot air yet never deliver. Hardly suprising given that actually doing something to show they give a sh1t about the citizenry would annoy the donor who would give em all the boot, making all these no-hopers have to take up a gig actually practising law.

These are people whose presence at the best law schools in the country prevented many who wanted to be y'know lawyers from entering Harvard, Cornell etc law school. "one doesn't go to law school to become a lawyer It too hard to even pull down a mil a year as a brief, nah, I studied the law to learn how to make laws that actually do the opposite of what they seem to. That is where the real dough is."

Those who think that is being too hard on the dem slugs, should remember that the rethugs they have been indoctrinated to detest act pretty much as printed on the side of the can. They advertise a service of licking rich arseholes and that is exactly what they do. As venal and sociopathic as they are, at least they don't pretend to be something else; so while there is no way one could vote for anyone spouting republican nonsense at least they don't hide their greed & corruption under a veneer of pseudo-humanist nonsense. Dems cry for the plight of the poverty stricken then they slash welfare.

Or dems sob about the hard row african americans must hoe, then go off to the house of reps to pass laws to keep impoverished african americans slotted up in an over crowded prison for the rest of his/her life.

Not only deceitful and vicious, 100% pointless since any Joe/Jo that votes on the basis of wanting to see more blackfellas incarcerated is always gonna tick the rethug box anyhow.

Yeah- yeah we know all this so what?

This is what - the dems broke their arses getting tens of millions of young first time voters out to "exercise their democratic prerogative" for the first time. Dems did this knowing full well that there would be no effective opposition to rethug demands for more domestic oppression, that in fact it is practically guaranteed that should the trump and the rethug senate require it, in order to ensure something particularly nasty gets passed, that sufficient dem congress people will 'cross the floor' to make certain the bill does get up.

Of course the dems in question will allude to 'folks back home demanding' that the dem slug does vote with the nasties, but that is the excuse, the reality is far too many dem pols are as bigoted greedy and elitist as the worst rethugs.

Anyway the upshot of persuading so many kids to get out and vote, so the kids do but the dems are content to just do more of the same, will be another entire generation lost to elections forever.

If the DNC had been less greedy and more strategic they would have kept their powder dry and hung off press-ganging the kids until getting such a turnout could have resulted in genuine change, prez 2020' or whenever, would be actual success for pols and voters.

But they didn't and wouldn't ever, since for a dem pol, hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens living on the street isn't nearly as problematic for them, as the dem wannabe pol paying off the mortgage on his/her DC townhouse by 2020, something that would have been impossible if they hadn't taken congress as all the 'patrons' would have jerked back their cash figuring there is no gain giving dosh to losers who couldn't win a bar raffle.

As for that Sharice Davids - a total miss she needed to be either a midget or missing an arm or leg to qualify as the classic ID dem pol. Being a native american lezzo just doesn't tick enough boxes. I predict a not in the least illustrious career since she cannot even qualify as the punchline in a circa 1980's joke.

Anton Worter , Nov 7, 2018 11:13:25 AM | link

@9

As you said, nothing will get out of the House, Pelosi can't lead. They can easily swing 3 Democrats, then Mike Pence puts the hammer down. If anything manages to crawl through, it won't even be brought to a vote in the Republican Senate. Trump can still us his bully pulpit to circle the White wagons, fly in even more than his current 1,125,000 H-visa aliens, and No Taxes for the Rich is now engraved in stone for the Pharoahs.

The imminent $1,500B Omnibus Deficit Bill Three will be lauded as a 'bipartisan solution' by both houses, and 2020 looks to be a $27,000B illegal, onerous, odious National Debt open Civil War.

There is only the Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. The Titanic is dead in the water, lights out, bow down hard. The Rich, the Corporate Profiteers and the Military-Political Establishment have pulled away in their fur and jewel-encrusted life boats. It's one minute after midnight on the Doomsday Clock, the hands have fallen off the Debt Clock, the skies are burning and seas are rising (they say), and we are in WW3 in 8 nations. Or is it 9?

Smart money is moving toward the exits. This shyte is gonna blow. Let's move to Australia, before it becomes part of Xi's PRC String of Girls.

ken | Nov 7, 2018 12:44:13 PM | 69

Reading most of the comments explaining how the D's won/lost,,, the R's won/lost,,, Trump and company won/lost,,, but couldn't find one post about how America is losing due to the two suffocating party's and a greedy, disunited, selfish, electorate that wants it all free.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the Majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury,,,,,,, After that the Majority always votes for the candidate 'promising the most' ,,,,,,,
Alex Fraser.

The US, and West in general, is proof positive.

Russ | Nov 7, 2018 7:48:10 AM | 17

So the Democrat faction of the Corporate One-Party took back control of the House from the Republican faction. (It's one hard-right party, of course; only liars and those ignorant of history call the Dems "centrist". By any objective or historical standard they're a right-wing party.)

It's no big surprise. Last two years it's been the normally self-assured Republicans who, because of their ambivalence about Trump, have uncharacteristically taken on the usual Democrat role of existential confusion and doubt. Meanwhile the Democrats, in a berserk batsh$t-insane way, have been more motivated and focused.

So what are these Democrats going to do with this control now that they have it?

I made no prediction on what would happen in this election, but I've long predicted that if/when the Democrats win control of either house they'll do nothing with that control. Jack squat. Status quo all the way, embellished with more retarded Russia-Derangement stuff and similar nonsense.

If there really were a difference between these corporate factions, here's the chance for the House to obstruct all Senate-passed legislation. And as for things which are technically only in the power of the Senate such as confirming appointments, here's the chance for the House to put public moral pressure on Democrats in the Senate. And there's plenty of back-door ways an activist House can influence Senate business. Only morbid pedantry, so typical of liberal Dembots, babbles about what the technical powers of this or that body are. The real world doesn't work that way. To the extent I pay attention at all to Senate affairs it'll be to see what the House is doing about it.

They claim there's a difference between the two parties? And they claim Trump is an incipient fascist dictator? In that case there's a lot at stake, and extreme action is called for. Let's see what kind of action we get from their "different" party in control of the House.

But I predict this House won't lift a finger vs. the Senate, and that it'll strive to work with the Senate on legislation, and that it'll fully concur with the Senate on war budgets, police state measures, anything and everything demanded by Wall Street, Big Ag, the fossil fuel extractors, and of course the corporate welfare state in general.

Nor will any of these new-fangled fake "socialist" types take any action to change things one iota. Within the House Democrats, they could take action, form any and every kind of coalition, to obstruct the corporate-Pelosi leadership faction. They will not do so. This "new" progressive bloc will be just as fake as the old one.

Nothing I've talked about here is anything but what is possible, what is always implicitly or explicitly promised by Dembots, and what it would seem is the minimum necessary given what Dembots claim is the scope of the crisis and what is at stake.

[Nov 07, 2018] Don't be Flattered, Fooled and Flummoxed in Todays's Election by Ralph Nader

This is somewhat naive, but still useful stance of US elections.
Notable quotes:
"... In 2004 Tom Frank, a Kansas author, wrote: "The poorest county in America isn't in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000, George W. Bush carried it by a majority of greater than 75 percent." Inattentive voters are vulnerable to voting against their own interests. They are vulnerable to voting for politicians who support big business and ignore their interests as farmers, workers, consumers, patients, and small taxpayers. Big Business will not spur change in a political system that gives the fatcats every advantage. ..."
"... President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are masters at flattering voters and lying about their positions on issues ranging from health care to the minimum wage. Before you vote, rid yourself of all preconceived, hereditary, ideological, and political straitjackets. Use two general yardsticks for candidates for elective office: Are they playing fair and are they doing right? ..."
"... Ask candidates to speak of Solutions to the major problems confronting our country. Politicians often avoid defining solutions that upset their commercial campaign contributors. ..."
"... Ask about a range of issues, such as energy efficiency, livable wages, lower drug prices, massive government contractor fraud, corporate crimes against consumers, workers and investors, reducing sprawl, safer food, and clean elections. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Let's face it. Most politicians use the mass media to obfuscate. Voters who don't do their homework, who don't study records of the politicians, and who can't separate the words from the deeds will easily fall into traps laid by wily politicians.

In 2002, Connecticut Governor John Rowland was running for re-election against his Democratic opponent, William Curry. Again and again, the outspent Curry informed the media and the voters about the corruption inside and around the governor's office. At the time, the governor's close associates and ex-associates were under investigation by the U.S. attorney. But to the public, Rowland was all smiles, flooding the television stations with self-serving, manipulative images and slogans. He won handily in November. Within weeks, the U.S. attorney's investigation intensified as they probed the charges Curry had raised about Rowland. Rowland's approval rating dropped to record lows, and impeachment initiatives and demands for his resignation grew. He was prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. Unfortunately, enough voters were flattered, fooled, and flummoxed to cost Bill Curry the race.

In 2004 Tom Frank, a Kansas author, wrote: "The poorest county in America isn't in Appalachia or the Deep South. It is on the Great Plains, a region of struggling ranchers and dying farm towns, and in the election of 2000, George W. Bush carried it by a majority of greater than 75 percent." Inattentive voters are vulnerable to voting against their own interests. They are vulnerable to voting for politicians who support big business and ignore their interests as farmers, workers, consumers, patients, and small taxpayers. Big Business will not spur change in a political system that gives the fatcats every advantage. Change must come from the voters, and here's how:

President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are masters at flattering voters and lying about their positions on issues ranging from health care to the minimum wage. Before you vote, rid yourself of all preconceived, hereditary, ideological, and political straitjackets. Use two general yardsticks for candidates for elective office: Are they playing fair and are they doing right?

Stay open-minded. Avoid jumping to conclusions about candidates based solely on their stance on your one or two top issues. Pay attention to where these politicians are on the many other issues that profoundly affect you and your family. If you judge them broadly rather than narrowly, you will increase your influence by increasing your demands and expectation levels for public officials. There are numerous evaluations of their votes, easily available on the Internet.

Know where you stand. A handy way to contrast your views with those of the incumbents and challengers is to make your own checklist of twenty issues, explain where you stand and then compare your positions, the candidates' votes and declarations. Seeing how their positions or their actual record matches up to your own positions makes it harder for politicians to play you. Compare candidates with their votes or declarations.

Ask the tough questions. These are many issues that politicians like to avoid. They include questions about whether candidates are willing to debate their opponents and how often, why they avoid talking about and doing something about corporate power and its expanding controls over people's lives, or how they plan specifically to shift power from these global corporate supremacists to the people. After all, the Constitution starts with "We the People" not "We the Corporations." The words "corporations" and "company" are never mentioned in our Constitution!!

Ask candidates to speak of Solutions to the major problems confronting our country. Politicians often avoid defining solutions that upset their commercial campaign contributors.

Ask about a range of issues, such as energy efficiency, livable wages, lower drug prices, massive government contractor fraud, corporate crimes against consumers, workers and investors, reducing sprawl, safer food, and clean elections.

Ask members of Congress to explain why they keep giving themselves salary increases and generous benefits, and yet turn cold at doing the same for the people's frozen minimum wage, health insurance, or pension protections.

All in all, it takes a little work and some time to become a super-voter, impervious to manipulation by politicians who intend to flatter, fool,and flummox. But this education can also be fun, and the pursuit of justice can offer great benefits to your pursuit of happiness.

Such civic engagement will help Americans today become better ancestors for tomorrow's descendants.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

[Nov 07, 2018] We won't know how The People voted until we return to paper ballots, counted under the scrutiny of many suspicious and beady-eyed indivuals in public

Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Nov 7, 2018 1:20:20 PM | 71 ">link

The Republicans extended their majority in the Senate while the Democrats took the House of Representatives.

That's what the Corporate Media reported, and their "news" reflects the readings on the easily hackable voting machines. So your "hunch" may or may not be right in the Real World, but in our world it was an error.

As a blogger at Naked Capitalism endlessly says, we won't know how The People voted until we return to paper ballots, counted under the scrutiny of many suspicious and beady-eyed indivuals in public .

Too many good comments to reply to any, but in general I liked the cynical tone I see here. I have no friends in Washington or Indianapolis. The Democrats have had plenty of opportunities to do good things for me, and they've passed on all of those chances. Recall how it was said that Only Nixon Could Go To China. Well, only Democrats can kill Social Security. IMO we owe Monica Lewinsky a statue someday, for the ba$tard Bill Clinton was going to put a knife in the SS system.

Still an opinion, but the new House situation will allow the Rich People to either control Trump or replace him. Impeachment is pointless because he can't possibly be convicted, but given Trump's business history he can easily be turned into a much, much poorer man. I think that'll be the lever used -if necessary - to 'handle' him, for relative poverty would be both unthinkable and unbearable to him.

[Nov 07, 2018] America's Vote of No Confidence in Trump by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
The typical scheme of politic life in US under neoliberalism is as following:: candidate for President promises something reasonable, like to end foreign wars and improve the sliding standard of living of the middle class and/or cut outsourcing and offshoring. Gullible voters elect him. He governs as worst of his predecessors and start cutting benefits for the middle class and workers. . In two years voters start realizing that they were deceived and elect House or Senate or both from another party, not realizing that the difference is minimal, if exists at all.
This cycle of election fraud can continue indefinitely.
Notable quotes:
"... "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party." ..."
"... The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. ..."
"... Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
won control of the House again, ending an eight-year stint in the minority:

The US Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections, dealing a serious blow to President Donald Trump.

While the GOP is poised to add to its Senate majority, yesterday's election was the best midterm result for the Democrats since 2006. They flipped dozens of Republican-held seats, including some that they were not expected to win (e.g., IL-06, OK-05), and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party. It is normal for the president's party to lose seats in the first midterm following a presidential election, and Democratic gains were in line with pre-election predictions. The striking thing about this year's result is that the president's party has lost so much ground despite relatively good economic conditions. Republicans had an extremely favorable Senate map, and despite that they barely managed to eke out a win in Texas of all places. It was not as thorough of a repudiation as the GOP deserved, but it was a significant rejection all the same.

The president's poor approval ratings and his unimpressive record to date have further dragged down a Republican Party that wasn't very popular to begin with. Americans seem to lose patience with unified government fairly quickly. Yesterday voters gave the Democratic Party an opportunity to put the president in check and hold him accountable for his overreaching and illegal wars. Trump and his officials should expect to face much more rigorous oversight and scrutiny from relevant Congressional committees, and Trump's haphazard and incompetent conduct of foreign policy should run into much stronger resistance from the Foreign Affairs and Armed Services Committees. Trump won't be able to count on the leadership in the House to roll over for him over the next two years, and he and his Cabinet members are likely to be facing one investigation after another.

Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon.



Two More Years November 7, 2018 at 9:15 am

I voted for him in 2016, but I lost confidence in him as he started doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of doing the job we hired him for, the job he promised to do during the campaign: deport the illegals, stop immigration and foreign work visas, get us out of the Middle East, rebuild US infrastructure, i.e. "America First".

Yesterday I voted against the only national GOP politician I could get my hands on. He lost, and I'm glad, especially because he was a Tea Party Republican who betrayed our Tea Party principles by voting for Trump's out of control deficit spending and for more stupid Mideast wars.

We've got a lady Democrat now, but she looks fairly sane. We'll see. The problem with Democrat politicians is that a lot of them only pretend to be normal until they get to Washington.

bkh , , November 7, 2018 at 9:23 am
I am no Trump fan, but what is going to change? It will still be a do nothing Congress. The wars will still go on and the health-care dilemma will still be ever-present. It is sad that the past 2 years have been wasted. Even if the Republican Congress could not do something about health-care due to the size of the problem, they could have at least done something about infrastructure, immigration, and these dumb wars. The failure is just as much Paul Ryan's fault as it is Trump's. I watched last night with far more interest than 2016 and am amazed that so many old Boomers were elected given the supposed youth movement. It never occurred to me that there are alot of Septuagenarian war-mongers who should have retired a decade ago still receiving votes. The Democrats took the House, but what is left of this nation is toast regardless.
EliteCommInc. , , November 7, 2018 at 9:32 am
"Losing control of one house of Congress under current circumstances is a huge vote of no confidence in Trump and the GOP, and it could not have come a moment too soon."

How much of this was national in nature is unclear. Many of the republicans that lost were "Never Trump" advocates or very "lukewarm" at best. I think this reflects more failure on the local level to turn or translate the positives into something beneficial locally.

I am just surprised the Republicans managed to lose the house given the economic numbers (though I remain deeply distrustful of them -- given exports) and what has been repeated stumbles by democrats.

Texas, is a perfect example. While Sen Cruz was not a never Trumper, he was mild fair in the president's corner. His election was about him, not the president. And I think the vote reflected less confidence in his leadership. Neither Texas nor Sen Cruze are as conservative as believed or at least not as they once were considered. Unfortunately, what carried him over the top was ethnicity, not his leadership.

It's probably too early to tell, just how big a factor the president was in the election or how much change will result. Thus far, the establishment that existed previously remains despite the presidential election that was intended to reshape or at least curb its self serving appetite --

Given the the money at play -- it is doubtful that that things are going to change much. Now that I put at the admin door step. Because his folded a lot against the reasons he was elected, during the last two years.

SteveM , , November 7, 2018 at 9:33 am
Re: "and with those gains voters have delivered a sharp rebuke to the president and his party."

And with what promises did the Democrats win those votes? Why with the bogus "Medicare for All" and the equally bogus "Free College Education for All".

The problem with health care in America is not the cost of insurance, it's the cost of health care services. Moving the "who pays" food around the plate accomplishes nothing. A "Medicare for All" plan under the existing fee for service model will only increase the pathological per capita health care cost in the U.S. Too bad the MSM in love with Nitwit Newbie Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is too stupid to connect the dots.

And higher ed is unaffordable simply because it's also over priced. Using government subsidies to sustain a bankrupt higher ed model amounts to re-arranging even more deck chairs on the Titanic.

The Democrats are the Party of Free Lunch and Free War. While the Republicans are the Party of Free War and Free Lunch.

Pick one

rayray , , November 7, 2018 at 10:44 am
@SteveM
The fact is that any "solution" to health care that has any integrity to it is a single payer solution. That's also probably the only solution that reduces, as you accurately state, the pathological per capita health care cost.

And to be clear, in terms of fiscal viability, the party of reducing taxes and raising budgets is currently and has been historically the GOP. The current administration has picked up that baton as well.

One final thing, I wouldn't count out Ocasio-Cortes as a nitwit. I've been reading her white papers and following her evolution and she makes 95% of the current GOP crop seem like toddlers. Yes, her idealism will backfire hard as it always does. But what's the other option? Endless corrupt cynicism? She's impressive. I'm pulling for her to stay focused and do well.

Sid Finster , , November 7, 2018 at 10:46 am
Forget what Trump said as a candidate. Every winning candidate since arguably 1988 ("kinder, gentler America") has run as a non-interventionist and promised to restore jobs, then immediately morphed into John McCain the moment they took the Oath of Office. Instead, watch what Trump has done since getting elected. From that perspective, it is obvious that there is no such thing as "Trumpism", only a meaner, more dysfunctional, more reckless version of Dubya.
Oblomov , , November 7, 2018 at 11:06 am
The alternative to Ocasio-Cortez style state worship is the simple wisdom that governments are neither efficient nor effective at delivering what she proposes.

[Nov 07, 2018] The Populist Moment A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America by Lawrence Goodwyn

Nov 07, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Gary Moreau, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER 5.0 out of 5 stars Why the poor still lose March 13, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Populism. The word is used a lot today by political journalists in reference to both President Trump supporters and the Brexit movement. And, historically speaking, it is generally used inaccurately, a fact that I, too, was unaware of until I read another reader's review of a separate title. That reviewer recommended this book, written by Duke professor of history, Lawrence Goodwyn, and published in 1979.

While the title refers to the book as 'short', it is a very thorough review of the populist political movement that rose out of the National Farmers Alliance, which went under a series of different names and platforms that ultimately had everything to do with the coinage of silver and relatively little to do with the original populist reforms.

What is most fascinating to me is not the acquisition of historical accuracy regarding the populist label as it is the revelation of the degree to which the 1896 presidential election, between Republican William McKinley and Democrat (and presumed populist) William Jennings Bryant, ultimately cast the shape of American economics and politics that survives yet today. While that election appeared to turn on gold (McKinley) versus silver (Bryant), the outcome would ultimately define no less than what it means to be an American in the 21st Century.

It all began with the American Civil War, not surprisingly. And, more specifically, who was going to pay the enormous debt incurred to fight it. And that, ultimately, came down to the question of currency. The creation of a hard currency, which is ultimately the position that won out, protected the bankers and other owners of corporate capital, but at the expense of laborers and farmers.

The hard currency ultimately exaggerated the worst abuses of the crop lien system then prevalent in the South, forcing farmers (land-owners and tenants alike) into a cycle of increasing debt and falling commodity prices that they could not escape. It is, in many ways, the same inescapable cycle that entraps the urban and rural poor today.

But that's where the populist analogy ends, as the populist agrarian movement pursued a political agenda that would be the antithesis of Trump's MAGA agenda of today. It was, in fact, the antitheses of both the modern conservative and progressive agendas, both of which only appear to offer a real distinction and choice.

Both agendas presume the economic supremacy of capital and the political supremacy of the corporate and banking classes that control it. Among other things, it is the supremacy of capital that has fueled the rapid and unbridled consolidation of both industry and agriculture in the US, permanently planting the corporation at the top of the political food chain. (In 1870, the average US factory had only 8 workers.)

Before the Civil War, about 80% of all free white men owned property. By 1890, however, the richest 9% of all Americans (still white men) owned three-fourths of all wealth and within a decade one in eight Americans were living in abject poverty. With the exception of a historically brief period following World War II, in which unions managed to give laborers a political voice, now lost, it is a trend that continues to this day.

What was most amazing to me, in reading this book, was how little things have really changed. Our political parties are built on regional alliances far more than differences of ideological substance. Both accept the supremacy of corporate consolidation and the benefit of economies of scale, even though there is little actual evidence to support the premise. Consolidation has done nothing quite so effectively as it has promoted political, social, and financial inequality. (Republicans and Democrats both blamed the farmers themselves for their economic plight in the 1890s, much as politicians frequently blame the poor themselves for their plight today.)

The solutions proposed by the populists of the National Agrarian Federation were decidedly collective in nature and built from the success of the cooperative movement that had provided some relief from corporate anarchy. It called for the abolition of private banks, a new dynamic currency, the nationalization of the railroads, and the formation of government cooperatives to handle crop financing, insurance, and post-harvest handling and storage. It was, in other words, quite the ideological opposite of Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-regulatory, pro-corporate agenda.

The author makes two other important contributions to the current political dialogue. The first is to refute the illusion promoted by both political parties that American history is a timeline of uninterrupted progress and advancement. It is, more than we care to admit, a history of exploitation and the dominance of minority interests under the guise of personal and economic freedom that, for most, does not exist.

And because it is a myth that is almost universally accepted, the author notes, real political reform in the US is virtually impossible to achieve, in short because we refuse to see the world the way it really is. We have, as a result, neither the confidence nor the persistence to force the owners of capital, which control the political agenda, to give up the advantages they have enshrined into American politics and business.

In short, this is a fascinating book that everyone should have the courage to read. You may not agree with the author's conclusions, and there will surely be other historians who will take exception with his interpretation. Each of us, however, should have a commitment to defend that which we believe in the face of inconvenient facts, including those presented in this book.

Martin S. Harris Jr. 5.0 out of 5 stars required reading for understanding of today's "Populism" October 4, 2016 Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

Most likely (amateur historian opinion) the single best account of the Populist phenomenon I have ever read. If I have to find fault somewhere, It would be the absence of much coverage of earlier Populist themes in American politics, particularly as seen in the Jeffersonian sovereign-yeoman theme and in the Jacksonian anti-big-banking theme.

SK Figler 5.0 out of 5 stars Fighting Big Banks and Corporations---the beginning in America April 28, 2012 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Usually histories of economics put me to sleep. But Lawrence Goodwyn's "The Populist Movement" is an enthralling gem that will give you numerous "Aha!" moments as it shows how and why populist movements, particularly that of the post-Civil War era (with its inception in Texas), began, grew, and failed in competing with big banks and business. There are many surprises to someone like me, who is not an economist but has been led (or pushed) to care about it from what has happened in and to America these past 30 years. Goodwyn shows clearly why the small farmers of southern and Plains America were driven to do something about the crushing control of big banks, growing commercial interests, and Wall Street. Ultimately, they failed because all power and control was in the hands of men like Gould and Morgan and the other Robber Barons. There is, however, a lesson to be taken from "The Populist Movement," that knowing and anticipating what massive blockages stand in the way of economic and political change can help people work around them. No one who reads Goodwyn's book can claim, "Well, I just didn't know."

[Nov 07, 2018] Now this much maligned and misused word democracy denotes a political system in which the public, the many - exercise actual sovereignty: an extremely rare event. So that's not about to happen in the current situation

Notable quotes:
"... But the roots of the word populist we can find in the word popular: and the other day I encountered a list of the actual top concerns of Americans, and as I recall the state of the ocean and rivers and lakes, and water quality, and political corruption, and health care figured highly - were 'popular' concerns, and destroying other countries, not so much. ..."
"... 'Real thing' Populism would be inevitably be flawed, given the human condition, but still offer 'real' improvement. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Robert Snefjella , Nov 7, 2018 5:55:38 PM | link

@92 What might a 'real thing' Populist offer: Well, we have the schooling on the Populist Movement in the United States, late in the 19th century, memorialized in the book by Lawrence Goodwyn - The Populist Moment - and Goodwyn immediately links Populism to Democracy.

Now this much maligned and misused word democracy denotes a political system in which the public, the many - exercise actual sovereignty: an extremely rare event. So that's not about to happen in the current situation.

But the roots of the word populist we can find in the word popular: and the other day I encountered a list of the actual top concerns of Americans, and as I recall the state of the ocean and rivers and lakes, and water quality, and political corruption, and health care figured highly - were 'popular' concerns, and destroying other countries, not so much.

So Piotr, we might extend a kindred list greatly, and we don't have to end up with a list trivial desires or maniacal religions, like demonizing carbon dioxide. ;/

'Real thing' Populism would be inevitably be flawed, given the human condition, but still offer 'real' improvement.

[Nov 06, 2018] Trump is a fake populist; a great charlatan snowing the masses.

Notable quotes:
"... Even the brightest and most humanistic Americans are horribly twisted to appalling evil by unquestionable faith in their own exceptionalism. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Circe , Nov 6, 2018 2:43:04 PM | link

@167

Trump is not fixing or weaning. He's acting for the 1%ers. He's a fake populist; a great charlatan snowing the masses.

William Gruff , Nov 6, 2018 2:25:31 PM | link

Unfortunately, Debsisdead is correct. The United States cannot be fixed. It could be that Trump knows what's needed and is deliberately trying to set the US on a course towards sanity using shock treatment, and is deliberately trying to wean America from the petrodollar in such a manner that Americans have no other country to blame/bomb, thus saving civilization from America's inevitable spasm of ultraviolence when the BRICS succeed in taking the petrodollar down. This seems unlikely, though.

The sad reality is that the delusion Americans suffer from (result of their universal cradle-to-grave brainwashing that I mentioned earlier) is too deeply rooted as a core component of their identities.

That mass-based delusion must be overcome before America's psychotic behavior on the world stage can be addressed, but I see no forces within the US making any progress in that direction at all.

Even the brightest and most humanistic Americans are horribly twisted to appalling evil by unquestionable faith in their own exceptionalism. As a consequence it could be that the only hope for humanity lies in a radical USA-ectomy with the resulting stump being cauterized.

I certainly wish there were some other way, but I don't see one.

[Nov 06, 2018] The election fraud is sophisticated forms is neoliberal status quo: The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted

It would be better to return to paper ballots to exclude the possibilities of "electronic" voting frauds.
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

a , Nov 6, 2018 1:33:39 AM | link

While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these ev
While this and the previous post on the US elections may well be right that the republicans and trump will retain their majorities, the posts omit major factors playing a determining role in these events..

1. Gerrymandering.. supposedly creates about a 5% advantage to the republicans. 5% in a 2-party system is almost a landslide. even this article downplaying the role of gerrymandering includes this line,

"All that said, it's still the case that analysts estimate that Democrats will have to win the overall House vote by some 5 to 10 percentage points in order to win a House majority. "
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-07-23/gerrymandering-effects-are-probably-overrated

2. Voter-suppression. indications are that this may create and even bigger bias than gerrymandering. it includes numerous tactics, in florida the felon-dienfranchisement tactic alone suppresses 1.4 million majority black voters. it may be difficult for naive people like me to imagine the mindset of the vote-suppressors, this excellent short article by meghan tinsley, sketches the historical origins of these tactics, e.g.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/meghan-tinsley/civil-rights-and-voter-suppression-in-us
" The end of federal support for Reconstruction in 1877 ushered in the Jim Crow era, wherein southern states waged a relentless campaign of racial terror against empowered black citizens. From the outset, disenfranchising black citizens was a priority: the Black Codes enforced severe penalties for minor 'crimes', such as vagrancy, and permanently barred convicted felons from the vote. As these tactics spread, those who imposed them became increasingly brazen about their purpose: in 1884, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld felon disenfranchisement as an effective means to "preserve the purity of the ballot box".

With the entrenchment of segregation in the late nineteenth century, felon disenfranchisement, combined with poll taxes, literacy tests, and grandfather clauses, effectively disenfranchised virtually all African-Americans in Southern states...

In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, hailed as the single most important legislative achievement of the Civil Rights Movement...
The effects were immediate and wide-reaching: whereas only seven percent of eligible African-Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote in 1964, the number had jumped to sixty-seven percent by 1969. Ostensibly colourblind policies, including laws that would require citizens to present state-issued photo identification before voting, were blocked because they would disproportionately prevent African-Americans from voting."


3. The sheer tidal force of money. The 1% control the world now, and they make sure that their freedom to use their money to dominate democracy is unrestricted cf. 'citizens united' etc. Thomas Fergusons work indicates that the number of votes follows the amount of money spent linearly... e.g.
https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/big-money-not-political-tribalism-drives-us-elections

and other work suggests US policy reflects the interests of the 1% and not that of the people at large, when they differ,
https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

4. Electronic vote flipping. this has the least hard evidence, but there are anecdotes, even in this election, of voters in texas ticking straight democratic slate options but finding that the machine had entered their senate vote for ted cruz. There are also anecdotes in earlier elections of vote tallies flipping suddenly, of electronic data not being recorded or being erased before it could be checked and analysed etc. For those inclined to pooh-pooh such reports, here is a troubling article on the 2012 mexican elections,

https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-how-to-hack-an-election/

[Nov 06, 2018] What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare Zero Hedge

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare?

by TDB Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:13 23 SHARES by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

In 1966, Gao Jianhua (who later changed his name to Gao Yuan) was 14 years old.

At the Yizhen Middle School near Beijing, China, he witnessed and participated in the birth of China's "Cultural Revolution." He later recorded his personal account in a book called Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution .

The leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao, warned the country that revisionists were threatening to erase all the progress made since the Communist Revolution which brought Mao to power.

It had been almost 20 years since the bloody revolution, and Mao wanted to reinvigorate the rebel spirit in the youth. He instructed students to root out any teachers who wove subtle anti-communist sentiments in their lessons.

Mao encouraged students to rebel against any mindless respect for entrenched authority, remnants, he said, of centuries of capitalist influence.

Students at Yizhen Middle School, like many others, quickly took up the task. They "exposed" capitalist intellectual teachers and paraded them around in dunce caps with insulting signs hung around their necks.

Teachers were beaten and harassed until they confessed to their crimes most of which were, of course, false confessions to avoid further torture.

It only escalated from there.

What ensued puts Lord of the Flies to shame.

One teacher killed himself after being taken captive by students. Most teachers fled.

Soon the students were left entirely in charge of their school. Two factions quickly emerged, one calling themselves the East is Red Corps, and the other the Red Rebels.

One student was kidnapped by the East is Red Corps, and suffocated to death on a sock stuffed in his mouth.

A girl was found to be an East is Red spy among the Red Rebels. She was later cornered with other East is Red students in a building. She shouted from a window that she would rather die than surrender. Praising Chairman Mao, she jumped to her death.

Some Red Rebels died from an accidental explosion while making bombs.

Many were tortured, and another student died from his injuries at the hands of the East is Red Corps.

A female teacher refused to sign an affidavit lying about the cause of death. She was beaten and gang-raped by a group of students.

Robert Greene explains these events, in his new book, The Laws of Human Nature . (Emphasis added.)

Although it might be tempting to see what happened at YMS as mostly relevant to group adolescent behavior what happened at the school occurred throughout China in government offices, factories, within the army, and among Chinese of all ages in an eerily similar way

The students' repressed resentment at having to be so obedient now boiled over into anger and the desire to be the ones doing the punishing and oppressing

In the power vacuum that Mao had now created, another timeless group dynamic emerged. Those who were naturally more assertive, aggressive, and even sadistic pushed their way forward and assumed power , while those who were more passive quietly receded into the background becoming followers

Once all forms of authority were removed and the students ran the school, there was nothing to stop the next and most dangerous development in group dynamics. The split into tribal factions

People may think they are joining because of the different ideas or goals of this tribe or the other, but what they want more than anything is a sense of belonging and a clear tribal identity.

Look at the actual differences between the East is Red Corps and the Red Rebels. As the battle between them intensified it was hard to say what they were fighting for, except to assume power over the other group.

One strong or vicious act of one side called for a reprisal from the other, and any type of violence seemed totally justified. There could be no middle ground, nor any questioning of the rightness of their cause.

The tribe is always right. And to say otherwise is to betray it.

I write this on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections.

And like Mao handing down his orders to dispose of capitalist sympathizers, such have the leaders of each major US political party rallied their supporters.

This is the most important election of our lifetime, they say.

No middle ground. Violence is justified to get our way. Betray the tribe, and be considered an enemy.

Just like Mao, they have manufactured a crisis that did not previously exist.

The students had no violent factions before Mao's encouragement. They had no serious problems with their teachers.

Is there any natural crisis occurring right now? Or has the political establishment whipped us into an artificial frenzy?

This isn't just another boring election, they say. This is a battle for our future.

The students battled over who were the purest revolutionaries.

The voters now battle over who has the purest intentions for America.

Do the factions even know what they are fighting for anymore?

They are simply fighting for their tribe's control over the government.

The battle of the factions at schools across China were "resolved" when Mao came to support one side or the other. In that sense, it very much did matter which side the students were on

The government came down hard against the losing faction.

They had chosen wrong and found themselves aligned against the powerful Communist Party.

It won't be a dictator that hands control to one faction or another in this election. It will be a simple majority. And those in the minority will suffer.

The winners will feel that it is their time to wield power, just as the students were happy to finally have the upper hand on their teachers.

If Mao didn't have so much power, he could have never initiated such a violent crisis.

And if our government didn't have so much power, it would hardly matter who wins the election.

Yet here we are, fighting for control of the government because each faction threatens to violently repress the other if they gain power.

It is a manufactured crisis. A crisis that only exists because political elites in the government and media have said so.

They decided that this election will spark the USA's "Cultural Revolution."

And anyone with sympathies from a bygone era will be punished.


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Totally_Disillusioned , 8 hours ago link

Tribal warfare? You clearly don't understand what's happening here. The Globalist cartel has created division between two parties to incite chaos and violence. The "warfare" you reference will be nothing but protesting ->rioting ->anarchy ->police restraint of the Democrat incited sheeple.

There's no tribalism associated with upholding and preserving the Constitution.

Semi-employed White Guy , 6 hours ago link

I think the globalists will try to cool it off before things spin out of (((their))) control. Either that or move to the next phase...world war... so they can just slaughter us and not have to bother trying to herd the increasingly "woke" goyim live stock.

MoralsAreEssential , 11 hours ago link

I have NOT heard about a SINGLE CREDIBLE violent incident where people got hurt FROM THE RIGHT. All the incidents of "White Fascist Violence" look like FALSE FLAGS and contrived incidents. The foregoing CAN NOT be said of the Leftist Antifa types including racist La Raza supporters, racist Blacks who want something for nothing, immigrants from any country who want to be fully supported because they BREATHE and the Top Group (pun intended) Whites who do not believe in boundaries, standards or quality of life UNLESS it's their lives. NOT all Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are in the Left; but most Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are on the Left and havn't a clue they are responsible for their own prisons because they cannot REASON and virtue signaling is more important so they are part of the GROUP. Misplaced EMPHASIS on what is important in creating a CIVILIZED and SAFE society.

[Nov 06, 2018] 'Somebody' made fradulent promises and put people in danger to acheive some political goal. Sounds like Clintons or Soros.

Notable quotes:
"... "a group called CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project" a group that has received funding from Soros, to Pueblo Sin Fronteras through a person named 'Alex Mensing' who works both for CARA and as "an on-the ground coordinator in Mexico for the Pueblo Sin Fronteras". ..."
"... ..A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation's wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally.... ..."
"... US based groups or cutouts are the organizers of the caravan. ..."
"... The list of Democratic Party-connected organizations that might have originated the idea of a caravan from Central America is small. I surmise Clinton Global Initiative because they would have the requisite connections and blaming Soros seems to easy and convenient. But Soros is also rumored to be behind support for European migrants so it's certainly possible. ..."
Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 2:28:56 PM | link

How did this group of thousands come together to walk to US were Trump has vowed to keep illegals out. People like this would naturally come together if they were catching a ship, or at some sort of aid post refugee camp ect.

After a search on caravan starting point, I found this at the Guardian.

"Who organized the caravan?
In interviews, Honduran members of the group said that they learned about the caravan from Facebook posts, and a report on the local HCH television station, which erroneously suggested that a former congressman and radio host would cover the costs of the journey.
After that, rumours spread quickly, including the mistaken promise that any member would be given asylum in the US. Darwin Ramos, 30, said he was desperate to flee threats from a local drug gang, and when news of the caravan reached his neighbourhood, he seized on it as his best chance to escape."
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/24/caravan-migrants-what-is-it-where-from-guatemala-honduras-immigrants-mexico


Uh huh. 'Somebody' made mistaken promises.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 4:06:27 PM | link

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_Sin_Fronteras
"Pueblo Sin Fronteras (en: People without Borders) is an immigration rights group known for organizing several high profile migrant caravans in Mexico and Central America. The organization's efforts to facilitate immigration and calls for open borders attracted considerable amounts of coverage in the Mexican and American media."

Pueblo Sin Fronteras website. Zero information there other than the have bases or offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tijuana in Mexico.
https://www.pueblosinfronteras.org/commitees.html
No information on who they are or who funds them. Very much a political organization.
On two caravans like this have occurred, both organized by this shadowy group.
Slow moving lots of press coverage that can last for weeks so long as the peasant suckers stay suckers and don't pull out. Very much an anti Trump political show put on by whoever funds and controls this Pueblo Sin Fronteras organisation.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 4:34:48 PM | link
Centro Sin Fronteras is the parent group to Pueblo Sin Fronteras.
https://www.influencewatch.org/non-profit/centro-sin-fronteras/
"Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, former fugitive from U.S. immigration authorities, and activist for illegal immigrants in the U.S., formed the activist group La Familia Latina Unida ("The United Latin Family") as an expansion of the Centro Sin Fronteras. [7] La Familia Latina Unida runs Pueblo Sin Fronteras ("People Without Borders"), a group that organizes "migrant caravans" from Mexico and Latin America to cross the U.S. border illegally"

CSF website here https://fluenglish.wordpress.com/about/
Again nothing on who finances them.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 4:41:49 PM | link
The majority of people in the caravan may be leaving their own countries due to violence poverty ect, but the caravan itself is a manufactured political event. left to their own devices, some may have moved towards the US in small groups, others would have been deterred due to Trumps immigration policy, but they have joined this so called caravan on false promises made by the organisers. Nothing better than kids, women and oldies doing it tough or better yet dying for political media coverage.
dh-mtl , Nov 5, 2018 5:26:11 PM | link
Peter AU 1 | Nov 5, 2018 4:34:48 PM | 73 says:

"Again nothing on who finances them. (Pueblo Sin Fronteras)"


This article, published the last time that Pueblo Sin Fronteras was in the headlines, ( https://joeforamerica.com/2018/04/whos-really-behind-the-illegal-immigrants-the-migrant-caravan-and-pueblo-sin-fronteras/) links "a group called CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project" a group that has received funding from Soros, to Pueblo Sin Fronteras through a person named 'Alex Mensing' who works both for CARA and as "an on-the ground coordinator in Mexico for the Pueblo Sin Fronteras".

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 5:41:08 PM | link
Sleepy "If they request asylum, their entry is legal"

If they get into the US, immediately present themselves to authorities and request asylum, then their entry is deemed legal. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_Relating_to_the_Status_of_Refugees
US has signed up to the 1967 protocol but not the 1951 convention.

As for the politically organized caravan, the peasants have officially been offered a home in Mexico, but the organizers prefer them to go on to the US. As they have been offered a place in mexico, they are now economic migrants wanting greener pastures in the US rather than refugees.

The peasants themselves, I think are mostly genuine though organizers are mixed through the group. The peasants are no more than consumables in a political action.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 6:16:23 PM | link
The money.

. ..A vital part of that expansion has involved money: major donations from some of the nation's wealthiest liberal foundations, including the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Open Society Foundations of the financier George Soros, and the Atlantic Philanthropies. Over the past decade those donors have invested more than $300 million in immigrant organizations, including many fighting for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants here illegally....
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/15/us/obama-immigration-policy-changes.html

Pft , Nov 5, 2018 6:36:34 PM | link
How can people not see this caravan march as the obvious false flag it is to influence the election. The actors are being paid and busses have been mobilized and paid for to move them forward. The right says Soros money might be behind it and they may be right. Surprised the left has not blamed Putin. Which proves my point that the left is actively conspiring with the right the keep them in power. Why wouldnt they care?. As Caitlin Johnstone says, after I said it, they get paid the same no matter what. As part of a 2 party monopoly,with 2 parties the minimum to serve the illusion of a representative Democracy,the oiligarchs will continue to throw money to the loser.

This has been scripted well in advance. Republicans need to maintain both houses for the 2nd stage of Trumps destruction of America (credibility and finance), especially its government and middle class as the elite will be protected from the damage. Democrats are standing on the sidelines rambling about Russia Gate or Khashoggi Gate or mobilizing their forces to support gay marriages and transgender access to bathrooms. And to boot they bring out Hillary and Obama at the last moment to bash Trump to galvanize the rights voters even more. No other purpose for doing so.

To be sure, a Democratic win means nothing except perhaps as a poor proxy for a lack of support for Trump. 40% of their candidates come from the military or intelligence services. They are owned by the oligarchs as much as tbe Republicans. The only difference in the parties is the costumes they wear and the rhetoric the speak

Or perhaps its as simple as not wanting to share responsibility for what is to come as their best shot to win in 2020

Frankly the best outcome would be the decimation of the Democrat Party and its subsequent dissolution. Lets end the farce of a Democracy. One party for all. Hail Trump or whomever he appoints as his successor, or just let the elites vote and announce who they voted for every 4 years. Thats pretty much what the constitution meant for us to be doing anyways. The idea of a Direct vote by all citizens for President and Senate would have horrified them. Seeing the results of elections these past 40 years I have concluded they are right.


Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 6:42:21 PM | link
b, RJPJR, Jay, Yeah Right, et al

Invaders or Dupes? Have the caravan migrants been misled?

While it's true that anyone can request asylum, the caravan migrants appear to be under the impression that they have a legitimate claim to asylum in USA because they are fleeing gang violence in their home country. That is very likely to be untrue.

Such a claim MIGHT be valid in countries that have signed the Cartagena Declaration and ratified it into law - but the US has not. The Declaration expands the definition of refugees to include:

"persons who have fled their country because their lives, security or freedom have been threatened by generalized violence, foreign aggression, internal conflicts, massive violation of human rights or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order".

The Brazil Declaration is an effort to expand the Cartegena Declaration . The USA is also not involved in this effort either, though I believe that they have "observer" status.

FYI
The 1951 UN Convention as amended defines a refugee as someone with a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion" . The caravan stories I have heard are unlikely to qualify under this definition.

Some countries that have loads of asylum seekers have set up camps to hold them. Some, like Australia, even have camps in foreign countries. Trump's talk of setting up tents implies that USA will also establish such camps. Life in these camps is likely to be uncomfortable and unproductive. Only those will genuine asylum claims would tough it out.

Grieved , Nov 5, 2018 7:40:05 PM | link
How telling it is that when we disagree on the nature of the Caravan, we fall into an either-or choice between 2 absolutes. Either it is a complete hoax from the ground up, or it's a completely authentic grass-roots happening.

But we have seen enough color revolutions to understand that there is always an authentic component to each one. I have commented several times on how delicately the CIA and other organizers of color revolutions symbiotically fuse with good and authentic people who have a noble cause. How these bad people can merge with such good people is a wonder to me.

But this itself is the fact that must demolish the partisan thinking of "one side or the other". It's clear that the people who run things and their henchmen who arrange things are marvelously nuanced when it comes to good and evil. They'll be good when it suits them and evil for the same reason, and treat people well and badly, all depending on the exigencies of the mission.

In simple words, there undoubtedly is a core heart to the population of the caravan that is good, hopeful, enterprising and industrious, and that hopes to receive just one little break from the world, and a sliver of social justice. This radiating core of goodness and humanity, which would break open the hearts of ordinary people like you and me, to the organizers and their fixers is simply the perfect place to hide, concealed by superb protective coloration.

Take a look at the Maidan in Ukraine, and see how many good people thought they were fighting to create a wonderful new world, until the snipers fired on both sides and brought off the color revolution with superb skill and complete amoral ruthlessness - all as a result of long planning and preparation, not to mention the cash to hire mercenaries and provide the best logistics.

So I personally will stand by my thought that we will see what this is when the shooters begin to provoke the violence. And if that happens, then sadly, it will be the innocents who again, as always, are massacred.

But if the US handles it well, and permits controlled entry under the supervision of the border authorities, and there are no shooters and no provocations coming either from the Caravan people - or from some other force off to the side that doesn't seem to belong to anyone, but which seems to be the cause of death to both sides - then this will all fizzle out as another political skirmish of short duration, and the Democrats and Republicans will move on to their next diversions.

RJPJR , Nov 5, 2018 7:47:23 PM | link
Posted by: Grieved | Nov 5, 2018 7:40:05 PM | 97

You wrote: "Either it is a complete hoax from the ground up, or it's a completely authentic grass-roots happening."

I am inclined to believe that it is both, to wit an authentic grass-roots happening that has been hijacked (like so many others) by interested parties for their own ends.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 5, 2018 6:59:25 PM | 95

Thanks for the link!

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 7:53:13 PM | link
Grieved 97
That's the way I'm seeing it. "But we have seen enough color revolutions to understand that there is always an authentic component to each one. I have commented several times on how delicately the CIA and other organizers of color revolutions symbiotically fuse with good and authentic people who have a noble cause. How these bad people can merge with such good people is a wonder to me."

Well put, not only the above paragragh but the whole comment. Not much most of us can do to help the naive perhaps desperate people sucked in to the US political caravan but we should at least be exposing those who are exploiting and furthingf their misery for political purposes.

Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 8:27:50 PM | link
RJPJR:
I am inclined to believe that it is both, to wit an authentic grass-roots happening that has been hijacked ...

I think it is fake as per info @93.

The caravan people are real and hopeful of a better life but they have been duped into believing that they could get asylum.

Pft , Nov 5, 2018 8:40:05 PM | link
Nemesiscalling@94

Requirement for any President or political leader is to be a good actor. I believe they simply follow a script prepared by the real rulers operating in the shadows. Maybe I am wrong. Its like fake wrestling as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. You have to be a good actor and pretend to care while actually making sure you qlose if the script calls for it

Jackrabbit@100

Its true they have been duped but the point is that desparate and poor people rarely work together spontaneously in an organized fashion and a caravan such as this must be organized and paid for. Someone is feeding them. The timing is too good to be true. Obviously they have been promised something, asylum, money or whatever and assured of their safety. To determine who is behind it you simply need to look at who benefits.

Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 9:35:42 PM | link
Pft

@91 you wrote: The actors are being paid ...

When discussing this caravan "false flag", many people will dismiss "conspiracy theories" that involve paid actors.

RJPJR @98 thought the caravan an an "authentic grass-roots happening that has been hi-jacked" . But that theory is also unsatisfying. As you point out (Pft), it is strange that ordinary people organize themselves to make a march like the caravan.

The best explanation is that people were organized to make the march by local groups [connected to Clinton Global Initiative?] which got PAID to do so. These trusted local groups then told the marchers that: 1) they would get support along the way, and 2) that they have a good/great chance of actually getting asylum.

Organizers would not want a member of the caravan to tell a reporter that the march was fake, or that they are paid. But it has been reported that "well wishers" have given the marchers food and money. And the press has not questioned that support. And the marchers seem to have a genuine belief that they qualify for asylum. Such a belief would be easy to instill in poor, uneducated people who can be easily duped into believing that an international treaty like the Cartegena Declaration applies to all countries.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 5, 2018 9:55:29 PM | link
Jackrabbit, in my post @67 I linked the Pueblo Sin Fronteras website. When I found out about this group I looked for their website which I was able to access, and although information was sparse on this shadowy group, they proudly advertised their work on this caravan.
Since posting a link here I am now censored from that website - security exceptions blah blah.
Not local globalist groups but US based groups or cutouts are the organizers of the caravan.
Jackrabbit , Nov 5, 2018 10:24:10 PM | link
Peter AU1

Good detective work!

But my hunch is that the trail ends with a one or more local groups that are known to people in the area. These poor people basically had to be sold a 'bill of goods'. That's difficult unless you are known/trusted (have a "brand" like Coca-Cola).

There would be several intermediary groups. Maybe a large in-country charity with US connections? And one or more groups outside the country (US, Mexico, even EU) that are connected to / get funding and direction from a major US group.

Let's face it, whoever was behind this would not want the caravan to be connected to back to group with US political connections. And it's probably unlikely that we will find any 'smoking gun' that does that.

The list of Democratic Party-connected organizations that might have originated the idea of a caravan from Central America is small. I surmise Clinton Global Initiative because they would have the requisite connections and blaming Soros seems to easy and convenient. But Soros is also rumored to be behind support for European migrants so it's certainly possible.

It really the same reasoning that led b to suspect that it was CIA/MI6 that foiled assassination plot in Denmark, not Mossad.

[Nov 05, 2018] Scum vs. Scum by Chris Hedge

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. ~William Shakespeare
Notable quotes:
"... Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? ..."
"... One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week's elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats. ..."
"... "In interviews with two dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of investment and excitement from the finance sector ," The New York Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats from the corporate oligarchs. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

There is perhaps no better illustration of the deep decay of the American political system than the Senate race in New Jersey. Sen. Bob Menendez, running for re-election, was censured by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting bribes from the Florida businessman Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in 2017 of defrauding Medicare of $73 million. The senator had flown to the Dominican Republic with Melgen on the physician's private jet and stayed in his private villa, where the men cavorted with young Dominican women who allegedly were prostitutes. Menendez performed numerous political favors for Melgen, including helping some of the Dominican women acquire visas to the United States. Menendez was indicted in a federal corruption trial but escaped sentencing because of a hung jury.

Menendez has a voting record as sordid as most Democrats'. He supported the $716 billion military spending bill, along with 85 percent of his fellow Senate Democrats. He signed a letter , along with other Democratic leaders, calling for steps to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial in the United States. The senator, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is owned by the lobby for Israel -- a country that routinely and massively interferes in our elections -- and supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He helped cause the 2008 global financial crisis by voting to revoke Glass-Steagall , the Depression-era law enacted to create a firewall between commercial and investment banks.

His Republican rival in the Senate race that will be decided Tuesday is Bob Hugin , whose reported net worth is at least $84 million. With Hugin as its CEO, the pharmaceutical firm Celgene made $200 million by conspiring to keep generic cancer drugs off the market, according to its critics. Celgene, a model of everything that is wrong with our for-profit health care system, paid $280 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a whistleblower who accused the firm of improperly marketing two drugs to treat several forms of cancer without getting Federal Drug Administration approval, thereby defrauding Medicare. Celgene, over seven years, also doubled the price of the cancer drug Revlimid to some $20,000 for a supply of 28 pills.

The Senate campaign in New Jersey has seen no discussion of substantive issues. It is dominated by both candidates' nonstop personal attacks and negative ads, part of the typical burlesque of American politics.

Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother?

One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week's elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats.

The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics . Democratic candidates and political action committees have received $56.8 million, compared with Republicans' $33.4 million, the center reported. The broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate, it found, has given $174 million to Democratic candidates, against $157 million to Republicans. And Michael Bloomberg , weighing his own presidential run, has pledged $100 million to elect a Democratic Congress.

"In interviews with two dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of investment and excitement from the finance sector ," The New York Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats from the corporate oligarchs.

Our system of legalized bribery is an equal-opportunity employer.

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

The Democrats, who refuse to address the social inequality they helped orchestrate and that has given rise to Trump, are the party of racial and ethnic inclusivity, identity politics, Wall Street and the military. Their core battle cry is: We are not Trump! This is ultimately a losing formula. It was adopted by Hillary Clinton, who is apparently weighing another run for the presidency after we thought we had thrust a stake through her political heart. It is the agenda of the well-heeled East Coast and West Coast elites who want to instill corporate fascism with a friendly face.

... ... ...

[Nov 05, 2018] Vote if you want, but it's a charade in which the Duopoly will remain beholden to the same money interests who paid for both the Red and Blue campaigns

Nov 05, 2018 | caucus99percent.com

Mark from Queens

Elections USA, Inc: "Scum Vs. Scum." When I went looking for Hedges's weekly column today I rather expected him to be onto the next Bigger Picture item that he is always adroit at tackling.

So it was a little surprising that he chose instead to lead with an example of the midterm races in his state of NJ, the one between disgraced Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and Republican Bob Hugin.

He never disappoints.

There is perhaps no better illustration of the deep decay of the American political system than the Senate race in New Jersey. Sen. Bob Menendez, running for re-election, was censured by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting bribes from the Florida businessman Salomon Melgen, who was convicted in 2017 of defrauding Medicare of $73 million. The senator had flown to the Dominican Republic with Melgen on the physician's private jet and stayed in his private villa, where the men cavorted with young Dominican women who allegedly were prostitutes. Menendez performed numerous political favors for Melgen, including helping some of the Dominican women acquire visas to the United States. Menendez was indicted in a federal corruption trial but escaped sentencing because of a hung jury.

Menendez has a voting record as sordid as most Democrats'. He supported the $716 billion military spending bill, along with 85 percent of his fellow Senate Democrats. He signed a letter, along with other Democratic leaders, calling for steps to extradite Julian Assange to stand trial in the United States. The senator, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, is owned by the lobby for Israel -- a country that routinely and massively interferes in our elections -- and supported moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. He helped cause the 2008 global financial crisis by voting to revoke Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law enacted to create a firewall between commercial and investment banks.

In what is so emblematic of how pathetic and corrupt the opposition party, their presidential candidate came out to throw her support behind such an odious criminal and corporate whore and to campaign with him. While at the same time the Dems have made no secret about their intention to crush any candidate who espouses socialist values.

Vote if you want, but it's a charade in which the Duopoly will remain beholden to the same money interests who paid for both the Red and Blue campaigns.

Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don't bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week's elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats. The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic candidates and political action committees have received $56.8 million, compared with Republicans' $33.4 million, the center reported. The broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate, it found, has given $174 million to Democratic candidates, against $157 million to Republicans. And Michael Bloomberg, weighing his own presidential run, has pledged $100 million to elect a Democratic Congress.

"In interviews with two dozen Wall Street executives, fund-raisers, donors and those who raise money from them, Democrats described an extraordinary level of investment and excitement from the finance sector ," The New York Times reported about current campaign contributions to the Democrats from the corporate oligarchs.

Our system of legalized bribery is an equal-opportunity employer.

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

"Plus ça change, Plus c'est la même chose."

But it is always necessary to remind folks that the Greatest Democracy In The World is not. It is An Auction House To The Highest Bidder.

He goes on to talk about fascism, its characteristics, its incarnation today, and the elements that pave the way for, which are economic instability, concentrated wealth, monopoly, a police state, imperialism, etc. It is Neoliberalism which has ushered in fascism across the globe, plain and simple.

No totalitarian state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events. We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political campaigns. Trump is a master of this form of entertainment. Our emotional and intellectual energy is swallowed up by the modern equivalent of the Roman arena. Choreographed political vaudeville, which costs corporations billions of dollars, is called free elections. Cliché-ridden slogans, which assure us that the freedoms we cherish remain sacrosanct, dominate our national discourse as these freedoms are stripped from us by judicial and legislative fiat. It is a vast con game.

You cannot use the word "liberty" when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours a day and stores all of your personal information in government computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word "liberty" when you are the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You cannot use the word "liberty" when it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word "liberty" when the state empowers militarized police to use indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of American cities. You cannot use the word "liberty" when 2.3 million citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. The choice is between whom we want to clamp on our chains -- a jailer who mouths politically correct bromides or a racist, Christian fascist. Either way we are shackled.

American Exceptionalism reigns supreme to the Nationalist. He refuses to acknowledge that the real idea of "freedom" is not owning a munitions factory full of weaponry and putting a flag on the back of a pickup. It is instead the freedom to not have to live in the shadow of being foreclosed upon for a medical emergency, to not have to spend almost all of one's income on rent or mortgage debt, to have more time to spend with loved ones or doing what you love instead of working a dead end job just to pay the bills. In other words, a socialist economy heavily regulating the banks and corporations, in which debt peonage would largely become a thing of the past.

And then there it is. "We are being shackled incrementally," by unseen, unelected and unacknowledged vipers who use their wealth and power to also make sure we're ignorant and impotent to the real story.

Gross understood that unchecked corporate power would inevitably lead to corporate fascism. It is the natural consequence of the ruling ideology of neoliberalism that consolidates power and wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs. The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin, refining Gross' thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as "inverted totalitarianism." It was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent. Gross warned that we were being shackled incrementally. Most would not notice until they were in total bondage. He wrote that "a friendly fascist power structure in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or today's Japan would be far more sophisticated than the 'caesarism' of fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan. It would need no charismatic dictator nor even a titular head it would require no one-party rule, no mass fascist party, no glorification of the State, no dissolution of legislatures, no denial of reason. Rather, it would come slowly as an outgrowth of present trends in the Establishment."

As far as I'm concerned America has been fascist for a long time, at least since 9/11 but probably longer. We've been captured by Inverted Totalitarianism. Trump just puts the ugly villainous face to that Fascism which has been rampant for a long time. Lewis Lapham had a great piece called, "Due Process: Lamenting the death of the rule of law in a country where it might have always been missing" that lays out the case for a how concentrated wealth has pretty much ruled with impunity since the beginning. (h/t to wendy davis)

How long will we continue to participate in this elaborate Lesser of Two Evil voting sham?

And these days those who do will surely let you know too. All the Good Zombies will be smiling for their selfies with their, "I Voted" stickers (now an added bonus to your "voting experience," as if it were a child's toy inside of a cereal box or something). How long will it be until we're handed little candies as a reward for voting? In step with the continuation of the infantilization of interaction in America. Civics? Nah. Stickers? Yeah.

Seems we're fucking doomed. But not unless people turn off the tv's and social media to begin talking to one another in public as fellow human beings, who as the 99% pretty much have so many of the same concerns in common.

Partisan ideology, blasted night and day on the propaganda networks, keeping us divided and conquered, with fear, manufactured distraction and celebrity gossip thrown in, to keep the lemmings hypnotized from what's really going on.

It's a damn shame.

Mark from Queens on Mon, 11/05/2018 - 7:36pm
Leave it to Hedges to exquisitley describe the darkness.

But he also pulled back from saying one shouldn't vote for the Dems to stem Trump's insanity, although he quickly added that it wouldn't stop the onslaught of corporate tyranny.

The only thing giving me hope lately is taking the longview, and the emergence of whistleblowers/journalists exposing the inner workings of the corporate coup. To what degree it matters will depend on how many people they reach.

The former,

https://www.youtube.com/embed/nXL7kO5t5NQ

and the latter (of which I've been putting together an essay on)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q6RXRKlGsV8

Bollox Ref on Mon, 11/05/2018 - 7:46pm
Americans love to quote Alexis de Tocqueville

but they rarely acknowledge Charles Dickens' impressions of the country.

[Nov 05, 2018] Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power" warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner's sadistic leer

Highly recommended!
Nov 05, 2018 | www.truthdig.com

Extracted from Scum vs. Scum by Chris Hedge

Of course, we are all supposed to vote Democratic to halt the tide of Trump fascism. But should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, hate speech and violence as a tool for intimidation and control will increase, with much of it directed, as we saw with the pipe bombs intended to decapitate the Democratic Party leadership, toward prominent Democratic politicians and critics of Donald Trump. Should the white man's party of the president retain control of the House and the Senate, violence will still be the favored instrument of political control as the last of democratic protections are stripped from us. Either way we are in for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham. Only the rich like his tax cuts, his refusal to raise the minimum wage and his effort to destroy Obamacare. All he has left is hate. And he will use it. Which is not to say that, if only to throw up some obstacle to Trump, you shouldn't vote for the Democratic scum, tools of the war industry and the pharmaceutical and insurance industry, Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to the Republican scum. But Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street. The rot inside the American political system is deep and terminal.

The Democrats, who refuse to address the social inequality they helped orchestrate and that has given rise to Trump, are the party of racial and ethnic inclusivity, identity politics, Wall Street and the military. Their core battle cry is: We are not Trump! This is ultimately a losing formula. It was adopted by Hillary Clinton, who is apparently weighing another run for the presidency after we thought we had thrust a stake through her political heart. It is the agenda of the well-heeled East Coast and West Coast elites who want to instill corporate fascism with a friendly face.

Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in "Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power" warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner's sadistic leer. Janus-like, fascism seeks to present itself to a captive public as a force for good and moral renewal. It promises protection against enemies real and invented. But denounce its ideology, challenge its power, demand freedom from fascism's iron grip, and you are mercilessly crushed. Gross knew that if the United States' form of fascism, expressed through corporate tyranny, was able to effectively mask its true intentions behind its "friendly" face we would be stripped of power, shorn of our most cherished rights and impoverished. He has been proved correct.

"Looking at the present, I see a more probable future: a new despotism creeping slowly across America," Gross wrote. "Faceless oligarchs sit at command posts of a corporate-government complex that has been slowly evolving over many decades. In efforts to enlarge their own powers and privileges, they are willing to have others suffer the intended or unintended consequences of their institutional or personal greed. For Americans, these consequences include chronic inflation, recurring recession, open and hidden unemployment, the poisoning of air, water, soil and bodies, and more important, the subversion of our constitution. More broadly, consequences include widespread intervention in international politics through economic manipulation, covert action, or military invasion."

No totalitarian state has mastered propaganda better than the corporate state. Our press has replaced journalism with trivia, feel-good stories, jingoism and celebrity gossip. The banal and the absurd, delivered by cheery corporate courtiers, saturate the airwaves. Our emotions are skillfully manipulated around manufactured personalities and manufactured events. We are, at the same time, offered elaborate diversionary spectacles including sporting events, reality television and absurdist political campaigns. Trump is a master of this form of entertainment. Our emotional and intellectual energy is swallowed up by the modern equivalent of the Roman arena. Choreographed political vaudeville, which costs corporations billions of dollars, is called free elections. Cliché-ridden slogans, which assure us that the freedoms we cherish remain sacrosanct, dominate our national discourse as these freedoms are stripped from us by judicial and legislative fiat. It is a vast con game.

You cannot use the word "liberty" when your government, as ours does, watches you 24 hours a day and stores all of your personal information in government computers in perpetuity. You cannot use the word "liberty" when you are the most photographed and monitored population in human history. You cannot use the word "liberty" when it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or General Dynamics. You cannot use the word "liberty" when the state empowers militarized police to use indiscriminate lethal force against unarmed citizens in the streets of American cities. You cannot use the word "liberty" when 2.3 million citizens, mostly poor people of color, are held in the largest prison system on earth. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. The choice is between whom we want to clamp on our chains -- a jailer who mouths politically correct bromides or a racist, Christian fascist. Either way we are shackled.

Gross understood that unchecked corporate power would inevitably lead to corporate fascism. It is the natural consequence of the ruling ideology of neoliberalism that consolidates power and wealth into the hands of a tiny group of oligarchs. The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin , refining Gross' thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as "inverted totalitarianism." It was, as Gross and Wolin pointed out, characterized by anonymity. It purported to pay fealty to electoral politics, the Constitution and the iconography and symbols of American patriotism but internally had seized all of the levers of power to render the citizen impotent. Gross warned that we were being shackled incrementally. Most would not notice until they were in total bondage. He wrote that "a friendly fascist power structure in the United States, Canada, Western Europe, or today's Japan would be far more sophisticated than the 'caesarism' of fascist Germany, Italy, and Japan. It would need no charismatic dictator nor even a titular head it would require no one-party rule, no mass fascist party, no glorification of the State, no dissolution of legislatures, no denial of reason. Rather, it would come slowly as an outgrowth of present trends in the Establishment."

Gross foresaw that technological advances in the hands of corporations would be used to trap the public in what he called "cultural ghettoization" so that "almost every individual would get a personalized sequence of information injections at any time of the day -- or night." This is what, of course, television, our electronic devices and the internet have done. He warned that we would be mesmerized by the entertaining shadows on the wall of the Platonic cave as we were enslaved.

Gross knew that the most destructive force against the body politic would be the war profiteers and the militarists. He saw how they would siphon off the resources of the state to wage endless war, a sum that now accounts for half of all discretionary spending. And he grasped that warfare is the natural extension of corporatism. He wrote:

Under the militarism of German, Italian, and Japanese fascism violence was openly glorified. It was applied regionally -- by the Germans in Europe and England, the Italians in the Mediterranean, the Japanese in Asia. In battle, it was administered by professional militarists who, despite many conflicts with politicians, were guided by old-fashioned standards of duty, honor, country, and willingness to risk their own lives.

The emerging militarism of friendly fascism is somewhat different. It is global in scope. It involves weapons of doomsday proportions, something that Hitler could dream of but never achieve. It is based on an integration between industry, science, and the military that the old-fashioned fascists could never even barely approximate. It points toward equally close integration among military, paramilitary, and civilian elements. Many of the civilian leaders -- such as Zbigniew Brzezinski or Paul Nitze -- tend to be much more bloodthirsty than any top brass. In turn, the new-style military professionals tend to become corporate-style entrepreneurs who tend to operate -- as Major Richard A. Gabriel and Lieutenant Colonel Paul L. Savage have disclosed -- in accordance with the ethics of the marketplace. The old buzzwords of duty, honor, and patriotism are mainly used to justify officer subservience to the interests of transnational corporations and the continuing presentation of threats to some corporate investments as threats to the interest of the American people as a whole. Above all, in sharp contrast with classic fascism's glorification of violence, the friendly fascist orientation is to sanitize, even hide, the greater violence of modern warfare behind such "value-free" terms as "nuclear exchange," "counterforce" and "flexible response," behind the huge geographical distances between the senders and receivers of destruction through missiles or even on the "automated battlefield," and the even greater psychological distances between the First World elites and the ordinary people who might be consigned to quick or slow death.

We no longer live in a functioning democracy. Self-styled liberals and progressives, as they do in every election cycle, are urging us to vote for the Democrats, although the Democratic Party in Europe would be classified as a right-wing party, and tell us to begin to build progressive movements the day after the election. Only no one ever builds these movements. The Democratic Party knows there is no price to pay for selling us out and its abject service to corporations. It knows the left and liberals become supplicants in every election cycle. And this is why the Democratic Party drifts further and further to the right and we become more and more irrelevant. If you stand for something, you have to be willing to fight for it. But there is no fight in us.

The elites, Republican and Democrat, belong to the same club. We are not in it. Take a look at the flight roster of the billionaire Jeffrey Epstein , who was accused of prostituting dozens of underage girls and ended up spending 13 months in prison on a single count. He flew political insiders from both parties and the business world to his secluded Caribbean island, known as "Orgy Island," on his jet, which the press nicknamed "the Lolita Express." Some of the names on his flight roster, which usually included unidentified women, were Bill Clinton, who took dozens of trips, Alan Dershowitz , former Treasury Secretary and former Harvard President Larry Summers, the Candide -like Steven Pinker , whose fairy dust ensures we are getting better and better, and Britain's Prince Andrew. Epstein was also a friend of Trump, whom he visited at Mar-a-Lago.

We live on the precipice, the eve of the deluge. Past civilizations have crumbled in the same way, although as Hegel understood, the only thing we learn from history is "that people and governments never have learned anything from history." We will not arrest the decline if the Democrats regain control of the House. At best we will briefly slow it. The corporate engines of pillage, oppression, ecocide and endless war are untouchable. Corporate power will do its dirty work regardless of which face -- the friendly fascist face of the Democrats or the demented visage of the Trump Republicans -- is pushed out front. If you want real change, change that means something, then mobilize, mobilize, mobilize, not for one of the two political parties but to rise up and destroy the corporate structures that ensure our doom.

[Nov 05, 2018] Bolsonaro a monster engineered by our media by Jonathan Cook

Notable quotes:
"... Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion. ..."
"... Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite's power. ..."
"... The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US. ..."
"... Former socialist leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election. ..."
"... The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence. ..."
"... As in Pinochet's Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism. ..."
"... Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net . ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

With Jair Bolsonaro's victory in Brazil's presidential election at the weekend, the doom-mongers among western elites are out in force once again. His success, like Donald Trump's, has confirmed a long-held prejudice: that the people cannot be trusted; that, when empowered, they behave like a mob driven by primitive urges; that the unwashed masses now threaten to bring down the carefully constructed walls of civilisation.

The guardians of the status quo refused to learn the lesson of Trump's election, and so it will be with Bolsonaro. Rather than engaging the intellectual faculties they claim as their exclusive preserve, western "analysts" and "experts" are again averting their gaze from anything that might help them understand what has driven our supposed democracies into the dark places inhabited by the new demagogues. Instead, as ever, the blame is being laid squarely at the door of social media.

Social media and fake news are apparently the reasons Bolsonaro won at the ballot box. Without the gatekeepers in place to limit access to the "free press" – itself the plaything of billionaires and global corporations, with brands and a bottom line to protect – the rabble has supposedly been freed to give expression to their innate bigotry.

Here is Simon Jenkins, a veteran British gatekeeper – a former editor of the Times of London who now writes a column in the Guardian – pontificating on Bolsonaro:

"The lesson for champions of open democracy is glaring. Its values cannot be taken for granted. When debate is no longer through regulated media, courts and institutions, politics will default to the mob. Social media – once hailed as an agent of global concord – has become the purveyor of falsity, anger and hatred. Its algorithms polarise opinion. Its pseudo-information drives argument to the extremes."

This is now the default consensus of the corporate media, whether in its rightwing incarnations or of the variety posing on the liberal-left end of the spectrum like the Guardian. The people are stupid, and we need to be protected from their base instincts. Social media, it is claimed, has unleashed humanity's id.

Selling plutocracy

There is a kind of truth in Jenkins' argument, even if it is not the one he intended. Social media did indeed liberate ordinary people. For the first time in modern history, they were not simply the recipients of official, sanctioned information. They were not only spoken down to by their betters, they could answer back – and not always as deferentially as the media class expected.

Clinging to their old privileges, Jenkins and his ilk are rightly unnerved. They have much to lose.

But that also means they are far from dispassionate observers of the current political scene. They are deeply invested in the status quo, in the existing power structures that have kept them well-paid courtiers of the corporations that dominate the planet.

Bolsonaro, like Trump, is not a disruption of the current neoliberal order; he is an intensification or escalation of its worst impulses. He is its logical conclusion.

The plutocrats who run our societies need figureheads, behind whom they can conceal their unaccountable power. Until now they preferred the slickest salespeople, ones who could sell wars as humanitarian intervention rather than profit-driven exercises in death and destruction; the unsustainable plunder of natural resources as economic growth; the massive accumulation of wealth, stashed in offshore tax havens, as the fair outcome of a free market; the bailouts funded by ordinary taxpayers to stem economic crises they had engineered as necessary austerity; and so on.

A smooth-tongued Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton were the favoured salespeople, especially in an age when the elites had persuaded us of a self-serving argument: that ghetto-like identities based on colour or gender mattered far more than class. It was divide-and-rule dressed up as empowerment. The polarisation now bewailed by Jenkins was in truth stoked and rationalised by the very corporate media he so faithfully serves.

Fear of the domino effect

Despite their professed concern, the plutocrats and their media spokespeople much prefer a far-right populist like Trump or Bolsonaro to a populist leader of the genuine left. They prefer the social divisions fuelled by neo-fascists like Bolsonaro, divisions that protect their wealth and privilege, over the unifying message of a socialist who wants to curtail class privilege, the real basis of the elite's power.

The true left – whether in Brazil, Venezuela, Britain or the US – does not control the police or military, the financial sector, the oil industries, the arms manufacturers, or the corporate media. It was these very industries and institutions that smoothed the path to power for Bolsonaro in Brazil, Viktor Orban in Hungary, and Trump in the US.

Former socialist leaders like Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or Hugo Chavez in Venezuela were bound to fail not so much because of their flaws as individuals but because powerful interests rejected their right to rule. These socialists never had control over the key levers of power, the key resources. Their efforts were sabotaged – from within and without – from the moment of their election.

Local elites in Latin America are tied umbilically to US elites, who in turn are determined to make sure any socialist experiment in their backyard fails – as a way to prevent a much-feared domino effect, one that might seed socialism closer to home.

The media, the financial elites, the armed forces were never servants of the socialist governments that have been struggling to reform Latin America. The corporate world has no interest either in building proper housing in place of slums or in dragging the masses out of the kind of poverty that fuels the drug gangs that Bolsonaro claims he will crush through more violence.

Bolsonaro will not face any of the institutional obstacles Lula da Silva or Chavez needed to overcome. No one in power will stand in his way as he institutes his "reforms". No one will stop him creaming off Brazil's wealth for his corporate friends. As in Pinochet's Chile, Bolsonaro can rest assured that his kind of neo-fascism will live in easy harmony with neoliberalism.

Immune system

If you want to understand the depth of the self-deception of Jenkins and other media gatekeepers, contrast Bolsonaro's political ascent to that of Jeremy Corbyn, the modest social democratic leader of Britain's Labour party. Those like Jenkins who lament the role of social media – they mean you, the public – in promoting leaders like Bolsonaro are also the media chorus who have been wounding Corbyn day after day, blow by blow, for three years – since he accidentally slipped past safeguards intended by party bureacrats to keep someone like him from power.

The supposedly liberal Guardian has been leading that assault. Like the rightwing media, it has shown its absolute determination to stop Corbyn at all costs, using any pretext.

Within days of Corbyn's election to the Labour leadership, the Times newspaper – the voice of the British establishment – published an article quoting a general, whom it refused to name, warning that the British army's commanders had agreed they would sabotage a Corbyn government. The general strongly hinted that there would be a military coup first.

We are not supposed to reach the point where such threats – tearing away the façade of western democracy – ever need to be implemented. Our pretend democracies were created with immune systems whose defences are marshalled to eliminate a threat like Corbyn much earlier.

Once he moved closer to power, however, the rightwing corporate media was forced to deploy the standard tropes used against a left leader: that he was incompetent, unpatriotic, even treasonous.

But just as the human body has different immune cells to increase its chances of success, the corporate media has faux-liberal-left agents like the Guardian to complement the right's defences. The Guardian sought to wound Corbyn through identity politics, the modern left's Achille's heel. An endless stream of confected crises about anti-semitism were intended to erode the hard-earned credit Corbyn had accumulated over decades for his anti-racism work.

Slash-and-burn politics

Why is Corbyn so dangerous? Because he supports the right of workers to a dignified life, because he refuses to accept the might of the corporations, because he implies that a different way of organising our societies is possible. It is a modest, even timid programme he articulates, but even so it is far too radical either for the plutocratic class that rules over us or for the corporate media that serves as its propaganda arm.

The truth ignored by Jenkins and these corporate stenographers is that if you keep sabotaging the programmes of a Chavez, a Lula da Silva, a Corbyn or a Bernie Sanders, then you get a Bolsonaro, a Trump, an Orban.

It is not that the masses are a menace to democracy. It is rather that a growing proportion of voters understand that a global corporate elite has rigged the system to accrue for itself ever greater riches. It is not social media that is polarising our societies. It is rather that the determination of the elites to pillage the planet until it has no more assets to strip has fuelled resentment and destroyed hope. It is not fake news that is unleashing the baser instincts of the lower orders. Rather, it is the frustration of those who feel that change is impossible, that no one in power is listening or cares.

Social media has empowered ordinary people. It has shown them that they cannot trust their leaders, that power trumps justice, that the elite's enrichment requires their poverty. They have concluded that, if the rich can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the planet, our only refuge, they can engage in slash-and-burn politics against the global elite.

Are they choosing wisely in electing a Trump or Bolsonaro? No. But the liberal guardians of the status quo are in no position to judge them. For decades, all parts of the corporate media have helped to undermine a genuine left that could have offered real solutions, that could have taken on and beaten the right, that could have offered a moral compass to a confused, desperate and disillusioned public.

Jenkins wants to lecture the masses about their depraved choices while he and his paper steer them away from any politician who cares about their welfare, who fights for a fairer society, who prioritises mending what is broken.

The western elites will decry Bolsonaro in the forlorn and cynical hope of shoring up their credentials as guardians of the existing, supposedly moral order. But they engineered him. Bolsonaro is their monster.

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

[Nov 05, 2018] The Sad Death of "All Politics is Local" by Telly Davidson

Nov 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How did our federalist system give way to today's nationalized cable news-fueled smackdowns? Even before Justice Anthony Kennedy's blockbuster announcement that he would be retiring from the Supreme Court, it looked like the 2018 midterms would probably serve a nationalized referendum on Donald Trump. Against the backdrop of the migrant child-detention facilities controversy earlier this summer, and the contentious process to replace Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh, the "Second Civil War" has gone from a social media meme to looking more and more like a grim forecast of the future.

But as much as the current fury has changed things, the more they have remained thesame. For nearly a quarter-century, the midterm elections that used to center on bread-and-butter issues like schools, crime -- "the economy, stupid" -- have now been little more than proxy wars to impeach Clinton, thwart Bush, or attempt, no matter how vainly, to make Obama a one-term president. Now, they are all about dumping Trump.

Former Speaker of the House Thomas "Tip" O'Neill famously declared that "all politics is local." And for most of O'Neill's colorful life, that was true. When he entered Boston politics as a young man in the pre-war 1930s -- when radio and "talking pictures" were still relatively new-fangled technology, and the influence of TV (let alone the Internet) was way off -- most state and local elections were decided on old-fashioned retail politics and who could bring home the most bacon (or at least promised to).

But that era ended forever in 1994. That year, a brazen House Minority Whip named Newt Gingrich effectively nationalized all 435 locally-based congressional seats -- as well as the one-third of the Senate and the vast majority of governor's mansions (including California, New York, and Texas) up for grabs that year -- for a massive political repudiation of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The result was perhaps the biggest "Republican Revolution" in modern history, as the GOP gained 54 seats in the House and eight in the Senate, and high profile Democrats at every level suffered stunning defeats -- including New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Texas Governor Ann Richards.

Despite Reagan-like prosperity and relative peace, the GOP "Revolutionaries" (many of them with strong ties to the influential Religious Right) then launched an unsuccessful impeachment case against Clinton in 1998 over his affair with 22-year-old intern Monica Lewinsky. It was a bridge too far. African-American and Hispanic voters sounded a Silkwood alarm, with Toni Morrison racializing the attack on Clinton as though he were the "First Black President." Women on the left stood by Hillary who stood by her man. As the Republicans pushed the most salacious details of the Lewinsky affair into the public forum, the media rushed to uncover the "impeachment managers'" own personal transgressions and the political discourse became rife with charges of overreach and hypocrisy -- all of which helped Clinton's case enormously.

Needless to say it was what was happening in Washington that helped the Democrats almost flip the House back in the 1998 midterms. California elected Democrat Gray Davis for governor, New York swapped out Republican Alfonse D'Amato for Democrat Chuck Schumer in the Senate, and even ultra-conservative North Carolina said sayonara to Senator Lauch Faircloth in favor of an impeccably coiffed Democratic lawyer named John Edwards. Instead of Clinton, it was Newt Gingrich who was forced to resign in disgrace by the beginning of 1999.

Then came the National Security/Bush Tax Cut Midterms of 2002. "We won the midterms. This is our due," Dick Cheney was reported to have gloated, only to be followed by the Hurricane Katrina/Iraq War backlash against the GOP in 2006 and the equally fierce Obamacare/Tea Party backlash against the Democrats in 2010. The Get Ready for Hillary midterms of 2014 vacuumed out the DNC's treasure chest.

This is Your Brain on Trump TV If the Democrats Want Socialism, They Should Go Local

Not surprisingly, every special election and primary fight leading up to the November midterms today has been a referendum on Donald Trump. Over on the #Resistance scorecard, there was Democrat Ralph Northam's victory over Republican Ed Gillespie in November 2017, and though Democrat Jon Ossoff still lost to a Republican, his margin was surprisingly thin in the special election for the 6th district in redder-than-red Georgia.

Trump, meanwhile, had reason to brag about his "5-0" record of wins in last spring's special elections, including victories for CIA Director Mike Pompeo's successor Ron Estes, keeping budget czar Mick Mulvaney's seat in the GOP column with Ralph Norman, and most controversially, conservative Trump supporter Greg Gianforte's win (despite physically assaulting a reporter) in Montana's at-large congressional seat.

As any federalist will tell you, a great deal of why these elections have become "national" instead of "local" is because the federal government plays a bigger role today in every aspect of our lives, a trend that began in the Civil Rights era. From 1970s desegregation issues like busing and low-income and racial diversity housing mandates, to Reagan and Clinton-era culture wars over compulsory sex-ed, prohibitions on creationism, lawsuits over church and state, all the way up to Planned Parenthood decisions and health care, nationalized issues have galvanized interest groups and mobilized voters for the polls.

And don't think that savvy players like Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove didn't harness this from the top down in every election since 1994. They encouraged local conservatives to not only run for local offices but to use a uniform set of talking points based on the national hot-button issues of the day -- a strategy soon adopted by Democrats. (Sarah Palin is perhaps the most recognizable but certainly not the only one of the Gingrich-era pols who began their careers on on school boards and city councils.)

One only need read political histories like Thomas Frank's (most unsympathetic) What's the Matter With Kansas? to find one example after another across the country. Local school board, city council, county supervisor, and state legislature seats were increasingly decided by the candidates' positions on Roe v. Wade, gay rights, Hollywood immorality, gun control, and prayer in schools -- issues that no local elected official or judge could actually change or meaningfully influence even if they wanted to.

Fast forward to 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama campaigned on a promise for a national health care plan (with no individual mandate, which at the time he said would be like punishing people for being too poor to afford premiums), with some sort of public option, if not single payer. Many liberal congressmen and local state officials eagerly campaigned on Obama's heels, promising that if their voters ensured a blue wave in the 2008 elections, the long-deferred dream of universal healthcare would finally be theirs.

Until that is, a small group of endangered Blue Dog Democrats -- Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Joe Lieberman (all gone now) -- stood side-by-side with the toughest Tea Partiers and issued an arms-folded denial to the public option and the Medicare-at-55 buy-in. They insisted on a rock-ribbed individual mandate to shore up the private insurance industry for good measure. With no hope of getting past a Republican filibuster without those centrist Democratic senators, Obama caved. Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi strong-armed holdout House Dems to salvage a win for some form of universal healthcare -- but it was vastly less than those overeager congressmen and local Democrats had promised.

As a result, voters took out their fury on Democrats -- including powerless local representatives and governors, for the crime of making promises they'd been in no position to make. Liberals largely stayed home from the polls in 2010, making way for a "Tea Party" landslide. The House has been run by Republicans ever since, and the Senate returned to Republican hands just four short years later.

Of course the nationalization of elections could not be complete without the ongoing marginalization of local news coverage and, especially after the 2008 financial meltdown, the loss of local newspapers themselves. Journalist Michael Kinsley once said that the Internet effectively made all "local" papers with any real footprint into national ones -- people in Hawaii read stories from The Miami Herald, people in Boston watch the Arizona Senate races on their smartphones, and so on. But the local content has shrunk, because no one is hiring local reporters. And while newspapers have been gobbled up by corporate chains and conglomerates, local TV stations have been consolidated by networks and large station groups, and local emphasis and flavor suffers. Viewers and readers are driven to the Internet on which only the big players have survived the advertising wars, and Facebook and Twitter drive the social media narrative. Again, little room for quality community news or views.

While walking the suburban sidewalks of my southern California neighborhood in the run-up to the California primary this summer, I saw campaign signs for State Assembly and Senate seats that were promising Medicare for All, and heard candidates for local offices wishing they could vote for a Trump impeachment. Of course a state legislator has absolutely no legal jurisdiction to implement Medicare for All or to impeach a sitting president. Ditto for hardening federal environmental regulations or protecting one's right to own a firearm.

Today, Democrats and left-liberals alike are gassed up about fresh new Gen-X and Millennial candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julia Salazar amid an effort to win back Congress and shore up state and local offices (they lost over 1,000 seats at every level under Obama). As with the Gingrich/Rove-era Republicans, they know that a set of national talking points is in some cases more effective than local policy issues, especially in terms of creating media buzz and galvanizing the base.

So with the bombshell legal issues of Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, along with the Supreme Court vacancy and the dangling hope and fear of a Trump impeachment should Congress change hands, there is every reason to believe that November's midterms will be All Trump, All The Time. Michael Tomasky recently predicted in The New Republic a strong possibility of the greatest midterm backlash since the groundbreaking "Watergate Babies" election of November 1974.

Yet whether the MAGAs or the new Democratic Socialists claim victory this November, the root of this problem remains unsolved. The vast majority of the other great Western and postwar Asian democracies have parliamentary governments -- in other words, a strong centralized system which makes allowances for regional and local input, by way of forcing coalitions between numerous parties and groups.

America, owing to its Founders' vision, started out with a local and regional first-past-the-post system that makes (what the Founders thought would be) only occasional allowance (war powers, foreign trade and treaties, and eventually judicial review) for strong federal action. Unfortunately, as it stands today, we currently have the worst of both worlds. It would be wonderful to see an off-year election where local concerns and voices were truly "centered" in the discussion, a midterm that truly put 500 or 600 local spotlights on the individual and unique needs and cultures of individual communities and people, and truly reflected our diversity. Not a hyped-up online and cable smackdown referendum on the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Enough of the virtue-signaling, prattling, and pandering about things of which, at the end of the day, local candidates have no control.

Well, as Milton Berle might have framed it in one of his jokes, I'd love to see it. But considering the glidepath of the last three decades, don't hold your breath.

Telly Davidson is the author of a new book, Culture War : How the 90's Made Us Who We Are Today (Like it Or Not) . He has written on culture for ATTN, FrumForum, All About Jazz, FilmStew, and Guitar Player, and worked on the Emmy-nominated PBS series "Pioneers of Television."

[Nov 04, 2018] Erasing Economics and Economic Policy from Politics The Race and Xenophobia Sideshow naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like? ..."
"... "You stupid Wap, you just scratched my car. That dirty Mick tripped me when I wasn't looking." ..."
"... That [N-word] SOB is just like them other Jew-boy globalists who are sending our jobs to Chinamen and whatnot. Screw him and all the damned Democrat libtards. ..."
Nov 04, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

LP: You've recently highlighted that this is a tricky time for historians and those who want to examine the past, like filmmakers. Well-intentioned people who want to confront the injustices of history may end up replacing one set of myths for another. You point out the distortion of history in films like "Selma" which offer uplifting narratives about black experiences but tend to leave out or alter meaningful facts, such as the ways in which blacks and whites have worked together. This is ostensibly done to avoid a "white savior" narrative but you indicate that it may serve to support other ideas that are also troubling.

AR: Exactly, and in ways that are completely compatible with neoliberalism as a style of contemporary governance. It boils down to the extent to which the notion that group disparities have come to exhaust the ways that people think and talk about inequality and injustice in America now.

It's entirely possible to resolve disparities without challenging the fundamental structures that reproduce inequalities more broadly. As my friend Walter Benn Michaels and I have been saying for at least a decade, by the standard of disparity as the norm or the ideal of social justice, a society in which 1% of the population controls more than 90% of the resources would be just, so long as the 1% is made up non-whites, non-straight people, women, and so on in proportions that roughly match their representation in the general population.

It completely rationalizes neoliberalism. You see this in contemporary discussions about gentrification, for example. What ends up being called for is something like showing respect for the aboriginal habitus and practices and involving the community in the process. But what does it mean to involve the community in the process? It means opening up spaces for contractors, black and Latino in particular, in the gentrified areas who purport to represent the interests of the populations that are being displaced. But that has no impact on the logic of displacement. It just expands access to the trough, basically.

I've gotten close to some young people who are nonetheless old school type leftists in the revitalized Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and I've been struck to see that the identitarian tendency in DSA has been actively opposing participation in the Medicare for All campaign that the national organization adopted. The argument is that it's bad because there are disparities that it doesn't address. In the first place, that's not as true as they think it might be, but there's also the fact that they can't or won't see how a struggle for universal health care could be the most effective context for trying to struggle against structural disparities. It's just mind-boggling.

LP: If politicians continue to focus on issues like race, xenophobia, and homophobia without delivering practical solutions to the economic problems working people face, from health care costs to the retirement crisis to student debt, could we end up continuing to move in the direction of fascism? I don't use the word lightly.

AR: I don't either. And I really agree with you. I was a kid in a basically red household in the McCarthy era. I have no illusions about what the right is capable of, what the bourgeoisie is capable of, and what the liberals are capable of. In the heyday of the New Left, when people were inclined to throw the fascist label around, I couldn't get into it. But for the first time in my life, I think it's not crazy to talk about it. You have to wonder if Obama, who never really offered us a thing in the way of a new politics except his race, after having done that twice, had set the stage for Trump and whatever else might be coming.

hemeantwell , November 3, 2018 at 7:27 am

Thanks, Yves. For decades now Reed has set the standard for integrating class-based politics with anti-racism. I only wish Barbara Fields, whom he mentions, could get as much air time.

Doug , November 3, 2018 at 7:33 am

Thank you for posting this outstanding interview.

Those who argue for identity-based tests of fairness (e.g. all categories of folks are proportionately represented in the 1%) fail to think through means and ends. They advocate the ends of such proportionality. They don't get that broad measures to seriously reduce income and wealth inequality (that is, a class approach) are powerful means to the very end they wish for. If, e.g., the bottom 50% actually had half (heck, even 30 to 40%) of income and wealth, the proportionality of different groups in any socioeconomic tier would be much higher than it is today.

There are other means as well. But the point is that identity-driven folks strip their own objective of it's most useful tools for it's own accomplishment.

flora , November 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm

+1.
Thanks to NC for posting this interview.

The Rev Kev , November 3, 2018 at 9:18 am

In reading this, my mind was drawn back to an article that was in links recently about a Tea Party politician that ended up being sent to the slammer. He was outraged to learn that at the prison that he was at, the blacks and the whites were deliberately set against each other in order to make it easier for the guards to rule the prison.
It is a bit like this in this article when you see people being unable to get past the black/white thing and realize that the real struggle is against the elite class that rules them all. I am willing to bet that if more than a few forgot the whole Trump-supporters-are-racists meme and saw the economic conditions that pushed them to vote the way that they did, then they would find common cause with people that others would write off as deplorable and therefore unsalvageable.

Jim Thomson , November 3, 2018 at 11:21 am

Howard Zinn, in " A Peoples' History of the United States" makes a similar argument about the origins of racism in southern colonial America. The plantation owners and slave owners promoted racism among the working class whites towards blacks to prevent them ( the working class blacks and whites) from making common cause against the aristocratic economic system that oppressed both whites and blacks who did not own property.
The origin of militias was to organize lower class whites to protect the plantation owners from slave revolts.
The entire book is an eye-opening story of class struggle throughout US history.

JBird4049 , November 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

The origin of militias was to organize lower class whites to protect the plantation owners from slave revolts.

The militias were the bulk of the military, if the not the military, for large periods of time for all of the British American Colonies for centuries. The colonists were in fairly isolated, often backwater, places for much of the time. Between the constant small scale warfare with the natives and the various threats from the French and Spanish military, there was a need for some form of local (semi) organized military. It was the British government's understandable belief that the colonists should pay at least some of the expensive costs of the soldiers and forts that were put in place to protect them during and after the Seven Years War that was the starting step to the revolution; the origins of modern American policing especially in the South has its genesis in the Slave Patrols although there was some form of police from the start throughout the Colonies form the very beginning even if it was just a local sheriff. The constant theme of the police's murderous brutality is a legacy of that. The Second Amendment is a result of both the colonists/revolutionarie's loathing, even hatred, of a potentially dictatorial standing army of any size and the slave holders' essential need to control the slaves and to a lesser degree the poor whites.

jrs , November 3, 2018 at 2:10 pm

people gang up (in racial groups – maybe that's just easiest though it seems to have systematic encouragement) in prison for protection I think. The protection is not purely from guards. There are riots in which one could get seriously injured (stabbed), one could get attacked otherwise etc.. Because basic physical safety of one's person is not something they provide in prison, maybe quite deliberately so.

"I am willing to bet that if more than a few forgot the whole Trump-supporters-are-racists meme and saw the economic conditions that pushed them to vote the way that they did, then they would find common cause with people that others would write off as deplorable and therefore unsalvageable."

In those for whom poverty caused them to vote for Trump. But some voted for Trump due to wealth. And whites overall have more wealth than blacks and so overall (not every individual) are the beneficiaries of unearned wealth and privilege and that too influences their view of the world (it causes them to side more with the status quo). Blacks are the most economically liberal group in America. The thing is can one really try simultaneously to understand even some of say the black experience in America and try hard to understand the Trump voter at the same time? Because if a minority perceives those who voted for Trump as a personal threat to them are they wrong? If they perceive Republican economic policies (and many have not changed under Trump such as cutting government) as a personal threat to them are they wrong? So some whites find it easier to sympathize with Trump voters, well they would wouldn't they, as the problems of poor whites more directly relate to problems they can understand. But so what?

Todde , November 4, 2018 at 7:21 am

Lol. He went to a minimum security federal prison, or daycare as we call it.

Ots tax cheats and drug dealers, not a lot of racial activity goes on there.

Livius Drusus , November 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

I am glad that Reed mentioned the quasi-religious nature of identity politics, especially in its liberal form. Michael Lind made a similar observation:

As a lapsed Methodist myself, I think there is also a strong undercurrent of Protestantism in American identity politics, particularly where questions of how to promote social justice in a post-racist society are concerned. Brazil and the United States are both former slave societies, with large black populations that have been frozen out of wealth and economic opportunity. In the United States, much of the discussion about how to repair the damage done by slavery and white supremacy involves calls on whites to examine themselves and confess their moral flaws -- a very Protestant approach, which assumes that the way to establish a good society is to ensure that everybody has the right moral attitude. It is my impression that the left in Brazil, lacking the Protestant puritan tradition, is concerned more with practical programs, like the bolsa familia -- a cash grant to poor families -- than with attitudinal reforms among the privileged.

https://thesmartset.com/what-politics-isnt/

Many white liberals are mainline Protestants or former Protestants and I think they bring their religious sensibilities to their particular brand of liberalism. You can see it in the way that many liberals claim that we cannot have economic justice until we eliminate racist attitudes as when Hillary Clinton stated that breaking up the big banks won't end racism. Of course, if we define racism as a sinful attitude it is almost impossible to know if we have eliminated it or if we can even eliminate it at all.

Clinton and liberals like her make essentially the same argument that conservatives make when they say that we cannot have big economic reforms because the problem is really greed. Once you define the problem as one of sin then you can't really do anything to legislate against it. Framing political problems as attitudinal is a useful way to protect powerful interests. How do you regulate attitudes? How do you break up a sinful mind? How can you even know if a person has racism on the brain but not economic anxiety? Can you even separate the two? Politicians need to take voters as they are and not insist that they justify themselves before voting for them.

Sparkling , November 3, 2018 at 1:16 pm

As a former Catholic, this post is absolutely correct on every possible level. Salvation by works or salvation by faith alone?

flora , November 3, 2018 at 9:54 pm

I thought this reference to the Protestant way of self-justification or absolving oneself without talking about class in the US is true but was perhaps the weakest point. The financial elites justify their position and excuse current inequalities and injustices visiting on the 99% by whatever is the current dominate culturally approved steps in whatever country. In the US – Protestant heritage; in India – not Protestant heritage; in Italy – Catholic heritage, etc. Well, of course they do. This isn't surprising in the least. Each country's elites excuse themselves in a way that prevents change by whatever excuses are culturally accepted.
I think talking about the Protestant heritage in the US is a culturing interesting artifact of this time and this place, but runs the danger of creating another "identity" issue in place of class and financial issues if the wider world's elite and similar self excuse by non-Protestant cultures aren't included in the example. Think of all the ways the various religions have been and are used to justify economic inequality. Without the wider scope the religious/cultural point risks becoming reduced to another "identity" argument; whereas, his overall argument is that "identity" is a distraction from class and economic inequality issues. my 2 cents.

Left in Wisconsin , November 3, 2018 at 10:10 am

The key point is that it is all about shutting down/shouting over class-based analysis. It is negative identity politics – "anti-intersectionality."

J Sterling , November 3, 2018 at 11:15 am

Yes. I'm convinced the reason for all the different flavors of privilege was to drown the original privilege–class privilege.

Carey , November 3, 2018 at 6:11 pm

Yes, as the dissemblings in the Paul Krugman column linked within this essay show so well.

Norb , November 3, 2018 at 11:20 am

Chris Hedges has been warning about the rise of American Fascism for years, and his warnings are coming to fruition- and still, the general population fails to recognize the danger. The evils and violence that are the hallmarks of fascist rule are for other people, not Americans. The terms America and Freedom are so ingrained in the minds of citizens that the terms are synonymous. Reality is understood and interpreted through this distorted lens. People want and need to believe this falsehood and resist any messenger trying to enlighten them to a different interpretation of reality- the true view is just to painful to contemplate.

The horrors of racism offer a nugget of truth that can misdirect any effort to bring about systemic change. Like the flow of water finding the path of least resistance, racist explanations for current social problems creates a channel of thought that is difficult to alter. This simple single mindedness prevents a more holistic and complicated interpretation to take hold in the public mind. It is the easy solution for all sides- the tragedy is that violence, in the end, sorts out the "winners". The world becomes a place where competing cultures are constantly at each others throats.

Falling in the racism/ identity politics trap offers the elite many avenues to leverage their power, not the least of which is that when all else fails, extreme violence can be resorted to. The left/progressives have become powerless because they fail to understand this use of ultimate force and have not prepared their followers to deal with it. Compromise has been the strategy for decades and as time has proven, only leads to more exploitation. Life becomes a personal choice between exploiting others, or being exploited. The whole system reeks of hypocrisy because the real class divisions are never discussed or understood for what they are. This seems to be a cyclical process, where the real leaders of revolutionary change are exterminated or compromised, then the dissatisfaction in the working classes is left to build until the next crisis point is reached.

WWIII is already under way and the only thing left is to see if the imperialist ideology will survive or not. True class struggle should lead to world peace- not world domination. Fascists are those that seek war as a means of violent expansion and extermination to suit their own ends. Hope for humanity rests in the idea of a multipolar world- the end of imperialism.

Agressive war is the problem, both on the small social scale and the larger stage between nations. The main question is if citizens will allow themselves to be swept up into the deceptions that make war possible, or defend themselves and whatever community they can form to ensure that mass destruction can be brought under control.

The real crisis point for America will be brought about by the loss of foreign wars- which seem inevitable. The citizenry will be forced to accept a doubling down on the existing failures or will show the fortitude to accept failure and defeat and rebuild our country. Seeking a mythic greatness is not the answer- only a true and sober evaluation will suffice- it must be a broader accommodation that accepts responsibility for past wrongs but does not get caught up in narrow, petty solutions that racist recriminations are hallmark. What is needed is a framework for a truth and reconciliation process- but such a process is only possible by a free people, not a conquered one. It is only on this foundation that an American culture can survive.

This will take a new enlightenment that seems questionable, at least in the heart of American Empire. It entails a reexamination of what freedom means and the will to dedicate oneself to building something worth defending with ones life. It has nothing to do with wanting to kill others or making others accept a particular view.

It is finding ones place in the world, and defending it, and cultivating it. It is the opposite of conquest. It is the resistance to hostility. In a word, Peace.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 4:53 pm

I don't disagree with many of your assertions and their warrants but I am growing disturbed by the many uses of the word 'Fascism'. What does the word mean exactly beyond its pejorative uses? Searching the web I am only confused by the proliferation of meanings. I believe it's time for some political or sociological analyst to cast off the words 'fascism' and 'totalitarianism' and further the work that Hannah Arendt started. We need a richer vocabulary and a deeper analysis of the political, social, philosophical, and human contents of the concepts of fascism and of totalitarianism. World War II was half-a-century ago. We have many more examples called fascism and totalitarianism to study and must study to further refine exactly what kinds of Evil we are discussing and hope to fight. What purpose is served sparring with the ghosts as new more virulent Evils proliferate.

redleg , November 3, 2018 at 7:10 pm

Fascism?
Start with Umberto Eco and mull it over for a minute or two.

Norb , November 4, 2018 at 9:52 am

You have brought up a very important point. The meaning of words and their common usage. But I have to disagree that "new more virulent Evils" require a new terminology. To my mind, that plays right into the hand of Evil. The first step in the advancement of evil is the debasement of language- the spreading of lies and obfuscating true meaning. George Orwell's doublespeak.

I don't think its a matter of casting off the usage of words, or the creative search to coin new ones, but to reclaim words. Now the argument can be made that once a word is debased, it looses its descriptive force- its moral force- and that is what I take as your concern, however, words are used by people to communicate meaning, and this is where the easy abandonment of words to their true meaning becomes a danger for the common good. You cannot let someone hijack your language. A communities strength depends on its common use and understanding of language.

Where to find that common meaning? Without the perspective of class struggle taken into account- to orientate the view- this search will be fruitless. Without a true grounding, words can mean anything. I believe, in America, this is where the citizenry is currently, in a state of disorientation that has been building for decades. This disorientation is caused by DoubleSpeak undermining common understanding that is brought about by class consciousness/ solidarity/ community. In a consumerist society, citizens take for granted that they are lied to constantly- words and images have no real meaning- or multiple meanings playing on the persons sensibilities at any given moment- all communication becomes fundamentally marketing and advertising BS.

This sloppiness is then transferred into the political realm of social communication which then transforms the social dialog into a meaningless exercise because there is really no communication going on- only posturing and manipulation. Public figures have both private and public views. They are illegitimate public servants not because they withhold certain information, but because they hold contradictory positions expressed in each realm. They are liars and deceivers in the true sense of the word, and don't deserve to be followed or believed- let alone given any elevated social standing or privilege.

Your oppressor describes himself as your benefactor- or savior- and you believe them, only to realize later that you have been duped. Repeat the cycle down through the ages.

DoubleSpeak and controlling the interpretation of History are the tools of exercising power. It allows this cycle to continue.

Breaking this cycle will require an honesty and sense of empathy that directs action.

Fighting evil directly is a loosing game. You more often than not become that which you fight against. Directly confronting evil requires a person to perform evil deeds. Perpetuation of War is the perfect example. It must be done indirectly by not performing evil actions or deeds. Your society takes on a defensive posture, not an aggressive one. Defense and preservation are the motivating principles.

Speaking the truth, and working toward peace is the only way forward. A new language and modes of communication can build themselves up around those principles.

Protecting oneself against evil seems to be the human condition. How evil is defined determines the class structure of any given society.

So much energy is wasted on trying to convince evil people not to act maliciously, which will never happen. It is what makes them evil- it is who they are. And too much time is wasted listening to evil people trying to convince others that they are not evil- or their true intensions are beneficent- which is a lie.

"Sparing with ghosts", is a good way of describing the reclaiming of historical fact. Of belief in the study of history as a means to improve society and all of humankind thru reflection and reevaluation. The exact opposite desire of an elite class- hell bent on self preservation as their key motivating factor in life. If you never spar with ghosts, you have no reference to evaluate the person standing before you- which can prove deadly- as must be constantly relearned by generations of people exploited by the strong and powerful.

The breaking point of any society is how much falsehood is tolerated- and in the West today- that is an awful lot.

Summer , November 3, 2018 at 11:22 am

"I've gotten close to some young people who are nonetheless old school type leftists in the revitalized Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and I've been struck to see that the identitarian tendency in DSA has been actively opposing participation in the Medicare for All campaign that the national organization adopted "

Check to see how their parents or other relatives made or make their money.

Left in Wisconsin , November 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm

This is quite the challenge. I know a large number of upper middle class young people who are amenable to the socialist message but don't really get (or don't get at all) what it means. (I'm convinced they make up a large portion of that percentage that identifies as socialist or has a positive image of socialism.) But it would be wrong to write them off.

A related point that I make here from time to time: all these UMC kids have been inculcated with a hyper-competitive world view. We need a systemic re-education program to break them free.

Louis Fyne , November 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

as a complementary anecdote, i know of economically bottom 50% people who are devout anti-socialists, because they deal with "micro-triggers" of free-riders, cheaters, petty theft in their everyday life.

To them, the academic/ivory tower/abstract idea of equality in class, equality in income is an idealistic pipe dream versus the dog-eat-dog reality of the world.

Stratos , November 3, 2018 at 2:16 pm

Interesting that you mention "economically bottom 50% people who are devout anti-socialists, because they deal with "micro-triggers" of [low income?] free-riders, cheaters, petty theft in their everyday life."

I read a lot of their snarling against alleged low income "moochers" in the local media. What I find disturbing is their near total blindness to the for-profit businesses, millionaires and billionaires who raid public treasuries and other resources on a regular basis.

Just recently, I read a news story about the local baseball franchise that got $135 million dollars (they asked for $180 million) and the local tourism industry complaining about their reduction in public subsidies because money had to be diverted to homeless services.

No one seems to ever question why profitable, private businesses are on the dole. The fact that these private entities complain about reductions in handouts shows how entitled they feel to feed from the public trough. Moreover, they do so at a time of a locally declared "homeless emergency".

Yet, it is the middle class precariat that condemn those below them as 'moochers and cheaters', while ignoring the free-riders, cheaters and grand larceny above them.

Norb , November 4, 2018 at 10:11 am

There is no class consciousness. The working stiffs admire their owners so the only people left to blame for their difficult life conditions are the poor below them on the social hierarchy. Or they blame themselves, which is just as destructive. In the interim, they enjoy the camaraderie that sporting events provide, so give the owners a pass. Bread and Circuses.

A capitalist critique is the only way to change this situation, but that would require learning Marxist arguments and discussing their validity.

There is that, or Charity for the poor, which only aggravates the class conflict that plagues our society.

The third way is actually building community that functions on a less abusive manner, which takes effort, time, and will power.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:37 pm

I homed in on your phrase "they deal with 'micro-triggers' of free-riders, cheaters, petty theft in their everyday life" and it landed on fertile [I claim!] ground in my imagination. I have often argued with my sister about this. She used to handle claims for welfare, and now found more hospitable areas of civil service employment. I am gratified that her attitudes seem to have changed over time. Many of the people she worked with in social services shared the common attitudes of disparagement toward their suppliants -- and enjoyed the positions of power it offered them.

I think the turning point came when my sister did the math and saw that the direct costs for placing a homeless person or family into appallingly substandard 'housing' in her area ran in the area of $90K per year. Someone not one of the "free-riders, cheaters, [or villains of] petty theft in their everyday life" was clearly benefiting. I am very lazy but I might try to find out who and advertise their 'excellence' in helping the poor.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:54 pm

A "re-education" program? That usage resurrects some very most unhappy recollections from the past. Couldn't you coin a more happy phrase? Our young are not entirely without the ability to learn without what is called a "re-education" program.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm

The comments in this post are all over the map. I'll focus on the comments regarding statues commemorating Confederate heroes.

I recall the way the issue of Confederate statues created a schism in the NC commentarient. I still believe in retaining 'art' in whatever form it takes since there is so little art in our lives. BUT I also believe that rather than tear down the Confederate statues of Confederate 'heroes' it were far better to add a plaque comemorating just what sorts of heroism these 'heroes' performed for this country. That too serves Art.

Tearing the statues down only serves forgetting something which should never be forgotten.

This was intended as a separate comment to stand alone. I believe Art should not forget but should remember the horrors of our past lest we not forget.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 9:49 pm

" which we should not forget." -- to replace the end of the closing sentence.

Darius , November 3, 2018 at 1:41 pm

It occurred to me that centrists demonize the left as unelectable based entirely on tokens of identity. Long haired hippies. The other. It works because the political debate in America is structured entirely around identity politics. Nancy Pelosi is a San Francisco liberal so of course white people in Mississippi will never vote for the Democrats. Someone like Bernie Sanders has a message that will appeal to them but he is presented as to the left of even Pelosi or alternately a traitor to the liberal identity siding with racists and sexists. Actually, all of these oppressions are rooted in working class oppression. But that is inconsistent with the framing of ascriptive identity.

Susan the other , November 3, 2018 at 1:58 pm

This was a great post. Didn't know about Adolph Reed. He gets straight to the point – we have only 2 options. Either change neoliberal capitalism structurally or modify its structure to achieve equality. Identity politics is a distraction. There will always be differences between us and so what? As long as society itself is equitable. As far as the fear of fascism goes, I think maybe fascism is in the goal of fascism. If it is oppressive then its bad. If it is in the service of democracy and equality the its good. If our bloated corporatism could see its clear, using AR's option #2, to adjusting their turbo neoliberal capitalism, then fine. More power to them. It isn't racism preventing them from doing this – it is the system. It is structural. Unfortunately we face far greater dangers, existential dangers, today than in 1940. We not only have an overpopulated planet of human inequality, but also environmental inequality. Big mess. And neither capitalism nor socialism has the answer – because the answer is eclectic. We need all hands on deck and every practical measure we can conjure. And FWIW I'd like to compare our present delusions to all the others – denial. The statue of Robert E. Lee, imo, is beautiful in its conveyance of defeat with deep regret. The acceptance is visible and powerful. What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like?

tegnost , November 3, 2018 at 3:22 pm

What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gollum#/media/File:Gollum_s_journey_commences_by_Frederic_Bennett.jpg

Smeagol ?

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:42 pm

Smeagol is dead! Gollum lives!

Just a moment let me adjust my palantír.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Do you really want 'equality' however you might define it? We are not born equal. Each of us is different and I believe each of us is therefore very special. [I suppose I echo the retort of the French regarding the equality of the sexes: "Vive la Difference!".] I believe we should celebrate our inequalities -- while we maintain vigilance in maintaining the equal chance to try and succeed or fail. The problem isn't inequality but the extreme inequalities in life and sustenance our society has built -- here and more abroad. I don't mind being beaten in a fair race. An unfair race lightens my laurels when I win. But our societies run an unfair competition and the laurels far too heavily grace the brows of those who win. And worse still, 'inequality' -- the word I'll use for the completely disproportionate rewards to the winners to the undeserving in-excellent 'winners' is not a matter solved by a quest for 'equality'. The race for laurels has no meaning when the winners are chosen before the race and the 'laurels' cost the welfare and sustenance for the losers and their unrelated kin who never ran in the race. And 'laurels' were once but honors and there is too far little honor in this world.

workingclasshero , November 3, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Nothing denotes a naive idealistic "progressive" than the demand for near absolute equality in terms of money and status in their future society.all or nothing i guess.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 9:42 pm

I have read and appreciated many comments by 'Susan the other'. I would not ever characterize her comments as those of a naive idealistic "progressive" demanding absolute equality I should and must apologize if that is how you read my comment. I intended to suggest equality is not something truly desirable in-itself. But re-reading her comment I find much greater depth than I commented to --

'Susan the other' notes: "The statue of Robert E. Lee, imo, is beautiful in its conveyance of defeat with deep regret." In answer to her question: "What will the postmortem statue of neoliberalism look like?" I very much doubt that the post mortem statue of Neoliberalism will show regret for anything save that all the profits were not accrued before those holding the reins, the Elite of Neoliberalism, might gracefully die without care for any children they may have had.

tegnost , November 3, 2018 at 9:56 pm

STO is a real gem

freedomny , November 3, 2018 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for this post. I am really surprised these days by black "liberal" media folks who insist that racism be addressed before inequality/class issues. They are almost vehement in their discussions about this. Are they protecting neoliberalism because it benefits them .???

JBird4049 , November 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

My previous admittedly overlong reply has yet to show. Darn.

But this question is an important one.

Yes, they do very much.

One of the reasons the Civil Rights struggle died was the co-option of the Black elites, especially of the Civil Rights Movement, by the American elites. After Martin Luther King's assassination, his Poor People's Campaign slowly died. A quiet quid pro quo was offered. Ignore all the various social, economic, political and legal wrongs done to all Americans, and yes blacks in particular, and just focusing on black identity and social "equality" or at least the illusion of campaigning for it, and in you will be given a guaranteed, albeit constrained, place at the money trough. Thus the Black Misleadership Class was born.

All the great movements in past hundred plus years have had their inclusivity removed. Suffragism/Feminism, the Union Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, even the Environmental Movement all had strong cross cultural, class, and racial membership and concerns. Every single of these movements had the usually white upper class strip out everyone else and focusing only on very narrow concerns. Aside from the Civil Rights Movement, black participation was removed, sometimes forcefully. They all dropped any focus on poor people of any race.

A lot of money, time, and effort by the powerful went into doing this. Often just by financially supporting the appropriate leaders which gave them the ability to push aside the less financially secure ones.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm

Reading this post in its entirety I feel the author must become more direct in critique. Old jargon of class or race or a "struggle against structural disparities" should be replaced by the languages of such assertions as: " the larger objective was to eliminate the threat that the insurgency had posed to planter-merchant class rule" or "It just expands access to the trough, basically". Why mince words when there are such horrors as are poised against the common humanity of all?

witters , November 3, 2018 at 7:19 pm

Jeremy, I think Adolf is doing just fine.

Jeremy Grimm , November 3, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Your comment is too brief and too enigmatic. If by Adolf you mean Adolf H. -- he is dead. New potentially more dangerous creatures roam the Earth these days beware.

tegnost , November 3, 2018 at 10:25 pm

Adolph Reed is a power unto himself

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-trouble-with-uplift-reed

I consider currently one of our great intellectuals in that he understands and can use language to make his case in a layman not necessarily friendly but accessible .

and as a southern born white male I think maybe I should watch Glory I remember a '67 show and tell when a black classmate had a civil war sword come up in their sugar cane field, and when I and a friend found a (disinterred yuck) civil war grave just out in the woods in north florida. People seem to have forgotten that times were chaotic in our country's checkered past I was in massive race riots and massive anti war protests as a child of the '60s, but since I was in the single digits at the time no one payed me any mind as a for instance my dad somehow got the counselors apartment in a dorm at florida state in 68′ and I remember people in the the dorms throwing eggs at the protesters. It was nuts.

Tomonthebeach , November 3, 2018 at 8:56 pm

Ferguson's INET paper got me thinking about what triggers racism in us. As a kid, ethnic pejoratives were usually a reaction to some injury. "You stupid Wap, you just scratched my car. That dirty Mick tripped me when I wasn't looking." I tend to agree with the premise that bailing out Wall Street and letting Main Street lose out offers a powerful trigger for a racist reaction. People might have been softening on their lifelong covert racism when they succumbed to Obama's charm. But when you lose your job, then your house, and wind up earning a third of what you did before the GR, that is the sort of thing that triggers pejorative/racist reactions. That [N-word] SOB is just like them other Jew-boy globalists who are sending our jobs to Chinamen and whatnot. Screw him and all the damned Democrat libtards. Then, when a MAGA-hatted Trump echoes those sentiments over a PA system, the ghost of Goebbels is beaming.

[Nov 03, 2018] Partisanship Rules At The Midterms

Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

tmosley , 13 minutes ago link

Absent independents, Republicans are running away with it. And independents are most assuredly witnessing the insanity that has gripped the Democratic Party, and will vote for Republicans at least 9:1.

Tallest Skil , 22 minutes ago link

Don't care. Both parties are entirely owned by Zionists...

BarnacleBill , 16 minutes ago link

Well, hang in there, sport. Yes, the US does seem to be going down the tubes, in that it's lost all respect in the world; we still fear it, but don't respect it. Sic transit gloria , or something like that...

[Nov 03, 2018] 2nd Kavanaugh Accuser Admits She Lied; Referred For Criminal Prosecution; Kamala's Office Involved

Notable quotes:
"... Upon investigation, the Judiciary Committee investigators found that Munro-Leighton was a left wing activist who is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh , who lives in Kentucky. When Committee investigators contacted her, she backpedaled on her claim of being the original Jane Doe - and said she emailed the committee "as a way to grab attention." ..."
"... Grassley has also asked the DOJ to investigate Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, who claimed through her attorney, Michael Avenatti, that Kavanaguh orchestrated a date-rape gang-bang scheme in the early 1980s. ..."
"... She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she "just wanted to get attention"; (2) "it was a tactic"; and (3) "that was just a ploy." She told Committee investigators that she had called Congress multiple times during the Kavanaugh hearing process – including prior to the time Dr. Ford's allegations surfaced – to oppose his nomination. Regarding the false sexual-assault allegation she made via her email to the Committee, she said: "I was angry, and I sent it out." When asked by Committee investigators whether she had ever met Judge Kavanaugh, she said: "Oh Lord, no." ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

A Kentucky woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of rape has been referred to the Department of Justice after she admitted that she lied .

The woman, Judy Munro-Leighton, took credit for contacting the office of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as "Jane Doe" from Oceanside, California. Jane Doe claimed - without naming a time or place - that Kavanaugh and a friend raped her "several times each" in the backseat of a car. Harris referred the letter to the committee for investigation.

"They forced me to go into the backseat and took 2 turns raping me several times each. They dropped me off 3 two blocks from my home," wrote Munro-Leighton, claiming that the pair told her "No one will believe if you tell. Be a good girl."

Kavanaugh was questioned on September 26 about the allegation, to which he unequivocally stated: "[T]he whole thing is ridiculous. Nothing ever -- anything like that, nothing... [T]he whole thing is just a crock, farce, wrong, didn't happen, not anything close ."

The next week, Munro-Leighton sent an email to the Judiciary committee claiming to be Jane Doe from Oceanside, California - reiterating her claims of a "vicious assault" which she said she knew "will get no media attention."

Upon investigation, the Judiciary Committee investigators found that Munro-Leighton was a left wing activist who is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh , who lives in Kentucky. When Committee investigators contacted her, she backpedaled on her claim of being the original Jane Doe - and said she emailed the committee "as a way to grab attention."

"I am not Jane Doe . . . but I did read Jane Doe's letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee. . . . I saw it online. It was news." claimed Munro-Leighton.

Grassley has also asked the DOJ to investigate Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, who claimed through her attorney, Michael Avenatti, that Kavanaguh orchestrated a date-rape gang-bang scheme in the early 1980s.

President Trump chimed in Saturday morning, Tweeting: "A vicious accuser of Justice Kavanaugh has just admitted that she was lying, her story was totally made up, or FAKE! Can you imagine if he didn't become a Justice of the Supreme Court because of her disgusting False Statements. What about the others? Where are the Dems on this?"

... ... ...

In a Friday letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote:

on November 1, 2018, Committee investigators connected with Ms. Munro-Leighton by phone and spoke with her about the sexual-assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh she had made to the Committee. Under questioning by Committee investigators, Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original "Jane Doe" letter .

When directly asked by Committee investigators if she was, as she had claimed, the "Jane Doe" from Oceanside California who had sent the letter to Senator Harris, she admitted: "No, no, no. I did that as a way to grab attention. I am not Jane Doe . . . but I did read Jane Doe's letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee. . . . I saw it online. It was news."

She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she "just wanted to get attention"; (2) "it was a tactic"; and (3) "that was just a ploy." She told Committee investigators that she had called Congress multiple times during the Kavanaugh hearing process – including prior to the time Dr. Ford's allegations surfaced – to oppose his nomination. Regarding the false sexual-assault allegation she made via her email to the Committee, she said: "I was angry, and I sent it out." When asked by Committee investigators whether she had ever met Judge Kavanaugh, she said: "Oh Lord, no."

Read Grassley's letter below:

... ... ...

[Nov 03, 2018] Kunstler The Midterm Endgame Democrats' Perpetual Hysteria

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Party split into a four-headed monster comprised of Wall Street patrons seeking favors, war hawks and their corporate allies looking for new global rumbles, the permanent bureaucracy looking to always expand itself, and the various ethnic and sexual minorities whose needs and grievances are serviced by that bureaucracy. It's the last group that has become the party's most public face while the party's other activities – many of them sinister -- remain at least partially concealed. ..."
"... the Republicans are being forced to engage on some real issues, such as the need for a coherent and effective immigration policy and the need to redefine formal trade relations. (Other issues like the insane system of medical racketeering and the deadly racket of the college loan industry just skate along on thin ice. And then, of course, there's the national debt and all its grotesque outgrowths.) ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has become the party of bad ideas and bad faith, starting with the position that "diversity and inclusion" means shutting down free speech, an unforgivable transgression against common sense and common decency. It's a party that lies even more systematically than Mr. Trump, and does so knowingly (as when Google execs say they "Do no Evil"). Its dirty secret is that it relishes coercion, it likes pushing people around, telling them what to think and how to act. Its idea of "social justice" is a campus kangaroo court, where due process of law is suspended. And it is deeply corrupt, with good old-fashioned grift, new-fashioned gross political misconduct in federal law enforcement, and utter intellectual depravity in higher education. ..."
"... I hope that the party is shoved into an existential crisis and is forced to confront its astounding dishonesty. I hope that the process prompts them to purge their leadership across the board. ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kunstler: The Midterm Endgame & Democrats' "Perpetual Hysteria"

by Tyler Durden Fri, 11/02/2018 - 17:05 44 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Back in the last century, when this was a different country, the Democrats were the "smart" party and the Republicans were the "stupid" party.

How did that work?

Well, back then the Democrats represented a broad middle class, with a base of factory workers, many of them unionized, and the party had to be smart, especially in the courts, to overcome the natural advantages of the owner class.

In contrast, the Republicans looked like a claque of country club drunks who staggered home at night to sleep on their moneybags. Bad optics, as we say nowadays.

The Democrats also occupied the moral high ground as the champion of the little guy. If not for the Dems, factory workers would be laboring twelve hours a day and children would still be maimed in the machinery. Once the relationship between business and labor was settled in the 1950s, the party moved on to a new crusade on even loftier moral high ground: civil rights, aiming to correct arrant and long-lived injustices against downtrodden black Americans. That was a natural move, considering America's self-proclaimed post-war status as the world's Beacon of Liberty. It had to be done and a political consensus that included Republicans got it done. Consensus was still possible.

The Dems built their fortress on that high ground and fifty years later they find themselves prisoners in it. The factory jobs all vamoosed overseas. The middle class has been pounded into penury and addiction.

The Democratic Party split into a four-headed monster comprised of Wall Street patrons seeking favors, war hawks and their corporate allies looking for new global rumbles, the permanent bureaucracy looking to always expand itself, and the various ethnic and sexual minorities whose needs and grievances are serviced by that bureaucracy. It's the last group that has become the party's most public face while the party's other activities – many of them sinister -- remain at least partially concealed.

The Republican Party has, at least, sobered up some after getting blindsided by Trump and Trumpism. Like a drunk out of rehab, it's attempting to get a life. Two years in, the party marvels at Mr. Trump's audacity, despite his obvious lack of savoir faire. And despite a longstanding lack of political will to face the country's problems, the Republicans are being forced to engage on some real issues, such as the need for a coherent and effective immigration policy and the need to redefine formal trade relations. (Other issues like the insane system of medical racketeering and the deadly racket of the college loan industry just skate along on thin ice. And then, of course, there's the national debt and all its grotesque outgrowths.)

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has become the party of bad ideas and bad faith, starting with the position that "diversity and inclusion" means shutting down free speech, an unforgivable transgression against common sense and common decency. It's a party that lies even more systematically than Mr. Trump, and does so knowingly (as when Google execs say they "Do no Evil"). Its dirty secret is that it relishes coercion, it likes pushing people around, telling them what to think and how to act. Its idea of "social justice" is a campus kangaroo court, where due process of law is suspended. And it is deeply corrupt, with good old-fashioned grift, new-fashioned gross political misconduct in federal law enforcement, and utter intellectual depravity in higher education.

I hope that Democrats lose as many congressional and senate seats as possible. I hope that the party is shoved into an existential crisis and is forced to confront its astounding dishonesty. I hope that the process prompts them to purge their leadership across the board. If there is anything to salvage in this organization, I hope it discovers aims and principles that are unrecognizable from its current agenda of perpetual hysteria. But if the party actually blows up and disappears, as the Whigs did a hundred and fifty years ago, I will be content. Out of the terrible turbulence, maybe something better will be born.

Or, there's the possibility that the dregs of a defeated Democratic Party will just go batshit crazy and use the last of its mojo to incite actual sedition. Of course, there's also a distinct possibility that the Dems will take over congress, in which case they'll ramp up an even more horrific three-ring-circus of political hysteria and persecution that will make the Spanish Inquisition look like a backyard barbeque. That will happen as the US enters the most punishing financial train wreck in our history, an interesting recipe for epic political upheaval.

[Nov 02, 2018] Kavanaugh s nomination, Cosby s sentencing News media pornography and the enraged middle class - World Socialist Web Site

Notable quotes:
"... Avenatti's tweet became the occasion, in the bland phrase of the New York Times , for "immediate, blanket coverage across social media and cable news." The cable news channels did indeed bombard their viewers non-stop with the story -- if they weren't reporting on Cosby's being sent to jail. ..."
"... MSNBC correspondent Kate Snow, for instance, read the most graphic portions of Swetnick's statement. The other cable channels followed suit, along with the Times , the Washington Post and the rest. CNN anchor John King asked correspondent Sara Sidner to "walk us through" the allegations, which she obliged by providing every salacious detail. Afterward, King expressed appreciation for the "live reporting" on "a very sensitive and dramatic issue." ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Following the press and television news in the US on Wednesday might lead one to believe that a kind of madness has seized hold of the American media, along with sections of the affluent petty-bourgeoisie.

The media generated new geysers of filth in regard to the controversy surrounding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's candidate for the US Supreme Court. On the same day, the degrading impact of its #MeToo campaign could be seen in the hysterical, semi-fascistic tone of the response to the sentencing of comedian Bill Cosby.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were high school students. But newer allegations against Kavanaugh bumped up against one another on Wednesday. Before the population had time to digest the claim by Deborah Ramirez (reported by the New Yorker magazine September 23) that Kavanaugh had exposed himself to her at a Yale University party 35 years ago, a third woman came forward with even more sensational charges.

Michael Avenatti, best known as the attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels in her legal case against Trump, tweeted a sworn statement by Julie Swetnick, 55, claiming that Kavanaugh and others, while in high school, spiked the drinks of girls at house parties so that they might more easily "gang-rape" them.

Swetnick went on to allege that she herself became the victim of one of these "gang rapes where [Kavanaugh's friend] Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh were present."

Avenatti's tweet became the occasion, in the bland phrase of the New York Times , for "immediate, blanket coverage across social media and cable news." The cable news channels did indeed bombard their viewers non-stop with the story -- if they weren't reporting on Cosby's being sent to jail.

MSNBC correspondent Kate Snow, for instance, read the most graphic portions of Swetnick's statement. The other cable channels followed suit, along with the Times , the Washington Post and the rest. CNN anchor John King asked correspondent Sara Sidner to "walk us through" the allegations, which she obliged by providing every salacious detail. Afterward, King expressed appreciation for the "live reporting" on "a very sensitive and dramatic issue."

The Times set the stage for the day's torrent of media smut in its morning edition, which plastered across its front page two lead articles on the Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations and a third on the Cosby sentencing. The report on Trump's fascistic and war-mongering rant at the United Nations was relegated to a subordinate spot. The opinion pages featured a lengthy editorial ("Questions Mr. Kavanaugh Needs to Answer") listing detailed questions for senators to ask about his sexual activities.

The American media lowers and demeans itself further with every new scandal.

It is impossible for us to determine the truth of the claims against Kavanaugh. It is certain , however, that the Democratic Party campaign against Trump's nominee is a reactionary diversion and an effort to bury the most pressing issues. Kavanaugh is a zealous right-winger and enemy of democratic rights. But no Democrat on the Judiciary Committee will ask him, "What was your role in the attempted coup d'état, known as the Starr investigation, against Bill Clinton?" or "Why did you support torture and illegal detention as part of the Bush administration?"

None of the Democrats, the supposed defenders of women, will even forthrightly denounce him for his attacks on abortion rights. They've all but dropped the issue.

Speaking on CNN, the Times' Michael Shear inadvertently alluded to the anti-democratic character of the campaign against Kavanaugh: "One of the dynamics that we've seen throughout this entire #MeToo movement is that accusations that start out as a single, a solitary accusation against a man in power, often don't pick up the kind of steam that ultimately forces action until there's a second allegation, and a third allegation, and beyond. And that's what creates often the kind of pressure -- overwhelming pressure that forces some action."

Five, ten or twenty accusations do not amount to proof. Kavanaugh may have been guilty of sexual misconduct, but Shear and the rest apparently need to be reminded that every witch-hunt in history has also operated on the principle of "numbers."

The repressive, right-wing character of the middle-class outrage over sexual misconduct, whipped up by the #MeToo campaign, is on view in the frothing reaction to Cosby's sentencing. The comedian was convicted of sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his home in 2004 while she was under the influence of a sedative.

The comments on the outcome of the Cosby case in the Times from readers of its article "Bill Cosby, Once a Model of Fatherhood, Is Sentenced to Prison," are overwhelmingly vengeful and vindictive:

[Nov 02, 2018] Scheme or not: FBI investigate claim woman offered money to fake assault allegations against Mueller

Nov 02, 2018 | www.rt.com

The FBI is looking into claims that women have been asked to make false accusations of sexual harassment against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in exchange for money -- but all may not be as it seems. The alleged scheme aimed at Mueller, who has been investigating unproven ties between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia, came to the attention of his office after several journalists and news outlets, including RT, were contacted by a woman claiming that she had been approached by a man offering money if she would fabricate claims against him.

13 days ago I received this tip alleging an attempt to pay off women to make up accusations of sexual misconduct against Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Other reporters received the same email. Now the Special Counsel's office is telling us they've referred the matter to the FBI pic.twitter.com/oqh4Fnel5u

[Nov 02, 2018] They say they're gonna give you better health insurance

Nov 02, 2018 | twitter.com

[Oct 31, 2018] We should applaud a republican win because they will no doubt go after "insolvent entitlements" like SS and Medicare

Oct 31, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nemesiscalling , Oct 31, 2018 12:15:28 PM | link

We should applaud a republican win because they will no doubt go after "insolvent entitlements" like ss and Medicare. Let them try to fund the military adventurism abroad. And then my money then is on an incredible reckoning that will finally purge the neocon and neolib estab out the door, shooed away likethe rats they are. You go after entitlements and that will be the galvanizing force we have all been hoping for. Painful? Yes. Any other choice? Nope.

fastfreddy , Oct 31, 2018 12:00:49 PM | link

That Trump gifted the one percent with the tax cut, while giving the high hard one to trailer park Trumpians, may have some effect.

That Mitch McConnell started up about "Entitlements" needing cutting - meaning Social Security and Medicare - which the trailer park Trumpanzees paid into with blood sweat and tears. Maybe that will register.

However, in confronting some of this, I am finding that many Trumpanzees whom understand that Congressional thieves intend to steal their social security are acquiescent. Ergo: We must become self-sufficient. Can't rely on gubmint to take care of people. Kool Aid.

The ones that cannot comprehend that they're about to get screwed hard with no lube, are content to fling poo, "Hillary, Obama, Marxist!".

As was said, The best gubmint is one in deadlock. They can't screw us that hard when they're deadlocked.

Deadlock. Not Lockstep. And God help us when there's bipartisanship.

ben , Oct 31, 2018 11:53:06 AM | link
b said:"My personal hunch is that the Republicans will keep both houses and may even gain a few seats."

I agree b. Even with DJT spewing outright lies daily, the MSM's refusal to re butt them, will, IMO, help this regime stay in power.

The power of organised $ money rules the empire, thru their capture of all the conduits of information available to rank & file Americans.

Watch out world...

Things cannot change until the U$A hits "rock bottom" economically.

Anton Worter , Oct 31, 2018 11:35:08 AM | link
22 and 25

Remarkable Deep Purple 2000 Neutron Bmob Role Reprisal:

Cue NASDAQ mini-crash and plunge protection team
Cue September peak in housing and construction with big layoffs
Cue 'anthrax letters' false flag fake 'pipe bmobs' to Democrats
Cue 'army of central american zombies march on Texas'
Cue 11 dead in Ohio Pittsburgh
Cue Rodham rising from grave to remind Republicans to vote!
Cue even MoA pundits predicting Republican victory (kidding)

"We win, you lose. It's just business, get over it. Now get off my land."
There is only Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty. Sorry. Bernie is a sheep dog.

There will be $3,000B in Omnibus Deficit Bills One, Two and Three in 2019
Fed Bank interest-only ... FOREVER ... debt service will hit $500B in 2019
Twice-hacked unaudited no stop-loss Pentagon bleedout will hit $500B in 2019
The sum of all Fed Health and Human Services is $1,000B, therefore bankrupt
Ergo, SS and MC will be tapped out and insolvent by 2020 to 'make this work'.

AFA the economy and the vote, had a banquet dinner over the weekend with a group of business associates I've kept in touch with for a decade, business associates who at the time were high-flyers in international trade as civilian/military suppliers. 10 years on, everyone looks like a ghoul, traffics in dark humor, and are chasing gigger product pitches that would make an Amway salesman laugh. So many products, so few buyers. One associate moans, "I just need someone with $10,000,000 to close this deal!" (buying out a bankrupt competitor at 10c on $). Nobody has free cash. And not one of them expressed any interest in the vote, nor have my kids nor any of my or their friends any interest in dipping their thumbs in Deep Purple Koolaid.

"Running on empty. Running blind. Running into the sun, and I'm running behind."

Happy Halloween!

Noirette , Oct 31, 2018 11:18:48 AM | link
The Reps. - Trump will do better than expected, and as Nate Silver is an idiot, won't lose the House.

However I'm less sure of this (75%) than I was about Trump winning the Presidential (100%), there are local issues contests etc. I am ignorant of, close races, what not. So larger scope..

The Reps. did not block Trump's candidacy, and 'accepted' his win (many footnotes, etc.) The Dems, aka the Clinton Gang, blocked their best candidate, Sanders.

Killary sealed the Dem's fate with her mention of ds. .. Deplorables are not political opponents one can debate, argue with, or even play dirty tricks on. They are not foes one can fight. They are trash, nobodies, their only role is to be inferior to the superior, 'Democratic', class, and be targets of sneering plus potential aggro.. -- Along the same lines one might argue that Romney - a 'fair' Repub. candidate - lost to Obama because of his "47 %", natch' only part of the story.

The Clinton Gang turned the political fights tribal, pegged on hidden class and blared identity definitions, us aginst them thereby terminally gutting the vestiges - admittedly slim in 2000+ - of a Representative Republic functioning in a Federation Structure 'for the good of all citizens' - say. To accomplish this, they needed an outside enemy. They understood that just 'internal' would be impossible (they couldn't target blacks, for ex. though they are incredibly racist), the fight must be also / first against the enemy without; Russia was the obvious choice.

Imho many are confusedly unwilling to give up a semblance of adherence to the rules of the traditional US pol. system and perceive the above. They will not vote for Dems. (see also clueless joe at 24..)

In any case the whole 'democracy' thing is a rickety building, it has become difficult to weed thru perpetual lies, propaganda, obfuscations, etc. from both parties and third /other party hopers, plus manipulations, etc.

The important question is what, when, where, resistance, opposition, arises, where will the cracks be first, what happens when this system dies, etc.

[Oct 29, 2018] We Were Made for Civil War

Notable quotes:
"... Today's Blue elite represents the greatest concentration of wealth and power in the United States. Moreover, such wealth is scattered across a mosaic of pristine, manicured, gated communities physically and socially divorced from the realities of normal American life -- glittering bubbles of sovereign privilege . This is the very oligarchy Founders like John Adams so feared . While both Red and Blue elites represent themselves as the people's champion, Blue's protests ring the most false . ..."
Oct 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Today, two righteous paths are gridlocked in opposition. Both perceive themselves as champions of national renewal, of cleansing corrupted ideals, and of truly fulfilling America's promise. Both fervently believe that they alone own virtue. Yet the banners of each course are absolutist mirrors of one another, pro and contra, all or nothing. Moreover, lightning rod issues, as in the 1770s and 1850s, make the space between battle lines a no man's land, forcing majority moderates and compromising fence-sitters to choose or be called out as willing collaborators with the other.

Today's lightning rods -- a feminist reordering of jurisprudence , a state-promoted LGBT agenda, closed or open borders, full gun rights guarantees -- should not be seen as mere hot-button issues that can be manipulated at will by political party elites. These are way-of-life banners for two warring coalitions. Iconic issues that now represent the future of two tribal alliances are taking the place of a former, single nation. The time for compromise is over.

Othering. Here, the barren and inhospitable new civic space is dominated along looming, fortified lines. Warring identities have concluded that the only solution is the complete submission of the enemy party, and both sides are beginning to prepare for an ultimate showdown . Othering is a transforming process, through which former kin are reimagined as evil, an American inner-enemy, who once defeated must be punished. The most familiar metaphor of American othering was the 1770s practice of tarring and feathering . This less-than-lethal mob punishment corresponds -- in shaming power and severity -- to mob vengeance pervasive today on social media outlets such as Twitter.

Hence, to work fully as othering, the process must be public, result in the shame of the transgressor, and show that true virtue is in command. More than anything, othering is a ceremonial act designed to bring shame not just on the single person being tarred and feathered, but the entire community to which he belongs. The political object of #MeToo is not the numerically bounded set of guilty men, but rather the entire population set of all men . The political object of Black Lives Matter is not racists, but rather all white people . The political object of the LGBT movement is not homophobes, but rather the whole of straight cisgender society whose reality compass they seek to transform.

The targeted other, equally seized by virtue, operates today from an angry defensive crouch. Thus do corporate elites support marquee Blue "social justice" agendas on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube while censoring counterarguments and comment by Red. This is exactly the goal in this struggle: namely, to condition moderates to widespread acquiescence of a loud and insistent Blue agenda, while subtly coercing them to choose sides. They do this by arraigning Red as social losers, the future minority tribe, on their eventual way to the dustbin of history.

Red and Blue already represent an irreparable religious schism, deeper in doctrinal terms even than the 16th-century Catholic-Protestant schism. The war here is over which faction successfully captures the (social media) flag as true inheritor of American virtue.

The Decision. Othering's most decisive effect is to condition the whole of society to believe that an existential clash is coming, that all must choose, and that there are no realistic alternatives to a final test of wills. Remember, in past times, Jacobins on both sides were small minorities. Yet for either one of these two angry visions to win, there must be a showdown. This demands, perversely, that they work together to bring on open conflict, successfully coercing the majority of Americans to buy into its inevitability. At that point, only a trigger pull is needed.

This was what the Boston Massacre did to push colonials against Britain in 1770, and this is what John Brown's Pottawatomie Massacre and Congressman Preston Brooks's caning of Charles Sumner on the Senate floor did to push people toward civil war in 1856. This is what the confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh and the nearly two-year effort to delegitimize and overthrow President Donald Trump may doing today: getting the two halves of the former nation to pull that trigger.

The Fight. If the political balance shifts dramatically, then conflict checks -- held in place by lingering political norms and a longstanding electoral standoff -- disintegrate. Suddenly, both newly advantaged and disadvantaged parties rush to a test of wills sooner rather than later. A triggering incident becomes a spark -- yet the spark itself does not ignite. Rather, it is the readiness for combat in this emerging "community of violence" that makes a fight the natural way forward. In 1774, the Sons of Liberty were spoiling for a fight. In the 1850s, Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians were equally primed to hit back. That pushed the nation to civil war.

Evidence from history and our own eyes tells us that we are deep into phase four. Three takeaways show us how close we are to real battle.

Both sides rush to tear down the constitutional order. Just since the 2016 election, we have witnessed a rolling thunder of Blue and Red elite rhetoric -- packing the Supreme Court, abolishing the Electoral College , repealing the Second Amendment , wholesale state nullification of federal law, shackling of voter rights, and Deep State invocation of the 25th Amendment. These are all potential extremities of action that would not only dismantle our constitutional order, but also skew it to one side's juridical construct of virtue, thus dissolving any semblance of adherence to law by the other. Over time each party becomes emotionally invested in the lust to dismantle the old and make something new.

Hence, constitutional norms exist only conditionally, until such time as they finally be dismantled, and only as long as a precariously balanced electoral divide holds firm. A big historical tilt in favor of one party over the other would very quickly push the nation into crisis because the party with the new mandate would rush to enact its program. The very threat of such constitutional dismantling would be sure casus belli . Such tilts in the early 1770s against Britain, and later in the 1850s against the slaveholding party, were the real tipping points. Not only was Dred Scott v. Sandford just such a tipping point in 1857, but subconsciously its legacy weighs heavily on Americans today, as they contemplate -- often with hysterical passion -- the dread consequences of a Kavanaugh appointment.

The dead hand of the last civil war grabs us from the grave. It is eerie how today's angst pulls us back to the 1860s -- and shows us what is likely to happen in our third civil war. If the poisonous hatreds of the 1860s again inform our civil anger today -- i.e. battles between the alt-right and antifa -- then this should tell us that we are literally on the cusp of another time of rage, where the continuity of strife is stronger than any hopes for reconciliation. What is clear is that two warring parties will accept nothing less from the other than submission, even though the loser will never submit. Moreover, each factional ethos is incapable of empathizing with the other.

Yet we should remember that "unconditional surrender" is like an Old Testament doctrine -- meaning that its invocation hearkens unmistakably to God's judgment. It became the Federal rallying cry throughout the Civil War, a substrate trope in the Versailles Treaty, the president's official position for the end of World War II, and even our complacent conviction during the decomposition of the Soviet Union. It is an apocalyptic vision deeply embedded in both Blue and Red. Such visions presage existential crisis that puts what is left of the nation at real risk. If, at war's end, the sacred scrolls, artifacts, and symbols -- the archaeology of a once-cherished identity -- cannot be restored or repurposed, then our entire history must be destroyed, and the "we" that once was wiped clean. Civil war -- the battle over how, or whether, we belong to one another -- thus demands nothing less than transformation.

Disbelieving war makes it inevitable. People will always disbelieve that we could come to blows, until we do. Delegates at the "Democracy" party convention in Charleston, in the summer of 1860, were still in denial of the coming fury . No one dares imagine another civil war playing out like the last, when two grimly determined American armies fought each other to the death in bloody pitched battles. It is unlikely that a third American civil war will embrace 18th and 19th century military dynamics. Antique Anglo-American society -- organized around community " mustering " -- was culturally equipped to fight civil wars. Today's screen-absorbed Millennials are not. So what?

But the historical consequences of a non-military American civil war would be just as severe as any struggle settled by battle and blood. For example, the map of a divided America today suggests that division into functioning state and local sovereignties -- with autonomy over kinship, identity, and way of life issues -- might be the result of this non-bloody war. This could even represent de facto national partition -- without de jure secession, achieved through a gradual process of accretive state and local nullification .

So what would a non-military civil war look like? Could it be non-violent? Americans are certainly not lovers, but they do not seem really to be fighters either. A possible path to kinship disengagement -- a separation without de jure divorce -- would here likely follow a crisis, a confrontation, and some shocking, spasmodic violence, horrifyingly amplified on social media. Passions at this point would pull back, but investment in separation would not. What might eventuate would be a national sorting out, a de facto kinship separation in which Blue and Red regions would go -- and govern -- their own ways, while still maintaining the surface fiction of a titular "United States." This was, after all, the arrangement America came to after 20 years of civil war (1857-1877). This time, however, there will be no succeeding conciliation (as was achieved in the 1890s). Culturally, this United States will be, from the moment of agreement, two entirely separate sensibilities, peoples, and politics.

♦♦♦

The winding path to civil war has yet another wrinkle: the people-elite divide. In the 1770s and the 1850s, American fissuring was championed by opposing elites. In the 1770s, two elites had emerged: one was the colonial, homegrown elite -- such as Washington, Hamilton, and Adams -- and the other was the metropole, trans-Atlantic British elite , celebrated by royally endowed landowners such as Lord Fairfax , whose holdings were in the thousands of square miles. Yet the British aristocracy was less intimately engaged in the colonies, and the loyalist elite a more sotto voce voice in colonial politics.

Not so the proto-Confederacy, the celebrated "Slave Power." In the looming struggle between North and South, the Southern elite was the dominant economic force in the nation, thanks to its overwhelming capital stored in human flesh. In fact, planter aristocracy capital formation in 1860 equaled all capital invested in manufacturing, railroads, banks, and all currency in circulation -- combined. This was the power of chattel slavery as the wealth ecology of the antebellum South. In defiant opposition to them were the Northern anti-slavery elites , nowhere as privileged and rich as their Southern counterparts. The new Republicans were further thwarted by the indissoluble alliance of planter aristocracy and the nation's financial hub: New York City. There was an unholy bond between a dominant slaveholder elite and an equally dominant New York slave-enabling elite. To make the point, in 1859, New York shipbuilders outfitted 85 slave ships for the hungry needs of the Southern planter class.

The dominant cultural position occupied by the overlords of chattel slavery has its analogy today in the overlords of America's Blue elite. While there is a vocal Red elite, the Blue elite dominates public life through its hold on the Internet, Hollywood, publishing, social media, academia, the Washington bureaucracy, and the global grip of corporate giants. Blue elite's power, in its hold on the cultural pulse and economic lifeblood of American life, compares granularly to the planter aristocracy of the 1850s.

Ruling elites famously overthrown by history -- like the Ancien Régime in France, Czarist Russia, and even the Antebellum South -- were fated by their insatiable selfishness, their impenetrable arrogance, and their sneering aloofness from the despised people -- "the deplorables" -- upon whom their own economic status feasted .

Today's Blue elite represents the greatest concentration of wealth and power in the United States. Moreover, such wealth is scattered across a mosaic of pristine, manicured, gated communities physically and socially divorced from the realities of normal American life -- glittering bubbles of sovereign privilege . This is the very oligarchy Founders like John Adams so feared . While both Red and Blue elites represent themselves as the people's champion, Blue's protests ring the most false .

America is divided today not by customary tussles in party politics, but rather by passionate, existential, and irreconcilable opposition. Furthermore, the onset of battle is driven yet more urgently by the "intersection" of a culturally embedded kinship divide moving -- however haphazardly -- to join up with an elite-people divide.

Tragically, our divide may no longer be an outcome that people of goodwill work to overcome. Schism -- with our nation in an ideological Iron Maiden -- will soon force us all to submit, and choose.

Michael Vlahos teaches strategy and war at Johns Hopkins Advanced Academic Programs and formerly, at the Naval War College. He is the author of the book Fighting Identity: Sacred War and World Change .

Likbez

I think that the key for understating the political crisis in the USA is to understand its connection with the crisis on neoliberalism as an ideology which was encompassed as the USA national ideology after WWII.

The US neoliberal elite lost the support of the population, and the is what the current crisis is about. Also, the level of degeneration of the current elite demonstrated by Haley appointed to the UN and several other disastrous appointments also signify the Us approaching the situation of " let them eat cakes."

The same time the power of surveillance state is such that outside of random acts of violence like we observed recently, insurrection is impossible and political ways to change the situation are blocked.

Neoliberals came to power with Carter, so more than 40 years ago (although formally Reagan is considered to be the first neoliberal president.) Now they are are losing political power and popular support.

Trump attempt to reform "classic neoliberalism" into what can be called "national neoliberalism" or neoliberalism without globalization is probably doomed to be a failure and not only due to Trump weaknesses as a political leader. He trying increase the level of neoliberaliztion with the USA failing to understand that the current problems stem from excessive levels of deregulation (and associated level of corruption), the excessive power of military industrial complex (supported by Wall Street) which led to waiting for trillion of arms race and destruction of New Deal Social protection mechanisms.

With the collapse of neoliberalism of global ideology, international standing of the USA greatly deteriorated, and now in some areas (especially with unilateral Iran sanctions and behavior in Korea crisis), Trump administration approaches the status of a pariah nation.

My impression is the neoliberalism just can't be reformed the way Trump is trying it to reform into what can be called "national neoliberalism."

That's probably why intelligence agencies and Clinton wing of the Democratic party, closely connected to Wall Street launched a color revolution ("Russiagate) against him in late 2016, trying to depose him and install a more "compliant" leader, who would support kicking the can down the road.

So the two warring camps now represent "classic neoliberalism" with its idea of the global neoliberal empire (and related "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine) and "revisionists" of various flavors (including Trump and Sanders supporters)

BTW neocons, who dominate the USA foreign policy, are also neoliberals, just moonlighting as lobbyists of the military industrial complex.

I think that globalization as an immanent feature and trump policies this will fail.

As the same, the opposition to neoliberalism on the ground level of the US society demand reforms and retreat form the globalization, which they connect with outsourcing and offshoring.

That's why Trump's idea of "national neoliberalism" -- an attempt to retreat from "globalization" and at the same time to obtain some economic advantages by brute force and bilateral treaties instead of multilateral organizations like WTO got some initial support. Along with his fake promises to improve the economic position of the middle class, squeezed by globalization.

the truth is that the "classic neoliberals" (which are represented by Clinton wing of Dems and Paul Ryan wing in Republicans ) lost popular support.

Dems, for example, now rely as their major constituency fringe groups and elements of national security state (that's why so many of their candidates for midterm are associated with intelligence agencies and military). So they are trying to mobilize elements of national security state to help them to return to power. That gambit, like Russiagate before it, probably will fail.

Republicans are also in limbo with Trump clearly betraying his electorate, but still enjoy some level of ground support.

IMHO his betrayals which is very similar to Obama betrayal(in no way he wants to improve the condition of the lower middle class and workers, it just hot air) might cost him two important group of voters who will vote for independent candidates if they vote at all:

1. Anti-war republicans
2. People who want the return of the New Deal.

Factions which are against imperial wars and for more fair redistribution of income in the society, a distribution which were screwed by 40 years of neoliberalism dominance in the USA.

So the US electorate have a classic political choice between disastrous and unpalatable policies once again ;-)

whether that will eventually lead to a military coup in best LA style, we can only guess.

[Oct 27, 2018] Most Americans See A Sharply Divided Nation; The Fourth Turning Is Here

Looks like most Americans do not understand that we are dealing with the crisis of neoliberalism as a social system.
Oct 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
AP-NORC Poll national survey with 1,152 adults found 8 in 10 Americans believe the country is divided regarding essential values, and some expect the division to deepen into 2020.

Only 20% of Americans said they think the country will become less divided over the next several years, and 39% believe conditions will continue to deteriorate. A substantial majority of Americans, 77%, said they are dissatisfied with the state of politics in the country , said AP-NORC.

... ... ...

The nationwide survey was conducted on October 11-14, using the AmeriSpeak Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Overall, 59% of Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling his job as president, while 40% of Americans approve.

More specifically, the poll said 83% of Republicans approve of how Trump is handling the job, while 92% of Democrats and 61% of Independents strongly disagree.

More than half of Americans said they are not hearing nor seeing topics from midterm campaigns that are important to them. About 54% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans said vital issues, such as health care, education, and economic activity, Social Security and crime, were topics they wanted to hear more.

Looking at their communities, most American (Republicans and Democrats) are satisfied with their state or local community. However, on a national level, 58% of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, compared to 25%, a small majority who are satisfied.

Most Americans are dissatisfied with the massive gap between rich and poor, race relations and environmental conditions. The poll noticed there are partisan splits, 84% of Democrats are disappointed with the amount of wealth inequality, compared with 43% of Republicans. On the environment, 77% of Democrats and 32% Republicans are dissatisfied. Moreover, while 77% Democrats said they are unhappy with race relations, about 50% of Republicans said the same.

The poll also showed how Democrats and Republicans view certain issues. About 80% of Democrats but less than 33% of Republicans call income inequality, environmental issues or racism very important.

"Healthcare, education and economic growth are the top issues considered especially important by the public. While there are many issues that Republicans and Democrats give similar levels of importance to (trade foreign policy and immigration), there are several concerns where they are far apart. For example, 80% of Democrats say the environment and climate change is extremely or very important, and only 28% of Republicans agree. And while 68% consider the national debt to be extremely or very important, only 55% of Democrats regard it with the same level of significance," said AP-NORC.

Although Democrats and Republicans are divided on most values, many Americans consider the country's diverse population a benefit.

Half said America's melting pot makes the country stronger, while less than 20% said it hurts the country. About 30% said diversity does not affect their outlook.

"However, differences emerge by party identification, gender, location, education, and race . Democrats are more likely to say having a population with various backgrounds makes the country stronger compared to Republicans or Independents. Urbanities and college-educated adults are more likely to say having a mix of ethnicities makes the country stronger, while people living in rural areas and less educated people tend to say diversity has no effect or makes the country weaker," said AP-NORC.

Overall, 60% of Americans said accusations of sexual harassment with some high-profile men forced to resign or be fired was essential to them. However, 73% of women said the issue was critical, compared with 51% of men. The data showed that Democrats were much more likely than Republicans to call sexual misconduct significant.

More than 40% of Americans somewhat or strongly disapprove of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court after allegations of sexual harassment in his college years. 35% of Americans said they heartily approved of Kavanaugh's confirmation.

The evidence above sheds light on the internal struggles of America. The country is divided, and this could be a significant problem just ahead.

Why is that? Well, America's future was outlined in a book called "The Fourth Turning: What Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous With Destiny."

In the book, which was written in the late 1990s, authors William Strauss and Niel Howe theorize that the history of civilization moves in 80-to-100 year cycles called "saecula."

The idea behind this theory dates back to the Greeks, who believed that at given saeculum's end, there would come "ekpyrosis," or a cataclysmic event.

This era of change is known as the Fourth Turning, and it appears we are in the midst of one right now.

The last few Fourth Turnings that America experienced ushered in the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, and then the Great Depression and World War II. Before all of that, it was the Revolutionary War.

Each Fourth Turning had similar warning signs: periods of political chaos, division, social and economic decay in which the American people reverted from extreme division and were forced to reunite in the rebuild of a new future, but that only came after massive conflict.

Today's divide among many Americans is strong. We are headed for a collision that will rip this country apart at the seams. The timing of the next Fourth Turning is now, and it could take at least another decade to complete the cycle.

After the Fourth Turning, America will not be the America you are accustomed to today. So, let us stop calling today the "greatest economy ever" and start preparing for turbulence.

MusicIsYou , 36 seconds ago link

Yep, Americans are divided, because they're all miserable, but competing to see who's the biggest miserable victim. Very funny.

[Oct 26, 2018] America s Plutocrats Are Winning by Jeffrey D. Sachs

Notable quotes:
"... The End of Poverty ..."
"... Common Wealth ..."
"... The Age of Sustainable Development ..."
"... Building the New American Economy ..."
"... A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism ..."
Oct 23, 2018 | www.project-syndicate.org

American politics has become a game of, by, and for corporate interests, with tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for polluters, and war and global warming for the rest of us. Americans – and the world – deserve better.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CMOPDr5a5p4

[Oct 25, 2018] Avenatti, Swetnick Referred To DOJ For Criminal Investigation Over False Statements On Kavanaugh

Notable quotes:
"... Attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick have been referred to the Justice Department for criminal investigation for a "potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation, three separate crimes, in the course of considering Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States," according to a statement released by the Judiciary Committee. ..."
"... The referral has an entire section entitled: "issues with Mr. Avenatti's credibility," which starts out highlighting a 2012 dispute with a former business partner over a coffee chain investment in which accuser Patrick Dempsey said that Avenatti lied to him, while the company was also "reportedly involved in additional litigation implicating his credibility, including one case in which a judge sanctioned his company for misconduct." ..."
"... Swetnick - whose checkered past has called her character into question, alleges that Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, ran a date-rape "gang bang" operation at 10 high school parties she attended as an adult (yet never reported to the authorities). ..."
"... The Wall Street Journal has attempted to corroborate Ms. Swetnick's account, contacting dozens of former classmates and colleagues, but couldn't reach anyone with knowledge of her allegations . No friends have come forward to publicly support her claims. - WSJ ..."
"... Soon after Swetnick's story went public, her character immediately fell under scrutiny - after Politico reported that Swetnick's ex-boyfriend, Richard Vinneccy - a registered Democrat, took out a restraining order against her, and says he has evidence that she's lying. ..."
Oct 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Attorney Michael Avenatti and his client Julie Swetnick have been referred to the Justice Department for criminal investigation for a "potential conspiracy to provide materially false statements to Congress and obstruct a congressional committee investigation, three separate crimes, in the course of considering Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States," according to a statement released by the Judiciary Committee.

While the Committee was in the middle of its extensive investigation of the late-breaking sexual-assault allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Avenatti publicized his client's allegations of drug- and alcohol-fueled gang rapes in the 1980s. The obvious, subsequent contradictions along with the suspicious timing of the allegations necessitate a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.

"When a well-meaning citizen comes forward with information relevant to the committee's work, I take it seriously. It takes courage to come forward, especially with allegations of sexual misconduct or personal trauma. I'm grateful for those who find that courage," Grassley said. " But in the heat of partisan moments, some do try to knowingly mislead the committee . That's unfair to my colleagues, the nominees and others providing information who are seeking the truth. It stifles our ability to work on legitimate lines of inquiry. It also wastes time and resources for destructive reasons. Thankfully, the law prohibits such false statements to Congress and obstruction of congressional committee investigations. For the law to work, we can't just brush aside potential violations. I don't take lightly making a referral of this nature, but ignoring this behavior will just invite more of it in the future."

Grassley referred Swetnick and Avenatti for investigation in a letter sent today to the Attorney General of the United States and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The letter notes potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001 and 1505, which respectively define the federal criminal offenses of conspiracy, false statements and obstruction of Congress. The referral seeks further investigation only, and is not intended to be an allegation of a crime . - Senate Judiciary Committee

The referral has an entire section entitled: "issues with Mr. Avenatti's credibility," which starts out highlighting a 2012 dispute with a former business partner over a coffee chain investment in which accuser Patrick Dempsey said that Avenatti lied to him, while the company was also "reportedly involved in additional litigation implicating his credibility, including one case in which a judge sanctioned his company for misconduct."

Swetnick - whose checkered past has called her character into question, alleges that Kavanaugh and a friend, Mark Judge, ran a date-rape "gang bang" operation at 10 high school parties she attended as an adult (yet never reported to the authorities).

The allegations were posted by Avenatti over Twitter, asserting that Kavanaugh and Judge made efforts to cause girls " to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be "gang raped" in a side room or bedroom by a "train" of numerous boys ."

To try and corroborate the story, the Wall Street Journal contacted "dozens of former classmates and colleagues," yet couldn't find anyone who knew about the rape parties.

The Wall Street Journal has attempted to corroborate Ms. Swetnick's account, contacting dozens of former classmates and colleagues, but couldn't reach anyone with knowledge of her allegations . No friends have come forward to publicly support her claims. - WSJ

Read the referral below:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/391604985/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-oXFOaEEzVY1JzzNRrcJk&show_recommendations=true

[Oct 25, 2018] "Inappropriate behavior," is not a category of conduct known to the criminal law. Nor, for that matter, is making a person feel uncomfortable. Awkward advances without a guilty mind is also not a criminal offense.

Notable quotes:
"... An article IIRC in the Nation by a restaurant worker specifically discussed how #MeToo had ignored waitresses and there was no change in behavior. ..."
"... Hundreds of McDonald's employees, emboldened by the #MeToo movement, demonstrated outside company headquarters in Chicago on Tuesday to draw attention to alleged sexual harassment at work ..."
"... McDonald's employees only. No show of solidarity by other women. As a result, look how small the protest was. I rest my case. ..."
"... I think the movement, for both ethical and pragmatic reasons, should and must center working class women. I'm not seeing that. I would be very happy indeed to see it. ..."
"... Caliban and the Witch ..."
"... Fundamental to all civilised systems of criminal law is the doctrine nulla poena sine lege ..."
"... "Inappropriate behavior," is not a category of conduct known to the criminal law. Nor, for that matter, is making a person feel uncomfortable. Awkward advances without a guilty mind is also not a criminal offense. ..."
"... Due process rights were hard won over many centuries. If we are to abandon, even with the best of intentions, nulla poena sine lege ..."
"... I loathe party culture, exactly because it encourages assault. ..."
"... a Jobs Guarantee would make it easier for a woman to leave an abusive workplace. A Post Office Bank, by giving every woman her own checking account as a matter of right, would make it easier for women to leave abusive relationships. Sometimes it's more effective to be indirect. ..."
"... Wages for restaurant workers such that they don't have to depend on potentially abusive customers for tips. A third way also does not appear: Encouraging cooperatives . So the question of whose ..."
Oct 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

BDBlue , October 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm

Sorry, but this is going to be a long one. Because I've become increasingly frustrated by the little asides in Water Cooler related to MeToo. So buckle up, buttercup.

Justice for Emmett Till and #Believewomen are only in conflict if you want to pit groups of victims against each other. I'm not surprised to see a GOPer do it, but I'm disappointed it's going on here. What Emmett Till and women of sexual assault (and men and children of sexual assault) have in common is that there is no justice for them. This idea that we need "due process" for the MeToo stuff is all well and good, but where exactly is it supposed to come from? What #Believewomen and #MeToo (which includes men and boys, see, e.g. Terry Crews for a famous example) are really about are holding the powerful accountable and telling the world that the current system does not work for women (or anyone else who has been sexually assaulted). How is that a bad thing? Unless you want to read #Believewomen as meaning that you should literally never doubt a woman, regardless of any other facts. That's like saying Black Lives Matter doesn't care about non-black lives, when everyone knows that's right-wing crap. BLM focuses on a failing of the system. MeToo focuses on a failing system. As for due process -- Larry Nassar, the largest known pedophile in sports history (that we know of) -- was repeatedly reported to the authorities. At one point, a police department made a victim sit down with him so he could explain how she had "misinterpreted" his treatment for abuse. It literally took a victim of his growing up, becoming a lawyer and studying how to prove sexual assault cases, then building evidence and turning it over to the Indianapolis Star to get anyone to do anything. And in the meantime, hundreds of women and girls were assaulted, including most of the last two women's Olympic teams. That's not due process, it is a system that protects the powerful at the expense of the powerless. Not exactly an unknown or rare phenomenon limited to women.

So if people really care about "due process"* for MeToo, then it would be nice to see as much time spent on discussing what that process might look like than just taking potshots at people, many of whom are sexual assault victims, who are demanding society listen to them and believe them instead of naturally lining up to defend the person in power. And that's what #Believewomen really means – the word of the powerless should have as much credibility as the powerful. Nothing about that would not deny justice to Emmett Till. A movement is not defined by its twitter hashtag.

* Spoiler alert, they don't. Or, rather, I think lambert does, but most do not. It's just another way to avoid accountability. After all, most of the more notable MeToo allegations are employment or similar situations, where due process does not apply in any other context, but now suddenly bosses want to invoke it for themselves. Please don't try to invoke it when they fire you because you won't work a last-minute Saturday shift. Because you can't. But report the boss for sexual harassment and be prepared for a lot of process. So much process, you may never get through it all. Which is the other joke, companies have tons of process re sexual harassment complaints, almost all of which is designed to protect the harasser.

Which brings me to class. I've seen a lot of picking at #MeToo for being focused on women ("identity") instead of class. This confuses me since, while any woman can be a victim, poor and working class women (and men) have even fewer options of redress (I won't even get into incarcerated men and women). See the recent McDonalds' strike over sexual harassment, a labor action which shouldn't be surprising since as many as 40% of women in the fast food industry experience sexual harassment . Moreover, institutional sexism -- like racism -- has roots in capital accumulation and labor exploitation. For an interesting read on this, see The Caliban and the Witch . Which is not to say it's all about class, it isn't. Racism and sexism exist, they exist for everyone regardless of class, but the effects of them are greatly exacerbated by poor and working class people's material conditions and they are tied directly to the system that creates those conditions. To the extent people want to discuss due process, it should be about creating systems that hold the powerful accountable for their abuse of power, a challenge that extends across society.

Oregoncharles , October 24, 2018 at 2:10 am

"And that's what #Believewomen really means – the word of the powerless should have as much credibility as the powerful."

It is wise, when starting a movement, to say what you "really mean." As it stands, #Believewomen MEANS convicting defendants on the sole word of one person – the victim. If we really start doing that, women will be among the victims, along with other powerless people.

" only in conflict if you want to pit groups of victims against each other." What do you mean, "want"? That's a classic straw man. The slogan you're defending pits them against each other – that's Lambert's point.

You also say that enforcement against either assault or sexual harassment is nightmarish and often ineffective. That I'll believe, and it's a necessary point. Actually, law enforcement and "justice" generally are pretty nightmarish. Tangle sex up in that and it only gets worse. The point of #Metoo was to convince us that we have a problem, and it accomplished that. Slogans that mean what you don't mean only detract from the accomplishment.

Yves Smith , October 24, 2018 at 2:42 am

It is simply disingenuous to say that #MeToo has taken up the cause of lower class women. The restaurant industry is one of the biggest employers in America and harassment of women is pervasive. How many #MeToo luminaries have talked up the problems they face? An article IIRC in the Nation by a restaurant worker specifically discussed how #MeToo had ignored waitresses and there was no change in behavior.

And that protest was NOT promoted by the loose #MeToo movement. See this from USA Today:

Hundreds of McDonald's employees, emboldened by the #MeToo movement, demonstrated outside company headquarters in Chicago on Tuesday to draw attention to alleged sexual harassment at work

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2018/09/18/mcdonalds-employees-metoo-strike-sexual-harassment/1349981002/

McDonald's employees only. No show of solidarity by other women. As a result, look how small the protest was. I rest my case.

Lambert Strether Post author , October 24, 2018 at 3:32 am

Most of my thoughts (which are evolving) on #MeToo are summed up in this post on the McDonalds strikers : I think the movement, for both ethical and pragmatic reasons, should and must center working class women. I'm not seeing that. I would be very happy indeed to see it.

My 2015 post on the wonderful Caliban and the Witch is here . I concluded:

However, if one takes the view that "Now is the time" -- however defined -- in the present day, it also behooves one to do the math; it has always seemed to me that a bare majority, 50% plus one, as sought by the legacy parties, is insufficient to do much but perpetuate, among other things, the legacy parties. It also seems to me that sintering together demographics based on identity politics -- Christian, Black, White, Hispanic, Young, Old, Male, Female, Rural, Urban -- can only produce these bare majorities. It also seems to me that a focus on "economic class" can't give an account of the sort of events that Federici describes here. Hence, to bend history's arc, some sort of grand unified field theory that goes beyond 50%, to 80%, is needed (along with the proposed provision of concrete material benefits[1]). Work like Federici's is a step toward such a theory, and so I applaud it.

Setting aside the lack of a unified field theory, it seems to me that without centering working class women, #MeToo remains very much in 50% plus one territory.

Let me address your conclusion:

To the extent people want to discuss due process, it should be about creating systems that hold the powerful accountable for their abuse of power, a challenge that extends across society.

I think that's exactly what due process is for, or at least should be for :

Fundamental to all civilised systems of criminal law is the doctrine nulla poena sine lege -- no punishment without a law. There are hundreds of offenses on the criminal statute books. Assault, sexual assault and indecent assault are serious criminal offenses, attracting heavy sentences upon a conviction.

"Inappropriate behavior," is not a category of conduct known to the criminal law. Nor, for that matter, is making a person feel uncomfortable. Awkward advances without a guilty mind is also not a criminal offense.

Due process rights were hard won over many centuries. If we are to abandon, even with the best of intentions, nulla poena sine lege for one set of behaviors, we'd best believe it will be abandoned for other behaviors, and for purposes less benevolent. Have we thought that through?

That said, if we think back to the Dred Scott case and its fate, it's clear that movements can change law; we will have to see what happens with #MeToo. Feminist legal scholar Catherine MacKinnon urges[2]:

Sexual harassment law can grow with #MeToo. Taking #MeToo's changing norms into the law could -- and predictably will -- transform the law as well. Some practical steps could help capture this moment. Institutional or statutory changes could include prohibitions or limits on various forms of secrecy and nontransparency that hide the extent of sexual abuse and enforce survivor isolation, such as forced arbitration, silencing nondisclosure agreements even in cases of physical attacks and multiple perpetration, and confidential settlements. A realistic statute of limitations for all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment, is essential. Being able to sue individual perpetrators and their enablers, jointly with institutions, could shift perceived incentives for this behavior.

However, it's clear that the criminal justice system in which due process rights are embedded isn't a justice system at all for this category of offenses. I wrote : " [W]e as a society have no way of adjudicating sexual assault claims that treats the assaulted with a level of dignity sufficient for them to come forward at the time " (The backlog of unprocessed rape kits pointed to by Tarana Burke shows this clearly, even if nothing else did.) I'm personally acquainted both with someone who was sexually assaulted, and someone who was falsely accused of "inappropriate behavior," and I've wracked my brains trying to imagine a system of adjudication under which either could have received justice -- the first never did, the second was ultimately cleared -- but without success. I can't see how MacKinnon's fixes would have helped either one.

I'd certainly welcome different and parallel forms of adjudication that would have achieved justice for my friends; nobody said "due process" had to be achieved only through the court sytem, after all. For example, although this is a limited solution that applies to neither of my friends, an alternative adjudication system that puts the burden of proof on the male if the other party is female and both are drunk would probably brake a lot of bad behavior on campus; this of course speaks to my priors, since I loathe party culture, exactly because it encourages assault.

NOTE

[1] For example, a Jobs Guarantee would make it easier for a woman to leave an abusive workplace. A Post Office Bank, by giving every woman her own checking account as a matter of right, would make it easier for women to leave abusive relationships. Sometimes it's more effective to be indirect.

[2] One way to redress power imbalances in the workplace -- building union power, say through card check -- does not appear on MacKinnon's list of legal transformations. A second way also does not appear: Wages for restaurant workers such that they don't have to depend on potentially abusive customers for tips. A third way also does not appear: Encouraging cooperatives . So the question of whose and which norms are to be transformed remains salient.

UPDATE You write:

And that's what #Believewomen really means – the word of the powerless should have as much credibility as the powerful. Nothing about that would not deny justice to Emmett Till. A movement is not defined by its twitter hashtag.

If that's what it really means, that's not what it really says. The hash tag isn't #BelieveThePowerless, after all. I think it's simpler to take the movement at its word. If the organizers wish to change the slogan because it's sending the wrong message, then they will. If they don't, then the hash tag is sending the message they want.

I agree that movements don't totally define themselves by the choices they make with their slogans. But those choices matter. The Bolsheviks won the day under the slogan "Peace, Land, Bread." "Less War, Gentler Serfdom, Access to Bread" just wouldn't have had the same impact.

[Oct 22, 2018] Spartacus Falls Cory Booker Accused Of Sexually Assaulting Man In Restroom

Oct 22, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Carol53 , 2 hours ago link

Gotta say this out loud ZH people- seeing first hand what the Democrats did 2011-2016, getting way to close to government operations in my state, pushed me from left to the right in absolute disgust with the left. Seemed like maybe the right is different and better nowadays. However, general gay bashing and blatant racism on websites like this one scares some and puts some moderates and Independents off the right. I'm all for #hetoo and Corey Booker reaping what he sowed. What they did to Kavenaugh was despicable. A conservative party that disavows racism, gaybashing and misogyny is highly appealing nowadays over the left. I'm a card carrying member of the NRA, but when you start that gaybashing you all get scary and make some reconsider voting red for fear of devolving. Want to change your gender? Knock yourself out; none of my friggen business. But to force the taxpayer to pay for "gender reassignment", and then claim there's no money for stopping and repairing the landslides in Pennsylvania's red counties, and blame it on Trump? That's the insanity of the leftist governor in my state. All you do when you attack a group over race, being gay or being women is create a new class dependent victims for the left to "protect" and give a free ride in exchange for votes. Hope this makes sense. Not as articulate as some here but hope I got the point across.

AUD , 1 hour ago link

You don't find "Lousy fudge packing deviant..." at all funny?

Carol53 , 1 hour ago link

The right was looking pretty good after Kavenaugh. Maybe this whole post and many of its comments is a ploy to draw in the stupid and the trolls. This post and comments like yours are making the right look like apes last minute before the midterms. Its working. You all could have handled this news with some decency and some class and some tolerance and sealed it for the republicans in the upcoming elections. But no. You let yourselves be drawn into posts like this, for all the world to see that maybe nothing at all has changed about the right. SMH.

Carol53 , 2 minutes ago link

Some of us who wanted to vote red might have a family member who is gay. Coworkers and neighbors and friends who are black. Now we have to worry, after reading posts like yours, that we'll be plunging loved ones back into a world of discrimination and maybe violence by voting red. Thought all this crap was in the past. Nope. Still raging strong I see after reading posts like these

Harvey's-Rabbi , 3 hours ago link

I should think that there ought to be a change in American law wherein someone making a sexual accusation without proof can be held liable financially and possibly criminally.

Peter41 , 7 hours ago link

Booker must be sweating bullets now that his secret is out. Maybe he and the anointed one, Obama, can get it on in a steam room in somewhere in D.C. together, with the Wookie looking the other way.

Revolver2019 , 9 hours ago link

Unless there is a smoking gun in regards to evidence, I do think we should stoop to their lowness - play their game. Kill them with the rule of law. Be sympathetic to the gay man and tell him if there is real evidence they will follow-up, but if not they have no grounds to go anywhere with it. Show them what they SHOULD have done. Then let the rumors and paranoia of potential evidence do the job on Booker. It will eat him up. Mean time, we move forward and ride the Red Wave.

[Oct 21, 2018] The "original" so-called intelligence report was a load of BS

It is now clear the FBI interferes in the US election and in the most recent Presidential election even tried to become the kingmaker.
Oct 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

BakedBeans , 9 hours ago link

The "original" so-called intelligence report was a load of BS, I read it, I'm a computer engineer of over 30 years experience. My opinion is that it was pure BS, "filler" posing as a report, no evidence presented. Nothingburger. People then seized on it, waved it in the air, and said, "Here's the proof!". That's a common tactic that's been used over, and over. Here's the NY Times "correction". Note, after the correction, Hillary continued to spout the nonsense that 17 agencies all agreed. It was ONLY the FBI, CIA Office of the Director of National Intelligence (Dan Coats), and the NSA.

The puzzling part is this - since the "blame Russia" story is fake, why does the US continue to harass and provoke Russia, via Nato, Bolton, Haley? Who's in charge??

Correction: June 29, 2017

A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump's deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year's presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies -- the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.

Count Cherep , 9 minutes ago link

Who's in charge?

The " Best Government Money Can Buy"

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/04/best-government-money-can-buy.html

Longfisher , 9 hours ago link

I believe Muller is going for criminal conspiracy and interference with an investigation charges, instead of collusion with Russia.

Thordoom , 9 hours ago link

But what if comes out that they didn't break any law ? They can ask for reparations of lost money because of sanction and then every sanctioned entity and individual in Russia can ask for reparations because of bogus charges.

bh2 , 10 hours ago link

It seems likely the overwhelming record of the Mueller "probe" into "interference in US elections" will be pretended prosecution of acts which never occurred or which violate no statutory laws.

In other words, it's been a political stunt with no lawful foundation from the very beginning.

Had they bothered to look into FBI and DNC/Hillary efforts to deceptively manipulate public perception with false accusations, they would have found ample evidence of criminal conduct.

So they didn't.

WTFUD , 9 hours ago link

Exactamundo , Mueller's core aim is to Deflect attention from the Real Criminals. He don' need no steenkin' evidence when pointing the finger.

Who's picking up his and his team's TAB?

Wahooo , 10 hours ago link

The Deep State sure hates Russia. What a bunch of cold war holdovers, should have been riffed decades ago.

glenlloyd , 5 hours ago link

I been waiting for some news on this one. I had heard a while back that Mueller tried to deny the Russian company the ability to contest the charges with that weak *** "they haven't been served properly" excuse only to have it rejected by the judge.

I hope this deflates on Mueller and leaves him open to charges by the others who he alleges conspired to meddle in US elections.

FFS the US meddles in EVERYONE's elections they now kicking and screaming cuz someone might have setup a troll farm or dispensed some info on Hillary that might not have been true (can it be?)

This will play out badly for the Mueller team, the judge already hates them and is disgusted by their tactics.

Count Cherep , 1 hour ago link

I am thoroughly disgusted with this charade.

There are so many important matters which need to be addressed, yet parasites like Mueller can waste millions of dollars on nonsense.

"Robert Mueller -- FBI director on 9-11; under his "leadership" FBI field agents' warnings of an imminent attack were stifled"

http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/2014/01/those-still-alive-and-well.html

[Oct 16, 2018] Social Justice Warriors Aren't Funny

Notable quotes:
"... The Green Room with Paul Provenza ..."
Oct 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

There's an older episode of The Green Room with Paul Provenza when the late Patrice O'Neal, arguably one of the best stand-up comics in recent history, gets serious for a moment, saying: "I love being able to say anything I want. I had to learn how to stop caring about people not laughing. Because the idea of comedy, really, is not everybody should be laughing. It should be about 50 people laughing and 50 people horrified. There should be people who get it and people who don't get it."

O'Neal gets right to the chaotic, trickster heart of comedy with that statement. Comedy at its best balances humor against shock–not necessarily vulgarity, mind you, but a sort of unsettling surprise. It's a topsy-turvy glimpse at an uncanny, upside-down world, which, if the joke lands, provides a bulwark against torpor and complacency. Great comedy inhabits the absurdity of the world. It makes itself into a vantage point from which everything seems delightfully ridiculous, including (often especially) the comedians themselves. We wouldn't need comedy in a world that wasn't absurd. Perhaps that's why Dante only included humor in his Inferno . There is no absurdity in paradise.

Unfortunately, Hannah Gadsby's Nanette , a comedy special recently released on Netflix, only embraces the non-laughter half of O'Neal's dictum. It's the very epitome of self-serious, brittle, didactic, SJW "comedy." It's not funny. And worse, it's not meant to be.

Gadsby, a queer Australian comedian, uses her "stand-up special" as a way to destroy the very medium she pretends to be professionally engaged in. Her basic argument is that, since comedy is by its very nature self-deprecating (true), people who define themselves as members of an oppressed minority shouldn't engage in comedy because they're only participating in the violence already being done to them by society at large.


Arthur Sido October 16, 2018 at 8:21 am

We have allowed "social justice" types, a tiny fringe minority of unhappy and often unstable people, rewrite the rules of our entire civilization and culture.
David J. White , says: October 16, 2018 at 10:19 am
All the way back to Aristophanes comedy has often included a political component or an effort to "educate" audiences or at least make them think about things. But the actual comedy part is essential. Otherwise it's just a lecture.
JimDandy , says: October 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm
We might just be witnessing the death of Art. As the SJW furies brutally and effectively enforce The Narrative in literary fiction, film, TV, comedy, etc. they destroy the potential for creative genius in these mediums and kill off most of the audience. It was already hard enough for those arts to compete with new media forms. The SJW's hostile takeover of Art just makes the triumph of Real Life As Entertainment all the more complete.

Whereas twenty years ago I might be spending my free time reading a novel and attempting to write a short story, today I'm reading articles on The American Conservative and posting this comment.

[Oct 16, 2018] The "Grievance Studies" hoax exposes postmodernist charlatans by Eric London

Notable quotes:
"... Gender, Place and Culture ..."
"... the implications of the study are deadly serious. Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian have confirmed the right-wing political essence of identity politics and postmodernist thought, based on anti-Marxism, irrationalism and the rejection of the Enlightenment and objective truth. ..."
"... 'It's a very scary time for young men,' Trump told reporters on the very day that Pluckrose, Lindsay, and Boghossian went public with their hoax. Both express a fear of false attacks on men, whether levied by regretful sluts, lefty liberals, radical academics, or whoever else." ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Oct 13, 2018 | www.wsws.org

On October 2, Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian published an article titled "Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship," incorporating the results of a year-long effort to publish hoax articles, deliberately comprised of bunk facts and irrational and reactionary conclusions, in academic journals associated with gender, racial and identity studies.

The results expose the intellectual bankruptcy of identity politics and postmodernist philosophy. Their proponents, who dominate university humanities departments worldwide, are charlatans who have published or given favorable "revise and resubmit" comments to the most absurd and vulgar pseudo-scientific arguments.

These include: a purported 1,000-hour study of dog "humping" patterns at dog parks that concludes by calling for human males to be "trained" like dogs to prevent rape culture; a long-form poem produced through a teenage angst poetry generator about women holding spiritual-sexual "moon meetings" in a secret "womb room" and praying to a "vulva shrine;" a proposal to develop feminist robots, trained to think irrationally, to control humanity and subjugate white men; and additional articles relating to male masturbation. Another proposal, which was praised by reviewers in a paper that was ultimately rejected, encouraged teachers to place white students in chains to be shamed for their "white privilege."

There is an element of humor in the fact that such drivel could win accolades from academics and journals. The "dog park" article was even selected as one of the most influential contributions in the history of the Gender, Place and Culture journal!

But the implications of the study are deadly serious. Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian have confirmed the right-wing political essence of identity politics and postmodernist thought, based on anti-Marxism, irrationalism and the rejection of the Enlightenment and objective truth.

Most chillingly, the authors also submitted a re-write of a chapter from Hitler's Mein Kampf , with language altered to reference female identity and feminism. The paper, titled "Our struggle is my struggle: solidarity feminism as an intersectional reply to neoliberal and choice feminism," was accepted for publication and greeted with favorable reviews.

"I am extremely sympathetic to this article's argument and its political positioning," one academic wrote. Another said, "I am very sympathetic to the core arguments of the paper."

In the wake of their public disclosure, Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian have come under attack by the proponents of postmodernism and identity politics, who claim the hoax is a right-wing attack on "social justice" disciplines.

Typical is the argument of Daniel Engber, who wrote in Slate : "How timely, too, that this secret project should be published in the midst of the Kavanaugh imbroglio -- a time when the anger and the horror of male anxiety is so resplendent in the news. 'It's a very scary time for young men,' Trump told reporters on the very day that Pluckrose, Lindsay, and Boghossian went public with their hoax. Both express a fear of false attacks on men, whether levied by regretful sluts, lefty liberals, radical academics, or whoever else."

In reality, the hoax has exposed the fact that it is the proponents of identity politics who are advancing views parallel to the far right. While they are enraged with those who voice concern about the elimination of due process and the presumption of innocence for the targets of the #MeToo campaign, they are unbothered by the fact that the writings of Adolf Hitler are published and praised in feminist academic circles.

Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian are self-described liberals who are concerned that the present identity hysteria is "pushing the culture war to ever more toxic and existential polarization," by fanning the flames of the far right. As a result, identitarians are "affecting activism on behalf of women and racial and sexual minorities in a way which is counterproductive to equality aims by feeding into right-wing reactionary opposition to those equality objectives."

In contrast, the authors' aim is to "give people -- especially those who believe in liberalism, progress, modernity, open inquiry, and social justice -- a clear reason to look at the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left and say, 'No, I will not go along with that. You do not speak for me.'"

The hoax's authors are correct to link the identity politics proponents' hostility to equality with their opposition to rationalism, scientific analysis and the progressive gains of the Enlightenment. But the roots of this right-wing, irrationalist, anti-egalitarian degeneration are to be found in the economic structure of capitalist society.

The academic architects of postmodernism and identity politics occupy well-paid positions in academia, often with salaries upwards of $100,000–$300,000 or more. As a social layer, the theoreticians of what the World Socialist Web Site refers to as the "pseudo-left" are in the wealthiest 10 percent of American society. Their political and philosophical views express their social interests.

The obsession with "privilege," sex, and racial and gender identity is a mechanism by which members and groups within this layer fight among themselves for income, social status and positions of privilege, using degrees of "oppression" to one up each other in the fight for tenure track jobs, positions on corporate or non-profit boards, or election to public office. A chief purpose of the #MeToo campaign, for example, is to replace male executives and male politicians with women, while ignoring the social needs of the vast majority of working class women.

The weaponization of identity politics is directed down the social ladder as well. By advancing the lie that white workers benefit from "white privilege," for example, the proponents of identity politics argue: the spoils of Wall Street should not go to meeting the social needs of the working class, including white workers, who face record rates of alcoholism, poverty, opioid addiction, police violence and other indices of social misery. Instead, the world's resources should go to me . It is this visceral class hatred that serves as the basis for absurd and reactionary arguments like those advanced in the hoax papers.

Nor have the politics of racial identity improved the material conditions for the vast majority of minority workers. Inequality within racial minorities has increased alongside the introduction of affirmative action programs and the increasing dominance of identity politics in academia and bourgeois politics. In 2016, the top 1 percent of Latinos owned 45 percent of all Latino wealth, while the top 1 percent of African-Americans owned 40.5 percent and the richest whites owned 36.5 percent of white wealth.

The influence of postmodernism in academia exploded in the aftermath of the mass protests of the 1960s and early 1970s. Based explicitly on a rejection of the revolutionary role of the working class and opposition to the "meta narrative" of socialist revolution, it is not accidental that identity politics and postmodernism have now been adopted as official ideological mechanisms of bourgeois rule.

In recent decades, a massive identity politics industry has been erected, with billions of dollars available from corporate funds and trusts for journals, non-profits, publications, fellowships and political groups advancing racial or gender politics. Identity politics has come to form a central component of the Democratic Party's electoral strategy. Imperialist wars are justified on the grounds that the US is intervening to protect women, LGBT people and other minorities.

The growing movement of the working class, broadening strikes across industries and widespread interest in socialism on college campuses pose an existential threat to the domination of postmodernism. Pluckrose, Lindsay and Boghossian have struck a well-timed blow against this reactionary obstacle to the development of scientific socialist consciousness.

Eric London

[Oct 16, 2018] Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Goes Neocon

Highly recommended!
The question is why the Deep State still is trying to depose him, if he essentially obeys the dictate of the Deep State ?
Notable quotes:
"... The Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Actually that's Trump. He demands total and utter loyalty from his people and gives none in return. ..."
"... The significance here is that Bolton and Pompeo represent just about everything Trump ran against during his 2016 presidential campaign. He ran against the country's foreign policy establishment and its rush to war in Iraq; its support of NATO's provocative eastward expansion; its abiding hostility toward Russia; its destabilization of the Middle East through ill-conceived and ill-fated activities in Iraq, Libya, and Syria; its ongoing and seemingly endless war in Afghanistan; and its enthusiasm for regime change and nation-building around the world. Bolton and Pompeo represent precisely those kinds of policies and actions as well as the general foreign policy outlook that spawned them. ..."
"... Trump gave every indication during the campaign that he would reverse those policies and avoid those kinds of actions. He even went so far, in his inimitable way, of accusing the Bush administration of lying to the American people in taking the country to war in Iraq, as opposed to making a reckless and stupid, though honest, mistake about that country's weapons of mass destruction. He said it would be great to get along with Russia and criticized NATO's aggressive eastward push. He said our aim in Syria should be to combat Islamist extremism, not depose Bashar al-Assad as its leader. In promulgating his America First approach, he specifically eschewed any interest in nation-building abroad. ..."
"... Still, generally speaking, anyone listening to Trump carefully before the election would have been justified in concluding that, if he meant what he said, he would reverse America's post-Cold War foreign policy as practiced by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. ..."
"... Thus any neutral observer, at the time of Mattis's selection as defense secretary, might have concluded that he was more bent on an adventurous American foreign policy than his boss. But it turned out to be just the opposite. There are two reasons for this. First, Mattis is cautious by nature, and he seems to have taken Trump at his word that he didn't want any more unnecessary American wars of choice. Hence he opposed the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal prior to Trump's decision to pull America out of it. That action greatly increased the chances that America and Iran could find themselves on a path to war. Mattis also redeployed some military resources from the Middle East to other areas designed to check actions by Russia and China, which he considered greater threats to U.S. security. ..."
"... That seems to have presented a marvelous opportunity to Bolton and Pompeo, whose philosophy and convictions are stark and visible to all. Bolton has made clear his desire for America to bring about regime change in Iran and North Korea. He supported the Iraq war and has never wavered in the face of subsequent events. He has advocated a preemptive strike against North Korea. Pompeo harbors similar views. He favored withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and has waxed bellicose on both Iran and Russia. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Bolton was put in power to ensure unswerving loyalty to the dictates of Bibi Netanyahu and local neocons. Have we forgotten Iraq and endless wars since? ..."
"... this is all about Israel's hold on the Oval Office. Bolton and Pompeo are far, far closer to Israel than Mattis and that's a problem for him. Sorry Robert Merry, but you clearly didn't catch Trump's first foreign "policy" speech in 2016. He suddenly revealed his priorities for all to see. There are four words that Trump apologists simply cannot bring themselves to utter: "Trump is a neo-con". Suckers. ..."
"... Military adventurism is another disappointment. We can't afford more neocon disasters. We don't need to be the world's police force. We should be shrinking the military budgets. It is dismaying to watch the neocons gaining power after the catastrophic failures of recent decades. ..."
"... "Still, generally speaking, anyone listening to Trump carefully before the election would have been justified in concluding that, if he meant what he said, he would reverse America's post-Cold War foreign policy as practiced by George W. Bush and Barack Obama." ..."
"... Come on, anyone listening to Trump before the election realized that he said whatever drew