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Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

Lesser evil  trick of legitimizing disastrous,
corrupt neoliberal politicians in US elections

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The lesser evil is still evil.

Most people are not getting that they are duped.  "Lesser evil" is a story told to herd the masses. If there are two neoliberal politicians, both are corrupt. Neither intends to deliver anything to you on net; they are competing to deliver you on the plate to their corporate masters. You can chose only the sauce under which you will delivered.  

I am not enthusiastic about this proposed distinction between "hard" and "soft" neoliberalism. Ideologically, conservative libertarians have been locked in a dialectic with the Clintonite / Blairite neoliberals - that's an old story, maybe an obsolete story, but apparently not one those insist on seeing neoliberalism as a monolithic lump fixed in time can quite grasp, but never mind.

Good cop, bad cop. Only, the electorate is carefully divided so that one side's good cop is the other side's bad cop, and vice versa.

bruce wilder 09.01.16 at 7:09 pm
Hillary Clinton is engaging in politics and she's teh most librul librul evah! Why isn't that enough? It is not her fault, surely, that the devil makes her do unlibrul things - you have to be practical and practically, there is no alternative. We have to clap louder. That's the ticket!

 

Superdelegate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In American politics, a "superdelegate" is a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that is seated automatically and chooses for whom they want to vote. These Democratic Party superdelegates include distinguished party leaders and elected officials, including all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors. Other superdelegates are chosen during the primary season. Democratic superdelegates are free to support any candidate for the nomination.

This contrasts with convention "pledged" delegates that are selected based on the party primaries and caucuses in each U.S. state, in which voters choose among candidates for the party's presidential nomination. Because they are free to support anyone they want, superdelegates could potentially swing the results to nominate a presidential candidate that did not receive the majority of votes during the primaries.

At least in name, superdelegates are not involved in the Republican Party nomination process. There are delegates to the Republican National Convention that are seated automatically, but they are limited to three per state, consisting of the state chairsperson and two district-level committee members. Republican Party superdelegates are obliged to vote for their state's popular vote winner under the rules of the party branch to which they belong.[1]

Although the term superdelegate was originally coined and created to describe a type of Democratic delegate, the term has become widely used to describe these delegates in both parties,[2] even though it is not an official term used by either party.

... ... ...

For Democrats, superdelegates fall into two categories:

For Republicans, there are delegates in each state, consisting of the state chairman and two RNC committee members. However, according to the RNC communications director Sean Spicer, convention rules obligate those RNC members to vote according to the result of primary elections held in their states.

... ... ...

Democratic Party rules distinguish pledged and unpledged delegates. Pledged delegates are selected based on their announced preferences in the contest for the presidential nomination. In the party primary elections and caucuses in each U.S. state, voters express their preference among the contenders for the party's nomination for President of the United States. Pledged delegates supporting each candidate are chosen in approximate ratio to their candidate’s share of the vote. They fall into three categories: district-level pledged delegates (usually by congressional districts);[4] at-large pledged delegates; and pledged PLEO (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) delegates.

In a minority of the states, delegates are legally required to support the candidate to whom they are pledged.[5] In addition to the states' requirements, the party rules state (Rule 12.J): "Delegates elected to the national convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them."[3]

By contrast, the unpledged PLEO delegates (Rule 9.A) are seated without regard to their presidential preferences, solely by virtue of being current or former elected officeholders and party officials. Many of them have chosen to announce endorsements, but they are not bound in any way. They may support any candidate they wish, including one who has dropped out of the presidential race.[6] The other superdelegates, the unpledged add-on delegates (Rule 9.B), who need not be PLEOs, are selected by the state parties after some of the pledged delegates are chosen,[3] but they resemble the unpledged PLEO delegates in being free to vote as they wish.

... ... ...

At the 2008 Democratic National Convention, superdelegates cast approximately 823.5 votes, with fractions arising because superdelegates from Michigan, Florida, and Democrats Abroad are entitled to half a vote each. Of the superdelegates' votes, 745 are from unpledged PLEO delegates and 78.5 are from unpledged add-on delegates, although the exact number in each category is subject to events.


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Old News ;-)

[May 20, 2019] The dirty art of politicians entrapment: Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers, gay sex, pedophilia, or what-have-you, all or in combination

Highly recommended!
That remind me how old Kushner tried to smear his relative...
Notable quotes:
"... They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts. ..."
"... The "Russian" female is notably very attractive with a slender build. There is a honey-trap angle here as well. This would likely inspire the boasting (in order to impress her) on the part of the wingnut politician. ..."
"... The far-right is the Troy Horse of transnational corporations and capital and already discredited neoliberal stablishment which comes now disguised under the softening label of "populists". Beware, there seems to be a coordinated effort at several blogs in the ten previous days of the European elections to whitewash the far-right. ..."
"... So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely. ..."
"... As expected the hysteria of "russian" meddling have now publicized to weaken FPÖ in the EU election. Winners? NATO/US parties. ..."
"... Seems indeed to be a honeypot aspect to the entrapment, and it's quite possible Strache stepped down at once to avoid that part to come to light, so that the public revelations would be limited to the economic shenanigans and influence-peddling level. ..."
"... Also, this goes to show that the bulk of our Western politicians, across all the political spectrum, are a bunch of mediocre and quite corrupt fools. For him not to smell that this was a setup from the very first minute, it must be that such proposals are common place all across the board - which will only reinforce my suspicion that our societies, peoples and mankind as a whole would only benefit if we fully wiped out our economic, financial and political establishment and started from scratches. ..."
"... Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers and blow, gay sex, paedofilia, or what-have-you, - all or in combination. Politicians are "all" compromised in these ways. Buck the system or threaten the status quo - whereby it gets somebody's serious attention and the shite hits the fan. ..."
"... The savages in this neoliberal order use the secret services to subvert democracy. Deception and manipulation are the means used to corrupt the public domain. They would push the most pliable and ruthless leaders into office. Catastrophe and violence and disinformation are their most powerful weapons. But I still think that political processes and elections do matter; and what counts is a struggle to improve and reform the system of government. Doing our best to protect and maintain the integrity of electoral processes is something that requires both protests and political campaigns. ..."
"... The very strong implication certainly seems to be that there may be further video of Strache sleeping with the honey pot. He obviously knows what happened that night. If there were video cameras hidden everywhere, that was obviously one of the intentions behind the sting from the outset. ..."
"... B, please do an article on the Nazi penetration of the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, CDU etc, and links to the NSU affair, shredding of millions of documents by the Interior Ministry when demanded by the courts as evidence, links with the Board members and advisory board members of German big business especially Siemens and Deutche Bank and Bayer, etc. ..."
"... It is a wonder Strache's remark "Journalists are the biggest whores on the planet" and how he says he can subvert an entire media outlet to his political agenda by even firing the few remaining fringe elements. ..."
"... I don't think Strache is as harmless as you portray him, B. You fall for his defence strategy if you attribute all his statements to the influence of alcohol. At that time, the man was very confident that he would soon be at the levers of power, which then materialized. It remains to be proven whether he did not put into practice anything of what he talked about at that house in Ibiza. After all, he was talking about the by far most influential newspaper in Austria. ..."
"... Of course it is true that it is the neoliberal globalisers who have brought us to where we stand today. But that doesn' make people like Strache and Salvini any less dangerous. If they rise to total power, the result will be a naked dictatorship. Strache was beaten with his own weapons, you don't have to be under any illusions. ..."
"... Who could have ordered such an elaborate sting operation? ..."
"... The sophisticated operation using actors and a villa prepared with hidden cameras and microphones shows that this is hardly a normal case of dirty campaigning by political opponents. Most likely, either it was an action by a secret service or someone with deep pockets hired former secret agents. ..."
"... If it was an action by secret services, the most plausible explanation seems to be that Western secret services targeted Strache because FPÖ is one of the parties who is in favor of restoring normal relations with Russia ..."
"... François Fillon comes to mind, a French conservative candidate who also had a quite a friendly attitude towards Russia - shortly before the elections, it was revealed (at least claimed) that Fillon had given his wife ficticious employment, and Fillon lost popularity, which helped Macron enormously. ..."
"... Probably, some of the things Strache said during this sting operation were inacceptable, and Fillon may also not be innocent, but if there is a systematic selective targeting of European politicians who want to normalize relations with Russia by secret services, that would be a huge problem for democracy. ..."
"... In 2016, Joseph Mifsud invited George Papadopoulos to Rome and introduced him to "Putin's niece" with the intent of smearing Trump as "Russian puppet" and destroying his election chances. In 2017, someone (who?) invited Heinz-Christian Strache to Ibiza and introduced him to "Russian billionaire's niece" with the intent of smearing Strache as "Russian puppet" and destroying his party's election chances. Notice a pattern? ..."
"... This is a clear case of Germany interfering in Austrian elections. Austria should deport 60 German diplomats, shut down German embassy in Vienna, and impose sanctions on Germany. Also put a German girl interested in Austrian politics in jail for 18 months. ..."
"... Thinking about it, after revealing e-mail of HRC, Podesta etc. were published, their core supporters were enraged about the dirty trick and did not pay attention to the disclosed content, while for the core opponents of HRC she was already sufficiently vilified so the net change in voting intentions that can be attributed to that incident was modest. ..."
"... Anyone who does not directly have his or her family's nose in the EU trough at this point knows that the policies espoused by transatlantic puppets like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron push our countries and our continent towards self-destruction. Life in Europe, post-1968 and pre-2013, has been pretty damn good. There's absolutely no good reason for us to rip up our traditions or turn into a continent of immigrants and mobile job seekers. ..."
"... As Strache explains in the video, Austrian dirty tricks are done "via another country". ..."
"... To those who fill that politics of Strache are obnoxious and that justifies entrapment, remembers that methods of that type are not improvised, and that means that there is an apparatus that does it. We noted similarities with provocations against George Papadopoulos. In the latter case the target was cautious, after all, we had to be well aware of such methods. But anyone who is despised by NATO establishment are similar group can be on the receiving end, think about Assange. ..."
May 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

During the last days a right wing politician in Austria was taken down by using an elaborate sting. Until Friday Heinz-Christian Strache was leader of the far right (but not fascist) Freedom Party of Austria (FPOe) and the Vice Chancellor of the country. On Friday morning two German papers, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel published (German) reports (English) about an old video that was made to take Strache down.

The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe. It's pro-Russian position has led to verbal attacks on and defamation of the party from NATO supporting and neoliberal circles.

In July 2017 Strache and his right hand man Johann Gudenus, who is also the big number in the FPOe, get invited for dinner to a rented villa on Ibiza, the Spanish tourist island in the Mediterranean. They are told that the daughter of a Russian billionaire plans large investments in Austria. It was said that she would like to help his party. The alleged daughter of the Russian billionaire, who is actually also Austrian, and her "friend" serve an expensive dinner. Alcohol flows freely. The pair offers a large party donation but asks for returns in form of mark ups on public contracts.

Unknown to Strache the villa is professionally bugged with many hidden cameras and microphones.


A scene from the video. Source: Der Falter (vid, German)

During the six hour long party several schemes get proposed by the "Russian" and are discussed. Strache rejects most of them. He insists several times that everything they plan or do must be legal and conform to the law. He says that a large donation could probably be funneled through an endowment that would then support his party. It is a gray area under Austrian party financing laws. They also discuss if the "Russian" could buy the Kronen Zeitung , Austria's powerful tabloid, and use it to prop up his party.

The evening goes on with several bottles of vodka on the table. Starche gets a bit drunk and boosts in front of the "oligarch daughter" about all his connections to rich and powerful people. He does not actually have these.

Strache says that, in exchange for help for his party, the "Russian" could get public contracts for highway building and repair. Currently most of such contracts in Austria go to the large Austrian company, STRABAG, that is owned by a neoliberal billionaire who opposes the FPOe. At that time Strache was not yet in the government and had no way to decide about such contracts.

At one point Strache seems to understand that the whole thing is a setup. But his right hand man calms him down and vouches for the "Russian". The sting ends with Strache and his companion leaving the place. The never again see the "Russian" and her co-plotter. Nothing they talked about will ever come to fruition.

Three month later Strache and his party win more than 20% in the Austrian election and form a coalition government with the conservative party OeVP led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Even while the FPOe controls several ministries, it does not achieve much politically. It lacks a real program and the government's policies are mostly run by the conservatives.

Nearly two years after the evening on Ibiza, ten days before the European parliament election in which Strache's party is predicted to achieve good results, a video of the evening on Ibiza is handed to two German papers which are known to be have strong transatlanticist leanings and have previously been used for other shady 'leaks'. The papers do not hesitate to take part in the plot and publish extensive reports about the video.

After the reports appeared Strache immediately stepped down and the conservatives ended the coalition with his party. Austria will now have new elections.

On Bloomberg Leonid Bershidsky opines on the case:

Strache's discussion with the Russian oligarch's fake niece shows a propensity for dirty dealing that has nothing to do with idealistic nationalism. Nationalist populists often agitate against entrenched, corrupt elites and pledge to drain various swamps. In the videos, however, Strache and Gudenus behave like true swamp creatures, savoring rumors of drug and sex scandals in Austrian politics and discussing how to create an authoritarian media machine like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's.

I do not believe that the people who voted for the FPOe (and similar parties in other countries) will subscribe to that view. The politics of the main stream parties in Austria have for decades been notoriously corrupt. Compared to them Strache and his party are astonishingly clean. In the video he insists several times that everything must stay within the legal realm. Whenever the "Russian" puts forward a likely illegal scheme, Starche emphatically rejects it.

Bershidsky continues:

Strache, as one of the few nationalist populists in government in the European Union's wealthier member states, was an important member of the movement Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been trying to cobble together ahead of the European Parliament election that will take place next week. On Saturday, he was supposed to attend a Salvini-led rally in Milan with other like-minded politicians from across Europe. Instead, he was in Vienna apologizing to his wife and to Kurz and protesting pitifully that he'd been the victim of a "political assassination" -- a poisonous rain on the Italian right-winger's parade.
...
This leaves the European far right in disarray and plays into the hands of centrist and leftist forces ahead of next week's election. Salvini's unifying effort has been thoroughly undermined, ...

This is also a misreading of the case. The right-wing parties will use the case to boost their legitimacy.

Strache was obviously set up by some intelligence services, probably a German one with a British assist. The original aim was likely to blackmail him. But during the meeting on Ibiza Strache promised and did nothing illegal. Looking for potential support for his party is not a sin. Neither is discussing investments in Austria with a "daughter of a Russian oligarch." Some boosting while drunk is hardly a reason to go to jail. When the incident provided too little material to claim that Strache is corrupt, the video was held back until the right moment to politically assassinate him with the largest potential damage to his party. That moment was thought to be now.

But that Strache stepped down after the sudden media assault only makes him more convincing. The right-wing all over Europe will see him as a martyr who was politically assassinated because he worked for their cause. The issue will increase the right-wingers hate against the 'liberal' establishment. It will further motivate them: "They attack us because we are right and winning." The new far-right block Natteo Salvini will setup in the European Parliament will likely receive a record share of votes.

Establishment writers notoriously misinterpret the new right wing parties and their followers. This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false. The working class understands very well what the establishment parties have done to it and continue to do. The increasing vote share of the far-right is a direct consequence of the behavior of the neoliberal center and of the lack of real left alternatives.

Last week, before the Strache video appeared, Craig Murray put his finger on the wound:

The massive economic shock following the banking collapse of 2007–8 is the direct cause of the crisis of confidence which is affecting almost all the institutions of western representative democracy. The banking collapse was not a natural event, like a tsunami. It was a direct result of man-made systems and artifices which permitted wealth to be generated and hoarded primarily through multiple financial transactions rather than by the actual production and sale of concrete goods, and which then disproportionately funnelled wealth to those engaged in the mechanics of the transactions.
...
The rejection of the political class manifests itself in different ways and has been diverted down a number of entirely blind alleys giving unfulfilled promise of a fresh start – Brexit, Trump, Macron. As the vote share of the established political parties – and public engagement with established political institutions – falls everywhere, the chattering classes deride the political symptoms of status quo rejection by the people as "populism". It is not populism to make sophisticated arguments that undermine the received political wisdom and take on the entire weight of established media opinion.

If one wants to take down the far right one has to do so with arguments and good politics for the working class. Most people, especially working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust. What was done during the 2007-8 banking crisis was utterly corrupt and also unjust. Instead of going to jail the bankers were rewarded with extreme amounts of money for their assault on the well being of the people. The public was then told that it must starve through austerity to make up for the loss of money.

While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties. When one talks to these people issues of injustice and inequality always come up. The new 'populist' parties at least claim to fight against the injustice done to the common men. Unlike most of the establishment parties they seem to be still mostly clean and not yet corrupted.

In the early 1990s Strache actually flirted with violent fascists but he rejected their way. While he has far-right opinions, he and his like are no danger to our societies. If we can not accept that Strache and his followers have some legitimate causes, we will soon find us confronted with way more extreme people. The neoliberal establishment seems to do its best to achieve that.

Posted by b on May 19, 2019 at 01:10 PM | Permalink


james , May 19, 2019 1:40:31 PM | 1

b - thanks .. i agree "elaborate sting" and "the video was held back until the right moment"... clearly this was a set up.. strache says he is going to pursue this legally..

"working class people, have a strong sense for justice. The political assassination of Christian Strache is unjust." injustices are being done on a constant basis now and being justified by the msm regularly.. i think this is part of the reason people are seeking alternatives - whatever they might be... power to the people..screw the neoliberal agenda and blackmail artists that are so rampant at present...

Bratislav Metulski , May 19, 2019 1:40:51 PM | 2
Funny thing is e.g.- a German comedian Jan Böhmerman knew before. Already in April he said in a Video call live in Austian television duringthe TV-prize-giving of the trophy "Romy" that he couldn´t attend personally to receive the price because right know he was sitting together with some FPÖ-buddies in a Russian oligarch-villa on Ibiza, sniffing cocain, drinking and negotiating the takeover of the "Krone-Zeitung" (the biggest rag in Austira, smth like the "Bild" in Germany or "The sun" in Britain).

Böhmers management released a statement yesterday that Böhermann did know before but didn´t name the source he knew it from.
https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article193725535/FPOE-Vize-Strache-Was-Boehmermann-mit-dem-Video-zu-tun-hat.html

Cui bono?

Paul Damascene , May 19, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 3
Your article here raises a number of important issues. More or less at random:

* If I understand your characterization of your political leanings, based on this and on the perspectives MoA offers, I share many of your views. And whereas there may be a certain Schadenfreude at seeing a right-wing, B-team operator reveal himself, I agree that the forces behind the sting itself are of potentially far greater interest (and danger)..

* For every sting and smear such as this that we see, how many others take place sub rosa, corrupting our political and social landscapes, leaving no evidence that might trigger criticism or resistance?

* I'm not sure of how this plays out legally, but this seems not just to have been a sting, but entrapment, in which (if these were law enforcement agents) we could protest that the only illegal activity being proposed, was by those conducting the sting.

* If this was, as you suggest, authored by the BND, then this would be a clear instance of election "meddling" -- though not of the sort that our shining democracies are now being warned against. (At least President Putin will not be accused of conducting it, for once. That oligarch's daughter could have come from anywhere, but of course Russia.) Russia gets smeared is probably the larger aim, rather than this particularly Austrian politician.

hallelujah hinton , May 19, 2019 1:55:07 PM | 4
The "Russian" female is notably very attractive with a slender build. There is a honey-trap angle here as well. This would likely inspire the boasting (in order to impress her) on the part of the wingnut politician.
somebody , May 19, 2019 1:56:55 PM | 5
I think the word is protofascist. b. you have got a blind spot seeing geopolitics everywhere. Truth is most of this is simply a battle of billionaires. The key to understand the Ibiza video is the product placement. Everybody there drinks Red Bull plus alcohol (I am not sure about the alcohol the loss of control of the politicians who are present suggests cocaine).

The owner of Red Bull is an Austrian billionaire called Dietrich Mateschitz. Mateschitz is a right wing crank building a media empire in Austria including an "investigative platform" called addendum that is something like the Austrian version of Breitbart.

For some reason "addendum" began to shoot against Rene Benzko, an Austrian real estate billionaire, who intends to take over Kronenzeitung.

And guess what, Rene Benzko was mentioned in the video "as a friend", and a large part of the conversation centered on taking over Kronenzeitung something Rene Benzko is involved in.

Strache, Vice Chancellor of Austria, explained in the video for every Austrian to understand, that his party's scheme is based on accepting illegal contributions via a ngo, and lowering taxes in return. According to what he says in the video he also intends to charge for water by selling the right to the Latvian/Russien "niece of a Russian oligarch" or someone else prepared to pay to his party's ngo.

Anybody who is not a billionaire voting for FPÖ after this must be braindead.

Arioch , May 19, 2019 1:58:49 PM | 6
> with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin

Putin himself though stresses his non involvement in that party, he also tried to bootstrap organizations that could supplant or even challenge U.R. at least in some niches.

While U.R. probably is party of Russian ruling elites, it is hardly one-man-show of LDPR/Zhirinovsky kind and whether Putin is "gray cardinal" of U.R. is very questionable.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:05:52 PM | 7
It is said that children and drunk people always say the truth... Why is it not to be taken into account what he said once drunk enough?

For to be a strong leftist, b, you spend a great effort in discharging this man, while whitewashing the far-right saying they are no danger for our societies and assuring that they are clean, when that is a thing you do not know since they have not had yet the possibility to rule.

They are neither cleaner nor inocuous for our societies. For starters they have chosen as scapegoat the migrants when who is to blame for the wave of migration is the US, NATO and their imperial ambitions, so as to throw poor against poor and that way the elites could continue quietly looting us, while we fight each other. You will never heard anything agsint banks ans elites from anybody in the far-right.

FYI, it is not Matteo Salvini who is forming a coalition of the far-right to conflude to European elections, but it is Bannon from his HQ in a Cisterciense monastery in Italy who is commanding this operation. Salvini is really a piece, having supported Guiado and the Venezuelan coup intend, and said what he would do with the Yellow Vests , "I don't go to the Yellow Vests with Molotov cocktails, if anything, I put them in prison" ...

Then it is AfD, who goes also in the block, whose members have claimed the Germans should be proud of the performance of the German Army during both WW....

Then Vox, financed by MEK and Israeli lobby and promoted by Bannon and the WH, who only wear clear neoliberal economic policies in their, for the rest, confusing program.

The best to test what the far-right will do in Europe is taking a look at what is happening in Brazil during these last days, an attack on education and research as if it was a military target ...This, after the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem and wide support to coup d´etat in Venezuela...He is also widely supported and financed by the US and Zionists.

The far-right is the Troy Horse of transnational corporations and capital and already discredited neoliberal stablishment which comes now disguised under the softening label of "populists". Beware, there seems to be a coordinated effort at several blogs in the ten previous days of the European elections to whitewash the far-right.

Bratislav Metulski , May 19, 2019 2:20:38 PM | 8
@4 hallelujah hinton
https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Neuwahlen-Der-gefeierte-Stratege-Kurz-hatte-keine-Optionen-mehr-4425362.html
Telepolis one of the oldest and biggest non-commercial online news and discussion platforms in Germany states in the following article, commenting on his statement at his resignation declaration:

"Glaubt er, man wäre bei Alkohol nachsichtiger? Offenbar schien er sich betrunken kaum mehr im Griff zu haben - und dies ist wohlgemerkt seine Erklärung für die Äußerungen im Video. Erst gegen Ende beginnt er eigenes Fehlverhalten einzuräumen und bittet insbesondere seine Frau um Verzeihung, mit der er ein wenige Monate altes Kind hat. Kenner Straches ahnten an dieser Stelle bereits, dass dieser sich bereits für Dinge entschuldigt, die zu diesem Zeitpunkt der Öffentlichkeit noch gar nicht bekannt sind."

Does he (Strache) really assume he would get more indulgence by blaming it on the alcolhol? Obviously when being drunken he wasn´t in control of himself anymore - and this is actually his explanation for his statements in the video. Somehow at the end he finally begins admitting own misconduct and especially asks his wife for forgiveness, with which he has a few months old child. Experts on Strache suspected from this moment on, that he apologized for things which at this moment are not known to the public, yet"

So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely.

Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 2:26:38 PM | 9
somebody @5:
battle of billionaires.... Anybody who is not a billionaire voting for FPÖ after this must be braindead.
Anyone who believes voting will change anything is braindead. Only supporting protest Movements (like Gillet Jeune) and free press/citizen journalism (Wikileaks/Assange) will have any real effect.
Zanon , May 19, 2019 2:30:32 PM | 0
Great piece - I dont see how Strache actually made anything wrong or atleast nothing not normal to politicians that constantly seek out support by big, powerful people. Most likely the deep state in Austria struck FPÖ just like FBI struck Trump.

As expected the hysteria of "russian" meddling have now publicized to weaken FPÖ in the EU election. Winners? NATO/US parties.

Arioch , May 19, 2019 2:36:33 PM | 1
@hallelujah hinton #4

Also notice how she pretended to be a niece.

Not some very close relative like daughter or sister, which may be fearsome, as "russian mafia" oligarch could be expected to "protect" her of ladykillers viciously. But also not some far relative who would be seen alien and have no financial support.

Just enough distance to be safe to hit on and try to share the oligarch's money. It was both honey&gold trap.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:38:57 PM | 2
Anyone who believes voting will change anything is braindead.

@Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 19, 2019 2:26:38 PM | 9

If voting would be such a waste, why would had taken so hard and long to achieve voting for minorities and women? Why the parties go to such efforts to campaign and disguise themselves as wolves with sheepskin like the far-right?

Why would certain forces need to go to such editorial coordinated efforts through their several blogs out there to give an impression of certain candidates which is opposite to what they really are? Wikilieaks/Assange are part of this efforts, btw

Clueless Joe , May 19, 2019 2:44:05 PM | 4
Metulski:

Seems indeed to be a honeypot aspect to the entrapment, and it's quite possible Strache stepped down at once to avoid that part to come to light, so that the public revelations would be limited to the economic shenanigans and influence-peddling level.

Also, this goes to show that the bulk of our Western politicians, across all the political spectrum, are a bunch of mediocre and quite corrupt fools. For him not to smell that this was a setup from the very first minute, it must be that such proposals are common place all across the board - which will only reinforce my suspicion that our societies, peoples and mankind as a whole would only benefit if we fully wiped out our economic, financial and political establishment and started from scratches.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 2:44:10 PM | 5
Spanish Colonel ( ret.) Pedro Baños, who was postulated for head of the CNI by the Socialist government of Pedro Sanchez, was object of slander campiagn as "pro-Russian" by the Spanish cluster of Integrity Initiative, only for declarations on the prejudice of sanctions for Spain, and nobody made such noise....
hallelujah hinton , May 19, 2019 3:03:31 PM | 6
Blackmail, smear campaigns, various traps via honey or corruption, hookers and blow, gay sex, paedofilia, or what-have-you, - all or in combination. Politicians are "all" compromised in these ways. Buck the system or threaten the status quo - whereby it gets somebody's serious attention and the shite hits the fan.

Enforcement and and penalties are selective. Selective enforcement. It's how "The Law" operates. Not defending the wingnut pig in the article. I appreciate Sasha's Trojan Horse allegory above.

the pair , May 19, 2019 3:16:52 PM | 7
wow...a bunch of elitist neoliberals with contempt for anyone lacking 10 zeroes on their paychecks and zero useful policies use "russian collusion" to entrap and embarrass a pseudo-right wing politician. who could ever imagine such a scenario? and why learn from the masses you represent when james o'keefe gives you all the inspiration you need?

but at least they blocked the ascension of someone who would trade political favors for money. that kind of nonsense simply won't do in western society.

karlof1 , May 19, 2019 3:24:47 PM | 8
Thanks for this explanation, b! I first saw this reported at Geroman's Twitter and used machine translation of the article he linked, but it lacked the context which you provided. This incident is subsumed within the larger conflict that's trying to keep EU from combining with BRI/EAEU, which means its roots/culprits are NATO/Outlaw US Empire--it points to desperation on their part.
Jackrabbit , May 19, 2019 3:25:34 PM | 9
the pair @17

Some will fail to see the sarcasm. Best to use the /sarc tag.

somebody , May 19, 2019 3:34:51 PM | 0
Posted by: hallelujah hinton | May 19, 2019 1:55:07 PM | 4

Sorry, you don't see the Latvian/Russian woman. You see Gudenus' wife who is from Serbia. Whatever the publishing papers got, it was a copy. More will come out.

Copeland , May 19, 2019 4:01:44 PM | 1
The savages in this neoliberal order use the secret services to subvert democracy. Deception and manipulation are the means used to corrupt the public domain. They would push the most pliable and ruthless leaders into office. Catastrophe and violence and disinformation are their most powerful weapons. But I still think that political processes and elections do matter; and what counts is a struggle to improve and reform the system of government. Doing our best to protect and maintain the integrity of electoral processes is something that requires both protests and political campaigns.
BM , May 19, 2019 4:14:36 PM | 2
So this very much hints something more. Right now there is a debate of cocain being visible on the table but this accusation points more towards schnickle with a babe imho. The babe to his right is not that ugly, admittely.
Posted by: Bratislav Metulski | May 19, 2019 2:20:38 PM | 8

The very strong implication certainly seems to be that there may be further video of Strache sleeping with the honey pot. He obviously knows what happened that night. If there were video cameras hidden everywhere, that was obviously one of the intentions behind the sting from the outset.

---

On the issue of "populism" and right-wing parties I confess I have a problem. I certainly want to see the Establishment thrashed, and especially in next week's EU elections, and there is no question that at the moment the right-wing parties have far more potential to upset the establishment than the left. If "Populist" parties are able to radically upset the EU Parliament, that should bring a much-needed hammer and axe to the anti-populist activities of the EU, and hopefully lead to the breakup of the EU.

On the other hand, unlike B, I do have extremely strong worries about the rising power of the far right and their connections to Nazis and neo-Nazis. I am concerned - even without the involvement of Bannon, but far more so with - that the rise of "populism" is a calculated policy of a Nazi segment of the Establishment that is designed specifically to usher in an international Nazi movement across Europe and Latin America under the leadership of and proxies of the - ever more and more Nazi behaving - US (which itself is in so many very real ways descended from Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party and the Japanese war criminals including Bush's family, tight connections with Nazi war criminals in the CIA, and historical leadership figures in the CIA). The large scale and extremely high level infiltration of hardcore Nazis in the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, and CDU politics is a ticking timebomb waiting for its moment. There seems to be similar high level Nazi infiltration in many other countries.

We have to be careful what we wish for!

B, please do an article on the Nazi penetration of the German security services, Interior Ministry, Army, CDU etc, and links to the NSU affair, shredding of millions of documents by the Interior Ministry when demanded by the courts as evidence, links with the Board members and advisory board members of German big business especially Siemens and Deutche Bank and Bayer, etc.

Sasha , May 19, 2019 4:21:50 PM | 3
On how there is real danger with these wolves on sheepskin who only try to divide and conquer the working masses of the world, this old article by Ho Chi Minh on the importance of class conscience and the great labor of the University of the East in the former USSR to get workers of the world conscous and united in the common struggle. Also on the importance of having the right to vote:
Colonialism is a leech with two suckers, one of which sucks the metropolitan proletariat and the other that of the colonies. If we want to kill this monster, we must cut off both suckers at the same time. If only one is cut off, the other will continue to suck the blood of the proletariat, the animal will continue to live, and the cut–off sucker will grow again. The Russian Revolution has grasped this truth clearly. That is why it is not satisfied with making fine platonic speeches and drafting "humanitarian" resolutions in favor of oppressed peoples, but it teaches them to struggle; and helps them spiritually, as proclaimed by Lenin in his theses on the colonial question. To the Baku Congress, twenty–one Eastern nations sent delegates. Representatives of Western workers' parties also participated in the work of this congress. For the first time, the proletariat of the conquering Western States and that of the subject Eastern countries fraternally joined hands and deliberated in common on the best means to defeat their common enemy, imperialism .

Following this historic congress, despite internal and external difficulties, revolutionary Russia has never hesitated to come to the help of peoples awakened by its heroic and victorious revolution. One of its first important acts was the founding of the University of the East.(...)

The sixty–two nationalities represented at the University form a "Commune." Its chairman and functionaries are elected every three months by all the students.

A student delegate takes part in the economic and administrative management of the University. All must regularly and in turn work in the kitchen, the library, the club, etc. All "misdemeanors" and disputes are judged and settled by an elected tribunal in the presence of all comrades. Once a week, the "Commune" holds a meeting to discuss the international political and economic situation. From time to time, meetings and evening parties are organized where the amateur artists introduce the art and culture of their country.

The fact that the Communists not only treat the "inferior natives of the colonies" like brothers, but that they get them to participate in the political life of the country, is highly characteristic of the "barbarity" of the Bolsheviks. Treated in their native country as "submissive subjects" or "protéges," having no other right but that to pay taxes, the Eastern students, who are neither electors nor eligible for election in their own country, from whom the right to express their political opinion is withdrawn, in the Soviet Union take part in the election of the Soviets and have the right to send their representatives to the Soviets. Let our brothers of the colonies who vainly seek a change of nationality make a comparison between bourgeois democracy and proletarian democracy.

These students have suffered themselves and have witnessed the sufferings of others. All have lived under the yoke of "high civilization," all have been victims of exploitation and oppression by foreign capitalists . Moreover, they passionately long to acquire knowledge and to study. They are serious and full of enthusiasm. They are entirely different from the frequenters of the boulevards of the Latin Quarter, the Eastern students in Paris, Oxford, and Berlin. It can be said without exaggeration that under the roof of this University is the future of the colonial peoples.

The colonial countries of the Near and Far East, stretching from Syria to Korea, cover an extent of more than 15 million square kilometers and have more than 1,200 million inhabitants. All these immense countries are now under the yoke of capitalism and imperialism. Although their considerable numbers should be their strength, these submissive peoples have never yet made any serious attempts to free themselves from this yoke. Not yet having realized the value of international solidarity, they have not known how to unite for the struggle. Relationships between their countries are not yet established as they are among the peoples of Europe and America. They possess gigantic strength and do not yet realize it. The University of the East, assembling all the young, active, and intelligent leaders of the colonized countries, has fulfilled a great task, namely:

-It teaches to the future vanguard militants the principles of class struggle, confused in their minds by race conflicts and patriarchal customs.
-It establishes between the proletarian vanguard of the colonies a close contact with the Western proletariat, thus preparing the way for the close and effective cooperation which will alone ensure the final victory of the international working class.
-It teaches the colonized people, hitherto separated from one another, to know one another and to unite, by creating the bases of a future union of Eastern countries, one of the wings of the proletarian revolution.
-It sets the proletariat of colonialist countries and example of what they can and must do in favor of their oppressed brothers
.

This is why it is needed to throw the workers from the West against the migrants from the East and South, to avoid the invincible force they would constitute together. This dirty work is made by the far-right in the name of corporate liberal elites. They can play that they fight each other, but as soon as they get seats at the European Parliament, you will find the previous allegedly opponents all together aligned in the same Eurogroup. Time to time.

Bacchante , May 19, 2019 4:38:44 PM | 4
It is a wonder Strache's remark "Journalists are the biggest whores on the planet" and how he says he can subvert an entire media outlet to his political agenda by even firing the few remaining fringe elements. Yet here we can still talk about he was drunk, how his being set up was unjust, and how the poor guy will have to miss his lovers' right cause in Italy. Those vulgar masses are at it again! There can be no justification about the masses' support of far-right causes and the clowns like him. If you think otherwise it is the likes of moonofalabama next in line to be "fired", or eliminated. Legitimize their causes and it is Germany in 1920s all over again.

Two wrongs do not make a right, unfortunately.

Walter , May 19, 2019 4:56:04 PM | 5
"Left/right", I agree, is nearly without semantic value. Nevertheless class interests remain...how is it that this is so? Think about that, comrades.

And then consider wsws report about "At the annual meeting of the Bundeswehr reserve in autumn 2016, Veith announced: "I dream that in 2026 there will be a provincial regiment in each state with a charismatic commander, a troop flag and an organization of between 800 and 2,000 reservists to support the police and the Bundeswehr in emergency situations." " see> "German government prepares troops for domestic missions" @ wsws.org

Considering the overall aspects, it's rational to expect all parties in Europe to make plans, is it not? Of course the working class is not permitted to make such plans...is it?

Pnyx , May 19, 2019 5:04:18 PM | 6
I don't think Strache is as harmless as you portray him, B. You fall for his defence strategy if you attribute all his statements to the influence of alcohol. At that time, the man was very confident that he would soon be at the levers of power, which then materialized. It remains to be proven whether he did not put into practice anything of what he talked about at that house in Ibiza. After all, he was talking about the by far most influential newspaper in Austria.

Of course it is true that it is the neoliberal globalisers who have brought us to where we stand today. But that doesn' make people like Strache and Salvini any less dangerous. If they rise to total power, the result will be a naked dictatorship. Strache was beaten with his own weapons, you don't have to be under any illusions.

I agree with you that this is not the big setback for the right the mainstream parties dream of. But it won't help the fascists in spe in the future either.

Adrian E. , May 19, 2019 5:25:25 PM | 7
Who could have ordered such an elaborate sting operation?

A first association might be the dirty, deceptive campaigning SPÖ used against Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) - the Silberstein affair -, but I think the methods that were chosen are too different to make a common source likely, Strache was targeted in a much more sophisticated way. The Silberstein affair may, however, be the reason why the tapes have partially been published now rather than before the last Austrian elections - at that time, dirty campaigning might have been discredited too much for the tape to have the desired effect,

The sophisticated operation using actors and a villa prepared with hidden cameras and microphones shows that this is hardly a normal case of dirty campaigning by political opponents. Most likely, either it was an action by a secret service or someone with deep pockets hired former secret agents.

If it was an action by secret services, the most plausible explanation seems to be that Western secret services targeted Strache because FPÖ is one of the parties who is in favor of restoring normal relations with Russia.

François Fillon comes to mind, a French conservative candidate who also had a quite a friendly attitude towards Russia - shortly before the elections, it was revealed (at least claimed) that Fillon had given his wife ficticious employment, and Fillon lost popularity, which helped Macron enormously.

Probably, some of the things Strache said during this sting operation were inacceptable, and Fillon may also not be innocent, but if there is a systematic selective targeting of European politicians who want to normalize relations with Russia by secret services, that would be a huge problem for democracy.

In the case of Strache and FPÖ, a different motive may also be plausible. There are connections between FPÖ and neonazis, and there are, in my view, legitimate concerns that Strache is too close to such far-right networks. I don't think it is good when right-wing populists whose rise is mainly due to the unpopularity of the neoliberal elites are equated with Nazis too quickly.

But in the case of FPÖ, this is less far-fetched than in the case of other European right-wing parties - historically, Nazis played an important role in FPÖ in post-war Austria, and it is one of the current right-wing parties that probably has more connections to the extreme right (e.g. via Burschenschaften) than others. I could imagine that someone might have ordered and financed the sting operation out of antifascist principles. While I may recognize the motivation as ethical and even partially agree with it, I don't think the right means were chosen, and such dirty methods can backfire.

Michael Droy , May 19, 2019 5:33:51 PM | 8
"While I consider myself to be a strong leftist who opposes the right wherever possible, I believe to understand why people vote for Strache's FBOe and similar parties"

Quite. It seems to me that only the Right and the Left have a clue right now, because they have an instinctive mistrust of what they are told in the media.
People like "b" and Craig Murray are to be thanked for explaining that to us middling voters.

You miss the most glaring "injustice". That which shows that GDP in most western countries had doubled in the last 30 odd years, that earnings for the top quartile have gone up by factors of 3 or 4. But that median earnings in US are unchanged, and in say UK are only up 10% or so (unless one is seeking to buy one's own house or flat).

All the improvements in inequality from 1930s to 1980s have been reversed in full. "Populists" (or better "anti-elitists") are driven mostly by sheer anger at how a small group had taken all the Economic gains of the last 35 years.

somebody , May 19, 2019 5:35:30 PM | 9
Posted by: Pnyx | May 19, 2019 5:04:18 PM | 26

I don't know what b. saw in the video what I saw was a discussion of an Orban like take over of Austria by FPÖ.

In other news people are arguing the following
- who will profit most - ÖVP
- why was the video not published after it was produced in 2017 - because ÖVP wanted a coalition with FPÖ
- why was it published now - ÖVP has been renting advertising space for weeks for an election in September (renting before the video came out), Sebastian Kurz will be the saviour who will get the disappointed FPÖ vote
add
- why the emphasis on Kronenzeitung,
who were the people producing the video
why Red Bull everywhere - Red Bull media empire billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz publicly announced that he would back Sebastian Kurz in 2017

ÖVP/Kurz/Mateschitz have moved so far to the right that there is not much space for FPÖ anyway. His problems will return when he needs another coalition.

brian , May 19, 2019 5:37:28 PM | 0
'The FPOe has good connections with United Russia, the party of the Russian President Putin, and to other right-wing parties in east Europe'

other?

Erelis , May 19, 2019 6:09:06 PM | 1
While the right wing parties in Europe don't have a problem with Putin, it does seem that much of the Western European establish has gone full McCarthyite hysterical where they see any contact for any reason with a Russian is automatically criminal. Aside from being a setup it relied the underlying false flag of presenting the woman as a Russian (and hence guility of some crime against the Austrians).

In fact, a suggestion for a column--personal impressions on whether everyday Europeans are falling for anti-Russian propaganda. Polls in the US indicate that Americans simply do not care (they could believe it, but not effecting their daily lives).

S , May 19, 2019 6:36:42 PM | 2
1. The ER (United Russia) party was founded by Sergey Shoygu, Yuriy Luzhkov, and Mintimer Shaymiev. Its chairman is Dmitriy Medvedev, not Vladimir Putin. Putin is not even a member of ER. Putin is the leader of ONF (All-Russia People's Front), which is a nation-wide discussion platform for politicians, professionals, and NGOs.

2. Russian billionaire Igor Makarov denies having a niece: "I was the only child in the family." ( Forbes.ru , in Russian).

3. In 2016, Joseph Mifsud invited George Papadopoulos to Rome and introduced him to "Putin's niece" with the intent of smearing Trump as "Russian puppet" and destroying his election chances. In 2017, someone (who?) invited Heinz-Christian Strache to Ibiza and introduced him to "Russian billionaire's niece" with the intent of smearing Strache as "Russian puppet" and destroying his party's election chances. Notice a pattern?

4. This is a clear case of Germany interfering in Austrian elections. Austria should deport 60 German diplomats, shut down German embassy in Vienna, and impose sanctions on Germany. Also put a German girl interested in Austrian politics in jail for 18 months.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 6:37:32 PM | 3
Thinking about it, after revealing e-mail of HRC, Podesta etc. were published, their core supporters were enraged about the dirty trick and did not pay attention to the disclosed content, while for the core opponents of HRC she was already sufficiently vilified so the net change in voting intentions that can be attributed to that incident was modest.

Leaving aside the discussion of of various factors in that election, this public reaction is typical. Actually, in both cases the core supporters may be energized by the suspicion that this trick was performed by a foreign government. I do not think that there is a particular hostility toward Germany in Felix Austria, but the to the right wing Merkel government is like red cape for a bull. The women who unleashed a wave of refugees. On top of that, traditionally major parties of Austria gained reputation of dirty patronage, so the voters who care about that issue probably do not vote for them.

I do not expect Austrians to demand expulsions of German diplomats -- interference in our democracy -- or other sanctions, but nevertheless it stinks. Making sting operations on politicians has corrupt potential even if it is done by domestic law enforcement, but foreign intelligence services really do not have any excuse.

Thinking about it, the stings against George Papadopoulos described in his book were remarkably similar.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 6:45:53 PM | 4
Great minds think alike, S!

That said, Austrians have a reputation of good manners etc., they will not unload their frustration on a girl. BTW, why there are suspicions of Germany being involved? Again, even extremist Austrians probably would like to have some proof before doing anything. I guess, America is indeed exceptional.

Uncoy , May 19, 2019 6:49:33 PM | 5
For all those of you whining about the corruption of Strache, this is how business and politics is done in Austria. Strache was just talking about the FPÖ's fair share after an election which they would win.

This all starts with Austrian's Presidential Election of 2016. The FPÖ won the presidential election a couple of years ago in May 2016. After the bell, postal votes overturned it! – postal votes more than 90% in favour of the establishment candidate Van der Bellen. Some constituencies full of Van der Bellen votes turned out to have 148% turn out. There was a court case by the FPÖ about procedure and hinting at ballot falsification. The case was judged by a (non-corrupt but under serious pressure) judge to have enough merit that the elections had to be annulled and the election rerun six months later . Austria went without a president at all for six months!

For six months the mainstream Austrian media campaigned non-stop against the FPÖ and Norbert Hofer. Huge efforts were made for voter turnout (it included huge bussing of potential anti-FPÖ constituencies and bribing pensioners to vote against the FPÖ via parties and cakes). With all of that, Van der Bellen scraped in on 4 December 2016, by 348,231 votes. Despite the non-stop anti-FPÖ propaganda and banging on drums, votes for Hofer's fell by less than 100,000 (95,993 votes to be exact). It's just that with six months to prepare the establishment had found enough "dead souls" to win the second round.

In the parliamentary elections of 15 October 2017, the FPÖ were set to win a strong majority in parliament. To defeat the FPÖ and Strache, the conservatives (Völkspartei) were forced to elect a male model non-university graduate 30 year old sex symbol with no work experience outside of politics as party leader. Of course Sebastian Kurz was mainly a figurehead for establishment figures in the venerable Völkspartei. Kurz does have a mind of his own though (I had the opportunity to interact with him personally at a local political discussion group in 2015) and it's hard to know exactly how much of his policy is dictated to him and how much is off his own bat.

Going back to Austrian corruption, there are enormous sums at stake. There is a long entrenched system of corruption in the establishment parties, the Völkspartei and the SPÖ. Strabag does win most of the government contracts. Favour is regularly granted on quid pro basis. The media landscape is very partisan and mostly for sale. Kurz's spiritual predecessor as a powerful head of the Völkspartei if not direct predecessor Wolfgang Schüssel was forced to retire from politics in 2011 due to never-ending corruption scandals. Schüssel's longstanding finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser was caught carrying bags of cash to Lichtenstein and is still under investigation. If his mother-in-law were not the richest woman in Austria (Swarovski Crystal) and devoted to her daughter (Grasser's wife), he would long ago have been in jail.

Politically, Grasser knows where a lot of the bodies are buried from the Schlüssel political machine so either he has to be kept out of jail or he may take others down with him. In elite Austrian circles turning informant would be considered unsportsmanlike so there's an uneasy truce still fought to this day in the courts where Grasser is kept out of jail via procedural methods (detect a pattern) and Grasser doesn't rat out the others.

Strache's sin is not planning to use the advantages which accrue to the governing Austrian party but getting caught out talking about it. Strache is something of a lout, not terribly loyal (he was the Brutus who threw Jörg Haider under the bus in 2005 in a palace putsch). He's a smoker in power who used his power to overturn some very positive anti-smoking laws. But he's less corrupt than any of his equivalents in the Völkspartei and is only a nose ahead of the his equivalents in the SPÖ. His politics and policies of Austria for Austrians are pretty simple. Hence people vote for these policies.

Here's a sample of the SPÖ's wares in the 2010 Vienna elections:

The FPÖ has historically been weakest in Vienna but in 2010 they took 27% of the vote in this SPÖ stronghold, their first step in what has been a steady march to power.

Anyone who does not directly have his or her family's nose in the EU trough at this point knows that the policies espoused by transatlantic puppets like Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron push our countries and our continent towards self-destruction. Life in Europe, post-1968 and pre-2013, has been pretty damn good. There's absolutely no good reason for us to rip up our traditions or turn into a continent of immigrants and mobile job seekers. We instinctively abhor what is happening to our nations. By nature Strache is inclined this way himself (he's no great thinker) and has the good sense to ride the wave.

somebody , May 19, 2019 7:11:44 PM | 6
Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 19, 2019 6:45:53 PM | 34

As Strache explains in the video, Austrian dirty tricks are done "via another country".

somebody , May 19, 2019 7:21:16 PM | 7
For all those of you whining about the corruption of Strache, this is how business and politics is done in Austria. Strache was just talking about the FPÖ's fair share after an election which they would win.

So why did he step down?

Here's a sample of the SPÖ's wares in the 2010 Vienna elections:

You mean FPÖ wares .

Hoarsewhisperer , May 19, 2019 7:29:57 PM | 8
...
"This stand-offish sentence in the Spiegel story about Strache's party demonstrates the problem:"

In the last election, the party drew significant support from the working class, in part because of his ability to simplify even the most complicated of issues and play the common man, even in his role as vice chancellor.

"The implicit thesis, that the working class is too dumb to understand the "most complicated of issues", is not only incredibly snobbish but utterly false..."

I can't agree that Spiegel's attitude to Strache's party is condescending toward the working class. Right-wing parties tend to spout a lot of aggressively authoritarian spin tank bullshit to encourage voters to tune out when a R-w politician is telling them what to think. If Strache is adept at separating fact from fiction and superfluous verbiage, then people would appreciate his candor.

In a Democracy, and in theory at least, politicians are supposed to represent and defend the views of the people who voted for them, not vested intere$t$. Or so we've been led to believe...

I'll always remember Spiegel as the folks whose photo-journalists torpedoed Crooked Hillary's feeble-minded Cheonan (NK-SK) bullshit. That story vanished overnight. It's not even referred to in NK smear campaigns. Dead & buried.

somebody , May 19, 2019 8:15:54 PM | 9
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 19, 2019 7:29:57 PM | 38

In a Democracy, and in theory at least, politicians are supposed to represent and defend the views of the people who voted for them, not vested intere$t$. Or so we've been led to believe...

You are making this theory up.

Let's take the American constitution .

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

That's it.

The German constitution is absolutely clear that members of parliament represent all of the people (ie different views and interests) and are bound by their own judgement and conscience only.

As we are discussing Austria, lets see what the Austrian constitution says. Austria has "linguistic and cultural diversity" and the protection of its grown native peoples in its constitution, this means Slovenian, Croatian, Czech, Slovakian, Roma and Hungarian. So the Austrian constitution has a concept of a multinational state where different peoples grow and are protected even if the Viennese "Stammtisch" does not like them.

There is no "democratic theory" that suggests representatives should follow the uninformed and prejudiced views of their electorate against their better judgement.

Strache seems to have specialized in "fake news" - ie mostly invented stuff claiming Muslims, immigrants or whoever were treated in a better way than native Austrians or threatened native Austrians.

It is a very convenient technique when you plan to cut social services, you have someone to blame.

Piotr Berman , May 19, 2019 9:05:45 PM | 0
To those who fill that politics of Strache are obnoxious and that justifies entrapment, remembers that methods of that type are not improvised, and that means that there is an apparatus that does it. We noted similarities with provocations against George Papadopoulos. In the latter case the target was cautious, after all, we had to be well aware of such methods. But anyone who is despised by NATO establishment are similar group can be on the receiving end, think about Assange.

[May 18, 2019] Democracy works in the USA is you abstract from such minor things as the level of connection of past US presidents to CIA, money in politics, pervasive propaganda and so on

May 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , May 17, 2019 8:54:11 PM | link

lysias: A president doesn't have to obey the orders of the powers that be ...

Well, that's why they select the President beforehand to ensure there are no inconvenient difficulties with a new President.

In fact, our President's have generally had a connection to CIA: Bush Sr. was CIA, Clinton is said to allowed their flights into Arkansas, GW Bush was son of CIA, Obama is said to have come from a CIA family (grandfather and probably mother) , and some have pointed to Trump's first casino deal as a possible CIA tie (related to money laundering of CIA drug money)

Pretending otherwise furthers the democracy works! narrative. Isn't it already clear that the West is feudal and Empire First (aka globalist) - despite Trump's faux populist pretense? US foreign policy has been remarkably consistent for over 20 years. US congressmen takes oaths to Israel. Western propaganda sing the Deep State tune.

Welcome to the rabbithole.

Jackrabbit , May 17, 2019 9:26:14 PM | link
dltravers @53: hope Trump loses [the elections] and the policy is reversed

In other words: democracy works!

Just ignore:

  • money in politics;
  • pervasive propaganda;
  • things you CAN'T vote for (absolute support for Israel and military adventures);
  • CIA connections to past Presidents;
  • loyalty oaths to Israel;
  • jailing of Assange (after unprecedented break of asylum protection);
  • the lies of past Presidents;
  • Cold War imperatives;
  • Sanders sheep-dogging;
  • dirty tricks against protest movements like Gillet Jeune and Occupy.
Welcome to the rabbit hole/

[May 16, 2019] Warren can steal considerbale chunk of Trump 2016 voters

May 16, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): "Trump backers applaud Warren in heart of MAGA country" [ Politico ]. West Virginia: "It was a startling spectacle in the heart of Trump country: At least a dozen supporters of the president -- some wearing MAGA stickers -- nodding their heads, at times even clapping, for liberal firebrand Elizabeth Warren . LeeAnn Blankenship, a 38-year-old coach and supervisor at a home visitation company who grew up in Kermit and wore a sharp pink suit, said she may now support Warren in 2020 after voting for Trump in 2016.

'She's a good ol' country girl like anyone else,' she said of Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma. 'She's earned where she is, it wasn't given to her. I respect that.'"

Also: "The 63-year-old fire chief, Wilburn 'Tommy' Preece, warned Warren and her team beforehand that the area was 'Trump country' and to not necessarily expect a friendly reception. But he also told her that the town would welcome anyone, of any party, who wanted to address the opioid crisis ." ( More on West Virginia in 2018 .

Best part is a WaPo headline: "Bernie Sanders Supporter Attends Every DNC Rule Change Meeting. DNC Member Calls Her a Russian Plant." • Lol. I've been saying "lol" a lot, lately.)

Warren (D)(2): "Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change" [Elizabeth Warren, Medium ]. "In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day, and it is undermining our military readiness. And instead of meeting this threat head-on, Washington is ignoring it  --  and making it worse . That's why today I am introducing my Defense Climate Resiliency and Readiness Act to harden the U.S. military against the threat posed by climate change, and to leverage its huge energy footprint as part of our climate solution.

It starts with an ambitious goal: consistent with the objectives of the Green New Deal, the Pentagon should achieve net zero carbon emissions for all its non-combat bases and infrastructure by 2030 .. We don't have to choose between a green military and an effective one . Together, we can work with our military to fight climate change  --  and win." • On the one hand, the Pentagon's energy footprint is huge, and it's a good idea to do something about that. On the other, putting solar panels on every tank that went into Iraq Well, there are larger questions to be asked. A lot of dunking on Warren about this. It might play in the heartland, though.

[May 15, 2019] Warren does have some sound ideas about taming the financial oligarchy, but she is completly incompetent in foreign policy, where she is undistinguishable from other establishment Democrats

Her call for impeachment procedures is a blunder. She is trying to play the dominant mood of the Dems crowd, not understanding that in this case Biden will be the winner.
Notable quotes:
"... Beto O'Rourke, the rich-kid airhead who declared shortly before the Mueller report was released that Trump, "beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to collude with the Russian government," will not fare much better. ..."
"... Sen. Elizabeth Warren meanwhile seems to be tripping over her own two feet as she predicts one moment that Trump is heading to jail , declares the next that voters don't care about the Mueller report because they're too concerned with bread-and-butter issues, and then calls for dragging Congress into the impeachment morass regardless. ..."
May 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Originally from: Russia-gate’s Monstrous Offspring by Daniel Lazare

Besides Fox News – whose ratings have soared while Russia-obsessed CNN’s have plummeted – the chief beneficiary is Trump. Post-Mueller, the man has the wind in his sails. Come 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders could cut through his phony populism with ease. But if Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post succeeds in tarring him with Russia the same way it tried to tar Trump, then the Democratic nominee will be a bland centrist whom the incumbent will happily bludgeon.

Former Vice President Joe Biden – the John McCain-loving, speech-slurring, child-fondler who was for a wall along the Mexican border before he was against it – will end up as a bug splat on the Orange One’s windshield.

Beto O'Rourke, the rich-kid airhead who declared shortly before the Mueller report was released that Trump, "beyond the shadow of a doubt, sought to collude with the Russian government," will not fare much better.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren meanwhile seems to be tripping over her own two feet as she predicts one moment that Trump is heading to jail , declares the next that voters don't care about the Mueller report because they're too concerned with bread-and-butter issues, and then calls for dragging Congress into the impeachment morass regardless.

Such "logic" is lost on voters, so it seems to be a safe bet that enough will stay home next Election Day to allow the rough beast to slouch towards Bethlehem yet again.

[May 15, 2019] Bernie Sanders on trade with China, health care and student debt

Good domestic policy suggestions and debate skills. Horrible understanding of foreign policy (he completely subscribes to the Russiagate hoax)
His capitulation to Hillary in 2016 still linger behind his back despite all bravado. he betrayed his followers, many of who put money of this while being far from rich. he betrayed them all. As such he does not deserve to run.
Warren and Tulsi are definitely better options then Sanders for 2020.
May 07, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., became a household name in 2016 when he ran a progressive campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination -- and came close to securing it. He's back in the 2020 race, but this time up against more than 20 other candidates. Sanders sits down with Judy Woodruff to discuss trade with China, health care, student debt, Russian election interference and more.

[May 14, 2019] The Guardian summary of the day

May 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

4.56pm EDT 16:56

Here's a summary of the day thus far: Donald Trump praised attorney general William Barr for opening what appears to be a broad investigation of the Russia counterespionage investigation that swept up the Trump campaign. Barr appointed a US attorney to lead the inquiry and reportedly has got the CIA and DNI involved.

Senator Elizabeth Warren took a "hard pass" on an offer to do a Fox News town hall event, calling the network "hate-for-profit".

[May 14, 2019] Cory Booker Compares Elizabeth Warren to Trump

Warren definitely have the courage to put forward those important proposals. Lobbyists like Cory Booker of course attack them.
Notable quotes:
"... It's called Anti-Trust laws not her "opinions"... ..."
"... Let's be honest, Booker isn't fit to shine Warren's shoes! I wonder if Cory's ass is jealous of all the shit that just came out of his mouth!! SMDH ..."
"... CB bought and paid for by drug companies. Of course he doesn't like Warren. But ask him about Americans right to free speech and he puts after the needs of any foriegn country ..."
"... He who looks like a slick bouncer for the big money monopolies, is looking to get a piece of it ..."
May 14, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Marduk of Nexus , 55 seconds ago

I knew the establishment Dems would fight against the progressives, but this is so blatant...

TheBreaker OfWalls , 1 minute ago

It's called Anti-Trust laws not her "opinions"...

Ronn Thomason , 2 minutes ago

Let's be honest, Booker isn't fit to shine Warren's shoes! I wonder if Cory's ass is jealous of all the shit that just came out of his mouth!! SMDH

molson12oz , 11 minutes ago

Cory- .Most Americans will NOT think you are Presidential Caliber.Where's the MONEY coming from? Small donor contributions? I don't even think you'll get the Black & hispanic vote.Why do this?

You are stealing the votes from way more qualified candidates. Bad idea if you want to have Democratic POTUS in 2020

BRIAN , 11 minutes ago (edited)

CB bought and paid for by drug companies. Of course he doesn't like Warren. But ask him about Americans right to free speech and he puts after the needs of any foriegn country

Scott Price , 12 minutes ago

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren need to form a Democratic ticket.

William MARDER , 15 minutes ago

He who looks like a slick bouncer for the big money monopolies, is looking to get a piece of it

Mitchel Evans , 16 minutes ago

After that Trump remark, Cory can bite my butt. Whatever disagreements I may have with Warren, she has some very daring, intelligent, and discussion-worthy policies. We need her in the next administration, whether as potus or in the cabinet. Sheesh, Cory, burn your bridges, sir.

Pierre Lefrançois , 18 minutes ago

Don't worry about C Booker, he's a light weight with talking points and no virtuous convictions.

Peter Krug , 23 minutes ago

Cory Booker is a lot more like Trump than Elizabeth Warren is.

[May 13, 2019] Balkanization of the USA is not atypical

May 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , May 11, 2019 7:03:03 PM | link

@ Laquerre 60
My impression was that the intellectual class (my contacts) still hate the Islamic regime as much as they ever did. Iran is a divided country.
Is that unusual, for people to be divided and for some to hate their government?
I think not.
The US is certainly divided currently. France too, and others.
According to the Real Clear Politics US polls:
--President Trump job approval 45%
--Direction of country wrong track 54-50% here
Also, 42% of US the voting-eligible population did not vote in the 2016 election

Bottom line: The US with its many domestic problems including historic racism and mysoginism should keep its nose out if others peoples' domestic affairs.

[May 11, 2019] Is Warren's college plan progressive -- Crooked Timber

Notable quotes:
"... It's not obvious to me that universal access to college education is a progressive goal. ..."
"... I think it is extremely important to understand where Warren is coming from on this. Warren initially became active in politics because she recognized the pernicious nature of debt and the impact it had on well-being. I ..."
"... Warren's emphasis in this particular initiative, it seems to me, is to alleviate debt so that individuals can pursue more advanced functionings/capabilities. ..."
"... The more a college degree is the norm, the worse things are for people without one. Making it easier to get a college degree increases the degree to which its the norm, and will almost inevitably have the same impact on the value of a college degree as the growth in high-school attendance (noted by Sam Tobin-Hochstadt above) had on the value of a high school degree. ..."
"... The debate on this subject strikes me as misguided because it says nothing about what students learn. A good high school education should be enough to prepare young people for most kinds of work. In most jobs, even those allegedly requiring college degrees, the way people learn most of what they need to know is through on the job training. Many high school graduates have not received a good education, though, and go to college as, in effect, remedial high school. ..."
May 11, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Is Warren's college plan progressive?

by Harry on May 6, 2019 Ganesh Sitaraman argues in the Garun that, contrary to appearances, and contrary to the criticism that it has earned, Elizabeth Warren's college plan really is progressive, because it is funded by taxation that comes exclusively from a wealth tax on those with more than $50 million in assets. Its progressive, he says, because it redistributes down. In some technical sense perhaps he's right.

But this, quite odd, argument caught my eye:

But the critics at times also suggest that if any significant amount of benefits go to middle-class or upper-middle class people, then the plan is also not progressive. This is where things get confusing. The critics can't mean this in a specific sense because the plan is, as I have said, extremely progressive in the distribution of costs. They must mean that for any policy to be progressive that it must benefit the poor and working class more than it benefits the middle and upper classes. T his is a bizarre and, I think, fundamentally incorrect use of the term progressive .

The logic of the critics' position is that public investments in programs that help everyone, including middle- and upper-class people, aren't progressive. This means that the critics would have to oppose public parks and public K-12 education, public swimming pools and public basketball courts, even public libraries. These are all public options that offer universal access at a low (or free) price to everyone.

But the problem isn't that the wealthy get to benefit from tuition free college. I don't think anyone objects to that. Rather, the more affluent someone is, on average, the more they benefit from the plan. This is a general feature of tuition-free college plans and it is built into the design. Sandy Baum and Sarah Turner explain:

But in general, the plans make up the difference between financial aid -- such as the Pell Grant and need-based aid provided by states -- and the published price of public colleges. This means the largest rewards go to students who do not qualify for financial aid. In plans that include four-year colleges, the largest benefits go to students at the most expensive four-year institutions. Such schools enroll a greater proportion of well-heeled students, who have had better opportunities at the K-12 level than their peers at either two-year colleges or less-selective four-year schools. (Flagship institutions have more resources per student, too.) .

For a clearer picture of how regressive these policies are, consider how net tuition -- again, that's what most free-tuition plans cover -- varies among students at different income levels at four-year institutions. For those with incomes less than $35,000, average net tuition was $2,300 in 2015-16; for students from families with incomes between $35,000 and $70,000, it was $4,800; for those between $70,000 and $120,000, it was $8,100; and finally, for families with incomes higher than $120,000, it was more than $11,000. (These figures don't include living expenses.)

Many low-income students receive enough aid from sources like the Pell Grant to cover their tuition and fees. At community colleges nationally, for example, among students from families with incomes less than $35,000, 81 percent already pay no net tuition after accounting for federal, state and institutional grant aid, according to survey data for 2015-16. At four-year publics, almost 60 percent of these low-income students pay nothing.

... ...

.


Mike Huben 05.06.19 at 1:16 pm ( 1 )

If you take progressivism to mean "improvement of society by reform", Warren's plan is clearly progressive. It reduces the pie going to the rich, greatly improves the lot of students who are less than rich, and doesn't harm the poor.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

nastywoman 05.06.19 at 1:37 pm ( 2 )
@
"Is Warren's college plan progressive"?

Who cares – as long as this plan -(and hopefully an even more extended plan) puts an end to a big part of the insanity of the (stupid and greedy) US education system?

In other words – let's call it "conservative" that might help to have it passed!

Trader Joe 05.06.19 at 1:49 pm ( 3 )
The difficulty with the plan as proposed is not whether it is progressive or not but that it targets the wrong behavior – borrowing for education. If the goal is to make education more accessible – subsidize the university directly to either facilitate point of admission grants in the first place or simply bring down tuition cost to all attendees.

Under this proposal (assuming one thinks Warren would win and it could get passed) the maximizing strategy is to borrow as much as one possibly can with the hope/expectation that it would ultimately be forgiven. If that's the "right" strategy, then it would benefit those with the greatest borrowing capacity which most certainly is not students from low income families but is in fact families which could probably pay most of the cost themselves but would choose not to in order to capture a benefit they couldn't access directly by virtue of being 'too rich' for grants or other direct aid.

L2P 05.06.19 at 1:50 pm ( 4 )
"Rather, the more affluent someone is, on average, the more they benefit from the plan. "

This doesn't seem like a fair description of what's going on. If Starbucks gives a free muffin to everyone who buys a latte, it's theoretically helping the rich more than the poor under this way of looking at things. The rich can afford the muffin; the poor can't. So the rich will get more free muffins. But the rich don't give a crap. They can easily just buy the damn muffin in the first place. They're not really being helped, because the whole damn system helps them already. They're just about as well off with or without the free muffin.

Same here. My kid's going to Stanford. I'm effin rich and I don't give a crap about financial aid. If it was free I'd have an extra 75k a year, but how many Tesla's do I need really? How many houses in Hawaii do I need? But when I was a kid I was lower middle class. I didn't even apply to Stanford because it was just too much. Yeah, I could have gone rotc or gotten aid, but my parents just couldn't bust out their contribution. Stanford just wasn't in the cards. And Stanford's a terrible example, it had needs blind admissions and can afford to just give money away if it wants.

This sort of analysis is one step above bullshit.

bianca steele 05.06.19 at 2:02 pm ( 5 )
I don't understand the fear, in certain areas of what's apparently the left, of giving benefits to people in the middle of the income/wealth curve.

The expansion of the term "middle class" doesn't help with this, nor does the expansion of education. These debates often sound as if some of the participants think of "middle class" as the children of physicians and attorneys, who moreover are compensated the way they were in the 1950s.

The ability to switch between "it's reasonable to have 100% college attendance within 5 years from now" and "of course college is only for the elite classes" is not reassuring to the average more or less educated observer (who may or may not be satisfied, depending on temperament and so on, with the answer that of course such matters are above her head).

Ben 05.06.19 at 2:12 pm ( 7 )
The actual plan is for free tuition at public colleges. So not "the most expensive four-year institutions" that Baum and Turner discuss. [HB: they're referring to the most expensive 4-year public institutions]

There's also expanded support for non-tuition expenses, means-tested debt cancellation, and a fund for historically black universities, all of which make the plan more progressive. And beyond that, I could argue that, for lower-income students on the margin of being able to attend and complete school, we should count not only the direct financial aid granted, but also the lifetime benefits of the education the aid enables. But suffice it to say, I think you're attacking a caricature.

Dave 05.06.19 at 2:17 pm ( 9 )
the college plan does not actually offer 'universal access'

Given that something like one third of Americans gets a college degree, Warren's plan seems good enough. It's not obvious to me that universal access to college education is a progressive goal.

Michael Glassman 05.06.19 at 3:46 pm ( 16 )
I think it is extremely important to understand where Warren is coming from on this. Warren initially became active in politics because she recognized the pernicious nature of debt and the impact it had on well-being. If you are trying to get out from under the burden of debt your capabilities for flourishing are severely restricted, and these restrictions can easily become generational. One of the more difficult debts that people are facing are student debts. This was made especially difficult by the 2005 bankruptcy bill which made it close to impossible for individuals to get out from under student debt by entering in to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Warren's emphasis in this particular initiative, it seems to me, is to alleviate debt so that individuals can pursue more advanced functionings/capabilities. So if you think that the definition of progressive is creating situations where more individuals in a society are given greater opportunities for flourishing then the plan does strike me as progressive (an Aristotelian interpretation of Dewey such as promoted by Nussbaum might fall in this direction). There is another issue however that might be closer to the idea of helping those from lowest social strata, something that is not being discussed near enough. Internet technologies helped to promote online for profit universities which has (and I suppose continues to) prey and those most desperate to escape poverty with limited resources. The largest part of their organizations are administrators who help students to secure loans with promises of high paying jobs once they complete their degrees. These places really do prey on the most vulnerable (homeless youth for instance) and they bait individuals with hope in to incurring extremely high debt. The loan companies are fine with this I am guess because of the bankruptcy act (they can follow them for life). This is also not regulated (I think you can thank Kaplan/Washington Post for that). Warren's initiative would help them get out from under debt immediately and kick start their life.

I agree k-12 is more important, but it is also far more complicated. This plan is like a shot of adrenaline into the social blood stream and it might not even be necessary in a few years. I think it dangerous to make the good the enemy or the perfect, or the perfect the critic of the good.

nastywoman 05.06.19 at 5:28 pm ( 22 )
– and how cynical does one have to be – to redefine a plan canceling the vast majority of outstanding student loan debt – as some kind of ("NON-progressive") present for "the rich"?
Sam Tobin-Hochstadt 05.06.19 at 5:59 pm ( 25 )
I think this work by Susan Dynarski and others really makes the case that reducing price will change access and populations significantly: https://www.chronicle.com/article/How-U-of-Michigan-Appealed-to/245294

But even apart from that, the argument of the post seems like it would suggest that many things that we currently fund publicly are not progressive in a problematic way. Everything from arts to national parks to math research "benefits" the rich more than the poor. There's possibly a case that public provision of these goods is problematic when we as a society could spend that money on those who are more disadvantaged. But that's a very strong claim and implicates far more than free college.

Finally, it's worth comparing the previous major expansion of education in the US. The point at which high school attendance was as widespread as college attendance is now (about 70% of high school graduates enroll in college of some form right away) was around 1930, well after universal free high school was available. I think moving to universal free college is an important step to raise those rates, just as free high school was.

Leo Casey 05.06.19 at 7:31 pm ( 29 )
It strikes me that the argument made here against a universal program of tuition free college is not all that different than an argument made against social security -- that the benefits go disproportionately to middle class and professional class individuals. Since in the case of Social Security, one has to be in gainfully employed to participate and one's benefits are, up to a cap, based on one's contributions, middle class and professional class individuals receive greater benefits. Poor individuals, including those who have not been employed for long periods of time, receive less benefits. (There are quirks in this 10 second summary, such as disability benefits, but not so much as to alter this basic functioning.)

Every now and again, there are proposals to "means test" social security, using this functioning as the reasoning. A couple of points are worth considering.

First, it is the universality of social security that makes it a political 'third rail,' such that no matter how it would like to do away with such a 'socialist' program, the GOP never acts on proposals to privatize it, even when they have the Presidency and the majorities that would allow it to get through Congress. The universality thus provides a vital security to the benefits that poor and working people receive from the program, since it makes it politically impossible to take it away. Since social security is often the only pension that many poor and working people get (unlike middle class and professional class individuals who have other sources of retirement income), the loss of it would be far more devastating to them. There is an important way, therefore, that they are served by the current configuration of the system, even given its skewing.

Second, and following from the above, it is important to recognize that the great bulk of proposals to "means test" Social Security come from the libertarian right, not the left, and that they are designed to undercut the support for Social Security, in order to make its privatization politically viable.

Most colleges and universities "means test" financial aid for their students, which is one of the reasons why it is generally inadequate and heavily weighted toward loans as opposed to grants. I think it is a fair generalization of American social welfare experience history to say that "means tested" programs are both more vulnerable politically (think of the Reagan 'welfare queen' narrative) and more poorly funded than universal programs.

There are additional argument about the skewing of Social Security benefits, such as the fact that they go disproportionately to the elderly, while those currently living in poverty are disproportionately children. This argument mistakes the positive effects of the program -- before Social Security and Medicare the elderly were the most impoverished -- for an inegalitarian design element.

The solution to the fact that children bear the brunt of poverty in the US is not to undermine the program that has lifted the elderly out of poverty but to institute programs that address the problem of childhood poverty. Universal quality day care, for example, provides the greatest immediate economic benefits to middle class and professional class families who are now paying for such services, but it provides poor and working class kids with an education 'head start' that would otherwise go only to the children of those families that could afford to pay for it. And insofar as day care is provided, it makes it easier for poor and working class parents (often in one parent households) to obtain decent employment.

So the failings of universal programs are best addressed, I would argue, by filling in the gaps with more universal programs, not 'means testing' them.

To the extent that Warren's 'free tuition' proposal addresses only some of the financial disadvantages of poor and working people obtaining a college education, the response should not be "oh, this is not progressive," but what do we do to address the other issues, such as living expenses. It is not as if there are no models on how to do this. All we need to do is look at Nordic countries that provide post-secondary students both free tuition and living expenses.

christian h. 05.06.19 at 9:15 pm ( 31 )
Having grown up and gone to university in Germany it is simply incomprehensible to me that there is tuition supporters on the political left in the U.S. It's true that free college isn't universal in the same sense free K-12 education is. But neither are libraries (they exclude those who are functionally illiterate completely, and their services surely go mostly to upper middle class people who have opportunity and education to read regularly), for example. Neither are roads – the poor overwhelmingly live in inner cities, often take public transport – it's middle class suburbanites that mostly profit. Speaking of public transport, I assume Henry opposes rail; it is very middle class, the poor use buses. (The last argument actually has considerable traction in Los Angeles, it's not completely far fetched.)
SamChevre 05.06.19 at 11:57 pm ( 40 )
I agree that Warren's free college and debt forgiveness plans would not be very progressive, but I'd propose that I think the dynamic mechanism built in would make it worse than a static analysis shows.

(Note that most of my siblings and in-laws do not have college degrees; this perspective is based on my own observations.)

The more a college degree is the norm, the worse things are for people without one. Making it easier to get a college degree increases the degree to which its the norm, and will almost inevitably have the same impact on the value of a college degree as the growth in high-school attendance (noted by Sam Tobin-Hochstadt above) had on the value of a high school degree. (We're already seeing this: many positions that used to require a college degree now require a specific degree, or a masters degree.) This will increase age discrimination, and further worsen the position of the people for whom college is unattractive for reasons other than money.

To give a particular example of a mechanism (idiosyncratic, but one I know specifically). Until a couple decades ago, getting a KY electrician's license required 4 years experience under a licensed electrician, and passing the code test. Then the system changed; now it requires a 2-year degree and 2 years experience, OR 8 years experience. This was great for colleges. The working electricians don't think the new electricians are better prepared as they used to be, but all of a sudden people who don't find sitting in a classroom for an additional 2 years attractive are hugely disadvantaged. Another example would be nursing licenses; talk to any older LPN and you'll get an earful about how LPN's are devalued as RNs and BSNs have become the norm.

Dr. Hilarius 05.07.19 at 12:39 am ( 42 )
I suspect tuition reform will be complex, difficult and subject to gaming. Being simple minded I offer an inadequate but simple palliative. Make student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy. You can max out your credit cards on cars, clothes, booze or whatever and be able to discharge these debts but not for higher education. The inability to even threaten bankruptcy gives all the power to collection companies. Students have no leverage at all. The threat of bankruptcy would allow for negotiated reductions in principal as well as payments.

Bankruptcy does carry a lot of negative consequences so it would offset the likely objections about moral hazards, blah, blah. I would also favor an additional method of discharging student debt. If your debt is to a for-profit school that can't meet some minimum standards for student employment in their field of study then total discharge without the need for bankruptcy. For-profit vocational schools intensively target low income and minority students without providing significant value for money.

John Quiggin 05.07.19 at 1:44 am ( 44 )
Progressivity looks much better if the program sticks to free community college, at least until there is universal access to 4-year schools. That's what Tennessee did (IIRC the only example that is actually operational).
Gabriel 05.07.19 at 3:03 am ( 47 )
Harry: it doesn't seem as if you responded to my comment. I'll try again.

1. A policy is progressive if it is redistributive.
2. Warren's plan is redistributive.
3. Thus, Warren's plan is progressive.

Comments about how effective the redistribution is are fine, but to claim a non-ideal distribution framework invalidates the program's claims to being progressive seems spurious. And I don't think this definition of progressive is somehow wildly ideosyncratic.

Nia Psaka 05.07.19 at 4:01 am ( 48 )
To whine that free college is somehow not progressive because not everyone will go to college is a ridiculous argument, one of those supposedly-left-but-actually-right arguments that I get so tired of. To assume that the class makeup of matriculators will be unchanged with free college is to discount knock-on effects. This is a weird, weird post. I guess I'm going back to ignoring this site.
Kurt Schuler 05.07.19 at 4:04 am ( 49 )
The debate on this subject strikes me as misguided because it says nothing about what students learn. A good high school education should be enough to prepare young people for most kinds of work. In most jobs, even those allegedly requiring college degrees, the way people learn most of what they need to know is through on the job training. Many high school graduates have not received a good education, though, and go to college as, in effect, remedial high school.

Readers who attended an average American high school, as I did long ago, will know that there are certain students, especially boys, who are itching to be done with school. It is far more productive to give them a decent high school education and have them start working than to tell them they need another two to four years of what to them is pointless rigamarole.

Rather than extending the years of education, I would reduce the high school graduation age to 17 and reduce summer vacations by four weeks, so that a 17 year old would graduate with as many weeks of schooling as an 18 year old now. (Teachers would get correspondingly higher pay, which should make them happy.)

Harry Truman never went to college. John Major became a banker and later prime minister of Britain without doing so. Neither performed noticeably worse than their college-educated peers. If a college education is not necessary to rise to the highest office in the land, why is it necessary for lesser employment except in a few specialized areas?

An experiment that I would like to see tried is to bring back the federal civil service exam, allowing applicants without college degrees who score high enough to enter U.S. government jobs currently reserved for those with college degrees.

[May 09, 2019] Secret Right-Wing Elizabeth Warren Crush

May 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

I would love to have a social conservative who was as red-hot on the abuse of corporate power as she is. Of course there's no way she would ever win the Democratic nomination if she were a social conservative, nor would she be a US Senator from Massachusetts.

Back in 2011, when she announced for the Massachusetts Senate race on an anti-big business platform, I wrote in this space that she was "a Democrat I could vote for." In 2014, observing how far gone she is on cultural leftism, I lamented that I wanted so bad for her to be good -- but hey, you can't always get what you want.

The Week 's Matthew Walther recently wrote a piece praising her from the Right as a "forgotten reactionary." Excerpt:

Warren's vision of human flourishing is fundamentally a conservative one -- or at least it would be if the family were still at the center of the conservative conception of politics. What she argues for is the right of families to thrive, not be the slave of financial interests, corporate power, housing monopolies, the educational establishment, or any other external force. She believes, radically, alas, in 2018, that we all have a right to food, water, housing, education, and medical care. The idea that hard-working Americans should be able to raise their children in comfort and with a sense of dignity is not, or at least should not be, the exclusive purview of any one politician or party. The fact that Warren very frequently does seem to be among the only elected officials in this country who both affirms these things and has taken the trouble to think carefully about them is a reminder that the centrism rejected by her and fellow travelers on the left and the right alike is not only noxious but omnipresent.

Warren's economic vision of human flourishing -- that is, the economic conditions she believes must be in place for people to flourish -- is fundamentally conservative, in an older, more organic sense. Old-fashioned Catholic reactionaries understand exactly what she's talking about, and so would the kind of Christian conservatives who read Wendell Berry and Crunchy Cons (which, alas, came out about 13 years too early).

Lo, Fox News star Tucker Carlson riled up the Right the other night with his tour de force criticism of right-wing free market orthodoxies (among other things).

Last night, he praised Elizabeth Warren for having written a 2003 book about how the US economy traps families. He points out that in her book, Warren made an economic case that the mass entry of women into the workplace has been a financial disaster for families. More:

Elizabeth Warren said that out loud. Nobody seemed to mind. She'd never say that today. It's not allowed like so much else that is true and important. She can't talk about the things that she believed 10 years ago. No modern Democrat can.

Can Republicans? In a follow-up column, Matthew Walther thinks they should, and that Tucker Carlson's commentaries so far this year have been galvanizing. More:

If anyone had suggested to me five years ago that the most incisive public critic of capitalism in the United States would be Tucker Carlson, I would have smiled blandly and mentioned an imaginary appointment I was late for. But that is exactly what the Fox News host revealed himself to be last week with an extraordinary monologue about the state of American conservative thinking. In 15 minutes he denounced the obsession with GDP, the tolerance of payday lending and other financial pathologies, the fetishization of technology, the guru-like worship of CEOs, and the indifference to the anxieties and pathologies of the poor and the vulnerable characteristic of both of our major political parties. It was a masterpiece of political rhetoric. He ended by calling upon the GOP to re-examine its attitude towards the free market.

Carlson's monologue is valuable because unlike so many progressive critics of our social and economic order he has gone beyond the question of the inequitable distribution of wealth to the more important one about the nature of late capitalist consumer culture and the inherently degrading effects it has had on our society. The GOP's blinkered inability to see beyond the specifications of the new iPhone or the latest video game or the infinite variety of streaming entertainment and Chinese plastic to the spiritual poverty of suicide and drug abuse is shared with the Democratic Socialists of America, whose vision of authentic human flourishing seems to be a boutique eco-friendly version of our present consumer society. This is lipstick on a pig.

And:

It is difficult for me to understand exactly why conservatives have come around to their present uncritical attitude toward unbridled capitalism. It cannot be for electoral reasons. Survey after survey reveals that a vast majority of the American people hold views that would be described as socially conservative and economically moderate to progressive. A presidential candidate who spoke capably to both of these sets of concerns would be the greatest political force in three generations.

The answer is that for conservatives the market has become a cult. No book better explains the appeal of classical liberal economics than The Golden Bough , Sir James Frazer's history of magic. Frazer identified certain immutable principles that have governed magical thinking throughout the ages. Among these is the imitative principle according to which a favorable outcome is obtained by mimicry -- the endless chants of entrepreneurship, vague nonsense about charter schools, calls for tax cuts for people who don't make enough money to benefit from them. There also is taboo, the primitive assumption that by not speaking the name of a thing, the thing itself will be thereby be exorcised. This is one reason that any attempt to criticize the current consensus is met with whingeing about "socialism." This catch-all talisman is meant to protect against everything from the Cultural Revolution to modest restrictions on overdraft fees imposed at the behest of consultants.

Read the whole thing.


Haigha January 9, 2019 at 9:34 am

"In the real world you are going to have to keep companies from getting too powerful if you want a free(ish) market."

"So, is it possible that in this everything-can-be-bought-and-sold culture that the massive corporations made the very rational choice to buy themselves a government?"

... ... ...

Franklin Evans , says: January 9, 2019 at 12:22 pm
Noah makes an excellent point about the differences between public- and private-sector unions and collective bargaining units. I would personally add that public-sector unions would never have been necessary if governments were not run under the same philosophy as private-sector employers: minimize the cost of employees by any means possible. I've always held that regardless of any definition of necessity, public-sector unionization was and remains a bad idea.

I also don't know of a better alternative. Sometimes it's the evil you must handle, rather than the lesser of two evils.

As for the shifts in the socio-economic realities, there's a necessary categorization necessary when discussing women in the workforce. I offer these broad categories which are likely arguable. It's a starting point, not a line in the sand.

Families at or below the poverty line: when you control for the benefits of a stay-at-home parent, these families only ever had one option to get above the poverty line enough to no longer need public assistance, and that was a second income. The entire motivation for minimum wage, stable work hours and such was an attempt to mitigate the need for a second income. It gets politicized and complicated from there, partially for good reasons, but unless you look at a given family's income limitations before criticizing the woman's working instead of being at home, you are ignoring the consequences of poverty, which cannot be mitigated by parenting.

The woman has a higher income potential: it started well before the employment argument, as in decades previous women were "permitted" to attain higher education in skill and content areas beyond nursing and teaching. One reaction to that, an analysis conclusion I arrive at personally, was to routinely discriminate against female employees in both compensation and promotion. The prevailing "wisdom" (again, my personal POV) was that women are going to get pregnant anyway, why encourage them away from that? If the only disparity in compensation was for unpaid leave due to pregnancy and childbirth, you might have avoided a large part of the feminist revolution.

The broad mix of "women belong in " arguments based on some moral construct (religious or other): this is where the feminist revolution was inevitable. It comes down to personal agency and choice. I have an Orthodox Jewish relative whose wife fully, happily and creatively embraces her religiously mandated role. She's very intelligent, an erudite writer and speaker, and is as much a pillar of her community as any male in it. We should avoid extreme examples like Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, but her plight without fatal consequences is precisely what many women face, and want to escape. Feminism simply states that such women have the right to make that different choice, and the power the men of their community have over them is a denial of a human right.

I'm sure other broad categories need to be described. I'll leave this before it gets beyond being too long.

Gertrude , says: January 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm
@kgasmart "I defy Elizabeth Warren, or any other prominent lefty, to publicly restate her thesis that the entry of women into the workforce has ultimately harmed the family.

Imagine the furious tweetstorms. How dare she suggests it's been anything but wonderful for women themselves – and thus, for society as a whole. Evidence to the contrary be damned as 'hateful,' of course."

You don't understand the left. And no, having once been in favor of SSM doesn't mean you understand the left. I and many others will happily say the following: "Society was not prepared for the mass entry of women into the workplace. Childcare suffered, work-life balance suffered, male-female relations suffered."

The problem here is that we follow that up with: "The problem was not women having basic aspirations to the dignity and relative economic security work offers. The problem was a government captured by the rich who don't understand what policy for families that can't afford nannies would look like. The problem was also a social structure which valued families less than it valued proscribed gender roles. Time to chart a different course."

Trust me, feminists talk all the time about how much harder it is to have a family these days. We just don't think the problem exists because women selfishly wanted basic economic security.

KD , says: January 9, 2019 at 2:24 pm
Warren is a smart, informed academic with some solid views on economic issues.

On the other hand, she is a terrible politician, and not suited for high executive office. She lacks gravitas and has no intuition for the optics of what she does, going from gaffe to gaffe. She'd be chewed up and spit out before she became a contender.

While I think HRC had terrible ideas, I never questioned her capacity to project authority and credibility, that is, "act presidential". In contrast, Obama's dork factor got him in trouble on a number of occasions (although his "communist salute" stands out), and Warren is many times more a dork than Obama.

Zgler , says: January 9, 2019 at 3:28 pm
"I confess I have never understood her appeal. She is the very model of a useless New England scold, constantly seeking to regulate just about everything. There is almost no problem that more government, more regulation – usually with no oversight – cannot fix. No, thank you."

This sounds like someone who has not researched Warren's writings and positions

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

and just does not like her style (i.e. New England Scold). I think her style, which would be fine in a man (e.g. who is a scold if not Bernie) will primary her out.

Hector_St_Clare , says: January 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm
The market is not a Platonic deity, floating in the sky and imposing goodness and prosperity from on high. It is the creation of our choices, our laws, and our democratic process. We know, for instance, that pornography has radically altered how young boys perceive their relationships with women and sex, and that the pornography industry has acquired a lot of wealth in the process of creating and distributing that content. Just last month, we learned that a Chinese entity created the first gene-edited baby, using a technology developed in the United States. Some company, here or there, will eventually create a lot of prosperity by using this gene-editing technology (called CRISPR) in an unethical way, quite literally playing God with the most sacred power in the universe -- the creation of human life. In the past few years, it has become abundantly clear that Apple -- despite self-righteously refusing to cooperate with American security officials -- has willingly complied with the requirements of the Chinese surveillance state, even as China builds concentration camps for dissidents and religious minorities. And, as Carlson mentioned, there are marijuana companies pushing for legalization, though we know from the Colorado experience that legalization increases use, and from other studies that use is concentrated among the lower class, causing a host of social problems in the process.

I'm an anti-capitalist so of course I'd agree with JD Vance that there's no good reason to trust the free market or the owners of capitalist enterprises. Nonetheless, I can't join him in his specific criticisms of free markets here, and I think this kind of underscores the difficulties there may be in building bridges between social conservatives and social liberals. Bridges can certainly be built, for sure, but it will take some work and some painful compromises, and this is a good example of why: several of the things that JD Vance points to as examples of free markets gone wrong, are things that I'd say are good things, not bad ones.

I'm not going to defend pornography (although I'm not particularly going to criticize it that much either: while I distrust conservative / orthodox Christian sexual ethics, I don't really care about pornography per se and would be happy if the more violent / weird / disturbing stuff was banned). Gene editing of humans though strikes me as a clearly good thing: why wouldn't we want our species to be more peaceful, better looking, more pro-social and more healthy? And why wouldn't we, at the margins, want to raise people who might otherwise be born with serious physical or mental handicaps to be 'fixed'? I have a lot of fears for the future of the world, but the idea that gene editing of our species might become commonplace is one of the things that makes me hopeful. I also think it's a good thing that tech companies are cooperating with the Chinese state: not because I like China and its government, particularly, but because I believe strongly in the sovereign nation state and in the right of national governments to decide how foreign companies are going to behave on their territory. I'd much rather a world in which companies in China are constrained by the Chinese state than one in which they're constrained by no rules at all other than their own will. Finally, the legalization of marijuana and other soft drugs seems to me to be a good thing as well.

I'm sure that JD Vance and I can come to lots of agreement over other issues, but I did want to point out there may be stumbling blocks over social issues as well- precisely because these issues do matter. They don't matter as much as the economic issues, but they do matter somewhat.

EarlyBird , says: January 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm
All of these critiques of capitalism from social conservatives hews exactly to the platform of a tiny little party, the American Solidarity Party:

https://solidarity-party.org/

Among the planks in their platform:

"We believe that family, local communities, and voluntary associations are the first guarantors of human dignity, and cultivate mutual care. National institutions and policies should support, not supplant them."

Quite seriously, the entire party could have been invented by Rod, and I mean that as the highest endorsement.

Haigha , says: January 9, 2019 at 4:43 pm
"You think creating a power vacuum will prevent big businesses from imposing their will on the population? Go back and look at your beloved 19th century and tell me that absent government intervention corporations won't crush peoples lives for a few extra cents."

Absolutely. Absent government help, businesses can't do anything except offer people goods or services, or offer to purchase their labor or goods or services, on terms the individuals may or may not find advantageous compared to the status quo. When Big Business ran roughshod over people in the 19th Century, it was because government helped them (e.g., court cases letting businesses off the hook for their liabilities because of the supposed need for "progress").

[May 08, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Student Loan Debt Forveness propasal: critique from the conservarives

Not all specialties are created equal. It is clear that a person who take loan to became obtain a degree in communications is deeply misguided as chances to get a well paying job with this specially are close to zero. Many "humanitarian" specialties are similar -- unemployment is almost guaranteed and if a person was misled we should prosecute greedy university administrators and jail some of them. Such specialties should have a disclaimer: employment is difficult to obtain. Unemployment is almost garanteed. Take the courses at your own risk.
At the same time for STEM degrees Warren proposal makes more sense as people who enrolled into those specialties tried a more realistic approach, but probably job market turned bad or level of talent is not enough or both. while people in this specialties are needed but their chances for employment are crippled by the flow of H1B applicants so part of those costs should be subsidized by fees for large H1B employers, such as Microsoft and Google. Or something like that.
At the same time why we should forgive a person the debt if the particular person specialized in, say, dance? What is the social value of oversupply of dancers? So probably subsidies should be selective and limited to STEM specialties and selected "high social value" humanitarian specialties.
So the loan forgiveness is a crippled, somewhat unfair but still a reasonable approach.
But the key problem is not loads but greed of neoliberal educational institutions. Cost of tuition skyrocketed after 1980 and that's not accidental: this is drect result of neoliberalism corruption of higher education. The ability of government to prosecute "too greedy" colleges is important. Limits of salary of administrators and especially president and vice president and deens are critical.
Notable quotes:
"... The total cost of Warren's plan would be $1.25 trillion over 10 years, with the debt forgiveness portion consisting of a one-time cost of $640 billion. Warren plans to pay for her plan by imposing an annual tax of 2 percent on all families that have $50 million or more in wealth. ..."
"... Warren is right to focus attention on the matter of student loans. This is a major issue for young people and experts have been warning of a crisis for years. ..."
"... After all, they are victims of a scam perpetrated by the education cartel and the federal government. ..."
"... Here's how it works: the education cartel sells the lie that only those with four-year college degrees can succeed in life. Then they steer everyone with a pulse towards a university. ..."
"... The government steps in and subsidizes student loans that allow almost anyone to go to college, regardless of their ability to pay the loans back. ..."
"... College is not for everyone and there's no reason to keep promoting that idea. ..."
"... Reduce the overabundance of administrators. The number has exploded since the 1990s. ..."
"... A lot of required courses are just padding to make the experience drag on for four years. That creates unneeded expenditures of time and money. ..."
"... several nations currently do offer virtually free college educations & I don’t believe their diplomas are of less value for it. ..."
May 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren recently jolted the Democratic presidential primary race by tackling one of the most important issues of our time: student loans and the cost of higher education. Warren called for canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt for every American making under $100,000 a year. In addition, she would make two- and four-year public college tuitions free for all new students.

The total cost of Warren's plan would be $1.25 trillion over 10 years, with the debt forgiveness portion consisting of a one-time cost of $640 billion. Warren plans to pay for her plan by imposing an annual tax of 2 percent on all families that have $50 million or more in wealth.

Warren is right to focus attention on the matter of student loans. This is a major issue for young people and experts have been warning of a crisis for years.

But in most cases, it isn't right to blame student loan borrowers for their predicaments. After all, they are victims of a scam perpetrated by the education cartel and the federal government.

Here's how it works: the education cartel sells the lie that only those with four-year college degrees can succeed in life. Then they steer everyone with a pulse towards a university.

The government steps in and subsidizes student loans that allow almost anyone to go to college, regardless of their ability to pay the loans back. These loans are a trap, and not just with regard to their cost. The government, which took over the student loan industry , forbids borrowers from discharging that debt in bankruptcy proceedings.

How do such cheap and easy student loans affect universities? For starters, they have caused a proliferation of degrees that offer poor returns on investment . In addition, they have led to the dilution of the value of previously marketable degrees such as those in the humanities and international relations, as more students enter those programs than could ever hope to work in their respective fields. For example, in 2013, half of all those who had graduated from college were working in jobs that did not require degrees .

But worst of all, the easy access to student loans has destroyed the price mechanism, which is so important for determining the real supply and demand of a product. Since government is the ultimate payer, tuition has been pushed sky high. The rate of tuition increase has actually outpaced inflation threefold .

Is Elizabeth Warren's plan the solution? No! It will only make things worse.

For starters, the wealth tax that she would use to fund her plan is likely unconstitutional . But even if it was upheld by the Supreme Court, it would still be bad policy. Countries that have imposed wealth taxes like France and Sweden have found that the rich simply leave and take their assets with them rather than pay more.

As for the idea of universal student loan debt forgiveness, it is a bad policy on the merits. For starters, it does not make economic sense to forgive the debts of those who will earn at least $17,500 more a year than those who don't go to college.

Also, although the student loan bubble has been inflated by the actions of both the education cartel and government, at the end of the day, loans are a contract. Those who are able to pay them down should and not be bailed out.

... ... ...

Finally, we need to promote alternatives to college. There are many well-paying jobs out there that don't require degrees . There are also apprentice programs offered by organizations like Praxis . We should encourage entrepreneurship, which is how so many in this country have lifted themselves out of poverty. College is not for everyone and there's no reason to keep promoting that idea.

Kevin Boyd is a freelance writer based in Louisiana. He is a contributor to The Hayride, a southern news and politics site. He has also been published in , The Federalist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution , and The New York Observer among other publications.


Lert345, says: May 8, 2019 at 3:14 pm

How to make college cost effective. Two major reforms

1. Reduce the overabundance of administrators. The number has exploded since the 1990s.

2. Restructure college. Most programs don’t need to be four years long. Most can be cut to 2 1/2 – 3 years. A chemistry student should be taking courses required for a chemistry degree, nothing more (unless he/she wants to). A lot of required courses are just padding to make the experience drag on for four years. That creates unneeded expenditures of time and money.

After doing the above, then maybe we can talk about “free” college.

mrscracker, says: May 8, 2019 at 4:04 pm
I personally believe that we should each pay our own way through life as much as possible, but several nations currently do offer virtually free college educations & I don’t believe their diplomas are of less value for it.

I agree with you that other avenues like trades should be encouraged. A four year degree isn’t necessary for everyone.

DavidE, says: May 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm
@workingdad. If a wealth tax is unconstitutional, do you consider a property tax also unconstitutional?

[May 08, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's Watered-Down Populism

May 08, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Too often caught between Randian individualism on one hand and big-government collectivism on the other, America's working-class parents need a champion.

They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap , co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows. Long a samizdat favorite among socially conservative writers, the book recently got a new dose of attention after being spotlighted on the Right by Fox News's Tucker Carlson and on the Left by Vox's Matthew Yglesias .

The book's main takeaway was that two-earner families in the early 2000s seemed to be less, rather than more, financially stable than one-earner families in the 1970s. Whereas stay-at-home moms used to provide families with an implicit safety net, able to enter the workforce if circumstances required, the dramatic rise of the two-earner family had effectively bid up the cost of everyday life. Rather than the additional income giving families more breathing room, they argue, "Mom's paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class."

Warren and Warren Tyagi report that as recently as the late 1970s, a married mother was roughly twice as likely to stay at home with her children than work full-time. But by 2000, those figures had almost reversed. Both parents had been pressed into the workforce to maintain adequate standards of living for their families -- the "two-income trap" of the book's title. Advertisement

What caused the trap to be sprung? Cornell University economist Francine Blau has helpfully drawn a picture of women's changing responsiveness to labor market wages during the 20th century. In her work with Laurence Kahn, Blau found that women's wage elasticities -- how responsive their work decisions were to changes in their potential wages -- used to be far more heavily driven by their husband's earning potential or lack thereof (what economists call cross-wage elasticity). Over time, Blau and Kahn found, women's responsiveness to wages -- their own or their husbands -- began to fall, and their labor force participation choices began to more closely resemble men's, providing empirical backing to the story Warren and Warren Tyagi tell.

Increasing opportunity and education were certainly one driver of this trend. In 1960, just 5.8 percent of all women over age 25 had a bachelor's degree or higher. Today, 41.7 percent of mothers aged 25 and over have a college degree. Many of these women entered careers in which they found fulfillment and meaning, and the opportunity costs, both financially and professionally, of staying home might have been quite high.

But what about the plurality of middle- and working-class moms who weren't necessarily looking for a career with a path up the corporate ladder? What was pushing them into full-time work for pay, despite consistently telling pollsters they wished they could work less?

The essential point, stressed by Warren and Warren Tyagi, was the extent to which this massive shift was driven by a desire to provide for one's children. The American Dream has as many interpretations as it does adherents, but a baseline definition would surely include giving your children a better life. Many women in America's working and middle classes entered the labor force purely to provide the best possible option for their families.


Fran Macadam April 4, 2019 at 4:34 pm

She Woke up.

Careerism trumps sanity. In the age of #MeToo, it's got to be all about me.

Tim , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Warren's academic work and cheeky refusal to fold under pressure when her nomination as Obama's consumer ('home ec.'?) finance czar was stymied by the GOP are worthy of respect. I'd like to see her make a strong run at the dem nomination, but am put off by her recent tendency to adopt silly far-left talking points and sentiments (her Native DNA, advocating for reparations, etc.). Nice try, Liz, but I'm still leaning Bernie's direction.

As far as the details of the economic analysis related above, though, I am unqualified to make any judgment – haven't read the book. But one enormously significant economic development in the early 70s wasn't mentioned at all, so I assume she and her daughter passed it over as well. In his first term R. Milhouse Nixon untethered, once & for all, the value of the dollar from traditional hard currency. The economy has been coming along nicely ever since, except for one problematic aspect: with a floating currency we are all now living in an economic environment dominated by the vicissitudes of supplies and demands, are we not? It took awhile to effect the housing market, but signs of the difference it made began to emerge fairly quickly, and accelerated sharply when the tides of globalism washed lots of third world lucre up on our western shores. Now, as clearly implied by both Warren and the author of this article, young Americans whose parents may not have even been born back then – the early 70s – are probably permanently priced out of the housing market in places that used to have only a marginally higher cost of entry – i.e. urban California, where I have lived and worked for most of my nearly 60 years. In places like this even a 3-earner income may not suffice! Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism. Of course, nothing could be more conservative than that, right? What say you, TAColytes?

K squared , says: April 5, 2019 at 7:05 am
"Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers."

Funny that Warren HAS brought up raising taxes on the rich.

[May 07, 2019] The Neoliberal Record Of Kamala Harris, The Democrat's Rising Star by Roqayah Chamseddine

Highly recommended!
Aug 16, 2017 | www.mintpressnews.com

... ... ...

In 2014, lawyers for Kamala Harris argued in court that if minimum-custody inmates were released early, the state of California would "lose an important labor pool." These inmates included firefighters, who are paid $1 an hour to confront some of the deadliest blazes in California history. Harris later argued that she was unaware her own office argued in favor of keeping parolees in jail so they could serve as the state's on-call cheap labor.

A breakthrough profile in the New York Times referred to Harris as a "top cop" prosecutor who, according to critics, "failed to take on prosecutorial misconduct." The profile noted in 2015 her office was called out for "defending convictions obtained by local prosecutors who inserted a false confession into the transcript of a police interrogation, lied under oath, and withheld crucial evidence from the defense."

Police crimes were largely ignored by Harris. Oakland police officer Miguel Masso shot and killed Alan Blueford in 2012. Multiple witnesses said Blueford had no weapon, did not pose a threat to the officer, and was running away from the officer.

The Justice For Alan Blueford Coalition wrote a letter to Harris and demanded she do her job by bringing charges against Masso. Supporters engaged in civil disobedience in 2014, after she refused to meet with them. They were arrested (and police even swept up their legal observer in the arrests).

Harris' book "Smart On Crime," published in 2009, was a testament to a deeply capitalist, dystopian political ideology shared by even the most "progressive" Democrats.

The public is often referred to as "consumers" (examples: "consumers of safety," "consumer education"). They are urged to support a crime policy which relentlessly focuses on violent crime, "and the prosecution of violent criminals."

"The opportunity before us encourages transformation and empowerment of communities: rather than people feeling like helpless victims of crimes, they can become educated consumers of safety."

Harris characterizes policing as a "service" and suggests:

[W]e can find and are finding more effective ways to reduce the sheer volume of nonviolent crime and recidivism, so that those nonviolent offenders don't escalate their behavior and become so enmeshed in the crime cycle that we end up having to pay attention to them -- and frankly pay for them -- for the rest of their lives. The money we save can be used to put more police officers on the street, solve more crimes, attack more high-tech and identity-theft crimes with better technology, and provide services to victims. [emphasis added]

In 2010, Harris pushed a heavy-handed truancy initiative that went into effect in 2011. This anti-truancy bill -- SB 1317 -- made it so that parents of truant children who miss more than 10 percent of their classes can be charged with a misdemeanor and given a $2,000 fine or a year in prison "if, after being offered state support and counseling, their kids still fail to improve their attendance."

This wasn't Harris' first dance with anti-truancy measures, by any means. In 2009, Harris wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that she had already prosecuted 20 parents for truancy, thereby introducing, or reintroducing, children and their families to a criminal justice system that is already stacked against them.

During her 2010 campaign, Harris touted a record of what she described as tough, affirmative crime prevention. Her official campaign page bragged that her felony conviction rate surpassed the years before -- "from 52 percent in 2003 to 67 percent in 2006, the highest in a decade."

Harris played a role in the wider United States drug war, increasing convictions for drug dealers from 56 percent to 74 percent in just three years.

Despite forming the first Mortgage and Investment Fraud Unit in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office, Harris refused to go after "foreclosure king" Steven Mnuchin, a decision she defended as recently as January. Mnuchin, who oversaw some 36,000 foreclosures between 2009 to 2015, violated numerous state foreclosure laws, and yet Harris refused to concede that his record should keep him from serving as President Donald Trump's Treasury Secretary.

Harris' record with police departments and the California prison industry is not simply a result of her job as attorney general. She played a key role in expanding the horizon of state violence.

Now, rather than diversifying the ranks of state actors responsible for oppression, it is critical to force Senator Kamala Harris to reckon with her neoliberal record, regardless of how her "K-Hive" may respond to such efforts.

Published in partnership with Shadowproof .

[May 07, 2019] The Democrats on Our Crazy Defense Spending and neocolonial wars

May 07, 2019 | www.laprogressive.com

The military sucks up 54% of discretionary federal spending. Pentagon bloat has a huge effect on domestic priorities; the nearly $1 trillion a year that goes to exploiting, oppressing, torturing, maiming and murdering foreigners could go to building schools, college scholarships, curing diseases, poetry slams, whatever. Anything, even tax cuts for the rich, would be better than bombs. But as then GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in 2015, "The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things ." If you're like me, you want as little killing and breaking as possible.

Unfortunately, no major Democratic presidential candidate favors substantial cuts to Pentagon appropriations.

Current frontrunner Joe Biden ( 33% in the polls) doesn't talk much about defense spending. He reminds us that his son served in Iraq (so he cares about the military) and that we shouldn't prioritize defense over domestic programs. Vague. Though specific programs might get trimmed, Lockheed Martin could rest easy under a President Biden.

"Since he arrived in Congress, [runner-up] Bernie Sanders [19%] has been a fierce crusader against Pentagon spending , calling for defense cuts that few Democrats have been willing to support," The Hill reported in 2016. "As late as 2002, he supported a 50 percent cut for the Pentagon." Bernie is still a Pentagon critic but he won't commit to a specific amount to cut. He wouldn't slash and Bern. He'd trim.

Elizabeth Warren (8%) wants "to identify which programs actually benefit American security in the 21st century, and which programs merely line the pockets of defense contractors -- then pull out a sharp knife and make some cuts ."

... ... ...

Kamala Harris (5%) has not weighed in on military spending. She has received substantial campaign contributions from the defense industry, though.

The Democrats on Wars for Fun

As senator, Biden voted for the optional wars against Afghanistan and Iraq . He lied about his votes so maybe he felt bad about them. He similarly seems to regret his ro le in destroying Libya.

Sanders voted to invade Afghanistan . His comment at the time reads as hopelessly naïve about the bloodthirsty Bush-Cheney regime: "The use of force is one tool that we have at our disposal to fight against the horror of terrorism and mass murder it is something that must be used wisely and with great discretion." Sanders voted against invading Iraq , favored regime change in Libya ( albeit nonviolently ) and voted to bomb Syria .

There have been no major new wars since 2013, when Warren joined the Senate so her antiwar bona fides have not been tested. Like many of her colleagues, she wants an end to the "forever war" against Afghanistan. She also wants us out of Syria .

Democrats on NSA Spying Against Americans

... ... ...

Joe Biden, though to the right on other foreign-policy issues, was a critic of NSA spying for years, going back at least to 2006. Under Obama, however, he backtracked . Even worse, Biden called the president of Ecuador in 2013 to request that he deny asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Bernie Sanders alone would end warrantless mass surveillance and said Snowden " did this country a great service ." Warren doesn't discuss it much except to say it would be nice to have " an informed discussion ." Harris favors some limits but generally keeps quiet.

[May 06, 2019] Trump is a Symptom of 40 years of NeoLiberalism and the Corporate Capture of the US government.

Notable quotes:
"... Railing against Trump only sets up the next smooth-talking stooge who will start a fresh new con. ..."
"... Dore traces the problem primarily to Democratic Party's turning to identity politics instead of representing the working class. They sold us out. Clinton and Obama are just "Republican light" aka "Centrist" "Third Way" Democrats. "Centrist" = establishment-serving con artists. ..."
"... "Managed democracy" or "guided democracy" : is a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto autocracy. Such governments are legitimized by elections that are free and fair, but do not change the state's policies, motives, and goals. ..."
May 06, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , May 5, 2019 4:00:01 PM | 1 2 ">link

< james @6>

Jimmy Dore has a short video that describes the problem: Trump Is A Symptom Of A Larger Problem .

Dore makes the same point I have: "Trump is a Symptom of 40 years of NeoLiberalism and the Corporate Capture of the U.S. government." Railing against Trump only sets up the next smooth-talking stooge who will start a fresh new con.

Dore traces the problem primarily to Democratic Party's turning to identity politics instead of representing the working class. They sold us out. Clinton and Obama are just "Republican light" aka "Centrist" "Third Way" Democrats. "Centrist" = establishment-serving con artists.

"Managed democracy" or "guided democracy" : is a formally democratic government that functions as a de facto autocracy. Such governments are legitimized by elections that are free and fair, but do not change the state's policies, motives, and goals.

In other words, the government controls elections so that the people can exercise all their rights without truly changing public policy. While they follow basic democratic principles, there can be major deviations towards authoritarianism. Under managed democracy, the state's continuous use of propaganda techniques prevents the electorate from having a significant impact on policy.

The concept of a "guided democracy" was developed in the 20th century by Walter Lippmann in his seminal work Public Opinion (1922) and by Edward Bernays in his work Crystallizing Public Opinion.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

RT has a good video on Yellow Vest protestors (on rt.com homepage). It's kind long for the info that it provides. I suggest skipping some parts.

[May 01, 2019] I think it is an exercise in self delusion when people think they can become educated voters or citizens. It is not happening.

Such discussion would be an excellent way to teach "learned helplessness."
May 01, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

@lotlizard Well being a


span y davidgmillsatty on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 7:26pm

@lotlizard Well being a hippie myself and a staunchly anti-war advocate since the late sixties, I could finesse this and say that I got my skepticism from that era. However, truth be told it was 35 years of practicing law and all the skepticism a law practice engenders that makes me have this opinion.

Years ago I was determined to be an educated voter, only to discover that no one wants voters to know the truth.

When it comes to matters of war, the government just does not want you to know. Period. No matter how diligent you are, the government has no intention of letting the citizens know what is going on about matters of war. And it is pretty much the same about anything that is important.

Lawyers are privy to a lot more government information than other citizens. And I was always frustrated trying to figure out what the government was up to.

So I think it is an exercise in self delusion when people think they can become educated voters or citizens. It is not happening.

Or is it just a case of a frightened passenger @Lookout
grabbing the wheel of a car careening out of control?

Direct Democracy, like Term Limits, assumes that politics is easy and anyone can do it without training, which is not true of lawyers, doctors, teachers, soldiers, salesmen, mechanics, even screw machine operators. Some things are easier to learn than others. Some take innate talent.

One of the demands of XR (extinction rebellion) are citizen assemblies.

Mike Gravel suggest citizens must have more direct democracy
https://mikegravel.com/direct-democracy-by-mike-gravel/

The system is no longer functional...bought and paid for by the very corporations which threaten our ecosystem and promote (nuclear) war. We have to do an end around. What if we just started citizen councils? If nothing else than to combat the mass distortion and misinformation and begin a demand for change. XR sure did well last week.
https://rebellion.earth/2019/04/25/update-7-to-parliament-and-beyond/

We must find the will to change.

span y Lookout on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:03am
Here in Alabama...

@The Voice In the Wilderness

I find myself on the other side of the river from the main stream flow...so real democracy isn't real for me. In other words people are brainwashed and don't make good decisions. People don't have assess to accurate information and don't reach rational conclusions. However I don't see our system capable of dealing with the emergency. If survival is an option, we will be forced to act without and beyond the government IMO.

As to direct democracy...I saw through WMD and russiagate....took me a while to recognize the the Obummer con. Awoke me with the peace prize speech arguing war is peace. Most people want M4all, $15/hr, get out of war, etc. I think we would vote for those things if that was an option instead of R or D? Now getting there is the rub.

#4
grabbing the wheel of a car careening out of control?

Direct Democracy, like Term Limits, assumes that politics is easy and anyone can do it without training, which is not true of lawyers, doctors, teachers, soldiers, salesmen, mechanics, even screw machine operators. Some things are easier to learn than others. Some take innate talent.

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:38pm
Hey, Lookout

@Lookout
In a few more years,I'll have two more Yankee transplant voters to join you. Look forward to gardening discussions and plant trades too.

#4.2

I find myself on the other side of the river from the main stream flow...so real democracy isn't real for me. In other words people are brainwashed and don't make good decisions. People don't have assess to accurate information and don't reach rational conclusions. However I don't see our system capable of dealing with the emergency. If survival is an option, we will be forced to act without and beyond the government IMO.

As to direct democracy...I saw through WMD and russiagate....took me a while to recognize the the Obummer con. Awoke me with the peace prize speech arguing war is peace. Most people want M4all, $15/hr, get out of war, etc. I think we would vote for those things if that was an option instead of R or D? Now getting there is the rub.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:56am
People seem to forget

@The Voice In the Wilderness the reason the founding fathers established a bi-cameral legislature.

It was established to protect the non-majority, too, and to give the non-majority a voice in what was going on.

Small or non-populous states would have no voice at all had the system been direct.

And I am glad, even with today's gridlock, that this exists. I don't want a direct democracy given the mob-like people who have no knowledge of concepts like due process, innocent until proven guilty, habeas corpus, or notions related to corruption of the blood and guilt by association.

We have already had two great examples (Kavanaugh, Trump)of how horribly the mob would rule, had they enough power. We already know how the mob would suppress freedom of speech, now that states are having to pass laws forcing universities to allow conservative speakers.

#4
grabbing the wheel of a car careening out of control?

Direct Democracy, like Term Limits, assumes that politics is easy and anyone can do it without training, which is not true of lawyers, doctors, teachers, soldiers, salesmen, mechanics, even screw machine operators. Some things are easier to learn than others. Some take innate talent.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:16pm
I don't agree.

@dfarrah

Whether a system is bicameral (as in two houses of Congress) or unicameral (one house) doesn't seem to me to be the issue when the discussion is about direct democracy versus representative democracy. If we have direct democracy, we need zero houses.

Claiming the minority have no voice at all in a popular vote is untrue. One person, one vote. Everyone has exactly the same amount of "voice" in a popular vote, whether they live in a sparsely-populated state or a populous states. Unpopular views , however, do get voted down, but not states and not people.

Absent unanimity, which is a pipe dream, rule by a majority of the people is the fairest, even if extraordinary majorities are sometimes required.

As long as allegedly elected alleged representatives to govern us, the golden rule will not change: He, she or it with most of the gold will make all of the rules for the rest of us. A few wealthy people decide everything, thanks to our bought and paid for legislators; and a vast majority of Americans have no say at all. That is the reality and it sucks scissors. Anything that gives a tiny minority of people power over the vast majority of the people is not democracy or fair or anything good.

Moreover, a state is a political unit, best known to most of us as some lines within a map of the United States. I am fine with people in both heavily-populated states and sparsely- populated states having 100% of political power, and lines on a map having zero political power. However, less populous states do have power, no matter what. States have the power in the electoral college (just ask Hillary, the popular vote President) and in ratification of Constitutional amendments. IMO, that is more than enough power for lines on a map.

I don't give a rat's tail how the wealthy Framers felt about it in 1789. (In those days, it was the slave states with their huge plantations that were the more sparsely-populated ones. Gee, I wonder why they feared the popular vote, what with John Adams and other Northerners recommending that the new nation be founded without slavery.)

As far you, me, Caucus99percenters and the rest of our fellow citizens being "the mob,
James Madison, is that you? You and your fellow citizens are a mob? As opposed to what? The corrupt, deceitful war mongers in BOTH houses of Congress who sell their souls-- and ours --to the very rich? I'd love to know why that out-of- touch, pampered, corrupt crappy, soul-less lot should have more power over our lives and the lives of our kids and grandkids than we and our fellow citizens do.

#4.2 the reason the founding fathers established a bi-cameral legislature.

It was established to protect the non-majority, too, and to give the non-majority a voice in what was going on.

Small or non-populous states would have no voice at all had the system been direct.

And I am glad, even with today's gridlock, that this exists. I don't want a direct democracy given the mob-like people who have no knowledge of concepts like due process, innocent until proven guilty, habeas corpus, or notions related to corruption of the blood and guilt by association.

We have already had two great examples (Kavanaugh, Trump)of how horribly the mob would rule, had they enough power. We already know how the mob would suppress freedom of speech, now that states are having to pass laws forcing universities to allow conservative speakers.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:01pm
Okay, I was not clear.

@HenryAWallace As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

You fault our past, bringing up the usual slavery issue. Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

Currently, I have no doubt that a huge group of democrats would imprison people based on speech, wearing a MAGA hat, religion, and baseless evidence-free accusations if they had the power to do so, or that they would try to overthrow elected officials on a whim. Our current system has held, for now, against these types of actions.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it; certainly the smaller and mid-size states would never pass such an amendment, and there are probably blue states that wouldn't like the idea of being run by California and New York.

#4.2.2

Whether a system is bicameral (as in two houses of Congress) or unicameral (one house) doesn't seem to me to be the issue when the discussion is about direct democracy versus representative democracy. If we have direct democracy, we need zero houses.

Claiming the minority have no voice at all in a popular vote is untrue. One person, one vote. Everyone has exactly the same amount of "voice" in a popular vote, whether they live in a sparsely-populated state or a populous states. Unpopular views , however, do get voted down, but not states and not people.

Absent unanimity, which is a pipe dream, rule by a majority of the people is the fairest, even if extraordinary majorities are sometimes required.

As long as allegedly elected alleged representatives to govern us, the golden rule will not change: He, she or it with most of the gold will make all of the rules for the rest of us. A few wealthy people decide everything, thanks to our bought and paid for legislators; and a vast majority of Americans have no say at all. That is the reality and it sucks scissors. Anything that gives a tiny minority of people power over the vast majority of the people is not democracy or fair or anything good.

Moreover, a state is a political unit, best known to most of us as some lines within a map of the United States. I am fine with people in both heavily-populated states and sparsely- populated states having 100% of political power, and lines on a map having zero political power. However, less populous states do have power, no matter what. States have the power in the electoral college (just ask Hillary, the popular vote President) and in ratification of Constitutional amendments. IMO, that is more than enough power for lines on a map.

I don't give a rat's tail how the wealthy Framers felt about it in 1789. (In those days, it was the slave states with their huge plantations that were the more sparsely-populated ones. Gee, I wonder why they feared the popular vote, what with John Adams and other Northerners recommending that the new nation be founded without slavery.)

As far you, me, Caucus99percenters and the rest of our fellow citizens being "the mob,
James Madison, is that you? You and your fellow citizens are a mob? As opposed to what? The corrupt, deceitful war mongers in BOTH houses of Congress who sell their souls-- and ours --to the very rich? I'd love to know why that out-of- touch, pampered, corrupt crappy, soul-less lot should have more power over our lives and the lives of our kids and grandkids than we and our fellow citizens do.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:55pm
.

@dfarrah

As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

Of course. Everyone knows that. My point was that unicameral vs. bicameral is not the issue when discussing direct democracy vs. representative democracy. In a direct democracy, no houses are necessary. In a representative democracy, you can have an infinite number of houses or only one.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

Yes, of course. Mostly from rightists, though. I've also heard of the tyranny of the minority.

You fault our past,

Actually, that not what I did.

bringing up the usual slavery issue.

The "usual slavery issue?" That seems unduly dismissive. In any event, I referenced the colonies whose economies involved slaves, not out of the blue, but because they were directly relevant to the reason the Framers gave sparsely-populated states undue power.

Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

And, in your estimation, these things happened because a minority of people was allowed a veto over the majority of people Because states, lines on a map, were given power over people? If so, I strongly disagree. If anything, allowing minority rule delayed many positive changes. If that is not the reason you're bringing up these historical events, I am not understanding why you are bringing them up. And, btw, many nations effect change without either violence or giving undue power to lines on a map.

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

I think you are vastly oversimplifying the reasons for uprisings, which are often against murderous, tyrannical regimes. Second, again, it's not allowing the minority to override the majority that makes our system either fair or flexible.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it. Good luck trying to pass any constitutional amendment. However, my prior post said nothing about abolishing it. I simply cited it as one example of states--political units, lines on a map--getting to override the will of a majority of human Americans.

#4.2.2.1 As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

You fault our past, bringing up the usual slavery issue. Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

Currently, I have no doubt that a huge group of democrats would imprison people based on speech, wearing a MAGA hat, religion, and baseless evidence-free accusations if they had the power to do so, or that they would try to overthrow elected officials on a whim. Our current system has held, for now, against these types of actions.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it; certainly the smaller and mid-size states would never pass such an amendment, and there are probably blue states that wouldn't like the idea of being run by California and New York.

span y dfarrah on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:40pm
It is as if I am talking

@HenryAWallace to someone who has no historical knowledge, yet I know you do.

The notion of tyranny of the majority is very old, it did not arise from the 'right wing.'

https://edsitement.neh.gov/curriculum-unit/alexis-de-tocqueville-tyranny...

Democracy in America was written in the mid 1800's.

Why am I dismissive toward people who knock the constitution vis-à-vis slavery and bigotry issues? Because slavery and bigotry have been around forever, amongst numerous peoples, yet our system allowed for its correction and continuous improvement. There are still countries where religious and racial bigotry are the norm (Israel, China anyone?). Instead, the US has ultimately decided against isms, as evidenced by regulations and Supreme Court decisions.

"And, in your estimation, these things happened because a minority of people was allowed a veto over the majority of people Because states, lines on a map, were given power over people?"

I have no idea where you reached that conclusion. People won a war of ideas and effected change.

I just find it amusing the number of people who knock a system without even understanding how or why it arose, talking like it was a horror from which all must be destroyed. The fact is, our system adjusted, and continues to adjust, to the needs and wants of its people. And the changes are being done with pens, not violence.

I suppose a member of one of the many aggrieved groups could have acted violently throughout the US instead of waiting for cases to wind through courts and waiting for legislation to pass. I guess MLK could have taken up arms and shot as many whites as possible. I guess women could have taken up arms and killed whole legislative bodies. Maybe gays should have bombed all of the capitols in the US instead of pushing for legislation.

#4.2.2.1.1

As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

Of course. Everyone knows that. My point was that unicameral vs. bicameral is not the issue when discussing direct democracy vs. representative democracy. In a direct democracy, no houses are necessary. In a representative democracy, you can have an infinite number of houses or only one.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

Yes, of course. Mostly from rightists, though. I've also heard of the tyranny of the minority.

You fault our past,

Actually, that not what I did.

bringing up the usual slavery issue.

The "usual slavery issue?" That seems unduly dismissive. In any event, I referenced the colonies whose economies involved slaves, not out of the blue, but because they were directly relevant to the reason the Framers gave sparsely-populated states undue power.

Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

And, in your estimation, these things happened because a minority of people was allowed a veto over the majority of people Because states, lines on a map, were given power over people? If so, I strongly disagree. If anything, allowing minority rule delayed many positive changes. If that is not the reason you're bringing up these historical events, I am not understanding why you are bringing them up. And, btw, many nations effect change without either violence or giving undue power to lines on a map.

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

I think you are vastly oversimplifying the reasons for uprisings, which are often against murderous, tyrannical regimes. Second, again, it's not allowing the minority to override the majority that makes our system either fair or flexible.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it. Good luck trying to pass any constitutional amendment. However, my prior post said nothing about abolishing it. I simply cited it as one example of states--political units, lines on a map--getting to override the will of a majority of human Americans.

span y mimi on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 1:30am
I think you were pretty clear

@dfarrah y
some people have just difficulties to accept majorities. But imho majorities elected in a direct democratic vote are the most honest representation of what the population wants. I am rather abused by a majority than by a minority. At least it deson't make sense to me why I would accept a minority to enforce their will over a majority.

#4.2.2.1 As you probably know, the house was set up to be representative by population. The senate was set up to have 2 senators.

You've never heard the concept of tyranny of the majority?

You fault our past, bringing up the usual slavery issue. Do you forget that it was our system that finally gave full rights to blacks, that the US finally passed laws against various isms? Do you forget that it was our system that gave women the right to vote? Do you forget that our system allowed for the passage of laws to protect various classes of people? Do you realize that most of these changes came without ruinous violence (compared to the rest of the world), and most of the time, issues get talked about and resolved via elections? You lose, you live with the consequences until you win.

Frankly, I can do without the constant violent changes in governments and constant warring among peoples. Do you wish to be like the Tutsis and Hutu? Or the Serbs and Bosnia? What about the Sunnis and Shiites?

There is a reason that the US does not have similar murderous uprisings between whatever groupings of people that might exist. It is because our political system flexes and it is designed to flex.

Currently, I have no doubt that a huge group of democrats would imprison people based on speech, wearing a MAGA hat, religion, and baseless evidence-free accusations if they had the power to do so, or that they would try to overthrow elected officials on a whim. Our current system has held, for now, against these types of actions.

People are unhappy with the electoral college. Good luck trying to pass a constitutional amendment that does away with it; certainly the smaller and mid-size states would never pass such an amendment, and there are probably blue states that wouldn't like the idea of being run by California and New York.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 1:13pm
As to who gets elected,

@HenryAWallace I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

It is astounding to me that my side has behaved so badly and irrationally.

#4.2.2

Whether a system is bicameral (as in two houses of Congress) or unicameral (one house) doesn't seem to me to be the issue when the discussion is about direct democracy versus representative democracy. If we have direct democracy, we need zero houses.

Claiming the minority have no voice at all in a popular vote is untrue. One person, one vote. Everyone has exactly the same amount of "voice" in a popular vote, whether they live in a sparsely-populated state or a populous states. Unpopular views , however, do get voted down, but not states and not people.

Absent unanimity, which is a pipe dream, rule by a majority of the people is the fairest, even if extraordinary majorities are sometimes required.

As long as allegedly elected alleged representatives to govern us, the golden rule will not change: He, she or it with most of the gold will make all of the rules for the rest of us. A few wealthy people decide everything, thanks to our bought and paid for legislators; and a vast majority of Americans have no say at all. That is the reality and it sucks scissors. Anything that gives a tiny minority of people power over the vast majority of the people is not democracy or fair or anything good.

Moreover, a state is a political unit, best known to most of us as some lines within a map of the United States. I am fine with people in both heavily-populated states and sparsely- populated states having 100% of political power, and lines on a map having zero political power. However, less populous states do have power, no matter what. States have the power in the electoral college (just ask Hillary, the popular vote President) and in ratification of Constitutional amendments. IMO, that is more than enough power for lines on a map.

I don't give a rat's tail how the wealthy Framers felt about it in 1789. (In those days, it was the slave states with their huge plantations that were the more sparsely-populated ones. Gee, I wonder why they feared the popular vote, what with John Adams and other Northerners recommending that the new nation be founded without slavery.)

As far you, me, Caucus99percenters and the rest of our fellow citizens being "the mob,
James Madison, is that you? You and your fellow citizens are a mob? As opposed to what? The corrupt, deceitful war mongers in BOTH houses of Congress who sell their souls-- and ours --to the very rich? I'd love to know why that out-of- touch, pampered, corrupt crappy, soul-less lot should have more power over our lives and the lives of our kids and grandkids than we and our fellow citizens do.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:33pm
.

@dfarrah

I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

Because the rich have always had power here, from the East India Company and George III and his colonial governors to the Koch brothers and Soros.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Of course they do. But, the system is rigged in their favor and always has been.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

That is not how your prior post read. However, of course, some unruly activity exists in the US and elsewhere that is not extremely despotic. But, in a population of about 300 million, they people whom you describe constitute a miniscule minority. Your point in your prior post, however, seemed to be that direct democracy as a form of government-all citizens voting on matters like war, taxes, etc. would be mob rule. And my response was that I'd rather be governed by a majority of my fellow citizen than by "our" corrupt, deceitful, insulated, etc. selected (sic) unrepresentatives (sic).

#4.2.2.1 I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

It is astounding to me that my side has behaved so badly and irrationally.

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:53pm
The conflict has always been between the many and the rich

@HenryAWallace
Sometimes the many seize power. But they always lose it because they don't know how to hold it because they are not power drunk fanatics. The rich, the ultra-rich are psychotics that need to have more so that someone else has less. To the ordinary man having lots of money means spending it on pleasurable things. To the rich it means power and ego-enhancment. What sane man wouldn't be content with having a billion dollars and not be consumed with envy because a dozen or so men in the world have more. Who wouldn't enjoy life and have fun and help others? But just look at the world's richest men. They spend long hours consumed with envy that there is someone who has more, to become the first trillionaire. Truly obsessive sickness to cause misery and poverty to the men and women working for you just to add some meaningless zeros to your net worth. Net "worth", I hate that phrase. Gandhi and Mother Teresa had more worth than these sick deranged people.

#4.2.2.1.2

I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

Because the rich have always had power here, from the East India Company and George III and his colonial governors to the Koch brothers and Soros.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Of course they do. But, the system is rigged in their favor and always has been.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

That is not how your prior post read. However, of course, some unruly activity exists in the US and elsewhere that is not extremely despotic. But, in a population of about 300 million, they people whom you describe constitute a miniscule minority. Your point in your prior post, however, seemed to be that direct democracy as a form of government-all citizens voting on matters like war, taxes, etc. would be mob rule. And my response was that I'd rather be governed by a majority of my fellow citizen than by "our" corrupt, deceitful, insulated, etc. selected (sic) unrepresentatives (sic).

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:31pm
"It is astounding to me that my side has behaved so badly."

@dfarrah

If you don't agree with them, why refer to them as "my side?"

#4.2.2.1 I am as mystified as anyone else why we keep electing people who support the mess you described.

IMO, the choices are culled at local levels, so the locals in power, supported by the rich, need to be overpowered.

Mobs to me means the women who were banging on the SC door, the people who have been mobbing repubs at dinner/movies at Maxine Waters' (Booker's, Holder's)behest, people who attack people for wearing Maga hats, people who have been mobbing conservative speakers at universities and at tables promoting conservatives or Trump.

It is astounding to me that my side has behaved so badly and irrationally.

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:56pm
Because no man (or woman) is an island?

@HenryAWallace

#4.2.2.1.2

If you don't agree with them, why refer to them as "my side?"

span y dfarrah on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 9:45pm
You don't think

@HenryAWallace that Trump revealed the hypocrisy of my side?

The dems have flipped on so many issues, it gives me whiplash.

I don't know what side I am on now. I intensely like and dislike things about both sides, although I strongly lean Bernie overall.

#4.2.2.1.2

If you don't agree with them, why refer to them as "my side?"

span y Shaheer on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 12:33am
@HenryAWallace Like a lot of what

@HenryAWallace Like a lot of what you say...

#4.2.2

Whether a system is bicameral (as in two houses of Congress) or unicameral (one house) doesn't seem to me to be the issue when the discussion is about direct democracy versus representative democracy. If we have direct democracy, we need zero houses.

Claiming the minority have no voice at all in a popular vote is untrue. One person, one vote. Everyone has exactly the same amount of "voice" in a popular vote, whether they live in a sparsely-populated state or a populous states. Unpopular views , however, do get voted down, but not states and not people.

Absent unanimity, which is a pipe dream, rule by a majority of the people is the fairest, even if extraordinary majorities are sometimes required.

As long as allegedly elected alleged representatives to govern us, the golden rule will not change: He, she or it with most of the gold will make all of the rules for the rest of us. A few wealthy people decide everything, thanks to our bought and paid for legislators; and a vast majority of Americans have no say at all. That is the reality and it sucks scissors. Anything that gives a tiny minority of people power over the vast majority of the people is not democracy or fair or anything good.

Moreover, a state is a political unit, best known to most of us as some lines within a map of the United States. I am fine with people in both heavily-populated states and sparsely- populated states having 100% of political power, and lines on a map having zero political power. However, less populous states do have power, no matter what. States have the power in the electoral college (just ask Hillary, the popular vote President) and in ratification of Constitutional amendments. IMO, that is more than enough power for lines on a map.

I don't give a rat's tail how the wealthy Framers felt about it in 1789. (In those days, it was the slave states with their huge plantations that were the more sparsely-populated ones. Gee, I wonder why they feared the popular vote, what with John Adams and other Northerners recommending that the new nation be founded without slavery.)

As far you, me, Caucus99percenters and the rest of our fellow citizens being "the mob,
James Madison, is that you? You and your fellow citizens are a mob? As opposed to what? The corrupt, deceitful war mongers in BOTH houses of Congress who sell their souls-- and ours --to the very rich? I'd love to know why that out-of- touch, pampered, corrupt crappy, soul-less lot should have more power over our lives and the lives of our kids and grandkids than we and our fellow citizens do.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:41pm
I think we have the will to change. The issue is whether we

@Lookout

have the means to change, using "means" to encompass the funding and other things. The Constitution and everything that preceded and followed it was geared to the group we now refer to as the elites. And they've had literally centuries and billions of dollars over that time to insulate themselves from us.

One of the demands of XR (extinction rebellion) are citizen assemblies.

Mike Gravel suggest citizens must have more direct democracy
https://mikegravel.com/direct-democracy-by-mike-gravel/

The system is no longer functional...bought and paid for by the very corporations which threaten our ecosystem and promote (nuclear) war. We have to do an end around. What if we just started citizen councils? If nothing else than to combat the mass distortion and misinformation and begin a demand for change. XR sure did well last week.
https://rebellion.earth/2019/04/25/update-7-to-parliament-and-beyond/

We must find the will to change.

span y Lookout on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:04pm
Perhaps sacrifice should have been the term

@HenryAWallace

The necessary change will involve sacrifice and that is what we lack the will to do. IMO if we had the will we would find a means.

Reverse consumerism is a hard sell. especially to the corporations and wall street..our masters.

#4

have the means to change, using "means" to encompass the funding and other things. The Constitution and everything that preceded and followed it was geared to the group we now refer to as the elites. And they've had literally centuries and billions of dollars over that time to insulate themselves from us.

span y edg on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:02pm
The dumbing down of society...

We liberals and progressives have to shoulder at least some of the blame for this. To ensure our progeny experienced few bumps in life, we cocooned them in classrooms where learning was secondary to political correctness, we let them participate in sports where nobody loses, and we downgraded working hard for your grades to a system of grading everyone high on the curve.

I'm embarrassed by the ignorance of our successor generations regarding simple math (making change without a cash register telling them what to do), basic grammar and spelling skills, and fundamental knowledge of history.

We failed our children and grandchildren.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 6:21pm
failed

@edg

We failed our children and grandchildren.

I haven't (childless).

We liberals and progressives have to shoulder at least some of the blame for this. To ensure our progeny experienced few bumps in life, we cocooned them in classrooms where learning was secondary to political correctness, we let them participate in sports where nobody loses, and we downgraded working hard for your grades to a system of grading everyone high on the curve.

I'm embarrassed by the ignorance of our successor generations regarding simple math (making change without a cash register telling them what to do), basic grammar and spelling skills, and fundamental knowledge of history.

We failed our children and grandchildren.

span y edg on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:32pm
Me, too.

@thanatokephaloides

Doesn't matter, though. Whether we have children or not, we still interact with and are affected by the actions and misdeeds of other people's children.

#5

We failed our children and grandchildren.

I haven't (childless).

span y Cassiodorus on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:33pm
The point of electing a President is to get better policies

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

span y OPOL on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:37pm
@Cassiodorus I don't disagree.

@Cassiodorus I don't disagree.

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

span y HenryAWallace on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:47pm
Would be an excellent way to teach "learned helplessness."

@Cassiodorus

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

span y UntimelyRippd on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:26pm
sadly, Carter was pretty bad.

@Cassiodorus
as I wrote in a comment the other day, Reagan ran on a platform to govern almost identically to what the Carter administration had been doing: increase defense spending, decrease regulation, reduce deficits.

not much doubt that he's been one of the bestest ex-presidents of all time, though.

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

span y Alligator Ed on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:53pm
Here's hoping Joe Fingers Biden ends up in a Ukranian cell with

@Cassiodorus Hunter. Like father, like son. Will Trump smite the upper echelons of his enemies such as Killary and the empty suit?

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

span y bobswern on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 6:36pm
Cass, please explain this statement...

@Cassiodorus

...They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design...

(I'm particularly interested in your comments on Carter.)

So, yes, we agree there, though honestly I'm at a loss to figure out why we are focusing on "bad Presidents" here. They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design.

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

span y Cassiodorus on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 8:55pm
Remember Carter's 1980 pledge to increase "defense" spending?

@bobswern

#6

...They've all been bad, starting with Reagan, and Carter brought the trend in by promising to be bad in his losing 1980 reelection campaign. This is by design...

(I'm particularly interested in your comments on Carter.)

span y The Voice In th... on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:11pm
He actually did increase Navy spending

@Cassiodorus
Perhaps his having been a Naval officer had something to do with it. I do know that his old boss, Admiral Rickover had a big influence on him.

#6.5

span y bobswern on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:25am
Actually, Cass, you're waaaay oversimplifying Carter's...

@Cassiodorus

...position. And, while it doesn't mention it in the commentary, below , the fact of the matter is that Carter did more to bring peace to the mideast than any president, perhaps, since the formal independence of the State of Israel, in 1948. From the link, earlier in this paragraph...

Jimmy Carter - Military policy

Carter had inherited a wide variety of tough problems in international affairs, and in dealing with them, he was hampered by confusion and uncertainty in Congress and the nation concerning the role the nation should play in the world. A similar state of mind prevailed in the closely related area of military policy, and that state of mind affected the administration. At the beginning of his presidency, Carter pardoned Vietnam War draft evaders and announced that American troops would be withdrawn from South Korea. He also decided against construction of the B-1 bomber as a replacement for the aging B-52, regarding the proposed airplane as costly and obsolete, and also decided to cut back on the navy's shipbuilding program. Champions of military power protested, charging that he was not sufficiently sensitive to the threat of the Soviet Union.

In recent years, the Soviets had strengthened their forces and influence, expanding the army, developing a large navy, and increasing their arms and technicians in the Third World. As Carter's concern about these developments mounted, he alarmed critics of military spending by calling for a significant increase in the military budget for fiscal 1979, a substantial strengthening of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, and the development and deployment of a new weapon, the neutron bomb. Next, he dismayed advocates of greater military strength by first deciding that the bomb would not be built and then announcing that production would be postponed while the nation waited to see how the Soviets behaved.

In both diplomatic and military matters, the president often found it difficult to stick with his original intentions. He made concessions to demands for more military spending and more activity in Africa and became less critical of American arms sales. He both responded to criticism of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sought to restore its effectiveness, regarding it as an essential instrument that had been misused.

Critics, including Henry Kissinger, Henry Jackson, and many Republican senators, found him weak and ineffective, confusing and confused. They suggested that his administration had "seen that its neat theories about the world do not fit the difficult realities" and that "it must now come to grips with the world as it is." One close observer, Meg Greenfield of Newsweek magazine, wrote in 1978 that while "many of our politicians, more traumatized than instructed by that miserable war [Vietnam], tend to see Vietnams everywhere," more and more congressmen "seem . . . to be getting bored with their own post-Vietnam bemusement," and "under great provocation from abroad, Carter himself is beginning to move."

#6.5

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:56am
It is true that Carter had a genuine interest in peace.

@bobswern
Unfortunately, he was more or less a true believer in neo-liberalism, before that formulation even existed. Perhaps he just had too much faith in people. I don't know. I do know that, as I've said in my other comments here, Reagan ran against him by promising to do everything that Carter was already doing -- plus tax cuts.

Indeed, Reagan himself believed in working towards a peaceable end to the cold war, at least at some point. Years ago, I saw an astonishing clip from Firing Line, with Reagan and a couple of other Republicans. The other guys were belching a super-hard line on relations with the USSR. Reagan, speaking coherently and intelligently -- as I say, it was astonishing -- stated that the right had no business asking for people to vote for them, if they had nothing to offer but inevitable nuclear war.

#6.5.1

...position. And, while it doesn't mention it in the commentary, below , the fact of the matter is that Carter did more to bring peace to the mideast than any president, perhaps, since the formal independence of the State of Israel, in 1948. From the link, earlier in this paragraph...

Jimmy Carter - Military policy

Carter had inherited a wide variety of tough problems in international affairs, and in dealing with them, he was hampered by confusion and uncertainty in Congress and the nation concerning the role the nation should play in the world. A similar state of mind prevailed in the closely related area of military policy, and that state of mind affected the administration. At the beginning of his presidency, Carter pardoned Vietnam War draft evaders and announced that American troops would be withdrawn from South Korea. He also decided against construction of the B-1 bomber as a replacement for the aging B-52, regarding the proposed airplane as costly and obsolete, and also decided to cut back on the navy's shipbuilding program. Champions of military power protested, charging that he was not sufficiently sensitive to the threat of the Soviet Union.

In recent years, the Soviets had strengthened their forces and influence, expanding the army, developing a large navy, and increasing their arms and technicians in the Third World. As Carter's concern about these developments mounted, he alarmed critics of military spending by calling for a significant increase in the military budget for fiscal 1979, a substantial strengthening of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, and the development and deployment of a new weapon, the neutron bomb. Next, he dismayed advocates of greater military strength by first deciding that the bomb would not be built and then announcing that production would be postponed while the nation waited to see how the Soviets behaved.

In both diplomatic and military matters, the president often found it difficult to stick with his original intentions. He made concessions to demands for more military spending and more activity in Africa and became less critical of American arms sales. He both responded to criticism of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sought to restore its effectiveness, regarding it as an essential instrument that had been misused.

Critics, including Henry Kissinger, Henry Jackson, and many Republican senators, found him weak and ineffective, confusing and confused. They suggested that his administration had "seen that its neat theories about the world do not fit the difficult realities" and that "it must now come to grips with the world as it is." One close observer, Meg Greenfield of Newsweek magazine, wrote in 1978 that while "many of our politicians, more traumatized than instructed by that miserable war [Vietnam], tend to see Vietnams everywhere," more and more congressmen "seem . . . to be getting bored with their own post-Vietnam bemusement," and "under great provocation from abroad, Carter himself is beginning to move."

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:13am
Reagan almost led us

@UntimelyRippd into inevitable nuclear war in his first term. The admin's bellicose rhetoric directed at the Sov Union, including his FEMA director stating that we could win in a nuke exchange if people would only build enough fallout shelters in their back yard, brought the two countries to a very perilous position by 1983.

That anti-nuke movie which Ronnie saw in the WH, The Day After, began to undermine his narrow and reckless attitude. Then the world lucked out when the reasonable, reform-minded and détente focused Gorbachov came to power in 85. Gorby wanted a complete elimination of nukes on both sides, and almost got RR to agree, but the DeepState boys intervened to block it.

I do think Jimmy the C was very inconsistent in FP, one day listening more to his SoS Sigh Vance, mostly a moderate-liberal non-interventionist type, and his nat'l security advisor Zbig Brzezinski, a hawk's hawk who saw evil Soviet designs everywhere. JC was like a ping-pong ball being batted back and forth.

But at least JC didn't get the US involved in any new wars during his term, and was totally screwed by the Reagan-Bush team of crooks and liars and traitors who illegally sabotaged Carter's 1980 efforts to get the hostages released. Poppy and Bill Casey, at the least, should have ended up behind bars.

But for that October Surprise, and maybe the Carter team's failure before the one debate to get their hands on Reagan's 1962 vinyl record showing how staunchly anti-Medicare he was, Jimmy would have won another term.

#6.5.1.2
Unfortunately, he was more or less a true believer in neo-liberalism, before that formulation even existed. Perhaps he just had too much faith in people. I don't know. I do know that, as I've said in my other comments here, Reagan ran against him by promising to do everything that Carter was already doing -- plus tax cuts.

Indeed, Reagan himself believed in working towards a peaceable end to the cold war, at least at some point. Years ago, I saw an astonishing clip from Firing Line, with Reagan and a couple of other Republicans. The other guys were belching a super-hard line on relations with the USSR. Reagan, speaking coherently and intelligently -- as I say, it was astonishing -- stated that the right had no business asking for people to vote for them, if they had nothing to offer but inevitable nuclear war.

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:02am
Carter's campaign was badly botched.

@wokkamile
Reagan's team defined Carter (and his administration) as big-spending, big-guvmint, and weak-on-defense, in complete contradiction to Carter's actual record, and the Carter campaign failed to communicate any meaningful correction.

Remember, Kennedy challenged Carter from the left.

#6.5.1.2.1 into inevitable nuclear war in his first term. The admin's bellicose rhetoric directed at the Sov Union, including his FEMA director stating that we could win in a nuke exchange if people would only build enough fallout shelters in their back yard, brought the two countries to a very perilous position by 1983.

That anti-nuke movie which Ronnie saw in the WH, The Day After, began to undermine his narrow and reckless attitude. Then the world lucked out when the reasonable, reform-minded and détente focused Gorbachov came to power in 85. Gorby wanted a complete elimination of nukes on both sides, and almost got RR to agree, but the DeepState boys intervened to block it.

I do think Jimmy the C was very inconsistent in FP, one day listening more to his SoS Sigh Vance, mostly a moderate-liberal non-interventionist type, and his nat'l security advisor Zbig Brzezinski, a hawk's hawk who saw evil Soviet designs everywhere. JC was like a ping-pong ball being batted back and forth.

But at least JC didn't get the US involved in any new wars during his term, and was totally screwed by the Reagan-Bush team of crooks and liars and traitors who illegally sabotaged Carter's 1980 efforts to get the hostages released. Poppy and Bill Casey, at the least, should have ended up behind bars.

But for that October Surprise, and maybe the Carter team's failure before the one debate to get their hands on Reagan's 1962 vinyl record showing how staunchly anti-Medicare he was, Jimmy would have won another term.

span y Lookout on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:37am
plus the oil embarbo and hostages

@UntimelyRippd

didn't help jimmy's campaign. I often wonder where we would be now had we stayed on Jimmy's path of energy independence. The establishment dims worked against him too tip O'Neil...and didn't Ted Kennedy try to primary him? Maybe it was Kennedy in law Shriver.

Plus RR had several years on the big and little screen much like Trump the unreality star.

#6.5.1.2.1.1
Reagan's team defined Carter (and his administration) as big-spending, big-guvmint, and weak-on-defense, in complete contradiction to Carter's actual record, and the Carter campaign failed to communicate any meaningful correction.

Remember, Kennedy challenged Carter from the left.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:04pm
Ted Kennedy famously

@Lookout primaried Carter in 1980 even as many in his inner circle advised against it. Sargent Shriver ran as McGovern's VP in 1972 after George dumped his first pick Eagleton. Shriver ran for prez in 76, in a large field loaded with liberals who tended to dilute each other's votes.

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1

didn't help jimmy's campaign. I often wonder where we would be now had we stayed on Jimmy's path of energy independence. The establishment dims worked against him too tip O'Neil...and didn't Ted Kennedy try to primary him? Maybe it was Kennedy in law Shriver.

Plus RR had several years on the big and little screen much like Trump the unreality star.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:46am
Jimmy stupidly

@UntimelyRippd insulted Ted personally early on, even before taking office, when after his victory Jimmy was really feeling his oats, thinking it was his own greatness alone that got him elected. Ted did not forget or forgive. And on policy, he was greatly dismayed at Carter's unwillingness to work for major health care reform, and a few other matters where JC was taking a center-right position. But the policy differences probably were far less important than the personal in deciding to challenge Carter.

Jimmy also unnecessarily aggravated and insulted House Speaker Tip O'Neil early on and repeatedly, until after getting a personal ultimatum of sorts from Tip, Jimmy finally got the message. That's just stupid, insulting the two most powerful Dems in Congress. You don't need to have a PhD in Politics from Harvard in order to understand not to do that.

The Carter admin also did lousy messaging and PR, too much on the defensive, not often enough out there effectively promoting their (definitely mixed-bag) policies. The MSM went after him consistently as of 1978 and I don't think the Carter admin was prepared to deal with it or adequate to the task. The in-bred Beltway Press treated Carter and his people from Georgia like backwoods hicks and mostly were successful in painting the portrait of a weak, incompetent presidency.

#6.5.1.2.1.1
Reagan's team defined Carter (and his administration) as big-spending, big-guvmint, and weak-on-defense, in complete contradiction to Carter's actual record, and the Carter campaign failed to communicate any meaningful correction.

Remember, Kennedy challenged Carter from the left.

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:52am
significantly, kennedy wanted the oil companies brought

@wokkamile
to heel. mobil was posting the largest profits of any corporation in american history, while people couldn't afford gasoline. an attack on Mobil was built into Kennedy's stump speech).

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1 insulted Ted personally early on, even before taking office, when after his victory Jimmy was really feeling his oats, thinking it was his own greatness alone that got him elected. Ted did not forget or forgive. And on policy, he was greatly dismayed at Carter's unwillingness to work for major health care reform, and a few other matters where JC was taking a center-right position. But the policy differences probably were far less important than the personal in deciding to challenge Carter.

Jimmy also unnecessarily aggravated and insulted House Speaker Tip O'Neil early on and repeatedly, until after getting a personal ultimatum of sorts from Tip, Jimmy finally got the message. That's just stupid, insulting the two most powerful Dems in Congress. You don't need to have a PhD in Politics from Harvard in order to understand not to do that.

The Carter admin also did lousy messaging and PR, too much on the defensive, not often enough out there effectively promoting their (definitely mixed-bag) policies. The MSM went after him consistently as of 1978 and I don't think the Carter admin was prepared to deal with it or adequate to the task. The in-bred Beltway Press treated Carter and his people from Georgia like backwoods hicks and mostly were successful in painting the portrait of a weak, incompetent presidency.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:26pm
Carter, among others, might beg to differ with you about

@wokkamile

Kennedy, Carter and health care. And Nixon and Kennedy and health care, for that matter. As to the latter, Ted Kennedy would be among those differing.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/who-will-own-lack-good-national-heal...

https://caucus99percent.com/content/who-will-own-lack-good-national-heal...

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1 insulted Ted personally early on, even before taking office, when after his victory Jimmy was really feeling his oats, thinking it was his own greatness alone that got him elected. Ted did not forget or forgive. And on policy, he was greatly dismayed at Carter's unwillingness to work for major health care reform, and a few other matters where JC was taking a center-right position. But the policy differences probably were far less important than the personal in deciding to challenge Carter.

Jimmy also unnecessarily aggravated and insulted House Speaker Tip O'Neil early on and repeatedly, until after getting a personal ultimatum of sorts from Tip, Jimmy finally got the message. That's just stupid, insulting the two most powerful Dems in Congress. You don't need to have a PhD in Politics from Harvard in order to understand not to do that.

The Carter admin also did lousy messaging and PR, too much on the defensive, not often enough out there effectively promoting their (definitely mixed-bag) policies. The MSM went after him consistently as of 1978 and I don't think the Carter admin was prepared to deal with it or adequate to the task. The in-bred Beltway Press treated Carter and his people from Georgia like backwoods hicks and mostly were successful in painting the portrait of a weak, incompetent presidency.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 6:36pm
Thx for the cites and

@HenryAWallace I wasn't aware you had previously written extensively on the health care subject. But looking at the cites I didn't see something which definitely nailed the story on Carter v TK on health care reform, just 2 people who detested each other with differing views, and a statement supposedly from Ted, which again I didn't see a cite for, admitting fault in the Carter proposal. (I have not read his book of memoirs.) If the latter assertion is true, then it is a bit of a puzzle why Carter would blame a then-deceased TK on 60Minutes over blocking his health care proposal, when all he had to do was cite Ted's supposed confession of guilt in his memoirs. (will now go to review the video of this interview, which I've not yet seen.)

According to this HNN article from a 3d party academic on the Carter proposal, it was indeed a weak one and only a partial and perhaps badly flawed first step, which Kennedy may well have been right to oppose as Carter didn't commit, according to the author, on specifics for a followup comprehensive plan other than Carter would propose keeping the private insurance system intact, no public option. Jimmy just offered hospital care cost cutting and continuation of private insurance.

On the earlier Nixon proposal, Kennedy, as I recall from the literature, was opposed as the health care major reform backers linked to the AFL-CIO and other Big Labor thought Ted should wait until a better proposal came along from a Dem president, as surely they would get a good one in the 76 election in the wake of Watergate. But it might also be true that TK regretted this move and had second thoughts about not taking the bird in hand and waiting for the two in the bush. As it turned out, he got only a third of a bird by waiting with Carter.

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1.2

Kennedy, Carter and health care. And Nixon and Kennedy and health care, for that matter. As to the latter, Ted Kennedy would be among those differing.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/who-will-own-lack-good-national-heal...

https://caucus99percent.com/content/who-will-own-lack-good-national-heal...

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 7:35pm
That Carter 60M interview

@wokkamile @wokkamile from 2010 -- well Jimmy sure knows how to point the finger at others for his own failures. Starts at the 1:30 mark.

//www.youtube.com/embed/00PUmPvRENc?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:49pm
Tip O'Neill

@wokkamile
I forgot he was a Democrat. He was Reagan's big enabler.

#6.5.1.2.1.1.1 insulted Ted personally early on, even before taking office, when after his victory Jimmy was really feeling his oats, thinking it was his own greatness alone that got him elected. Ted did not forget or forgive. And on policy, he was greatly dismayed at Carter's unwillingness to work for major health care reform, and a few other matters where JC was taking a center-right position. But the policy differences probably were far less important than the personal in deciding to challenge Carter.

Jimmy also unnecessarily aggravated and insulted House Speaker Tip O'Neil early on and repeatedly, until after getting a personal ultimatum of sorts from Tip, Jimmy finally got the message. That's just stupid, insulting the two most powerful Dems in Congress. You don't need to have a PhD in Politics from Harvard in order to understand not to do that.

The Carter admin also did lousy messaging and PR, too much on the defensive, not often enough out there effectively promoting their (definitely mixed-bag) policies. The MSM went after him consistently as of 1978 and I don't think the Carter admin was prepared to deal with it or adequate to the task. The in-bred Beltway Press treated Carter and his people from Georgia like backwoods hicks and mostly were successful in painting the portrait of a weak, incompetent presidency.

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:03am
Reagan

@UntimelyRippd said "peace is breaking out all over."

At that time, peace was considered good.

Who betrayed the Russians when the US said it wouldn't tighten its military circle around Russia? Was it Obama or Bush II that broke that promise?

#6.5.1.2
Unfortunately, he was more or less a true believer in neo-liberalism, before that formulation even existed. Perhaps he just had too much faith in people. I don't know. I do know that, as I've said in my other comments here, Reagan ran against him by promising to do everything that Carter was already doing -- plus tax cuts.

Indeed, Reagan himself believed in working towards a peaceable end to the cold war, at least at some point. Years ago, I saw an astonishing clip from Firing Line, with Reagan and a couple of other Republicans. The other guys were belching a super-hard line on relations with the USSR. Reagan, speaking coherently and intelligently -- as I say, it was astonishing -- stated that the right had no business asking for people to vote for them, if they had nothing to offer but inevitable nuclear war.

span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:55am
Presidents breaking the promise

@dfarrah to Gorby not to move NATO one inch eastward towards Russia, in return for the Sov Union agreeing to a reuniting of Germany, began under Bush I, Poppy, or at least the anti-Russia attitude began then, after the verbal agreement was made, and continued with all presidents thru Obama and Trump.

#6.5.1.2.1 said "peace is breaking out all over."

At that time, peace was considered good.

Who betrayed the Russians when the US said it wouldn't tighten its military circle around Russia? Was it Obama or Bush II that broke that promise?

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:04pm
Thanks for the

@wokkamile info.

#6.5.1.2.1.2 to Gorby not to move NATO one inch eastward towards Russia, in return for the Sov Union agreeing to a reuniting of Germany, began under Bush I, Poppy, or at least the anti-Russia attitude began then, after the verbal agreement was made, and continued with all presidents thru Obama and Trump.

span y wendy davis on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 5:25pm
that didn't sound

@wokkamile

quite right as i'd sorta remember it was 1999, so i bingled 'bill clinton and nato expansion', and got a boatload of hits.

david stockman , believe it or not.

armscontrol.com, but part of the gist was that he hadn't wanted to seem 'like a wimp' while running against bob dole. i'm agnostic on that, but what a fucked up cold war 2.0 organization that it. now, you might be right about dubya creating one evil stepchild of nato, and he did create the neo-colonizing africom. it's motto is (or was) 'we fight chaos in african nations', while forgetting that they also use CIA agents and such to...create the chaos, then help install U-friendly puppet gummints.

on later edit : it gets worse, if more honest. i was on black alliance for peace's twit account for my own current diary, they were protesting against africom, and one tweet led to an article on africom with these lines:

"When AFRICOM was established in the months before Barack Obama assumed office as the first Black President of the United States, a majority of African nations -- led by the Pan-Africanist government of Libya -- rejected AFRICOM, forcing the new command to instead work out of Europe.

But with the U.S. and NATO attack on Libya that led to the destruction of that country and the murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, corrupt African leaders began to allow AFRICOM forces to operate in their countries and establish military-to-military relations with the United States. Today, those efforts have resulted in 46 various forms of U.S. bases as well as military-to-military relations between 53 out of the 54 African countries and the United States. U.S. Special Forces troops now operate in more than a dozen African nations.

Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, first and former deputy of AFRICOM, declared in 2008, "Protecting the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market is one of AFRICOM's guiding principles."

We say AFRICOM is the flip side of the domestic war being waged by the same repressive state structure against Black and poor people in the United States. In the U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign, we link police violence and the domestic war waged on Black people to U.S. interventionism and militarism abroad.

#6.5.1.2.1.2 to Gorby not to move NATO one inch eastward towards Russia, in return for the Sov Union agreeing to a reuniting of Germany, began under Bush I, Poppy, or at least the anti-Russia attitude began then, after the verbal agreement was made, and continued with all presidents thru Obama and Trump.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 8:42pm
where do we go from here?

@Cassiodorus

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

Which does, in fact, force the question:

Where do we go from here?

//www.youtube.com/embed/oIlVktvZGlk?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

span y The Voice In th... on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:16pm
I'll flip a coin

@thanatokephaloides
Heads I vote Green again
Tails I go get drunk on election day instead

#6

It seems to me that if we want to focus upon this contingency, we ought to be promoting an activist "Plan B." What if the Democrats screw Bernie again, and set up useful idiot Joe Biden to win the convention with the help of the superdelegates? Bernie endorses Joe, and hope is once again replaced by despair. Such a contingency would be one possible fruit of the "elect a better President" strategy which appears as the first option for activism in America. What then? Perhaps we ought to be planning for this possibility?

Which does, in fact, force the question:

Where do we go from here?

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

span y davidgmillsatty on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:19pm
@The Voice In the Wilderness I voted green last

@The Voice In the Wilderness I voted green last time.

But voting for people who have never held office in their lives just seems pointless. It would be nice if a green actually got elected somewhere before he or she decided to run for President.

I live in a red state, so my vote doesn't matter. I could vote for Mickey Mouse and do as much good. Maybe that is why I am so cynical about presidential elections now.

My gut tells me that Sanders can't beat Trump in 2020 when he could have in 2016. Sanders let so many people down in 2016, that there will not be the enthusiasm this time. And Trump will have lots of never-Trumpers on board in 2020.

#6.6
Heads I vote Green again
Tails I go get drunk on election day instead

span y The Voice In th... on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:52pm
It's always hard to defeat a sitting President.

@davidgmillsatty
But Reagan did it. The trick is make trump as reviled as Carter. but Trump is satifying his base, gun nuts and the nativists.

#6.6.1 I voted green last time.

But voting for people who have never held office in their lives just seems pointless. It would be nice if a green actually got elected somewhere before he or she decided to run for President.

I live in a red state, so my vote doesn't matter. I could vote for Mickey Mouse and do as much good. Maybe that is why I am so cynical about presidential elections now.

My gut tells me that Sanders can't beat Trump in 2020 when he could have in 2016. Sanders let so many people down in 2016, that there will not be the enthusiasm this time. And Trump will have lots of never-Trumpers on board in 2020.

span y mimi on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:44pm
OPOL, you really still believe that?

World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

You sound really like an American President. Are you running? Sigh. I have to say considering what is going on in the world, I find that sentence pretty unconvincing, if not an attempt of misleading the sheeps.

What matters in a Congressman and Senator, might be more important to know.

No offense meant, it's just that the times are over when these nice words would still work.

span y OPOL on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 4:50pm
@mimi I know what you mean,

@mimi I know what you mean, Mimi. I realize how unlikely it seems given the horrifying present, yet I insist that, at least in theory, it doesn't have to be this way and that with sufficient will we could reverse the hate and war. I may well be wrong, but I believe it. If we wanted peace as badly as we wanted to go to the moon or build the atomic bomb, we'd stand a good chance of getting there.

World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

You sound really like an American President. Are you running? Sigh. I have to say considering what is going on in the world, I find that sentence pretty unconvincing, if not an attempt of misleading the sheeps.

What matters in a Congressman and Senator, might be more important to know.

No offense meant, it's just that the times are over when these nice words would still work.

span y dkmich on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 7:41am
Oh where to begin.

Perhaps with f@ck Bill Clinton and his media consolidation - tip of the iceberg.

Next up has to be Jane Fonda. "I guess the lesson is we shouldn't be fooled by good-looking liberals no matter how well-spoken they are."

And following behind, this is one hell of a good question.

Now, having seen the wreckage a horrible president can wreak on a helpless nation, I'm starting to re-question why none of the 'good' presidents ever had much impact. They had the same power to do good as he has to do evil. I'm starting to think they didn't want to change anything. Or were paid not to. (Shocking, I know.)

I think every person running for office should have to pass a lie detector test in order to declare his/her candidacy. Questions to be written by his/her enemies. Next up, every voter must pass a current events test in order to vote. If you have no clue, you should have no vote. I'm tired of having our country's fate determined by crooks and people who don't know better and could care less.

span y Alligator Ed on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:56pm
Sociopaths don't fail lie detectors

@dkmich Unfortunately, most of the sheeples don't realize that "honest politician" is an oxymoron.

Perhaps with f@ck Bill Clinton and his media consolidation - tip of the iceberg.

Next up has to be Jane Fonda. "I guess the lesson is we shouldn't be fooled by good-looking liberals no matter how well-spoken they are."

And following behind, this is one hell of a good question.

Now, having seen the wreckage a horrible president can wreak on a helpless nation, I'm starting to re-question why none of the 'good' presidents ever had much impact. They had the same power to do good as he has to do evil. I'm starting to think they didn't want to change anything. Or were paid not to. (Shocking, I know.)

I think every person running for office should have to pass a lie detector test in order to declare his/her candidacy. Questions to be written by his/her enemies. Next up, every voter must pass a current events test in order to vote. If you have no clue, you should have no vote. I'm tired of having our country's fate determined by crooks and people who don't know better and could care less.

span y davidgmillsatty on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:23pm
@Alligator Ed In court, its the

@Alligator Ed In court, its the honest people who are so scared shitless, they come across as liars.

#8 Unfortunately, most of the sheeples don't realize that "honest politician" is an oxymoron.

span y wendy davis on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 5:47pm
i'd submit that

*If* a president of this nation can bring peace about, the epic barriers to third party candidates need to be reversed (especially toward the Greens), but they won't be. the only potential peace candidate would need to both anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist (not just claim to be anti-war for some™, imo. in the duopoly, there simply isn't one, although many will claim that tulsi gabbard is.

good diary, though opol.

span y bobswern on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 7:40pm
Excellent post, OPOL!

You're always "spot-on." But, this time, you hit it out of the park!

Wanted to turn you on to some new music...

1.) Irish singer-songwriter Hozier , just came out with his new album "Wasteland, Baby!" (easily, one of the best, politically-oriented songwriters of the current generation):

//www.youtube.com/embed/j2YgDua2gpk?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

span y OPOL on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:28pm
@bobswern Thanks Bob, 'preciate,

@bobswern Thanks Bob, 'preciate, bro.

You're always "spot-on." But, this time, you hit it out of the park!

Wanted to turn you on to some new music...

1.) Irish singer-songwriter Hozier , just came out with his new album "Wasteland, Baby!" (easily, one of the best, politically-oriented songwriters of the current generation):

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

span y karl pearson on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:16pm
World History and War

During my high school World History class, several of us approached our instructor to change some of the elements of the class. We were tired of memorizing dates of wars and battles. Her response was: "The history of the world is the history of war." I hope I live to see this instructor proven wrong.

span y Sirena on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 9:59pm
What matters in a President is

us.

span y Sirena on Sat, 04/27/2019 - 10:34pm
This may sound overly simplistic

@Sirena
But if we can find not only someone who we believe in but someone who also believes in us, then why can we not progress?

Who are these other entities?

After all, there are more of us, than there are of them

So chins up!

If Nike says 'Just do it' then so should we!

us.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 5:11pm
to answer your questions

@Sirena

This may sound overly simplistic

It is, unfortunately. Solving systemic corruption is always a complex and difficult task.

But if we can find not only someone who we believe in but someone who also believes in us, then why can we not progress?

Because those whose continued ill-gotten gains depend on us not progressing anywhere apply their money power to make sure we do not progress.

Exhibit A: Bernie Sanders in 2016. The moneyed power brokers wanted Hillary Clinton. And, the desire of us hoi polloi to the contrary notwithstanding, she's what we got.

And Donald Trump bought his way into the Presidency.

Who are these other entities?

The ultra-wealthy, whose continued un-earned profits depend on no change occurring. The forever war industry, whose continued un-earned profits depend on no peace occurring, ever. The fossil-fuel industry, whose continued un-earned profits depend on no change occurring to how we power our lives. The mega-banks and the Wall Street Casino, which depend on all the above and others like them.

After all, there are more of us, than there are of them

Not where it counts (dollars under single-individual control).

So chins up!

If Nike says 'Just do it' then so should we!

Do please describe how we are supposed to "just do it". I would be most interested in how you suppose we should proceed here. But I must ask a favor: please don't suggest anything which has already been tried to exhaustion. Thank you.

#12
But if we can find not only someone who we believe in but someone who also believes in us, then why can we not progress?

Who are these other entities?

After all, there are more of us, than there are of them

So chins up!

If Nike says 'Just do it' then so should we!

span y Raggedy Ann on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 7:16am
Nice essay, OPOL.

What I see as the problem is the deep state stopping any person in the Oval Office from accomplishing progressive goals. These war-mongers have a vice grip on our government. If the person elected would have the courage to stand up for the people instead of the deep state, then I think we have a chance.

This day will come, but it might be until the 2024 or 2028 election.

My $.02.

span y Eagles92 on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 11:41am
Nice to see you writing again, OPOL.

As always, I love your message.

I just wish I weren't so cynical these days that I could actually agree with you.

span y The Wizard on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 12:20pm
Part of the problem lies in the assumption

World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

Forget America, it will never happen. We have not had a single world class president in my lifetime. Democracy does no such thing as guarantee a better outcome, it only provides more legitimacy. Our congress critters are a bunch of spineless cheerleaders for some odd concept of patriotism in America. They would vote to nuke Cuba if they thought that it would advance their careers. The deep-state's goal is more and better lethality of the military on an ever ballooning budget. The ultra-rich and the corporations and banks control everything. What path do you see to peace and justice? The American people vote these bastards into office. This is what they want. The only good outcome I see is if the world learns to get along without the US, and sanctions the US to the bone. I have no idea where these abstract concepts of a greater purpose for the American Hegemon ever came from. They have no relationship to reality. The best that we could do is to try to return the nation to the belief in isolationism as was popular between the two world wars.

span y thanatokephaloides on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 5:16pm
bastards

@The Wizard

The ultra-rich and the corporations and banks control everything. What path do you see to peace and justice? The American people vote these bastards into office.

False.

The selection of non-choice (or Hobson's Choice) candidates is locked-in ages before any of us hoi polloi get to vote on anything.

World peace is possible and with real leadership, America could usher it into being.

Forget America, it will never happen. We have not had a single world class president in my lifetime. Democracy does no such thing as guarantee a better outcome, it only provides more legitimacy. Our congress critters are a bunch of spineless cheerleaders for some odd concept of patriotism in America. They would vote to nuke Cuba if they thought that it would advance their careers. The deep-state's goal is more and better lethality of the military on an ever ballooning budget. The ultra-rich and the corporations and banks control everything. What path do you see to peace and justice? The American people vote these bastards into office. This is what they want. The only good outcome I see is if the world learns to get along without the US, and sanctions the US to the bone. I have no idea where these abstract concepts of a greater purpose for the American Hegemon ever came from. They have no relationship to reality. The best that we could do is to try to return the nation to the belief in isolationism as was popular between the two world wars.

span y TheOtherMaven on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 8:59pm
What if they held an election and nobody came?

@thanatokephaloides

Interesting thought experiment, unlikely as it may be in real life....

#15

The ultra-rich and the corporations and banks control everything. What path do you see to peace and justice? The American people vote these bastards into office.

False.

The selection of non-choice (or Hobson's Choice) candidates is locked-in ages before any of us hoi polloi get to vote on anything.

span y Big Al on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:34pm
"Why I Won't Vote"

@TheOtherMaven "I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America?
Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest."

Read More http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/why-i-wont-vote-by-web-du-bois-t...

How much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest? Still trying to find that out Mr. Dubois.

#15.1

Interesting thought experiment, unlikely as it may be in real life....

span y snoopydawg on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:21pm
Welp...

@Big Al

It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest."

More than that stayed home last election and yet here we are again getting ready to do the voting process again over a half century since Dubois said that. The funniest thing about that Russia allegation of interfering with the election is that the GOP have gerrymandered the hell out of so many states, the democrats have let them do it and democrats not only refuse to put enough voting machines in districts with heavy turnout they don't insist on using paper ballots.

During the last primary in New York alone thousands of people were kicked off the voting rolls and had their party affiliation changed and even after the person who did that admitted it nothing was done. Next up was Brenda Snipes in Florida who destroyed lots and lots of ballots and she not only wasn't punished for doing it, she got to retire with her full pension.

DuBois condemns both Democrats and Republicans for their indifferent positions on the influence of corporate wealth, racial inequality, arms proliferation and unaffordable health care.
1956

I've been bitchin about what Trump is doing with the regulatory agencies and once again I found out how badly Obama was before him... I shouldn't have been surprised huh?

How Obama Defanged the EPA Before Trump Gutted the Agency

#15.1.1 "I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America?
Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest."

Read More http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/why-i-wont-vote-by-web-du-bois-t...

How much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest? Still trying to find that out Mr. Dubois.

span y mimi on Mon, 04/29/2019 - 2:00am
If voting would be mandatory for everyone

@Big Al
and if it would be a direct democratic vote like in a parliamentary system, I think it would be worth voting.
Voting in the US seems to be worthless these days.

#15.1.1 "I have no advice for others in this election. Are you voting Democratic? Well and good; all I ask is why? Are you voting for Eisenhower and his smooth team of bright ghost writers? Again, why? Will your helpless vote either way support or restore democracy to America?
Is the refusal to vote in this phony election a counsel of despair? No, it is dogged hope. It is hope that if twenty-five million voters refrain from voting in 1956 because of their own accord and not because of a sly wink from Khrushchev, this might make the American people ask how much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest."

Read More http://www.blackeconomicdevelopment.com/why-i-wont-vote-by-web-du-bois-t...

How much longer this dumb farce can proceed without even a whimper of protest? Still trying to find that out Mr. Dubois.

[May 01, 2019] Warren twitted that Barr should resign adding to her list of political mistakes yet another one

Potentially a lot of former Trump supporters could vote for Warren. But it looks like she is eager to destroy this opportunity.
May 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Update 10: Though she isn't in the room today, Sen. Elizabeth Warren felt she needed to communicate a very important message to Barr: That she would like him to resign.

AG Barr is a disgrace, and his alarming efforts to suppress the Mueller report show that he's not a credible head of federal law enforcement. He should resign -- and based on the actual facts in the Mueller report, Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against the President.

And just like that, Barr has been hit with the Warren curse.

[May 01, 2019] Bill Black If Current Laws Prosecuting Bankers Aren't Used, What Can Warren Change

May 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

This is the second in two recent Real News Network interviews with Bill Black, white collar criminologist and frequent Naked Capitalism contributor. Bill is author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and teaches economics and law at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC).

See the first interview, Sen. Warren Wants to Jail Those Who Caused 2008's Meltdown , for background and historical context. The interviews aren't long, and there are transcripts.

Bill argues that the problem isn't deficient laws, which is Warren's focus. He says instead:

It's far better to focus on using the existing criminal laws but changing the things in the system that are so criminogenic and changing institutionally the regulators, the F.B.I., and the prosecutors, so that you go back to systems that we've always known how to make work.

The simple example is task forces. What produced the huge success in the savings and loan, the Commercial Bank, and the Enron era fraud prosecutions? It was these task forces where we brought everyone together to actually bring prosecutions. They killed those criminal task forces, both under the Bush administration and under the Obama administration.

I think this is cause for optimism. For it means we don't have to go through the long and torturous process of passing new laws to get somewhere with fixing a deeply broken system. The Dodd-Frank Act wasn't passed until July 2010, despite the huge clamor to do something about the banks that created the Great Financial Crisis. And then it took many years for all affected agencies to finish rule-makings necessary to administer and enforce the law. Imagine if we had to do that again to get somewhere with the necessary clean-up.

Instead, we merely have to elect politicians who will appoint necessary personnel to confront the prevailing criminogenic environment. I know, I know – that's a big ask too. But believe me, it would be even bigger if we must also take the preliminary step of passing new legislation as well.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/tZWaIsN8Sbg

MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Mark Steiner. Always good to have you with us. Now if you were watching the previous segment and you saw what Bill Black and I were talking about, you saw that we were kind of diving into the history of this. Why it's so difficult to prosecute or maybe it's not, and we're finding out why. But what we didn't jump into was about Elizabeth Warren's proposal. Do they make sense? If they passed, will they actually make a difference. What is it that we do we need, more laws like that or do we need more regulation? What would solve the crisis that we seem to constantly be falling into? And we're still here with Bill Black as always, which is great. So Bill, let me just jump right into this. Her proposals -- do they meet muster? Do they actually make a difference? Some people say she's piddling around the edges. What do you think?

BILL BLACK So for example, the proposed bill on Too Big to Jail would largely recreate the entities that we had during the great financial crisis, which led to virtually no prosecutions. So yes, we need more resources, but bringing back SIGTARP, the special inspector general for the Treasury, would have next to no effects.

The criminal referrals have to come from the banking regulatory agencies. They have essentially been terminated. You need new leadership at those entities that were actually going to make criminal referrals. The second part -- would it change things to be able to prosecute simply by showing negligence? Well yes, but it would still be a massive battle to show negligence in those circumstances and at the end of the day, the judge could just give probation. And judges are going to be very hostile to it, particularly after Trump gets all these judicial appointees.

You would just see a wave, if you used a simple negligence standard of conservative judges who didn't think it was fair to make it that easy to prosecute folks. They would give people probation. Prosecutors wouldn't want to go through a huge fight just to get probation and such. And so, it would be immensely ineffective, and it would break.

There'd be maybe some progressive judges that would actually give the maximum term, but that's only one year under her proposal. So you're not going to get significant deterrence through those mechanisms. It's far better to focus on using the existing criminal laws but changing the things in the system that are so criminogenic and changing institutionally the regulators, the F.B.I., and the prosecutors, so that you go back to systems that we've always known how to make work. The simple example is task forces.

What produced the huge success in the savings and loan, the Commercial Bank, and the Enron era fraud prosecutions? It was these task forces where we brought everyone together to actually bring prosecutions. They killed those criminal task forces, both under the Bush administration and under the Obama administration. So we don't have to reinvent the bike. We don't have to design a new vehicle. We have a vehicle that works for successful prosecutions. We actually need to use it and to do that, we need people in charge who have the will to prosecute elite white-collar criminals.

MARC STEINER So you do agree with a critique of these bills, saying what we need is just to have greater regulation and enforce regulations we have? We don't need new prosecutorial tools? Is that what you're saying?

BILL BLACK No I completely reject that view in Slate that is by two folks who have really extreme views. One thinks that we prosecute and sentence elite white-collar criminals way too much and much too heavily. And the other, for example, has written an article saying, we shouldn't make wage theft which is theft, a crime.

Even though it's Walmart's dominant strategy and it makes it impossible for more honest merchants to compete against Walmart, that is an insane view. And of course, it will never happen because you're going to put the same people in charge who don't believe. If they don't believe in prosecuting, you think seriously they believe in regulating the big banks?

MARC STEINER What I'm asking you though Bill, to critique that, what do you think? Are the bills that Elizabeth Warren is suggesting unnecessary, other than maybe putting more money into regulatory agencies to oversee all of this? Are you saying that we have enough prosecutorial tools?

BILL BLACK They're unnecessary. The specifics in the bills are unnecessary. But that doesn't mean that regulation is the answer to it, although it's part of the issue.

MARC STEINER I got you. Right.

BILL BLACK What you need is leaders who will use the tools we know work, to do the prosecutions. And they made absolutely sure -- that's Lanny Breuer who you talked about in the first episode of this thing, that actually said to a nationwide audience on video that he was kept awake and fearing not what the bank criminals were doing but fearing that somebody might lose their job in banks because of it.

You know he doesn't represent the American people at that point. If you put Lanny Breuer in, you could put 10,000 F.B.I. agents and you would still get no prosecutions, because Lanny Breuer simply isn't going to prosecute just like Eric Holder simply wasn't going to prosecute.

... ... ...

Colonel Smithers , May 1, 2019 at 4:17 am

Thank you, JL-S.

It's not just the US, but the UK, too. Readers may be aware that the British government is seeking a successor to Mark Carney at the Bank of England, which has resumed most, but not all, of its former supervisory responsibilities this decade.

One of the candidates, Andrew Bailey, a former Bank official and currently head of the conduct risk regulator, is desperate for the Bank job and publicly and privately speaking about lightening the regulatory load. Not only that, Bailey is also reluctant to take action against the well connected and have anything going on that will have an impact on his application, vide the current London Capital Finance scandal.

At a recent address to asset managers, Bailey said that not on Brexit + day 1, but soon after the red pen would be applied to the UK rule book. He implied that prosecutions would be a rarity. It was very much a plea to firms to stay after Brexit and to lobby for his candidacy.

skippy , May 1, 2019 at 5:51 am

Cough .

The Audit – Monty Python's The Flying Circus – https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2pelun

Ahem no longer available on YT in direct search by title.

templar555510 , May 1, 2019 at 8:46 am

I am old enough remember clearly the Blue Arrow case in the 1980's ( easily looked up ) but essentially a share rigging operation. The smokescreen advanced by the establishment in these cases had always been the same; that company fraud is far to complicated for ordinary mortals to understand . But in the Blue Arrow case they ( the jury ) did understand it, which terrified the establishment, and word came down from on high that no such prosecutions should ever happen again . And then we had ' light touch regulation '. And then we had the Great Financial Crash.

Colonel Smithers , May 1, 2019 at 10:09 am

Thank you, T.

Me, too. Also, I joined Coutts, part of the then NatWest Group, in the late 1990s. We were taught about the case as part of the new joiner induction.

Do you recall the Guinness scandal?

Templar555510 , May 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I do indeed Colonel. Both scandals seem almost quaint in the light of the scale of the manipulation and fraud in the years leading up to the GFC and subsequently; and the unwillingness of both the UK and US government to even attempt to bring about prosecutions. The intertwining of politics and big business ( ' the revolving door ' ) has played a large part in this and IMHO distressed the wider public to such an extent that when they had the opportunity to show their displeasure they did so and voted for Brexit and Trump.

Off The Street , May 1, 2019 at 10:41 am

Those regulators and their ilk need trips to the Old Bailey, although that is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Too much is riding on the Brexit preparations, until the next panic, and then the following panic. All of those militate against any action that would harm the fabric of, ahem, pay packets.

diptherio , May 1, 2019 at 10:50 am

Your video embed is a little on the big side and overlapping the sidebar on Firefox, any way.

Watt4Bob , May 1, 2019 at 12:09 pm

If you put Lanny Breuer in, you could put 10,000 F.B.I. agents and you would still get no prosecutions, because Lanny Breuer simply isn't going to prosecute just like Eric Holder simply wasn't going to prosecute.

IMHO, you could put Bill Black in, many, if not most of those 10,000 F.B.I. agents would passively resist, and you would still get no prosecutions.

We're seeing, with Trump, what passive resistance looks like, the same will be done to Bernie if elected.

The massive momentum of neo-liberal rule is baked in, and has been quite successful at making sure Trump doesn't screw any of their plans up, in fact Trump derangement syndrome seems to be working better than they could ever have dreamed to cover the really nasty stuff that's going on while the people are treated to Russia, Russia, Russia! 24/7.

Bernie would face the same, but probably worse, more intense resistance from what would be a unified, bi-partisan resistance, the 10%, with forty years worth of Washington Consensus training under their belts, all either chanting in unison against the evils of socialism, or sticking their fingers in their ears and chanting Na, Na, Na, Na!

After 9/11, the FBI pulled thousands of agents off white collar crime and switched them to fighting terrorism, in hindsight, this seems closer to evidence of a plan than an accident of history.

By now, most, if not all those agents have decided that for the sake of their careers, they had better forget about what they used to think was important.

It would probably take all of Bernie's first term to bring the public up to speed, and in alignment with the effort to prosecute the banksters, and that's being optimistic.

Right now, half the electorate believes that dead-beat borrowers crashed the economy in 2008.

There's a lot of brain-washing to be undone.

Yves Smith , May 1, 2019 at 12:24 pm

You don't need the FBI to prosecute bank crimes. In his book version of Inside Job, Charles Ferguson laid out the evidence for WaMu (and IIRC another bank) that was sufficient to be able to indict executives. There was plenty of evidence in the public domain.

Watt4Bob , May 1, 2019 at 2:03 pm

Yes, and what is it we are discussing, the reasons why no indictments were made, and what is to be done about it?

My point is that changes in leadership, IMO are insufficient to prompt those indictments into being in the near term because in the period since 2008, everything possible has been done to load the federal bureaucracy with politically reliable persons dedicated to helping defend the status quo.

I might add that ' The Resistance' has, IMO, been focused almost exclusively on making sure Trump is not reelected, thereby protecting democratic rice bowls, and sadly, not so much on preventing his destroying regulatory systems, the courts, and every remnant of the New Deal.

The situation we're facing is the Augean Stables, except that it's been 40 years, not 30, that the filth has been building up without a proper cleaning.

So, being wildly optimistic, we elect Bernie Sanders, and if we're lucky, start a generation long process against a strong head wind.

That said, I remain wildly optimistic that that is what will happen, I just can't help myself.

JimTan , May 1, 2019 at 2:35 pm

I'm not a legal expert but what about going after banks, most of which do business in NY state, by using the existing Martin Act like Eliot Spitzer. According to this older article :

"Spitzer's big gun was New York's Martin Act. The law allowed him to subpoena virtually any document from anyone doing business in the state. Because the law permits prosecutors to pursue either civil or criminal penalties, Spitzer could refuse to tell suspects which one he was seeking. Spitzer's willingness to wield the considerable powers permitted by the Martin Act turned the New York AG's office from a backwater into a rainmaker and made the SEC, which could impose only puny civil penalties, look like a peashooter.

Spitzer used the Martin Act to drag angry and unwilling corporate executives into his office for questioning. Then he'd subpoena huge company files.

Dedicated staff combed through them and, almost inevitably, found a smoking gun: secretive after-hours trading between mutual funds and hedge funds; alleged bid rigging at Marsh; and emails from Wall Street analyst Jack Grubman bragging to his mistress about how he'd recommended a shoddy company in a three-way deal to help his boss, Citigroup chairman Sandy Weill, humiliate a corporate foe.

Spitzer would then wave "the bloody shirt," as journalist Roger Donway puts it, in front of the cameras, show off the worst offenses he had uncovered and use them to tar and feather an entire industry."

[May 01, 2019] Do honest politicans exist

May 01, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

honest politicians @Alligator Ed

An honest politician is a biological phantasm, such as minotaurs. Wish as much as you might, you cannot will either minotaurs or honest politicians into being. Alas, I must include Tulsi into that concept (though she is certainly the best of the bunch).

We've had honest politicians before. They're not chaemeras, but they are rare.

Many, such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, were Republican. And the most honest of Democratic Presidents, also named Roosevelt, was as honest as he was in large part because he admired and emulated his kinsman Theodore.

They can be cultured. But the first step in culturing them is for We The People as a whole to completely quarantine themselves from ever voting for bullshit. Give the likes of Tulsi Gabbard an opportunity to stay honest, and she will. But she needs that opportunity. Can we give it to her?

I my early days, before I really indulged in the swamp, known as politics, my thoughts were identical to yours.

Presumably, everyone wants a composed, well spoken president, one that can conduct him or herself with a trace of grace, some modicum of decorum, one who won't embarrass us every time they speak or try to close an umbrella. Being nice looking also matters since we have to look at this person a great deal more than we really want. A good smile, nice teeth, real hair; all of that matters – to some extent. Just not all that much. An attractive appearance and a suave command of the language actually guarantees very little. If anything such characteristics have the potential to conceal deep flaws and questionable actions and policies. Glib good-looking people get away with a lot of crap.

A perfect exemplar of good teeth, glib words and a smile is Bubba, known as Mr. HRC these days. What a walking piece of excrement.

I propose a biological comparison of looking for Mr. Goodbar president. This is the process of birth. Despite genetics, we all to some degree get molded by the transpelvic experience of our own births. The only exception is Caesarean section, which involves a vicious intact on mother's anatomy. Can one exit unscathed from such a beginning. Do all who aspire to speak for others always have at least some degree of self-aggrandizement? Not necessarily money, but always power over others. It takes enormous self-belief to imagine any individual capable of making life/death decisions for millions with adopting the associated power that comes from so doing.

My faith in man/woman is reinforced by such as Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. Disregarding for the moment their mutual imprisonment, neither of those would be interested in holding political office.

An honest politician is a biological phantasm, such as minotaurs. Wish as much as you might, you cannot will either minotaurs or honest politicians into being. Alas, I must include Tulsi into that concept (though she is certainly the best of the bunch).

up 11 users have voted. --

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg


span y wokkamile on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 9:36am

Well, "Honest Abe" --

@thanatokephaloides that was easy. I'm not sure the word honest would be among the first descriptives about FDR. Skillful politician, successful president, flexible attitude, good intelligence, concern for his country's less well off come to mind. I wouldn't apply "honest" to Pearl Harbor or FDR's seeming unconcern about the Jews of Europe.

Honest also isn't sufficient. Jimmy Carter was one of the most honest presidents. He too was intelligent, so even that isn't enough. What FDR was very good at was applying his personal abilities and the media tools of the time to sell the people on his programs. He was also skillful at keeping his awkward Dem coalition together. Honest Jimmy not so good in either category.

#3

An honest politician is a biological phantasm, such as minotaurs. Wish as much as you might, you cannot will either minotaurs or honest politicians into being. Alas, I must include Tulsi into that concept (though she is certainly the best of the bunch).

We've had honest politicians before. They're not chaemeras, but they are rare.

Many, such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, were Republican. And the most honest of Democratic Presidents, also named Roosevelt, was as honest as he was in large part because he admired and emulated his kinsman Theodore.

They can be cultured. But the first step in culturing them is for We The People as a whole to completely quarantine themselves from ever voting for bullshit. Give the likes of Tulsi Gabbard an opportunity to stay honest, and she will. But she needs that opportunity. Can we give it to her?

span y dfarrah on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:33am
As much as I admire

@wokkamile Jimmy Carter, I think his actions in Afghanistan supported the growth of terrorism, and his efforts to deregulate led to the monopolies we're stuck with now.

#3.2 that was easy. I'm not sure the word honest would be among the first descriptives about FDR. Skillful politician, successful president, flexible attitude, good intelligence, concern for his country's less well off come to mind. I wouldn't apply "honest" to Pearl Harbor or FDR's seeming unconcern about the Jews of Europe.

Honest also isn't sufficient. Jimmy Carter was one of the most honest presidents. He too was intelligent, so even that isn't enough. What FDR was very good at was applying his personal abilities and the media tools of the time to sell the people on his programs. He was also skillful at keeping his awkward Dem coalition together. Honest Jimmy not so good in either category.

span y HenryAWallace on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 2:22pm
Carter? What about Reagan and Bush?

@dfarrah

#3.2.1 Jimmy Carter, I think his actions in Afghanistan supported the growth of terrorism, and his efforts to deregulate led to the monopolies we're stuck with now.

span y UntimelyRippd on Sun, 04/28/2019 - 10:18am
whatever his various merits, it's pretty hard to

@thanatokephaloides
make the case that lincoln was honest. his speeches were carefully tailored to his particular audiences. he said so many contradictory things that we'll never know for certain what he thought about slavery and racial equality.

[Apr 30, 2019] Senate Banking Committee Hearing - Bank Money Laundering

Mar 07, 2013 | www.youtube.com

http://warren.senate.gov

Senator Elizabeth Warren's Q&A at the March 7, 2013 Banking Committee hearing entitled "Patterns of Abuse: Assessing Bank Secrecy Act Compliance and Enforcement." Witnesses were: David Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, United States Department of the Treasury; Thomas Curry, Comptroller, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and Jerome H. Powell, Governor, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.


ResistCom , 5 years ago

HSBC has a long history dealing in illicit, immoral drugs. In fact, the bank was established to facilitate such. "After the British established Hong Kong as a colony in the aftermath of the First Opium War, local merchants felt the need for a bank to finance the growing trade between China and Europe (with traded products including opium). They established the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited in Hong Kong (March 1865) and Shanghai (one month later)." ~ Wikipedia Another good source is the book "Dope, Inc." RESIST !!!

serbanmike , 5 years ago (edited)

Obviously nobody wants to take responsibilities. They would not even consider what is morally wrong or acceptable. These are the people we pay salaries to protect us, 316 million Americans? So we still pay a hefty salary to Senator Powell and David Cohn in Treasury department? Are these people in cahoots with those who laundered money at J P Morgan ? Do they make money from both sides? Peel off the tax payers and get bribes from the banks which launder the money ? I assume this is just a game. Banksters on Wall Street who suck our blood are still outside on the prowl. They did it in 2008 and are looking for the next move soon.

Joe Allen Honeycutt-Herring , 2 years ago

I love this woman, Elizabeth is the smartest of all investment and banking issues.. she will clip wings and pump breaks!

rich , 5 years ago

What gets me is these banks are part of the illicit drug trade with no chance of jail time, but if one of the peasants gets busted with a single joint.Prosecution,jail, fines, you name it, it's throw the book time.We need more people like Warren in government.

[Apr 30, 2019] What to Make of Warren's Policy Blitz by Meagan Day

Apr 30, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Elizabeth Warren may have smart policies. But Bernie Sanders has mass politics.

Last week I wrote an article praising Elizabeth Warren for advancing the student debt conversation. While I think her proposal falls short of what we deserve -- a full-on student debt jubilee, no means-testing or exceptions -- I'm impressed by how seriously it takes the problem of student debt, leaving Obama-style "refinancing" behind in favor of large-scale debt forgiveness, commensurate with the gravity of the crisis.

The student debt proposal was one of many recent plans released by Warren in recent months, ramping up in the last few weeks. Some are better than others. Her Ultra-Millionaire Tax is a winner, as is her Real Corporate Profits Tax . Warren's universal childcare plan is promising overall, though it retains unnecessary fees for users. Her affordable housing plan is one-sidedly market-based: its central proposal is to incentivize local governments to remove zoning restrictions. That needs to be complemented by heavy investments in social housing, a policy recently floated by the People's Policy Project.

But criticisms aside, Warren's proposals trend in a positive direction. At the very least, they demonstrate a willingness to tackle working people's real problems with debt, housing, health, and childcare. If they were to materialize, many of these proposals would significantly improve life for working people -- maybe not as much as we'd like, but enough to be considered a positive development, especially after decades of Democratic disinterest in policies that threaten corporate profits or meaningfully redistribute wealth.

So it's understandable why many on the Left have reacted to Warren's policy blitz with delight. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The proposals she's pumping out are exciting, but more to the point, they are a strategy for raising her campaign's profile.

It's not standard in presidential politics to bust out of the gate with a constant stream of detailed policy ideas. The other candidates aren't behind on releasing policy proposals -- Warren is way ahead, doing something unusual. Bernie Sanders doesn't even have his policy team fully assembled yet, nor do the others. We need to ask why Warren feels compelled to adopt this early traction-gaining strategy to begin with.

In my view, Warren's policy blitz is a bid to distinguish herself in light of her difficulty thus far in cohering an organic base. Put bluntly, Warren is turning her campaign into a policy factory because she's had trouble inspiring people with a broad-strokes political vision the way her closest ideological competitor, Bernie Sanders, has.

This strategy may work to boost her campaign prospects, but it's a bad omen for any presidential administration seriously committed to taking on the ruling elite. If you can't impart to millions of working people the sense that they are carrying out a historic mission during your campaign -- a " political revolution " driven by " Not Me, Us " -- you won't be able to mobilize them to exert pressure on the state to challenge the interests of capital when it really counts, during your presidency.

Part of Warren's trouble in the area of mass politics can be traced to the fact that she's neither an establishment plaything nor an opponent of capitalism. To her credit, Warren won't take corporate money (at least during the primary ), and she evades the regular donor circuit. That means that to make her campaign viable, she needs masses of ordinary people to believe in her project strongly enough to donate their own hard-earned money to her campaign. Unlike Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, or certainly Joe Biden, she can't paper over her lackluster popular support with fat checks from elites.

So far, those masses have failed to materialize. That's largely because Warren's temperate political ideology makes it hard for her to say the things necessary to get their attention. She's great at diagnosing the worst problems of capitalism and has plans to address them, but her rhetoric doesn't polarize along class lines. She therefore struggles to define her constituency and identify who exactly that constituency is up against.

Warren hates egregious inequality, but fundamentally believes in the superior rationality of markets. She has unwavering faith in capitalism, calling herself "a capitalist to my bones" -- her primary concern is that it has been led astray. At a time when socialism is becoming synonymous with efforts to put people over profit, Warren disavows it. When Donald Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country" a couple of months ago, Sanders stayed slouched in his chair, while Warren rose to her feet in applause.

This means that while Warren knows down to the last detail what she'd like better regulations to look like, she's not quite solid on the antagonists and protagonists, i.e. which broader social forces need to be arranged against which other forces to make change.

Sanders's vision of social conflict is quite clear, and is summed up by the name of his town hall last year: CEOs vs. Workers. To make favorable policy materialize and to protect it from reversal, the forces of workers need to be arranged against the forces of CEOs. Nearly everything Sanders says and does leads back to this core belief in the power of ordinary working people to take on capitalist elites themselves. As he puts it , "Real change never takes place from the top on down. It always takes place from the bottom on up."

In Warren's case, where oppositional rhetoric appears at all, the contest more often comes across as "Smart Progressive Policymakers vs. Bad Rules." Not only is there no room in that rivalry for ordinary people, but the enemy is also faceless. The enemy is incorrect policy, and it must be corrected by expert policy correctors. Elect Warren, on the basis of her demonstrated expertise, and she will deftly set about changing the rules so that capitalism doesn't produce so many awful externalities.

Sanders may as well have been winking at Warren when he said, in a video screened recently to thousands of self-organized groups of Bernie supporters in every congressional district:

No president, not the best intentioned, not the most honest person in the world, no one person can do it alone. Now why is that? Because this is what is not talked about in the media, not talked about in Congress: the power structure of America is such that a small number of wealthy individuals and large corporate entities have so much influence over the economic and political life of this country that no one person can do it.

You think we're gonna pass Medicare for All tomorrow because the president of the United States says that's what we should do? You think we're gonna take on the fossil fuel industry and effectively and aggressively combat climate change change because the president of the United States thinks we should do that? A lot of presidents say, "Gee I have a great idea. I woke up yesterday and I think health care for all's a good idea." That's not the way it happens. It happens when millions of people stand up and demand it.

It's unsurprising that Bernie's broad vision of social conflict is more inspiring than Warren's. After decades of skyrocketing living costs and stagnating wages, many working people are spoiling for a fight. That nascent fighting spirit can be seen in the popular protest movements that began in 2011, the unprecedented popularity of Sanders's dark-horse candidacy in 2016, and the teachers strike wave that kicked off last year.

Unencumbered by an awkward mixture of admiration for capitalism and disapproval of its ugliest excesses, Bernie Sanders is uniquely capable of picking that fight -- and making ordinary working people feel like they're at the center of it, that it's theirs to win.

It's the trouble Warren has had breaking through in this way that explains why she has turned to cranking out hyper-detailed proposals. She's making up with wonkery what she lacks in big-picture political clarity. In the process, she's successfully grabbing headlines and winning the hearts of left technocrats with prominent platforms. That might translate into some boost in popular support. But it's not obvious that such support will ever rival that of a candidate who tells workers , "This is class warfare, and we're going to stand up and fight."

We are right to admire many of the ideas coming out of the Warren campaign. Best-case scenario, they will spur a progressive policy arms race, which would be to the benefit of all.

But we shouldn't see her policy blitz purely as a sign of strength. It may actually be an SOS message, a panicked response to her campaign's shortcomings in the field of mass politics. And of course, mass politics are necessary for creating durable and militant constituencies that can self-organize outside the state, which is in turn necessary to win and preserve a progressive policy agenda against the interests of capitalists -- an agenda that Warren and Sanders largely share.

Warren's policy blitz strategy may pay off in the short term. But in the long term, there's no substitute for naming the sides, picking a side, and building up your side to fight the other side. And that's Bernie's game.

[Apr 30, 2019] Remarks by Senator Warren on Citigroup and its bailout provision

She rips the Obama White House for its allegiance to Citibank. But she does nto understadn that the problem is not with Citibank, but with the neoliberalism as the social system. Sad...
Democrats and Republicans are just two sides of the same coin as for neoliberalism. Which presuppose protecting banks, like Citigroup, and other big corporations. The USA political system is not a Democracy, we have become an Oligarchy with a two Party twist (Poliarchy) in whihc ordinary voters are just statists who have No voice for anyone except approving one of the two preselected by big money candidates. It's time we put a stop to this nonsense or we'll all go down with ship.
Anyway, on a positive note "Each time a person stands up for an ideal to improve the lot of others, they send forth a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistence." RFK
Dec 12, 2014 | www.youtube.com

http://warren.senate.gov

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke on the floor of the Senate on Dec. 12, 2014 about the provision that Citigroup added to the omnibus budget package.


Amazing Atheist , 4 years ago (edited)

The fact that it is almost shocking to see a politician actually advocating for the interest of their constituency is rather sad, don't you think? 

Nature Boy , 4 years ago

I wonder what kind of defamation scheme the Citi conmen are cooking up in response to Senator Warren's speech. She is truly a diamond in the rough-

cabiker91 , 4 years ago

This budget deal is absolutely disgusting. More financial deregulation, the potential for a second TARP, cuts to pensions, and cuts to funding for Pell Grants to help out students. Once again, the people lose.

dan10things , 4 years ago

So tough, so strong, and so right. And I love that she's not afraid to rip into Democrats and the White House for their complicity in selling out our country and tax dollars to the big banks. We need more strong politicians on both sides of the aisle like this.

Mark A. Johnson , 4 years ago

I wish more politicians had the courage to stand up to Wall Street the way you do. Loved your speech and please keep the heat on.

TheBambinoitaliano , 4 years ago

It's not party specific, though the Republicans are the worst. Both parties are to be blame. The biggest blame goes to the Americans who do not vote and those who have no clue who or what they are voting for. The government is the way it is, it's because of the attitude of Americans towards politics. Majority do not give a shit and hence you have that pile up in Washington and states legislature.

Elizabeth Warren is like a fictional do gooder character from Hollywood. No one take her seriously.

Blame all the politicians you want, you Americans voting or not voting are the lousiest employers in the world, because you hire a bunch of corruptors into your government. These corruptors in fact control your lives.

They abuse your money, spending every penny on everything but on you. You would not hand over your wallet or bank accounts to a strangers, yet are precisely doing that by putting these corruptors in the government.

Author F.E Feeley Jr. , 4 years ago

"I agree with you: Dodd Frank isn't perfect-- it should have broken you into pieces." Give em Hell Elizabeth! 

Stikibits , 4 years ago (edited)

The USA is run by crooks. There'll be a few changes when Senator Warren is President Warren. Warren/Sanders 2016!

Nick Lento , 4 years ago (edited)

This speech encapsulates and exposes all that is wrong with America in general and with our governance in particular. Taking the heinous provision out of the bill would be a great first baby step toward cleaning up our politics, economy and collective spirit as a nation. All the "smart money" says that Warren is engaged in a Quixotic attempt to do something good in a system that is irredeemably corrupted by money and the lust for power. The cynics may be right, perhaps America is doomed to be consumed by the parasites to the last drop of blood...but maybe not. Maybe this ugly indefensibly corrupt malevolent move to put the taxpayers back on the hook for the next trillion dollar bail out theft will be sufficient to wake up hundreds of millions of us. When the people wake up and turn on the lights, the crooks and the legally corrupt will slither away back into their hole...and many may just wind up in prison, where they belong. But so long as corrupt dirty dastardly interests can keepAmerica deceived and asleep, they will continue to drain our nation's life's blood dry. Please share this video widely. If half as many folks watch this speech as watched the Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" YouTube, the provision to which Warren is objecting will be taken out very quickly indeed.

Gregory Ho , 4 years ago

Socialize the costs and privatize the profits! Yeeha! - Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup

JIMJAMSC , 4 years ago (edited)

As George Carlin said a decade ago,who are we going to replace these politicians with? They did not fall out of the sky or come from a distant planet. They are US. You can vote all you want and replace every last one of them but nothing will change. It is human nature. Besides the road from being on the local town council, to the mayor,Gov then into the Capital is littered with test to weed out anyone who might really pose a danger to the system. The occasional odd one that does make it to power is castrated or there simply to give the illusion that elections matter. Unless you can eliminate the attraction of greed,ego and power nothing will ever change. Just a quick look back at history tells you what is happening now and what will be going on in our future. The only difference is there are more zeros.

[Apr 30, 2019] Elizabeth Warren s Big Ideas on Big Tech by Kenneth Rogoff

Notable quotes:
"... Although the causal relationships are difficult to untangle, there are solid grounds for believing that the rise in monopoly power has played a role in exacerbating income inequality, weakening workers' bargaining power, and slowing the rate of innovation. ..."
"... The debate about how to regulate the sector is eerily reminiscent of the debate over financial regulation in the early 2000s. Proponents of a light regulatory touch argued that finance was too complicated for regulators to keep up with innovation, and that derivatives trading allows banks to make wholesale changes to their risk profile in the blink of an eye. And the financial industry put its money where its mouth was, paying salaries so much higher than those in the public sector that any research assistant the Federal Reserve System trained to work on financial issues would be enticed with offers exceeding what their boss's boss was earning. ..."
"... It is a problem that cannot be overcome without addressing fundamental questions about the role of the state, privacy, and how US firms can compete globally against China, where the government is using domestic tech companies to collect data on its citizens at an exponential pace. And yet many would prefer to avoid them. ..."
"... At this point, ideas for regulating Big Tech are just sketches, and of course more serious analysis is warranted. An open, informed discussion that is not squelched by lobbying dollars is a national imperative. ..."
Apr 01, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org
Kenneth Rogoff

The debate about how to regulate the tech sector is eerily reminiscent of the debate over financial regulation in the early 2000s. Fortunately, one US politician has mustered the courage to call for a total rethink of America's exceptionally permissive merger and acquisition policy over the past four decades.

CAMBRIDGE – Displaying a degree of courage and clarity that is difficult to overstate, US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has taken on Big Tech, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. Warren's proposals amount to a total rethink of the United States' exceptionally permissive merger and acquisition policy over the past four decades. Indeed, Big Tech is only the poster child for a significant increase in monopoly and oligopoly power across a broad swath of the American economy. Although the best approach is still far from clear, I could not agree more that something needs to done, especially when it comes to Big Tech's ability to buy out potential competitors and use their platform dominance to move into other lines of business.

Warren is courageous because Big Tech is big money for most leading Democratic candidates, particularly progressives, for whom California is a veritable campaign-financing ATM. And although one can certainly object, Warren is not alone in thinking that the tech giants have gained excessive market dominance; in fact, it is one of the few issues in Washington on which there is some semblance of agreement . Other candidates, most notably Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, have also taken principled stands

Although the causal relationships are difficult to untangle, there are solid grounds for believing that the rise in monopoly power has played a role in exacerbating income inequality, weakening workers' bargaining power, and slowing the rate of innovation. And, perhaps outside of China, it is a global problem, because US tech monopolies have often achieved market dominance before local regulators and politicians know what has happened. The European Union, in particular, has been trying to steer its own course on technology regulation . Recently, the United Kingdom commissioned an expert group, chaired by former President Barack Obama's chief economist (and now my colleague) Jason Furman , that produced a very useful report on approaches to the tech sector.

The debate about how to regulate the sector is eerily reminiscent of the debate over financial regulation in the early 2000s. Proponents of a light regulatory touch argued that finance was too complicated for regulators to keep up with innovation, and that derivatives trading allows banks to make wholesale changes to their risk profile in the blink of an eye. And the financial industry put its money where its mouth was, paying salaries so much higher than those in the public sector that any research assistant the Federal Reserve System trained to work on financial issues would be enticed with offers exceeding what their boss's boss was earning.

There will be similar problems staffing tech regulatory offices and antitrust legal divisions if the push for tighter regulation gains traction. To succeed, political leaders need to be focused and determined, and not easily bought. One only has to recall the 2008 financial crisis and its painful aftermath to comprehend what can happen when a sector becomes too politically influential. And the US and world economy are, if anything, even more vulnerable to Big Tech than to the financial sector, owing both to cyber aggression and vulnerabilities in social media that can pervert political debate.

Another parallel with the financial sector is the outsize role of US regulators. As with US foreign policy, when they sneeze, the entire world can catch a cold. The 2008 financial crisis was sparked by vulnerabilities in the US and the United Kingdom, but quickly went global. A US-based cyber crisis could easily do the same. This creates an "externality," or global commons problem, because US regulators allow risks to build up in the system without adequately considering international implications.

It is a problem that cannot be overcome without addressing fundamental questions about the role of the state, privacy, and how US firms can compete globally against China, where the government is using domestic tech companies to collect data on its citizens at an exponential pace. And yet many would prefer to avoid them.

That's why there has been fierce pushback against Warren for daring to suggest that even if many services seem to be provided for free, there might still be something wrong. There was the same kind of pushback from the financial sector fifteen years ago, and from the railroads back in the late 1800s. Writing in the March 1881 issue of The Atlantic , the progressive activist Henry Demarest Lloyd warned that,

"Our treatment of 'the railroad problem' will show the quality and caliber of our political sense. It will go far in foreshadowing the future lines of our social and political growth. It may indicate whether the American democracy, like all the democratic experiments which have preceded it, is to become extinct because the people had not wit enough or virtue enough to make the common good supreme."

Lloyd's words still ring true today. At this point, ideas for regulating Big Tech are just sketches, and of course more serious analysis is warranted. An open, informed discussion that is not squelched by lobbying dollars is a national imperative.

The debate that Warren has joined is not about whether to establish socialism. It is about making capitalist competition fairer and, ultimately, stronger.

Kenneth Rogoff, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University and recipient of the 2011 Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Economics, was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2003. The co-author of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly , his new book, The Curse of Cash , was released in August 2016.

[Apr 28, 2019] Sen. Warren Wants to Jail Those Who Caused 2008's Meltdown

Apr 28, 2019 | therealnews.com

MARC STEINER Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Mark Steiner. Great to have you all with us. Senator Elizabeth Warren is attempting to make waves with her bold pronouncements during her bid for this presidency. She's introduced two bills into the Senate. The first is called the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, which will hold corporate executives of million-dollar corporations criminally liable for negligence with potential prison time. The other is called The Too Big to Jail Act, creating a corporate crime strike force. In the wake of the 2008 meltdown, where there were no criminal prosecutions of note despite ruining millions of lives in our country, it's led to a roiling discontent in America. Why has it been so difficult to prosecute bankers and corporate leaders and executives in our country? Why has the government been so reluctant to do so? And in the unlikely circumstance that Warren's bills will get passed in the Senate, what would be the result and complications if they did? Joining us once again to sort through all of this is a man who knows a thing or two about white-collar crime. Bill Black -- Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, white- collar criminologist, former financial regulator, the author of the book The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One, and a regular contributor here at The Real News. Bill, welcome back. Good to have you with us. Thank you. So this has obviously been building since 2008. People have been wanting some answer, but I think most folks don't know really what that means. I've been reading a lot of pieces that are pro and con about what Elizabeth Warren is suggesting. Let's go through what she's suggesting and get your initial read and analysis of that.

BILL BLACK Okay. So as you said, there are two different acts. She just rolled one of them out a couple of days ago and they fit together. One is addressed more directly to the financial crisis and the other one is prompted by the financial crisis, but broader than it. That second one would propose to change the requirement to get a guilty verdict to a demonstration of negligence on the part of officers when they commit the really serious crimes. The other act would basically provide more resources to go after elite, white-collar criminals.

MARC STEINER In the New York Times, there was a quote from Lanny Breuer who is a Justice Department, Criminal Division official former head. He said on Frontline, "when we can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a criminal intent, then we have a constitutional duty not to bring those cases." And Attorney General Eric Holder told the Senate committee that some banks would become "too big," that prosecuting them would have negatively affected the economy. In other words, they've become too big to jail. And then, in Britain there it was said that if you start prosecuting these people, then it threatens the very foundations of the free enterprise system. So Bill, what's the problem here?

BILL BLACK So the problem is the people at the top in both the United States and the United Kingdom. For example, Prime Minister Blair complained at a time when the Financial Supervisory Authority -- which is referred to over there as the Fundamentally Supine Authority [laughter] -- was absolutely not regulating anything, that it was outrageous overregulation, and how dare they treat bankers as potential criminals. We have the combination of Breuer and Holder where the only issue is, which of them was more moronic on this subject, and it was a dead tie.

MARC STEINER So tell me why do you use the word "moronic?"

BILL BLACK Because it's a family show.

MARC STEINER [laughter]

BILL BLACK So seriously, to go through these things, let's recall that in much more difficult cases in the savings and loan debacle, we oriented the prosecutions entirely towards the most elite defendants. And here's the first thing: There is never a problem to the financial system from prosecuting individual criminals. It is not good for a financial system to be run by criminals. You strengthen the financial system when you convict and remove criminals from running the largest bank. [laugher]

MARC STEINER Let me just ask you a question about that. But is the nature of the competition among banks and the competition to make as much money as humanly possible -- like the scandal that happened in 2008 that tanked our economy for a while and put millions of people into huge financial jeopardy -- that seems to me to be the daily workings of those institutions. And the issue

BILL BLACK No, no.

MARC STEINER Go ahead. Tell me why you say no.

BILL BLACK Banks don't do anything.

MARC STEINER The people in them do, though.

BILL BLACK The bankers do things and bankers shape the institutions, so institutions matter enormously. And that's the first big thing in a critique of Senator Warren. If anybody is close to Senator Warren, please send her this link. [laughter] We can really help. She's got exactly the right ideas, but she isn't an expert in criminology. She wasn't part of the efforts to prosecute folks successfully that I'm about to describe. We can really, really help her be effective and we're willing to help any candidate be effective on these issues. Two enormous institutional changes have made the world vastly more criminogenic. Those changes are: we got rid of true partnerships where you had joint and several liability. Therefore, it really paid to make sure that you didn't make a partner, someone who was super sleazy, because then they could sue you -- not them, not the sleazy partner, but you and it was absolutely no defense that you had nothing to do with it. Your entire net worth could be taken. That's what a true partnership was. We got rid of true partnerships throughout the financial world. The second thing is modern executive compensation. Modern executive compensation not only creates the incentives to defraud, because you can be made wealthy. It provides the means to defraud. This allows you to convert corporate assets to your own personal wealth in a way that has very little risk of prosecution and it allowed you to suborn the controls but also [allowed] the lower officers and employees to actually commit the fraudulent acts, which are usually accounting for you in a way that you'd have plausible deniability. We can change both and we must change both of those incredibly perverse incentives if we want to deal with fraud successfully. So that's the missing part of her plan and I think she would agree with everything I've said. Now we have a detailed plan -- we being the bank whistleblowers united -- that we put out two years ago in the election, two and a half years ago. We'll put this on the website, or at least the links to it for folks who want to know the kind of institutional steps you need to start changing this. But even with what I've said about this much more criminogenic environment, it remains true that we could have prosecuted successfully elite officers and every one of the major participants that committed these frauds. Indeed in many ways it would have been easier than during the savings and loan debacle, because unlike the savings and loan debacle, we have superb whistleblowers -- literally hundreds of whistleblowers who can say explicitly that these frauds occurred. And then we do it the old-fashioned way. That would give us the ability to prosecute midlevel officials and we can take it up the food chain by flipping them so that they give us information on the more senior folks. In some cases, our whistleblowers were right there in the C-suite and that would have included for example, a dead to rights prosecution against Robert Rubin. That's as senior as you can get at city, a dead to right prosecution of Mozilo at Countrywide. And we have other institutions like Wells Fargo where the following happened, so it's easy to look at liar's loans. Liar's loans again had a fraud incidence of 90 percent -- nine-zero. So the only entities doing liar's loans as a significant product are fraudulent. Similarly, if they're doing appraisal fraud, extorting appraisers to inflate appraisals, that only occurs at fraudulent shops. So Wells actually checked and it's easy to check and that's an important point. The fact that the Department of Justice never did this, and the banking agencies never did this, is a demonstration that they didn't want to actually conduct investigations. Here's how you check: so in a liar's loan, you don't verify the borrower's income, but the borrower signs at the same time a permission that says you can check this against my I.R.S. forms. And here's a hint: none of us deliberately inflate our income on our income tax returns because we'd have to pay more taxes. [laughter] So in the case of both Countrywide and Wells Fargo, we know that senior management who was given the results said, these kinds of loans, liar's loans, are majority frauds. And we know that senior management in both cases said, you know what we should do? Many, many more of those. That is a great criminal case. At J.P. Morgan, we have a great criminal case.

MARC STEINER Let me just interrupt you for a second, Bill. I want people to understand this because everything you're reading in the press right now, almost every article, whether they seem to like what Elizabeth Warren is suggesting, or oppose it, have questions about it. Almost everybody to a person I've read has said, it's almost impossible to prosecute these cases. We don't have a law to do it, that prosecuting somebody for, as she's suggesting, for negligence would not get the job done even if her bill ever passed. And so, talk a bit about that though. I'm very curious since clearly, you're going against the common wisdom that most people would have and anything they read -- whether it's The New York Times or anywhere else -- that we don't have the laws to make prosecutions work, which is one of the reasons why we're not prosecuting people.

BILL BLACK Okay so everybody you've read, has never been involved in these successful prosecutions.

MARC STEINER No, but if they're journalists and they've studied it, they should know what they're talking about.

BILL BLACK Seriously? [laughter]

MARC STEINER You would think, right? Well I would hope so. Anyway, but go ahead. [laughter].

BILL BLACK No, I would not think so. I don't think that at all because otherwise, they would have talked to people like us who actually did it. So let's go back. Under the same laws in the savings and loan debacle, we were able to hyper-prioritized prosecutions against the most elite folks. So we're going after folks in the C-Suite -- the C.E.O.s, the chief operating officers, the boards of directors, and such. We got over a thousand convictions in these cases, just the ones designated as major. We did over 600 prosecutions of the most elite of the elite, against the best criminal defense lawyers in the world with the same laws, and we got over a ninety percent conviction rate. So can it be done? Of course it can be done. We've shown that it can be done. Maybe our cases were just simple because it was just savings and loans and these are big banks. Actually, the prosecutions in many of these cases were easier. The loans in the savings and loan debacle, were actually much more complicated than home loans. They were commercial construction loans, $80-90 million dollars at-a-pop often. That's far more complex to explain to a jury, than a home loan and something as easy as a liar's loan and extorting an appraiser. In addition, there are massively more whistleblowers. I cannot remember the name of a significant whistleblower in the savings and loan debacle that was critical to prosecutions. I'm sure there were a couple, but again we have literally hundreds of whistleblowers who came forward in this crisis. This crisis occurred because first the Bush administration and then the Obama administration, were unwilling to investigate, unwilling to prosecute. And here's again the key. There are about two F.B.I. white-collar specialists per industry in the United States -- not per firm, per industry. So that means they don't have expertise in individual industries and they don't walk a beat, or they'd never find it. They only come when there's a criminal referral. Our agency, our much tinier agency back in the savings and loan debacle, made over thirty thousand criminal referrals. All of the federal banking regulatory agencies, much bigger in the great financial crisis, made fewer than a dozen criminal referrals, 30,000 to under a dozen. That means that the banking regulatory agencies basically ceased functioning in terms of criminal referrals. And why? That's the third big change and the third big change is ideological. What you saw is, both under the Republicans and under Bill Clinton -- the Democratic Party, the due Democrats, the Wall Street wing of the party -- they were simply unwilling to even think of bankers as criminals. I got out of the regulatory ranks when under Bill Clinton we were ordered, and I witnessed personally, to refer to the industry as our customers. Not the American people as our customers, the industry as our customers. Well do you make criminal referrals on your customers?

MARC STEINER So we're here talking to Bill Black and we've been covering some of the history of this. What we are going to do is we're going to take a break here and come back with another segment shortly and really probe into what Elizabeth Warren has said she wants to make into law. Would that make a difference? Does it fall short and it could lead to more prosecutions? We're going to come back to that. So you want to hit the next segment with Bill Black and Marc Steiner. Bill, thank you once again for being with The Real News. It's always a pleasure to have you with us.

BILL BLACK Thank you.

MARC STEINER And I'm Mark Steiner here for The Real News Network. Take care.

[Apr 26, 2019] Biden Campaign Brings In $6.3 Million During First 24 Hours

That's the advantage of being establishment candidate. Money flow to you automatically. It is a part of being bought.
Apr 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
launching his campaign on Thursday , even pulling in $700,000 during a Philadelphia fundraiser hosted by a Comcast executive.

Befitting of his status as a former VP and the leader in most national polls, Biden managed to beat out Bernie Sander's day-one haul of $5.9 million, despite the still-simmering controversy over 'gropegate' and the backlash over his treatment of Anita Hill, a young black female lawyer who accused Supreme Court nominee (now Justice) Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Hill rejected a personal apology from Biden earlier this week, even as Biden clarified during an interview on ABC's "the View" that he wasn't apologizing for his personal behavior, but rather for the treatment she was subjected to during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he led at the time.

Biden's day-one haul also beat out the $6.1 million raised by Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke during his first day, though recent polls show that enthusiasm for O'Rourke among Democrats has waned as South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has benefited from a media blitz of fawning coverage.


Creative_Destruct , 45 minutes ago link

After all the manipulated outrage, the electoral choices will most likely still be between about whom it can essentially be said "meet the old boss, same as the old boss." Underneath the thin layers of standard rhetorical ******** the same strings connect the puppets to the puppet masters.

tonye , 23 minutes ago link

Yeah, Biden is an "old school" Democrat alright.

Complete Uniparty.

Just ask him about Ukraine.

Taras Bulba , 3 hours ago link

In case anyone is wondering what kind of thug Kolomoisky (Hunter biden's sponsor at burisma), here is a run down of the murder of Russians in Odessa on 2 May 2014 and kolomosky's close involvement.

https://washingtonsblog.com/2014/05/key-man-behind-may-2nd-odessa-ukraine-trade-unions-building-massacre-many-connections-white-house.html

Anunnaki , 4 hours ago link

Biden-Weinstein 2020. #MeToo wing of the Democrap Party

Anunnaki , 4 hours ago link

All he offers is TDS and lazy platitudes. He thinks people love his “Everyman” shtick. He is a legend in his own mind

CatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link

BIDEN is a corrupt douche bag.

If Biden is Democrats anointed one They will get a repeat of 2016 in 2020.

Biden has ZERO charisma and comes across as a complete phony

dustinwind , 4 hours ago link

What I read was "Biden is a typical American politician." All the career politicians depend on big checks from the rich and corporate elites who greatly appreciate their services rendered. America is pay to play. It has been for a long time.

CatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link

Biden is Hillary Clinton in male form.

If he runs an anti Trump campaign, which he is likely to do, because he has ZERO to offer Americans, he will LOSE.

John Hansen , 4 hours ago link

No big deal, this is America, we are used to phonies, and false promises, just look at our border and demographic decline.

[Apr 26, 2019] Another blunter of Warren: she vouch for impeachment of Trump

Looks like she is incompetent beyond her narrow specialty and financial issues. This way she deprive herself of votes that otherwise belong to her. And what she is trying to achieve ? President Pence? Come on !
Apr 26, 2019 | fivethirtyeight.com

The most aggressive response to the full Mueller report has, naturally, come from the most liberal wings of the Democratic Party. Last month, I sketched out six chief Democratic blocs (from most liberal to most moderate): the Super Progressives, the Very Progressives, the Progressive New Guard, the Progressive Old Guard, the Moderates and Conservative Democrats. Many of the party's Super Progressives , including U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, are already talking about impeachment, as is a key voice in the party's Very Progressive bloc, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

[Apr 26, 2019] Russiagate will scarcely matter to most voters by election time 2020. But might give some advantage to Trump playing "false victum" of the witch hunt

Notable quotes:
"... foreign policy scarcely moves the needle in the US electorate at large so that won't necessarily help Trump nor hinder Bernie except on the outer fringes. Americans are tired of endless wars so the Demotards should generally be favoured on this issue whether or not warranted so long as they play their cards right. ..."
"... US Presidential elections definitely turn on the economy. A slowdown or recession before 11/2020 and Trump is toast. Also, the conversation has clearly moved left on economic inequality and healthcare. Bernie owns these issues and to the extent he can make his way through the primaries he will stand a great chance of unseating Trump. ..."
"... Warren does too but as you stated she is not telegenic nor peronable. Her .01% Native American schtick really hurt her credibility. That was a dumb move. ..."
"... Gabbard is certainly telegenic and hasn't been blackballed as much as she is simply not well-known. She's in the field at the moment. Her chances appear more real farther down the road so running now could be seen as a first step in the eventual process. I doubt Bernie will choose her as VP but who knows? ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Apr 25, 2019 4:19:45 PM | link

Russiagate will scarcely matter to most voters by election time 2020. Trump has already received whatever positives he will receive courtesy of Barr's whitewashing. It is clear among a majourity of Americans that Trump obstructed justice and the drip drip of continued information, hearings, etc will not improve his standing. May not hurt him but definitely will not help him gain voters at the margins.

Likewise, foreign policy scarcely moves the needle in the US electorate at large so that won't necessarily help Trump nor hinder Bernie except on the outer fringes. Americans are tired of endless wars so the Demotards should generally be favoured on this issue whether or not warranted so long as they play their cards right.

Trump may gain an advantage among more conservative-tinged independent voters if he continues to work in concert with Russia and Israel on Middle East issues in the sense that many may see these alliances as promoting strength and peace (whether warranted or not). The coming deal with China on trade will benefit Trump too...as long as the economy keeps humming along.

US Presidential elections definitely turn on the economy. A slowdown or recession before 11/2020 and Trump is toast. Also, the conversation has clearly moved left on economic inequality and healthcare. Bernie owns these issues and to the extent he can make his way through the primaries he will stand a great chance of unseating Trump.

Warren does too but as you stated she is not telegenic nor peronable. Her .01% Native American schtick really hurt her credibility. That was a dumb move. Are some of her problems related to gender bias? Without a doubt. However, as I have long said, the first American female president will not come from the baby boom. The first American female president will more likely be a millenial.

Gabbard is certainly telegenic and hasn't been blackballed as much as she is simply not well-known. She's in the field at the moment. Her chances appear more real farther down the road so running now could be seen as a first step in the eventual process. I doubt Bernie will choose her as VP but who knows?

... ... ...

[Apr 26, 2019] Warren is also a "Russia! Russia! Russia!" Neo-McCartyism witch hunt band wagon

That's a blunder, but it does not matter as much as her blunder with "reparations"
Warren is not telegenic nor personable. Her .01% Native American schtick really hurt her credibility.
Notable quotes:
"... On facebook in May 2017, "We know that the Russians hacked into American systems to try to influence our election." ..."
"... Warren is crap. There are only two genuine leading candidates, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders that offer some serious prospect of change and either could get there. ..."
Apr 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

spudski , Apr 25, 2019 4:35:40 PM | link

re Warren, she is also a "Russia! Russia! Russia!" type.

On facebook in May 2017, "We know that the Russians hacked into American systems to try to influence our election."

The other day on CNN she said, re the Mueller report, "Three things just totally jump off the page. The first is that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump. The evidence is just there. Read it, footnote after footnote, page after page documentation. ..."

Not saying that most other candidates aren't the same.

uncle tungsten , Apr 25, 2019 5:07:29 PM | link

Thank you spudski #26, Warren is crap. There are only two genuine leading candidates, Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders that offer some serious prospect of change and either could get there. Any change away from the Belligerant faction would be welcome. But it needs a Congress and a Senate to combine with the change agenda to make a concrete, durable new direction. That is a daunting task but achievable in these times.

It will be interesting to watch Creepy Joe Biden eat shit but he is just the bait, I look forward to the switch being revealed. Nothing will surprise me.

[Apr 24, 2019] Obama bait and switch maneuver

Apr 24, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

arcseconds 04.23.19 at 6:49 am 77

@Faustusnotes #68:

For anyone of a social democratic (or lefter) persuasion, and/or see war as something that should only be used as an absolute last resort (due to it invariably being a moral horror), then the Democrats have indeed been the lesser of two evils, and Republican-lite.

Take Obama for instance. He ran a cleverly ambiguous campaign where he sounded to many as being progessive and left, a breath of fresh air, something finally that would put a stop to limitless capitalism and unwind the Bush era. But in fact he's a 'centrist', which really means thoroughly neoliberal. He's prepared to file some of the sharp edges off capitalism, but he neither promised nor offered a genuine alternative to a lightly regulated free market.

I mean, look at his most famous legacy: the health care reforms. This is a thoroughly market-based solution that leaves the marketplace largely as it was. Nationalization was nowhere in sight. And the policy was based on one his elecotoral opponent enacted when he was governing Massachusetts! It is literally the case that voting in Democrats at the national level gets you the policy of Republican presidential candidates.

Also, he's quite happy to unilaterally blow up stuff, including innocent people, in other countries, in order to crush his enemies and to look good domestically. We have no problems in calling this 'evil' when our enemies do anything like this.

Brian 04.21.19 at 2:43 pm (no link)

I think the real question is not whether Trump is successful or not. That question is a red herring in American politics today. The real question is whether or not the Democratic "leadership" can allow nomination of a candidate that the Democrat rank and file want. Bernie Sanders should have won the nomination last time. But the superdelegate system gives a literal handful of mandarins the ability to fake the primary process. (I say that as someone who has significant issues with some of Sanders positions.)

Trump won because Hillary was a horrific candidate. Voters stayed home, disgusted. Trump won because the Obama administration didn't deliver hope nor change. He delivered a government of the corporate criminal bankers for them. Middle and working class America got screwed. Black people got screwed worst. Trump won because the utter corruption at the heart of the DNC was exposed for all to see in the emails. Trump win because of the Obama administration making a trade deal top secret classified and trying to force a vote through congress. Not seeing any point in voting, Democrats didnt.

All the evidence since shows the DNC leadership didn't learn anything. They are just as contemptuous of voters, just as manipulative with their window dressing as ever. The Democratic party is the party of endless war even more than the Republicans. It's a party that stopped every effort by Trump to wind down or end war posture with Russia and North Korea. There's now 2 parties in Netanyahu's pocket implementing Likuds insane middle east ideas.

Put some solar energy and LGBTQ butter on it with a side of women's rights bullshit and it's "Democrat". But the politicians are just as venal. The legislature just as wildly right wing war mongering.

The 1960's is long over. The Democratic party hasn't seen a new idea since and has converted to govern to the right of Nixon. Way to Nixon's right. The Democratic party is the tool of the Uber-ization of not just America, but the whole world. Flour and break the law to pauperize the working class, and suck money to a few in the SF Bay Area. That's policy now.

You can see it already. Sanders is ahead. But Buttigieg is being anointed. He's the perfect candidate. He's gay! He's out of the closet! And he's a corporate tool who can talk smoothly without speaking a clear word. Best of all, he has ZERO foreign policy experience or positions. So he'll be putty in the hands of the corporations that want endless war for profits. Wall Street wants him. And the street owns the Democratic party. Will he give a flying f*@k about the middle and working class? Will he be anything but another neo-liberal who can be differentiated from a neo-conservative only by mild difference in racism? (Overt vs.covert)

At least Buttigieg isn't Beto O'Rourke, the most completely empty skin in Congress. There's that.

All the evidence I see is no. The Democrat "leadership" don't understand. I predict a Trump win, or else a squeaker election that barely scrapes by with a win.

No matter what, the idiot Democrats won't get it. Pelosi will do her best to cast the Republicans anti-tax anti-government (federal) government culture war in concrete with balanced budget horse manure. The Democrats will continue to force a new cold war on Russia. They will keep backing companies that steal from the middle and working class. (Yes, Uber and Lyft are massive theft operations. They implemented taxi service without licenses. Those licenses cost a lot of money to those who bought them. They put the public at risk causing multiple deaths and assaults from unlicensed taxi drivers.)

Trump's appeal is that he at least talks a game of "f*@k you". Domestically it's all lies on all sides. He lies to everyone. But at least he doesn't lie smoothly like the "good Democrat" candidates do.

[Apr 22, 2019] Elizabeth Warren Proposes Wiping Out Almost Everyone's Student Debt

Apr 22, 2019 | www.huffpost.com

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a wide-ranging plan to fix the U.S. college system, with proposals including making two-year and four-year public college free and expanding the size and scope of the federal Pell Grant program. And one particularly radical idea is sure to grab the attention of young people around the country: wiping out student loan debt for the vast majority of American borrowers. "The time for half-measures is over," Warren, one of many politicians and public figures hoping to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote in a post published Monday on Medium. "My broad cancellation plan is a real solution to our student debt crisis. It helps millions of families and removes a weight that's holding back our economy." Last year, outstanding student debt in the U.S. topped $1.5 trillion , a growing financial burden that Warren argues is "crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy." "It's reducing home ownership rates," she wrote. "It's leading fewer people to start businesses. It's forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It's a problem for all of us." To address the problem, Warren is suggesting what she calls a "truly transformational" approach: wiping out $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with a household income below $100,000. People with student loans and a household income between $100,000 and $250,000 would receive substantial relief as well. At that point, "the $50,000 cancellation amount phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000," Warren wrote.

[Apr 22, 2019] Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying he obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election

That's a third Warren blunder after reparations blunder and Indian heritage blunder. She might be out of the race soon...
Does not she understand that impeachment of Trump means President Pence? What is idiotic statement. She is definitely no diplomat and as such does not belong to WH.
Apr 22, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 09:23 AM

Elizabeth Warren calls for impeachment
proceedings against President Trump
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/04/19/elizabeth-warren-calls-for-impeachment-proceedings-against-president-trump/yWVMo0TSkBeuYDSSeBuP5L/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Danny McDonald - April 19, 2019

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday called for lawmakers to start impeachment proceedings against President Trump, saying he obstructed Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Warren became the first of the Democratic presidential candidates to unambiguously call for impeachment proceedings. Most senior Democrats in Congress have stopped far short of it following the delivery of Mueller's 448-page report.

"The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty,'' the Massachusetts Democrat said on Twitter. "That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States."

Also Friday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena for an unredacted version of Mueller's report as Congress escalates its investigation. Trump and other Republicans dismissed the report's findings.

The redacted version of Mueller's report details multiple efforts Trump made to curtail a Russia probe he feared would cripple his administration. While Mueller declined to recommend that Trump be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, he did not exonerate the president, all but leaving the question to Congress.

The report stated, "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she doesn't support impeachment without bipartisan backing because it would be too divisive for the nation She signaled she wanted the House to continue to fulfill its constitutional oversight role.

''We believe that the first article -- Article 1, the legislative branch -- has the responsibility of oversight of our democracy, and we will exercise that,'' she said in Belfast on Friday.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said, ''It now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct and to decide what steps we must take going forward.'' He expects the Justice Department to comply by May 1.

On Twitter Friday, Warren said the report "lays out facts showing that a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help Donald Trump and Donald Trump welcomed that help. Once elected, Donald Trump obstructed the investigation into that attack."

She said Mueller "put the next step in the hands of Congress," adding in another tweet that "[t]o ignore a President's repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways."

According to a Warren aide, the senator started to read the Mueller report Thursday during a plane ride back to Boston following campaign stops in Colorado and Utah.

Warren, according to the aide, felt it was her duty to say what she thought after reading the report but does not plan to emphasize impeachment on the campaign trail.

Mary Anne Marsh, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who is not connected to any presidential campaign, said Warren has been the first Democratic candidate to stake out numerous policy stances during the campaign. Her impeachment statement will force everyone else running for president to take a position, Marsh said.

"More often than not the field is reacting to her positions," she said.

Warren's call for impeachment proceedings, Marsh said, "shows she's willing to lead."

"She's willing to make the hard calls," Marsh said.

After the Mueller report's release, Trump pronounced it ''a good day'' and tweeted ''Game Over.'' Top Republicans in Congress saw vindication in the report as well. On Friday, Trump was even more blunt, referring to some statements about him in the report as "total bullshit."

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said it was time to move on and said Democrats were attempting to ''vilify a political opponent.'' The California lawmaker said the report failed to deliver the ''imaginary evidence'' incriminating Trump that Democrats had sought. ...

Now, liberals are pressing the House to begin impeachment hearings, and the issue is cropping up on the presidential campaign trail.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat who is running for president, was asked Friday if Trump should be impeached as he made an appearance at a Stop & Shop union picket line in Malden .

"I think that Congress needs to make that decision," he said. "I think he may well deserve it, but my focus, since I'm not part of Congress, but I am part of 2020, is to give him a decisive defeat at the ballot box, if he is the Republican nominee in 2020."

On Friday, Julián Castro, a former housing secretary running for the Democratic nomination, said he thought "it would be perfectly reasonable'' for Congress to open impeachment proceedings.

Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is running for president, told MSNBC on Thursday that she also thinks Mueller should testify. When asked about impeachment proceedings, she told that outlet, "I think that there's definitely a conversation to be had on that subject, but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller."

Cory Booker, the New Jersey senator running for president, was asked about impeachment during a campaign trip to Nevada. Specifically in regard to impeachment, he said, ''There's a lot more investigation that should go on before Congress comes to any conclusions like that.''

In the House, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is now signed on to an impeachment resolution from fellow Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

But senior leaders remain cool to the idea.

Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the number two in the House Democratic leadership, told CNN on Thursday, "Based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point." However, Hoyer quickly revised his comments, saying "all options are on the table."

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , April 20, 2019 at 11:11 AM
Let the impeachment circus begin.

We need to get to the bottom of a special counsel calling the president a "criminal" having gotten no indictments!

Let each topic be examined and witnesses deposed in the house live on C-SPAN! With questions from both sides.

There will be only take one vote in the senate to fail, but we need to get to the bottom of Mueller's untoward remarks in the report.

From the little I read it seems the report, in tone at least, despises fact and is politically motivated.

[Apr 21, 2019] Has Elizabeth Warren pushed the anti Russian crap? That would bother me as we have been the aggressor with Russia and that is really dangerous.

Apr 21, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

FincaInTheMountains April 20, 2019 at 10:17 am #

Elizabeth Warren is beginning the calls impeachment. Time to clean the Augean stables

Elizabeth Warren managed to fail a DNA test, for crying out loud. How one could possibly do that?

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 10:47 am #

She did not fail a DNA test, she was told that she was part American Indian by her family which turned out to be not true. Big fucking deal!

She created the Consumer Protection Agency which is a great accomplishment for the American people.

Can you name one thing the Republicans have done for the middle class that comes close to what she did?

elysianfield April 20, 2019 at 11:17 am #

"Can you name one thing the Republicans have done for the middle class that comes close to what she did?"

James,
Uhhhh, War on Drugs comes to mind. Might have kept the barbarians from the gates for a few decades and provided for a lot of living wage jobs.

malthuss April 20, 2019 at 11:41 am #

Big fucking deal! yes it is a big deal, dummy.

a real big deal.

The horrors of AA (Affirmative Action) compounded by cheating.

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 1:51 pm #

I think the ancestry scandal is about as important as wearing white pants after Labor day.

You are far too partisan, you ignore the creation of the CPA and all the benefits it give the public when Republicans at this very moment are looking to loosen the Pay Day Loan lending rules.

I guess a 1400% interest rate is just not enough, do you support the loan sharks and rip off banks? Yes or No.

What does Alcoholics Anonymous have to do with Elizabeth Warren?

hmuller April 21, 2019 at 11:39 am #

By AA he meant Affirmative Action, not Alcoholics Anonymous. Although people with lots of Native American DNA often have drinking problems. prudence would dictate "don't sell whiskey and guns to Elizabeth Warren."

benr April 20, 2019 at 12:24 pm #

Look at the spin machine in action. She used the benefits of lying about her American Indian ancestry to further her career and derive perks. We all know it. AA is a joke and utter reverse racism in action.

Janos Skorenzy April 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm #

No, she kept pushing it even to the point of claiming that her genetic result of 1/1024 Indian proved her claim. The lack of judgement -- both technical and political -- is simply astounding. Then she apologized to the Cherokee for pretending to be one of them since she doesn't meet the tribal criterion. To my knowledge she has never back off her claim beyond that -- and never apologized to Whites for trying to get out of OUR Tribe, the one she was born into.

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 2:08 pm #

I always try to look at the big picture, the whole episode was foolish but she harmed no one and gained nothing.

Has she pushed the anti Russian crap? That would bother me as we have been the aggressor with Russia and that is really dangerous.

As we speak nuclear armed bombers are flying daily close the the Russian borders and Russia has to scramble jets to ward them off. One pissed off Russian fighter pilot and there goes the world!

Janos Skorenzy April 20, 2019 at 2:16 pm #

She is pushing for criminalizing White Nationalism -- as if We aren't persecuted enough already. Foolishness to the nth degree. Whites have been amazing passive as their Nation has been stolen from them. And those who make peaceful change impossible ..

Dude, she's a monster. Another Hillary Clinton.

James Hansen April 20, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

Now you are exaggerating, nobody is as disgusting as Hillary.

hmuller April 21, 2019 at 11:42 am #

James Hansen, at last you said something I can fully agree with:

"nobody is as disgusting as Hillary."

[Apr 21, 2019] Even if we got a candidate against the War Party the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump betayal his voters, surrounded himself with neocons, continues to do Bibi's bidding, and ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

Highly recommended!
Here we need to look at the candidate political history, their actions before the election. "Trump scam" like "Obama scam" was based on the fact that they do not have political history, they were what Romans called "Tabula rasa". A "clean state" politician into which voters can project their wishes about domestic and foreign policy. That was a dirty. but very effective trick.
But the most important factor in Trump win was the he was competing against despicable warmonger Hillary Clinton, the establishment candidate who wanted to kick the neoliberal globalization can down the road. So the "lesser evilism" card was also in play consciously or unconscionably as well. So with Hillary as the opposition candidate it was a kind of implementation of the USSR style elections on a new level. but with the same with zero choice. Effectively the US electorate was disenfranchised when FBI has thrown Sander under the bus by exonerating Hillary. In a way FBI was the kingmaker in 2016 elections.
And please note that the Deep State launched a color revolution against Trump to keep him in check. Only later it became evident that he from the very beginning was a pro-Israel neoconservative, probably fully controlled by pro-Israel forces. That Trump electorate bought MIGA instead of MAGA from the day one.
Notable quotes:
"... The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down? ..."
Apr 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

blue peacock -> turcopolier ... , 21 April 2019 at 12:36 PM

Col. Lang,

In a recent call from Trump requesting his opinion on China, Jimmy Carter noted that China has not spent a dime on war since 1979, whereas we've spent trillions & continue to spend even more.

China invested trillions in their infrastructure while ours crumbles. They've invested in building the world's manufacturing capacity while we dismantled ours. We spend twice per capita on healthcare compared to any other western country, yet chronic diseases like diabetes keeps growing. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined yet how superior is our weaponry compared to the Russians who spend one-tenth of what we spend? We've financialized our economy and socialized speculative losses of Wall St mavens but when some politicians talk about spending on the commons then socialism is labeled bad.

https://www.epsilontheory.com/this-is-water/

The question is even if we got a candidate against the War Party & the Party of Davos, would it matter? Trump, the candidate who campaigned on the wasteful expenditures in our endless wars has surrounded himself with neocons and continues to do Bibi's bidding ratcheting up tensions in Latin America, Middle East and with Russia. What's changed even with a candidate that the Swamp disliked and attempted to take down?

[Apr 19, 2019] Tulsi Gabbard: People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one." ..."
Apr 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Al Pinto , April 18, 2019 at 13:25

Thank you Max, it's a great summary of what is wrong with the foreign policy and why racism is so rampant.

There are candidates for 2020, who understand and probably share your views. Take for example Tulsi Gabbard in her recent twonhall meeting video:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tulsi/comments/bbsg8q/reupload_tulsis_most_inspiring_and_controversial/

Quote from her replies

"People get into a lot of conversations about political strategies I might get in trouble for saying this, but what does it matter if we beat Donald Trump, if we end up with someone who will perpetuate the very same crony capitalist policies, corporate policies, and waging more of these costly wars?"

And just to drive home this point, quote:

"This is not a joke. This is not about me. This about all of us. This is about our future. About making sure we have one."

Tulsi did get in to trouble. A day after the video posted on Twitter, it had been deleted by Twitter without explanation

Mark Dierking , April 18, 2019 at 15:53

Thanks to you any everyone that has responded for the thoughtful comments. If you are able to edit yours, a more accessible link for the Safari browser is:

https://www.reddit.com/r/tulsi/comments/bbsg8q/reupload_tulsis_most_inspiring_and_controversial/

[Apr 16, 2019] No One Can Trust Trump

That's from ZeroHedge, the bastion of Trumpism ;-)
Apr 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago link

No One Can Trust Trump erratic and dysfunctional, absurd and incongruous, fantastic and ludicrous - he rules from an immoral crevasse:

he sustains massive corporate profits and upper caste power.

Fantasy Free Economics , 1 hour ago link

It is normal that others see weakness in the U.S. before we do. The notion in the United States is that what we want to be true is true. Fantasy is a comforting mechanism but it sure is painful when everything falls apart. Our reality gap has not slammed shut but it will.

http://quillian.net/blog/victims-of-fascism/

Cosmicserpent , 10 minutes ago link

It's official. Trump is a cum guzzling **** for Israel's Bentoveryahoo, and the US MIC. He wishes he was Putin's bitch.

†FreeThought† , 11 minutes ago link

What happened to "Nationalism, not globalism will be our credo"...? I voted for Trump and I got Trumpstein instead.

Empire's Frontiers , 18 minutes ago link

An exceptionally good goy, this Trump guy.

Shalom! And get back to work.

Dr. Acula , 7 minutes ago link

It's X-dimensional chess, where the value of X increases each day.

SHsparx , 30 minutes ago link

I'm starting to get the feeling that maybe Trump won't run again? And so now he feels he doesn't even have to pretend anymore.

R19 , 29 minutes ago link

Which President has been the best weapons salesman? I vote:

Trump

Obama

ThomasEdmonds , 28 minutes ago link

Like a guided missile: sure of its target.

KekistanisUnite , 28 minutes ago link

Disappointing but not surprising. I do hope at some point his mind will be changed. Give full credit to the 16 Republicans in the House and 7 Republican Senators for supporting this resolution.

warsev , 37 minutes ago link

I guess we now know fully where President Trump stands on reining in executive warmongering.

evoila , 30 minutes ago link

Better buy your call options on Tulsi Gabbard. She is going to surprise da **** out of these idiots same way Trump surprised in 2016.

jimfcarroll , 28 minutes ago link

Never voted for a democrat in my life. She might be the first. I wont vote for Trump again after this.

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump was transparently chosen to be the fake "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before

Notable quotes:
"... Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap. ..."
"... It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new. ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kiza , Apr 16, 2019 5:33:36 PM | link

Trump is like a voodoo doll into which every sh**bag sticks pins. Firstly, it is irrelevant whether he was a swamp creature before election or was coopted into it after.

Secondly, Trump was transparently chosen to be the "agent of change" for the other half of the US population, just as Obama before.

Therefore, both individuals were both an admission that the change in the system is needed and that the ruling regime is into life-extension by means of "whatever it takes". Once the "change" potential is exhausted, repression must take over as the principal life extension mechanism; clearly, these methods do not have a sharp start-over points in time - they overlap.

This is where we are now, Assange was the most prominent member of the real opposition to the regime, where they try to confuse with plenty of faux opposition. Therefore, the Assange's head had to be chopped off publicly and his slowly rotting corpse will now be on display through "courts of justice" for the next couple of years as a warning to the consumers of alternative media. Go back to reading the approved "journalism" or ... To understand better one just needs to read/re-read Solzhenitsyn.

The other major ongoing life-extension activity, overlapping with repression, is the confiscation of guns from the last remaining armed Western population (lots of leftist oxen pulling that cart). Having too many guns amongst the population is bad for resolving personal conflicts peacefully, but it is even worse for the abusive, exploitative regime. Thus, taking the guns away is doing the right thing for a totally wrong reason.

It is an interesting connection of dots that Bloody Gina is Brennan's protégée and thus that Trump has truly stacked up his administration with former i.e. current enemies, But this only shows that Trump works for the same masters as his political enemies. Again, nothing new.

Therefore, where is a Western Solzhenitsyn to document artistically what transpires in a society deeply in debt and in social & moral decline?

[Apr 16, 2019] Trump doesn't strike me as someone with principles or opinions of his own. He will say and do whatever his base of "deplorables" likes to hear and whatever helps him get what he wants.

Apr 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Escher , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm GMT

@The Alarmist Trump doesn't strike me as someone with principles or opinions of his own. He will say and do whatever his base of "deplorables" likes to hear and whatever helps him get what he wants.

[Apr 15, 2019] A letter to the> President Trump from former voter

Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Dude-dude , 20 minutes ago link

Dear President Trump:

Tears came to my eyes - happy tears - when you were elected! A seemingly impossible feat was accomplished that day in November.

I understood when you faced tremendous resistance in your first 200 days from Demorats. It seemed you were unphased and determined - all was good.

Good night, and good luck.

Good night, and good luck.

[Apr 15, 2019] Do you need to be stupid to support Trump in 2020, even if you voted for him as lesser evil in 2016

Highly recommended!
Please note that unz.com used be forum of stalwart Trump supporters. Times change.
Notable quotes:
"... This will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world. ..."
"... One doesn't have to be stupid to support Trump but it helps. The same can be said for his prominent enemies though. To unconditionally and faithfully support Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, one would have to be stupid or totally controlled by one's emotions. ..."
"... You and I are voting right now just by publicly engaging in politics. Voting on election day is worth it in the same way posting comments online is worth it. ..."
"... Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option? ..."
"... Yes. But during the election, Trump was the least bad option who sometimes seemed like a good option. That's still true today. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

neutral , says: April 11, 2019 at 11:37 am GMT

This will at least wake up those morons at places like Breitbart that Trump is nothing more than a neocon swine. I mean how much more evidence do they need to see that he is invite the world, invade the world.

On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him.

Colin Wright , says: Website April 13, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
@neutral 'On top of that mass censorship being unleashed under Trump, how can anyone still be conned into supporting him '

We'll be 'conned' the same way as always; what's the alternative?

Liberty Mike , says: April 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm GMT
@Colin Wright For one, its not reposing any confidence, faith, and trust in DJT. He is a charlatan who appeals to low IQ whites.

Why do so many intelligent people delude themselves into rationalizing their support and vote for Trump upon the basis of the lesser of two evils loser mindset?

Cagey Beast , says: April 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm GMT
@Liberty Mike

One doesn't have to be stupid to support Trump but it helps. The same can be said for his prominent enemies though. To unconditionally and faithfully support Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Nancy Pelosi, one would have to be stupid or totally controlled by one's emotions.

That being said, a smart person could still support Trump. A smart person could recognize Trump finishing his term as the least bad option. In 2020, this same smart person might recognize that, amazingly, a Trump second term had become the least bad option. People can scream and throw around insults or they can present an alternative to Trump.

Liberty Mike , says: April 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
@Cagey Beast

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that Stalin's maxim, "its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes" controls?

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?

Cagey Beast , says: April 15, 2019 at 2:14 pm GMT

@Liberty Mike Wouldn't a smart person recognize that his vote does not matter?

You and I are voting right now just by publicly engaging in politics. Voting on election day is worth it in the same way posting comments online is worth it.

Wouldn't a smart person recognize that falling for a grifter who cares not about Heritage America and who dances to Bibi's tune is never a good option?

Yes. But during the election, Trump was the least bad option who sometimes seemed like a good option. That's still true today.

[Apr 14, 2019] Warren is been behind some of the major legislation that enacted the things that Bernie Sanders talks about. And Wall Street is scared crapless of her -- why do you think they're going after her so hard?

Apr 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

popgoesthepop , 12 Apr 2019 10:26

Four more years of Trump is in the works.

The fact that she lied about her ethnicity in the past in hopes of gaining a leg up will backfire spectacularly if she's the DNC nominee for POTUS. Conservatives will beat this point over and over and over.

Is the Left secretly trying to put Trump in the WH for another term? It sure looks like it.

jae426 -> gunnison , 12 Apr 2019 10:26

the chances that Dems supporting a candidate who does not win the primary would boycott the election and put Trump back in the White House are vanishingly small this time around

They were warned that that would happen last time, and they still let it happen. The "Bernie bros" are back out in force, and not only have they not learnt their lesson, they feel validated by Clinton's defeat to the extent where they are even more determined that their old man should be the candidate and nobody else. These are people who abandoned the Democrats for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who managed to make Sarah Palin look intelligent. They will do it again because they are largely white, male and think just because they read liberal newspapers that means they don't have a sense of entitlement.

Both Michigan and Pennsylvania would have gone to Clinton if only 20% of Green voters hadn't lodged protest votes. These people don't want Elizabeth Warren, they don't want Kamala Harris, they don't want Beto O'Rourke, they don't want Pete Buttigieg. They want Bernie. If Bernie isn't the Democrat, they won't vote Democrat.

You can dismiss this as much as you like, but I placed a bet on Trump winning the Republican nomination when he was the joke candidate and when he won the nomination I bet on him winning the presidency. I think that would be an even safer bet this time round.

Thomas1178 -> Sheldon Hodges , 12 Apr 2019 10:25
That's just funny. She's been behind some of the major legislation that enacted the things that Bernie Sanders talks about. And Wall Street is scared crapless of her -- why do you think they're going after her so hard?
popgoesthepop -> WishesandHorses , 12 Apr 2019 10:23
She lies about her ethnicity to get ahead in life? That may have something to do with it.
Sheldon Hodges , 12 Apr 2019 10:22
This conjecture is entirely fiction at best but centrist neo libeberal bollocks as a certainty. Warren was and is a republican. She is a corporate bootlicker, a thrall of Hillary and has no serious attachment to truth. I regret to admit that I am a US citizen, 68 years of age. I have wittnessed Warren's shameless plagirising of Bernie Sanders' arguments and am sickened to see her lionized by people who, if honest, should know better.
Thomas1178 , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
The columnist is right about Warren's intellectual stature and influence, and anyone who's looked at what she's accomplished for Massachusetts (or for that matter watched her takedown of the sleazy head of Wells Fargo during the Senate hearings) knows she's tough. She also has a *workable* vision of what the Democrats could offer Americans. From affordable childcare to making college tuition affordable again to helping out working-class people like the fisherman in Massachusetts, while reigning in the banks and making sure we don't have another crash – it's the blueprint.

There's something hysterically funny about all the people who have signed in here, clearly skipped the article, just to yell "squirrel!" – or in this case -- "oh no she filled out the optional ethnicity box and it turns out her family stories were mistaken!"

What they're missing, what Warren is laying out and the article is pointing out, is what the GOP will really be up against in the future.

Patrician1985 , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
I don't like this argument: she may not win the primary, but it's her ideas that will dominate the conversation.

It worked for Bernie supporters to console themselves.

If we elect someone, it needs to be the person who will be passionate about that idea (as opposed to lukewarm like Pelosi is on Green New Deal). We need someone who knows what it will take to get it done. What will get in the way. How to get around it.

Warren not only had the idea for CFPB. She actually set it up. Then Obama lacked the moral courage and political spine to have her lead the agency - just because Wall Street had pressured the Democrats against it.

Warren is the right candidate for the right time. She has ideas to fix the country and doesn't just rail against people. That's why even Steve Bannon is scared of her policy positions that they could be theirs.

Democrats need to stop playing pundits and go with their heart. If they vote for someone they like less but because he (why is it always a 'he' who is electable?) can win - we will end up with a candidate no one really cares about and how is that a winning strategy?

SolentBound , 12 Apr 2019 10:21
Democrat primary voters need to recognise that defeating Trump is going to be very difficult.

Since WW II, only Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. have failed to win re-election, in both cases to superb campaigners who captured the public's imagination and, critically, swing voters.

Which of the potential Democrat challengers is a Ronald Reagan or a Bill Clinton? Or, indeed, a Barack Obama?

For a dose of reality, Democrats could do worse than read Mike Bloomberg's piece on his decision to stay out of the race: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-05/our-highest-office-my-deepest-obligation

JayThomas -> Rio de Janeiro , 12 Apr 2019 10:20
And because nobody expects a politician to keep a promise, they have to find some other way to be convincing.
BenjaminW , 12 Apr 2019 10:19
Warren rules -- her policy ideas are creative, intelligent and moral, and the world would be an indescribably better place if people like her were ever allowed into positions of authority. That anyone on the planet would prefer to be represented by someone like Biden, never mind Trump, is utterly depressing.
charlieblue , 12 Apr 2019 10:16
Sadly, FOX News has already issued their proscribed talking points on Sen.Warren. You will find them listed and repeated anywhere Elizabeth's Warren's candidacy is discussed (including here). Most of it will be lies or exaggerations, claims that she received jobs and promotions based on her claims of Native American ancestry, claims that she received scholarships or some kind of preferential treatment by calling herself an "Indian". They will insist that this is an obvious character flaw, that she's a liar and some sort of cultural thief.

Sadly, too many American's still imagine FOX News and it's ilk are purveyors of fact. They imagine the propaganda they are being fed about Elizabeth Warren is a truth the "mainstream media" won't mention. We saw all of this with Hillary Clinton. 30% of Republican voters still think Sec. Clinton ran a pedophile ring out of a DC pizza parlor.

If Sen.Warren, or any other rational candidate has a fair chance at running for President, if all the lies and propaganda of the right-wing media establishment are to be countered, the left and the center of US politics needs an effective counter to right-wing narrative.

Rio de Janeiro , 12 Apr 2019 10:13
A presidential campaign is not about specific, detailed policy proposals. It's about a vision for the country. A vision that must be consistent with voters' feelings and expectations; and must be communicated in a clear, energetic way by an effective messenger. That's the way Reagan, Clinton, Obama and Trump won.

Does anybody remember Trump's healthcare policy?

People don't vote for policy manifestos. People vote for candidates that inspire and convince.

outkast1213 -> newageblues , 12 Apr 2019 10:13
The same Liz that stated as a Senator she had a better chance to effect change than as POTUS in 2016 now is a genius?
GeorgeC , 12 Apr 2019 10:12
If Warren is the 'intellectual powerhouse' of the Democratic party, then god help them. Not a word about 1 trillion dollar budget deficits and rising (under Trump)-but remember Obama was little better; in 15 years time the US state pension system will be bankrupt, various other states' pension schemes are also effectively bankrupt (see Illinois, Tennessee) as are various cities (Chicago), and all Warren and Trump can think of is more debt, and nor will MMT help (we know this is just deficit spending on steroids). None of these people are 'progressive' - by not tacking the key problem of runaway debt it just robs everyone by forcing a default - not an 'honest' one, but rather the route taken by all politicians, namely rapid devaluation of the currency; something that robs all people, and destroys savings. Instead all we get are jam today, and bankruptcy tomorrow.
needaname100 -> Thomas1178 , 12 Apr 2019 10:11
She changed her ethnicity from white to Native American at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Also, a large majority of Americans have Native American DNA....and EW has less than the average American (which is 5%)...she has 0.20. She abused a privilege and got called out.
Thomas1178 -> mwesqcpa , 12 Apr 2019 10:05
She's too damn smart, is the problem. Along with all her qualifications she has also a lot of very solid wins that she brought home for the people of Massachusetts as a senator, from helping fisherman to low-income students suffering from college debt -- emphasizing that she's actually helped working class people and people in student debt should be a no brainer. And yet she seems not to have a savvy political operator advising her – she sure as hell hasn't gotten out ahead of the Native American thing, and I don't know why no one is doing that for her.
LydiaLysette , 12 Apr 2019 10:03
"Elizabeth Warren is the intellectual powerhouse of the Democratic party"

Then they really are in trouble.....

Just take 1 point....

"She has called for abolishing the electoral college, the unfair institution the US used to elect executives "

Well that requires a constitutional amendment, that requires a two thirds majority in both houses and then ratification by three quarters of the States. The ERA was proposed in 1923 didn't get through Congress until 1972 and is still short of the 38 State ratifications to adopt it. That's an issue of direct concern to at least half the population. The idea that a procedural change to the constitution for partisan benefit is getting through the process is blatantly laughable. Particularly as there appear to be about 27 states that have enhanced importance under the current system ( http://theconversation.com/whose-votes-count-the-least-in-the-electoral-college-74280 ) and only 13 are needed to kill it.

[Apr 14, 2019] Warren has the same foreign policy as all the others, invade, sanction, destroy. Steal oil, gold and assets. The US has become a deluded neurotic police state rife with addiction and so addled it is no longer a force for good in any sphere.

Apr 14, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com
HARPhilby -> HARPhilby , 12 Apr 2019 08:55
ABT-Anybody But Trump
moderate_rebel_rebel , 12 Apr 2019 08:55
Warren has the same foreign policy as all the others, invade, sanction, destroy. Steal oil, gold and assets. The US has become a deluded neurotic police state rife with addiction and so addled it is no longer a force for good in any sphere.

In short it is now a part of the problem and no longer a part of any workable solution. Who becomes POTUS is therefore irrelevant.

Warren is flawed ideologically and personally, US citizens need to wake up and recognise that the POTUS is an irrelevant position with no authority and that until you tackle the neocon ridden nature of US politics nothing will ever change.

There is no hope in systems, only hope in people. Politics has become irrelevant in the face of our impending extinction.

[Apr 14, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is the intellectual powerhouse of the Democratic party by Moira Donegan

Notable quotes:
"... Posturing as a would-be American native and supporting racial retributions is as far from qualifying as an intellectual powerhouse as it gets. She would be better than Trump, obviously, but then anybody would. ..."
Apr 12, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

It may well not be Warren who wins the Democratic nomination, but whoever does will be campaigning on her ideas

since her initial announcement in December, Warren's campaign has rolled out a series of detailed policy proposals in quick succession, outlining structural changes to major industries, government functions, and regulatory procedures that would facilitate more equitable representation in the federal government and overhaul the economy in favor of the working class. These policy proposals have made Warren the Democratic party's new intellectual center of gravity, a formidable influence who is steadily pushing the presidential primary field to the left and forcing all of her primary challengers to define their political positions against hers.

Warren has become the Democratic party's new intellectual center of gravity

Warren herself is an anti-trust nerd, having come to the Senate from a career as an academic studying corporate and banking law. On the stump, she's most detailed in the same areas where she is most passionate, like when she talks about about breaking up huge tech companies such as Amazon and Google, and implementing a 21st-century -- version of the Glass-Steagall act that would separate commercial and investment banking (she has also called for prosecuting and jailing bank executives who break the law). But her policy agenda is broader than that, taking on pocketbook issues that have resonance with working families.

Warren outlined a huge overhaul of the childcare system that would revolutionize the quality, cost and curriculum of early childhood education, with subsidies for families and a living wage for caregivers. It's a proposal that she talks about in the context of her own career when, as a young mother and fledgling legal mind, she almost had to give up a job as a law professor because childcare for her young son was too expensive.

Warren has also proposed a housing plan that would limit huge investors' abilities to buy up homes, give incentives for localities to adopt renters' protections, and build new public housing. Crucially, and uniquely, her housing plan would also provide home ownership grants to buyers in minority communities that have historically been "redlined", a term for the racist federal housing policies that denied federally backed mortgages to black families. The provision, aimed to help black and brown families buy their first homes, is a crucial step toward amending the racial wealth gap, and it has helped sparked a broader conversation within the party about the need to pay reparations to the descendants of slaves -- a concept that Warren has also endorsed.

Taking her cues from pro-democracy and voting rights advocates such as Stacey Abrams, Warren has also taken on anti-majoritarian constitutional provisions, aiming to make American democracy more representative and less structurally hostile to a progressive agenda. She has called for abolishing the electoral college , the unfair institution the US uses to elect chief executives that makes a vote in New York count less than a vote in Wyoming, and which has resulted in two disastrous Republican presidencies in the past two decades. She has advocated eliminating the filibuster , an archaic procedural quirk of the Senate that would keep the Democrats from ever passing their agenda if they were to regain control of that body. And she has signaled a willingness to pack the courts , another move that will be necessary to implement leftist policies such as Medicare for All -- because even if the next Democratic president can pass her agenda through Congress, she will not be able to protect it from the malfeasance of a federal bench filled with conservative Trump appointees eager to strike it down.

When other candidates campaign, Warren's strong policy positions force them to define themselves against her

Warren has been the first to propose all of these policies, and it is not difficult to see other candidates falling in line behind her, issuing belated and imitative policy proposals, or being forced to position themselves to her right. Warren has promised not to go negative against other Democrats , but her campaign's intellectual project also serves a political purpose: when other candidates campaign, her strong policy positions force them to define themselves against her.

After Warren announced her childcare overhaul, senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris rolled out plans similarly designed to combat gendered economic injustice, calling for guaranteed family leave and better teacher pay , respectively. After Warren rolled out her pro-democracy agenda of eliminating the electoral college, abolishing the filibuster and packing the courts, her ideological rival Bernie Sanders was forced to come out against both eliminating the filibuster and packing the courts , damaging his reputation with a party base who knew that without these interventions, a progressive agenda will probably never be enacted. The pressure eventually forced Sanders to cave to Warren's vision and concede that he would be open to eliminating the filibuster in order to pass Medicare for All.

There's still a long time before the first contests, and it's possible that Warren will succumb to the flaws that her critics see in her campaign. In particular, she might not be able to raise enough money. She's decided not to take any Pac money and not to fundraise with wealthy donors, a position that may be as much practical as it is principled: the super-rich are not likely to donate to Warren anyway, since she has such a detailed plan, called the Ultra Millionaire Tax , to redistribute their money. She may fall victim to the seemingly unshakable controversy over her old claims of Native American ancestry, and she seems doomed to be smeared and underestimated for her sex, called cold and unlikable for her intellect and then, as with other female candidates, derided as pandering when she tries to seem more relatable.

But it would be a mistake to write Warren off as a virtuous also-ran, the kind of candidate whose intellectual and moral commitments doom her in a race dominated by the deep divisions in the electorate and the craven demagoguery of the incumbent. Elizabeth Warren does not seem to be running for president to make a point, or to position herself for a different job. Instead, she is making bold interventions in the political imagination of the party. It may well not be Warren who wins the Democratic nomination, but whoever does will be campaigning on her ideas.

Moira Donegan is a Guardian US columnist



CharlesLittle -> Ken Kutner , 12 Apr 2019 11:00

Thanks Ken and Thomas. I couldn't have said it better myself. Are we going to pare down the list of Democratic candidates on the basis of one or two stupid missteps? Looking through the Bible, I note that Jesus lost his temper at the money-changers and put down the hard-working Martha. So, he's out too.
geejay123 -> Beaufort100 , 12 Apr 2019 10:58
Ex Veteran Tulsi Gabbard has a very good chance of taking votes from Trump's base imo.
All round the best democratic candidate to declare so far.
Ranger69 , 12 Apr 2019 10:57
Im just glad Gabbard made it to the debate stage. More progressives the better.
SoonToBeDead -> T0nyN , 12 Apr 2019 10:57
Not only the USA, with everyone becoming wealthier, the need for education has declined, across the western world, being liberal or educated has become a swear word. Social media and lazy journalists are doing the rest, its all propaganda now, and permanent contradictory stories means only simple messages cut through the noise, hatred, immigrants, islamophobia, anti-semitism, etc. are classic messages that get through and stir people's emotions. Intellect doesn't win elections with a gullible electorate
BaronVonAmericano -> CharlesLittle , 12 Apr 2019 10:54
She really is thin in all areas but financial regulation and consumer protection.

An excellent Commerce/Treasury secretary, or VP. But she lacks the cohesive vision that Sanders articulates.

zagrebZ -> alex13 , 12 Apr 2019 10:54
Trump IS dumb... Or do you want me to Google a few thousand references for you?

'Moron'; 'Child-like'; 'Idiot'; 'Can barely read'...

Sound familiar? Words about Trump from his own staff.

FolkSpirit -> OliversTravels , 12 Apr 2019 10:48
It was a mistake and it was self-interested and it was unethical. And it was a different time before tribal groups in the US developed and enforced laws regarding membership status. Had Trump not shown disdain for her and all native Americans by calling her Pocahontas as though it were a racial slur, few would have made a big deal from this mistake.

Warren did confess without need to do so that she had purchased distressed mortgages to turn a profit as a young lawyer like so many of her ethically misguided law colleagues.

If you are or intimately know more than two attorneys you know this was and in some towns and cities still is common practice for building wealth among lawyers who have first notice when these “deals” are posted at the local Court House. Find me a “clean” lawyer anywhere if you can and I doubt you can — they write law and protect themselves and wealthy constituents mightily in doing so.

If you can help remove most of them from political office and replace them with people working professions of greater merit I stand with you. Congress needs intellectual strength and diversity of backgrounds.

Shakespeare: “First, we kill the lawyers”.

Excession77 -> HarryFlashman , 12 Apr 2019 10:42
Tulsi Gabbard or don't bother.

Unfortunately she opposes wars of choice from the position of an impressive service record in Iraq so she gets ignored in favour of the ridiculous Elizabeth Warren here and in other places. Warren's window was last time anyway when she was coming off the back of viral public speeches about inequality.

garlicbreakfast , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
Posturing as a would-be American native and supporting racial retributions is as far from qualifying as an intellectual powerhouse as it gets. She would be better than Trump, obviously, but then anybody would.
BaronVonAmericano , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
While I'd prefer the genders reversed, I think she would be an ideal running mate for the front-runner among the declared candidates.

Sanders has much more assiduously defined the moral center that any candidate for president must have: unapologetic confrontation with the oligarchy. Warren is the intellectual weapon such an administration could deploy on the specifics of banking and anti-trust.

This is all the more practical given that Warren has failed to tie race, social justice and criminal justice issues all together in her values-based worldview -- certainly not to the extent that Sanders has, his being well beyond any other candidate's efforts.

Sheldon Hodges -> Londonsage , 12 Apr 2019 10:41
Because Obama was a canny corporate move to place someone that offered such qualities as intelligence and grammar in sharp relief to GW Bush while remaining closely controlled by the oligarchy.
BigDave47 , 12 Apr 2019 10:30
Intellectual powerhouse?

Do you include her fraudulent and offensive claims to Native American heritage in that? As CNN has reported, as far back as 1986 she was falsely claiming "American Indian" heritage on official documents. Despite repeated calls by the leaders of the Tribal Nations, she has still failed to apologise. That's some intellectual powerhouse..

[Apr 14, 2019] Elizabeth Warren is timely candidate: The era of US companies offering pensions is coming to a close.

Apr 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

BMW ends pensions for workers

The era of US companies offering pensions is coming to a close.

The latest evidence: after freezing it's two UK pension plans in 2017, BMW will do the same for its remaining US plans.

Since 2011 new workers have not been offered a pension, but rather a defined contribution plan.

Workers who formerly had a pension will keep what they have accrued, but not accrue more. Current retirees receiving a pension will not be affected.

[Apr 12, 2019] Senator Warren On New Corporate Tax Plan Markets Without Rules Are Theft

Apr 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com

At least 60 companies reported an effective federal tax rate of zero, meaning they owe nothing in federal taxes for 2018, and that tax burden then falls on the rest of us. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan to fix that. She joins Stephanie Ruhle in her first interview since unveiling her proposal.


Patti Granros , 6 hours ago

Love Liz Warren. No BS. Policy-driven campaign! She's for the regular people, who keep this country going.

Some Person , 8 hours ago

60 years ago every job offered health insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation, and all sorts of other benefits. It's time to have them pay a share of our societies costs, they use the same roads, breathe the same air, and drink the same water...

Kamikapse , 7 hours ago

Warren has consistently amazed me with her proposals... I hope she will make it to the debates, since everyone's fawning over Bernie and Beto for their fundraising capabilities, I hope they are not trying to sink her...

Greg Miller , 9 hours ago

Warren Buffet, who saved 28 or so million on his, himself said trumps tax deal was foolish..but he also said he wouldn't turn it down, which i don't blame him on that..

Kip Landingham , 6 hours ago

Senator Warren makes some excellent points (as usual): "market" implies a competitive environment, so when huge corps squeeze out competitors, it's no longer a "market". Corporations/rich individuals always say they made their profits themselves (independently of others or of any social structure systems). Really? If you were living/doing business on a mountaintop, disconnected from everyone else and any infrastructure support, you would have done just as well? That's a load of crap, and if they had any responsibility at all (as opposed to just pure greed), they'd be willing to give back a bit and contribute to the system(s) they build their wealth on.

Google User , 1 hour ago

Elizabeth Warren you've got my attention.

Tessmage Tessera , 7 hours ago

The fact is that the wealthy all over the world do not want their position of privilege to be challenged. This is why Bernie Sanders has been saying (for several DECADES) that the only way to move our society forward is to build from the bottom up... not the top down. And he is 100% correct.

[Apr 12, 2019] Was McCain a fake candidate selected to ensure Obama win and Trump another fake candidate who accidentally won?

Apr 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Apr 11, 2019 5:39:02 PM | link

@ Circe @164

Odd thing, but suddenly I remember how John McCain came out of nowhere back in 2008. Polling in single digits, suddenly the man is hyped like hell and becomes the candidate. Perfect foil for Obama, I suppose.

Somehow reminds me of 2016, but then Obama was an unknown, not the most hated politician in the US.

^^^

As for "why now" on the arrest of Assange, it diverts attention from a lot of other topics. Some of those will probably never re-surface.

[Apr 11, 2019] Warren Unveils Plan For $1 Trillion In New Taxes On Big Corporations by Cameron Joseph

The main way big corporations corrupt the movement is by lobbing for tax preferential regime. Neoliberalism included "voodoo" supply side economics thory that speculates that lower taxes increase employment, while in reality they mostly increase the wealth of capital owners. This theory is brainwashed itno people minds by relentless neoliberal propaganda machine -- all major MSM are controlled by neoliberals. Common people have no say in this gbig game.
But tax regime is the battlefield were big capital fights labor and big capital since 1970 won all major battles.
Notable quotes:
"... "Because of relentless lobbying, our corporate income tax rules are filled with so many loopholes and exemptions and deductions that even companies that tell shareholders they have made more than a billion dollars in profits can end up paying no corporate income taxes," Warren wrote in a Medium post unveiling the plan. "Let's bring in the revenue we need to invest in opportunity for all Americans. And let's make this year the last year any company with massive profits pays zero federal taxes." ..."
"... Warren's plan is aimed at large corporations -- ones that have generally paid lower tax rates than smaller companies in recent years. The GOP tax cut law nearly doubled the number of publicly held companies that paid no federal taxes from 30 to 60 in the last year alone, according to a recent study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. ..."
"... This is the latest significant tax proposal the Massachusetts senator has unveiled as part of her campaign platform, which also includes a two percent surtax on people with more than $50 million in assets and a three percent surtax on those who have $1 billion. ..."
Apr 11, 2019 | talkingpointsmemo.com
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) unveiled a major plank in her platform to tax the rich on Thursday, introducing plans for a new tax on all corporations that clear $100 million in annual profits.

Warren's "real corporate profits tax" is aimed at large corporations like Amazon that have generated huge profits in recent years while almost entirely avoiding federal taxes through a series of loopholes and credits.

"Because of relentless lobbying, our corporate income tax rules are filled with so many loopholes and exemptions and deductions that even companies that tell shareholders they have made more than a billion dollars in profits can end up paying no corporate income taxes," Warren wrote in a Medium post unveiling the plan. "Let's bring in the revenue we need to invest in opportunity for all Americans. And let's make this year the last year any company with massive profits pays zero federal taxes."

The plan would institute a seven percent tax on profits over $100 million in addition to current taxes. An economic analysis released by Warren's campaign estimated that at least 1,200 companies would be forced to pay new taxes under the plan, generating a net revenue boost of at least $1 trillion for the government.

Warren's plan is aimed at large corporations -- ones that have generally paid lower tax rates than smaller companies in recent years. The GOP tax cut law nearly doubled the number of publicly held companies that paid no federal taxes from 30 to 60 in the last year alone, according to a recent study from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

This is the latest significant tax proposal the Massachusetts senator has unveiled as part of her campaign platform, which also includes a two percent surtax on people with more than $50 million in assets and a three percent surtax on those who have $1 billion.

The plans have earned her plaudits on the left and drawn concern from some more business-friendly moderate Democrats.

But so far, they haven't proven a game-changer in the presidential race. Warren continues to struggle to siphon off a significant chunk of voters who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) last election, her natural base of support. She's regularly polled in the mid- to upper-single digits in recent state and national polls, in the second tier of candidates.

And she raised just $6 million in her first quarter in the campaign, her team announced yesterday. That's not a terrible haul in a crowded field, especially since she's sworn off big donors, but it's nothing compared to the huge sums she pulled in as a Senate candidate -- and trailed even upstart South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D).

She also spent almost all of that money, having built out a large staff in the early primary states with a high payroll.

And Sanders isn't giving her much room on her left: He reintroduced a sweeping Medicare for all plan on Wednesday, which she cosponsored, a move that puts pressure on Warren and other Democrats to keep up as they try to woo the progressive wing of the party base.

[Apr 11, 2019] A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within.

Notable quotes:
"... He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague ..."
Apr 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Republic , says: April 10, 2019 at 1:47 pm GMT

Cicero's quotation:

A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men.

He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

[Apr 10, 2019] A demoralized white working and middle class was willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, hope and change for the OxyContin and Breitbart set

Highly recommended!
Trump betrayed white workers because he knows he can get away with it. For the last thirty years of the 20th century millions of white families were wrenched out of the middle class without a squeak out of any major news outlet or national level politician. Trump himself stiffed his workers in those days and got away with it.
Notable quotes:
"... “In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider. ..."
"... A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.” ..."
"... Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya? ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: April 10, 2019 at 8:55 am GMT

I'm not sure why the author of this article seems to be surprised by the actions of Trump and his administration. The collective image of him as a blood-thirsty racist whose hatred of all peoples queer 'n' colored runs marrow and generations-deep -- think of a cross between a street corner John Galt and Ian Smith, daubed with vague overtones of Archie Bunker mingling with Clint Eastwood -- is purely an invention of the media, the left as well as that of the right.

Why or how he became the impromptu pope of white nationalism escapes me. Anyone with ears to listen and eyes to see could find for themselves that he never so much as intimated even muted sympathy for that movement, not during his campaign and certainly not as head of state, media accusations of "dog whistles" and the like notwithstanding.

But a demoralized white working and middle class were willing to believe in anything, deluding themselves into reading between the barren eruptions of his blowzy proclamations. They elevated him to messianic heights, ironically fashioning him into that which he publicly claims to despise: an Obama, a Barry in negative image, "hope and change" for the OxyContin and Breitbart set. Like his predecessor, Trump never really says anything at all. There are grand pronouncements, bilious screeds targeting perceived enemies, glib generalities, but rarely are any concrete, definitive ideas and policies ever articulated. Trump, like Obama, is merely a cipher, an empty suit upon which the dreams (or nightmares) of the beholder can effortlessly be projected, a polarizing figurehead who wields mostly ceremonial powers while others ostensibly beneath him busy themselves with the actual running of the republic.

To observe this requires no great research or expenditure of effort -- he lays it all out there for anybody to hear or read. Unfortunately, the near totality of this country's populace is effectively illiterate and poorly equipped to think critically and independently, preferring to accept the verdicts of their oleaginous talking heads at face value without ever troubling themselves to examine why. (The dubious products of the glorified diploma mills we call "higher education" are often the most gullible and dim-witted.) Trump is the dark magus of racism and bigotry -- boo! Trump is the man of sorrows who will carry aloft Western Civilization resurgent -- yay!

Just as the hysterical left was quickly shattered by the mediocrity that was Barack Obama, so too does the hysterical right now ululate the sting of Donald Trump's supposed betrayal. As with their ideological antipodes, they got what they deserved. Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.

Amerimutt Golem , says: April 10, 2019 at 9:39 am GMT

Trump is just a golem -- a creature made by you know who to destroy their enemies like Iran etc, no different from GW or FDR.
anonymous [340] • Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:01 am GMT
Politics, at least at the national level, is a puppet show to channel and periodically blow off dissent.

“In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.”

Linh Dinh, “Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President,” published at The Unz Review, June 12, 2016.

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:12 am GMT

@Hank

We were “Trumped”. Hard to believe.

What’s so hard to believe? Many of us predicted as much.

PS: It would be more accurate to admit that his supporters have been t Rumped . He stuck it to ya and you enjoyed it. Believe it and remember it.

Yes, it would have been worse with the Cackling Hyena, but what does that tell ya?

[Apr 10, 2019] "First the poor taxpayers, robbed by the politicians of one great party and then by those of the other, turn to a group of free-lance rogues in the middle ground -- non-partisan candidates, Liberals, reformers, or what not: the name is unimportant.

Notable quotes:
"... Then, flayed and pillaged by these gentry as they never were by the old-time professionals, they go back in despair to the latter, and are flayed and pillaged again." ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

jacques sheete says: April 10, 2019 at 10:50 am GMT

Reed was wrong here. The American voter, for the most part, still doesn't realize any of this.

In June 1922 the Zionist halter was firmly reaffixed
round the neck of American State policy, and though American voter only slowly
realized this, it became immaterial to him which party prevailed at elections.

-Douglas Reed, The Controversy of Zion , p 300-301

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT

@WorkingClass

Today I switch to the Democrats.

Please, no!

"First the poor taxpayers, robbed by the politicians of one great party and then by those of the other, turn to a group of free-lance rogues in the middle ground -- non-partisan candidates, Liberals, reformers, or what not: the name is unimportant.

Then, flayed and pillaged by these gentry as they never were by the old-time professionals, they go back in despair to the latter, and are flayed and pillaged again."

-H.L.Mencken, Editorial , In The American Mercury, April 1924, pp. 408-412

Antonius , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:10 am GMT
Trump is attacked relentlessly by Israel firsters (both left and right) prior to, and after his investiture as POTUS. How does he respond? How has he responded to relentless attacks on his base? The man has no spine, and no sense of gratitude or morality.

'Not worth feeding' my late grandfather would have said. Although he has made a lot of wealthy petulant people (who despise him and laugh behind his back) even wealthier.

What is needed is a billionaire who has genuine sense of noblesse oblige. Hopeless!

Anon918 , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:30 am GMT

Of course Trump was a gamble. I clearly remember him saying he wanted to get out of Syria, put an end to the endless wars, and he declared himself neutral on the Israel/Palestine issue–those were the biggest reasons I voted for him. Turns out he lied big time.

Now what? Looking at the clown car of presidential candidates just induces political nausea. No matter who gets elected it will be a government of, by, and for Jewish/Israeli/Zionist interests.

In the meantime I see no real progress on putting the brakes on illegals flooding the country. I see no economic miracles in spite of all the spin. Actual unemployment in the US was at 21.2% in March, really not much better than it has been since the 2008 crash ( http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts ), and record numbers of people are behind on mortgages and car payments, suicide and drug casualties have been skyrocketing.

Our political system is not going to bring any solutions, it has been far too corrupt for far too long.

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2019 at 11:32 am GMT
@Nicolás Palacios Navarro

Pity that the rest of us have to be carted along for the ride.

That’s the truth, but we ‘re being carted along not for the ride but for the porking.

[Apr 08, 2019] Senator Elizabeth Warren lobbed another policy grenade into the Democratic primary Friday, announcing she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda.

Apr 08, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , April 07, 2019 at 06:00 AM

(Liz swerves left!)

Here's how Elizabeth Warren is trying to outmaneuver Bernie Sanders
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2019/04/05/warren-call-for-end-senate-filibuster/S3saQJayxQNZBPTXQ85x1O/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Liz Goodwin - April 5, 2019

NEW YORK -- Senator Elizabeth Warren lobbed another policy grenade into the Democratic primary Friday, announcing she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda.

The move puts her campaign rivals on the spot to explain how they would pass their own ambitious legislative priorities if the Senate keeps its rule in place requiring a 60-vote supermajority to advance most bills.

Warren's announcement allows her to swerve to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in a meaningful way at a time when she's straggling far behind him in early polls and grass-roots fund-raising.

Sanders, who popularized proposals like free college and Medicare for All among Democrats during his 2016 run for president, has been reluctant to support scrapping the filibuster. That raises questions about how he would be able to pass his sweeping proposals into law should he become president, given Democrats are extremely unlikely to have 60 seats in the Senate.

"I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change," Warren told a group of activists at a conference organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton, where she announced her opposition to the filibuster. "I'm serious about getting it done. And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate."

The appearance in New York caps off a three-week run that has seen Warren call for making it easier to send executives to jail for corporate crimes, unveil a proposal to break up farm monopolies, endorse forming a commission to study reparations for the descendants of slaves, and say she would like to abolish the Electoral College so presidents are elected by popular vote.

"Bernie Sanders, nobody's to his left on policy, but there's lots of running room on his left on procedural changes that would be necessary to enact those policies," said Brian Fallon, a former top Hillary Clinton aide and the founder of the liberal advocacy group Demand Justice.

Sanders said he's not "crazy about" the idea of getting rid of the filibuster in an interview in February, but said in a later statement that he is open to reform.

Getting rid of the Senate filibuster, which has been around since the mid-1800s, was once seen as a radical proposal that would undermine the chamber's ability to take a deliberative approach to major issues. But Democratic and Republican majorities have chipped away at it in recent years, jettisoning filibusters for Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees.

Just this week, Senate Republicans infuriated Democrats by unilaterally reducing the amount of debate time for other executive branch and judicial nominees before a filibuster could be ended.

The move to ditch the filibuster has gained currency among liberals frustrated that the Senate is more Republican than the general public because of liberals clustering on the coasts and the constitutional requirement that all states get two senators regardless of population.

President Trump and Barack Obama have complained about the filibuster, with Obama saying last year that it made it "almost impossible" to govern.

Though probably too wonky a proposal to reach the average voter, the debate over the Senate filibuster animates the Democratic activists who are watching the primary the most closely and whose support the candidates are vying to win. Those activists are unmoved by candidates who say they'll be able to persuade Republicans to sign onto their ambitious liberal legislation.

"The idea that you can win people over by inviting them over for drinks on the Truman Balcony -- that is completely out of vogue," Fallon said.

Other candidates have also called for getting rid of the filibuster, including Governor J*a*y Inslee of Washington and Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who is pondering a run. However, Warren is the first sitting senator in the race to do so. Senator Kamala Harris of California, who signed a letter in 2017 affirming the filibuster, now says she's conflicted about it.

The filibuster's defenders say it protects the rights of the minority party, and forces the majority to compromise. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who also signed the 2017 letter, has said he is concerned that getting rid of the filibuster would mean Republicans would be able to more easily pass legislation in the future over Democrats' objections.

In her speech to the National Action Network's activists, a largely black crowd, Warren framed the filibuster as a tool of "racists" who used it for decades to block civil rights legislation, including a bill to make lynching a federal crime that was first introduced in the early 1900s. The legislation finally passed this year.

"We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin," she said.

After her speech, Warren told reporters that she is concerned about the bills Republicans would be able to pass without the filibuster, but that getting rid of it is worth it for Democrats. "Of course I'm worried. But I'm also worried about a minority that blocks real change that we need to make in this country," she said.

The calls to eliminate the filibuster are part of a larger debate among Democrats about reforming US democracy after they lost the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections despite winning the popular vote. Warren, along with several other Democrats, has also called to abolish the Electoral College. Warren, Harris, and former representative Beto O'Rourke of Texas are also open to the idea of the next president expanding the number of seats on the Supreme Court to offset its conservative majority.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who pushes a host of liberal policies, has been more conservative on these proposals than many of his presidential campaign rivals. He is against expanding the court, arguing it would be a slippery slope that Republicans could also take advantage of, and is still on the fence about ditching the filibuster and abolishing the Electoral College.

Warren declined to call out her Senate colleagues when asked whether she was surprised they had not endorsed the idea of ending the filibuster. "All I can do is keep running the campaign I'm running and talking about these ideas," she said.

[Apr 06, 2019] Elizabeth Warren's Watered-Down Populism

Apr 06, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Too often caught between Randian individualism on one hand and big-government collectivism on the other, America's working-class parents need a champion.

They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap , co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows. Long a samizdat favorite among socially conservative writers, the book recently got a new dose of attention after being spotlighted on the Right by Fox News's Tucker Carlson and on the Left by Vox's Matthew Yglesias .

The book's main takeaway was that two-earner families in the early 2000s seemed to be less, rather than more, financially stable than one-earner families in the 1970s. Whereas stay-at-home moms used to provide families with an implicit safety net, able to enter the workforce if circumstances required, the dramatic rise of the two-earner family had effectively bid up the cost of everyday life. Rather than the additional income giving families more breathing room, they argue, "Mom's paycheck has been pumped directly into the basic costs of keeping the children in the middle class."

Warren and Warren Tyagi report that as recently as the late 1970s, a married mother was roughly twice as likely to stay at home with her children than work full-time. But by 2000, those figures had almost reversed. Both parents had been pressed into the workforce to maintain adequate standards of living for their families -- the "two-income trap" of the book's title.

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What caused the trap to be sprung? Cornell University economist Francine Blau has helpfully drawn a picture of women's changing responsiveness to labor market wages during the 20th century. In her work with Laurence Kahn, Blau found that women's wage elasticities -- how responsive their work decisions were to changes in their potential wages -- used to be far more heavily driven by their husband's earning potential or lack thereof (what economists call cross-wage elasticity). Over time, Blau and Kahn found, women's responsiveness to wages -- their own or their husbands -- began to fall, and their labor force participation choices began to more closely resemble men's, providing empirical backing to the story Warren and Warren Tyagi tell.

Increasing opportunity and education were certainly one driver of this trend. In 1960, just 5.8 percent of all women over age 25 had a bachelor's degree or higher. Today, 41.7 percent of mothers aged 25 and over have a college degree. Many of these women entered careers in which they found fulfillment and meaning, and the opportunity costs, both financially and professionally, of staying home might have been quite high.

But what about the plurality of middle- and working-class moms who weren't necessarily looking for a career with a path up the corporate ladder? What was pushing them into full-time work for pay, despite consistently telling pollsters they wished they could work less?

The essential point, stressed by Warren and Warren Tyagi, was the extent to which this massive shift was driven by a desire to provide for one's children. The American Dream has as many interpretations as it does adherents, but a baseline definition would surely include giving your children a better life. Many women in America's working and middle classes entered the labor force purely to provide the best possible option for their families.

The Student Loan Trap Up From Consumerism

In the search for good neighborhoods and good schools, a bidding war quickly became an arms race. There were "two words so powerful the families would pursue them to the brink of bankruptcy: safety and education ." The authors underplay the extent to which policy had explicitly sought to preserve home values, driven by their use as investment vehicles and retirement accounts, a dynamic covered expertly by William Fischel's The Homevoter Hypothesis . But their broader point is accurate -- rising house prices, aided and abetted by policy choices around land use, have made it harder for families to afford the cost of living in 21st-century America.

Another factor in the springing of the trap? Divorce. In her 2000 book about how feminism had failed women, Danielle Crittenden writes about how fear of dependency, especially in an era of no-fault divorce, had caused women to rank financial independence highly.

These two factors, along with others Warren and Warren Tyagi explore, made it difficult for families to unilaterally disarm without losing their place in the middle class. "Today's middle-class mother is trapped," they write. "She can't afford to work, and she can't afford to quit."

A quiet armistice may have been declared in the so-called "mommy wars," but the underlying pressures haven't gone away since The Two-Income Trap was published. If anything, they've gotten worse.

Warren and Warren Tyagi propose severing the link between housing and school districts through a "well-designed voucher program," calling the public education system "the heart of the problem." They correctly note that "schools in middle-class neighborhoods may be labeled 'public,'" but that parents effectively pay tuition by purchasing a home within a carefully selected school district. Breaking the cartel that ties educational outcomes to zip codes would increase choices for families and open the door to further educational pluralism.

Warren and Warren Tyagi are also unafraid to tell unpopular truths about the futility of additional funding for colleges (identifying "faith in the power of higher education [as] the new secular religion"), housing affordability ("direct subsidies are likely to add more ammunition to the already ruinous bidding wars, ultimately driving home prices even higher"), universal child care (which "would create yet another comparative disadvantage for single-income families trying to compete in the marketplace"), and usurious credit (Warren's long work on bankruptcy requires deeper treatment than this space allows, but their questioning of our over-reliance on consumer debt deserves a fuller hearing).

Warren's presidential campaign contains elements of this attempt to make life easier for families, but the shades of her vision of a pro-family economic policy seem paler than they were a decade and a half ago.

Her universal child care plan , for example, seemingly contradicts her prior stated worries about disadvantaging stay-at-home parents. While she explicitly -- and wisely -- steers clear of a subsidy-based approach, her attempt to "create a network of child care options" does less to directly support families who aren't looking for formal care. In a sense, Warren would replicate the public school experience for the under-five crowd -- if you don't want to participate, that's fine, but you'll bear the cost on your own. A true pro-family populism would seek to increase the choice set for all families, regardless of their work-life situations.

Warren's housing plan has similarly good intentions, seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing rather than simply trying to subsidize demand. Her competitive education grant would reward municipalities for relaxing restrictive zoning requirements. But while her campaign has yet to release a plan on education, it seems unlikely we'll see the kind of bold approach to educational choice she espoused in 2003. Populist sympathizers of all ideological stripes should hope I'm proven wrong.

Warren's attempt at pro-family progressive populism seems honest. If not for certain infamous biographical missteps, her personal story would be one of how America is still a land of opportunity -- the daughter of a Oklahoma department store salesman who worked her way to a law degree, a professorship, and a Senate seat. There's a congruence in her positioning of economic security as a family values issue and the resurgent interest in a pro-worker, pro-family conservative agenda. And unlike so many politicians, her personal experience seems to have instilled an understanding of why so many dual-earner families see work as a means to the end of providing a better life for their children rather than an end in itself.

A politician willing to question the sacred cows of double-income families, more money for schools, and easy credit is the kind of politician this populist moment requires. A candidate willing to call into question an economic model that prioritizes GDP growth over all else would boldly position himself or herself as being on the side of families whose vision of the American Dream involves a better life for their children, yet who are exhausted and hemmed in by costs.

How Warren needs to position her platform to navigate the vicissitudes of a Democratic Party primary will likely not be the best way to address the needs of the modern American family. But in a crowded field, an uncompromising vision of increased choice for families across all dimensions -- not just within the public school system, for example, but among all options of education -- would be an impressive accomplishment and a way of distinguishing herself from the pack. An explicit defense of parenthood as a social good would be unconventional but welcome.

Still, a marker of how far the conversation around families has shifted from the early 2000s is the extent to which Warren's and Warren Tyagi's view of parenthood as something more than an individual "lifestyle choice" would now be viewed as radical, particularly on the Left. "That may be true from the perspective of an individual choosing whether or not to have a child," they write, "but it isn't true for society at large. What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents?"

What indeed. Paging the Elizabeth Warren of 2003 -- your country needs you.

Patrick T. Brown ( @PTBwrites ) is a master's of public affairs student at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


JonF April 4, 2019 at 6:22 am

Doe anyone think the middle and especially upper middle class would be in favor of a school choice plan that would cause their housing values to take hit? And there's another big roadblock with a school choice program: the need for transportation. Two years ago my next door neighbors who were able to place their young son in a good school across town sold their house and moved to be closer to the school since the daily cross-town commute at rush hour was just too much.
grin without a cat , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:44 am
They might well have had one in Elizabeth Warren, whose 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap, co-authored with her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, was unafraid to skewer sacred cows.

It's more recent than that. The first edition was 2003, but a second edition came out in 2016, by which time Mom probably knew she might be running for president. It's got a new introduction by the authors, so obviously it was done with their cooperation.

I haven't read either edition, so I don't know what's been changed in the new one.

Chris Atwood , says: April 4, 2019 at 9:38 am
Great essay.

I am struck again and again, by the unbelievable power of the forces in the political arena pushing everyone who is a Democrat because they are fiscally liberal* to ALSO become socially liberal,* and everyone who is a Republican because they are socially conservative* to ALSO become fiscally conservative.*

The net result of the laws of motion seem to systematically take the ideological space of "socially conservative, fiscally liberal" (the old New Deal) and push everyone in it either out to the usual left "fiscally liberal, socially liberal" or the usual right "socially conservative, fiscally conservative" quadrants.

This article shows how it's happening with Elizabeth Warren in one direction, and it's happened constantly with socially conservative Republicans who get yanked back to the proper quadrant anytime they try to move to a direction of economic policy that doesn't involve tax cuts for the rich and actually help their constituents.

Roy Fassel , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:30 am
One can have all the opinions on better ways to do things for the good of society, but if those ideas are not politically viable, it creates a change in directions. Warren probably by now .realizes how complicated all of these policy issues are and the unintended consequence of these policies are always a factor and a risk. Elizabeth Warren seems to have a good grasp of complicated issues, but that never get her the support she would need to prevail in this campaign. We currently live in the age of "Fantasyland" spewed by both the Trump RINOs and the Lunatic Left. Warren is a thinker. That is not helpful these days.
Sid Finster , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:55 am
What happened is that Warren wants the Team D nomination, and Team D, like Team R, could not care less about the 99.9% of Americans who are not non-campaign bundlers or big contributors.

In fact, Team D (again, just like Team R) is actively hostile to any proposal that might take money out of the pockets of the .1%, or otherwise affect the way the the economic pie is sliced.

Chris in Appalachia , says: April 4, 2019 at 11:46 am
If this was the 1970s Warren would probably have supported busing. Pocahontas – leave my safe neighborhood, my children's schools, and my home equity alone. Because these well meaning social engineering schemes seldom work out as planned. As a middle class American I will probably get the short end of the stick.

Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers. Talk about "the heart of the problem."

BradleyD , says: April 4, 2019 at 12:15 pm
My wife and I did a sort of calculation. In our state child care would be about 11,000 per child per year. Also, you can't drop them off if they are sick, so you have to use your sick days for them. Oh, and if you don't use the child care if you're on vacation, you still need to pay to hold the slot. With two kids and taxes, she has to clear well over 30k per year to about break even.

Add in the fact you'll be missing out on their childhood, spending maybe three or so hours per day with them, is it really worth it?

The more I see the 'big tech' developments, they are basically things your pay for to let you work so you can afford to work. TaskRabbit, Fivrer, DoorDash, etc basically give you free time so you can work more.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm
"What happens to a nation that rewards the childless and penalizes the parents?"

Laughing.

They become liberals, democrats, anarchists, socialists, communists . . . supporters of murdering children in the womb, efficiency advocates by way of eugenics . . . and other assorted malcontents against ordered society.

EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 1:13 pm
This may be unfair as I have not read the book.

But in my view, what has damaged economic sociology has been the shift in practice without any assessment what it would do to the traditional family dynamic between husbands and wives in family construction. That simply demanding that space be made for women and millions of women would seriously tighten the job market for all and disrupt the pillars upon which our nation was built, despite its problems.

Power dynamic, chivalry outran practical realities and that remains the case in increasingly stratifying civil demands.

And while I sympathetic to the complaint about bussing, that had a very little impact on the employment numbers which government and businesses and edication raced to fill the discrimination expectations with women, and primarily white women.

tired comment, but accurate nonetheless, so instead of hiring men in response to discrimination, those men were instead replaced by women, most of whom already had access via the cultural dynamics of the majority.

rps , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm
Warren and Warren Tyagi propose severing the link between housing and school districts through a "well-designed voucher program," calling the public education system "the heart of the problem." [ ]

In my opinion, Warner's education voucher proposal by guaranteeing voucher dollar enrollment in the affluent zip codes ignores the heart of the education problem. Affluent zip codes do not ensure a child's academic success via 'better' teachers and educational materials. Public schools in the big cities are filled with teachers who have their masters and Ph.D's along with continuing education requirements.

Student success is fundamentally based upon parental commitment and community involvement. Are the parents committed to their children's academic success? Does the parent(s) provide a conducive and safe home environment? Does the child have a quiet space to study, do their homework and prepare for school? Does the parent(s) sit down and teach? Review the child's homework? Do the parents volunteer at the school? Are they involved with school events? Is education a top priority? Or is school a babysitting service to drop off and pick up?

Those affluent zip codes are more than a number. For the most part, they are a supportive community of families.

A child's academic success is assuredly tethered to the parental guiding hands. Simply, a child's success begins at home with parents who care about their children's future.

Fran Macadam , says: April 4, 2019 at 4:34 pm
She Woke up.

Careerism trumps sanity. In the age of #MeToo, it's got to be all about me.

Robert K U , says: April 4, 2019 at 6:47 pm
Probably, every conservative will agree, that the basic flaw is materialism. Thus, with materialism, personal values that cannot be sold or bought for money, are neglected in favour of the gross domestic product per capita philosophy. Such personal values are, for instance, family values, that is, children need both a mother, especially when they are below teenage, and a father, especially when they are teenagers, and perhaps most important, a father and a mother need one another. All this family thing does, however, not enter into the money economy of big government. Whence, on the side of families, those need to take quite brave choices, to choose morals above money. And on the side of the government, this needs to tax the rich and help the poor. In fact, according to the World Bank, economic growth is stimulated best, if governments help the poor directly, rather than with obscure subsidies to the economic system. However, there is also the difficulty with difficult access to regular jobs. By no doubt, abortion genosuicide decreases demand on the most simple of goods and services, causing unemployment for the poor, and driving up costs of raising children. Society then goes into socialism, with genosuicide instead of economic growth, while the money flows into pension funds of the upper middle class. Governments must simply help the poor. Humankind has always been able to produce twice the amount of good food that it needs, but bureaucratic governments keep the poor enslaved, to fill them with lie.
Tim , says: April 4, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Warren's academic work and cheeky refusal to fold under pressure when her nomination as Obama's consumer ('home ec.'?) finance czar was stymied by the GOP are worthy of respect. I'd like to see her make a strong run at the dem nomination, but am put off by her recent tendency to adopt silly far-left talking points and sentiments (her Native DNA, advocating for reparations, etc.). Nice try, Liz, but I'm still leaning Bernie's direction.

As far as the details of the economic analysis related above, though, I am unqualified to make any judgment – haven't read the book. But one enormously significant economic development in the early 70s wasn't mentioned at all, so I assume she and her daughter passed it over as well. In his first term R. Milhouse Nixon untethered, once & for all, the value of the dollar from traditional hard currency. The economy has been coming along nicely ever since, except for one problematic aspect: with a floating currency we are all now living in an economic environment dominated by the vicissitudes of supplies and demands, are we not? It took awhile to effect the housing market, but signs of the difference it made began to emerge fairly quickly, and accelerated sharply when the tides of globalism washed lots of third world lucre up on our western shores. Now, as clearly implied by both Warren and the author of this article, young Americans whose parents may not have even been born back then – the early 70s – are probably permanently priced out of the housing market in places that used to have only a marginally higher cost of entry – i.e. urban California, where I have lived and worked for most of my nearly 60 years. In places like this even a 3-earner income may not suffice! Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism. Of course, nothing could be more conservative than that, right? What say you, TAColytes?

EliteCommInc. , says: April 4, 2019 at 10:57 pm
"Maybe we should bring back the gold standard, because it seems to me that as long as unfettered competition coupled to supply/demand and (EZ credit $) is the underlying dynamic of the American economy we're headed for the New Feudalism."

I take it you think the old one has departed.

It was in the area of how businesses and government were reciprocating unhealthy and unfair business practices is where I think her advocacy was most accurate. But she has abandoned all of that.

K squared , says: April 5, 2019 at 7:05 am
"Funny that policy makers never want to help families by taking a little chunk out of hedge funds and shareholders and vulture capitalists and sharing it with American workers."

Funny that Warren HAS brought up raising taxes on the rich.

[Apr 05, 2019] 'Enough With That' Warren Backs Killing Filibuster to Push Through Progressive Reforms by Julia Conley, staff writer

Notable quotes:
"... "I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I'm serious about getting it done," the speech reads. "And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate." ..."
"... Advocates including Warren also say the end of the filibuster would make it easier for the Senate to pass meaningful legislation to combat the climate crisis and to further other progressive causes. ..."
"... "We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind," Warren's speech reads. "We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin. Enough with that." ..."
Apr 05, 2019 | www.commondreams.org

"We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind."

The 2020 presidential candidate is expected to endorse the proposal in a speech at the National Action Network Convention in New York Friday morning.

"When Democrats next have power, we should be bold and clear: We're done with two sets of rules -- one for the Republicans and one for the Democrats," Warren is expected to say. "And that means when Democrats have the White House again, if Mitch McConnell tries to do what he did to President Obama and puts small-minded partisanship ahead of solving the massive problems facing this country, then we should get rid of the filibuster."

"I'm not running for president just to talk about making real, structural change. I'm serious about getting it done," the speech reads. "And part of getting it done means waking up to the reality of the United States Senate."

Getting rid of the filibuster -- the Senate procedure which allows a minority party to delay a vote by drawing out debate and block legislation from passing by requiring a "supermajority" of 60 senators to approve it -- would be a key step toward passing progressive measures, advocates say.

At the NAN Convention, Warren is expected to note that the filibuster has stopped the Senate from passing radical justice legislation for decades, including an anti-lynching bill which was first introduced a century ago but didn't pass until December 2018.

"It nearly became the law back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the Senate -- by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And again," Warren plans to say. "More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right."

Advocates including Warren also say the end of the filibuster would make it easier for the Senate to pass meaningful legislation to combat the climate crisis and to further other progressive causes.

"We can't sit around for 100 years while the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful and everyone else falls further and further behind," Warren's speech reads. "We can't sit around for 100 years while climate change destroys our planet, while corruption pervades every nook and cranny of Washington, and while too much of a child's fate in life still rests on the color of their skin. Enough with that."

Warren joins fellow 2020 Democratic hopefuls Pete Buttigieg and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in endorsing the end of the filibuster. Her speech Friday will represent her latest push for "structural change" that she says would have far-reaching positive effects on the lives of working Americans. Since announcing her candidacy in January she has called for a tax on the wealth of the richest Americans to combat economic inequality and fund progressive programs, a universal childcare plan, and a breakup of powerful tech giants , among other proposals.

[Apr 05, 2019] How does one fight in an Internet-infested, money-dominated political system?

Apr 05, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

span y arendt on Tue, 04/02/2019 - 7:31pm The old politics is dead. Citizens United granted unlimited, anonymous political bribery to the transnational billionaire class. The legacy media has been conglomerated down to six companies, while the platform media companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter) have instituted censorship and banning. Sock puppets, trolls, doxers, and other slime have demolished the promise of honest intellectual internet debate.

[Apr 03, 2019] There is no democracy in US. There is just a civil war between two dysfunctional and corrupt to the core parties

Notable quotes:
"... The Democrats are so fricking crazy, so far in outer space that any attempt at working with them is pure futility. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 7, 2019 at 4:53 am GMT

@Cassander There is no democracy in US. There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties. How come you did not notice? Or you just came from enchanted kingdom?
Authenticjazzman , says: February 7, 2019 at 5:42 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova " There is civil war between two dysfunctional parties"

Wrong again. There is in fact war between the cowardly, appeasing, Republicans, and the insane blue-haired democrats.

The Democrats are so fricking crazy, so far in outer space that any attempt at working with them is pure futility.

AJM

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: February 8, 2019 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Authenticjazzman You are absolutely correct. I just did not wanted to go into such a details. It is not my stile.

[Mar 31, 2019] Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving the neoliberal elite for its complicity in fiasco of 2016, and inability to see the mass revolt against neoliberalism coming

Notable quotes:
"... Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ." ..."
"... I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian, link

Here is an insightful read on Trump's (s) election and Russiagate that I think is not OT

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

The take away quote

" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."

... I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense

[Mar 31, 2019] Because of the immediate arrival of the Russia collusion theory, neither MSM honchos nor any US politician ever had to look into the camera and say, I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. ..."
"... Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | link

Here is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OT

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

The take away quote

" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.

Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."

As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense

[Mar 31, 2019] Taibbi On Russiagate America s Refusal To Face Why Trump Won

Yes, "Trump was selling himself as a traitor to a corrupt class, someone who knew how soulless and greedy the ruling elite was because he was one of them. " But he turned to be a fake, a marionette who is controlled by neocons like hapless Bush II.
Notable quotes:
"... Last weekend, I published a book chapter criticizing the Russiagate narrative, claiming it was a years-long press error on the scale of the WMD affair heading into the Iraq war. ..."
"... The overwhelming theme of that race, long before anyone even thought about Russia, was voter rage at the entire political system. ..."
"... The anger wasn't just on the Republican side, where Trump humiliated the Republicans' chosen $150 million contender , Jeb Bush (who got three delegates, or $50 million per delegate ). It was also evident on the Democratic side, where a self-proclaimed "Democratic Socialist" with little money and close to no institutional support became a surprise contender . ..."
"... Trump was gunning for votes in both parties. The core story he told on the stump was one of system-wide corruption, in which there was little difference between Republicans and Democrats. ..."
"... Perhaps just by luck, Trump was tuned in to the fact that the triumvirate of ruling political powers in America – the two parties, the big donors and the press – were so unpopular with large parts of the population that he could win in the long haul by attracting their ire, even if he was losing battles on the way. ..."
"... The subtext was always: I may be crude, but these people are phonies, pretending to be upset when they're making money off my bullshit . ..."
"... Trump was selling himself as a traitor to a corrupt class, someone who knew how soulless and greedy the ruling elite was because he was one of them. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Taibbi: On Russiagate & America's Refusal To Face Why Trump Won

by Tyler Durden Sat, 03/30/2019 - 15:30 261 SHARES Authored by Matt Taibbi via RollingStone.com,

Faulty coverage of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign later made foreign espionage a more plausible explanation for his ascent to power

Last weekend, I published a book chapter criticizing the Russiagate narrative, claiming it was a years-long press error on the scale of the WMD affair heading into the Iraq war.

Obviously (and I said this in detail), the WMD fiasco had a far greater real-world impact, with hundreds of thousands of lives lost and trillions in treasure wasted. Still, I thought Russiagate would do more to damage the reputation of the national news media in the end.

A day after publishing that excerpt, a Attorney General William Barr sent his summary of the report to Congress, containing a quote filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller : "[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

Suddenly, news articles appeared arguing people like myself and Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept were rushing to judgment , calling us bullies whose writings were intended to leave reporters "cowed" and likely to " back down from aggressive coverage of Trump ."

This was baffling. One of the most common criticisms of people like Greenwald, Michael Tracey, Aaron Mate, Rania Khalek, Max Blumenthal, Jordan Chariton and many others is that Russiagate "skeptics" - I hate that term, because it implies skepticism isn't normal and healthy in this job - were really secret Trump partisans, part of a "horseshoe" pact between far left and far right to focus attention on the minor foibles of the center instead of Trump's more serious misdeeds. Even I received this label, and I once wrote a book about Trump called Insane Clown President .

A typical social media complaint:

@mtaibbi and all his deplorable followers. The truth will come out and your premature celebrations are embarrassing.

It's irritating that I even have to address this, because my personal political views shouldn't have anything to do with how I cover anything. But just to get it out of the way: I'm no fan of Donald Trump .

I had a well-developed opinion about him long before the 2016 race started. I once interned for Trump's nemesis-biographer, the late, great muckraker Wayne Barrett . The birther campaign of 2011 was all I ever needed to make a voting decision about the man.

I started covering the last presidential race in 2015 just as I was finishing up a book about the death of Eric Garner called I Can't Breathe . Noting that a birther campaign started by "peripheral political curiosity and reality TV star Donald Trump" led to 41 percent of respondents in one poll believing Barack Obama was "not even American," I wrote:

If anyone could communicate the frustration black Americans felt over Stop-and-Frisk and other neo-vagrancy laws that made black people feel like they could be arrested anywhere, it should have been Barack Obama. He'd made it all the way to the White House and was still considered to be literally trespassing by a huge plurality of the population.

So I had no illusions about Trump. The Russia story bothered me for other reasons, mostly having to do with a general sense of the public being misled, and not even about Russia.

The problem lay with the precursor tale to Russiagate, i.e. how Trump even got to be president in the first place.

The 2016 campaign season brought to the surface awesome levels of political discontent. After the election, instead of wondering where that anger came from, most of the press quickly pivoted to a new tale about a Russian plot to attack our Democracy. This conveyed the impression that the election season we'd just lived through had been an aberration, thrown off the rails by an extraordinary espionage conspiracy between Trump and a cabal of evil foreigners.

This narrative contradicted everything I'd seen traveling across America in my two years of covering the campaign. The overwhelming theme of that race, long before anyone even thought about Russia, was voter rage at the entire political system.

The anger wasn't just on the Republican side, where Trump humiliated the Republicans' chosen $150 million contender , Jeb Bush (who got three delegates, or $50 million per delegate ). It was also evident on the Democratic side, where a self-proclaimed "Democratic Socialist" with little money and close to no institutional support became a surprise contender .

Because of a series of press misdiagnoses before the Russiagate stories even began, much of the American public was unprepared for news of a Trump win. A cloak-and-dagger election-fixing conspiracy therefore seemed more likely than it might have otherwise to large parts of the domestic news audience, because they hadn't been prepared for anything else that would make sense.

This was particularly true of upscale, urban, blue-leaning news consumers, who were not told to take the possibility of a Trump White House seriously.

Priority number-one of the political class after a vulgar, out-of-work game-show host conquered the White House should have been a long period of ruthless self-examination. This story delayed that for at least two years.

It wasn't even clear Trump whether or not wanted to win. Watching him on the trail, Trump at times went beyond seeming disinterested. There were periods where it looked like South Park's " Did I offend you? " thesis was true, and he was actively trying to lose, only the polls just wouldn't let him.

Forget about the gift the end of Russiagate might give Trump by allowing him to spend 2020 peeing from a great height on the national press corps. The more serious issue has to be the failure to face the reality of why he won last time, because we still haven't done that.

... ... ...

Trump, the billionaire, denounced us as the elitists in the room. He'd call us "bloodsuckers," "dishonest," and in one line that produced laughs considering who was saying it, " highly-paid ."

He also did something that I immediately recognized as brilliant (or diabolical, depending on how you look at it). He dared cameramen to turn their cameras to show the size of his crowds.

They usually wouldn't – hey, we don't work for the guy – which thrilled Trump, who would then say something to the effect of, "See! They're very dishonest people ." Audiences would turn toward us, and boo and hiss, and even throw little bits of paper and other things our way. This was unpleasant, but it was hard not to see its effectiveness: he'd re-imagined the lifeless, poll-tested format of the stump speech, turning it into menacing, personal, WWE-style theater.

Trump was gunning for votes in both parties. The core story he told on the stump was one of system-wide corruption, in which there was little difference between Republicans and Democrats.

...

Perhaps just by luck, Trump was tuned in to the fact that the triumvirate of ruling political powers in America – the two parties, the big donors and the press – were so unpopular with large parts of the population that he could win in the long haul by attracting their ire, even if he was losing battles on the way.

...

The subtext was always: I may be crude, but these people are phonies, pretending to be upset when they're making money off my bullshit .

I thought this was all nuts and couldn't believe it was happening in a real presidential campaign. But, a job is a job. My first feature on candidate Trump was called " How America Made Donald Trump Unstoppable ." The key section read:

In person, you can't miss it: The same way Sarah Palin can see Russia from her house, Donald on the stump can see his future. The pundits don't want to admit it, but it's sitting there in plain view, 12 moves ahead, like a chess game already won:

President Donald Trump

It turns out we let our electoral process devolve into something so fake and dysfunctional that any half-bright con man with the stones to try it could walk right through the front door and tear it to shreds on the first go.

And Trump is no half-bright con man, either. He's way better than average.

Traditional Democratic audiences appeared thrilled by the piece and shared it widely. I was invited on scads of cable shows to discuss ad nauseum the "con man" line. This made me nervous, because it probably meant these people hadn't read the piece, which among other things posited the failures of America's current ruling class meant Trump's insane tactics could actually work.

Trump was selling himself as a traitor to a corrupt class, someone who knew how soulless and greedy the ruling elite was because he was one of them.

...

The only reason most blue-state media audiences had been given for Trump's poll numbers all along was racism, which was surely part of the story but not the whole picture. A lack of any other explanation meant Democratic audiences, after the shock of election night, were ready to reach for any other data point that might better explain what just happened.

Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump."

Post-election, Russiagate made it all worse. People could turn on their TVs at any hour of the day and see anyone from Rachel Maddow to Chris Cuomo openly reveling in Trump's troubles. This is what Fox looks like to liberal audiences.

Worse, the "walls are closing in" theme -- two years old now -- was just a continuation of the campaign mistake, reporters confusing what they wanted to happen with what was happening . The story was always more complicated than was being represented.

[Mar 31, 2019] The Media Gaslighting of 2020's Most Likable Candidate

Mar 31, 2019 | medium.com

At CNN's town hall event on Monday, the American people saw something we'd been told was impossible: Elizabeth Warren winning over a crowd.

The Massachusetts senator took aim at a variety of subjects: the Electoral College, Mississippi's racist state flag, the rise of white nationalism . Always, she was met with thunderous applause. Even a simple Bible verse -- from Matthew 25:35–40, about moral obligation to the poor and hungry -- prompted cheers so loud and prolonged that Warren had to pause and repeat herself in order to make her voice heard over the noise. Yet this was the same woman the media routinely frames as too wonky, too nerdy, too socially stunted. But then, Warren has always been an exceptionally charismatic candidate. We just forget that fact when she's campaigning -- due, in large part, to our deep and lingering distrust for female intelligence.

Warren is bursting with what we might call "charisma" in male candidates: She has the folksy demeanor of Joe Biden, the ferocious conviction of Bernie Sanders, the deep intelligence of fellow law professor Barack Obama. But Warren is not a man, and so those traits are framed as liabilities, rather than strengths. According to the media, Warren is an uptight schoolmarm, a " wonky professor ," a scold, a wimpy Dukakis, a wooden John Kerry, or (worse) a nerdier Al Gore.

The criticism has hit her from the left and right. The far-right Daily Caller accused her of looking weird when she drank beer ; on social media, conservatives spread vicious (and viciously ableist) rumors that Warren took antipsychotic drugs that treated "irritability caused by autism ." On the other end of the spectrum, Amber A'Lee Frost, the lone female co-host of the socialist podcast Chapo Trap House , wrote for The Baffler (and, when The Baffler retracted her article, for Jacobin) that Warren was " weak " and " not charismatic ." Frost deplored the "Type-A Tracy Flicks" who dared support "this Lisa Simpson of a dark-horse candidate."

Casting Warren as a sheltered, Ivory Tower type is odd, given that her politics and diction are not exactly elitist. Yet none of this is new; the same stereotypes were levied against Warren in 2011, during her Senate campaign.

Strangely, the first nerdification of Warren was a purely local phenomenon -- one which happened even as national media was falling in love with her. Jon Stewart publicly adored her , and her ingenuity in proposing the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a few years prior earned her respect among the rising populist wing of the party. Her fame was further catapulted when a speech -- a video of Warren speaking, seemingly off-the-cuff , in a constituent's living room -- went viral. "Nobody in this country got rich on his own, nobody," Warren proclaimed, pointing up the ways entrepreneurs benefit from publicly funded services like roads and schools and fire departments.

"First-time candidates don't usually articulate a progressive economic message quite this well," the Washington Monthly declared . The New Yorker called it " the most important political speech of this campaign season. " That enthusiasm continued throughout Warren's first Senate bid. Writing for the New York Times , Rebecca Traister noted that "the early devotion to Warren recalls the ardor once felt by many for Obama." (Obama himself famously echoed Warren's message -- "you didn't build that" -- on the 2012 campaign trail.)

Locally, Warren prompted a much different discussion, with scores of Massachusetts analysts describing her as stiff and unlikable. Boston-based Democratic analyst Dan Payne bemoaned her "know-it-all style" and wished aloud she would " be more authentic I want her to just sound like a human being, not read the script that makes her sound like some angry, hectoring schoolmarm." In a long profile for Boston magazine, reporter Janelle Nanos quoted Thomas Whalen, a political historian at Boston University, who called Warren a "flawed candidate," someone who was " desperately trying to find a message that's going to resonate. " In that same article, Nanos asked Warren point-blank about her "likability problem." Warren's response seemed to stem from deep frustration: "People tell me everywhere I go why they care that I got in this race," she said. "I can't answer the question because I literally haven't experienced what you're talking about."

By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, she's not listening.

There's an element of gaslighting here: It only takes a reporter a few sources -- and an op-ed columnist a single, fleeting judgment -- to declare a candidate "unlikable." After that label has been applied, any effort the candidate makes to win people over can be cast as "inauthentic." Likability is in this way a self-reinforcing accusation, one which is amplified every time the candidate tries to tackle it. (Recall Hillary Clinton, who was asked about her "likability" at seemingly every debate or town hall for eight straight years -- then furiously accused of pandering every time she made an effort to seem more "approachable.")

It's significant that the " I hate you; please respond" line of political sabotage only ever seems to be aimed at women. It's also revealing that, when all these men talked about how Warren could win them over, their "campaign" advice sounded suspiciously close to makeover tips. In his article, Payne advised Warren to "lose the granny glasses," "soften the hair," and employ a professional voice coach to "deepen her voice, which grates on some." Payne seemed to suggest that Elizabeth Warren look like a model and sound like a man -- anything to disguise the grisly reality of a smart woman making her case.

Warren won her Senate race, and the "schoolmarm" stereotype largely vanished as her national profile grew. By 2014, grassroots activists were begging her to run for president; by mid-2016, CNN had named her " Donald Trump's chief antagonist ." She's since given a stream of incendiary interviews and handed the contemporary women's movement its most popular meme . All this should be enough to prove any candidate's "charisma." Yet, now that she's thrown her hat into the presidential ring, the firebrand has become a Poindexter once again.

The digs at Warren's "professorial" style hurt her because, on some level, they're true. Warren really is an intellectual, a scholar; moreover, she really is running an exceptionally ideas-focused campaign, regularly turning out detailed and exhaustive policy proposals at a point when most of the other candidates don't even have policy sections on their websites. What's galling is the suggestion that this is a bad thing.

Yes, male candidates have suffered from being too smart -- just ask Gore, who ran on climate change 20 years before it was trendy. But just as often, their intelligence helps them. Obama's sophistication and public reading lists endeared him to liberals. And just a few days ago, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg was widely praised for learning Norwegian in order to read an author's untranslated works. Yet, Warren is dorky, a teacher's pet, a try-hard Tracy Flick, or Lisa Simpson. A "know-it-all."

The "schoolmarm" stereotype now applied to Warren has always been used to demean educated women. In the Victorian era, we called them "bluestockings" -- unmarried, unattractive women who had dared to prioritize intellectual development over finding a man. They are, in the words of one contemporary writer, " frumpy and frowly in the extreme, with no social talents ." Educators say that 21st century girls are still afraid to talk in class because of "sexist bullying" which sends the message that smart girls are unfeminine: "For girls, peers tell them 'if you are swotty and clever and answer too many questions, you are not attractive ,'" claims Mary Bousted, joint general-secretary of the U.K.'s National Education Union. Female academics still report being made to feel " unsexual, unattractive, unwomanly, and unnatural. " We can deplore all this as antiquated thinking, but even now, grown men are still demanding that Warren ditch her glasses or "soften" her hair -- to work on being prettier so as to make her intelligence less threatening.

Warren is cast as a bloodless intellectual when she focuses on policy, a scolding lecturer when she leans into her skills as a rabble-rouser; either way, her intelligence is always too much and out of place. Her eloquence is framed, not as inspiring, but as "angry" and "hectoring." Being an effective orator makes her "strident." It's not solely confined to the media, but reporters seem anxious to signal-boost anyone who complains: Anonymous male colleagues call her "irritating," telling Vanity Fair that "she projects a 'holier than thou' attitude" and that " she has a moralizing to her. " That same quality in male candidates is hailed as moral clarity.

Warren is accused, in plain language, of being uppity -- a woman who has the bad grace to be smarter than the men around her, without downplaying it to assuage their egos. But running in a presidential race is all about proving that you are smarter than the other guy. By demanding that Warren disguise her exceptional talents, we are asking her to lose. Thankfully, she's not listening. She is a smart woman, after all.

[Mar 30, 2019] My suggestion is that Cambridge Analytica and others backing Trump and the Yankee imperial machine have been taking measurements of USA citizens opinions and are staggered by the results. They are panicked!

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I suspect that the cool aid is not working effectively these days and that far too many people see through the charades and lies. An interesting story lurks behind this and the entire 'hate Russia' and 'monkey Mueller' episode. ..."
"... The attitudes of the masses are spinning out of the manipulative hands of the deep state and the oligarchs ..."
"... Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming. ..."
"... Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ..."
"... the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense ..."
"... Most of those reporters were going to slant their stories the way their bosses wanted. Their jobs are just too nice to do otherwise. Getting Trump as Hillary's opponent had to have been a goal for the majority of them. He was the patsy who would become squished roadkill in the treads of The Most Experienced Presidential Candidate In History. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton is a knowledgeable, well-prepared, reasonable, experienced, even-tempered, hardworking candidate, while her opponent is a stubbornly uninformed demagogue who has been proven again and again to be a liar on matters big and small. There is no objective basis on which to equate Hillary Clinton to her opponent. ..."
"... The author had it half right. Turns out the voters knew quite a bit about Trump, and still preferred him to the Butcher of Libya. ..."
Mar 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Mar 30, 2019 5:07:46 PM | link

Thaks b, now that is a delightful question to pose on the eve of April fool's day.
My suggestion is that Cambridge Analytica and others backing Trump and the yankee imperial machine have been taking measurements of USA citizens opinions and are staggered by the results. They are panicked!

I suspect that the cool aid is not working effectively these days and that far too many people see through the charades and lies. An interesting story lurks behind this and the entire 'hate Russia' and 'monkey Mueller' episode.

The attitudes of the masses are spinning out of the manipulative hands of the deep state and the oligarchs. Do any of our comrades have a handle on this type of research and the implication for voter attitudes?

psychohistorian , Mar 30, 2019 7:51:28 PM | link

Here is an insightful read on Trump's (s)election and Russiagate that I think is not OT

Taibbi: On Russiagate and Our Refusal to Face Why Trump Won

The take away quote

" Russiagate became a convenient replacement explanation absolving an incompetent political establishment for its complicity in what happened in 2016, and not just the failure to see it coming.

Because of the immediate arrival of the collusion theory, neither Wolf Blitzer nor any politician ever had to look into the camera and say, "I guess people hated us so much they were even willing to vote for Donald Trump ."

As a peedupon all I can see is that the elite seem to be fighting amongst themselves or (IMO) providing cover for ongoing elite power/control efforts. It might not be about private/public finance in a bigger picture but I can't see anything else that makes sense

Zachary Smith , Mar 30, 2019 10:07:37 PM | link
@ psychohistorian #43

Thanks for the Taibbi link. I hadn't seen it, and found him to be in good form. I do think he ought to have spoken more about how bad Trump's Primary opponents were.

Most of those reporters were going to slant their stories the way their bosses wanted. Their jobs are just too nice to do otherwise. Getting Trump as Hillary's opponent had to have been a goal for the majority of them. He was the patsy who would become squished roadkill in the treads of The Most Experienced Presidential Candidate In History. More on that for people with strong stomachs:

What Hillary Clinton's Fans Love About Her 11/03/2016

Sample:

Hillary Clinton is a knowledgeable, well-prepared, reasonable, experienced, even-tempered, hardworking candidate, while her opponent is a stubbornly uninformed demagogue who has been proven again and again to be a liar on matters big and small. There is no objective basis on which to equate Hillary Clinton to her opponent.
The author had it half right. Turns out the voters knew quite a bit about Trump, and still preferred him to the Butcher of Libya.

[Mar 29, 2019] Elizabeth Warren, Trumpian of the Left by Bret Stephens

Warren supported Hillary that the;s a huge black spot on her credentials. She also king of a hawk in forign policy diligitly repeated stupid Depart of State talking points and making herself a fool. I especially like here blabbing about authoritarian regimes. From former Harvard professor we should expect better that this.
To a certain extent he message about rigged system is authentic as She drive this horse for a long time. But that does not means that she can't betray here electorate like Trump or Obama. She perfectly can. And is quite possible. Several details of her biography suggest that she is a female careerist -- using dirty tricks to be promoted and paying her gender as an offensive weapon (looks also at her use of Cherokee heritage claim)
But there is no ideal people and among establishment candidates she is the most electable despite all flows of her foreign policy positions.
Notable quotes:
"... Comparing Elizabeth Warren to Trump is disingenuous. Trump is just ranting and defensive, without any evidence to back up his claims. What Elizabeth Warren is saying is just a matter of paying attention. ..."
"... This analysis completely ignores the outrageous, overarching influence of money and financial privilege over American politics. Equating Bill Clinton's dalliance with Trump's disrespect for all norms of decency and the truth? Please. Warren is right. Just look at the legislative obscenity of the recent tax bill and then try and equivocate they left and the right. I am not buying this false equivalency. ..."
"... Please, Elizabeth Warren is nothing like Trump. She's a brilliant, honest, tireless fighter for ordinary Americans. She wants a fair shake for them, just as FDR wanted a fair shake -- a "New Deal" -- for our Country. ..."
"... The so-called "left" in America (moderates anywhere else on the globe) have never varied from saying that money = power. They still say that today, and raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving their own point. ..."
"... Conservatives in America (far-right extremists anywhere else on the globe) are much quieter about the influence of dough, but raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving the "left's" point. ..."
Dec 20, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

The president and the senator both want you to know that our system is "rigged."

... ... ...

For decades, the left sought to dethrone the idea of truth. Truth was not an absolute. It was a matter of power. Of perspective. Of narrative. "Truth is a thing of this world," wrote Michel Foucault. "Each society has its regime of truth, its 'general politics' of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true."

Then Kellyanne Conway gave us "alternative facts" and Rudy Giuliani said, " Truth isn't truth" -- and progressives rushed to defend the inviolability of facts and truth.

For decades, the left sought to dethrone reverence for the Constitution. "The Constitution," wrote progressive historian Howard Zinn, "serves the interests of a wealthy elite" and enables "the elite to keep control with a minimum of coercion, a maximum of law -- all made palatable by the fanfare of patriotism and unity."

Then Donald Trump attacked freedom of the press and birthright citizenship, and flouted the emoluments clause, and assailed the impartiality of the judiciary. And progressives rediscovered the treasure that is our Constitutional inheritance.

... ... ...

To an audience of nearly 500 new graduates and their families at the historically black college, the Massachusetts senator laid out a bleak vision of America. "The rules are rigged because the rich and powerful have bought and paid for too many politicians," she said. "The rich and powerful want us pointing fingers at each other so we won't notice they are getting richer and more powerful," she said. "Two sets of rules: one for the wealthy and the well-connected. And one for everybody else," she said.

"That's how a rigged system works," she said.

It was a curious vision coming from a person whose life story, like that of tens millions of Americans who have risen far above their small beginnings, refutes her own thesis. It was curious, also, coming from someone who presumably believes that various forms of rigging are required to un-rig past rigging. Affirmative action in college admissions and aggressive minority recruitment in corporations are also forms of "rigging."

But however one feels about various types of rigging, the echo of Trump was unmistakable. "It's being proven we have a rigged system," the president said at one of his rallies last year . "Doesn't happen so easy. But this system -- gonna be a lot of changes. This is a rigged system."

Trump's claim that the system is rigged represents yet another instance of his ideological pickpocketing of progressives. From C. Wright Mills ("The Power Elite") to Noam Chomsky ("Manufacturing Consent"), the animating belief of the far left has been, as Tom Hayden put it, that we live in a "false democracy," controlled by an unaccountable, deceitful and shadowy elite. Trump has names for it: the globalists; the deep state; the fake news. Orange, it turns out, is the new red.

Of course, Warren and Trump have very different ideas as to just who the malefactors of great wealth really are. Is it Sheldon Adelson or George Soros? The Koch brothers or the Ford Foundation? Posterity will be forgiven if it loses track of which alleged conspiracy to rig the system was of the far-right and which was of the far left.

What it will remember is that here was another era in which a president and one of his leading opponents abandoned the prouder traditions of American politics in favor of paranoid ones. Compare Warren's grim message to Bill Clinton's sunny one from his first inaugural: "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America."

At some point, it will be worth asking Senator Warren: Rigged compared to when? A generation ago a black president would have been unthinkable. Two generations ago, a woman on the Supreme Court. And rigged compared to what? Electoral politics in Japan, which have been dominated by a single party for decades? The class system in Brazil, dominated by a single race for centuries?

Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.

Larry Bennett Cooperstown NY Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Warren is saying the system is rigged to suppress the middle class and poor in favor of the wealthy, which is easy to substantiate. Trump is saying the system is rigged to suppress the white right, which is easy to refute. One statement is an economic fact, the other is a racist trope. There is no equivalence here. ScottW Chapel Hill, NC Dec. 20, 2018

Sen. Warren supports Medicare for All, meaningful banking/financial regulations, regulations that benefit consumers, a living wage, etc. Trump supports none of these policies--not a one. Trying to equate Trump with Warren is just stupid.

Terry Gilbert, AZ Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Comparing Elizabeth Warren to Trump is disingenuous. Trump is just ranting and defensive, without any evidence to back up his claims. What Elizabeth Warren is saying is just a matter of paying attention. I don't need to list all the ways in which money buys everything in politics. It's always a matter of following the money. Bret Stephens conveniently avoids looking at economics. His supposed counterexamples are at best irrelevant to the issue: We've had a black President. We have women on the Supreme Court. How are those examples proof that the system isn't rigged in favor of the wealthy and corporations? No doubt he thinks Plutocracy is part of the natural order of things. He should go back to the Wall Street Journal where his myopia is more appropriate. MarnS Nevada Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Unfortunately Bret there are no "optimists" in the GOP, including yourself being one who has bounced back and forth in your positions regarding the Trump presidency. Though you have found your way on CNN or MSNBC spouting your disappointments about the state of the nation, the fact remains is that your a hardened, right wing opinion writer who may have less of an ideal when it comes to America being a democratic nation. No, you can conveniently ignore the actions of your conservative party in there gerrymandering, in their changing the rules for governors of the Democrat persuasion, or gross deliberate voter suppression that has placed your party in power positions by, in effect, stealing elections. You are a writer with a forked tongue trying, at times in a passive manner, to separate yourself from Trump, and the evilness of the current GOP Party without understanding that the definition of "conservative" has changed to the radical. And that is documented by your writings in the WSJ. Yet, you cannot even dream about truly being on the left side of an argument other than beating your breast with the fact that the GOP has disappeared, as we have known it, in the hands of radicalism (which prior to Trump you participated in the escalation of radical conservatism), and your party can never be revived as it once was...and we all pray it never will be so.

JPM Hays, KS Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

This analysis completely ignores the outrageous, overarching influence of money and financial privilege over American politics. Equating Bill Clinton's dalliance with Trump's disrespect for all norms of decency and the truth? Please. Warren is right. Just look at the legislative obscenity of the recent tax bill and then try and equivocate they left and the right. I am not buying this false equivalency.

Patrick Schenectady Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

FYI, Foucault was offering critiques of "regimes of truth," not of truth itself. That's very different. Like most historians, he spent an impressive amount of time in archives where he collected evidence in order to write books that give truthful accounts of the past. You make a caricature of Foucault, and then of the entire left.

Rich Casagrande Slingerlands, NY Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Please, Elizabeth Warren is nothing like Trump. She's a brilliant, honest, tireless fighter for ordinary Americans. She wants a fair shake for them, just as FDR wanted a fair shake -- a "New Deal" -- for our Country. While much of the rest of the world was turning to communism or fascism, FDR saved American capitalism by shaking it up. Oh how we could use a large dose of that today.

WDP Long Island Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Whoa! Line by line, Mr Stephens offers statements that are way off base and should be refuted. Are you saying you disagree with Warren? Do you think the "system" in America for the last 400 years has not been generally "rigged" against African-Americans? But the gist of his column, and the main argument of conservatives these days, is that the left and the right are equally out of line; that what the right says and does may be bad, but the left does the same sort of thing and is just as bad. This is not true Bret, and you know it. The left desperately tries to find the high road, and anyone who supports Trump these days or believes in most of his policies is either someone who has abandoned morality or is a fool. And that is the truth, Bret.

Hannacroix Cambridge, MA Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

Calling out our system as "rigged" is nothing new for Sen. Warren. She's been stating that publicly since being a regular Bill Moyer's guest on his PBS program 20 years ago -- and clearly already on a "prep for national politics" stump. What undercuts her own integrity regarding "rigged" is that she chose, after much wait & anticipation, to throw her support to Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2016. Not Bernie Sanders. She knew HRC had little integrity. And it's highly likely she knew the DNC primary was rigged in favor of Clinton -- as it's widely been proven.

My point here highlights one of several reasons why Sen. Warren is unelectable in the 2020 presidential general election. This is not to compare her in any way to Trump -- he's a venal, disturbed & dangerous traitor to our country. However, if winning the WH in 2020 is the goal, Elizabeth Warren ain't got the goods to get the necessary votes across our Republic.

Longestaffe Pickering Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

There's a good case to be made that the far left exists in two separate dimensions. I offer myself in evidence. Among the policies and social changes I advocate: Medicare for all Aggressively progressive taxation.

I don't recognize any freedom to corner as much wealth as one can while other people must labor at two or three jobs just to feed their families on peanut butter.

I do think there's a bit of rigging afoot. Restrictions on the ownership of firearms comparable to those in Japan.

A society free from all forms of identity discrimination or prejudice. I'm bitterly opposed to racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia; any example you care to give, including those without short handles, such as prejudice against Muslims or transgender people.

Yes, I know I have this in common with decent conservatives, but I'm thinking of partisan realities in the US today. I should add that I don't mind the prospect of WASPS like me becoming just another minority.

But-- I can't picture myself as a socialist -- hair combed straight back, and all that.

The rigorously progressive personality type rubs me the wrong way. Leftist cant grates on every fiber of my being. Che Guevara T-shirts make the lip curl. When my knee jerks, it jerks against things like that old leftist conceit that truth is what you make it. I look at the far-left agenda and see a lot to like. I look at the far-left milieu and see didactic arrogance, frigidity, and pat attitudes. I'm a Democrat in disarray.

John Wilson Maine Dec. 20, 2018 Times Pick

The so-called "left" in America (moderates anywhere else on the globe) have never varied from saying that money = power. They still say that today, and raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving their own point.

Conservatives in America (far-right extremists anywhere else on the globe) are much quieter about the influence of dough, but raise money like crazy for candidates thereby proving the "left's" point.

Reality? Money in America is everything. Period. Just try to run for office, influence policy, and/or change the direction of the country as a sole, intelligent, concerned poor person and see how far you get.

[Mar 25, 2019] The Mass Psychology of Trumpism by Eli Zaretsky

Highly recommended!
But sophistication of intelligence agencies now reached very high level. Russiage was pretty dirty but pretty slick operation. British thre letter againces were even more devious, if we view Skripals poisoning as MI5/Mi6 "witness protection" operation due to possible Skripal role in creating Steele dossier. So let's keep wanting the evnet. The election 2020 might be event more interesting the Elections of 2016. Who would suggest in 2015 that he/she elects man candidate from Israel lobby instead of a woman candidate from the same lobby?
Notable quotes:
"... The consistent derogation of Trump in the New York Times or on MSNBC may be helpful in keeping the resistance fired up, but it is counterproductive when it comes to breaking down the Trump coalition. His followers take every attack on their leader as an attack on them. ..."
"... Adorno also observed that demagoguery of this sort is a profession, a livelihood with well-tested methods. Trump is a far more familiar figure than may at first appear. The demagogue's appeals, Adorno wrote, 'have been standardised, similarly to the advertising slogans which proved to be most valuable in the promotion of business'. Trump's background in salesmanship and reality TV prepared him perfectly for his present role. ..."
"... the leader can guess the psychological wants and needs of those susceptible to his propaganda because he resembles them psychologically, and is distinguished from them by a capacity to express without inhibitions what is latent in them, rather than by any intrinsic superiority. ..."
"... The leaders are generally oral character types, with a compulsion to speak incessantly and to befool the others. The famous spell they exercise over their followers seems largely to depend on their orality: language itself, devoid of its rational significance, functions in a magical way and furthers those archaic regressions which reduce individuals to members of crowds. ..."
"... Since uninhibited associative speech presupposes at least a temporary lack of ego control, it can indicate weakness as well as strength. The agitators' boasting is frequently accompanied by hints of weakness, often merged with claims of strength. This was particularly striking, Adorno wrote, when the agitator begged for monetary contributions. ..."
"... Since 8 November 2016, many people have concluded that what they understandably view as a catastrophe was the result of the neglect by neoliberal elites of the white working class, simply put. Inspired by Bernie Sanders, they believe that the Democratic Party has to reorient its politics from the idea that 'a few get rich first' to protection for the least advantaged. ..."
"... Of those providing his roughly 40 per cent approval ratings, half say they 'strongly approve' and are probably lost to the Democrats. ..."
Sep 18, 2018 | lrb.co.uk
One might object that Trump, a billionaire TV star, does not resemble his followers. But this misses the powerful intimacy that he establishes with them, at rallies, on TV and on Twitter. Part of his malicious genius lies in his ability to forge a bond with people who are otherwise excluded from the world to which he belongs. Even as he cast Hillary Clinton as the tool of international finance, he said:

I do deals – big deals – all the time. I know and work with all the toughest operators in the world of high-stakes global finance. These are hard-driving, vicious cut-throat financial killers, the kind of people who leave blood all over the boardroom table and fight to the bitter end to gain maximum advantage.

With these words he brought his followers into the boardroom with him and encouraged them to take part in a shared, cynical exposure of the soiled motives and practices that lie behind wealth. His role in the Birther movement, the prelude to his successful presidential campaign, was not only racist, but also showed that he was at home with the most ignorant, benighted, prejudiced people in America. Who else but a complete loser would engage in Birtherism, so far from the Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Harvard aura that elevated Obama, but also distanced him from the masses?

The consistent derogation of Trump in the New York Times or on MSNBC may be helpful in keeping the resistance fired up, but it is counterproductive when it comes to breaking down the Trump coalition. His followers take every attack on their leader as an attack on them. 'The fascist leader's startling symptoms of inferiority', Adorno wrote, 'his resemblance to ham actors and asocial psychopaths', facilitates the identification, which is the basis of the ideal. On the Access Hollywood tape, which was widely assumed would finish him, Trump was giving voice to a common enough daydream, but with 'greater force' and greater 'freedom of libido' than his followers allow themselves. And he was bolstering the narcissism of the women who support him, too, by describing himself as helpless in the grip of his desires for them.

Adorno also observed that demagoguery of this sort is a profession, a livelihood with well-tested methods. Trump is a far more familiar figure than may at first appear. The demagogue's appeals, Adorno wrote, 'have been standardised, similarly to the advertising slogans which proved to be most valuable in the promotion of business'. Trump's background in salesmanship and reality TV prepared him perfectly for his present role. According to Adorno,

the leader can guess the psychological wants and needs of those susceptible to his propaganda because he resembles them psychologically, and is distinguished from them by a capacity to express without inhibitions what is latent in them, rather than by any intrinsic superiority.

To meet the unconscious wishes of his audience, the leader

simply turns his own unconscious outward Experience has taught him consciously to exploit this faculty, to make rational use of his irrationality, similarly to the actor, or a certain type of journalist who knows how to sell their sensitivity.

All he has to do in order to make the sale, to get his TV audience to click, or to arouse a campaign rally, is exploit his own psychology.

Using old-fashioned but still illuminating language, Adorno continued:

The leaders are generally oral character types, with a compulsion to speak incessantly and to befool the others. The famous spell they exercise over their followers seems largely to depend on their orality: language itself, devoid of its rational significance, functions in a magical way and furthers those archaic regressions which reduce individuals to members of crowds.

Since uninhibited associative speech presupposes at least a temporary lack of ego control, it can indicate weakness as well as strength. The agitators' boasting is frequently accompanied by hints of weakness, often merged with claims of strength. This was particularly striking, Adorno wrote, when the agitator begged for monetary contributions. As with the Birther movement or Access Hollywood, Trump's self-debasement – pretending to sell steaks on the campaign trail – forges a bond that secures his idealised status.

Since 8 November 2016, many people have concluded that what they understandably view as a catastrophe was the result of the neglect by neoliberal elites of the white working class, simply put. Inspired by Bernie Sanders, they believe that the Democratic Party has to reorient its politics from the idea that 'a few get rich first' to protection for the least advantaged.

Yet no one who lived through the civil rights and feminist rebellions of recent decades can believe that an economic programme per se is a sufficient basis for a Democratic-led politics.

This holds as well when it comes to trying to reach out to Trump's supporters. Of those providing his roughly 40 per cent approval ratings, half say they 'strongly approve' and are probably lost to the Democrats. But if we understand the personal level at which pro-Trump strivings operate, we may better appeal to the other half, and in that way forestall the coming emergency.

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

Mar 23, 2019 | twitter.com

MoveOn ‏ 1:32 PM - 21 Mar 2019

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

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

Mar 20, 2019 | www.aol.com

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

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

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

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

Nov 02, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 19, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

rc, March 18, 2019 at 4:01 pm

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

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

Recommended initial steps to reform:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The column praises Elizabeth Warren. Leonhardt (like his colleague Paul Krugman) is careful to refrain from declaring his intention to vote for her in the primary. I am planning to vote for her. I mostly agreed with the column to begin with, but was not convinced by Leonard's praise of