On Comments

Over several posts last week, we had some heated complaints in comments about how the site had become “center-right”. We found this accusation to be bizarre. We don’t particularly like being force-fit into the right-left frame. We consider ourselves to be social justice oriented, but also strongly empirical. Thus while we are opposed to anti-egalitarian, anti-New Deal policies, that doesn’t mean we necessarily subscribe to orthodox left positions, since some are not well thought out and are unlikely to deliver the benefits their proponents believe they will.  One reader (witters) summed up his views as follows:

I see NC as beyond the stupid virtue signalling of Left/Right labelling. I see it as concerned with a conception of social justice that actuallly connects with life conditions of decent people – and a justifiable faith that, all things being equal, pretty much all people ARE decent people.

For some commenters, it turned out that the real bone of contention was that we now have a few Trump supporters who comment regularly. They have not broken any house rules and we are not about to run them off.

As Outis said via e-mail:

If the site actually does anything, then presumably its effect on people is to push them to consider views that they would not have looked at previously, and to force them to defend their own views. In other words, far from being seen as a sort of “contamination,” if there are “non-left” people on the site, it should be seen as an opportunity. (If they’re organic, of course – but over time we do a pretty good job of eliminating the true trolls.)

People complaining about having to debunk newcomers’ arguments are ultimately complaining about being given an opportunity to do effective politics. Politics isn’t an academic seminar where only the smartest people are allowed to speak. Nor is it a salon of uniformly right-thinking people who congratulate each other on their virtue while disagreeing on minor tactical points. It’s about trying to persuade other people, even including those who start out with views that are in some ways problematic or misinformed. Yes, it can be somewhat repetitive. So what? If making the same argument more than once drives you crazy, find another hobby.

Additional observations:

1. This site’s overarching mission is to promote critical thinking. Having a variety of points of view is consistent with that objective.

2. As Outis alludes, we have run off people who looked like Trump trolls (as well as Democratic party stalwarts, lefty purists, and others who look to be propagandizing, whether formally or out of professional loyalties) for a host of reasons: bad faith argumentation, getting abusive, making stuff up, thread-jacking, etc. We try to be evenhanded in applying the same standards across topics.

3. There is a tremendous amount of noise in the news. While Trump is doing things that give plenty of cause for concern, a lot of what he is doing is talk rather than action (for example, quite a few executive orders that are not much more than press releases reiterating positions he has already taken). Getting upset about Trump merely restating his intent, no matter how dodgy that intent is, makes him seem more powerful and effective than he is. It isn’t helpful if the goal is a clear-eyed appreciation of the current political situation, but playing to anti-Trump outrage has given a big boost to newspaper subscriptions and online views and so is in the interests of the media.

Debunking Trump hysteria, whether by the site or by readers is not being “pro Trump.” To make that argument convincingly, one would first have to show that a dualistic, Manichaeistic perspective offers the only legitimate view of Trump: that he is so exceptional that every debate, even about questions of fact, should be filtered through a lens of “Does it seem to help or hurt Trump? Moreover, if one is serious about opposing Trump, then relying on bad or incomplete information about Trump violates one of Sun Tsu’s cardinal rules of combat: Know your enemy.

4. Some readers also seem bothered by the fact that this site is hard on the Democratic party. The reasons are simple. The Democrats have not changed despite hemorrhaging losses at all levels of government.  They are not the friend of anyone outside the 10% and the transformation of the party to one for the professional classes and the 1%, complete with identity politics gestures and performances, took place via the Clintons (see Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal for details).

If you oppose Trump, you need to recognize that the Democrats are at best feckless. Trump’s presidency may all too readily become an excuse for the party to become an even worse version of its former self. So a key question is, “What if anything can be done about that?”

Print Friendly
Tweet about this on TwitterDigg thisShare on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Google+0Buffer this pageEmail this to someone

217 comments

  1. Jason

    “Trump’s presidency may all too readily become an excuse for the party to become an even worse version of its former self.”

    Great point. This is of course exactly what happened to the UK Labour Party in reaction to Thatcher, as is (IMO) obvious in retrospect even if it wasn’t already obvious at the time.

    1. Ash

      I think this is clearly the direction the Democratic Party are headed.

      By taking Trump the Demon up to 11, the Democratic Party can ignore all its own issues.
      By taking Trump the Demon up to 11, it makes clear that anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary “because of her emails” is a neophyte purist now responsible for Trump. As if there were no other problems with Hillary than her emails.

      Best part of demonizing Trump and making him to blame for everything is it lets the Democratic Establishment keep their jobs.

      1. Anne

        That Trump is pretty much a horror show that gets more horrifying by the day, and that the Democratic Party is in desperate need of deprogramming are not mutually exclusive issues; it is possible to deal with both of them at the same time.

        The problem is that knowing something is wrong, even knowing what it is that is wrong, is barely the first step – and meanwhile, engaging in prolonged navel-gazing is kind of an indulgence we can’t really afford. Because neither Trump nor the GOP are going to hit the “Pause” button while Dems play catch-up. They aren’t going to spot the Dems any time to get their house in order – they are going to leverage it to death.

        If the Dems were smart – and that may be a big “if” – they would take advantage of people’s willingness to get involved, heed it, act on it, encourage it, participate in it themselves and leverage the crap out of it. Maybe my inner optimist is peeking out here, but I’m beginning to think that the more present we are, the more difficult we make it to ignore us, the more we push the Democratic Party in the direction it needs to go, the more we marginalize the failed status quo.

        I think the old guard is a little frightened right now. I’ve heard them talk about the thousands and thousands of calls and e-mails they’ve been getting. I’ve heard them talk about the thousands of people they see massing in the streets, the people protesting outside their offices and homes. I think they may be worried that if they don’t pay attention to this, the protest signs will become torches and pitchforks, and the people won’t be calling for them to act, but to get out.

        Multi-tasking: we can do it.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If you attack Trump on the wrong issue or for the wrong reasons, you fall into a credibility trap.

          If the Democratic candidate says the economy is great and calls the Republican insane and the Republican says it’s bad and proposes insane proposals, who are you going to believe if your partisan attachment can be broken? The Democrat, Republican, or your lying eyes. “America is already great” was a disasterous slogan in an era of rampant poverty.

          Voters who can be reached will simply hear a narrative that reflects the world around them and one that doesn’t. Putin did not send out Healthcare premium spikes the week before the election. Putin did not send kids to Iraq so Washington could laugh at a video of Shrub looking for WMDs in the Oval Office because the had to be somewhere. Putin didn’t choose to not investigate Wall Street. As Democrats do this, they lose credibility. 80% of their voters might feel really smug, but 80% of a losing effort is going to lead to more losses. As bad as it is, Trump has to be attacked for the right reasons, and insane attacks on Trump have to be pushed back to maintain credibility for the elections. A Democrat who rants about Putin in 2018 will appear out of touch.

          1. Anne

            All of which points to the importance of having a platform of policies and programs and initiatives Democrats are for, and working the hell out of it. I look at how Sanders approached things – there wasn’t a media encounter where he didn’t push a positive agenda – Medicare for All, income equality, a living wage, accountability from Wall Street, free tuition to public colleges and universities. That people showed up by the tens of thousands to hear him speak is evidence of how that message resonated – but the only message the Democratic powers-that-be heard was, “uh-oh: we’ve gotta do something about Bernie if Hillary is going to beat him.”

            Now, he did lose – but he had a lot of “help” getting there.

            I think that trying to attack Trump is like trying to pin Jello to the wall; he has a zig for every zag, a head-fake for every occasion, will lie to your face even when he knows you know he’s doing it. If we thought Bush and Obama pushed the limits of executive power, I think we are about to relegate them to piker status based on what we’ve seen from Trump so far.

            The majority has to be wrested from the cold, clammy grip of the GOP, at all levels – in the Congress, in state houses and legislatures, and county councils, and I think it’s imperative to make sure the GOP does not hold the WH in 2020.

            I can give you a long list of names of people I want to see retire from political life and party management – people who should have been sent on their merry way years ago. When I start to see those faces and voices fading into the background, then I will know Democrats are on the right track and getting their sh!t together.

            In the meantime, there may be money to be made in the torches-and-pitchforks business.

          1. freedomny

            Thank you! I have been saying this to Dem family members and they are furious with me. One of my sisters basically called me a traitor (I guess to my ‘class’?). The only ones in my family that seem to get it are the millennials. Obama’s legacy IS Trump.

            1. Harry

              Quite so. I occasionally chat to my wife’s 24 year old niece. She abhors Trump bit recognizes she is in minimum wage jobs for the foreseeable future. How enthusiastic about the Dems do you expect her to be.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        “OMG Putin” literally means don’t look at the political elite of a party that would rally around Hillary Clinton as the most experienced candidate ever despite Hillary being on the wrong side of virtually every policy outcome in the past 25 years.

        Please definitely do not look at a party that investigated baseball players not even MLB instead of the big banks when they came back into power.

      3. digi_owl

        Basically sums up USA as a whole. Do not fix internal problems, find/manufacture external demons to project the public anger at instead.

          1. sierra7

            ++
            Yes, bomb the hell out of countries; close all the doors so they can’t get out and let them “burn”!
            That seems to be the policies of both major parties.
            So much focus is on domestic issues which both parties have been so successful in dividing the country and not enough attention on the “deep state” issues….the horrible imperialistic foreign policies of this country for more than 100 years.
            By embracing multiple parties that deep state could not have the murderous regime change policies that have stripped so many smaller, weaker countries of their own global rights.
            Until we address this critical issue I don’t have any hope for either major US political party to gaze inwardly to cure those deteriorating (by design) social issues that are tearing this country apart.
            Continuing down this road we will face increasing repression, violence, both racial and immigrant focused.
            President Trump has become a somewhat “Populist” president, so far.
            Many I know still can’t believe he was elected by our process.
            That is crucial; they can’t believe it. What about the approx 80M registered voters who didn’t deem it necessary to vote or were (and still are) too disgusted to exercise that franchise.
            The Democrat party is the party of great betrayal to the “ordinary” American.
            Everything that the “New Deal” has stood for has been crushed over the decades by the Democrat Party.
            The Republican Party (in my opinion) is just plain nuts.
            So where do we go from here?
            The age old question:
            “What is to be done”
            History tells us, “Justice in the courts or justice in the streets”.
            First step:
            Dismantle the national security state.

  2. Brad

    At this point, after today’s tour of the liberal media, I’d much rather discuss with an honest Trump supporter than with these treacherous liberals who want Pence for President. To cite one example, Trump may or may not trash Social security and Medicare, he’s just random and arbitrary like any capitalist despot. But Pence WILL trash it all, he’s straight out of the snakepit.

    1. Steve

      Last night I sadly put up a post on another site where I tried to point out that Obama had just extended government guarantees protecting Private Equity like Blackstone. As usual I was attacked right away. When it was demanded I provide citation I suggested they just google it. They balked and attacked me for not giving a link. I let my self get sucked in and provided the link to the recent NC post from the Wolfstreet article. The response – NC is Canadian and not close enough to home. Many of the sites I have enjoyed reading for years are becoming nothing more than the Tea Party of party line Democrats and it is very sad.

          1. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

            Hmm. I rather don’t think many would enjoy the sight of us Naked Canadians at all: pasty white blobs most of us. And proud of it!

            As to NC: what I most value about this site is what Yves said about empirical. Let’s look and see and study and then make up our minds. To me that is best. Without study nothing is clear and even then it’s a constant and everlasting battle against murkiness, intentional or otherwise. Unfortunately, and I hate to say it, but most people are just too unmotivated to take up the study. Thank God for Yves and NC. And objectivity. And truth.

  3. Anonymous2

    100% with you, Yves. Informed, critical thinking, courteously ex pressed, is what draws me and many others to this site. A variety of reasonable viewpoints is absolutely essential if discussion is to be interesting.

    1. Carla

      Yes. And sometimes I even learn from unreasonable viewpoints.

      Having given up on the Democrats before I came to NC (though perhaps not long before), I knew all along that if elected, Trump would be “my fault.”

      Many thanks to Yves, Lambert, and now Jerri-Lynn, for giving us all someplace we want to be every day. And a big shout-out to the Commentariat, too.

      1. Katharine

        Strong agreement with your first and last paragraphs! I have said for years that if you can’t learn from people who are “less educated” or “less intelligent” (whatever those terms may mean!) or who simply disagree with you, you are not as smart as you think you are. Moreover, on questions of policy, it is often not obvious that anyone has the right answer or even that there is a right answer, and where there is disagreement it is a good idea to listen. Sometime about forty years ago, up to date kindergartens introduced the saying, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” I think it’s a good principle.

        On your last paragraph, yes, a thousand thank yous to our patient hosts, and to all who come here because they think the world could and should be better. I never know what I may gain from you.

        On the Democrats, I haven’t formally given up yet, but that is partly because there are still a few I deal with at the state and local level whom I respect greatly. The party organization at all levels is a mess, and if I were not in a place where primaries commonly determine elections I would be ready to switch if a credible third party appeared.

        1. readerOfTeaLeaves

          Beautifully sums up my own views, except that I view both political parties as having morphed into behemoth fundraising entities more focused on raising and spending ludicrous sums of money than on anything remotely related to public service or the common good.

          I think the time is ripe for credible third (and fourth, fifth, and sixth) credible parties.

          1. paintedjaguar

            Trump bad, bad man. Him have little dick, orange hair. Me am good, I call him funny names. Give me money.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    I agree entirely, the comments section is fantastic, its great to find so many well informed people who are not hung up on ideology or the latest outrage, but want to discuss real solutions.

    1. Ignacio

      I concur. As a foreign commenter I want to add that Trump election has had an interesting effect: it has awaken a long-time anesthetized social conscience in the US and elsewhere. Now is germane revisiting and defending the rigths of people in general, and in particular, the rigths of women, migrants, unemployed etc. against the nomenklatura of the prevalent economic consensus that includes traditional conservatives and “third way” liberals. That’s good!!! I don’t know which will be the consequences but the social unrest that Trump has awaken migth have positive ones. I dislike Trump discourse and policies but something interesting is occuring.

    2. tony

      I came here 2008 or so, and I still read NC almost daily. There is no other site I have stuck with this long, and I don’t know any political sites nearly as good as NC. It is the combination of integrity, critical thinking and open mind that is hard to find anywhere else.

      1. xformbykr

        ditto since 2008, when the large financial crisis hit. One of the first things to say me say ‘huh?’ about the site was Yves being critical of Obama (whereas I believed in the hope). I am grateful for the education I’ve since gotten from NC.

        1. OIFVet

          Since 2011 for me. I was Obama supporter in 2008, began to question him and the Democrat party in early- to mid- 2009, and disliked both with passion by spring 2010. Felt like I was possibly insane because all these nice liberals weren’t seeing the things I was seeing, about how utterly corrupt the Dem party is, about how it was backstabbing the people it claimed to represent, about how utterly neoliberal it is. Then I found NC through a link in n he good ole FDL, and found I wasn’t alone. Thanks Yves.

          1. timotheus

            Yes, I had a very similar reaction with the same timeline. The biggest frustration has been watching my circle of friends/co-workers/acquaintances continue to accept everything Obama/the Dems did based on clan identification with the fraudulent blue team. It’s rather amazing to see them rush into the streets to protest things Obama has been doing more subtly for 8 years. But they’re welcome in any case.

            1. Eclair

              Yes, yes and yes! Re: the journey, I think this means that we are ‘fellow travelers.’ I, for one, am thrilled to be in your company.

            2. Patricia

              Me too, via FDL. I came here because I was ignorant about general economics and needed to understand the financial collapse. When Obama took Lawrence Summers, I knew just enough to be alarmed—Yves was clear about what it meant and I became a fan.

              All my thanks to Yves, Lambert, and then too, Outis and Jerry-Lynn and the many commenters over the years. You’ve provided knowledge/method for traveling through the corruption–invaluable for staying steady.

      2. Marco

        NC is the only site I sometimes skip the article and go straight to the comments. During the 8 years of toxic positivism with regards to Obama this site is the only place that accurately reflected and spoke to my own (somewhat crumbling) economic reality.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          #1 source for economic reality (with actual statistics and context) in the Obama “recovery” era to be sure

      3. Benedict@Large

        Speaking of 2008, I’m curious to know (I don’t recall) whether naked capitalism had similar complaints back then by (apparently) the same people. I do recall that comments sites in general around the web were littered with these sorts of purity tests, and that it was around then (and probably because of the tension they caused) that many sites began giving up on comments entirely. Kudos to NC for all the effort taken to keep them open here. Our opponents (even those closely among us) would like nothing better than to see the voices of the responsible left silenced.

      4. gonzomarx

        Also 08 and read daily. It’s one of the few sites where I read the comments with interest.
        Thanks to all the Naked Canadian team.

  5. homeroid

    I love it when i see honest discourse here. The moderators do an awesome job at NC. Educating the commentary is not easy. I have read here for many years and never thought that this site was one sided. Thanks. Bob

  6. Bugs Bunny

    I see this site as questioning and revealing dishonesty, especially in its intellectual forms, in the interests of a fairer political economy.

    Personally I have trouble with politicians left, right and especially center. I’m always suspicious of their motivation.

    Strangely the only decent elected official I know is my mayor (and he’s in a right wing party) but he honestly wants to do good things for the city. I won’t agree with him about “markets” but I surely wouldn’t just dismiss his opinion.

  7. salvo

    a true leftist does not talk with right wingnuts, and (in Germany) anyone doing it is accused by some on the left to be attempting to establish a so-called Querfront. Interestingly those ‘leftist’ have no problem siding with neoliberals in matters like immigration, trade (nations are bad, protectionism is bad) and so on. Any critical stance by left politicians like Wagenkencht and Lafontaine questioning the neoliberal foundations of immigration for example are denounced as being rightwing per se. I’m not sure if some leftist are simply stupid or just corrupt.

    1. BillC

      Last night at dinner I heard a 5%er who I worked with and respect assert, “the Democratic Party can’t govern without [the support of] the center.” We were talking about Italy, but his comment demonstrates the problem far more broadly: the 10% can’t imagine successful non-Facist governance without their consent.

      It is suicidal of the 10% to persist in this belief. The “center” is sloughing off believers in the 80% at an accelerating rate. If the 10% don’t want to be swept away by an extreme right-wing wave of amply justified popular economic rage, then they better recognize that they can’t continue to rent their souls to the 0.01% while explaining away that discontent as just an ignorant rejection of the inveitability of globalization and automation (never mentioning financialization, of course).

      If we don’t promise and deliver more equitable wealth distribution, we will be swept away by the LePens and Trumps that are now just getting warmed up.

      1. rusti

        If the 10% don’t want to be swept away by an extreme right-wing wave of amply justified popular economic rage, then they better recognize that they can’t continue to rent their souls to the 0.01% while explaining away that discontent as just an ignorant rejection of the inveitability of globalization and automation (never mentioning financialization, of course).

        Well said. Merely hurling identity politics slogans at Trump supporters will serve the function of hindering any chance at building a coalition capable of winning any votes outside urban enclaves. Doubling down on a losing strategy is the only vision offered by the current DNC party leadership.

        From the original post:

        We consider ourselves to be social justice oriented, but also strongly empirical.

        This is tremendously valuable, and one of the many reasons it’s worth contributing to the fundraisers. When so many other media outlets have lost all credibility with (or to be honest, long before) the current hysteria it’s empowering to be able to pick things apart methodically to make sense of the madness.

        1. BillC

          Thanks for nudging my pretty off-topic spontaneous remark back on track, rusti.

          Years ago, I scanned NC daily along with NYT, WaPo, and Kos. Nowadays, NC is the only survivor, because of the carefully-curated and well-supported articles, the wide-ranging links, and the astute and pretty well-behaved commentariat (at the cost of constant moderator vigilance). The rest are just propaganda mixed with temper tantrums.

          1. Brian Lindholm

            Yep. I read NC for the same reason. Yves and team publish a wide range of commentaries that have a strong emphasis on hard data with the aim of accurately answering questions like “How are things really going?” and “Is this policy working or not?”

            And their willingness to criticize Democrats makes them more credible, as they’re obviously not paid-under-the-table party hacks. You’ll see more independent thinking on NC than just about anywhere else. And more loyalty to ideals than to the catastrophically flawed and corrupt politicians out there to whom some people expect us to pay homage.

            And a confession here: I read the libertarian-slanted ZeroHedge for similar reasons. They’re also data-driven and are blisteringly critical of Republicans at times, so I also know they’re not useless party hacks. Alas, their comment section appears to be completely unmoderated and is crap. The commentary section of NC is vastly superior. I learn things here.

            Between the two sites, though, I get a pretty good feel for what independent thinkers on both the left and the right are thinking. It provides good perspective. Much better than I’d get from the mainstream news or (shudder) Fox.

            1. barefoot charley

              I make the same confession, and appreciation. NC is great, its vision helps me feel less insane, and its dialogs among diversely well-informed people are priceless. (Though I can learn like Tom Friedman too, if you’ll pardon my joke)

              ZeroHedge comments have become much more loony and less financial in recent years, which I take in part to reflect the markets’ growing craziness, reflected among its crazies. And the rising tide of Trumpsters and purists here at NC also may just reflect what’s going on out there.

            2. Fiver

              You may have been able to make that claim about ZH prior to this election cycle, but no longer – I don’t think anyone on NC over the years has been more critical of the Obama Admin, or the Clinton Dems, or Wall Street, or US foreign policy than I, and found ZH often provided information of value in that regard. However, not just in comments, but in articles they became unambiguously pro-Trump, supporting even profoundly toxic positions, overlooking glaring contradictions, gaping holes in credibility and wandered deeply into Breibart et al territory at times.

              Since then, though, and after Trump revealed what he is really all about with his appointees and Edicts and on-going, needlessly destructive flame-thrower rhetoric, ZH articles have gone wildly overboard in their attacks on people of all stripes who have legitimate fears re Trump in ways that are adolescent, aggressive as in deliberately provocative, and terribly unthinking – for instance, attributing all criticism to ‘Soros’ or rejecting or ignoring anything coming from msm or elsewhere that is legitimate criticism, concentrating instead on whipping up sentiment.

              As for the commentariat, it’s a study in itself. No objective observer could come away with any other impression than that it is virtually all-white, overwhelmingly male, which always brings out the worst in men from aggression to gutter humour, many of them gun freaks, and I’m afraid, riddled with an overt racism and bigotry that cannot just be shrugged off. All that said, I still wade through a lot of it looking for whatever good information I can find in the full expectation that the smarter people connected with that site will simply find it impossible to defend Trump once he and his Team blow a great big hole in the bottom of the boat.

            3. Octopii

              ZeroHedge was great originally – like a F**ked Company for banks, lots of fun as the sh!t was hitting the fan daily. But there’s been a lot of nastiness towards women, gays, etc for a long time now and it’s just disgusting to me. The comment section has become a bunch of Limbaugh-listening mouth breathers, and visiting there makes me sad for humanity.

              Then I come over to NC and even if it’s depressing, it’s sort of respectfully and intellectually depressing :-)

          2. beth

            +100 I feel so totally sympatico with Yves views. Finally someone who thinks critically & is always looking for more facts to evaluate, while treating everyone with respect and requiring the same back. I do this in my work life and personal life, but it seems rare indeed now.

            I don’t remember how I got here but feel this site has kept my sanity, especially through the last year. All the other sites I visit regularly have come from learning about them here.

            I feel like both Team R and Team D are both rabid dogs that are as irrational as Trump, at least in my neck of the US. I have had people roll their eyes or even refuse to talk with me again. How can people get along if they can’t talk to each other.

      2. freedomny

        It is suicidal of the 10% to persist in this belief. The “center” is sloughing off believers in the 80% at an accelerating rate. If the 10% don’t want to be swept away by an extreme right-wing wave of amply justified popular economic rage, then they better recognize that they can’t continue to rent their souls to the 0.01% while explaining away that discontent as just an ignorant rejection of the inveitability of globalization and automation (never mentioning financialization, of course).

        I don’t think it is all of the 10%..I worked in a NYC private bank and almost everyone in my department was in the 15%…and most were either Trump or Sander’s enthusiasts. But then again…we were all too knowledgeable about what happened in 2008. There is a large core of the 20% who I really believe are part of the “I’ve got mine” mentality. And they are the ones who don’t want to rock the Dem status quo boat.

    2. DP from Durbs

      Ok, from my perspective, the left is deeply internationalist or it’s not really the left.

      During the interwar period here in South Africa, the communist/labour party (or some offshoot thereof) organised a mass strike across the mining belt in reaction to the hiring of black labour to suppress wages. Uniting under the charming banner of ‘Workers of the world, unite and fight for a white South Africa!’, the strike only ended after the air-force was called in to mow down over 200 miners.

      I guess my point in telling this atrocious tale is to illustrate the way in which humanist internationalism is the central pivot of a left orientation.

      Of course, calling someone racist for questioning immigration is awful, but you can still get caught up in a racially framed debate without being an actual racist yourself.

      To my mind, many of the world’s problems are more a consequence neo-liberal governance, rather than immigration or globalisation. Don’t the facts bear this out?

      Besides, nationalism has led to some of histories greatest horrors.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        Ok, from my perspective, the left is deeply internationalist or it’s not really the left.

        Well, I can agree as long as we have a clear understanding of “deeply internationalist” defined simply as a concern for and orientation toward the global working class. But I do not in any way see opposition to universal, unlimited cross-national migration as contradictory to this. The fact is that the modern nation-state is the only serious bulwark to unfettered global capitalism and its attendant race-to-the-bottom (agreed, a not very effective one.) That bulwark requires some reasonably stable understanding of borders and citizens.

        I do think we only have two possible futures: a return to the hard nation-state or a future of articulated global governance (global, regional, national, local). I would much prefer the second to the first but that can’t come about (without serious global carnage) unless working classes can first reclaim the nation-state from the neoliberals and construct better trans-national governance institutions. For example, I think Varoufakis’s call for a real EU that really represents the interests of the EU citizenry is to be admired, but even he gets that achieving such is going to require re-invigorating the nation-state first.

        1. Enzica

          Huge +1 for this. You just expanded my perspective. Thanks. I love the NC comments section for this very reason.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’ve been reading Empire of Things (recommended) and the author talks about how consumerism (coveting finer things from out of town) was considered very disruptive to a community, since it meant local producers were disadvantaged, people went into debt, and social distinctions were made more visible by differences in dress and possessions. It got me thinking about the coherence of a community, and how large it could be. Could it be as large as a region? As a nation? Is there enough “commonality” on a national scale to bind people and their interests together? My initial conclusion was that “community” really couldn’t work on a global scale, there are just too many economic, social, and cultural differences. Regional communities can work, and, if they’re small enough, national communities too. Then work to find the “common” good of nations. They’re pretty few: avoid war, avoid eco-catastrophe. Beyond that it’s probably better to take care of your own. Making war to ensure Afghani women can vote is probably ill-advised

      2. jrs

        ok I could get with that if we also posit the left is ANTI-CAPITALIST or it is not really the left. So talking about immigration within a capitalist order, which we most certainly live within, uh there just aren’t any good solutions. Capitalists use globalization to dis-empower labor, labor migrates to improve their sorry lives ever so slightly, but this will come at a cost to other laborers.

        1. aab

          This. The United States destabilizing other countries thus triggering the migration of desperate people is as much a part of the neoliberal project as offshoring, “free trade” pacts, H-1B visa abuse and the like.

          I would love the workers of the world to unite to overthrow their exploiters. Bringing them here to be used as tools against their fellow workers is not the way to do that. People living in the top 10% class of the United States nattering about how great it is that a substance farming family has now been driven to working — every member of the family — in a sweatshop somewhere is arguing in the epitome of bad faith. That is equivalent to talking about how well slaves were treated in the antebellum South, yet goodthinking liberals do it every day in the media and get away with it.

          I agree that the foundational posit of the definition of a leftist must be a rejection of capitalism as any kind of force for good that should be protected and maintained. From that foundation, one can then argue for how, and how quickly one works to abolish it.

          That definition would provide a lot of clarity in political discussions. Liberals could not be lumped in with the left that way. I’m not sure where “progressive” fits in here. I’m not talking about the dilution and twisting of the term by liberals, but what a legitimate definition would be for “progressive” that is neither “liberal” nor “leftist.” Maybe a progressive simply sits between liberalism and the left in that it rejects enabling large corporations and the concept of a “natural” elite entitled to run things, but still embraces capitalism as a viable system for social and economic justice.

          1. DP from Durbs

            I agree with much of the above from everyone, but there are two points on which I’d diverge…..

            1) I see neo-liberal governance at the nation-state level (privatization, deregulation, financialisation, market forces, ditching fiscal policy, etc.) as far more responsible for the current quagmire than free(ish) immigration and a globalised supply-chain. Leaving aside investor dispute courts, copyright cartels and euro-zone countries, fiat issuing states still have more than enough ability to counteract any negative consequences that may arise from a relatively globalised world.

            2) The global right is currently mounting a successful campaign around immigration and globalisation. For the left to accept these terms is, in my opinion, asking for failure and will only serve to aid in misdirecting blame. Nationalism is a very dangerous game.

            Of course, I could be completely wrong.

            All the best.

          2. DP from Durbs

            aab, forgot to mention:

            Maybe a progressive simply sits between liberalism and the left in that it rejects enabling large corporations and the concept of a “natural” elite entitled to run things, but still embraces capitalism as a viable system for social and economic justice.

            So maybe progressives are just what used to be called social democrats?

  8. Tinky

    Given the intrinsically contentious nature of the two primary topics covered by NC, politics and economics, it’s a wonder that the comment section has remained so thoughtful and polite for so long. That some additional ‘heat’ has appeared in recent months shouldn’t be a surprise, as the symptoms of badly broken systems (e.g. Trump, Brexit, etc.) are becoming more serious, and many more people are being catalyzed into action, rather than remaining passive observers.

    In any case, thanks to Yves and the moderators for their excellent work in this, and all other important aspects of the site.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Yes. I think the complaints are almost always from newcomers who don’t get that the comments section is not merely an echo chamber for the posts (something I see at virtually every other site where I peruse comments) or that the posts themselves showcase a variety of political viewpoints.

      I find the notion that NC is center-right, or indeed fits neatly on any left-right vector, as laughable.

      1. Enzica

        Counterpunch has a similar approach to NC in that they run 15+ articles per day, all from different perspectives, many times contradicting each other, and it works as a way to help readers sort out the best arguments. The big difference. They have no comment section. Good comments section moderators should be in demand, and making good money. Sadly, not true, yet.

  9. john c. halasz

    Hi Yves:

    Long time reader and occasional commenter. (You might recognize my name, since we’ve clashed a few times in the comment cage). But since you’re no longer accepting unsolicited e-mails, I thought I might just leave this in the comments. It amounts to a bleg.

    One of the hats that I wear is that I sit on the ad hoc rump steering group of Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Alliance. VT Yankee was/is a nuke generating plant that was supposed to shut down in 2012, but was re-licensed by the NRC, (yeah), against the VT state’s objection. However a year later Entergy, which owns the plant, announced that it was shutting it down anyway, which finally happened at the end of 2014. They promised to get the remaining spent fuel rods off the roof by 2021,- (it’s a Mark 1 design, the same as Fukushima). But they would have 60 years to fully decommission the rest, though they thought they might get to in in the 2040’s. When the reactor was sold to Entergy, Gov. Dean agreed that the decommissioning fund would no longer require further contributions, but could be filled through market investments, -( because everyone knew that markets would always go up and never go down!) So as of 2015, the fund stood at $600 mn and Entergy projected the total cost at $1.2 tn.

    However,last election day, -(talk about a Friday night news dump!),- Entergy announced that it was selling the now non-revenue-generating plant to a company called Northstar, pending regulatory approval, which promised to decommission the plant much sooner and at a cost of $600 mn (and still make a profit putatively). Northstar, a privately held company, has decommissioned large utility plants and small medical reactors, but never taken on a job of this size. But not to worry, the actual radiological decommissioning was to be done by Areva, the French nuke MNC, which is 95% owned by companies that are 100% owned by the French gov. (Its finances are shaky, due to numerous cost over-runs and other failures, but, not to worry, it has government backing). In addition a KC, MO engineering firm and a company from Texas called Waste Control Specialists were part of the deal. The KC, MO firm seems a bit player, but WCS was already contracted to store the low level waste in Andrews Co. Texas, (yes, the poorest county in Texas), and has already applied to the NRC for a license to store high level radioactive waste.

    I have no doubt that this deal was not an conjunction of companies that accidentally met and fell in love in RomCom fashion, but a brokered marriage put together by Wall St. financiers, (since they are the ones who control the structuring of credit and losses). But just how is opaque, whether Entergy hired an I-bank as advisers or a consortium of bondholders trying to protect they holdings moved in. But my main conjecture is that there is more financial engineering than actual engineering going on in such a drastic cost reduction. Given that one of the main moves of the neo-liberal mode of capitalism is to get the government to subsidize corporate profits, (since otherwise there might not be any), my main conjectures are these two:

    1) So long as the high level waste remains on site, it’s Entergy’s property. They can sue the DOE with a precedent-based presumption of success to cover the costs of continued storage (once it’s off the roof), but recovering only the costs belatedly. However, if it’s shipped across state lines, title is held by the Fed. gov. and WCS then can be paid on a cost-plus contract to store the waste indefinitely. So a liability is converted into a profitable asset.

    2) Entergy is actually selling at a loss. Why? Because Mr. Market hates long-term liabilities and uncertainty, so getting rid of this albatross actually improves their current balance sheet and reduces their cost of borrowing for other purposes. (IBM’s sale of its Essex VT plant to GlobalFoundries (Kuwait) is an example. It quickly passed regulatory muster since 4000 high paying jobs were to be saved, but, whatever other complexities involved, IMB took a loss of $1.2 bn). The loss on their balance sheet can be charged-off against taxes of future profits, so financial analysts know that the “loss” is actually a tax liability asset, (with a net profit of $700 mn last year that shouldn’t take long to clear). Hence another way of getting the gov. to cover the cost.

    But beyond those two obvious points, I’m nonplussed. So this is my request. If you could find a decent article on the Entergy/Northstar deal, to please post it separately, and let your well-informed commenters pick at it, in effect, to crowd-source the financial analysis and forensic accounting involved. We have access to technological expertise, (though if physics/engineering types would offer comments that would be welcome), and we are not lacking in legal analysis, both in and out of government, (and we know that the state of VT has little legal leverage due to federal pre-emption by the NRC of all “radiological” issues). But the issues of A) just how this deal came about and B) what other sources of “profit” or externalized costs might be involved are still very opaque to us. Further enlightenment about how the wiz kids might play with the decommissioning fund via derivative hedges or swapping in and out “assets” would be very helpful.

    TIA and best regards.

    sincerely,
    john c. halasz

    1. BeliTsari

      Thanks for this. I’m hoping these stories don’t now simply disappear from the blogs altogether. I think a lot of us have been linking to NC, ProPublica, The Intercept, DeSmogBlog throughout the entire election cycle, where mysteriously, any number of topics seemed to disappear or elicit thread hijacking and troll feeding frenzies, where pertinent links from conscientious, astute, long-term readers were unceremoniously removed, while serial sock-puppets from energyindepth, Berman and Company & geneticliteracyproject.org simply kept their CTR avatars. Thanks to folks like Yves, there are still a few venues to discover, consider & investigate stories ignored or spun by conglomerate media, including K Street’s pet blog-aggregators.

    2. oh

      J
      Thanks for all th information that you posted. It enlightens me further about the scams that these companies and the DOE pull off to pass the expenses on to the public. Hooray! \\\\\\\\\\\\socialism for the rich!

    3. Vatch

      as of 2015, the fund stood at $600 mn and Entergy projected the total cost at $1.2 tn.

      $1.2 trillion? Is that a typo for “bn” (billion)? That’s a lot of money to decommission a nuclear plant.

    4. Paul Tioxon

      Moving any radioactive material, even relatively benign Nuclear Meds for a PET scan, requires a very rare to own Federal Transportation License. The number of trucking companies that possess such a license have a money printing machine. If they know how to use it. Guys that own trucking companies that may have one, and not quite get the sky is the limit value of owning it. It has been a while since my involvement with such a company, but it seems to me, finding out who has the legal rights, licensing to move hazmat waste over the highway, out of state would begin to unwind a major portion of your decommissioning process, namely, compliance with federal laws for moving radioactive materials in any manner. See link below for a taste of the federal labyrinth of compliance issues.

      The rules require drivers who move materials to wear radioactive measuring badges which at regular intervals are tested to protect handlers from absorbing levels of too much radiation. The same type of measurements are used for transit purposes. Hence, an enormous tractor trailer my be only allowed to carry a payload of radioactive hazmat the size of a breadbox, encased in an appropriated sized lead shielding container. To move all of the hazmat under the strict compliance of rules allowing for only so many pico-curies of radioactivity to be measured so many feet from the the enclosed tractor trailer would result in the very costly and very time consuming convoy of tractor trailers sequenced over safe intervals. A lot of trucks, a lot of drivers, too many for me to calculate with any authority, but I think you get the idea.

      However, with one of the handful, that I was informed about at the time, of special federal licenses to haul, a whole lot of trucks could be knocked down to a whole lot less. Whole hell of a lot more profit making by being allowed to use fewer trucks to get the whole mess moving. The financial engineering could be as simple as renting one of those licenses. All perfectly legal of course, all with in compliance of all regs and such. Of course, renting may not be quite accurate, perhaps sophisticates from finding-alpha-moolah blogs will correct me. LLPs, MLP-ETFs? What do I know, I voted for Clinton.
      http://www.med.navy.mil/directives/Pub/5055%20(Feb%202011).pdf

  10. Disturbed Voter

    Best political-economic blog. And I go to the comment sections before I read the articles (which are also stimulating). If I wanted hard Left articles and comments, I would spend my time at Jacobin.

  11. Bunk McNulty

    Occasional sharp words notwithstanding, Naked Capitalism is an oasis of calm in a world consumed by hysteria. Thanks to Yves and her team.

  12. cocomaan

    I’ve been reading this site since 2010 or 11, it doesn’t matter anymore because it’s now just part of my routine. A few days ago I got into it with said commenters complaining about center right coverage. I had no idea I too was center right. What a day to be alive!

    As I said then, believing in the spirit in which the Bill of Rights was written makes one a radical these days. It only makes sense that being skeptical is being center right.

    1. Steve C

      The occasional climate deniers post comments and think they’re going to rock our world. It’s always interesting to see the commentariat make short work of them and they never come back.

      If there is a troll attack, I think it comes from the Democrat establishment-Propornot types. They come in as voices of “reason,” and act like they’re adding something but it’s just scolding people for not being reflexive Hillary/Obama supporters.

      I always know a lame excuse for Obama is coming when it’s prefaced with “to be fair to him.” It’s always some variation of the opposition he got from Republicans or how difficult the problems he faced were. Funny but it doesn’t seem to bother Trump. He just does what he wants and screw ’em if they don’t like it. The thing is that except for the Trump surprise, things actually went pretty much as Obama wanted them.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I suspect Obama’s library will have more atriums than he imagined, and although, Team Blue types don’t want to look at Obama with a critical eye, I’m fairly confident they want Obama gone. I did suspect some of the Hillary irrational support was motivated by trying to fix the past eight years.

      2. Pirmann

        OTOH, the tree hugging can be a bit much at times. Like the big to do about CFCs years ago… ZOMG the ozone layer!! We now know that the ozone layer is just fine.

        Besides, you can legislate all of America into driving Prii, but it won’t help because other countries will still be puffing pollutants into the air. And it’s all one planet.

        Watch not what they say but what they do. When climate change meetings are held via teleconference rather than attendees flying private jets around the globe, maybe I’ll see a modicum of seriousness to the issue. Until then, it has all the characteristics of a bezzle that’s surely enriching some 1%er somewhere.

        1. Fiver

          ‘Until then, it has all the characteristics of a bezzle that’s surely enriching some 1%er somewhere.’

          No. It has none of the characteristics of a ‘bezzle’. For that go straight to Trump’s appointees: Tillerson + Goldman + weaker dollar + war premium = new bubble in paper oil.

        2. Phemfrog

          You do realize that the hole in the ozone layer was real right? The hole in the ozone does change in size seasonally, but CFCs are a major contributor to that a hole and strong government regulation of CFCs is what has made the problem better. This is an example of Effective Government. It was not a hoax. Is not tree-hugging. They actually did something right.

          Here is a nice summary of the status of the ozone hole :
          http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ozone-hole-was-super-scary-what-happened-it-180957775/

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      If you are referring to our exchange, my point was that it is important to me, precisely not to be hysterical or personalize the opposition to Trump, but to find a basis for ACTION (primarily, as I stated, to push for single payer).

      I am no supporter of the Dems and I realize this is a financial-economics blog with an interest in social and economic justice but no obligation to be a practical guide to action. It is unfortunate that much of the recent discourse reinforces only what NOT to do.

      That said, of course I owe Yves & Lambert and the commentariat bigly for all I have learned here.

      1. cocomaan

        Hey, I have only respect for you for wanting to do the right thing in a bigly way :)

        I think we’re all a little shell shocked these days. To me, the most important thing is to remember to emphasize peace. It’s the pearl of great price.

  13. ArkansasAngie

    I consider myself a fiscally conservative, social liberal. That pretty much makes me an outcast.

    I’ve read daily and posted infrequently for 8-9 (?) years.

    I voted against Hillary … which means I voted for Trump.

    As a capitalist I am shocked to say I would have voted for Bernie no matter who the Republicans put up.

    I have gravitated toward this site over the years because while I don’t always agree … this is pretty much the only nonpartisan, financial law and order site on the net. It’s the corruption stupid … to paraphrase.

    And … while for some reason my comments get moderated even though I consider myself polite and respectful … I will continue to be an avid reader.

    1. Katharine

      Don’t take the moderation too seriously. I sometimes wind up in moderation for things I thought wholly innocuous and not for others that were more outspoken. I shall never wholly understand but just hope I can make my good intentions clear enough to get through.

      I voted against Hillary, but for Stein as the least objectionable candidate on my ballot, so obviously you and I have plenty of disagreement, but I hope you go on commenting as well as reading.

      1. Mel

        From what I’ve seen, moderation is (almost?) always temporary. Stuff fails to appear, then shows up in a few minutes, even when I don’t worry about it.

  14. Quanka

    On more than one occasion recently, I have had to take pains to say something to the effect “it kills me to defend the guy” (Trump) but there is just so much hysteria in the media right now, its absurd.

    NC = the oasis in the desert.

    The silver lining of the accelerating collapse of arctic ice is that it will reconfigure the trade winds and climate across the globe. Maybe the small little oasis we enjoy here will grow as result.

    1. fresno dan

      Quanka
      February 7, 2017 at 7:43 am

      As I have said many times, so much of it is superficial – and I suspect purposefully so.
      Torture is the best example that comes to mind. Trump is brazenly, obnoxiously, obstinately stupid on the issue.
      BUT, there is no way he is worse than the devious way torture has been implemented, hidden, defended, used and PARDONED*. And the post use defense of how torture happened by some kind of inadvertent accident is just what the REAL problem is. The PRETENSE of it being not known…. Like people saying its NOW against the law. Good grief – it was against the law than, but that is not in keeping with the propaganda of a law abiding nation. And good grief again, “THAT IS NOT WHO WE ARE” I’m sorry snowflakes, but if you can’t figure out YET that is EXACTLY who we are, you just don’t want to know the truth….

      * KING HENRY V We judge no less. Uncle of Exeter, Enlarge the man committed yesterday, That rail’d against our person: we consider it was excess of wine that set him on; And on his more advice we pardon him.
      SCROOP That’s mercy, but too much security: Let him be punish’d, sovereign, lest example
      Breed, by his sufferance, more of such a kind.
      KING HENRY V O, let us yet be merciful.
      CAMBRIDGE So may your highness, and yet punish too.
      GREY Sir, You show great mercy, if you give him life, After the taste of much correction.
      KING HENRY V Alas, your too much love and care of me Are heavy orisons ‘gainst this poor wretch!
      If little faults, proceeding on distemper, Shall not be wink’d at, how shall we stretch our eye
      When CAPITAL CRIMES, CHEW’D, SWALLOW’D, and DIGESTED***,
      Appear before us? We’ll yet enlarge that man, Though Cambridge, Scroop and Grey, in their dear care
      And tender preservation of our person, Would have him punished. And now to our French causes:
      Who are the late commissioners?

      ***So, so much outrage about torture….after the fact, by those who instigated it**
      ** You know, Brennan for one out of hundreds….

      1. Fiver

        You have to distinguish between those who slept through all of Obama’s nefarious doings and are only now apprehending a threat, and the very considerable body of opinion that either saw through him immediately or came around to that view by the time Clinton so fatefully opted to run even though it would destroy her reputation, the Democratic Party and whatever purported ‘legacy’ Obama might claim.

        And in any event, Trump insists on making a virtue of support for torture, which is utterly anathema to the very principles of conduct at the heart of the US Constitution and to which, through the Geneva Conventions, the UN, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and myriad other binding covenants of International Law, the US is a founding signatory nation.

        Oh, and please Dan, no more ‘snowflakes’ even in jest. The truth of the matter is northern and mountainous peoples have demonstrated repeatedly in ordinary life and in conflict they are a far hardier bunch than credited – just ask the Germans who they found toughest.

          1. Fiver

            Are you kidding? Maybe not.

            Here’s as good as any:

            https://thinkprogress.org/all-the-special-snowflakes-aaf1a922f37b#.dz1lnddlw

            Now, in the overall scheme of things these days in US politics, the Northeast is considered one of 2 last bastions of ‘snowflakes’ in the US. Canada is another such flake. Scotland another and soon again the rest of the UK. As are a number of countries in Northern Europe. Russia of course demonstrated conclusively that flakes will resist if fired upon. How curious the combination of energy and dynamism of the European Flakes and their enormous role in the genesis of the US flakeries all over the Northeast and Great Lake flake States.

            Now see my reply to Yves re ‘bezzle’.

  15. Gman

    Well said.

    Dialogue is more likely to solve problems than monologue, which I assume is why most of us are here.

    ‘Opinions are like arseh*les,’ as they say, ‘everyone’s got one’, but anyone who truly values and believes in them, (their opinions I mean) whatever their politics, should expect them to withstand constant scrutiny and reasoned criticism if they are to form the basis of a persuasive argument in order to convince others to change theirs, if indeed that is what you truly hope to do.

    More power to your empirical elbows.

  16. The Rev Kev

    I think that we should all wish Yves a vote of thanks for all her hard work and sacrifices that she has made over the years in building and maintaining a site that has an extremely low BS quotient.

    I can only imagine how hard it is to steer this site through all the mental melt-downs of the past few months and pull so much signal out of all the background noise that makes up so much of what we read and see nowadays.

    Live long and prosper.

    1. Lil'D

      Eh, I promise to move one latte’s worth of funds from my coffee fund to the NC tip jar each week

      I do think some more concrete suggestions for local action will be appreciated…
      Time is upon us

  17. Uahsenaa

    I’d like to hazard a few points, coming as I do from the land of academia, and the humanities no less, where most if not all of that identity politics claptrap originates–and defend it. It does disturb me a bit that at times Yves and Lambert create a false dichotomy between issues of representation (so-called identity politics or political correctness) and issues of reparation (wealth inequality and distribution), as if the former always papers over the latter, when in reality, it seems to me, the two have been historically intertwined: the discourse of racial inferiority of black Africans, for instance, being used as a justification for the appropriation of their labor in the slave trade.

    I approach these concerns from the perspective of effective rhetorical strategies. Just as it’s not all that effective to start talking to the old guys at the local greasy spoon about cisgender privilege, it is equally uneffective to tell marginalized peoples (e.g. immigrants, LGBTQ, racial minorities, etc.) to just get over themselves and focus on matters of political economy. Democratic principles are, or at least should be, about more than just having enough money to live on and self-determination about more than the capacity to buy the trappings of a particular lifestyle in the market. There is an argument to made for/against immigration that doesn’t immediately look to the bottom line, for instance, that takes matters of culture and pluralism seriously rather than set them by the wayside.

    I have more to say about this–but I need to get the bairn to school. While yes, “identity politics” as such can be overdone, I find it to be more a matter of degree than anything else. What’s more, many of the same people spouting the most absurd version of this rhetoric are simply economically illiterate. I have found in my own life that if you take the time to show just how fundamental political economy is to the very concerns they express, rather than just telling them they’re ignoring the real issue, then it does a much better job of getting on your side someone who can, though perhaps with great difficulty, be converted.

    1. Steve C

      The problem is the Democrats abandoned the working class and paper it over with identity politics.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Get over it. Now work to unpaper the economic issues. There is an opportunity here:

        https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/02/womens-march-washington-trump-inauguration-protest/

        The connection between the events that triggered or prepared the grounds for subsequent struggles and the struggles themselves is not necessarily a politically coherent one; contingent — and often unpredictable facts — coalesced to determine the specific dynamic of each wave of movements over the course of many years. The relevant question, then, is not “when will we stop mobilizing on the basis of identity or interest groups and start the serious revolutionary mobilization?” It is rather: “Can this mobilization function as a catalyst for a larger struggle and open a new political space that can be inhabited by a number of different political and social subjectivities in solidarity with each other?”

        About the call for an International Women’s action March 8 (dismissed by several commenters here yesterday)

        1. Foppe

          Also here: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8671628/national-strike-protest-president-donald-trump/

          And here: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/on_march_8_women_worldwide_to_strike_against_trump_20170206

          Note esp. that TD actually reverse-frames the Guardian op/ed letter/call to action it is pretending to summarize, by turning a protest that says ‘the problems go much deeper’ into a story in which the march is only secondarily about the ‘deeper issues’, and primarily about ‘sticking it to Trump’. Original two paragraphs:

          The massive women’s marches of 21 January may mark the beginning of a new wave of militant feminist struggle. But what exactly will be its focus? In our view, it is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We also need to target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights.

          While Trump’s blatant misogyny was the immediate trigger for the huge response on 21 January, the attack on women (and all working people) long predates his administration. Women’s conditions of life, especially those of women of color and of working, unemployed and migrant women, have steadily deteriorated over the last 30 years, thanks to financialization and corporate globalization.

          Lean-in feminism and other variants of corporate feminism have failed the overwhelming majority of us, who do not have access to individual self-promotion and advancement and whose conditions of life can be improved only through policies that defend social reproduction, secure reproductive justice and guarantee labor rights. As we see it, the new wave of women’s mobilization must address all these concerns in a frontal way. It must be a feminism for the 99%.

    2. j84ustin

      “Just as it’s not all that effective to start talking to the old guys at the local greasy spoon about cisgender privilege, it is equally uneffective to tell marginalized peoples (e.g. immigrants, LGBTQ, racial minorities, etc.) to just get over themselves and focus on matters of political economy.”

      Agreed. I am so thankful for this site as it proved to me years ago that I was likely not as crazy as friends made me feel; however, I too find that sometimes there is a focus on class at the expense of identity, when some of us are reminded of our (not so) different identities regularly. I also agree that this usually comes from those who, from both sides of the political spectrum, don’t understand class and economics and how it is interlinked with identity. For me it’s not an either/or, but I think it is helpful to remind commenters here sometimes that it is certainly a both/and.

    3. fresno dan

      Uahsenaa
      February 7, 2017 at 8:34 am

      I always appreciate your comments, insights and perspective. And you have good points – e.g., I think the police abuse both on race AND class – – but I don’t think its equally class and race – I think race is indisputably the larger factor – in killing, stopping, charging, convicting, and sentencing. (and it was the videotape of a white man – Kelly Thomas – being murdered by police that changed my view of the police – and one’s personal experience has for most people has a more visceral impact than an academic review of the literature, so I am empathetic to young black men and “stop and frisk”)

      But my problem with identity can be best argued with one word – CHICAGO….or RAHM….

      One has to ask, how is Chicago’s misleadership class so able to continue??? What benefit are they providing? At some point, keeping the boogeyman (repubs) away is unsatisfactory.
      One gets the idea that the dems are either incapable….or don’t want to fire bad police. To paraphrase Lambert, material benefits and ACTUAL actions. and IMHO, identity too often is purposefully used to deflect attention from real useful stuff

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        One has to ask, how is Chicago’s misleadership class so able to continue??? What benefit are they providing?

        Some of the regular Chicago posters might have a more informed perspective but IMO (based in part on Chicagoland in-laws) I think Rahm is a very effective dog whistler to the not-not-racist whites while still appealing Clinton-like to establishment minorities. And don’t underestimate the patronage.

        1. Uahsenaa

          That’s not quite it. Rahm’s coalition, such as it is, is about as close to Reed’s hypothetical racially mixed ruling class as anything could be. There are plenty of PoC among the Teach for America set that want to ruin Chicago Public Schools. Also Chicago and suburban neighborhoods are very much segregated by race and class. No one in the North Shore gives a crap about the violence problem, because it’s almost entirely centered in black and brown neighborhoods on the Southside. Neighborhoods are also effectively pitted against each other, as, north of the river, you see an entirely different city from the one south of Rush.

          Plus, Rahm has the backing of the most racist institution in the city, the police. He also has the backing of the political machine–recall Chicago is THE Dem. political machine city–the aldermen and ward officials who control or at least guide what happens politically on the ground.

          tl;dr – the misleadership class persists, because it’s buttressed by a political machine that has its tentacles in everything

          1. Cazenov1a

            Chicago is a voluntary no-go area for GOP. As a result, the politics are weird. City government is a hierarchy of Santa Clauses. Any reform type who manages to get elected finds out that the elves don’t show up to his workshop. No reindeer either. Makes for a sad Santa and sad kiddies with no goodies.

            You got your globalist/neolib machine that truly DNGAF about black and brown schoolkids, can’t/won’t control cops, etc. (Cops hate Rahm, btw.)

            But then you have the black and Latino sub-machines that are too caught up in their own Santa Claus game to agree on an anti-Rahm candidate. And the few goo-goo aldermen or other potential challengers (such as a certain renegade school principal who famously defied Rahm) don’t have access to the cash resources Rahm has.

            1. Darthbobber

              Philadelphia offers a similar phenomenon. Because its effectively a one-party city, many political types who would be Republicans elsewhere pursue their careers within the Democratic party. Making our primary the decisive election for most positions.

      2. Uahsenaa

        Something I forgot to add to my statement above is that I love the commentariat, and I love how diligent Yves et al. have been in keeping things civil and on topic. That’s why I donate.

      3. oho

        >But my problem with identity can be best argued with one word – CHICAGO….or RAHM….

        >One has to ask, how is Chicago’s misleadership class so able to continue???

        Answers: 1) The bond market keeps buying Chicago’s refi debt and the local corporate-owned TV media is very non-critical when it comes to being a civic watchdog.

        2) the city’s first-past-the-post primary system and an electorate that punches straight Dem. in November

    4. emptyfull

      As a recovering academic, and as someone who was paid for two years out of undergrad as a “disability rights advocate,” I basically agree with your comment.

      But I think that much of the anti-“identity politics” rhetoric coming out of some portions of the left these days is more a somewhat clumsy attempt to reject the often empty, if not downright cynical, corporate embrace of “diversity” as a public relations tool. The sad reality is that while liberals have been genuinely successful in getting somewhat better treatment for people with nonnormative identities over the past fifty years, the right was eating our lunch on economics. As a result, the celebration of “diversity” in mainstream media and mainstream politics has often turned into little more than congratulating Goldman Sachs for having a gay Latino on its board of directors. The horrendous HRC campaign was in many ways a manifestation of this dismal style of superficial identity sloganeering.

      But count me as optimistic in the long run. A deeper politics that recognizes the intertwining strands of economic and social justice seems like it is beginning to emerge, at least on the left. Virtually everyone I have met under forty years old who cares about gender, racial, sexual, etc. equality issues was a strong Bernie Sanders supporter. Meanwhile, I think even those on the left that prioritize economics are going to the rallying against the Trump-Bannon attempts to attack minority groups. A stronger, smarter progressive politics may well emerge out of the current chaos.

  18. FutureEchoChamber

    Currently, the site comment section leans toward ” but the Democrats would be worse” in response to anything Trump says or does. The niche of comments that engage in the ” but the Democrats would be worse” is starting to dominate. My prediction is that eventually it will win out and it will alienate readers who realize that both parties are really bad, and using one party to imply an apology for the other is a bad defense of the indefensible. One tell tale sign is when someone says both parties suck and the response is multiple comments supporting each other by saying “but the Democrats would be worse.” It is really bizzare to read an article aboot sone bad policy by trump and the comments aren’t about the policy. They are about the democrats and eve stranger they are about Clinton as though it’s still pre Nov 2016. I could not tell you what some portion of your regulars think of the actual policies. I just know they don’t like the Democrats.

    1. Outis Philalithopoulos

      Hi FutureEchoChamber,

      Before you were FutureEchoChamber, you were MindfulPolitics; before that, you were RedHope. Can you try to pick an identity and stick to it?

      Back in the day when you were RedHope, you left the following comment about HRC:

      She will say anything to win and not care about meaning bc she knows the Democratic base will accept anything.

      If you read, at least anecdotally, about the responses of base voters, it seems to be similar to what the GOP does: brush off the discussion as boring, irrelevant, a conspiracy or some combo.

      The Democratic base is solely focused on Denial, delusion and hating the Republicans. She will survive this and will likely win with people defending her bat shit extremism.

      Do you feel like your current views represent a more or less straightforward continuation of that earlier position, or do you think your point of view has changed a bit since then?

      The relevance is that while I don’t think your comment is an accurate representation of the comment section’s pattern of opinions, I think your impression that it is that way can be explained in terms of views similar to what you expressed in your earlier comment. I can go into this in more detail later, don’t have time to elaborate now.

      1. broadsteve

        Whoever FutureEchoChamber may have been, and whatever she/he may have said in the past, on this point, at this time, she/he has a point.

        I’m from the UK, don’t really have a dog in this particular fight, and try as much as possible not to intrude on what for the moment remains private US grief, at least at the party political level. Some on here probably think that’s just as it should be and I wouldn’t object if they did. But to this (relatively) disinterested observer the ‘the Democrats would have been worse’ line is becoming an incessant and unhelpful refrain. It would be simpler to just say ‘Because, Democrats…’ in the same fashion as ‘Because, markets…’ for all the light it sheds on the current situation.

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          It’s great for you as someone from the UK to comment, you shouldn’t let that bother you.

          However, as a factual account of comments on the blog, your statement doesn’t seem entirely accurate to me. I would subdivide comments into three broad strands on this point – people who argue Trump is definitely worse than the Democrats, people who argue that Trump might be better than HRC would have been on some points (their support for Trump tends to be more muted than sentiments in the first group), and people who see trying to assess relative levels of badness as fundamentally not a good use of time, sort of like (as Red Future Hope said) a choice between arsenic and cyanide.

          I think sometimes people take comments that do not join in spirited denunciations of Trump as evidence that the commenter believes Trump is much better than the Democrats – an easy enough interpretation to fall into, given how consistent criticism of Trump on other sites creates expectations that are jarring when violated.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Outis,
            I am in the cyanide vs arsenic category but lately have experienced an increase in the mirror image of what you describe:

            people take commenters that do not join in spirited denunciations of Clinton as evidence that the commenter believes the corporate Democrats are much better than Trump.

            Enough with the incessant drumbeat already – I GET IT and want to know what constructive action to take, not to rehash what most everyone here already knows

            1. freedomny

              Bottom line – I personally don’t believe if Hilary was elected all would have been solved. I think it just would have prolonged the agony. Spoke with one of my sisters the other day – she is a physician and so is her husband. She usually votes Republican. I am more of an Independent – I actually did not vote for Obama as I had a spidey sense that he really was too good to be true. We both agreed that Trump is something that our country needs to “go through”…kind of like shock therapy. To wake people up to take action…educate themselves.

              I constantly look for constructive actions to take….I too want to get in the fray and do whatever I can to be a part of the solution. And, it is very frustrating.
              Currently I do take part in protests. Also call (these days tweet as you can’t even get through) politicians. There is an app called Daily Action I’ve been using (you can google), that will remind you everyday to call and link you to a number.

              But, at this time perhaps all we can do is a passive/persistent protest (on many levels) while keeping our own sanity intact. And being vigilant as to what the next steps might be.

              I say, educate people. I do remember reading that there were some “train the trainer” programs that some group was going to start up. Specifically around the Democratic base – i.e. the progressive re the corporate. Can’t remember where I saw this but will post if I learn more.

              1. freedomny

                “I say, educate people.” And sorry…forgot to mention that NC does an excellent job at that. Reader since 2008 when my world imploded. Total respect for NC and have at times respectfully disagreed….because that is how it should be done. With candor and respect.

              2. ChiGal in Carolina

                Thanks! I do make phone calls as it is my understanding signing internet petitions (which I also do) is not that effective. And I do a LOT of education on exactly the progressive vs corporate Ds.

                I have been reluctant to attend rallies as of yet partly due to the constant disparagement of same on this site (which is my go-to though I also check out Counterpunch and the Intercept pretty much daily, and for MSM the Guardian; I was so disgusted by Rachel Maddow the night before the CA primary that I stopped watching television news altogether, except for BBC). But I think I will start, and make myself a reusable sign on single player that can be a conversation starter.

                I have been toying with joining DSA but need to find out more about their platform.

            2. Pirmann

              Constructive action:

              1. Give Trump a chance. It’s ridiculous that “resistance” is the knee-jerk reaction. Seriously, what has he done in the last two weeks that has caused personal harm to you? And no, projections and futures speculation do not count.

              2. Find common ground and start with that. Bernie really needs a lesson in this. Remember, Trump is a RINO and seems willing to listen to perspectives that were previously unheard of in Republican circles. Work with him.

              3. Look for win-win scenarios. Your goal may not be to help corporations realize higher profits, but if you can make the case that single payer will help them do so, you may find allies in the most unusual places.

            3. integer

              I GET IT and want to know what constructive action to take

              Please don’t take this the wrong way, but have you ever thought about coming up with some ideas yourself?

      2. Red Future Hope

        1. Why does my screen name mater to you? I’m not seeking approval of me. Just my ideas.

        2. The above quote fits in perfectly with our choices are horrible.

        3. I don’t consider debates that are reduced to arsenic is better than cyanide to be useful.

        Trump is a horror show. So is Clinton. I don’t see the point of saying what Clinton would have doneYes, so what ? Trump is still a horror show. Who are the Clinton is a horror show for?

        1. Outis Philalithopoulos

          Your screen name matters to us as moderators because we try to hold commenters accountable. Otherwise it’s possible for a commenter to create multiple identities and then intervene multiple times in a debate under different names. That isn’t what you’ve done – you’ve tended to change your identity only after several months. But it’s still better for commenters to not change their identity overmuch. Changing one’s identity is called “sock-puppeting” and it is explicitly mentioned in the rules (see the site policies page).

          What I was going to say before is as follows:

          I don’t want to speak too much on behalf of commenters in general. However, after reading a lot of comments, I think something like the following is going on. Commenters fear that the Democratic base is “brush[ing] off the discussion [about what they should stand for] as boring, irrelevant, a conspiracy, or some combo.” They worry about an exclusive focus on “denial, delusion, and hating the Republicans [or Trump].”

          As a result, many hesitate to join in the full chorus of Trump denunciations because they worry it will empower these sorts of dynamics. That doesn’t mean they don’t share many of the same concerns about Trump.

          There is a rough parallel in the runup to the Iraq war. At that time, there was a lot of pressure to denounce Saddam as a “murderer of his own people.” The antiwar Left tended to resist this pressure, not because they thought Saddam was great – in fact, many of them had been criticizing him for years, going back to the days when he was a US ally – but because they anticipated that denunciations of Saddam would be repurposed into support for the upcoming war.

          1. Red (Mis) Hope Echo

            Accountable for.what exactly ?

            Changing my screen name bc I got bored with the last one before it ?

            This is a blog. Not a real community where who I am might matters

            My comments are either true or not regardless of who I am

            That’s the only accountability that matters

            The irony here is you posted one of my comment that says almost exactly the same thing as I said before

            I would be more bothered with the inconsistency of those who defend trump by saying Clinton would be worse

            To me , they are the ones lacking in accountability bc they are changing the subject and putting forth an implied apologist strategy

            I dislike trump for the same reason I don’t like Clinton

            He is screwing us over

            I don’t feel the need to pretend otherwise

            1. integer

              By using lots of different screen names you give the impression that your views are coming from more than one individual. Taken to the extreme, one person, using a plethora of usernames, could dominate the whole comments section. Why is it such an issue to limit yourself to one username? Also, in my opinion it is disrespectful to designate NC and its commentariat as “[n]ot a real community”.

          2. integer

            Your description of the reasoning behind why some are hesitating to denounce Trump, and subsequently bringing the conversation back to the D-party (who are, of course, the only other viable option), is right on the money, for me at least.

            1. Lambert Strether

              There’s also the fact that typical Dem loyalist tactics of snark, hysteria, funding through click-driven campaigns, “any stick to beat a dog”-style argumentation, and outright lying (because it’s in a good cause) have been front and center since 2003, and they’ve demonstrably failed. Who wants to sing in that chorus?

              1. integer

                and outright lying (because it’s in a good cause)

                In my reading of various comments sections of news and political websites around the intertubes, which I have spent a considerable amount of time doing, I have noticed that a common critique of the left is that leftists are fundamentally dishonest, and will do or say anything in service of advancing their ideological cause. While it is arguable that the “real left” engages in this behaviour, it is, at least from what I have seen around the web, a commonly held view on the political right.

                1. Fiver

                  No, the ‘real left’ does not run around lying about things. Not even remotely. The ‘real left’ has had by far the most consistent critique and analysis of what has been happening vis a vis US-centred global corporate power since WWII in academia and out, in books, journals, essays, and now the Internet. Most have also embraced environmentalism as an obvious and absolutely necessary counter to global corporatism’s complete failure to recognize we have breached the limits of this planet’s capacity to absorb human stupidity. The idea that the ‘real left’ runs around making stuff up while the likes of alt-right, the Clinton Dems, or Trump, or McCain or Graham or the msm blather on idiotically, often about some group-think belief that is itself crap, like ‘the fight against ISIS’ for instance, is just grossly wrong.

                  1. Outis Philalithopoulos

                    This is a reply to both integer and Fiver.

                    The underlying issue here is a semantic one. The whole “to the right of center” area uses the term “left” in a different way from how people in the actual liberal/left area use it. They use it simply to mean “left of center” – i.e. anyone that is a bit “to the left” of them.

                    To a degree that may seem surprising, they often have very little familiarity with what you would call “the real left.” The most salient parts of “the left” (in their terminology) are the ones they see talking negatively about them on TV – Democratic party figures, journalists, actors, people that seem to fit the SJW stereotype, an occasional professor like Ciccariello-Maher who says something controversial, and so on.

                    One response is a sort of indignation that they should use the language in such an obviously incorrect way. Not only is this unhelpful, it’s also inconsistent. One routinely sees liberal/left publications use “the right” as a blanket term for anyone who is to the right of center. That also conflates factions that have very substantial disagreements among themselves, and also doesn’t correspond well to how the people labeled refer to themselves.

                  2. integer

                    No, the ‘real left’ does not run around lying about things.

                    I’m not saying it does, nor is that what I think. All I’m doing is pointing out that there is a high level of distrust towards the left from those on the right, which is a significant a problem for the “real left”, and will need to be rectified before the “real left” can get a majority of citizens behind its policy agenda i.e. Medicare for all, progressive taxation, a dignified social security system, winding back corporate power, taking care of the environment, etc.

              2. aab

                I don’t put energy into denouncing Trump for several reasons. First, there’s so much confusion and deceit around reports of what’s happening that I’m disinclined to focus on Trump’s policies until I can see what they really are. The worst of his nominees I have advocated against in various ways. I don’t do that here because I don’t think I need to do that here. I don’t see a vast Trumpwing transformation here. If somebody here was actually defending Betsy DeVos as Ed Secretary, I might be inclined to respond. I don’t think anyone has.

                That’s reason two: I don’t see a hotbed of foolish, factually-inaccurate Trump defense here. There aren’t that many Trump fans here, even fewer who embrace him as anything more than the sledgehammer he may be, and usually by the time I read a fan comment, someone else has replied already. And with the fire hose of Trump criticism coming out of the corporate media, I just don’t feel particularly inspired to do much of that work. I do it a bit.

                But the most important reason why I focus on current Democratic Party leadership, strategy and policy is because that is, to me, the more difficult and important challenge. I believe the best hope we have to avert some kind of serious societal collapse or harrowing authoritarian regime is to purge out the New Democrats, push democratic socialist policies emphasizing universal material benefits, have that party gain power, and start actually helping people.

                From where I sit, that seems like a gargantuan task. So that is what I tend to focus my energies on, including my commenting here. The purpose of saying “Clinton would have been as bad,” is to get people who have yet to face the reality of the Democratic Party to do so concretely. When they scream, “Trump wants a war with Iran!” and I say, “Hillary wanted that plus four more wars!” it’s not to score points or be mean. If we don’t get rid of the current leadership, the Democratic Party will keep losing. If you don’t like Trump, I assume you’d like the Democratic Party to win. If you want the Democratic Party to win, then you should be glad people like me are trying to change the leadership — because this leadership is not going to win.

                1. PH

                  Ok. The plan to replace Dem leadership is good.

                  Now to tactics.

                  A drumbeat of how Dems suck and are no improvement on Trump alone will not draw support to any Dem, even a progressive insurgent.

                  We must emphasize what we are for, find primary challengers, and win.

                2. ChiGal in Carolina

                  Well put, and gives me some insight into the drumbeat. But since everyone here despises the corporate Ds, debunking them here, like criticizing Trump, would be better done elsewhere, unless you are ready to move on from education to providing ideas for ACTION, which I would welcome.

                  1. integer

                    But since everyone here despises the corporate Ds, debunking them here, like criticizing Trump, would be better done elsewhere

                    I don’t agree with this. Why should NC and its commentariat ignore the actions of the D-party establishment? After all, they are a big part of the political landscape and also actively work to prevent the “real left” from making any progress.

  19. oho

    >For some commenters, it turned out that the real bone of contention was that we now have a few Trump supporters who comment regularly.

    ????

    Commenters are overwhelmingly non-partisan. If there are some “obvious” Trump supporters, they sure are polite and civil.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I agree.. I don’t see this website as Pro-Trump, but anti-neoliberalism. If both parties have fully embraced Neoliberalism then giving a semi-protectionist candidate the benefit of the doubt, especially in the run up before he was even inaugurated, is a fair way to deal with him.

      Right now the Democrats think they can do just what the Republicans did over the past 8 years.. be against the President on all issues. The only problem is that they have zero power to do anything, and they haven’t realized that people voted for Trump because he was not like the other 17 or so candidates that were running. None of those candidates were going to beat Clinton, because all they were going to run on was culture war and anti Obama. Trump at least had some good points (the press is rigged, TTP is awful, Obamacare is a mess, H1-B and illegal immigration is a wage suppression technique) that resonated with people economically and gave them a reason to vote for him.

      One of the problems with politics in the US is that a lot of people have reduced it to American football. The tribalism of the NFL is similar to the 30% on each side who vote Democrat or Republican or else. No nuance at all “You are either with us or against us”.

      1. Fiver

        Good synopsis – I would add that Dems would’ve been in a better position to play the “Party of No” had they won either the House or Senate, rather than allowing the Clinton DNC to blow all the money and effort on her disastrous campaign.

  20. RenoDino

    Tensions are high and it’s not just because there is fierce political disagreement between rival factions. There is an actual breech in the social fabric of the country that reaches down into the daily lives of individuals and their relationships. The proof so far is purely anecdotal, but it requires nothing more than two degrees of separation for validation. Friendships, relationships, business and employment are being impacted as never before by conflicting views of the current administration. The overreaction is decidedly one sided and I hear a new story every day. A casual Trump voter, and most usually fall into this category, is branded and sidelined in a manner that is completely unexpected simply for mentioning who they supported in the election. Rather than convincing them of the error of their ways, these attacks usually result in the opposite. The Trump supporter feels they’ve been personally attacked for simply expressing their opinion, an opinion, they are told is utterly ridiculous. There is no lively, good-natured fun that comes out of these exchanges. The end result is usually an end to the relationship.

    Trump takes everything very personally and his reaction is a reflection of what’s going on the country and in the media. Most Trump supporters simply wanted a change, and did not expect to be skinned alive for their vote. Now that the orange genie is out of the bottle, the level of hysteria goes up everyday. “Respected” journals are calling for a coup as the powerful elite are finding out how powerless they are as the system they have so carefully constructed appears slated for demolition.

    Are these the dangerous times we’ve read about in history books? It’s looking more like it everyday.

  21. Vatch

    I think most of us know that the right/center/left political spectrum is oversimplification. We can’t reduce all of the issues in our complex world to a single linear dimension. Even two dimensions aren’t enough, although they are an improvement over just one. The Political Compass site provides a two dimensional map of politics with economic issues on one axis and social issues on the other axis, and although it has been discussed before here at NC, it’s worth revisiting:

    https://www.politicalcompass.org/

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Thx for reminding me about this. Took the test again and come out in the lower left quadrant (-8.75, -7.75) so very left and anti authoritarian but slightly more left than anti authoritarian (could be the wording of the questions, or that I endorsed the requirement that children attend school)

    2. beth

      Vatch,
      This analysis posits Friedman in the non-authoritarian box, but if you look at what he and his folks from Chicago did in Argentina, I would argue that he IS authoritarian. I would argue that he loves the shock doctrine. Do you agree?

      1. Vatch

        I think you have a reasonable point. It might be argued that Friedman should not be judged on the basis of what his disciples did in South America, but ideas, like actions, can have consequences, and some of the consequences of Friedman’s ideas occurred outside of the United States. Perhaps it’s on the social scale that he opposes freedom, although he also could be said to oppose freedom on the economic scale for people who are not middle class or rich. People near the subsistence level don’t have much freedom in a pure free market economy.

    3. Lambert Strether

      Two dimensions are easy to visualize, but there are more involved, I think. Politics is not easy….

      Adding, I took the test for grins:

      Economic Left/Right: -8.25
      Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.95

      However, I’m really not sure about the methodology, fun though the survey is:

      The chart also makes clear that, despite popular perceptions, the opposite of fascism is not communism but anarchism (ie liberal socialism [huh?]), and that the opposite of communism ( i.e. an entirely state-planned economy [huh?]) is neo-liberalism (i.e. extreme deregulated economy)

      Just seems overly schematic to me, though the questions were fun.

      1. Vatch

        You are absolutely correct that more than two dimensions are required. But as limited as they are, two dimensions are better than one dimension.

  22. fresno dan

    I know why I come here – – well, EVERYTHING in the post, but ESPECIALLY:

    1. This site’s overarching mission is to promote critical thinking. Having a variety of points of view is consistent with that objective

    Debunking Trump hysteria, whether by the site or by readers is not being “pro Trump.”

    Some readers also seem bothered by the fact that this site is hard on the Democratic party.
    (I would say, BECAUSE FACTS)

    ===============================================
    Both parties are merely branding exercises. One party pretends to be ‘conservative’ and one party pretends to be ‘liberal’ – and there are no true Scotsmen anyway. These labels are WORSE than useless as the stated platforms are opposite (but not so consistently that one knows with any definity what the true AGENDA is – to know the true agenda Goldman Sachs has to TELL you what it is.) to the real intentions of either dem or repubs.

    1. Gman

      Yep, Trump or no Trump, Goldman Sachs and their ilk still have the best political, economic and financial systems money can buy.

  23. GinMilton

    I too found this site back in 08-09. I check in every day sometimes several times a day because the content and comments are mind opening. My humble opinion – NC is what the Web should be: discussion that is open, respectful and evidence based. It ain’t no echo chamber.
    Thank you Yves, Lambert and the many commenter’s who make this happen.

  24. tegnost

    Thanks for the debate club, I read all of the articles, browse the links, and most comments, esp. in the am…remember before water cooler when it was mostly a morning site? Now I check in at night also to go through all of the arguments. Truly an oasis in the desert Thanks to all concerned especially our fearless leader, take her on at your peril. After these many years I have established a donation/payment for services pattern that works for my budget and urge others to do so as well so we can continue to benefit from the awesomeness.

  25. Jus'Thinkin

    I have come to NC for several years and I read both left and right sites but many of the
    lefty sites have gone so bonkers over Trump that they are hard to face.
    NC is a place for adults to read and comment.
    Thank-you so much for all you do here.

  26. PQS

    “We consider ourselves to be social justice oriented, but also strongly empirical.”

    This is why I’ve been here since at least 2009, when I was searching for a place to explain, in clear terms, what the he** happened to my job and our economy.

    A few points, however:
    1. One thing I’ve learned over the past eight years is that empiricism is not enough. You cannot simply state “the facts” about an issue that people take very personally and expect that will sway them. This is a mistake that educated people (and liberals!) make all. the. time. Hence, the passion that enters into these discussions, and the deep disappointment when people just “don’t get it.” And the admission, that, sometimes, we will just not agree. I appreciate that people here are thoughtful, even if I don’t agree with them (about Trump, for example.)

    2. I will say, however, that my impression of the constant drumbeat against the Democrats is often very disheartening. I appreciate good criticism, but the namecalling and constant cynicism about the Democrats doesn’t provide a lot of sustenance. As I have learned from articles published on this very blog, the two-party system is deeply, deeply entrenched in our system, and changing it will take a very long time. Burning it down isn’t necessarily going to work, but I often feel like many people here think that’s a viable option, and trying to change either party is a fool’s errand.

    3. As Uahsenaa said above, identity politics do contain some legitimate points, and they aren’t going away, as entwined as they are within the economic realities they often represent. Empirical discourse about these issues is going to be important, and insulting people with these concerns (on either side of the aisle) isn’t helpful, nor does it advance the position of economic literacy or improvement.

    4. I appreciate the respite from Trump outrage here. Even as I myself remain totally outraged!

  27. Stormcrow

    Naked Capitalism is an island of sanity in a roiling sea of ill-considered political misjudgments — right, left and center. Point #3 above is especially commendable. Keep up the good work. Time to make another donation.

  28. Partyless

    I’ve never commented here before, or many other sites but I want to thank Yves and Lambert for running such a valuable site.
    Ever since the election I am down to about 2 sites I can stand, most like Huffpo, Alternet and Salon have sold out so completely to DNC identity pol garbage.
    Genuine leftists have to steer clear of that and as mentioned be “empirical” about outcomes
    as well as keeping our eyes on the ball of systemic change.
    Reading comment sections at the above sites can be so depressing so many people on both sides drinking the Kool aid.
    The comments here actually give me some hope that there is still intelligent people who can see past the BS
    Thankyou!

  29. Gaylord

    True to the NC moniker, the administrators and most of the authors and commenters have demonstrated a basic understanding that money has corrupted the political process. There is no longer any validity to party or ideological loyalty because the motivations of those who rise to the top are the same across the so-called political spectrum.

  30. Tobin Paz

    For an example of what happens when dissenting voices get chased way look no further than DailyKos.

  31. Ivy

    Naked, as in unclothed, unhidden, out there for warts and all, for example. Look away who must.
    Capitalism, as in not Communism or other isms; also a dissection of how the world works and doesn’t.

    The blog name advertises the intent to many. I find that the site cuts through the fog on so many issues, and introduces thoughtful discussions in a straightforward, unblinking way. I have introduced a lot of people to the bloggers and topics, and have a fascinating and growing reading list from all the links and references.

    Many thanks to Yves, Lambert, Jerri-Lynn and guest contributors over the years.

  32. skippy

    Sigh….. neoliberalism is like the Temple Grandin treatment of society and the enviroment as it moves from birth to death for the profit of the abattoir owners and flexian management.

    Attacking it is what NC has done from the onset….

    Disheveled….. myself finds the comments pretty tame compared to what went on in the days gone by, some serious scraps, albeit fought with facts or the best approximation of them vs. the narrative spinning creative classes….

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Yes, I too still miss a few of the knock-down-drag-outs from the old days (From Mexico was always good for a head nod or head bang, depending), but I trust Yves when she says boundaries are needed to prevent devolution.

      1. John Parks

        I too enjoyed “From Mexico” and certainly learned a bit from the tangents he would send me on. I consider NC as the extension course for an interdisciplinary honors program. Tuition can be either free or as much as the reader chooses or can afford.
        Heckuva’ deal!

      2. skippy

        Not arguing for a return to the past, just noting the enviroment is actually quite passive in juxtaposition, as such, for some to complain about aggressive tactics sounds like a emotive special plea for a safe zone ™.

        Considering the quarters this plea is most likely coming from, its a bit rich and more than likely a last ditch rhetorical devise to cling to some vestige of reasonableness. When from a longer time line purview such reasonableness coming from these quarters, in response, too any others, was not on offer. Just the opposite was true.

        As far as debunking ideological – industry apparatchiks goes, it never ends and people should relish the task rather than complain about it – see the 7 Samurai…

        How do people think things got so out of control in the first bloody place….

        disheveled…. for myself I respect Yves intellectual honesty first and foremost, trust has implications of giving away being critical in a broad or narrow sense, something that seems contra to this blogs ethos….

        1. bob

          Saw a tweet the other day along the lines of-

          The alt-right is sick of all this PC crap. But, please, don’t call them nazis.

          Nerf rules for nazis. Identarianism for idiots.

          1. skippy

            I’m still perplexed at the whole “alt” – shtick… like its not some PC re-branding of the same tired old right wing libertarian metaphysical circle jerk…

            disheveled…. same failed foundations with new vernacular and next malleable age cohort to spread the truth…. groan….

            1. bob

              They’re still dealing with the 90’s marketing team. They have plenty of money, but why spend it? Next decade, the biggie- grunge appears and flannel is back, baby.

              Maybe they’ll recruit a bassist or some other minor 90’s suck-band member to toss on some cred. Creed comes to mind, they already have some equity with jesus.

              It’s all about the package. I had to check, their bassist is an RE broker in Florida. I should be charging these assholes.

              1. skippy

                I neglected to offer kudos for the “Identarianism for idiots.” reference….

                disheveled…. apropos…

            2. Lambert Strether

              I think the “alt'” schtick is just that. Totally unserious analysis, and immediately converted into blame cannon ammo with “alt-left,” and then conflating the two because things that defeat Clinton are always equal to each other (except of course for the Clinton campaign itself.

              I’ve noticed alt-center cropping up. It seems that memes don’t have a very long half-life these days. “Fake news,” for example, is now cheerfully used by liberals and conservatives….

              1. skippy

                Friend back from China [teaches English at Uni level] is grounded in the jargon and can remember his old Prof caning him for excessive neo-ism…. in his submissions…

              2. Jen

                alt-center?

                I would love for this to be an example of expert level trolling.

                Adding my thanks to you and Yves for all of your excellent work. I can’t remember when or how I first stumbled upon NC, but I am ever so thankful that I did.

  33. susan the other

    My politics have always been confused. But my sense of justice has always been pretty steady. So NC is the best place for me to be because it offers the kind of information I can use to separate the tangles of my politics. Which keeps me on an even keel. Nothing will ever be the answer, nobody can solve the contradictions between freedom and equality, but fewer bad things happen when we have good information. NC is like a real-time ongoing trial of society. Thank you NC.

  34. Annotherone

    NC is the only site I can bear to read now. Long ago Common Dreams was my go-to site . Something changed there several years back – many great commenters, from whom I learned a lot, disappeared . I suspect some are here now, and maybe some have gone on to that great website in the sky.

    I feel that I’m inhabiting a kind of political no-man’s-land these days – can’t agree with Democrats (other than Bernie, who isn’t one), can’t agree with Republicans, can’t bear the current hysteria. NC is a veritable oasis. Thank you, thank you to all who create it and to all who contribute to it in commentary!

    1. Fiver

      I’m inclined to believe Common Dreams was targeted because it had a lot of people who were serious activists in its commentariat. They were far more openly anti-corporate power, critical of the Official Line re 9/11 itself, the utterly disastrous ‘war on terror’ that followed and destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq, then the ‘regime change’ operations in Libya, Syria, etc., the whole stinking mess. Then something happened – it was like a huge purge took place and a lot of the best people were just gone in a very short space of time. I would not be at all surprised if other less well known sites now suffer a similar fate.

  35. RUKidding

    I’ve been reading and lurking here for quite a few years, plus commenting for the past several years.

    I’m one of those former Firedoglake regulars, who miss that site quite a bit, but Jane Hamsher needed to let it go due to health issues.

    At the former FDL site, many of us were vehemently upset with Obama and the Democrats. Most of us in that category had been life-long Dems or at least fellow travelers, and we had all gotten fed up with the thrid way Dems and especially the duplicitous and dirty-dealing Clintons. Like me, many had tossed out their tvs, and most of us did our best to search out true facts and “real” news. It’s kind of an exhausting practice.

    Most US citizens are not news junkies, or if they are, they mainly get drek – whether of the so-called “rightwing” or putative “leftwing” variety – on their tvs, radios and internet sites. For either “side,” it ends up being an echo chamber.

    Like others, above, I used to visit certain other sites that I now either eschew entirely or visit seldom because they’ve become so extreme in their “your either with us 110% or you’re the complete enemy” stance vis the Democratic party. That way lies madness, and it permits NO opportunity for constructive criticism. A shame, really. I also have “friends,” who’ve have demanded that I never ever ever ever, under any circumstances, criticize the Democratic party and most especially their sainted savior 100% perfect Saint Obama who walks on water and rides sparkle unicorns with his gorgeous wife and beautiful daughters.

    In short, NC has provided an oasis of sanity. I didn’t vote for Trump, fwiw, but I am willing to hope that maybe some of his policies will come to fruition, especially in terms of jobs. We’ll see. In the meantime, I am also watching him closely and am willing to hold his feet to the fire in any way possible. I am willing to protest his actions IF the protest is meaningful.

    If Democratic voters can awaken from their slumbers and actually force the D party to represent US citizens, no one will be happier than me. The dog knows, I’ve been trying to force them to do that for decades.

    Thanks to Yves, Lambert, Jerri Lynn and all the thoughtful commenters who come here. This truly is an oasis of sanity. IMO, if anything, NC leans leftish, but it strives for objectivity and often hits the mark. That’s a rare commodity in today’s world. Keep up the good work and thanks!!!!!

    1. Jess

      There are plenty of others here who are FDL alumni. Used to come here and FDL at the same time. With FDL gone, think I would go insane without NC.

      1. RickM

        Really. A former friend, who blames me for Trump because I told him in late 2015 that if Hillary Clinton runs against Donald Trump she will lose the real state-by-state contest while winning the popular vote due to California and New York, got a charge out of calling me a Firebagger because of my growing antipathy to the Democrats and Obama, and natural sense of foreboding. He expected a Hillary landslide. I certainly wasn’t surprised at the result, but the joke is on all of us. Now? I would like to ask him if Bernie would have lost Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio…

  36. Jess

    The first 15 or so comments seem to have covered all the ground that needed to be covered. Suffice it to say that I love this site and am constantly in awe of the intelligence, experience, insight, wit, and work output of Yves and Lambert.

  37. Stephen Douglas

    What continues to bug me about NC’s articles on Trump is the constant mantra that “he’s gonna fail becuase of this pick or that statement or because the 7th moon of Jupiter will go conjunct with Aquarius in 2018.”

    This constant foretelling of the future is really tiring. It’s tiring from NC, it’s tiring from Nomi, it’s tiring from Bill Black, Michael Hudson. It’s tiring from Chris Hedges. It’s tiring even from George Soros.

    It’s also tiring from all of the pundits and talking heads on TV, in the MSM, but also especially now in the left or progressive press and media as well.

    There are a few voices (i.e., Paul Craig Roberts, etc.) who say: why don’t you give the guy a chance to do the wrong thing. Why don’t you criticize things that have actually happened (i.e., bellowing about China, or Iran, or having his FCC commissioner actually change policy that goes against net neurtrality, etc.)?

    Write articles about that. Not about what may happen one day due to your assessments of the character or the history of his picks or what he says he may want to do.

    Because here is the deal that you and many others miss: This is not Obama time. The people that supported Trump aren’t going to support Trump if he does not really change things for the better. You all seem to think and say in many of your writings, the cynical and snarky thing: that he’ll just be like all the rest.

    Well, no. He won’t because he can’t be. It’s late in the game, and we’ve had enough. No more flowery speeches about hope and change. No more virtue signalling pap. No more politically correct nonsense.

    Trump is there to make changes. He literally has to or we won’t be a country any longer.

    These things are what you clearly miss with many of your writings and the writings of those you feature though you obviously understand this because your analysis of the Democratic party says literally what I just said that Trump must do and was elected because he said he would do.

    (In 1st place for special mention: anything that Tom E. writes or features that you share on your site. Tom dipped down into utter hysterical lunacy about a year ago and hasn’t come back to earth since–he’s so far gone there’s no point in reading anything he’s involved with).

    There. Fixed it for ya. P.S., not all that into Lambert’s snark and weird jargon-y words either, but that’s just maybe a generational issue. Snark is stupid IMNSHO.

    1. Pirmann

      Snark, cleverly done, with a dash of jargon is probably near the top of the list in terms of what’s held my interest over the years.

      Aside from that, your comment is spot on. Too much pessimistic forward-looking; not enough chance-giving.

      We ask for concrete material benefits; in return, we should tamp down our outrage and limit it to concrete material detriments.

      1. TheCatSaid

        I agree we should all wait and see. Simon Parkes, for example, in several recent Q&As, has observed that Trump has to appoint people from certain backgrounds (e.g., the financial top elite of which he is not exactly a member despite his wealth; and the military who Parkes says is one of the reasons he is maintaining control).

        I’m willing to wait and watch–and to consider what actions I can take, no matter how small, to create a better political reality where I am.

        Creating is very different from protesting, it requires giving more thought to where one wants to go.

    2. Lambert Strether

      If you’ll look more carefully, you’ll see that most of my irony is aimed at tactics and strategy. I don’t recall, for example, making jokes about Chris Christie’s girth (I might have permitted myself one), or Trump’s small hands, or Clinton’s cankles. I also don’t make jokes about candidate’s religion, family, or sexual practices (except in the rare cases that these reveal systemic issues). I use the same test for the scandal du jour. I do make jokes about candidate’s personae (“that loveable goof, Joe Biden”), because a persona is carefully crafted for political gain.

    3. Fiver

      The only problem with that, Steve, is all of it. Look, Trump is the one in charge of his own mouth, he is the one who ultimately picked who he picked (what on earth do any of them promise but major pain or strife?), he is the one who came out of the gate both barrels blasting in a way that sent a tangible shiver three times around the planet. Signaling? He has ‘signaled’ that no matter what the issue is it is his intention to hit it with a hammer. Republicans are absolutely delerious at the prospects for gutting anything they can get their hands on and feeding it to Wall Street and corporate USA. I follow things very closely and say what I think, that’s all.

      I have no problem whatever with being deeply critical of msm, Clinton, Obama, DNC, the Deep State, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the MIC, globalization and much else, including people reacting to stupid little stuff rather than dangerous big stuff.

      And I will be waiting patiently for you to come back here and acknowledge you could not have possibly been more wrong about this President and Admin. Maybe a year.

      1. TheCatSaid

        I dispute that any of our presidents since JFK have been as free in picking who they picked for important positions.

        Ditto for main policies.

        Trump seems to be playing a different game–choosing people who have the creds with TPTB (at a level above Trump), yet enough gumption to make some kind of an independent stand (backed by a key contingent of the military).

        Where the real games are played is outside the view of the actions and words reported in the media. For this reason I’m taking a wait-and-see approach. He seems to be taking action on issues he said he would. (Whether that is good or bad, or taking a “crazy” action so it can be said that he tried, I’ve no idea).

        Simon Parkes’ most recent Q&A said one of the reasons Trump decided to stand for office was because of his son’s bad experience with a vaccine. A pharmaceutical office has been raided. Interesting times ahead.

        If indeed things come out of the woodwork–as indicated by George Webb’s meticulously documented YouTube site–we will have to hold on tight. The things going on have been going on for many decades, all over the world, and are independent of party politics. It’s all about money and about powerful people getting better and better at figuring out new, creative ways to commercialize conflicts for the benefit of a few at the top.

        Trump is a saint in comparison to the well-known people and companies documented on Webb’s YouTube channel, whose deeds have thus far been been mostly unreported and dots were not connected till now across a multitude of “enterprises”.

        I will wait to see if Trump carries out any real swamp draining, or not. The apparently horrible profiles of those being picked for high positions could be choices forced on him to stay alive, maybe combined with choices that have strategic purpose out of public view.

        Webb’s documentation of Brownstone Operations in combination with information already revealed by multiple whistleblowers indicates all people in powerful positions of any kind have been seriously compromised in one way or another–otherwise they are not able to get where they are. Trump is a curious kind of dark horse, his foibles long in public view so perhaps less controllable compared to others. Only time will tell.

        1. Fiver

          ‘I dispute that any of our presidents since JFK have been as free in picking who they picked for important positions.’

          What does this mean? Are you saying Trump had no choice? Or he just went with whatever his Chief of Staff suggested because he (Trump) had no idea who to appoint, being an outsider?

          I took a quick look at George Webb, and when I saw he was involved in an effort to convince the Canadian Government ‘hundreds of Iranian and Chinese companies’ were set up in Canada and shipping technology I balked. A look at his site and you lost me for good.

          Trump may be of better character than Cheney – but he is very, very dangerous nonetheless.

  38. burlesque

    @Outis said via e-mail

    “People complaining about having to debunk newcomers’ arguments are ultimately complaining about being given an opportunity to do effective politics.”

    And if anything, this politics gives any “opposition” (please take that lightly) the opportunity see how strongly a debunker has thought out and holds dear a certain world view. Because sometimes people just spout off talking points they have heard reiterated different places: they don’t BELIEVE in them strongly enough to effectively argue.

    Personally, I feel sometimes not able to argue because, while I may have an intuition about something and it turns me off at the gut level (“something just doesn’t sound right”), I cannot put that intuition or gut feeling into words. Saying “something just doesn’t sound right” isn’t effective. But not saying anything can then seem like agreement.

    This forum Naked Capitalism provides a multiplicity of viewpoints that is so intriguing and informative that it becomes addictive. In a good way. Thank you all.

    1. TheCatSaid

      Sometimes the differences in personal lived experience are such that one’s reasoning and grounding cannot be passed on via links or references. Far from being sloppy–though I’d forgive anyone assuming it to be such–there is sometimes no substitute for extensive personal experience. This can be challenging to communicate.

      I appreciate the groundedness of many posts and comments at NC and I continue to learn a lot. At the same time I know that some first-hand experiences, no matter how relevant or potentially important, do not translate to that format.

  39. PH

    I value the articles more than the comments. Actually, I find the technical economic comments fascinating, though I am not always sure what to make of them.

    The political arguments tend to throw more heat than light.

    It disappoints me because I like the articles so much I naturally assume that the other readers are my crowd, and perhaps good candidates to become grassroots activists.

    I guess I have not entirely given up on that hope.

    But much of the Trump excuse making does not strike me as reality based.

    What do you care about that he does not threaten?

    Peace? He foments hate against Moslems and Mexicans and Iranians. His Deputy CIADirector was in charge of black sites and torture. He could not wait to send commandos into Yemen. He is looking for trouble in the South China Sea. And that is just the first two weeks.

    And doesn’t Trump’ s volitile temperament and inability to accept criticism scare you? Nor his rabble rousing about unreported terrorism to justify more aggressive unilateral action?

    Do you doubt that Trump will be a disaster for the environment and public lands?

    Do you doubt thatTrump will appoint right wing judges?

    The general criticism that much of the comment section sees Trump through rose-colored glasses is fair.

    That is why you need me. :)

    1. PQS

      Not to mention his general incuriousness, although GWB got through 8 years with his, and his tendency to surround himself with not only other incurious people, but people with obvious and negative agendas, which, because he is incurious, he does not bother to investigate.

      Even the woman who worked for him for 18 years at his construction company said the same thing: “You used to surround yourself with the best people. You are not doing that now.”

      And the fact that handing over the entire government to one political party is always, always a bad idea.

    2. integer

      Fwiw I remember your intense yet relatively short-lived effort at trying to unite the commentariat behind Clinton. It was tiresome, to put it mildly.

      1. PH

        Against Republican rule.

        There is a difference.

        Time will tell if my warnings were well-founded.

        I hope I was wrong.

  40. George Phillies

    You have an excellent site. You can look up that I put my checkbook where my keyboard is. Your discussion is mostly sensible.

    I prefer to read a wide range of political and economic opinion sites, so I also read Bonddad, Mishtalk, Calafia Beach Pundit, AmThirdParty, IndependentPoliticalReport (all third parties at once), DailyKos, Redstate, PoliticalWire, Politico, HuffingtonPost, RealClearPolitics, Resurgent, and VoxDay. The last of these, while slightly to the right of Godzilla, appears to have real direct lines into the Trump administration. For news, TheGuardian is good, as are al Jazeera and Der Spiegel, though the last of these has its deep biases.

    1. TheCatSaid

      Thanks for that list. I’ll check them out. Variety is crucial.

      I’d add newsbud.com (the various expert staff members e.g. China Watch, Russian Newspaper Monitor, etc. are extraordinary) and corbettreport.com and RT to the list.

      I find by reading a combination of different sources I get better at coming to closer to reality, I learn more, and I become more adept at recognizing propaganda in its many forms and sources.

  41. Barni

    The Masters of Wall Street, 1%er elites and their minions, own and control the media and have the hundreds of billions necessary to totally subvert democracy. Trump has vowed to take down the Wall Street maters of the universe – most of whom should be in jail for massive crimes against democracy and the vast majority of working families – and re-jig the economy so that growth primarily benefits working families NOT wealthy elites – The Masters of Wall Street.
    Wall Street is fighting back using its minion media to frighten, intimidate and control our population in their effort to defeat their only strong enemy – Trump!
    Trump has a lot of faults but one of them is not crushing working class families and destroying democratic institutions – that is Wall Street’s, (the “Masters of The Universe”) prime objective. Trump will cut off Wall Street’s control of everything that moves, which is why the “Masters of The Universe” are using the minion media and their ownership of money to create a vortex of deluded individuals who are angry thanks to being economically crushed by “The Masters of The Universe” and are venting their extreme anger created by their steeply declining lives on the huge distractionary target the Wall Street minion media have created and flog 24/7 Trump. Wall Street’s strategy is to use its minion media, criminal money etc. to to create a public furor which through media manipulation they can aim at their scariest enemy in many decades – President Trump. As I said Trump has a lot of personal baggage which is no reason for sane individuals to attack 24/7 the one individual who has a chance to rescue them and their families from the poverty and powerlessness that the Wall Street owned local State and national politicians are about to inflict on America and the world – Donald Trump.
    In many cases the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all those out in the streets and screetching in the minion media interview railing against Trump are railing against the only person minded and powerful enough to take down the Wall Street cabal – unless and until he suffers the same fate as previous Presidents who openly opposed The Fed and Wall Street and gets assassinated.
    It is a sad sight to see America’s so called ‘free press’ being enlisted to apply the ‘coupe de grace’ to the imperfect but singular person who can pull off this coup in favour of democracy and working families – President Donald Trump. Why do we insist that our rescuers come with no history or imperfections?

  42. dbk

    Long-time reader (since 2008), very occasional non-confrontational commenter.

    Like others have noted, many of the sites I visit have gone around the bend. This, however, has been a wake-up call for me – hey! these people don’t believe what I do! Okay – what next?

    One can’t be an expert on everything. My interests, apart from that in social justice, don’t overlap with the interests of this blog, but reading NC keeps me up to date on the political issues being talked about each day.

    I’d be keen to learn what other commenters – especially those living outside the U.S. – are doing to become more engaged these days.

    I have a close friend who once told me that the definition of a true leftist is a person who never gives up hope – they hope because it’s human to hope, not because it’s reasonable to hope.

    Note: take all the above with a grain of salt. I actually believed that because Varoufakis’ analysis of the Euro was correct, Schauble and Merkel and Dijsselbloem and Junker would listen to him. Perhaps hope is in some respects synonymous with a willing naivete.

    1. TheCatSaid

      I look at what I can do at the local level. Very local. As in, I started by stopping in to the houses of my closest neighbors. About 6 houses.

      I think we’re in for really touch financial times within the next 2 months, and I think it’s more likely we’ll function constructively (if not as a community, as something tending in that direction) if even just one person (me) has met everyone and has a feeling for local strengths and vulnerabilities.

      Also I asked our local librarian what they needed and what would make a difference, and contacted a local politician to make a suggestion/request.

  43. Portia

    Yes, everybody gets roasted here. It’s what I like about it. Very intellectually stimulating and, as someone else mentioned above, it makes me do my own research.
    Thanks as always, Yves, Lambert, and Jamie Lynn

  44. Oregoncharles

    I thought the accusation was bizarre, too. I regularly recommend the site to my Green and lefty friends; not all are willing to wade through the financial swamps, but it would be good for them. I think NC exemplifies the Left I want to be part of – even when you criticize the Green Party.

    And I agree that there’s no problem with Trump supporters commenting, within the site rules. Rather, the main problem is that their presence can provoke others into breaking the rules. Once again: personal attacks are not an argument; and you don’t want to derail the comments chasing red herrings, either. If you have a case, make it. Ad hominem is a way of admitting you can’t make one. That said, it’s OK to say that a particular point is immoral or unwittingly revealing – IF you’ve made a case for that. (At least, I think it is.) It’s the case that matters.

    The NC comments are an extraordinary achievement, and I gather one that cost a lot of work. The first defense is simply the level of the posts and links; not everyone wants to deal with that kind of material. (OK, implicit boasting here, but an implicit compliment to others, as well.) I know Yves is a little frustrated that the focus isn’t more financial, but I think she found that you can’t really deal with finance in a vacuum. It’s ultimately about power – and politics are very often ultimately about money.

    An amazing achievement, all told. Please keep it up.

  45. HotFlash

    Absolutely. What pretty well everyone else said, and Hi to all those old fellow Firedogs. And now to the Tip Jar! Sincerest form of flattery, and all that. ;)

  46. Waking Up

    Naked Capitalism has been my “go to” website for a decade now, primarily because of what I view as a non-partisan take on social and economic justice. In addition, the time and energy Yves, Lambert and now Jerri-Lynn Scofield spend on links and the water cooler is invaluable.

    As someone who spent decades as a member of the Democratic party, it became apparent even before Obama became President that the party had “lost its way” in regards to economic justice and certainly towards the working class and unions. Rhetoric sounded great but somehow all the promises and supposed “beliefs” by the politicians could never actually be put into action…even when they had majorities in Congress. And no, the Republican party isn’t any better. And yes, I realize we have a Two Party system.

    If the Democratic party is now going to spend all the time, energy, and money on proving how “awful” Donald Trump is on everything, nothing will change…certainly not in the next four years. Which brings me back to why some posts may “appear” to be center-right. Far too many websites will mock or denigrate a politician with the implication that “their” candidate is superior on an issue. For example, many are outraged over Donald Trump’s stance on woman’s reproductive rights. Where was that outrage when Obama signed the executive order maintaining the Hyde Amendment in the ACA (the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother and is detrimental for the reproductive rights of the working poor.) Where was the outrage against Hillary Clinton when she voted YES for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 with authorization to build 700 miles of fences/walls along the U.S./Mexican border. It’s wrong if done by Donald Trump, but okay if done by Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton?? The level of hypocrisy is the reason why I continue to point out what the Democrats have done in the past. It also suggests that what we are seeing is more about politics than the actual issues. Until people protest candidates who increase inequality (regardless of political affiliation), the economic situation will continue to decline for the vast majority of citizens, as will many other issues since they are often interrelated.

      1. PH

        You are more clever than that, Mr. S.

        Routines drive much of the problem now. It is not just a matter of picking a spot in the existing routines (your opportunity cost), it is a question of new routines. New organizations to support them. (Thus, your commitment to this blog, unless I am mistaken.)

        The biggest problem with Dem party is it’s daily routines. It is an organization dedicated to winning elections, and it has learned various techniques. Polling, fundraising and propaganda by press release.

        There is no organization for policy.

        And when a Dem wins the WH, it is the clique of Congressional staffers who move to Middle political managers at the agencies.

        (At defense and intelligence, there is a more permanent establishment fused to defense contractors.)

        The PR tactics of bashing Trump and indulging in sideshows are not part of Neo-Lib plot. Much worse. It is only thing these shallow simpletons know how to do. Pavlovian dogs.

        You want new ideas and new people, you will have to build it brick by brick.

        The path is primary challengers. The ONLY thing that will get the attention of Dems. The only path to a better party with a chance to rule in next generation.

        A super hard task. But we might as well get started. It won’t get any easier if we wait.

  47. Foppe

    So am I really the only one who came here via ZH and/or G. W’s blog (I don’t quite recall which, but I do recall reading a few finance and/or trading blogs (on Seeking Alpha) in my unguided and inchoate search for a better grasp on what the hell was going on in the fire sector, and the economy more generally)? :p

  48. Kfish

    Thank you for this, Yves. The site is fantastic partly because it provides a place for different perspectives to be discussed civilly. You’re not the only one having this problem: John Michael Greer over at the Archdruid Report is also fielding criticism that he’s being too hard on the left by pointing out their shortcomings and discussing why Trump won.

    When did the ‘left’ in America become such a pack of whiny authoritarian wannabes? Can’t discuss this, can’t discuss that, if you approve of anything Trump did you’re a Nazi, Putin’s the devil, Hillary lost ‘cos sexism …
    Saul Alinsky would be turning in his grave.

  49. Sally

    Democratic supporters are doing themselves no favours if they want to try to shut down any criticsm of their party. This is a time for openness and some hard reflection. Unfortunately the leaders of the dem party have no interest in that excerise. They have walked away from the working class (blue collar worker) and pandered to the corporate elites. This model has made many of them very rich.

    Itdentity politics is political poison and offers nothing to an unemployed blue collar worker in the Mid West whose job has gone to Mexico. Dem elites like to push identity politics because While they are talking about sexism and racism they are not talking about class. Jeff Bezoes is all for gay rights, but you try and start a union at Amazon. Ain’t happening.

    15 years ago there were some great liberal sites coming on line in response to the Bush presidency. Unfortuately many of those sites struggled for funding because they don’t appeal to corporate America. As a result money started to pour in from people like George Soros, and that has meant they have to toe the party line.

    Some of those people feel very betrayed by Obama and Clinton. Hillary was a terrible candidate. She lost in 2008 to Obama, and should never have been given the coronation. People wanted change on both sides of the political divide. The Dems offered nothing new.. They are now trapped between not upsetting Wall Street and a working class who are walking away from the party. They will have to wheen themselves off corporate money or they are doomed. My fear is they see Trumps so called extremism as a way of not changing and hoping people will flock back to them. They may be rather disappointed.

  50. JCC

    This site has been my GoTo news site almost since its inception. Real, though-provoking, news and real, thought-provoking, commentary that is most definitely Fit To Print.

    As I have gotten older and, I hope, wiser, I believe Naked Capitalism has contributed much to the wiser part… thanks.

  51. Scott

    I used Russell for a long time. I changed over to my middle name because I have a range of reasons to do so. Mostly I long used my three names because there is another Russell Day. He is also a poet. He has lived in at least two places I have lived.
    I started using my full name after having to prove I didn’t owe money to the phone company.
    I say it is the best time ever to be an economist. There are more statistics available than there were before the 20th century coming from 19th century and moving forward.
    I have some flaws.
    It is a great time to be an economist. In part it is great because of the work of Michael Hudson. He says it is apparent to him the discipline is academically ossified.
    Makes it better to me since I am a neophyte, really, having only been reading closely for 5 years everything I think a neophyte ought to.
    What is really really terrible is ignorance.
    It will be a great thing if the youths of the US are brought up with much less ignorance about economics & finance than someone who experienced Southern Public School, & Chicago South Side Public Schools as I did.

  52. djrichard

    if there are “non-left” people on the site, it should be seen as an opportunity.

    I was left before I was non-left. Does that make me a politician, lol?

    I’ve said this before, Dems had their window of opportunity with Sanders and they blew it. That window doesn’t come along again, unless Trump blows it.

    If we truly want a populist party, I think Trump is our best bet now. The dems have shown their true colors. The dems would be disruptive to dislodge Trump, but that’s as disruptive as they’re going to be. All they know is the horse that brought them here and that horse doesn’t have populist DNA anymore.

    So I’m not interested in seeing Trump blow it. Rather, I want him to succeed. Not just succeed, but succeed beyond the wildest expectations. To actually deliver on the promise of what Bannon has described: a 50-year reign of a populist party.

    If he can pull that off, then really a large part of the battle is won. Because then the elites will be geared to fine-tuning said populist party. Which means many things will be up for grabs. Including the opportunity to push for the safety net policies that many of us here would like to see put in place. And I fully expect that tent would be able to embrace political correctness and identity politics as well; it’s what makes the elite “morally superior”.

    Sure I might be delusional. But at this point, I’m thinking it’s more delusional to put stock in the dem party.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’d love it if Trump did a 180° and really nuked the conservative establishment by making his early support for Canadian-style single payer newly operative (because I don’t at this point really care which tribe delivers the concrete material benefits).

      I think the chances of Trump doing that are vanishingly small (even if he is the only national politician I can imagine doing it, as opposed to Clinton’s “never, ever”). Of course, it’s been an odd year….

  53. Quiet

    Since I’ve been reading this site (2011), the commenters have often, usually, been critical of the Democrats. That’s fine. They had a share of national power and were consistently finding ways to make bad policy and practice bad politics. They earned the vast majority of the criticism that I saw come from this site.

    Clinton was no different. She and her husband have a long history of influence-peddling, bad policy, and worse politics. They’re both cynical opportunists with no loyalty to anyone but themselves. As an aside, I was frustrated last year when all the talk was of the content of her banker speeches when the real issue was the blatant fact she was being paid huge money for selling influence. Who cares what she said? The speech wasn’t the point of it at all.

    In the last several months, I’ve seen the comments of multiple articles get ruined by excuse-making for Trump. It usually takes the form of “but Hillary would have been worse.” This was excusable for maybe 5 minutes after the election, but it’s pointless and stupid by now. Maybe she would have been worse, but she lost. I have no problem with critical evaluations of Trump that aren’t written while hyperventilating. It doesn’t bother me to point out that the seven countries of the refugee ban originated with an appropriations bill that Obama signed. Pointing out that the national, and state-level, Democratic parties are full of careerist opportunists with little or no regard for anything but their own gain doesn’t bother me either. Why would it? It’s true.

    What does bother me is that some commenters seem so angry at the Democrats, or are so enamored of Trump, that they keep deflecting criticism away from him. To me, this is an absurd situation. Let’s be honest, the man tried to give blanket absolution to any and all racists in his inaugural address by making an absurd claim about patriotism not letting a person hate (paraphrased). Last I checked, the Klan of the 60s was full of WW2 vets. The man has put together the wealthiest cabinet in history, all with a long history of antagonism against anyone who dares challenge their divine right of money. This is a man who, if the reports are right, casually threatened to invade Mexico. I wouldn’t say he needs defending.

    I understand the concern that the Democrats will take the opportunity of Trump to push their careerist agenda while doing nothing at all to change. It’s a real concern because I’m watching them try to do it every day. They’re working hard to co-opt any energy they can. Witness Cory Booker running to the airport for the protests (and getting questioned by his constituents in the process). The truth is that they don’t think they need to change. To badly paraphrase Yves, they’re convinced, much like Obama, that every problem can be solved with better spin. You’d think the utter wreckage that is the Democratic party in virtually every state and on the national level would give them a clue, but no luck so far.

    I, you, we can criticize Trump AND the Democrats without continually resorting to either-or thinking. It’s quite possible for both to be bad, corrupt, and incompetent. It borders on intellectual dishonesty to continue to do this. If you’re a Trump fan, rather than deflect, make your case. If you’re an angry disaffected Democrat, make your case. The thing that has drawn me to this site for years is that Yves, Lambert, now Jerri, and the commenters all have a long history of making their cases. It’s a better place when that’s true, so please, get back to making your case.

Comments are closed.