Michael Hudson: Clinton’s Red-Baiting Distracts from Failure to Address Inequality, War-Mongering as Trump Flails

Yves here. Michael Hudson provided us with this transcript of an August 4 interview with the Real News Network. The video was not posted on the Real News Network site due to technical issues.

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

Now that the Democratic and the Republican Party conventions are over, the U.S. presidential campaign is entering its last phase before the actual vote in November. Normally this should the point at which each party is very internally united and focusing on presenting its own program and attacking the opponent. However this time around, it seems each party continues to be more divided than ever. More and more Republicans are defecting from Donald Trump. And on the Democratic side, the debate is still raging about who supporters of Bernie Sanders should vote for in November. With us to present his analysis of the post-conventions and the U.S. elections, is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. His latest book is “Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.” Michael thank you so much for joining us today.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be here.

PERIES: So Michael, in a recent article that you penned on your website, you argued that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is using a very clever strategy in that it is trying to associate criticism of Clinton with support for Trump and therefore support for Russia, which in the end is anti-American. Now, this type of association game, which is supposed to make it difficult for Sanders supporters to criticize Clinton, what implication does this have on the overall politics in this country?

HUDSON: Well, it certainly changed things in earlier elections. The Republican convention was as is normal, all about their candidate Trump. But surprisingly, so was the Democratic convention. That was all about Trump too – as the devil. The platform Hillary’s running on is “I’m not Trump. I’m the lesser evil.”

She elaborates that by saying that Trump is Putin’s ploy. When the Democratic National Committee (someone within it, or without) leaked the information to Wikileaks, the Democrats and Hillary asked, “Who benefits from this”? Ah-ha. Becaue Trump opposes the neocon line toward Russia, and because he criticizes NATO, Russia benefits. Therefore Putin must have stolen the leaks and put them out, to make America weaker, not stronger, by helping the Trump campaign by showing the DNC’s dirty tricks toward Bernie’s followers.

Then Assange did an Internet interview and implied that it was not a cyberwar attack but a leak – indicating that it came from an insider inn the DNC. If this is true, then the Democrats are simply trying to blame it all on Trump – diverting attention from what the leaks’ actual content!

This is old-fashioned red baiting. I saw it 60 years ago when I was a teenager. I went to a high school where teachers used to turn in reports on what we said in class to the FBI every month. The State Department was emptied out of “realists” and staffed with Alan Dulles-type Cold Warriors. One couldn’t talk about certain subjects. That is what red-baiting does. So the effect at the Democratic Convention was about Hillary trying to avoid taking about her own policies and herself. Except for what her husband said about “I met a girl” (not meaning Jennifer Flowers or Monica Lewinski.)

The red baiting succeeded, and the convention wasn’t about Hillary – at least, not her economic policies. It was more about Obama. She tied herself to Obama, and next to Trump = Putin, the convention’s second underlying theme was that Hillary was going to be Obama’s third term. That’s what Obama himself said when he came and addressed the convention.

The problem with this strategy is it’s exactly the problem the Republicans faced in 2008, when voters turned against George Bush’s administration. Voters wanted change. And they do today. Hillary did not say “I’m going to have hope and change from the last years of Obama.” She said, in effect, “I’m not going to change anything. I’m going to continue Obama’s policies that have made you all so prosperous.” She talked about how employment is rising and everyone is better off.

Well, the problem is that many people aren’t better off than the last eight years. Ten million families have lost their homes, and most peoples’ budgets are being squeezed. Obama saved the banks not the economy. So Trump’s line and the Republican line in this election could well be: “Are you really better off than you were eight years ago? Or, are you actually worse off? Where are all your gains? You’re further in debt. You’re having more difficulty meeting your paychecks, you’re running up your student loans. You’re really not better off and we’re going to be the party of hope and change.”

Hillary can’t really counter that with the policies she has. Trump and the Republicans can say that even though she disavowed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the trade agreement with Europe, all the Democratic representatives that voted for the TPP have won re-nomination, and it’s still on the burner.
Most of all, Hillary is still the war candidate. Trump already has said, “Look at what she did to Libya.” By displacing Libya, she turned its arms cache over to terrorist groups that have become ISIS, Al-Nusra, and the other terrorist in the Near East. So she’s the Queen of Chaos. Finally, she’s the candidate of Wall Street, given the fact even the Koch Brothers have said they’re not going to back Trump, they’re going to back Hillary because she’s on their side. George Soros and most other big moguls and billionaires are now siding with the Democratic Party, not Trump.

What did Hilary actually say at the convention besides “I’m not Trump, Trump is worse.” She’s trying to make the whole election over her rival, not over herself.

PERIES: Okay, so everything you say about Hillary Clinton may be true, and it’s more in your favor that it is true. She is a candidate of Wall Street and she is as you say, now being supported even by the neocons. They’re holding fundraisers for her. And the Koch brothers and so on. So when we opened this interview we were talking about what the Bernie Sanders supporters should now do, because Trump is starting to appeal like he’s the candidate of ordinary people. So what are they to do?

HUDSON: Well, if the election is between the most unpopular woman candidate in America and the most unpopular male candidate, the winner is going to be whoever can make the election fought over the other person. Trump will win if he can make the election all about Hillary, and Hillary will win if she can make the election all about Trump. It looks like she’s able to do this, because Trump is even more narcissistic than she is.

All the Democrats have to do is goad him, as they did with the Afghan parents of the American soldier who died. Trump should have bounced the ball back into Hillary’s court and said, “Wait a minute. The soldier died in a war that you voted for Hillary. A war that you want to continue to escalate.” Instead, he talked about himself.

And at least Hillary is coached enough so that when he attacks her, she bounces the ball back and makes him the issue. She doesn’t try to defend herself. So people are beginning to think, wait a minute, here’s a personality of Mr. Trump who doesn’t even know the first thing about political strategy. You don’t let the other person win by making you the issue. You make them the issue. In an economy where people are angry, you want to steer their anger toward the other candidate.

So in this election, unlike earlier elections, it’s not about whose positive program is better. Neither have a positive program. Neither have really any policy that they’re announcing. It’s about whose policy is worse. Who’s the lesser evil? It’s almost an inside out election.

PERIES: Let’s turn to Sanders’s strategy here. Now, Sanders is, of course, asking people to support Hillary. And if you buy into the idea that she is the lesser of two evils candidate, then we also have to look at Bernie’s other strategy – which is to vote as many people as we possibly can at various other levels of the elections that are going on at congressional levels, Senate level, at municipal levels. Is that the way to go, so that we can avoid some of these choices we are offered?

HUDSON: Well, this is what I don’t understand about Sanders’s strategy. He says we need a revolution. He’s absolutely right. But then, everything he said in terms of the election is about Trump. I can guarantee you that the revolution isn’t really about Trump. The way Sanders has described things, you have to take over the Democratic Party and pry away the leadership, away from Wall Street, away from the corporations.

Democrats pretend to be a party of the working class, a party of the people. But it’s teetering with Hillary as it’s candidate. If ever there was a time to split it, this was the year. But Bernie missed his chance. He knuckled under and said okay, the election’s going to be about Trump. Forget the revolution that I’ve talked about. Forget reforming the Democratic Party, I’m sorry. Forget that I said Hillary is not fit to be President. I’m sorry, she is fit to be President. We’ve got to back her.

That means backing Wall Street, the neocons and the TPP. Shame on him! He told his followers to think of pie in the sky in the decades it will take to take over the Democratic Party from below, from school boards, etc.

Labor unions said this half a century ago. It didn’t work. Bernie gave up on everything to back the TPP candidate, the neocon candidate.

What on earth is revolution if it doesn’t include either remove the rot in the Democratic Party, the Wall Street control, or start another party? It had to be one or the other. Here was his chance. I think he missed it.

PERIES: I think there’s a lot of people out there that agree with that analysis, Michael. He did miss his chance. Some people were suggesting that he should walk and form his own party. Particularly how the party treated him. But there is another choice out there. In fact, we at the Real News is out there covering the Green Party election as we are speaking here, Michael. Is that an option?

HUDSON: It would have been the only option for him. He had decided that you can’t really mount a third party, because it’s so hard. The Democrats and the Republicans together have made it almost impossible for a third party to get registered in every state. To run in every state. To get just all of the mechanics you need because of all the lawsuits against them. The Green Party is the only party that had already solved that. Apart from the Libertarian Party.

So here you have the only possible third party he could have run on this time, and he avoided it. I’m sure he must of thought about it. He was offered the presidency on it. He could of used that and brought his revolution into that party and then expanded it as a real alternative to both the Democrats and the Republicans. Because the Republican Party is already split, by the fact that the Tea Party’s pretty much destroyed it. The oligarchs have joined the Republicans and the Democrats are now seen to be the same party, called the Democratic Party. Here was his chance to make an alternative.

I don’t think there will be a chance like this again soon. I believe Hillary’s the greater evil, not Trump, because Trump is incompetent and doesn’t have the staff around him, or the political support that Hilary has. I think Bernie missed his chance to take this party and develop it very quickly, just like George Wallace could have done back in the 1960s when he had a chance. I think Chris Hedges and other people have made this point with you. I have no idea what Bernie’s idea of a revolution is, if he’s going to try to do it within the Democratic Party that’s just stamped on him again and again, you’re simply not going to have a revolution within the Democratic party.

PERIES: Well, I think you’re making a very strong point in terms of Hillary Clinton’s hawkish foreign policy and her being the candidate of the Wall Street hawks. I also do think that Donald Trump’s unknown factors in terms of how he will fall on some of the very important critical issues out there still remain a problem, because we actually don’t know how he will act. So advocating that he might be the lesser of two evils might be problematic too, no? Michael?

HUDSON: I think there’s a difference in unknown factors. I think in Trump’s case, he doesn’t know what policy he’ll do. I think he hasn’t thought it through yet. So we don’t know. Whatever policy he has, I don’t think he could get it through Congress. And the president can’t do all that much without congressional approval.

PERIES: So you think he’ll be ineffective? You think he’ll be ineffective and won’t be able to–

HUDSON: And that’s what America needs. America needs an ineffective president. That’s much better than an effective president that’s going to go to war with Russia, that’s going to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that’s going to protect Wall Street, and that’s going to oppose neoliberal austerity. I would much rather have an ineffective president than someone who’s going to do these bad things that I fear is going to come from Hillary and the Democratic Party. It’s a counter-revolution, not a revolution.

PERIES: All right, Michael. I thank you very much for joining us today, and we’ll look forward to your report next week. Thank you.

HUDSON: Good to be here.

PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

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  1. EndOfTheWorld

    I agree with Hudson that HRC is the greater threat. I also agree with him that Bernie makes no sense. What the hell did Bernie have to lose? He could have accepted the prez nomination with the Greens. In fact, he should have run third party from the git-go. By sucking up to the dems that politically raped him, Bernie is exhibiting a variation of Stockholm syndrome.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Bernie’s problem in the end is that he couldn’t see that in order to gain power in the Democratic Party (i.e., in order to dislodge the Clintons), the Left might (probably would) have to lose an election. The Democratic PoC (Party of Clinton) had to be shown as a party that could not win an election without its left half. He wrongly saw the powerless Trump as the greater threat, something that could only be done if he still at least marginally trusted Hillary to ever keep her word on anything. He will come to see that as his greatest mistake of all.

    2. Another Anon

      Bernie reminds me of Gorbachev. Both clearly saw what the problem was with their
      respective societies, but still thought that things could be fixed by changing their respective parties. Bernie it seems, like Gorbachev before him, can not intellectually accept that effective reforms require radical action on the existing power structures. Gorbachev could not break with the Communist system and Bernie can not break with the Democratic party.

    3. diptherio

      Bernie is too nice for his own good. He should have used the DNC machinations as an excuse to go back on his promise to endorse. “I made that promise on the assumption that we would all be acting in good faith. Sadly, that has proved not to be the case.”

      But no, he’s too much of a politician, or too nice, or has too much sense of personal pride…or had his life and his family threatened if he didn’t toe the line (not that I’m foily). Whatever his motivations, we don’t get a “Get out of Responsibility Free” card just because one dude made some mis-steps. If that’s all it takes to derail us, we’re so, so screwed.

    4. perpetualWAR

      No, Bernie is exhibiting behavior of a man whose family was theatened. There’s no other explanation for his pained face at the convention.

      1. kem

        Yes, indeed. I think he knows well that what he did was wrong. Then, doing the wrong thing knowingly does not have a lot of logical explanations

    5. mcarson

      Gonna defend Sanders hysterically. You’ve been warned.
      1. He said Dem only from the beginning, anyone upset about this wasn’t paying attention. If you saw his face in the debate question on capital punishment you know why. Looking down, mumbling, shaking his head and very quietly saying “I don’t think the state should be in charge of killing people.” Another quote “A guy named Adolf Hitler won an election in 1932. He won an election, and 50 million people died as a result of that election in World War II, including 6 million Jews. So what I learned as a little kid is that politics is, in fact, very important.” People who lost family in that war don’t make these decisions lightly, in my mind they get cut some slack if they seem too conservative.
      2. The plan was Sanders first, then get a decent congress elected so he’d have bills worth signing. Now that he’s lost we reverse course, elect a decent congress to put a stick in HRC’s spokes until the 2020 elections. He may not run, but somebody will, and after a couple years of HRC whoever it is will probably win.
      3. He’d never win on the Green ticket. They need a decent candidate or two to rehabilitate the party image. Right or wrong, they’re the ideological/hippie party, and they’re not going to get the majority of Democrats to leave the party to vote Green.
      4.He did so well because he had a functioning party shell to act in. Sure, the DNC tried to trip him up at every turn, but as a Democrat he had a pass allowing him in all the Democratic places – stadium rentals, invitations to party functions, etc. He could use Democratic mailing lists. He could spend his time talking about the Democratic Party of FDR. Appropriating FDR as a Green Party candidate wouldn’t have worked, it would have pissed off more Democrats than it attracted.
      5. Running as a Democrat means if you win they can’t run another Democrat against you, not true if you’re the Green candidate. Where are you going to get primary coverage? You’re not running against Democrats or Republicans, so the TV would ignore you even more than they did.
      6. Joining the Green party means you’d have to contribute to the party infrastructure. Those people getting you on ballots, organizing offices, etc. wouldn’t be able to work on your campaign. The DNC was crap, but they did take care of some administrative tasks, allowing talented people to run his campaign.

  2. Griffith W Jones

    I also agree with Hudson and EndOfTheWorld that HRC is the greater threat and that Sanders makes no sense.

    Sure, the Dems probably threatened to kick him off of Congressional Committees and to back a rival in Vermont.

    So what! With his tenure and at his age, what’s really to lose? If he couldn’t face off someone in his home state, it’s probably time to retire anyway. And it’s not like he was ever in it for the money.

    The best he gets now is mild tolerance from his masters. “Give me your followers and lick my boots.” What a coward, could have made history, now he’s a goat.

    Fortunately, his “followers” have more integrity…

  3. Eman

    It’s actually not so surprising given his long history of working within the mainstream system, simply along its fringes. I think many may have been falling into the ’08 Obama trap of seeing what they wanted to see in him.

    As a senator he’s had plenty of opportunities to grandstand, gum up the works, etc, and he really never does. Even his “filibuster” a few years back wasn’t all that disruptive.

  4. backwardsevolution

    EndOfTheWorld- totally agree with you. I just shake my head at Bernie. Diametrically opposed to Clinton, he suddenly turns around and embraces her! What? I will never understand that.

    “America needs an ineffective president. That’s much better than an effective president that’s going to go to war with Russia, that’s going to push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that’s going to protect Wall Street, and that’s going to oppose neoliberal austerity.”

    He’s right too. I am absolutely terrified of Hillary Clinton becoming President. She strikes me as having psychopathic tendencies. I mean, just look at the scandals she and Bill have been involved in, and then when she gets caught, she lies, feigns ignorance, deflects, blames others, lies some more. Power and money are her goals.

    She has called Putin “Hitler”, said she wants to expand NATO, and again said she wants to take out Assad. Well, how is she going to do that when Russia is in there? God, she is scary. I just hope that there’s a big Clinton Foundation email leak to finish her off.

    Trump is out there, but at least he wants to try to negotiate peace (of course, if war wasn’t making so many people rich, it would be stopped tomorrow). He’s questioning why NATO is necessary, never mind its continual expansion, and he wants to stop the TPP.

    God, I’d be happy with even one of the above. Hillary will give us TPP, more NATO, more war, and a cackle. Please, if anyone has some loose emails hanging around, now is the time!

  5. EndOfTheWorld

    BTW, The Donald may have bitten off more than he can chew when he lumped Filipinos in with other terrorists, prompting the Filipino prez to challenge Trump to a fist fight. “Let’s settle this once and for all, extrajudicially,” exclaimed “Duterte Harry”. In other news, Duterte called the US ambassador a “gay son of a bitch.”

    1. low integer

      Duterte is a pussy and he knows that it will never happen, which is not to say that I think Trump is some kind of tough guy. Duterte is worried about his South China Sea support evaporating, after he staked his domestic reputation on being a “tough guy” wrt China. Fuck Duterte and the horse he rode in on. Without a gun he is weak as, and his targeting of vulnerable people who are addicted to drugs is disgraceful.

  6. timbers

    Well, it was nice hoping Trump would be focus like a laser on Clinton&Obama’s TPP = why you’re worse off job wise, Clinton’s endless warmongering = why we’re less safe & world chaos, and Clinton corruption = why Wall Street owns our nations leaders.

    But it looks like that’s not going to happen.

    Agree with Hudson there will be no reforming the Democratic Party from within. Just look at the last 8 years…Dems have moved to the right at the speed of light. They are now openly calling for wars of aggression for goodness sakes even against nations we can’t win against like Russia. That wasn’t the case eight years ago.

  7. Katharine

    I take issue with his statement that the Green Party has solved the logistical problems. They couldn’t even be bothered to complete their nominating process in time to meet the filing deadlines in some states, so Stein is not on the ballot even if some down-ballot candidates are. Their fecklessness is a prime reason some people would rather see a new party.

    1. two beers

      You’re, the GP isn’t perfect, and has logistical problems. They have typical small party issues, there might be some early adopter resentment of newcomers, they’re not well organized (possibly because they’re poorly-funded part-timers instead of paid professionals?). According to Stein, they’re on track to be on the ballot in over forty states. That’s forty more than anything else you got. Go ahead, piss on the greens, and wait for your well-funded, professionally-run, efficiently-organized left wing party, instead of trying to improve the one we already have. I have a feeling the seas will be up to your shins by the time another left wing party takes root.

      Unfortunately, as with a social event, many people don’t like to show up early to a political party; they like to wait until it’s in full swing before they’ll bother showing up. They want to be sure it’s cool before they invest their own time in it.

  8. Roger Smith

    His take on Bernie is spot on. He really blew it and there is nothing revolutionary about supporting Democrats “because other”. What he did made absolutely no sense and worked against his supposed mission. He said mostly the right things until the last moment when it would have really mattered. Then he didn’t just stop saying them, he went completely backwards.

  9. cnchal

    . . . It looks like she’s able to do this, because Trump is even more narcissistic than she is.

    Hillary isn’t a narcissist. Electing Hillary means the typical situation of a narcissist politician surrounded by psychopaths is short circuited.

      1. cnchal

        . . . Histrionic people are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious . . .

        Hillary is none of those. As president, she would be surrounded by her own kind. The Charlie Rose interview that Lambert inserted into yesterday’s water cooler is a prime example of the type of person she will surround herself with.

    1. jrs

      eh bleh what does it matter? Anyone who is willing to run for that position has ugly dark sides to begin with. Look it’s the head (or at least the nominal head) of the U.S. empire, if involves wars and killings and assassinations (with and without drones). It’s in the job description. Even Bernie? Yea but we might have gotten better domestic policy and well few can rival Hillary on hawkishness, but yea even Bernie.

  10. Katniss Everdeen

    I honestly don’t think there’s any way to predict what Donald Trump will do if elected. He’s effectively a private citizen who, all of a sudden, will have access to every government secret and lie, and no culpability for any of it. It’s almost impossible to imagine what that would be like.

    And it’s what makes him so “dangerous.”

    I’m sure he will quash TPP, renegotiate nafta and be less belligerent with Russia. But what will happen when he and his non-government-indoctrinated team of advisers finally see every bit of redacted and “confidential” information that has been routinely hidden from the public and lied about for decades?

    The loss of sovereignty inherent in the “trade” agreements and incoherent Middle East policies, to name a few “strategies” this country is pursuing, have a larger purpose. We private citizens have just not been privy to it. How private citizen Trump will proceed if he is elected and comes to know the government’s deepest, darkest secrets is anybody’s guess.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think its a safe assumption that if Trump is elected he will be carefully ‘minded’ to ensure he can’t gain access to information that would upset the applecart. I doubt he would be able to get much done as there would be an establishment consensus to keep him firmly under wraps. He would mostly busy himself with jetting around meeting foreign leaders and he might actually be quite productive at that.

      1. jrs

        or he’ll pass what he campaigns on which is standard Republican policy (sometimes) through an entirely Republican legislature duh. So tax cuts, cuts to regulation etc.. Really he’s campaigning on these things and they CAN pass a Republican congress.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, if Donnie is elected, we’ll see some form of a Regency; that’s what Pence is there for.

          Donnie will be Clown Prince, while more traditionally evil Republican/DC technocrats “run” things. It would be a re-doing of the Reagan/Bush-Baker and Bush/Cheney dynamic, as seen on reality TV.

          As for Donnie taking down TPP and being the peace candididate, I think people should sit down and take a few deep breaths. As a New Yorker who’s observed him for his entire public life, and as a 90 second scanning of his career demonstrates, the man cannot be trusted to speak truthfully about anything. Does he lie exactly the way Hillary does? Of course not, she’s the accomplished professional, while Donnie spins plates and tries to misdirect by finding someone to insult when they fall and shatter.

          Vote for Hillary or not (I most likely won’t, but can’t predict much of anything in this all-bets-are-off opera buffa), but by believing anything Donnie says, you risk being the chump he already thinks you are.

          1. oh

            You’re right. He’ll make a good court jester. That’s about it. as for “the man cannot be trusted to speak truthfully about anything” reminds me of someone who gets on TeeVee and does that well. And he really didn’t have any experience but he got himself good handlers and others who ran the country.

    2. EoinW

      Exactly right! Trump is dangerous…to the establishment. And the establishment is what we have to get rid of. When was the last time a political candidate in any country was as hated by the establishment as Trump is? That’s all you need to know. As flawed a character as Trump is, he still represents our last chance to challenge the establishment. It won’t be a pretty presidency – but it will be entertaining – however the alternative is the ultimate horror show. Plus you are gambling that Clinton won’t start a nuclear war and end the human race. Why would anyone in their right mind touch that wager?

      1. RepubAnon

        No, Trump is dangerous to us. Do you really want Supreme Court judges capable of returning to the Lochner era, and ruling all federal regulations unconstitutional?

        The Lochner era is a period in American legal history in which the Supreme Court of the United States is said to have made it a common practice “to strike down economic regulations adopted by a State based on the Court’s own notions of the most appropriate means for the State to implement its considered policies,”[1] by using its interpretation of substantive due process to strike down laws held to be infringing on economic liberty or private contract rights.[2][3] The era takes its name from a 1905 case, Lochner v. New York. The beginning of the era is usually marked earlier, with the Court’s decision in Allgeyer v. Louisiana (1897), and its end marked forty years later in the case of West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937), which overturned an earlier Lochner-era decision.[4]
        Source: Wikipedia, The Lockner Era

        By the end of a Trump administration, most federal lands, and many national wilderness areas, forests, and parks, would be sold at fire sale prices to his rich buddies… and we’d have to buy them back at market prices, or (more likely) lose them forever. All federal regulations would be deemed unconstitutional under Lochner-era legal reasoning, from environmental laws to federal minimum wage, food safety, drug safety, and child labor laws – and social security.

        Think I’m scaremongering? The Federalist Society, a conservative society of lawyers from whose ranks Republicans pick judges, published this in 2015:

        SCOTUS Approves Questionable Social Security
        The first and most important SCOTUS decision was affirming the constitutionality of the Social Security Act. At the time it was enacted, it was no sure thing that the Supreme Court would uphold it. It was unprecedented for the federal government to provide such a sweeping social safety net, and several key New Deal programs had been thrown out, including the Railroad Retirement Act in 1935, the National Industrial Recovery Act, also in 1935, and the Agricultural Adjustment Act in 1936.
        Source: The Federalist Society, The Supreme Court’s Reign Of Terror, 1937-1944

        These folks think that Social Security, federal minimum wage laws, etc. are unconstitutional. Get enough of them on the court, and all the Warren Court decisions allowing liberals to criticize the government could easily be overturned, too.

      1. backwardsevolution

        Exactly right, and Trump would shout it from the rafters. It IS why the establishment elite are fighting him so hard, because he might discover dirt and reveal it.

  11. Spring Texan

    You know, it is simply NOT TRUE that the president can’t do much without the consent of congress. They can wage wars and deport people. HRC is awful and dangerous, but Trump is an OVERT champion of hate and is very dangerous too. I agree with Sanders’ decison.

    Clinton is awful, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better idea to elect a hateful, racist, despicable con man.

    1. MikeNY


      I dislike them both, but Trump’s appeal to the basest and most contemptible impulses of human nature thoroughly disgusts me. As does his inability ever to admit error or to apologize; that is simply puerile.

      IMO, this isn’t so much a case of the lesser of two evils as it is a case of the devil you know…

      1. Roger Smith

        “but Trump’s appeal to the basest and most contemptible impulses of human nature thoroughly disgusts me. As does his inability ever to admit error or to apologize”

        Are you sure you aren’t talking about Clinton? All she ever does is double down, even lying still about the emails and Comey’s report. “We came, we saw, he died… ahahhaha!” What about that does not represent the “basest and most contemptible impulses of human nature”? She fans the flames of war. She promotes ignorant public policies that leave all but the special few in the dust and filth. She was a close associate with and revered by a man who said, on public television, that we should be killing Iranians and Russians… you know, to send a message about diplomacy. The greatest irony I have seen was the flack Trump got for saying he could shoot a man in public and no one would care, ironic because it is [a] Clinton he was really describing.

        Every time some GOP member leaves the Trump Train he becomes a better candidate.

        1. MikeNY

          I won’t defend Clinton.

          My point is that Trump is an utterly unknown quantity as POTUS, and what I see from him as a person I don’t like. At all. You may not think things can get worse; I think they can.

          1. Pat

            It is unlikely that Trump will be able to deport more people than Obama’s record breaking administration. Something, that for all her rhetoric, there is no reason to believe that Clinton will change. As for waging war, we have a whole lot of information that for all his massive drone wars and interventions in the Middle East, Obama actually ended up rejecting Clinton’s continuous advice for more more more military intervention.
            I agree with you that Trump is not likable, and an unknown. The problem is that the known is despicable. Neither, let me repeat, neither candidate should be anywhere near this close to the White House.
            You have obviously chosen the despicable hateful war mongering devil you know. Others are willing to roll the dice with the guy who has incoherently at least given a nod to the idea that war with Russia is not a smart plan, and that our current military choices are not effective – not to mention a far more coherent case that our trade policy is screwed up and needs to be changed.

            Once again, people are choosing from known despicable, unknown possibly lesser possibly greater despicable, and unlikely to win third parties or write ins – everyone can only do that for themselves.

              1. backwardsevolution

                One New York reporter (sorry, I don’t have the link) said that he has watched Trump his whole life and he said, though he could say many bad things about Trump, racism wasn’t one of them. He said he had never in all his years of watching him known Trump to be racist in any way.

                Trump wants to stop “illegal” immigration so that poor Americans can have jobs. Illegals lower wages (because American employers pay them less), they increase rents (supply and demand), and they cost a fortune in medical and educational costs. He’s for “legal” immigration when the country needs more workers. I don’t think that is being racist, although he doesn’t have a very nice way of saying things.

                Muslim immigration stopped until they can be properly vetted? That’s just being prudent and careful, but again he could say things in a much kinder way.

                He’s a wild man, but at least he’s upfront about it. I see her as being a narcissist that just hides it better than he does. She could get us all killed.

                1. backwardsevolution

                  While Trump is upfront (yikes, I know), I see Hillary as the secretive, conniving, manipulative, scheming, backstabbing type. When someone slights Trump, out comes his response right back at them. It’s over. But I would not want to cross her. I see her as cold, with very, very little conscience. I mean, would you ever have tried to pull off the scandals she has been involved in? No. She seeks power and money, and look out if you ever got in her way. She never says she’s sorry, not really. Most you get out of her is she made a “mistake”.

                  Her outright aggression towards Russia, Syria, Libya, Ukraine should give you a hint of what lurks inside. And she doesn’t attack these countries to better the U.S. She’s doing it solely for her own person gain: money into the Clinton Foundation, business for her speech-giving husband, all to further the Clinton’s.

                  IMO, a very dangerous person, a very dangerous couple. And she has said, if she’s elected, she will put Bill Clinton in charge of “economic affairs”! Can you just imagine what more deregulation will do for the banks? He repealed Glass-Steagall and brought us the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, as well as NAFTA. Get ready to hear a “huge” sucking sound if Hillary is elected. The place will be gutted.

                  1. backwardsevolution

                    Okay, I’m pretty sure I saw it at Counterpunch. I think I can probably find it. Thanks.

                2. Michael Fiorillo

                  That’s preposterous about Donnie not being racist. When the Central Park Five (released from prison and compensated by the state for false impisonment) were arrested, Donnie took out full page ads for days in the NYC papers, all but calling for those (innocent) boy’s lynching. He was raised in an explicitly racist milieu – his father arrested at a KKK tussle in Queens in the 1920’s, and successfully sued by the Nixon DOJ for his discriminatory rental policies…) and has a long history of saying ignorant, absurd and racist things about “The Blacks.”

                  1. backwardsevolution

                    From what I’ve read, the whole city was blaming these (innocent) boys, even the boys themselves. Everyone, not just Donald Trump. I remember hearing about it from far away; every newspaper and news report was saying the boys did it. From this article, it looks like Trump took out one ad, but the Daily News ran another the next day for free. Did Trump put these ads in other newspapers as well, or just the Daily News?

                    “And, in early May, 1989, Donald Trump took out a full-page ad in the Daily News to say what he thought he knew about the case. […] The Daily News reprinted that ad on Saturday, next to Trump’s new op-ed. Perhaps he feels that he got a good deal, having the ad run again for free.”


                    Then, of course, you get the other side of the story, the part where the boys, with their parents sitting beside them, were talking about how they had raped this woman. They were describing it in detail. WTF? They had been in the park that night, they had been attacking other people. Read the article.


                    Donald Trump is not his father. He has a mouth that runs away on him, and he pretty much has something to say about everyone, Blacks included. He is a narcissist, as is almost every other President. They have to be; you or I would fold with the personal attacks they have to put up with. It’s just that Trump is “out there”, he speaks out, whereas the others are more guarded. Take a look at the list of Presidents:


                    They all seem to have pretty histories, some more than others. I’m looking forward to seeing where Obama stands, Hillary or Trump.

    2. shinola

      “Clinton is awful, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better idea to elect a hateful, racist, despicable con man”

      Perhaps with a hateful, racist, despicable con man trying to tell them what to do, congress just might re-assert its authority instead of acting as a rubber stamp.

      Which is the LOTE – Trump antagonizing congress into gridlock or HRC manipulating them into moar war?

    3. TedWa

      It sounds like you’re talking about HRC when you’re talking about Trump. She coined the term “super predators” so they could enrich the private prison industry by filling the jails with black people, she has waged wars against brown people in the middle east for no particular reason except corporate profits and power, no respect for their theocracies or the delicate balance that “supposed” tyrants there accomplished that had enduring peace there (some may argue). Where has Trump exhibited such hatred and racism? His policies? What policies? No one that has worked for him ever described him as hateful, racist or despicable. Stop believing the propaganda on TV.

      Hatred and racism is exhibited in leaders by being a war monger and gutting this nation with the TPP and lousy trade deals that sell off our national sovereignty and democracy. You might think Obama doesn’t like us, the 99%, but Hillary probably hates us. Pay attention, the most “effective evil” is the evil to fear.

      1. MikeNY

        I am with Noam Chomsky on this. If it’s not close in my state, I will vote 3rd party. If it is close, I’ll vote for Clinton over Trump. There is a good interview with Chomsky on this on youtube which I’m too lazy to look up right now.

        But as Pat said above, everyone must make up his or her own mind.

        1. TedWa

          Of course my friend, you have to vote your conscience is the way I’ve always felt. You have to be able to live with your vote.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Has there ever been any evidence that this type of strategic voting has ever done any good whatsoever or ever had its intended result?

          Just speculation but I’m guessing that only a very few of the very politically astute would even bother.

          I say vote your conscience regardless and let the chips fall where they may.

          Not the voters fault that this is the best the two major parties could come up with.

          1. MikeNY

            Well, a counterfactual: Bush v Gore 2000. I have heard arguments that if Nader had not run, or if no one voted for him, Gore would have won Florida and hence the election.

            How might the world be different?

                1. Michael Fiorillo

                  Mike, I’ve no links to provide you with -you can easily find them – but the rebuttal to the Nader-Gave-Us-Bush line is typically that 1) hundreds of thousands of registered Democrats in Florida voted for Bush, and 2) Gore could not win his “home” (though he’s really a pure product of Washington, DC) state of Tennessee.

                  The Blame Nader narrative also ignores the fact that the Dems did little or nothing to contest the blatant stealing of the election.

                  Lies and misdirection, everywhere you look.

                  1. MikeNY

                    Thanks, Michael. They only way I see to disprove it is if they interviewed all 90,000+ Nader voters and > 50% in FL swore they would have voted for Bush — or some such.

                    It seems tough to disprove such an historical counterfactual hypothetical!

                    At any rate, I think this is what underlies Chomsky’s reasoning.

                  1. MikeNY

                    Thanks for the link. From the Alternet article linked to at the end:

                    CNN exit polls show that only about 47 percent of the Nader voters would have voted for Gore in a two way race, while 21 percent would have voted for Bush and 30 percent would have abstained from voting in the Presidential contest altogether.

                    This would be the relevant evidence to prove the counterfactual hypothesis. I note that it seems to be contradicted by the CNN polling data in the Truthdig article; what is unclear to me is whether they are talking about FL voters, or national voters. It makes a difference if we are focusing solely on FL (which in itself could be problematic if Nader’s elimination swung the result in other states — which I don’t know.)

                    Anyway, as I said above, I do think it is this example and reasoning that underlies Chomsky’s logic. And mine. But I admit, I am abjectly unenthusiastic about it. I expect and hope that I shall be able to vote 3rd party — I vote in NY.

                    Thanks again. And to you and all, I appreciate the civility of tone in this engagement. I realize my view is probably in the minority here.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Gore got more votes overall than Bush and not all the votes were counted in FL in 2000 thanks to a corrupt Supreme court. Bush was appointed, not elected, and that isn’t Nader’s fault.

              Nader ran in 2004 too and got ,< 1% of the vote. Of course that election was stolen too but neither Gore nor Kerry bothered to raise a fuss.

              I think we ought to be concentrating more on the integrity of our elections in this country rather than wringing our hands about who might be a 'spoiler'.

              Can't stand the republicans but I haven't heard them whinging about Ross Perot for the last 20 years.

            2. MojaveWolf

              Sooooo tired of this analogy. And I voted for Gore in 2000. First, a couple of differences:
              Gore was clearly a much better candidate and would have been a much better president than Bush. And Gore was great on the environment.

              Also, Gore lost primarily because of a tilted “liberal media” that seemed to MUCH prefer Bush. Secondarily because he (or his people) ran one of the worst presidential campaigns I’ve ever seen. Maybe the worst presidential campaign I’ve ever seen, as far as trying to take advantage of the candidate’s strengths (Trump in this general is working on catching up, though!)

              Third was Clinton fatigue, which was very real at the time and did not help at all. Nader and the cheating in Florida and the horrid Supreme Court decision (complete w/failures to recuse that were kinda eyebrow raising) were also relevant, but none of this should have even come into play. Gore had a lot to work with, Bush was a godawful candidate, and a competent campaign combined with something even vaguely resembling fair media coverage would have made this a slam dunk 5+ % win despite the polarized country and a strong desire on the part of many to get rid of anything associated with Bill. Even with all that, and Nader, if we hadn’t allowed a truly criminal purge of non-criminals from Florida’s voter rolls, Gore wins. This was followed by the count fiasco, more horribly biased media coverage (they were as desperate for Gore to quit then as they were for Bernie to quit the last several months of his campaign, gotta give Bernie credit for fighting harder and longer against worse odds), Gore inexplicably rolling over in a display that still makes me shake my head in disbelief, and a just plain wrong Supreme Court decision that only happened because justices w/family members working on Bush’s campaign didn’t recuse themselves.

              But still, biggest difference for me? Neither of these are someone I want in the oval office.

            3. Skippy

              Bush used the Enron jet to stitch up a deal, Gore folded.

              Disheveled Marsupial…. I still get a tear in my eye when thinking about the xmas card the Skilling family sent Bush…. see you in the WH…. sniff…

  12. Tyler

    Speaking of revolution, I emailed Chomsky yesterday and he replied. The below is my message to him.

    Professor Chomsky,

    In the last years of his life, Martin Luther King, Jr. organized the Poor People’s Campaign, which essentially planned to occupy Capitol Hill. The campaign still happened after his death, but not enough people showed up for it to have a great impact.

    I’ve begun to advocate what would essentially be a continuation of the Poor People’s Campaign, but with a broader focus on the numerous crises facing humanity: climate change, poverty, illegal wars, etc.

    Would you possibly be interested in providing rhetorical support for this action?

    Thank you so much for your efforts to make a better world.

    The below is Chomsky’s reply.

    It was a wonderful and very important initiative, cruelly undermined by his assassination. I hope you manage to revive it.

  13. Butch In Waukegan

    Sanders’ convention endorsement:

    I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her, as you do, as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care.

    I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children, for women and for the disabled.

    Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her tonight!

    Sanders’ campaign was premised on exactly the opposite. How can anyone now take Bernie seriously?

    Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.

    1. backwardsevolution

      Butch – “…she helped lead the fight for universal health care.” Did she now? Here’s a good quote on how she felt about universal health care:

      “Hillary took the lead role in the White House’s efforts to pass a corporate-friendly version of “health reform.” Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the “co-presidents” decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care “discussion.” (Obama would do the same thing in 2009.)

      “David, tell me something interesting.” That was then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s weary and exasperated response – as head of the White House’s health reform initiative – to Harvard medical professor David Himmelstein in 1993. Himmelstein was head of Physicians for a National Health Program. He had just told her about the remarkable possibilities of a comprehensive, single-payer “Canadian style” health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public. Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation’s 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as “the most cost-effective plan on offer.”


      That whole article deals with the “fake liberalism” exhibited by the Clinton’s and Obama. It says they only “pretend” to care.

      Perhaps Yves could highlight Hillary’s disdain for single-payer healthcare on another post. Thanks.

  14. vidimi

    clinton is the more effective evil for another reason; she is respected by other neoliberals who rule the world in other countries. even if trump wanted to pass the TPP, TTIP and TISA, the intense dislike of him would make it easier to reject the bills in countries like Canada, Australia, the EU. A hillary presidency would just about guarantee they’d sign.

  15. Steve Sewall

    I love Michael Hudson. But like everyone commenting here he is needlessly thinking inside the crumbling box of America’s existing top-down, money-driven system of political discourse. So what is it that keeps us from thinking outside this godawful box? I think we’re all so deeply and habitually embedded in the mode of being status quo critics that we’re unable to enter the problem-solving mode of finding alternatives to it. But to make government work in America, we need to think in both modes.

    So let’s think outside the box for a minute. After all, it’s common knowledge that the current “rigged” system, as Donald Trump keeps calling it, has been instrumental in bringing American politics and government to their present state of dysfunction at local, state and national levels. Americans hate and despise this elitist system; everyone is disgusted with the political donor class whose billions of dollars underwrite the election-rigging televised attack ads that dominate it.

    At the Demo Convention Bernie Sanders neatly pinpointed the topics with which this bogus system is obsessed: “Let me be as clear as I can be. … This election is not about political gossip. It’s not about polls. It’s not about campaign strategy. It’s not about fundraising. It’s not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing.” Yet like all presidential candidates this year Bernie didn’t take the next, logical step: he didn’t call for the creation of a new political discourse system. (Note that Hillary alone among the top three candidates never, ever has a bad word to say against the current system.)

    OK, so what might a new system look like? First off, it would be non-partisan, issue-centered and deliberative. And citizen-participatory. It would make citizens and governments responsive and accountable to each other in shaping the best futures of their communities. That’s its core principal.

    More specifically, the format of a reality TV show like The Voice or American Idol could readily be adapted to create ongoing, prime-time, issue-centered searches for solutions to any and all of the issues of the day. And of course problem-solving Reality TV is just of any number of formats that could work for TV. Other media could develop formats tap their strengths and appeal to their audiences.

    I’m from Chicago, so here’s how it could take shape in the Windy City.

    Thanks to the miracle of modern communications technologies, there’s nothing to stop Americans from having a citizen-participatory system of political discourse that gives all Americans an informed voice in the political and government decisions that affect their lives. Americans will flock in drove to ongoing, rule-governed problem-solving public forums that earn the respect and trust of citizens and political leaders alike. When we create them, governments at local, state and national levels will start working again. If we don’t, our politics will continue to sink deeper into the cesspool we’re in now.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Do you see it as possible that empowered citizens will truly be willing to take on big capital, even when big capital goes to war on them? I’m skeptical, unless there is a real socialist-ish movement out there educating and politicizing. In other words, while the political system is indeed broken, the economy is also broken and it is hard to see “empowered” citizens fixing the economy. What I think would happen is the politicians elected by these empowered citizens would be opposed by big business and the politicians they own, nothing good would get done, and there would be a business-financed media drumbeat that more democracy has been “proven” not to work.

      I don’t think our political problems can be solved simply be electing better politicians – though of course we do need better politicians.

      1. Steve Sewall

        It’s all a matter of how we frame the issue of income inequality. Your framing is oppositional, mine is unifying. When you ask whether empowered citizens are willing to “take on” big capital, you’re talking about a fight, and I wholly agree that nothing good will come of mere fights. I also agree that our political problems cannot possibly be solved simply by electing better politicians, as Bernie is trying to do. What we need are new ways – constructive and effective – for citizens and politicians to interact with each other.

        The box we need to think outside of is by definition oppositional, polarizing and left/right ideological. All the comments I see to Hudson’s piece are oppositional. They come from within the box that’s killing us. To think outside this box, we need only to frame the issue of income inequality in a manner that’s unifying and not oppositional. How to do this in a new system of political discourse? Do so in programming that implements the core principle of unity through constant repetition to audiences and participants alike: We’re all in the same boat, citizens and big capital alike. We are mutually interdependent. We are Americans who in the surprisingly near future will either learn to swim together or continue sinking together. And we’re sinking fast these days because we’ve completely lost the ability to communicate rationally with each other.

        The framing I propose has a second component: it’s empirical: it asks all Americans whether income inequality empirically exists today – to what extent the economic data and their perceptions support it – and then it asks and determines for all to see precisely how harmful income inequality has become to the well-being of citizens and nation.

        Finally, the framing needed to think outside the box is constructive. Rigorously so. The content and programming of the political discourse system I propose are designed to produce good results, and do so in ways that earn the respect and trust citizens (including big capital) and politicians alike. Here is one example of how these criteria can be implemented in problem-solving Reality TV.

  16. TedWa

    The evil to fear is the most effective evil. Hillary IS both sides of the aisle and Congress will allow her all her neocon neoliberal desires, Trump is neither side of the aisle and would be ineffective because he doesn’t belong to the neoliberal neocons, he’s not an insider and obviously won’t play their games.

  17. crittermom

    Okay. I know this comment will bring forth much backlash, but I’m gonna put it out there anyway since my ‘give-a-shitter’ was severely cracked over 4 yrs ago (when 2 sheriff’s deputies evicted me from my home while I had been current on my pymts when the bank foreclosed and the response from EVERY govt agency I contacted told me to “hire a lawyer”, which I couldn’t afford, with one costing much more than I owed on my home of 20 yrs). I had bought my first house by the time I graduated h.s. and had owned one ever since until now.

    My ‘give-a-shitter’ completely shattered this year with the election, so here goes:

    So it seems we are offered 3 choices when we vote. Trump, Hillary or Green.

    To someone who is among the 8-10 MILLION (depending on whose figures you believe) whose home was illegally taken from them by the banksters, I would welcome a 4th choice since none of the 3 offered will improve my life before I die.

    The consensus seems to be that it’ll take decades to create change through voting.

    I’m a divorced woman turning 65. I don’t feel I have decades to wait, while I am forced to live in a place that doesn’t even have a flush toilet because it’s all I can afford. To someone my age with no degrees or special skills, the job market is nonexistent, even if I lived in a big city (where I couldn’t afford the rent).

    When I see reports of an increase in new homes being built, I’d love to see a breakdown showing exactly how many of those homes will be primary residences and how many are second (or third, or fourth) homes.

    There are 4 new custom homes being built within a half mile of me.
    None will be primary residences. All will be ‘vacation’ homes.

    Yet if we’re to believe the latest figures, “the housing market is improving!”
    For whom?

    Yes, I’m extremely disappointed that Bernie bailed on us. I doubt either of us will live long enough to see the change required to change this govt and save the planet with our current choices this election.

    I fear the only thing that this election has given me was initially great hope for my future, before being plunged into the darkness of the same ol’, same ol’ as my only choices.

    I was never radical or oppositional in my life but I would now welcome a revolution. I don’t see me living long enough to welcome that change by voting. Especially with the blatant voter suppression and all else that transpired this election.

    While the govt and political oligarchs may fear Russia & ISIS, if they met 8-10 million of us victims of the banksters, they would come to realize real fear, from those within their homeland.

    Most are horrified when I offer this view, saying I’d be thrown in prison.
    Hmmm…considering that…I’d be fed, clothed, housed—and I’d have a flush toilet!

    Gads, I’d love to see millions of us march on Washington & literally throw those in power out of their seats onto the lawn, saying “enough is enough”!

    So I guess my question is, does anyone else feel as ‘at the end of their rope’ as I do?
    Can you even truly imagine being in my position and what you would do or how you would feel?

    Yes. I screamed, cried, and wrote Bernie’s campaign before his endorsement speech was even completed, expressing my disappointment, after foregoing meals to send him my meager contributions.
    My hopes were shattered and I’m growing impatient for change.

    1. Roger Smith

      I have not had nearly the hardship you have had crittermom and I have not lived as long either, but at 27, and being someone who has been discontent with social structure since middle school, I have absolutely had enough. Genetics, environment, the combination of internal-external factors, whatever it was I have always had a very (“annoying” and sarcastic) curiousity or oppositional approach to things, especially things people do not question and accept as is (religion, government…).

      Growing older has only led me to greater understanding of the pit we reside within and how we probably will not get out. This election season in particular has been ridiculously… indescribable. The utter incompetence of our selfish administrations is finally coming to a head and people are completely oblivious, pulling the same stale BS that we have seen every four years since before I was born.

      Bernie totally blew it but, outside your hardship, don’t ever think you effort was a waste. For once an honest candidate appeared who was backed by the policies we need and you supported that (as I did). That is the most we can do at this point. Bernie the man should absolutely be criticized because he wanted a “revolution” then sold out to the Junta instead of biting back when it would have really sent a message to the people and high rollers. He wasn’t willing to sacrifice what was necessary to make a stand. Instead he sided with the people that have made careers sacrificing citizens like you–and that is terrible. The reality these people live in and teach to others is such a lie.

      1. crittermom

        Roger Smith, I admit I’m very surprised to learn your age!
        I’ve read your comments on NC and mistook you for someone much older because of the wisdom you’ve gained. That’s a very pleasant surprise and gives me some hope for the future of this country.

        I can’t say that I’m mad at Bernie for his early endorsement because I still admire him for ‘taking up the cause’ in an uphill battle against even his own party.
        I fear there’s more to it than we’ll ever know, since this is a man who has stood by his principles and has literally put himself on the line and even been jailed for them, over many decades. I can only believe there were some really dirty ‘politics’ involved.

        Thank you for your compassion, and understanding my rant.
        My hope is that you not become too jaded, however, to pause and see that there is still good and beauty in this world. I must remind myself to do so every day sometimes, or the ugliness I see in politics and too many people will destroy me.

        Fortunately, nature has always nourished my soul, so when it all becomes ‘too much’, I grab my camera and literally ‘take a hike’. It disolves much of my anger or at least gets it down to manageable form, giving me a clearer head.

        Sadly, thousands of photos later, I admit I still fail to see an answer in the choices currently offered this election. The best outcome of those would be gridlock. For me that’s like putting life on ‘hold’, yet the clock continues to run. Still, it remains the best choice. Very sad.

        When I was your age I was married with a 3 y/o son, nice home, and I was able to stay home and raise him until he started school before I reentered the workforce. One income afforded us a middle class life. Life was good financially.
        Fast forward five years and I was a single mom raising a son, but life was still much easier than now.

        I must apologize to you for not having opened my eyes sooner, thus leaving you with our current state of affairs.
        But please don’t let stories like mine leave you seeing only the dark side of life.
        There is still good to build on in this crazy world of today.

        1. Roger Smith

          Thank you for sharing crittermom. Don’t feel like you are responsible in anyway. I am unsure what viable options people actually have to do anything (unless there are many, many of them together) and I try to always fault the citizenry last for, however dumb they are behaving, they have been and are being constantly manipulated and groomed to be this way. (Total side note: Thinking about Lambert’s comments on hating lawns–I do too–this morning I started to wonder if they weren’t some 1950s psycho-experiement to train people to be more routine oriented/distracted).

          I agree about life, it is truly incredible and full of wonder. Just think about it, what the hell are we? Wow! (I guess what I’d call “Perspective Analysis”, consciousness, and “meta-physics” are all other things I am interested in). One thing I hate about the way we ‘choose’ to live is that it covers all of that up, it makes it inconvenient or drains people and makes them to lethargic to care. Take rain for example, rain is awesome but we’ve created this reality where rain is inconvenient–it ruins our hair, makes working annoying, ruins all of our electronic and personal belongings we cart around all day (unless our lawn needs it. Then boy oh boy does it need to rain… and fast!) Last week we finally got a warm rain and I went out walking in it.

          Regarding Bernie, yea I agree and admire him taking up the cause. I posted awhile ago about the incongruities in his actions and one of the possible explanations was threats (though I did not give it too much plausibility). However, in light of the potential DNC leaker death… who knows. I hope we learn the truth one day. It would be nice to clear the air around Sanders.

    2. Roger Smith

      These circumstances constantly remind me of the closing passage from Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies”:

      The Snake That Eats Its Own Tail, Forever and Ever. I know where I came from—but where did all you
      zombies come from?

      I felt a headache coming on, but a headache powder is one thing I do not take. I did once—and you all went away.

      So I crawled into bed and whistled out the light.

      You aren’t really there at all. There isn’t anybody but me—Jane—here alone in the dark.

      I miss you dreadfully!

    3. jrs

      There are probably severe limits to what Bernie could do if he was elected next President of the U.S. in 2016 (not going to happen unfortunately it looks like) UNLESS he brought a massive amount of progressive (not sell-out) Dems along with him which is an uphill battle due the gerrymandering of the House and the money drenching of other politics like the Senate. The Bern could probably stop certainly things from getting worse like passing the TPP (but Obama would probably slip it by on the way out if he could), might be serious in going into climate conferences, may veto SS cuts, but that’s just holding the line. Maybe he’d inspire the election of Bernie type people in state governments and so on which would eventually change things.

  18. Carolinian

    America needs an ineffective president.

    Oh heck yes. This is a fight that has been going on for decades with battles like the War Powers Act and Nixon’s impeachment. Supposedly the Founding Fathers didn’t want an all powerful chief executive and thought that Congress would be the dominant force. But in modern times, even before Clinton v Trump, we already had gone much too far in the direction of a caudillo. Internally one person with a bully pulpit will never be able to change the current course and overseas presidents have a frightening amount of power that they can wield and then dare Congress to do something about it afterwards.

    So despite his potty mouth there’s something to be said for Mr. Trump Goes to Washington. By the time he figures out how to be caudillo it may be time for another election.

  19. Bullwinkle

    I, too, don’t understand what Bernie Sanders did at the convention. However, I’ve begun to wonder if the leaked emails had something to do with it. It’s possible that some in the DNC were pointing the finger at Bernie and he got scared. Scared enough to do an about face in regard to Clinton. Just some thoughts after reading a bit more about Seth Richard, the young DNC staffer shot dead near his home in DC.

    1. polecat

      There’s definitely some hinky scullduggery going on……It kind of parallels the somewhat questionable bankster related deaths of recent years……and when you combine these with the latest utterances by Morell re. assassinating Syrians and Russias……….and Bob Beckel calling for, on Fox News, the out-right killing of Julian Assange………..well..why wouldn’t it seem credible of the existence political hit squads?

      We are witnessing, in real time, full-on crazytown !!

  20. crittermom

    Bullwinkle, I’ve seen blogs and photos about a supposed cut and bruise on Bernie’s cheek during the convention, but nothing about it from what would be considered a ‘reliable’ source, so who knows?
    Tho’ I wouldn’t be shocked if it were true, I also don’t tend to take it as truth, since much can be done using Photoshop. It certainly never made the news, but then, what we used to rely on as the ‘news’ has become so corrupted the fact it wasn’t reported doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen.
    That he endorsed before he promised he would leaves many of us wondering. Especially when coupled with the recent questionable death.

  21. backwardsevolution

    crittermom/Bullwinkle – here’s one of the articles by Chris Hedges on Bernie Sanders:

    “Because the party is completely captive to corporate power,” Hedges said. “And Bernie has cut a Faustian deal with the Democrats. And that’s not even speculation. I did an event with him and Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Kshama Sawant in New York the day before the Climate March. And Kshama Sawant ,the Socialist City Councilwoman from Seattle and I asked Sanders why he wanted to run as a Democrat. And he said — because I don’t want to end up like Nader.”

    “He didn’t want to end up pushed out of the establishment,” Hedges said. “He wanted to keep his committee chairmanships, he wanted to keep his Senate seat. And he knew the forms of retribution, punishment that would be visited upon him if he applied his critique to the Democratic establishment. So he won’t.”


    1. Lambert Strether

      I don’t get what’s wrong with not ending up like Nader.

      And if Sanders saved the left from another two decades of “Nader Nader neener neener!” more power to him, say I.

      1. backwardsevolution

        Fair enough. I don’t know enough about Nader to care. To me, it was just the about-face that Bernie did, going from denouncing Hillary (albeit not very strongly) to embracing her. I think if I had been one of his supporters who cheered him on, sent him money, got my hopes raised that he would go all the way, I would have been very disappointed. Almost like a tease.

    2. crittermom

      Thanks for that link.

      I’d wanted Bernie to run as an Independent more than anything, but I can understand him wanting to keep his Senate seat and chairs. Without them, he has no power to bring change.
      I had believed he had a good chance to win, whipping a big Bernie Bird to both parties and changing things in my lifetime, running Independent.

      I now realize just how completely corrupt our political system is. Far worse than I ever could have imagined. Wow, have my eyes been opened!

      I’m beginning to think this election may just come down to who has the bigger thugs, Trump or HRC.

      1. backwardsevolution

        crittermom – HRC has got the big corporate money behind her, the media too. Trump is fighting an uphill battle. If you watch CNN, which I watch very little of, they spend almost the whole time pulling apart what Trump has said, and very, very little press on Hillary’s email, the Clinton Foundation, etc.

        They are going after Trump with all that they have. They want the status quo to remain, and they are very worried that he might change it. Hillary is Wall Street, multinational corporations, arms dealers, weapons manufacturers, the military-industrial complex. Who would have thought that the guy running for the right wants to keep jobs in America, wants to stop wars, and the one on the left is for the monied class! Right is left and left is right. Upside down world.

        The following article is old now, from April, but it gives you an idea of “Why the Establishment Hates Trump” and what he is planning on doing. Watch them go after him; they will vilify him.

        “When you join the dots to Trump also preaching a policy revolt against the insatiable corporate jaws feeding on trillions of dollars of public budgets in Washington, the meaning becomes clear. But that connected meaning is blacked out. In its place, the corporate media and politicians present an egomaniac blowhard bordering on fascism who preaches hate, racism and sexism. But the silenced policies he advocates are more like jumping into a crocodile pit. He is on record saying he will cut the Pentagon’s budget “by 50%”. No winning politician has ever dared to take on the military-industrial complex, with even Eisenhower only naming it in his parting speech. Trump also says that the US “must be neutral, an honest broker” on the Israeli-Palestine conflict – as unspeakable as it gets in US politics. Big Pharma is also called out with “$400 billion to be saved by government negotiation of prices”. The even more powerful HMO’s are confronted by the possibility of a “one-payer system”, the devil incarnate in America’s corporate-welfare state.”


        Hillary and her team will try to paint Trump as a lover of Putin, as a racist, bigot, bring the narrative down to this only. This way, no one ends up talking about the corporate elites she represents. Good, read some more, crittermom, and open your eyes even more. There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

  22. MLaRowe

    So I don’t usually post here, just mostly read what other folks have to say.

    Recently I asked a wise person I know what historically follows an oligarchy (which is what I believe we have been in for awhile now). He told me that an oligarchy is usually followed by a dictatorship.

    So if that is the case is Trump going to take us into the land of dictatorship (which I believe is highly likely) or are any of us going to be able to tread water for a little longer with HRC (who I agree is ugh a non-choice but hopefully the lesser of the two evils).

    Looking this up I found the concept of the Tytler Cycle. Interesting and scary. This is off wikipedia:

    Two centuries ago, a somewhat obscure Scotsman named Tytler made this profound observation: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy”.

    Anyway can someone refute this for me so I can sleep tonight? Thanks, in advance.

  23. Roland

    @ MLaRowe

    How could Trump become a dictator?

    Congress will be hostile. Judiciary will be hostile.

    Pentagon will be hostile (didn’t you see all those generals and admirals, in uniform, literally lining up behind Clinton?)

    Civil administration will be sullen, uncooperative, and leaking like crazy.

    Trump does not have his own freestanding parallel state organization, ready to move in and take over the bureaucracy and the armed forces. It would be physically impossible for Trump to attempt a mass purge.

    So exactly how the hell would Trump impose his will on the American masses? Answer: No Way.

    President Trump can only be a relatively weak president.

    Just think: if you elect Trump, you would actually get to see the US Constitution’s fabled “checks and balances” come into play for once in your life!

    1. Roger Smith

      How could Trump become a dictator?

      Thank you! The same question I have been asking repeatedly throughout this charade. Everyone’s favorite line is “Trump will be a dictator [be afriad]!” The obvious question… how?! How is Trump going to have the same or any more power within or over the system than any president before him?? What is a reasonable strategy with which he could upend and create domination over this system with? This is complete rhetorical garbage, the same kind of nonsense displayed when he is shock quoted and only the narrative supporting text is copied (such as the convenient omission that the fabled day in which Clinton could be assassinated would be “horrible”). It also fits well with the Democrats’ habit of burying themselves instead of putting up a fight.

  24. Roger Smith

    I have felt for a long time but have struggled to put into words the deep, strong aversion I have towards Clinton (et al.)and that I feel any time I read about her or see her. There is a phrase in the song Art War, by the Knack, that caught my ear; what I originally heard as, “malice of forethought”. To me this represents the idea that terrible, harmful, far-reaching, incompetent decisions are made completely on purpose. After doing some research I discovered that the phrase is actually “malice aforethought”, related to murderous intent in legal definitions. A second, more appropriate definition here is “a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others”. This represents my internal shuddering exactly–a sort of willful, deadly incompetence.

    While Trump is a buffoon who might lead us into bad situations as he stumbles around, Hillary Clinton displays an undeniable and proven malice aforethought that he does not.

    1. backwardsevolution

      Yes, Hillary possesses a willful intent to do harm, pre-planned, calculated. She is bought; Trump is not.

  25. Russell

    Nader, Gore, Carter, Warren, all of these people wrecked Bernie Sanders.
    He did as much as one man might ever be expected to do by himself giving speeches to crowds.
    He, like most of us knew if Warren ran she could win. She did not. Tulsi Gabbard resigned her power seat in the DNC for the profound reasons of war to come if “Queen of Chaos” is elected.
    Immediately after Congresswoman Gabbard resigned he could have, & should have, drawn her close & on stage, and said “This will be my running mate, for VP.”
    Jane, Jane shows up closer, and out there on TV.
    It is jealousy. Tulsi’s unabashed admiration of Bernie Sanders was obviously just, Too much.
    No Jane could not bear that idea.
    Jane could not do what Tulsi Gabbard could do to make a Ticket, cover his flanks.
    Power is the most attractive feature a man can have. Jane flips. No Way!
    For Jane, now, somehow, a nice beach house.
    Our Revolution! He is going to tell us all about it.
    The US is the Empire & we are the Plebeians. If the US had offered Statehood for Russia, as the perfect end to the Cold War, the bi polar power balance would have stayed in place as versus China.
    Russia would have gotten a tradition of contract law that is the foundation of Capitalism.
    What happened was Russian & London & Wall Street just got more comfortable Plebs to steal from.
    Collapse & then all the deeds are collected. Rents go up in Washington. The Government pays.
    (Russians could be making cars that people want. Musk & Space & batteries.)
    China? Slaves made of the Communist hordes? North Korea, now there is a real problem. That is a real problem.
    Magazine article just the same like Ossama bin Laden, before 9/11. A real problem.
    Two things: Defense & Education. Last days of the 100 Years Oil War. US, the Empire, doesn’t even have to have Mid East Oil. Not really.
    So what could give Jill 15 percent?
    All she would have to do would be to point a finger at North Korea and say, “If I was President I’d get rid of the Threat of Nukes from North Korea hitting NYC, or Seattle, or and LA.”

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