Trumpbusters: Who You Gonna Call?

By L. Randall Wray, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Research Director with the Center for Full Employment and Price Stability and Senior Research Scholar at The Levy Economics Institute. Originally published at New Economic Perspectives

For months now, the Hillary campaign has vigorously argued that Bernie supporters have to fall in line to support the Democratic National Committee’s favorite candidate. Anyone not willing to jump to Hillary is a “Bernie Bro”—not willing to vote for anyone but Bernie. Why? Because, Trump. Forget the will of the people, the democratic process, or “voting one’s conscience”—Trump trumps all hesitation. We simply cannot afford to give Trump any chance of winning.

We need a Trumpbuster. Who you gonna call?

Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein?

Before reading any further, please first watch (or read) this debate between Bob Reich and Chris Hedges:

Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now?  Democracy Now! 27 July 16

Bob makes the best case I’ve seen in support of the argument that Bernie supporters must vote Hillary. Trump is truly scary. He’s unhinged. Hillary’s not all that bad. We need to work within the system. Once she’s in office we’ll hold her feet to the fire of liberalism. Bob says he’s going to keep doing what he’s been doing for the past half century: vote for the Democratic candidate and then bang his head against the wall when that candidate turns right and favors War and Wall Street over progressive ideals.

Yes, that is what the party loyalist does—encouraging the DNC to offer a parade of traditional candidates like Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton I, Gore, Kerry, Obama I and II, and Clinton II. Sometimes they win the Oval Office and keep the Republican candidate du jour at bay. Other times they lose. No matter the outcome, both parties tacks right. If you are with Bob, vote Hillary. It is an honorable thing to do.

In my view, Chris destroys Bob’s arguments. You might reasonably conclude that Bob’s strategy fits Einstein’s definition: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” But following Chris and voting for Jill means you run the risk of Trump. Can that be justified?

Bernie Sanders tried running within the system, but without throwing all his principles to the wind. He refused big money, and proved that a candidate doesn’t need it to compete. He didn’t waver from his message: Like it or hate it, Bernie refused to tack with prevailing political wisdom. He not only got something like 46% of the pledged delegates, but he pushed Hillary far to the left—he forced her off her own message!

And in a fair election, he probably would have won a large majority of the vote, no matter how much Hillary twisted with the political winds. With the release of DNC emails, there is no longer any doubt that the election was rigged from the start—before the very first vote was cast, the DNC was working for Hillary. (For a dirty laundry list of the DNC’s acts against the will of the voters see here and here. )

Time to forget about the Bush-Gore Florida fiasco. This rigged primary should demonstrate for anyone willing to learn that the leadership of one of America’s two parties is opposed to democratic elections within its own party. The Dems, much more so than the Republicans. The Dems don’t trust their own party—they rig the primary and then shame those unwilling to support the rigger-in-chief. At least the Florida rigging was by Republicans against the Democrats. Voting is seen by the DNC (as well as by some within the GOP) as nothing more than a perfunctory action that should not influence the selection of the country’s President. True, the Republicans also tried to prevent their voters from choosing that party’s candidate this time around—but the leadership couldn’t do it. Democracy (with the little D) overcame the Republicans. The Democrats were able to stamp out democracy—at least within their own party’s primary. This rigging of the primary was largely open, as the Dems embraced the notion that party insiders should have a quarter of the vote, awarded to Hillary by virtue of her birthright. But that did not give her sufficient advantage against Democracy to overcome the widespread dislike and distrust of her, so they rigged the vote over the remaining three-quarters. The DNC wasn’t sure she could actually get a quarter of the vote on her own—and they were almost certainly right. She barely squeaked by in what must be among the most rigged national elections America has ever seen. Tricky Dick Nixon must be beaming from above (or below).

Although the Beltway Pundits as well as all the Official Media have written Trump off, Michael Moore warns that he’s going to win. The Pundits and Media have been utterly and hopelessly wrong in all their prognostications over the past year, so you’ve got to listen to Michael. I think the race is going to be a lot closer than most believe, but Hillary will win by a at least a nose. Wall Street, the Neoliberals, the Military-Industrial Complex, and their lapdog press will pull out all the stops to ensure that Hillary becomes the next president. Cost is no object—whether measured in money or damage done to American democracy—to put another Clinton in the Whitehouse.

We are assured that Hillary is our only hope to stop Trump. He’s a fascist demagogue, compared by supposedly reasonable people to Hitler. No matter how bad Hillary might be, she’s not Trump. Joe Biden’s glowing endorsement rested mostly on his claim that she’s not as crazy as Trump. All that is probably true.

She might be a warmonger (see below; if you want more evidence, watch her speech that goes just as far as the “sexed up” lies endorsed by Bush and Tony Blair.) who loves regime change and seeks advice from Kissinger (who oversaw a few regime changes, himself), but she’s not Trump. She supported her husband’s victory over welfare—finishing the Reagan Revolution—that threw millions of kids into poverty (many of whom are now spending their adult years in the Prison-Industrial Complex stoked by the Clinton criminalization of the underclass). But she’s not Trump because, according to Biden and Bill, she’s worked her whole life on behalf of women and children.

And yet, there’s this. She thinks that some of those children are Super Predators. Superpredators: “She suggests that rather than trying to understand how poverty and social exclusion may have led children to make certain choices, it is more important to first “bring them to heel.”  As Hillary explained: They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators’. No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way but first we have to bring them to heel and the President has asked the FBI to launch a very concerted effort against gangs everywhere.”

And there’s this. Yes, she’s experienced, and much of that experience is in the war-making arena.

Her actions as Senator and Secretary of State as well her speeches and campaign statements paint a picture of a would-be President who views the world in terms of an ominous threat environment. She believes that core American interests are being challenged across the globe. She is a firm advocate of intervening on a preventive basis (e.g. Syria, Libya), as well as on a preemptive or defensive basis. She is dedicated to keeping putative rivals to the United States, like China or Russia, in a subordinate position… The specific criticisms directed at HRC from those who find her too hawkish are well-known. Most prominently there is her vote in favor of the Iraq war. But they also hear her cheer-leading for the Global War on Terror in all its aspects, her collaboration with the Robert Gates-led faction to push Obama into a major Afghan escalation and her advocacy of direct military action in Syria to unseat Assad. Then there is her unbending attitude toward containing Iran, even after the nuclear accord. Or her bellicose language in calling Putin another “Hitler” after Russia’s seizure of the Crimea. Hillary Clinton’s big foreign policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations reinforced the impression of a hard-liner across-the-board who thinks primarily in terms of power balances and the deployment of power. In addition, her full-throated endorsement of Bibi Netanyahu’s policy actions were extreme even within the context of Israel’s rightward political drift. It left no room for accommodating the concerns of those realists who see the United States as inflicting unnecessary harm on itself through its unqualified backing of everything Israel does. …There has been, in fact, a coalescing of the neocons and the gung-ho liberal interventionists who pushed hard for the Libyan intervention (the Gang of Three: Samantha Powers, Ann-Marie Slaughter, Susan Rice) and who now promote aiding the Saudis and GCC in Yemen and wading into Syria. This emerging neocon/neoliberal coalition involves a number of people who worked for Hillary Clinton in the State Department and/or figure prominently among her current advisors. The outstanding example is Victoria Nuland – Clinton’s spokesperson at State and now Assistant Secretary of State for Europe – who has aggressively spearheaded the anti-Russian crusade. Previously, she had been principal deputy foreign policy advisor for Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Join Hillary in this refrain: “We came; we saw; he died.” And then laugh when you say it. This is something you’d expect from a bad Hollywood jingoistic blockbuster—with Arnold as lead. Maybe from Trump. Not from the Presumptive President of a nation of laws and justice. Or at least a nation that aspires to such. A nation that wouldn’t see civilian deaths as acceptable collateral damage from drone assassinations of suspected terrorists. That wouldn’t advocate and laugh at murder—even of admitted terrorists. You’d expect something more along the lines of “We tried our best to capture him alive so that we could bring him back to face justice starting with a fair trial, but, sadly, he died in a firefight.” With a serious face, becoming of a Presumptive Future President. Not with a cackle that dismisses the value of human life, a value enshrined in the American conception of justice: innocent until proven guilty.

Yep, Robert Gates; Gang of Three; Dick Cheney (“Vice”)—those are the Comrades with whom she shares her voluminous experience.

But maybe she’s had a change of heart? (After all, she’s had a lot of changes of heart, although she claims she’s never changed her position.)

I listened to some of the speeches at the Democratic Convention. Except for Bill’s speech—which seemed to go on for three or four hours as he tried to humanize Hillary for the audience—what I heard was as scary as what I heard coming out of the Republican convention. Jingoism; assertions that the 21st century will be the “American Century”; odes to “American Exceptionalism”; claims that the rest of the world longs for a return of aggressive American “Leadership”. Speeches by Rear Admiral John Hutson, Leon Panetta, and General John Allen that all could have come straight out of the Cold War of the 1950s by a demented Dr. Strangelove. This was all orchestrated by the DNC and must reflect Hillary’s forward looking views of America’s role during her Presumptive Presidency.

If anything, on the international front the Republicans are charting a more pacifist and isolationist strategy. For the Democrats, our enemies are abroad; for the Republicans, our enemies are already here having infiltrated our porous borders. Republicans will build walls and deport the undocumented; the Democrats will pursue regime change and foster civil wars that produce the refugees that will flock to our borders. Which of those dystopian futures do you find more appealing? It is a tough choice. We hear a lot about the danger of letting Trump get anywhere near the nukes, but it is possible that the Democrats are more likely to produce the conditions in which using the nukes becomes a dangerous reality.

By the end of the century China’s economy will be very much bigger than that of the US, maybe larger than the US+EU economies combined. India’s economy will be bigger than the US economy. The populations of China, India, and Africa will dwarf the populations of the US and Europe. Why on earth should any reasonable person be calling for this to be the “American Century”? America already had its century of world domination—the past century. An honest evaluation would admit that the results were mixed. No rational person would conclude that America can, or should, dominate the globe over the next century. It will be the Chinese Century. It will be the Indian Century. I hope it is the African Century.

We do not need another Cold War. We will not survive a Hot War. It is time to stop scapegoating and provoking the Chinese and the Russians. At the convention, Hillary said that America is great because America is good. Let’s focus on the Good. Hillary talked a lot about working together to achieve greatness, but her inclusiveness seems to stop at our nation’s borders as she appears to ramp up the rhetoric against nations that we must work with—and that certainly includes China and Russia. Demonizing them is not helpful.

I have watched with a mixture of bemusement and horror as Hillary and the DNC have tried to divert anger to the Russians for the leaked emails of Hillary and the DNC. Trump stepped into the fray by suggesting that since the FBI has not been able to recover some of the emails Hillary erased, perhaps the Russians might help out by finding them. That led to accusations that Trump is supporting foreign espionage and that he’s friendly to Putin (as if the latter is out-of-bounds for a possible president; when Hillary trumpets her closeness to foreign leaders—no matter how tainted their reputations–that is called experience; as Trump has said, “If our country got along with Russia, that would be a great thing”. Who disagrees with that? The Cold War wing of the Democrat party that needs enemies.). The attacks by Hillary on Trump and Russia are supposed to shift our attention away from the fact that it was Hillary who put our country at risk by using an unsecured personal server to combine family and State Department business. Her actions reflect not only bad judgement but also suggest that Hillary cannot be trusted with high level security clearance—which should be problematic for the Presumptive President.

When exposed, Hillary compounded the problem by having emails deleted before they could be scrutinized. We know that the reason Hillary used her private server was to keep emails secret—free from Freedom of Information Act requests. We do not know, but it is possible—I’d guess, even probable—that these would disclose that she used her State Department position to materially benefit her family’s foundation.

In any event, we cannot know whether she’s clean unless we see the emails. Seventy percent of Americans do not trust her—with good reason. We deserve to know what she wrote and whether there was quid pro quo—such as charitable donations to the Clinton foundation to reward her for State Department approvals of sales to foreign countries.

The FBI apparently could not recover the emails. Could one reasonably suggest they need help? If David Letterman or Jon Stewart had joked that the Russians might help, it would have been hilarious. If I suggested it, readers would probably think it a poor joke—a bit over the top. Trump suggests it and he’s accused of treason. (See this piece in the New Yorker, which reads like it was written by Hillary’s speechwriter. It quotes Sean Wilentz, one of Hillary’s super-duper supporters, and takes an over-the-top interpretation of the Donald’s tongue-in-cheek tweet.) Kill the messenger and try to bury the message with references to Putin. (Putin has become everyone’s go-to-blame-for-everything that is wrong with America. See here.)

Note that it is literally impossible for anyone to hack Hillary’s servers now—they are in the hands of the FBI. Unless Hillary was careless enough to back-up the emails to the Cloud (or similar storage), they can only be found on the servers of corresponders. The official lapdog press pretends to not understand that Trump’s call on Russia for help is not a call for espionage of state secrets—except those that Hillary might have planted around the internet. Further, he asked the Russians to turn over the emails to the press—which actually might enhance US security by revealing the threats created by Hillary’s carelessness.

There’s no evidence—yet—that Russia played any role in the hack, and no one in the US security business has been willing to tie her/his name to the speculation that Russians might be involved. But let us put the question this way: which shocks you more, that the Russians might have been hacking the DNC to try to influence the US political process, or that the DNC has hijacked democracy in order to hand over the presidency to Wall Street?

Hillary threatened US security by mingling the nation’s secrets with her family’s secrets—and Trump is the problem? This mess is Hillary’s fault and she should support all efforts to clean it up—even if it takes some WikiLeaks to find her erased emails.

It is beyond doubt that the DNC slanted to Hillary; party leadership saw no difference between the goals of Clinton and the DNC; Clinton’s campaign lawyer even provided advice to DNC. The DNC teamed up with the Hillary campaign to formulate a negative narrative of Bernie (for example, Bernie isn’t sufficiently Jewish—he might even be an atheist!). The official, cheerleading press “reported” on the primaries by running through Hillary’s campaign talking points. Read any Washington Post “reporting” on the Democratic primary over the past 12 months and you’ll see it mostly just enumerates her campaign’s positions and critiques of Bernie’s campaign.

Ironically, the Clinton campaign also accused Bernie of inattention to down-ballot candidates. Actually, the DNC and Clinton campaign funneled funds meant for the down-ballot directly to Hillary—only about 1% of the funds raised to support the party went to state parties, the rest went straight to Hillary, as the leaked emails from the DNC show: “the primary season was very far from a fair fight. The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn’t neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management.” Lawyers are divided on whether this was illegal campaign money laundering, but legal or not, it clearly runs counter to democracy.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz reluctantly fell on the sword as the DNC quickly rounded up the lapdog press to blame the Russians. (Hillary immediately hired her—presumably a reward for a job well-done. Also see.) Indeed, throughout the campaign, the mainstream media—most prominently the Washington Post, worked as an arm of the DNC to promote the narrative that Hillary had the election in the bag. Supporters of Bernie are reduced to “Bernie Bros” and those of Trump are “angry old white men”. According to the official press, there’s no plausible explanation for any reasonable voter not to support Hillary.

During the campaign, Hillary’s staff helped to fuel speculation that she might choose Elizabeth Warren or some other progressive as a running mate—again aided and abetted by the official mainstream press, which ran through all the purported appeal of a Hillary-Elizabeth team. I suspected that this was all a red herring to pull primary voters away from Bernie. I believed there was a near certainty that Hillary would reach right once the primary was in the can—a signal to her Wall Street and Military Industrial Complex handlers that there would be no reform. I was right, of course.

Hillary’s choice for VP, Tim Kaine, is a member of Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). As my colleague, Bill Black, put it “The DLC was, on economic and foreign policy issues, a servile creature of Wall Street — funded by Wall Street.” Bill Black:

Kaine, like Hillary Clinton, has embraced for decades the DLC/’New Democrats’ agenda — meaning they are allies of Wall Street. They embrace a neo-liberal, pro-corporate outlook that has done incredible damage to the vast majority of Americans. Kaine is actively pushing to weaken already grossly inadequate financial regulation and pushing to adopt the indefensible “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP). By choosing Kaine, Hillary Clinton is signaling that her new-found support for financial regulation and opposition to TPP is a tactical ploy to win the nomination before she “pivots” back to the disastrous policies that she, Kaine and Vilsack have helped inflict on the world for decades. She is playing into Trump’s claims that she is not honest. What’s especially noteworthy is that Hillary Clinton and Kaine are carrying Wall Street’s water while the Republican Party is repudiating some of these policies. The Republican Party platform (cynically) calls for reinstating Glass-Steagall, and Donald Trump has called for the defeat of TPP in an equally cynical fashion./blockquote>

As the DNC expected, once Bernie was out of the way, Wall Street would open the floodgates.

After a wrenching yearlong nominating battle with searing debates over the influence of Wall Street and the ability of ordinary citizens to be heard over the din of dollars changing hands, the party’s moneyed elite returned to the fore this week, undeterred and mostly unabashed. For many Clinton donors, particularly those from the financial sector, the convention is a time to shed what one called the “hypersensitivity” that had previously surrounded their appearance at Mrs. Clinton’s fund-raisers or at her political events, during a period when Mr. Sanders   repeatedly attacked Mrs. Clinton’s connections to Wall Street and her six-figure speaking fees from financial institutions. ‘I think we’re past that,’ said Alan Patricof, a longtime donor to Mrs. Clinton, when asked about the need to lie low during the primaries.” Blackstone; Hamilton E. James, one of the leading Wall Street contenders for an economic policy post in a future Clinton administration. The railway giant CSX brought in old railroad cars for a reception led by Rodney E. Slater, the former United States transportation secretary turned lobbyist, who also headlined a panel on transportation policy in a future Clinton administration.

As The Intercept reported:

By quietly dropping a ban on direct donations from registered federal lobbyists and political    action committees, the Democratic National Committee in February reopened the floodgates for corruption that Barack Obama had put in place in 2008. Secret donors with major public-policy agendas were welcomed back in from the cold and showered with access and appreciation at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. “Major donors were offered “Family and Friends” packages, including suites at the Ritz-Carlton, backstage passes, and even seats in the Clinton    family box. Corporate lobbyists like Heather Podesta celebrated the change, telling Time: “My money is now good.” What was going on inside the convention hall was also reflected outside, at      costly events sponsored by the  fossil fuel industry, technology companies, for-profit colleges, pharmaceutical companies, and railway companies, to name a few.

In the Hillary Clinton Era, Democrats Welcome Lobbying Money Back Into the Convention By Zaid Jilani and Alex Emmons, The Intercept 29 July 16

Thomas Frank nicely sums up the current alignment of the Democrat party:

Let’s see: trade agreements, outreach to hawks, “bipartisanship”, Wall Street. All that’s missing is a “Grand Bargain” otherwise it’s the exact same game plan as last time, and the time before that, and the time before that. Democrats seem to be endlessly beguiled by the prospect of campaign of national unity, a coming-together of all the quality people and all the affluent people and all the right-thinking, credentialed, high-achieving people. The middle class is    crumbling, the country is seething with anger, and Hillary Clinton wants to chair a meeting of the executive committee of the righteous.  When Democrats sold out their own rank and file in the past it constituted betrayal, but at least it sometimes got them elected. Specifically, the strategy succeeded back in the 1990s when Republicans were market purists and working people truly had “nowhere else to go”. As our modern Clintonists of 2016 move instinctively to dismiss the concerns of working people, however, they should keep this in mind: those people may have finally found somewhere else to go.

Where should they go? Frank worries that they will turn to Trump, which is probable for centrists. What about progressives? Most will follow Bob Reich’s advice, holding their noses as they vote for the lesser of two evils. It is the right short-term strategy, if you do not mind that the Democrat party will continue its rightward shift, as it rejects the party of Roosevelt’s democratic dream of shared prosperity in favor of Wall Street’s dream of what Citigroup calls the “plutonomy” (“The Plutonomy Symposium Rising Tides Lifting Yachts:). But forget Bob’s hope that the party can be reformed—the DNC will be impervious to pressure as it teams up with the anti-Trump wing of the Republican Party to push through the Neoliberal agenda, including the TPP, more privatization of health care (Obamacare) and retirement (Hillaretirement! You read it here first!), more downward pressure on wages and American living standards (Clintonomics), and more freedom for Wall Street (Rubinonomics).

If you take a longer-term view, then you might follow the advice of Chris Hedges. There is no such thing as a perfect candidate, but some progressives can vote for Jill Stein over the Greater and Lesser evils on offer from the mainstream parties. Chris points out that the Green Party’s support today is not that far off the level of support SYRIZA had in Greece before it took off as popular discontent exploded over the past decade. (Note, I’m not so happy with Chris’s analogy—for reasons I do not want to go into here, the comparison of the Greens with SYRIZA may not be apt.) No matter whether Donald or Hillary wins, discontent is going to grow in the US, which will be good for a third party.

Chris reports (and I’ve heard this from insiders) that Jill offered to step aside and let Bernie run for the top spot on the Green’s ticket. In my view that would have been a dynamite pairing that could have hastened the rise of a real alternative to our failed two party system. Without the rise of a third party, we face a future that looks a lot like Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day film: every four years we wake up to the prospect of choosing the lesser of two evils, a choice between the two hand-picked evils favored by each of the two parties and ratified by an ever-declining portion of the population that bothers to vote. Only a total of 14% of eligible adults cast a vote for either Hillary or Donald in the primaries; 86% did not bother to vote, or voted for someone else (including Bernie). The two major parties could care less whether that falls to 10% or 5%. This time around it looks like both the Democrats and the Republicans obstructed access to the ballot box. Why not? They do not want voters to select the candidates. They want the disaffected voters to stay home. They will each try to poach fence-sitters from one another but there appears to be a tacit agreement not to rock the boat by appealing to those who’ve given up on the two party system.

The Donald managed to throw a monkey-wrench into the Republican Party’s plans this time around, probably because their favored candidate (yet another Bush, of course) was so unpalatable. It looks like the Dems are setting us up for yet another Clinton (Chelsea) in the not too distant future. I’d guess there are at least a half dozen Bushes waiting in the wings, too. Or something worse. As Chris Hedges put it: “Trump is not the phenomenon. Trump is responding to a phenomenon created by neoliberalism. And we may get rid of Trump, but we will get something even more vile, maybe Ted Cruz.” Both the Republicans and the Democrats are responsible for creating Trump (as Hillary might put it, it takes a Beltway village to raise a monster). If you take Chris’s line, there will always be a “worser” evil to be defeated, justifying a vote for a “less worser” Neoliberal candidate. The crazier the candidate put up by one party, the more room for craziness in the other. Hillary needs Trump (or someone like him) to make her pro-Wall Street and pro-war positions appear to be less crazy than his pro-Wall and pro-deportation proposals. She’s a Trump enabler, not a buster, because much of what he says does make sense if you do not buy the DNC’s line.

You don’t need to know much game theory to catch on to this game.

You could say no, I won’t play. If not now, when?

In this view, to bust Trump, you need a real Trumpbuster. An alternative to the status quo of the two parties.

Jill Stein has been pushing three big ideas that admittedly appeal to me (and all of which have been supported by at least some of MMT’s founders): the job guarantee, reparations for African Americans and Native Americans, and a student debt jubilee. On the issue of “affordability”, Jill seems educable, and indeed better than Bernie (who always insisted on “paying for” any progressive proposal with tax increases or spending cuts). Financial affordability is not the question. What matters is our ability to provide useful jobs to the unemployed and to ramp up domestic production to meet the needs of the newly employed plus increased purchasing power of African Americans and Native Americans who receive reparations. Forgiving student loan debt, and fully funding public education through four years of college will actually increase our ability to produce. Still, her arguments about the technical details of implementing these policies have—so far—fallen short. For example, she talks about using the Quantitative Easing policy to develop a model for student debt relief. I, frankly, don’t follow it. To be clear, I’m not worried about the “cost” of any of her proposals, but she needs help in formulating the details. She has recently provided her choices for a “shadow cabinet”. There are some very good names on that list: Alperovitz, Flowers, Harvey, McIntyre, but there are others that don’t appear to be ready-for-prime-time players.

Those who will vote for Jill are expressing their preference for taking the long run approach, over voting for Hillary as a short run expedient move. What they want is to continue Bernie’s movement, and they (quite reasonably) fear that a vote for Hillary supports the status quo and will doom Bernie’s revolution to the same fate as Occupy Wall Street (remember that?). I’m sympathetic and I see it as an honorable position. As Chris argues:

We talk—Robert talks about, you know, building movements. You can’t build movements in a political system where money has replaced the vote. It’s impossible. And the Democrats, you know, their bedside manner is different from the Republicans. You know, Trump is this kind of grotesque figure. He’s like the used car salesman who rolls back the speedometer. But Hillary Clinton is like, you know, the managers of Goldman Sachs. They both engage in criminal activities that have—and Clinton’s record, like Trump, exposes this—that have preyed upon the most vulnerable within this country and are now destroying the middle class. And to somehow speak as if we are in a functioning democracy, or speak as if there are any restraints on capitalism, or speak as if the Democratic Party has not pushed forward this agenda—I mean, Obama has done this. You know, he has been as obsequious to Wall Street as the Bush administration. There’s no difference….. When you dispossess that segment, as large as we have—half the country now lives in virtual poverty—and you continue to essentially run a government that’s been seized by a cabal, in this case, corporate, which uses all of the machinery of government for their own enrichment and their own further empowerment at the expense of the rest of the citizenry, people finally react. And that is how you get fascism. That is what history has told us. And to sit by—every time, Robert, you speak, you do exactly what Trump does, which is fear, fear, fear, fear, fear. And the fact that we are going to build some kind of—…amorphous movement after Hillary Clinton—it’s just not the way it works.

You will note that both Bob and Chris invoke fascism: Bob uses it to justify his vote for Hillary, while Chris uses it to justify his vote for Jill. In my view, Trump is not Hitler. He’s neither so brilliant nor so charismatic. He’s a mixture of P.T. Barnum and Berlusconi: the salesman and the buffoon. But like both Bob and Chris, I am concerned with our desperate situation in which the rise of a demagogue is not difficult to imagine.

Bill Curry, former counselor to the Bill Clinton Whitehouse, says that the Dems do not even see the problems with its current “pay to play” strategy, in which—as Hillary put it—they take whatever Wall Street offers.  He says that this is particularly true of Hillary. The party platform actually removed all the progressive language in previous platforms that would have tried to reduce the influence of money in politics, except the promise to go after Citizens United. However, according to Curry, the Dems worked closely with the Republicans to increase the amount of funding that can be provided to federal elections by ten-fold, which he thinks is far more important than Citizens United. While he still hopes that Hillary beats the “fascist” Trump, he concludes there really is no hope for reform under a Hillary presidency. We need a national popular peace movement to challenge this bi-partisan neoliberal hegemony.

We need a Trumpbuster, and I’m afraid that neither Hillary nor Jill fits the bill.

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  1. Isotope_C14

    For those of us who don’t believe what we are told, we look to find data. Trump and Billy had phone conversations prior to his decision to run as a GOP candidate, they golf together, and their daughters are BFF’s. Wedding party in 2005, let’s get the Clintons and Trumps together, oh wait, they do that regularly. (If Trump is so bad, why be such good friends???)

    Seriously, Trump has no interest in winning. He’s not disclosing his taxes so he can do it at the 11th hour just in case people are still voting for him. He’s a REALITY TV SHOW professional. Why else would Bill need him to run. You say PT Barnum above, sucker born every minute, it’s just you think he’s honest about his run. I find that incredibly naive. He has chump change in the bank, and after he’s defeated with three whole debates he’ll have a nice check cut from the Clinton foundation. “Thanks Bill, for this tremendous check, I would have had to claim bankruptcy for the fifth time…”

    Here’s the real choice.

    We either prove the oligarchy is 100% rigging the votes, by getting everyone to vote for the “dangerous” candidate which is Jill Stein. She’d jail these people without a blink. She also has a kinda hot voice. I’d rather hear her tell me the TPP is a good thing rather than gravel speak from the oligarchy candidate. Once we prove they are fully rigging the votes, we stop working within the system, period.

    It *can* be done. Apps can be made easily to take care of each other, like who needs food app, who needs child care help app, and then stop paying taxes, entirely.

    Jails are only so large, and the are full of non-violent drug offenders, and house-arrest works great, you don’t have to do anything but chill out and wait for everyone else to get arrested.

    My idea may not be perfect, but it could inspire others to come up with something better. I don’t personally need credit. I would like us, as a species not to fall of the cliff of Idiocracy.

    1. PhilU

      I can get behind much of this, but I don’t think we have sufficiently matured to a post-government species. All the same problems would occur with the Libertarian ideal of a corporate sponsored consumerist hellscape.

      I think the US has gotten too big population wise to be adequately responsive to its citizens. We see corruption at every level and we could jump up and down, scream, pull our hair out, and tell every person we meet but if the also corrupt media doesn’t feel like covering it and enough brand loyal idiots will show up on election day and vote for corruption anyways.

      The only other option would be to remove the Identities from Politics somewhat. Maybe have candidates come up with a dozen policy prescriptions and have voters check off which ones they like and then whoever most aligned with the most popular Ideas gets to be president.

      Regardless I’m ready for a coup of this clunking old inequality machine. The quickest way would be to get someone to fix up this remnant of occupy and come out with a nifty explainer video. With the right spokesperson my generation just might be ready to throw in the towel.

      1. jrs

        I don’t see the issue as whether people have matured enough to be post-government. That conversation degenerates quickly into only government could in theory deal with many pressing problems (like climate change) and that the government we actually have is killing all of us anyway, and only rules in favor of the corporations and the ruling class, so things could hardly be worse with no government.

        The reason why those proposals are unlikely to work is because a very few people own almost everything anyway. First we need land etc. redistribution and then anarchy see … But seriously, we can exchange services with each other but what about paying the rent when a few landlords own it all and you don’t, what about eating – even if you own land it’s probably not enough to entirely feed yourself and almost all farmland is owned by very few, what about when you need a doctor? It might work for a few people here and there mostly.

        1. thoughtful person

          As for the costs of living, cooperation can greatly reduce costs. There are a few surviving examples of communes from the late 60s that could prove to be useful prototypes to draw on. Doctors and nurses can cooperate too, and the book, where there is no doctor, as well as barefoot economics, could be of interest.

          The more education the more it could grow. People will join/ vote with their feet if it provides a better alternative to their current conditions, and as time goes by, that bar is going to get lower I suspect.

        2. PhilU

          Agreed. The fastest way to shut down a libertarian is:
          “I assume theft is still bad. Will you be auditing the banks to make sure they aren’t ripping everyone off?”

          1. DarkMatters

            Close runners-up:
            Who’s going to put up traffic lights and sanction violations?
            The historical period when libertarian societies were prevalent are called the Dark Ages.
            (From that point of view, Attila the Hun and Ghengis Khan were the ultimate free market entrepreneurs: they ingeniously used every means possible to maximize their profit.)

    2. Roger Smith

      The worst part of conservatism and what Democrats have helped to prove among citizens is that government is bad. Government is a fine, useful tool for civilization. What isn’t good are decades of incompetent ruling elites making terrible decisions with the tool. We shouldn’t get those confused.

    3. jgordon

      It’s a mighty curious coincidence that the same people who really hate the idea of Trump being president are trying to spread around the idea that he doesn’t want to be president. We sure live in a crazy and bizarre world for such strange coincidences to keep popping up.

      1. RMO

        Yeah, I covered the hard pine top of my desk with that energy absorbing urethane foam a while back. It’s terrible as a writing surface but I was getting tired of giving myself concussions.

        I have to admit that If I was a U.S. citizen I would be actually tempted to vote Trump this time in the (admittedly faint hope) that if he won the Democrats might learn something and perhaps get back to running candidates and pushing policies that actually had a chance of making the world a better place. Unfortunately I see two outcomes to the election that may be more likely. 1: Hillary wins, they stay the course they’ve been on for decades full steam ahead for hell. 2: Trump wins, the Dems stay on course in the belief that four years later the voting population will be tired of him and vote for whatever social program cutting, warmongering they decide to run. As long as I have been politically aware I’ve watched U.S. elections and always hoped that the Dem Candidates, even the compromised ones would win. I’ve always thought that the Dems were more, well, democratic and committed to attempting to govern in a manner that would make the world a better place. Sure, they did some awful things and frequently seemed to make no real attempt to prevent the Republicans from doing awful things but on balance I supported them. The last eight years and this election in particular have been a real eye opener. I’m generally pretty cynical by nature but obviously I haven’t been cynical enough. The Republican party has proven itself insofar as primaries go to be more democratic than the so-called Democratic party. I can think of a LOT of things about Trump I find loathsome but I can’t think of anything positive to say about HRC now that I’ve seen a lot of her. Hell, the only thing remotely positive I can think of about her is that she seems to seek advice from Kissenger! He’s evil incarnate and soaked in the blood of inncocents but unlike the rest of her foreign policy team, he at least seems to retain enough sanity that he would probably stop short of triggering a nuclear war.

  2. Gaylord

    People should stop taking the political show at face value. Trump is no more a threat to the status quo than Bernie was. No matter who gets elected, the same vicious, insane policies will be continued until the whole system collapses. And what will precipitate that collapse? …Abrupt Climate Change, because the vast majority of humans is too damned stupid to recognize that our self-centered, self-aggrandizing, ignorant ways are destroying the very ecosystem and habitat we depend on for survival. The paltry US Election clown show is nothing compared with the conflagration and inundation that Nature is unleashing — the sixth great extinction.

    1. John Wright

      Yet Wray asserts “By the end of the century China’s economy will be very much bigger than that of the US, maybe larger than the US+EU economies combined. India’s economy will be bigger than the US economy. The populations of China, India, and Africa will dwarf the populations of the US and Europe.”

      One recent estimate of the sustainable population of the USA is 100 million, or about 1/3 of current population.


      Perhaps Wray’s extrapolating statement can be correct, assuming population decreases world wide in response to climate change.

      But if he assumes the WW population can continue to grow with even higher resource consumption necessary to grow the economy for all these incremental people, this seems wildly optimistic.

      One should consider the possibility that the elite DO recognize that climate change is occurring and they are attempting to lock down resources long term, via the political process, to preserve their good life for their descendants.

      1. Ken Ward

        It is entirely unnecessary, as well as unwise, for Wray to make claims about the size of the Chinese and Indian economies in 2100, by which time nobody who has read his post will be around to verify his assertions.

        As for populations, China and India already ‘dwarf’ the populations of the US and the EU. Given those two countries’ brilliant economic future, one wonders why there is no mass migration to either of them, let alone to Africa.

      2. hunkerdown

        One should consider the possibility that the elite DO recognize that climate change is occurring and they are attempting to lock down resources long term, via the political process, to preserve their good life for their descendants.

        Thank you, John Wright. This is a plausible answer to confusion about what elites get by wrecking the complex (real + imaginary) economy game: winning, duh. Bob Barker sez, spay and neuter your “blood of Christ” oligarchs!

  3. Kim Kaufman

    I wish Jill Stein was a better candidate. I wish the Greens were a better party. But they’re not. As of now, I’m voting “none of the above” and leaving prez blank. There will be tons of ballot measures in CA to vote on, including one for marijuana which will bring out a lot of young voters. I want to stop the TPP more than I care about the presidential race right now.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Explain what is wrong with Jill, you can probably get an e-mail response.

      Of course you don’t have to explain what is wrong with H-> (right arrow) she won’t listen to you anyway.

      1. Deloss Brown

        Dear Carbon-14, long half-life to you,

        Dear Carbon-14, long half-life to you,

        What is wrong with Jill Stein?
        Extracted from

        1. Stein’s Top Contributors
        AON Corp $2,700.00
        Xoom Global Money Transfer $2,600.00
        IBM Corp $2,000.00
        Thoughtworks Inc $2,000.00
        United Parcel Service $1,550.00
        Principal Designer $1,400.00
        Baltimore Public Schools $1,000.00
        Pmanke@Centurytel.Net $1,000.00
        Request Sent To Donor $1,000.00
        University of Wisconsin $820.00

        Did Bernie take money from IBM?

        2. Her VP choice repeatedly associates Bernie’s supporters with racism:

        “In their desperate attempt to defend Sanders and paint his critics as dogmatists and purists, the Sanders supporters have not only fallen into the ideological trap of a form of narrow “left” nativism, but also the white supremacist ethical contradiction that reinforces racist cynicism in which some lives are disposable for the greater good of the West.” –Ajamu Baraka

        3. Stein has virtually NO political experience.

        She is an ex-musician and medical professional. She has won just one election in her life — a town meeting seat where 7 of a larger group of candidates were elected — in which she got a whopping 539 votes. In her 2012 Presidential bid she received one-third of one percent of the votes.

        4. Since 2011, Jill Stein has refused to release her tax returns.

        I hope that’s enough. There may be more. Yves’ machine won’t let me put in all the links.
        Yours very truly,
        16O (that 16 is supposed to be a superscript)

    2. aab

      Except leaving the line blank, because it’s essentially the same as not voting for the Presidential race, helps Hillary, because it helps with election rigging. The lower the turnout, the easier it is to rig. I’m probably voting Peace and Freedom for President, unless either Trump or Stein look like they could take Clinton out.

      If you want to stop the TPP, you’ve got to at least try to stop Clinton by voting for somebody who doesn’t back it if you have the option, don’t you?

      1. pretzelattack

        yes. imo even to the extent of voting for trump, in swing states. the strategy i’m groping for is whatever most effectively monkeywrenches the duopoly. and time’s not on our side.

        1. PopeRatzo

          She is not an anti-vaxxer.

          Not this week, she’s not. She is when it suits her. Also, google “Jill Stein + WiFi”. She is a crackpot.

          1. DarkMatters

            So she thinks people watch too much video, and that physiological effects of wifi should be studied more carefully. I can understand why the wireless industry would like to tar her as a crackpot, but since when does skepticism and thoughtful concern qualify her as such?

            Supporting her concerns is a history of corporations saying things are ok because they haven’t been proven harmful, while at the same time striving mightily to suppress evidence that would show exactly that. Effects of lead in gasoline, and the health dangers of tobacco are only the most prominent examples. Right now, it’s apparently unscientific to hold concerns about what GMO foods are doing to our gut flora, because no harm has yet been shown. And global warming denial followed exactly the same script.

            Given such a historical record of corporate misrepresentation, expressing skepticism of corporate propaganda would seem to be a sign of informed critical thinking, while uncritically accepting corporate propaganda as gospel a sign of childish denial,

            Who’s the crackpot?.

          2. hunkerdown

            No, we get it. Anything that challenges the moral, intellectual and technical supremacy of the bourgeois professional classes is “crackpot”. Do you realize just how unnecessary to life they all are, and what happens if your “inferiors” decide that they’d rather watch you starve than let you near food?

          3. PhilU

            Well at least we know Brock isn’t sitting on his hands. Stein could have blueprints for the next Auschwitz and I’d still chose her over Clinton.

        2. jrs

          anti-vaxxer versus pro-TPP (Johnson and Hillary) and the orange haired impulsive narcissistic bigot. I’ll take an ant-vaxxer any day of the week and twice on sunday

      1. Benedict@Large

        The anti-vax charge came out of Camp Hillary, and is false.

        In fact, it has become almost impossible to get any real news on the Presidential race anymore. Seriously, you’re better of sticking here with Yves and Lambert for that. Most of the mainstream are acting like they’re on drugs.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        You seem to have swallowed the recent propaganda hook line and sinker. Read her own words on this issue – she questions the reliability of our current FDA, not the efficacy of vaccinations.

        1. DarkMatters

          My! Is nothing sacred? Your observation is so true.

          Everyone assumes, I mean knows, that FDA commissioners have no connections with industry, no conflicts of interest! I need a better class of inmates; some who have read articles like this one:

          An alarming phenomenon is occurring. Crimes, from perjury, to election fraud, and corruption of all sorts, have become so widespread that their sheer numbers have overwhelmed our capacity of recall, and/or numbed our minds and morals. There are so many acts of evil in plain sight, but its as if they’ve never occurred, never remembered.

      3. Pookah Harvey

        You’ve been drinking the MSM kool-aide. Stein is not an anti-vaxxer. Check Snopes where this was determined to be false. She does question corporate control in FDA decision making. The WaPo has been leading this deception of questioning Progressives. First Sanders and now Stein. From the WaPo

        Stein’s warning about corporate influence in the vaccine approval process is often voiced by “anti-vaxxers.” In reality, most members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee work at academic or medical institutions, not drug companies

        When you check the Committee members that are from academia and medical institutions you find many have grants from Big Pharma. I find it hard to believe that these WaPo writers don’t understand Corporate influence extends to all areas of medical research through funding. This is just an extension of the hit job the WaPo does on any Progressive to make sure Hillary gets elected.

    3. Vatch

      I am very disturbed by some of the things that presumptive Green Vice Presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka has said. No doubt some of what he has said has been taken out of context, but in essence, he seems to think that Bernie Sanders and his supporters are tacit white supremacists. How can I recommend that family members and friends vote for this crackpot?

      I have given money to the Green Party, and I have voted for their candidates in both 2012 and 2014. This is infuriating.

      1. marym

        I don’t know anything about him. His credentials – based on Stein’s announcement of her choice, published by The Hill – are strong. If there are specific statements or policy positions that seem questionable we should question them, but we do need the context, just as we did for the “anti-vaxxer” charge. I found one quote from him on foreign policy, where even some of us who have been Sanders supporters would agree that the Sanders campaign didn’t offer a noticeable departure from or strong critique of current policy.

      2. Vatch

        This is an example of Baraka’s histrionics:

        The Sanders’ campaign, like the Obama phenomenon before it, does not offer a program or strategic direction for addressing the current crisis and contradictions of Western capitalist societies. Instead, it is an expression of the moral and political crisis of Western radicalism. This crisis – which is reflective of the loss of direction needed to inform vision, and fashion a creative program for radical change – is even more acute in the U.S. than Western Europe. Yet, what unites both radical experiences is a tacit commitment to Eurocentrism and the assumptions of normalized white supremacy.

        In their desperate attempt to defend Sanders and paint his critics as dogmatists and purists, the Sanders supporters have not only fallen into the ideological trap of a form of narrow “left” nativism, but also the white supremacist ethical contradiction that reinforces racist cynicism in which some lives are disposable for the greater good of the West.

        I don’t like Trump’s shrillness, and I don’t like Baraka’s either. He’s too fast and loose with accusations of white supremacy.

        1. AnEducatedFool

          Baraka writes for an audience that is fluent in identity politics. I’ve read his writing for a few years now. I used to read Counterpunch regularly. His discussion about white supremacy reminds me of radical feminists who discuss all sex in terms of rape unless the woman has equal property rights.

          I am personally tired of terms used in leftist intellectual circles. How do they plan on forming a coalition when they denigrate and attack white men. Elites in all societies have committed horrific crimes. The purpose of these crimes is the enhancement of corporate power. In certain countries you can insert family for corporate power but I view the world through that frame.

          Maybe I’m just way off. Its a very heavy topic but I think the corporate world embraced identity politics. The only concern they have is for corporate supremacy not the supremacy of a certain ‘race’.

          1. jrs

            Basically I read it as he is just saying the U.S. is based on empire and that empire exploits the rest of the world. The global north exploits the global south, the U.S. has a tiny fraction of the world’s people and uses a vast proportion of the world’s resources etc. and this has to be built on deep injustice. Although it’s nothing much to run a populist campaign on, I readily accept all that, although it’s hard to parse what he’s getting at from the quote.

            1. aab

              Given the way the United States is now being used as a mercenary service for the House of Saud, I think calling it white supremacy is reductive, but I understand what he is saying and respect that there is some value in framing the issue that way. Having said that, these are not political statements. He is not a politician. If they made it to the White House through some miracle, this kind of discourse would make it even harder to work with the existing power structure.

              On the other hand, they’re not getting to the White House, and if they did, the entire Washington power structure would be ranged against them anyway, including the CBC, I presume. While picking him with this kind of content as baggage is an unnecessary and petty dig at Sanders, and will probably alienate a meaningful segment of potential Green voters, I like how this is an explicit play for black and other voters of color. I hope it’s okay to say, as a white leftist, that I think making the Green Party a place for people of color to go rather be forced into voting for the supposed lesser racist would be cool. The Clintons’ cynical use of minority voters is a key component of how the left is neutered, and it is offensive on its face.

              From what I know about the US Greens — which is not a lot — this seems pretty typical for the party. People that wish Jill Stein would turn into a democratic socialist politician are going to be disappointed. She’s not Bernie with a vagina and a medical degree. She is who she is, and the party is what it is. I’ll vote for her in a heartbeat if she looks like she can keep California’s electoral votes away from Hillary. I’m deeply amused that I’m supposed to be shamed away from considering her over vaccinations and wifi when my supposed “only” alternative is a criminal warmonger who intends to draft my daughter for a hot war on the Russian front, destroy Social Security and officially turn over our government to corporations.

        2. Fiver

          ‘He’s too fast and loose with accusations of white supremacy.’

          No, he isn’t. And for obvious reasons.

    4. Marley's dad

      Aab I agree, leaving a blank line means nothing, but I’m still undecided about what I will do.

      Like many here I will not vote for Hildabeast no matter what.

      Voting for Trump is extremely unlikely.

      Voting for Jill Stein would be a slam-dunk except for one problem. The problem is the Greens are presently are on the ballot in only 24 States, but it’s a likely option.

      The last option would be voting for Gary Anderson the Libertarian candidate. The Libertarians will be on the ballot in all fifty states. In spite of running as a Libertarian his actual political position (without getting into the weeds) is probably to the left of Hillary or Trump. In 2012 he could not get into the Republican debates because he was too liberal, The last poll I saw that included him he was at 15%, but still he’s running as a Libertarian.

      Voting for either Jill or Gary will at least move the needle, but that’s something.

      1. Vatch


        The last option would be voting for Gary Anderson Johnson the Libertarian candidate.

      2. Pookah Harvey

        A vote for the Libertarian will guarantee that they will get matching funds. The matching funds mark is 5% and the Libertarians are polling at 10%. Usually the third party support drops as the election nears. The Greens are on the edge with a current 5%.

        A stronger Libertarian Party will divide the Right. A divided Right means that the establishment Democrats will be in a strong position and won’t feel any need for change. The Greens need to get to the matching funds level to keep the establishment Dem’s nervous. If the Greens don’t get 5% there will be little chance for change from outside pressure in the next several election cycles.

        The Greens on the outside and Sanders movement on the inside would seem the best scenario to get progressives in charge.

          1. jrs

            Johnson seems like a Republican, I’d rather have a true libertarian, someone like Ron Paul (though he was of course running as a Republican) at least was decent on some issues. Mainstream Republicans aren’t actually good on ANY issues as far as I can tell.

      3. two beers

        Despite all the propaganda we receive from the time we’re little children, one vote out of millions really is insignificant. Its main function is to invest the voter’s confidence in the authority of the system via the mechanism of cognitive dissonance: “If the system were illegitimate, I would be a deceived fool for thinking my vote meant anything. I am not a deceived fool, therefore the system (and the authority implied therein) is legitimate.”

        Voting Green (or Libertarian) – especially in a non-swing state — might actually help “move the needle” by moving a third party closer to legitimacy, by getting it to the numbers needed for Federal funding, debate participation, and media coverage.

        The party duopoly is a fraud for the reasons Randall explains, primarily because each party’s respective identity brand facilitates Wall St control of the whole shebang.

        If you think there is anything possible to salvage from our national electoral politics, I think voting third party is probably the most meaningful thing you can do.

        If you think there is nothing salvageable from our national electoral politics, that it is a sham from top to bottom, then you are quite justified in washing your hands of the whole thing. I harbor no disrespect for those who refuse to participate in the system, who refuse to legitimize it with their vote because they believe (with plenty good argumentation) that
        the system is a sham.

  4. low integer

    One of the things that should concern USians, imo, is that Clinton, underneath her perpetually lying exterior, is downright apoplectic that the US public has made her lower herself to actually having to try to earn her, previously assumed deserved, coronation.

    Hell hath no fury like a Clinton scorned, and I expect 0bama is the same.

    And I’m not saying Trump doesn’t have issues, though I tend to assume he is more of a misguided soul, in the sense he fully buys the “winner vs. loser” paradigm that is undermining society, rather than being a straight up soulless criminal. I saw my first interview with Stein the other day, btw, and she seems sensible imo, though I am very aware of the viability issues.

  5. relstprof

    I respect Chris Hedges, I truly do. I’m a liberal protestant alongside him. But his comments casting Sanders as a sell-out in 1992 are pretty awful. 1992? Consciousness is not static, it develops. We should be amazed at Sanders. Amazeballs! Democratic Socialism in 2016? I’m Gen X and never would have predicted this.

    Stop and wonder.

    Sniping at a standard-bearer at this point is counterproductive. If you’re committed to the Greens, struggle to make the Greens more electable. If you’re committed to Our Revolution, do the same. If it’s the Democrats that make you swoon, go forth and do likewise.

    Coalition politics are crucial at this juncture.

    Our media and social media should be touting the fact that Bernie Sanders (I-VT) received 14,000,000 votes. And those votes included massive votes from the young.

    The Sanders campaign gave a voice to BLM. It gave a voice to those suffering under predatory debt. It gave a voice to all of us suffering under the corporate control of our politics.

    This is a shift.

    1. Benedict@Large

      Democrats, not just Berniecrats, but all Democrats, need to understand that there is no second Bernie coming along any time in the near future, and probably won’t be for many decades. Bernie was (is) the product of a unique set of circumstances played out over four-plus decades, culminating in a one time only ten year weekly campaign on national radio. Ever wonder how Bernie came out so quickly and strongly from under the Democrats’ radar (and they never figured this one out)? It’s because Bernie, before his campaign for President had ever even started, had amassed over 500 campaign appearances, mostly via live broadcast town hall events. The people who came out in droves for Bernie hadn’t just found him via his campaign. They already knew him for years as a friend. This is what the Party never understood, and this is what we cannot replace. This was a one shot deal, a last chance, and why the Bernie or Bust crowd, who understand this, has been so adamant about not letting go.

      1. divadab

        ya you’re right its hopeless just give up now Bernie is gone no one can take his place oh woe oh woe oh woe is me.

        1. HotFlash

          I think you misunderstand, divadab. Benedict is quite correct, the Bernie phenom was a unique combination of the right man in the right place at the right time. Someone will take his place, of course, unfortunately will be Hillary or the Donald. And oh yeah, woe is definitely us.

          And Benedict didn’t counsel giving up, he was just warning that having failed to take up this golden, golden opportunity, we will have a much harder fight. And I will add that the good guys don’t always win.

          1. hard knocks

            It’s possible that Sanders was serving a notice… sort of like tacking a 95-theses on the door. Hello? Is anybody here? We’re home!

            Just a thought.

          2. Lambert Strether

            I think this is close to armchair cynicism.

            The successful politician (among whom I would include figures like Lenin or Mao) seeks power and recognizes a power vacuum (or legitimacy crisis) when it’s present or on the way.

            Sanders got 45% of the Democrat vote as a self-branded socialist, and it took massive bias by the Democrats, the press, and the political class to put him back in his box and install Clinton

            That spells legitimacy crisis to me. Are you really saying nobody will arise to take advantage of it? That seems extremely unlikely to me. Incentives are all the other way.

            1. Fiver

              ‘Sanders got 45% of the Democrat vote as a self-branded socialist, and it took massive bias by the Democrats, the press, and the political class to put him back in his box and install Clinton’

              And then he tossed it all away and endorsed a woman who gushes with enthusiasm as she embraces 100% the grotesquely malformed entity, the malevolent techno-organism, the thing we all fear most that is the US Empire in all its aspects, for what it has done to the humanity project that all those ever admired in the intellectual tradition of the West held as core object.

              Because everyone is supposed to be terrified of the guy the Republican Party will be happy to blame for what was always the likely (before Clinton’s weakness was revealed) splat of a death spiral courtesy of its strategy of ‘no’, the guy who has made virtually no effort to mount a campaign and less to advancing his chances a la Tweet, the guy who outraged so often it had zero impact when it came to making the critical charges stick – where Sanders could’ve taken her clean out had he once used any of the mountain of accurate and politically lethal information readily available to paste her.

              If it was real, he could’ve won it. He had a enormous opportunity. He could’ve put it directly to the people on the one hand, and the faces for the power elite on the other, and the people were in a mood to take up the offer. One would like to think, and in fact I do think, the political/media elite would’ve finally blinked. For whatever reasons, he didn’t. Now, do you actually think either existing Party will ever allow anyone remotely resembling ‘a Sanders’ near a podium again? When next will the DNC tolerate either a candidate so eminently beatable by a real challenger as Clinton, or a challenger so dangerous as a genuine Sanders? This side of never, I’m thinking.

              1. Skippy

                Old people die all the time… its natural…

                A long time ago during the episode in Oakland, where the ex ranger got sconed in the head by a riot gas canister for standing in front of the paramilitary, I was asked the consensus of his peer group.

                At the time I did not have the heart to tell people that the answer was – a moron – for going against all his training…. don’t stand in front of any weapon pointed at your self with intent of doing harm…

                Disheveled Marsupial…. its quite easy to lay on with the prose until its your morte at risk….

                1. Fiver

                  Who said a word about violence? If even those who already voted for Sanders had simply been asked by Sanders in a historic press conference to stop working and stop buying anything not essential, no matter what their occupation, until Clinton was pulled from the race as the completely unacceptable candidate that she is, and the media renounced its co-conspirator role, she would’ve been out, and the collection of idiots that constitute mainstream media struck dumb. A serious leader making a serious pitch gets results. I very much doubt now we’ll ever see a serious leader allowed anywhere within a million miles of where Sanders ever-so-briefly stood.

              2. lambert strether

                That’s just silly. The forces that converged to enable the Sanders run haven’t gone away; they’ll only intensify. The activists haven’t gone away. The policy demands haven’t gone away and in fact are becoming conventional wisdom.

                The next Sanders will be younger, more rapidly adaptive, with an even more battle hardened base. I expect the 2020 primary to begin on November 8.

                As for the openly corrupt DNC, it’s part of the ongoing legitimacy crisis. Obviously.

                1. Fiver

                  Silly my ass. Nobody knows better than I the ‘forces’ that are at play – the problem is the central tendency of those forces is so loaded against a better outcome the longer existing power has to consolidate its immense gains. Who do you think is scared here – the status quo? Seriously? These are the most dangerous people alive, they know everything everybody of any consequence does, they can buy pretty much everybody they need, they’ve militarized the police at all levels, they own the legal system, they own the media, they own the universities, they own science and technology and they own the media – all of it in terms of system and delivery.

                  I’ll be sure to keep my eyes out for the day the people who built and operate this Behemoth just hand the keys over to the nice guys who keep playing by rules the other guys simply ignore.

                2. aab

                  I came to see Fiver’s reply to you, Lambert, and something about the exchange triggered this thought: the problem with your optimistic take on 2020 is that if Clinton gets in, she will move heaven and earth IMMEDIATELY to crush any possible challenge from the left. While I think Bernie was a terrific candidate who ran a strong campaign given all the obstacles in his path, he did also benefit from Clinton and the establishment underestimating him and the left generally.

                  She’ll have four years to do to the entire public left what she did to Bruenig: silence them or deprive them of their livelihood. She’ll have four years to corrupt more formerly public institutions and systems so they can’t act independently. Four years to make the Internet completely corporate, completely controlled so it will be much harder for independent communication and organization. And of course by “she” I really mean the corrupt blob that acts in her name. Like a corporation (or a crime syndicate), she could drop dead on inauguration day and Kaine, the Foundation, Chelsea, Huma, et al. would continue on in the service of Goldman Sachs, et al. And organizing will be harder for 2020 with no college exemption from the draft.

                  I’m not saying the population will take this quietly. I’m just saying both sides will be preparing, and she’ll have lots of power and resources at her disposal, and no morals, scruples or compunction.

                  As always, like a broken record, I will reiterate to anyone reading this: please vote against her.

    2. exiled off mainstreet

      The Baraka piece on Yemen seems reasonable to anybody not part of the beltway power structure. As for fascism, Clinton’s role in Libya fills the bill. She is also tied to the jihadi element she engaged to overthrow Khaddafi; one of the major actions in the wake of the destruction of the Khaddafi regime was the mass liquidation of sub-Saharan Africans he had allowed to settle there as part of his belief in African unity as ‘mercenaries’.

      1. Lambert Strether

        It does, but that doesn’t make him a (sorry) “serious” candidate.

        Again, what worries me is that a party that first runs after Sanders, and then runs after Nina Turner, and finally settles on Baraka doesn’t know its own mind, since Baraka (from a principled perspective) issues a severe indictment of both Sanders and Turner.

        1. exiled off mainstreet

          I see what you mean since he has been critical of Sanders as a sheepdog from the beginning. While he might not be “serious” as a major party candidate, he does have a blog following and may increase Stein’s inroads into the black vote due to reputation on blackagendareport which I’ll admit was anti-Sanders. Sanders himself has sort of blotted his copybook by becoming a sort of Clinton lackey despite the fact that the wikileaks material documented the fix which probably prevented his nomination.

    3. Mike

      I have a lot of respect for Sanders because he ran (and won) as an independent. But let’s be clear: he ran for Prez as a Democrat. It’s not like the Dems went through some recent pro-capitalist transformation after, say, JFK. It’s not like Goldman Sachs just started cozying up to the Dems. The tweedle-dum tweedle-dee alternation is essential to maintain the stability of the current world order.

      Bernie ran as a Dem. During the primary debates Hillary would say she is proud to have been a member of Obama’s cabinet and she will continue his work. And Bernie’s response? Did he bring up Guantánamo? Snowden? Eric Holder? Unfortunately, not. He just mumbled that he too thought Obama was da man.

      That said, he was anticapitalist enough that I would have voted for him if I had been a registered Dem in my state (which I am not because I oppose the Democratic party). But it can’t be a shock to anyone whose eyes are not wide shut that Bernie would endorse Hillary, after he ran as a Dem.

      It doesn’t bother me that some are choosing not to vote. That is not a vote for Hillary. It is a sign of frustration with the lack of real democracy which can only be constructed when a few essential requirements are met: universal education, social safety nets, universal childcare, for starters.

      I’ve read the anti-vaxxer charges against Stein on ThinkProgress and I was underwhelmed. I do support science-based decisions (but publication bias and p-hacking call virtually all science into question, see Ioannidis, which is a whole ‘nother issue). Unless I see something really nasty about the Stein ticket, I still plan on voting for it.

      Let’s look at the arguments:

      1. Hillary as Prez will be marginally better than the Donald. It is rational to choose the better over the worse. It is rational to support Hillary.

      2. Some things are wrong. We have a moral obligation to oppose them. Hillary is a self-avowed neocolonialist hawk who will also continue to advance a strongly corporatist agenda domestically. These are avoidable evils that should be opposed. It is moral to oppose Hillary.

      It sounds like 1 is a utilitarian (consequentialist) argument and 2 is a moral (deonotological) one. But 2 can be fashioned into a utilitarian form. As nakedcapitalism has been hammering for months, it is possible that Hillary could cause more total human suffering than Donald, after taking into account her rabid interventionist military agenda. In terms of global population, the US is not that big, but it is not even that clear that HIllary will cause less domestic suffering than the buffoon.

      But really, this is a moral argument. I will make an analogy, fully recognizing that analogies are always flawed. Voting, like politics in general, always involves compromise. There usually is not one candidate who completely matches my positions on everything. Yeah, Bernie WAS weak on gun control and we shouldn’t have been afraid to concede that. But some issues are so huge that they overshadow the rest and it is possible to make them a litmus test. Back in the days of the abolitionists, would you vote for one pro-slavery candidate because he was marginally better than another? After all, the abolitionists were living in a fantasy world and couldn’t possibly win. To support them would be a wasted vote, right?

      Somebody has to start a movement. And when they do it seems impossible. In my view, the existing world order causes a vast amount of avoidable human suffering and I cannot bring myself to support any candidate who does not condemn it.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I couldn’t agree more. The point about deontological vs. consequentialist ethical reasoning really nails down something I’ve been trying to get at. And yes, for me, the obvious historical analogy is Free Soil in 1848 and other forerunners of the Republican Party of 1860: if both the Whigs and Democrats are pro-slavery parties, and you view it as immoral to support slavery, you cannot vote for either. Likewise, if both the GOP and Democrats in 2016 are earth-destroying parties, and we believe ecocide is immoral, it is ethical to refuse either our support. One might even argue it is incumbent upon us as rational actors possessed of moral duties.

  6. thoughtful person

    “Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.”

    – B Sanders

    I agree with the first sentence, but not the second. I think that it is clear that those counting the vote will never allow real change. As maybe Howard Zinn argued, voting should only be a one day worry.

    I think education, organization, and perhaps a bit of agitation is in order. Create alternative systems to live in while at the same time resisting latest wars and awful environmental and social policies of the corporate candidate that is virtually guaranteed victory in the so called elections… (apologies for run on sentence)

    1. Lambert Strether

      I disagree with the second also, for a different reason. I think the immediate priority, and more important than Trump, is independent left entities. Fortunately, several seem to be emerging.

  7. 3.14e-9

    It seems to me that, going forward, our immediate objectives should be the survival of the progressive left and crippling the winner’s ability to do any real damage.The debate is whether Clinton or Trump would best serve those goals, with the assumption that gridlock would be achieved by voting for the opposite party in congressional races.

    One of the arguments against Clinton is that her connections are so powerful that she is the more dangerous of the two. That’s exactly why she is going to win. We’ve seen how the vote has been tampered with, and while there is no hard proof of voting machine hacking in the primaries, we know the capability is there. We also know what the Clintons are capable of. So, she is going to win no matter how we vote. That leaves me free to vote for Stein and thereby help build up a third party. But it means voting for Republicans for Congress. In the case of Murray, it will kill two birds with one stone. However, I’m in Pramila Jayapal’s district, and she just won the primary. She was one of Bernie’s down-ticket endorsements. So maybe we vote for Republicans for Congress, unless there’s a progressive left candidate on the ticket.

    As for the whole nuclear thing, people have gone totally off the deep end about Trump having access to the nuclear codes. Rather than trying to explain to the temporarily insane that there are elaborate safeguards in place, I suggested that the nuclear launch app on his smartphone be disabled. Someone actually thought that was a good idea.

    1. PhilU

      Rather then trying to get into the weeds I just tell them that Clinton is in the process of starting a new cold war already and send them here.

      However, I am getting tired of all the exclusively old white women who tell me to ‘check my privilege.’ I think the complete one sidedness of the press pushing the ‘Trump is a foaming at the mouth racist who wants concentration camps’ bit is getting old though, but soon people will calm down and go “Uncle Joe says way more racist things every year at Thanks Giving”. You can only listen to “we’re all doomed!” so much before you stop caring and watch something else though.

      1. 3.14e-9

        Depending on your definition of “old,” I am one of those “old white women,” and I’m getting the same response. People have gone bat-shit crazy. Whatever ability they might have had to discern the difference between criticizing media bias and supporting Trump has flown beyond Pluto.

        In any case, it’s not just old white women. I’ve seen several examples of white twenty-somethings using Black Lives Matter to disparage their peers as ignorant or racist, or both. When the daughter of a good friend posted an anti-Trump meme, I pushed back with selections from Clinton’s long history, including the infamous “We came, we saw, he died” cackle and some gruesome details of exactly how he died. In her reply, she agreed that Clinton had “faults,” and then used the white privilege line against white dudes who can’t decide which candidate is worse. It was easy to find examples of Black activists (some BLM, some not) who won’t support Clinton due to her record. One even said he would risk Trump becoming president. I haven’t heard from her since and suspect that she blocked me. It made me sad, because this young woman is among the best and brightest of the new generation.

        1. Nelson

          I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I do think that there are domestic policy differences and that one cannot look at what Trump says about foreign policy too seriously (though what Hillary attacks about what he says is indeed worrying). On the domestic side, when it comes to things like medicaid expansion etc, it seems to make a non-trivial difference to quite a few people. Or am I missing something. Then there’s this:

          Love to hear what others have to say on this matter. Sure, it seems like the definition of craziness to back a neo-liberal, yet what about the Hillary who went for Healthcare reform back in the early 90s? Was all her time since a point to try to side with powerful friends?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I know healthcare experts who favored single payer. The Hillary plan of the early 1990s would have been even more of an operational mess than Obamacare.

    2. DavidTC

      Uh, there do not appear to be any elaborate safeguards in place for nuclear launch. Or, rather, there *are*, but they all come down to ‘Did the president actually issue this order?’.

      There is literally no other person who is needed to agree. The president can ordered them launched without anyone else’s permission at all. The Sec of State is required to verify that’s the president giving the order, but has no veto. (Cue Saturday Night Massacre until he gets someone in the state department to confirm it is him.)

      The only way missiles do not end up launched is if someone in the chain of command disobeys orders. And before anyone says ‘That would be an unlawful order and people would refuse’, bear in mind that nuclear launch commanders are not expected to know what the heck is going on, and are supposed to be willing to launch without information…but, perhaps more importantly, it’s actually *not* an unlawful order.

      The president, as of this moment, can *legally* launch a nuclear strike on, say, Canada. There is no one who *legally* gets any other say in this (While other people must participate..they *must* participate, they don’t get to say no.), and there is no law against this whatsoever.

      So I’d been interesting in what ‘elaborate safeguards’ you think exists. In reality, the ‘safeguards’ appear to be, literally, a goddamn coup if Trump tries that.

      1. DavidTC

        Or, to put it another way, every movie is lying to people, and the nuclear football cannot launch anything. There are, indeed, a bunch of safeguards, and hell, the nuclear football is really just a way to *talk* to the people that will do the launch. (And punch in codes and locations, which are sent to them.) But, ultimately, someone at the other end of it starts the actual launch process, period. There is nothing anyone can do with the nuclear football to actually start the launch.

        But all that means is some idiot on the street can’t steal it and launch nuclear missiles. It doesn’t change the fact that *absolutely all authority* to start a *legitimate* nuclear launch rests solely in the president, and he can start a launch if he damn well pleases, with absolutely no checks at all.

        Barring military coup.

        1. 3.14e-9

          Yes, the nuclear safeguards to which I refer are the actual launch protocols, starting with the obvious fact that the codes have to be punched into the computer onsite, and that one person can’t do it alone. Judging by comments on Facebook and elsewhere, remarks that someone who gets offended over a tweet shouldn’t have access to the nuclear codes somehow have translated into an image of Trump throwing a tantrum, and with the codes stored like passwords in a computer, nuking China from his smartphone. It’s hardly a surprise that Clinton and the media pushing her agenda are deliberately fear-mongering, but I am baffled that people who should know better are falling for it.

          As for the sole authority of the president to order a nuclear launch, you’ve already pointed out that it has to go through the chain of command – which, if I’m not mistaken, doesn’t include the State Department. It’s all military, i.e., Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, etc. If he was indeed crazy enough to fly off the handle and order a first strike, which by definition would mean that he didn’t consult with his military advisers, the top of the chain would stop the order before it got down to the level of the officers who turn the keys. It wouldn’t be legal, and he could relieve them of command on the spot, but then for sure you’d have a coup, and it would be all over the news in seconds. The more likely scenario is that they would stall for time and find a way to cover it up.

          I was going to write more, but just saw a NYT article on this very question (synchronicity!). It includes all the predictable suggestions that Trump isn’t up to the job, but overall is informative and balanced and maybe will restore some sanity to the debate.

          1. Lambert Strether

            It amazes me that we’re not worried about giving a person who has actually started at least one war access to the nuclear codes. Why is the outcome of the Libya bombing not a good litmus test for being a crazy person?

          2. DavidTC

            It’s all military, i.e., Department of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, etc. If he was indeed crazy enough to fly off the handle and order a first strike, which by definition would mean that he didn’t consult with his military advisers, the top of the chain would stop the order before it got down to the level of the officers who turn the keys.

            Uh, no. The president and the Sec of Defense (Not State, sorry.) are the people *directly in charge* of the National Military Command Center, skipping the *entire chain of command* to that point. He talks directly to the NMCC via various command centers, and that’s who the nuclear football is for talking to also.

            The NMCC (And the backup NMCC in the Raven Rock, and the backup backup NMCC in an aircraft kept in the air at all times, and the backup backup backup NMCC that we don’t admit exists.) is the entity that *generates the Emergency Action Messages* that launch the nuclear missiles.

            The Joint Chiefs might not even know what’s going on (They are supposed to be kept in the loop by the NMCC, but the president could just order them not to tell), and certainly couldn’t stop it.

            There is not some huge hypothetical chain of command. There’s like 20 people working at these things. Hell, one of the backup NMCC is *an airplane*, there really can’t be that many people in it.

            It wouldn’t be legal, and he could relieve them of command on the spot, but then for sure you’d have a coup, and it would be all over the news in seconds. The more likely scenario is that they would stall for time and find a way to cover it up.

            ‘Don’t worry, if Trump goes crazy, our military will just illegally disobey orders.’

            Again, I point out, there is no one in any required position to authorize the launch except Trump. In theory, he can go to the Pentagon, order everyone out of the NMCC, and send the EAMs himself.

            At which point a bunch of guys in silos are going to get *correctly authorized* orders to to turn launch keys, without any context at all.

            Now, it’s *possible* that all of them will refuse, and would have refused anyway, in which case our entire launch setup is, literally, an absurd joke.

            It’s possible that they previously would have done as they were supposed to until Trump was elected, but after that point they will assume launch orders are issued by lunatics and won’t…at which point HOLY SHIT IS TRUMP A DANGER AND NOW PEOPLE CAN NUKE US UNIMPEDED. JESUS CHRIST.

            But odds are at least *some* of them will launch.

            1. Fiver

              Uh, out of curiosity, is not what you contend an outright indictment of the US MIC having indeed constructed a Doomsday device? As in 3 people can launch a first strike on their own prerogative irrespective of the actual status or threat? Why should Trump’s mitts on the ball matter one whit given who else has had that authority, and either used, or threatened to use it? Who else on earth trusts just Obama and 2 other people to make that call? But why are you here, as opposed to here, helping this guy out:


              Oh, and uhm, I’d be very interested to hear your understanding of who gave the orders, and why, with respect to dropping the bomb on Japan. I note a pair of conflicting narratives, one aiming to defend Truman with the standard version of history, the other, which I wondered perhaps came out of the academic military, to essentially hang him with responsibility. Who made the decision to drop the first one, Truman, or the military? What President wouldn’t do what the military wanted, as opposed to the other way around? Or did the military follow orders re Hiroshima? If you were the military, would you not take steps to ensure you don’t implement a bogus order? At 3:00 am who would you trust with the ball? It’s a miracle we’ve lasted this long.

              1. DavidTC

                Who else on earth trusts just Obama and 2 other people to make that call?

                I don’t trust *anyone* to make the call in the absolute sense, but ‘we should not have nuclear weapons’ is not, as far as I know, a position of any plausible presidential candidate. (Nor am I sure the president even *could* change that.) I can’t vote us a country without nuclear weapons.(1)

                I trust Hillary Clinton with that power a lot more than Donald Trump, though, because Trump clearly has some personality disorders and is incredibly petty and grudge holding. I can see some other country pissing him off so badly he starts a war, or I can see the US legitimately being in a war, say with ISIS, it not going well, Trump getting called on it, and him deciding to solve the problem with nuclear weapon. (He has already indicated he doesn’t actually understand how nuclear weapons are supposed to be used, as in, they are not supposed to be used.)

                1) If you want my *actual* position on nuclear weapons: They are a war crime. Not *using* them…possessing them and aiming them at civilian targets is a war crime. It is not legal, under the laws of war, to plan and take a direction towards killing 80% of civilians in Russia or China, regardless of *any* provocation, period, full stop. Tactical nukes used against mostly military targets are, I guess, legal, although they actually meet the technical definition of chemical weapons(2) so they’re illegal under that. (As would any other nukes, but I assert those are already illegal.)

                2) Chemical weapons do have to work chemically, not ‘nuclearly’…but not only are ‘chemical weapons’ chemical weapons, but things that turn other things into chemical weapons are classified as chemical weapons also. And people who die from radiation poisoning don’t actually die from ‘radiation’, they die because the radiation degraded their molecular structures…which then *chemically poisons* them, in a long painful process. Note poisoning someone in a long painful process is *literally the reason chemical weapons are illegal*, and how nuclear weapons do it is a lot more ‘chemically’, by actually altering (If completely randomly) the human body on the molecular level, than how nerve agents do it. Nerve agents do not kill people…they merely block chemicals that are signals people need to live.

                There’s basically no way to argue the nuclear weapons, which rearrange chemicals inside the human body that results in death, are not chemical weapons, but nerve agents, which rearrange chemicals inside the human body that results in death, are.

            2. 3.14e-9

              In theory, he can go to the Pentagon, order everyone out of the NMCC, and send the EAMs himself.

              Uh, no he can’t. He can give the order, that’s all. There are specific instructions for how it is to be communicated and implemented, written by several agencies under the direction of the secretary of defense. Every possible scenario is covered, nearly all for incoming, since the circumstances in which the U.S. would launch a first strike are extremely limited. The top of the chain of command is definitely in the loop, and if he or she is unavailable, there is a list of who fills in, in what order. There’s also an established order for communications in case the Pentagon is under attack. The documents are secret, so no one knows the exact details except those who are cleared to see them.

              IF Trump is elected — and I maintain that he has ZERO chance — he also will have to submit a Nuclear Posture Review to Congress. It includes the circumstances under which the U.S. will employ nuclear weapons, a lot of which is guided by international treaties.

              It would have been nice if the media had reported these facts, but then they wouldn’t have been able to stir up fear of the fascist with his finger on the button.

              1. DavidTC

                There are specific instructions for how it is to be communicated and implemented, written by several agencies under the direction of the secretary of defense.


                There are specific instructions for how it *should* be communicated and implemented.

                The president does not have to follow those rules. The president can order all those rules discarded.

                The president can walk into the NMCC and say ‘From this point forward, no one here communicates with the outside world except on my direct command.’.

                Now, according to the law, he *might* also have to have the Sec of Defense agree he is actually the president to get any NMCC personel to release the keys, although I’m not sure that applies if he’s there in person. Even if it does…it’s standing orders say he must confirm his identity in a specific way for a nuclear launch, but as he’s able to give orders, he can just revoke that previous order!

                But, assuming no weird dispute over his identity, they have to follow his orders. (His *lawful* orders, that is, but absurdly the president launching a pre-emptive nuclear attack *is* *not* *against* *US* *law*.)

                You can assert they *wouldn’t*, and maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe they’d all join in a coup, or attempt to resign right there. Maybe, after they all resign, Trump actually wouldn’t be able to launch…maybe the codes are locked in a safe.

                My point is that it’s not particularly the *Joint Chiefs* who would be the ones having to do this.

                And, again, the NMCC creates *coded messages*, so it’s not like the launch commanders would even know anything weird was going on.

                IF Trump is elected — and I maintain that he has ZERO chance — he also will have to submit a Nuclear Posture Review to Congress.

                Oh, well, as long as he has to submit a *review*, I’m sure that clears everything up.

                1. 3.14e-9

                  Please cite your sources.

                  There are no “rules” for the president to order thrown out. The procedures are embedded in a complex system that can’t be changed on a whim. That you don’t understand the significance of the Nuclear Posture Review shows just how little you’ve bothered to inform yourself. Unless you give sources to back up your claims, I won’t waste my time responding. Here’s a partial list of mine:

                  Nuclear Matters Handbook 2016
                  Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Matters

                  Obama’s Nuclear Posture Review, April 2010

                  DoD and State Department media background briefings on Obama’s NPR
                  DoD Defense Directives and JCS Instructions

                  Analyses and reviews by groups monitoring nuclear weapons, including the Federation of American Scientists and the Arms Control Association
                  Analysis of OPLAN 8010-12, Federation of American Scientists

                  News articles that aren’t tied to the 2016 election
                  News articles written in response to questions about Trump’s “finger on the button” that made some attempt to be fair and balanced

                  1. DavidTC

                    It should be very easy to quote something that says the President has to follow the rules and procedures of the military.

                    As he *doesn’t*, you are, of course, unable to quote that.

                    1. 3.14e-9

                      What he is *authorized* to do and what he *can* do are two different things. If he has the unlimited power you argue that he does, he should be able to throw a dart at a map and send an order to nuke Djibouti. What happens to the officer who refuses to send it? What if he manages to get into the NMCC without the secretary of defense or CJCS, throws everyone out, and sends the access codes himself? There’s a policy answer and a procedures answer, and you’re not going to find them all in one handy dandy source. Let’s say it’s not Djibouti but North Korea. Even more complicated. This is exactly why the media have so much power over public opinion. Readers expect simple explanations and either don’t believe the real story is more complicated than that or just can’t be bothered to make the effort to find out.

  8. Carolinian

    Wray does go on, but to this observer there’s no question that Hillary is nuttier than Trump who–while he’s not particularly qualified to be president–may not be nutty at all. Trump seems to have had a notion that he wanted to be president and then parroted all the things he heard on Fox News in order to get the nomination. He himself has said he’s only running as a Republican because he didn’t think he could be nominated as a Democrat (which he once called himself). The press and the Dems then seized on these statements because they want to make Trump into the villain that they need, just as they do with Putin.

    By this theory Trump may not have any strongly held political convictions but rather operates according to expediency. That’s not necessarily a good thing as it suggests he could be shoved to the right as well as the left (he has just said that he too would bomb Libya) but it does imply a degree of realism. Hillary by contrast is a committed ideologue of American exceptionalism and militarism. If we can’t see how disastrous this will be after the last two decades then when will we ever see it?

    So it’s the boob versus the fanatic. It’s hard to imagine a Trump presidency but history suggests it’s the fanatics you have to worry about.

    1. Dirk77

      As the author of this posts makes clear, against Trump are only his words, but against Hillary are her actions. In that sense, it is no contest: Hillary loses. As Obama’s tenure has made abundantly clear, words mean nothing; only actions and facts do. I think this is why the media hates Trump so: they make their living off words and so think they matter. But they do only if they describe actions and facts, not gossip. All the reporting about Trump consists of repeating what he says. So what? He is a politician. Apart from his lack of experience he’s a big question mark. But lack of experience didn’t stop people from voting for Obama.

    2. craazyboy

      It’s Putin we need to worry about. Putin is in league with Space Aliens and they are plotting to destroy the American 21st Century. The Space Aliens have leased a Weather Control Machine to Putin and Putin has set the thermostat on high! Worse yet, it’s a 100 year lease. It will last the entire century!

      To make matters even worse, the Space Aliens have provided Putin with alien probiotics. This will extend Putin’s life by 100 years. We will never get regime change in Russia! At least not without nuclear intervention.

      The diabolical plan is to roast the western world. This will be the end of the American Century! The Space Aliens also developed miniaturizing technology a millennia ago. They can fit more of their kind into space ships that way. The economic growth plan then is to beam the miniaturizing beam at China and India. The population will shrink to 2 inches tall, which is pretty short even for the Chinese. They will have much less resource and environmental impact on the Earth. But they will not devalue their currencies, resulting in steady growth and they will become the largest and second largest economies in the world!

      I’m sure you agree this is pretty scary stuff and you, your children, and grandchildren should be scared to death that these powerful forces are conspiring against our American Century.

      Hillary is the only one that knows how to get things done and save us!

      Don’t kill yourself. Vote!

      1. thoughtful person

        That’s right! I heard somewhere after soviets, then terrorists, aliens would next be the choice boogey men of the MIC

        Guess those days will soon be upon us ;)

    3. EoinW

      Well written! I grow tired of westerners’ talk about how peace loving they are, as if by just saying you are for peace makes it so. It’s perfectly clear what Clinton represents and how anti-peace she is. Yet so many westerners, especially outside the USA, would choose Clinton while also believing how much they support peace in the world. Thus Trump becomes a convenient excuse to vote for more endless war. Very easy to turn him into the nuclear bomb Prez as one can then support Clinton and claim to be for peace.

      This exercise of moral shenanagans grows tiresome after 18 years. I’d like to say we have fair weather ethical values in our Sodom and Gomorrah society. However i don’t even think we rate that highly any longer. Moral hypocrisy is really all we are now capable of. So bring on all the peace loving westerners to kiss the ring of the next neocon President!

  9. habenicht

    I posit that there is a gresham dynamic of sorts in politics. If I remember right, this is where bad behavior goes unpunished in an industry and that leads to only “cheaters” in the space because all the ethical players in the space can’t compete and need to / elect to drop out.

    If this is right, then it should be no surprise that outsiders to politics (representing ethics) don’t have the professional “expertise” held by the insiders. I see it as a straight up trade between ethics and expertise, and we have been relying on experts too long.

    Said another way, I think an ethical person can learn expertise much better than an expert person can learn ethics.

    As I write this it is clearer to me what a rare gem Bernie coulda been.

    1. Medbh

      That’s what I’ve experienced with leadership/executive roles. I was on that path, but felt like I was becoming something I hated.

      I used to admire “successful” people, but now I wonder what bodies they stepped over to get there.

      It’s discouraging, as the people with the power are unfit for leadership, due to the behaviors and choices they made to get there.

  10. Step

    The Green Party is not ready for prime time . Reparations? I agree with what Adolph Reed said about reparations: “Since there’s nothing (less) solidaristic than demanding a designer type program that will redistribute only to one’s own group and claim that that group (especially when times are getting tougher and economic insecurity is deepening for everybody) it seems like it’s guaranteed not to get off the ground and seems almost like a police action.”

    1. Benedict@Large

      The Movement for Black Lives just issued an excellent platform that includes reparations, but (to me) in a very new form. The thrust of their request is for free access to lifetime education, and is aimed clearly at mending the structural damage that 400 years of racism has inflicted on black lives. Before now, I’ve never been comfortable with reparations, as it seemed to me to be just one more thing blacks could be given that white could then just rip off. But this idea of continuing education is a good one, because (a) it’s an investment, and (b) once given, it cannot be taken away.

      The platform includes a lot more issues of course, but mostly I found myself saying, hey, that would be good for all of us. So it’s also very much along the lines of MLK’s common socialism, which should make it much more salable among the public. [Read it.]

      1. sd

        Free education should be available to every citizen from birth to death, regardless of ability, age or income. But then, so should health care.

  11. Step

    “By the end of the century China’s economy will be very much bigger than that of the US, maybe larger than the US+EU economies combined. India’s economy will be bigger than the US economy. The populations of China, India, and Africa will dwarf the populations of the US and Europe.”

    Very unrealistic predictions, Dr. Wray. Don’t you think the biophysical Limits to Growth will prevent this scenario?

  12. Joe

    I don’t understand all the hand-wringing. It’s actually quite simple.
    A vote for Clinton is a vote for:
    1. More misguided foreign wars on behalf of her friends
    2. A looming grand bargain with republicans to get rid of social security, the last hurdle standing between most people and indentured servitude.

    A vote for Trump is a vote for 4 years of government paralysis. None of the things he babbles about will ever be done. That’s the same as the last 12 years, isn’t it? As for the argument that he’ll spout hate, he taps into a deep-seated resentment, and not talking about it will not make it go away. It’s not his fault if his constituency has no place else to turn to.

    The real advantage of a Trump victory is that it will retire a whole political class (dems and repubs), and energize the budding Bernicrats. 8 more years of Clinton, and we can basically abandon the idea that there will ever be true representation again.

    1. Oh

      I agree with you all the way. That’s why the establishment Dems and Reps are desperate to keep Trump out and the status quo in. Most professed liberals are so afraid to take a chance (in voting Green or any party other than their Dem party and yet the same Dems have been eroding their privacy, their job opportunities, free speech, their standard of living and destroying the environment.

  13. Baby Gerald

    Professor Wray wastes a whole lot of column inches arguing against Trump without really offering anything other than a long list of evidence-based reasons not to vote for Clinton, while regurgitating the tried-and-true LOTE argument to not vote for Stein (or Johnson, who for reasons unclear to me has been deemed to be completely untenable by every thinking critic’s estimate).

    In a landmark statement this week, our commander-in-chief has deemed Trump somehow fundamentally unqualified to hold that esteemed office. Really? Those of us with memories that extend beyond the last news cycle might recall the exact same arguments levied against Obama eight years ago from his opponents on the right. “He’s a ‘community organizer’, whatever that is,” they would claim about the first term senator, “What has he ever run besides a canned food drive?”

    The right-wing who feared that somehow Obama would be sworn in on Monday and on Tuesday take their guns away, close Guantanamo and bring all those captives to criminal trial here on the mainland (whatever threat that entailed, I’m still not sure), give free health care to everyone at the expense of all their friends in the health care and pharma industries, and nationalize flagging industries and banks like some kind of black Lenin… their list of eventually unrealized worries went on and on.

    What was the left’s argument to allay these overblown fears during the 2008 campaign? Checks and balances. “Anything the president does has to go through both houses of Congress” they would claim, and that, the government wisely laid down by our founding fathers, would prevent this first-term senator from turning us into a socialist state. Where are those ‘checks and balances’ arguments now?

    A brash demeanor isn’t enough of a reason to not vote for someone, yet we are supposed to believe that Trump is going to somehow cast off the shackles of democracy and crown himself dictator based solely on his demagogic personality. Claiming that Trump won’t be able to conduct himself with the esteem required for that high office, pundits have become armchair psychologists and labeled the guy a borderline psychotic while comedians beholden to their major media paymasters have jumped on this bandwagon to have us thinking the guy is nothing more than an egotistical loon who, by the way, also secretly wants to screw his daughter.

    He’s a racist because he wants to have a better control of the border where thousands of illegal immigrants cross every year, often at their own peril. He’s beholden to nameless Russian oligarchs, we are led to believe without any real evidence to support the claim. He secretly doesn’t want to be president and is doing this only to stoke that massive ego, we are told by pundits who have not been correct in any of their other predictions. Maybe he’s a secret democratic plant, we’ve been told, placed there by Clinton and the DNC to guarantee her coronation. I honestly can’t believe the level of nonsense this election has generated.

    Anything to deflect attention from the fact that Trump is the only major party candidate left who is honestly questioning aloud the validity of NATO, criticizing the effects of globalization, asking what advantage it gives us to antagonize Russia thirty years after the cold war supposedly ended, wondering whether regime change is the best option on the table while Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Syria offer solid examples to the contrary, and whether massive trade deals cannot be negotiated in such a way that the middle class American worker doesn’t lose in the end.

    Instead we are told to look at his funny hair, marvel at his orange skin, and to count how many times he uses the words ‘huge’ and ‘great’. He eats KFC with a fork and knife. He hates Muslims because he thinks all their women are oppressed and told that it is the man’s job to do the talking. The list of deflections away from his policy plans and how they compare and contrast with his opponent gets longer by the day.

    In the end, Professor Wray adds literally nothing to this discussion– paragraph after paragraph offer plenty of reasons to distrust and dislike Clinton, plenty of reasons in his mind that voting for a third party is a wasted vote, but simply nothing to counter the legitimate arguments offered by Trump to change the direction this country has been headed for the last two decades.

    1. Jim Haygood

      “In the end, Professor Wray adds literally nothing to this discussion.”

      Well, at least he confined hisself to only one (1) parenthetical mention of MMT, which probably we can agree represents admirable restraint.

      Because when the good professor gets the bit between his teeth on magic-beanstalk money, he can go on for column-feet.

      1. Benedict@Large

        So keep eating Monetarism. That’s really been good for us, huh? Forty years of a pseudo-gold standard, and the whole world economy’s been wrecked.

        Look, if you don’t want to (or can’t) learn MMT, I could care less, but why are you criticizing others for their ability and your inability to learn?

        1. ColdWarVet

          Or keep eating MMT by any other name, when in fact it’s already long established de facto official policy, albeit only for the rich and well-connected.

          No “learning” required.

  14. Michael Carano

    I agree with most all of the what the author says except that Clinton will “win by a nose.” She’ll win big, so the best choice is quit worrying about Trump and vote Stein, work to see she gets at least 15% of the vote, which will make it easier for the Green Party to run candidates in the future, and after the election when Clinton is president, do everything possible to build a viable third party with candidates who have to pledge to the platform. The Libertarian Party will counterbalance any votes the Greens get.

    Being on the socialist end of the spectrum, I would prefer a party based on the working class. but seeing how the Left at its own detriment tends to factionalize rather then compromise, the Green Party is the best bet. Even though it is basically an educated, white middle class party, if all of the vasst spectrum of the environmental groups, the anti-war-anti-empire groups, the single-payer groups, the Code Pinks and progressive Democratic groups, Black Lives Matters and immigration groups–and most importantly–the local and national unions that broke from the pre-crowned Dem candidate and backed Sanders, would coalesce around a reformed party with whatever labor taking the lead. Over time, other locals and larger unions might finally break with the Dems, who have helped spearhead their demise by dithering and unbacked lip service for decades, along with the wholesale selling our of it by the Clintons and the DLC. (You see. I have it all worked out! haha)

    1. hunkerdown

      Compromise is a liberal pathology. Agreeing to disagree is far superior for those who are strong enough people that they don’t need some totalizing ideology telling them how to think and feel like the bourgeoisie.

      1. Michael C.

        Hunkerdown,let me give you an example as I remember it from personal experience. A few years back, a group (National Assembly to End the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) tried to unite the two main factions of the anti-war movement. It held conferences for thee years, and progress was being made to do so. US Labor against the War (USLAW) was one of the groups at the conferences, At the third conference, language relating to the Israel/Palestine issue was put forward. It was pretty good language and stronger than anything that had been put forth to the labor movement before. USLAW recognizing the limitations on the issue to some segments of the rank and file supported the language. But then the hard-liners on the Left worked to make the language so strong, purity being more important than outcome, USLAW knew its membership would not accept it and worked hard for compromise. They tried to work out and almost had it, until the purists pushed through language so strong USLAW could not accept it. In essence, they threw labor under the bus, and this is the wing of the labor movement that had been working for years to educate and mobilize rank and file members to have a more understanding of the issue. After that, there never was a truly uniting of the movement or a fourth nationally conference. I think that is a pathology, to not take good steps to move the movement forward because one sees itself alone as the vanguard. It wasn’t a matter of telling one how to think and feel. It was a matter of doing what is necessary to regenerate and invigorate the antiwar movement. People could have disagreed and accepted the original language for the betterment of the movement. Now, today, show the bourgeoise the antiwar movement today. It’s gone, But the non-compromisers can sit righteously in their small meetings and feel morally superior. So I guess they have something now, don’t they.

    2. Nelson

      Indeed, keep working with the Greens. I’m all for it. I sometimes wonder if this election is the start of one where the Democrats move to the right and a real left grows—possibly the Green party. Well, might as well start working towards that.

  15. Cat Burglar

    Living in solid-blue California, I will vote for Stein. While she is galactically distant from winning the election, voting for her does reduce Clinton’s margin of victory in the state. And there would be advantages, as other posters have noted, to Stein getting over the 15% bar.

    Enough swing-state voters for Stein have the possibility of denying the presidency to Clinton, though that seems pretty distant.

    Republicans For Clinton will turn on her immediately. But a President Clinton coming into office with crumbling support on her left might be open to leverage by left-wing voters, and more Stein votes could accomplish that. Pretty iffy, but that seems to be the main chance.

    1. sd

      Clinton doesn’t care about the left. If she did she wouldn’t be courting the right. She’s a Republican.

      1. Cat Burglar

        It is hard to reconcile your hypothesis — that Clinton has abandoned the left — with the high level of effort her campaign is making to make sure she does not bleed ex-Sanders voters to Stein. Witness the anti-vaxxer smear, the Stein(Nader)-voters will be responsible for the absolute evil, Stein votes are meaningless yet awful memes being shopped around.

        You are right that she would love to rely on moderate Republican votes for the election, but it is not clear if they are taking the bait — people on the left are not the only ones to find Clinton a profoundly repugnant candidate!

        1. polecat

          I wouldn’t call Robert Kagan and his neocon chums ‘moderate’…..!

          or any of the Wall Street grift houses for that matter….

        2. hunkerdown

          There are lots of liberal Republicans, in the form of small businesspeople, Realtors®, and other self-important parasites. The anti-vax smear doesn’t attract the left, who already are well aware that the professional classes are incorrigible and corrupt; it’s meant to give liberals something to virtue-signal with.

          (Damn I wish I coulda snagged my ex’s video of her younger brother being taught by their 1%er bourgeois-GOPer dad to punch Democrats to protect Daddy.)

        3. sd

          Cat, you need to read up more about who is backing Clinton. Meg Whitman, Robert Kagan, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Armitage, Henry Paulson, Max Boot, etc.

        4. aab

          I think you are disproving your own assertion. Trying to stigmatize options to the left is a function of abandoning the left as valued members of your coalition. She is giving nothing in terms of policy. Picking Kaine was a huge FU to the left.

          Yes, she’ll take fearful, grudging votes from timorous liberals. She’ll probably be almost as happy if most of Bernie’s voters just stay home. As you mention, she doesn’t care about having a mandate or popular support. A low turnout election is easier to rig.

          I don’t see any mechanism for left wing voters to pressure her or use leverage on her once in office. She doesn’t need Congressional support to launch the Russian war. For everything else, her coalition will be the corporatists from both parties, which should be a solid majority. If enough Republicans dig their heels in, she’ll just do what Obama did, keep making deals “under duress” to slip Catfood Commission goals into unrelated bills, because of shutdowns, etc. She’ll also be ramping up her already initiated Red Scare, so the leftists that still actually have jobs will have to go silent to keep them.

  16. EoinW

    I’ve never understood the point of Green Parties. These are parties with only one real platform – protecting the environment. Yet it is clear by our every day lives that the majority of people do not want to change their lives to protect the environment. At least not change enough to make a significant difference. Thus these Green parties exist for one reason, which runs counter to the will of the people.

    Or maybe it’s just an exercise in conscience appeasement? Vote Green and have a clear conscience. You don’t even have to worry that your vote might change anything because the Greens have never won and never will win power. I can’t help but think it’s the old liberal trick of appearing to care about something. That’s so much easier than actually caring enough to try to change things now.

    1. sd

      When the Green Party first appeared, I thought it was a great idea to shift discussion. Overtime however, they never built up much of a local following. I see the Libertarians fielding a table at every possible event that they might find supporters at including music events. The Greens? Missing. So it’s difficult to take the Green Party seriously.

      1. two beers

        Nice paradox and self-fulfilling prophecy: You won’t support them until they’ve built up a following, but they can’t build up a following until people like you support them.

        So, the duopoly identity headfake prevails.


        1. Lambert Strether

          Why should I vote for a political party that doesn’t want to do what successful political parties do?

          Credit where credit is due, however: The national GP website is greatly improved.

    2. jrs

      Most people will not change their lives to protect the environment in a social context that is basically hostile toward that (no time for anything because they are worked like dogs, might have to live far away from work because of unaffordable rents etc.). If the social context was in any way supportive people might well be different. I think there is no such thing as a “will of the people” when most people have very little power over their own lives much less anything else.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    With all the fearmongering about Trump potentially having his finger on the nuclear button, I have yet to see anyone bring up Clinton statements during the last presidential campaign regarding Iran and ‘all options being on the table’ which of course meant nukes and her willingness to use them.

    I was pretty sure it was the Potomac that ran through DC but perhaps it is actually Lethe…

  18. optimader

    Jingoism; assertions that the 21st century will be the “American Century”; odes to “American Exceptionalism”;
    more than an Ode! That is a bromide direct from the Neocon Project for the New American Century (PNAC) Redbook!

    Neocons are Political Party agnostics, they migrate opportunistically. HRC is just the latest Host opportunity. That is a strategic advantage they wield. No party affiliation inertia. Changelings from the Dark Side

    Question for Lambert.
    I didnt ask yesterday after you stated that no qualified candidate is slated for this POTUS general election cycle, (I happen to agree).
    So tell me, who do you feel was the last qualified POTUS?
    This goes to the strategy voting against perceived greater evils.

  19. Ignim Brites

    If Gary Johnson and Jill Stein can each get near 15% then whoever wins will have a very diminished victory. How can that happen? Well Clinton could probably get 90% in LA county, King county, Cook county, Manhattan, etc. There is zero chance Trump will win CA, WA, IL, NY etc. 30 or 40% of Dem voters in those counties (and many more) could safely vote for Stein or Johnson without risking a Trump victory in the state. Samething in the deep red states. Limiting the size of the establishment party victory will go a long way to limiting foreign interventionism at least. As the only real peace candidate in the field, Stein could conceivably win a lot the America Firster vote in deep red states.

    1. ColdWarVet

      Perhaps if everyone could just forget about outcomes and simply vote their conscience these things would take care of themselves?

  20. PH

    You are not wrong, but it is not the whole story.

    There has been a difference between Republican rule and Democratic rule. There will be in the future.

    The world is different now. Our politics is in flux.

    There are more opportunities for left wing populism.

    There are also more opportunities for racist rightwing populism.

    As bad as recent years have looked to you, things can get worse.

    The challenge is to make institutions that will carry a message of peace, fairness and equality. A protest vote will not make the difference. I am not sure what will. But I think we need to put our minds to that problem.

    1. DarkMatters

      There is a difference between Republicans and Democrats: one tries to shred social programs and impose austerity, the other passes trade deals and corruptly dubious welfare packages. In either case, progress marches on.

      1. PH

        A lot of the discussion on the site assumes our vote is a sort of sluice gate, directing the flow of immutable forces along a certain line of logic.

        Interesting puzzle analysis. Electronic blips that may or may not catch a few eyes.

        The task ahead is far more daunting. Forget the vote. This tiny community is not going to swing the election. The task is to organize. Now THERE is a place where a small dedicated community can make a difference.

        But organize how, exactly? With what broad public purposes and by what means?

        Or maybe a coalition of groups. United how?

        We need to do more than jabber and complain. We need to act.

        I think that daunting task needs more attention than round and round about how bad Hillary is.

        We do not have a organization to believe in. We need one.

  21. Robert NYC


    I couldn’t agree more, Hedges destroyed Reich’s arguments. It is sheer idiocy to try and change the system form within since it is that system that is the source of the corruption. It’s what facilitates and enables it. And it’s exactly what they want you to do, stay in the tent where they can co-opt and ignore you. I am always stunned at how many of my liberal friends don’t understand this. David Graeber has been making this exact point for some time now. It’s a shame that Sanders went down that path and sold himself short.

    As it stands we have had the biggest anti-establishment movement in our history and we will end up with the worst establishment president possible. I give credit to the republican masses in that they were successful in repudiating establishment control over the primaries. The democrats tried and came close but are now left with a true establishment monster.

    As depressing and awful as things are, I do take some comfort in the awakening we are seeing. Unfortunately I don’t know that it will lead to anything. Once you have a deep state with control over all the levels of power it is nearly permanent and won’t allow itself to go quietly via some democratic process. Doesn’t work that way.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > It is sheer idiocy to try and change the system form within since it is that system that is the source of the corruption.

      Logically, that’s absurd. There’s no place “outside the system” from which the system can be affected, any more than you can affect things on Earth by yelling at it from Mars.

      More seriously, I really don’t see why an inside/outside strategy can’t work. The way that groupuscules on the left deny the enormous success of the Sanders campaign feels much like the way the Democrats erase his fundraising model. In each case, things will have to change….

      As far as Hedges and Graeber, I can’t stand Hedge’s preaching, and I like Graeber’s books, but I wouldn’t look to either of them as leading lights of strategy. (And see here on the highly disempowering deep state meme.)

  22. DarkMatters

    I’ve been struck by the imbalanced judgement of candidates’ transgressions. Has anyone else noticed the heavy weighting by political correctness? Here, one candidate has demonstrated professional incompetence (Benghazi), blatant disregard of national security in a probable attempt to circumvent the law, and demonstrated activity directed at election fraud. Yet these acts are taken as no more serious than having a blustering personality and a propensity to mispeak. The magnifying glass for the latter transgressions, which brings both candidates up to par, is the horror that someone would insult a father of a slain military HERO who happens to be MUSLIM, or the notion that he would even joke about PUTIN possibly releasing (presumably true) information that would advance the cause of justice by enabling a criminal prosecution.

    Objective evidence indicates that HC would govern much more irresponsibly than Trump. But the brilliant propaganda activities have succeeded in equalizing peccadillos with perjuries in the public mind.

    That achievement is truly impressive.

  23. JMarco

    At first I was not going to vote for President. Trump acts like he is on daytime reality show Hilary wants to continue Obama proposals like TTP, not trustworthy person and will surely escalate the fighting in Middle East. In 2016 elections I believe no vote for any presidential candidate including ones from Green and Libertarian parties is the closest that you make your vote stand for “None of Above”

  24. Pat

    For people who are thinking of either not voting at all OR not voting for President, I would remind you that voter participation in America has been shrinking for much of the last two decades. And that our political class doesn’t care, as witness that both seem to wish to ignore this AND/OR actually encourage it. Not voting plays directly into their hands.

    No, voting Trump, voting third party or even writing in a vote is NOT playing into their hands, not voting does. And I would say that in this year writing in is the least acceptable choice. The only message they cannot ignore is votes that are counted. Votes that do not agree with their wishes, votes that reject them. They (Democratic and Republican establishment both) need to fear that their ‘bases’ will not only not docilely be there when their wishes are not only ignored but outright rejected that ‘base’ will actively work against them.

    It won’t happen. I fully expect this to be a record year for lack of turnout. But I have to admit a large part of me would love to see record turnout with voters giving the middle finger to both Republicans and Democrats by voting for someone other than a major party candidate, even if I fear the election falling to the House. If this election has given them agita so far, that would lead to some outright bleeding ulcers.

    1. Nelson

      Is this true? I see voter participation as having increased the last couple elections. Not great, but still something. Are there other numbers?

  25. Demon Spawn of Putinsatan

    Randy Wray exposes our fake democracy very clearly, but the glum tenor of his conclusion suggests that at a certain point he stops following his nose and aborts his logic. Electoral choice is futile. Exactly. This is by design of an overreaching state. At least Wray doesn’t blame public passivity. Nobody blames North Koreans for not rising up and overthrowing their totalitarian state. Nobody blames the Palestinians for not throwing more rocks. Nobody sane blames Americans for not rising up and overthrowing the totalitarian state that’s got its hooks in us. This is a problem for the world. And the world is on it.

    Hedges envisions recourse to rebellion, and this is part of it. A minor part of it. The crucial thing is going over the head of this regime to the world: to treaty bodies, charter bodies, special procedures, international civil society, the international public at large, and to sympathetic foreign powers including but not limited to the G-77 and Russia. Civil society does this now but you never hear about it in state-controlled media. What does that get you?

    (1) Consistent, coherent, and comprehensive doctrine to supplant corporatist market idolatry, and law to enforce it. Development is progressive fulfillment of all your rights, civil and political, economic, social and cultural. In this framework MMT has a role: it blocks the statist trick of crowding out economic rights with deficit spending on repressive capacity. If real resources are constrained, there’s still no balancing or allocation to be done. National security is bullshit. What matters is human security – peace. And peace is the sum of your rights. Fuck guns, we want butter. There is no tradeoff.

    (2) Concerted international pressure. The government doesn’t care what you think but it’s painfully sensitive to what the international community thinks. Get together with the outside world and US state legitimacy’s gone. The US has lost control of the world. What’s worse for them, the world is on our side. That’s why the Democratic Convention was such a frantic Nuremberg Rally.

    When Carter tried to bring human rights home Gates looked at it, turned it over, sniffed it and said, damn, this would make a great weapon. It gave him everything he needed to destroy the USSR: bulletproof cover for treason, subversion, secession. He was very careful to warp and distort it for domestic consumption to keep it from destroying his regime. The Helsinki Final Act poisoned and killed the USSR as it degenerated. Now it’s the USA’s turn. One of these day we’re going to wake up and we won’t be in the USA – not because we left, because it’s gone.

    So cheer up. This is gonna be great.

  26. James Eliopulos

    So we can presume with his sudden endorsement of Ryan and Ayotte, Donald has been told how the world works? I’m no fan of Clinton or Donald – but I struggle with the idea that anyone would support him based upon opposition to the TPP. Pence’s benefactors, the Koch brothers, want it. Ryan wants it. McConnell wants it. Did Donald get his loans to his primary campaign repaid him? If so, how do the sources for those $$’s feel about TPP?

    The other factor which is leading me to rescind my decision to never support Clinton with my vote or my $$ (initially based upon her cynical vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq) is the thought of a Republican House, Senate, President and a Supreme Court stacked so far to the corporate and cultural right that the institutionalization of the supremacy of banks and business and the Bible over real live human beings will NEVER get unwound.

    My thought is that a Clinton victory would bring in a representative share of Sanders ideas, people and policies. It offers the opportunity to carry on where the primary campaigns left off. A Trump victory will influence the upcoming census which will give the bank/business/bomb coalition the opportunity to further disenfranchise progressive ideas through another round of gerrymandering.

    I’m not naive re Clinton. I get her flaws and the risk factors associated with her becoming President. I didn’t vote for her in ’08, ’12 or this years primary. I just don’t think she represents as quick a rush to repression of oppositional efforts or as high a wall to egalitarian efforts to move forward as does Donald. And the Manafort, Putin connection worries me no end.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I don’t mind Manafort’s Putin connections less than I mind the metastatizing cancer of Clinton Foundation connections.

      That said, Manafort and Stone make Karl Rove look like a choir boy.

  27. Briesener

    Interesting article but like in all the Trump and Faschism media references – here shown as Trump not being as “brilliant or charismatic” as AH there is never a mention how seriously different the situation of the US now is from post 1919 Germany….A common simplification IMHO. AH was able to point out to the humiliation and economic and social impacts of the war guilt, huge war reparations, loss of territory unfairly caused to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles….
    And while there are systemic problems in the US, they are within the system and not imposed “unjustly” by foreign governments (not even by Mexico!). Article is very interesting and this is just my reaction to common simplistic equivalencies. And I would agree that Trump is not AH but mainly because of the international political historical context…

  28. Deloss Brown

    “You amaze me.” –Shakespeare

    You are willing to vote for Jill Stein even though you know she won’t win, but she might put Trump into the White House?

    You’re looking forward to seeing Ivanka Trump as Secretary of Defense, and Melania Trump on the Supreme Court? You think he wouldn’t do those things?

    You don’t care about the fact that we don’t have much time to fix climate change, and that four years lost could put a lot of us under water (and hot water, too), and that Donald Trump toes the (Republican) party line on those questions? As he does on abortion?

    You think that if Donald Trump, in a fit of pique, attempted to push the nuclear button, the U. S. Army would mount a coup to stop him–and that this would be all right? In a democracy?

    You think that down-ballot voting is unimportant, and you don’t care if the party of Paul Ryan and “Snowball Jim” Imhofe and Lamar Smith continue to hold power, and you think that they’re no worse than Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders?

    “Forgive me, but such reckless people as you are–such queer, un-businesslike people–I never met in my life . . . I shall sob, or scream, or fall into a fit. I can’t stand it!” –Chekhov

    1. marym

      Clinton’s choice for VP is pro-Hyde Amendment and anti-abortion. Both she and he favor additional government restrictions on abortion.

    2. Pat

      1.) Because people refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton does not mean that they consider down-ballot voting unimportant. No one has to vote a straight ticket, except apparently you. Turning out to vote for a third party Presidential candidate is better than one other obvious choice for people who find both major nominees unacceptable – staying home.
      2.) Where does it say that upon election Trump is no longer constrained by the usual checks and balances in the Constitution? The Senate still has a say over things like Supreme Court Judges. Yes he could nominate Melania doesn’t mean she will get the job. (And I won’t point out how off the wall that prediction is.) And while I can see him nominating Ivanka for a cabinet position it is very unlikely to be Defense. And once again the Senate gets a say in whether she gets the job. You might want to brush up on procedure before your next attempt to shame people.
      3.) You do know that Clinton’s history on Climate Change is patchy at best. As witnessed by her work while at State to make sure the Paris agreement was severely limited and practically useless. Just because one candidate has indicated he will do nothing does not mean the other one will do anything that her major campaign donors don’t want done. Meaning no real action on that is remotely possible with either candidate.

      Just get it through your head, most of us here are well aware that Trump is a terrible candidate and a bad choice. Where we differ, is that unlike you we have a very clear view of Clinton, and recognize that she was a hideously bad Secretary of State, is a terrible candidate and would be an even worse President. Your examples of the horror of Donald Trump have little recognition of reality and a great deal of fear mongering. After the recent Democratic Convention as a celebration of war and military interventionism, we can point out that the person most likely to laugh manically about American exceptionalism while pressing the nuclear launch button is no less likely to be Clinton. And in fact, considering her history, more likely. But either way it is a crap shoot because we have TWO massively unqualified, unfit nominees not just one.

      1. Deloss Brown

        I am not schooled by your kind posts. Yes, we have two bad candidates. I am thoroughly aware of Mrs. Clinton’s bad qualities.

        No, I have never split my ticket, except my very first vote, when the Illinois legislature ran at large and you had no idea which party any candidate was in. I may then have voted for some Republicans then, but that’s water under the bridge. None since. No call to, ever.

        Your arguments that Hillary would not be a whole-hearted supporter of climate-change action pales besides Trump’s alignment with climate-change deniers. She might have to be dragged, kicking and yelling, into climate improvement. But she could be dragged. No one has any restraint whatsoever on the imbecile baboon Donald Trump.

        I cannot believe that anybody could contemplate with anything but horror a Presidency of what Esquire, I think, refers to as “the Incredible Talking Yam.” I don’t think I’m “fear-mongering.” If we got a Republican Senate–well–yes, there would be a few of them that would not endorse/vote for Ivanka as Secretary of State and Melania as Chief Justice. Not “Snowball Jim” Imhofe. Not Mitch McConnell. Conservatives love destruction for its own sake.

        You find my prediction “off the wall.” Mr. Trump’s entire candidacy is “off the wall,” a very pertinent remark considering his plans to build a wall along the Mexican border. As an engineering feat, it would be remarkable (actually, though my degree is not in structural or mechanical engineering, I believe it would be impossible). As the projection of a lunatic,it’s pretty average. Donald Trump is a pretty average lunatic. He has always behaved as a lunatic does. He would if elected.

        The only way that Hillary will not win this election is as a result of her own peculations–if more of them come to light–and her terrible choice of Tim Kaine as VP.

        Between your arguments, ladies and gentlemen, and the arguments of Bernie Sanders, Robert Reich and Elizabeth Warren, I go with the latter three.

        I already let Chekhov speak for me. God save the republic.

        1. Pat

          I don’t expect my arguments to change your mind. I never expected that. All I wanted was to point out that your attempting to shame people here who are no longer choosing to hit their head against a concrete wall and expect something other than a bad concussion by voting for a not so lesser evil with a Trump boogey man, hair on fire fact free post would not be so effective.

          I really don’t get your defensiveness on vote splitting. Or your misunderstanding about how picking and choosing candidates can work. We actually should be doing that. Not every bad candidate has an R after their name as not every D is good. There are a fair number of parties out there depending on where you live, that might actually have a better choice if you look. And just because it never occurs to you, doesn’t mean picking candidates based on their policies and stands not a knee jerk choice based on what could be a corrupt major party bait and switch won’t occur to someone else.

          I also want to point out that it will be a cold day in hell before I give a dime to friggin’ Democrat in Name Only Patrick Murphy. He is a poster boy for what is wrong in the party as he has only recently registered as a Democrat and has almost a better Conservative voting record than Marco Rubio since he got elected as a Democrat, but Israel, Schumer and Wasserman love him because he will give away the entire country to the FIRE industry and vote for TPP. Oh, and let me also point out that he isn’t the candidate for Senate in Florida, nor is Marco Rubio because their primary hasn’t happened. Hopefully Florida will be smart enough to send them both packing but not likely.

          I do like that although you may be an overworked paid Media Troll, you at least have a small clue that DWS is no shoe-in anymore. It may Just have been too obvious that she was a no go for your continued desire to shame people here. Still that and the small nod to the fact that Clinton is a screw up are small victories.

      2. Deloss Brown

        Just to cause more trouble: are any of my contradictors giving money to Tim Canova, DWS’ opponent? Are you giving money to Patrick Murphy, Marco Rubio’s opponent? Or Tammy Duckworth? Or Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned from the DNC because of its prejudices? Or any down-ballot candidates at all? All these people have web sites.

        I also subscribe a monthly pittance to Yves’ NC website. Do you?

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