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Why Hillary Clinton Is the Worst Kind of Leader

2016 May 27
by Hugh
Hilary Clinton Secretary of State Portrait

Guest Post by Hugh

Hillary Clinton doesn’t just make mistakes, she makes big mistakes, the kind that cost a lot of other people their lives and leave ruin and chaos in her wake. She doubles down on them and persists in them long after virtually everyone else has come to realize that they were mistakes. And then she repeats them.

Clinton voted for the Iraq War. During the next 12 years, her principal criticism of the war was not that it was a mistake but that she could do it better. This is another defining characteristic of the Clinton way of doing things. She doesn’t recognize that mistakes are to be avoided. Her argument, and it is a really strange one, is that she, because of her RECORD and EXPERIENCE, can do these mistakes BETTER. Just contemplate for a moment the sheer cluelessness of someone who thinks it is a plus to argue that they make better mistakes.

And it wasn’t just that. During those 12 years, she angrily attacked, derided, and arrogantly dismissed those who did not agree with the war, you know, the people who got it right. Finally, in June 2014, 12 years (OK, 11 years and 8 months) after her vote for the Iraq AUMF in October 2002, she revised her position on the war in typically legalistic Clintonesque fashion. She did so in a in a well controlled venue, a book with the wildly inappropriate title Hard Choices (since the hard choice was opposing the war) where she couldn’t be cross-examined and for which she got a multi-million dollar advance. With the Clintons, it is always about the benjamins.

Anyway, here is her non-explanatory explanation and non-apology apology:

I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had. And I wasn’t alone in getting it wrong. But I still got it wrong. Plain and simple.

This is like an engineer designing a plane that keeps crashing killing all on board. After years of denying that there was any problem, she comes out and says that her calculations were correct but the numbers she was given were wrong. Oh, and lots of other people made the same mistake.

What Clinton’s statement overlooks, of course, is that that plenty of people pointed out the dangers which she chose to ignore. Instead she slammed and belittled those who tried to avert the Iraq disaster. Nor is there anything about why it took her 12 years to even partially understand the nature of her screw up or long after virtually every other being on the planet with a pulse. Only grifters like the Clintons would then take this monumental, impossibly bad example of self-serving, poor judgment and seek to spin it into the gold cloth of “foreign policy experience” or even more ludicrously a Hard Choice.

What her statement on the Iraq War does illustrate, however, is another Clinton tactic. Issue a statement (in legalese) on one of her many bad decisions and then move on as if the issue has forever been answered and is now irrevocably closed.

I have gone on at some length on this one subject, but have only scratched the surface of just how bad Hillary Clinton is. You can find similar examples with Libya, Syria, the TPP, and the Keystone pipeline, to name a few. Beyond these, there is Hillary Clinton and the abuse of power with her email server. There is the corrupt Hillary Clinton with her speeches to Wall Street and the Clinton Global Initiative. There is the blatantly lying in your face Hillary Clinton paid for by Wall Street who tells the rubes she’s going to fight for them, that she is going to create jobs for them. There is the “I’m so experienced” Hillary Clinton who’s solution to the economy is to turn it over to her grifter husband Bill.

For redemption, there must be both the awareness of error and the desire to atone. Both of these acts are totally alien to Hillary Clinton, and Bill too, for that matter. They are grifters. And the first rule of the con is never to admit the con. The second is to take the money and run. It is in the con, not redemption, that you really see what makes the Clintons tick.

Peter Thiel’s Attack On Gawker Is Not an Abuse of Wealth

2016 May 26
by Ian Welsh

So, some years ago, Gawker outed Peter Thiel as gay. To the best of my knowledge, there was no public interest case to be made: Thiel was not funding anti-gay initiatives or some such.

They also published Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and did various other scummy things.

Thiel, being a billionaire, decided to take them out. What he did was put together a team of lawyers, and find cases against Gawker to fund.

Law cases.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing over this. The argument is that Thiel is using his money to destroy a media outlet (and jobs!) and that this is a bad thing, because any billionaire could do the same thing to any outlet.

I have little time for this argument.

The American legal system is only for the rich, when it comes to civil law. One of the plaintiffs against Gawker is a multi-millionaire, and he still couldn’t afford the suit on his own.

What Thiel is doing is making it possible for people who have a good case that the law has been broken, and they have been harmed, to actually use the legal system.

The argument these people are making is that those who aren’t rich shouldn’t be able to avail themselves of the legal system.

Gawker can afford lawyers. If Thiel wasn’t backing these plaintiffs, many of them would have to settle for smaller, out-of-court settlements, and, in the case of the guy who who refused insurance money, justice against Gawker. The plaintiffs would not have gotten their day in the court, because they are poor, and Gawker can outspend them.

Gawker is losing these cases not just because Thiel is funding them, but because they were in the wrong.  They did something illegal, and in this case, something which should be illegal.

Hulk Hogan’s sex tape was “public interest”?

So, no, I have little sympathy here. Don’t do what Gawker did. And stop with the hysteria.

The real story here, so far as I’m concerned, is that the civil law system in the US only works if you have the sort of money a billionaire has.

The problem isn’t that Thiel is making it work for a few people; the problem is it only works for a few people.

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Ethical Political Redemption

2016 May 25
by Ian Welsh

One of the great problems of political life is the question of whether politicians and senior bureaucrats can change. Can they learn from their experiences? Can they become more ethical?

We know pretty well that becoming a powerful politician can destroy a person’s ethical moorings: They wind up doing things that, as a private citizen without power, they considered abominable.

Apologists for a current government always call this becoming “practical,” but I’ll posit that this is rarely so, except in personal terms–the principled politician is generally taken care of quite well for giving up his or her principles. (You can see this in John Kerry’s career, if you care.)

The more important question is: Can a politician with bad judgement and terrible ethics learn?

For example,suppose you were in favor of the Iraq war. Can you be trusted if you say, “It was a mistake?” If you were in favor of Welfare Reform (which hurt the weakest and least powerful people in America terribly), same.

The simple answer is that a politician must prove they have learned through their actions.

Hillary Clinton is not credible saying she’s learned from the Iraq fiasco, because she was also for Libya. She didn’t learn the practical lesson (destroying a regime is easy, not having the country become a failed state is hard); nor did she learn the ethical lesson (don’t attack countries who haven’t attacked you).

Clinton is not credible, because her actions have not changed. She’d be for the next Iraq in a heartbeat and find reasons to justify such an action. Her rhetoric against Russia and Putin might as well be from the Cold War and is a great threat to world peace (and survival).

But the lesson here is larger: Don’t pay attention to what politicians say, pay attention to what they do. Look at their record. If they want to say they’ve changed, you need something concrete to prove that.

And if you’re looking for someone who you know you can trust, look for them to have taken hits for their beliefs. Sherrod Brown came into the House a left-wing champion, but when he ran for the Senate he voted for torture because he felt he needed to in order to win.

Not trustworthy. Does not actually believe in what they say when the chips are down.

Some compromises are necessary in legislative careers, no question. But there are lines a person of integrity won’t cross. Those lines differ by belief system, but if someone crosses the lines of your belief system, they aren’t one of your people. They aren’t a leader of your ideological faction, whatever that is.

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The Role of Politicians in an Oligarchy…

2016 May 20
by Ian Welsh

…is to wrangle voters for oligarchs then enact policies to make the rich, richer.

This is clearly indicated by jobs for the families of politicians and the way that politicians are rewarded post-career.

The Clintons had a 100 million dollars a few years after leaving the White House.

Seven figure lobbying jobs are routine for Senators after their legislative career. Before that, their families are taken care of, and most of them somehow become multi-millionaires.

The same is true for high ranking bureaucrats. Timothy Geithner, who helped bail out Wall Street was giving six figure speeches almost immediately after leaving his post.

If you want to know who someone works for, look for who pays them.

You pay lawmakers far less than the rich.  They do not work for you.

I would estimate that this is true of well over 90 percent of American politicians.

When Russ Feingold was defeated for re-election to the Senate, he took a job as a university Professor. Now this isn’t a terrible fate, and I’m not crying for him, but being the only person to vote against the Patriot Act and not, in general being corrupt, cost him at least a million dollars.

A year.

Americans seem to believe that people act in their self-interest (and should do so) and then, contradictorily, believe their politician should be willing to give up millions to do the right thing.

This is true, by the way, of Obama. His State department effectively immunized bankers for criminal acts by letting them off with fines (fines that did nothing to harm the money they had earned through illegal acts). His number one priority this last year has been the TPP trade deal.

Obama’s presidency oversaw the rich getting even richer, most of the population getting poorer, and there being less jobs per capita which pay less. These are his economic results, and they are not accidental.

The good things you can have in an oligarchical government are the good things of which the oligarchs approve. Oligarchs want workers to be interchangeable. Nonsense about gays or transgenders or whatever is bad business.

So are unions. So are good wages.

None of this is to say that you’ll never get thrown a bone, as with Obama’s sponsoring of overtime. But a clear-eyed look at Obama’s record (or Clinton’s, or Bush’s, or that of any Congress in the past 30+ years) indicates that policies were meant primarily for the benefit of the few, not the many.

Politicians wrangle voters for oligarchs, who pay them well for the service. They then pass bills and regulations which help those oligarchs, because it is those oligarchs who give them almost all their money.

If a politician does not do this, and gets into a position of potential power, the attacks are unrelenting.

For an example, please read the media coverage of Corbyn; note also how much he is attacked by Labour party politicians, EVEN as the vast majority of Labour party members support him (and that support has increased since he won the leadership.)

Corbyn didn’t take the money. For decades he didn’t take the money. He didn’t become a Blairite, even though he had every reason to believe that by not doing so, he was condemning himself to a life as a bank bencher, who would never get rich.

Whether you agree with Corbyn’s beliefs or not, THAT is integrity.

The vast, vast majority of politicians in the developed world are not just corrupt, they are your enemies. The actions they take impoverish and kill you in exchange for wealth and favors from the rich.

A man like Obama or Bill Clinton (or, in the future a woman like Hillary Clinton) is far more likely to ruin your life than Osama bin Laden ever was. Bill Clinton pushing through Welfare “Reform” harmed millions of the poorest weakest people in America. The repeal of Glass-Steagall allowed the financial crisis to happen.

Unless you are an oligarch, or a retainer who is on the gravy train, people like Clinton, Obama, Blair, Cameron, and Thatcher are your enemies. They are a direct threat to your well-being, welfare, and even life.

The first thing anyone who wants to be realistic about politics and power needs to realize is this fact. They are enemies.

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Democracy Is a Way of Avoiding Violence

2016 May 17
by Ian Welsh

Democracy is intended to provide a legitimate way for change to occur, a way which does not require violence.

We vote, and what we vote for is done.

To the extent that the people get more or less what they think they are voting for, democracy is working.

When people do not get what they think they are voting for, democracy is not working.

If democracy does not work for long enough, the government comes to seem illegitimate–people may have voted, but they didn’t vote for what they got.

It is for this reason that endless austerity, or candidates who are hypocrites and do not do what they said (or very strongly implied) they would do, are a problem.

They destroy democratic legitimacy, and when that legitimacy is gone, people start wanting a government that “works.” They become willing to go to demagogues and men on horseback. They become willing to engage in revolution and violence.

They are correct to do so. Democracy which does not translate the will of the people into the acts of the government is not democracy worth having.

Or, more briefly:

Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable.

— John F. Kennedy

This is why Trump. This is why LaPen. This is why the Golden Dawn.

Democracy can regenerate itself. FDR in 1932, for example. But then there were also Mussolini and Hitler. This is not a specious example; it can happen “here,” wherever here is.

Cynical elites, who do what they know won’t work to give people what they want (neoliberalism never providing prosperity), are doing profoundly evil work: They are undermining the very basis of democracy and in doing so they are destroying the peace.

They will reap as they have sowed.

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Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-Wing Government

2016 May 16
by Ian Welsh

So, we have had a right-wing coup in Brazil. In Venezuela, the left still controls the Presidency, but has lost control of parliament. In Argentina, the right has won the election.

I have been asked how to stop right-wing reversals.

First it’s worth noting that these three cases are somewhat different. Brazil is a coup in all but name. Venezuela saw massive deliberate fouling of the economy by internal right-wing forces. The situation in Argentina was the closest to fair; a reversal of electoral fortunes.

Still there are lessons to be learned from their experiences:

It’s Not You, It’s China (or, the World System)

All three left-wing movements in Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina were associated with rising commodity prices. When those commodity prices collapsed, it was only natural for their fortunes to reverse. They are in power when the economy goes bad, now people want them out. They are willing to be complicit in actions to get them out, which are dubious.

Don’t Run Your Economy on Resources

Yes, okay, this is easier said than done. It is hard to bootstrap into something else if you’re a non-core economy. Heck, even many core economies are losing their manufacturing bases and while finance can “work,” it’s a shit way to run your economy. So are “services.” We’ll discuss this in more depth below. But the bottom line is this: You have to develop (or have plans to develop) your economy into a mixed economy, so that it can survive during the inevitable downturns, and, thus, so that your movement can survive them.

People expect you to be able to maintain prosperity. Given the world order as it stands, that may be like asking you to swim with a hundred pound weight strapped to your back, but you still have to do it.

Your First Act Must Be a Media Law

Break them up. Take them over. Whichever. Ignore the screams about media freedom from the usual suspects in the West, this is a case of “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.”    In all three countries, the media conglomerates remained in the control of oligarchs (update: to be clear Venezuela did eventually expropriate them, but only after many years), and in all three cases, the majority of the media remained relentlessly hostile to the left.

This is just as true in countries like Britain, Canada, or the US as it is in Argentina, Venezuela, or Brazil, by the way. There is a reason why the post-war liberal regimes put strict media controls in place–including size limits–and there is a reason why those limits were removed by the neo-liberal regimes that replaced them.

You can win “against the media” for a time, but if you leave it in the hands of your enemies, they will eventually use it to bury you.

Take Control of the Banking Sector

The banking sector creates money. Money determines what people can and cannot do. This is the control mechanism for the economy in any state which runs on markets. You must control it. If you control it, you can use it to strangle your domestic enemies. If you do not, your enemies will use it to strangle you.

This is a great problem. The world economy has been designed so that countries need to trade, and they need foreign money. So you can take control of your banking sector, but you can’t control England’s or America’s or the payments system (this is what killed Argentina) and thus you cannot tell creditors to go fuck themselves. You need foreign money for necessities.

It is also problematic because the people who know how to run the market economy are not your people. You have get rid of the people who ran it before, so who is going to run it now?

Who Is Your Administrative Class?

You must have a class of people available to run the state and those chunks of the economy over which you are taking control (whether formally or informally). You must know who those people are. FDR reached into academia for many of his people; he pulled from the social gospel folks (who were used to administering large organizations), and he found a lot of fellow class traitors (for example, JFK’s father, whom he used to run the SEC–Kennedy knew all the tricks and was able to tamp down Wall Street’s BS).

Post-FDR, one of the reasons why factory line supervisors were made ineligible for union membership was so that union members couldn’t be used as easily to take over organizations–even the lowest level supervisors were no longer union members.

There are always people who know the business and believe the way it is being run is bullshit. But you have to know who they are, both as a class and individually. There are certainly people who can run TV stations and newspapers who are left-wing, but you’ve got to know who they are.  There are heterodox economists and people who have worked in the finance industry who are class traitors and just itching for a chance to put the boots to the assholes they worked for. Again, you must know who they are.

Take Control of Distribution and Utilities

Yeah, sorry, but no one said this would be easy. In Venezuela, you had the economic elite deliberately worsening shortages. Huge stocks of consumer goods buried and hidden.

These people have power. They are your enemies. They will use their power against you. They will not “play fair.”

In Egypt, under the Brotherhood, the deep state did things like cause electricity outages and blame it on the Brotherhood. Of course, the same bureaucrats as always were running the electrical system.

Again, this comes back to control: You have to take control and you have to have competent people you can trust who can do so. Do you know who they are?

Reduce Your Vulnerability to the World Trade System

The world system as it stands now is designed so that no nation can stand alone: They cannot make and grow everything they need. This was not always the case. In the past, many nations went out of their way to be self-sufficent. It was Keynes’ position, by the way, that nations should produce all their day-to-day necessities themselves, wherever possible, and import only what they could not produce and luxuries–but to strive not to need anything they couldn’t make.

This has been economic and political orthodoxy at various points.

But it isn’t now. You’re in hock to various foreigners for a lot of money, denominated in their currency. You probably can’t feed your own nation. You can’t make what you need (toilet paper, famously, in Venezuela’s case) and you can’t buy it without foreign currency. But the foreign financial system is not friendly to you if you’re genuinely left-wing, and the world trade system is set up to make it illegal to do what is required to produce goods domestically.

You’ll need subsidies or tariffs to make new domestic industries viable, and that’s illegal thanks to a web of trade deals meant to make you unable to control your own economy.

Venezuela tried to increase farming, but failed, precisely because the price of oil went through the roof and foreign food was cheaper than domestic. The classic response would be tariffs, but the kinds of tariffs sufficient to work would not be tolerated by the world trade system.

It’s hard to overstate how huge a problem this is. It goes back to the commodity issue. Maybe you have enough foreign cash for now, but you won’t always, and you must have it. This vulnerability must be reduced, generally.

No one has managed this in the neo-liberal era, not completely, and huge amounts of geopolitics are run based on this. Russia has its oil prices drop so it moves to selling military goods to make up the difference, for example, and its Syrian intervention is, in large part, a venue to show off how well its weapons work.

Workarounds have been tried: Cooperation with other left-wing nations is the standard one. Venezuela with Cuba, and so on. But this is the “south” trading with the “south.” The stuff they really need, generally none of them actually produce, and if they do they either don’t produce enough or they don’t really, i.e., it’s produced by some multinational with no loyalty.

So then you try to appropriate the multinational, but that runs you into all sorts of problems from getting replacement parts for the machines, the experts to run what you’ve expropriated, to effective embargoes, even if not declared as such.

Nonetheless this is a problem which must be solved. A full description of how to bootstrap an economy is beyond the scope of this article, and I’m not sure I have a full kit, but I will say this: There are a huge number of highly skilled first world workers, from the Ph.D.-level down to machinists who are unemployed or underemployed. They want to work. They hate their own system. You can bring these people in, give them new lives, and at least have the necessary expertise.

I know many extremely qualified pharma professionals who would love a chance to set generic factories and create new drugs without the pressure for palliatives they receive from their drug company employers (or ex-employers), as just one example.

This bootstrapping is a challenge which appeals to a lot of the very best and brightest.

Be Satisfied with What You Can Grow and Make

If your elites or population insist on fresh summer vegetables in winter, you’re done. What you can produce, you must have a taste for. This is especially true for elites. If they must have the latest Mercedes, a vacation in Paris, and a home in London, you’re screwed because to have those things they must have foreign currency.

When Korea was industrializing they had huge campaigns to not smoke foreign cigarettes: It was considered unpatriotic.

You need what foreign currency you have to stay earmarked for capital goods, and you need your elites to be local elites, not global elites. If your elites consider themselves global, you will never be able to create the necessary self-sufficiency to buck the world system.

Obey the Laws of Purges

Let’s not dance around. Your first steps will be breaking the power of current economic and political elites who are not willing to convincingly join you or at least let you rule without trying to sabotage you.

You must do this all at once. When it happens, it happens to everyone it is going to happen to. This is Machiavelli’s dictum, and he was right. After it has happened, those who weren’t broken know they’re safe as long as they don’t get in your way.

If the breaking keeps going on and on everyone who still has something to lose (and still, thus, has power) lives in fear. They must destroy you before you destroy them.

Let’s give a concrete example. Assume Obama was really a left-winger. He gets into power in 2009, and he really wants to change things. He needs to take out the financial elite: Wall Street and the Big Banks.

They’ve handed him the opportunity. Here’s part of how he does it: He declares all banks involved in the sub-prime fraud racket (all of the big ones most of the small ones) conspiracies under RICO.

He then says that all the individual executives’ money are proceeds from crime and confiscates it. (This is 100 percent legal under laws as they exist). He charges them, and they are forced to use public defenders.

They are now powerless. This is the second law of purges: Anyone you damage, you must destroy utterly. If you take away half their power, and leave them half, they will  hate you forever and use their remaining power to destroy you.

Leave them whole, or destroy them. The financial executives would have been destroyed, and win or lose in the courts, the next five to ten years of their lives would be consumed by personal legal nightmares.

Again, this is a Machiavellian dictum.

All of this will make many readers uneasy. It seems “mean.”

Get out of the game. You aren’t fit for it. This is all mean. Millions of people die every year and millions more are ruined by the current system. If you’re in this game to win it, rather than feel good about yourself, you will have to play real power politics by the actual rules of the game.

Too many left-wingers try to play by what they think the rules are. “We have a fair election every X years and the losers accept the result and don’t sabotage the winner (or do a coup).”

Those aren’t the real rules. If the right is really losing, they will cheat and cheat massively. They will think nothing of running death squads, making a deal with the US to support guerrillas, and so on.

You directly threaten their wealth and power if you are a real left-winger. Even if all you want is a 50s style social democracy with racial and gender equality, that would destroy almost all of what they have. They remember what FDR did to them, even if you don’t. They remember all the lost power and fortunes.

It is not possible to have a fair, egalitarian, prosperous society, and have very rich and powerful elites. It cannot be done. Brandeis was exactly right when he said you can have democracy or great wealth in the hands of a few, but you can’t have both.

Either you’re willing to do what it takes, including the ugly bits, or you aren’t. There are sometimes local exceptions, places where a lot of the ugly isn’t needed, but there aren’t a lot of those left in the world. This isn’t the post-war era and even then, for the South (as opposed to Scandinavia), actual egalitarian developed economies mostly weren’t allowed. You can ask Central and South America about that.

Most left-wing movements get into power without having properly thought out what they’ll do once in power and without a realistic understanding of the deep lack of belief in democratic norms by their right-wing opponents.

Break your enemy’s power. If you’re any sort of left-winger worth your salt, you ethically do not believe in huge concentrations of power and money in the hands of a few people anyway. Act on your beliefs.

And if they’ve committed a pile of crimes (and they almost always have), use those crimes against them.

Then remember the world system is set up expressly to stop what you are doing.

You’re tackling the dragon, and most people who do that get eaten. We tell the stories of the dragonslayers because they are so few.

So, know the odds are against you, and be willing to do what is required to improve them. If you aren’t, stay home.

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Surviving Climate Change

2016 May 15
by Ian Welsh

The news is all bad. You may have seen this graphic already, but it’s worth meditating on.

Climate Trend from NASA

Yes, this year has been breaking records. Every single month has been the hottest on record.

There is a chance we’ve “broken out” from the trend, and will now see full operation of the vicious cycle.

I am going to suggest that readers start taking this into account in their personal lives. Figure out how climate change is likely to effect where you live. It isn’t always obvious or linear (for example, there’s a chance that Europe could enter a cold-free if the Gulf Stream shuts off, and it’s already lost one-third of its strength).

Effects will also include movements of people from the worst affected areas. Is where you are, or are going to be, one of the places they will flee to? Are you in a “global city” where the richer citizens may want an “insurance property” driving up real-estate prices even more?

What do you want to do about this for yourself, your family, your nation, and/or the world?  The answer can be “little to nothing,” but it’s worth thinking on. Pushing for residence requirements for real-estate ownership could save your house or condo, as increased prices will increase taxes. It could also make it possible for your children or other young people to live in the nicer cities where the good jobs are.

Where are the refugee camps going to be set up? Does your country have any realistic possibility of settling refugees fairly rather than in camps?

Are you, conversely, in a place from which people are going to have to flee?

Move before you are required to flee. Really. Take the hit necessary and get out, unless you’re old and without dependents.

Is your area going to run out of water? I recently visited San Antonio, and that city will probably run out of water in a couple decades. It might be able to import enough, but it might not. Water is going to be in short supply all through the south.

As shortages hit, violence will increase. Are you on good terms with the local violent authorities, whoever they are? Dean Ing, the science fiction writer and survivalist, moved to a small town and then made sure to become friends with the police chief and the local base commander.

Are you considering how to get, at least partially, off the grid? Could you eat or drink for a few weeks if there were disruptions? What about alternate heating or cooling arrangements? Do you have a “bugout bag” and a “bugout plan” if you have to leave suddenly? The very basics can be cheaper than one might think.

Some of this may be overblown: yet. But it’s worth thinking this stuff through and making what precautions you can. And remember the #1 rule of surviving bad times and disasters.

Friends and neighbours. Make sure you have friends, locally, and that your neighbours know and like you. People who are well-liked by a lot of people are far more likely to survive bad times than those who aren’t. And having really good friends wherever you may have to flee to, if it comes to that, is wise.

Start cultivating.

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Hollande Continues to Prove that a Fake Left-Winger Is Worse than Most Right-Wingers

2016 May 11
by Ian Welsh

The majority of French citizens are opposed to the relaxation of labour standards that Hollande wants to push through, and there have been massive demonstrations against it. So what does Hollande’s government do?

France’s government announced Tuesday that it would empower Prime Minister Manuel Valls to bypass parliament and push through controversial labour reforms by decree despite widespread public demonstrations against the bill.

And the French people had a party at the Bastille when Hollande won! Hollande is a far more loathsome individual than, say, British PM David Cameron. Cameron ran as a right-wing pig-fucker who intended to destroy the social state.

There are other options than neoliberalism, but people like Hollande are too intellectually cramped and too much products of “there is no alternative” to even know what they are, let alone consider them.

The people who run France are a small and inbred group. They make Britain’s elites look inclusive. In 80s, the foreign aid community’s joke about the French system was that it produced the best second-raters in the world.

Hollande doesn’t even rate as a “second-rater.” He’s incompetent as a neoliberal technocrat, unable to game the system.

I am tired of very intelligent, highly-educated morons running the world.

I suggest the French go riot at the Elysee palace, and by riot, I don’t mean demonstrate outside.

Demonstrate inside. Perhaps explain, personally, to Hollande, a soft-handed courtesan born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who has never soiled his hands with hard labor, why his ideas are bad ideas.

This sort of bullshit will continue until it is stopped by ordinary people making a ruckus in the halls of power.

And they aren’t going to be allowed in because they ask nicely.

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Trump Starts His March Leftwards By Saying He’ll Tax Rich People

2016 May 9
by Ian Welsh

Donald TrumpAs I predicted.

Trump is not an idiot. He will go hard for the left-wing populists and he will get some of them.

Meanwhile Clinton is running after right wing money and endorsements. Max Boot endorsed her. The Koch brothers are considering her.

The standard rule in an election is you run to the primary voters during the primary, then you run to the rest of the people you want voting for you and funding you. Clinton is now running to oligarchs, neoconservatives and Republicans who despise Trump; while Trump is running left to get economic populists.

It’s next to impossible to vote Trump because of his racism. It is next to impossible to vote for Clinton because she is a war mongering oligarch whose economic policies guarantee stagnation and decline.

But Trump will be well to Clinton’s left on economic issues long before election day. And for all that people say Trump isn’t believable, Clinton is even less believable on those occasions where she tries to say left-wing things.

(Update: And, now he says he won’t.)

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Trump Suggests Restructuring US Debt

2016 May 7
by Ian Welsh

And fools rush to say this is a stupid idea.

No. Or not necessarily.

While we are in a period where countries have been absolutely hammered for defaulting or restructuring on debt, the historical record is that countries often benefit from doing so. Germany, for example, very much benefited from it after World War II.

US law controls. If the US government changes US law, creditors can go pound sand trying to collect.

There is a constitutional issue, of course, and as such it may not be possible, but it is not, de-facto, a stupid idea.

And yes, people will still lend to the US after a restructure. There is far more money in the world than there are investment opportunities.

Trump often says stupid and/or objectionable things, but something is not stupid and/or objectionable just because Trump says it. In many cases, he is making common sense statements which no one else has the guts to say.

And please shut up about how the Bush’s and McCain and Romney and so on are not going to be at the convention. Who cares? Trump said that Bush Jr., for example, failed to protect the US from 9/11 and then invaded Iraq when he shouldn’t have and then fucked up the war. You expect Bush to go to the convention after Trump told the truth about him?

A truth, I might add, that any left-winger worth his or her salt agrees with and has said repeatedly? Not to mention that any decent left-winger should despise Bush Jr. His not endorsing Trump after Trump ripped him a new one is not an indictment of Trump.

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