The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Is Ocasio-Cortez the Start of a Movement?

Most of you have, probably, by now, heard of Ocasio-Cortez, the insurgent Democratic Socialist candidate who defeated incumbent Joseph Crowley in a New York House Primary–and by a large margin.

Ocasio-Cortez is, for the US, quite radical: free tuition, true universal health care, re-instating Glass-Steagall and he out-and-out called Israelis shooting Palestinians a massacre when it was, in fact, a massacre.

Ocasio-Cortez is not the only such candidate to win in this cycle, but she is the most visible and Crowley was touted by many as Nancy Pelosi’s likely heir in the House Leadership. The New York Times barely even covered her, they just assumed Crowley would win.

Now it has been observed by many that the reason the Republicans are very right-wing is that they are scared of their base: An incumbent is more likely to lose in a primary than a general.

The Netroots movement that ran from about 2003 to 2010 had as its goal “more and better Democrats,” and tried repeatedly to take down Democrats from the left. By and large it failed and so the Democrats continued to be what they’ve always been; a party which agrees with 80 percent of what Republicans do, but wants to be a little nicer about it.

What matters about Ocasio-Cortez and her small cohort is whether they are precursors of a larger change. Will Democrats challenging from the left win, and win often? Will incumbent Democrats have to move left to try and hold their seats? (Crowley tried, but he wasn’t credible.)

I have long agreed with my friend Stirling Newberry that 2020-24 is the change-point in the US. It is at the point where, simply due to age, Boomer politicians will have to give up power, and younger politicians (Millenials and GenZ or whatever we call it now) will take over. A few leaders may come from GenX, but not many, because we are too few, and anyway, as a generation, we have awful politics.

If this first wave turns out to have what it takes, and have a decent ideology they stick to, then the US stands a chance at a sharp turn towards becoming a kinder, more equal nation which is better to live in. (And Ocasio-Cortez’s plan for environmental change is stunningly good: a massive green build-out which many have suggested for decades.)

I am simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic. While Millenials overall have fairly good politics according to polls, the generation after that is more questionable. Further, as with Boomers, it may not be those with good politics who win most (no, the hippies did not storm Congress in the 70s.)

But this is the early movement of the hinge. The door opens fully between 2020 to 2024 and that will determine the future of the US.

If you wish to see a precursor, watch Corbyn in Britain. Just as Britain preceded the US into neoliberalism with Thatcher, it may precede the US during this turn of the hegemonic sub-ideology.

(Oh, and Ocasio-Cortez? She uses the phrase “For the many, not the few,” which is Labour’s motto under Corbyn.)

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The Supreme Court Replacement of Justice Kennedy


On July 4th as American Evil Comes Home


  1. bob mcmanus

    Maybe. There are more than here, Jealous in Maryland belongs, although he hasn’t won yet.

    And I would say that the pot legalization movement might be an earlier precursor, and gives us indications as to the New Left’s shape, ideologically, but more importantly geographically. It’s coastal, and not as urban as you might think, and probably connected to gentrication, globalization and its discontents, the tech centers and middle management that is not libertarian. For instance, Bend, Salem, and Eugene Oregon have been radically trasformed.

    The Democratic Party is largely an urban party in most of the country, and not just the metropoles but cities like Jackson MI and Lawrence Kansas most all of them. And most of these places center around majority-minority districts, and corrupt machines headed by entrenched incumbent powers, the superdelegates who nominated Clinton, not just politicians but organizers and activists and NGO operatives who pass out funds and jobs.

    The young women of color (BLM) who supported Sanders over Clinton are a rising force, but I think will not develop a wide enough base to become a national force, because the surrounding rural areas have been depopulated of Democrats and remain Republican. Jackson will not rule Mississippi. Ever. I am not talking about wooing white working class men, but there has to be enough working class and pink collar people of color in the suburbs and country to take territory.

    Shorter: it’s irretrievably coastal, and will lead to secession and civil war.

  2. grayslady

    I respectfully disagree with bob mcmanus that the progressive movement is coastal. The rump remains of the establishment Democrat party are coastal, but independent voters who agree with the kind of platform AOC proposes are found heavily in the middle and south of the country. The primary elements of AOC’s platform are elements of community, a concept that used to be prevalent in the thousands of small, vibrant towns across the country back in the 1950s and early 1960s. Changing to an unregulated, casino economy that favors monopolies destroyed so many of those communities. It will take a long time to undo the damage, but promising candidates like AOC are the first necessary step.

  3. Just as it might not be Millennials with good politics who win the most, Gen-Xers with bad politics will win adequate enough support from Millennials not to be trampled out of existence by mere dint of being outnumbered. The occasional youngest-ever pols that have reached high office are a long way from indicating a change in the since-the-beginning-of-time trend that has the younger end of the electorate choosing candidates between their parents’ and grandparents’ age.

    More importantly as regards substance, however, is the difference between what one says or campaigns on, and what one does once in office. As you probably know by now, Ocasio-Cortez has already been called out for the disappearance of her Peace Platform from her website, subsequently restored. Whether or not subsequently corresponds to consequently in this case is less material than the cynicism that led to the disappearance in the first place, and what that bodes for how her future voting record. In the world of politics, such cynicism is contagious enough that it’s justified just before the criticism thereof is. Like clockwork.

    Simultaneous or not, your pessimism trumps your optimism. I think that’s called hope.

  4. Tom

    If millennials don’t vote, it doesn’t matter. Even if they do vote, the First Past the Post and Gerrymandering keeps their candidates from actually winning 9 times out of 10.

    Only by getting rid of the Old Constitution and getting a new one can bring real change.

    The problem is inherently structural flaws in how we elect people to Congress and its makeup.

    We need proportional vote of parties to a Unicameral Parliament that operates by Majority Vote for good or ill without procedural roadblocks preventing action.

    Otherwise Government becomes deadlocked and unable to act for good or ill and corruption sets in with entrenched interests trumping the will of the majority. This is what did in Carthage.

  5. Daniel A Lynch

    As Bob McManus said, Cortez’s campaign has no legs in the heartland.
    That said, heartland voters would love to have free universal health care and a social security check they could actually live on, etc.. And heartland voters would not mind if the foreign wars ended. The New Deal never stopped being popular with the people, it only stopped being popular with the politicians.
    The catch is, today’s “left” are suckers for divisive social issues that are non-starters for heartland voters. Democratic party hacks encourage divisive social issues because it’s all that the Clinton / Obama Democrats have to differentiate themselves from Republicans.
    So I think a “progressive” economic and foreign policy that avoided social issues could get traction in the heartland, if some party or some leader made a concerted effort to do so, but I see no signs of that happening at the moment.

    As for Cortez, she talks a nice talk on economic issues but she won’t be able to pass the Lord’s Prayer in Congress. As for Ian’s favorite guy Corbyn, he is 69 years old but looks older, and I don’t think there is a chance that the elites will allow him to gain power, just as there was never a chance that Bernie was going to be allowed to gain power. At first the elites will try to smear Corbyn in the press. That has already happened and has had some effect. Worst case, Corbyn’s plane will crash, or a crazed lone assassin will rub him out.
    It is useful for the ruling class to allow some disagreement to provide the illusion of democracy. Bernie Sanders is very useful to the elites and is arguably a “sheepdog,” serving to herd the “left” into the Democratic party. But when Bernie began to pose a serious threat to Hillary, strings were pulled to neutralize that threat. So it will be with any challenger.
    That does not mean we should not try. Just be aware that it will be an uphill battle, and there will be dirty tricks.
    The focus should not be on electing a president, or picking a Supreme Court justice, but on winning control of the majority of states. If you control the states you control the election process. If you control the states you can control Congress and pass legislation. If you control enough states you can amend the constitution. If you don’t control the states, you may elect a president by a slim margin but he won’t be able to get much accomplished.

  6. wendy davis

    as davidly pointed out, miz AO-C’ peace plank was restored this a.m., and as some who’d noted that it had disappeared (and asked why?), it’s been expanded. but her ‘gun control’ plank may be three times as long, ha.

    now at caucus99% they’re giddy as school gurls that a ‘socialist’ has won her primary, but of course, DSAs are social dems, reform capitalists, not socialists of even the mildest sort.

    a few detractors over yonder had derided her word-salad on her ‘housing’ plank, for me the Green New Deal sounds great, but might be construed as offering false hope, when there is none left. i just finished a 3-part series that convinced me that it’s all over but the shouting, starving, drowning, and dying of thirst.

    in the end davidly’s only too correct (to paraphrase): watch what elected politicians DO, not what they promise.

    but you may get some take on her as an avowed dem in this interview on CNN, the first she’d had after her win. trying to find it this a.m. again, i did note there were headlines that seemed to indicate that she’d been ‘clarifying a few things’, whatever. but i’m sick and tired of the inherent dangers of ‘cult of personality’, as bernie, obomba, and tra la la.

    and by the way, i hadn’t seen reality checker around here for a few weeks; anyone know why? i was glad to see mark from ireland pop in after a longish hiatus, which i assume meant that his cancer treatments might be going well. heeeeere’s alexandria:

  7. nihil obstet

    Pass universal health care with no premiums and no co-pays, and you win elections for the next forty years. For the last 20 years, I’ve found that rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth tea partiers will listen with interest to explanations of H.R. 676, and they were ready to vote Democratic if the bill had any chance. Democratic party leaders had real trouble squelching the calls for it — in my state in 2008, the resolutions committee wrote it out of the resolutions passed in precincts (along with calls to get out of the Middle East, to make forced arbitration clauses unenforceable, and a slew of other resolutions that the corporate donors wouldn’t like).

    This will increase as the Boomers’ children and grandchildren face what to do with parents when there’s no stay-at-home wife to care for them and nursing home care is out-of-reach financially. What’s interesting is that I’m seeing conservatives call for decent health care, so they may be willing to do it to control the country for the next forty years.

  8. No matter how loudly people insist they’ve renounced the Democrat Party once and for all, almost all of them can be lured back by this or that gimmick, this or that latest progressive hero they can project their fantasies upon.

    In the last few days I’ve seen several people I know have been denouncing the Democrat Party to damnation for years, suddenly all agog for Ocasio-Cortez and how the millennium is now at hand.

    Hopium springs eternal.

    Meanwhile this remains the Democrat Party, eternally the Democrat Party, which shall continue to be the death of all real activist prospects which come anywhere near it, until it ceases to exist once and for all.

  9. Willy

    Should she be a Bull Moose?

    I’d think that being able to disenfranchise the PTB with “moral clarity” might be a good skill set at any level.

  10. alyosha

    As a 62 year old boomer, one of things I’ve noticed is that I connect well with Millennials, and poorly with Gen-Xers. I don’t quite know why, but I suspect it has a lot to do with 1) each generation is a reaction against the one that came before it, and 2) my personality tends to be fairly open (ENTP in the Myers Briggs world, “P” perceptive is what I’m talking about) and young people are likewise generally open and new to the world.

    And so my question is, How Can I Help? As a starting point I try to connect with as many young people as possible, to learn their world and offer advice – which to my surprise they are often eager to hear.

    As for what Ocasio-Cortez means politically, I agree with you and Stirling that we’re entering a change point, where anything is possible. It’s my opinion that the USA will be shattered and re-formed – re-formed in the sense of gluing some of the pieces back together. One of my mentors, who left America during the Bush years says that it’s Trump’s job to finish America.

    I draw a lesson from Vladimir Lenin’s life. He lived in, I believe France for many years, as Czarist Russia was winding down. He was probably wanted in Russia (I don’t remember the story exactly), and would sneak in occasionally to see how things were. At one point, the time was right, he stayed, and the revolution took off.

  11. nihil obstet

    The Gen-X revolution was growing up and/or coming of age during Reagan’s terms. The whole “smart people should get ahead without bothering with the losers, who deserve to lose” is particularly seductive to adolescents, all of whom are brilliant and deserving. They saw a bright future for themselves. That philosophy produces a whole lot of bitterness when the believer doesn’t do as well as they expected. It particularly affected white males. We’ve made a lot of progress in racial and sexual equality, so the implicit expectations of higher position in a hierarchy of merit are heavier for the Gen-X white men than for subsequent cohorts.

  12. jonst

    yes, and against “Jewish Landlords” too! A real progressive. And this is their new star….one can’t make this stuff up.

  13. Willy

    I just now dealt with a 40YO PhD whose job went from 20 miles from home, to a 200 mile commute away. Without his benefits his cancer’d wife would be screwed. He’s had to chase jobs from coast to coast with Missouri and Oklahoma thrown in. He clearly knows “something’s wrong”, that his life stands in stark contrast with the stable lifetime-job lifestyle his Connecticut-NYC father had, yet continues to be a proud and loud Fox News watcher.

    He believes losers and losing is caused far more by governments, than it is by simply being too nice to win in a corrupt culture which has been created by such.

    I struggle with understanding why supposedly academically-minded middle-aged white males would rather scapegoat “others” for these negative changes, than do what they’ve been trained to do and just more fully research/understand their situation.

  14. Willy

    yes, and against “Jewish Landlords” too! A real progressive. And this is their new star….one can’t make this stuff up.

    Yet Limbaugh and DCaller just did. Only in the magical world of modern conservatism does a single situation taint the entire brand, while at the same time dozens of scandals and thousands of lies mean a conspiracy against a single individual.

  15. bob mcmanus

    Some combination or Manchin, Donnelly , Heitkamp or other Blue Dog Conservadems will vote this year to kill choice in SCOTUS. The Young Democrats will go ballistic and say no more deals. Then the conservadems will switch parties and Republicans will approach 60 Senators in 2021. After that we will get foetuses with equal protection and abortion illegal under law/rulings. Along with other horrors.

    NY and Cali will not obey, even at gunpoint.

    Then secession will be seen as the only option.

  16. StewartM


    yes, and against “Jewish Landlords” too! A real progressive. And this is their new star….one can’t make this stuff up.

    And just as Ian predicted, the official Democratic establishment would much rather LOSE a House seat to those ‘awful Trump people’ rather than see a progressive win it. The smear campaign (which I’m sure they’re behind) has begun.

    (For the record, the person who said that has never spoken or met to Ocasio-Cortez, and admits it).

  17. StewartM

    nihil obstet

    The Gen-X revolution was growing up and/or coming of age during Reagan’s terms.

    Long ago, when I was a teenager, I recall a hypothesis that you form your impression of ‘how the world works” starting at age 10 or so that sticks with you throughout life. The Gen X’ers who grew up with Reagan were bombarded with the “Morning in America” crap, so most bought into it all its “truths”.

    FWIW, I dislike the “Boomers” classification–it just covers too wide an era. I believe that there are at least two, maybe three, subdivides that are more apt; there is a world of difference between the outlook of those born in 1947 or so versus 1961 or 1962; the latter trend more conservative because they reacted to the excesses of the counterculture plus they grew up under Nixon. People born in 1947 could go to school and get good jobs with almost any college degree, for those born towards the 1960s while a college education was still worthwhile, just any degree wasn’t good enough.

    Nor, as Ian notes, do the stereotypes of Boomers fit as them being all hippies–if you look at footage of the whites lining the sides of the road watching the Civil Rights marchers, who hurled insults at and spat on the marchers, you see a lot of young faces.

  18. Dean Flemming

    In the words of Orazio-Cortez, “They’ve got money, but we’ve got people.”

  19. different clue


    . . . against “Jewish landlords” too . . . ?

    StewartM has already said just above that whoever said that was not O-C, and had never met O-C.
    Do you have any information to the contrary? If so, do you have a particular readable link to read about it at?

    At first blush, this sounds like something that one or some of David Brock’s Clintonite trolls would launch, to disable a counter-Clintonite Democratic candidate for something.

  20. marku52

    Bob Mcmanus: Yes, this is how I see the new civil war occurring. With their new control of the SC, abortion is outlawed. Both coasts resist. The US comes apart.

    Interestingly, Peter Turchin, who does modeling on how states descend into violence, predicts disintegration of the US in the 2020 2030 time frame. One of the indicators for his model was immiseration of the working class. He notes that decreasing life span ( a strong indicator) had not occurred at time of writing (2013, IIRC). Well, that has now come to pass as well.

  21. marku52

    Here are Turchin’s comments on the situation, re his book

  22. different clue

    People who predict the coming breakup of the US, whether gleefully or sorrowfully, should think about all the big H bombs and little A bombs.

    Who gets custody of the H bombs and A bombs in the event of a breakup?

  23. alyosha

    @marku52 – thanks for link to Peter Turchin – wow.

  24. someofparts

    “marku52 – thanks for link to Peter Turchin – wow”

    yes – thanks

    In the context of Turchin’s analysis, it occurs to me that votes for Trump were meant to increase intra-elite conflict. Loud, widespread complaints about him increase his popularity because watching the elites go bananas on each other is the entertaining objective.

  25. Olivier

    What is her position on immigration? Many of those leftists are open-border crazies.

  26. Herman


    Apparently Ocasio-Cortez wants to abolish ICE. I will grant that there are problems with ICE, especially under Trump, but it looks like the Left is going with open borders as part of their ideology. If that is the case I would rather vote for conservative Democrats over them and maybe even Trump. I have to say this is shocking to me because Bernie Sanders, the supposed hero of the American Left, is on record criticizing open borders, calling it a Koch Brothers policy.

    You cannot have a high-wage social democracy with open borders. It is a fantasy. People will say “look at Europe” but Western Europe and its economic model are under massive stress from the migration crisis. But I guess the Left cannot give up on identity politics. Whatever happened to class? Now we are making generational differences the main dividing line? Why? There is a lot of diversity of opinion within generations. Not every Boomer is a hippie-turned-yuppie. There are many poor Boomers out there who are looking at spending their Golden Years in poverty and ill-health. There are many Boomers who still fight for left-wing causes but they get lumped in with the right-wing jerks.

    American politics is going to end up being even more tribal and insane as most people will divide their loyalties along racial/cultural lines. It is already happening now. The image of the left-wing Millennial doesn’t take into account the fact that whites, and particularly white men, are trending even harder for the GOP. It is ridiculous that working-class whites are now the base of the anti-labor, pro-plutocratic GOP but that is what happens when class is thrown out the window and politics becomes largely about racial and cultural identity.

  27. NR


    “the Democrat Party”

    And here you give yourself away as a right-winger.

  28. kj1313

    @Herman No, many on the left are against ICE and the demonization of migrants who are coming to this country to flee violence and economic despair that we the US, foisted to Central and South America. See the Drug War, CIA actions in Central & South America, NAFTA etc etc etc

  29. someofparts

    followed the links from Turchin’s blog to this story

    I was already dropping links to websites that made a big fuss about supposed Russian election interference. Now, I guess I will add to that list any websites that shriek about Trump as if he is the source of our problems instead of the symptom of them.

  30. xav

    Christ, don’t feed the trolls, but @Herman:

    “Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old socialist Latina candidate who made abolishing ICE one of the main issues of her platform. To be clear, Ocasio-Cortez isn’t calling for open borders, but she’s saying there needs to be less focus on immigration enforcement and more focus on security.

    “In a similar way where we have law enforcement enforce legitimate crimes of violence, crimes of harm, mass, large fraud,” Ocasio-Cortez told Documented NY. “I think that there is a role for enforcement there, but I do not think that it in any way is equivocal to what we are seeing with ICE right now.””

    But really Herman, your comment just suggests why the rest of America’s generational cohorts, regardless of their politics, are quite glad the Boomers are beginning to shuffle of this mortal coil.

    You’re as clueless as when you were hippies or yuppies or whatever you were. What you were is what you always prove to be: self-absorbed narcissists.

    Hillary, Herman and Olivier, sitting in a tree…

  31. Ché Pasa

    I think it’s way past time to engage in yet more movement building. Certainly I wish her well in her endeavors, but a lesson should have been learned a long time ago from the failures of leftish movements — Netroots as a prime example — elections aren’t going to save us.

    Elections have their place, but they cannot be relied on as the sole or primary means of ensuring a better future — assuming that’s what is wanted. The process itself is rigged (as we should know by now) and even when we get the outcome we think we want, the result is often not at all what we hoped for. What remains of our system of Constitutional self government is purpose designed to thwart positive outcomes for the masses in any case, and by golly it works. Despite the occasional election of Democratic Socialist candidates, the appearance and disappearance of various popular leftish movements, and the periodic outcries of the People against their rulers, the fundamentals don’t change. The ruled and the rulers are on different planes. The rulers get their way; the Rabble can pound sand.

    As someone pointed out during one of the recent demonstrations, “Why should it take a century or more for any kind of positive change to take place?” The corollary being, “Why is it so easy to enact negative changes?” Answer: The system is designed to do just that.

    The question is how do you get past the barricades our rulers and their sponsors have erected to protect their privilege? If elections won’t do it and movements won’t do it, then what do you do?

    Splitting the country doesn’t really address it, and I would point out that the political split isn’t coast vs interior, it’s cities vs non-urban areas. Practically every city in the country is more “progressive” (if you want to call it that) than the hinterlands. It’s not limited to the coasts. Even if the country split in to tribalist enclaves, the systemic problems would remain.

    How should we be governed/govern ourselves? To what objective?

    Movements have barely touched on those issues, accepting the structure of governance we’ve lived under all our lives as right and proper — if only we could get and hold the levers of power.

    We see the results of that way of thinking all around us. It’s time for something else again.

  32. marku52

    Che–Yes splitting is no good answer, as you point out it is more urban VS rural now VS North and South for the Civil War. Much messier now

    Abortion rings some of the same moral agony that slavery did. If you are against it, any act is justified. I’m in favor of abortion rights, but quite aware that there is a continuum with clump of cells at one end and a living person on the other. With no clear dividing line. Least bad option, I suppose.

    So what happens when the SC with help from the Pub Congress, bans abortions nation wide? And CA OR WA MA NY refuse to obey. The government calls out the National Guard to shut down abortion centers. Won’t that end up being brother VS brother again?

  33. marku52

    I should also recommend Turchin’s book “Ages of Discord”. His model (very abbreviated) is that an increase in labor supply leads to fall in wages. That in turn increases money and power to elites. Overproduction of elites leads to dangerous lack of cooperation at the top, and that is usually where a state collapses. A revolt by only the proles is easily suppressed. The elites have to get involved to really mess things up.

    There’s a lot more to it, but that is the heart of it

    How many billionaires are going to be fighting for the presidency next time around? Didn’t free trade and immigration increase the labor supply?

  34. StewartM


    His model (very abbreviated) is that an increase in labor supply leads to fall in wages.

    The problem with this, and the anti-immigrant hysteria I see here too, is that Turchin too at heart worships ‘the market’. In fact the state has the power to override the market, it does it all the time, and it can dictate that wages not fall but rise. But even making the labor market god, labor supply per se does *not* dictate real wages.

    Immigration in fact at most a small factor in US real wage decline. Marvin Harris in _America _Now touched upon the mass of women who entered the workplace in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, which increased the US labor supply vastly more than any amount of immigration ever did, yet I’ve not run into anyone who rants about immigrants say also (for the sake of consistency) that women should stay at home and be housewives and have babies. And indeed, during much of that time despite that huge influx of women entering the workforce and taking jobs real wages *DIDN’T FALL* but continued rising.

    Immigrants need not depress real wages any more than the vastly larger numbers of US women did, if the proper government policies are in force, and for the same reason. Women didn’t depress wages because they spent their incomes here, and it’s consumer *demand*, not the supply of labor per se and certainly not tax cuts for Daddy Warbucks ‘job creators’ that creates jobs. Like women, immigrants bring their families, work and spend their money here, and thus add to consumer demand that creates the need for more jobs. In a properly run economy, it shouldn’t matter.

    What happened is that starting with the late Carter administration, but really taking off during Reagan, (as Ian notes) American policy makers made inflation enemy number one and decided to crush any real rise in wages. Real wages have not risen due to a deliberate government policy decision, immigration or no immigration would not matter a whit. Immigrants are used as a scapegoat and a cover for this policy and for what our neoliberal economy *does do* which destroys jobs–outsourcing–where the jobs and the additional demand get shipped overseas, and private equity firm looting, which in effect achieves the same thing by looting and destroying profitable domestic companies all for short-term profit. Indeed, if private-equity firm looting is not stopped the US will become a real hellhole, as it drives US businesses to (as Ian wrote) to ‘burn down their houses in order to heat them’, maximizing profits at the cost or infrastructure replacement, worker training, corporate R&D, and any other thing not immediately connected to short-term profit.

    I would also add that we need immigrants, given our demographics, and with global warming baked into the cake we’re going to have them. The most humane and cost-effectịve way to handle many of our foreign policy problems is to take them in, rather than to drop more bombs or send more weapons, and instead of ranting about it and false fears of “they’re going to take our jobs” we should be thinking about how to do this right.

    Finally, I consider immigration is a human right–in a just and free world, instead of the neoliberal world we live in now, people should be free to move wherever they want but large amounts of capital should be not; I note what we have now is almost the exact opposite of that ideal.

  35. marku52

    Both the Dems and Pubs are in favor of illegal immigrants because of the low cost labor it affords. And of course, that is by definition a political choice. We could regularize their status. Of course we could redistribute money to the working class.


    Turchin isn’t saying this is best of all possible worlds. He’s saying “Here is a model that describes the way societies integrate and disintegrate.”

    Obviously if we stopped blowing up the South, less people would want to leave. If NAFTA hadn’t dumped US corn onto Mexico, fewer subsistence farmers would have come north.

    You can have a functional democracy, or you can have open borders. No polity is going to vote for increased competition for increasingly scarce resources. Be they apartments, jobs, or medical care.

    Incidentally, the 500 million Chinese were surely a larger force in crushing US wages (especially middle class manufacturing ones) than immigration. But undocumented workers with no rights or recourse are unquestionably negative for low wage/skill US ones. The law of supply and demand seems like one economic law that actually works as described.

  36. NR


    “Now, I guess I will add to that list any websites that shriek about Trump as if he is the source of our problems instead of the symptom of them.”

    Did you actually read the article you linked to? It didn’t say anything like that.

  37. Willy

    marku52 said it right. Since a wealthy PTB can adapt to and capitalize on change and chaos far more easily and readily than any poor powerless person, it would be smart for progressives to avoid conflicting policies which could result in too much change and chaos. Siding with the removal of ICE while at the same time trying to promote the welfare of the underclass doesn’t seem like a good idea, since “America” quite obviously, cannot save everybody. Other, separate policies might be a better idea to aid desperate refugees.

  38. different clue


    You may not know this, but Lambert Strether over at Naked Capitalism has spent the last 6th months referring to the Clintobama Sh*tocratic Party ( and I think we know whom we mean by that)
    as the “Democrat” Party. He says he does that because that party is no longer democratic and therefor no longer deserves the name Democratic.

    He says he is Leftist. Can anyone else credibly say he is not? If not, then you can reference L.S. at NaCap as someone who is not revealing a Republican tell when he says Democrat Party.

  39. Heliopause

    “Is Ocasio-Cortez The Start Of A Movement?”

    There has always been a demand for more of her type in politics and a handful manage to get into Congress. The real question is how hard will coporatist Dems work to keep it under control. Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez have revealed chinks in the armor. We’ll see.

  40. NR

    The name of the party is the Democratic party. The only people who have referred to it as the “Democrat” party are right-wingers; it’s a trend that started on talk radio back in the 1990s. Seeing someone call it the “Democrat” party instead of the “Democratic” party has always been a tell that they’re a right-winger posing as a liberal trying to get actual liberals not to vote for Democrats. These kinds of people are often active on liberal sites, but that slip-up often reveals who they really are.

  41. Carey

    NR: You are mistaken. Few are buying what the present-day corporatist Democrat Party is selling,
    almost wholly those who can still benefit from its (withering) largesse.

    I support H.R.676 Medicare for All, the end to US Perma-War, and Public Banking and Campaign
    Financing. For that reason, and the Dems’ stonewalling and obfuscation on implementing them,
    I no longer support the dismal Dollar Democrat Party.

  42. Willy

    I would think that the occasional dissembler comments found here would be useful if they honestly convey conflicts/discrepancies between progressive positions, which would be non-starters for heartland and independent voters. But of course if it’s just more obviously irrational dogmatic baloney, I vote to give out points for best ridicule.

    (Disclosure: I vastly prefer a loyal opposition that just has a different view on tough problems with both ‘sides’ willing to accept being right or wrong as the results present, instead of two corrupt parties psychologically manipulating everybody else into wasting energy on fighting over stupid tribal dogmas.)

  43. Ché Pasa

    Lambert uses any number of rightist locutions and tropes, “Democrat Party” being one of many. He also exploits certain leftish ideas — Medicare for All, free tuition, etc — and says he supports the DSA.

    Well, except for that “open borders” thing. Can’t have that. He does like their brake light check/replacement program though, so there’s that.

    He and Yves both actively defended Trump throughout the campaign and the first part of his reign, and Yves continued defending him up until Charlottesville, apparently a bridge too far even for her. Like many others who feel betrayed by Democrats/Clintons/Obama, Lambert lets his rage at their betrayals blind his judgment and rarely notices that Rs and Trump are also and even crueler betrayers — and they revel in it.

    Is Lambert a leftist? Not remotely in my opinion. Nor is Yves.

    They are instead marketers, marketing a product intended to appeal to a certain boutique clientèle.

    Nothing wrong with that in a capitalist milieu, but it’s not leftism.

  44. bob mcmanus

    Aww, NC may be bitter-ender Democrats, but I go for the links, which are interestingly left of center and varied enough. I also read counterpunch and follow Louis Proyect and his links. Keeps me busy. Sorry to say WSWS loses me on format and dogmatism.

    Not my job to criticize or rage at Trump and Reps. Plenty nuff people doing that to bore me to tears.

  45. VietnamVet

    I am so old that I am cognitive of the rise of the plutocracy since the 1950s and the corresponding decline of well-being of later generations. I agree with “Ages of Discord”. It was quite the blessing to be born in the USA in 1943. Not for my sons born in 1975. There will be no Grandchildren. The charts are obvious. The wealth of the oligarchs must be tapped to increase the well-being of everyone else. In the past, the transfer was usually through war looting. But once before, capitalism was regulated by the New Deal and inequality decreased. The problem is that Capitalists won’t give up a penny without a fight. The nationalist and globalist oligarchs are already skirmishing. They will inevitably draw in the plebes if the revolution hasn’t started already. The downside in the nuclear age is that the war will destroy the earth. The upside is that there might be enough of the top 10% in America who see that enforcing the US Constitution to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty by jailing the mobsters might be the best path towards a sane future.

  46. nihil obstet

    The New Deal in the 30s and its pale expansion through the 60s was helped along by rich men’s absolute terror of communism. The masses would come, take all their money! A decent life for most people was necessary for both domestic and foreign propaganda.

    They don’t have that any more. They’ve tried to gin up the War on Terror to replace the struggle against the godless commies. It’s worked in terms of setting in place a police state beyond anything we would have dream of accepting thirty years ago, and in terms of being very lucrative for connected cronies, but people think they can identify Muslim terrorists and aren’t scared that the Christian neighbor is really a terrorist, since terrorists are by definition (or at least journalistic convention) Muslim. They’re trying to get the old party going with fear of the Russians trying to take us over, but that’s only working for tribal Democrats: you know, the ones who have lost over 1,000 federal, state, and local elected seats in the past 10 years. In the end people aren’t horrified by the shriek of “socialism” any more.

    The good thing is that the propaganda is failing. The bad thing is that there’s no external pressure perceived by the oligarchy to push them to treat their own citizens decently.

  47. Linda Amick

    The problem is capitalism. Profit motive will always justify any treatment of human beings for material gain.
    Additionally the requirement for growth by capitalism will eventually destroy our finite planet.
    A long time ago I adopted an Aristotelian perspective that our universe is a living organism and every part of it affects every other part and it is man’s objective to care for each and every thing as a steward.

    I do not see how a new system will come into play before we have destroyed ourselves. We have promoted and indoctrinated humans lauding competition above all things.

    I rarely see the altruism needed for a better world.

  48. NR

    Carey: I agree with a lot of what you say, but none of that has any bearing on the fact that the name of the party is the Democratic party, and right-wingers are the only ones who refer to it as the “Democrat party.”

  49. someofparts

    “You’re as clueless as when you were hippies or yuppies or whatever you were. What you were is what you always prove to be: self-absorbed narcissists.”

    As usual, generalizations that broad obscure more than they illuminate. The Boomer demographic is full of victims of the narcissists in their own age cohort- impoverished, heart-broken victims. Trust me, that sainted WWII generation had it’s share of vicious narcissists because here is the horrible thing – the liars and heartless manipulators of each generation are the ones who have children. Their age cohort victims are too broken to reproduce. I know from horrible personal experience that the most vicious and dishonest members of my own family are the ones who produced the Millenials now coming of age.

    So I’m guessing that each generation will prove itself to have the same breakdown, from the WWII ancestors through the Boomers and right on through to the Millenials. It’s a breakdown that runs like a bloody red thread through the generations here, all the way back to the first settlers. I mean, seriously, somebody slaughtered the Indians and the generation those butchers spawned put the children of the Indians into schools to “civilize” them out of their heritages. Those ancestors “protected” us from Indians who knew how to live sustainably with respect for the living earth. Talk about progress … or better yet, don’t.

    Don’t fool yourself that after the Boomers pass a new age of sweetness and light will dawn. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have already suggested that maybe things will be better for the world when all Americans are beggared and broken because, as scruf noted in a different thread, that sentiment is blinkered American exceptionalism on my part. So if I expand your/my thinking past generational or national exceptionalism, the formulation would be that the entire planet will be better off when our species is gone. The nightmare, of course, is that species extinction is exactly what is going to happen to the generations coming after us. I imagine there will be plenty of voices in those last generations that will burn with rage against all of us who came before them, and they will be entitled, and then some, to those feelings.

  50. someofparts

    Marku52- “The government calls out the National Guard to shut down abortion centers. Won’t that end up being brother VS brother again?”

    It will be done to women. Men won’t mind any more than they ever did. In fact, men will be okay with it because the step that comes after denying control of our fertility to women is when they roll back the laws that gave us access to good jobs. They will sell it as protecting jobs for men, exactly the way they currently pit us against immigrants for taking our jobs.

    For a very cogent explanation of the problem with that approach, see Stewart M’s excellent post.

    Che Pasa – George Carlin said that this country was designed to provide freedom for slavers. Sounds about right to me.

    NR – As I recall, the article I linked to described the intransigent resistance of the wealthy classes to economic justice for the workers they exploit. To me, that does indeed show that Trump is a symptom, not the root cause, of our problems.

  51. V

    July 1, 2018

    1945 here. I agree with most of what you said.
    However your closing sentences will remain a hope and will not see fruition. We’re well past elections changing anything.
    The truly wealthy never give up their riches without a fight.
    Any real change will come from the streets with much blood spilt.
    It’s possible, but not likely, IMO…

  52. The Netroots movement that ran from about 03 to 10 had as its goal “more and better Democrats”, and tried repeatedly to take down Democrats from the left. By and large it failed and so the Democrats continued to be what they’ve always been; …

    Because we’ve found out what it was really all about. Markos became rich but has that resulted in any power for him or the left? Does he even hold any sway in the CA Democratic Party? TGOS has become just another party gatekeeper. And not a very good one.

  53. Hugh

    I agree with Ché Pasa. Ocasio-Cortez so far looks like a one-off. For it to be more, you need movement building: organization, organization, organization, outreach, and a loud, clear message. Not really seeing any of this. Still I wish her well.

    I agree with him too about Naked Capitalism. They do good work in some areas (CALPERS, for example), but their “blind spots” on things like Trump, MMT and Russia are just vast. They come out as doctrinaire on these as any rightwinger would on their issues. Trump marks a quantum jump further into the shithole we are in. MMT is a minor, poorly constructed theory that they seriously don’t understand. And Russia, while not the devil, is a bad actor under Putin.

    On another point, immigrants do have a depressive effect on wages. As I have said before, according to the Census, 18% of the US labor force is made up of people not born in the US, both legal and illegal. They are one of four main depressors. The others are anti-unionism, free trade/offshoring of jobs, and Fed inflation policies.

  54. xav

    Yeah, I lurk at Naked Capitalism that’s it. Too much confusion and misdirection.
    There’s not a lot out there except youtube and that’s not great either.
    Do like Ian,
    and I’m in DSA.

  55. @ Different Clue,

    Thanks for the suggestion, but the fact is I call it the Democrat Party as a gesture of conscious contempt for it and its partisans, and precisely because it drives terminal Dembots like NR nuts.

    BTW I stopped by NC and saw Strether whooping it up over Cortez as much as anyone. He’s one of those I had in mind when I said people will huff and puff about renouncing the Democrat Party but almost always can be lured back.

  56. NR


    It’s cute that you think anything you say has the ability to drive me nuts. By all means, continue your childish name-calling. It says nothing about me, but it says an awful lot about you.

  57. I think of Justice Democrats, as originally described by Cenk Uygur ( ), as an organization designed to generate candidates like what Ocasio-Cortez is claimed to be.

    However, Cenk resigned “in disgrace”, and his co-founder Kulinksi soon followed, for reasons I’m not clear on. Supposedly, Cenk’s resignation was demanded by a lot of the candidates, but comments on youtube suggest that, after investigation with a candidate or two, this was a lie.

    Justice Democrats subsequently stalled at around 50 candidates.

    Without knowing any of the insider intrigue, it sure looks like forces loyal to the mainstream Democrats coopted JD.

    I did a brief look-see at the Young Turks youtube channels for videos referring to the Justice Democrats, about 6 weeks ago, and saw nothing.

    Jimmy Dore, an outspoken progressive, recently interviewed a JD candidate who initially endorsed Crowley. He asked him about his endorsement(s) (he ended up co-endorsing) BUT DIDN’T POP THE QUESTION ABOUT WHY JD IS STUCK AT 50 CANDIDATES.

    When I raised the question on reddit’s /r/justicedemocrats, my post was quickly deleted. As no alert was given me, it amounted to a shadow ban.

    However good Ocasio-Cortez is, she and her sympathizers are going to have to take on the systemic, entrenched forces within the Democratic party. Based on these recent events with JD, I am more pessimistic than optimistic…. IF PEOPLE WON’T/CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED WITH JUSTICE DEMOCRATS, THE NEXT SUCH ORGANIZATION WILL LIKELY FARE NO BETTER.

    The Democratic and Republican insiders have a full bag of tricks for forestalling change to the status quo. Many, via way of “Indispensable Enemies”, are summarized here:

  58. Willy

    Maybe Russ is a ‘race to rock bottom’ enthusiast. The faster we get there the sooner we can turn our lives around. Since the descent seems to go a little slower under party D, I wonder what the plan is.

    What’s the plan Russ?

  59. different clue


    Cortez is clearly not a Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat. The Democrat . . . ick Party can be viewed as a potentially valuable bunch of fortresses, ammo dumps, weapons, etc. If it can be reconquered from the Clintobamas, and if the Clintobamas can be purged out, burned out and destroyed, and if the Party can then be decontaminated of their influence and lingering odor, and re-filled and re-staffed with Bitter Berners, Sanderistas, O-Cs and so forth; the effort may be worth making.

    People who think the Democratick Party is worth conquering, purging, disinfecting and making Democratic again should go right ahead and make the effort.

    People who think something else is worth doing instead should do that something else.

  60. different clue


    In what sense is Russia a “bad actor” under Putin? Who exactly has Russia bad-acted against? When, where and in what context?

  61. Different Clue,

    Cortez is clearly not a Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat.

    Well, she may or may not turn out to be Clintonite in action, we don’t know yet (we’ve already seen her waffling over whether or not she even wants to promise to be anti-imperialistic war ) ; as for what she is nothing will be clear until she’s in congress and starts doing things there (or not). For example, if a number of these alleged real-and-for-true progressives get to Congress, will they form a bloc which truly will fight to obstruct continued status quo measures using whatever means available? (As opposed to the existing “progressive bloc” which is nothing but a rubber-stamp sham.)

    The historical record says not. We saw what a deliberate fraud the “Progressive Block” campaign was in 2010, just to give one particularly loathesome example which I remember like yesterday.

    And why would they do that? They’re not running against the monumental badness of the system promising to put a stop to it; they’re promising to “do better things” within it. That’s a mindset and ideology guaranteed to fail. Now’s the time for grid-locking and monkey-wrenching on behalf of a coherent extra-legal movement (if such a thing existed; IOW now’s the time for movement-building, as it has been for a long, long time), not for trying to “reform” within a system self-evidently committed to pushing all of its evils to the ultimate extreme.

    People who think the Democratick Party is worth conquering, purging, disinfecting and making Democratic again [*] should go right ahead and make the effort. People who think something else is worth doing instead should do that something else.

    Agree on the second sentence, but the first describes action which is worthless at best, and almost certainly destructive in that it wastes time and energy humanity and the Earth don’t have, provides an atrocious example to the impressionable, and props up hope in a terminally evil and rotten system, and props up hope in one of the system’s most toxic entities, the Democrat Party.

    *”Making Democratic again….”

    I’m struggling to recall this time you imply when the Democrat Party wasn’t a death trap. For example, do you mean like how in the 1890s William Jennings Bryan and the silver fusionists destroyed the Populist movement’s attempt to make a real presidential run with its People’s Party? The Democrat Party always indelibly has been the Democrat Party and lethal to the touch of all human aspiration.

    I’m convinced the Democrat Party is pure poison, which is why I’ve said what I have here. I think anything which revives “hope” in it is a bad thing, no matter how superficially attractive. The Democrat Party has been churning out such gewgaws for a long time now, and the end result always has been the same.

  62. jeremy

    “This is probably the worst time in recent history to go full-bore socialist. Look, it’s as simple as this: the 20th century saw the greatest rise of global GDP ever.

    That is the world we are moving out of right now, despite the fantasies of Elon Musk and the many techno pied pipers like him. GDP growth has stalled, the implacable trend is toward contraction, and the wizards of financial hocus-pocus are running out of tricks for pretending that they create anything of value. In short: there’s no there there. All that’s left are IOUs for loans that will never be paid back — and that kind of loan (especially in the form of a bond) doesn’t have any value.

    So, the Democratic Party has embarked on a crusade to redistribute the wealth of the nation at the exact moment when the “wealth” is turning out to be gone. Good luck with that.”

  63. different clue


    You should certainly act on what you believe, because you will do your best work in service to that belief.

    Those who believe the Democratic Party is worth conquering and purging should act in that belief, because they will do their best work in service to that belief.

    The New-Deal-Era Democratic Party did some good work.

    If O-C gets elected Rep from her district, her actions should be watched, as you say. It would be nice to see a bunch of “Red Gingriches” get into the House, and stop it from functioning in the same way for their own ends that Gingrich stopped it from functioning for his own ends. Stop it functioning till they can make it function their way.

    If you feel you have a workable way forward, gather or find like-minded people and work on that way. If it appears to get results, others will join that effort.

    Other peoples’ time is theirs, not yours or mine, and not yours or mine to be commanded. If they want to fight it out through the Democratic Party, that is their right. You can be as jealous of their time as you like, but their time is theirs and not mine or yours.

  64. NR

    different clue:

    There are many, many examples of Russian malfeasance under Putin, with lots of information available for reading. This is a good place to start:

  65. different clue


    Yes . . . the FSB caught setting up a bombing within Russia. The bombings to incite the Russian public against Chechnya for another round of war. But that is bad acting within Russia.

    What bad actoring has Russia done against non-Russia in the last ten or so years? For what reasons and in what context?

  66. Hugh

    Yes, Virginia, Putin is not soft and fuzzy. He is former KGB. He murders those who oppose him or get in his way. He rigs his elections, not to mention trying to interfere in ours. [Insert here standard denial that this ever happened and that if it did, well, well, the US does it too. So it’s all cool.] He rules over a bunch of corrupt oligarchs who are even more rapacious than even our domestic variety. He seized Crimea, and has tried to set up a puppet regime in eastern Ukraine, much as he previously did in north Georgia. You see self-determination only works if you are ethnically a Great Russian. Only then do borders not matter. If you are Chenchen or a hundred other ethnicities who live in Russia, no such luck. Oh and what nationality were many of the engineers and scientists who put together North Korea’s ballistic missile program and from whose surplus stocks did they get some of the engines for those missiles which now threaten the US? And what’s up with Syria? If the US in Afghanistan turns some unlucky locals into red mist, it gets roundly condemned, and it should. But Putin’s planes turn whole quarters of major cities in Syria into tombs with their indiscriminate bombing, and from those who have drunk the Putin koolaid, all we get is crickets.

  67. Everythings Jake

    If Ocasio-Cortez can stand up to the pressure that Pelosi (or any subsequent speaker) put on her to spend massive amounts of time fundraising, that should be a good indication of her mettle. But I agree with others who have opined here that it will take a groundswell movement to effect real change, and I am concerned that even so, Michael Parenti’s observation that the elite will always turn to fascism in an attempt to resolve class conflict in their favor means the battle may be quite violent. The weapons the State has at hand are so much more terrifying every year (the F-35 notwithstanding), that the State may crush dissent before it grows to the mass scale needed to frighten the elites into giving up any of their privilege. Consider the Active Denial System that essentially microwaves the human body. Unless it turns out that aluminum foil or other metallic objects that might be thrown at the weapon will disable it, I’m not sure how anyone resists the pain it inflicts. On healthcare, even the business community seems in growing support (I recall more than one corporate CEO suggesting such on Charlie Rose), although it has by and large inflicted the out of control inflation on employees to date, yet even that has not moved the needle. The FIRE sector just has too much money to bribe Congress into inaction.

    Still, there must be fight. I hope Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives are a sign that at least there may be effective struggle.

  68. Different clue,

    Other peoples’ time is theirs, not yours or mine, and not yours or mine to be commanded.

    That’s quite individualist, aka “bourgeois”. God knows none of them have been shy about trying to command my time.

    I’ve been operating on the assumption that what you say there isn’t true when others’ time is used to perpetrate evil, for example ecological destruction or advocacy thereof. Otherwise why would I be bothering to write.

    And if you believe this is all meaningless the way you say, why are you bothering?

  69. wendy davis

    ha; she was already distancing herself from democratic socialism on sunday with chuck the toad:

    “democratic socialism is part of what i am, it’s not all of what i am, and i think that’s a very important distinction.”

  70. wendy davis

    madeleine albright also reckons that ‘it’s a big tent party’, mega-lulz:

  71. “CFAR or Else” strategy, with origins in “Bernie or Bust”, explains their strategy in

    Politics Progressive
    Fair Trade Congress 2018 With Tim Canova and Victor Tiffany

    The argument is made – which I mostly agree with – that the Democratic Party is the only viable vehicle for progressives to achieve at least their anti-plutocratic aims.

    I didn’t listen to it, but this is covered in youtube:
    CFAR Strategy Explained on Fair Trade Webinar


  72. As Ocasio is a bona-fide Justice Democrat candidate (, I am wondering why my first comment is still “in moderation” after 2 days….

  73. Hmm. churchdog42 says,

    “Alexandria scrubbed anti-war messages from her site AND net neutrality messages as well. She went on to blame it on “supporters” working for her. Then she goes to the Intercept and proceeds to parrot DNC talking points about Russian “aggression” and hacking elections. Then she tops that all off with talk about Trump can’t deal with “a girl from the Bronx” when she actually grew up in one of the richest counties in America.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a fraud.”

  74. Synoia


    Millions of people have grown up in the Richest Country in the world.

    Does that mean none of its citizens can understand poverty?

  75. different clue


    Who’s afraid of Alexandria O-C? Quite a few people, apparently. The rush to discredit is starting early.

    If she herself had those plaftorm items taken off her site and then only restored after discovery and pressure, then she will have to be judged for that and answer to the judgement. But if someone else took them down without her knowing and then she had them restored as soon as she found out, that too should be known.

    Where did she grow up at? I am hearing rumors of fake reports of her growing up in wealth and rumors of other reports of her growing up in a plain old house. What is true? It would be nice to know. If she grew up in a plain old house, who holds growing up in a house against people? If the rumors are planted fakes, it would be good to trace them to their point of origin, if possible.

  76. Hugh

    I too have had a comment in moderation for a day now.

    The problem with the big tent is that you end up with Manchins, Heitkamps, McCaskills, etc. , essentially Republicans with a D after their names. They enable the Republicans and provide the Democrats with the perfect excuse for why they never seem able to successfully resist those wily Republicans.

    Party platforms have become a joke, an afterthought, not to be read or taken seriously. Platforms should be central. They should be simple and clear. And candidates should either sign up to fight tooth and nail for it or they can run as a candidate for some other party.

  77. @Synoia I don’t think churchdog42 has any problem with an affluent youth. On face value, he’s accusing Ocasio of pretending to be something she’s not.

    As a general matter, I’m more concerned with systemic, grassroots approaches to systemic elite corruption.

    If Ocasio turns out to be a lemon, that doesn’t completely invalidate Justice Democrats, or any other plausible reform movement.

  78. @Hugh

    “Platforms should be central.”

    Please take a look at my links for “CFAR or Else”. Their program seems very cleverly thought out, both firm and flexible. And they’re dictated by the grassroots supporters, not the candidates.

  79. @ different clue

    “eternal vigilance” is eternally required!

  80. different clue


    And the “eternal vigilance” has to be “eternally omnidirectional”.

    In other words, I have to think like an intelligence officer AND like a counter-intelligence officer at the same time. AND an analyst. AND an intuitive pattern-recognizing political artist.

  81. dbk

    Good post and comment thread, too. Kudos to all.

    1) Regarding AOC and the frequently-repeated belief that her brand won’t play in the Midwest (unfortunately repeated by Tammy Duckworth over the weekend, sigh): AOC claims first and foremost to support “jobs, healthcare, education” – who among Midwestern Democrats doesn’t support these? And she also stated that she believes that “in a modern, moral, wealthy society no person in America should be too poor to live.” That seems to me a stance Midwestern progressives could get behind–Chicago progressives could certainly get behind it.

    Two points: (1) AOC is unusually charismatic – promoting a platform like hers in the Midwest would require similarly high-charisma candidates in multiple districts, at every level and in every cycle; (2) The DCCC ‘s involvement in targeted races (e.g. IL-12, IL-03, where in both I believe they made mistakes, though for different reasons) skews said races towards what the DCCC itself considers acceptable candidates. (2) What Duckworth and others are probably right about is that a Midwest version of AOC would be more conservative on some social issues, but that’s just an argument for why you need grass-roots candidates who are able to push the envelope to the maximum by stressing economic issues where Midwest Dems can be persuaded (Medicare for All, for example).

    2) Regarding Naked Capitalism: I can’t figure out where Lambert and Yves stand anymore. I finally decided they’re pretty much against everybody, which isn’t a helpful stance for them or their readers. But as noted above, the Links are still worth checking out

    3) Alternative reading: I follow Paul Jay, senior editor of TheRealNews (Baltimore), Chris Hedges (Truthdig), and more policy-oriented sites related to education (Diane Ravitch, who posts multiple stories daily; Jennifer Berkshire’s terrific podcast series “HaveYouHeard”), the environment (EarthJustice), and healthcare (Sarah Kliff over at vox is very good). On labor issues: Shaun Richman (InTheseTimes), Sarah Jaffe (Interview for Resistance).

    But it takes time to identify such sources – and a lot more time to actual read them.

  82. “Is Ocasio-Cortez The Start Of A Movement?”

    I think everyone is placing way too much import that a young woman named Ocasio-Cortez defeated an aging white guy in a district whose population is 46% Hispanic.

    The Democratic Party continues its practice of identity politics and is beginning to choke on it. Elderly white women, for instance, whose vote Hillary Clinton took for granted because she was too busy courting the black vote, did not vote for her. Interestingly, she didn’t carry the black vote either.

    The Democrats may not be fragmented, but their message is, because they are appealing to so many diverse identity groups individually.

  83. nope

    NC — as far as i can tell, they are against self-determination.

    they were against Greece throwing off the yoke of the EU.

    they are against Britain completing Brexit, and want it to fail to serve as an example.

    they are against UBI. they claim many reasons, but i sense the real one is a moralistic one about freeloaders wasting time they could spend doing productive work, and they seem to want to be the ones to decide what that work is.

    also, generally i think they (like the Dems) believe in the cult of expertise, and that the technocratic class should be running things. they might think they will run them for the benefit of all, but studying history suggests otherwise.

    i personally think all of this is the reason they spend so much time analyzing messaging and so on. we are just too dumb to understand simple moral arguments the way Ian lays them out here, and the other side knows how to “win” by framing things so dummies like us think we understand. i honestly believe they think they can dismantle the master’s house using his own tools.

  84. nope

    NC — as far as i can tell, they are against self-determination.

    they were against Greece throwing off the yoke of the EU.

    they are against Britain completing Brexit, and want it to fail to serve as an example.

    they are against UBI. they claim many reasons, but i sense the real one is a moralistic one about freeloaders wasting time they could spend doing productive work, and they seem to want to be the ones to decide what that work is.

    also, generally i think they (like the Dems) believe in the cult of expertise, and that the technocratic class should be running things. they might think they will run them for the benefit of all, but studying history suggests otherwise.

    i personally think all of this is the reason they spend so much time analyzing messaging and so on. we are just too dumb to understand simple moral arguments the way Ian lays them out here, and the other side knows how to \”win\” by framing things so dummies like us think we understand. i honestly believe they think they can dismantle the master\’s house using his own tools.

  85. different clue

    What the PutinGov does within Russia is not my proper concern.

    What again exactly was the interference which the PutinGov tried to practice in our election. Any real information from other than Clintonite-tainted mouthpiece sources?

    The PutinGov seized Crimea back from a Ukraine it should never have been “given” to in the first place by Ukrainian-ancestry Communist Strongman Nikita Kruschev. It had been Russian for centuries before that. Further, the PutinGov only seized it after the US-backed neo-nazi Banderite Coup Regime in Kiev was planning to send death squads into Crimea ( and all over East Ukraine) to mass-exterminate Russians. The triggering event for the Crimea seize-back was the neo-nazi Banderite plans to inject the so-called “Azov Battalion” death squads into Crimea. The goal was to stop NATO from turning Crimea into a neo-nazi Banderastani NATO base. Such is my memory.

    Have the Putin-planes bombed any Syrian city which was not occupied by the Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadi rebels? And were the civilians bombed because the CLEJ kept them in place as hostages and human shields? And once the CLEJes were cleaned out, did the Putin planes keep bombing for fun?

    I am not interested in supporting the anti-Russianitic racist anti-Russianites in their aggressive pursuit of the Zbigniew Brzezinski plan to divide Russia into separated economic protectorate zones to be assigned to various Western powers and Japan.

  86. Hugh

    The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued a statement on July 3 saying that both the Democrats and Republican members accept the findings of the intelligence agencies on Russian interference. It is certainly a convenient, if dishonest, argument to dismiss any evidence that contradicts your point of view as propaganda and then contend that there is no evidence.

    Then there is the bizarre claim that Russia has the right to seize the territory of any neighboring country it wants to because it once had a historical claim on it. Using the same logic, Germany could lay claim to much of northern Poland as well as the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad since until 1945 Germany/Prussia had ruled it for centuries. We are currently seeing similar spurious claims by China on the South China Sea an area it had nebulous claims on but no real control of also for centuries.

    The Orwellian speak continues by defining any opponent of Bashir Assad as “Cannibal Liver Eating Jihadi rebels.”

    If these are supposed to be progressive views and arguments, they again show why progressives aren’t and should not be taken seriously on foreign policy. I have never understood this kooky and sick infatuation with a dictator like Putin.

  87. Willy

    There’s tons of stuff different clue. Google it. Shouldn’t we first be convinced that it isn’t all just some vast Clintonite wing conspiracy?

    I don’t want Russians interfering in my politics any more than I want Mexicans interfering in my economy. And I’m sure citizens from other countries feel the same about us.

    Oh wait. Did I forget something?

    What kind of Russians, Mexicans, or Americans are doing (or allowing) all the interfering, for what reasons, and for what kinds of gains or losses for what people?

    Is this all about the flippin kleptocracy, yet again? I’m having a hard time believing that all the vast wing conspiracies are coming from out of thin air.

  88. Willy

    Hugh, what do you think Putin wants? Assuming he isn’t some crafty oligarchic puppetmaster playing chess with the world, for his own gain and that of his loyal minions, I’d think the reasons are far more base. Why couldn’t Putin just be a classic born psychopath who enjoys nothing more than ruining normal things for his own pathological emotional pleasure?

  89. Hugh

    Putin is a psychopath, a nationalist, an imperialist, and an unregenerate Cold Warrior. He is the unintended product of our own Cold Warriors who under Bush I and Clinton cynically sought to so weaken Russia after the fall of Communism that it would never pose a threat to the US again. So instead of giving bridging aid to smooth Russia’s transition away from communism, they sent over free marketeers, the so-called Harvard Boys, who together with Anatoly Chubais wrecked the Russian economy and laid the groundwork for the rise of the Russian oligarchs. Out of the subsequent chaos, a Putin was likely to rise, and did. In a watered down form, we are seeing something similar in most of Europe’s Eastern Tier where countries that gravitated to the West, the largest being Poland, were cut loose and have subsequently drifted back toward authoritarianism. Thank you, Ms. Merkel.

  90. Hvd

    Your high dudgeon about Putin seems strange in light of your clear recognition of the role of NATO behavior in creating circumstances leading to his rise and the clear part that NATO has played in precipitating his countermoves in Ukraine, Syria et al. I don’t like his form of nationalism any more than I like ours but given the consistent history of western existential threat to Russia what kind of leader and what sort of Russian response do you believe is remotely possible?

  91. Willy

    NATO is killing critics of Putin in an effort to frame him as a psychopath?

    What ever happened to just calling a spade a spade? Do we enjoy being pawns in games played between the personality disordered? Why can’t we just call it enough evidence and then work to get rid of them wherever they can be found?

  92. someofparts

    Just to throw this in because I have seen it mentioned nowhere else. If we want to talk about Russians interfering with our politics, don’t forget Ayan Rand. Doesn’t Paul Ryan require that his staff read her nonsense? If you want to talk about Russian damage to our politics, Ms. Rand has had a widespread, deeply toxic impact on political policies around here for decades.

  93. Hugh

    What I call the Chomskyan fallacy is the idea that the US is the only one doing bad things in the world and that if only the US wasn’t there all the evil in the world would disappear. I find this profoundly naive. When I survey the world, more often than not, all I see is black hats although not all black hats are the same.

  94. Willy

    We’ll always have the really bad power players. Back in caveman days, the better clans would simply banish their kind so the clan could survive better – make them some loser clan’s problem. It couldn’t have been otherwise because here we all are.

    It’s a lot harder to do that now. It seems that large segments of the american clan have lost their ability to accurately, combine self-interest with the interests of the clan. They’ll just give everything to the really bad power players, oblivious to the fact that they’ve just made it the whole clan’s problem.

    Maybe Devo was right. Some of humanity is devolving. Should we be discussing these devolved people? I’m running into them more and more and I’m starting to feel like Joe from Idiocracy.

  95. someofparts

    Hugh – true that, and I’m guilty of it big time. Thanks for the clarity.

  96. someofparts

    Where Putin is concerned, I have this idea that his manipulation of the doofus Trump is payback for Clinton’s manipulation of the doofus Yeltsin. Does that make sense to anyone else, or am I getting the picture wrong?

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