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

Open Thread

Use the comments to this post to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts.


How Capitalism Makes Evil Rational


Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – February 16, 2019


  1. bruce wilder

    Which is more likely to trigger economic and political panic:

    1.) COVID19

    2.) The collapse of Boeing

    3.) Sanders losing the California primary due to vote count tampering

  2. nihil obstet

    Our social and political structures depend heavily on propaganda. Despite the looting of the nation by its elite, there’s still a lot of real wealth here. When the elites lose control of the propaganda, there will be enough dislocation to cause panic.

    COVID19 — Disaster porn reporting will whip up a frenzy. There will be enough interruption of trade, travel, and shipping for lots of stories about shortages, and these will be regarded as necessary to protect public health. If a pandemic does get under way (which as I understand it, would be next winter in the northern hemisphere), the destruction of public health capabilities in the U.S. will become another issue.

    On the Boeing, this will be a problem for the military profiteering segment of our economy, but I don’t see how it’s that much worse than the hollowing out of the rest of American manufacturing. A company that sells planes that crash isn’t going to get a lot of public sympathy.

    If Sanders loses California because of vote count tampering, the political system will lose lots more legitimacy than it already has and will lose it fast. The hit back from the government and media will be hard, but I think they’ll control matters with more authoritarianism. Enough people will either accept the media commentaries of how belief in count tampering is just another radical conspiracy theory or will shrug and say, “we always knew that politicians lie. Nothing’s changed. There probably won’t be panic, but we’ll slide faster towards a collapse, either color revolution style or Soviet style.

  3. Chiron

    As a Brazilian I hope Boeing goes to hell for buying Embraer regional airliner division (which is world leader), one the few enterprises Brazilians can be proud of.

  4. Dan

    We’re always in the midst of economic and political panic.

  5. Plenue

    @nihil obstet

    Honestly, I think the worst that will happen with Boeing (and this looks increasingly likely) is that the civilian branch will either fold entirely, or significantly downscale, possibly after filling for some form of bankruptcy.

    But the military side of the company is so deeply embedded in the MIC, I doubt it’s going anywhere.

    Their products increasingly being crap literally doesn’t matter to the military. Basically all the new hardware the US uses is crap in one way or other. The point isn’t to win wars, it’s to sell gear.

  6. Tom

    I like to point out that Singapore has temperatures around 80 degrees F, and is seeing people who never went to China getting Covid 19. The virus is .13 microns, which means it easily gets through even a N95 filter which can block microbes as small as 3 microns. It is airborne, has a long incubation period, can survive in water pipes, fecal matter which is aerosolized when flushed, can survive on most surfaces for up to 20 days, and is from a virology perspective, the best biological warfare agent. Handwashing helps spread the virus, you have to sanitize your hands and even that isn’t fully working.

    So is it any wonder China’s doctors and nurses are contracting the disease left and right. Even a Japanese Quarantine Officer got infected despite wearing N95 respirator and following SOP. And the Westerdam that everyone but Cambodia rejected: Case confirmed and the PM of Cambodia shook her hand and gave her flowers, and upon hearing she was confirmed on a connecting flight home in Malaysia, asked for her to be re-tested. Well all the other nations are saying told ya so.

    Horse has bolted from the barn, its no longer a question of if, but when we see mass outbreaks in the US.

  7. KT Chong

    I still think Hillary would be worse than Trump as a President. And let me double down and tell you this: if Obama and Trump run against each other in an election for the President, I will definitely vote. I will vote for Trump over Obama.

    People supported and voted for Obama in 2008 based on his two big promises: he would end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he would hold the bankers and Wall Street execs accountable for their crimes that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

    Obama did not end any war. On the contrary, Obama took America from three to nineteen wars. During his two terms, he — and her warmongering Secretary of State, Hillary — had normalized wars for American and Democrats. He has turned perpetuate wars into a platform and status quo of the Democratic Party.

    People voted for Obama also because they wanted to see bankers and Wall Street criminals punished for wrecking the world economy in 2008. Yet he betrayed his supporters, and he coddled with the banks and Wall Street. His entire cabinet was based off an email list from Goldman Sachs: he took orders from bankers and Wall Street execs. He ran cycles of QE, (i.e., Quantitative Easing = creating money,) which gave away easy money to bankers and the Wall Street at the expense of everyone else. Most importantly, ZERO banker and ZERO Wall Street execs were held accountable, punished or went to prison under Obama.

    So, Obama either lied or failed to deliver on his promises. He was a conman, pure and simple. Yet, nowadays Democrats, liberals and progressives are unable to criticize Obama or challenged his neoliberal policies– because doing so would alienate and offend the Black constituents, who continue to worship Obama as their Black Messiah. Which means: the left is unable to move away from the awful pro-banker, pro-corporations, pro-elite, pro-rich, pro-war and pro-Wall Street policies of the Obama years. Obama has become sacred to the Democrats (Blacks in particular) like what Reagan was to Republicans, (and both were awful presidents.)

    As for Donald Trump: he terminated the Trans-Pacific Partnership immediately after he became the President, just as he had promised. (On the other hand, Obama was lobbying and pushing hard for the extremely unpopular TPP, against the wishes of almost all American people; the TPP was unpopular especially among the working class and progressives.) So far, Trump has not started any more new war or invaded any more country, (Obama started sixteen.)

    Trump made promises to his constituents, and he has actually delivered on his promises to the people who had voted for him, unlike Obama who had turned his back on people who supported him. I may disagree with Trump’s policies and promises, but the fact remains that he has delivered them and kept his promises to his supporters. I can respect Trump for that. Which is why Trump is so popular among Republican voters, and over 90-percent of Republicans support him with enthusiasm: he has delivered on and kept his promises to them, while Obama had largely betrayed the people who supported him and broke his promises: he did not end any war, and he did not punish any banker or the Wall Street exec and held them accountable for 2008.

    And that makes Trump a better President than Obama, (even though, frankly, both are shitty Presidents; Trump is just far less shittier.)

  8. KT Chong

    BTW, “Build the Wall” is really just a metaphor for cracking down on illegals, reducing immigration and stopping migrants. So, on some level, Trump has actually delivered on that as well: he has been cruel and harsh towards migrants and refugees, cutting down on immigration and putting up new barriers to immigrants. You and I may not like those policies. You may think his immigration and migrant policies are inhumane. HOWEVER, those were the promises he made when he said “Build the Wall”: he promised his supporters that he would be harsh on immigrants, illegals and migrants, and he has delivered. That’s more than I can say for Obama.

  9. Stirling S Newberry


    There are many hidden factors on this disease, not all of them are in the virus’s favor. We may not see massive outbreaks beyond China, however, it is not from our efforts but sheer dumb luck. The problem is how long until the virus piles up? Face masks will not protect you, as we have seen in the rise of medical personnel infected. We do not know this number, partial because China has been less than forthcoming with numbers. (Translation: the numbers are shit.)

    It could blow over, but it might not. It will happen again. Sometime it will not be pretty, it maybe this one.

    1. Demand real numbers. Economic numbers being the forefront mean the medical numbers are suspect. This means you, Xi.

    2. Stop lying. Just stop. This means “oh the flu is worse” needs to go.

    3. Racism does not help.

    4. Track daily and accurately.

    5. Stop penning everyone who may be infected in one place, this is an amazingly stupid idea. Some bureaucrat needs to be fired. Out of a large cannon.

    6. Triage infected sites. Now. Or else.

    7. We could have 1,000,000 dead. No joke, footnotes, and everything. Much less is possible, but even the chance is not good.

  10. KT Chong

    8. Ban wildlife markets and trade. Permanently.

    I have no problem with eating meat, but any wild animal is a cesspool of bacteria, germs and viruses, and eating one is just like putting toxic poop into your mouth and stomach. Yuck.

  11. None of the above.

  12. Z

    COVID19 “is more likely to trigger economic and political panic” than the other two. Much more.

    A well-deserved collapse by Boeing won’t create political panic and a robbery of Bernie in CA won’t trigger economic panic. Only COVID19 has the power to do both.

    COVID19 may end up being a nasty proponent for medicare-for-all. I’ve always felt that one of the most rational reasons for universal health care, even if you don’t care about other people, was the fact that we don’t live in our own private plastic bubbles. So, why wouldn’t you want everyone to have free access to health care when we can all infect each other? It’s for the best of everybody, even for the people who only think of themselves.


  13. Z

    KT Chong,

    I agree with most of what you wrote about Obama, Clinton, and Trump. I will say this though, for accuracy’s sake: Obama never made any promises of going after Wall Street execs. He may have tapped into the public’s discontent with Wall Street and have implicitly led the public into believing he’d go after them, but he never made any explicit promises to do so. At least not that I recall, and I would have thought his detractors would have called those promises to our attention if he did.

    Trump is our least damaging president between Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama thus far. And it’s not even close IMO.



    Anyone who suggests Bloomberg is a fascist is in league with these scumbags. Calling, or implying, Bloomberg is a fascist is right out of this playbook. Not only will Bloomberg score ceremonial wins against fossil fuels by shuttering the remaining coal & gas power plants and ending fracking, he will also take the guns from the nutjobs who should not have access to such lethal weapons.


    The NRA is using Bernie as their foil. Their online operatives pretend to be Bernie supporters in order to bait & switch to Trump.

    Bloomberg’s going to enact sensible, long-overdue gun control legislation with a proper enforcement regime in place so it’s just not another feckless law for posterity. The NRA is nervous. Bloomberg is a much greater threat to them than any member of the political establishment especially Bernie who has been rather cozy with the NRA over the years. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bloomberg gets the Dem nomination the NRA tries to assassinate him with an Enfield sniper rifle and pin it on a Bernie patsy.

  16. Z

    The preceding message has been approved by the Michael Bloomberg campaign.

  17. nihil obstet


    On the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, Obama explicitly promised to filibuster any bill that would grant telecoms retroactive immunity for handing customer information to the government that the 4th Amendment bars the government from getting. He then whipped for the bill that did so when he got the nomination. He explicitly promised to make his government the most open and transparent ever. He made his government the most secretive ever. Among other actions, he waged a horrific war on whistleblowers, even reinstating cases against “leakers” that George W. Bush had dismissed. Obama profited from fears about growing authoritarianism in the U.S. and then grew lots of authoritarianism himself.

    I suggest that Michael Bloomberg is a fascist. While I’d like much stricter gun laws, I don’t think slamming the least powerful people against a wall and demanding subservience is consistent with a free society.


    It’s all so incestuous and disingenuous. Tad Devine. You have got to be kidding me. Tad Devine has a history of supporting Russian-backed oligarchs in Ukraine along with Paul Manafort. Tad’s a multi-millionaire and yet until recently he was very influential in the Bernie Sanders campaign until Bernie realized a spotlight was going to be shown on the incest.

  19. Ché Pasa

    Contra KT, Obama is not running for president against Trump. He’s not running for president ever again. He did not run against Trump in 2016, either. There is no candidate running for president named Obama. Also, Obama never made such promises — to end wars and make bankers accountable. So KT is spinning utter fantasies both of the present and the past.

    Obama was heavily criticised from the left and right while he was in office. Criticising him now is a useless exercise as there is someone else in the White House whose actions and statements are of somewhat more importance to the current and future situations.

    Obama was elected 2oo8 in large part because he represented such a remarkable contrast to the warmongering idiocy of McCain and his brainless running mate.

    Obama did not pledge to end the many wars. He said he sought to reduce the violence, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, to reduce US troop levels in the Middle East and Afghanistan, to end the occupation of Iraq, and to undertake a nuclear agreement with Iran, all of which he did. Libya and Syria are often cited as wars he (or Mrs. Clinton) started, but it wasn’t quite like that, certainly nothing like the Bush-Cheney wars of aggression. Both started as versions of Arab Spring Color Revolutions (ie: manipulated “organic” uprisings on behalf of neoliberal and other interests) and both quickly devolved into intense and complex civil wars. US troops did not invade Libya or Syria under Obama and Mrs. Clinton did not rape and murder Qaddafi, strange as it may seem.

    Obama restrained the US military. Trump unleashed them to do as they wanted, leaving dozens of cities in ruins and millions dead, wounded, or displaced.

    Obama’s economic policies were “Hoover-lite” as anyone who was paying attention knew they would be. Obama was raised by his grandparents. Guess what, his grandmother was the vice president of a…. bank. There was no sign at any time that he would punish bankers.

    Nor is there any sign Trump would hold bankers accountable — unless of course they publicly disclose their disloyalty to Donald Trump.

    Funny how that works.

  20. Z


    So you’ve gone from “I only wished that Bernie could win the nomination, but he can’t” to actively attacking him. Snappy transition on that.

    Hope the money’s worth it to you and the rest of Mikey’s Hos. And no, I’m not cutting on you because you’re a woman because hos can be men as well, as we all know by the large amount of males who have also sold their souls for Mikey $B’s bucks.

    Irony: Bernie’s Bros are mostly female and Mikey’s Hos are mostly male.



    A Bloomberg win will put a stake through the dark heart the political class as we know it and all but eviscerate the parasitic (I saw the award winning movie last night and it is excellent and worthy of the accolades) political consultants. How could Bernie be in bed with such a demonic scumbag as Tad Levine? He’s a politician, that’s how.

    Tad Devine, during his run as chief strategist for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, railed against the corrupting influence of money in politics.

    He repeatedly echoed the Sanders message that “our economy is rigged,” that “special interests” buy politicians, that “all of the new wealth is going to the top of America,” that there is a “corrupt system of campaign finance” of which Hillary Clinton offered an “egregious” example. Sanders, by contrast, “supported the little guy.”

    Those who heard Devine’s interviews and watched his Sanders TV ads therefore may be surprised to know that, in the years and months leading up to the Sanders presidential campaign, Devine was making gobs of money to secure the election of one of the world’s most corrupt political figures and then his allies.

    Thanks to Robert S. Mueller III’s prosecution of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman and sometime business associate of Devine, we now have an unusual glimpse into the role the Democratic ad man had in electing and preserving the power of Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych, a crooked pro-Putin autocrat. Though American political consultants routinely rake in cash from foreign leaders — even shady ones — Devine’s seamless pivot from advocate for antidemocratic thug to champion of a principled democratic reformer shows extraordinary flexibility.

  22. Z

    450’s all about the what-about-isms of Trump.

    Show the man more respect, 450! Shoot, he’s your cousin in regards to political tactics, just like Mikey $B ain’t but a shiny dimes worth of difference as far as misogyny, treatment of brown people, and Wall Street. In fact he might be worse on all of them than Trump despite Trump’s crassness on those matters. At least Trump doesn’t yell at a female employee “to kill it” when he found she was pregnant like your boy Mikey $B did.

    You got plenty to be proud of selling your soul to that scum.


  23. Z

    nihil obstet,

    I was aware and agree with everything you wrote about Obama.

    Once Obama broke his telecom promise, which was before the presidential election, I gave up any thoughts of ever voting for him.

    There’s more you could add, and probably know of as well, in regards to Obama and broken campaign promises. He made a campaign promise to revisit NAFTA, which one of his campaign advisors immediately ran to Canada to tell them that he had no intention of fulfilling, for instance.

    I remember all my liberal friends, who I thought possessed principles after the anti-war rallies we had attended together during the Bush years, in such joy after Obama won in 2008, so proud of themselves for playing a part in electing the U.S.’s first black president, and me shaking my head.



    A rebuttal to Bernie’s being in bed with the demonic political consultant Tad Devine is that Bernie needs to be Machiavellian to win. Fine. That’s my reasoning for voting for Bloomberg versus Trump if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination. This means, necessarily, Bernie is not what he pretends to be and he’s no different than any other member of the political class, any other politician, in that he’ll say and do anything to get elected and stay in office.

    If Bernie is Machiavellian, he would have voted for the Clintons’ healthcare legislation in the early 90s. Had he done so, we would have single payer today. Instead, he claimed to be an uncompromising purist when it suited his purposes. What exactly is his purpose, considering? On one hand, he’s machiavellian in sleeping with Devine, on the other hand he’s not by refusing to endorse the Clintons’ healthcare initiative.

    Most of Bernie’s supporters don’t understand, and neither did Bernie, how foul his vote was or how important it was to ACT at that moment in our health care history; as a result of Reagan era deregulation (cutely called “managed care”), the early 90s was just the beginning of what would, because of the Democratic party’s inaction, become a for profit takeover of our health care system (previously, that is until very late in the 20th century, both health care insurers and care providers — hospitals — were almost entirely non-profit). A takeover that over the next 20 years would lead to more people losing coverage every year, the development of powerful regional health care monopolies, and entrenched for profit players who were making dismantling that system more and more costly.

  25. KT Chong

    In response to Ché Pasa:

    1. Obama’s speech on Iraq and Afghanistan on July 15, 2008:


    There, not just a promise to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also a promise to lead America into a new direction (on foreign policies) that was supposed to be different Bush’s.

    Yet he left behind a legacy and doctrine of normalized permanent wars:

    2. Obama called for Wall Street crackdown on September 6, 2008:

    “To prevent fraud in the mortgage market, I’ve proposed tough penalties on fraudulent lenders…

    … we must crack down on trading activity that crosses the line to market manipulation. The last six months have shown that this remains a serious problem in many markets and becomes especially problematic during moments of great financial turmoil. We cannot embrace the administration’s vision of turning over the protection of investors to the industries themselves. We need regulators that actually enforce the rules instead of overlooking them. The SEC should investigate and punish market manipulation, and report its conclusions to Congress.”

    Yet, what he did — or did not do — after he became the President:

  26. Z


    If Trump paid you appreciably more than Mikey $B does, you’d probably be giving him a foot massage right now and putting up with The Donald’s billows of “five minutes per toe!”


  27. KT Chong


    Frankly America’s bad luck with having a string of bad to worse presidents started with Reagan (if not before that.)

  28. Z


    I think Clinton took it to a whole new depth. No one was nearly as willing as him, before and after, to sell the country out for his own self-interests like he was.

    Look at the raw proof: look at all the policies his administration drove that hurt the U.S. working class and poor and take a look at the hundreds of millions of dollars he received after he left office from the entities that benefited from them.


  29. nihil obstet

    Remember that until 1973 it was illegal to profit off health care. Insurance cos., hospitals, doctors’ offices were non-profit. They all paid quite nice salaries, but the corporate entity was non-profit, so health care wasn’t financialized. Most research was done with government money and frequently within universities. Any government-funded research was in the public domain, not copyrighted, patented, or accounted a trade secret. A law in the early 1980s changed that.

    Democratic inaction on actually providing health care to people didn’t start in the 1990s. The Democratic health care bill of the early 1990s aimed at cementing the recently developed for-profit model in place. After all, “the era of big government is over.”

  30. Z


    By constantly accusing the political opposition of being demonic … Nazis … fascists … anti-semites … you’re just like Trump spewing all that hatred. Actually, you’re worse than him because you write about people getting shot, bloodying them up with your fists, fighting them in the flesh, etc., etc.

    Yeah, you could probably get a job as The Donald’s foot masseuse, you two would have a lot to chat about as you file down his corns and clean the sock lint from his cuticles.

    Hey, he probably pays good though, huh? That’s all that matters to a good ho like you.



    As proof Bloomberg is a separate animal from the political establishment, both CNN & MSNBC as well as Fox News are attacking Bloomberg mercilessly this past week. CNN & MSNBC are for all intents and purposes extensions of the DNC and Fox is an extension of the GOP. The political class and its respective cable news propaganda outlets, namely CNN & MSNNC and Fox, are hellbent on burying Bloomberg. They’re running scared. The DNC wants Trump, especially their cable news propaganda outlets that have made substantial bank off of 24/7 Trump outrage coverage. Bloomberg isn’t the spectacle Trump is. What would the cable news networks do without the “electric” Trump to disingenuously flog & lambast every day any day? They’d have to start covering mass shootings and terrorist events all day any day like they were doing prior to Trump’s ascendancy to the only news story that matters and pays.

    Nah, Bloomberg is an existential threat to the DNC and the entire political class. He can circumvent their stranglehold and bring it to heel. They know it and they will pull out, and are pulling out, every stop to prevent his ascendancy because it means the end of their gravy train. The likes of Tad Devine will have to find a new career. I hear Cinnabon is hiring. It’s all good, man.

    CNN & MSNBC have always gone light on Dem establishment candidates. Obama and Biden and Hillary have always been treated with kid gloves. Not so with Bloomberg. Gloves are off with Bloomberg and that’s because Bloomberg is not one of them. He’s independent of them. He’s not beholden to them. They know it and it’s why they’ll attack him mercilessly while giving Obama and Biden and Hillary a free pass.

  32. bruce wilder

    During the 2016 campaign, I read and commented on the Crooked Timber (CT) blog and sometimes read its sister blog, Lawyers, Guns & Money (LGM). It was from that place of observation that I watched the chasm open in the Democratic Party, between 1.) those who combine fierce criticism and scorn for conservative Republicans with “lesser evil” apologies for Obama/Clinton and 2.) everyone else, including people who valued the careful vetting of arguments for logical validity, factual accuracy and reasonable judgments.

    It was an education for me, in how I could be misled by confident assertions and sharp expressions of hostility to the usual suspects into thinking I shared a common reality and values with an advocate of seemingly leftish opinions.

    The way people keep coming back to Hillary Clinton’s “lesser evil” bona fides suggests to me quite a few people have not gotten over that great dividing of the Democratic Party. Her behavior since suggests to me that she really was worse than I imagined. That is not important though, except that lots of people who voted for her never questioned their image of her or the values she represented. TDS seems to have created a psychological defense mechanism that allows people to hide from their own participation in America’s moral collapse. If you really think getting rid of Trump is a cure-all, you have not acknowledged the disease, a disease which has infected you.

  33. nihil obstet

    The new campaign slogan of the Democratic Party is “Vote blue, no matter who.” That makes it relevant to look at recent Democratic policies and accomplishments to see whether they were in fact good for the people.

    They might as well say, “We’re empty. Totally empty. Fill with whatever filling material is nearby.”

  34. NSA whistleblower Bill Binney told Pompeo over 2 years ago that DNC wasn’t hacked (by Russians or anyone else), but rather info leaked, and he still hasn’t told Trump.

    Actually, this sounds a little fishy, as it was Trump who originally directed Pompeo to talk to Binney. So, Trump must have known the general outline of Binney’s claims, which are not that extensive.

    So, other possibilities are that Trump is out to lunch (he must exhaust himself with all his scholarly tweeting, and golfing), or has been blackmailed.

    I searched for “bernie sanders on Binney” on to see if Bernie Sanders was any sort of truth teller on this issue, but the only hit that I think is relevant, on the first page, shows the Sanders organization was more interested in protecting the Russiagate hoax.

  35. DMC

    Why settle for incompetent evil, when you can have competent evil? Why settle for some oligarch wannabe when you can have the 9th richest entity on the planet? Why settle for weak tea Zionism, when you can have an actual Likudnik? Why settle for a man with a combative relationship with the press, when you can have a man that owns the press? Stuff writes itself.

  36. bruce wilder


    how one answers goes toward revealing what one is actually after, doesn’t it?

    bernie vs the billionaire would be clarifying in ways that a lot of people would not like

  37. Dan

    I searched for “bernie sanders on Binney” on to see if Bernie Sanders was any sort of truth teller on this issue

    Bernie Sanders is a politician. Politicians aren’t truth-tellers.

    I will still vote for him.

  38. First entry in the fresh thread: “The U.S. Military Is Not Ready for a Constitutional Crisis”

    Let’s game this out: the Juan deFuca subduction slips, resulting in a not unprecedented nor unanticipated nine point on the Richter scale earthquake that immediately flattens the Portland Seattle Vancouver BC coastal corridor, and a good portion of the California Oregon coast. This happened in 1700 (pig era) and though the white dogs have little to no record of it there are records in Japan, Korea and Mainland China of the resulting tsunami wipeng out the coastal populations of Japan, Korea and Mainland China, and no doubt Hawaii and many of the Indonesian Islands. Three hundred years ago the coastal populations of Japan, Korea and Mainland China, and no doubt Hawaii and many of the Indonesian Islands were considerably less than today. Whatever your ‘opinion’ of the climate crisis, published maps of anticipated sea level rise can give you a pretty good idea of these coastal lowland metropolitan area and the 30, 40, perhaps in excess of 50,000,000 (fifty million) people there, and the Boxer Day (12.26.06 Indian Ocean) quake what just such a tsunami will do.

    Bat flu? Not an existential threat. Capitalism crashing airplanes? Nope. Sanders losing …

    30, 40, 50,000,000 dead? Maybe …

  39. different clue

    @Ten Bears,

    ” White dogs” . . . “white dogs” . . . “white dogs” . . . . . .

    That sounds almost racist, somehow . . . I hope you aren’t an anticaucasianitic metis-racist anticaucasianite.

  40. different clue

    @K T Chong,

    I think we could think of the Presidents from Carter to Obama as the Free Trade Presidents.
    The push to Forced Free Trade-ism began under Carter and then Reagan along with the push to deregulationism. The Forcey Free-Trade frameworks were engineered under Bush and ratified and locked into place under Clinton. Shrub pursued more of it and Obama tried to make it omni-total but didn’t quite succeed in all areas.

    I would suggest calling these Presidents the Free Trade Presidents. One could also call them the Carter-Reagan Clintobusha Presidents. Trump may be an exception to the trend, or he may be the first of the anti Free Trade Presidents to come. Just-enough Americans wanted to run away from the Corporate Globalonial Free Trade Plantation that they were able to get Trump elected.

    Now, Trump is no Harriet Tubman; and he has no deep or broad understanding of the issues.
    But if the Dems nominate another Forcey Free Trade candidate, Trump will win by more than what he won by the last time around.

  41. Ché Pasa

    A politician saying “we should do…X” is not a promise to do… X. Even if it were, failure to fulfill political promises is routine. This is politics 101.

    Whatever Obama’s failings, and they were many, he isn’t on the ballot in 2020 and he wasn’t on the ballot in 2016, yet for some reason, he continues to be an obsession for some people, especially for Trump fans who see Trump as the near-perfect anti-Obama.

    All the political clarification being sought or found in the exposure of political hypocrisy/perfidy by Democratic candidates and officeholders doesn’t change anything for the better, strangely enough. Finding out politician X is flawed doesn’t much matter in the vast, eternal scheme. They’re all flawed.

    What this kind of “clarity” does, though, is provide a justification for not voting for Democrats — any Democrat in the end. In the US system, that means not voting at all, voting third party or voting for Republicans — which is the default option in any case.

  42. nihil obstet

    “Look forward, not backward”? Looking at actual records and cases is part of thinking through the problems and what can be done about them.

    “All politicians lie” became a foundation of the politically savvy with Reagan. From Roosevelt on, the consensus was that a politician caught in a lie would suffer for it. They may have lied, and at some time all of them did, but it was a bad thing, that good elected officials did rarely and only in extreme circumstances. They could shade their presentation not to confront those who might vote against them, but out-right lying? Not good. Jimmy Carter won the presidency by promising, “I’ll never lie to you.” Then members of the political class started proving that they weren’t goobers like Carter by finding lying sophisticated.

    Lying is bad. Politicians who routinely lie are to be shunned. Excusing lying politicians who lie because “they all do it” is wrong.

  43. different clue

    We can’t understand where we are till we understand how we got here.

    We can’t purge and burn the obama-sewage out of the Democratic Party until we come to terms with what an everflowing backed-up toilet Obama was to begin with. And if we can’t do that, then we can’t debamafy the besmirched filthed-up sewage-covered Democratic Party to begin with.

    That’s why Democrats need to come to grips with the fecal Obama legacy.

    The same is true about the Clintons as well. Until the Democrats can be brought to understand what a bucket of pus the Clintons were, the Democrats can never even begin to purge and burn the hidden gladio Clintonite left-behinds from their multiple pockets of infestation within the Democratic Party.

    Unless of course the gladio-Clintonite left-behinds ARE the Democratic Party. In which case, the Democrats are all infestation and no Party at all anymore. If that’s what we are left with here, then I suppose DemCon 2020 will give us a Bloomberg/Clinton ticket for Election 2020.

  44. Ten Bears

    Somethin’ like that, dc, somethin’ like that. Ain’t prejudiced, hate everybody.

    Though I do think there’s some credence to the theory one such as I, an All American Red, White and Black Me’tis would be genetically ‘superior’ to some inbred pasty-face.

    LOL ~ don’t call me no damned liberal. Not from this neighborhood, gone to hell as it has.

  45. Benjamin really does just look like a paid (I hope you aren’t doing this for free) Bloomberg shill now.

    Might I suggest you direct your efforts elsewhere? You aren’t going to find many takers in a place like Ian Welsh’s blog.

  46. KT Chong

    I do not particularly care about Obama’s many other promises, (most of which he had broken including his promise of universal healthcare,) BUT the promises to end wars and to hold bankers and Wall Streets execs for their crimes the caused the 2008 financial crisis — those were important promises.

    And, not only did he NOT keep those promises. He did the exact opposites. He expanded Americans foreign wars, invasions and bombings, AND he gave even more money, powers and privileges to bankers and Wall Street execs.

    Obama was elected as the “anti-Bush” — because the two big Bush fuck-ups (i.e., wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2008 financial crisis) made Bush so unpopular, so hated, that Americans just wanted to elect someone completely opposite, (or so we thought.) That was why many rural and suburban Whites voters, even Whites who might have been racist, were even willing to vote for a Black man: because he was symbolically the completely opposite of Bush. People wanted something completely different so much that they were willing to try a Black president. Yes, people voted for Obama because of his race: because his race represented the complete opposite of Bush (white).

    People voted for Obama in 2008 to end the wars and to punish bankers and the Wall Street. Those were the two ISSUES in 2008.

    Yet Obama had turned out to be a big con. He either LIED, or he failed to delivered on the two most important promises that people actually cared about. After much retrospection, reading and research — Obama LIED and CONNED us. He was always a neoliberal, and he lied about and pretended to be a progressive when he ran in 2008. We did not know who Obama really was because he was a fresh Senator with very little history. Which is why progressives now want someone with a long history and track records so we can know for sure that he is not another conman like Obama.)

    And so, after Obama, people elected Trump. Obama was right to see Trump winning the presidency as a refutation of him and his policies — because that is exactly what it was; (just as Obama winning the presidency was a refutation of Bush.) Hillary did not lose the election in 2016. Obama did.

    One final thought: we shall never see another Black president again, certainly not in our lifetime. If Obama had been a good President who had delivered on the two big promises, the two issues people voted him for, if he had brought actual and real changes, then he would have created more opportunities for more Blacks to become Presidents in the future. But he was not: he was more of the same as Clinton and Bush. And people who voted a Black man to be the President — especially rural and suburban Whites who put aside their racism to vote for Obama, taking a chance with a Black man, hoping for someone different from all the shitty White presidents we had… now they think they have made a mistake with Obama, and they will never vote for another Black man again. Like it or not, America is still a very racist country, and the reason why people voted for Obama was partially a racist one, (i.e., Obama was a different color from Bush: people took a chance because people expected the different race would produce different policies and a different result.)

  47. KT Chong

    BTW, even a lot of Democrats are racist, (just not as racist as Republicans.) There is a reason why this time around all the Black candidates (like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker) dropped out of the primaries so soon: Obama has ruined their chances. People (including Democrats) are much less willing to take a chance with another Black presidential candidate again.

    (I had expected all the Black candidates would drop out and be eliminated early in the primary, based on my assumptions about how people really feel about Obama, and I was right.)

    Sure, Blacks still love Obama and would not allow anyone to openly criticize and refute him, but guess what? It is just like SJW and woke Identitarians: they can intimidate people into silence, but there isn’t anything they can do when people are by themselves and cast their votes in voting booths.

    (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, racism is to make assumptions about an entire race based on the history with just one person, but America is a racist place, and that is how it is, and Obama was elected based on “racist” reason as well: people voted for him because people naively thought he would be different just because his color/race was different from Bush and the previous presidents, i.e., a form of associative thinking.)

  48. bruce wilder

    Obama was a clever and talented politician and he played his long game well. He did not so much make explicit promises as he gave impressions about who he was and what he would do. George W. Bush’s record of doing the wrong thing and reaping catastrophic failure created an opportunity to radically change the country’s direction and instead Obama chose to continue Bush policy and personnel, too, in some cases.
    I know so many Democrats who think Obama had no choice, that Republicans made him impotent, but that is a lie. Obama chose his course.
    It is that distorted memory that is gumming up the gears now. That will to believe, despite abundant evidence that Clinton Klobuchar or Bloomberg or Buttigieg are not corrupt, vicious people, though their manners are better than Trump’s.

    It should matter that Klobuchar lied in characterizing what Buttigieg said about the impeachment scandal. It should not have been a debate win. It should matter that Buttigieg cheated in Iowa. It should matter when a billionaire questions the usefulness of the minimum wage. It should matter that Los Angeles instituted a system of voting practically designed for manipulation.

  49. Hugh

    As has been pointed out, neither Hillary nor Obama are running. Invoking them is pure distraction. As for Bloomberg, he is an oligarch. When he starts talking about a wealth tax and a 90% marginal tax rate on incomes from any source over $500,000, get back to me. A vote for Trump is a vote for fascism. Why sugar coat it?


    It should matter that Klobuchar lied in characterizing what Buttigieg said about the impeachment scandal.

    This, along with and juxtaposed with her treatment of the oligarch criminal Petters, is what should matter related to Klobuchar. It says everything we need to know about her. The only thing she was trying to help by putting an innocent teen behind bars for life was her own career. She framed this poor kid to further her career. Her working-class parents must be so proud. Are Ethan & Joel Cohn funding her run? If not, they should be because she’s a character right out of the pages of their hit movie and series, Fargo.

    Democrats joined Republicans in supporting harsher policing and tougher sentencing, leading to the highest incarceration rates in the nation’s history.

    Some politicians have tried to distance themselves from the period’s perceived excesses. In January, for instance, Klobuchar returned a $1,000 campaign donation from Linda Fairstein, who prosecuted New York’s infamous Central Park Five, four black teens and one Hispanic who were later exonerated in the rape of a white jogger in 1989.

    While campaigning to be the top prosecutor in Minnesota’s most populous county in 1998, Klobuchar advocated for harsher penalties for juvenile offenders.

    In Minnesota, allegations of gang affiliation or motive played on the fears of mostly white jurors and led to harsher sentences.


    Yes, Trump is a sizable cut below the rest and it’s not just decorum & aesthetics. In fact, aesthetics and the complete flouting of decorum is the camouflage and excuse. It’s the cover.

    David Cay Johnston and Greg Palast explain it nicely in this video. Johnston is no DNC liberla hack. He’s a registered republican and one of the few remaining fair & balanced investigative reporters.

  52. bruce wilder

    . . . neither Hillary nor Obama are running. Invoking them is pure distraction.

    I do not intend a distraction.

    It is a very convenient distraction for some to argue that Trump is uniquely and unprecedentedly bad and evil and “all” good and thinking people should be against Trump and, by implication, in favor of a “normal” President like Obama or Bush II.

    Well, the most recent “normal” Presidents were pretty bad and evil and set precedents for Trump and I think it is the premise of a con job to pretend otherwise.

    I think I understand the basic strategy behind the tactic. It is the same strategy behind the “lesser evil” argument made in favor Hillary Clinton vis a vis Trump: pay no attention to what Clinton is, see the “obvious” difference. The strategic objective is to get left-leaning voters to betray their own values and interests: you cannot get good, full-stop, but you can get “normal” evil and that is better and therefore “good” (relatively, I guess).

    The point of bringing up Bush II, Obama or Hillary Clinton is to make the point that this con has been run before. The definition of “normal” that can be used to argue that Bloomberg, a neoliberal Republican billionaire oligarch, with all the racist and authoritarian tendencies you would expect from a likudnik, is decisively “better” at the margin than Trump ought not obscure how really, really bad and evil, this “normal” is. What kind of difference is “flagrant” really?

    Apparently it is the difference between Biden threatening to withhold aid unless an investigation is called off versus Trump threatening to withhold aid unless an investigation is instituted. I am not feeling it.

    Apparently, it is the difference between Bush II being a war criminal and Trump pardoning a war criminal. Again, not really feeling it.

    Apparently it is the difference between Trump being a somewhat ineffectual and inarticulate advocate of revising trade agreements versus Bill Clinton or Barack Obama being advocates of neoliberal “free trade” policies that drove manufacturing to Mexico (at very low wages) and China, devastating the Midwest but benefiting globalizing finance and tech in New York and California and Seattle. Again not really feeling it.

    Trump is bad. He talks like a third-grader. He knows very little. He is an authoritarian.

    I would much prefer good: caring, decent, honest, wise. But, a different brand of bad, however shiny the fresh logo, should not be successfully marketed on the basis of defective memory alone.

  53. Hugh

    The difference is Trump is President now.

  54. nihil obstet

    Hugh, why does that difference make a difference?

  55. bruce wilder

    The difference is Trump is President now.

    Well, Trump is President now. I am not sure how different that is. But, it is interesting to me to see how people explain that and express their distress. The way much of the news media go at Trump is a fascinating spectacle. Some very powerful people are extremely hostile to him — that must be the case for the shills at CNN to feel free to “report” on him as they routinely do. I am not talking about simply pointing the unblinking camera at him babbling as he sometimes does; I am talking about the tenor of the torrent of speculative commentary, which often ignores facts in favor of the chosen narrative.

    To my unsubtle mind, Trump seems pretty good for the rich and corrupt, as were his immediate predecessors. So, what’s not for them to like?


    Tax cuts for the rich. Check. Wasteful wars. Check. Undermining regulation. Check. Cuts to social welfare spending. Check. Privatizing public education. Check.

    Self-identified Republicans do seem to like him for the most part. The Party that gave us the senile Reagan and the child-like George W Bush is not unduly disturbed that he seems an idiot.

    I guess I am trying to understand what the kind of people who sponsor Neera Tanden or Pete Buttigieg want to change. From my lowly perspective, I suspect it might not be much, at least insofar as it would affect things I care about. Thus, I am reluctant to sing in the chorus for their staged musical productions.

  56. Hugh

    “why does that difference make a difference?”

    Because he has power to do bad things now, as with his commutation and pardons today for white collar sleazebags like Blagojevich, DeBartolo, and Millken. Will today’s escapade take down the republic? No. But as the five thousandth with no end in sight, yes. The mad dance to minimize Trump in light of his predecessors’ crimes misses the point that yes, Virginia, his crimes are greater because they go to the very structure of our society.

  57. bruce wilder

    The mad dance to minimize Trump in light of his predecessors’ crimes misses the point that yes, Virginia, his crimes are greater because they go to the very structure of our society.

    The mad dance to forget his predecessors’ crimes misses the point that those earlier crimes already did go to the very structure of our society, which is how our irresponsible politics degenerated in the face of failed wars and a corrupt failing economy to a contest between Hillary & Donald, both widely disliked and unsuited to great power.

    The idea that Trump is “uniquely” bad and we can repair the situation by returning to a fantasy “normal” serves the purposes of the complacent parasites who want to deny their responsibility for the degeneracy.

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