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

Sanders Comes to Save Capitalism, Not Destroy It

Bernie Sanders

One of the most tiresomely stupid features of American discourse is all the fools screaming “communism, socialism, communism, USSR!”

Bernie Sanders is not a communist. He is not going to destroy capitalism.

In fact, the Marxists I follow often hate him, the way they hated FDR, because Sanders’ actual goal is to save capitalism from its own flaws–or if you want to go Marxist, from its internal contradictions. Capitalism concentrates capital, and when it does that too much, it is subject to crises. The last really big one was the Great Depression.

FDR saved capitalism. The alternatives, the people who lost, like the actual communists, know that and have never forgiven him–just like oligarchs have never forgiven him for breaking their predecessors’ power for two generations.

Yes, Sanders will regulate, and he’ll bring more of the economy under government control or management, and he’ll tax and break up conglomerates, and none of that will destroy capitalism. It will, in fact, make capitalism healthier.

All Sanders wants to do is give Americans the 50s economy back, with universal healthcare and less sexism, racism, pollution, and imperialism.

Bernie isn’t anything even close to a radical, and it takes a massively degraded and stupid discourse to pretend he is.

The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.



The Oligarch Stage of the American Disease: Bloomberg Edition


Open Thread


  1. Even we of memories of duck, cover and evacuate drills, of propagandistic horror stories of vast WalMart-like commissaries where you get what’s available and like it, of gulags and concentration camps in the hinterlands, of brainwashing and torture … don’t know what it is. Stalinism failed and the Chinese are doing pretty good. It’s actually really rather childish at its core, tit-for-tat: while we have clearly gone fascist the butt-fuck response is “I’m no NAZI you’re a Commie” nanner nanner nanner school-yard chicken-shit. Like calling someone n**, white-trash, or “liberal”.

    It don’t mean a thing.

  2. Joan

    I agree. Sanders is FDR 2.0 and with enough backing he could pass regulations that would slow our rapid decline. He is sensible, and it really seems like he listens. There are ways in which government regulation could benefit, and ways in which deregulation or legalization could help people a lot. For example, Medicare for All, and decriminalizing alternative modes of healthcare. European countries legally allow TCM, for example. I know someone in the US who was getting tension headaches and the doctor gave her muscle relaxers instead of telling her to get a massage. In a for-profit industry, the Hippocratic Oath doesn’t mean much.

    There are so many cases in which small tweaks to the tax code and deregulation could make it much easier for Americans to survive. One of my online acquaintances is on his city council in rural Wisconsin and his battle over the years has been to allow people to grow their own food and keep chickens. The victory garden should never have been made illegal, that’s insane. There’s a lot of underemployed people who have time on their hands and could be using it to grow their own food, but that’s literally against the law.

    I wish Bernie had run decades earlier.


    One of the most tiresomely stupid features of American discourse is all the fools screaming “communism, socialism, communism, USSR!”

    Wait until or if Bernie wins the Dem nomination. The Nazis will come out of the woodwork in full force, Russian Nazis even and especially. And guess where the likes of Caitlin Johnstone and Bernie from MoA will be when that time comes? Squarely in Trump’s corner. In otherwords, no where to be found in defense of Bernie and his movement. The latest from Johnstone’s indefatigable defense of Donald Trump is how harsh he’s been on Russia these past three years. She’s clearly a Trump supporter in “progressive” clothing. A disgusting trojan horse opportunist as far as I’m concerned. Disinformation 101.

    Fyi, Bernie threw shade at the Russians last night as being the culprits behind the alleged “Bernie Bro” attacks. What say you Caitlin Johnstone? Bernie cast aspersions at your pay master, Vlad Putin. Surely you can’t let that slide.

  4. Hugh

    Ten Bears is right. Political labels are notoriously (mis)applied in sloppy and slipshod fashion. They are usually thrown out like so many ape feces, not to be accurate but to stink up the place.

    I continue to think that Sanders needs to hammer the point that the best parts of the New Deal, the ones that made a difference then and are the best loved now, were democratic socialist in nature. He should talk about the democratic socialism of the New Deal often. It’s easy to slam socialism in the US. The New Deal, not so much.

    American mythology which is often called history glosses over that FDR came into office as essentially an anti-New Dealer. He adopted and vigorously pushed the New Deal for as long as he felt capitalism was at risk. But in 1936 with capitalism saved and the economy out of depression, FDR chose to deep-six a lot of the New Deal plunging the country back into depression for 4 more years until WWII and the runup to it finally ended the Great Depression.

  5. jace

    Probably right, Mr Welsh.

    Insomuch as capitalist accumulation can be saved from the horrors its practioners, and increasingly its automated algirithms of control, visit upon the real, Sanders is best positioned as the dike/firewall/levee fixer most apt to finish a few repairs.

    That\’s not nothing with insect collapse, permafrost melt and ocean acidification now a matter of degree, not inevitability.

    Never we all mind what comes next, from the loss of a billion people\’s (most of us, brown) homes and subsistence due to best-case ocean rise. A billion plus people who will be seeking survival where all the armed and nationalized euros and euro-offshoots hold power.

    Fermi\’s paradox may be shortly solved, if people like Sanders don\’t start \’saving\’ capitalism in the industry-captive world.

    This aging revolutionary can live with that. We can claim our hanging ropes and retribution after the social democrats buy us, in good capitalist order, some time.

  6. bruce wilder

    Кейтлин Джонстон:

    “. . . if Democrats want to beat Trump, they need to nominate a centrist . . . who espouses sensible, middle-of-the-road values like endless war and military expansionism, rapacious ecocide, corrupt plutocracy, crushing domestic austerity measures, new cold war nuclear escalations, continued deregulation of sociopathic financial and commercial institutions, police militarization, unprecedented levels of imprisonment, Orwellian surveillance programs, internet censorship, and ever-mounting authoritarianism.”

  7. Mel

    Don’t forget, the post quoted was not from Caitlin Johnstone. It was a guest post on Johnstone’s blog from Snooty McCentrist of the National News Conglomerate, who is a common pundit.

  8. bruce wilder

    Economic ideologies are an interesting feature of modern politics, one closely connected to the phenomena of political parties and movements and arising in reaction to rapid social change and novel, emergent economic organization. They have been hijacked by academics and professional propagandists, as the activities of those new professions have emerged as part of the new orders of political economy.

    I am not sure they do us much good, being neither a source of knowledge nor political power.

  9. bruce wilder

    Natasha fooled you then, Mel?

  10. Ché Pasa

    FDR was suited to his times. He was governor of New York when he was elected to the White House. He used the power of the presidency and his commanding majority in Congress to overhaul the US government, intimidate the courts and bring long-lasting changes to and government participation in and oversight of the US economy. He could not accomplish everything he felt was necessary to remake the world. The War exhausted him and ultimately killed him. If only Truman had not replaced Wallace as FDRs vice president in 1944. The world would be a very different — and possibly better — place now.

    Truman was unable and perhaps unwilling to move FDRs more comprehensive progressive agenda against congressional opposition. Eisenhower didn’t try. Kennedy wanted to but then is term was cut somewhat short. LBJ took on the challenge of continuing FDR’s program and had an overwhelming congressional majority to boot, but there was that little fracas in Vietnam that caused him no end of grief, the cities were burning, and the youth of America were in revolt. LBJ said no mas, Hubert Humphrey lost to Nixon — who now seems incredibly progressive compared to more recent Republicans — and Nixon was forced out to be replaced with the first unelected US president (but I bet not the last), and it’s been one… unfortunate… presidency after another ever since. Some have been less bad than others, but none have been up to the standards set so very long ago by FDR.

    Instead we’ve seen an increasing perversion of those standards.

    Comes Bernie now, and it seems as if some of what FDR set out to do might be possible again. Somehow we might return to those thrilling days of yesterday when almost everything seemed possible. He evokes so much of what people found positive during FDR’s long time in office. But there is very little living memory of FDR and what the world was like back then, what he was trying to do, and how he got as much done as he did. Evoking FDR is great, but our situation is so much different now, and the challenges are so much greater. Bernie is saying a lot of the things that need to be said but is he prepared to do what needs to be done? I’m not convinced any Senator is.

  11. Willy

    Indeed. Hopeless Change and Make China Great Again aren’t very good realities for the slogans.

  12. edmondo

    So Bernie’s stupid branding himself a “democratic socialist” was dumb politics? No shit. but at least Bernie thought it was cute at the time.

  13. Willy

    @ edmondo

    Maybe with “democratic socialist” Bernie was hoping people would think Scandinavia and not North Korea. So I agree. With so many citizens apparently unable to differentiate between the two, he might have been hoping a bit too much.

  14. Hugh

    While Michael Bloomberg got eviscerated last night for not having even reasonable sounding answers on questions he had to know were coming on sexism, stop and frisk, etc., Bernie who as the new frontrunner was the other guy who should have had a big target on his back pretty much sailed through. He did so because he doesn’t duck and weave on who he is, democratic socialist, and what he believes. Socialism may be a bad word for boomers growing up in the Cold War, but for a lot of Millennials and Gen Xers, the bad word for them is capitalism. They like socialism and want more of it.

  15. scruff

    Well, shit. I wasn’t expecting to end up hoping Trump won, but now I do. Thanks for the clarification.

  16. Willy

    But would a cult of Bernie personality be so bad? I’d make the mandatory visit to his shrine on his birthdays. I envision a Mansudae Grand Monument, Bernie style.

    Instead of a smiling Kim Il-Sung with one hand outstretched, Bernie’s gigantic statue would have two outstretched clenched fists in a “Get off my lawn” pose. Instead of laying down flowers we’d be laying down the sweet leaf.

    If it’s be too to do anything about climate disaster, what the hell?

  17. Willy

    “If it’s too late…”

    Need to cut back.

  18. Benjamin

    Does anyone have any idea what 450 is always babbling about? Now Caitlin Johnstone is a Nazi?

  19. Ha! Marxists might as well be Cathars. There are no real ML states kicking around any more; I really don’t know what North Korea is, but doubt it’s got communes and all that stuff.

    There is a need for a new ideology, vigorous but allows DemSoc to blend in with gracefully degrading imperialism.

  20. bruce wilder

    The pathologies of “capitalism” — though clearly endogenous to the system and not alien contaminants — are also clearly pathologies, structural functioning contrary to at least some versions of the architectural rationale of capitalism. Just a plain reading of economics orthodoxy would acknowledge that private interests are opposed and public arbitration for fairness and integrity are necessary. What is supply-and-demand other than a model of opposed interests?

    It is arguably an intellectual perversion to argue the propertarian case for untrammelled private authority in employment or consumer law, to legalize take-or-leave-it “contracts” and unilateral terms setting, and private arbitration. The abundant public provision of insurance as efficiency-improving is an easy enough case to make in the economics classroom, whether it is no-fault auto insurance or single-payer health insurance or public education. It is not hard to make a case for usury laws or protections against fraud and poisoning consumers and neighbors. And, organizing labor unions, cooperatives, mutual insurance and banking are sensible courses within a capitalist framework.

    Why the hostility to “saving capitalism”? And, why the failure to resist the intellectual perversions that celebrate the “private” authoritarianism of business corporate power?

    Monty Python “socialism” does not have a plan, let alone a candidate.

  21. Roman Berry

    I just wish Bernie would stop calling himself a socialist and go with something like “I am a social Democrat.” Push the social contract between business and the community. It isn’t all just about profit.

  22. Jack! You jest …

    There’s enough hillbilly heroin here tonight to take out half of Iowa.

    We have to stop doing what we’re doing. Now. It isn’t working.


    They like socialism and want more of it.

    Ha! They wouldn’t know socialism if it bit them in the ass. Just like the oligarchy, they want something for nothing, and sorry, but that’s not socialism. It’s a moot point either way. Putin has spoken and he’s said without saying to these naive numbskull cultists, “no socialism for you.”

    Bernie and Bernie’s burgeoning cult is defenseless and clueless against KGB mindf*ckery. Oh, fyi, Putin’s goons are all over Naked Capitalism. I tested the waters at that venue. It’s crawling with KGB. Yves is a fraud and a traitor. A collaborator and that means Strether is too. I welcome the day when both and more are thrown to the curb and are forced to eat from dumpsters to survive. They can’t and don’t speak for the poor and dispossessed. They’re living the good life. They’re akin to privileged suburban white kids embracing Rap.


    Yves Smith and Lambert Strether are everything I deplore. The same ilk as my former “colleagues” I rejected. I am a class traitor. They are not. They are wedded to their materialistic lifestyle and all the privilege that affords. They serve the global oligarchy that is destroying this planet and holds humanity in bondage. Of course they defend Putin and facilitate and enable apologia for him and Trump. It would be bad for business to do otherwise. You should see the comments they censored. They can’t handle the truth. They peddle propaganda.

    When and if Bernie wins the Dem nomination, the moment of truth will be upon us. The wheat will be separated from the chaff. Putin is pushing Bernie right now because he believes he can dismantle him, eviscerate him really, once Bernie gets the Dem nomination if Bernie gets the Dem nomination. Trump parrots Putin on these matters just as he has with the Ukraine scandal and Trump is rooting for Bernie, thus Putin is rooting for Bernie.

    You have to laugh because it’s better than crying or banging your head against the wall until you punch a hole through the sheetrock with your throbbing cranium. When and if Bernie wins the Dem nomination, Putin, a KGB communist, will brand Bernie a communist. Trump and his supporters are Putin’s megaphone and he will manipulate them into amplifying his characterization of Bernie. When that time comes, I will defend Bernie with everything I’ve got while his pretend supporters will slither away into the shadows from whence they came.

    There is no getting around this. Bernie needs to confront this now. He’s already thrown some shade but he needs to man up and address it head on. Now. If he pretends it’s not happening, even if he wins the Dem nomination, Putin will defeat him in the general. Bernie won’t be challenging Trump in the general, he will be challenging Putin. Know thy enemy, Bernie, because if you don’t, you can’t win.

    Poor Bernie has so many hurdles. The media, the DNC, the GOP and Putin. I sure hope those stents are Graphene.

  25. nihil obstet

    It’s not hard to make a case for policies that restrain the pathologies of capitalism. It’s hard to enact those policies, to enforce them if enacted, and to maintain them in the long term. In U.S. history, it happened only when a set of circumstances came together that we hope won’t be repeated. Communism/socialism had taken over the government in one country and was sufficiently successful to encourage parties around the world. Capitalism virtually collapsed, and fascism was taking its place. The labor movement was strong, getting stronger, and bringing active violence against the violence of capital. The failings of the system in producing sickness and poverty inspired idealism in a generation, from the social work of Frances Perkins and Eleanor Roosevelt to the populism of Huey Long and the commitment of Henry Wallace. Ironically, FDR said the only thing they had to fear was fear itself, but fear was what drove the New Deal. The policies created then defined people’s view of government and helped it last for 40 years, helped along by the capitalists’ ongoing fear of commies.

    Can capitalism get there without extraordinary fortuitous circumstances? I kind of doubt it. I can see an active market-driven segment of small firms/businesses, but large enterprises should almost certainly be under tight oversight. Large enterprises will have enough power to start the politically corrupting process that we’ve seen for the last 40 years.

    FDR saved capitalism. I will note that he still deserved canonization for what he did for the people.

  26. Willy

    Might be easier to just marginalize the stuff that doesn’t make sense (not that folks shouldn’t be cautious about attacks coming from ‘implausible’ directions). Be nice if such thinking was more of a cultural value, once again. Attacks on Bernie are increasingly being seen for what they are. And traditional out-of-touch power centers like the mainstream media and the billionaire class seem to be discovering that their old school agitprop isn’t working as well as it used to.

  27. Benjamin


    Aurora Advisors hasn’t been active in years. Smith only keeps the site up because it hosts the PDFs of articles she’s written.

    You talk a lot but don’t know much at all.

  28. Ten Bears

    Not talk Ben, aping others, parroting talking points.

  29. bruce wilder

    I’d vote for Putin if he were eligible and on the ballot. Better man than Bloomberg.

  30. KT Chong

    Michael Bloomberg is an existential threat to liberals and progressive in America. Just look at Bloomberg’s political history. He is the archetypal NEOCONSERVATIVE.

    After Trump had taken over the Republican party, neocons like Bloomberg and John Bolton have been forced to either bend their knees to Trump — or out of the Republican party. So neocons are looking for a new home. Bloomberg is making a leveraged buyout and hostile takeover of the Democratic Party, in an attempt to transform it into the new home for neocon refugees.

    If Bloomberg successfully wins the nomination, he will take over the Democratic Party, and other neocons will follow him. Then, America will end up with a two-party system in which BOTH parties will be conservative: the Trump party, and the neocon party. It will be the end of liberal and progressive politics in America.

    The priority for Democrats, liberals and progressives should be to defeat the neocon Republican who is trying to take over the Democratic Party and transform it into the neocon party, rather than to defeat Trump. Bloomberg is more dangerous to us than Trump is.


    We’re talking Bernie versus Trump. I’m guessing bruce would vote for Putin then too and will. Putin is eligible. Trump is Putin for all intents and purposes so Putin is eligible to run and is in fact running as the incumbent.

    My vote is for Bernie in the Dem primary and Bernie in the general. But my vote and your vote may not mean sh*t in the general.

    The intelligence was gathered and reported by his own god-damned administration and he’s blaming on the Democrats and calling it a hoax.

    Well, that really puts a button on it, doesn’t it? The voters are going to get their chance to decide who the president is, but only after they’re subject to a Russian-authored propaganda campaign being covered up by the incumbent administration. (On Thursday, Trump referred to reports of renewed Russian support for his campaign as a “hoax” that is “being launched by Democrats in Congress.”)

  32. bruce wilder

    Trump’s only redeeming quality is that he is weak and incompetent. Putin is neither.

    Sanders? Maybe we find out.

  33. Dan

    It will be the end of liberal and progressive politics in America.

    Is the next president, if it isn’t Sanders, going to in any way improve the lot of the vast majority of people? Of course not. Progressive politics isn’t going anywhere in this country. The majority of the younger generation is thoroughly entrenched in its ideas. Sanders may not be the vessel going forward, but the ideas and the movement aren’t going away. Where are they going to go? Back to working for shit wages, going into massive debt for college, and continuing to endure the horrors of an increasingly pitiful “healthcare” system.

    Their lot is the same. They’re not suddenly going to forget everything they’ve learned and just put their head down and resignedly accept their fate.

    The younger generation may not be the Red Army, but they’re mad.

    And they’re not going anywhere.

  34. Hugh

    The Democrats sold out to the neocons and neoliberals under Clinton. The hawkish Madeleine Albright was his Secretary of State from 1997-2001. It was no surprise then that Hillary Clinton was the neocon par excellence in her support for the Iraq War. Robert Rubin who spent 26 years at Goldman Sachs was Clinton’s chief economic advisor from 1993-1995 and then his Treasury Secretary from 1995-1999. He was succeeded in that post by the inimitable Larry Summers.

    What Bloomberg would represent is rather the direct take over of the Democratic party by a plutocrat, no mediaries involved.

  35. Hugh

    I agree with Dan. Boomers are schizophrenic on socialism in that they grew up in the Cold War era when socialism was identified with the USSR and the Eastern European dictatorships even as they are the biggest supporters and beneficiaries of two home-grown socialist programs, Medicare and Social Security.

    Millennials and Gen Xers, on the other hand, have grown up under a capitalism which hasn’t delivered for them. Debt, opioids, shit jobs, shit lives, they’re supposed to be grateful to capitalism for all this? And as Dan notes, absent real change these problems aren’t going away. The Millennials and Gen Xers are younger than the Boomers, and they aren’t going away. It’s the Boomers who are. In a lot of ways, you can see both capitalism and our political structures as fighting rearguard actions against generational and demographic shifts in the country which will sweep these old orders away. And they will do so because these old orders have not only not represented these new generations but have sought to screw them over and disempower them to the maximum extent possible.

  36. bruce wilder

    not to rain on Dan’s parade — or anyone else’s — but I kinda think a populist left lives or dies with Bernie. He is alone up there on that debate stage. He does not yet have either a lot of allies or young imitators. He and his campaign were not successful in securing even partial control of the Party apparatus, which apparatus is working to steal the vote in Nevada and California even as I write this; apparently, Republican Bloomberg has now bought the Party apparatus so it is not clear who it would serve even if Sanders secures the nomination against their opposition.

    it is pretty clear that the corporate media will happily echo the Bernie Bros narrative and the Putin-loves-Bernie narrative and M4All-will-raise-your-taxes and any other nonsense they are handed, just as they have done since Hillary killed Vince Foster and Al Gore invented the internet.

    Bernie is trying to do a mighty thing, to raise a lot of people who have given up on politics for good reason to a consciousness that something is possible. But, those people have not shown up yet, I think — just the people who perennially or periodically hope without much permanence.

    But, it would be foolish not to recognize that though the tide may yet rise, we have not seen high water marks, let alone the collection of more persistent pools inland.

    Some of the people and tendencies in opposition to Bernie that have shown up are pretty scary. Bloomberg is very scary indeed — he is wielding real power and demonstrating just what a power vacuum exists. Tom Perez, the Undertaker of the DNC, is pretty scary in his brazen willingness to break the vote count in Iowa the better to “fix” it.

    The willingness of the Intelligence Community, Slate and others to echo Russia,Russia,Russia is so full of contempt for everyone and everything, I can only stare in astonishment.

    Bernie’s friends on the left and in the Party may be among his most effective opponents. I am not talking about the imaginary “Bernie Bros” — I am talking the identitarian left who love to make working class white men “feel their privilege”.

    But even if Bernie gets in, he may be an old man about to be saddled with a civilization-threatening crisis, the collapse of empire and other dire calamities. The would-be organizer-in-chief may well not be up to job, a job no one could do.

  37. Hugh

    We can all give up now, go home if we will still have one, and wait for the end, or we can fight. I prefer fight, even if we lose, even if we fail. Sanders is organizing, creating a movement. What is important about this is that even if he disappears there will be those in the movement who can move up to replace him. Will they immediately have his visibility? No, but they will build their own and continue to build the movement.

  38. Benjamin

    Jesus fucking Christ. We’re (again) on the brink of WW3 in Syria and 450 is still parroting the ‘Trump serves Putin’ conspiracy theory.

  39. NRG

    “Warren comes to save capitalism from itself” is a major reason to vote against her, here.

    “Sanders comes to save capitalism from itself”? Apparently a reason why he is the only candidate worth voting for.

    At least one of them is honestly labeling themselves a capitalist.

    For context, I’d vote for either of them in a heartbeat over any of the other candidates, but to me it’s not as cut and dried as to which I would prefer.

  40. Hugh

    Benjamin, it is more a Turkish-Russian confrontation in Syria. We are only peripherally involved. The Russians have been pushing into Turkish controlled areas. In part, this is strategic in that they have been trying to gain complete control over the roadway connecting Damascus to Aleppo. In part, they have been pushing both Turkish and US forces to see how far they can. It looks like the Turks after the deaths of some 15 their soldiers are about to push back. They have much larger forces than the Russians that they can bring to bear. So unless the Russians tone things down fast, something it looks like they are not doing, this will turn into a major miscalculation on their part. It’s a mess, but it is not WW3.

  41. Benjamin


    Don’t you attempt to lecture me on the war in Syria.

    The Syrians and Russians aren’t ‘trying’ to take the M5 highway. They took it back over a week ago, as well as cutting the M4 highway, and then went on to secure a comfortable buffer zone along its entire length. They then secured the entirety of Western Aleppo city and its suburbs.

    They’re currently taking a rest, while being regularly bombarded by Turkish artillery, which is openly coordinated with assaults by the militant ‘rebels’.

    The ‘Turkish controlled areas’ are Idlib province, a part of Syria.

    ‘Pushing US and Turkish forces to see how far they can get’? *It’s part of Syria.* The Turkish forces and their Al-Qaeda proxies are by definition there illegally.

    I also like how apparently the Syrian army just doesn’t exist in your mind. The SAA is doing the bulk of the fighting, you idiot. Russia is just providing air support.

    Turkey is a NATO member. The US keeps issuing statements about how it backs Turkey. The Turkish military and Russia have engaged in open combat with each other in the last 24 hours. How this ends is that Erdogan either insanely continues to escalate, or he see’s his bluff has been called and backs down.

  42. Hugh

    Tell me what legitimacy the Syrian government has seeing as it has been run as a vicious police state by the Assad family of thugs for the last 49 years? I always find it fascinating when people invoke legalisms to defend lawless regimes.

    You seem to think that the Russians in taking over these areas did not impinge on the Turkish zone of influence in Syria. Again I find this thinking strange. The Russians provoke a confrontation, but somehow it is the Turks’ fault?

    Personally, I am anti-Erdogan and would like Turkey out of NATO, but I am not stupid. The equations of forces in the area heavily favor the Turks, not the Russians. Strategically, the situation is even worse for the Russians since their supply lines to Syria pass through the Bosporus and Dardanelles which Turkey controls.

  43. Tom


    Assad destroyed his country and his legitimacy and the massive refugee spill over and increase in PKK terrorism inside of Turkey plus a side of IS terrorism inside Turkey made Syria’s Civil War Turkey’s problem. And under International Law, Turkey has the right to intervene, especially as Assad is committing mass war crimes.

    That said, Covid-19 will make it moot as Iran just went into lock down and its forces are the ones doing all the heavy lifting as the SyAA is utterly hopeless at fighting. Without reinforcements and Lebanon also confirming cases, Assad is effectively done as Putin can’t logistically supply enough troops to keep Assad fighting when he has to guard his borders with China.

    That said, due to defective testing kits, only 3 US cities can test for Covid-19. One of our crews had a suspected case, but the Hospital can’t confirm it and insurance refuses a CT Scan and CDC won’t return our calls. Other places are reporting the same problem, especially Hawaii which can’t test anyone despite having had a known case pass through. Luckily we have military grade NBC gear back from the Ebola scare and my boss is okay with us going around in the M50 Mask if someone reports a symptoms associated with the disease.

    Which gets me back to another thing. Don’t bother with N95s. The virus is .13 microns and will pass through the filters. Military grade NBC gear or Hazmat Suits. If you have a beard, shave or vasoline the beard fully (What I do) for the M50 or equivalent to fit.

    Finally, a sneeze can travel 200 feet with microscopic particles. This what they believed happened with the South Korean Super Spreader in her church. The Hospital Super Spread they are still trying to determine. 72 hours ago South Korea had 36 cases, it has now increased nearly a 1000% to 346 with a recorded death.

  44. Benjamin

    @Hugh and Tom

    Let me save you the trouble. Your CIA, ‘humanitarian intervention’ regime change talking points aren’t going to have any effect on me, so don’t even bother.

    Whether Assad is nice or not is irrelevant. His Syrian government has a seat at the UN. Turkey’s terrorist proxies do not. Assad’s regime is the legitimate government of Syria, end of story.

    Just because someone is a dictator does not magically make activity to depose them legal, or even moral. We’ve already played this stupid game three times in the last twenty years: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. None of these places have been improved by waging war on them to remove their totalitarian governments.

    And by the way, if the choice is between headchopping jihadis and a brutal, but at least partially secular dictatorship, I’ll choose the side that doesn’t execute Christians and the ‘wrong’ types of Muslims for being infidels.

    Turkey has no legitimate ‘zone of influence’ in Syria. That would be like claiming the US would have a ‘zone of influence’ in Mexico because it funded militia gangs south of the border. And Turkey started this, when it stole part of Syria with terrorists it funds and supplies. Russia has given them more than two years to separate the ‘moderate rebels’ from AQ. It has failed to do so, either because it can’t, or because it doesn’t want to. Either way, the jihadi boil is finally being lanced. AQ and its allies were never part of any ceasefire agreement.

    @Tom in particular, whatever genuine security concerns Turkey might have regarding the Kurds do not apply to Idlib province. And even that pretext completely blew up when Erdogan was warning people to not equate the modern borders of Turkey with the ’emotional’ boundaries of the Turks. This proxy war in Syria is an insane exercise in Ottoman nostalgia, nothing less.

    And good job revealing how clueless you actually are about this conflict, that you think Iran makes up the bulk of the Syrian ground forces. And even if that were the case, and even if Iran were to shut off their support, it doesn’t much matter at this point. The jihadis have lost both key highways. They’ve lost all of Aleppo. They’ve been pushed back to Idlib city. They have nothing left. All they can manage is counterattacks with Turkish artillery and equipment, and even those have all failed.

  45. Tom


    Assad isn’t secular. He has Sharia Laws on the book and it is illegal to insult the Prophet Muhammad or his wives or Ali in Syria and you will be tortured. Assad has killed more civilians by a massive margin than anyone else has, including IS, and has killed more Minorities including Christians than IS has. By the way HTS is a minority of Rebel Groups in Idlib and they did not start this war:

    Assad did when his security forces raped Schoolboys over a joke, fired on peaceful protesters, double-tapped the funerals, initiated mass arrests and tortured people to death, including pregnant women and children.

    Social Media is replete with Assad Forces beheading people, lighting animals and people on fire while alive, sniping non-combatants, and deliberately targeting civilian infrastructures and populations. They even dig up the dead and defile the bodies. None of Assad’s thugs are punished for this, while the FSA and HTS have arrested and punished it troops for excesses on multiple occasions.

    And now more than half of Syria’s population are refugees.

    Your inability to get past cognitive dissonance over the US’s own failings is allowing yet another genocide to occur by another Tyrant.

    If Americans won’t stand for Democracy and against all Tyrants then we don’t deserve the former and will have the latter. And if you side with Assad, you damn your yourself in this life and the next.

  46. Jessica

    At the Bernie rally in Tacoma a few nights ago, I was struck that even if Bernie is able to implement every last one of his proposals, it would only redirect the political power of the state. The economic power of the oligarchs would still be unchallenged.
    Bernie needs to be the first step, not the last.

  47. realitychecker

    @ bruce

    “But, it would be foolish not to recognize that though the tide may yet rise, we have not seen high water marks, let alone the collection of more persistent pools inland.”

    Well put, lol. Furthermore, it seems plausible that even if Bernie did somehow manage to get a genuine populist movement rolling in a significant way, Obama and his friends would find some way to shut it down overnight (insert that green-vomiting-emoji-thingy here) (Oy!)

    More seriously, maybe it is time we had a serious discussion/consideration about whether a repressive corporate dominance might now, tragically, be the only way to exert an acceptable level of behavioral control over population masses in the billions that seem to have lost the capacity for reasonable self-control entirely? (Never thought such an idea would seem worthy of discussion, and I hate it, but just look around the world as it is today.)

    Of course, we won’t have such a discussion, just as we won’t seriously discuss the consequences of
    ‘over-technolozation’ (sic, sick, or both?) or, gasp, gasp, rampant robotization, until they are so firmly entrenched that our feeble opinions will be “like farts in a blizzard” (Old Yiddish metaphor).

    It’s just a lovely ride . . . (h/t J.T.)

  48. Hugh

    Benjamin doesn’t have an argument. He does have a lot of diktats. Doesn’t matter how bad Assad is. How progressive. Russia begins an offensive in a Turkish held area, and we get not that Russia is trying to start WW3 but that the Turks are. I have said this a million times. Progressives need to get their act together on foreign policy. A bunch of incoherent, sloppy whinging is not sellable to anyone beyond your immediate like-minded conspiracy theorists. A progressive foreign policy should be consistent and embody progressive values. It should also be informed by the existential threats of climate change, overpopulation, and species and ecosystem loss.

    So Lesson One: US foreign policy, especially its direct interventions, is often disastrous. But it has created and maintains the hegemonic system in which everyone else operates. Nobody else, not Russia, not Europe, not China, can or is willing to do this. This system will fail due to the existential threats I just mentioned. And the chaos and death unleashed by the loss of this system will be vast.

    Lesson Two: Putin is a thug and dictator. Russia is an oligarchic kleptocracy. Russians deserve better. So do we.

    Lesson Three: To understand China, read some Chinese history. It repeats. If you want to know where it’s going, look where it has been.


    The Russian trolls and their enablers kill me. On the one hand they are consistently advocating for America to greatly diminish its global footprint and extract itself from forever wars and then on the other hand they stoke fear & loathing like Benjamin (one word — plastics) is doing here over Syria’s and Turkey’s little kerfuffle. Hey Benjamin, per Russian propaganda directed at clueless naive Trump supporters and Sanders supporters, America should not be concerned with Syria and Turkey or the Baltics or former Yugoslavia or the Middle East or Asia or you name it. America has too many important crises at home that need to be addressed to worry about kerfuffles on the other side of the planet. So why are you bringing the scare tactics? Let Turkey & Russia work it out. Putin and Erdogan are cowards. They don’t have the balls or the inclination to escalate this to a true war with one another. So shut up with your warmongering bullshit. Take that sh*t to Putin apologia central be it MoA or Naked Capitalism.

  50. Zinsky

    I have only commented here once or twice but I have been reading Mr. Welsh’s work for some time now. I respect his opinions a great deal, although I don’t agree 100% of the time. But, this is a very refreshing way to frame Bernie’s candidacy. As an American, I can say that Mr. Welsh’s viewpoint would make American conservative’s heads spin, it is probably a fair assessment, using global political norms as a benchmark. I think it was Paul Krugman who framed it best – the best economy is a mixed economy, where government regulation works to stabilize and yes, to redistribute wealth, due to the inherent predatory and exploitative nature of raw capitalism.


    Jessica, well said. I agree. Bernie is the first step. That is why all care must be taken not to create a cult around Bernie’s personality or lack thereof. The focus must be on Bernie’s policies and what he and a budding movement represent, not the man himself. MLK is instructive. He created a movement that ultimately centered on him rather than his word and that was quickly remedied by the powers that be. MLK’s movement and vision ended with his death. Bernie’s wins, if he wins the Dem nomination and the general election, should not be celebrated as victories. It’s only the beginning. There is so much more that needs to be done. This is a track meet with hurdles. You don’t stop and applaud yourself after you’ve successfully traversed one hurdle or even two or three. It’s not until you traverse all hurdles on the course and proceed past the finish line that you can celebrate success with the idea in mind the race is never really over.

  52. Rangoon78

    Nihil | Bloody Thursday 1934: The Strike that Shook San Francisco and Rocked the Pacific Coast –

    The San Francisco longshoremen called the Embarcadero “the slave market” – there, each morning at 8 am, workers would gather, as often as not desperate for any opportunity to work. Many more would gather than were needed, some would be skilled, “regular men”, others transients, then all grades in between. The hiring boss, the petty dictator on the dock, would stand before them; he could take any man he wanted, reject anyone he pleased. This was an ancient system. Henry Mayhew, the well-known Victorian investigator, wrote this of hiring at the gates to the London docks in1861: it was “a sight to sadden the most callous, to see thousands of men struggling for only a day’s hire; the scuffle being made the fiercer by the knowledge that hundreds out of the number there assembled left to idle the day in want.” The shape-up was abolished in London in 1891, in the aftermath of the great 1889 dockers’ strike there, but was still in place in 1934 in New York, also San Francisco, where the shippers insisted conditions demanded it…


    Juxtapose this latest from Naked Capitalism with Benjamin’s fear & loathing over WW3 started by a kerfuffle with Russia & Turkey. It’s called burning both ends of the candle. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Benjamin. It’s one or the other. Either America greatly diminishes its military footprint and presence across the planet, or it doubles down on being the world’s policeman and defense contractors continue to realize massive ROIs feeding at that trough.

    Yves censored my comment to that post where I call Danny out as an opportunist from Lawrence, Kansas (no place like home Trump country) who found a niche to exploit to sell yet more books as if the world needs any more books at this point when people don’t read anymore.

    Hugh’s last comment was excellent. Despite his trolling of me with Bloomberg taunts and his overall cowardly disrespect of me where he plays to the crowd here, I respect a lot of what he writes not because I want to be his friend (I could never be friends with Hugh — his appeal to the crowd renders him a coward in my mind but his observations and opinions otherwise are valuable and instructive nonetheless) but because right is right.


    This is Naked Capitalism’s motto at the top of its blog. It’s a bald-faced lie. It’s propaganda plain & simple. Fearless, my ass. Yves makes some very pertinent & constructive commentary on finance and economics but her grasp of politics and power is severely lacking and she allows goons to control and amplify propaganda at her venue in the comments section. Russian trolls are all over that venue and Russian and Putin apologists and Trump enablers.

    Fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power.

  55. Rangoon78

    “A thoroughly first-rate man in public service is corrosive,” the former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argued in an interview published in the journal Nation’s Business in 1928. “He eats holes in our liberties. The better he is and the longer he stays the greater the danger. If he is an enthusiast–a bright-eyed madman who is frantic to make this the finest government in the world–the black plague is a housepet by comparison.”

  56. someofparts

    Rangoon – What a delicious quote.

    Spotted in links at NC:

    Jessica – “Bernie needs to be the first step, not the last.” Amen. Actually, he already is.

    When building a movement is the baseline objective, winning is obviously better, but even losing isn’t a full loss if the movement continues and grows. Crisis creates opportunities for big change and the direction it takes depends on the ideas people are familiar with when it happens, so the more people the Bernie volunteers can reach, the better.

    I think something like this would be a good place to start making changes –

    Personally I don’t feel safe as long as the commanding heights of the Fed are in private hands. How could we fix that? That’s where my thinking goes when you talk about root changes.

  57. Benjamin


    “By the way HTS is a minority of Rebel Groups in Idlib”

    Stop lying:

    “In January 2019, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), an alliance of jihadists groups, launched a large-scale offensive against rival rebel groups in the area.

    HTS has now become one of the strongest militant groups in northern Syria. It largely controls Idlib province, including the provincial capital and the border crossing with Turkey at Bab al-Hawa.”

  58. Benjamin


    Actually, yes. Attempting to not destroy other people’s countries with mercenaries is progressive. In your view, the Syrian government was supposed to just tolerate indefinitely AQ regularly bombarding Aleppo with artillery and periodically launching assaults.

    You’re also doing that insane thing apologists for regime change always do, which is to blame every death in this nearly decade long war on one faction, the Syrian government. There wouldn’t even be a war if foreign powers wouldn’t have kept pumping money, weapons, and fighters into the ‘civil war’.


    “America should not be concerned with Syria and Turkey or the Baltics or former Yugoslavia or the Middle East or Asia or you name it”


    “So why are you bringing the scare tactics?”

    Because Turkey is a NATO member. This is precisely the type of situation that can become a flashpoint. Russia and Turkey are already in combat with each other, with fatalities.

    As for naked capitalism, sounds like they censored your comment because it was nothing more than an ad hominem, which is against site rules.

    What’s funny is you apparently hate MoA, but you argue like one of the idiots who fill its comment section (MoA itself is often useful. The comments there however are almost universally not).

  59. Willy

    Naked Capitalism claims to be the place that: “chronicles the large scale, concerted campaign to reduce the bargaining power and pay of ordinary workers relative to investors and elite technocrats”

    Sounds good to me. I’d hope there’d be more places like that.

    Most normal people agree that assholes do asshole things and that for the common good, this needs to be limited. But most normals also seem highly susceptible to being fooled by assholes.

    At Naked Capitalism, somebody says that there’s far more to worldwide assholery than just Trump and Putin. Focusing on them is good but there is so much more do deal with. But then nefarious types of dubious origin and/or character show up and try to red herring that idea into a debate over whether Trump and Putin are even assholes at all. And FUD ensues.

    It needs to be made clear. Trump and Putin are assholes. And after we’re done with them there are many other assholes out there to deal with, so we can better help ordinary workers.

  60. Carey

    This ‘450’ person here is an interesting one, with claims that Naked Cap, for instance, is “crawling with Russian Trolls”, and the like.

    ‘450’, please tell us what sites and commentators are, according to you, safe for viewing?
    Just so we can better understanding where you’re coming from..


  61. Hugh

    Benjamin states highly dubious things as if they are a given and then moves on.

    Take for example “other people’s countries”: Syria is majority Sunni. Yet it has been run by an Alawite (a Shia splinter sect) mafia for nearly half a century. So if we are talking about the people of Syria, they’re country isn’t Assad’s country. But I think you knew that, Benjamin.

    Same goes for “Syrian government.” If Russia, Iran, and Lebanese Hezbollah are the reason the Assad regime still exists, that’s OK because their interventions in Benjamin world aren’t interventions. And even though the Kurds and the US and to a lesser extent the Iraqis did the heavy lifting in taking out ISIS,their interventions are interventions. Go figure. It makes me want to ask what benefits you get, Benjamin, in the GRU?

  62. Benjamin


    Actually, NC’s stance is that Trump is much more in line with previous precedent than he is an aberration. What is unique about Trump is mostly how brazen and clumsy he is about being evil, and how much his open arrogance and ostentatious display of wealth offends the sensibilities of our elites. History did not begin with Trump’s election; so much of what is terrible about his administration (kids in cages, for example) was already going on, though often to a lesser degree.

    As for Putin, he’s viewed as a quite adept operator punching well above his weight class, but he’s not a mustache twirling Bond villain. NC was skeptical (dismissive, in fact) of the manufactured Russiagate conspiracy theory from day one. They’re one of the few places I’ve seen that won’t even allow the evidence-free assertions of a Kremlin orchestrated social media campaign go unquestioned.


    “Benjamin states highly dubious things as if they are a given and then moves on.”

    That’s rich, coming from a Russiagater.

    Anyway, yes. When the recognized government of a country asks for outside help, that is in fact far more legitimate than foreign powers attempting to destroy that government with mercenaries.

    And if no outside help had ever come, I suspect the Syrian government would still exist. It would just be a much reduced rump state clustered around major population centers (the ‘opposition’ was never able to fully claim any major city other than Idlib), which would have been good enough for Turkey and the Gulf States purposes.

    Oh, and your bizarre Sunni/Shia point is, well, bizarre. Was the US also not ‘their country’ to all the protestant majority when JFK was president?

    At least get your propaganda talking points straight. Is Syria a secular state or a theocracy? Because having the ruling elite and the citizens being of different sects is kind of what I would expect from a country where the government is, to greater or lesser degree, secular.


    Consultants can & do change the name of their firms like the KGB cowardly changes its name, but it doesn’t alter the fact of what and who they are which is handmaidens to the plutocratic oligarchy.

    Here is a list of Aurora’s clients aside from the Forbes 400 wealthiest families. Too funny. Aurora and whatever it’s become or the consultants who comprised it have become, are by and for the plutocratic oligarchy. I despise the handmaidens at least as much as I do the plutocratic oligarchy if not more so. Yves also censored a scathing derogatory, albeit satirical, comment I made about Bloomberg’s teeth per the debate this past Wednesday. Why is she so hard-pressed to protect Mini Mike from little ol’ me? I just answered that question for you. See the client list. The only thing missing for these clever and zealously emphatic handmaidens are the white cap and the red gown.

    American Express
    Bankers Trust
    Dresdner Bank
    Industrial Bank of Japan
    Lehman Brothers
    McKinsey & Company
    The New Republic
    Soros Fund Management
    Swiss Bank
    Tech Pacific Australia
    The Weather Channel

  64. Hugh

    I don’t know if Benjamin is a closet Trumper or a “progressive” fabulist. And that’s the thing. There isn’t much difference between the two. With both, it is conclusion first, and bend, twist, ignore facts to fit as needed.

    Sunni/Shia divisions are a defining characteristic of the Middle East and are a critical factor in the Syrian civil war. But they don’t fit Benjamin’s narrative so out the door they go. Benjamin uses words like “legitimate” and “recognized” to describe the Assad regime. But can a family dictatorship which has run one of the more brutal police states, a state that killed tens of thousands of its own citizens and imprisoned and tortured hundreds of thousands before the current civil war even began, have any claim to legitimacy? For Benjamin, not only is the answer yes, but it is a duty of all other states, or at least Russia, to defend this monstrosity against its own citizens and the consequences of decades of its crimes.

    Benjamin may be many things, but anything progressive he is not.

  65. Benjamin

    @shorter Hugh

    ‘Using jihadist mercenaries to destroy countries in the name of saving their people is progressive, actually.’

  66. different clue

    National-Diplomatically recognized governmental legitimacy is not a Certificate of Good Statekeeping. Or a reward handed out for niceness. It is a recognition of a government’s being and having been the long-standing authority within its borders. And country-state governments are generally hesitant to rush to withdraw diplomatic recognition from a fellow country-state government just because it is under assault by a proxy force seeking its overthrow. They will at the very least wait to see if the proxy-force can completely destroy and replace the targeted country-state government. At least those country-state governments which follow international law will.

    This has all been pointed out to Hugh before. And he had no answer to offer because there is none. He merely waits a while in hopes the discussion has been forgotten, and then trots out the very same pro-jihadi hasbara all over again. Like now.

    The Syrian Arab Republic government is just as legitimate as the Peoples Republic of China government, and not even as nasty. Too bad, so sad. The CLEJ and the GAJ are not going to win this one.

  67. Hugh

    Actually I have no dog in this fight. I do have a bone to pick with so-called progressives with an incoherent, naïve, and dangerously simplistic view of the world. And the idea that their childish takes on foreign policy are sellable to any but true believers is garbage. I do not see an advantage on either the left or the right, both live in their own echo chambers.


    The Syrian Arab Republic government is just as legitimate as the Peoples Republic of China government, and not even as nasty. Too bad, so sad. The CLEJ and the GAJ are not going to win this one.

    And yet Putin contradicted this policy considering the USSR’s aiding & abetting of Castro and the Cuban Revolution. The Batista government was likened to the Assad government and yet Putin didn’t respect the divine right of the Batista government to rule indefinitely because it was a legitimate long-standing government. And yes, Putin is very much a part of this conversation considering Trump’s foreign policy for America is Putin’s foreign policy for America.

  69. Benjamin

    “And yes, Putin is very much a part of this conversation considering Trump’s foreign policy for America is Putin’s foreign policy for America.”

    ‘WW3 is part of Putin’s masterplan’ is probably my favorite of all the dumbass Russiagate conspiracy theories.

    I mean, that’s not how any of you idiots frame it, but that’s effectively what you’re saying.

  70. bruce wilder

    Putin, at 7 years of age, gave the ax to Batista?!


    Putin is the embodiment of the USSR. He was a prized KGB agent and still is as far as I’m concerned, albeit a very wealthy and powerful one. Considering the USSR supported and aided Cuba for its own ulterior motives, it goes without saying although it must be stated to you and Benjamin, Putin, as the embodiment of the USSR considering his intractable indoctrination, supported the overthrow of the Batista regime once he was irreversibly indoctrinated.

    How’s the Batista regime any different than the Assad regime? Both regimes were/are tyrannical and oppressive. In both Cuba and Syria, the people revolted. The arguments bruce and Benjamin and Putin make for Assad would also be arguments for the Dem establishment’s stance towards Cuba and the Cuban revolution. It seems both sides of this coin are hypocritical.

    I’m all for the people of Syria revolting against oppression. What I’m not for is mutiple nations interfering in that revolt and gaming it as a proxy battle against one another. That didn’t happen in Cuba and as a result, the Cuban revolt was successful in overthrowing the Batista regime.

  72. EB

    So, is there a reason he doesn\’t say this himself?

  73. Benjamin


    Now you’re just making shit up.

    Putin is the USSR? I’m sure the Russian Communist Party, which still exists and which is an enemy of Putin’s United Russia party, would vehemently disagree.


    There’s no such thing as an enemy of Putin’s party. All of Putin’s Russian enemies are dead. The faux political opposition parties are Potemkin.

  75. Benjamin

    Congratulations 450. It’s not often that I come across someone who is literally an idiot.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén