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

Why There Is More Reason to Hope Today than in Decades

Somewhere between the late 80s and the early 90s, with Clinton’s election, hope died.

The post-war era had serious issues, but the post-war era–as the civil rights movement and 70s feminism showed–was handling those issues. It was moving in the right direction. Until it didn’t, until it couldn’t handle the cascade of problems from the rise of oil prices.

In Britain, Thatcher got into power; America got Reagan. They were opposed by people who preferred to try and fix the older world, and those people lost. So there came the third way, which said: “If you can’t beat them, join them!” Clinton, Blair, and all the various folks like them wanted to do Thacherism and Reaganism but with less cruelty.

That couldn’t, and wouldn’t, work. Clinton set the stage for large chunks of the financial crisis: He gutted welfare, set up truly cruel standards for incarceration which gutted poor black communities especially, and hurt everyone else who was poor, even if less.

Blair, his British counterpart, was onside with Iraq, and blah, blah, blah.

None of them did anything about climate change worth speaking of. Their solution to pollution in the developed world was to ship the most polluting industries to developing countries, mostly notably China, and pollution there is as bad as it ever was in the first world.

Meanwhile, as we all know, they pursued a raft of policies whose effect was to funnel money to the rich, gutting the middle class over time (though the middle class benefited at first) and impoverishing many. This created oligarchical power structures throughout the west, abetted by technocrats insulated from control by elected politicians.

The point here is that the trends were mostly bad. Those few good trends, such as improvements in parts of the developing world were not a result of neoliberalism (China used mercantile policies to industrialize), and in fact, as Ha Joon shows in Bad Samaritans, growth in the developing world was slower in the neoliberal era than in the post-war era.

We have been driving ourselves towards, not disaster, but catastrophe, and not one catastrophe, but many.

So, people thought I was pessimistic. I wasn’t. I never was. I was realistic. Because it’s government and corporate policy, it’s the policy of all of our elites, to do things which would have forseeable bad consequences. That’s been policy and they’ve been very determined to stick with it.

So, there has been no room for what some people mistake as optimism. Hope. The only hope was that at some point this would change. As long as we kept electing people like Clinton or Obama, there could be no hope because those in power haven’t wanted to change the way the world is run. They don’t intend to do anything which would avoid catastrophe.

That is just how it’s been.

So now everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and I’m the calm one.

Because there is now reason for hope. Large masses of people are now willing to vote for politicians who want to do the right thing. It is too late to avoid much of the consequences of what we have done. It is simply too late. We have methane release in the arctic, we have a great species die-off, and it’s too late.

But it is not too late to mitigate. As the first rule of holes states, “When you find yourself in a hole, first, stop digging.”

We haven’t even done that yet, really. There’s a small amount as solar becomes cheaper than coal, something which should have happened 20 years ago through government intervention, but it’s too late.

However, with Sanders and Corbyn’s near successes, with the fact that so many would consider voting for them, with Melenchon in France coming so close, there is now reason to hope that we finally have an electorate willing to consider actual change to do the necessary things.

This was not true in the past. People like Sanders and Corbyn were not taken seriously as national candidates. The idea was laughable.

So this is hope; a bright, shining, slender thing.

We have it now. And yet people are running around like the sky is falling. The only reason they are doing so is that most of them didn’t understand that the decisions which caused all the problems we’re having today were taken and reaffirmed for decades. If you knew where they were going (and it wasn’t hard to), you just had to look and not flinch. If you were able to do this, nothing that is happening today, nothing, is surprising–in general terms.

The only thing that is interesting is that a large number of people, and especially young people, are turning away from doing the wrong thing, and showing openness to change. This creates a crossroads: They may choose something worse, or something better. I think they’ll take something better when offered; we saw that with Corbyn, and polls now show he’d win an election held today.

Of course, they’ll also take something worse if it means change from the status quo. We’ve seen that.

But they are willing to Change, and that means there is Hope.

So, the sky is creaking, but that’s already been predetermined and running around screaming about in affected surprise is pathetic.

Meanwhile, we may be able to begin reducing the worst of what is to come, rather than continually trying to make it worse.

And that, my friends, is reason for hope.

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  1. bob mcmanus

    Too soon to tell, but kinda exciting. But I don’t do hope.

    I see the factions and forces a little differently. To a large degree, the Sanders, Corbyn and Melanthchon oops Melenchon movements were youth movements but I think these kids might be much more (left) neoliberal than we think, with a “socialism” that will take a good UBI and leave the nationalization of power plants alone. I learned from Syriza, where the younguns would vote no, might vote Grexit, but balked at giving up their smartphones and Amazon access.

    This by Chris Bertram (also read the linked Jacob Levy, its short) at Crooked Timber is interesting. I read stuff like this and LGM for symptomology, for the way the neoliberal winds are blowing.

    There is a lot of passion and material pain on the left neoliberal cosmopolitan side, besides a lot of the intellectuals and influencers. They can form coalitions and compromises with more powerful groups than the left populists: Wall Street tech billions, global media corporate and democratic. I still see a possibility of a charismatic left neoliberal Napoleon (s) running against both the nationalist right and the populist left. Or some other global (organized?) cosmopolitanism

    I liked this quote this morning, source on request:

    Hiroko Takeda:

    The updated system of governmentality through the promotion of the enterprising individual does not seek biopolitics of the population, as observed in the earlier stage. Rather, it works in a way to separate those who enterprise themselves from those who cannot/do not wish to, and in this way, social exclusion appears as the quintessential element to the advanced form of governmentality. (1)

    That is to say, governmentality in the contemporary setting functions by governing through individuals rather than governing of individuals.(2)

    1) I was gonna tie this in to the David Brooks foody fight this week, but too long already.

    2) “Governing through individuals” means you really have to look at the base and grassroots rather than leaders and gov’ts to see what’s going on. Too much of this part of the Internet is kinda old, and I make an effort to lurk on young people sites, like reddit anime, overwhelmingly male 15-25. Cosmopolitan as fuck. Avoids overt politics, but that is’nt necessarily what you need to look at anyway. “Promotion of the enterprising individual” in talking about stories is more indicative.


  2. V. Arnold

    I understand your “hope”; within its context.
    However, if the deep state exists (and I think it does), then what is to become of those, millenials, who think (naively) that they can change the course of the true rulers of the U.S.A.?

  3. The Stephen Miller Band

    The System will not change itself and it will not allow change to emanate from within it. I hope people will collectively come together and concomitantly see The System for what it is and Repeal & Replace it, but I doubt that will happen because The System malforms through education and misinforms through the media, and so long as that process continues unabated, there is no ability or capacity to Repeal & Replace. The most we’ll get is what you espouse in this blog post — feeble attempts to not Repeal & Replace The System, but to reform it from within, which, in my opinion, is impossible because A.) The System is many times more powerful & cunning than the largely unwitting people who comprise it and B.) The System is not broken but rather operating as intended.

    In that sense, perhaps Donald Trump is hope — hope that The System can be abolished if not replaced by blowing it to Smithereens.

    Blowback Mountain

    For me, there is absolutely ZERO forgiveness for Trump Supporters at this point. ZERO. They are Nazis, pure & simple, meaning they would agree to genocide at this point. They are this sick & twisted & purposefully ignorant. There is no way these Freaks could ever change their ways or their stripes. They are DEAD to me. I will never defend them even against a foreign adversary because to me these people are foreign adversaries, but unlike them, I would never solicit a foreign adversary to oppose & depose them because I am not a TRAITOR.

    There is still a part of me that says “The Clintons & Obama & The Deep State wanted this. They want it.” But why? That’s The Million Dollar Question. Why? To want something as horrible as this is beyond cynical — it’s sadistically diabolical so I can only imagine the why will beggar belief in its mendacious audacity.

    We’ll see — or at least those cursed with eyes will see soon enough because it will reveal itself shortly.

  4. bob mcmanus

    “There is no way these Freaks could ever change their ways or their stripes. They are DEAD to me” They want it.” But why?”

    Not personal, sorry. Just riffing…

    See? The cosmopolitan globalizing identity left is the fiercest faction (maybe after the 1%), as is evidenced by the size of the Mall crowds, for instance. The pro-immigrant, feminist, anti-racist LGBTQ factions have depended on gov’t coercion, and are enraged that someone else has that tool, just as the racist anti-immigrant etc faction felt disenfranchised. This is a crowd that thinks Beyonce and Hillary C have every right to make as many billions as the white man, and see Chelsea as a role model and something to be protected. They might grant the poor a small UBI, but are not motivated by hatred of capitalism. The question is how they get more violent and coercive, in what structure. I think they can win.

    The goal of neoliberalism, or maybe the culmination cause the forces of production don’t have agency, is to make collectivism and collective action unthinkable.

  5. realitychecker

    Ian, I love you and your work, but, sadly, I see absolutely no indications of growing awareness on the part of the people I get to interact with, or on C-Span, or on various media comment threads.

    All I see is continued blind, selfish, ignorant tribalism.

    What a long, strange trip it’s been–from believing in a true global brotherhood in my youth, to resigning myself to a future of corporate fascism and societal breakdown as I’ve grown older, wiser, and have more information.

  6. Jeff Wegerson

    I’m with Ian. There is a sea change going on. Chelsea is a role model, by the way. Don’t forget that she and Snowden are both whistleblower products of the Deep State.

  7. I want to speak out – because the commenters, in general, are morons – and do not have the wit to recognize that they have nothing to say. The comments section as a prison which they are condemned to. For this they should be pitied for.

    Consider – for a moment, nothing more – the leaders of the US,UK, GDR. Can any match the evil of the 1980’s, or the faux-leftism of 1990’s and 2000’s (the decade without name, though we tried. Perhaps everyone knew the were going to be ashamed and crawl into opioid addiction and leftist write paeans to W Bush.)

    But now even Bush is repelled by the next man to steal the office – Bush, at least – did something with its powers – though at far, far too much of a price. A shack bought for a collapse in everything he believes in save power for the powerful.

    Think about the lefties the will come to pass as next in line – they are true socialist to the core of the being.

    The is still work to do – but it will be worth doing.

  8. bob mcmanus

    Chelsea is a role model, by the way.

    Context apparently wasn’t clear, I meant Chelsea Clinton, not Chelsea Manning.

    All I see is continued blind, selfish, ignorant tribalism.

    Meet South Koreas First Black Model BBC News video, short. Meta-news in why does the BBC think it is news (cause SK is infamously racist) and why this is an image they want to project to the world, etc.

    It’s complicated.

  9. V. Arnold

    bob mcmanus
    July 12, 2017

    Chelsea Clinton a role model????
    OMG; you must be satin in the flesh!
    The Clinton’s must die and go away forever; TINA…

  10. Emma

    I’ve been reading your posts for a few years, now, and I’ve generally considered you to be one of the more valuable, interesting commentators working online today (many freelance writers seem to be getting swallowed up by Vox and Vox-adjacent publications, which might be nice for them economically, but which diminishes their credibility) (in my opinion). I was dismayed to see that you seemed to be believing some of the noises that came out of Donald Trump’s face shortly after he was elected. I am gratified to see that you’ve come back to being the writer I recognize and have respected for a long time.

    I feel hopeful too. Nothing will ever be perfect, but that’s no excuse not to try.

    I also want to say something to the other commenters here — I know there’s a lot of pushback in progressive circles against what people see as the “identity politics left,” or whatever, and an attempt to equate “political correctness” (oh, Christ, what a terrible, cheesy concept) with fascism. Or, again, whatever. I see people complaining about it here a lot. I agree that many leftists in this cohort are massively annoying, and often misguided, but it helps to remember that most of them are still active adolescents, misappropriating terms and concepts that they’ve learned in their college classrooms in ways that are not necessarily helpful in the wild. They/we also want to affect for ourselves, in our day-to-day lives, the same kinds of change you/we dream of enacting on the economy. You don’t want to be forced into toxic and hidebound economic traditions that impoverish yourselves and other workers; identity liberals feel impoverished by the traditions that govern sexuality and race and family and every other aspect of human identity, and want to stop being governed by them. I think the protesting can be graceless sometimes, but watching white, heterosexual Marxists and progressives sneer at identity liberals, rather than embrace their goals (if not their methods), is one of the things I find most depressing about politics today. We would be less “atomized,” as an underclass, if ‘nomal’ people stopped caring so much about kids that want to use “xe” as a pronoun and discuss the ways redlining contributed to Trump’s victory.

    Two cents.

  11. EmilianoZ

    I aint so optimistic.

    1) Young voters tend to vote a lot less than old voters. So there’s massive inertia there.

    2) Then there’s the short attention span thingy. Melenchon did quite well in the first round of the prez elections. But then his vote collapsed in the legislative elections. Even the moribund socialist party got more seats than his party (but he did get more than Martine).

    3) Change through the alt-right seems more likely than change through the alt-left, except maybe in Britain.

  12. bob mcmanus

    “Chelsea Clinton a role model????
    OMG; you must be satin in the flesh!”

    Can I be a fine white taffeta instead?

    Not a role model for me; try dissing her on a feminist blog.

  13. realitychecker

    “Taffeta, darling.” “Taffeta, sweetheart.” (h/t Young Frankenstein lol.)

  14. The Stephen Miller Band

    See what I mean? So far the bickering on this thread is presented through The Rubric of Partisan Politics. The Rubric of Partisan Politics is a significant feature of The System and a fine example of The Social Fact in play. My hope is that people see it for what it is and find a way to come together outside of conventional incapacitating rubrics, but I won’t hold my breath because at this rate, it’s not happening anytime soon. There are so many witting and unwitting apparatchiks to keep the sheep in line plying their trade across the entire Blogosphere, Social Media and The Mainstream Media and The Alternative Media. The Unwitting Rubes can’t see them or recognize them so they are fooled by them again and again. Imagine if these Apparatchik Creeps spent their time making the world a better place rather than the place it is right now?

  15. Tomonthebeach

    I agree with Ian. BTW, there are two Deep States (alluded to by a few commenters). One bad one was described by Eisenhower, and it currently is driving politics in the US and UK (FRA and DE too perhaps). The other is a good one that I was proud to be a part of – the military and federal workforce who actually make government work. Ellsberg and Snowden are high-profile icons of the Good Deep State, but deeper down there are anonymous people at work daily, undermining fascist policies, unearthing politically embarrassing and often illegal, immoral, and unconstitutional activities that are contrary to democratic principles of merit and justice.

    Just one notable example, Donald Rumsfeld, an adherent of the Bad Deep State, tried to pervert the US Defense Department even to the point of throwing the Geneva conventions and the officer honor code out the Pentagon window. When he left, the Good Deep State restored the military honor code and righted the floundering defense organization with amazing alacrity.

    The challenge for the Good Deep State is to continue the illusion that the Bad Deep State is working as planned by Trump, et al. They are so overconfident and ignorant that the charade will persist. The current US administration can only siphon off the top of their fictional swamp – the US system of government. Even withholding executive appointments, reorganizing agencies, bribing early outs, slashing budgets, torching safety nets, and proposing personnel cuts, there will still be plenty of people left to restore the Republic when the time is right.

    Then maybe, all the world’s democracties will become great, again.

  16. Hear hear for Emma. What a lot of the “anti-identity” left offers is a so-called terrible bargain that many people don’t want to accept. We can have economic justice and our funny pronouns too.

  17. Ché Pasa

    “Deep state” = Permanent government

    “Good vs Bad Deep State” = factions within the permanent government.

    We don’t have the option through voting to do away with the permanent government.

  18. The Stephen Miller Band

    The only choice we have when or if we vote is Shitty vs Shitty.

    That’s it.

    And if you don’t vote, you’re not an American Patriot.

    You’re not a Patriot unless you vote for the shit you’re going to eat the next four or eight years.

    What a Great System.

    What’s not to like?

    Here’s to hoping for Mash Potatoes vs Mash Potatoes instead of Shitty vs Shitty.

    My standards are so low after years of degradation, I’d take anything edible at this point.

  19. realitychecker

    All political correctness is a form of censorship. Once established as a meme, it unfailingly becomes more and more authoritarian in nature. Eventually, like NOW, it requires and demands a massive denial of reality.

    Fuck that shit. I prefer freedom.

    Remember freedom?

  20. bruce wilder

    I have often been accused of nostalgia for the politics of the New Deal. There were two layers to that politics, one of which was the product of solidarity born of the national effort in the world war; the other older, earlier layer was the product of years of open, hostile struggle against the capitalists as an oppressor class. My grandmother knew Herbert Hoover was against her and that insight colored her politics for as long as she lived. She told stories of Henry Ford’s personal thug, Harry Bennett, as if he was someone she regularly encountered in the neighborhood.

    While millenials can have no memory either of the naked violence of a industrial strike in the first few decades of the 20th century nor the noblesse oblige of, say, a young George H W Bush getting shot down as a Navy pilot, twice, what they do know is a politics of entrepreneurial innovation: finding and combining the ability to raise campaign funds with the ability to corral votes.

    I do not think it is an accident that the only credible leaders millennials can find are near-fossilized relics, born in the high idealism and high social solidarity of the years during or immediately after WWII. Ordinarily, I would think politicians born before 1952 or so would be quietly retiring. We need a politics led by people born since 1970 and it has to be politics of contention between 1/10th of 1% and everyone else, a politics of making the state a source of countervailing power instead of the owned instrument of plutocratic power.

    Yet, the only satisfaction of ambition some one born in 1970 has witnessed is successful service to the rich. No one ever got ahead as anything but a celebrity or a sycophant or an MBA. The system is rigged, but no “activist” ever scored better than a symbolic victory, cemented perhaps by a salutary public-private partnership. No one has seen a war end or a bankster prosecuted in at least a generation. Not too promising a start for the breakout of class warfare into the open.

    The mega-rich capitalists came to the Reagan Revolution prepared. They staged a takeover of the managerial revolution even as they devastated American trade unionism. The people who know how to make the economy work have been busy outsourcing the jobs of the bottom 70%.

  21. different clue

    I too am a New Deal Reactionary. The New Deal was a good deal for most of us. I want my New Deal back.

    Chelsea Clinton is only a role model for the Goldman-Sachs Feminists and the Goldman-Sachs Feminist wannabes . . . who want to break through the Tiffany Glass Ceiling on their way to collecting the millions or billions of Big Tubmans ( as Obama the functional Clintonite put it in a recent interview). They want to be part of the Rainbow Oligarchy.

    Bitter Berners get more bitter. And more and more will try to purge and burn and purify and declintaminate the Democratic Party with or without Bernie’s help or mentorship. How many more years can Senator Bernie even live?

    Recently on an NPR radio program of some sort other than their flagship All Things Considered program, I heard something interesting about how President Clinton spent his years in office blackmailing and/or extorting every third world government overseeing a country with a company in it which wanted to make affordable non-patented versions of unaffordable patented antiretroviral drugs for all the AIDs patients in their countries. Brazil hosted a company which finally defied the Bill Clinton Interdict and dared Clinton to try and stop them from breaking the Clinton Embargo against making affordable AIDs drugs. That broke the dam and began the process of extending AIDs patient lives through affordable drug treatment. Clinton has the blood of millions of prematurely dead AIDs patients all over the Third World on his money-stained hands.

    What kind of Vampiric Monsters have the Riverdaughters of this world become that they would support such blood hungry succubi? What kind of subhuman and anti-human filth would vote for a monster of evil like the Clintons . . . and would support the Clintons even unto this very day?

  22. z.k.

    Mr. Wilder makes mention of Geo. H.W. Bush getting shot down. Well, I had an uncle by name of Roy Cooper, who was also a Navy pilot in WWII. He spoke on several occasions of the Geo. H.W. Bush pilot tale and he related that any Bush heroism was all bullshit (or Bushshit if you prefer) that in fact, as he told it, Bush bailed out on his crew. If their ever was a fellow to speak truth it was Roy Cooper.

  23. realitychecker

    @ different clue

    “What kind of Vampiric Monsters have the Riverdaughters of this world become that they would support such blood hungry succubi? What kind of subhuman and anti-human filth would vote for a monster of evil like the Clintons . . . and would support the Clintons even unto this very day?”

    Right you are, and to me this just illustrates what happens when any group gets used to thinking of itself as “the victim.” There are no limits to how much compensation they need to get to feel they have gotten reasonable justice..

    Typically, they start out their activist phase with righteous complaints, but after decades of successfully making big gains with that “victim”tactic, it usually becomes clear they have no sense of when enough is enough. Then they become hostile when non-members of their “victim group” stop thinking of them as sympathetic victims, and start thinking of them as part of “the problem.”

    It’s a lot easier than just fighting your way through life’s trials and tribulations like everyone else who was not born rich and privileged and healthy, I guess, but it leads to the kind of dysfunctional and distorted and divided political situation we have now. IMO.

    This dynamic is also manifested in the legal system by plaintiffs who have a $1,000 claim but sue for a million lol.

    Not a pretty thing to watch as an outsider who was originally very sympathetic with each and every one of these groups.

  24. realitychecker

    @ z.k.

    That version of the story is not new.

    Worth remembering that Bush was pushed through pilot training to be the distraction from the fact that his daddy Prescott Bush had just been caught dealing with the Nazis.

  25. Synoia


    Prescott Bush had just been caught dealing with the Nazis…..

    as had much of the ruling class in the UK. There was much support of “strong man” fascism.

    Many of those people’s children died in WW II. Where do you believe the RAF’s pilots were drawn from, or the Arms or Navy’s officers?

  26. EGrise

    A slender reed, but a real one nonetheless.
    Thanks Ian.

  27. David

    “Chelsea Clinton is only a role model for the Goldman-Sachs Feminists and the Goldman-Sachs Feminist wannabes . . . who want to break through the Tiffany Glass Ceiling on their way to collecting the millions or billions of Big Tubmans ( as Obama the functional Clintonite put it in a recent interview)…”


    Craig Murray calls this “Trickle Down Feminism” as if any glass broken by Chelsea Clinton would be of benefit to those women not of her class.

  28. realitychecker

    @ Synoia

    Not sure what point you are trying to make, but the overall picture was that many industrialists supported the Nazis because they saw them as a counterbalance to the threat of Communism strengthening unions.

    But Prescott Bush was actually caught dealing with them, and forced to divest his assets in 1942.

    Just Google Prescott Bush, Union City Bank, 1942.

  29. bruce wilder

    The shift in perspective between Prescott and George H W Bush was pretty radical, but hardly exceptional. The war occasioned a Great Compression in income distribution, but also a shift in the political culture as many in the business establishment felt called to forms of public service and, of course, young men went into the military.

    There were cross-currents and exceptions, too. The 1930s saw a steady march of many southern Democrats in Congress from fairly radical populists to reactionary conservatives and some of the remaining populists were so racist that it might be hard to credit their support for the economic reforms of the New Deal. Ronald Reagan, despite his “service” in a rich man’s Army Reserve unit before the war (a unit that allowed him to ride horses at government expense), avoided going to war. In that he was in character much more like George W Bush, who bled for his country in an Alabama dentist’s chair.

    My point is that much of the economic antagonism between classes that was raw and visible before WWII was muted by the war and then further papered over by the huge surge in college enrollments and white collar employment after the war.

    We have a different class structure, with a much larger class in the middle proud of their credentials. While the economic facts of predation from capitalists above are as intense as the 1920s, this time the capitalists have able allies in the numerically small but enormously powerful corporate executive class and much of the thoroughly indoctrinated MBA class from which they are drawn and on which they depend.

    Ian’s politics of hope are a hope that the lower classes might recognize where they are in the conflagration of class war and fight. We are hoping, I suspect, for the politics of the guillotine. I am not sure I fear that as much as I should. But, much of what people like about the New Deal came about because so many capitalists took themselves out of the game, actually volunteered to become better people, because of the war. We are not likely to experience such a political deus ex machina at the climax of our drama. At the moment, in our opening act, it is hard both to find capable people of integrity to be leaders and to convince followers that even an open horror show like Hillary Clinton is not to admired.

  30. realitychecker

    @ bruce wilder

    Not contesting your overview, but just want to emphasize that Prescott Bush’s history with the Nazis was MUCH darker than that of any others. Many think Hitler might never have happened without the aid they got from Prescott and his cronies.

    I researched this stuff deeply when W was Prez, there is a lot of material available. Despite the Bush family’s attempts to suppress it.

    HW was pushed thru as the youngest pilot because it was necessary to distract from Prescott’s disgraceful activities, which became public at the same time.

  31. realitychecker

    Edit: “than that of any others.” should be “than that of any others I am aware of.”

    My research revealed that Prescott was involved with arming Hitler’s group in the late 1920’s, with Colt and Remington weaponry, at a time when Hitler’s was just one of many non-dominant groups jockeying for power.

  32. S Brennan

    Like a bird who pushes siblings from the nest, every boilerplate FDRist Democrat was systematically attacked by DLC which is now the DNC. Al-Gore/Billy Clinton/Al-From led the movement to corporatize the Democratic Party with the DLC. The DLC/DNC describe themselves as “centrist” but they are anything other than that.

    DLC types, and there are few here, once sought to claim Reagan’s economic mantle, but then veered into a purely Friedmanesque dogma, with a twist of identity politics added later when the ReaganLite act failed to garner votes with working class Americans and Democrats began to see only an urban elite [upper 20%] would profit from their global arbitrage under a nation-less neoliberalism.

    The DLC has wiped the Democratic party off the map in many/most states. The DLC/DNC is anathema to FDR’s policies, the party of FDR does not exist anymore. Can it be recovered, dunno, but it surely will not if the; “Lessor of two Evilisms” is not seen as the; Evilism of two lessors.

  33. I know you are not a fan of Vladimir Putin, Ian, but I find his thinking outside the box as also a sign of hope. The Russian Federation was devastated by the Harvard neo liberals (“How Harvard Lost Russia”) in the 1990s. People were selling anything they could to stay alive. Naomi Klein documents some of this in “The Shock Doctrine.” In the recent “Putin Interviews” with Oliver Stone Putin said there were 40 million Russians in poverty in 2000 and “while there is still too much, we have cut that number in half”. He also coined the term “Sovereign Democracy”; that nations should decide for themselves what kind of democracy they want. So Russia kicked out the NGOs and Soros orgs that were “meddling” in their politics. On the positive side, they have turned around their devastated agricultural system and returning to small farming and they have banned GMOs. From Dimitry Orlov’s new book “Shrinking the Technosphere”:Getting a Grip On the Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-sufficiency and Freedom.”:
    “A number of new initiatives and new legislation are making it easier for people to go back to small-scale farming. Certain categories of people, such as veterans and young families with children, now receive free parcels of land from the government (limited right now in the pilot stage to lands in the Far East and only open to locals.) Income tax which is normally a 13% flat tax, drops down to just 6 percent for those who take up farming…..Slowly but surely the landscape is being resettled.”
    Internet service and good cell phone service and payment to parents who home school also have helped to resettle farm lands that had been “industrialized”.
    He has coined another phrase “Naturelike Technologies” (from his UN Speech of 2015) and by that Orlov believes he means “preserving local languages and cultures along with their intimate knowledge of complex, diverse natural environments. By technologies we mean the practical know-how, passed from generation to generation, which one needs in order to survive – not fancy gadgets or machinery, not the “internet of things”.
    I can’t judge his motives, but his actions make me hopeful.

  34. The Stephen Miller Band

    montanamaven, if things are so great in Russia now because of their New Sheriff In Town, why does Orlov not return? He is not welcome in MY country. Not welcome by me, anyway. Why does Snowden want to return to America — with immunity and/or a pardon of course?

    Yes, Wall Street exploited Russia after the fall of The Soviet Union, but they exploited Russia alongside and with The Russians, many of whom were former Soviet Officials and are now Oligarchs under Putin.

    Russia is not a Democracy by any stretch and apparently that’s the way the pathologically idiotic Russians want it. Dugin speaks for them and Putin, apparently, and Dugin tells us that Russians don’t think for themselves but instead think collectively in terms of The State. That necessarily means that every Russian you come in contact with is working for and on behalf of The State. Everything a Russian does, he/she does for Russia first. Considering that, I don’t think we need Russians in America. In fact, I know we don’t and if I was POTUS, every last Russian including Orlov would be escorted, humanely of course, back to Russia where they belong.

  35. bruce wilder


    Interesting — I did not know that Prescott was in it so early.

    There was plenty of dark to go around in the 20s and 30s among America’s richest and they had not learned the deepest arts of hypocrisy and pr, yet.

  36. Willy

    What possible general lessons could be learned from Putin which would be useful for progressives? I’d think authoritarianism had already proven what a massive gamble it is.

  37. montanamaven: I find the discourse underlying both Orlov’s and Putin’s words extremely disturbing. “Sovereign Democracy” seems to me to be mob rule, the variety of populism that sees democracy as the unchecked expression of the authentic will of the authentic people. The same with Orlov’s notion of “Naturelike Technology” — that’s just an “organic society” theory that is at the core of most fascist/reactionary movements and definitely ends in tears.

  38. Let me put it this way, if your “democracy” has no room for organized advocacy and minority activism, I don’t want it.

  39. And stories of a return to an authentic pastoral idyll are deadly, they’re basically the root image of impending genocide. No thanks.

  40. Herman

    I don’t buy the idea that young people will save us. They said the same thing about the Baby Boomers and we saw how that turned out. Here is some cold water on the “Millennials will save us” theory:

    Study: Most Millennials Would Dump a Friend to Get Ahead at Work

    I think we have to face the fact that there is no solidarity culture in this country today. Social bonds have collapsed and people are more mercenary than ever before. I am not saying that young people are bad but they grew up under neoliberalism and have absorbed the values of that ideology.

    I am not totally sold on Corbyn either, since the more I read about his base it looks like another typical center-left “hourglass” coalition of affluent social liberals, immigrants and students. And he didn’t win either. We make fun of the Clintonite Democrats for their “moral victories” but the same can be said of Corbyn. Sanders didn’t get to run in the general election so we don’t know about his potential coalition.

    I don’t feel positively about the future. The left doesn’t have many interesting ideas other than free college, basic income and more immigration, all of which are the priorities of middle-class and upper middle-class liberals but not ordinary working people who want jobs and a reduction of immigration.

  41. V. Arnold

    July 13, 2017

    Thanks for that post; I concur completely.
    Almost nobody, in the west, writes about Vladimir Putin and Russia without the preface of how evil, thuggish, or murderous he is, peronally.
    I have yet to see one shred of proof of these accusations.
    If nothing else, it demonstrates the sycophantic indoctrination of the western mindset, by 70 years of western (mostly U.S.) propaganda.
    I’d rather be dead than a prisoner of that stilted mindset.

  42. V. Arnold


  43. EverythingsJake

    I’ve heard that Chelsea Clinton has an opinion of herself that only an absolute monarchist with a terrible temper could love. I believe she is not well loved by Clinton Foundation staff. Maybe she hides some kind of just philosopher queen, but I wouldn’t count on it.

  44. realitychecker

    We need to start by finding ways to really punish liars. All the bad shit starts with, and depends upon, lies.

    But I see absolutely no sign that anyone really gets that.

  45. bruce wilder

    re: lies

    The politics of genuine social cooperation depends rather obviously on telling the truth in at least the limited and practical sense of aligning goals with stated intentions and striving to talk about a singular, shared reality all can see.

    I say, “obviously” because this is logical entailment. But lots of people act as if they think power lies with manipulation and secrecy and deception. It seems like an old story of the conflict that necessarily accompanies cooperation: cheating costs but it also pays.

  46. V. Arnold

    What follows is a link to a remarkable intervire with John Helmer by Tom O’Brian;

    John Helmer is a pre-eminent expert on Russia and this pertains directly to this thread.
    It’s one of a number of reasons I’m not optimistic, but still hopeful for the future.
    Helmer strips away all the bullshit and gets down to facts on the ground.

  47. V. Arnold

    interview…damn typos

  48. realitychecker

    @ bruce wilder

    We have enshrined lying in the most basic transaction our society is based on, i.e., contract, where we allow “puffing” to make a deal. Puffing is lying. Only when it is taken to a ridiculous extreme do we punish it under the frame of “fraud.” But why is it only the extreme that is disapproved?

    We have dozens and dozens of words that are synonymous with “lie,” which demonstrates the importance of the lie in our societal dealings.

    But lies are almost always an attempt to gain an undeserved advantage over another, or to escape responsibility for one’s bad actions. Why do we tolerate that with such equanimity? How can we simultaneously pretend to care about justice and fairness?

    Just imagine if public officials were subject to felony convictions and prison time for deliberately misleading the public and betraying the public trust lol.

    Nobody would have to be speculating about the necessity for a revolution, would be my surmise.

  49. The Stephen Miller Band

    We need to start by finding ways to really punish liars. All the bad shit starts with, and depends upon, lies.

    I hear ya. China is doing its part. It knows that any criticism of Putin is a lie, therefore it’s doing the following to counteract the lies.

    I expect Facebook to follow Weibo’s lead in short order. Afterall, Facebook, and Twitter, did a great job helping to “elect” Donald Trump on behalf of Vladimir Putin, so I expect those bonds to strengthen, not weaken.

    The ties that bind.

    Do a search titled “Weibo Blocks Criticism of Putin” and see what you get. My search results were scant. None of The Mainstream Media covered this story. I found that, shall we say, peculiar. You need to look beyond the weeds for what’s really going on, and this 24/7 Trump Watch Spectacle put on by The Mainstream Media is The Weeds.

    China Starts Blocking Mentions of Putin Online

  50. realitychecker

    The worst thing that could happen to U.S. interests is for Russia and China to team up against us.

    Are any Democrats even thinking about that?

  51. The Stephen Miller Band

    The worst thing that could happen to U.S. interests is for Russia and China to team up against us.

    Therefore, we must lie to ourselves and lie to everyone we know about China & Russia & America because to do otherwise is to conjure The Worst Thing.

    On one hand, you say we should punish the liars, and on the other hand you tell us to make the lie even bigger, by collectively contributing to it & amplifying it, in order to avoid The Worst Thing.

    Make up your mind.

    I’ll say this much (and much much more) — the days of Sensibility are long gone & done. Sensible will not extract us from our Crystallizing Fate. Sensible & Polite is what has allowed all of this to manifest. Shed your Sensibility, but do so intelligently with an earnest Open Mind.

  52. Tom

    Well 1 trillion tons.

    This case is truly interesting of late.

    I of course side with the parents, this is the only chance for Charlie to live and it needs to be taken. The New York Hospital has already approved the Treatment and the parents have raised the money for it. GOSH needs to step aside and the Courts allow his parents to take him. A successful treatment can open the door for this therapy to be used proactively in early stages of the disease and even a failure could yield important information.

    Hospitals need to stop standing in the way of experimental treatments when there is nothing left to lose.

  53. realitychecker

    @ TSMB

    I fear you will never understand anything I say.

  54. Peter

    I can understand treating Putin as the unopposed leader of Russia and its president for life but some people seem to need to create a cult of personality around him for protection from the regime changers. This type of fixation leads to denial of reality and the creation of the shallow image of the great leader while condemning anyone who contests this PR image as heretics.

    An autocrat with no real political opposition can create beneficial policies for his subjects and they should be recognized as such . Putin’s deal with the Russian oligarchs and mob was brilliant demanding market forces lead job creation and recovery while the Russians who dismantled the USSR and picked its bones clean were required to pay taxes and serve Russia since they had already stolen all the industry they could.

    Putin’s Russia seems very sensitive about anything that might disrupt his managed democracy and some historians are being targeted for what Putin called excessive demonization of Stalin, in his interview with Ollie Stone. One historian who spent decades uncovering Stalin’s mass graves and identifying the victims and the perpetrators is now on trial for trumped up child pornography charges. Because Putin showed martial power and resolve in annexing Crimean Stalin is being rehabilitated to some degree with Putin the representative of the good powerful Stalinist for some people.

    Russia and China are old adversaries that must cooperate today for economic reasons. China is starting their own capitalist penetration scheme with their new Silk Road while Russia’s economy is too small to do anything but support China’s juggernaut. Even Russia’s dominance as supplier of gas to Europe is rapidly being undercut by LNG from the US fracking bonanza and other suppliers.

  55. The Stephen Miller Band

    Russia is a Rentier State who’s GDP & Daily Bread is largely predicated upon Fossil Fuel Production & Sales. EROI for Fossil Fuels has been declining rapidly in the last 40 years or more from a high in the 1930’s of 100 to less than 10 now. We’re almost at the point where it costs more energy to get the Fossil Fuel out, refined & delivered than the energy produced. At that point, it’s over. Done. And Russia is done then too.

    Russia knows this and it’s why Russia is engaging in such desperate measures. It must secure as many Client States (Vassals) as it can prior to EROI declining to less than zero because when EROI enters The Red, Russia’s Bread & Butter is no more and it will have to rely on the Horsepower of its Client States to hold onto any semblance of Power.

    Or, when that time comes, and it’s coming sooner than we think, Russia can realize there is no way it can hold onto Power so it blows the whole World up trying to because if it can’t have Power, no one can.

    Those Damn Nukes. Yes, Oppenheimer, you did become Death and you still are.

  56. The Stephen Miller Band

    It was The Kochs who should have been executed, not The Rosenbergs. The Kochs MATERIALLY supported The Soviet Union then, and they’re supporting The Soviet Union now. The Rosenbergs are rotting in the grave where The Kochs should be. A World upside down.

    The Kochs are Stalinists as are the majority of The GOP & Trump Supporters.

    How long will it be now until we get images and statues of Stalin strategically placed around & about Washington D.C.? Not long at this rate.

    I speak for the Legions of Dissidents who stood up against Stalin and the corrupt Soviet Officials and were persecuted, tortured and murdered for it. Putin was one of The Henchman who persecuted, tortured and murdered on behalf of a corrupt, tyrannical Soviet State and people have the nerve to applaud and laud this Diminutive Swaggering Shitbird? You insult the brave & noble people who fought the Good Fight against Putin and his ilk. Not me. I honor their sacrifice by spitting in the Scumbag’s face every chance I get and I don’t need The American Deep State to tell me what he is and what he’s done. I have as much opprobrium for The American Deep State as I do Putin, precisely because The American Deep State is so much like him & his ilk.

  57. Chiron

    Neoliberalism is strong was ever, what happened in France was a Neoliberal coup d’etat, the Elite imploded the two main parties and putted their goy in front with full media support.

    There is a Neoliberal coup d’etat happening in Brazil right now, Lula is going to prison and the Neoliberal parties and elites are extremely happy.

    I like Putin’s Russia because it’s the only power that is outside the system and can fight it.

  58. bruce wilder


    Re: lies

    I hear you. It is a very destructive part of American culture and though I do not have an answer as to its origins, suspect it may have to do with the predominant use of hierarchy to organize commerce as well as industry. Sales management along with its hand maidens advertising and marketing is the source of a lot of bad behavior. Industrial hierarchy is also a mixed blessing, but can redeem itself sometimes in safety culture or quality control. Customer satisfaction is the best sales management ever produces and that it often tries to achieve fraudulently. Propaganda and manipulation becomes a stock in trade and a skills.

    Some standard practices in advertising and salesmanship can be shown by careful study to be less effective than telling the truth. Telling people that your product is the perfect solution for every need is standard b.s. product designs are specialized. Telling people who can benefit in what circumstances works. But despite many millions spent on advertising, very few people can tell the differences among popular over the counter pain relievers. Which relieve fever, for example. Or might address bone pain as opposed to muscle tension or a bruise. Which has a dangerously steep dose curve (Tylenol aka paracetamol or acetaminophen) many tens of millions are spent confusing people because someone in a sales role fears losing a sale.

    I bought a motorcycle used from a private party some years ago. He advertised in something akin to Craig’s list. In his ad he used photos to show details of cosmetic defects! I paid his ask, which was very reasonable. That was effective salesmanship and it consisted of telling the truth the prospective buyer wanted to know. So simple. So exceptional.

  59. Willy

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
    “Deficits don’t matter.”
    “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.”
    “I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation building.”
    “The costs of any intervention (in Iraq) would be very small.”
    “The presence of gorillas calls into question the concept of evolution.”
    “This (Obamacare) is the largest tax increase on the poor and the middle class in the history of this country”

    When average person observes the influential and powerful not having to suffer any significant punishment for their lies, I’d think there’d be a significant trickle down effect for the common culture at large.

  60. nihil obstet

    I blame the media’s infatuation with Ronald Reagan for mainstreaming lies. Prior to that, when a politician was caught lying, there was opprobrium. Carter, after all, was elected in 1976 promising “I’ll never lie to you,” after the widespread disgust at Nixon. Then along came Reagan. The press was caught up in wannabee glamour. Ooooooo, show biz! Carter was so, you know, countrified and righteous, and put solar panels on the White House. Nancy Reagan complained that the White House china was unacceptably plebeian. Reagan really knew how to sneer at the rubes. And the establishment press loved it. Reagan lied left, right, and center, and the press swooned over how effective it was! They made him “the Teflon president”.

    And the rot spread downhill fast. I remember in one week in the early 1980s getting phone calls from three major businesses — my bank, the Baby Bell phone company, and a major insurance company — that used misleading pitches that should have embarrassed the worst of the stereotypical used car salesmen. I remember saying to the bank, “That’s not what that word means” and getting the response, “That’s what we use it to mean”! The other calls were worse, including a campaign so bad that multiple letters to the editor of the local paper complained about the company’s lying.

    So smart people lie. Dumb people believe them. And dumb people tell the truth. You aren’t one of the dumb people, are you?

    And then the powers that be complain about the fact that large sections of the American people don’t believe government, scientists, media, in effect any powerful constituency. I think it’s a major factor in the rapidly disappearing legitimacy of the government.

  61. bruce wilder

    nihil obstet

    I have vague memories of the process — for a short while every major speech Reagan made was examined for the whoppers — and then journalists seemed to tire of the exercise and Reagan’s lying was normal — at worst poetic use of dramatic fictions or something like that, or they just did not care anymore. And, it wasn’t just lying that was normalized, it was also rank stupidity.

    I was newly in business school when the Iran-Contra affair was revealed and there was a class discussion and I would say fully half of my fellow would-be leaders of business and industry apparently could not grasp how stupid was Oliver North’s scheme for secretly selling over-priced weapons to Iran and using the proceeds to fund right-wing thugs in Nicaragua. Not just unconstitutional since it violated Congressional prohibitions on funding the horrible Contras, but really bad policy all around.

    The tether between adopting a tone and manner of righteous anger or shock or even cynicism and some actually bad behavior about which to be outraged or shocked or cynical was broken way back then. We have gone deeper and deeper with our moral fatigue since. I can remember when Al Gore was ridiculed for supposedly claiming to “invent” the Internet; that he never claimed such a thing or that he actually did have an important and visionary leadership role in making the policy changes that triggered use as a social and commercial commons was, of course, overlooked. We were told we wanted to have a beer with a dry drunk. And things evolved from impeachment for a blowjob to Russiagate, in which the scandal seems to consist entirely of what relentless investigation “might” prospectively uncover, and people talk of the “clear evidence” of, say, Russia hacking the DNC, when there is no actual evidence at all, and the truth of what was confirmed about the corruption and incompetence of the Clinton campaign is ignored.

  62. One of the great tricks of the powerful is to institute a new system – and have the poor think nothing has changed. The poor complain about the old system (hoping that they will benefit.) Meanwhile the new system is dominant.

    Old System

    New System

    The new president has done things to accord with Nationalism, and still the poor will be poor.

    Stop listening to the people who talk about capitalism and neoliberalism – they do not understand either.

  63. DMC


    I lived in in the Czech Republic for about 7 years up until about 2 years ago. My wife taught English as a second language and she had a number of business types as clients and a number of them had remarked at length about the American sales people they had dealt with and the contrast with how Czech sales people went about their job. The Czechs would listen to what the customer needed and try and get them the best product for their needs. If they didn’t make such a thing, they’d send them to who did. The Americans sold the sizzle not the steak and tried to get every customer to buy the most units of whatever, whether they needed them or not. The Czechs couldn’t understand how anybody could keep customers that way, since they kept getting too much of the wrong thing. They just shook their heads and said “That wouldn’t work with Czechs.”

  64. marku52

    ” We have gone deeper and deeper with our moral fatigue since. ”

    The rot is at the top. Obama prosecuted no war crimes. No bankers. GWB prosecuted more financial crimes, for Dog’s sake (Enron, Lay and Fastow). Trillions for banksters, not a penny for the foreclosed. The only crime that is now punished is embarrassing someone at the top (Snowden, Manning).

    Anything short of murder by members of the elite is ignored. And maybe not even that. What did happen to Seth Rich?

  65. realitychecker

    That’s right, it’s gone from lying to make a sale, to lying about everything, and placing the greatest value on the best liars.

    Which is why I am willing to discuss some drastic remedies. Because we are in a drastic place, and good manners will not get us out of it in any way that I can imagine.

    But I know that if we stay in this dishonest place, our civilization is doomed.

    That is why I think it is important for all of us to get into the habit of doing constant reality checks, at a minimum. Even if those around us find it annoying. Which they clearly do. 🙁

  66. The Stephen Miller Band

    Stirling, I love it!!


    It’s a keeper. I mean it.

    And for once I agree with you. Okay, maybe more than once. Maybe more than you think regardless of your loathing.

  67. Willy

    “drastic remedies”

    Many cities are going to composting their vegetative waste. Usually a single large company wins the entire contract, and the neighbors of these mega-facilities invariably complain about the stink. Suburban Boston, Tampa, Calgary… it’s all the same, including where I live. My local neighborhood social media site is full of posts from people bitching about our local facility.

    I predicted that our local state representative (R.) would be the lone guy to chime in on behalf of the facility. And sure enough, here he is. He’s accusing people of lying, he’s scapegoating the nearby landfill, he’s accusing people of being too sensitive, of wanting to ‘progressively’ limit big business.

    I know where he lives. But instead of doing something drastic, I simply told readers to do some research on Google. I told them that ‘our’ particular company used lobbyists and influence to win another case, while a different company facility in the Bay area had been ordered to shut down or comply. (Hint: depending on where you live, the system is corrupt)

    Haven’t heard boo from the state rep since. Hopefully my local neighbors learned a lesson about how politics works today. If you’re a large company that wants to protect profits at the expense of thousands of your neighbors, you go around those residents to buy influence, even laws, while getting some government sycophant to lie for you.

    In short, I let that state rep expose himself as a liar by giving him enough rope, so to speak. I could be in trouble, sometimes these guys play dirty. But if that happens, like I said, I know where he lives.

  68. Peter


    I think that lying may be what made humans successful as a species, it may be the root of our creativity. I’m not excusing the poor quality liars we are stuck with today. Getting rid of liars might be a mistake and would certainly make politics a boring parade of reality that no one wants to face.

    There is great danger when a large group of people start believing lies from others and their own as we are seeing in the Trump/Putin witch-hunt that continues to feed on itself. The alarmist Warmer fixation is an even larger lie exaggerated movement that has many people hiding from the waves that never come to drown them. The giant berg that just calved off of the Ross ice shelf is the latest claim of GW effects that is pure BS but will be parroted amongst the true believers. Bergs of 2 to 4 times the size of this one have calved from this shelf early last century well before GW was observed.

  69. different clue

    Has Peter started investing in REITs or other Investment Vehicles which are focused on seaside oceanfront assets? In places like Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale?

  70. Ché Pasa

    Let Edwards Bernays explain it all for you:

    Propaganda (1928)

  71. realitychecker

    @ Peter

    “I think that lying may be what made humans successful as a species, it may be the root of our creativity. I’m not excusing the poor quality liars we are stuck with today. Getting rid of liars might be a mistake and would certainly make politics a boring parade of reality that no one wants to face.”

    I hope your tongue was in your cheek when you typed that. Better quality liars are not what I am asking Santa for.

  72. wendy davis

    @ Ché Pasa: thank you! shorter:

    “Edward Bernays was the son of Ely Bernays and Anna Freud Bernays. His great grandfather was Isaac Bernays, chief rabbi of Hamburg. Bernays was a “double nephew” of Viennese psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud—by virtue of his mother, Freud’s sister, and of his father’s sister, Martha Bernays Freud, who married Sigmund.”

    “Bernays pioneered the public relations industry’s use of psychology and other social sciences to design its public persuasion campaigns: “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it? The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits.”[60] He later called this scientific technique of opinion-molding the engineering of consent.”

    we are a consumer society, only too easy to manipulate; USians love the con, no thinking required. ‘buy this sexy car and get laid’; this scent or necklace, find a hubbie. political ‘spin’ is just more Bernays. ‘Buy our political Brand, you’ll do fine’; ‘what X really meant was…’. See spin-meister pundits on whatever channel. yeah, now it’s Trump is owned by Putin! The white house is red!

  73. Peter


    There is some ironic humor in my statement but I think it rings true, Most everyone loves the teller of tall tales and much of our history/mythology is based on fiction.

    I don’t think we need better quality liars but more entertaining ones would be nice. What we do need is less gullible rubes or opportunists who consume and parrot the lies that can actually do us harm.

  74. Ven

    Ian, the world is an outcome of who we are as human beings – small, petty, self-concerned, selfish animals, with only flashed of compassion and decency, and who unfortunately have developed a capacity for technological invention. The last thousand years have exemplified this in the wars of colonial expansion.

    The West is rich today, partly because it innovated (in the sense of geographical exploration), but mainly because it then sought to exploit and rule over those that it encountered. And it was always the elites who were benefitting whilst the working class were the willing cannon fodder for these wars. Today’s world is no different, beneath the facade of civilisation and democracy.

    Humans should never have pursued scale, because in that is implied hierarchy, which in turn inevitably promotes ambition and self-aggrandisement. But we cannot undo what has already been done.

    Consequently it is not clear to me your basis for hope. The train of military confrontation and environmental collapse is already underway. Even if miraculously we stopped going to war, we are going to see climate-induced crop failures and famines within the next few years, probably even before the impact of sea level rises. Mass migrations and the hostile reactions that they provoke will become a frequent feature of our news.

    Any mitigation that happens, any hope that there is, can only really be for the benefit the elites of our society, the most culpable of all. Millions, if not billions, are already condemned by climate change, let alone these unnecessary wars of greed. So how can one speak of hope – unless it is from a perspective which is likely to benefit from such mitigation?

    The only cause for hope surely, is that climate change is nature’s way of mitigating the impact that humanity has had on this planet.

  75. realitychecker

    Here’s a fun thought experiment for everyone:

    What if we replaced “Buyer beware!” with “Liar beware!” ?

    I have been arguing for years that the best defense against this professional mindfuckery is to identify falsity, i.e., do a reality check, and then turn our backs forever on its source. But folks have consistently preferred to accept the liars that seem to be lying for their side.

    That approach has not worked, and, logically, cannot work. If you want to extinguish bad behaviors that yield short-term benefits to the bad actors, then you must attach painful consequences to that behavior.

    That is nature’s way, and it is much more effective than trying to ‘enlighten’ all the bad actors.

    Fear and pain work to control bad actors just as effectively as they work to control the rest of us.

    If that truth offends you, take it up with the Creator (or the evolutionary process) that made us all this way.

  76. realitychecker

    @ Peter

    “Tall tales” are called that because they are easily recognizable. Not at all like modern mindfuckery techniques.

    Your POV only seems reasonable to me if we have a properly educated population that has been taught some critical thinking skills. We don’t teach those skills anymore.

  77. S Brennan

    I am not very hopeful; from yesterday evening FBook post:
    Having just lost an election with a neoliberal noted for her overt corruption, the DNC turns to a neoliberal noted for her overt corruption. I bet Hillary fans can’t wait, here’s a list of her Clintonesque particulars:

    1] Kamala Harris got her start in San Francisco politics by being the girlfriend of Willie Brown. [I give her credit as a though…she dumped Willie as soon as she made the big time]

    2] Like Obama, her early political career was littered with backstabbing. She agreed to spending limits in a run for SF DA and then purposely reneged, knowing that the only penalty for her fraud were fines that her backers in the financial sector gladly paid for her.

    3] Her years as DA were marked by a massive amount of corruption at the city’s crime lab which allowed hundreds of criminal cases to be thrown out of court. Yeah, that’s right DA Harris was the criminals favorite get out of jail card.

    4] Kamala Harris let Countrywide and it’s CEO Angelo Mozilo off with a $6.5 million fine to get out of a predatory lending lawsuit worth billions.

    5] Finally, Kamala Harris undermined the 50 state enforcement of financial laws…allowing the banks to pay a tiny fraction of their ill-gotten gains from their massive financial fraud.

    I know 2&1/2 years from now I will have [D]’s give me the “lessor of two evilism” lecture, but let’s be clear, [D]’s nominating this creature will result in the “evilism of two lessors”.

  78. Willy

    Everybody has at least some drive for power and control, that being part of the survival instinct. But when it’s at “morally insane” levels, others in their society need to step up.

    Regular guys will feel shame when they know a lie of theirs has been publicly exposed. But not these guys. They’ll double down on the lies if their power is threatened.

    I think what the worst elements fear most is loss of power and control (h/t Jim Jones, Saddam Hussein). Painful for them is not having any. (Obviously I’m not a ‘tabula rasa’ kind of guy. In my experience people at genetic temperamental extremes are the least ‘changeable’.)

  79. realitychecker

    @ S. Brennan

    Right on all counts, sir.

    @ Willy

    Those who don’t feel shame would still feel pain.

  80. S Brennan

    File under: I am not very hopeful:

    Just listen…well, you don’t have to wade all the way through Jonathan Chait’s Orwellian rewrite of the word “neoliberalism” in:

    “How ‘Neoliberalism’ Became the Left’s Favorite Insult of Liberals”

    Just compare and contrast his Chait’s bullshit in the 1st 4-5 paragraphs with the standard definition offered in Wikipedia…

    …and you will see that young “elites” are fed falsehoods; cradle to grave. How can you get young people to to “awaken” to what’s happened when the editors of NY mag allow/encourage[?] such blatant BS to pass through their gate?

  81. realitychecker

    Chait has always been full of shit.

    But you are right–nobody really knows what they are talking about with the political labels anymore.

  82. realitychecker

    It’s a feature, not a bug. Confusion keeps everybody paralyzed. 🙁

  83. Willy

    Neoliberalism gave rise to the idea that an invisible hand is always more economically correct than any government mandate could ever be. Unfortunately, that invisible hand also decided to use government mandates to become even more economically correct.

    I’m hopeful that the youth may be smart enough to figure this out, based on observing their own parents experiences in the corporate world.

  84. Future Insurgent

    #1 The United States of America openly aspires to rule the world and all of its people.

    #2 Countries that seek to remain independent of US-led Western economic and political domination are overtly and covertly attacked by the American government. This is invariably couched in terms of “regime change” to bring “freedom” and “democracy” to countries ruled by cartoon villains who are “worse than Hitler.” (This is a fate that, coincidentally of course, only befalls nations Washington DC does not like.)

    #3 If Syria or Russia or the latest country scheduled for invasion, crippling sanctions or “regime change” had a multi-party political system, freedom of speech/expression, an open and independent press etc all….it would be FINISHED as an independent nation seeking to define its place in the world as co-existing with, but NOT dominated by, America and the West.

    #4 Read #3 again.

    After decades of relentless propaganda about Western democracy being the best, most desirable ideology EVER, for all people in all cultures at all times…many Westerners have become blinded by Democracy Fever and fetishize liberal democracy with a zeal that would be right at home in the White House or DoS (where “democracy” and “freedom” = markets and societies open to Western plunder and pillage).

  85. Future Insurgent

    What I mean to say is a Western-style relatively free and open society is not an option if your country is being targeted by the full force of the world’s most aggressive and violent nation. An open society in what is effectively a state of war in which one nation with a supremacist ideology (American exceptionalism) is covertly and overtly seeking to FORCE any and all sovereign and independent states to submit to American/Western global capitalism or face ruin and destruction is not realistic.

    Imagine for a moment if the US or UK were under relentless attack like, say, Syria has been for the last four decades. Do you think you’d be living in a relatively open society or a more closed and totalitarian system?

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