TPP and Democratic Self-Delusion

After months of telling Bernie Sanders to drop out, the political chatterers are finally understanding one reason he did not do so: to maintain leverage over things like the party platform. After the platform was finalized yesterday, Bernie declared victory.

Pressed by supporters of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democratic Party platform writers meeting this weekend in Orlando, Florida, adopted a progressive agenda that underscores the need for bold action on climate change, addresses criminal justice reform and calls for doubling the federal minimum wage.

“We have made enormous strides,” Sanders said. “Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process – many for the first time – we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

The Platform Committee also adopted an amendment focused on criminal justice reform which calls for an investigation by the Department of Justice to investigate all shootings involving police officers.

The platform that will be submitted at the Democratic National Convention later this month in Philadelphia also would support Congress putting a price on carbon and methane to discourage continued use of fossil fuels that are causing severe climate change. The platform also says lawmakers must consider the impact on the climate in all federal decisions and invest heavily in wind and solar power rather than natural gas.

Delegates allied with Hillary Clinton’s and Sanders’ campaigns also passed amendments to fight for a $15 federal minimum wage tied to inflation, urged passage of progressive immigration reform and called for legalization of marijuana.

There were three issues, however, where Sanders’ delegates lost: opposition to Israeli settlements, a ban on fracking, and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The first two make sense: after all, those policy positions match Hillary’s stated position (though the US is supposed to be opposed to illegal settlements), so rejecting Sanders’ amendments equated to backing the nominee instead. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

But Hillary, of course, claimed to oppose the TPP during the primary, even if that claim was always sketchy coming as it did as she worked so hard to negotiate the crappy deal as Secretary of State. So the mealy-mouthed language in the platform about protecting workers — akin to the same language in the Colombia Trade Deal that did squat to protect workers — is more notable.

As is the idiotic opinion expressed by this person, described by Robert Reich as an acquaintance from the Clinton White House.

ACQUAINTANCE: “Don’t you think your blog post from last night was a bit harsh?”

ME: “Not at all. The Democratic Party is shooting itself in the foot by not officially opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership.”

[They talk about how the Democrats are supporting this to back the President.]

ME: “But it’s terrible policy. And it’s awful politics. It gives Trump a battering ram. Obama won’t be president in six months. Why risk it?”

ACQ: “They don’t see much of a risk. Most Americans don’t know or care about the TPP.”

ME: “But they know big corporations are running economic policy. They think the whole system is corrupt. Believe me, Trump will use this against Hillary.”

ACQ: “He can’t. She’s inoculated. She’s come out against the TPP.”

ME: “But it’s her delegates who voted not to oppose it in the Democratic platform. Her fingerprints are all over this thing.”

Trump may not have many articulated policy positions, but his stance against TPP has been consistent and (unsurprisingly loud). Reich is right: to the extent that platforms mean anything at all, this will be used by Trump to pitch Democrats as sell-outs to American workers.

And the notion that voters won’t react against TPP is insulting. Sure, they may not know how specifically bad TPP is, but workers do know that NAFTA sucked. And Trump is certainly capable of equating the two.

Whoever this person is, by nature of being a Hillary advisor, he or she is supposed to be a technocratic elite. But this is idiotic, both from a policy and a political perspective.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

44 replies
  1. bevin says:

    “And the notion that voters won’t react against TPP is insulting…”

    It is also idiotic: clearly the fool who said this has no conception of popular politics, except, and this is a very dixiecrat viewpoint, where race is the issue.

    We saw the same analysis over Brexit: poor people and working people are too dumb to act rationally, they are the slaves of emotion, instinct and deep seated prejudices.

    The triangulating class are in for big surprises in the years to come.

    The strategy, of course, is for the TPP to be a fait accomplis by the time that Hill ascends to her gilded throne and starts collecting Big Bucks for the Foundation. It will be hurried past the lame duck Congress and signed by the lame duck President. And Hillary will say “Oh what a pity, But perhaps it will all work out for the best anyway.”

    The Republicans have a clear choice: they can win the election, destroy the Democratic Party as presently cobbled or do what the US Chamber of Commerce wants and let the cunning TPP ruse succeed without making any opposition.

    Politically the situation is clear: when the TPP is passed and the Rust Belt spreads everywhere there will be no mystery as to what caused all the job losses, poverty and social dislocation, verging on insurrection.
    The triangulating descendants of the Jim Crow era Dixie legislators will not be in the least bit worried, until the Beltway is a ring of fires.

  2. blueba says:

    A lesson I learned from the LBJ presidency is that the real enemies of proper democracy and the leading proponents of “US Exceptionalism” are the so called “liberals” the right wing is much less devious and insidious in their views. The right wing is the clear and straight forward they will protect dynastic wealth and its power at all costs.

    The problem is that the “liberals” do the same while claiming otherwise. Both Warren and Sanders now support Hillery and now show their real colors – support war mongering and the worship of dynastic wealth – get with the Imperial program in the end.

    It happens every time in the US, no matter how “liberal” any particular politician might be in the end they show no commitment to progressive ideas and are willingly subsumed into the Imperial maw.

    No president is bound by these “platforms” they are meaningless.

    There is no such thing as a “liberal” or “progressive” politician in the US political system. In the end they are ALL servants of the Imperial order, promoters of “US Exceptionalism” which sees itself as so exceptional it can and does torture with impunity.

    It is not helpful to anyone to act as if “elections” in the US or “friendly judges” or tweaks in the law are going to have any effect what-so-ever.

    The Empire of the Exceptionals as I call it is far more powerful than the US government which serves it and its power is not in DC or Langley or the NSA but is diffuse and permeates every aspect of our lives power now is in every bit and byte of the digital world it is everywhere and nowhere.

    Ask yourself who is served by the resulting crumpling of the social contract, the shrinking of the civic space the social chaos and of course it is the oligarchs who benefit from the restraints civil society puts (or tries) on capital. Corporate power (corporations are tools of oligarchs, if a contractor ruins your kitchen remodel do you go out and scream at his tool box?) has sense their inception been used by the powerful oligarchs who own them to beat down and eliminate its largest competitor – civil society.

    Today the vast fortunes of the Saud family for example taken together control more cash flow and riches than the US after WWII or the British Empire at its peak. All that wealth and power has already been accumulated it will be very difficult to oppose, especially sense they own the AI and can use it for their sole interests.

  3. bmaz says:

    Marcy’s analysis does strike me as exactly right. TPP is the real head scratcher. And the way it could really damage Clinton and the party as a whole against Trump is nowhere more evident than in Michigan.
    .
    That said, on the whole I thought that Sanders and his bloc accomplished a stunning amount of good in shaping the platform, and significantly, in keeping Clinton pulled to the left. Messy and infuriating as it is, this is how Democracy works, and serious work has been done by Sanders.

    • bevin says:

      “I thought that Sanders and his bloc accomplished a stunning amount of good in shaping the platform, and significantly, in keeping Clinton pulled to the left. ”

      How long do you think that Clinton will remain on what you call “the left”?

      “Messy and infuriating as it is, this is how Democracy works, ..”
      No this is how the system works. There is nothing democratic about it: the Primaries were rigged, the caucuses miscounted, the entire process was mere window dressing to the pre-ordained conclusion. And there was nothing that the people, most of whom wanted Sanders, could do about it.
      The Democratic Party wrote the book on election rigging: that is not democracy it is tyranny with a wool hat on.

      • bmaz says:

        1) A hell of a lot longer and stronger than would otherwise without what Sanders accomplished.

        2) Well then better get out there and active at the grassroots level to change things, eh? Sanders proved what could be accomplished. Grousing about how awfully everything is rigged instead of building on the momentum accomplishes little. Wish I had a better, smarter or faster idea, but that is all I have ever been able to figure out.

    • jonf says:

      Let’s hope she stays on the left. I want to hear her say some lefty things out loud, like $15 an hour so it is clear where she stands once we pull the lever for her. I figure to vote for her bc the Orange Man is such a… (fill in the blank). And we need SCOTUS. But do we trust her on foreign policy, like no fly zone in Syria?

      • bmaz says:

        Don’t know about you, but I have no illusions. Just an abiding belief that something real has happened with respect to Sanders. Not nirvana, but something significant. The Sanders bloc and movement is, though not totally (witness geezers like me) tilted young. That is a very good thing. Can it be maintained? No clue, but sure hope so.

        • jonf says:

          Agreed. Maybe, just maybe, he has started something. But then I thought Occupy started something.

    • John Casper says:

      Agree.
      .
      In addition to youth, Sen. Sanders drew blue collar voters–Reagan Democrats. He articulated Occupy’s great insight, “the 99%.”
      .
      As Adam Smith wrote, it’s a, “political economy.” Playing by the rules, studying hard in school, working hard,–Smith’s, “virtuous cycle,” doesn’t work. Per, Tennessee Ernie Ford’s, “16 Tons,” you–your family, kids and friends–get “…another day older and deeper in debt,….”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIfu2A0ezq0
      .
      The elites have reinvigorated Karl Marx.

  4. lefty665 says:

    Sigh, Dems. It’s got nothing to do with the merits of the issues, TPP in the platform is driven by not “embarrassing” the President. “mealy mouthed” is, if anything, too mild a description. We can infer that Hillary and her supporters do not see all that much wrong with TPP. Trump will do well (even a blind hog finds an acorn every now and then) to work Hillary over on TPP from now until election day.
    .
    Settlements and Fracking. You’re right, Bernie lost and cannot expect to get all his issues in the platform. The ones he does not get tell us a lot about Hillary’s values (funny to have Hillary and values in the same sentence). Trump would do well to campaign on the dangers to us, and the world, in Hillary’s commitment to govern as Netanyahoo’s neocon toady. Plus, how does Hillary expect to win fracking heavy states like Pennsylvania? The DLC neolib embrace of money and profits may not play well in a year of discontent with the status quo in states with specific issues.
    .
    The Dems seem unable to understand that a movement coalesced around Sanders because of his beliefs and willingness to stand for them. Rebuffing change by rejecting those positions in the platform alienates the 45% of primary voters who supported Bernie. He cannot snap his fingers and deliver many young and/or Indy voters, not strong Dems, in support of a candidate who stands in opposition to the issues that drive them.
    .
    Hillary’s calculations seem to be to again triangulate and assemble a majority from Dem lemmings and Repubs. It worked twice for Bill. With Trump doing much of her work for her by alienating Repub elites it may work for her this year.
    .
    If she wins, the dangers are that domestically we get the ineffective neolib incrementalism she has promised, and internationally, if we survive her neocon wars of aggression, greater discontent will drive wilder swings in ’20. The Dems would do well to stop reveling in the Repub’s disintegration and take it instead as a vision of their future if they fail to embrace change.
    .
    You’ve got it right with “TPP and Democratic Self-Delusion”: “this is idiotic, both from a policy and a political perspective.”

  5. greengiant says:

    The Oligarchs’ TPP is an end run around the US Constitution. A good measuring stick of how the majority of Democratic congresspersons are totally owned by the Oligarchs.

  6. Ambrellite says:

    It’s a stupid policy and terrible politics, but they think/know voters are either ignorant or reluctant to hold them accountable, if the alternative is Trump.

    Dems can get away with a lot of corruption in the short term, but this kind of politics will destroy the party (as it has been gradually doing for the last two decades).

  7. rugger9 says:

    To build on bmaz’s comment, if we democrats (small – d) make it clear over and over to the DSCC and DCCC that TPP (TTIP, etc.) are non-starters especially due to the ISDS provision that would be used to leverage corporations out of every protection in the trade deal perhaps they might listen.

    Don’t bother with Stein, she is 2016’s Nader. She estimates she’ll get 15% of the vote which might be enough to tip the election close enough for the GOP to steal it again.

    Don’t think that the Republicans aren’t farther into Big Business’ pockets than the D’s, either. So, wretched as it is Hillary is the better choice, but be loud about the deals to paint her into the corner.

    If anyone isn’t clear about how the ISDS works, a USA company forced Canada to pay up on being stopped from blasting in an environmentally sensitive area after being fined for doing so by the Canadians. We also have TransCanada suing the USA about the Keystone XL. These go to arbitrators paid by the corporations, and whose future business from the same corporations is dependent upon how they rule so it is perfectly within human nature to vote with the pocketbook.

  8. jonf says:

    So as I understand it, Obama, following the election, releases the final TPP proposal. Then 60 days later he signs it and sends it to congress where they have 90 days to approve it. Now the fun starts. Ordinarily you would think the republicans, being free mouseketeers and all, would approve it. But with Trump what happens? Will the dems rush in to help save the day and legacy for Obama?

  9. rugger9 says:

    I just read an article over at Daily Kos where the author was saying that TPP and its ilk aren’t “perfect” but it’s because people built it.

    This dodges the central issue about law, sovereignty and the real rules of the market. I challenge anyone to show me the actual legal basis in writing that ISDS cannot be used by corporations to overturn laws they don’t like (including Australia’s cigarette labeling for safety). It’s already bad enough that small countries such as Togo in Africa settled instead of fighting a company with several times its GDP.

    ISDS also provides for the payment of all anticipated profits without any mechanism to objectively define what those are, so as it stands now, a marketing projection no matter how optimistic becomes the lost profit. This has already been used overseas.

    Wake up, because once any of these becomes law the only way to get rid of it is with the proverbial pitchforks, or the Andrew Jackson method. AJ had been denied on his position by the SCOTUS and remarked that while the Court could rule as it did, they couldn’t make him enforce it. It’s not a question of if the multinationals flex their muscle, they already are, even on the old US of A.

    In that event, the rules become vague again and have to be rebuilt.

  10. wayoutwest says:

    Anyone who thinks Sanders pulled the Clintons anywhere, especially to the left is an easily led rube and makes a perfect true believer. The thin gruel HRC is supposedly championing now will last about a heartbeat after the election.

    Sanders will now use this PR BS to try to cajole his anti-Clinton followers back into the democrat voting pens. From what I have heard from them many will never vote for HRC no matter what soothing lies she or he uses. It probably doesn’t matter because HRC has many of the most extreme right-wing on her side now and they will make certain that the corporate vote tabulators produce the correct results.

    • rugger9 says:

      What option would you propose, then? How can you be sure that your case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome doesn’t create a Trump victory? Stein says her best is 15%, so she will not win the election even with the Bernie-bots in her camp. I say this as someone who did vote Sanders in the CA primary.

      What makes you think that Trump or any other Republican is better, and do you have any facts that prove your point? You have to have a realistic “not-Hillary” plan that helps the USA, something beyond your myopic distaste for HRC. Rest assured that the GOP learned the lesson from the last UK parliamentary election where UKIP pulled enough anti-Tory votes that most of the Tory MPs won with pluralities and not majorities. That’s why I’m sure they are talking up Stein in a big way.

      • jonf says:

        In my view there is no “not Hillary’ realistic plan. Any vote for Stein is a vote for Trump. I don’t believe the overwhelming majority of Sanders voters will vote third party. WaPo poll says only about 20% of Sanders supporters will vote for Trump. Once Sanders is solidly in her camp that will likely drop even further.

      • wayoutwest says:

        Who believes we have any real options in this crooked election system? People don’t have a choice of who is ‘better’ because there is no way to verify any of our votes or know with any certainty who actually won unless you believe what you are told to believe. The idea of ‘better’ may apply to dish soaps but has little meaning when used on our usual crop of parasitic politicians.

        You are correct the Tea Party did put a stop, but only temporarily, to Obama’s grand betrayal and the KXL was delayed until it wasn’t needed because Buffet’s exploding tanker trains are profiting nicely from that decision. If you think you or any other little people had a hand in these decisions you are deluded even 360.org’s demos at the white house were scheduled so the big fella could be out of town playing golf with oilmen.

        I wonder at this stage of the game why many people still have these Pollyannaish illusions about the reality of our Oligarchy/police state, are they really that delusional or is there another agenda at play.

        The beast we suffer under is a dreadnaught and no pleas or staged squawking from the rubes produces anything but glittering refuse in its wake.

        • John Casper says:

          You wrote, “The beast we suffer under is a dreadnaught and no pleas or staged squawking from the rubes produces anything but glittering refuse in its wake.”

          If you believe that, why are you here?

          FWIW, Ed Walker’s classic from 2013, “Oligarchy Exists Inside Our Democracy.”

          “The primary impact of this leverage in the hands of the minority is on economic issues. The oligarchy is just as divided as the rest of the population on social issues, like immigration, LGBT rights, women’s issues and similar non-financial matters. It turns out that, for example, some of the oligarchs have family or friends or are themselves LGBT. Their interests in wars and other kinds of issues are also divided. Because of that, democracy could theoretically work on those issues. It’s only those economic issues where the rich are on the same team, and they always win those battles.

          And that’s exactly how things are working out. On matters of direct interest to the oligarchy, they win. You can have your silly laws about marriage or abortion as long as they get their way on money. It’s a lousy bargain, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

          http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/03/oligarchy-exists-inside-our-democracy.html

          OT, imho, “TPP,” has very low name-recognition. Getting both bases to refer to it has, “NAFTA on steroids,” might help. I first read it referred to as that from Jane Hamsher.

          AFAIK, GOP’s “Freedom Caucus,” is our ally on TPP.

          • wayoutwest says:

            First, we have never had a ‘democracy’ we had a representative republic which functioned to keep direct power out of the hands of the unwashed masses. We now have an oligarchy that controls that representative republic nearly completely and they don’t operate so much inside it but above it using it to codify their agendas.

            Desperately seeking democracy in all the wrong places especially among the capitalist elite is a fools errand

            • John Casper says:

              You wrote, “we now have an oligarchy that controls that representative republic nearly completely and they don’t operate so much inside it but above it using it to codify their agendas.”
              .
              1. If, “what we now have,” is, “above,” by what means do they control?
              .
              .
              You wrote, “Desperately seeking democracy in all the wrong places especially among the capitalist elite is a fools errand(sic).”
              .
              2. What do you, seek?
              .
              2.1. Where are the right, “places,” to seek it?
              .
              2.2 Who are the non-capitalist, “elite?”
              .
              2.3 Are you opposed to private property?

              • wayoutwest says:

                I don’t think I can help you, John because your questions seem to show willful ignorance or something worse.

                Bernie’s faux revolution ended today with him earning the sheepdog brand many people saw from the beginning. For a mess of pottage he stabbed many of his supporters in the back and joined the corporate forces he supposedly opposed during his campaign.

                • John Casper says:

                  3. When did I request your, “help?”
                  .
                  4. Please explain how my, “questions seem to show willful ignorance or something worse.”
                  .
                  You wrote, “Bernie’s faux revolution ended today… .”
                  .
                  5. So his real revolution started today?
                  .
                  5.1 Please explain how Sen. Sanders’ brand is like a sheepdog’s.
                  .
                  You wrote, “that many saw from the beginning.”
                  .
                  5.2 Do you have any evidence to back up your claim, such as some links, to the, “many people,” at the, “beginning?”
                  .
                  You wrote, “For a mess of pottage… .”
                  .
                  6. Did not know Sen. Sanders enjoyed pottage, do you have a link to back up your claim?
                  .
                  You wrote, “…he stabbed many of his supporters… .”
                  .
                  6.1 Which supporters did he stab?
                  .
                  6.2 Did any die?
                  .
                  6.3 Which supporters didn’t he stab?
                  .
                  You wrote, “…. in the back… .”
                  .
                  6.4 Do you have a link to back up your claim?
                  .
                  6.4.1 Has Sen. Sanders been arrested?
                  .
                  You wrote, “…and joined the corporate forces… .”
                  .
                  6.5 Did Sen. Sanders say this?
                  .
                  You wrote, “…he supposedly opposed during his campaign.”
                  .
                  6.6 So, he’s always been a big supporter of corporations?
                  .
                  7. Instead of those you claim he did, what strategy and tactics would you have advised Sen. Sanders to adopt?
                  .
                  .

                  Second request for responses to questions you have already ignored.
                  .
                  .

                  1. If, “what we now have,” is, “above,” by what means do they control?
                  .
                  .
                  You wrote, “Desperately seeking democracy in all the wrong places especially among the capitalist elite is a fools errand(sic).”
                  .
                  2. What do you, seek?
                  .
                  2.1. Where are the right, “places,” to seek it?
                  .
                  2.2 Who are the non-capitalist, “elite?”
                  .
                  2.3 Are you opposed to private property?

    • rugger9 says:

      An example closer to home is found in Maine, where the “human bowling jacket” (h/t Charlie Pierce) Paul Lepage was elected and re-elected with something like 38% of the vote. He’s so despised that the Maine Republicans (of all people) have threatened to impeach and overruled his vetos.

      Don’t let CDS’s “trees” block the view of the election “forest”. This one is too important for protest votes for the sake of protesting.

  11. rugger9 says:

    The reason that the rules of the market must be clear is exemplified by a baseball analogy on balls and strikes, where the really despised umps are the ones without a real strike zone. If the ump is a low-ball or high-ball or has a wide zone, the players adjust to it, but if every pitch is a guessing game the game becomes a farce.

    For a business, if the rules are clear and evenly enforced, any manager worth their salt will work within them to succeed and can make long term plans for jobs, etc. to invest in the future. However, if the rules are biased or whimsical there is no way to plan. One cannot make deals in a dishonest system. Then the law of the jungle begins to prevail.

  12. lefty665 says:

    bmaz @3:36 Expect you’re right that something real has happened for Bernie. He got enough of his positions accepted in the platform that we’re hearing increasing chatter that he will endorse Hillary. That’s real change for him, that’s good and raises my hopes.
    .
    OTOH, is it really a change for Hillary, or just words in the platform that mean nothing if she chooses to ignore them? I’ve seen very little that makes me think she’s changed her right wing, DLC, neocon, neolib stripes. In which case we’ll get a little mouth music about the platform. Then she’ll go back to triangulating, selling out to Wall Street, warmongering, toadying to Netanyahoo and proclaiming Comey found her innocent of wrongdoing.
    .
    It is at least an opportunity for the Dems to wake up and find they like the new New Deal and governing for people instead of the fat cats. Let’s hope it proliferates and quickly enough to save us from the disaster that either unreconstructed Hillary or Trump threaten.

    • bmaz says:

      As to both you and Jonf, yeah, I dunno. I hope so and thinks so as to meaningful change by Sanders. How much will really stick? No clue. Think more than many expected, but that is still a large margin of error. Obama proved that anything pre-swearing in is flimsy at best. We shall see.

  13. lefty665 says:

    rugger9 @5:05 “This one is too important for protest votes for the sake of protesting.”
    .
    You can put whatever kind of lipstick you like on that lesser evil pig but it won’t fly this year.
    .
    There is as yet no evidence that Hillary is any less a threat to civilization than Trump.
    .
    I hope bmaz is right, but the issues Hillary rejected in the platform make me fear she is not yet a born again New Deal Dem. In addition she must embrace the environment on things like fracking, tell Netanyahoo to go f**k himself, campaign strongly against the TPP/TTIP and purge neocon/neolib warmongering.
    .
    If she truly embraces change, great may she win. If not, the hour is too late and the prospects too grim to once again sell out to a faux lesser evil. If Hillary does not truly change, then shaking the Dems from their coma is the imperative and the greater good for the country. As Bernie said to congressional Dem boos last week, the objective is change, not winning a particular election.

    Voting Green is a principled way for leftys to support change. This election is indeed too important to piss away votes on illusions of lesser evil.
    .
    ps, you know Ruger only has one g don’t you?

    • rugger9 says:

      If one refers to the firearm, sure. However, I was a rugby player (a scrumhalf), and I do not appreciate your leaping to conclusions regarding what my handle means.

      I’m also a Cold War vet that has sailed in some of the more interesting parts of the world when there were those that would pop a missile or two into our ass just because, so I’m not a simplistic moron that thinks that handing Trump a plurality “victory” is better than a HRC administration. Heed the lessons of the UK and Maine. Even with Bernie as the nominee (and I don’t see him taking Stein up on her offer) the Greens do not win and they will siphon votes that make it possible for the GOP to play the election frauds they are expert at (Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin are examples). The reason Obama won in 2008 had as much to do with the fact the vote was too overwhelming to finagle as it was due to rejection of Shrub’s policies in McSame.

      However, by all means be noisy and a pain in the ass on the Dems, since it is the way that the ship does get turned. Remember the Catfood Commission of Alan Simpson? Or, the chained CPI proposal? Keystone XL? Even Obama had to toss in the towel, so noise works to stop really bad policy.

  14. lefty665 says:

    If anyone jumped to a conclusion it was thee, not me. All I did was ask a question. You answered it. Is it true you guys played with leather balls?
    .
    I don’t know how to tell which is “better” or worse. Both are horrid, but in such different ways that it is difficult to decide which is worse. Between them they pretty much cover the horrid waterfront, aside from places where they double up as with pathological lying.
    .
    My hopes are that bmaz is right and the platform demonstrates that the Dems are changing. If so Hillary will drop the neolibs and neocons like a hot potato and close ranks with the left. I’m not holding my breath.
    .
    We disagree on ’08. I was a local Dem party official back then and had a pretty good seat. Had the Repubs not managed to crash the world’s financial system in September we’d have had McCain/Palin in the White House. They came out of the conventions a little behind but were gaining and on a track to win until “that” happened.
    .
    We can thank Bill for “that” with his repeal of Glass/Steagall and the Commodities and Futures Modernization Act that opened the floodgates of unrestrained greed and corruption. Oh joy, Hillary has promised to put Bill in charge of domestic economic policy. I’d rather he reprised blow jobs in the oval office. The country would be better off and he’d be happy.
    .
    We quit the party in ’11 because we couldn’t stomach having to defend any more Change=Same. That encompassed the Cat food Commission, chained CPI, tax cuts for the rich and much much more. Still happy to have helped turn Virginia Blue in ’08 and helped elect O, but profoundly disappointed in the way he has governed. He’s an economic moron, a political chicken, and only rarely shows any insight into foreign policy.
    .
    If Hillary shapes up great, but if not, they’re both disasters for the country and, with Hillary especially, the world. To repeat Bernie, what we have to have is change, a political revolution. Achieving that is more important than a single election. Stratgeric (to quote Duhbya) vs tactical. It’s more than just noise, it is refusing to be lemmings to the Dems fearmongering any longer.

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks Lefty, think that New Yorker piece is spot on, both as to the successes, failures and caveats. We shall see how it stick, but it does seem a definite shift has started in the party, and Sanders has a big piece of credit for that.

  15. lefty665 says:

    bmaz @11:21 I sure hope so. My fear is that Hillary, the Neocons and Netanyahoo are a malignant, warmongering critical mass and we’ll be in a nuclear war with Russia before the Dems actually wake up.
    .
    The NATO powwow last week doubled down on the fantasy land propaganda that seems to substitute for US policy. Thank goodness Gen. Breedlove’s gone, but he wasn’t the problem, just a symptom.

  16. bmaz says:

    Hard to disagree with that. But, if you get past the belligerent rhetoric between the US and Russia, it doesn’t really seem they are so apart. If the two managed to avoid nuclear war back in the real Cold War, you would hope they can continue to do so now. Could be totally wrongheaded, but I still worry more about “accidental” things germinating in the Middle East. Which, of course, Clinton is horrible on.
    .
    Kind of interesting thought as to whether the actual Cold War period was scarier between only two sides of actors, or now with less of that ultimate stress, but far many more stress actors? I have lived through both and not sure of the answer. Not being told to do drills to duck and cover under a plywood desk in case of nuke attack anymore, so I guess that’s progress.

  17. lefty665 says:

    Looks like we’re beginning to see the light and align with Russia in Syria. That’s a step in the right direction. Expect that’s not playing well with CIA. Warmonger Hillary in power with unreconstructed neocons with no learning curve are an “accident’ waiting to happen, especially when conspiring with Netanyahoo to further destabilize the middle east.
    .
    The Cold War was scary, I never really expected to grow up, at least that was an excuse for lots of adolescent behavior. My folks sent me far away from D.C. to country relatives when the Cuban Missile Crisis wound up.
    .
    Currently, the Indians and Pacs seem to be keeping it tamped down, and the Palestinians are not threatening Israel’s existence. Suppose there’s always the chance the French and Brits will settle old scores. The Chinese are pretty stable but Kim is something of a wild card. That leaves us, and perhaps the South Africans, to stir the pot.
    .
    The expansion and aggression of NATO in Eastern Europe, combined with US demonization of Putin seems a real and mostly US manufactured danger. Things like generating a coup in Ukraine in Russia’s front yard are to me very frightening. We would find an equivalent coup in Canada direct aggression. Putin has threatened a nuclear response if NATO oversteps onto Russian territory. Bluster we can discount? I suppose that’s possible, but it comes from the head of a heavily nuclear armed state declaring national policy in response to threatened military aggression.
    .
    Robert Parry and his crew have been very good: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/07/11/nato-reaffirms-its-bogus-russia-narrative/

    • wayoutwest says:

      I think you are seeing an illusion if you think the US would align with Russia in Syria. This new push for cooperation seems to be about keeping Crazy Ivan from bombing US backed anti-IS forces along with the so called moderate rebels and to reduce the chance of direct conflict between the Coalition and Russian air forces. Arms and supplies are and will continue to flow to the rebels who’s goal will continue to be the overthrow of the dictator Assad whatever diplomatic newspeak the US or Russia may produce.

      If the US aligned with Russia in Syria they would be aligning with Iran the other foreign power involved with its multitude of foreign troops and militias propping up Assad, this is very unlikely.

  18. lefty665 says:

    WOW I hear you. There is the possibility Obama has decided he really does not want to be protecting groups that are closely affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIL (Duh Barak when did that blinding flash of the obvious occur to you?). Al-Nusra being the primary group. Part of the problem with the “cease fire” has been other anti-Assad rebels refusal to physically separate from al-Nusra. The Russians and Syrian Govt have not been shy about hitting adjacent rebels when targeting al-Nusra or ISIL. As you say, it seems we apparently are willing to give up something to stop that.
    .
    I think it is also possible Obama may be reluctant to turn over the status quo to warmonger Hillary and the Neocons next year. He’s also up against CIA dingbats and DoD new cold warriors in this case, a consequence of 7+ years of failure to lead and capitulation to them.
    .
    Here’s another good post from Consortium News: https://consortiumnews.com/2016/07/08/a-new-fight-over-syria-war-strategy/

    • wayoutwest says:

      I think you are confusing your wishes about what Obama might be doing and the reality of the situation. The US has little actual control of the actions of the dozen or so groups it arms and supplies in Syria and I doubt it would surrender that limited influence and feed them to the Bear even though they are in an alliance of convenience in the Army of Conquest with al Nusra. The US did cut off supplies to some of these groups when this alliance was exposed but resumed the supplying when this pressure failed to produce results.

      The idea that the US is going to submit to Russian pressure and join them and Iran in supporting Assad to fight the Islamic State is a fantasy no matter what these reports you link to claim.

      • John Casper says:

        1. WRT control of Syria’s natural gas reserves and the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline, can you explain U.S. and Russian strategies?
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran-Iraq-Syria_pipeline

        2. You wrote, “The idea that the US is going to submit to Russian pressure and join them and Iran in supporting Assad to fight the Islamic State is a fantasy no matter what these reports you link to claim.”

        Do you have links to support your, “claim?”

  19. lefty665 says:

    We disagree, and the fantasy may well be yours.
    .
    Parry and his operation have good sources and a pretty solid history. Also, it would not be too surprising to find that Obama is doing in Syria as he did in ’12 before the election in rationalizing drone operations in case Mittens won.

    • wayoutwest says:

      I think what we are seeing here is the last attempt to push Assad/Russia/Iran to a negotiated settlement and a transition government. Putin, Assad and the Supreme Leader have already been warned about what course the Red Queen plans to follow when she ascends to power, the leaked State department memo covered that and they have about six months to negotiate or face shock and awe.

      Obama can’t do much in his last few months in power and this olive branch offered to Putin depends on Assad being excluded from power so I imagine he will end up just paving the way for HRC to finish the job he starts.

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