Radical Socialism or Clear-Eyed Realism?

[Check the byline — this is Rayne.]

A new commenter wrote that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ “rhetoric is pretty radical.” Ocasio’s the recent Democratic Party primary winner for House seat NY-14, unseating long-time incumbent Joe Crowley in the Bronx-Queens district.

But is Ocasio really radical? Is her Democratic Socialist platform all that far left? Looking at Ted Kennedy’s concession speech from 1980 and the points around which he’d wish to rally Democratic voters 38 years ago, probably not given the changes to our society and economy. Unlike 1980, before Ronald Reagan broke down PATCO — the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Union which went on strike in 1981 — we no longer have a thriving middle class based on employment with adequate job security and living wages. We have instead handfuls of billionaires who have amassed their record-breaking fortunes rapidly on the backs of half the country which can’t scrape together $400 cash for an emergency, whose real wages haven’t budged since the 1980s.

Two points that seem to be of particular concern to our new commenter in Ocasio-Cortez’ platform are the Universal Jobs Guarantee and Housing as a Human Right.

Is a Universal Jobs Guarantee more or less radical than Universal Basic Income? How are we going to deal with an economy in which tens of millions of jobs have been completely displaced by automation — like autonomous transportation, expected over time to replace millions of truck, hired cars, train drivers and ships’ pilots?

You might want to catch up, then. Save the “But capitalism!” and “But taxes!” rebuttal because

1) we live in a mixed economy already;
2) the socialist portions have been cut too far back and proven capitalism to be grossly inefficient in wealth distribution; and
3) leaders, particularly Democratic ones, already grasp the problem.

Housing as a Human Right is already embedded in the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the U.S. voted in 1948. Yet in the U.S. there is no place a full-time minimum wage worker can afford basic housing (as if there are full-time minimum wage jobs since nearly all are structured as part-time to avoid unemployment tax). How can we expect to deal with this on a long-term basis when the Federal Reserve and other entities continue the decades-long suppression of wages?

Again, leaders (particularly Democratic/liberal ones) have already recognized this problem and encourage solutions. It may be far more radical to stick one’s head in the sand and ignore the mounting housing crisis.

Perhaps the real problem isn’t that a platform like the one Ocasio-Cortez has built her campaign upon is labeled Democratic Socialist.

Perhaps the real problem is the decades-long right-wing propaganda which denigrates reasonable, achievable political solutions to real problems average Americans face as radical and socialism as something we haven’t already accepted and relied upon within our existing social safety nets like Social Security and Medicare.

Perhaps the real problem is the same absolutist propaganda which has uniformly characterized any and all Democrats, even moderates, as “hippies”, “liberal bigots” and worse rather than see them as fellow Americans who believe in the Constitution and also believe the U.S. can do more for the common man through reasonable and distributive economic justice.

Is it really all that radical to want to form a more perfect union by establishing economic and social justice, insure domestic tranquility by ensuring every American has food and shelter, provide for the country’s common defense by promoting American’s general welfare?


Treat this as an open thread.

177 replies
  1. harpie says:

    This is the thread of comments we’re talking about.
    Any person I know who actually “agreed”, as koolmoe says s/he does, with the following statement from EoH:
    “it might also introduce to Congress fresh, energetic progressives who might begin to reinvigorate it”
    would never use the phrase “radical leftist”.

    • Koolmoe says:

      Why not? You completely disagree that to moderate voters, or especially ‘swayable Republicans’, that compared to Trump, that Ocasio-Cortez is not a ‘more radical leftist’? To be clear, I wasn’t necessarily labelling her an actual ‘radical leftist’ but doing so in a comparative way to a far-right Trumpian perspective.

      I’m not sure it’s worth arguing the accuracy of the label itself, especially as my attempt was comparative… To me the more salient point of the objection is…the label is not really the point :)

  2. lamsmy says:

    The GOP propaganda emanating from the Reagan era very cleverly entwined the capitalist narrative with an intoxicating dose of patriotism and godliness. For a huge swathe of America, admitting that one part of their core tenets might be wrong, endangers their entire belief structure.

    So it was well after the financial collapse of 1929. It took years of true hardship before a majority could accept FDR’s socialist based remedies. This crucial stage in the development of America’s middle class and world beating economy is always conveniently missing from from much political and economic debate in the US.

    I also think that “Great Power” status makes Americans especially impervious to self reflection and correction. If you are already the best, why change?

    • Koolmoe says:


      The New Deal is surely a socialist program, no? But it worked out wonderfully. I especially love the results of the CCC – I’ve camped in many parks build on that program – and I think such programs would be a great way to solve employment and infrastructure needs. Absolutely. Is that a Universal Job Guarantee? Maybe that’s a better way to define and sell it. I can’t imagine the cost and inefficiency of ‘UJG’ but I can absolutely see a few gov’t-funded programs providing opportunity to more people.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The New Deal was designed, in part, to pre-empt even more democratic socialist policies that were being adopted or talked about in Europe.  It’s one reason top corporate leaders backed it.  The same logic was behind Nixon’s creation of the EPA.

        • Koolmoe says:

          So…it worked out well…yes? Or is there an argument that it should have gone further?
          Sounds like ‘the system worked’?

        • lamsmy says:

          Yep. But let’s not forget that some socialist policies still have strong corporate backing in many nations today.

          Businesses in Canada, UK, Europe, and so on, love universal health care. It works out cheaper for them and eliminates a mountain of bureaucratic paperwork.

          Ditto government investments in education and infrastructure.

          • Rayne says:

            Would be nice if that point ever broke through to U.S. corporations. They shouldn’t be in health care business, should be able to concentrate on what they do best. Health care expenses, amounting to $5K per vehicle made by Big Three ten years ago, contributed greatly to General Motors’ financial problems. The expense helped ensure many manufacturing jobs were offshored. But propaganda here completely circumvented discussion of this issue (“OMG Not socialized medicine!” Hisssss!”)

          • Koolmoe says:

            Thoroughly agree and is often the same argument I make to more conservative folk in my circles.

  3. Trip says:

    The John Birch Society.

    Fred Koch was one of the founding members. The father Koch took part in making it influential, then the brothers Koch were influenced by it, and since then they have been influencing society with it over many many years, under dark money organizations (creating “Grassroots”), around the world:

    From July 16, 2017


    In the first video, “The Dangers of Democracy,” lecturer Robert Brown, a clean-cut white man in a dark suit, defines democracy as “mob rule,” and emphasizes that the United States is a republic, not a democracy. “It wasn’t what government did that made America great,” Brown says in the recording. “It was what government was prevented from doing that made the difference.”
    After the first video lecture ends, Dr. Jones offers a quote from Mao Zedong: “Democracies inevitably lead to collectivism, which leads to socialism, which leads to communism, which leads to totalitarianism.”

    The Kochs want no interference in their wealth; no taxes, no will “of the people” (voting), so they can operate in a world beyond laws (in corruption) with no regulations, or checks and balances. The “Freedom” they subscribe to/advocate for and place in the names of their associated organizations, is freedom only for the elite oligarchs, not the common citizenry.  Their influence has even permeated the centrists of both parties. That’s why any thoughts of the citizens sharing in the benefit of the taxes (that they pay) is looked upon as radical. The word ‘socialism’ triggers the right (and some demographics of the left) from decades old ACTUAL McCarthyism propaganda peddled by the Birch society, its tentacles, ultimately the Kochs (propelled by Reaganism forward), but in the service of self-interest, not in the interest of the country and its people.*

    Look at how ridiculous this looks, collectively, in a comic (wish I could post the image, instead of a link):

    (* I know most people here are well read on the subject, this comment is for those who may not be)

    continuing in another comment, so that this one isn’t massive….

    • Trip says:

      I noticed that the people calling Ocasio-Cortez “radical”, first and foremost, are johnny-come-lately “Democrats”, who bailed on the Trump Nazi train.  Steve Schmidt is one example. He is a darling talkinghead of MSNBC, a supposed “left-leaning” news and opinion channel, which seems to be inhabited by more and more of his ilk; Republicans who are still Republicans in heart and ideology, but who are anti-Trumpers. He gives colorful monologue in resistance against Trump, but it doesn’t make him a left-leaning advocate. In fact, he’d like the Democrats to shift right. For some background, this is a guy who recommended Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. I don’t think that is indicative of great judgement, do you?

      The other blowback against Ocasio-Cortez was her stance on the treatment of Palestinians by Nazi-yahu.


      Make no mistake, it was a massacre. There is a humanitarian crisis, and even Chomsky referred to the condition as worse than Apartheid was in South Africa.


      Politicians, especially establishment politicians, are terrified of AIPAC. And for good reason.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/03/06/the-dark-roots-of-aipac-americas-pro-israel-lobby/ **

      First, they fear reprisal in being called anti-Semitic (sometimes the term is used as a weapon against those who dare to criticize the Israeli government, not Jewish people, in general),  secondly, they fear losing campaign money, and thirdly, they fear losing the support of  the US Jewish demographic who have been conditioned to see Israel ONLY as a shining beacon above reproach (via years of propaganda). So Ocasio-Cortez  had to walk back her comments and kiss the pope’s ring (I intend this in a “Pope of Greenwich Village” way, not referencing the religious figure). She stepped in dangerous territory by speaking truth.

      As an aside and relating more to my first comment than this one, something I noticed yesterday while revisiting old articles, was that “Democrat” Cuomo had taken Koch campaign cash, in the past.

      [**Link edited to remove unique referral ID and tracking. Please remove this when sharing links. You know this by now. :-( /~Rayne]

      • Palli says:

        Progressives will push Ocasio back to a firm stand.because it is hard to call centrist DNC leaders honest brokers for world peace. American Zionist and American Evangelists have been duped into supporting Zionists exactly like Irish Americans who fermented & sustained the “troubles” in Ireland. Without American support the 2 state solution would have long ago been fact. Instead Zionist Israel is destroying the Palestinian people one bulldozed house, one 8 year-old kid, at a time.

    • Greenhouse says:

      Trip, which of course begs the question: do we live in a democracy or a republic? The answer to which I found in this article to be enlightening.


      I’m glad to actually live in a republic (nation governed by laws), with the caveat that some laws should be changed, allowing the majority rule when it comes to voting, ie abolishing the electoral college, voting for supreme court justices, just to name a few.

      • Rayne says:

        The U.S. has been a democratic republic, in that every citizen of legal age has had the franchise to vote and we have been governed by laws. What we have become over the course of the last two decades is open to discussion.

      • Trip says:

        Aside from the fact that you linked to Diane dimond who was the hounddog sniffing Michael Jackson’s remains for decades, (she is tabloid like Bill O’Reilly), neither descriptions fit where the Koch-ists wish to go, which is fascist control. No votes for the little people, no sharing in the decision of what they PAY FOR. If you use Dimond’s example, “the individual” is the billionaire, in our current form and direction.

          • Trip says:

            Snobbery, or some discrimination in sources? Dimond took bizarre, exquisite joy in every tawdry tabloid blurb she vomited over the years. Is there anything incorrect in that description?

            • Greenhouse says:

              To be honest Trip, I am completely unfamiliar with her brand of trash journalism as you claim. To me, it’s irrelevant so long as she provided a balanced, educated definition on the difference between democracy and republic. Sometimes it’s the message, not the messenger dude. Get over it, my discriminating grasshopper:)

            • Greenhouse says:

              I like you Trip. At least you’re honest, like most of the good people here. But I like your type of honesty the best :)

  4. Gary says:

    Absolutely in agreement.  The idea that “pure capitalism” and “pure socialism” are anything more than thought experiments seems insane to me.  The question is essentially how much do we regulate capitalism and ALL evidence shows that we are not regulating it enough.

    One thing 2016 made clear: people are starting to feel it even if they don’t realize the sources of it.  The endless propaganda that the cold war made so effective and long lasting prevented America from having any serious analysis of what socialism gets right, clearly highlighted by how Western Europe surpasses America in sooooo many metrics.  So much more we need to do.

    • Koolmoe says:

      Fully agreed. It’s a shame and a hurdle to have folks understand the mixing components of capitalism and socialism (as economic models) is not only not-evil but is already in place.

      Remember the Tea-Party rallies of the Bush #2 era – shouting about the horrors of big government but threatening riots if anyone touched their medicare? Too funny.

  5. cat herder says:

    Useful reading from way back when in the Good Ol’ Days:

    Anybody have the equally bullshit Schumer quote from just after the election? I remember it, sort of, but I’d rather swallow my own tongue than go looking for it. It was along the same lines; “If only we’d shifted just a little farther to the right we would have swept the table…” Jesus, that guy.

    • gedouttahear says:

      The noise from those (dems, obama libs) who claim to be “for the people” — which stops at the middle class so fuck the poorer classes whom the dems and obama libs no longer even mention — is a cover for the fact that we live in a retrograde society and a dying empire.

      “Some say the world will end in fire. Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate to say that, for destruction, ice is also great and would suffice.”

      “God gave Noah the rainbow sign / No more water but fire next time”

      despite all that, i try to keep my eyes on the prize.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:


    Thank you, Rayne, for this clear-eyed post.  There is little radical and nothing “un-American” about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or her program.  They reflect the wants and needs of Main Street America: jobs, health care, education, and reasonable taxes, fairly imposed on everybody to pay for them.

    It is the Republicans and establishment Democrats who have spent decades moving the political goal posts – the Overton window – so far to the right that the fifty yard line is in the end zone.  They and their patrons want their own government, not a democratic one.  They want to spend tax dollars for themselves, not their fellow citizens. They want government programs to work only for themselves and to penalize their neighbors.

    They imagine themselves living in a Randian novel.  Everyone not following John Galt is a wastrel, an ingrate, and a competitor in a zero sum game.  That’s why the Republicans especially have built their strategy on making other Americans fight each other.

    Ocasio-Cortez recognizes that immigrants and Main Street Americans have much in common.  They work hard, they get along as best they can, they sacrifice for their families, they know and care about their neighbors.  They represent a future worth living in.  They are about as radical as a top forty song from the 1960s.

    • greengiant says:

      A few more thoughts along those lines. Recall that Rand was validating Galt’s theft from society as the moral high ground. Just like socialization of corporate losses or old white people medical care. Recall the age race demographics of Johnson’s great society and the beneficiaries there of. Already been articles about rapture and evangelical christian “we are rich and get to steal from the poor because a) God loves us, or b) we love Jesus. It is as if the paradigm of building a society on Oracle’s Ellison’s dictum that 10 percent of the sales force should get 90 percent of the wages was sustainable in the real world closed eco system.

      This just in, Concord cites Kavanaugh on open season on foreign intervention in US elections.

      • Lulymay says:

        We here in British Columbia (Canada) call it privatization of profits and socialization of costs.  It’s been going on since 2001 until 2017 when the electorate smartened up and changed governments.  Problem is the previous political party tied us up in a number of long term contracts that will apparently cost us even more money to break those contracts. Then there’s money-laundering by foreigners through several casinos plus dumping at below market value of various tax payer owned properties in order to make the financial figures look a bit better.

        I laugh when I hear Americans referring to the Democrats as a ‘leftist’ party.  In fact you have no politicians that are left of centre.  We have 3 parties to basically divvy up the votes on election day of which one is left of centre but has been dragged closer to centre over the years.  The evangelical right have been very busy gaining influence in who gets elected here in Canada, but not nearly as obvious as the USA.  Every election we have less and less people exercising their right to vote, but special interest groups always make sure their adherents get out there.  What do you do when you have a significant number of eligible voters who can’t be bothered to support and uphold a functioning democracy?

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks for this, “privatization of profits and socialization of costs.” This is the parasitic feature of our oligarchs, who I can’t even label neoliberal now that they’ve gone full fascist.

          Can you elaborate more on Canada’s leftist parties and their platforms? We need some models on which to draw, particularly issues that are the farthest left Canada would even entertain. The U.S. has been conditioned by the right-wing’s applicatin of the Overton window for several decades; we need to reenvision what “left” looks like if we are to drag the country back the other way.

          I do think there are some limits to how far we can go; we have the benefit of widely-distributed education including the history of other leftist politics to note what worked and what didn’t. I don’t think we will ever truly overthrow capitalism because its rewards-for-risk-taking feature has encouraged rapid development. But the idea of what constitutes capital must be addressed because the current model relies on scarcity; what happens to a capitalist system when everyone is possessed of capital, if capital is redefined?

  7. Willis Warren says:

    One of the projects I’m working on (and by work, I mean I’m lazy as hell) is a book about the Public Sector and why it matters. To say that the Public Sector is under assault is a criminal understatement. But, the rich pump so much propaganda (Fox, libertarian thinktanks, etc…) and target the youth so well that I am skeptical anything can be done without real agents of change.

    I’ll stop there before I start sounding like Che

  8. Bob Conyers says:

    A lot of this is going to come down to priorities and tactics. And if I were somehow leading the show, my number one focus would be on restoring democracy.

    From that, I would have as legislative and judicial priorities gutting the influence of big money in politics, restoring voting rights, bringing back anticorruption laws, and forcing lobbying into open air.

    Of course, the Supreme Court conservatives are hellbent on getting more corruption and less democracy into the system, and the lobbyists and GOP and old guard Democrats will fight this tooth and nail. It won’t happen soon, and it will have to go in parallel to other fights But in my mind, it’s the ultimate fight. The Democrats threw away the victories of 2006 and 2008 by letting all of the power of their majorities slip away, eroded by a dumb belief that money would follow them, instead of working relentlessly to overthrow them.

    • Trip says:

      Nice @Bob. The Koch-ist libertarians are all in for oligarch rule. The only interests they serve are their own. Lobbying and campaign finance reform MUST be addressed and advocated. If the Democrats want to be for “The People”, they should be for it.

      • Koolmoe says:

        100% agreed. The Citizens United decision continues to disgust me. Its shameful that any Democrat supports that. Should Dems retake Congress in November, countering that decision should be a legislative priority.

        • Rayne says:

          Cite facts. Which Democrats support the Supreme Court decision, Citizens United?

          You may not conflate compliance with Citizens United with support, either.

          • Koolmoe says:

            I did not mean to imply that there are specific Democratic lawmakers that are on-record supporting CU.

            I meant its shameful that any democrat at all be supportive of it.

            If we want to look at Congress specifically, then we would indeed have to conflate ‘compliance’ with support:


            “We want a world without super-PACs. We also want a world without nuclear weapons,” says Priorities spokesman Peter Kauffmann.

            • Rayne says:

              Funny, Kaufmann worked on Clinton’s campaign – the same Clinton who said she supported a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

              Don’t expect Democrats not to raise funds by way of Citizens United; you might as well ask them to fight with both arms behind their backs against a party which has not only set Citizens United loose upon the country but already used it corruptly with hidden foreign money a la Russian donations to NRA.

  9. Pete says:

    Thought provoking and thought straightening as always.

    Now Joe Lieberman is piling on. Is Lieberman still a thing?

    The fear shown in the attacks tells me something.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Ten pounds of it in a five-pound bag.

        His establishment colleagues hope Joe Crowley will do to Ocasio-Cortez what Lyin’ Joe did to Ned Lamont.  I don’t think Crowley or the voters in that district are that dumb.

        Ocasio-Cortez’s victory was stunning and by a wide margin. As the Dem figureheads and the GOP are so fond of saying, elections have consequences.

    • Rayne says:

      Lieberman, being a CT resident, always sides with insurance industry. What emerging threat is so likely to damage the insurance industry that Lieberman must crawl out from under a rock? I won’t even touch on the other likely constituency; he’s certainly not pro-CT.

      • Vern says:

        Medicare for All is a direct threat to the insurance industry, Pharma, and the PBMs.  Good riddance!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Valid observation.  The extreme profitability of pharma and the insurance industry is a relatively recent phenomena. The same with commercial (as opposed to investment) banks.

          Insurance and banking were once safe, modestly profitable businesses, stable, like the famous brand once claimed, like the Rock of Gibraltar.

          No more.  They’ve been heavily financialized.  Their sustained high profits are built on lobbying, monopoly, price gouging and other predatory practices.  It comes from higher profit, poorer quality products and services.  It comes from systemic denial of consumer rights, such as mandatory arbitration clauses and denial of class action law suits as a practical way for similarly aggrieved consumers to hold large businesses to account.

          A renaissance of regulation would reduce their profits.  It would penalize rather than reward predatory practices – which the vaunted market pretends do not exist.  Those reduced profits would mean more money stays in the pockets of the average consumer, who would recycle it quickly.  That would be an economic, social, culture, and political good.

  10. harpie says:

    o/t I won’t be around for a while, so I’d like to post this here in case others want to look into it. The word “illicit“, one of the words [almost] on Manafort’s 6/9/16 meeting notes, caught my attention…


    What Facebook knew when… an awful lot! cc @carolecadwalla @jason_kint


    7:04 AM – 19 Jul 2018 I often wonder why #Facebook is so slow in its reactions. I asked Facebook on Nov 16th 2016 about their relationship to #JosephChancellor and #CambridgeAnalytica – also telling them about the illicit data transfer. @podehaye [screenshot] 

    • Trip says:

      Where ever you are going or what ever you are doing, I hope it’s fun and not an emergency thing. You’ll be missed.

  11. Thom ODell says:

    Since this is an open thread, I want to mention a comment from someone I recently pointed to this blog. They wrote:
    ” It is interesting and worrisome. I dislike the moniker “ Empty Wheel” ..it is self deprecating. I don’t think I can use it to convince anyone of anything.”
    When I thought about it, I had to (reluctantly) agree.
    No disrespect to Marcy, but given the importance of your reporting, having you considered using a better ‘hook’ to promote your work?

    • Rayne says:

      I’m releasing this comment to the page so I can point out to whomever is hung up on the site’s name that 1) emptywheel has more than one meaning to those who look and read carefully; 2) this site celebrated its 10th year recently — those who need and want this site’s content have long known where to find us.

      Welcome to emptywheel.

        • Rayne says:

          I’m laughing because in spite of the obscurity of the site’s name, Marcy’s been in the NYT, on MSNBC, and on several national radio shows and podcasts inside the last 6 months.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Not to mention all those uncredited references in the MSM.  And regional radio spots, too.  Mike DeRosa’s, New Focus, from WWUH in West Hartford, for example.  She gets around for a potty mouth PhD from flyover country.

    • cat herder says:

      It’s not especially complicated or mysterious, as far as self-chosen screennames go. Marcy starts with a M. Last name Wheeler. Since I’m not going to look it up, I would guess her middle initial is T. M.T. Wheeler. MTWheel. Emptywheel. See? Pretty easy.

  12. Watson says:

    Some things can’t be done for profit. Like lending a hand to a broke senior citizen who needs assistance but can’t afford to pay for it.
    It’s an indictment of our society that decent jobs are a scarce commodity. Particularly since there’s so much necessary pink and blue-collar work not getting done – sanitation, maintenance, health care, elder care, child care, green retro-fitting, to name a few.

  13. Koolmoe says:

    I appreciate the discussion being an open thread! I really do think this is a worthy topic – at least from my perspective. I’ve attempted to have these discussions in a variety of forums but am quickly drowned out by folks calling me a subversive or Trumper-in-disguise, etc… I’m not! Really!
    I am ALL FOR socialist components within our society. Medicare/caid and SS are great (flawed, but great) programs. I’ve supported Universal Healthcare since Hillary over prop’d and undersold the effort decades ago. I like capitalism in general but thoroughly support government regulation to restrain our temptations and fold in a bit more social equity.

    However, my main point for the responses in the previous thread are only to try to break a bit of perceived groupthink. SJW (Social Justice Warriors), or whatever your preferred term may be, at the core have a fine point; an awful lot of inequity that needs to be addressed. But a lot of it goes overboard *IMO*, and I think that really puts off an awful lot of moderates who would otherwise be sympathetic.
    Indeed, while it likely makes me a heretic to many, I appreciate Jordan Peterson’s (high-level) take on this; language should not be legislated (I do think he has deeper biases).

    I’ll try to make more replies in-line here but wanted to try to introduce my perspectives up-front. A reply in the previous thread calling parts of my post ‘alt-right’ hurts me. I’m not! I promise. But I’m also not far-Left. I really just want to try to being some middle-ground to discussions that may seem to miss an alternate viewpoint.

    Thank you for the opportunity.

    • greengiant says:

      A constructive option on your part would be to become more self aware and broaden your inputs and research areas. You are using alt-right words, and Peterson in particular is a darling of the alt-right movement. Thanks for mentioning Peterson because he badly needs to be cut down in size not to mention his generally misogynist followers. I may have the spirit but don’t claim to have the words to do so.

      Peterson uses denial of collective guilt to deny the alt-right collective benefiting from racial, social and sexual discrimination. The white male patriarchy piece of the pie is getting a smaller share of the pie at the same time the pie is getting smaller thanks to free market for smaller share and oligarchy wealth inequity for size. Their worldly failures can’t be because women and minorities do better jobs or because the oligarchy robbed them because God has told them they will inherit the world.

      Peterson and people from racially segregated and male superiority cultures naturally have more difficulty in developing a mature empathy for others. If only at some point in his life he had worked side by side with women or people of color then he might have a little more respect.

      One has to discount the national review and federalist articles on Peterson, he is after all another poster boy for sexual and racial discrimination and wealth inequality.

      • Koolmoe says:

        Thank you, solid reply.

        I’m not an activist. I’m not deep into research or history, though not entirely ignorant either :)
        My purpose here is to either chime in with an ‘agreed, well stated’, perhaps additional opinions, and also to try to provide an alternative perspective from what might be a less informed, more reactionary, middle-ground perspective.

        Lots of people I know, and lots of what I see, are folks who are not going to understand the majority of your post. I agree, overall, that Peterson has these issues and I disagree with a lot of his opinions (‘rooted in sociological proof’ or not :). I’m not so sure your points would have provide many others with much insight – it doesn’t fit their preferred narrative and perhaps not likely their own short-view experiences.

        I’m not saying its wrong or misguided by any means, but I’m not sure it’s effective. I don’t have an answer.

        I especially appreciate your reply, however, in response to me bringing up Peterson. I fully expected that to be a shut-down moment. Thank you for not falling into that expectation.
        (and note, as I said, the only thing I agree with him on is the legislation of terminology and the apparent legal effects of non-compliance…though I’ve also not read the Ottawa Human Rights Commission documents to see if its actually true or not :)

        I’m absolutely open to perspectives, and appreciate ‘keywords’ being pointed out as troublesome in other posts. I don’t always ‘have the words’ either.

        • greengiant says:

          Failure to engage in fact based discussion. Your theory that any of 62 million Trump voters must be successfully engaged is denied. There are roughly 8 million new voters in the midterms, and over 100 million voters who didn’t voter for Trump. Real opportunities in increasing turnout for younger voters and those feeling the pain of GOP domination.
          The majority of GOP voters are either voting their own book, i.e. continued subsidization of their life styles, theft from others, 2A, right to life, anyone but Clinton, whatever, or are have changed their self identities into unthinking zombie cult followers. If it was easy for external parties to change their minds then people would be doing it. People still think Trump will drain the swamp. Russia becomes a shiny object, nor for democrats, but for GOP supporters who think that is the only argument to be against Trump. Much easier to energize the people who did not get to the polls when the presidential election was dominant than deal with the believers.

            • Palli says:

              and at least 16 million whose voter registration was stricken from the voting rolls for various nefarious reasons.

    • orionATL says:

      koolmoe –

      what a sly, sly troll you are, trying to slither into the discussion with your “i’m really with you guys” disingenuity.

      koolmoe sez:

      “… However, my main point for the responses in the previous thread are only to try to break a bit of perceived groupthink. SJW (Social Justice Warriors), or whatever your preferred term may be, at the core have a fine point; an awful lot of inequity that needs to be addressed. But a lot of it goes overboard *IMO*, and I think that really puts off an awful lot of moderates who would otherwise be sympathetic… ”

      you use the political pejorative” social justice warrior” and then prattle about “group think”. don’t you realize, idiot, that your use of that pejorative, marks you as one engaged in rightwing group think?

      what a clumsy troll you are.

      • Koolmoe says:

        That’s a shame. I’m not. I reject your supposition and reiterate that this sort of immediate conclusion-jumping just because I don’t adhere to the overall postulates of the group makes me a troll. That’s exactly what I’m trying to bring up – the counter-Trump group does itself absolutely no favors by immediately supposing that alternate voices are trolling or generally ‘wrong’ just because they happen to use a few words that others dislike or otherwise use to identify the entire persona.

        That sort of thing shuts down conversation and makes the Left just as ‘alt’ as Trump supporters.

        I thought SJW was a general term, not right or left. Is there a different term I should be using to try to discuss instead of using one that gives a (false) reason to shut down any discussion?

        • Rayne says:

          SJW is used as a pejorative by folks who identify on the conservative/libertarian right. It would serve you well to understand SJW has been weaponized just as “liberal” was weaponized decades ago. You’re going to do a fine job shutting down discussion by yourself if you wield weaponized content cluelessly — that includes using “alt” labels on any end of the political spectrum.

          Or perhaps that’s why you showed up here to begin with? Prove otherwise by acting in good faith.

          • Koolmoe says:

            I’m trying :)

            If SJW has been weaponized, I’ll avoid the usage so as not to immediately bias folks against my replies – absolutely. Do I likewise avoid ‘liberal’? I would label myself liberal, at least in most things, despite that indeed resulting in immediate ‘shut up’ responses by folks on the right.

            Note I don’t think I was the first to use the ‘alt’ label, that was in response to previous posts throwing that at me. I’ll likewise avoid it, of course, if it’s seen as inflammatory.

            I’m trying to show my balance here as a middle-of-the-road (if not leftist) fella in my numerous other responses, which are heartfelt (not pandering). I appreciate the opportunity throughout but do wish folks would avoid immediately pigeonholing me based on terminology.

          • Kim Kaufman says:

            SJW is also used as a pejorative from the left. On the Los Angeles school board sits a self-proclaimed SJW and does everything she can to further privatize Los Angeles’ public schools and accommodate the billionaire “reformers” who have backed her and, now, a majority on the board.

    • emergencysock says:

      You sound like the “white moderate” whom MLK criticized in his Letter from Birmingham Jail. I would encourage you to read it. Here is one passage:

      “I had also hoped that the white moderate would reject the myth concerning time in relation to the struggle for freedom. I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills.”

      Many Americans simply don’t have the time to wait around for change. Right now, someone is dying from cancer and having to beg strangers online for donations to afford treatment. Right now, someone is rotting in jail for a non-violent drug offense while well-off, privileged entrepreneurs are legally setting up dispensaries. Right now, a teenager is living on the streets after being kicked out of the house for being gay.  Right now, billions of dollars are being stolen from employees by their employers.

      Have you ever considered that moderates who are put off by “overboard SJWs” aren’t really that moderate? Do you realize how hard people had to fight against governments and corporations for the rights we have today? The federal government had to station the National Guard at a public high school just so 9 African-American children could get an education. The South had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into accepting African-Americans as equal citizens. Labor leaders were assassinated, bombs were dropped on striking miners (look up Battle of Blair Mountain), victims of the AIDS epidemic were ignored simply because society didn’t like them, American sodomy laws weren’t abolished until 2003, the list goes on and on. Despite all the gains made, we are starting from such a low point that much more reform is needed. So no, I don’t think people are going overboard. They are acting with a sense of urgency, and rightfully so.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Seconded.  The argument starting with this, makes a point the Dems should make over and over again:

          Have you ever considered that moderates who are put off by “overboard SJWs” aren’t really that moderate? Do you realize how hard people had to fight against governments and corporations for the rights we have today?

          Establishment Dems want people to forget that.  It’s not just in hopes that they forget what rights they have.  It is that they forget how they got them.

          It was not by asking nicely or using harsh language.  It was by pushing and organizing.  The same techniques that oligarchs and neoliberals use every day.

      • Koolmoe says:

        (I hesitated in replying but why not… I promise, pending my fate here, to be far less active in future threads)

        Fair point, and maybe I am insofar as I have replied that I fear parts of the platform proposed by Ocasia-Cortez is ‘radical’ (my term only, apparently :) at this time…
        Note: *not* UHC and education but, yes, universal wage and housing
        …and will likely take more time to become a more accepted mainstream idea.

        However, absolutely great points you make. Perhaps it is time to push hard!
        I am *all for it*.
        My concern, as seems to get lost for some reason, is the full platform is too radical for most of America and the effect will be rejection in favor of a known evil.

        I hope I’m wrong.

        • cat herder says:

          American ‘mainstream’* is too radical to consider reasonable policy proposals.

          * the Republican base, since they’re the only ones who matter to anybody these days

        • emergencysock says:

          The rejection of a “radical” platform is certainly a concern, but I think you underestimate the current level of support for these reforms, especially among younger generations. Younger generations have not grown up in the context of the Cold War. There is no scary, communist boogeyman that dupes them into thinking gulags are the next step after state-run healthcare. You may think I’m exaggerating, but this really is what many voters believe thanks to misinformation and propaganda. Just look at how American conservatives viewed Obamacare, they believed death panels would kill them and their loved ones. But as I said earlier, this doesn’t mean that we should just wait and rely on younger generations for reforms to take place. We should still do as much as we can in the present.

          I don’t really know what the solution is to misinformation, it’s not like we can just shut down Fox News. I’m not trying to be conceited and I don’t consider myself smart, but frankly, people are just horrible at critical thinking and understanding complex issues. For example, only 45% of Americans know that most immigrants living in the U.S. are here legally. Can we really set good policies when voters and politicians don’t even understand the issues? I don’t mean to drive you away from conversation so I apologize if my tone was harsh. Like other commenters here, I’m frustrated that white nationalist and fascist views are becoming more mainstream and embraced by conservatives while Ocasio’s platform is deemed too radical.

          • Koolmoe says:

            I appreciate the reply and I think you, and others, make a very good point about this not being such a radical idea to the younger generation. Let’s hope :)

    • Sabrina says:

      A couple comments about Jordan Peterson from someone who works in health sciences in Toronto (he is a U of T professor). Bear in mind, it is literally the middle of the night and my insomnia brought me here, so apologies for muddled thoughts in advance:
      1- he is incredibly misogynistic. As an occasional biologist, I can agree that there are biological differences between sexes, many of which are prominent in mating and coupling rituals. However, listen to a longer discussion by him about mating or sexual issues sometime- the words are cloaked, but he genuinely feels that women, as generally physically weaker, should play pre-ordained “roles” in society. Considering some of the other stuff he says though, this is not the worst thing about him, and in fact it almost seems like something that can be excused because he grew up in a time where gender roles were more rigid than today. My main issue is his “pronouncements” that leave no room for any other viewpoint on this (or any other issue he holds)
      2- he is incredibly arrogant. I say this as someone who briefly really liked and agreed with a lot of what he said. However, as I dug deeper, he strongly associated himself with the alt right “by choice”- he *could* denounce them, but chooses not to. Not to mention his initial controversy stemmed from refusing to call a trans student by their preferred pronoun- not to get on a soapbox here, but regardless of personal view, an empathetic perspective is “who is affected more by my decision”. In this case, the professor with social standing and financial security calling a student by a particular pronoun, and knowing their interaction was for one class only, out of possibly hundreds of students…compared to a student who is clearly wrestling with issues of self identification that are significant enough for them to request a use of another pronoun by said professor is what is at stake for each side here. Without even bringing personal opinion into this issue, one can see that it’s easy enough for the prof to use the requested pronoun, as he is “inconvenienced” far less by doing so than the student is hurt emotionally by him NOT doing so. But what does he actually do? He makes a deal out of refusing the request, then goes on alt right media (as a hero fighting the SJWs) to debate a straw man argument in which he brings in obscure pronouns like xhe and zhe, claiming that that’s the way “neoliberalism” is going. There’s so many things wrong with that argument that I can’t even.
      3- he IS intelligent and well read. This makes a lot of what he says rational, well considered, and accurate. Therein lies the danger, because within the “voice of reason” exists viewpoints which are divisive, hurtful, and generally anti-social. His “reasoned” arguments serve to legitimize some of the most hateful ideologies, which are taking hold in Canada too. The most dangerous ideologue is one that cloaks their ideas in the veneer of respectability. And, he is intelligent enough to know that he is doing this- he is anything but naive, as he states proudly in many interviews. But much as a broken clock is right twice a day, Peterson’s arguments are plastered over with scientific acumen, analytical reasoning, and a measured delivery wherein much of what he says is scientifically verifiable. However, look deeper, and the spin he uses begins to show, along with his dismissal of other views, his poor grasp of “liberalism” in general, and his cherry picking of facts to support his side or discredit others.
      He is an entertaining figure and when not engaged in politics can be rather insightful. Just watch out for illiberal, intolerant views masquerading as settled, scientific fact.
      ….I just realized I wrote a novel of text! Unfortunately this late at night my ability to be concise is sorely compromised. My apologies!

      • Sabrina says:

        My reply on Peterson was a direct reply to the initial post that mentioned him and SJWs- I think I maybe replied to someone else in the discussion and so I looks like I’m rambling on about Peterson with no context. Feel free to move if needed. Thanks!

  14. Peacerme says:

    I think that’s the scary part. “Wanna be” oligarchs. Unfortunately we have people who want absolute power too protect their “stuff”. They are attracted to the concept of entitlement. “I deserve”. “I got my wealth because I earned every dime. I did it myself so it belongs to me and only me! And it will take Power and control to wrestle it from me, I don’t care what the cost. Tortured children? Fine. Don’t take my money. Unborn babies, we save, they are not a ‘take’ they are a gift to the childless. Born babies, corrupted by the influence of others, Brown babies are tainted babies. Those babies ‘take’. The entitled want only the purest babies.” They are the most selfish among us. We never hear that word anymore.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Bolton did away with the NSC’s cybersecurity czar position, and now the top three FBI cybersecurity officers are leaving government (per WSJ).  Trump has issued no directives to federal agencies on cybersecurity and voting protections.

    He’s leaving the door to the public’s house wide open, and telling the police to take a hike.

    And now Donald Trump has invited the chief foreign cybersecurity threat to the US and its voting system to the White House for a chat and a state dinner – before the November election.  I suppose Vlad told his apprentice that he wanted to come and have a pep talk with his troops and to thank them for all their work to prepare for the upcoming election.

    A recent op-ed cartoon had it right:  A fat Don is holding onto to a smiling and bare-chested Vlad  in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and using his other hand to point a gun at a gobsmacked Uncle Sam.

  16. Drew says:

    earlofhuntingdon Your analysis and comments are consistently on point and well argued. The cartoon you refer to, insofar as I know, was not, however, an op-ed, but the COVER of the New York Daily News!

    Ocasio Cortez argues with passion for a better life for Americans and makes reasonable proposals in that direction. It is probably true, that just taking campaign slogans and making them statutes and apropriations bills would result in something too simplistic and thus unworkable. But moving that famous Overton Window in the direction of supporting prosperity for the bulk of people [things like universal medical care, available without regard for the income level of the patient, and protecting the low-income instead of protecting the rich in the vagaries of economic cycles] is not “radical leftism” it’s concern for a viable ongoing society.

    • Koolmoe says:

      …supporting prosperity for the bulk of people [things like universal medical care, available without regard for the income level of the patient, and protecting the low-income instead of protecting the rich in the vagaries of economic cycles…

      Agreed! And is why I did not note those sorts of things in what, to me, could make Ocasio-Cortez seem radical to many. UHC is critical and, I think, the discussion is far enough along that it’s absolutely politically feasible (and certainly socially critical). The overall statement of protecting lower-income against economic cycles, absolutely! But cushioning that with guaranteed income/job/housing is a radical idea *currently*. It’s not necessarily *wrong* by any means, but to many ‘typical americans’, certainly radical.

  17. orionATL says:

    one of the major print media (nytimes, wapo) responses to ocasio-cortezvs victory was to describe her as “leftist”. i could swear the first nytimes story i read about her victory described her or her positions) as “far left” – and then it named them.

    here is a  short, clear summary of her major positions:


    – medicare for all.  that’s radical?

    – universal jobs guarantee. actually, a universal minimum income guarantee is going to become mandatory for social and political stability.

    – abolition of Immigration and customs enforcement. it is the thugish behavior of the agents in what is called ice that is the problem. there will always be a need for customs and for border police. understandable though where there are hispanic voters who have a right to be bitterly angry at the treatment ice doles out to hispanics.

    none of this seems even remotely “radical”, as rayne makes clear. it is just common sense. 

    medical care for all is both a moral and an economic imperative. people have an equal right to the medical resources available in a society. we need healtby workers. citizens with inadequate health care over time add unnecessarily to total health care costs.

    education for all, with a society’s education resources evenly divided among the citizenry, is really the keystone requirement and need.

    adequate food is essential but often ignored.

    adequate housing is, of course, an isssue in ny city.

    personally, i would like to see a demographic breakdown of voters in that election and may go looking for one. as a harbinger of what i think and hope will happen, i will be looking in particular for large numbers of women voting.

    we are simply going to have to have a guaranteed income in this country. again, it is both a moral issue o- not condeming fellow citizens to invidious deprivation – and an isduee of pokitical and social stabikity.

    payment for the minimum income guarantee can come from 100‰ taxation of hyper rich, aka, billionaire incomes. individiuals like mark zuckerberg, bill gates, steve jobs and many to many other excessively rich americans have gotten filthy rich by means of what i call, metaphorically, “power law luck”.  by that i mean that if you invent an ipod for music storage and listening, and then realize it can become a phone with modifications, you have a product that the very large human populations in the world now may race to purchase. as you sell and develop further, and expand you become a very large corporation that develops a competitive an edge over other. microsoft desktop software was a perfect model for this. so were iphones. google’s intial search engine gave brin and page enormous income. this could be turned into a competitor for iphone. others without that income would have had great difficulty.

    • Koolmoe says:

      In short, I agree with your overall statements.

      I disagree that these are not ‘radical’.

      I’m sure it’s a matter of perspective, and that’s what my overall point is.

      To you, perhaps the majority of this group, and such…maybe it’s just ‘common sense’ and not at all radical.

      But I argue that to *the vast majority of middle-America* (politically, not necessarily geographically) these ideas ARE radical. Should they be? Perhaps not! Perhaps that’s the discussion to have – how to more adequately make these mainstream ideas (much as UHC has now become). Perhaps the way to do that is to try to force their adoption (much as was done with UHC)…which may indeed be the best strategy.

      BUT in doing so, it becomes a radical idea and is going to be 1) a tough sell to many people and 2) continue to push some people away from the left to the right in search of the comforting capitalist support, however misguided and destructive that may be (for a populace with notably no consideration of long-term results).

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Too much Kool-Aid.  Take the red pill.

        Ocasio-Cortez would have been a mainstream Democrat in the sixties or the thirties.  The GOP and neoliberals have moved the Overton window so far to the right that they would consider Republicans from the fifties or sixties as flat-out communists.  The only radical thing about Ocasio-Cortez is that she has not drunk the Kool-Aid, and still wants to enter Congress as a Democrat.

        • Koolmoe says:

          Fair point. I can respect that perspective.

          However, I still believe – regardless of why the shift – that these days such a platform is pretty radical to the mainstream voter…and thus worried that its effect will be to prevent many from voting democrat, despite the urgency to do so.

          It’s not ME that she has to convince :)

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I guess my point is that it is not radical to Main Street Americans, if broken down into what it means rather than the rhetoric they’ve been taught since grade school to stay away from, as if it were the plague. 

            It would be radical, and anathema, to establishment Democrats and to the much of the GOP.

            What cheers me is that Ocasio-Cortez, and many like her, promotes what it means and actively fights the misanthropic labels the establishment has applied to them since before the New Deal.

            • Koolmoe says:

              Yes, this! Thank you :)

              Engaging to clarify what things mean and try to get past the pre-conceived is critical. I hope to see more of it.

          • Rayne says:

            I don’t see you being convinced by anybody but by the people who persuaded you to use the word “radical.” Ditto for the so-called mainstream voter which is a construct in your head.

            65 million voters — a majority of those who voted in 2016 — wanted the current and better socialized health care, as just one example of voters embracing “radical” platform issues. And so far a net 39 House districts also want a more socialized government having flipped from Republican to Democratic since 2016.

            • Koolmoe says:

              I’d like to think I wasn’t persuaded to use ‘radical’ by anyone, and I’m not sure I’m here to be convinced – though I’m open and certainly not opposed to convincing discussion! Sure, I’ll agree my opinion on what a mainstream voter is, is surely my own construct. If I’m absolutely wrong, as your second paragraph seems to indicate, *fantastic*.

              I *agree* the majority of voters wanted what is not-now considered (by only me?) such radical ideas as UHC. I’m not so sure those same voters are open to extend that want to things like universal income and housing (though I do believe there’s more a chance for education).

              I thought for sure that Bernie would triumph over Hillary. It was tragic the way the DNC prevented it, and we’re all suffering. We’ll see how November goes! I’d sure like to be wrong that the further-left folks are not going to be perceived as too radical and dissuade Dem turnout or GOP turncoats.

              • Rayne says:

                Okay, that’s it, you’re officially a troll. You were walking a fine line, not quite falling over while we played along, but the “poor Bernie” routine is the tip-off.

                Fuck off. You know jack-all about the Democratic Party or its operations. Find the exit.

                EDIT — Adder for the pro-Bernie crowd in our commentariat.

                I’ve been a Democratic Party activist, been part of the sausage-making, written about the experience and key learnings. A Democratic candidate who wants to win does the work of organizing within the party and raising funds for its operations. You want your candidate to win? You show up years before the actual run and be a part of the party’s nuts-and-bolts; you bring your candidate with you. You don’t show up just as the election season begins and insist the party represents you on an equal basis with its other candidate(s) who have already been doing the work of building/organizing/fundraising to keep the party moving.

                That goes for Green Party folks who want to build a viable third party. Show up and do the goddamned work of building/organizing/fundraising all across the country.

                We don’t have time for wannabes and Johnnie-come-latelys.

                • Koolmoe says:

                  Ok, I’ve tried. I must not understand the new definition of a troll either. I’m trying to have a discussion – I’m not trying to bait anyone. If I’m wrong in understanding, school me. Shutting me down and kicking me out because I’m not as eloquent, or knowledgable, or on the right side of the debate is exactly the sort of thing I’m concerned about. This happened in a right-side forum too where I tried to demonstrate the liberal perspective – booted from there also So where does someone like me get a chance to discuss? Apparently nowhere…and that’s the precise problem with most everything today – pick a side, either side, but don’t dare walk the middle!

                  Am I wrong about the DNC/Bernie issue? Ok, I’m sure willing to be wrong!. Tell me what the issue really was! I’m *open to being convinced*!

                  If this doesn’t make it through and am otherwise banned, that’s fine…I’ll continue to read – the site is great overall and I wish Marcy the absolute BEST with her pursuits. And thank you, Rayne, for at least seemingly giving me a chance. I think y’all jump to conclusions WAY too quickly, but perhaps I should have taken my time to bonafide before risking such comments.

                  Ah well. Best of luck to the Dems in November. I hope my worries about the more ‘radical’ (!? :) leftist negating a lot of DT concerns are for naught.
                  (edit: re-reading, since this posted, if I’m not ‘banned’ then I will at least certainly shut-up and keep any comments to those more in-line. And an interesting perspective on the DNC and anger with Bernie. I had no idea. Schooled)


                  • Rayne says:

                    We’re not here to debate or educate you on the “DNC/Bernie issue.” Go that route again in my threads and you will be stuck in moderation hell. Find a local Democratic Party meeting and ask your question there, and while you’re at it, ask how the Democratic Party operates, from candidate selection to fundraising and organizing to electing party leadership, because you know jack about the Democratic Party in spite of your alleged background.

                    And don’t start with your pity party – you’ve been allowed to air your internally inconsistent arguments for two threads and 23 comments so far.

    • Sabrina says:

      Orion- I too first heard of her victory by NYT, I believe. And yes, they categorized her as “strongly left-leaning” and in a derogatory manner. So much so, that my initial impression was that she was an unhinged ideologue who was dangerous as a candidate since her views were so “out there” that she would not be viable in an election. As you’ve outlined though, her views seem fairly mainstream, though in the US, certainly a bit more on the “Bernie Sanders” end of the spectrum. Certainly no ideas that would be completely outlandish.
      And I’ve also heard the criticism that she will be a liability among “working class” Americans. I genuinely don’t get this characterization- that being left-leaning is so disastrous to the “average” American that OC’s win is to he lamented, not celebrated. I was wondering about this today- is it the decades of right leaning propaganda (Overton window shift, wealth increasingly as a proxy for being a good person and therefore poverty is suspect- is the person refusing to work? Are they just “that lazy”? Are they gaming the system?). And it makes me wonder if someone who is looking at wealth redistribution to the lower classes is seen as rewarding these “types” of people (who should be stronger or better in some way, whose failings are requiring them to have government handouts that taxpayers cover)? Because there is an inherent selfishness, a lack of pro-social empathy in that type of thinking. And so the question becomes: where does the propaganda end? How much of this is just a generalized self- interest among a large swath of people (concerning if true), and how much of it are people who genuinely care for others but have been so indoctrinated that they’ve lost touch with their basic sense of human compassion? I realize I’m providing more questions than answers and looking at this from a “navel-gazing” sort of way, but it’s a valid question. Most importantly because if we don’t understand what the impetus is behind the thought processes of middle America, strategies won’t effectively know how to counter this increasingly right-leaning view.

  18. Ollie says:

    Cohen had recorded Trump telling him to pay the playboy model off and how. That’s what the FBI seized in the raid. Is this the one? Are we there yet? How much longer? I feel JUST like a kid who’s been in the back seat too long wondering when wer’re going to get there.

    Each day passing w/this idiot of evil in office, I feel the loss more and more of vital basics: trust? Safety?

    I’ve never seen a thug more protected than this DJT. I’d of never thought what’s happening w/Trump/Putin would occur w/the whole world watching. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/us/politics/michael-cohen-trump-tape.html

    [Link edited to remove unique referral ID and tracking. Please remove this when sharing links. /~Rayne]

  19. Drew says:

    I think it is relevant to this discussion (and this group) to point out the one decent New York Times opinion piece I’ve seen in a long while. Sarah Smarsh is a wonderful writer: a writer from Kansas from a working class family and a progressive who questions the smugness of our stereotypes. She has a number of very good pieces out there, that I would encourage you to find and read.https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/opinion/trump-corporations-white-working-class.html

    • Rayne says:

      The “smugness” label bothers the hell out of me. It’s not just majority white rural flyover country — where I live — which is working class and plodding along in quiet desperation. This kind of label and writing only suggests the ignorance about the nature of working class America is distributed in flyover country as well. I’ll see your Smarsh and raise you this Barry piece, Latina Hotel Workers Harness Force of Labor and of Politics in Las Vegas.

      This is the part of working class America Trump voters want to forget exists.

      I’m sick of being lectured about caring for Trump voters when the Russians figured out the truth and used it successfully against us: most of them are happier when they have a minority to blame for their condition instead of themselves, whether that minority is brown-skinned or marginalized like women.

  20. Thomasa says:

    Anu Partanen’s “The nordic Theory of Everything” is a description of what seems like a socialist paradise but apparently it’s real. There are lots of potential talking points for progressive voices should one need them. Reading the book gave me hope especially when the librarian told how many young people had requested it.

  21. TheraP says:

    Thank you, Rayne!

    First, let’s dispense with terminology.  No matter whether you call it – “socialism” or another “ism” – the UN has enumerated “human rights” in a wonderful document:  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


    It behooves us all to read it and use it.  It’s a good starting place along with the Bill of Rights, which as you can see, if you read the above, has some lacks.  Lacks which lead the GOP and other folk to imagine that some things – like educating children! – are not “rights.”

    This nation is sorely in need of facing the many ways our citizens are lacking in “UN-recognized” human rights.

    So I heartily sign on to the many changes our society sorely needs.  Just yesterday, for example, I read how young Americans are not having children.  And why?  Take a look.  You’ll see that many of them, seeing the lack of childcare, healthcare or other social “securities,” are choosing not to bear the extra expense and worry that comes with raising children, while also needing to work:


    We need to stop slapping labels on things.  Especially labels that then get used by propagandists, who should be called “Selfish SOB’s.”  Failing to understand that “we are all in this together” or “that every child is my responsibility too” etc. has led to many political dead-ends in this country.  I well recall my husband (an Immigrant, who loves his home country) saying:  “In the United States property is protected before People!”  How right he is.

    Stepping off the Soap Box….

    • posaune says:

      Thank you, TheraP.   Makes me weep that the US in the past two weeks has withdrawn from the UN Council on Human Rights.   I keep thinking of Janusz Korczak, his Declaration of Children’s Rights (1924), adopted by the UN in 1959.    Dr. Korczak, who knew and fully understood, at Theresienstad what lie ahead for his orphans and himself.    And I weep for the babies and children that we have so recently traumatized.

      Rayne, thanks for this post — I hope I did the link correctly.


      • TheraP says:

        I’m with you in the weeping and grieving.  100%!

        I meant to include a reference to the Declaration of Chilren’s Rights.  So thanks for adding that great link.  It works beautifully.

        These have been sad weeks for this nation.  Tragic weeks!  The whole MalAdministration is a tragedy.  (Look at that!  The software correctly “knew” that word!)  Proves how big is the Resistance.  We have become a blight and shame before the rest of the world.  It grieves me deeply.

        • cat herder says:

          But but but! Real America will hear “U.N.” and think “Agenda 21!” And then, Snowflakes! SJWs! Civil Liberties Absolutists! Radical Leftists! Kenyan Usurper! ENTITLEMENTS!!!!!1!

          So, all that U.N. analysis stuff will never fly, because we must come up with new ideas that don’t remind voters of things they hear every day on talk radio.


  22. TheraP says:

    OT – but seriously related to this blog:

    I note that EW is now “joking” – in a Tweet – about those who might (or might not) want to kill her.

    I don’t know how to quote her Tweet. Maybe somebody can add it. It’s very humorous. But deadly serious. (Especially about the “deadly.”)

    As Rayne mentions above, “absolutist propaganda” is pervasive. It needs to be confronted in its every form – including the verbal ‘attacking’ of journalists and Patriots, who choose to care more about their nation than their personal welfare.

    Let the Incendiary Executive in Chief be on notice: “YOU will be held responsible, as co-agent, if anything happens to EW!”

    • greengiant says:

      During the 2016 election the death threats in the US were fast and furious. Directed at anyone AND their families who had the smallest, tiniest connection to Soros financial support. After Giffords was shot I don’t recall any increase in congressional security. But after the house whip was shot on the baseball field security seems to have increased for all congress people. As the IRA shows threats are big business, like as the Koch brothers, or the people who were too scared to show up at the polls in 2016. Big warning to local law enforcement at what might be coming down the pike at EW.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Looking forward to local LE dealing with traffic congestion around polling places on 2018-11-06.

  23. greengiant says:

    New threads on Peterson. 1 of 2.
    I give Peterson credit that dehumanization and violence are not a winning strategy despite the vile and hateful fruit of his tree by which he must be judged. Too many critics have put words into his mouth. Totally unnecessary. Don’t fall for the Peterson/Bannon/Trump game of agitation propaganda where the goal is to increase everyone’s adrenaline level, both opponents and supporters. Roy Cohn school of ratfucking, bad publicity is good publicity, as long as people are talking about Potus45.

  24. greengiant says:

    New threads on Peterson 2 of 2.
    “language should not be legislated”, Peterson is Canadian and lives under different libel and harassment laws than the US. Harassment is alive and well in the US, ask any person of color or woman in the service industries, or driving around and so on. It is only occurs below the surface to whatever degree in any world class US organization. For at least 35 years harassment has been an immediate termination offense. HR gives employees training in what not to do. The use of language that someone only overhears is damaging and illegal. One reason is that language may remind someone of abuse that they previously suffered. What moral person wishes to harm another in that manner, much less direct such language at another.

    Interesting, none of the top WH staff, Trump or Bannon could work in a publicly held company.

  25. Daulnay says:

    Can we start thinking beyond Industrial Age ‘Communism vs. Capitalism’, please? It’s not very fruitful.

    “You might want to catch up, then. Save the “But capitalism!” and “But taxes!” rebuttal because
    1) we live in a mixed economy already;”

    The real question is who gets to govern our society. Both business and state are institutions for governing peoples’ lives (as are religious ones). Of course our society is mixed, it will always be that way as long as we keep governmental powers spread among different sets of institutions. Since the Reagan era, business institutions have worked to shift government from state to corporate institutions. We’re still governed, it’s just a change in who is governing. (I personally prefer to be governed by institutions where I have a vote in what happens.)

    One of the real innovations in the American experiment was to divide state and religious power, and to fragment the power of both. There were no large economic institutions at the time of the founding, aside from the East India Company, which was more an arm of the Empire. We’ve seen the growth of large institutions who govern the economic parts of our lives. Some of our corporate-aligned leaders would like to see all governmental power swept into their domain. (” shrink it [state government] down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”)

    “2) the socialist portions have been cut too far back and proven capitalism to be grossly inefficient in wealth distribution; and”

    Capitalism is a tool, like fire. To be used safely it needs to be controlled, regulated. If you let it out of control, it destroys your social fabric. When it’s under control, it’s an essential part of a well-functioning society (as it was between the mid-’30s and ’70s in the U.S.) We don’t want communism (sitting in the cold and dark with no fire) – markets are very useful. We don’t want everything to burn down, either (unregulated capitalism).

    Labelling socialist and capitalist is counter-productive, both words have become shibboleths that get in the way of discussion. Territorial and corporate government say the same thing but raise fewer hackles. (Kind of… It’s necessary to distinguish Capitalism the ideology, Capitalism the economic system (free markets and the accumulation of capital driving the allocation of investment), and Capitalism the system of corporate government. Above I mean the middle definition.)

    3) leaders, particularly Democratic ones, already grasp the problem.

    I would argue that they really don’t. There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the absence of economic progress for 80%+ of our society, but only superficial discussion of the problem. It’s a lot more serious than unequal distribution of economic gains, it’s a recurring, dangerous social problem.

    Look back to the classics. It’s been understood from ancient times that when an aristocracy acts only to enrich itself and ignores the welfare of the general population, the ordinary people elevate a tyrant to help them. For the last 30+ years, our elites have vacuumed up all the economic gains, leaving literally none for anyone but those in the top 20%. Only people over 55 have lived in good times, when the American Dream was a reality for non-elites. We’ve had successive elections where our elites traded places, campaigning on ‘hope’, while dividing us with culture war issues. The wannabe-tyrant Trump won, in part, because of his contempt for conservative and liberal elites, and his promises to break the system.

    The left of the Democratic party see part of the problem, but I don’t get the sense that they see it accurately, as a problem of elites/aristocracy ignoring the well-being of ordinary people. Far too many Democrats are willing to privatize essentially public institutions like schools, or shift core governmental functions like justice into the corporate control of private arbitration (the 7th Amendment is basically dead). Proposed solutions like Universal Basic Income treat symptoms, not the causes. UBI is more bread-and-circuses than an actual solution to our problem of elites monopolising political/economic power.

    • Rayne says:

      1) The real question is who gets to govern our society — this is in constant tension and will not end so long as power and its proxy, capital, corrupt.
      2) Capitalism is a tool, like fire — yes, again there will be constant tension about the restraints placed on returns to capital (hello, Piketty and r>g) and the needs of the commonweal.
      3) The left of the Democratic party see part of the problem — Most centrists do, too, but they respond reflexively to the right having been conditioned by their surrounds (most centrists arise from equally centrist communities). The problem is how to detox and replace reflexivity (and Soros might actually be the guy who understands this best both politically and economically). We have decades of deprogramming ahead after decades of propaganda before the entire left spectrum will not only understand but respond appropriately to the problems we face; will the problems outstrip the pace of this change? We’ll see.

      Welcome to emptywheel.

      • Daulnay says:

        “1) The real question is who gets to govern our society — this is in constant tension and will not end so long as power and its proxy, capital, corrupt.”

        When you have two sets of institutions struggling for power, the fight continues for a long time.  The last time we were in this situation in the West, it lasted several centuries (Church vs State, ending in 1648).

        State and Corporation have different sources of power, different rationales for existence.  The most fervent adherents on each side argue that the other side is corrupt.  It’s not going to end by merely eliminating the corporate ability to corrupt politicians;  one side will probably have to subjugate the other.  The time when corporation and state would co-exist peacefully seems to be over (…if it ever really existed), unless they are convinced to make peace.

        So it’s not a matter of deprogramming or propaganda —  these are institutions struggling for power.   To frame the problem as merely deprogramming downplays how deeply the problem is rooted.

        Forgive the sporadic replies. I’m not a member of the leisure class, nor can I write quickly and well. I know this goes against blog convention, but it’s the best I can do.

        • Rayne says:

          The last time we were in this situation in the West, it lasted several centuries (Church vs State, ending in 1648).

          LOL Apparently you missed the arguments against Catholics holding higher office — like John F. Kennedy — and the Christian Coalition’s cultural warfare from the 1970s-2000s. The religious right has embedded itself so tightly with the GOP that it’s virtually impossible to tease them out, let alone distiguish them from white nationalists.

          The time when corporation and state would co-exist peacefully seems to be over (…if it ever really existed), unless they are convinced to make peace.

          Oh, they co-exist and even become one, under government of, by, and for business. It’s called fascism and we’re there.

          Forgive the sporadic replies. I’m not a member of the leisure class, nor can I write quickly and well.

          Nice dig. Bring a better grade of concern trolling when you can pry yourself away from your drudgery.

  26. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    I just wish to say that I rely on EW and the “intelligencia” that regularly serves this site to provide me every day with the answer to Camus’ one philosophical question. I especially appreciate the way with which trolls are dealt. Until recently, I would get impatient with the time and effort devoted to these dishonest contributors but I have grown to appreciate the responses of the moderators and those including EoH and orionATL who deconstruct and instruct these liars. Thank you again.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I think moderators here are direct, explicit and generally patient.  Commentators normally get several mulligans.

      At nakedcapitalism, for comparison, breaking the strict rules of golf earns a one-stroke penalty.  Do it again and you’re disqualified from the tournament.  With luck, contrition and changed ways, you might keep your tour card.

  27. Kick the darkness says:

    I guess I think  the terms left and right are now effectively meaningless-labels of convenience for opposing campus pushed apart by the purposeful polarization of American politics.  Do they really have anything to do anymore with a spectrum of political philosophies, Hayek v. Keynes, or whatever?  For example, is abolishing ICE a radical idea because it pushes too far left?  If anything it sounds rightward, in a classic sense, removing obstacles to the movement of peoples or ideas should help promote the operation of free markets.  But, of note, abolishing ICE is definitely anti-authoritarian in intent.  Or, from another angle, why should something like climate change denial come packed up in the same “right wing” swag bag as nativism, gun rights, etc.  The only sensible answer I can come to for how that fits together comes from the research of Altemeyer on authoritarian personality traits.  And that’s what our politics are right now, opposing camps where each side see itself as the one that is resisting a slide towards  authoritarian regime change.   In this sense I completely agree with Rayne when she says:

    “Perhaps the real problem is the decades-long right-wing propaganda which denigrates reasonable, achievable political solutions”.

    I grew up at the time and in the part of the country where that propaganda machine was being rolled into position.  But, it was not right wing in a healthy sense, it was clearly authoritarian, seeking to cement a other wise loose sense of cultural identify that could be manipulated.  So, JMO,  terms like “radical” with respect to sub-dividing a left or right camp in the current political environment is, unwittingly or not, employing a form of propaganda. It does not make a meaningful distinction.  Unwiittingly or not, it only serves a divisive purpose.

    • cat herder says:

      See politicalcompass.org for a better description of why left/right is inadequate. That only covers economic issues. Authoritarian/libertarian covers the social issues. So, ‘Center-left libertarian’ would be a good descriptive label.
      (note: politicalcompass.org authors are mysteriously unknown and thus suspect; but their description of the spectrum being defined as more than just two directions along a single line is imminently useful, even if their analysis of who goes where, and why, is bullshit.)

      • Kick the darkness says:

        Academic, but next time I bump into my political sci buddy I’ll have to ask if, across a big sample, the separate economic and social indexes on such a compass are correlated variables.  The link below is one I bookmarked at some point.  Its kind of got that old Firesign Theater “Everything you know is wrong” thing going on, but parts of it ring true for me even if I could not derive or defend much of what is said.


        But to keep with the point about O-C, if she were scored on such a political compass spectrum, would she be a statistical outlier?  Or even in the upper or lower quintile?  I’d bet no.  And if that were to be the case, I’d argue that she would be better described as “practical” rather than “radical”.

        I guess the point I was trying to make, clumsily, was that in the politics of the moment, trying to split a policy plank on what’s “too radical” seems to me akin to trying to pull a “squirrel”.

  28. holdingsteady says:

    Clear-eyed realism, democracy-saving realism, thank you Rayne. Somehow, a couple of years ago, in a roundabout way, this article brought me to Emptywheel; it came back to mind while reading this discussion, so I looked it up:


    KoolMoe, your arguments that Octavia-Cortez is radical don’t hold up. Rayne proved that in her opening post and others followed up brilliantly. The ideas bravely and unapologetically expressed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others are not only inspiring but perhaps are what will save our democracy, waking people up to vote, with hope. I remember watching the debate in 1988 where George H.W. Bush sneered at Dukakis for being a card carrying liberal member of the ACLU, and as Rayne said, the word liberal was weaponized. You seem to still be cowed by that sneering attitude. If words matter, we must not misuse the word radical in an attempt to shut down needed progress.

    Note to self: make sure I renewed my ACLU membership, thanks all!
    BTW, my moniker relates to the Bonnie Raitt song about holding steady her crooked crown, not sure if I’m really holding steady.

  29. holdingsteady says:

    Embarrassed and apologetic to not proofread this, and misspelling Ocasio-Cortez’ name… my edit time ran out while I was arranging to pick up my son from college, excuses excuses, please forgive my misspelling, I used to fancy being an editor, oops.

  30. TheraP says:

    Speaking of realism, last night I almost fell over in my chair when Yamish Alcindor (PBS Newshour White House correspondent) said (I’m paraphrasing) that White House aides etc. will have to choose “between Trump and the Truth.”

    Yes, she said that!  I almost couldn’t believe it!  There’s just too much false equivalence and parroting of the Dark Lord’s lunacy by actual journalists.  I want to reach into the screen and give her a hug!  She gives all her reports in dead seriousness but has this effervescent personality with a lovely smile.  As she speaks the Truth!

    Here’s a link. Includes the video and a transcript:


    So some realism is getting through.  (Including this great thread, which I have yet to carefully read in its entirety – as I got derailed by a caretaking task.  Caretaking of me, I might add.)

    For All:  Do everything you can to take care of yourselves.  These are difficult days.  Try to prevent PTSD.

  31. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Good governance and good campaigning require positive messages and effective programs.  They also require cleaning house and depriving opponents of their cultural platforms.  Those are truisms that have been motivating the right since the First World War.   That was never more true than in during the post-WWI Red Scare, the whole decade of the 1950s, and the period since Reagan first won the White House.  Establishment Dems should start learning that message.

    One example is Rep. Jim Jordan.  He is a hard right, self-described tough guy and Freedom [sic] Caucus leader, who is thought enough of that he was once a credible replacement as Speaker of the House.  His handling of the OSU sex scandal – akin to Michigan State’s – should disqualify him from office.  The Dems lost Al Franken in the Senate over less deficient behavior.

    OSU just admitted that more than 100 former student athletes complained about the sexually inappropriate behavior of the now-deceased athletics department doctor.  He worked with athletes from at least fourteen team sports.  The head wrestling coach that Jordan worked for for eight years himself reported the athletics doctor to university authorities.

    Rep. Jordan also employed a former aide in Columbus for six years.  That aide has been reported to be one of the state capital’s most prominent sexual predators.

    About either the athletics doctor and his former aide, Jimmy Jordan knew nussink.  Time for the House and Democrats to call bullshit on another Sgt. Schultz.

    • Kick the darkness says:

      “Good governance and good campaigning require positive messages and effective programs.”  That’s a good point in all this.  O-C was a blast of fresh air, with her youth, optimism, work ethic, and, for want of a better term, rationality.  If she can be viewed as meaningfully “radical” in today’s politics, perhaps it is in terms of those qualities.  Good governance and effective programs?  Let us hope she, and other like her,  lead us to a place where we regain some of what we’ve lost.

    • Rusharuse says:

      Sauna Jim can’t comb his hair or properly do-up his tie. I suspect brain damage. Too long on the wrong end of a “rear naked choke”, perhaps?

  32. Kim Kaufman says:

    Calling Ocasia-Cortez a “radical” is hippie-punching 101, imo. The same playbook was used against Bernie, with diminishing returns since he still appears to be an extremely popular politician, if not still #1. It is being done mostly by the scared centrist Dems.

    Perhaps the real problem is the decades-long right-wing propaganda which denigrates reasonable, achievable political solutions to real problems average Americans face as radical and socialism as something we haven’t already accepted and relied upon within our existing social safety nets like Social Security and Medicare.

    I would argue that it is true that the right wing has led the above effort (Democracy in Chains by Nancy Maclean) and are the real radicals (and not in a good way), since Bill Clinton the Dems have been quite on board with kicking 90% of the population into lowered standard of living, if not downright poverty and misery for the benefit of corporate interests and big donors. Bill Clinton was ready to cut a deal with Gingrich to privatize Social Security and then along came Monica. Obama was also ready for his “grand bargain” with Boehner but bless the congressional far right wingnuts for turning it down because it didn’t go far enough in creating enough misery for the 90%.

    If Ocasia-Cortez keeps her message on the issues and how it can benefit the 90%, she should be fine.

    • greengiant says:

      Thanks you brought an interesting thought to me that trollish visitors might be from neo-liberals as opposed to the usual trouble maker sources.I usually adopt the obvious troll goal as the indicator of where they are coming from. To me EW seems to lure more foreign than domestic trolls. As one put it, a tough crowd.

    • Rayne says:

      Movement Conservatism as a whole has worked to suppress any collective or socialistic effort. Buchanan appealed to Kochs because he was an American economist; others within the Movement found philosophers like Leo Strauss sympatico, and all had a centralized home in Heritage Foundation. The more recently established Mackinaw Center added gasoline to their flame — credit them as the origin of the Overton window, by which the right-wing radicalized its vanguard and dragged the centrist left with it. Until the left grasps the Overton window itself and uses the truly unthinkable to make radical issues more acceptable, we’re going to be fighting a drag to the right as we’ve seen in this thread.

      I had a falling out with some Democrats because they felt Obama was fine where he was. He didn’t move left until he was forced to — I think at one point he said “now make me” on an issue, can’t recall what it was. I took that to mean that he needed cover to move left, that unless there was a point visible and much further to the left he couldn’t begin to approach it. Thinking like the first black Democratic president, if that’s what he meant he was correct. The GOP crucified him for wearing a tan suit; we should have made his tan suit look de rigueur for all Congress by whipping up a storm much farther to the left.

      • cat herder says:

        I keep picturing the Repubs as racing off over the edge of a cliff, Wile E. Coyote style. And the ‘establishment’ Dems in a panic, desperate to follow after them (“Look at all the ideological ground they’ve ceded, I bet we can pick up TONS of votes over there! Lets go!”).

        • Rayne says:

          I think the demographics will eventually take care of the “establishment” Dems. Women’s March in January 2017 and the March for Our Lives youth movement give evidence that a sleeping colossus has been awakened; the record number of women running for office proof that more than words are coming. What worries me is the ground between here and the point where the demographics kick the white nationalist GOP to Hades. Will this transition happen peacefully? I live in hope.

          “… the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Except that they are quite happy to engage in socialism and collective effort to promote their own ends.  The collective action of their lobbyists, trade associations and think tanks is legendary.  Their socialistic efforts to help each other, from school and Ivy League admissions to wingnut welfare for the likes of Hugh Hewitt and Rick Santorum.

        They like the tools.  But they want to demonize them so that no one else can use them.

  33. bittersweet says:

    So, Democratic Socialism is bad…because socialism is bad, just look at the USSR! But now that Russia is just an “unveiled” plain old fashioned dictatorship, Russia is good! And socialism is still “bad”? I can’t remember, but was socialism “bad” because it kept people poor, and everyone got the same low wage? So now that capitalism is keeping everyone poor and on the same low wage, it is still”good”? And Russia is “good” now because “capitalism”?

    I think that the republicans need to re-educate us on what is “good” and what is “bad”, as soon as they figure it out themselves.

    And didn’t Fascism used to be “bad” too? Is it “good” now?

  34. Just Rob says:

    By “and worse,” (2d to last paragraph) do mean “elitist?” For the better part of 30 years I’ve tried to fully comprehend the notion of “liberal elitism,” to understand how the impartial and unconditional humanism underpinning my ideology might be called into question by accusations of my being an elitist.

    Maybe it’s because…? Or the…?

    Nope, can’t make sense of it.

    Oh! And to answer the rhetorical question: clear-eyed realism all the way.

  35. Rapier says:

    The socialism of the past won’t work now.  Not one you market that’s for sure.  Not in the wired world culture. Who am I to say?  The king of Sweden? Maybe.  Socialism works there because everybody is a cousin.

    What we need is to destroy the idea that all markets are the same. They are not.  Markets are also not the perfect information processor that always provides the best solution.  That’s Hayek talking, he’s the father of neoliberalism, who was positing that the market is God.   So it came to pass that businessmen became our priests and the market became our God.

  36. Kim Kaufman says:

    Reply button doesn’t seem to be working. In response to Rayne @ 9:21, she says:

    “Until the left grasps the Overton window itself and uses the truly unthinkable to make radical issues more acceptable,”

    OK, and what are the ideas being talked about that are so radical? Medicare for All (Single payer, whatever), free college tuition (like it used to be when rich people paid taxes), don’t cut Social Security expand it (and make the rich pay their share), cut defense spending and wars, etc.? Or we need regulations over the banking system, clean air and water, etc.? These are actually ideas with broad support. It’s only the few, yes, radical right wing freaks who say these are radical – along with Joe Lieberman who has crawled out from under a rock to say Ocasia-Cortez is radical. And these freaks personally profit from what they’re doing. At the very least, I think Bernie and now Ocasia-Cortez are pushing that Overton window back.

    • Rayne says:

      We have to go even further than the ideas you listed in order to make the right-wing on Fox News, talk radio, Sinclair broadcast stop labeling them as radical. None of those issues are outside of the realm of possibility, none of them serve a narrow constituency, none of them hurt this country — quite the opposite.

      That we can’t come up with issues positions any further left demonstrates how lacking in practice we are and how challenged we are to provide cover for progressive candidates. Their job isn’t to push the window; the issues they run on should be so obviously mainstream they are a gimme. The left outside candidates — perhaps the Occupy movement — should be pushing the window much farther to the left.

      • Palli says:

        Thank you, Rayne. I have so little patience to discuss the bare minimum of a just society.

        What we have here is a failure to imagine, so we settle for trying to achieve the bare minimum of a just society.What are those leaps of logic that push the window?

        Serious Income redistribution in the form of allowable maximum wealth, as opposed to our emphasis on the ideas like a mandated minimum income wage, is one of those ideas. No, there is no more society benefit to the maintenance of the 1% than there is to extreme poverty. Yet we tolerate both as inevitable.

        There are other ideas but we hardly get to discuss them, even in fiction. There is only distopian fiction.

  37. peacerme says:

    There should be a lesson for Dems. There are behaviors that trump does when attached to truth,  becomes true leadership. When a leader and truth (define it however you wish, in simple terms, shared wisdom), collide , the majority will follow without the use of power and control. Because most of do see that the “emperor has no clothes.” When he refuses to back down. When he refuses the negatives. There are behaviors that are just slightly off from strong healthy leadership. The variant that divides is truth. (I am not suggesting absolute truth, but simple truths that we share, we know by fact to be valid.) If he we’re connected to reality we the majority would not balk. When a leader lies because he cannot see truth, he leads all who follow into the false abyss. A perpetual hell. The key is truth. That can only be observed in the now, through mindfulness. In our committment to nonjudgment, truth, facts, the journey and desire for truth is divine. That desire to know, over the desire to mangle truth to regulate emotion. In one paradigm, truth sets us free, in the other, we are stuck in a schizmogenic loop of broken logic.

    • Peacerme says:

      Ack! I didn’t make my point clear. Fucking narcissists are promoted, respected. Policeman, surgeons, and corporate leadership have very high levels of narcissists being successful in those professions. What I am saying is that we have all been spawned to respect power and control. We in this country have respect for people who exhibit these characteristics. (Unfortunately some of us respect those behaviors more than we respect the difference between fact and opinion.) We are after all,  a very imperialistic and have been, a very violent nation. When we don’t acknowledge the true cost of this, we lose our own way on the map of life! My point is that we are lying to ourselves about who we really are. It’s the lies, the invalidation, the lack of connection to truth that differentiates real effective leadership.

      Power and control doesn’t require truth to persuade. It is simply using fear, guilt and shame. American Indians, the native tribes of this country, fell to power and control and lies. Slavery, power and control and lies! The lies continue. I am not saying trump is a good leader. I am saying that his use of power and control makes some people think he is. Because of the lies that they believe. The lies perpetuated by this country and white privilege. His power is not tethered to truth. We need a leader tethered to truth who will use power and control against him!! That’s what I am saying. The thin line is truth. And that’s the whole ball game! My point is if a leader is tethered to truth they can fight him and win. Martin Luther King jr had this quality. His strength was his connection to truth. The majority saw the truth in his words and actions. We desperately need a leader like that.

      Sorry I wasn’t clear. Trump is a malignant toxic narcissist with the capacity in his lack of concience and empathy to kill us all, if we let him. But whoever fights him has to be strong in their connection to reality in regard to racism, diversity. We need a leader who is woke and healed and we need it now!!! Trump is on the other side of this ideal leader. He is the polar opposite buts it’s a very thin line, because we are blind to our love of power and control!! Our lies made us vulnerable to the likes of him. That’s what I mean by thin line. Good parents using power and control still looks like a good parents in this country because we are blind to the damage! The greatest gift we can give to the world is to heal from the damage of power and control. Keeping in mind that we cannot change what we don’t accept. There is real damage to the way trump treats people. It’s as if we lack the strong language to communicate and express this reality because too many of us can’t see it for what is is!! The thin line is a disease of perception.

  38. Bri2k says:

    ” There are behaviors that are just slightly off from strong healthy leadership.”

    That sounds like an incredibly overly-generous description to me.

    Trump’s behaviors are certainly far worse than just “slightly off” and I’ve seen him demonstrate absolutely zero “leadership” since he was installed in office.

    Perhaps I’m not entirely understanding this. Blame a lack of coffee.

    • Rayne says:

      LOL I think that was very generous, but I also consider the gentle nature of the source — much less likely to be a fucking potty mouth like a couple of the women here and much less likely to call Trump a fucking psychopathic narcissist with Putin’s hand up his ass so far I can see Vlad’s manicure when Trump talks. What Trump has done isn’t leadership but the execution of a hostile nation-state’s policy aims combined with kow-towing to a grossly insecure and malignant white nationalist base.

      Obviously I’ve had a couple rather large cups of java this morning.

      EDIT — I should also add this opinion is mine and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of other contributors at this site.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Normally, I would call that description of leadership snark.  But I haven’t had my two strong cups of java either.

      I agree.  Trump has not shown leadership.  He is in far over his head.  His default reaction is to behave like he’s running his own, one-man company: overcharging, over-marketing, ripping off.

      If he is not in the bag in a big way for Putin, he’s demonstrating a fantastic ignorance of business, politics, and, yes, self-marketing.

      Body-language is the one language in which Trump is both fluent and unable to lie.  His demeanor on leaving his one-on-one with Putin was utter defeat and submission.  Vlad’s was satisfaction so complete, I thought he would light up a Camel.

      • Trip says:

        Holy crap, @earl, I took a look at that photo yesterday, and my dentistry skills are now honed. Trump looked positively dejected. If he wasn’t such a horrid human being, he would have gained my sympathy. He appeared ready to keel over. Look at his slumped shoulders and posture, aside from the facial expression of doom. Compare and contrast with Putin’s shit-eating grin.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Yep.  It almost doesn’t matter what Vlad has on Trump.  (Not really.)  Whatever it is, it’s good shit.  Vlad is the only guy to bring Trump to heel, to make him shut up, sit, and wait for his treat, which is likely to be not withdrawing a favor rather than being given one.

          On the other hand, it does matter a lot what Vlad has on Trump.  It almost certainly relates to high crimes and misdemeanors sufficient to remove him and his family from public life.

          • Trip says:

            The Russians are mocking and trolling him, releasing bits and pieces of the summit. If anyone else had pulled the same maneuver, Trump would have gone apeshit in a twitter rant about them. That part is the most telling. Not just that he got beat up, but that he is so passive afterward. What did Melanie say about him hitting back 10 times harder?

            Instead, he’s trying to divert attention to Cohen, and slam him.

        • posaune says:

          Not to inject sympathy here, but in looking at the Trump-Putin photo and the video with the Queen, I wonder if there’s been a TIA or minor stroke.   Notice how Trump pulls his right leg.   When he was with the Queen, his left arm was swinging as he walked with her, but not his right — his right arm didn’t really move.  That, along with word retrieval deficiency (left brain) makes me question whether he’s had a stroke.   (He certainly did look like he’d been hit by a truck in that photo with Putin.)

          • Rayne says:

            I’ve been wondering if he has Parkinson’s based on his approach to stairs and his flexed posture as well as his habit of gripping water bottles with both hands.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            His gait does suggests a significant problem.  The 92 year-old Queen walked with more assurance.

            • Rayne says:

              NO. I would not extend him the pity I’d have for a mosquito I smashed before it bit me.

              This narcissist should have been thinking of his legacy now that he’s staring at the last percentile of his life but he is too far gone to do that, let alone have any empathy or sympathy for others. May he reap what he’s sown.

              I’d worry more about what happens to a country whose co-equal branch responsible for oversight fails to remove deeply corrupt man from office as he becomes increasingly sick and feeble.

  39. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Establishment Democrats use Lyin’ Lieberman to spew this message because he is now a half-familiar name and easily disposable – on the off chance that their strategery doesn’t work:

    “Because the policies Ms Ocasio-Cortez advocates are so far from the mainstream, her election in November would make it harder for Congress to stop fighting and start fixing problems,” the 2000 vice-presidential pick wrote.

    The Guardian cites to Lieberman’s WSJ article from July 17th.  In it, he assures other NY Metro establishment figures – in the manner of David Brooks – that they and their world are still OK. 

    To keep it that way, he tells them to vote for loser Joe Crowley.  The reality-challenged Lieberman seems to have missed that Crowley lost by a significant double-digit margin in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.

    If the Democratic establishment keeps doing that, it will once again snap defeat from the jaws of victory, a feat this establishment seems to prefer more than any other.

    • Trip says:

      Didn’t Lieberman lose a primary of his own in CT and then he ran under the Lieberman party or some other such nonsense? With so many politicians, ego and sense of entitlement for office exceeds ethics, concern for constituency and plain ol’ sense. Why has he never jumped to the Republican-side, where he belongs?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Exactly.  Lieberman lost the Democratic nomination for the Senate to Ned Lamont.  He ran as an “independent,” I think, and won, with enormous support and lots of money from the national party.  Exactly the kind of socialist community support that the establishment of both parties decries when anyone else uses it.

        But note that they did so against the wishes of CT Democratic Party voters. I think Lyin’ Lieberman received a lot of GOP votes, too, in order to keep out of the Senate a much more progressive voice. An example of tribal loyalty among the elite, which trumps party and citizenry every time.

        So, yea, Lieberman is the obvious spokesman for this ruse. But I think Crowley is smart enough to know it won’t work in his district, and perhaps not anywhere any more.

        • Trip says:

          I just looked him (Lieberman) up. The turncoat endorsed John McCain for president, saying Obama wasn’t ready. And yet, if McCain had become unable to perform duties via injury, illness or death, we could have had President Palin.

          Now I’m wondering if that would have surpassed the current crazy or would’ve somehow seemed sane by comparison.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            There’s a lot in that brief example.  Lieberman was Obama’s mentor.  An odd choice for a hopey changey guy, but not for a corporatist middle of the roader.

            Lieberman abandoned that relationship to back McCain, the nominee of his political opponents.  Another betrayal, especially after national Dems put him back in office after losing the support of his own state.

            Lyin’ Lieberman also sought to be McCain’s VP.  He lost out to Palin because McCain was only comfortable with a Dan Quayle-like VP.  He didn’t want to run with anyone qualified to be a replacement president.  McCain gave so little thought to the process that nobody event vetted Palin.  Never a good sign in a wannabe president.  And Joe backed him.

            • Rayne says:

              When you discuss Obama, I have the impression you forget he’s not white. Lieberman disgusts me but I can understand why the first person of color assuming the presidency would rely on guidance from a man who courted both sides of the aisle.

              And I also believe by virtue of his heritage Obama wasn’t naive about Lieberman.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Your impression would be incorrect.

                Lieberman did not become what he is now overnight.  He has been that man for a long time. He represents the party establishment’s corporate wing, which is most frequently at odds with those looking for hope and change.

                I agree that Mr. Obama, by virtue of his intellect and street smarts, already had a good understanding of his mentor, and of those who wield power generally, when he courted him.

  40. Bri2k says:

    That’s absolutely correct, Trip. I agree that it’s disingenuous of Lieberman to claim to speak for Democrats when he wasn’t one at the end and blocked the more progressive aspects of ACA to protect the insurance industry. The only thing Lieberman knows is which side his bread is buttered on.

  41. Rayne says:

    I just binned a ranty comment consisting of one 568-word graf from someone who said “socialism is corrupt” before going on about their ability to achieve a measure of personal wealth by relying on military service, their military benefits, their spouse’s military benefits, obtaining successive jobs with government at state and local level after receiving an education supported in a number of ways by state and federal government. I’m going to guess they managed to keep some of their savings safely in a FDIC-insured bank account. Probably got a mortgage through an FDIC-insured bank.

    They proudly claim ownership of multiple vehicles built to government safety standards they can drive on state- and federally-maintained roads.

    And they point out anybody can do what they’ve done in this capitalist system –which must not be a corrupt socialist system.

    “The idea of the government guaranteeing a wage is not what our system is based on.  And if it goes there what makes this country great will be wiped away.”

    This egghead (used pejoratively in the comment) here is now boggled by the brilliance of this observation. I am now at a loss for words.

  42. [email protected] says:

    Fear, guilt and shame

    the lies:

    1) Rich people are inherently good. (And white)

    2) brown people can get rich but they will never be as good as the white oligarchy.

    3) if you struggle there is something wrong with you.

    4) it’s not my fault. I didn’t hurt people. I don’t use power and control. If I do it’s because I right.

    5) sharing is weak

    6) Peace is weak

    7) it’s only powerful if it hurts.

    I could go on. Dems must start addressing these lies but when you only promote people with wealth to represent they will not know how to speak to these lies. Warren, Bernie and Obama could do it some. But we need to start calling selfishness, greed, what they are. We need to push the meme that No one gets rich all by themselves!!! Etc…you know this. I am just ranting. We aren’t addressing the underlying lies or distortions. We attack trump but we don’t address the values or truth!

  43. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Thanks for the moderating.

    I had a friend whose spouse enjoyed her union-negotiated wages, benefits, and security of tenure, then ranted about busting unions because they made life hard on poor managers.  He was a partially employed non-union auto mechanic.  Inexplicably to me, she followed him to the voting booth.

    Ayn Rand was also quite happy to collect Social Security and other government benefits, while ranting that others who collected them were social wastrels keeping back the John Galts of the world.  Gifts showered on her by admiring fans, gifts of solidarity and support, many from the very well-heeled, many from people earning a fraction of her income, she regarded as her just desserts.  Her social pathology was as apparent as her inability to write.

    A related matter is that so many of her continuing book sales come from wingnut welfare, another form of socialism and communal support.  The books are purchased by institutions.  They buy thousands at a time, as if they were Gideon bibles destined for the world’s hotel rooms, happy to use her mythology for their own ends, propping up hard done by corporate and financial titans.

    • Trip says:

      Paul Ryan also benefited from social safety nets. He is the “wonk” (yeah, right, I got other words) who always wanted to kill Medicare/caid and SS. They are all part of the “I’m up, so pull the ladder up now, Jack”-syndrome. The assholes crossed the bridge, think that’s plenty, shut it down now, let ’em all drown.

    • posaune says:

      My entire extended family have been dems going back to Al Smith.  Except the one aunt & children who went for Reagan in 1980 and of course, Trump (robo-catholics obsessed with Roe v. Wade.)  Extremely bitter people who denigrate any benefits or welfare for others.    Except themselves:  my aunt takes Social Security and Medicare; my cousin was a police desk sergeant who became seriously ill  for three years and passed last year, supported during that time by taxpayer-provided health insurance and disability income, along with SSI for herself and her children, etc., taxpayer-provided life insurance, etc.  Of her four siblings, three are taking SSI disability and Medicaid.

    • Trip says:

      You know, if these pols REALLY believed the bullshit they were spouting, they would immediately pay out of pocket for their own security and travel, and they’d pay for their own health insurance. Further, since they hate government so much, why do they stay in power, in government, for so freaking long?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It’s enough to make you think they don’t believe it, that the schtick is just useful in inciting resentment, extremism and followership. 

        One NYC immigrant street gang fighting the next immigrant wave’s street gang. Keeps them from wondering how the owners amassed the wealth to build those mansions on Park Avenue. 

        Really, those and their cousins in Newport, are nothing more than an expression of Social Darwinism, nature’s inevitable separation of wheat from chafe.  Or maybe not.

  44. Bruce Olsen says:

    The right has definitely played the long game better than the left. Someone made sure Butina was at FreedomFest in 2015 to question Trump about sanctions, and further made sure that Trump has a coherent response–all when Trump generally can’t plan his way to the end of a sentence. So Trump is certainly willing and able to be part of a long-term plan when leads to his benefit (or perhaps to an absence of pain).

    Most of the valley hates Trump, but if I were Musk or Kalanick I’d clench my teeth and join Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, so I didn’t give it much thought at first–but I did wonder if some deeper game might have been underway (deeper than the obvious reasons to be part of this kind of body). Here’s what I came up with.

    — It’s been obvious to tech people and forward-thinking investors that agricultural robotics is inevitable. Musk and Kalanick certainly had the resources needed to play in that space (as did others in that august body, but these both owned expertise in the autonomous software needed)
    — However, imagine the uproar if farm workers were to be fired in droves to make way for greedy robber barons and their robots. So the market demand would be muted and growth would be slow, making it harder to dominate with capital the way (especially) Kalanick did with Uber.
    — But Trump wants to throw out all our immigrants anyway. So why not let him do the dirty work? He first creates a crisis in farm employment and food prices, then Musk or Kalanick can step in, deliver robots, and be the good guys.

    I’m not suggesting Musk or Kalanick would be complicit in something like this (well, maybe Kalanick); other administration members might have been seeing this also. Certainly Bannon is smart enough to work it out for himself, and I doubt he’s above locating his fishing nets where his public policies will be driving the fish.

    • Rayne says:

      I think you may be late to the party on agricultural robotics. The conflict between farmers and tractor manufacturers about right-to-repair is rooted in the existing robotic nature of tractors, which already autonomously till/cultivate/spray fields using GPS for directions. Farmers can’t operate any longer at scale without these machines. Because there are relatively few farmers to consumers, there isn’t a lot of awareness about the prevalence of autonomous farm equipment.

      Harvesting is the challenge for autonomous equipment; it’s still cheaper to hire humans than to develop/market/buy/deploy equipment which can tell how ripe a strawberry or tomato is, pick it unblemished and stow or pack in the field. All these human field workers consume goods where they are and contribute to the economy; it’d be a benefit to track them by allowing them a guest seasonal visa but letting them come and go as crops come in. Want to discourage them and replace them with Americans? Make tracking AND higher pay mandatory — but this will encourage the rise of autonomous harvesters sooner rather than later.

      The stupid part about this: Trump should already grasp all of this because of his idiotic winery for which Trump org struggled to hire workers. A good businessman would have told Bannon to fuck all the way off but therein is the answer.

    • greengiant says:

      Some disconnects here, nevermind that a 50 billion dollar wall should be paid by a 20 percent tariff on over 200 billion a year in trade, not one wit of reason that such bad math is faked when Trump wouldn’t know a spreadsheet if it was rammed down his throat. FRED says 1.5 percent agriculture employment in 2010 or about 1.5 million to 2.0 million. DOL says 863,000 agriculture jobs. PEW reports 11 million illegals, 8 million in the work force. So this suggests 75 percent or more of illegal immigrants are employed outside of agriculture.

      The idea that immigration is a prelude to automation as an effective strategy is false. Trade press reports lots of temporary H2-B workers anyways.

      That Musk, Kalanick, Trump are bat shit crazy, incompetent, and immoral crooks, for sure that is true in more ways than this.

      • greengiant says:

        For each agriculture worker you take out, you take out 3 to 6 or more workers in other areas.

        [Watch out for typos when logging into this site. You now have another new account, this one with .neet domain on email address. /~Rayne]

  45. Bruce Olsen says:

    Rayne – I was assuming it would be about the harvesting labor. As you point out, that’s where the volume of immigrant workers is, not in driving the tractor. And do you have hard statistics for penetration? What I’ve read sounds like the, ummm, highly optimistic view of product adoption that I used to produce when I did tech product marketing. Frankly, until someone like Deere starts quoting hard adoption numbers I’ll be skeptical.

    greengiant – Let’s say 50% of farm labor can be replaced. That’s 430k workers. If 1 robot does the work of 10 that’s a market of 43k units. At $25k each that’s just about $1 billion total sales; not huge, but not bad. Probably on a par with burger flipping machines. Current strawberry picking prototypes are about 50% accurate, compared to about 70-80% for humans, and would replace about 30 workers, not 10. Are there adjacent markets that could be addressed, such as landscaping? So the market goes to $10 billion before too long. Add the benefits of a rapid harvest (essential, say, for quality wines or when adverse weather threatens). Don’t forget the value of enhancing dexterity, which brings competitive advantage in other markets (which don’t in turn need to be dominated by immigrant labor, though fast food and caregiving both seem to be, at least in CA).

    I’ll acknowledge that the post was heavily leaning toward conspiracy theory, but markets are real and large.

    And agreed with the rest about guest worker visas. Thanks for your thoughts, and all the terrific work.

    • Rayne says:

      I don’t have numbers for adoption/penetration, sorry. I can only tell you I was recently shocked out of my own denial when not one but two farmers I know (who farm different crops and don’t know each other) both talked about plowing their fields with autonomous tractors. A person I know well who works in manufacturing automation sold to tractor producers also explained equipment sales for autonomous tractors had been a large part of their work for the last decade.

      That article at the link I shared is dated 2015, by the way — already three years old.

      EDIT — another three-year-old article in which a John Deere rep says they’ve been making self-driving tractors for 15 years. IMO these must be more like giant Roombas than self-driving cars; they don’t have as many rules to follow as cars do, simply stay within a GPS-defined boundary and cover the entire space. Like a Roomba sweeping the floor.

      • Bruce Olsen says:

        Those are a couple of great real-world observations; my Michigan tenant farmer uncle is long gone (and wouldn’t be the buyer anyway).

        I have zero doubt autonomy will become ubiquitous (with maybe a remote monitor, like our killer drones). All the pundits claiming that it’s many decades off are just wrong. The ones who claim that yet-unimagined jobs will be created are even wronger. This is a once-in-history transformation, matched only by agriculture and the Industrial Revolution.

        Recent articles still have the “marketing BS” feel that put my kids through college. and they also state that full autonomy needs to provide much more of the info a farmer gains merely by driving through the field, though that may be framing to create demand for ever-more-complex tractors. But this is still the first inning.

        re: Roomba, depends on the crop  of course; anything planted in rows or that requires multiple passes over the field (for fertilizer etc) needs to color within the lines.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh dear gods, I have had another illusion shattered — this automated berry picking (video, about 6:25 min) and tomato picking/sorting. Very few humans needed to harvest huge fields. The tomatoes are likely for paste and sauce based on the variety I see, but still…the fruits are whole, look unblemished.

          This potato production video could have been made not too far from here — not self-driving that I can see based on field size but it wouldn’t take much.

          And this one just plain knocks my socks off. A family member farms hay — I have to show them this video for grins; they don’t have a big enough farm for the haying equipment featured here. Just one person in the cab and the tractor may be self-driving with a human on board as backup.

  46. Koolmoe says:

    Throwing this into the mix for posterity:
    Democratic socialism surging in the age of Trump
    “”We figured just lean in hard,” Ing told the AP of the democratic socialist label. He acknowledged some baby boomers may be scared away, but said the policies democratic socialists promote — like free health care and economic equality — aren’t extreme.”

    Overall the piece echoes a few of my original concerns…which I did not realize were quite as widespread…which maybe why I was quickly labelled a troll. Understood. Still valid concerns I think, but I look forward to the surge if it comes!

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