Friday, July 22, 2016

Will Neoliberals Ever Learn ?

Dean Baker paints the familiar Brexit story I was among the first to advance, that of not just the racist xenophobes (whose campaign indeed most likely carried the day) but of a wide range of people impoverished by neoliberalism, not at all because of the EU itself in Britain's case but because of conservative leadership (though the Euro Zone is intensely neoliberal, to the "ordoliberal" school of exacting fiscal rectitude, Britain has effectively escaped all of that so far, but only until a point in the future, I heard, with the ordoliberalism ultimately taking hold of Britain, perhaps giving a reasonable justification for voting Leave, but maybe that's wrong, I'm not exactly sure of the facts, but anyway any of the austerity in Britain so far has been largely the fault of Tory and New Labour, not the old Labor types like Corbyn--though they may be paying the political price, the world being so messed up and all.

But anyway, I love the place where he refers to the austerity dogmas prevalent in the EU, Belgium, and Germany, if not ruling nearly everywhere in the EU:

ut the leadership of the euro zone, especially the Germans, seems intent on continuing austerity. This is not based on economics – there is no serious support for their position — it is based on things their parents told them about the virtues of balanced budgets.
If the EU leadership continues to set policy based on folk wisdom from their parents rather than serious economics, the hardships among the population will continue. 

In other news, for me, I just discovered that JFK used the manueuver of bypassing the FED and just, well, printing the money and spending rather than having to go in hock to the FED (in the National Debt, which is actually a leading savings instrument, US Treasury Bonds) for the money, the way it's done, strange when you think of it that way.

This is, I believe, what MMT and/or many similar economic theorists maintain, and it's not particularly inflationary, perhaps with some limitations.  It costs far less, with less inequality created (less huge bankster salaries involved) and no messy debt to drag down the future.  Krugman claims it's too politically risky, that it would lead to the situations which led to the creation of the FED in the first place.  I'm not on the extreme downside of the FED since the departure of Alan Greenspan.  I think it's been a comparatively positive player in maintaining a prosperous economy.  But I'm inclined to believe MMT deserves a careful examination, and may provide a better way, if ultimately people could come to believe in it.

People, including me, might have to find other "safe" investments.  You could say there is little public good coming from the availability of a safe investment (actually, the same could be said about any financial investment, but I digress), and it does ultimately burden society.   If it were my direct money, I'd put it in a bank, but being pension fund money, I chose from a set of investments with few or no public guarantees, so I choose the fund that buys Treasuries.  Either case, nowadays, interest rates are about zero.  If Treasuries went out of business the fund would find something similar.)

But the benefit of people like me looking for safe investments, far from the folly of US banks and corporations, is less important to the overall prosperity and progress that an MMT policy combined with guaranteed work and massive green investment could provide.  One economist estimated the cost of not immediately (just borrowing and) spending $6T/yr on green infrastructure was unfathomable--as unfathomable as the ultimate costs of Global Heating will be.

Kennedy, however, may have done it merely to show political resistance to a reactionary FED, not as part of switching the US to MMT.

Anyway, his confrontations with banks was just another thing leading up to the date of the assassination.  (BTW, I believe the story the a mob hitman did it, many mobsters tried but one had the lucky place, behind the grassy knoll, to get a clear shot with a suitable weapon.  Oswald was a planted patsy, set up to take the heat, the cheap gun perhaps to ensure he couldn't make it.  Many have confessed.  The official story cannot be true.  Oswald himself was CIA, involved in infiltrating leftist groups, may well have infiltrated the actual assassin groups, or be one of them, by association, it's hard to tell.  Whether he tried or not he lacked the means and it was not his magic bullet that against all odds did the trick without getting damaged, but several bullets from the real assassin, James Files, IIRC, not in public hands and probably lost to history.)

But this is along with the long usually listed cast of subjects including the mob, LBJ, the CIA, CIA-connected insiders, George HW Bush, oil producers threatened with the end of the Depletion Allowance including many big timers in Texas like Hunt, millitary builders, proto-neocons, the list of those with an axe to grind is endless.  The banks is another on the list.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

never Trump

Trump said a few good things (among far more bad things) during the runup to the RNC.  (Not that I would ever vote for or support him, the good things not going far enough and not seeming guaranteed enough to outweigh the bad.)

But with his VP now chosen, it appears the bad has won, the usual way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Voting Stein but remaining Democratic

As I have previously explained, voting for a candidate not in my party is not necessarily "disloyal" to my party.  There are times when it is necessary to "discipline" the party, to keep it from losing its soul.  And for the Democratic Party, and for me, this is one of those times.  I actually don't have to make a very hard choice, for if I were to vote for Hillary Clinton in the state of Texas where I live, it could not possibly make a difference to the electoral college to help Hillary Clinton get elected President.  Given this fact, I can freely chose to vote for Hillary or someone else and still not be accused of "electing Trump" by not taking the strongest possible reverse vote in a simple majoritarian system.

If I did live in a state in which Hillary probably would, might, or might possibly win, it would be a different story for me.  I would have to think harder, because I would, in my mind, consider myself somewhat responsible for Trump getting elected if he did get elected.

I though about this a lot, because of the unexpectedly horrible and often criminal actions of George W. Bush.  I had been thinking there wouldn't be much difference...but the result proved to me the possibility of failure of imagination, a very common human foible.  You can fail to imagine how horrible things might be under another Republican President.

Even if a state were almost certainly a win for Hillary, it would still be worth voting for her, to be part of that.  To deviate from voting begins to incurr some actual electoral risk, because we wouldn't know how many people were going to make that, possibly last minute, choice.  If enough people all of a sudden decided to hardly discipline the party, they might cause an electoral loss.

At this point, my sense is, right now anyway, I wouldn't want to risk that myself, but I'd also want to hear more, and I could change if Hillary "veered to the center" of an already center stance.

But for me, I have an easier choice.  Since my vote cannot help the party anyway, I can only apply soft discipline, and in this case I strongly feel I should.

Especially after the Platform debacle in which TPP and it's ilk were not completely denounced, and the illegal occupation and settlements in Palestine denounced too.

Trump is doing better on TPP, saying he would tear it up.  I know one person who essentially endorsed Trump for the first time merely on hearing that.  I'm a bit more than a one issue person, though, and I barely trust either Trump or Clinton.  Both are the very highest calibre of liars.

Trump also sounds less Zionist than Clinton, and that's a plus.  And he sounds less aggressive towards Russia in the Ukraine and Syria, those are more pluses.

But the Zionist media and Zionist blogosphere is constantly reminding me of the 20 or so reasons I cannot possibly let Trump be president.  And I suspect that's true, but I'm impotent on that.

Actually, in 2000, I did not feel guilt over my useless-anyway vote for Nader.  What made me feel guilty was that I sent $20 to the national campaign, and that could have been used in Florida, the ultimately critical state.

I realize that election and many others were simply being stolen in many ways anyway (such as the 91,000 erronously disqualified voters described by Greg Palast, that's the #1 way Florida was stolen) but a sufficent majority can defeat a limted theft, and the theft ultimately is usually limited.  Because the outcome including all errors and thefts was so close, a bit of Nader campaigning in Florida could have made a difference, in my view since 2001.

This time, a hardened Clintonite could say I'm messing with the election even worse this time by blogging, posting to social media, and talking to friends about it.

In that regards, if someone hypothetically were to think that, the answer is, for me,  what I'm doing is more important than any Presidential campaign.  It's shining the light around and trying to find the truth.  This is my most important political work.  Voting, campaigning, and that stuff, is a distant second.  Furthermore, I reject Alinskyism.  Alinsky wrote that organizers, and everyone ultimately must lie in the sense of telling partial truths...and then he would strip them down even more for rhetorical and political effect.  My model of democracy, "mass democracy", is different.  Until you can achieve a mass victory the right and honest way, it isn't worth trying to steal it through Alinskyism, Trotskyism, or anything like that.  In my view, always retaining honesty, is the most important thing.  I say "vote with your eyes open, but nose held firmly closed if necessary (as it usually will be)."  Only that way can you be immune to the partial truths, smears, of others.  You realize the world is a very messy place.  That's the only kind of stance in which I could vote for someone like Hillary Clinton anyway.  If I became squeamish at the sight of any shadow, I could not use voting effectively.  I would have no alternative but to vote for botique party candidates who are pure of heart and mind because they've never done any governing and never will.

One thing I won't do, however, is leave the Democratic Party by choice.  That is still my Party, I am being the loyal person, and a true leader, merely by saying that, and explaining how and why it must be disciplined, softly, for this election.

Merely a soft discipline could cause miracles.  What if Jill Stein, the Green Party Candiate, got more than votes than Hillary in Texas?  That couldn't change the electoral outcome, but it would make serious history, and a strong point.  (BTW, I fear the possibility of this is quite low, and even lower after the customary vote theft.  Remember: in a "democracy" you must have a supermajority to blow past the stops, not just whine that the stops aren't there.)

And this can be done without even in the slightest affecting the result of the election.

Meanwhile many people, friends and co-bloggers wonder why I remain committed to the Democratic Party.  It's quite simple, really.  Until the Green Party actually wins national elections it is not really an electoral party, it's a proto-electoral party.  Someday, maybe, it will win.  That certainly happened with the Republican Party in 1860 when out-of-the-blue it won with Abraham Lincoln.  The Republican Party became from that moment onwards a major electoral party that has continued to win national offices at a middling probability.

Where is the Green Party?  Has never won a national election...not close...down in the small percents so far.

I suppose that could change, but I'd like to see some evidence as such, not just be asked to believe, as I was in so many elections in my life (starting for me with John Anderson, who I did not vote for, but I did not vote at all in that election, not feeling too motivated to re-elect Carter).  So we got Reagan who turned my world upside down.  Later, when I supported the Greens in 2000, Nader got a few percent but GWB became president and my world went far downer.

Now, boutique parties like the Greens could do immense good, IMO, if they focus on actually pressing national issues, such as TPP, endless wars, and so on.  But in reality, actual 3rd parties spend about 90% of their time trying to program their listeners that the "two party system" is evil (yes it is, but only a supermajority party could change that, and your stinky % party doesn't get close enough to do anything but spoil), the two parties are identical (no they are horrible and far horribler, and not to see the latter is profound failure of imagination, as has happened to me to my deep regret at least twice).

You may think this stuff ("the two parties are identical") is fine and good, but it's not for me and I won't be supporting it.

I'm a loyal Democrat, in the Party of FDR and Kennedy.  This is a party that has won many elections, represents the self-identification of a majority of the people in the country, and has created the most important social democracy, starting with Social Security and Medicare.  Marx said it best, get in front of the largest People's party, or even Bourgeois Party if that's the largest and lefter one, and lead it, and that's what I choose to do.  I "lead" by being me.

When another party can possibly become the largest People's party, when you have solid evidence that it can win, and not just hope and faith, then let me know.

WRT my other candidates, I will vote Democratic all the way except when there aren't any Democratic candidates.  I have mostly felt good about my Democratic representatives, and bad about my Republican Governors and Senators.

Sanders, btw, did what he had to do in endorsing Hillary softly, by saying what he would do.  I continue to have the greatest respect, though I agree with critics if he had waited until the delegate vote it would have been better.  I suppose the problem is...the fundraising...and the endless clamour of Clintonites to get on with it, based on unofficial counts of the superdelegates.  The only official count is the first one on the Convention Floor, and that is what I always wanted to wait for, and still am wating for that, and want to see it done properly.

I'm not privy to the discussions and agreements, getting an endorsement now may have meant something to Hillary's fundraising and she may have given gifts or made threats, we'll never know.  Sanders was no doubt under serious pressure from the inside as well as endless Clintonite pundits.

I (will) accept Sander's loss, my loss, our countries loss not to find the better person, even more well liked, and with a renewal of New Deal type promises, and to get back towards the country.  Now at best we'll have Clinton's neoliberalism or Trump's fascism (at best).

Move on to the next thing to do, which IMO is vote Green if in a solid Red state, otherwise Hillary.

I'm still reading the news, though.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Statistical Analysis Reveals Hillary Stole Primary

http://alexanderhiggins.com/stanford-berkley-study-1-77-billion-chance-hillary-won-primary-without-widespread-election-fraud/

Where there was a voting paper trail, Bernie won.  The deviations from exit polls in states without a voting paper trail could not have happened by chance and favored Hillary.

According to these studies, it appears the electronic votes were hacked to make Hillary win.  The alternative to this hypothesis would be that there is some other factor which I may have failed to imagine.

*****

I once met the vote counting czar in Bexar county, who attended a discussion party I hosted regarding voting machines.  This was in the aftermath of the 2000 election, where vote counting had been a major concern.  Some time earlier the County had decided to buy and deploy new electronic voting machines.

He saw nothing wrong with electronic voting machines and no good reason for a paper trail.  All of the others at the party were very concerned about the hackability of electronic voting machines and thought there should always be a paper trail, if not fully hand counted paper ballots.

Based on some off topic comments he made wrt Israel and the Palestinians, it would be fair to guess that he was a Zionist.  In my reckoning, his views did not seem fair to the Palestinians.

In order to rig an election run county by county, one would need people acting in secret and trusting one another over a wide geographical area.  Such people would need a strong shared interest which they would consider more important than honesty and fairness to other groups.  They would need to be part of a society, perhaps partly public, in which they are bound to others.  Such people cannot be purchased, anyone merely purchased could later be a turncoat.

The Bernie Sanders delegates at the Democratic Party Platform meeting tried to get a plank into the Democratic Platform that called for an end to the occupation and illegal settlements in Palestine.  It was rejected by all of the DNC and Hillary Clinton representatives.

Bernie Sanders himself is Jewish, and he strongly supports the existence of the State of Israel.  But since he also supports fairness to the Palestinians, it would be unfair to characterize him as a Zionist--which is a derogatory term from the standpoint of liberal minded people who believe in universal rights and are opposed to religious discrimination of any kind.  (There used to be a middle ground term "liberal Zionist" but that has only served to describe occasionally apologetic Zionists.)

Noam Chomsky is a Jew who is very critical of Israeli policies, though he considers himself a friend of Israel and a person who supports the existence of an Israel (side by side with Palestine on the internationally recognized borders, as he says) but wants to see it become an international law abiding state (which, btw, it is not).  Meanwhile there are many Jews who are critical of the very idea of a one-religion-supremacist state such as Israel, they believe there should be one state for both Jews and non-Jews in all of Israel and Palestine, and in which all have equal rights, including rights related to immigration, so there would be an axiomatic right-of-return for all displaced Palestinians and their successors.  That is the so-called "One State" solution advocated by many supporters of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement for Palestine, and supporters of the "One State" solution sometimes call themselves Anti-Zionists.  Anti-Zionism is the morally superior view based on the idea of equality of all people and no discrimination based on religion.

The Sanders delegation was also unable to remove language strongly critical of the B.D.S. movement from the Democratic Platform, blocked by the Clinton and DNC delegations.  Unfortunately we can't see exactly what this language is--because the Democratic National Committee does not make the draft Platform public.  Nevertheless, they are claiming it represents the most progressive Democratic Party Platform in history.

Noam Chomsky does not believe the uniquely pro-Israel policies of the USA stem from some kind of Zionist conspiracy.  (BTW, one need not at all be a Jew to be Zionists, there are many Christian Zionists, such as Hillary Clinton herself.)  He argues it is simply a long standanding part of the internal rules of the deep imperial state.  Just after the 1967 war, Israeli forces were seen as being so effective in controlling other states in the Middle East, the US war establishment decided to buy into it.  Israel became, and still is, a key part of the US empire.  And that, rather than the feelings of a small number of Jewish voters, explains why the US is uniquely pro-Israel (for example, continually vetoing US Security Council resolutions that would force Israel to live up to international laws, supplying military assistance, and massive military aid).

A view such as "A Jewish secret society is running the world" is often characterized as being not just a conspiracy theory, but a specifically anti-semetic conspiracy theory, of the kind that led to the rise a Naziism in Germany.

However, if you use the word Zionist, since that does not uniquely apply to Jews, I would say it is not necessarily anti-semitic, to a well informed person who understands what I've said above.

I provide the weakest possible anecdotal connection for an actual Zionist conspiracy above.  However, many many people do believe there is a Zionist conspiracy--and the extreme preference for Israel results not from just the deep imperial state that Chomsky opines, nor honest politics, though the "contributions" might go a long way toward explaining it), nor the relatively small proportion of Jews strongly identifying with Israel.  I think it's possible that a strong US preference for Israel could result from the combination of large financial campaign contributions from the likes of Sheldon Adelson, combined with the actions of a well organized minority.  And that kind of anti-democracy would best be limited by keeping private money out of politics.

However if actual vote stealing *is* being done, there would have to be a kind of secret organization, and it would best be held together with a strongly shared interest not unlike Zionism.

A friend of mine who served 20 years in the Air Force starting in the 1970's, did not feel there was any preference for Israel in the military or state apparatus as such, as far as he could tell.  In fact, he sensed a certain degree of loathing, such as over the US ship bombed by Israel in the 1960's.  His sense was that all the preference for Israel came from politicians, appeasing voters and milking donors.  I have argued that he might not have any awareness of feelings at the highest levels.  But his argument turns away from the deep state being the source of the preference.

If indeed the preference ends with politicians, and perhaps their direct appointments, this would suggest it's all in the voter appeal and money raising.  We assume politicians are controlled in those ways, in one way essentially corrupt and in another not as much.  If preferring Israel didn't pay in one way or the other or both, it wouldn't happen.

Of course there are also the commercial interests such as military hardware makers, who have lots of money.  For the task force, that could be provided by: the mob, the CIA, the FBI, lot's of groups are geographically distributed and may have authorized and unauthorized agendas--though it's hard to necessarily imagine any aligning with Zionism as well as, well, Zionists.

Regardless of who did it, or even if it's happening--which may be impossible to prove, a big help to democracy would be voting apparatus with a paper trail.  Some states do that.  There isn't anything anti-semitic about that.

Hillary Clinton's national political career is widely believed to have started with a commencement speech she gave at Wellesley College in 1970.   From that moment onward, she climbed the ladder very quickly, becoming one of the youngest lawyers examining the Watergate Tapes, for example, including the super top secret "Tape of Tapes" which some believe may give information regarding the JFK assassination.  But not long after that she left Washington DC and moved to Arkansas with the man she already believed would be President.  Bill Clinton also had a strangely meteoric rise, starting with his Rhodes Scholarship, which he apparently never completed, instead spending time organizing anti-war protests and going on a long tour of Europe and Russia with no known source of income.  I have read and do strongly believe that both Bill and Hillary were CIA recruits, recruited right out of college.  They were recruited to infiltrate the peace movement and report back about radicals.  Both became successful in their initial anti-establishment careers almost instantly, as if someone were pulling strings.  Neither had principled reasons for being anti-establishment, Bill for example was only apparently concerned about personally evading the draft, not in confronting the injustice the war actually represented, as outlined by Martin Luther King.  Then they as quickly as they rose in the "anti-establishment" they quickly became successful in their fully establishment careers, such as Hillary becoming being the youngest lawyer on the Watergate Commission, or Bill becoming the Attorney General of Arkansas, suggesting even more strings being pulled.   Victor Thorn has written a book on Hillary which fills in the CIA apparent details of both Clinton's lives(I mostly believe the chapter about how and why the Clintons were recruited to the CIA, I do not necessarily believe anything else in this volume and I believe Thorn's other volumes even less.  The thing is...the CIA won't be telling us whether or not the Clintons were involved with them, so we will never know for sure, but the shoe fits and explains the otherwise inexplicable.  In other parts of this and other similar books, there's nothing essential in the flow of the Clinton's lives to explain repeated rape or murder...there's no essential fit or not.  It's more reasonable to believe too much of this would have sunk the Clinton boat long ago, unless their true agency had a smaller recruitment base than the CIA and had no alternative to the Clintons.  And people harmed by the Clintons WOULD be telling us, so we've already heard these stories, some have already been debunked, some may be true, and there are many who could fabricate stories for various reasons.  By the way, this book actually seems like a composite which itself was written by different authors.  The person writing the CIA section has more of a left view than not and makes it clear the Clinton's were not and never could have been leftists, they were spies snitching on leftist groups, and they've been spoilers for the left ever since, so the shoe really does fit.  They were right Republicans recruited into the Nixon-era CIA.  Nixon's Cheney was Henry Kissinger, who would have been ultimately responsible for them.  No wonder Hillary is still a Kissinger fan today, it was during his rule that she was brought on, possibly personally selected by him.)

Now the selection of people for such intelligence work would be based on specific talents.  One of the very most important talents for any secret agent or operative is lying, and the Clintons both do that effortlessly.  It's easy to see that they could have been the best in their recruitment class.

It is said in Thorn's book that you cannot find the words of the speech Hillary actually gave at Wellesley.  It is said it did not follow the bland speech she had actually written.  It was a specific attack on the black Republican Senator, Edward Brooke, who had just finished giving his commencement address.  An amazing array of top government officials was present that day, but news recordings and even notes were forcibly destroyed.

I notice that the period 1967-1970 was also the time frame in which US policy shifted towards Israel, when the USA became the leading defender of Israel.   Chomsky ascribes this to self-interest in the deep imperial state.

FWIW, Edward Brooke took a tour of Israel and said nice things about it some time after his presence hearing Hillary's speech.  Was he sent on this tour for some kind of corrective reasons, to correct his "misunderstanding" of what Israel is all about?















Sunday, July 10, 2016

Trump Opposes Job Killing Trade Agreements: NAFTA, WTO, TPP

Trump opposes NAFTA, WTO, TPP.  And he is correct in doing so!  Meanwhile Corporate Democrats are unable to put an anti-TPP plank in the party platform.

BTW the usual appeal to mainstream economic dogma and Ricardo is wrong.  James K Galbraith carefully explains why trade agreements kill jobs, increase inequality, and destroy the fabric of the social welfare state, and simply don't work, in his marvelous book Predator State.

Ha-Joon Chang shows how even uncorrupted free trade prevents economic development in his marvelous book Bad Samaritans.

This is much better science than what's offered by mainstream economics, which is basically little more than thinly disguised propaganda for the bankster class and has been since Ricardo himself.  (For more on mainstream economics, see Steve Keen's Debunking Economics.)

The bottom line: development is the basis of investment.  Even uncorrupted free trade would lead to disinvestment and poverty for all but the global bankster gambling elite.  The actual agreements are even more corrupted to moneyed interests at the expense of all, destroying democracy with a free trade excuse.

Why oh why can't the Democrats even put an anti-TPP plank in the party platform?



Taking a Stand Against Hope

Elected politicians pay little if any attention to the political party "platforms" selected by political activists at party conventions.  These platforms routinely make little concession to the politically possible, and in that respect they represent aspirational goals.  Of course they also reflect as well as anything what The People actually want and would like to see their elected Politicians trying to achieve as closely as possible.  If only wishes were horses.


This is one more case of where the party machinery needs to get voter discipline by seeing a loss, at least of unnecessary votes in uncontested states.

I am not for abandoning the Democratic Party, but for making the Democratic Party Great Again!


Hillarycare 1994 vs Obamacare 2010

Hillarycare, the set of health care reform proposals advanced by Hillary Clinton in 1994, would have been far superior to Obamacare.
However, as a mere proposal rather than hammered out law, it's impossible to know what kind of final form the law would have actually taken if Democrats had retained control of Congress and passed it as law.  Our coin-operated Congress might have hammered it into something more or less indistinguishable from Obamacare; it probably wouldn't have been as progressive as the proposal.

Where Obamacare has an individual mandate to buy insurance, and (the unfortunate individuals who are not provided health insurance through their work or status) individual insurance buyers to choose among individual health insurance plans (all crap compared to decent group policies, which the law tries to weaken or destroy through a new "Cadillac Plan Tax"), Hillarycare would have created (somewhat poorly defined) "Alliances" to cover everyone.  These Alliances would have been paid through a government levied "Premium" (aka Tax) mostly paid by employers, even for part time employees.

Given that the plan essentially replaced all existing healthcare insurance policies with these "Alliances", it's not clear at first glance why not to go all the way to Single Payer, the best possible healthcare insurance system, and which Democrats had been proposing since the beginning of the New Deal, and which Bernie attempted to put back on the table in 2016.  Possibly the "Alliances" would have been defined in such a way that they would actually be serviced through money skimming health insurance companies.

For all it's relative progressivity compared with Obamacare, Hillarycare represented a first step away from New Deal notions such as Healthcare-as-a-right, turning it into Healthcare-as-something-you-must-pay-for.  It was a timid first step into Neoliberalism, which has characterized ideas promoted by Democratic Presidents ever since, including of course Obamacare, the quintessential Neoliberal health insurance racket (which I now feel we would be better off without--a reason to vote for Trump if Hillary becomes the Democratic Party Presidential Candidate).