Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 16, 2015

Trump/Kane: "If I don't look after the interests of the underprivileged ..."

The U.S. presidential campaign season is usually a drag. It is much too long and the lies and false promises get so obvious that refuting them is no fun and senseless.

But watching Donald Trump is fun. He seems to be unbriefed and says whatever he thinks in that moment. His foreign policy opinions are refreshing. Here he is bashing the Saudis:

Trump called on Riyadh to share its vast wealth with the U.S. in exchange for the alliance between the two nations.
“They make a billion dollars a day,” he told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Saudi Arabia, if it weren’t for us, they wouldn’t be here,” Trump said. “They wouldn’t exist.”
“They should pay us,” he added. “Like it or don’t like it, people have backed Saudi Arabia. What I really mind though is we back it at tremendous expense. We get nothing for it.”

The Saudis would of course disagree. The U.S. weapons industry is making lots of profits by selling its useless junk to the Saudis and other Gulf countries. But anyway this point is smart.

“Look, Saudi Arabia is going to be in big trouble pretty soon,” he added. “And they’re going to need help. I think Saudi Arabia is a major target, a major target.”

I agree.

Trump does not care about the Ukraine joining NATO. He seems to find it a rather useless country. He is right in that too. No wonder Trump was rated public enemy no. 9 and a "Kremlin agent" on some Ukrainian list.

The Republican party apparatus will do everything to make a Trump candidacy impossible and to put one of its pliant usual suspects into the front position. But Trump could run on his own. And that would mean more fun.

Someone compared Trump to the Citizen Kane character in the 1941 Orson Wells movie. Citizen Kane was a portrait of the rightwing newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. In the Cítizen Kane movie there is a line that Donald Trump would probably use to explain why he is running at all. Mr. Kane therein says of himself:

Charles Foster Kane is a scoundrel, his paper should be run out of town; a committee should be formed to boycott him. You may, if you can form such a committee, put me down for a contribution of one thousand dollars. On the other hand, I am the publisher of the Inquirer! As such, it is my duty - and I'll let you in on a little secret, it's also my pleasure - to see to it that the decent, hard-working people in this community aren't robbed blind by a pack of money-mad pirates just because - they haven't anybody to look after their interests. I'll let you in on another little secret, Mr. Thatcher. I think I'm the one to do it; you see, I have money and property. If I don't look after the interests of the underprivileged, maybe somebody else will - maybe somebody without any money or property - and that would be too bad...

Posted by b on August 16, 2015 at 18:06 UTC | Permalink


Trump continues to be the devil to the Republican establishment and a foil to the plans to use a gigantic presidential field of freaks, zealots, warmongers, psychopaths and a token black, Hispanic and woman to allow the Bush restoration to take place. After Trumpzilla's latest round of comments in the Chuck Todd interview on Press the Meat the big donors have to be reading the riot act to hapless dolt Reince Priebus. They all at Trump over the ginned up controversy about the phantom comment over Megyn Kelly's vaginal excretions and he emerged unscathed and more popular than ever. Trump isn't going away of his own volition. He may however want to read up on what happens to those who cross the Bush crime family though because there are probably already contingency plans in the works to remove him as a threat to "Jeb!" If he doesn't self immolate.

Posted by: Chuck Roste | Aug 16 2015 18:54 utc | 1

“They make a billion dollars a day,” he proclaims.

The US federal government pays for Saudi Arabian oil with US reserve currency keystrokes.

We get their resources. They get our keystrokes. Not a bad deal. For us.

Since we pay in USD, those dollars can't leave the US banking system. Therefore, the Saudis buy our treasury securities (equiv. to a Bank CD) and park their treasury securities in their 'savings account'* at the NY Fed.

Trump doesn't have a clue what he is talking about, but he'll relieve the drudgery of another presidential campaign with his antics and total lack of understanding of how the federal monetary system works for a while. I agree with his single-payer health care idea, tho'.

* Technically called a (Federal Reserve) Securities Account.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 16 2015 18:57 utc | 2

Trump- saying this shows he has no clue:

“They should pay us,” he added. “Like it or don’t like it, people have backed Saudi Arabia. What I really mind though is we back it at tremendous expense. We get nothing for it.”
Doesn't this guy read? Whoever wrote Confessions of an Economic Hitman described in some detail how the US Treasury--Executive Branch--made a special deal with the Saudis to funnel a lot of their oil profits during the late 70s and 80s through the US Treasury to avoid having to involve Congress (Legislative Branch).

That's how Bechtel and Halliburton built Saudi Arabia's infrastructure with SA money, and no congressional interference. Kissinger promised in 1975 to keep the price of oil high. No skin off the federal government's back. With oil now firmly denominated in USD--gold standard was over internationally on August 15, 1971--the US reserve currency status was assured, which was Kissinger's point in agreeing to keep prices high.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 16 2015 19:13 utc | 3

Trump is incredibly tacky, perhaps more narcistic than the average politician (but not a total outlier in that group), and his business acumen is a mixed story: on the negative side, he was bankrupt more than once, on the positive side, a lesser man would be out of business, in other words, he knows how to scrape and recover. And he knowns that there are times to splurge and times to pinch pennies.

Apparently, so far he runs rather thrifty campaign and spends much less time on fundraising than his staff was recommending. He is clearly too poor to pay for the campaign all by himself, but once his brand is solid enough there will be enough donations from fellow rich people loath to miss the boat that he will get back the money he loaned to his campaign. This is what Trump knows best.

Concerning "unorthodox/misguided policy positions", Trump gives positive surprises. Wall on Mexican border is GOP staple, the original part is demagogical promise that he will make Mexico to pay for it. The idea that USA needs some kind of protectionism/tariffs to preserve the industrial base raised hackles, but I personally think that this is precisely what is needed. In the link, he was accused of being ignorant on Ukraine, and I am not sure. First, he has central-European/Slavic family connections, his daughter name is Ivanka, the region is not the other side of the Moon to him. Second, the question is not "do you want X" (unless X stinks as such) but "how much are you ready to pay for X". And we can make a quick rundown: unique or widely marketable industrial products (NO, except for weapons that require cooperation with Russia), minerals (NO), agricultural products (grain and other stuff, the other stuff is more marketable in Russia than in the West), vacation properties (Russians took the best ones). Nothing too enticing yet. The quality of the management team: freshly improved by a bunch of guys fired from their positions in Georgia, most famous of the fact that their proved that a small country can wage a direct war with Russia (without "and win" part). Since those losers represent an improvement over the local talent, hm. Stability: volunteer battalions shlep around the country, sometimes shooting, sometimes making something more hilarious, and if so inclined, fight rebels in the East. Since they disagree with each other, the threat to the central government is so far minor. Balanced sheet: previous government "ruined the country" and as a result, the external debt was so-so, now "Greek trajectory" is reproduced, rescue loans increase the debt while the size of economy spirals down. Good news: Ukraine is able to collapse the exchange rate and collapse internal consumption so the balance of payment is not as bad as in Greece. Bad news: shlepping volunteer battalion object to the sensible step to reduce the consumption, so it is not clear how long it can last.

Conclusions: the deal makes no sense without some creative approaches. Swap Ukraine for Detroit?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 16 2015 19:42 utc | 4

Depending how much suspicion and anger there is of the two big criminal parties in the US, Trump getting kicked out of the Republican Party could be the huge push that he could claim that he is outside the corrupt system.
'Since they kicked him out from the Republican Party, he must be outside the insider corruption', idiots will tell themselves.

But that is is only from the right, fascist or middle perspective. He has no pull with a left wing due to his racist, misogynist and warmongering from the Reich side.

Posted by: tom | Aug 16 2015 19:57 utc | 5

At this point, anything that shakes up the selection er election while providing some dang fine entertainment in the process can only be a good thing. And his candor about how politicians are bought and sold was an invaluable service. Hopefully he assumed some light on more uncomfortable truths, and I do agree a small plane crash or untimely heart attack might be headed his way if he were a real threat to the establishment.

Posted by: colinjames | Aug 16 2015 19:59 utc | 6

SHINES some light. I really gotta double check my swypes.

Posted by: colinjames | Aug 16 2015 20:00 utc | 7

I think I agree with many of the points listed THUS far. I am particularly in agreement with the fact that the Donald had best watch his back regarding the Familia Bush. Living near Tx and the machinations of that particular gang, it is never far-fetched to find the Bush Gang up to their eye-balls with the Saudi's (who the Donald may have offended), the CIA and the rest of the dark underbelly of the American Way of ... death?/life?

I will predict that unless something transpires to make Jeb impossible, remember what happened in 2000 ... the Bush gang always get their way. I'm not sure how Clinton got past them in 1992, but I'm sure they didn't really object. Maybe Poppy didn't really want the job. Maybe it is better to operate from the shadows with his cronies than to be the front man. In that case, Hillary is a seriously acceptible option.

Posted by: Rg an LG | Aug 16 2015 20:02 utc | 8

@Rg an LG, 8:

"remember what happened in 2000 ... the Bush gang always get their way. I'm not sure how Clinton got past them in 1992, but I'm sure they didn't really object."

The Democrats got past them in '92 and '96 because of Perot splitting the Republican "base" (such as it is), the same Trump threatens to do. They did object but their revenge was not denied, only delayed till the PNAC coup of 2000, brewed to perfection during those eight years.

Agreed that no matter how rich he is, he'd be smart to watch his back. Not being a typical oligarch working through cronies, the corporate media might not be able to "Howard Dean" him (he may be teflon to that), but other agencies might certainly "Paul Wellstone" him...

"the American Way of ... death?/life?"

Split the difference: the American Way of Undeath.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Aug 16 2015 21:12 utc | 9

PB at 4 --

More hypotheticals? "He runs a thrifty campaign." Yeah, one he's willing to spend a billion on. Damn thrifty, that. He has an Czech ex-wife, so he's competent to deal with the Ukraine?

When I was a Ph.D. student in the field, it was axiomatic in Soviet and East European Studies -- emigres are the worst sources of reliable info. and analysis. They left for a reason, usually carry heavy baggage, and will tend to paint the bleakest, blackest picture possible. Typically, they sought to maneuver the US into carrying water for the restoration of the ancien regime.

If you doubt this, it's been the Ukrainian emigre community that is responsible for much of the state of our current policy in the region.

And where does he actually get his advice from? Courtesy of Crooks and Liars, it seems The Donald gets his info. on international affairs from Chuck Todd and John Bolton. So in the unlikely event he wins the Presidency, we are like totally freaking screwed.

Trump just lost whatever high ground he might have had when it comes to criticizing Jeb Bush if he thinks taking advice from an even bigger neocon like Bolton is a good idea. I'll be surprised if it makes one bit of difference to his supporters though. They like him because he's a flame thrower.

Familiarity seems to breed contempt in The Donald. He's a full-moon braying Tea Partier on Mexican immigration -- and those folks live and work among us, the country is just to the south. He says he's got thousands working for him, I guess he got the few that weren't rapists, theives, murderers, and litterbugs.

Surely you jest about the wall.

If we really don't want Mexican and other immigrants pouring over the border to do shit work for sub-minimum wages, maybe we should start arresting and imprisoning the petty-bourgeois Republican small-businessmen that hire them, and then whine about "loosing their country." And then legalize their status, so these "tired and huddled masses" can securely insist upon their human rights and dignity.

And by the way, the loss of the industrial base is due to the export of our industrial capacity, not cheap migrant labor doing construction and domestic work. Mexicans aren't undercutting domestic labor at USX or Chrysler. It's the tax, tariff, and industrial policies of our elite off-shoring production.

Why pay your neighbor a decent wage in a safe environment when you can run a hazardous sweatshop in Bangladesh and make the same or even more profit, and rid yourself of those pesky labor organizations in the bargain? Those displaced workers can be programmers. Oh, wait... Indians are cheaper now. Care to drive for Uber, then? Or rent out rooms to total strangers?

And you would expect him to be better on European policy because...?

Let's be fair, though. C&L is right, if he does win, it will be because of his bluster, not his thoughtful opinions on foreign and domestic policy.

Frankly, I think your biggest mistake was swallowing The Donald's self-promotion. Here's a nice corrective, Exposing How Donald Trump Really Made His Fortune: Inheritance from Dad and the Government's Protection Mostly Did the Trick. Aren't quotable bluster and and sympathetic PR wonderful?

Let's keep Detroit and send Trump to the Ukraine, shall we? Trump seems a natural successor to Poroshenko, who's got plenty of Americans, as well as Russian and Georgian emigres, on staff already.

Please, don't compare the Ukraine to Greece, its apples vs. oranges. The Ukraine is a reliable client, the IMF is already breaking their rules to finance the ongoing war. The discontent of the Greek masses poses a sharp challenge to the Eurozone and indeed, perhaps, to the whole rule of finance capital. To punish their bad taste in questioning Frankfurt's diktat, the troika tightened the fetters. Kid gloves for the former, the thumbscrews for the latter.

PS to Rg an LG, colinjames, & tom, 5-8 --

Folks, you are forgetting -- Trump is The Establishment. The whole freakin' lot of them, too. So please do enjoy the circus our elite has kindly put on for us. He continues to coarsen the political discourse and make genuine change impossible. Trump would accelerate, not reverse the decline. He is a Medici, not a Savonarola.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 16 2015 21:36 utc | 10

It's going to be fun watching Liberals twist and turn purple when Trump is found to be to the left of HRC on many issues or at least more moderate, such as on Russia.

Trump's attack on Latino immigrants may be the best thing that's happened for them now that Liberals will have to prove their support by actually doing something besides watching Obama oversee the arrest and deportation of millions.

Trump has already shown that the Political Class are nothing more than parasites so lets save time and money and have the real power, the Oligarchs run things directly.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 16 2015 22:57 utc | 11

It is bound to happen that a few of the folks who have been allowed to make hundreds of millions and billions of dollars by this fucked up freak out of an economic system will start thinking they have other rights too, like political ones, etc.

I would like to think that this dripping, dangling, penis of a man, Donald Trump, would expose the USA for being an idiotic playground of rich buffoons. But unfortunately that is't what the USA is - not entirely anyway. The USA is a vicious, violent place where a guy like Donald Trump won't have the political weight of a dry leaf when the tremendous hurricane of the intelligence services and military industrial complex start blowing.

I agree with b, it is amusing. You're watching a man who believes all the propaganda that's been put out shoot off his mouth. But he doesn't know the real history, he doesn't know where the bodies are buried, and he doesn't have the real connections like the Bushes do. An idiot such as this cannot be President of the USA. Can you imagine President Trump try and deal with someone he doesn't have power over? Trump vs. Putin? Trump vs. Xi? No way.

This is just the first act of a long, long, loooong circus. Another bunch of theater to provide "teachable moments" to the rubes.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 16 2015 23:05 utc | 12

Though it will be interesting if some weird hangup in Trump's ego propels him forward against the established political order to the point where the established order may have no choice except to do something really disgraceful.

Something about an immovable object meeting irresistible force, isnt' that the phrase?

This is certainly part of the neo-liberal dynamic I've been trying to describe: you make a large class of super-wealthy, insanely powerful people, you start pumping them full of propaganda about how their venal spasms of selfish greed is actually evidence that they are the apex of human morality doing god's work here on earth and ...
sure as shit they will begin to do battle amongst themselves. And then anything can happen, I'd guess.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 16 2015 23:14 utc | 13

@rufus: "Folks, you are forgetting -- Trump is The Establishment."

Yes and no. He's certainly a part of the economic establishment, but as C. Wright Mills evidenced, the neo-liberal corporate establishment ain't the whole burrito.

Trump is a very definite "thing", but he isn't the whole thing. He can easily become a burr under the saddle of the RNC I think.

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 16 2015 23:23 utc | 14


"...Hillary is a seriously acceptible option."

Damn right she is. The left needs to not take its eye off the ball. Hillary's no one's choice in an ideal world. But she's the only thing standing in the way of a Bush revival. Another Bush in the White House - my God.

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 16 2015 23:38 utc | 15

Wayout at 11 --

You don't seem to have noticed decades of demagoguery about race and immigration as part of the Rethuglicans "Southern Strategy." Why is Trump's really any different? He broadcast in plain what GOP has been transmitting in code.

Why would the odd random correct position disquiet the Democrats? For every decent idea, there are about a thousand howlers out of the Grand Old Party.

You should really give up posting random musings for effect and try to develop some actual sources of information and analysis. Less looking foolish and back-peddling, IMHO.

guest77 at 12 --

Don't underestimate the power of money to buy the needed NatSec connections -- Bolton knows where a few bodies are buried, I'd think.

I personally do not get the presumed hostility of the deep state to The Donald. As a plutocrat, we can be reasonably sure their interests are more in common than not -- that's who they defend, right?

Jebbie or HRC might be their preferred beards, but I'm sure they could work with The Donald if needed. You keep him as the loud-mouthed, unpredictable figurehead (could have tactical advantages in negotiations) and make sure he appoints the right people to responsible posts.

That he's not really suitable as a public sector manager or political negotiator is probably more to the point.

But of course, if once he's elected he tells the Congress "You're fired" and becomes the authoritarian many on the right are looking for, that won't matter. "The only restraint on Donald Trump will be voters, but Republican voters love authoritarian leaders." Not the "Man on the White Horse," but the "Man on the Black Balance Sheet."

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 16 2015 23:44 utc | 16

g77 at 14 --

Ah, a trip down memory lane, Mills The Power Elite. Back before the "End of History," when liberal academics wanted to co-opt/denature the sociological analysis of Marx. Class analysis without class. A piece with Domhoff's Who Rules America?

So he's a parvenu, not old money. Skull and Bones will eventually get over it.

You're right about the self image -- "the apex of human morality doing god's work...."

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 0:14 utc | 17

of course, if once he's elected he tells the Congress "You're fired" and becomes the authoritarian many on the right are looking for, that won't matter. "The only restraint on Donald Trump will be voters, but Republican voters love authoritarian leaders." Not the "Man on the White Horse," but the "Man on the Black Balance Sheet."

Congress, primarily the House, fired itself 30yrs ago. The Senate - R or D majority matters not - serves at the beck and call of the MIC, AIPAC and Multinational Corporations.

The House is useless for the common citizen - and worse - enablers of destructive policy. Senate is totally corrupt, likewise most of the high courts.

It has been theorized that the train to hell runs more slowly when the D Party plays defense - pretending to oppose draconian republican shit.

Jeb! or Hillary - there won't be any change you can believe in.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 17 2015 0:55 utc | 18

(I am)-- "the apex of human morality doing god's work...." -Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman, Goldman Sachs

The Ant and The Grasshopper, Teach a man to fish, Grab those bootstraps, grab your ankles.

Conservative Philosophy requires two things for the common citizen to buy it:

He must be convinced that he has exceptional intelligence, skills, etc. He is an exceptional human being. (No vocational training for me!) USA is exceptional and number one. He is an arbiter of religious and moral virtue (Sundays, if no football).

He must be convinced that he was born on a level playing field with any given trust fund millionaire. (Every American is born with an equal opportunity for success!)

If things don't pan out, it is the fault of Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, Women, etc.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 17 2015 1:15 utc | 19

fast freddy at 18 --

I demur, they are still working but on verylight duty. Congress did stop Our Nobel Laureate from launching a war over his "red line" in Syria.

Frankly, I'd expect him to govern rather like Gov. LePage in Maine. Dismissing Congress outright is probably a bridge too far -- at this time.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 1:25 utc | 20

Rufus magister: it remains a fact that "I do not care if Ukraine joins NATO" is the most sensible statement on Ukraine uttered by a Presidential candidate. (Strangely enough, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence around GOP number two in polls, phenomenally well funded Jeb Bush. What he said about trade is somewhat sensible too, at least he notices the problem. It is my sincere hope that he will win the nomination, but then again, I am not a friend of GOP. However, even a very primitive type of cost/gain calculations that Trump presents is an improvement in that party. If you want, say, Ukraine or a wall on the border, you need to think how much does it cost.

My provocative remark about Detroit and Ukraine had this hidden subtext: a region with problems presents very different values to different countries. Detroit area, and even the city presents some value to USA and it would be wise to invest something so it does not go to waste. For Russia, not so much. Reverse with Ukraine, especially the part that is called Novorossiya (by those who would call the other part Malorossiya). The analogy to Greece is important because both Ukraine and Greece are economic basket cases with some common reasons. The extend of the decline is similar. "The West" does not have a stellar record in putting such economies on sound footing. (Twenty years ago I thought that EU would know how to turn Kosovo into a thriving oasis of the Balkans, one can live, observe and learn.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 17 2015 1:33 utc | 21

Interesting points, well taken. I do find the social position of the Bush family to be extremely important to their power though. Sure, America has an interest in keeping the Saudis on their toes and in their place (a sort of geopolitical stress position, if you will) but you'll never hear a Bush talk bad about the Saudis because they are not just familiar politically, they are "come down to the ranch and a kiss hello" family friends.

The Bushes are real American royalty in the way the Kennedy were promoted as being... and then totally murdered/scandaled out of being. Donald Trump is a crass, obnoxious, self-inflated, tacky (thanks PB, excellent choice of words) idiot of a man, even as billionaires go.

I bet Jeb is pleased as punch to see The Donald both go after the Saudis and Hispanics, only if because now he can go back and say "see, you don't want this asshole to win the primaries, do you?" and pocket the checks.

C Wright Mills and Domhoff are both pretty excellent in my opinion, despite not being Marxists. Though your point on what I would consider McCarthyite repression of US Cold War intellectual life is well taken. Here is Domhoff's YouTube channel: though I really recommend this Alternative Views episode: though its a bit dated. Also very interesting - Alternative View's Frank Morrow does his interpretation of the same topic of "The US Power Structure":

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 17 2015 2:27 utc | 22

Trump is providing some interesting speculative 2016 races like Trump/Sanders or even Trump/Hillary(the non-woman/woman).

The problem is that the global plutocrats own all the bull horns and as long as that continues the brainwashing and propaganda output will keep the zombies, zombies.

Here is a flight of fiction for us old folk, what would a Trump/JFK race look like today? When are going to stop believing the myth that anyone coming from inherited wealth is fit to lead anyone but their grandmother, like to the bathroom? It is amazing to watch Trump being accorded any level of respectability give his obvious racist and women demeaning attitudes. That said, I agree with rufus magister above that The Donald could be worked with by the GOP like puppet Ronnie Reagan. Or, The Donald will go the way of JFK, but for entirely different reasons.

All this while the potential human extinction clock from Fukushima, climate change, etc. keeps ticking.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 17 2015 2:33 utc | 23

PB at 21 --

I think you hid your subtext too well.

"Detroit has value, so invest." My calculus is much simpler -- the people who live there, like the rest of us, should not be screwed out of their work, their dignity, and their lives by plutocrats and their financiers looking for a "better business environment" in which to gorge on "above market" returns. Neo-liberal "investment" in projects for the 1 pct. will do nothing to help the masses ruined by de-industrialization.

There are superficial similarities between Greece and the Ukraine. Both have economic difficulties, which are to large degree due to the corruption of their ruling classes. But the theft of the collective property in the former Union is a much different, more pervasive and brutal sort of corruption than the routine tax-evasion and inside dealing of Greek shipowners and bankers.

And of course, the Ukraine had the Russian Federation willing to help out. But American manipulation, a naive middle class with fantasies of European integration, and a fascist putsch put paid to that idea.

Greece, with proper political and economic stewardship, could conceivably revive, even in the context of the Eurozone. Recovery from the civil war in the Ukraine will be much more difficult, politically, economically, and socially.

Rand Paul says sensible things (well, he used to, anyway) about foreign policy and the criminal justice system. But his libertarian economics is, shall we say, problematic. Trump might be right on the Ukraine, but does his base really give a rat's ass about that? Except as another (minor) bad thing about our "madrassa-educated" "Kenyan Mau-Mau" president, of course.

Benghazi and HRC's server are the big foreign policy issues in Tea Party circles. Bald misogyny, chauvinism, and immigrant-baiting got him the big applause, not nuance on international relations.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 2:38 utc | 24

g77 at 22 --

Don't get me wrong, Mills and Domhoff both did good work, I have them both on the shelves 'round here somewhere (though not Domhoff's Who Rules America Now). At least they recognized their existence, instead of eliding it. We're all middle class here, right, even the millionaires (but not the poor, of course)? Their data is good, if I might put it in slightly different frame with different conclusions.

I really have to read another classic from that era, Hofstadter's "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life."

To be fair -- Ted Kennedy really scandaled himself out of it. And his sabotage of Carter in the name of his vain presidential hopes helped bring Reagan into power. I don't think the pressure of having to stand in for his three deceased elder brothers did his psyche any good (Joe Jr. being a war casualty; his loss forced JFK into politics).

The House of Bush are WASP old money, the House of Kennedy is Irish-Catholic new money. Both are American royalty, think York vs. Lancaster.

I was thinking more about post-Cold War triumphalism, but you do raise a good point about the difficulties posed by McCarthyism. They were hardly the only academics or politicians trying to navigate the mythical "Third Way" between capitalism and socialism.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 3:07 utc | 25

ps to 55 -- My point being, back in the day, approve of his work or not, you had to deal with Marx. Now, not so much. "One World, One Market, One Ideology." To paraphrase O'Brien in 1984 -- If you want a view of the future, picture a Gucci loafer smashing a human face, forever.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 3:16 utc | 26

Posted by: Vintage Red | Aug 16, 2015 5:12:14 PM | 9

Yes, Interesting point about Ross Perot but this article by Mark Ames in Pando: Behind the scenes of the Donald Trump - Roger Stone show: Anti-establishment politics is a racket has a deeper account of the electorial shinanigans in US politics.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2015 4:25 utc | 27

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 16, 2015 5:36:53 PM | 10

Reading about his remarks is not sufficient.

I saw the interview where he said this. He was winging it. At first his answer was that he got his foreign policy ideas from "the shows" (meaning US political TV shows). Then he, when pressed, he mentioned two well-known Republican names.

My immediate thought was: he can't say that this go-to person on foreign policy is the Clintons.

C'mon! Is it really believable that he has not consulted ANYONE on foreign policy matters? Would any serious candidate act that way?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2015 4:31 utc | 28

I get annoyed seeing our politicians play the celebrity roll. Like when they attend the White House Correspondence Dinner. Then I read some history that only goes to prove that this is nothing new. As far back as time began the psychopath of the tribe, has often been our leader. In fact probably more often than not. So, is 'the Donald' a freak political accident? One thing for certain this isn't what Jeb was picturing. Jeb always knew he was going to have an up hill struggle just by being a Bush, but 'the Donald'? Do you think Jeb saw thus coming? I saw a poll today that showed Hillary 15 points in front of Bernie. Really, do Democrates think this will retain the White House? Some how I don't see Donald Trump going the distance, but if he were to, then I think he could beat Hillary. FOX news today showed Trump at 25% Bush at 9%. I want Oprah to run, and with Phil Donhue as VP!

Posted by: Joe Tedesky | Aug 17 2015 4:35 utc | 29

thanks b..

thanks mrw for additional comments..

i seem to recall jackrabbit saying that trump is the spoiler for the republicans so hilary gets in.. or did i say that? i get bored with american politics.. i noticed the other day comments on usa political type threads outnumber comments on yemen being bombed to shit significantly. bottom line, i don't give much of a damn about american political soap opera.. having trump in the mix is mildly entertaining when i do peer into it..

Posted by: james | Aug 17 2015 4:37 utc | 30

follow-up to 27

Should've added that Mark Ames describes a history of candidates are encouraged to run so as to split the vote of the other party. And Roger Stone, who WAS Trumps campaign manager (before the Pando article was printed about a week or so ago) specialized in 'dirty tricks' like that going back to the Nixon White House.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2015 4:39 utc | 31

I'm not sure what % of US voters no longer bother voting but if only half of them consider themselves to be underprivileged, and Trump can persuade them that he's their candidate, and they should vote for him, he'll romp into the White House.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 17 2015 5:52 utc | 32

james @30

It is difficult to say if he is a spoiler. Trump says that Hillary was "the worst" Sec. of State for example, and Trump was saying some of the same things with respect to the same issues years ago.

But then there is also:
1) Trump's bluster which hides a lack of seriousness on issues:
a) not understanding the benefits of the petro-dollar (as pointed out by MRW),
b) not consulting with foreign policy/military 'go-to' guys,
c) complaining about 'puppets' running for office but not putting forth any plan for election reform, etc;

2) Questions about his party loyalty that are raised by Republicans. Trump sidesteps questions about how close he is to the Clintons and democrats by saying that he gives to many politicians and that he 'ordered' Hillary to be at his wedding. That is not an answer.

3) How convenient it is for Hillary that she populists running to her left and right that are unlikely to win.

4) The unlikeliness that other oligarchs would be comfortable with one of their own in the White House. The current system works in a way that benefits all of them. A political family or pliable new-comer works for all of them.

5) Trump's having hired Roger Stone as his campaign manager. With Roger Stone's record, that was a huge blunder for any serious candidate.

6) Trump's ego. Does he really want to enmesh himself in the business of the nation? Is he so delusional that he thinks that there is no other way for him to effect change (with all his money) than to do the job himself? And that the "change" that he proposes is so much different that what the other candidates are proposing? (All the republicans seem very similar to me.)

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2015 6:35 utc | 34

jackrabbit at 33

Did you actually parse the quote you posted?

To me, this sounds like he's consulted with them. And he actually says he has met with Jacobs.

This comes after he tout watching the Sunday Morning Bobbleheads. I used to some years ago, religiously (it is Sunday morning), but then the BS got to high for my waders.

TODD: But is there somebody, is there a go-to for you? You know, every presidential candidate has a go-to...

TRUMP: Probably there are two or three. I mean, I like Bolton. I think he’s a tough cookie, knows what he’s talking about. Jacobs is a good guy... and I see him on occasion.

Russia Insider likes this site, but I stay away from the libetarians if at all possible. has a short consideration of Trumpian Foreign Policy, posted last Thursday. After praising The Donald as "enraging the Republican Party establishment" he then qualifies this.

That said, it was a little alarming to hear Trump say to Sean Hannity last night, “I like [John] Bolton” in response to a question about where he gets some of his policy ideas. He then said that if he is elected president, he would invade, conquer, and occupy Iran, confiscate their oil reserves, and use the money to give “millions — millions !!!” to “our veterans.”

So it does not seem to me that he blurted out the first name that came to mind when Todd quizzed him. Looking at content, it certainly sounds like he's getting ideas from Bolton; war with Iran on behalf of Likud is a neo-con idee fixe.

I'm hardly the only observer to think so. See The Guardian as well.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 12:12 utc | 35

in the coming months and years, as the US continues its slide into recession/depression, i think the issue of illegal immigration will alter to negligible. emigration funk has been in decline since the implosion in 2008.

when i was a poor carpenter in New Mexico my Mexican co-workers (i think they were all legal) religiously sent their savings back to the old country every month and they all went home themselves at every opportunity. not one of them was particularly enthusiastic about life in America.

yes, the largely rural, agrarian communities south of the border will be much better suited to deal with the new nearly jobless world on the horizon. hey, maybe they'll flock south instead, to Ciapas, captivated by the Subcomandante Marcos hologram.


We are going to keep the families together, but they have to go (Donald Trump)

la sagrada famiglia

Posted by: john | Aug 17 2015 12:19 utc | 36

35;The Graun is now a reliable Zionist publication,I wouldn't believe anything from Rusbriger?,another serial liar.But if Trump wants to go belly up,Bolton is the way to go.He might be the most clueless guy in politics,Mustache John.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 17 2015 14:36 utc | 37

Here's a first-hand fast freddy fact. One of the greatest lies about Obama is that he is soft on immigration. Obama has been a ruthless prick wherever immigrants are concerned. Dubya was absolutely wonderful by comparison.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 17 2015 14:55 utc | 38

"Even a broken clock is right twice a day." That old saying describes "the donald", to a tee.

Watching Trump is fun, but then, I always enjoyed Kabuki. The grass roots favorite, right now, in the game of American politics is Bernie Sanders, followed by the Empire's choice. Hillery Clinton. Those two, are the only serious Democratic contenders. Most of the Republican contenders are there to suck the air out of ANY real issues to be discussed. I think the Koch brothers, and their planned 900 million $ gift, will go for Scott Walker from Wisc.
This is just the first act of a long, long, loooong circus. Another bunch of theater to provide "teachable moments" to the rubes.

guest 77 @ 12 said:"

Posted by: ben | Aug 17 2015 15:30 utc | 39

Whoops, my above post shows my copy and paste skills suck. My last sentence was a quote from guest 77.

Posted by: ben | Aug 17 2015 15:33 utc | 40

31 - history of candidates encouraged to run so as to split the vote of the other party. And Roger Stone, who WAS Trumps campaign manager (before the Pando article was printed about a week or so ago) specialized in 'dirty tricks' like that going back to the Nixon White House.

Crooked and broke RWNJ Marco Rubio (used RNC credit card for living expenses). Bygones. For public consumption he is now the handsome and dapper Republican JFK.

If you believe the official black box numbers, Three way split race put Rubio in the Senate with 49 percent of the vote. Crist 30 and Meeks 20.

Closeted gay Governor Crist married a beard and switched from R to D to run for Senate.

Florida House Member Kendrick Meek was tainted with a fresh corruption kickback scandal.
(Cadillac and a 90K job for his mom). Bill Clinton and others asked the spoiler Meek to step down. But Obama and Biden stumped for him.

Doesn't take a vivid imagination to consider that Meek may have been paid to be spoiler.

Why would Obama and Biden stump for a known crook and a lousy candidate with no chance of winning? Because he was the bona fide Democrat? No. They hadn't supported Ned Lamont - Connecticut Democratic Primary winner. Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman. But for the general election The Machine supported Lieberman who had to run Independent. No Party Loyalty here.

Could it be that a powerful faction within the D Party coerced the Rubio Senate win just as it had done for the Lieberman win?

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 17 2015 15:42 utc | 41

Well Trump certainly is occupying the platforms, screen, air waves, blogs, etc.

This is distractive madness. Obama is still president for far more than a year. The Black lives Matter who disrupted the Sanders speech should address the present admin, which is, on the books, where the buck stops. Obama is ‘black’ last I read. Responsible ..according to many rubrics.

Concentrating on the ‘new’ candidate(s) is a cop out, organised by the media / gvmt. to distract.

As for Trump, on the immigrant (which is also ‘race’) issue end of things, saying he will build walls and deport 11 million ppl ( I read..), this is completely irrelevant. (He might be sincere, idk, as he is nuts.) Anybody truly interested in that issue needs to get their heads into US legislation, the management of illegals, their contribution to the economy, etc.

Populism often throws people into a time-warp or *twarp* (invented word.) The audience is thrown into a ‘what we wish scenario’ without any timeline, concrete steps, real moves, politics, etc. It is one of the characeristics of fascism, btw.

I have to say though that Trump being an economic populist is probably a good thing in the suicidal decrepit war-mongering ambiance. (Trade, win-win deals, whatever.) He believes in all that stuff and that it can override political aims that want to genocide, destroy and kill kill. Doomed to fail, of course. Nobody ever wanted Iraqis earning a decent wage at McDonalds.

Posted by: Noirette | Aug 17 2015 16:18 utc | 42

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17, 2015 8:12:46 AM | 35

The quote is just a shorthand. It is not as good as actually listening to what Trump said and how he said it. I added a link to the interview and included the point in the interview that Trump talks about Bolton.

In answer to Chuck Todd's question, Trump says he "listens to the shows" (Sunday morning talk shows). Then Todd more specifically: "Whose your go-to guy" and Trump responds "there's probably one or two." Then he mentions Bolton - saying he "likes" him and he is a "tough cookie" - a vageness that implies that Trump has merely seen him on Sunday talk shows.

THEN Trump mentions TWO other people. The first is Jacobs, which he sees "occasionally" (implying that he is not advising Trump), and the other is the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - who Trump could not name. Trump happened to see a speech of his and he thinks he's a "good guy."


To me this reads as follows:

1) Trump hasn't consulted with anyone recently and no one that (that is acceptable to the Republican base) is advising his campaign on such issues.

2) Trump has been talking about foreign affairs/military issues like attacking ISIS and criticizing Hillary as "the worst "Secretary of State" without having spoken in depth with military analysts / foreign analysts. It's just all seat-of-the-pants for him.

Its still early in the race. We need to learn a lot more about each candidate. But Trump mulled running previously and has the money and connections that would make it easy to talk to people in important policy areas. So I find it strange that he would have such trouble with this question.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 17 2015 17:46 utc | 43


Do you mean that you were a poorly skilled or a poorly paid carpenter in NM or both?

I earned about $10/hr as a carpenter in NM in the mid '70s and it wasn't a union job.

NAFTA destroyed much of what was built in Mexico with the money sent by workers in the US but you are correct that these and other more self sufficient people will weather the coming crash better than most Amerikans who are almost totally dependent on the Beast.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 17 2015 17:50 utc | 44

Wayoutwest @ 44 asks:

Do you mean that you were a poorly skilled or a poorly paid carpenter in NM or both

i mean that it was paycheck to paycheck with the occasional bounce the years i spent as a carpenter in NM with a working wife and two young daughters.

Posted by: john | Aug 17 2015 19:59 utc | 45

MRW @2

The federal government is a small buyer of Saudi crude. US refineries which are private businesses purchase way more crude.

The Saudis also convert a fair amount of USD they receive for their crude into other assets including stocks and bonds denominated in other currencies as well as real estate in Europe and Asia.

Note there is nothing precluding Saudis from selling their crude in other currencies as well as in barter trades. The Russians are selling their crude and natural gas in euros, rubles and also in yuan. Most crude sales are contractual and not sold in spot markets.

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 17 2015 22:10 utc | 46

Trump is appealing to those Americans who are falling behind and frustrated and tired of the duopoly who only serve the moneyed interests.

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 17 2015 22:13 utc | 47

JR at 43 --

Well, I can't find a picture of them together (yet), but I do find a few items that suggest they have at least met.

Perhaps Donald the Fan-Boy had a nice little tete a tete at the NC GOP convention back in June, when he and Bolton were keynote speakers. Here's the local news, and here's the GOP.

The North Carolina Republican Party is thrilled to announce that Donald Trump and Ambassador John Bolton will be featured speakers at our 2015 State Convention.

Or maybe they were chillin' together at CPAC. Their speeches were about two hours apart. A link to Trump's is at the bottom of the page.

Intereting coincidence -- they were both on "On the Record" on 22 Feb. 2013. I don't get cable, and didn't sit through the episode, so I can't tell you if they were on simultaneously.

The reading seems to be fairly common, and not just with The Guardian (Bing it and see). Politics USA seems to share your reading, but the avowedly liberal site seems more interested in dismissing The Donald as political dead meat than in analyzing his appeal or connections..

Trump knows how to use to television to appeal to Republican voters, but there is very little behind the bluster….

What makes the Trump campaign so entertaining to watch is that he is flying by the seat of his pants, but a president can’t “wing it,” in the White House....

Anytime that Trump is asked a serious political question or is pushed for details, he falls flat on his face... [Doesn't really seem to matter to his peeps, though, does it?]

Trump’s answer today provided more evidence that if wins the Republican nomination, he will be crushed by the Democratic nominee.

The WaPo has the same take, see their annotated transcript of Todd's interview.

And what does Bolton think about Trump? This is actually from 2011, he speaks of the 2012 election.

Buttressing his contention that this election cycle is different from previous cycles, Bolton cited Donald Trump as Exhibit A.

“Donald Trump has gone up but he’s not going to stay up and he’s not going to get the nomination,” Bolton explained. “So it’s a reflection, I think, of people who have very high determination to defeat Obama but are far from settled on where they want to go. So a name comes up and they say, ‘ok, let’s try that one.’ And to me that’s just a further piece of evidence that this cycle is going to go very differently than the past several.”

So they move in the same circles and seem to share a mutual respect. Were he not on board with The Donald, I would expect Bolton to say so. See this from Foreign Policy, where he gave Huckabee a hand -- well, just the back of it -- back in 2008.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 17 2015 23:49 utc | 48

@42 noirette

Concentrating on the ‘new’ candidate(s) is a cop out, organised by the media / gvmt. to distract. ... The audience is thrown into a ‘what we wish scenario’ without any timeline, concrete steps, real moves, politics, etc. It is one of the characeristics of fascism, btw.

And it started in 2014. I don't follow the MSM, which may have preceeded, but around October 2014 at counterpunch. More than 2 years before the election.

It's as though the 'folks' are so much in denial at present that they have decided to live in a perpetual future ... b's latest post confirms that that is the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate's plan as well ... with Spielberg as the producer.

Everyone is just waiting till after the fact - TPP/WWIII/the privatization of the NSA - to see where they 'really' stand, I suppose.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 18 2015 1:23 utc | 49

To paraphrase O'Brien in 1984 --c If you want a view of the future, picture a Gucci loafer smashing a human face, forever.

Hahaha - Excellent. Absolutely True. Very Funny. Thanks. That's in fact the perfect prose sentence to get across the exact feeling I felt when Greece was smacked into submission a couple of months ago. Soft technocrats and careless billionaires taking on the role formerly reserved for conquering generals after long battles, now complete in a couple of weeks time without even ruining one's man manicure.

"He then said that if he is elected president, he would invade, conquer, and occupy Iran, confiscate their oil reserves, and use the money to give “millions — millions !!!” to “our veterans.”

Did he actually say this? Noirette seems to indicate no? If he did, it is one of the most nakedly fascistic statements I have ever heard a US politician make in the 21st century. It's like some idea that Mussolini would come up with and just like Mussolini to make a public boast of it. Also, I believe its a war crime to make such threats, isn't it?

Posted by: guest77 | Aug 18 2015 2:47 utc | 50

Possible, perhaps likely, that John Bolton and Donald Trump became acquainted at Plato's Retreat, the popular swingers club that operated in New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 18 2015 4:26 utc | 51

ab initio | Aug 17, 2015 6:10:45 PM | 46

Not that small. They buy oil and gas the world over for their troops, trucks, ships, planes, bases, supply lines, military residencies and embassies. Still pay for it with keystrokes no matter who refined it.

Yeah, Saudis may convert their USD to assets and currencies other than US treasury securities, but no matter what they buy, the original USDs earned by the Saudi government and their banks stay in the US. By law. For example, let’s say you’re a Saudi prince who wants to buy an elegant property on Lake Como for Saudi government use, denominated in Swiss Francs. You—Mr. Saudi Prince--would instruct the Federal Reserve to convert USD$30 million (from your government’s checking account, because individuals can't have accounts) to Swiss Francs and wire it to the seller in Switzerland.

The dollars never leave the US. The Fed wires the converted Swiss Francs to the seller’s correpondent bank's Swiss Franc account at the Fed for onward forwarding by that bank to the seller's bank account overseas. The USDs never leave the US banking system.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 18 2015 4:44 utc | 52

g77 at 50 --

I hoped I'd get a laugh. I was afraid I'd gotten Orwell wrong.

Aren't all the generals technocrats and soon-to-be millionaires nowadays? At least here in the large, industrial states. I don't mind so much the technocrats, it's the careless billionaires you have to watch for. You need technocrats for complex organizations and social institutions. They will respond to the stated metrics, and regrettably, it's the billionaires that set them.

As to The Donald on his proposed war crime, well, again, I don't watch Hannity, nor did I chase down the clip , so I have to take at their word. I think him capable of saying and doing it.

I see the comparison to Mussolini's personality. Very different backgrounds, of course. It's arguable if Italian fascism was any more philosophically and scientifically grounded then The Donaldism.

noirette, jfl, 42 & 49 --

Yeah, why would we want to pay Trump any mind? Trump's money and media savvy make him a player. I mean, he's only the front-runner. Despite Fox trying to undercut him, and the Republican Inner Party trying to maneuver an acceptable candidate out of the process.

And that's actually the important part. For all of the work by the RNC to avoid the spectacle of their last presidential primary, the situation is now demonstrably worse than four years ago. The good doctor Frankenstein once again finds a problem with his tea-stained creation.

Even if he drops out of the race, his reception is an important data point on the ongoing radicalization of the Rethuglicans. Given the various dimensions involved, mapping it could take a little thought.

I think you're late in dating the opening of Campaign 2016. That was in November 2012.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 18 2015 4:51 utc | 53

fast freddy at 51 --

Sounds plausible, sure would make for some nice clips....

No, seriously. The NY Post quotes Buck Henry as saying "Everybody went there, whether they want to admit it or not...."

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 18 2015 5:03 utc | 54

ps -- We'll know for sure if DSK turns up as an adviser.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 18 2015 5:05 utc | 55

"He then said that if he is elected president, he would invade, conquer, and occupy Iran, confiscate their oil reserves, and use the money to give “millions — millions !!!” to “our veterans.”

If these are Trump's words I have to wonder. Quite apart from questions of whether it constitutes a war crime or another of his fugue states, promising "millions" to millions of veterans amounts to a few bucks each. Whatever Trump's fantasy world, I have a hard time believing a billionaire wouldn't know he's at least an order of magnitude too low for this to make any financial sense. Either he's making an error comparable to that of Dr. Evil (Trump just waking from decades of suspended animation might explain a few things), or he is having a bit of a jest as he threatens to appropriate Iran's oil wealth, then distribute from the spoils millions to the masses while keeping trillions for himself.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Aug 18 2015 6:07 utc | 56

Here are highlights from the transcript is sloppily conflating several points. Let's be fair, though, a read of the transcipt shows that with Trump bouncing around, this is easily done.

On Iran: "We have to go in — we have to stop, if we can, this deal from being made...."

On ISIS: "We have to go in. So I did not want to go in, but now it's totally messed up. Now you have ISIS -- and others, but you have ISIS cutting off Christians' heads and others. They cut off anybody's head. They're drowning them. They're cutting off their heads. We have to go in with force. We have to take the oil because the oil is their source of wealth."

Note that before that bit, he is talking about Iran, so maybe both ISIS's Areas of Control as well as Iran need invading.

Asked about where he get political counsel from, he says "You know, I listen to your show. I listen to other shows. I see some very smart guys on the shows. I like Bolton. I like a lot of the guys that you have and that, frankly, I see on other networks."

He adds that he depends on "some very smart people in my organization" and his children the most.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 18 2015 12:30 utc | 57

One can pull isolated utterances of Trump as less crazy than his competitors. For example, the most educated among them, brain surgeon Dr. Carson advocates flat tax as most close to the Biblical idea of tithing. "The Earth is flat and so should be our taxes." By the way of contrast, Trump is against:"If I make a billion dollars and somebody else is making $100, and he's paying $10 and I'm paying -- to me, I don't know. I like somewhat of a graduation. What you have now is a system that's too complicated. " Note that he resisted a temptation to compute 10% of one billion, you do not want arithmetic mistakes in front of national TV. So you see an actually sensible stand -- progressive tax, nicely called "graduated" not to offend conservatives, and neatly packaged for morons. And he computed 10% if $100 in public, all by himself, and that makes him tower over the mediocre field.

That said, it reminds a youtube video I have seen recently. I young British hipster comments on the scandal of that day, something that Min. Lavrov muttered during a joint press conference with his Saudi guest and colleague, and which his translators left out. What did he say? The Briton dwells on Lavrov's facial expression which were surprisingly varied during the speech of his colleague. Gloom? Disgust? Stomach ache? The young Briton commented that as he does not know Russian he does not what Lavrov said, but it is clear what he wanted to say.

Here Trump replies to the question whom he would put in his cabinet: "We use the guy that gives, you know, $50,000 to a Bush or to a Hillary, and they become secretary of this, or they -- it's ridiculous. I would use the greatest minds. I know the best negotiators. I'm in New York. I know the good ones, the bad ones.

I always say, I know the ones that are no good that people think are good. I know people that you've never heard of that are better than all of them. I would put people in charge of these massive economic machines."

Actually, this sounded great, if we want to get rid of Washington insiders we need some sharp guys from New York. No pandering to peasants! Onwards to Iowa State Fair!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 18 2015 13:48 utc | 58

Bolton,a tough indigestible stale cookie,made mush by Zionist milk.
All these warmongers are about as tough as wet paper bags.

Posted by: dahoit | Aug 18 2015 15:37 utc | 59

MRW @52

What is the point you are trying to make about USD staying in the US? Currency bills don't have to stay inside a border. And the same goes for EUR, GBP, CNY, CHF, etc. Crude producers can and do price contracts in several currencies as well as using varied terms. China does trade in many currencies too.

If a currency is convertible it makes no difference.

And by the way in the example you provide the Fed cannot wire Swiss Francs unless it has bought it by exchanging dollars. And where would they buy CHF? In the forex market. Banks trade trillions in currencies every day.

Posted by: ab initio | Aug 18 2015 21:25 utc | 60

The Republican leadership proved in 2012, that partnered with voting machine manufacturers, they were ready, willing and able to steal any Republican primary election (or caucus) necessary to get Shit Romney nominated.

Here's an article that describes the concept for the statistically challenged like me:

Interestingly, the 100% sole recipient of all these shenanigans was Willard Mitt Romney. All other candidates suffered from the charade. So these people care not who's in the driver's seat. They poison the count to their liking.

Posted by: Skip | Aug 18 2015 22:49 utc | 61

Wayoutwest: Trump has already shown that the Political Class are nothing more than parasites so lets save time and money and have the real power, the Oligarchs run things directly.

History shows that there are problems with "oligarchs running things directly". By the definition, "oligos = few", there is a number of oligarchs and they do not agree with each other on everything. If they have power DIRECTLY, then they can fund their own battalions, and in the spirit of competition, we get a number of those. Then an oligarch displeased by some banking regulation, without any doubt manipulated by his adversaries, send few companies of soldiers to remove regulators from his bank, and make a show of force in front of Finance Ministry. But his adversaries bring their own troops to the capital. Then some banks get vandalized by wee bombs made with TNT. Welcome to Kiyiv. It is much more orderly in Moscow where oligarchs have to plead their cases before authorities, private battalions are not tolerated (so oligarchs have to do with smallish detachments of armed body guards.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 19 2015 6:12 utc | 62

Hey skippy, glad to see you here.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19 2015 6:27 utc | 63

Trump: Part of the problem
Sanders: too timid

With respect to oligarchy, it is difficult to raise awareness/support from the public until economic conditions are disastrous. I think that one reason for this is that activists often frame problems in ways that are not engaging and even self-defeating. Examples:

- Socialists often denounce capitalism despite the public's skepticism of alternatives to capitalism. (over-reaching);

- Reformers often focus on a narrow (e.g. financial regulation) issue or a specific event (e.g. Fukusima);

- Activists often focus on wrongs done to a certain group (e.g. Minorities).

- Politicians pull punches (e.g. attack "inequality" not oligarchy).

In any case, those who have an understanding of how oligarchy (aka “crony capitalism) operates have not made a convincing case to the public. Much of the public still think that oligarchy's benefits outweigh the drawbacks and/or that oligarchy is an intrinsic and even necessary feature of a capitalist system.

Oligarchy is a CHOICE, and one that has terrible consequences for those that are subject to its effects. As far as I can tell (via observation over many years), there is a direct relationship between the strength of oligarchy and problems like:

- pollution/environmental destruction;

- austerity/poverty/despair;

- social conflict/divisiveness;

- undue control of information/propaganda;

- restriction of civil liberties/militarism;

- the general inhumanity/excesses related to a permanent/semi-permanent overclass and underclass;

- and more.

The plight of countries like Ukraine and Greece are extreme examples of the evils that accompany oligarchy. Given the millions that suffer or die (e.g suicide, toxins, war) from this choice, oligarchy fits the definition of a”>Crime Against Humanity (CAH)*.

Furthermore, 'calling out' oligarchy as a CAH would elevate the issue in the public's eyes and spark debate on necessary reforms of tax and campaign finance laws.

Oligarchics like to hide behind a veneer of democracy. Compliant governments claim the legitimacy of a democracy but operate to satisfy the needs of their oligarchy. This system is so entrenched that only a dramatically improved public awareness/understanding has any hope of effecting change.

Instead of supporting an oligarch like Trump, who has nevertheless done a service by raising awareness of the problem (calling his political opponents “puppets”), it would be far more preferable to build an anti-oligarch movement that may (eventually) free humanity from the parasites and pretenders that plague us. And I doubt very much that Sanders is the guy that could lead that movement as his dedication to the Democratic Party/establishment is too strong.


* Note:
Defining oligarchy as a CAH:
(1) doesn't criminalize wealth. Governments can choose how best to avoid oligarchy. Nevertheless, there doesn't appear to be any benefit to society when individuals are allowed to amass more than a few hundred million dollars/euro of wealth.

(2) doesn't imply that all oligarchs or officials in an oligarchical political system are criminals. Only policymakers that enact laws to create or protect an oligarchic system would be subject to criminal prosecution.

PS”>I am not the first to call oligarch-related effects a CAH (and there may be others). And don't miss”>Greenspan's Body Count.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19 2015 7:25 utc | 64

Trump: Part of the problem
Sanders: too timid

Saunders: Even more a "part of the problem" than Trump

Saunders is already a corrupt elected official and is already financed by Arms Companies.

To see someone write so many words, and not even bother to mention that Bernie Saunders, given his easily-available voting record in the Senate, is PROVABLY a warmongering scumbag, makes ya wonder about either their agenda, their honesty, or their level of intelligence.

Posted by: BLOCKQOTE | Aug 19 2015 7:59 utc | 65

ab initio @60

What’s my point?

You wrote: The Saudis also convert a fair amount of USD they receive for their crude into other assets including stocks and bonds denominated in other currencies as well as real estate in Europe and Asia. and Note there is nothing precluding Saudis from selling their crude in other currencies as well as in barter trades.

Doesn’t make any difference what the Saudis buy with their USD. The USD the Saudis receive for their oil from all countries worldwide comes from here, and stays here. The Saudis have three choices with their USD at the Fed: exchange the USD for Riyals (SAR) on the open market and wire them home, buy US goods with the money, or move their USD from their checking account at the Fed to their savings account and buy US treasury securities. That’s it.

No one pays for their oil in US hard currency. (1) There’s a $10,000 limit on physical dollars leaving this country (each instance), and (2) most countries want to hold onto their foreign currency (USD hard cash) to exchange for their citizens. The total amount of physical dollars in existence is about 11%-12%. Outside the USA, Russian citizens hold the most according to the Federal Reserve a few years ago, although that may have changed with countries like Ecuador using the USD.

The Saudis aren’t going to price their oil in Yuan unless they want (or need) Yuan. (Ditto other currencies) Do they? Is there a great bond market for Yuan that would keep their oil sales to China liquid? I’m not aware of one yet, so that would mean Saudi Arabia would have to do the exchanging to get the Yuan into the currency it wants; why would it do that instead of asking for it upfront? The Brits opened the first Chinese bond market only last year. Can’t compare that with the US treasury securities market, which is trading around $750 billion/day, and is highly liquid.

And by the way in the example you provide the Fed cannot wire Swiss Francs unless it has bought it by exchanging dollars.
Exactly, which is why the dollars remain here. But it would be the buyer (Saudi Govt in my example) who initiated the USD/CHF exchange first on the open market and the Fed that wires it to the seller’s correspondent Swiss bank at the Federal Reserve for onward forwarding to the seller, something that the Fed would do as US banker for the Saudi Govt. (The Fed only has four clients: US govt, US banks, Foreign Govts, Foreign banks.)

Posted by: MRW | Aug 19 2015 10:16 utc | 66

Jackrabbit: Much of the public still think that oligarchy's benefits outweigh the drawbacks and/or that oligarchy is an intrinsic and even necessary feature of a capitalist system.

We would need some more precise definition, but I would agree that under a reasonable definition, oligarchy is an intrinsic, and even necessary, feature of capitalism. Capitalism has its ruling class, and within that class it is "one dollar, one vote". And most of those dollars is in the hands of a minority within that class. Moreover, in the near future it is hard to see a reasonable alternative, it is more like "does power give money or money give power". For that reason, I would advocate to "focus on a narrow (e.g. financial regulation) issue or a specific event (e.g. Fukushima)".

More precisely, I would focus on cases of clear divergence of interest between companies and individuals. Clearly, individuals have to work somewhere, and buy something, so they need companies in various ways, so there exists a convergence of interests. But it does not imply deference to corporate requests on each and every issue, and there are systemic ways in which companies work against individuals. For example, we cannot carry all needed cash around, so we need some banking/payment system, and the owners of that system effectively touch almost any movement of cash that we make, say, a withdrawal from ATM. Large associations like Visa/Mastercards to a degree function as a private tax system, and if that system could operate according to their wishes they would take trillions. Luckily, their rapacity puts them in conflict with other oligarchs so it is not that bad, but clearly it could be better.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 19 2015 12:02 utc | 67

Most Americans will, when prompted, within two seconds, jump to the defense of the super rich, and concurrently, bash the government.

They defend the rich because they believe:

the free market (markets fallacy) fairy tale wherein every American has a relatively equal chance to become rich.
the rich earned their money and no one has a right to take away anyone else's money (and give it to someone else).
the rich are job creators.

They bash the government because the government:

makes them pay taxes
imposes excessive regulation and restrictions on the rich (hindering job creation).
gives their tax money to black or brown people who get everything for free.

They like Wars because it's a team sport.

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 19 2015 12:43 utc | 68

Anonymous @15 said: " Hillary's no one's choice in an ideal world. But she's the only thing standing in the way of a Bush revival. Another Bush in the White House - my God."

You'll forgive me for not seeing the qualitative difference between the Bush and Clinton dynasties. Both represent an antidemocratic aristocracy if nothing else-- and their foreign and domestic policies have been fairly indistinguishable. One fox does not break into a henhouse to save the chickens from being eaten by another fox.

As far as the Trump campaign is concerned, it is amusing although some suspect there might be more sinister motives than a simple lark by the idle riche.

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 19 2015 15:05 utc | 69

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 19, 2015 8:02:17 AM | 67

Our current system of virtually unlimited accumulation of wealth PLUS virtually unlimited political donations means that a few oligarchs can get together and choose the next President. By all accounts, this is what happened with Obama (to the great consternation of the Clintons).

Setting tight limits on the accumulation of wealth and political donations would GREATLY diminish the ability to select election winners and influence candidates once they ARE elected. Still, there is no guaranty. But raising the issue to one of CAH means that if some finds a way around the rules, they would still be subject to legal jeopardy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 19 2015 17:20 utc | 70


Trump could see this election as his last chance to take on the challenge of a run for the presidency and he could actually have some affection for the country that helped him to become wealthy. When if ever have we read of a professional politician or oligarch reporting for jury duty? I don't think anyone can truthfully call Trump 'Idle' and this run may have been a lark but I think he is very surprised by the growing support for his campaign.

The real entertainment is being offered by the political minions who are running around as if their hair were on fire trying to counter this unplanned insurgency. The link above shows just how paranoid and desperate they have become now channeling Birthers or Truthers to make their feeble attacks.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Aug 19 2015 17:39 utc | 71

@69 monolycus

Just read the headline. I thought the same about Romney's campaign in 2012. There's not a dime's worth of difference in the outcome, although there's a couple of buck's worth in style, for the fashion conscious.

Posted by: jfl | Aug 19 2015 20:38 utc | 72

If I may put it simply and clearly. There are notable differences between Democrat and Republicans. Both will f*** over, but the D's are far more liberal with the lube.

Neither of the status quo parties will produce fundamental change. Which one in office will be more effective in preventing, forestalling, undermining, and reversing change? Mildly delusional is better than bat-shit crazy.

I would add, if you are content to choose from the lesser of two evils, all you get offered is evils.

Properly organized, something like the Sanders campaign might be a good step away from finance capitalism. But in as much as he has forsworn a third party candidacy -- unlike Trump -- "One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards."

BTW, that was a revealing clip -- Trump, stern, self-possessed as the debate audience booed his refusal to pledge not to run as an independent.

And speaking of Trump -- Bolton was speaking of Trump on Fox. I'm not sitting through it myself, but I'm thinking it's not a slap-down.

In a "Meet the Press" interview, Trump said that he would deploy U.S. troops to Iraq to seize ISIS-held oil fields, in order to choke the financial spigot that fuels the terror group.

Bolton agreed that it's going to take strong American leadership - and a much more comprehensive plan than what President Obama has put forth - to stop ISIS.

And why not say nice things about someone who gave your PAC money? The WaPo behaves like real journalists with a list of The Donalds political contributions. The list makes for interesting reading, as it tells an enlightening tale. He's gone from bipartisan to beyond the fringe.

Submitted for your approval -- a grand to Steve Lonegan, the Garden State's most prominent ultra-rightist, a perennial (losing) candidate, in 2014. Same year Bolton got 5G's for his abortive presidential run, via a PAC.

Posted by: rufus magister | Aug 20 2015 0:00 utc | 73

@ 69& 73: I agree.

Posted by: ben | Aug 20 2015 0:26 utc | 74

Wayoutwest @ 71 asked: "When if ever have we read of a professional politician or oligarch reporting for jury duty?"

It happens rarely enough that my cynical first impression upon hearing about it was that it must have been deliberately finagled in order to get him off the stumping/fundraising circuit for a bit, or to be spun into a campaign liability if he got out of serving it.

Posted by: Monolycus | Aug 20 2015 9:21 utc | 75


We would need some more precise definition, but I would agree that under a reasonable definition, oligarchy is an intrinsic, and even necessary, feature of capitalism.

Hunh? You're confusing governance and economics.

Under no reasonable definition is oligarchy a necessary feature of capitalism. Oligarchy is a necessary feature of fascism.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 20 2015 11:42 utc | 76

@ fast freddy | Aug 19, 2015 8:43:57 AM | 68,

No truer words, Freddy. Especially this:

They bash the government because the government:

makes them pay taxes
imposes excessive regulation and restrictions on the rich (hindering job creation).
gives their tax money to black or brown people who get everything for free.

They like Wars because it's a team sport.

Posted by: MRW | Aug 20 2015 11:48 utc | 77

Posted by: MRW | Aug 20, 2015 7:42:09 AM | 76

I'm not confusing governance and economics but I probably should've better explained the assumption that I make about how they are connected.

The economically powerful have the means to influence government. In this way, economics 'seeps' into governance.

How they apply that influence is also clear:
- reducing nominal tax rates;
- making taxes as regressive as possible (flat tax!);
- adding/safeguarding lucrative tax loopholes;
- obtaining bailouts / leniency when they get into trouble;
- obtaining pork-barrel or sweetheart deals;
- business friendly laws;
- maximizing trade opportunities;
- immigration that keeps wages down and people divided;
- austerity;
- strong policing, to protect property and minimize protest;
- etc.

Governance is just another market. I think many understand by now that markets need to be regulated or they are subject to manipulation.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 20 2015 15:22 utc | 78

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