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Member since: Sat May 28, 2016, 03:02 PM
Number of posts: 162

Journal Archives

Clinton Loyalist Authoritarianism: Brad DeLong Threatens a Journalist and Economists. Who is Next?


Clinton loyalists are now showing their true colors. And they are not pretty. Initially, it seemed better to leave Brad DeLong alone when he made a drive-by misfire at my Politico article on why many Sanders voters will never vote for Clinton. It’s a badge of honor of sorts when a Clinton hack, um, tribalist, gets so upset about a pro-Sanders story that he rushes in on the offensive.

However, DeLong’s piece was sorely deficient in intellectual integrity. He make it obvious he had not read the story by misattributing a reader comment to me and then compounding the error by riffing on the reader remark (Politico even provided the link so its audience could see the quote in context). What is telling is that diatribes against Sanders supporters are increasingly of the “shoot the messenger” or “shoot the voter” variety, as the case may be. The Clinton camp is responding with ever-escalating levels of abuse to evidence that Sanders supporters have serious, reasoned objections to the Clintons’ track record, Obama’s policies, which Hillary Clinton embraces, and her neoliberal economic stance. If you want to confirm the view of the Sanders bloc, that the Democratic party is not interested in their issues, this is precisely the way to do it.

But the Clinton loyalists are stooping even lower and are purging dissenters on the left. Mind you, this isn’t a new practice. As Jane Hamsher pointed out in 2009, the Obama Administration successfully most put left-leaning groups in a “veal pen,” by attacking individuals and organizations that stepped out of line by doing things like criticizing Blue Dog (pro-corporate, pro-bank) Democrats, or criticizing the payment of bonuses to AIG staffers. Those organizations that didn’t fall in lime and had institutional funding (most) would be disciplined by calls to important backers pressing them to end their financial support.

...And now, in a sort of piling on, Brad DeLong threatens Zach Carter, a Huffington Post journalist who has done some fine work in the financial services beat. This is the headline and first sentence of his post (emphasis original): The Huffington Post Has a Serious, Serious Quality Control Problem with Seth Abramson…Live from the Huffington Post’s self-made Gehenna of Lies: It has a serious quality control problem with Zach Carter too. But the time to talk about that won’t come until November…So we have a former Clinton Administration official calling a journalist a liar (with no supporting evidence) and threatening him with unnamed consequences in November. That is presumably on the assumption that Clinton wins, which is not at all a given. So what can we expect will happen then? That the transition team will issue a hit list of disfavored journalists and Carter is sure to be on it? That seems to be the drift of DeLong’s thuggish promise.

Blaming Sanders: Why Democratic Party Unity is Officially Impossible


I’m not going to suggest that people shouldn’t like Hillary Clinton if they adore her, and many do, but for her champions to continue the arrogant argument that she is anything more than a smug politician with a big stick, i.e., a cozy relationship with corporate America and the military industrial complex, is silly obfuscation. Such denial flies in the face of reality given Clinton’s attachment to and her unmovable faith in the neoliberalism of our age, which more-progressive thinkers—never mind the remnants of the Left—see as problematic.

The would-be pragmatists, the nose-holders who have embraced the “lesser-evil” mantra in the panic to stop Trump, have either forgiven her sins and moved on or never saw the sinner in the first place. Importantly, these people are settled-in and at ease with what were once called, when I studied them in school, “current events.” As a mass they cling to the “center” like a life preserver. They have an abiding faith in the way things are now playing out, have easily overcome any tinge of doubt about U.S. imperialism and our terms of perpetual war (are we winning?), the environment, and rampant poverty and inequality, to name a few of the things Hillary Clinton abhors talking about or glides over like an ice skater.

...As for Bernie Sanders, some portray his thinking as reckless “ideology,” with a pejorative usage here based on the rise among self-satisfied Americans who can’t distinguish between progressive policy and Hillary Clinton’s record. Or perhaps they can, but it doesn’t bother them. The point is that many voters are content with the way things are now; any and all suggestions that the status quo ought to be altered are dismissed out-of-hand. Neoliberalism has been kind to many while raping many others. Sanders’ thinking is frightening to a wide swath of comfortable middle-class voters—and not just Republicans—who have avoided the inherent disasters of recent policy decisions that have angered and outright economically ruined many in our country as well as large portions of the global population...Why, the usual power players, of course. They are Krugman, Feinstein, Reich, and others atop the pyramid. Great Pragmatists all. Believe me when I protest that none of these characters know poverty or oppression. If they’ve known it at any time, they’ve forgotten it by now.

...Stay in the thing, Bernie, for the hell of it. Clinton’s allies disrespect too many, take too much for granted, expect too many miracles, and act out too much like privileged children.

Everything Sticks To Velcro Hillary

If you want to respond, respond to what Cenk actually says. Not me, Sanders or his supporters, and everything but what he says.

Money Merry-Go-Round: Emails Show How Wall Street Execs and Alums Crafted Trade Bill

This is why wages haven't grown, adjusted for inflation, in decades, why inequality has exploded, and why people have no faith in the system or either party. Whatever half measure you can point to that made some positive difference for working people, there are these massive corporate giveaways that far outweigh them. Keeping the status quo in place, which is exactly what is happening, means things will continue to get worse economically, and politically. THIS is being pushed, by the way, by a Democratic president.


FOIA disclosure documents chummy relationship between trade negotiator and big investment banks.

Foreign corporations could sue to undermine US protections for consumers’ health, safety and financial security under a provision added to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP) after executives of big banks pressed the nation’s chief trade negotiator, himself a former big-bank executive, to include it.

A series of emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and released last week by Rootstrikers, an organization that opposes the trade deal now pending before Congress, confirm the push by financial service companies for the “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” provision. ISDS, as it is referred to by the cognoscenti writing the emails, would, in the words of one critic, Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach, “elevate individual investors to the status of a nation-state” in trade disputes.

...The ISDS issues came up in an email from Shirzad and in another from Froman to an unidentified employee at JPMorgan Chase (names of recipients were redacted). “This is really not helpful” before appending a Politico story, clearly pegged to leaks, that described a split in the administration over ISDS, with several agencies, including the Treasury Department, opposing the provision and the trade representative’s office siding with the big banks in favor of it. In its online sales pitch for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade representative’s office argues that the ISDS provision will help protect Americans’ investments in other countries. But others vehemently disagree. As written, says Public Citizen’s Wallach, the provision represents “a huge expansion” of corporate power that would “empower major global financial firms to attack to US financial regulations using ISDS. That was the scenario outlined by Sen. Elizabeth Warren last year in a Washington Post op-ed. The Massachusetts Democrat warned that the trade pact’s ISDS provision will undermine US sovereignty by making it easier for US laws and regulations to be challenged by foreign companies. Kelleher thinks the ultimate beneficiary may be financial services companies right here at home. Wall Street firms “have a clear strategy, he contends, to use trade laws “to grease the skids to the regulatory bottom.”

Other emails in the Rootstriker disclosure appeared to be designed to reassure Froman that the financial services industry is using its muscle to win congressional votes for the Trans-Pacific trade deal. In a sign of the political radioactivity surrounding it, backers — including congressional Republican leaders and the Obama administration — appear to be teeing it up for vote in a lame-duck session of Congress later this year.

Guess Which Candidate Top CEOs Prefer? Hint: It's Not Trump.

There's a reason none of the banks, other large corporations, and the Chamber of Commerce never took her populist talk seriously.


A majority of chief executives of the world's biggest companies say they would support Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump for president, according to a new survey that upends the usual Republican leanings of corporate CEOs.

Fortune magazine in May sent a poll to all of the executives on its 500 list asking them to rank their preference between the two candidates. (No other options were given.)

Of those who responded, 58 percent said they would choose Clinton, while 42 percent said they favored Trump.

...Meanwhile, Clinton has seen a surge of financial sector donations since Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee.

Third Party Candidates Polling Abnormally High, Media Doesn't Care

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Green Party do very well, if Clinton is the nominee. We'll see.

New IMF Paper Challenges Neoliberal Orthodoxy

Good paper, worth reading. However, I doubt it will make a difference as far as what the IMF actually does. They did a staff report on the failure of austerity a few years ago and did exactly what that paper critiqued thereafter. Good reading anyway.

Here's a summary from Nakedcapitalism, with the link to the paper. How many "moderate" and right wing Democrats (in power and on this site) will ignore this? Many, as it challenges the some of the essential elements of the very economic model the Clintons and president Obama support.


While the IMF’s research team has for many years chipped away at mainstream economic thinking, a short, accessible paper makes an even more frontal challenge. It’s caused such a stir that the Financial Times featured it on its front page. We’ve embedded it at the end of this post and encourage you to read it and circulate it.

The article cheekily flags the infamous case of the Chicago Boys, Milton Friedman’s followers in Pinochet’s Chile, as having been falsely touted as a success. If anything, the authors are too polite in describing what a train wreck resulted. A plutocratic land grab and speculation-fueled bubble led quickly to a depression, forcing Pinochet to implement Keynesian policies, as well as rolling back labor “reforms,” to get the economy back on its feet.

The papers describes three ways in which neoliberal reforms do more harm than good.

...Overly mobile capital...Austerity...Increasing inequality.
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