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April 21, 2015


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She was 100% for the Iraq invasion- how can any "progressive" support a candidate that advocated "war crimes"?

She was 100% wrong on the vast right wing conspiracy comment. Bill was guilty.

She could not get the ball over the goal line with HillaryCare.

I know it's a long time ago, but she beat 1 in 31 trillion odds on the whole cattle futures deal


I knew some traders back in the day at the CBOT. They said it was common for trades to be made during the day in real time and then be "allocated" at the end of the day.

The personal email deal alone should keep any sane person from voting for her. How can you trust anyone like that who deviously implements a plan for a pocket veto over any email they've sent or received?

Without Bill, she's just another lawyer. There's plenty of those.

I really wish Bloomberg would run. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.

All true Rogue.

INPHX, a progressive can and will vote for Hillary because the Republicans are crazy and their platform is dangerous.

Your points alleging Hillary's "dishonesty" are taken directly from the right wing media script and don't move me at all. It will be easy for many to vote for her.

Republican Bloomberg is far too sane to relate to 90% of the Republican voters. Scott Walker is the poster child of the Republican Party.

Rogue, pretty sure that should be "right-wing bias" re what talk radio teaches the facts have. Please delete this comment after the fix.

I'll be away from my laptop until late tonight.

Emil, I meant the facts have a left-wing bias in the sense that virtually everything from facts on the reality of human-caused climate change to the reality that the Reagan tax cuts were not the successes they are claimed to be is dismissed as left-wing propaganda.

Re Dean Baker's "progressive" three point economic plan: the only idea I really like is the financial transactions tax.

Decreasing the value of the dollar relative to U.S. trade partners would make U.S goods and services cheaper for foreigners to buy and might encourage more buying by them and the increased demand would tend to grow jobs here. But offsetting that tendency is the fact that the foreign goods Americans buy would cost them more. Those extra dollars heading overseas mean less domestic spending.

Also, the labor cost and regulatory cost differences between America's economy and those of China are too wide to expect manufacturing jobs to return to America in mass just because of a bit of currency manipulation.

Additionally, other countries can (and do) manipulate their currencies to make their exports more attractive. There is no reason to think that a cheap dollar relative to foreign currency will stay that way once foreign banks respond in kind to offset the changes; and China is in a freer position to do that sort of currency manipulation anyway.

Finally, we have to ask what foreigners would buy more of from America if the U.S. dollar were cheaper relative to their currencies. A big part of U.S. exports are not goods but services, specifically financial services. Adding more of these jobs won't help Main Street employment.

As for the Federal Reserve adopting full employment as its primary goal, by keeping interest rates low, its been keeping short term rates near zero for years, but full employment has yet to arrive. Clearly monetary policy is not, in the present circumstance, the key to full employment. Also, we had this argument back in the days of stagflation, and low rates didn't provide job growth then either.

Ooh. The cat's away.
Soleri, if you're reading this, does a challenge to HRC from the left make sense- certainly in the primaries. What about the THREAT of a general election challenge? I've held my nose and voted for the lesser of 2 evils in almost all of the 12 presidential elections when i went to the polls. I expect to do so again- one gets inured to it with repetition.
There was an interesting Democracy Now a day or two after HRC announced. 4 panelists. What's memorable was Robert Scheer listing all of the things that made him sick about her record, and he started talking about Rand Paul and Lincoln Chafee! Believe me there's a lot of this on the unaffiliated Left. Of course HRC will do what she can to avoid needing leftish votes (they're oh-so-inconvenient.) But what might she do if she needs to court left of center types?
My tone-translator with Scheer read "I've taken this shit for too long and my sense of integrity won't allow me to vote for her. I'm too old to put up with this anymore." I FEEL the same way. Joe Conason stepped in and said "Let's get this back to reality," but Scheer wasn't persuaded.
If there's a lesson to be salvaged from the Nader run in 2000, it's that the Democratic establishment will ignore populist/progressive interests if it possibly can, with the exception of a few sops and slogans, even if ignoring the left means defeat. Hope and Change anyone?
What I like about Republican politics is that they provide for what their constituents want, guns, god, gay-bashing, giga bucks. They're effective.
INPHX: yo, Hi. Re your 1st comment- thank you for your concern.

Rogue wrote:

"There is no end to potential progressive platforms upon which Hillary could run...It won't happen because she...knows she must appeal to enough of the What's The Matter With Kansas white working class."

Actually, she could easily appeal to the White working class with the right progressive agenda.

Once we get past the issue of appealing to primary voters, which Hillary obviously doesn't have to worry about, there are two separate problems in becoming President of the United States:

(1) Crafting a progressive agenda that appeals to a majority of registered voters.

(2) Crafting a progressive agenda that appeals to the bankers and other corporate interests that increasingly finance the Democratic Party, as well as to wealthy individual and union donors, and to the newspaper editorial boards, talking heads, media tycoons, and think tanks who provide "media context" (i.e., who tell everyone else what her campaign agenda "really means" for America).

Let's deal with the first one: crafting a progressive agenda that appeals to a majority of registered voters.

What do most registered voters like? They like free money (e.g., tax cuts and credits, Medicare and Social Security) but hate "welfare". They like strong economic growth and low unemployment. They like small federal deficits or balanced budgets.

Ronald Reagan expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit so that some working class families could actually receive more in tax credits than they owed in taxes. This was therefore not a tax refund but a benefit payment.

But Reagan didn't call this welfare, or redistribution of income. He said it encouraged work (because to qualify you have to have "earned income", not sit at home); that it created jobs; that it reduced reliance on welfare by reducing poverty; and that it helped working class families.

It's all in how you frame it.

Informed progressives know that the economic doldrums America is mired in are traceable in large part to concentration of income. In recent years, as much as 93 percent of national growth in income has gone to the top 1 percent of households:


Money that goes to already wealthy households sits around doing nothing but bidding up the notional value of the financial assets this money is invested in; whereas money that goes to working class families is used to buy more goods and services, which encourages companies to produce more of these goods and services, which requires increased hiring; and an increase in total goods and services produced is the very definition of economic growth.

It's entirely possible to appeal to the cupidity of the White working class while also appealing to their envy. But you don't frame it as class war: you frame it as economic growth, jobs, reduced welfare-state payments (working households receiving EITC payments make enough not to qualify for welfare), and as pro-family, pro-America boosterism.

So, expand the EITC for the bottom third of the population, for households headed by one or more full-time workers. But because fiscal responsibility is important, this has to be done in a revenue neutral fashion. So tax the rich. But as much as possible, do this through taxes on financial income rather than job income from salaries. And graduate the additional tax burden: a little higher for the little rich, and a lot higher for the truly wealthy, with a graduated slope in between.

Now you've got money transferred from the coffers of the wealthy where it does nothing except make more money (on paper), to the wallets of working class families and individuals who spend it on more goods and services, driving up demand, which drives up production and hiring.

Meanwhile, unemployment and welfare rolls decline. The government can use this savings for something else, something that appeals to progressives.

The economy grows as a result of the increased national demand. That means more government revenues, which can be used to fund any of a variety of progressive projects. The increased revenues also make it easier to keep deficits low.

How much flexibility is there in an expansion of the EITC?

Mean household income in the United States, according to the US Census Bureau 2014 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, is $72,641.

The "mean" is just the arithmetic average everyone is taught in grade school. In order for the mean to be $72,641 therefore, some households earn more, and some less. Without increasing or decreasing total household income, you could, if you wanted to, redistribute it so that every single household in America received the same amount, $72,641. That's simple arithmetic.

Of course, absolute income leveling isn't a very popular notion in the United States, and for good reasons. But this gives an idea of the possibilities for income redistribution through the EITC.

Mission accomplished. Only, of course, Hillary can't do this without Congress. But the question was not what Hillary can do, but whether she can offer a progressive agenda and get elected President. Besides, it's just possible that, marketed correctly, this could appeal to enough Republicans to allow Democrats in Congress to push this through.

The second problem is the real problem: everybody likes this except the rich. But the rich are the ones who, in the main, will fund Hillary's presidential campaign. They are also the ones who will tell America what everything Hillary says "really means" for America.

Annual household income of just $200,000 puts you in the top 5 percent of households:


Many of the major media outlet editors, talking heads, owners, and outside the media, corporate executives, lobbyists, professionals, and other movers and shakers, are in the top five percent. They are a minority with a disproportionate influence on national political discourse and national political agendas.

Could you bring them on board? If not, would you be willing to do the tough, grassroots fundraising necessary to get the campaign finance needed for a serious presidential bid?

The saddest thing about our country is the opportunity costs we incur while continuing to gut the place with hyper capitalistic greed. What hasn't been purchased down to the city/county commissioner levels of our government? At some point, after some event, it changes. It won't change with the current group of democrat or republican political reptiles. But what an opportunity for some democrat or republican to say:

I am tired of endless wars while my town rots.
I am tired of shitty jobs that I could lose tomorrow.
I am tired of the corporations and fat cats buying their power.
I am tired of the CEOs and Boards cashing in while my 401k gets "fee'd" to death and with tiny dividends.
I'm tired of crappy transportation systems.
I'm tired of old infrastructure and bad schools.
I'm tired of the current political class of democrats and republicans who care not for me and my future, but for their own short term ability to loot the place.
We all rise or we all fall. The elites should know that gated communities will fall.

As I've said many times. Demos/GOPers, Crips/Bloods, KGB/FBI. All the same. This democracy is a fraud, but so has been the country since 1492. It's the American way, we're built on fraud. But I'm open for a pleasant surprise.

Re comment by "resilc" above:

An online anagram engine gives two results for "resilc":


Which of these is correct, and why; or if "resilc" is not an anagram, what is it?

resilc is our Front Page Editor. A man with much experience in the world, especially the Middle East, Asia and Central America.

Sounds like a tantalizing background, Rogue. An international man of mystery? Spooky. I seem to recall you mentioning in one of your posts that you had a friend who at one time was in the clandestine service. Also something elsewhere about the Front Page editor being secretive. (I find the mosaic approach to intelligence collection fruitful, sometimes.)

Meaning of "left-wing bias" sentence was clear to me.

Emil, your comment regarding the clandestine service reminds me of the Americano-centric nature of most Phoenicians. Individuals with Middle East and Central America overseas experience are not uncommon in cosmopolitan, international focused cities such as Seattle. Discretion is a survival behavior pattern developed by most federal government employees working abroad; clandestine, diplomatic or otherwise.

Anon, Rogue himself has often said that the facts have a left leaning bias, meaning that the left has a more authentic grasp of the facts. The political right might think the media has a left wing bias, but it would scarcely think that the facts themselves do. So it seemed just possible that Rogue said "left" out of habit and by mistake. On the other hand, it's also possible that what he meant is that the political right mistakes the facts for left wing propaganda; in which case his sentence as originally written does indeed make sense.

As for the rest, you're taking some playful banter (not to mention yourself) much too seriously. If I want to joke and/or fish I ought to be able to do so without a suspiciously solerian lecture. Whoever you are, self-righteous umbrage over friendly banter doesn't become you.

I'm entertaining a fantasy (for that's what it is) of Front Page in his hypothetical clandestine service days. Instead of the usual diplomatic cover, he used his archaeology degree to inform his pose as a wealthy collector of antiquities and artifacts.

It was the perfect cover. It brought him into contact with numerous government officials who expected a bribe to facilitate black market purchases, giving both parties a culturally acceptable excuse to meet discretely and exchange large sums of cash. In addition to bureaucrati;c venality of a kind not only accepted but expected of officials in the Middle East and Central America, some of these officials intermediated black market sales themselves, for a hefty cut.

Once on the hook, they could be considered for recruitment using evidence of their illegal dealing as blackmail along with hefty bribes and promises of relocation and citizenship if things went wrong or as a reward for cooperation.

Eventually he saw too much and retired under clouds of suspicion. Pursued by enemies both domestic and foreign and with Portmeirion overbooked, he settled in Seattle, where he meets incognito with Rogue Columnist.

Talton: Do you suppose this "Emil Pulsifer" can be trusted?

FP: No one can be trusted.

Talton: Does that include me?

FP: Not only you, but myself as well.

Talton: You could submit yourself to a polygraph exam.

FP: I've been trained to fool them, so the results would be inconclusive.

Talton: Truth drugs?

FP: Sodium pentothal just makes me itchy. I tried MK Ultra techniques once.

Talton: What happened?

FP: I hallucinated that I was J.J. Angleton and detained myself on suspicion of being a double agent.

Talton: Fascinating. Will you have another latte?

A recent Marquette University poll taken in Wisconsin indicated that if the election were held now, Hillary Clinton would win in Wisconsin. For those of us who have watched Scott Walker gut our state, this is a small shred of hope.

I'll vote for any Democrat but HC. Jim Webb: GO FOR IT.

Emil, if I said anything, they'd kill me.

Jerry, are you saying you will vote GOP if Hillary is the nominee, or you won't vote?

BTW, i am 100% for a small financial transaction tax. I would prefer the money be used to pay down the deficit, but that would be prudent, so that is probably a non starter.

Spread the base. lower the rate.

Words to tax by.

RC, I'll go third party (sorry soleri) if its HRC on the Democratic ticket.

Jerry, what if Kasich and Webb ran against each other? And they talked about the real issues facing this country.

I guess it's OK to dream , right?

Ruben, I'd vote Webb still as Kasich is running Ohio into the ground and he's a Republican, which I won't vote for ever again. At least Webb switched parties when it got too extreme for him.

Some startling income comparisons between now (well, 2013) and 2000, expressed for various groups, mostly in terms of real median household income but also some mean household income figures. Ignore the stupid conservative editorializing at the end. Income figures come from Census.


Here are some interesting supplementary income graphs. Note how inflation adjusted wage and salary income for full time, full year White male workers climbs sharply from 1993 through 1999 during the Clinton years then flatlines (declining slightly throughout the next thirteen years). Exact figures for each year are available by touching the graph lines and data tables are separately available.


That lack of income growth even as the economy boomed shows why the economy has slowed post-recession. During the 2000s until the Great Recession, credit cards and the rising housing market (both capital gains through home sales, refinancing, and home equity related borrowing such as reverse mortgages and home loan lines of credit) sustained consumer demand and thus the economy. Since the crash those alternative income sources haven't been as feasible. Hence slow economic growth.

This is a structural change in the economy which can only be improved by either a reduction of income inequality and concentration (as most real income gains go to the top few percent), or else by a non-sustainable return to debt fueled consumerism.

Off topic but came across the following book at Powell's:
White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet's Lost Emissary to the New World.
He was from Tombstone AZ, Got a law degree from UofA, later a BA in Philosophy there. Lived in Cochise Hall. Was the 3rd american to enter Lhasa, the Tibetan capital died in 1947 at 39 y.o. one of the first if not The first westerner to become a Lama there. Everyone comes from somewhere. I don't know why this is fascinating to me.


You refer to those "alternative income sources" but many of them aren't income- rather, they are expansion of credit.

No doubt there was a whiplash from overly enthusiastic lenders and borrowers-I don't know if it exists today or not (or how much).

However, I don't think it accurate to blame 5 plus years of crappy economic growth solely (or even primarily) on the credit overhang. Those were ill gotten gains in any case.

The article raises a lot of interesting points; many of which I want to go “but what about…..” Rather that parsing every sentence to find something to argue let me find one that I (sort of) can agree with. How about “Gone are the days when the GOP was a mass party”? If you agree with this, you have to ask “what does that make the Dems?” As RC says: the Dems (at least the more liberal wings of it) are”more besieged and pushed-into- coastal-enclaves”.

As I said previously, you don’t have to go too far back, say the mid 60’s – early 70’s, to where the two parties really weren’t all that different from each other. Things that today are considered “wedge issues” weren’t all that wedge-like. For example civil rights (meaning voting rights and public accommodations for Blacks), the environment (meaning our rivers are open sewers), gay rights (meaning “don’t ask don’t tell), etc. were not issues then. Fast forward to today. The differences between the Dems and GOP have widened. I still maintain that the gap is due to the Dems moving Left rather that the GOP moving Right.

Which brings us to HRC. As RC puts it: “here is no end to potential progressive platforms upon which Hillary could run.” Well the simple answer is she could run on her record – what there is of it. Unfortunately, this is going to make her look more like John McCain than anyone else. The parallels between the McCain 2008 run and HRC’s/2016 run are notable. She follows an incumbent whose public support ranges from out-and-out hatred to tepid approval and/or disappointment. Her foreign policy has been hawkish. Up to her butt in big-money interests. Highly questionable actions in their pasts. Personalities that most find cold, or at least boring. Overcoming adversity (war prisoner and marriage to WJC).

A plus for the Dems: after 2016, Obama out of the picture. I afraid 2016 will be bad – just like 2008 and Bush II was for the GOP. This will happen faster if a Leftist equivalent to the Tea Party forms. First order of business would be getting rid of fossils like HRC and all the other DINOs. (An aside: the reputed power of the Tea Party in the GOP is refuted by the ability of an idiot like John McCain to stay in office).

INPHX wrote:

"I don't think it accurate to blame 5 plus years of crappy economic growth solely (or even primarily) on the credit overhang. Those were ill gotten gains in any case."

You're missing the point. I'm not blaming the post-Great Recession economic doldrums on the credit overhang. I'm blaming the structural changes to the U.S. economy that have prevailed since 2001. Again:

Note how inflation adjusted wage and salary income for full time, full year White male workers climbs sharply from 1993 through 1999 during the Clinton years then flatlines (declining slightly throughout the next thirteen years).

That controls for changing household sizes, changing numbers of household earners through extended families, and so forth. It controls for the special problems of Blacks and Hispanics in American society. It controls for income that is not derived from wages and salaries.

That wage and salary income is a mainstay and a barometer of the American economy, and has been for a long, long time. Since 2000 it has been on the decline or at best treading water. That covers two terms of the Bush administration as well as most of two terms of the Obama administration. There is nothing partisan about this.

Household borrowing together with income from the sale and refinance of houses in a boom (bubble) market simply disguised the underlying structural problem during the first seven or eight years of the 2000s.

But the current housing and credit markets do not make a repeat of this as feasible. Even if they did, the use of borrowing as an income supplement, or the use of bubble asset sales as an income supplement, would not be sustainable.

The only solution is to redistribute income to produce the kind of consumer demand that no longer exists because of structural problems in wages and salaries for ordinary workers.

Note that real wage and salary income for full time, year round White female workers has actually increased since 2000. So that is another factor disguising the stagnation and decline of their White male counterparts, since the two combine in many household income statistics.

I have a post that needs rescuing from the comment trap.

P.S. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the disparity between the wages and salaries of White male and White female full-time, full year workers.

White males constituted the majority of the private sector manufacturing workforce which provided upward income mobility for the working class, including those of limited educational achievement.

This is what I meant by (permanent) "structural changes" in the U.S. economy since 2000.

While American manufacturing output remains high, most American manufacturing jobs have either been automated or outsourced to places like China.

"For the reality is that, particularly since 2000, America’s manufacturing sector has been in a steep decline, with job losses outpacing those in many peer countries."


The article points out how from 2000 to 2001 alone, America lost 1.2 million manufacturing jobs: one of the worst single years for manufacturing job losses in recent decades.

It also points out that between 2000 and 2009 American lost 33 percent of its manufacturing jobs (approximately 5.8 million), or "42 percent when controlling for growth in the labor force."

What's so special about 2001? China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

Incidentally, the article goes on to explain why Germany fared much better in maintaining manufacturing jobs. (Rogue, you'll LOVE that part.)

Also see this EZ graph:


P.S. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the disparity between the wages and salaries of White male and White female full-time, full year workers.

White males constituted the majority of the private sector manufacturing workforce which provided upward income mobility for the working class, including those of limited educational achievement.

This is what I meant by (permanent) "structural changes" in the U.S. economy since 2000.

While American manufacturing output remains high, most American manufacturing jobs have either been automated or outsourced to places like China.

From 2000 to 2001 alone, America lost 1.2 million manufacturing jobs: one of the worst single years for manufacturing job losses in recent decades.

What's so special about 2001? China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

Between 2000 and 2009 American lost 33 percent of its manufacturing jobs (approximately 5.8 million).

Also see this EZ graph:


Note the flat manufacturing job index from 1997 to 2000 and then the SHARP drop from 2000 onward...

The above is a different version of a comment I couldn't get posted. If and when the trapped comment appears (courtesy of Mr. Talton) it's worth reading despite the partial redundancy because of some additional information and references, including a link to an article that describes how countries like Germany fared much better re manufacturing job loss.

Incidentally, that slight uptick at the end of the EZ Fed graph doesn't indicate a renaissance in American manufacturing. From the article in which the graph is imbedded:

"Given the extent of manufacturing job decline during the recession, it wasn’t surprising to see growth in manufacturing jobs exceed total nonfarm payroll growth through 2012 even though that pace of growth slowed somewhat in 2013. In addition, while nonfarm employment is now close to its prerecession peak, manufacturing employment is still down by more than 30% from its 2000 level...'

This got obscured in the posting confusion above. Worth pointing out on its own: note the flat U.S. manufacturing job index from 1997 to 2000 and then the SHARP drop from 2000 onward in the graph below:


Hey INPHX, I keep hearing this meme on FOX News that drought stricken California dumps huge amounts of water into the Pacific Ocean in order to meet some crazy ecological mandate.

I've been trying to verify or disprove this through the Internet. The amount seems to vary widely depending on the version. All of the sources seem to point in a big circle, usually going back to a Wall Street Journal commentary by a Tea Party congressman.

Can you find me a reputable news source documenting this and providing context (e.g., what percentage of California's fresh water supply is dumped, if any)? I don't want commentaries of any sort, and I don't want blogs or special interest websites. I want major news reporting, preferably from newspaper journalism in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, or the NYT. (The WSJ is OK too if it's a news report and not an op-ed piece or reader comment.)

The last time something like this happened, FOX News reported on multiple occasions that France had Muslim ruled enclaves where French law didn't apply (Sharia only) and where the French police didn't go. They ended up apologizing on air.

Maybe there's something to the water thing, maybe not. Here's your big chance.

Big trouble in China?

Both imports of manufacturing supplies and manufacturing output itself appear to be slowing dramatically. Furthermore, capital outflows are increasing dramatically. Meanwhile, leveraged speculation in the Chinese stock market (whose bust in 2007 predicted that of the U.S. a year later) has grown rampant and a bubble appears to be in the works.

The decline in manufacturing output I infer from the large drop in mainland China's year over year growth rate in electricity consumption. See the article link below. As for imports:

"Forget the concerns about mainland export growth. It is actually rising while still declining for the rest of Asia. The problem is a big drop in imports, which implies massive destocking across the economy. The implication here is also that a countervailing increase in capital outflows last year has become much greater."


As for the stock bubble:

"All you really need to know about the outcome of the growing bubble in the Chinese stock markets is contained in a couple of figures: 4.8 million stock trading accounts were opened across the border last month and another million or so have been opened so far this month.

"At this point in the cycle professional investors move to the sell side of the equation creating the necessary liquidity for the hordes of buyers waving wads of cash. How do they get hold of this cash? Well, some of it is already wallowing in savings accounts offering derisory interest rates but the hunger for equities propels the newborn investors to seek margin loans that increase their buying power. Outstanding margin loans in Shanghai and Shenzhen have surged to total Rmb 2.2 trillion, that’s more than double the total just six months ago.

"Now, as ever, the great surge in share prices is largely fuelled by liquidity. It most certainly cannot be fueled by the underlying slowdown in economic growth, the surprisingly poor trade figures, nor, of course, by the extraordinary corruption crackdown that has turned cautious officials into hyper-cautious bureaucrats nervous of taking any initiatives."


The article points out that there are reasons why China's stock market bubble may not be dire: neither the price earnings ratio nor the ratio comparing total market capitalization with gross domestic product are all that alarming.

But that could change rapidly if China's manufacturing slows. According to the above, China's is exporting previously manufactured stock to maintain sales, while manufacturing input imports and manufacturing itself is way down.

The price earnings ratio depends on earnings. The capitalization to GDP ratio depends on GDP.

China's state controlled economy may be able to manage this. Or it may not. Or it may exacerbate it.

INPHX: Don’t get sucked into the endless rabbit hole of Emil’s interest de jour. It’s a constant frustration of mine that he cannot stay on topic. It’s RC’s thread – and if it’s his judgment that this is OK it is not my place to dispute this – even though I just did.

My advice: you’ll get a lot of interesting perspectives of things here. Not so many since Soleri went ‘off the grid” for whatever reason. If you feel like you must just dispute something – do it on the fringes.

Another tangent:

ISIS was planned from the ground up in astonishing detail by a former Colonel in Saddam Hussein's army, according to papers left behind after he died, and which came into the possession of Der Spiegel. Excerpts (the order and arrangement of text has been changed):

"For the first time, the Haji Bakr documents now make it possible to reach conclusions on how the IS leadership is organized and what role former officials in the government of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein play in it. Above all, however, they show how the takeover in northern Syria was planned, making the group's later advances into Iraq possible in the first place.

"Haji Bakr, wasn't widely known. But that was precisely part of the plan. The former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein's air defense force had been secretly pulling the strings at IS for years. Former members of the group had repeatedly mentioned him as one of its leading figures. Still, it was never clear what exactly his role was."

"It was there that the "Lord of the Shadows," as some called him, sketched out the structure of the Islamic State, all the way down to the local level, compiled lists relating to the gradual infiltration of villages and determined who would oversee whom. Using a ballpoint pen, he drew the chains of command in the security apparatus on stationery. Though presumably a coincidence, the stationery was from the Syrian Defense Ministry and bore the letterhead of the department in charge of accommodations and furniture.

"What Bakr put on paper, page by page, with carefully outlined boxes for individual responsibilities, was nothing less than a blueprint for a takeover. It was not a manifesto of faith, but a technically precise plan for an "Islamic Intelligence State" -- a caliphate run by an organization that resembled East Germany's notorious Stasi domestic intelligence agency.

"The plans also include areas like finance, schools, daycare, the media and transportation. But there is a constantly recurring, core theme, which is meticulously addressed in organizational charts and lists of responsibilities and reporting requirements: surveillance, espionage, murder and kidnapping."

Sorry, forgot the link to Der Spiegel:


You go off topic as often or more so than I do, wkg. If you insist on disputing this I will personally go through the last dozen threads to compile a list of your meanderings.

Also, I have contributed FAR more on topic comments to the current thread than you have, and with far greater insight.

Stop being an offensive hypocrite. Stop trying to manipulate reader opinion with misrepresentations. Stop trying to hijack substantive discussions (of whatever topic) with personal attacks.

I've had this problem before with one or two readers who have been unable to get the better of me in debate and who turned instead to ad hominem. Soleri was one of them. However, contrary to your carefully worded suggestion (which seems designed to divide and conquer by stirring up reader resentment against me because I am an effective proponent of left-leaning political and economic views), I did not drive him off. The last time he was here, he was arguing with INPHX about the Veterans Administration. As INPHX will attest, soleri preferred a slugfest on the level of personalities and motivations; whereas I diligently and patiently debated INPHX on the issues. (And no, I'm not saying INPHX drove him off, either.)

Emil: This thread only – which I took only to be HRC’s run for the Demo nomination and prospects for success and meaning of same:
- Re Dean Baker's "progressive" three point economic plan: the only idea I really like is the financial transactions tax.
- “Once we get past the issue of appealing to primary voters, which Hillary obviously doesn't have…”
- “Anon, Rogue himself has often said that the facts have a left leaning bias, meaning that the left has….”
No problem with any of this. Good stuff.

Then we get to:
- Here are some interesting supplementary income graphs.
- You're missing the point. I'm not blaming the post-Great Recession economic doldrums on the credit overhang. I'm blaming the structural changes to the U.S. economy that have prevailed since 2001. Again….
- Note that real wage and salary income for full time, year round White female workers…
- Incidentally, that slight uptick at the end of the EZ Fed graph doesn't indicate a renaissance in American manufacturing. From the article in which the graph is imbedded:…
- Hey INPHX, I keep hearing this meme on FOX News that drought stricken California dumps huge amounts of water….
- Big trouble in China?....
- ISIS was planned from the ground up….
In the past I have, guilty as charged, gone somewhat (if way) off topic. I have resolved to stay reasonably agreeable, and not to argue every little (or big) thing I don’t agree too; and to stay on topic.

Wkg - then you have become worthless here.

All of my comments about income inequality and structural changes to the economy are directly related to the issue raised by Rogue as to whether Hillary can win over the White working class with a progressive agenda, and if so, what.

This is the second time wkg has complained that I posted something off topic. Ironically, the first time was just a few threads back, when wkg posted an off topic comment claiming that FDR's response to the Great Depression was worthless if nor counterproductive. When I refuted his off topic (and erroneous!) revision of Great Depression history, that was when he posted his first complaint accusing me of being off topic.

At the time I pointed out explicitly to him that I was merely responding to his own off topic and provocative comment.

So he knows better; and I have to conclude that his behavior here is a continuation of the same malicious, deceitful, and petty response to someone who says something that he doesn't like because it contradicts his uninformed conservative biases. In the present instance, a comment questioning the veracity of a conservative news source.

He never complains about off topic comments by conservatives, including his habitual attempts to introduce pension reform in every other blog thread, or his childish "I know you are but what am I?" style comebacks to reader comments which criticize elements of conservative dogma.

Admittedly, my comments about a possible economic or financial meltdown China, which is kind of important to the world economy these days, or about the revelation that ISIS, which is constantly in the news, was the construct of Sunni nationalism from a blueprint created by a Saddam Hussein era military colonel, are off topic. But today is Thursday, tomorrow starts a new thread, the current thread is winding down, I have earned my digressions with many well thought out and carefully crafted on topic posts; and finally, it is the prerequisite of the moderator, not wkg, to police comments.

Here are my thoughts:

1. It's nice when people respond to the column; it offers our readers more perspectives and makes me think I am writing something that resonates.

2. Commenters are always welcome to go off-topic. But add value.

P.S. Apologies for the typos, I'm on mobile at present.

Incidentally, I deeply resent being forced to waste my time responding to malicious personal attacks which lack even the merit of sincerity. That wkg chose to supplement his "off topic" ruse with poisonous insinuations phrased in a manner so as to preserve maximum deniability also deeply offends.

I don't mind replying to some of wkg's more substantive conservative digressions, sometimes, because they express commonly held assumptions that do a lot of political damage in this country and its good to hash them out. But his personal attacks are neither interesting nor a constructive use of my time.

Obviously Rogue Columnist solicited comments about Dean Baker's three point economic platform since he mentioned it and thoughtfully provided a link. Why wkg feels obliged to quote from my comment about that, in a message designed to illustrate how off topic I am, only to condescend to approve at the last moment, I can't imagine. Here's a two point progressive plan for wkg:

(1) Stop being a bloody wanker.
(2) See step one.

You are a bully, thus it offsets any value you think you bring to the blog.
Your comments carry very little weight because we consider the source.


Guess I missed the post where I was appointed defender of Fox News.

I don't watch nor listen, nor I have I any idea about California run off.

Try not to paint all conservatives with the same brush.

On the manufacturing data, there has been a slight uptick recently in US manufacturing and I have talked to bankers about this. It's all about energy costs and law and order. The corruption in many countries is not appealing to many and European countries have let energy costs head straight for the moon.

And where in the US are there new manufacturing jobs? Low cost states.


Jon, Congratulations on the commission for Phoenix History, Sorry Ruben and I and the coffee klatch group couldn't raise the funds sooner as it was always one of the subjects at our get together's.

We raised the funds, but then they brought out fresh pastries and there went the fund. ( 8 - o )

Off topic, but... (What was the topic again?) I see that the MC sheriff is in the news again. Feathered Bastard at New times has been all over it. Website of the state's greatest newspaper has revelation that Joe was having fed judge's wife investigated on front page, but well below the fold in dainty language. The more prominent headline refers to a deputy accused of lying. missing the point and misdirection much? . If the real story was a giant sinkhole, the Repub would have walked into it. The more things change, etc. to be fair(as I always strive to be) deputy headline refers to testimony from this am. Gee, if I were editing, a newspaper, and trying to sell copies,I'd try to play up the more important stories. Could this finally be IT?

The Question is Can you be Sheriff while in prison?
if Joe runs he will likely get re elected.

Thanks to Ray Stern for another good article

No pastries, no book.

Ted Rall's take:



Sidenote: Arpiao thinks he's J. Edgar, but Hoover got the dirt on potential enemies before anyone could investigate him! I think ISIS took a page out of his book (that Der Spiegel article is chilling).

Ruben Perez, I am not a bully, merely because I responded aggressively to one. I will not be intimidated by the liar wkg, and will not be intimidated by a slanderer coming to his defense. If you don't like the fact that I refused to sit quietly by and accept his self-serving, manipulative smears and misrepresentations designed to sully my reputation and intimidate me into censoring myself, tough titty. You are irrationally hostile.

INPHX, you posted several comments about California's water crisis a few threads back. You are also a conservative. Thought you might have a take on the meme about (supposed) water dumping since you seemed to be following the issue of the CA drought and no doubt follow conservative news sources other than FOX News. Evidently not.

Incidentally, I should have written "prerogative" rather than "prerequisite" in a comment above. On mobile I use short-cut keys to avoid typing as much as possible. They're small, close together, and strictly digital, and I use my fingertip, so mistakes happen. My guess is that I was too upset over wkg's personal attacks to notice.

Jerry McKenzie, ISIS took a page out of Saddam Hussein's book; but what are the origins of that book?

William L. Shirer quotes Adolf Hitler:

"We recognized that it is not enough to overthrow the old State, but that the new State must previously have been built up and be ready to one's hand..."

Shier describes the building up of an intricate shadow government ahead of time which "corresponded to the organization of the German government and indeed of German society". They had departments of agriculture, justice, interior, labor, and national economy, foreign affairs, and labor unions. The country's map was divided into districts corresponding to the Reichstag districts, subdivided into Kreise (circles), then further into Ortsgruppe, and finally (in the cities) into blocks and street cells.

See "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" chapters three and five.

ISIS planners associated with the Saddam Hussein era also seem to share the Nazi fascination with the occult. I have seen references to ISIS power players and enforcers as "those who loosen and bind"; clearly a prefer to an alchemy motto (in Medieval Latin "solve et coagula" which refers to the process of breaking down a substance in order to build it back up as something else; obviously a metaphor for sociopolitical transformation in the present instance. Also other alchemy references. The word alchemy (like algebra) comes from the Arabic, and both practices spread to Europe only later.

That should read "...clearly a reference" not "clearly a prefer". My idiot mobile also has a habit of auto-editing and its "corrections" are not always correct (or noticed). It doesn't help that I often skip proofreading in order to post a comment before the intermittent Wi-Fi or buggy software goes kerflooey.

Patience Professor!
Bloody Wankers can lead to high blood pressure and a possible broken heart problem.

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