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January 28, 2016

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Naw you and Soleri are RIGHT.
But when Hillary gets the nomination Bernie and I are thinking about taking over a Coke ranch and not leaving and calling for all socialists to come and help our foolishness. And we are not leaving without a hassle.

Well, Goldwater's defeat was razor close compared to Reagan's near unanimous re election in 1984 when the Democratic dream team (Mondale and Ferraro) lost 49 of 50 states to the Gipper.

Perhaps the greatest endorsement of a President in the 20th Century.

Elections have consequences. Indeed.

I don't know how folks who might have been opposed to that landslide can process what happened. I guess nonsense about race and still believing that government programs are free can help the rationalization.

I like Bernie Sanders. An American success story. Humble, scandal free, integrity, principled,and no doubt that the voters of Vermont have always known what they were getting. A good communicator. Pulls no punches.

I don't think his math works on some of his ideas, but that's hardly unique these days. But I don't agree with his vision of what this country should look like.

Let me ask you progressives- how far to the right was Bill Clinton in the 90's compared to Sanders today?

I don't think I can vote for Trump. Even if it's against Hillary. Temperament matters. I just don't think we need Dirty Harry in the White House.

One other thing- I would vote for, campaign for, and give money to Michael Bloomberg for any elected office in this country. Over just about any candidate. I hope he runs. I don't think he will, but I hope he might.

And, of course, we shouldn't miss an opportunity to recall the greatness of Reagan on the day where 30 years ago we suffered the Challenger disaster.

Spend a few minutes and remember the Great Communicator in top form.

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-on-the-challenger-disaster/

Boy, could we use another Reagan. Someone who could carry 49 states.....

Did Goldwater really have conservative principles? I'm not so sure, since principles come so easily on a full stomach, in a nice, warm bed. Maybe people who inherit their wealth and who've been insulated from the daily challenges of life are by nature an existential threat to the rest of us. Unless someone can stop him, we'll just have to hope Trump manages to insult every possible demographic before the election. And if the Democrats lose this one, the recriminations from both camps will be brutal and endless, just like with the Republicans should they lose. Maybe a multi-party system will emerge from all this, who knows?

The important thing is to stay skeptical and doubtful and not jump on any bandwagons. I think we'll be OK in the long run.

Even Bernie Sanders would agree with your assessment (if that is not too bold a presumption, with my apologies to the Senator.)

But, as he has emphasized time and time again, it's not about him, it's about the population.

The prevailing sentiment is that if Bernie wins, it is because the populi are speaking real change.

Here's the anxiety fulcrum of the Democrats (I mean the sincere ones, not the ones who are completely in the bag for the neoliberal agenda, or Hillary's pantsuits): Bernie steals the nomination from Hillary, and reality reveals that the populi don't have the actual stones to "make him do it."

I respect that fear. It is, credibly, a real one.

On that note - Sanders winning the nomination from Clinton would not be a moment of celebration for me. It would be a moment of trepidation - and in this I have solidarity with the Clinton supporters.

To put it another way: If I had clear intuition that Sanders would be savaged in the general by the likes of Benito Mussolini...uh, I mean Donald Trump, or Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, would not, then I would (will) sorely regret my Sanders advocacy should he win the nomination.

And that is a possibility - I find it more remote than Senor Talton or soleri do, but it is a possibility.

It's a hard thing to do. When do you pull back on the full-speed-ahead stick? You say you want a revolution, we'ell you know, whatta you do when it looks like you're handing the Establishment another four years?

You want to stick to your guns, but you're not Ammon Bundy, for gods' sake.

(For the record, I am still Berning for Sanders - I just wanted to lay some shit out.)

Petro, very good.
Inphx, I have a Bernie sticker for your car rear window.
More later, it's late.

Cal, you know I don't have a car.

Nice to hear from you.

It is late! :)

OH, the sticker is for INPHX, duh. Us narcissists, thinking it's all about us...

U can put it on a Lite Rail window.

An interesting analysis, Jon. But as hopelessly quixotic as my view might be, it is still possible that it could work.

IF Bernie's political revolution comes through, Congress won't be the same.

I'm not sure Obama took the best approach to dealing with Congress anyway. Bernie would do things much differently. He does have a legitimate track record of getting things done in Congress, despite the corporate media blackout on such information.

So Jon, what do you suggest? Should us "true believers" vote for candidates we can see are obviously flawed?

Maybe Bernie doesn't win? But until it gets to that point, we should just resign ourselves to settling for the next economically neoliberal imperialist/neocon to dare to run?

Were they saying it couldn't be done with FDR?

Did Goldwater's quixotic 1964 campaign go all for naught? Or did it sow the seeds of the Reagan "revolution?"

If Bernie's revolution falls short, does it build steam for 2020 or 2024?

At some point, the economic and political paradigm of government in the US is going to swing back to New Deal style government, with improved accountability.

If not now, when?

What's your stick it to the detractors and naysayers acronym concerning Light Rail?

WBIYB?

Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

The "vast and highly effective right-wing infrastructure" and its success in getting the nominally conservative, frequent-voting white lower and middle classes to vote against their interests and for those of the super-rich is the key. Decades of relentlessly pounding the "government is the problem" mantra has worked.

If the legacy of the Sanders campaign is to plant the seeds of a progressive infrastructure to counter the Kochs, then it's worthwhile. But don't expect anything to change in our lifetimes; the rise of the right-wing from Goldwater's debacle has taken over 50 years of well financed work.

But it's not hopeless. The writer Ursula LeGuin recently said, "We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings."

From my "paleo-conservative" vantage point, I think Hillary and Donald are birds of a feather--shameless demagogues who will say anything, lie about anything to further their own selfish interests. Cruz doesn't do much for me, either, and most of the other Republicans are mired in all of the "social" stuff like abortion and marriage that--in may opinion--shouldn't even be part of the political discussion.

I agree with many of the issues that Sanders identifies (e.g. infrastructure) and disagree with nearly all of his solutions. However, as Jon implies, he does have sort of a "Goldwater-esque" appeal and seems more honest than any of the other front runners.

Socialism, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, works great until one runs out of "other people's money." Capitalism, per se, should not be conflated with the techniques that emphasize its "dark side"--"dark money", closed primaries, and the trivialization of public spirituality (for which the Left is largely responsible) that left a void quickly filled by pseudo-religious wackos.

A healthy, mature conversation about the proper extents of the "social contract" is in order. For example: If it is okay to use the Second Amendment, which was written when guns could only be fired once before being reloaded, as justification for the public ownership of semi-automatic weapons, then surely the "post offices and post roads" provision of the Constitution can be interpreted to justify the federal support of a nationwide high-speed passenger rail system.

If Bernie Sanders's presence in the arena can help provoke any sort of sensible discussion on such topics, he will have performed an invaluable service to the Country--no matter how liberal he may be.

Robert I have a Sanders Button for U.

As time allows, let me try to address some issues raised above by commenters.

We may be waiting a very long time for another FDR. For one thing, the long Republican ascendancy from 1896 on (Wilson only won because the GOP split in 1912) was only destroyed by an economic and social catastrophe so destructive we can't even imagine it now.

Also, FDR ran as, and was temperamentally, a budget-balancing conservative. One of his great strengths was his willingness to experiment, "try something," far beyond Hoover. (Remember, Hoover was from the GOP's Progressive wing and expanded government substantially in fighting the Depression).

Franklin Roosevelt benefited from the living memory of the Progressive Movement, one of whose greatest champions was his cousin Theodore, whom he worshipped. So the electorate had not been fed a "government is the problem" diet for nearly two generations. It had seen TR and Woodrow Wilson take on great wealth, corporate power and enact reforms.

On the other hand, Wilson's overreaching, including destruction of civil liberties, swung things back to the Republicans. Harding's "normalcy," i.e. normality, was a relief to the majority. Harding released Wilson's political prisoners, including Eugene Debs.

FDR also had commanding majorities in the Congress willing to support the New Deal. But this coalition of labor unions, big city bosses and white Southerner segregationists no longer exists.

And he benefited from a moment in history, when fascism and communism appeared to offer real alternatives. American capitalism and indeed democracy seemed to have failed in 1932. The mass murders of Stalin and Hitler had yet to take off, much less be exposed (and in the case of Stalin, be admitted in much of the Western academy and press).

As for the appeal of real change, didn't we all recently go through this with Barack Obama? His experience should be a cautionary tale. Coming amid crisis and after the disaster of the Bush administration, he could in the end make only incremental progress against determined and united Republican opposition (plenty of Republicans supported the New Deal, especially at first).

Our Front Page Editor says he will never vote for "GOP-lite" Hillary, and that a Republican president in 2017 will set up discontent to carry the Dems to widespread victory in 2020, after which all-important redistricting will happen.

Maybe. I say this is naive. Indeed, 2016 might seal Karl Rove's permanent Republican majority, so adept are they at blaming others and gaming/buying the system. How much bigger a supposedly realignment-causing calamity do you need than Bush-Cheney? And yet the Democrats ran from liberalism, failed to explain it in a compelling way, and were ambushed by the right in 2010.

Where I live my neighbor and I sit around a campfire and discuss living in the American Southwest 2000 years ago. No matter who are next president is, it will not bring back the serenity of great wilderness. If you are a Darwinist every man for himself down to the last self imploding human. If your god created man 5000 years ago, shame on your god for creating such a monster.
Which brings me back to my youthful reading of CITY by Simak, where the dogs sit around the campfire and discuss whether the old myth of men is true.

Robert on Capitalism. In the long run just because it brought us flush toilets and drones doesn't mean it's best for the planets humans and other species and doesn't mean it will be ever lasting. Regarding the demise of kings. They will be back. They will be called Barons, all 500 of them and the rest of us will continue to be comodities. Oh they are already here?
With regard to Ronnie Reagan worship. I have scribbled on about such previously, here. Give me a break. Well I'm off to check my horoscope to see how Nancy and I should run the country today.

Bernie has no Senate endorsements. None. Leaders need followers - at least a few of the followers should come from his pool of peers and colleagues, not people with hope who don't understand the process of getting things done in Congress and budgets that balance. Bernie's finance plan for Medicare for all is no more palatable than the 10.5% payroll tax that blew the plan up in Vermont. His math is also very questionable as you mentioned. Talk about socialism working until everybody else's money runs out.... He's talking about massive taxation that would leave no capacity to pay for anything but healthcare from the income tax increases. The time is not now to try and roll out a program like that. He'd be a marginalized martyr if elected, but I don't think he's electable. Obama's failed efforts in Illinois and later DC and the epic fail to roll it out in Vermont and elsewhere tells us that. Maybe when healthcare has doubled from what it is now - perhaps 10 years from now - the idea could be sold, but it needs to be a sliding scale that everyone pays into, not an entitlement paid for mostly by a relative few. The idea of being able to hold our entire healthcare system to the reimbursement rates of Medicare are not feasible. I could see a serious two tier system coming into place. One for Medicare and one for folks who can afford doctors unconstrained by those rates. Bernie should keep being the king of amendments for however many years he has left and give us half a chance to avoid a Trump presidency.

O/T but for Cal: Happy birthday, Ed Abbey: "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” #Phoenix #Arizona

Thanks JON.

Kate, well said.

And Also Kate and Jon per Cactus Ed,
" Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion".

Kate, why do you think Clinton has a better chance of beating Trump in the general than Sanders? She isn't exactly a revered figure, except outside of the mind of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She's decided to hitch her star to Obama now, and doing that with an outgoing President is always risky. Any major upheaval, even a hint of a recession, while Obama is still in office, and she's done. There aren't going to be any "safe" bets this time around.

One big difference between the Clinton's and Sanders and Trump is the Clinton's know where the bodies are and who put them there. Including the ones they buried.
The killer of Sanders is his honesty. No sitting legislator wants him, only us LITTLE people.

A 100 years from now the Clinton's will be a Dynasty whose offspring will brag about how great Bill and Hillary were. As do today's ancestors of horrendous criminals.

Bills saving grace is he is Black and plays a good Sax. What's Hillary got. Will she just lip synch Bill who has bragged he is going to be president AGAIN.

But maybe it's better to have a Saddam Hussain in charge than Casper Milquetoast.

I agreed with Bugliosi and his book on prosecuting Bush Jr and his administration for murder. As should have Reagan and Clinton be prosecuted for the deaths of thousands due to thier covering for CIA crimes. I have talked with angry retired federal agentd that were ordered to stand down on arresting Bill Clinton for providing coverage for illegal drug shipments. Obama will be haunted as well as the rest of humanity for his approval of asasination by Drone.
Guys like Jimmy Carter and Bernie Sanders don't stand a chance.
So who will be the next Julius or Juliana Caesar.

If Hillary implodes, I'd rather draft Al Gore than have Biden.

I can see that Gore as Sanders VP.

"If Hillary implodes, I'd rather draft Al Gore than have Biden"

I am curious, why?

Jon, Obama was ultimately limited in his freedom of mvent, but only long after and arguably as a result of his choice to d so. The same was true of Bill. Hillary would be a competent steward of our long decline. We don't need more small bore social initiatives, more neocon foreign policy, or Deep State governance.

Hillary will definitely implode.

#FeelTheBern

Personally, I don't really think Trump has the numbers to pull it off in the general, but the idea of his newly formed zombie army morphing into something even crazier by 2020 is kind of scary. I don't see how the Republican Party can come out of a Trump loss intact. No Trumpeteer is ever again gonna settle for anything less than full-blown crazy. I'm afraid they just might not be as concerned about getting rid of the death tax or reining in the deficit as the Party establishment thought. Heh, heh.

Eisenhower laid out a sane and deliberate middle of the road, path for the GOP. But since Goldwater and Reagan the party has gone off the road into the looney bin not seeing the dead end sign.
There were a lot of kooks our there that thought Ammon Bundy was wrong but that doesn't mean they they have stopped thier long term plan to bleed the Beast and bring rule of law by posse comititus. I hear John Birch and Joseph Smith in the Choir.
And the Economist magazine has a great cover of the Candidates on steroids climbing into the ring.

"believing that government programs are free "

When the federal government pays for more programs and equipment than they collect in taxes, that's deficit spending.

When the Fed replaces bonds with cash, that's Quantitative easing.

The two together mean the government paid for programs with money that didn't exist before.

The complaint is that increasing the money supply means more money will be demanded for the same stuff - inflation.

But... during the last recession and most recessions, deficit spending ballooned, and QE was put into play and yet... we fought damn hard to stop DEflation from lowering prices and encouraging procrastination of purchases. (death spiral for the economy)

So if the federal government buys stuff with created money, but there's no inflation, how is it NOT free?

Long term inflation? WHEN? What time frame do we need to consider before we write off Keynesian economics as a sham?

If we have to pay the piper someday, why isn't it getting obvious more than 75 years after FDR started this crazy experiment? 100 years? 200? Give me a number so I can put my $5 down on my side of the bet.

The argument against Keynes totally fell apart in 1971 when Nixon took us off the gold standard (the key reason Republicans refuse to praise him, NOT Watergate) Fiat currency does NOT need to be paid back the way gold backed currency does. People don't understand this at all.

Inflation is the only key. Too much? Raise taxes and interest rates. Too little (death spiral deflation)? Tax cuts, QE, and Deficit Spending. This balancing act has been working fairly well since 1982 when Reagan wisely kept on Jimmy Carter's fed chair Paul Volcker.


Quantitative easing : Today's Wall Street Daily has an interesting post. Primarily It's benefit to Wall Street?

imppress:

So.

Why hasn't inflation spiked with the exploding deficit and the fed's moves to try to keep interest rates low?

BECAUSE THE ECONOMY SUCKS.

BECAUSE WAL MART JUST CLOSED A BUNCH OF STORES.

BECAUSE NATURAL RESOURCES ARE IN AN UNPRECEDENTED REAL PRICE REDUCTION.

BECAUSE TECHNOLOGY WORKS AND GRINDS MORE AND MORE PRODUCTIVITY (AND LOWER PRICES)FROM THE MARKETPLACE.

BECAUSE THE FIRM I WORK FOR JUST BOUGHT NEW PC'S WITH FULL WINDOWS SOFTWARE THAT FIT IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND THAT WILL DO 5 TIMES MORE FOR 1/3 THE COST.

There is NOTHING but downward pressure on almost all pricing decisions today. That effect is what is keeping inflation in check. The fed could raise 500 basis points and prices would not budge.

Correct, INPHX. I would add: worldwide deflationary pressure, especially from China.

As long as the US dollar remains the world's reserve and transaction currency, US federal deficits really don't matter. The international flight to US Treasury issuances for safety and transactional convenience remains absolute. Forget China, Europe or Japan. Keep the cost accountants away from public policy and use US empire status to build the world's best infrastructure and educated populace. The bloated military budget paid for by the US taxpayer should be good for something other than rathole military spending pork.

Jon this is an excellent column with excellent comments. How about a comment on where Arizona sets in all the above

I agree, Gore would be stronger than Biden. As for Sanders, if he wins the Democratic nomination, the word “socialist” will never again be connected to his name. Overnight, it will be “That Communist.” You'd have to be pretty young to think a candidate could win with that label. And I wonder, would Gore serve if the election were close?

Climate change denialists might be a larger demographic than Trumpies. Anyway, Gore is too wide open to criticism of his own heavy carbon footprint for Trump-or Cruz-to ignore: unless all the stories of his ostentatious lifestyle are false (for me it's hearsay, since he never invites me over). They might not get traction with it, but they'll sure try. It's a little late for him to live in a yurt and convert his Volkswagen bug to run on used fryer oil. He's divorced and single now, too, that's a glass ceiling nobody talks about. It's ok in America for a male president to have been divorced, as long as he's married when he announces his candidacy and stays that way until he leaves.

My predictably racist and conservative relatives from a sad Rust Belt town that globalization left behind actually like Bernie. Not enough to pick him over any R (yet), but they are open to listening. His economic message resonates with them, they believe he's honest in his political message (which is reason #1 why they like Trump).

Socialism? Not the boogeyman it once was, and when you explain that Bernie's democratic socialism is basically the kind of capitalism they enjoyed in the '50s...not a hard sell. They don't really know what happened; all they know is that everything has gotten a lot worse for them and the GOP's platform hasn't gotten them the promised results.

The mention of Hillary gets exactly the response you'd expect. It's a visceral hate that is even greater than what they feel for Obama (trust me, they don't like him either).

I'm not really sure why anyone believes Hillary (a) stands any shot in the general or (b) even if she made it through, would get anything done in a GOP-controlled Congress. People really truly discount how much she is loathed by so many.

In some ways, I'm saddened to read Rogue giving in to the same old narrative-Bernie has no chance in the primary, he'd never make it through the general, he'd never be able to accomplish anything in office. If we are to the point that we honestly believe the system cannot be changed from within because the conservative, moneyed establishment has rigged it too much, then why shouldn't I vote for Trump and wait for the whole shithouse to go up in flames?

Good post westie.
"To sin by silence, when we should protest, makes cowards of men. "
Abe

I think one of the reasons you don't want "the whole shithouse to go up in flames" is that you live in the shithouse...but that's just me.

I'm reminded of all those folks who didn't think there was much difference between Gore and Bush, and that it would therefore be a noble and, indeed, heroic gesture to vote for Nader. Or, in lieu of that, just sit the election out.

How'd that work out again?

B. Franklin, I'm reminded of all those folks who stubbornly cling to the notion the Florida election wasn't completely rigged, and that Gore actually had some way forward there. Have you ever read The Commission On Civil Rights report on the election?

I keep hearing thoughts similar to Jon's on my campus. I've always been a bit quixotic myself, but I can't help to think that nominating Bernie Sanders could only be a good thing for this nation. It would make people look carefully at the word "SOCIALISM." Some of my libertarian friends, those who see Rand Paul as establishment, have told me that they would vote for Bernie over any in the GOP circus because of his positions on privacy laws and the death drone program. (That being said, these are the kind of folk that don't believe in Arizona driver's licenses, so they have trouble at the polls).

I will vote for Bernie for not raising money from super PACs. That character choice and democratic value of one person, one vote is enough for me.

Every dollar a capitalist has was earned by and then stolen from a laborer.

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