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I wasn't referring to the personal morality of either candidate, though I think there are significant differences. I am referring to the morality of trying to change 'the model' we are using. My biggest problem with Hillary is that I don't think she will even try. She will make cosmetic changes around the margins so she can claim to have made things better, and her supporters will expect that. But I have grave doubts that she will initiate any fundamental change or even work towards laying the groundwork for such change by a future administration.

I agree that it will be difficult for a Sanders administration to make fundamental change, but I have no doubt Sanders will do all he can, and that is all I or anyone can ask. For starters he can actually enforce the law on the financial sector. The last time that was done was during the S & L crisis back in the '80s and early '90s when Bill Black was involved.

The other big issue is changing the commonly accepted understanding of how money and banking works and what are the use of fiscal policy by the government can and should accomplish.  That requires obtaining a Democratic House, which I think is more likely with Sanders than with Hillary, but also increasing the numbers of progressives in the House. There are plenty of common sense arguments that can sway public opinion short of a complete reeducation of the public on matters economic, and this is where I would expect Sanders to start. And, importantly, a Sanders Administration would have numerous MMT proponents in government who could start changing the narrative with every interview they give to the media and every public speech they make. This I also expect not to happen under Hillary.

So, it boils down to this question: Can we afford to continue with the status quo for four, likely eight, more years, or do we need to start on everything that needs doing as fast as we can starting in 2017? I don't know the answer to the first question, but I am pretty sure urgency on both the economy and the environment are clearly in order. 2050 is only 34 years away and things could be really bad by then. But our elites can always blame Satin.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 02:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I presume Satin is some kind amalgam of Satan and Putin! :-)  No I don't think we can afford the status quo of the gridlock of the past 6 years for the next 4 or 8.  But the key to changing that is to achieve a Dem Congressional majority and moreover one with a strong progressive edge which will not tolerate a return to triangulation.

The best way of achieving that is to ensure that both the Clinton and Sanders wings of the party work together which is why I am less than tolerant of those actions which make that prospect more difficult to achieve. Strangely, I see the achievement of an effective Congressional majority as more important than the persona of the President herself...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 05:00:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I share your desideratum of a Democratic House with more progressives. I believe it is more likely with Sanders at the top of the ticket, even though that now seems highly improbable. I don't think any thing that the Sanders supporters do will much affect that goal so long as most of them will at least vote for the down ticket House members, even if they are Blue Dogs. It does really matter who hold the Speakership.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 05:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Sanders had been doing well from January forward, the whole tenor of his campaign would be better now, and this might have been possible.

But he didn't, and things inside his campaign and with his supporters have gotten uglier and uglier.  Building a bubble of positive thinking and denial does not help one's real-world effectiveness.  

Now, if he somehow miraculously turned things around and won the nomination, I would suspect an epic flameout is more likely than a resounding victory.

by Zwackus on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 06:30:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i doubt that any of this will really matter. Hopefully, most Sanders supporters will at least bring themselves to vote for any progressive candidate that is on their ballot in November and Trump is now in the midst of showing that he can out crazy the craziest of Republican far right fanatics. Even Hillary will be likely to run the table and Trump might well lose worse than Goldwater. I had expected him to go after the independents, but he is busily spraying himself with  repellent for all but foamers. I can only hope he keeps it up.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:39:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
" Even Hillary will be likely to run the table and Trump might well lose worse than Goldwater."

I hope you're right. That has been my belief all along, but then, as I don't live in the USA, I am always in danger of drawing on too narrow a dataset of facts and opinions...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:15:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I think Drew J. Jones and ATinNM both agree.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 07:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this exactly.  
by Zwackus on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 06:28:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Achieving a Democratic House will be a great plus for the economy, as it will enable at least some sane fiscal policy to be implemented, which will help greatly. But it won't deal with the greatest problem - returning the rule of law to the financial sector. I could be surprised and find that Hillary appoints an Attorney General who really goes after financial and control fraud. If so I will gladly eat my words, but it is not what I expect.

Given that the financial sector is currently acting like a 30% VAT on the real economy, it is important that it be put back in the box FDR had built for it - preferably a greatly improved box suitable to the changed circumstances. Note that well over half of the wealth extracted from the real economy by the fiancial sector is lost for many years by being tied up in offshore havens or in overpriced assets. Cutting finance back to what it was in 1980 even would be a massive stimulus to the US economy.
 

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:03:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What has prevented Obama from acting more decisively in this regard, especially in his second term when no longer dependent on Wall Street donations? Is your argument that he has been ideologically captured?

Or has he simply taken the pragmatic view that prosecuting a few banksters is uncertain of success, unlikely to change much in the real economy, and if anything, more likely to hinder economic recovery by propagating the meme that his administration is anti-business?  The EU experience of prosecuting banksters is even more anaemic, if anything...

FWIW my experiencing of working in an (EU headquartered) non-financial global multinational is that they were quite scrupulous about obeying the law in all lands they operated in. They might lobby for laws more favourable to their business, but would never countenance actual law breaking. They were also quite in favour of strict enforcement of what regulations did exist, as allowing others to flout the law would place them at a competitive disadvantage.

Outsiders frequently view big business lobbies as one coherent organisation, whereas in practice there can be fierce competition between businesses, and fierce resentments stirred up if a competitor is seen as having gotten away with some infringements as this places the whole industry in disrepute as well as "unfairly" advantaging the miscreants.

Thus I am not convinced that the financial sector as a whole would have a problem with the strict enforcement of existing regulations (such as they are) or with the severe punishment of those who flout them.  In fact there could be considerable frustration at the lack of enforcement.  

But then again, US big business could be very different. Senior US businessmen operating in Europe frequently had the reputation of being very right wing, very doctrinaire in their approach, not very culturally sensitive, very egotistical, and often not very bright.  But I digress...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:
What has prevented Obama from acting more decisively in this regard, especially in his second term when no longer dependent on Wall Street donations? Is your argument that he has been ideologically captured?

Yes! Ideologically AND aspirationally captured since childhood. His grandmother, a good woman, was a bank executive and that set his immediate predisposition. His education likely taught him that the path to success in the USA was through serving the needs of the wealthy, at least in part, and then he was virtually adopted as a young community activist on the south side of Chicago by the Pritzker family.

He facilitated the Pritzkers making hundreds of millions of dollars via 'redevelopment' of federal housing projects in south Chicago and adjoining cities. That resulted in the ouster of many longtime black community members who could no longer afford to live in the area. But he became known to the very upper class in Chicago and this paved the way for his political career in Ilinois state politics and then in national politics. And Penny Pritzker got to be Secretary of Commerce.

All through his '08 presidential bid, once he emerged as a viable candidate, he was on the phone weekly to financial sector CEOs such as Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, etc. and as soon as Bear Stern raised its bloody spectre he was assuring them that he would be there for them in a crisis if he were the president.

He could easily have ordered investigations and prosecutions for control fraud that would have led to such notables as Jon Paulson of Abacus fame and Alec Litowitz, head of Magnetar Capital of the famous Magnetar Trade. Both were the subject of SEC investigations and snactions, really slaps on the wrist. Instead we got 'regulatory forbearance' on the dubious theory that prosecuting financial criminals would further destabilize Wall Street.

Naturally, when control fraud has become the business model and rule of law no longer applies to certain people, enforcing the law will destabilize that situation. But the end result would be a much healthier economy. And that is the essence of my objection to Obama. A former professor of contitutional Law at the University of Chicago has presided over the destruction of the rule of law in US finance.

Even if all of this comes out, prosecutions result in convictions and all the gory details in lurid detail present in newspapers of record, Obama will have made out like a champ. Even if there is a cloud over his legacy, his family will forever be a part of the elite, he will have a Presidential Library that will probably outshine Clinton's, he and Michelle will retire as multimillionaires and philanthropists and his children will benefit from his legacy. And he is counting on all of this.

If you wish I can later add links to the above claims, but now need to get out to my garden before I lose the day.


"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 10:16:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think some of your comments have impugned Hillary's morality, and I'm just not convinced Sanders has an edge on her there. I prefer most of his policy positions, not much else.  I'm also concerned that many progressives impugning her character are taking their cue from and carrying water for the right wing media wurlitzer. Finally, and as a general observation, I find that people who impugn their opponents characters are often guilty of the very character flaws they project onto their opponents... although I would hesitate to apply that observation onto anyone here!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 06:50:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Iraq war was one of, if not the biggest crime against humanity in my lifetime. Shouldn't that settle the morality question? Beyond any consideration of balance of forces, saying no to blatant wars of aggression is the very minimum I expect. If I can't call her evil for falling short on that very basic measure then the word has outlived its usefulness.
by generic on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:08:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair point, but she has the excuse of having been misled by the Bush Administration's assertion of conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction being in Saddam's hands. Also, as you may recall, many progressives wanted to see the back of Saddam for his dictatorial ways, torturing opponents and using poison gas on his own people. If the USA had simply toppled Saddam, organised democratic elections, and left, the invasion might have been morally defensible, if politically naive.

I think the bigger problem with Clinton and most mainstream Democrats is that they are determined never to be blind-sided by Republicans on National Security.  Remember, it was JFK and LBJ who escalated the Vietnam war. Given that the Invasion of Iraq was happening anyway, Clinton probably felt that voting for it would change nothing in practice but would secure her right flank from accusations of a lack of Patriotism whilst US Troops were under enemy fire.

It was, of course, the biggest mistake of her career and the main reason Obama beat her last time around and one of the main reasons Sanders has been so successful this year. I can also see why it has resulted in many (most?) progressives seeing her as (at best) unprincipled in her approach to politics. She provided aid and comfort to the Bush regime at a time when progressives opposed to the war were at their most beleaguered.

In her world view, a vote against the war at that stage ran the risk of marginalising her in US politics for ever more for no tangible benefit in terms of stopping the invasion.  She clearly didn't anticipate the monumental fuck-up the Bush regime would make of the war, and most progressives have doubted her judgement ever since.   But (in my view), it is not progressives who will determine the result of the next Presidential Election: they will however determine the margin of her victory, the degree to which Democrats can control Congress, and the general policy direction of her administration. That is, if they can hold their noses and vote for her in the first place.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 07:49:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair point, but she has the excuse of having been misled by the Bush Administration's assertion of conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction being in Saddam's hands.

Nah. If you are mislead into killing 100k people you don't go to the guy's parties afterwards for a hugout.

And more importantly: Not only should everyone in politics notice the PR waving off the selling pitch. No, even if Saddam had WMDs that is in no way or form a valid Casus Belly. Burning down a country because it could at some point do you serious harm is not defensible.
The problem with a nuclear first strike against the USSR was not just that it might not have worked. This is just the same on a smaller scale.

by generic on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 08:02:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Millions and millions of Americans, even liberal ones, politicians or ordinary Joes & Janes were mislead in exactly the same way. Does it make Hillary stand-out as particularly evil?
Cos' it looks to me like she has a lot of company.
by Bernard on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 09:43:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apples and oranges. Those who voted were among the most informed and knowledgeable in the USA. I expect that well over half of the Republicans suspected that the 'evidence' had been cooked. CIA analysts who were outraged by the distortion had almost certainly talked to many members and staffers off the record and there was plenty of contrary opinion in the press from former insiders casting doubt on these claims. Colin Powel and his top aides knew that the 'evidence' he put into the record was, at best, questionable. For him, for Hillary, for Barrack and for everyone the decision of the vote was based on far more than just the credibility of the 'evidence'. The 'evidence' was just a tissue of cover for what the administration wanted to do and most understood this to some degree. Some wanted to invade and they were fine with whatever it took to 'do the right thing' and be 'real men'. Most were concerned about the immediate political cost of opposing the administration on this issue. A few were more concerned about the long term consequences than the immediate political cost, Bernie and Barrack were among them, Hillary was not.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 12:40:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My point is not that this makes Hillalry 'evil'. My point is that it shows her to value operational factors over principle. To me that is a character weakness I would prefer not to see in a potential president. But we don't always have a clear choice. That is what makes the present situation so painful. Between Sanders and Clinton there is a significant difference on this very subject and we are making, IMO, the wrong choice.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 12:44:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me it means H. Clinton does not question, does not think of the long or medium term, but will always do the immediate convenient.  That has been a failing of Democratic politicians in general as evidenced by Presidents B. Clinton and Obama.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 01:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is more a case of those at the top of their respective political trees choosing which battles to fight and which ones to avoid because the risk reward ratio ain't great.  For relative outsiders like Bernie the risks are much lesser - they have less to lose - and the possible rewards are much greater.  It depends on where you are trying to build your constituency - in the centre or on the left of the party. Vermont, being relatively liberal, tends to reward those further to the left of the spectrum. Hillary was trying to build a constituency right across the country and had less room for manoeuvre.  Of course Bush screwed up so royally that the whole Dem party moved to the left in Bernie's direction leaving the tide at a low ebb for Hillary.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 02:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that this year has been the most favorable in four decades for a progressive/sociallist agenda should not diminish his accomplishment, such as it is, or his integrity and 40 year consistency of belief and advocacy. Thankfully, there was at least one politician willing and able to rise to this occasion. Hopefully, he will have shown the way for many more over the next two, four, six and eight years.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 04:22:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Millions of Americans don't have the experience of working in the WH and having high level access. In this position you really should know how a sales pitch looks like.
Of course millions have been tricked. The method was tried and true. You tell the people they have been attacked and now it is time to rally around the flag. Worked in my grandparents time. Never really got the chance to talk with them about it. I hear my grandfather was a strong opponent but then afterwards everyone was in the resistance. And I think we shouldn't forget the attacked part because it so seldom gets brought up. Anyone remember the Anthrax letters that by all accounts were sourced from US weapon stocks?
So it is quite natural that the government got its population behind its war, however it doesn't follow that they were individually entirely blameless. Just as my grandparents weren't entirely blameless.
More importantly how many of those millions are running for high office on their experience? Sure, as you say at the time it was politically difficult to do anything else. But does "I killed them to further my career" really sound like a good excuse to you?
And that discounts her later position on interventions by military force. Singular because as far as I know she was for all of them.
by generic on Mon May 23rd, 2016 at 04:16:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't know about the USA, but in Ireland, funerals are places where weapons and enmities are left at the door. You are expected to be at least polite, if not openly welcoming and sympathetic.  As for US foreign policy the majority would be even more belligerent, I suspect. Other than the isolationists, Obama stands out for his failure to actually invade anywhere - although he came close in Libya.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 11:22:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Other than the isolationists, Obama stands out for his failure to actually invade anywhere - although he came close in Libya.
Don't worry: Sarkozy was eager to pick this one up.
by Bernard on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 11:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If I can't call her evil for falling short on that very basic measure then the word has outlived its usefulness.

At the very least it makes her highly suspect morally. IMO she always places political expediency at the top of her priority list. I doubt she really understands why anyone smart would do anything else. Ever.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:16:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And then it becomes the main task of progressives to ensure that it becomes politically expedient for her to appoint progressives to powerful positions, and to pursue progressive priorities and policies.

The Blue dogs have tended to control how far Democratic Presidents can go in pursuing progressive policies.  But what if they progressive caucus were to outnumber the Blue dogs, or even failing that, if they held the balance of power and voted down any Hillary proposals not to their liking?

Hillary would then be faced with a choice: look for Republican backing for her proposals, or accept that it is progressives who hold the balance of power and who must be appeased.

It seems unlikely that Republicans would ever support any of her proposals, which leaves her with only one choice...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri May 20th, 2016 at 08:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
US Progressives lack political power to accomplish anything if the president isn't a Democrat.  They lack the political will to oppose the president if he is a Democrat.  Thus they can and are ignored.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 01:20:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Past time for the worm to turn.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun May 22nd, 2016 at 04:24:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When it's from the right it's a Wurlitzer, when from the left it's righteous indignation. ;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 21st, 2016 at 02:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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