Tag Archives: Clinton

Up the Establishment

This election season provides further evidence, if any were needed, that our two political parties are merely two prongs of the same pitchfork.  Let’s start with the Republicans.  The Republicans, through laxity or inattention, failed to smother the insurgency of Donald Trump.  This prompted the hilarious spectacle of Republican pundits like George Will bailing out of the party, averring they would rather see a Democrat in the White House.

There are plenty of reasons not to like Donald Trump, but – not if you’re a Republican.  If there are really such important differences between the parties, then surely Will, Krauthammer, et al. would prefer to see their guy win, no?  Maybe you disrespect him in the primary, because maybe he can’t win in the general, but once he wins the primary, you shut up.  Trump, furthermore, did not merely win the primary, he crushed it by a margin unprecedented in party history.

The Democratic establishment did a better job of rigging their primary, with the help of party hack “super” delegates.  At the appointed time (and long before the votes were tallied) friendly media called it in Hillary’s favor.  Not for nothing is it called the Clinton News Network.

This was supposed to be another Bush versus Clinton contest, with either outcome safe for the ruling class.  We would have been treated to the usual non-debate about reforming our so-called capitalism and reining in the welfare state.  Now, the pundits are stymied.  What is Bill Kristol going to say against Sec. Clinton, when she is as much a neocon as he is?

On foreign policy, Clinton is somewhere to right of Sen. John McCain.  She has backed all the Mideast wars, including the utterly indefensible bombing of Libya.  She supports all the international trade agreements, except for her poll-driven epiphany on the TPP, and she is the darling of Wall Street.  If you think she is out of step with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, you’re right.

Clinton is basically a Republican or, more to the point, this distinction between Republicans and Democrats is a sham.  There is only the establishment.  Without a candidate of their own, establishment Republicans will have to support Hillary.

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American Oligarchy

Former president Jimmy Carter is now the most prominent figure to warn of America becoming an oligarchy. This term, “oligarchy,” is generally applied to post-Soviet Russia, where it took on a special meaning beyond the dictionary definition.

Oligarchy

When the Russians tried to liberate their economy, all of the important assets – oil fields, power plants, and so forth – ended up in the hands of people with political connections. The oligarchs now control the economy, the government, and the state security apparatus.

It is painful to watch a formerly free economy, like ours, degenerate into the same condition. Russia simply failed to privatize properly her state-owned enterprises. Our shame is much greater. We are standing idly by, as an emerging oligarchy takes control of our government and our economy.

The so-called left and right have made common cause. The left loves government meddling in private enterprise – while the right thinks it is protecting same, when in fact they are only protecting entrenched corporate interests. We have written before about this mote in their eye.

The bailout of General Motors nicely illustrates this convergence. The left was able to claim they were “saving jobs,” which, as we explain here, is a chimera. Capitalism, as Detroiter Seth Godin explains, means letting incompetent companies go bust. Keeping zombie companies alive, with taxpayer money, prevents the creation of new jobs in vibrant new companies.

Not only should Congress facilitate the organized bankruptcy of the Big Three, but it should also make it easy for them to be replaced by 500 new car companies.

Our auto industry is a ward of the state, as is Boeing. Banking depends on the Federal Reserve’s largesse. Mortgage lending, and thus the housing industry, depends on the Fed and the FHFA. High tech avionics and robotics, obviously, are funded by the military. Including the Pentagon, as much as 20% of America’s labor force may depend ultimately on tax dollars.

Competition is what once made our economy stronger than the command economies of Russia and China. Even as their leaders are trying to wean China off state owned enterprise, we are allowing our economy to be nationalized by stealth. Businesses are capitalist when they start up but, once they are in a position to buy favors from the government, they become statist.

It is easy to see this unholy alliance of government and big business (and big unions) as a statist conspiracy. Jeremiah does not see conspiracy, however. He simply sees moneyed interests buying influence – to make more money – and government officials selling it, with a revolving door between the two.

Here is a long article in the New York Times explaining how the Clinton family raked in a little over $35 million during a mining rights transaction involving a Russian company and uranium in Wyoming. We write “during,” of course, because we don’t want to imply anything so crass as an outright sale of the State Department’s approval. Oh, and they paid Bill Clinton $500,000 to make a speech.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.

America is being looted, and all of our assets will soon be in the hands of an oligarchy no different from Russia’s. We will be renting tiny homes from Blackstone, on a tiny stipend from HUD. Jeremiah has been watching this for a long time, and he can tell you that the pace is picking up. There has always been corruption, of course, but nothing so big and brazen as what we’ve seen lately.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any policy recommendation much better than those naïve calls to “clean up government.” One possibility might be to dismantle the regulatory agencies, the tax preferences, and corporate welfare. At this point, a return to laissez faire would be just as painful for the (faux) right as for the left.

This is not to endorse laissez faire, mind you. That would mean big setbacks for labor and the environment. The idea would be to “drain the swamp.” The less power government has over business, the less opportunity for corruption. Unable to buy favors from the state, companies would again be forced to compete.

Admittedly, this is not a great solution. At this late stage, it’s hard to imagine the oligarchy being rolled back by any means, and certainly not by the same voters who allowed it to develop in the first place.

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Left Behind

Peter Beinart presents an objective and thorough analysis of America’s millennial left.  It’s refreshing to read something this precise.  He takes the time to define “old politics” in both Republican and Democratic terms, and to defend his designation of a “new generation.”  Finally, he uses survey results to show what the new generation thinks.

Obviously, the new left is bad news for Republicans, but Beinart also has some surprises for Democrats.  The leading candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, is at risk of being “old left.”  Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems younger in this sense – younger, even, than young Republicans like Paul Ryan.  We are reminded of Jeremiah on identity politics.

Right-wing populism generally requires rousing white, Christian, straight, native-born Americans against Americans who are not all those things.

The Republican party, Beinart says, has grown dependent on the xenophobia of a shrinking demographic group.  The left wing of the Republican party – if there is such a thing – is represented by Libertarians like Rand Paul.  He is against foreign wars and the Federal Reserve, and strictly in favor of individual rights.  Unfortunately for Sen. Paul, he is also white, Christian, straight, and male.

No one will mourn the passing of “social conservatives,” but we are a little concerned about the young generation’s lurch toward socialism.  The Republicans have not made a case for free enterprise, and so that task may fall to Mrs. Clinton.

What do you tell a young person with no prospects, a useless diploma, and college debt?  They say the system is broken.  Jeremiah would like to say that the system is broken because it is not actually a free enterprise system.  The housing bubble, the student loan bubble, and the jobless recovery are all due to government intervention.  What is broken is the big lie of socialism, that government can take care of you.

How do you tell that to the new left?  You can’t.  That kind of knowledge only comes from experience.  God help them.

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Our First Black President

America’s first black president was Bill Clinton.  Of course, he was born poor and white in Arkansas but, in terms of fellowship with the civil rights movement, Mr. Clinton was all black.  Growing up intelligent and liberal in the segregated South, the young Bill Clinton developed a cultural sensitivity that persisted into his adult political career.  Today, his offices are in Harlem.  He grew up playing bebop on the saxophone and, supposedly, he knows Dr. King’s famous speech by heart.

Where civil-rights leaders like Jesse Jackson doubted that Barack Obama was “black enough” to merit an endorsement, they never wondered about Bill Clinton.  At the end of the day, what makes a black president is not his skin colour but his policies.

Many people endorsed Barack Obama for president simply because he is black.  “He is one of us, and he knows what it’s like,” went the argument.  Now that the president has had a bad year, these racists are making all kinds of excuses.  The fact is that being “one of us,” is no guarantee that a politician is going to enact the policies “we” want.  He may not actually know “what it’s like,” or if he does, he may lack the capacity to do anything about it.

The 2008 presidential campaign was a shameful display of identity politics.  One camp supported Mr. Obama largely because of his race, and another supported Hillary Clinton because of her gender.  In a last-ditch apology for nominating a middle-aged white man, the Republican Party produced Sarah Palin.  Feminist voters who had supported Mrs. Clinton might now switch parties, they hoped, only because of a woman on the ticket.  Never mind that Palin is a social conservative, and anti-choice.

When pundits and celebrities say they endorse a candidate because of race, gender, age, religion or hairstyle, what they really mean is “politics is too complicated for me.”

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