- Date published:
8:00 am, October 29th, 2016 - 97 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:
When the Roman army crossed the Mediterranean to attack Carthage in 149 BC, they really went to war. They lay seige to it for two years. The Carthagenians were offered surrender terms, but would not do so unconditionally. So the Romans broke in and took it, house by house, temple by temple, massacred everyone they could find, and sold the rest later into slavery. They then burnt it entirely into the ground. It’s claimed that they then got tonnes of salt, and ploughed it into the fields, so that even when any determined survivors returned a little, it would be really hard to grow crops for a very long time. Carthage would never rise again.
Now, with the repetition of a single word – rigged, rigged, rigged – and with the help of Russian hacks into the voter logs of Arizona, and voting machines in Florida, Donald Trump is seeking to poison the field of democracy for the current likely winner Hillary Clinton: if you can’t inherit the land, sow it with salt.
We saw similar tricks played in Ukraine and Georgia when they sought to wrench themselves free of Russia’s orbit and become part of the West. Putin probably understands that he has lost these vassal states for a very long time. But he has invaded both and ensured that even if they wanted to join NATO, they simply couldn’t. Putin has salted the fields of Ukraine and Georgia for future Western engagement.
Trump is not Putin. America is not Russia. It wasn’t hard for Putin to destroy democratic institutions in countries were capable democracy was less than a decade old. But make no mistake: Trump is seeking to salt the land of U.S. democracy more thoroughly than any Presidential candidate since the U.S. civil war.
In some ways it’s good to seriously debate things like: nuclear capability in North Korea, or Iran, or even the existence of NATO. But Trump is attacking the process of debate: the media are rigged, the democratic system is rigged, he won’t accept the result. Rigged, rigged, rigged.
If you argue against this post, you are helping to sustain the process of debate, which is the lifeblood of democracy. You are stopping the fields from being salted.
Arent you overdoing the ‘wrench themselves free of Russia’s orbit’ thing a bit. Vassal states ? Are you the publicist for Frank Frank Bainimarama , as he says much the same things about NZ and Australias relationship with Fiji.
Waaa-a-aa you seem to be purporting to provide citation for claims that russia is running an organised attack on american democracy by a series of hack. None of your links provide any evidence of russian involvement in hacking . At this point claims of russian involvement in the various hacks relevant to US elections are BULLSHIT.
What is very clear is an organised attempt to create a belief in russian involvement by the clinton campaign team. In the absence of any actual evidence this approach is dishonest.
The FBI are part of the Clinton campaign team? That’s one hell of a claim, xanthe!
Thats an interesting claim , but not one i have made
Actually, that is exactly what you are claiming. It’s the FBI who reckon its the Russians. The DNC might also believe it to be true, but it’s not them investigating the hack.
are you perhaps conflating a claim that…. some unnamed and therefore off the record officials suspect….. with…. FBI
in either case it remains your claim not mine
Nah, it’s still your claim. The DNC don’t run the FBI and it is that organisation who are investigating the hack and who are saying that its most likely Russian run. You could google if you want, but I’m guessing you’d find the results challenging.
“What is very clear is an organised attempt to create a belief in russian involvement by the clinton campaign team. In the absence of any actual evidence this approach is dishonest.”
You mistake the DNC for the FBI.
of course the FBI is investigating the hack, thats their job! and of course they are following up the possibility that russia is behind it presumably amongst other possibilities. and of course “officials” can be found that will confirm that the FBI is investigating the possibility that its the russians… what else do you expect. not a great leap to report that FBI officials suspect russia … actually not an actionable lie .. just misdirection!
The point is that the FBI in this case are only doing their job…… they are not pushing the story that the russians did it. and I have not said they did.(so who is?) You are playing silly games.
I understand the security briefings which she and Trump are getting provide more evidence. That cant be revealed of course.
CIA I long thought had NZ Mp (s?) on payroll as sources/agents. perhaps the full story wont come out till he is in his grave
Other countries meddling in a different countries elections ?. Old news, its just the use of email makes it a little bit up to date.
Sen Hillary Clinton said in 2006 that US should have rigged the outcome of Palestinian elections
Well, I guess she MIGHT have meant do something decent and beneficial to ordinary voters.
…………………….is ba-ack !
Dont you think its a bit odd, a quite explosive claim she makes just sits quietly for 10 years in a jewish newspaper office ?
maybe at the time she wasnt someone anybody had heard of, not the most high visibility woman in America who was running for the Senate….yeah thats must be it.
“On Thursday, private security researchers said they had concluded that Mr. Podesta was hacked by Russia’s foreign intelligence service, the GRU, after it tricked him into clicking on a fake Google login page last March, inadvertently handing over his digital credentials.”
“The fact that Mr. Podesta was among those breached by the GRU was first disclosed Thursday by Esquire and the Motherboard blog, which published the link Russian spies used against Mr. Podesta.
Are these things planted ‘false flags’ ? xanthe will claim these arent evidence, wearing his/her judges hat.
The reality is security services are always looking at these things to get inside info.
hmm it seems to me that what is clamed is not a hardware or software “hack” at all but rather a phishing scam .. wetware hack.. now that being the case where does all this “toolkit only used by the GRU” come into it? they scammed his gmail credentials with a phishing email such as you and i recieve several per week It is not creditable that this phishing email contains “russian fingerprints”
given that we are talking about a gmail credentials phish the only two paths to identify the perpratrator are. the IP of the website that harvested the credentials and more pertinant the IP of whoever accessed the gmail account.
So basically (wearing my Judge Judy hat thanks dude :)) I ignore all talk of “toolkits” or any hardware software hack,(its just obfustication) only interested in facts relating to the harvest server and gmail access.
Now quite possibly this line may bear fruit but the point in this context is that evidence surfacing now that points to russian involvement (or not!) will not change the fact that the DNC has been pushing this line for some time without that evidence
It’s credible that it can be traced back to Russian territory – but that’s probably about it.
There’s plenty of scams run out of Russia and often by contract so the big question is probably who commissioned it.
You are correct drak the source of the phish email is another avenue for investigation.(which i omitted above) But as you also point out “oh the sender IP is in russia” (for example) would not actually identify the source of the attack
“It is not creditable that this phishing email contains “russian fingerprints”
Read it more clearly, Im not up with the latest stuff but having been writing and using programs since the days of punched cards, I think I can pick out the right bits that sort of wipes away your claims.
“SecureWorks built a target portfolio to see who Fancy Bear was working for. Lo and behold, the addresses attacked included a host of military, political, and government leaders in Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet states. They also sent spear-phishing emails to NATO military attachés, diplomatic and military personnel from the US and Europe, and critics of the Russian government from around the world.
“We track these groups by the toolsets they use, the malware they use because they tend to have bespoke sets of malware that’s only used by one group.”
It seems credible to me, but I wouldnt have the knowledge to say its definitive.
What your software background X ?
spear-phishing for credentials does not use malware , when an argument is made that malware used in a particular spear-phishing attack comes from a specific toolkit you are being bullshitted. Dismiss the crap about malware in this case. However the suggestion that they could find a larger target set from the target URLs from the same perpetrator is interesting. I dont think this on its own would identify the perp but does open lines for further investigation.
I think malware is a very broad term. Kapersky labs agree
“So what is malware? It comes in a bewildering variety of forms.
…. One of the most popular ways to spread malware is by email, which may be disguised to look as if it is from a familiar company such as a bank, or a personal email from a friend.”
It would seem that ‘spear phishing ‘ is malware. Would you like to point to a reputable source that agrees with you. Any way they describe in some detail the forensics of the investigation they have done, so we can ‘get over’ minor definitions.
Like I said before the evidence is strong but not definitive. Your rebuttals are pretty weak
spear-phishing can be used to direct the user to a site that installs malware.. but that is not being alleged in this case..
‘disguised to look like a familiar company ‘ – like google.
As I said malware is a very broad term, the experts say so not me, so you really should let it go.
I can see some problems with their claims but I dont think you have enough knowledge to go there.
glad I was able to help 🙂
Glad to help: if you had got over your semantics obsession this should have been the pertinent issue to raise.
Confidence level it was Russia was only moderate.
‘Hence SecureWorks’ “moderate confidence” that Russia is behind these hacks, a level which generally means that “the information is credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroborated sufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence.”
Staring at you in plain sight! There were other weaknesses but require a greater depth of understanding
Great post, Ad! There are many structural failings in the States, health, education and welfare to name but three, but they do take their democracy seriously. Just about every public post from dog catcher up is voted on. The results might not always be wonderful, but in the case of this election, democracy is going to win.
If you think about how Trump and his dad ran their businesses, there is no indication that either man ever gave a thought to the opinions of others. My way or the highway. Trump Jr does not give a toss about America’s democratic traditions and his regular comments inciting violence suggest he’d much rather skip the election altogether and go straight to dictatorship.
The Deep State doesn’t give a toss about America’s democratic traditions either. Hillary is their candidate and they will get her in by taking the necessary ‘steps’.
If the ‘deep state’ doesn’t give a toss about democratic traditions, why do they have a candidate? Just for the record, using the phrase deep state is a credibility killer. It’s an intellectual white flag.
“Deep state” refers to those who exercise control over public policy regardless of who is elected. A useful term to reference a rather amorphous but still very real faction.
Capital is an even better term. And it’s got the benefit of being based in day to day reality, rather than just vague theories from a few individuals. Capitalism is the problem. Poverty, climate change, prejudice; all the products of capitalism.
I see your point but the same things happened under Soviet style socialism.
Greetings Xanthe 🙂
Thanks, well argued.
If the Deep State is so all-powerful, how come there’s been a Kenyan-born Muslim in the White House for the last eight years? Especially since McCain was the perfect Deep State military-industrial-complex candidate.
Your vacuous thesis falls over as anyone who knows anything about McCain knows hes quite the enemy of a lot of the wasteful military-industrial companies.
The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee seems to be quite popular with wasteful military-industrial companies.
John McCain is a top recipient from the following industries in 2015-2016:
Defense Electronics (#1)
For-profit Education (#1)
Misc Defense (#1)
Professional sports, arenas & related equip & svcs (#1)
Business Assns (#3)
Defense Aerospace (#4)
Thats not what your link says
#1 retirement industry – you say defence electronics (not mentioned)
only defence related category is #18 defence aerospace
The data covers the six years for a senate election cycle.
There has been an uptick from defense industries since his job as chairman of senate armed services (2014) but he hasnt changed
“Supporters say that the extra money won’t mean a change in McCain’s policies, and that he’s the same person who, in 2011, called defense spending policies “a windfall” for the defense industry but a “recipe for disaster” for taxpayers and the military.”
of course back in 2008 when he was running for President he was a thorn in the side of the M-I-C.
So Open Secrets had it all wrong when they ranked him as a top recipient from the following industries?.
I used your link ! Which which showed defence aerospace as #18 for him
hes been a senator for 30 years. His opposition to the big defence companies dates back just as long. His biggest donors are retirement and financial interests.
The discrepancy may lie in the difference between “his biggest donors” and “top recipient from”.
This is Sanders numbers
Defense Aerospace (#1)
Defense electronics is #2. Whatever that means???
So Sanders is in the grip of DIC like McCain ??
retirement industry is more like it.
But isn’t that just more of Lanth’s plausible deniability?
Plausible deniability, of course. People like you say “see, here’s the evidence that the deep state doesn’t exist” – which is exactly what the deep state wants.
Considering that you have to be both an US citizen and be born in the US how can there possibly be a “Kenyan-born” person in the White House?
Well, Ted Cruz was Canadian-born (to an American mother and therefore an American citizen) and there weren’t many people besides Trump that disputed his eligibility to become president.
BTW, I’m starting to understand the attraction of trolling. It’s fun when people seriously respond to a facetious comment.
Silencing and knee capping Bernie being one of those “steps.”
What a total waste of time voting before or on November 8th if you are expecting REAL change in America.
A bit like the 2017 election will be in Gods Own now John Key has salted NZ democracy.
Who is using that slogan ? Get over this idea that voters want ‘real change’
The fact that voting no longer matters, if it ever did, means that real change will be coming no matter who’s voted in.
Countries that tend to ignore what the people want tend to have revolutions.
tell that to Roger Douglas and co. The voters found they were getting real change they didnt want ( labour voters that is , national voters were mostly happy)
And the voters got rid of 4th Labour ASAP. Unfortunately, that only left National who then continued the shafting of the country. Got rid of them ASAP as well but the 4th Labour government continued it.
Poverty continues to increase
Prices continue to increase
Government continues to ignore the people
If this continues there will be a revolution.
The US is further down this path than we are and thus the revolution is likely to start there – but it won’t stop there.
“And the voters got rid of 4th Labour ASAP.”
Hmmm… Not quite, Draco. Let’s remember that Douglas et al were a TWO term government. We tend to oversimplify this time in our memories: Muldoon had been an over-controlling, incompetent arsehole (remember the wage-price freeze, anyone?), plus there were various aspects of that government that people were happy with and proud of (remember the nuclear free NZ policy? The Homosexual Law Reform Act?…). Lots of us were very unhappy with Rogernomics, but the Nats decided to go even further and that’s partly why Lange and Douglas were returned for a second term. They had a really strong majority and only lost one seat, compared to ’84.
You’re mis-remembering there.
In 1987 nobody trusted National after the Muldoon government and they didn’t quite distrust Labour enough to vote them out. But the important thing here was that National were still sticking to Muldoon type policies. In fact it was the fact that they were promising to go back to the policies before the 4th Labour government that got them elected in 1990.
National narrowly got in in 1993 and they not have got back in in 1996 if NZFirst had gone the way that they’d implied that they would go which was with Labour.
Ahh… not quite right (but nearly) DTB. That is, if my memory has not played tricks on me.
The “greed” factor became a significant force back in the mid to late 1980s. Labour was returned in 1987 because a lot of Nat voters voted for Rogernomics. Remember the old true-blue FPP seat of Remuera? The seat came within a whisker of electing a Labour candidate, Judith Tizard.
Labour lost in 1990 because, by that time, Lange had stopped to have his ‘cup of tea’ and the party imploded with Douglas walking the plank followed by Lange. The Nats returned to the National Party. I’m sure that had a bearing on National’s newly developed enthusiasm for Rogernomics – or Ruthanasia as it subsequently became known. Then Bolger did a Lange and had his version of a ‘cup of tea’ by sacking Ruth Richardson and she walked the plank followed by the Shipley coup which saw Bolger walk the plank.
They were weird times the 1980s and 90s.
Actually, considering that the entire US democracy was set up to prevent democracy I suspect that they’re quite supportive of “America’s democratic traditions” – because they don’t actually exist.
Much obliged TRP
Well both Clinton and Trump have done the same thing in different ways, Clinton foundation is a front same as Keys Cabinet club, democracy for those who can afford it.
She sewed salt in the white house itself if that’s how your analogy works?
Keys cabinet club idea probably came from Camp Clinton in the first place.
There is no right, when everyone’s wrong Ad.
Is a conspiracy theory still a conspiracy theory when the establishment itself, rather than a handful of its alienated victims, mythologises a perceived threat? Or does it then become a reasonable hypothesis? Mendacity and distortion within the US establishment did not begin with Trump, and he is far from being the first to shout “rigged I tell ya.” Rather than being personally responsible for salting the earth, he is probably a rare life-form that still flourishes in earth that has already been salted.
Very good olwyn
Thanks xanthe 🙂
Generally once the establishment is involved, it’s not conspiracy, it’s meaningful theory 😉
“Rather than being personally responsible for salting the earth, he is probably a rare life-form that still flourishes in earth that has already been salted.”
Two things. One is that it’s not that he’s calling attention to the possibility of it being rigged, it’s how he is doing it and the context he is has created to do it in that is the salting.
Two, flourishing in earth that won’t support other life is nihilistically parasitic. One no-longer has any need to support or pay attention to the things that are necessary for the health of the ecosystem. That does seem to be Trump in particular (and the US presidency in general).
Who is really the winner ..when HRC wins
Good question! I think that, at worst, American workers will not go backwards under Clinton. There is also a chance that if the Dem’s win the senate as well as the White House, then Clinton can make progress on healthcare, welfare and wages.
But the essential problems will remain, I suppose.
Depends if Democrats get the Senate and use that majority well.
Selling ‘Regime Change’ Wars to the Masses
Propaganda is now such a pervasive part of Western governance that any foreign leader who resists the prevailing power structure can be turned into a demon and made a target of a “regime change” war
A Freak Show
To most of us, the American presidential campaign is a media freak show, in which Donald Trump is the arch villain. But Trump is loathed by those with power in the United States for reasons that have little to do with his obnoxious behavior and opinions.
To the invisible government in Washington, the unpredictable Trump is an obstacle to America’s design for the Twenty-first Century. This is to maintain the dominance of the United States and to subjugate Russia, and, if possible, China.
To the militarists in Washington, the real problem with Trump is that, in his lucid moments, he seems not to want a war with Russia; he wants to talk with the Russian president, not fight him; he says he wants to talk with the president of China.
In the first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump promised not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict. He said, “I would certainly not do first strike. Once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.” That was not news.
Did he really mean it? Who knows? He often contradicts himself. But what is clear is that Trump is considered a serious threat to the status quo maintained by the vast national security machine that runs the United States, regardless of who is in the White House.
The CIA wants him beaten. The Pentagon wants him beaten. The media wants him beaten. Even his own party wants him beaten. He is a threat to the rulers of the world – unlike Hillary Clinton who has left no doubt she is prepared to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia and China.
I just heard an NPR presstitute declare that Texas, a traditional sure thing
for Republicans was up for grabs in the presidential election. Little wonder if this report on Zero Hedge is correct. Apparently, the voting machines are already at work stealing the election for Killary.
What Is At Stake In The Election
Paul Craig Roberts
Here Are The Presstitutes Who Control American’s Minds: http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2016/10/26/1010359-65-us-journalists-at-a-private-dinner-with-hillary-clintons-team-and-john-podesta/
The Failure of Democracy, How The Oligarchs Plan To Steal The Election
By: pcr3|28 October, 2016|Categories: Articles & Columns
The Failure of Democracy How The Oligarchs Plan To Steal The Election Paul Craig Roberts I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump. Most likely you are unaware of what… refer paul craig roberts
Presstitute? Killary? Shitforbrainsisms.
PCR is on to it. His insights aren’t perfect but he is 80% to 90% there on most issues.
+100 johnm…well argued
Our local version is Whaleoil. One of their ex lead writers called it total lies…like Whaleoil.
Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition — Paul Craig Roberts
October 21, 2016 | Categories: Articles & Columns | Tags: | Print This Article Print This Article
Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition
Paul Craig Roberts
Do Americans have a memory? I sometimes wonder.
It is an obvious fact that the oligarchic One Percent have anointed Hillary, despite her myriad problems to be President of the US. There are reports that her staff are already moving into their White House offices. This much confidence before the vote does suggest that the skids have been greased.
The current cause celebre against Trump is his conditional statement that he might not accept the election results if they appear to have been rigged. The presstitutes immediately jumped on him for “discrediting American democracy” and for “breaking American tradition of accepting the people’s will.”
What nonsense! Stolen elections are the American tradition. Elections are stolen at every level—state, local, and federal. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley’s theft of the Chicago and, thereby, Illinois vote for John F. Kennedy is legendary. The Republican US Supreme Court’s theft of the 2000 presidential election from Al Gore by preventing the Florida vote recount is another legendary example. The discrepancies between exit polls and the vote count of the secretly programmed electronic voting machines that have no paper trails are also legendary.
“It is an obvious fact that the oligarchic One Percent have anointed Hillary,”
So it didnt matter that their primary system ( which no other western country uses) had 17 million people voted for Clinton.
Back with 12 mill was Sanders, so it was a real choice
Its pointless doing a cut/paste on 5th form level nonsense. It destroys your arguments that you want to make.
17 mill doesn’t sound like much to me! There are 325million people in the US a lot of whom would be adult voters!
how many do you think 1% is ?
How many countries even have a system where 60 mill people get to chose two main candidates before an election ?
How many people chose the Green party candidate ?
Some real numbers since you not really sure – I used google.
146 mill registered to vote- out of 219 mill eligible.
last time round 126 mill actually voted
You might want to think again your statement about the 1% choosing Clinton, as its clearly false.
I suggest you read American commentators such as Paul Craig Roberts: they know what’s happening in their own country unlike dilettante commentators on the standard.
I answered all your claims with numbers which debunked them. Its laughable that you point to dilettante
Ill point to something else:
The Standard policy on rubbish posts
” This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities)
Ill not claim ‘ to know whats happening’- oh the absurdity. You should stick to Roberts talking points and not venture out on your own.
Paul Craig Roberts — Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has
July 11, 2016 | Categories: Articles & Columns | Tags: | Print This Article Print This Article
Vladimir Putin Is The Only Leader The West Has
Paul Craig Roberts
A Reuters news report under the names of presstitutes Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nato-summit-idUKKCN0ZN2NN
First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.
Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by Washington acting under the cover of NATO.
These destroyed countries posed no threat whatsoever to the countries of the NATO alliance and undertook no aggressive actions against NATO members. How is it possible that Reuters’ reporters and editors are not aware of this? Why do they call an instrument of Washington’s aggression a “defense alliance”?
How can there be so much Russian aggression and no evidence of it?
Recently, President Putin dressed down to their faces the Western media whores who are fanning the flames of World War III by repeating without question Washington’s propagandistic lies. These lies are reckless. They endanger all life on planet Earth.
You obviously need to do some more reading. Your crappy history lesson can’t hide that you don’t know what you’re talking about.
And the US and Russia have been in proxy wars for years. Neither will back down which is why Syria is like it is.
Trump’s ship is foundering, and his crew set to abandon him once their pay stops. This is the only song that seems fit for that bunch of muppets and their desperate short sightedness:
The whole ‘salting the earth’ analogy used in this post distracts from the far more important state of the ‘soil’.
At just about any other time, Trump’s manner and mouthings would be like the proverbial seeds that fall on rocky ground. Rather than worrying about ‘salting the earth to prevent democracy’, the far more interesting question is why, now, Trump’s mouth scatterings are finding so much fertile soil to germinate in.
And that includes his comments about the election being rigged. Those comments aren’t ‘salting’ the ground; they’re taking root in hospitable soil. Why?
Trump is neither here nor there. (Same with Clinton). He’s merely an individual caught up in something far more significant than him. When it comes to these issues, individuals aren’t the point.
The point is not what Trump is doing to the soil, it’s why the soil has changed to become so fertile for his approach.
Trump can be stopped but how does the soil get ‘salted’ so that his politics can no longer germinate?
I’m afraid the American left is far too infused with liberal ideology to know how to respond. It sometimes seems that it can’t even conceptualise the issues at stake beyond shouting ‘It’s racism! It’s sexism!’. As if those were explanations rather than simplistic restatements of the problem.
Worse, it seems to be in the process of deluding itself to the point of thinking that stopping Trump will solve the problem; that a Clinton presidency will sweeten the soil for liberalism for the foreseeable future.
Not gonna happen.
So? How do you stop it? How do you ‘salt the soil’ to prevent Trump’s kind of politics from taking root?
Salting the soil to stop an opponent or someone perceived as a problem is exactly what the post was referring to. It doesn’t matter what the ideology of the person doing it is, it’s still inherently damaging to the ecosystem. Trump isn’t the soil, his constituents are, and that destroying that ecosystem will just create refugees who take their trauma with them.
Robert Guyton would perhaps suggest growing something else in the soil to outcompete the seeds that Trump is sowing (apologies to Robert here, but the reference is his food forest commentary). So instead of the polarised and antagonised debate (including the bits that think the left all do/think alike, and that identity analysis is incompatible with class analysis, and that left wing analysis is inherently superficial, and that liberals are to blame), how about we we work with ecological health? What are the needs of the people involved, all of them? How can those needs be met? What happens when those needs are in conflict? How is the health of the system strengthened where those needs intersect? What grows truly healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities?
There are people out there talking about all those things. You don’t hear them much on ts, because they know that their voices are not heard here above the shouting.
Thanks weka. You always make me think through – and hopefully express myself – more carefully.
I’ll clarify my last question about how to ‘salt the soil’ in order to avoid Trump’s politics from taking root.
I was referring to what you call the ‘ecosystem’ of his voters (more particularly, their lives and experiences). That is, my starting point was that ‘the soil’ was Trump’s supporters and their lived experiences – certainly not Trump himself.
‘Salting that soil’ was just me stretching the analogy perhaps a step too far. In effect, what I meant was that what needs to happen is to help alter the lives – and experienced efficacy over their own lives – of these people (all people in fact) so that Trump’s ‘solutions’ will look less appealing. (Perhaps my ‘salting the soil’ suggestion is really a process of ‘de-salination’.)
I think, though, that the post was saying that Trump is – deliberately or otherwise – ‘salting the soil’ to make democracy unworkable. I was arguing that this gets it around the wrong way. Trump is taking advantage of soil that has already been very effectively ‘salted’ in a way that has minimised the likelihood of democracy operating effectively- and Trump wasn’t the one to do this.
To clarify further, this ‘salting of the soil’ has happened irrespective of the fact that, technically, the U.S. has one of the most democratic of infrastructures. As Ad points out, just about every public official is up for election and local communities potentially have much greater latitude to determine their fate than in just about any other country.
Yet – and this is the point – apart from some towns and communities in places like California that are populated by educated and relatively wealthy people the reality seems to be that that democratic infrastructure is hardly used. To put it into familiar words, most people are ‘disaffected’, feel ‘marginalised’ and ‘alienated’ from democratic processes and are remarkably cynical about the likelihood that it could ever really work on their behalf. (Educated, professional people probably less so because they have some sense of how to work the levers.)
A good proportion even seem to be living their lives entirely detached from any recognisable political process or, perhaps, even awareness.
That is, the democratic soil was already saturated in sodium chloride long before Trump entered the fray. That’s what is in need of solution.
The questions you ask in your second to last paragraph are all good ones and it would be excellent to gain some sense of the answers. Meeting the needs of everyone, for example, would be great, and knowing how to proceed when those needs are in conflict would be even better.
But these questions can’t just be asked and answered by educated people deeply immersed in the aspirational values of the middle classes. It has to be handed over to everyone – even at the ‘risk’ that people would decide to do some things that the educated middle classes disapprove of. And there’s the rub. Giving people power (as a collective) means they could do something you don’t want them to do.
Which leads to liberalism and its contradictions.
My singling out of the liberal left in the U.S. is largely based on what I understand of liberalism as a historical and philosophical political ideology – its prioritisation of the individual (hence human rights and individual rights); of rationality; and property. Its focus on knowledge, technology and science; its faith in progress, or at least its possibility.
This political vision tends to privilege technocratic problem solving and, even, the dissolution – or ‘disappearance’ – of the quintessentially political problems of power and conflict. It assumes that all conflict is a ‘technical’ problem that reasoned debate and response can (should) resolve. If only people would be patient – the creed could be – all needs will be satisfied and all interests considered.
Unintentionally, perhaps, this privileges the educated, the articulate and the clever – people who then go on to fill positions in careers such as law, medicine, politics, corporate management, the ‘creative’ industries and so benefit greatly from the liberal ideology, materially and in terms of social status and cultural capital.
It is this ‘class’, I think, that both comes to dominate the lives of others (through implementing processes deemed the most reasonable, ‘progressive’ and, today, ‘sustainable’) and has become the target of much of the resentment behind Brexit, Trump, etc..
There’d be too much to say if I put down all my thinking about this issue so I’ll just make a few personal comments.
I come from a very working class, north of England background. Most of my extended family back in England may well have voted Brexit (don’t know for sure as I haven’t asked them).
All I can say, is that most of them would also think politics is not for them, is not what life is about (or what matters in life) and is largely a sideshow. And that sideshow they’d see as engaged in by people who are too educated for their own good, think they know better than anyone else (and that they think they are better than anyone else) and are probably just in politics to make money and be famous.
Two generations before, similar people would have seen politics as their only hope of getting decent lives. And they would have deeply admired those who went into it representing their interests.
that is a great comment Puddleglum, thank-you. I’m going to think about this, but would really like to come back to these points and questions.
Setting up liberalism as a prioritization of the individual is in this context just a really, really bad conflation of values with processes.
Re: “Privileging of the educated, articulate, and clever”
Complain about the bourgeoisie all you like, but you’ll miss them when they’re gone. They are the people who base their opinions on old fashioned things like research, ethical guidelines, alternative opinions, rules of discourse, and concepts like public policy and public service. When the media fail at those things, the bourgeoisie complain about them, precisely because they hold those values and expect them and enforce them in society.
And what you call “technocratic problem solving” is accurately termed “policy”.
You’re making some general points about cynicism about political processes in the US from your own experience in northern England. It’s a far enough point that fewer people are involved in politics in the US: about 58% voted in the last US Presidential election.
But that forgets how deep democracy is in the US system. Far more so than the English systems. You vote in the Sherriff. The School Board. The local Council and Mayor. Bunches more at a local level. Many states have binding referenda. The Judges. The District Attourney. The state legislature. The governor. The Congress. The Senate. …and then you get to the President.
So there’s a bit more to be added onto that 58%. No, “most people” don’t “feel marginalized”. Some do.
Re: “Something’s changed”
I’ve written here about the high point of liberalism before. But after Brexit I think we are getting too quick to announce yet another Fukuyama moment on the “death of history”.
We don’t have to like Hillary, heck you can hate all she stands for. But if she went down in a screamer she would defend your right to vote to send her packing, and she would accept the result as she did against Obama (and far earlier than Sanders did in the same position). She would uphold the democratic structures of the US – imperfect as they are – and go back to being the loyal opposition, because she of all people knows that the system is necessarily bigger than her own personal ego.
None of that is true of Donald Trump.
Thanks for the response Ad. Much appreciated.
I was pointing out the prioritisation of the individual to highlight why I think that liberal ideology makes it difficult to see explanations beyond the level of individual attributes (e.g., that people vote certain ways or support certain movements because they are racist, sexist, lazy, ignorant, etc.). I just don’t see explanations of social and political phenomena cast as outcomes of individual psychology as useful or robust.
Since liberalism (the ideology) depicts voting, for example, as an individual ‘choice’ it tends to lead to those kinds of explanations (not inevitably, but it weights the outcomes towards those kinds of explanations – they come more ‘naturally’ and readily under that ideology).
Process versus values:
Democratic processes are institutionalised in ways that reflect individualistic ideology and values. So I think processes and values are enmeshed.
If you think about it, that’s the very reason that America has processes by which it elects individuals to so many posts (judges, Sheriffs, etc.). It’s also why liberal democracies have secret ballots and why the catch cry is ‘one person one vote’. It’s also the reason why everyone is so focused on the character attributes of the individuals running for President (or Senate, or – in NZ – for Prime Minister).
I’m not saying this is all bad by any means. Elections in representative democracies (as opposed to processes in more participatory versions of democracy) are based on selecting the ‘best’ individuals to go away, make decisions (i.e., ‘govern’) and then get a report card from the electorate at the next election.
In today’s world that’s generally as good as it gets for democracy and I’m definitely not in a hurry to tear down those processes just because they are based on individualistic, liberal ideology (as opposed to more collectivist models which assume that ‘self-governing’ refers to active, collective engagement rather than representation).
The liberation – even invention – of the modern individual is a triumph of western civilisation; which is why it is now so much part and parcel of a whole range of processes: our legal system, electoral system, economic system and, frankly, the metaphorical air we all breathe through discourse, discussion and debate.
Privileging of the educated, articulate and clever:
I think it’s self-evident that the educated, articulate and clever are privileged in liberal societies. I notice that you don’t deny that. Which is not surprising since most liberals emphasise education as the pathway to a decent life (which surely assumes that it leads to greater privilege, status, income, wealth, connection, etc.). It’s also why the ‘liberal arts’ are (or at least were) so valued and named.
I’m definitely not ‘anti-intellectual’ or, even, ‘anti-bourgeoisie’. Not sure where you got that from in my comment. I thought I was simply describing the role of the educated, professional, middle classes rather than judging it. The fact that (a) they receive benefits from today’s world and that (b) their role is largely to coordinate and manage the activities of others I would have thought was nothing more than stating the obvious.
And your reference to the reliance on research and reason is the very point I was making. For those who don’t share in a reliance on such processes is it any surprise that they feel irritated by what seem like intrusive impositions into their lives made on some abstract basis (the ‘evidence’ as deemed worthy by experts on what counts as ‘good’ evidence)?
I’d also point out that any researcher of human behaviour or society is unlikely to think that human and social processes can be governed by blunt application of rationality via policy. Paradoxically, that would be to deny the evidence of what we know about human, social and, for that matter, natural processes. That is, it would be irrational to have that expectation.
Rationality (evidence, observation, theoretical activity) is, at best, a tool of democracy. It certainly should not be the sole mechanism of decision making or policy making. That would be unwise for the reasons just given.
I also think this is how those outside the educated professional classes experience ‘evidence-based policy’ – as a technocratic (rather than democratic) process of decision making and domination. And if ‘policy’ is simply ‘technocratic problem solving’ then that explains a lot about why many people resist such policies – there’s no room in the policy-making for the non-expert; for them.
Technocratic reinvention of the process of solving, and deciding upon solutions for, social issues has, I’d hazard, been a large part of the cause of people’s sense of estrangement from decision making (i.e., democracy) in society.
Not realising this is one of the reasons I’m critical of the perspective of some liberals. It seems to be a denial of the evidence before our eyes.
If someone can’t reason to the standard deemed sufficient then they feel they are excluded from the ‘game’. Guess what happens then? People stop wanting to play the game.
As for my comments about disengagement of people, I take your point about the extensive democratic opportunities in America. I admire them. My point was about the extent to which they are actually used (or misused, I guess).
Where – and by whom – is extensive use being made of this democratic infrastructure? Where are participation rates highest in this thoroughgoing representative democratic system? To be honest I don’t know – I was, speculatively, assuming it would follow the usual trend and be used mostly in areas in which well-educated, professional people live. That may not be the case.
I should add that despite my working class origins I’m probably as much an educated, middle class, professional liberal (in the sense of being a product of liberal institutions and embedded liberal values and ideology) as anyone else reading or commenting on this site.
But I grew up amongst people who definitely weren’t (I still live in that kind of place, too) and, because of that, I can sense, even in myself, an irritation at those who seem to use their education, knowledge and cultural capital to subtly demean and dominate those who have very different lives – even if they claim they’re doing it ‘for their own good’.
If I can sense – feel – that irritation then it’s absolutely no wonder to me that Brexit, Trump, neo-fascism and the like are mushrooming around the world. I utterly oppose the divisiveness, the prejudice, the misogyny, the racism and the raw brutality that has been expressed through those movements so you’d think I’d embrace the liberal left with a great big bear hug.
But I don’t.
And not because I lack an appreciation of the value of reasoned debate, rationality, evidence, etc.. In some ways it may even be what I see as a lack of such values and capacities amongst some members of the liberal left that makes me wary of it. (Hypocrisy, even if of an intellectually elaborate and ‘plausibly deniable’ variety, is not pretty.)
But maybe I’m imagining it all.
On a conciliatory note, some years ago I read Stephen Holmes’ book ‘The Anatomy of Antiliberalism‘ in which he distinguished, then critiqued, a series of non-Marirxist antiliberals from the protofascist to the communitarian. Here’s a sympathetic review, although other responses have been more critical.
If you haven’t read it already I think you’ll find it interesting and that it would resonate in some ways.
I have a lot of respect for many classical liberal thinkers such as Adam Smith whose ‘Theory of Moral Sentiments’ is a brilliant dissection of the conditions under which particular ‘sentiments’ arise.
I wonder what he’d make of the phenomenon of ‘Trumpism’?
“Trump is neither here nor there. (Same with Clinton). He’s merely an individual caught up in something far more significant than him. When it comes to these issues, individuals aren’t the point.”
While I agree with the general point here (I would say that in politics, and US presidential politics in particular, it’s the system that is the problem and take out any individual and they will be replaced with a clone), and that we need to look at the overall problem, I think with Trump we are talking about the power of a particular individual in addition to the system issues. If Trump weren’t a player, then we’d just have a regular Republican opposing the regular Democrat. Trump is a new element in the system, and we shouldn’t make the mistake of regarding him as BAU.
This is one of those perennial issues about the relative roles of individuals and the world they find themselves in.
Much of Trump’s popularity – and therefore why he has individual power in terms of this political ‘race’ – is that he isn’t a ‘regular Republican’. He’s not BAU because the times are not BAU (though some still want to say they are).
If this election had just been between two ‘regular’ candidates then the tensions that led to Trump’s rise wouldn’t have disappeared. Having said that, I have no idea how they would then have evolved.
I’m not arguing for lack of agency of individuals but that agency – in respect of any and all action – is only ever the exploitation of opportunities provided by the world.
I think that this is a great summing up of the real reasons and is well worth the watch if you want to see the real reason.
Interesting link, the source material is this article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr:
“As we focus on the rise of ISIS and the search for the source of the savagery that took so many lives in Paris and San Bernardino, we might want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology and focus on the more complex rationales of history and oil, which mostly point the finger of blame for terrorism back at the champions of militarism, imperialism and petroleum here on our own shores,” Kennedy advised in an editorial for Ecowatch.
Kennedy’s critical look at the United States’ history of meddling, interventionism, and hegemony — almost exclusively to maintain the flow of oil — makes apparent its role in destabilizing the entire Middle East, particularly Syria. Indeed, more than fifty years of violent intercession — ultimately in the interest of the fossil fuel industry — has stoked enormous resentments. Essentially, American geostrategic corporatism — under the guise of militaristic peacekeeping — created the same violent Islamic Jihadism the U.S. now battles against.
this is it – in a nutshell, Ropata.
not to mention the fact Israel wants the Golan heights, and Assad wont give it to them….
Syria is primarily a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional dominance. Neither are successfully using the US and Russia as proxies. There’s a few moist activists who’d like to blame everything on some grand all-conrolling conspiracy of the United States and Russia (of course they have some immediate influence) but the bipolar Us-Russia world left about third years ago.
In under a decade the US will be freed of its dependence of Middle Eastern oil, and the entire Saudi sphere will figure out that they can have the game to themselves to sort out.
Thanks Keith. Good to see Jimmy Dore again.
The salting the fields analogy is saying that trump is deliberately destroying democracy for EVERYONE including himself. I just don’t think don wants it all to go away – he won’t be able to make money that way and making money is actually what this is all about.
Maybe. How long after the election do you think will it take for the NYC police to dig deeper on Trumps accusers. Crosby thought he was safe for years , no longer.
At least those who allege that Trump has sexually assaulted them have access to legal counsel now:
And the case that is due in courts in December now seems to have the benefit of good legal advice too. It seems that it was initially thrown out in California because Katie Johnson/ Jane Doe was representing herself. It is now refiled in New York (which as Trump’s state of residence makes more sense, though I would have thought; Florida, as that’s the state where the rape allegedly occurred). Her lawyers have also located corroborating witnesses and reduced the claim from $10 million to $75 thousand plus legal fees.
This link has a video interview with the Jane Doe that may need a trigger warning (she’s disguised and her voice has been processed, but the wordpicture is pretty grim). One surprising thing there is the identity of one of the plaintiff’s supporters: