Two Outstanding Essays On "Flyover Country"

Raul Ilargi Meijer (a/k/a Ilargi) and Marshall Auerback have published two, truly outstanding essays over at The Automatic Earth and Counterpunch/Naked Capitalism, respectively, over the past 48 hours. They're both exceptionally noteworthy--and they both focus upon "flyover country"--so I'm going to provide a few excerpts and strongly encourage all reading this to DEFINITELY click upon the links and savor both of these salient posts in their entirety.

Gradually, the smoke is clearing from our just-concluded trainwreck of an election, and clarity is beginning to see the light of day (at least for a moment in this blog post, in this diarist's opinion, and in some corners of the blogosphere).

First, Auerback...

It's Class, Stupid, Not Race
Posted on November 15, 2016 by Yves Smith
Naked Capitalism

By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and a research associate at the Levy Institute for Economics at Bard College (www.levy.org). Follow him on Twitter at @Mauerback. Originally published at Counterpunch

During the Presidential campaign of 1988, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was asked, “How you are going to get the support of the white steelworker?” He replied: “By making him aware he has more in common with the black steel workers by being a worker, than with the boss by being white.” Jackson also did speak of reviving a “rainbow coalition”, but in spite of being associated with black radicalism by much of the country, he was able to obtain almost 50 percent of the Democratic delegates at the Atlanta convention through an explicit appeal which transcended race, instead invoking class. Jackson himself is not the likely future leader of the Democratic Party, but his model is one the Dems would be well to consider if they wish to recapture much of the country that they lost in last week’s election.

To a large degree, Bernie Sanders understood and appreciated this, although as we now know, the Wall Street/Silicon Valley donors which comprise the donor class of the DNC were appalled by this and actively worked to sabotage his campaign...
...

...To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists and whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968. The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn.

But that alone doesn’t explain Trump’s success. As I wrote in an earlier analysis of the Trump phenomenon, he became the voice for an increasing number of Americans, who counted themselves amongst the biggest losers of globalization and free trade...
...

...perhaps Trump is a faux populist, who is merely deploying bait and switch tactics, but he explicitly addressed his campaign to those who have been marginalized by the neo-liberal policies dominant in both parties.

The difference this time is that once Senator Bernie Sanders lost the nomination, the Democrats made little effort to recapture these voters. That is largely because the party’s nominee was the very embodiment of the establishment policies that has created so much misery for these groups and Hillary Clinton had no credible message for what the press condescendingly termed “flyover country”...
...

...No question that today there is a kind of all-encompassing pessimism which transcends economics...
...

...And if the Democratic Party is honest, it will have to concede that even the popular incumbent President has played a huge role in contributing to the overall sense of despair that drove people to seek a radical outlet such as Trump...

And, here's Ilargi, who's absolutely outdone himself with this long-form piece (h/t to Yves for this one from her daily "Links"). I've posted a lengthy excerpt(s), because it's a very lengthy piece; beside the fact that both Ilargi and Stoneleigh are very cool when it comes to republishing their work. Wink

No More Flyover Country
November 13, 2016 Posted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer at 5:57 pm
The Automatic Earth

The transition we find ourselves in, into an era as profoundly different as it will be from the one that preceded it, can only possibly be chaotic. Smooth is not an option. Because it takes much time for people to recognize let alone accept that there is such a transition to begin with, and not everyone acknowledges or accepts it at the same time. Many never will at all, they will be left behind in their own realities tied down by the chains of what once was.

This transition is the one away from economic growth and globalization -centralization in general- and towards smaller, less centered and grandiose, politics and markets. It is not an idealistic transition towards self-sufficiency, it’s simply and inevitably what’s left once unfettered growth hits the skids. It doesn’t have to be anywhere near as bad as people would have you believe, or at least not necessarily so. What could make it real bad, though, is the widespread resistance and denial which seem certain to meet it.

Our entire worldviews and ‘philosophies’ are based on ever more and ever bigger and then some, and our entire economies are built upon it. That has already made us ignore the decline of our real markets for many years now. We focus on data about stock markets and the like, and ignore the demise of our respective heartlands and flyover countries, even as we experience Brexit and Trump and similar movements set to come to many more countries.

Donald Trump looks very much like the ideal fit for this transition – but nor because he understands the issue itself, or its implications. What matters is he promises to bring back jobs to America, and that’s what the country needs. Not so they can then export their products, but to consume them at home, and sell them in the domestic market.

That is the future of the world post-growth, and post-globalization. Every country and every society needs to focus on self-reliance, not as some idealistic luxury choice, but as a necessity. And that is not as bad or terrible as people would have you believe, and it’s not the end of the world. What would be terrible is if all we do is try and restart growth and globalization, because that would be a hideous waste of time and resources.

You’ll be flooded in the years to come, even more than today if you can imagine, with terms like protectionism and isolationism and even populism, but ignore all that. There’s nothing economically -let alone morally- wrong with people producing what they and their families and close neighbors themselves want and need without hauling it halfway around the world for a meagre profit, handing over control of their societies to strangers in the process.

There’s nothing wrong or negative with an American buying products made in America instead of in China. At least not for the man in the street. It’s not a threat to our ‘open societies’, as many claim. That openness does not depend on having things shipped to your stores over 1000s of miles, that you could have made yourselves at a potentially huge benefit to your local economy. An ‘open society’ is a state of mind, be it collective or personal. It’s not something that’s for sale.


# # #

Earlier this week I read what looks to be an apt observation: ‘Every white person in New York who didn’t vote for Trump is now out in the streets protesting against him’. But the people who protest now are miles off target and months too late: they should have stood up for Bernie when it became clear that the Hillary camp and the DNC conspired to oust him. Indeed, Bernie himself should have stood up back then, not for himself but for his supporters; they would have stood up with him...
...

...Many voices expressed the wish that Americans would vote for Hillary, a story about a woman and a glass ceiling, instead of for the male and allegedly sexist and misogynist Donald Trump. Simply because she’s a woman, and it’s time for a female president.

These voices have been consistently and for a long time been blind to the fact that Hillary’s campaign and Foundation, in legal, shady and downright illegal ways, have long been financed to a substantial degree by uber-rich men in charge of Middle East oil extracting nations who have far more misogynist views and attitudes towards women than Trump will ever have...

These men carry things like misogyny, racism, xenophobia and homophobia high and proudly in their banners. Also, they’re well on their way towards obliterating not just an entire country in Yemen, but indeed an entire people, all with the enthusiastic support of Obama, Hillary and their friends and donors in the arms industry. And lest we forget, they sponsor ISIS too. Is that the future Americans want?...


# # #

...There are all sorts of nasty things going on, racists and supremacist etc. But you can’t say that Trump caused that to happen. The most you could say is that he gives the people involved in that stuff the idea that because someone finally hears them, they can, are allowed to, make themselves heard.

But just because a few loose cannons let loose, doesn’t mean America has 60 million loose cannons who all voted for Trump and should all be condemned including Trump himself for good measure because there’s a few incidents. Not only is that a misinterpretation of what goes on, it prevents you from understanding what lies behind...

If I had to put together a list of the most underappreciated blogs on the Internet, The Automatic Earth would be near the top of it.

Be sure to click on the links for both of these posts. They're worth the effort!

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Comments

he frittered it away. Too bad for all of us.

Obama says we're at full employment: If we were, Clinton would have won. We are at the employment average suited to those who control the political economy, not those who actually do the work and whose efforts are not fairly compensated. We have a reserve army of desperate workers who will work for poverty wages in order to eat but lack any bargaining power for higher wages.

Jackson mentioned steelworkers: The Bethlehem Steel mill at Sparrows Point in Baltimore County was the most modern in the world and produced more finished steel than any other plant. The company shut it down and 30,000 workers became unemployed. This has been repeated, usually on a smaller scale, throughout the east and midwest.

Trump won, in part, because those who voted for Obama in key states, switched to Trump when Obama failed to deliver. Obama, as far as I could tell, did not try to deliver.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

Oh, he delivered.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

"Obama, as far as I could tell, did not try to deliver."

Oh, he delivered.

Not what he promised those who elected him, however.

Sad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

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Pricknick's picture

has been made to sound like a dirty word.
If we can't protect and care for our own, what good is a free market?

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

The federal government was convinced to place tariffs on inexpensive Japanese motorcycle imports and H-D recovered and is in business today because of protectionism.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

When Obama/EU put sanctions on Russia, Putin retaliated by banning all EU agricultural products. From the on-and-off articles I read, Russian agriculture seems to have benefited by basically serving Russian consumers only. If indeed Russian agriculture has grown and benefited, would be a good case study to see how the Russians did it.

Despite what Obama says, the anti-sanctions do seem to have hurt EU. I have read where the Russian sanctions cost EU agriculture into the hundreds of millions of euros. French farmers took to some major protests (obviously not much reported in mass media). I even read a story where Lithuania farmers were protesting the sanctions. The major port city in Lithuania has seen a huge reduction of traffic as no goods coming from the EU to Russia.

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Azazello's picture

They control the framing because they control the mass media.

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It didn't have to be this way.

me it does, then the USA needs to get in on some of that. Wouldn't be a plus to make some CIA agents, military officers, and the like unemployed. I think the rest of the world could use a break from imperialism.

It seems some people in Europe are taking Trump seriously on his statements about NATO & the UN to name two. Defense stocks are up 15% in Italy and are higher in other countries also. I think this means that some people with money are betting Trump does cut back on American financing of organizations like the above and domestic arms manufacturers in these countries stand to profit if this comes about.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

recently on Naked Capitalism (I thought Yves Smith's introduction was good, too). Essentially, he says that the energy used to get oil is getting closer and closer to the energy in that oil. And when they are equal, he thinks fairly soon, localism won't be a choice any more. So the more "protectionism" now, the sooner the better, I think. It won't be enough to give us a smooth transition, but it will probably help a little. Imagine no more oil/energy, at all. Plant that (perennial) garden!

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/10/ilargi-why-the-energy-crisis-is-c...

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Hawkfish's picture

And I read a lot of climate stuff.

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We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.
- Greta Thunberg

Of national security. Say the world finally got tired of our bull shit and decided to impose an embargo. How long would we last? A week? We currently make 8% of what we consume.

If we went more local and regional we would be cutting our oil usage. Soon they are also going to figure out that one of the best ways to fight global warming is to buck up all those miles of fields in the mid west with organic matter. Science has shown soils high in organic matter pull carbon from the air. Dead soil fed by petrochemical fertilizers does not. A side benefit is soil with high organic content takes half the water. Farms will have to shrink in size because organic is more labor intensive.

We have a great buy local movement here in the Wilamette valley. It has expanded from food to other things and seems to be now putting the hurt to walmart. It seems to be a sort of if you build it they will come thing we are finding more people are creating small businesses to meet needs. Our unemployment rate is down to 3% and wages are rising.

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Pricknick's picture

your green earth thinking.
Yet, always remember, we're just delaying the inevitable.
Humans are a flea on the earth. The difference is, we can't kill the host.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

orlbucfan's picture

It's always a treat to read your stuff. I've stopped going over to T(he) O(ther) P(lague). I'm over the corporo-turd way crap. I read the first essay on my own yesterday. Absolutely, this election was an example of the ongoing class war. It really kicked into high gear in 1981 when Raygun, the fascist gun in the west, was elected. I also agree with the second essay. That economic self-sustaining downsizing is going on very quietly. I hope it happens peacefully around the world. I never bought the America is Exceptional/Keeping up with the Joneses rap. It was propagandist crap when I was a kid, and it hasn't changed in the 21st century. Rec'd!

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

Thanks for the nice words, too.

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

jiordan's picture

from, believe it or not, cracked.com http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/

I've sent it out to several friends who are stuck in the "how could this happen" mode hoping it would help answer the question for them.

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...bringing it to everyone's attention.

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Raggedy Ann's picture

I just shared it with my list.

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The UFO’s are coming to unify us.

riverlover's picture

My Congressional district in NY went for Hillary but resent the same Repub jerk to the House, and Schumer! I understand that essay, many friends are flouncing around, but non in the riots that I know of. To which I say--See?

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

I was totally unfamiliar with Cracked but have bookmarked the site and will look at it often.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

Steven D's picture

Thanks for the links. I will get back to them when I can. Plus, it is always good to see you here.

Steve

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

ggersh's picture

the Automatic Earth piece is spot on in so many ways, especially this snippet.

"You’ll be flooded in the years to come, even more than today if you can imagine, with terms like protectionism and isolationism and even populism, but ignore all that. There’s nothing economically -let alone morally- wrong with people producing what they and their families and close neighbors themselves want and need without hauling it halfway around the world for a meagre profit, handing over control of their societies to strangers in the process.

There’s nothing wrong or negative with an American buying products made in America instead of in China. At least not for the man in the street. It’s not a threat to our ‘open societies’, as many claim. That openness does not depend on having things shipped to your stores over 1000s of miles, that you could have made yourselves at a potentially huge benefit to your local economy. An ‘open society’ is a state of mind, be it collective or personal. It’s not something that’s for sale."

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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

NO MORE WAR

that when people are buying things that are created/made/grown in a closer location, the carbon cost is significantly less than when buying crap from the other side of the world.
Transportation/distribution: I'm willing to bet these are the main, huge contributors to global climate change.

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ggersh's picture

from what I understand the middle of the Pacific in one huge plastic bin.

So as long as corporations profit from this you will hear the terms mentioned, cause going local hurts corporate profits.

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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

NO MORE WAR

I've been enjoying your writing during the short time that I've been here on any type of regular basis. Write on!

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

PriceRip's picture

the smoke is clearing from our just-concluded trainwreck of an election

          The train wreck is a continuing slow motion nightmare for some. For some the very real fear persists and only a careful well intentioned longterm interaction will guide them to the other side. For them, external agents will employ snap decisions and pop psychology resulting in unfortunate results for the "patient".

          Remember the 1960s: Once committed, nothing you say proves you are sane. Catch 22.

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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

...apparently, Rudy Giuliani is now top of the list for Secretary of State. He's got just the demeanor for the job. All that unbridled compassion and multicultural understanding....yeah, right! Just the thought of it makes me nauseous.

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

orlbucfan's picture

He opens his mouth and/or smiles, and it looks/smells just like one of those boob tube zombies.

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

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Reminds me of a bit I saw in Zinn's American history book where the powers that be poured the white indentured servants against the slaves since the two groups had common interests and a common enemy: united they could have held the powerful in check. As I write this I also recall the "tower of Babel" strategy used by a less than omnipotent good to keep mankind from building a stairway to heaven.

The Black-Lives-Matter folks walked into that trap by making it easy portray them as being opponents of the majority population. The oligarchs must have smiled at this.

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...(effectively addressing it), economic justice, and standing against egregious global trade agreements (i.e.: TPP, etc.), are now major planks of their policy positions (i.e.: at the center of their platform). See:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/gauis-publius-tpp-has-picked-up-a...

and

http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/02/news/economy/black-lives-matter-the-econ...

and

https://policy.m4bl.org/economic-justice/

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

PriceRip's picture

          Is this new

[. . .] are now major planks of their policy positions

if so it is a bit late, I think.

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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

thanatokephaloides's picture

And yeah, recognizing that this fight even has a class aspect is welcome -- but way late.

Diablo

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

birthday.

If you look at the organizations under the umbrella of BLM and then look for their funding sources, you'll see RW outfits like the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

I mean, it's a fluid movement, so nobody can be responsible for anything anyone else says or does. Except for the bank account?

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the Black Lives Matter banner. It's a couple of these organizations,led by leaders identified with BLM, who have gotten large grants from these foundations. At least that's what a source that has had correct information in the past printed.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

Late Again's picture

income inequality and other economic issues are only concerns to privileged lily-white hipsters and elites! They're inconsequential and tangential to the real concerns of black and brown people! You're racist if you think those are the primary issues!

I guess Markos and DOV forgot to send that memo to BLM.

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"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." - Mark Twain

...on this issue is something about which I've written extensively over at Orange during the past couple of years. I believe I even made their "most wanted" list as a result of this, too. LOL!

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Good for you for telling the truth to those people!

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

Azazello's picture

Well-educated, well-paid Democrats telling everybody else that income inequality is a white male issue. What, exactly, were they saying ? That women, blacks and latinos are too dumb to want a raise, or that they don't work for a living ? Funny thing, I go to the Labor Day Picnic down here every year and you know what ? I see lots of black and female union members. In 2015 they were wearing Bernie buttons. The only color that matters is Green, and I don't mean the party.

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It didn't have to be this way.

African Americans, Mexican Americans, were in favor of Bernie. At functions like these, I don't initiate political discussions so it's all started by someone else and there was a lot of Sanders' support.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

Azazello's picture

Would I drive up to Phoenix again to meet them ? Fuck 'em. I wouldn't go if they sent a limo.

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It didn't have to be this way.

Once MLK began to be vocal about the Vietnam war, poverty, imperialism, MLK was nowhere to be seen in the mass media. He was killed while supporting a labor strike. Neoliberals hiding out as liberals will abandon BLM if they ever supported them anyway (except to pimp them at the democratic party convention).

Of course BLM is nowhere close to MLK as I think BLM leadership such as it was became defacto supporters of the democratic party establishment under Clinton.

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OLinda's picture

you could see his win a mile away. Seems the press and non-Trumpers just accented and paid attention to his outrageous or unusual remarks, and didn't talk about the substance of his campaign. Jobs, jobs, jobs, and America, America, America.

Look at what he said in his recent interview with Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes:

Lesley Stahl: Let me ask whether any of you think that the campaign has hurt the Trump brand.

...

Donald Trump: I think what Ivanka trying to say, “Who cares? Who cares?” This is big league stuff. This is-- this is our country. Our country is going bad. We’re going to save our country. I don’t care about hotel occupancy. It’s peanuts compared to what we’re doing. Health care, making people better. It’s unfair what’s happened to the people of our country and we’re going to change it. As simple as that.

Yes, simple as that. His rallies were variations on that theme.

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

OLinda's picture

Maybe JtC will add Automatic Earth to the blogroll in the left column.

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- - - -
If you don't like the Mafia, why don't you join it and change it from the inside?

featheredsprite's picture

From The Guardian:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/15/rust-belt-middle-c...

The author gets it. He also brings in some good examples from the UK. Apparently we have a lot in common with the folks over there.

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Life is strong. I'm weak, but Life is strong.

Excellent catch. Thanks!

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

We have to continue to the hunt for the good places on the internet to get informed.

I learned about nakedcapitalism from FDL, I think and have been a longtime fan. I learned about Wall Street on Parade from you. Automatic Earth is new to me.When I landed at DK, I always made a point to seek out and read your stuff - appreciated how well you curated your own diaries in your article selection and also how you were able to print so many articles in full with the owner's permission. The evolution of the tone and tenor of the increasingly hostile comments to your diaries over the last couple of years was a real hallmark of how divorced from reality that community became over time and how defensive they were of their neo-liberal Potemkin village. ( I put in "neo-liberal Potemkin village" specifically for the umbrage seeking DK lurkers here. They can carry it away like a rabid squirrel back to the nest to add to their collection of C99 dogma violations.)

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

I appreciate the kind words. While this appears to be just yours truly being "polite," I really DO want you to know I've been a fan of yours for quite awhile, as well. Sincerely!

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"Freedom is something that dies unless it's used." --Hunter S. Thompson

Lookout's picture

It is odd to me how after the election everyone hollers about how terrible it is. My problem is that it didn't seem so great before. Corporate oligarchy then, corporate oligarchy now.

We've been seeing fascism in the US for decades - drones killing children, militarized police killing people of color, run away climate change, escalating carbon extraction, government support of corporation over citizens, and on and on.

But it takes T-rump's election to create outrage. Seems the corporate media plays the tune and the sheeple dance. Will we ever learn?

Thanks again for all the articles in the post and comments.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

But it takes T-rump's election to create outrage.

This, I believe, is why people like myself have felt enormous relief, as well as shock, about the election result.

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Shockwave's picture

I’m a Coastal Elite From the Midwest: The Real Bubble is Rural America

Change has not been kind to the Midwest and rural America.

And rather than embrace it, rural and white working-class Americans are twisting and turning, fighting it every step of the way. We will never return to the days where a white man could barely graduate high school and walk onto a factory floor at 18 and get a well-paying job for life. That hasn’t set in for much of the Midwest.

This doesn’t mean that coastal Americans can’t empathize more with their fellow Americans and try to find solutions to these problems (nor does it mean that there aren’t many struggling working-class people in coastal states). And it certainly doesn’t mean coastal Americans haven’t contributed to this divisiveness.

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The political revolution continues

Shockwave's picture

The difference this time is that once Senator Bernie Sanders lost the nomination, the Democrats made little effort to recapture these voters.

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The political revolution continues

thanatokephaloides's picture

Change has not been kind to the Midwest and rural America. And rather than embrace it, rural and white working-class Americans are twisting and turning, fighting it every step of the way.

As well they should. Student loan debt peonage is pure evil. This "change" is evil.

We will never return to the days where a white man could barely graduate high school and walk onto a factory floor at 18 and get a well-paying job for life.

That's exactly what we need to return to -- yesterday. In a more non-racist way, certainly. (We were well on our way to that goal too, but then Clintons became President, and the rest, as they say, is history.) And who recognized that as the fact that it is? Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Bernie's methods would have stood a better chance of working, methinks; but at least both men publically admitted there was a problem there.

Sad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Shockwave's picture

Bernie resonated with most millennials with this issue. Trump on the other hand, recognized the issue and therefore Trump University. They both get the issues but their mindsets are different.

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The political revolution continues

MarilynW's picture

"allegedly sexist and misogynist Donald Trump"

It's not allegedly- we have his own words as proof of that.

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sensetolisten's picture

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“I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”
― Harry Truman
ggersh's picture

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/if-you-thought-a-trump-presidency-w...

If You Thought a Trump Presidency Was Bad ….

Published: 15 November 2016

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The Washington Post editorial page decided to lecture readers on the meaning of progressivism. Okay, that is nowhere near as bad as a Trump presidency, but really, did we need this?

The editorial gives us a potpourri of neo-liberal (yes, the term is appropriate here) platitudes, all of which we have heard many times before and are best half true. For framing, the villains are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who it tells us “are embracing principles that are not genuinely progressive.”

I’ll start with my favorite, the complaint that the trade policy advocating by Warren and Sanders would hurt the poor in the developing world, or to use their words:

“And their ostensible protection of American workers leaves no room to consider the welfare of poor people elsewhere in the world.”
I like this one because it turns standard economic theory on its head to advance the interests of the rich and powerful. In the economic textbooks, rich countries like the United States are supposed to be exporting capital to the developing world. This provides them the means to build up their capital stock and infrastructure, while maintaining the living standards of their populations. This is the standard economic story where the problem is scarcity.

But to justify trade policies that have harmed tens of millions of U.S. workers, either by costing them jobs or depressing their wages, the Post discards standard economics and tells us the problem facing people in the developing world is that there is too much stuff. If we didn’t buy the goods produced in the developing world then there would just be a massive glut of unsold products.

In the standard theory the people in the developing world buy their own stuff, with rich countries like the U.S. providing the financing. It actually did work this way in the 1990s, up until the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. In that period, countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia were growing very rapidly while running large trade deficits. This pattern of growth was ended by the terms of the bailout imposed on these countries by the U.S. Treasury Department through the International Monetary Fund.

The harsh terms of the bailout forced these and other developing countries to reverse the standard textbook path and start running large trade surpluses. This post-bailout period was associated with slower growth for these countries. In other words, the poor of the developing world suffered from the pattern of trade the Post advocates. If they had continued on the pre-bailout path they would be much richer today. In fact, South Korea and Malaysia would be richer than the United States if they had maintained their pre-bailout growth rate over the last two decades. (This is the topic of the introduction to my new book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer, it’s free.)

It is also important to note that the Post is only bothered by forms of protection that might help working class people. The United States prohibits foreign doctors from practicing in the United States unless they complete a U.S. residency program. (The total number of slots are tightly restricted with only a small fraction open to foreign trained doctors.) This is a classic protectionist measure. No serious person can believe that the only way for a person to be a competent doctor is to complete a U.S. residency program. It costs the United States around $100 billion a year ($700 per family) in higher medical expenses. Yet, we never hear a word about this or other barriers that protect the most highly paid professionals from the same sort of international competition faced by steelworkers and textile workers.

Moving on, we get yet another Post tirade on Social Security.

“You can expand benefits for everyone, as Ms. Warren favors. Prosperous retirees who live mostly off their well-padded 401(k)s will appreciate what to them will feel like a small bonus, if they notice it. But spreading wealth that way will make it harder to find the resources for the vulnerable elderly who truly depend on Social Security.

“But demographics — the aging of the population — cannot be wished away. In the 1960s, about five taxpayers were helping to support each Social Security recipient, and the economy was growing about 6 percent annually. Today there are fewer than three workers for each pensioner, and the growth rate even following the 2008 recession has averaged about 2 percent . On current trends, 10 years from now the federal government will be spending almost all its money on Medicare, Social Security and other entitlements and on interest payments on the debt, leaving less and less for schools, housing and job training. There is nothing progressive about that.”
There are all sorts of misleading or wrong claims here. First, the economy did not grow “about 6 percent annually” in the 1960s. There were three years in which growth did exceed 6.0 percent, and it was a very prosperous decade, but growth only averaged 4.6 percent from 1960 to 1970.

I suppose we should be happy that the Post is at least getting closer to the mark. A 2007 editorial praising NAFTA told readers that Mexico’s GDP “has more than quadrupled since 1987.” The I.M.F. data put the gain at 83 percent. So by comparison, they are doing pretty good with the 6 percent growth number for the sixties.

But getting to the demographics, we did go from more than five workers for every retiree to less than three today, and this number is projected to fall further to around 2.0 workers per retiree in the next fifteen years. This raises the obvious question, so what?

The economy did not collapse even as we saw the fall from 5 workers per retiree to less than 3, so something really really bad happens when it falls further? We did raise taxes to cover the additional cost and we will probably have to raise taxes in the future.

We get that the Post doesn’t like tax increases (no one does), but this hardly seems like the end of the world. The Social Security Trustees project that real wages will rise on average by more than 34 percent over the next two decades. Suppose we took back 5–10 percent of these projected wage gains through tax increases (still leaving workers with wages that are more than 30 percent higher than they are today), what is the big problem?

Of course most workers have not seen their wages rise in step with the economy’s growth over the last four decades. This is a huge issue which is the sort of thing that progressives should be and are focusing on. But the Post would rather distract us with the possibility that at some point in the future we may be paying a somewhat higher Social Security tax.

The Post’s route for savings is also classic misdirection. It tells how about high-living seniors who get so much money from their 401(k)s they don’t even notice their Social Security checks. Only a bit more than 4.0 percent of the over 65 population has non-Social Security income of more than $80,000 a year. If the point is to have substantial savings from means-testing it would be necessary to hit people with incomes around $40,000 a year or even lower. That is not what most people consider wealthy.

We could have substantial savings on Medicare by pushing down the pay of doctors and reducing the prices of drugs and medical equipment. The latter could be done by substituting public financing for research and development for government granted patent monopolies (also discussed in Rigged). These items would almost invariably be cheap in a free market. But the Post seems uninterested in ways to save money that could affect the incomes of the rich.

One can quibble with whether the current benefits for middle income people are right or should be somewhat higher or lower, but it is ridiculous to argue that raising them $50 a month, as proposed by Senator Warren, will break the bank.

Then we have the issue of free college. The Post raises the issue, pushed by Senator Sanders in his presidential campaign, and then tells readers:

“Our answer — we would argue, the progressive answer — is that there are people in society with far greater needs than that upper-middle-class family in Fairfax County that would be relieved of its tuition burden at the College of William & Mary if Mr. Sanders got his wish.”
There are two points to be made here. First there is extensive research showing that many children from low- and moderate-income families hugely over-estimate the cost of college, failing realize that they would be eligible for financial aid that would make it free or nearly free. This means that the current structure is preventing many relatively disadvantaged children from attending college. Arguably better education on the opportunities to get aid would solve this problem, but the problem has existed for a long time and better education has not done much to change the picture thus far.

The second point is that the process of determining eligibility for aid is itself costly. Many children have divorced parents, with a non-custodial parent often not anxious to pay for their children’s college. Perhaps it is appropriate that they should pay, but forcing payment is not an easy task and it doesn’t make sense to make the children in such situations suffer.

In many ways, the free college solution is likely to be the easiest, with the tax coming out of the income of higher earners, the vast majority of whom will be the beneficiaries of this policy. There are ways to save on paying for college. My favorite is limiting the pay of anyone at a public school to the salary of the president of the United States ($400,000 a year). We can also deny the privilege of tax exempt status to private universities or other non-profits that don’t accept a similar salary cap. These folks can pay their top executives whatever they want, but they shouldn’t ask the taxpayers to subsidize their exorbitant pay packages.

There is one final issue in the column worth noting. At one point it makes a pitch for the virtues of economic growth then tells readers:

“It’s not in conflict with the goal of redistribution.”
At least some of us progressive types are not particularly focused on “redistribution.” The focus of my book and much of my other writing is on the way that the market has been structured to redistribute income upward, compared with the structures in place in the quarter century after World War II. Is understandable that people who are basically very satisfied with this upward redistribution of market income would not want this rigging of the market even to be discussed, but serious progressives do

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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

NO MORE WAR

Count your parents house. My father retired the year I graduated high school. My mom worked 4 more years. By their income I qualified for aid but we lived on a farm that was owned outright. That counted and disqualified me. The aid person told me if my parents loved me they would mortgage the farm. Um, no. I never even brought it up. Just told them I had decided to work a year. I did graduate college when I was 38.

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ggersh's picture

what America has exported is "everything for a profit" neoliberalism turns
everything into a profit.

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“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

Søren Kierkegaard

NO MORE WAR

This part especially says what is most important for me:

https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2016/11/no-more-flyover-country/
No More Flyover Country
November 13, 2016 Posted by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

...Many voices expressed the wish that Americans would vote for Hillary, a story about a woman and a glass ceiling, instead of for the male and allegedly sexist and misogynist Donald Trump. Simply because she’s a woman, and it’s time for a female president.

These voices have been consistently and for a long time been blind to the fact that Hillary’s campaign and Foundation, in legal, shady and downright illegal ways, have long been financed to a substantial degree by uber-rich men in charge of Middle East oil extracting nations who have far more misogynist views and attitudes towards women than Trump will ever have...

These men carry things like misogyny, racism, xenophobia and homophobia high and proudly in their banners. Also, they’re well on their way towards obliterating not just an entire country in Yemen, but indeed an entire people, all with the enthusiastic support of Obama, Hillary and their friends and donors in the arms industry. And lest we forget, they sponsor ISIS too. Is that the future Americans want?...

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