Wilkerson thinks that US policy toward Latin American generally is aimed at reducing US-Latin American relations to relationships between US businesses and Latin American oligarchs.
And oligarch-to-oligarch kind of arrangement, in other words.
Those people -- all of those people -- excuse me. I've condemned neo-Nazis. I've condemned many different groups. But not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists, by any stretch. Those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, Robert E. Lee. So -- excuse me. And you take a look at some of the groups and you see -- and you'd know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you're not, but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you all -- you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop? But they were there to protest -- excuse me. You take a look, the night before, they were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. ...Pierce writes:
QUESTION: George Washington and Robert E. Lee are not the same (inaudible)…
TRUMP: George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So, will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down -- excuse me -- are we going to take down -- are we going to take down statues to George Washington?
TRUMP: How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him?
TRUMP: OK. Good. Are we going to take down the statue? Because he was a major slave owner. Now, are we going to take down his statue? So you know what? It's fine. You're changing history. You're changing culture. And you had people, and I'm not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You've got -- you had a lot of bad -- you had a lot of bad people in the other group. [my emphasis]
There's actually an interesting question buried in all that malarkey as to where to place the slaveholding of Washington, Jefferson and many of the rest of the Founders in our historical memory now that we're correcting the memory of the Civil War, monument by monument. (At Montpelier, the home of James Madison, the people in charge have been working hard for several years to honor the stories of the slaves that lived and worked there.) But that's not what the president* was getting at. He was bigot-signaling to his vaunted base that he would have been out there with a tiki torch himself. That's why we got all that talk about the very fine Nazis who were patrolling the park on Saturday night along with the Citronella SS, and who were treated so unfairly by the fake news media when they decided to go for throats.One of my longtime concerns is that the left and center-left do not contest American history thoroughly enough, given the ways in which the rightwingers invoke figures like Washington and Jefferson that have a mythical status for most Americans as Founders and pioneers of democracy.
And that's what takes Tuesday's explosion beyond the realm of simple mockery. There's an audience out there for every lunatic assertion the president* made. We saw it in full flower last Saturday. And he knows it's there, too. He knows that it's the one segment of the American population still guaranteed to give his fragile-if-monumental ego the constant boost that it needs. So he needed to salve all the fee-fees he wounded the other day when somebody dragged him out so he could say right out loud that being a Nazi is a bad thing. This was an angry, heartfelt appeal to his white nationalist base to stick with him, probably because that base is all he has left.
2. I interviewed Steve Bannon at the Republican National Convention. He told me that Breitbart is "the platform for the alt-right." Link:— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
5. Today Trump pretended to not really know what the alt-right is. Completely unconvincingly, of course, but that's his M.O.— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
7. white supremacists and neo-Nazis in it, always try to explain it. Here, though, the point is that Trump hired as his chief strategist— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
9. is complete and utter BS. Utter BS.— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
11. He can pretend all he wants that he he has no idea what we're all talking about, these terrible people, and who me? They endorsed me?— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
12. But when we were putting together this piece (https://t.co/B2LHtHsCtn) we compiled a list of all these extremists who had endorsed him.— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
14. to the Trump campaign for comment. We asked whether he wanted to distance himself from or repudiate these endorsements. The response?— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
16. And it's not like the Trump campaign didn't get back to me in response to other requests. They did. Just not that one. Made multiple X.— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
17. So they knew. And they chose to say nothing, and he chose to hedge, make begrudging "I disavows" at subsequent events, such as the— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
19. The heil siegs of course made headlines. But I also met Holocaust deniers there. After I wrote about that, Daily Stormer put me on its— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
21. Anyway, Trump's behavior over the past three days is in character. And in today's press conference he was completely unshackled by— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
22. anyone -- Kelly, Ivanka, whomever is allegedly the voice of reason -- and we saw what Trump really thinks. No ducking that now. /fin— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) August 15, 2017
The nation's leading liberal activists came to Atlanta for the Netroots Nation conference spoiling to sharpen their fight with President Donald Trump. But they proved just as willing to poke, prod and pummel their fellow Democrats.He obviously means that mainly metaphorically, though he does mention that "a minor scuffle broke out in the audience" when some attendees were loudly protesting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Evans. The two main candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial contest are both named Stacey, the other being Stacey Abrams, who spoke at the opening plenary on Thursday. Evans is white, Abrams is black, which is some kind of factor in the contest. But part of the rap on Stacey Evans, in particular, is that she has supported some school privatization efforts.
Primary challenger to long-serving Democrats were treated like stars. Panels instructed the 3,000 or so activists how to wrest control of their local parties.I didn't attend the last two years' Netroots Nation conventions. But comparing my impressions this year to those from 2014 and earlier, my impression was similar.
Others encouraged them to challenge establishment Democrats, whether they be on local school boards or in Congress, if they aren't liberal enough.
If anything was clear, the internal Democratic fissures sharpened by Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign have solidified, if not deepened, since Trump's election. In panels and in side conversations, organizers talked about forcing Democrats toward more liberal policies, such as single-payer health care and free college tuition.
Trump condemned the protests that resulted in at least three deaths and prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency, but he didn’t criticize the white nationalist rally, which featured anti-Semitic chants and neo-Nazi slogans. Instead, he called for unity among “all races, creeds and colors.”The quickly-organized march after the plenary session was impressive. Apparently there were about 500 people, pretty much all from the NN conference. Delores Huerta, the famous farmworkers' leader who worked closely with Cesar Chavez who had also spoken at the convention, led the procession to the Statehouse. Whoever the people were directly involved in organizing the march, they did an impressively good job of setting up the march, getting official permissions quickly, and keeping the marchers focused and walking in orderly groups. Huerta also spoke at the small rally at the Capitol. But that part of the event was not so well planned. The organizers never noticed, it seemed, that the loudspeaker connected to her mike wasn't working, so that most people couldn't hear what she said. That was followed by several other speakers, apparently from the same group that had organized the protest against Stacey Evans. There wasn't a clear theme to the presentations.
Gore said Trump should “give more thought to what it means to have a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi movement marching and creating this kind of hatred.”
“The country would be better served if the president would come back before the people,” he said, “and think of a more thoughtful and appropriate statement about how we can understand what’s going on in America – and how we can go forward.”
To win the Democratic presidential nomination, it helps to secure the African American vote. But another path to victory involves rallying white voters with a populist bent. This can create an uncomfortable dynamic in presidential primaries, where race vies with class to become the defining concern of the party. Politicians rarely vocalize the tension. But the socialism of Bernie Sanders—which hindered his efforts to explain the centrality of race to American life—made this split less subterranean than usual.The corporate Democrats understandably want to frame the New Deal Democrats as more-or-less white racists, who don't prioritize the needs of African-Americans. For those with longer memories and/or history buffs, that general position tries to picture progressives as George Meany laborites. Although we always need to be careful with historical analogies. Although Meany's enthusiastic support of Cold War 1.0 would set well with Democratic advocates for the New Cold War.
Of course, Hillary Clinton would have preferred to avoid an argument about the primacy of race versus class. But African American voters provided her the surest path to primary victory. They gravitated to her, in no small measure out of loyalty to Obama. Where Clinton posed as the president’s anointed successor, Sanders questioned Obama’s legacy and called for revolutionary change. He never dedicated himself to making meaningful inroads with African American or Latino voters, and so Clinton doubled down. After she lost New Hampshire in February, she began traveling with the grieving mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and other African American casualties of violence. Criminal-justice issues became an elevated feature of her standard pitch.
A turn toward populism will never be enough to win back a state like West Virginia, which is now deep-red. And there are legitimate questions about whether a strident former Harvard professor, no matter her Oklahoma roots, can effectively purvey that message to a sufficiently broad audience. But Warren’s brand of populism could help cool white-working-class hostility toward the Democrats ... Empathy with economic disappointment, and even anger over the status quo, might reduce the sense that Democrats are perpetrators of the status quo. And liberal populism would take the party beyond ineffectual arguments about Trump’s temperament. A populist critique of Trump would point to his fraudulence as an enemy of the system, a fraudulence that perfectly illustrates everything wrong with plutocracy.And the article gives a strong hint of trying to define a "liberal populism" that could be serviceable as a corporate Democratic marketing position that need not disturb Wall Street. His example of this kind of approach? Chuck Schumer, Mr. "Bettter Deal," a slogan that makes "Stronger Together" sound edgy.
The terminology here can be confusing. When progressives talk about the working class, typically they mean the poor. But the poor, in the bottom 30% of American families, are very different from Americans who are literally in the middle: the middle 50% of families whose median income was $64,000 in 2008. That is the true “middle class,” and they call themselves either “middle class” or “working class.”The favorite journalistic definition of working class is "people without a four-year college education."
“The thing that really gets me is that Democrats try to offer policies (paid sick leave! minimum wage!) that would help the working class,” a friend just wrote me. A few days’ paid leave ain’t gonna support a family. Neither is minimum wage. WWC men aren’t interested in working at McDonald’s for $15 per hour instead of $9.50. What they want is what my father-in-law had: steady, stable, full-time jobs that deliver a solid middle-class life to the 75% of Americans who don’t have a college degree. Trump promises that. I doubt he’ll deliver, but at least he understands what they need.
One little-known element of that ["class culture"] gap is that the white working class (WWC) resents professionals but admires the rich. Class migrants (white-collar professionals born to blue-collar families) report that “professional people were generally suspect” and that managers are college kids “who don’t know shit about how to do anything but are full of ideas about how I have to do my job,” said Alfred Lubrano in Limbo. Barbara Ehrenreich recalled in 1990 that her blue-collar dad “could not say the word doctor without the virtual prefix quack. Lawyers were shysters ... and professors were without exception phonies.” Annette Lareau found tremendous resentment against teachers, who were perceived as condescending and unhelpful.This is part of the problem with using a hazy definition of working class. Most kindergarten, elementary and secondary teachers are working class by almost any reasonable definition. And maybe not doctors but a large number of healthcare providers, notably nurses, also are in that position.
Michèle Lamont, in The Dignity of Working Men, also found resentment of professionals — but not of the rich. “[I] can’t knock anyone for succeeding,” a laborer told her. “There’s a lot of people out there who are wealthy and I’m sure they worked darned hard for every cent they have,” chimed in a receiving clerk. Why the difference? For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day. The dream is not to become upper-middle-class, with its different food, family, and friendship patterns; the dream is to live in your own class milieu, where you feel comfortable — just with more money. “The main thing is to be independent and give your own orders and not have to take them from anybody else,” a machine operator told Lamont. Owning one’s own business — that’s the goal. That’s another part of Trump’s appeal.
lt is well known that technology firms are not distributed uniformly; they are concentrated in centers such as San Francisco and SanJose, Seattle, Raleigh-Durham, Austin, and Boston. Th.eir :financiers are concentrated in New York County, New York-otherwise known as Manhattan. Income growth in the counties surrounding these areas accounted for the bulk of the inequality increase in the late i990s, and when the information technology bubble burst in 2000, falling relative incomes in these same areas reduced aggregate between-county inequality. In particular, the same four counties that contributed most to the increase in between-county income inequality from 1994 to 2000 contributed most to the inequality decline from 2000 to 2003: New York, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco.California, New York and Washington are all known as liberal states.
Our analysis suggests that high inequality levels are weakly associated with a larger Democratic vote and also with diminished turnout. These results are strengthened when fixed effects are introduced; rising inequality correlates to deepening Democratic preference and reduced turnout. When the spatial location of voting groups is considered, our results suggest that it is not so much the raw inequality of incomes that is decisive, but the existence of inequalities across populations that do not confront each other aggressively in daily and political life. [my emphasis]In other words, Galbraith's in-depth analysis shows that a situation where the wealthiest people and the rest "do not confront each other aggressively in daily and political life" has exactly the opposite effect suggested by Williams.
That's a story the president of the United States told at a rally in Ohio on Tuesday night. It's a creepy story, one that mixes unnecessarily detailed savagery with the image of "a young, beautiful girl."And Huppke actually fact-checked a bit:
There's no mention of the anecdote's origin, no specifics on when or where a "beautiful, beautiful, innocent" young person was sliced and diced and put through "excruciating pain." There is just the violent imagery, and the repeated reference to "animals."
That's weird. It's intentionally dehumanizing an entire group of people, which I'll get to in a moment, but it's also just weird. Weird in a way that if someone at a bar told you that story you'd excuse yourself and walk away as quickly as possible.
Did his story of slicing and dicing stem from an actual event? I don't know.Fact-checking and explaining reality will normally not directly counteract the effect of such hate-mongering on those who want to hear it.
The closest story I could find was the murder of two teen girls on Long Island last year. They were attacked by members of the brutal MS-13 street gang and beaten to death with bats and a machete. Several of the gang members arrested were in the country illegally.
Without question, there are crimes committed by people who are here illegally. But as a group, immigrants — both documented and undocumented — commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans.
“We can’t afford to be purists,” Harris said. “You have to ask that question of yourself: Are we going to be purists to this resistance to the point that you let these guys go? Or can you understand that you may not agree with 50% of their policy positions, but I can guarantee you will disagree with 100% of their replacements’ policy positions. So that is part of the question. What do we have to do in this movement to be pragmatic?”This sounds like a corporate Dem lecturing New Deal Dems about why we should all cheer for conservative Dems who vote for the Republicans. But the main current version of the corporate Dem position, as illustrated by Hillary Clinton, is to emphasize a libertarian position on equal rights for women, blacks, Latinos, immigrants and the LGBTQ community, while sticking to neoliberal economic positions with an emphasis on the desires of the finance sector and pursuing a more-or-less hawkish position on foreign policy that continue the Cold War triumphalism shared by Presidential Administration since Bill Clinton's and Old Man Bush's.
“There is this conversation that we’ve got to go back and get him,” she said, referring to the prototypical white, male Trump voter. “The inference there is that to do that we need to walk away from that Latina or black mom. That is a mistake.”This sounds like a mishmash of the Clinton approach (emphasis on "identity" politics, corporate-friendly economics), the New Deal Dem stance (an aggressive approach to civil rights with distinctly prolabor economics) and the old DLC stance (try to sound more conservative across the board).
But she suggested the party has too often seized on wedge, identity politics issues that divide voters. “What I do know about those two ladies and that guy is when we wake up at 3 in the morning or something is troubling us, it is never through the lens of, ‘am I Democrat or Republican,’ or on our identity based on what other people have decided is our identity.”
Instead, she said, it is economic issues that weigh on people: their bills, their job troubles, their difficulty getting health insurance.
She pointed to the incident at a bar outside of Kansas City, Kan., in February in which an attacker shot and killed an Indian immigrant he mistakenly believed to be a Muslim. Patrons in the bar risked their lives trying to protect the victim, she said.This would be more meaningful if she could say, for instance, that the Kansas Republican Party took the opportunity to start a publicity campaign against racial violence. Or, for instance, used it to talk up the need for better gun control. Ha! As if!
“I bet you that patrons in that bar voted for Trump,” Harris said. “But when presented with that situation, at that moment, without reflection, they did the right thing…. We can’t afford to put people in boxes.”
But despite pressure from activists on the left, Harris refuses to rule out working with the White House.That ain't gonna happen.
“Political capital is something that does not gain interest,” she said, when asked how she thought Democrats should respond if the White House offers to collaborate on joint priorities, such as federal money to rebuild outdated roads, bridges and airports. “When you’ve got it, you’ve got to spend it.... If the Trump administration puts in place a real, significant and genuine plan for infrastructure, I'll be down with it.” [my emphasis]
Why then, just a week later, did the new U.S. special envoy on Ukraine, Kurt Volker, announce during an interview in Paris that the U.S. was now considering sending weapons to the Kiev government, which could be used against pro-Russian rebels in the breakaway eastern regions of the country — a move that would undoubtedly undo any Moscow goodwill resulting from the decision to stop arming rebels in Syria?And she describes:
... a creeping advance on the town of [Russian separatist area] Avdiivka by Kiev’s forces — and a subsequent effort to lay the blame solely on the separatists, while maintaining the government’s innocence.It would be a mistake to discount the role of plain incompetence in the Trump Family Business Administration's policies, foreign and otherwise.
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister blew the lid off that narrative when he told Ukrainian media: “As of today, despite everything, meter by meter, step by step, whenever possible, our boys have been advancing.”
It is unrealistic to think that support and weapons from the Trump administration would not increase tensions in Ukraine and irritate an already complicated situation. Throwing new weapons at the problem is no solution.
When Trump administration officials announced an end to the covert CIA program to arm and train Syrian rebels in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, many framed it as a win for Russia — and while it was indeed something Russia had been seeking for years, it also, more importantly, made sense.But even a strongly antiwar foreign policy would require competent diplomacy. And so far, that doesn't seem to be a prominent characteristic of this administration.
For years, this “secret” effort to aid rebels against Assad had been openly reported. The program enjoyed a budget of up to $1 billion per year — yet it had achieved absolutely nothing. It only helped prolong the war and actually aided groups like al-Nusra (al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate) and ISIS by allowing arms meant for “moderate” groups to enter into their hands instead.
Despite the effort ending in abject failure, much of the media reporting painted the decision to end this scheme as a catastrophe — simply because it also happened to benefit Russia (which supports Assad against the rebel forces). [my emphasis]
The maras emerged from conflicts in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua during the 1980s. Thousands of people fled north, including a large number of young men who had fought on the governments’ side or with the insurgents. Many of these young men went to Los Angeles, but because they were poorly educated, few were able to find work. In a city already structured in terms of gangs, their familiarity with guns and armed combat was their one advantage. Some were incorporated into such neighborhood gangs as the African–American Crips and Bloods; the Mexican-American, illegal-immigrant gang EME; and the Mexican Mafia. Some of the men, especially those from El Salvador, joined the multi-ethnic 18th Street Gang. Other Salvadorans founded the Mara Salvatrucha (Group of Smart, or savvy, Salvadorans) 13, or MS-13, to compete with the 18th Street Gang because they believed the Salvadorans in that gang were traitors. (The new gang gave itself the number 13, as in 13th Street, where many Salvadorans had settled.) As most of what the maras were (and are) involved in was criminal activity, they were arrested and put into prison, where they further defined their gang identities and honed their criminal skills. [my emphasis in bold]This is another example of a familiar cycle of violence. Civil wars in Central American countries, actively encouraged and armed by the Reagan Administration. Reagan turned over Central American policy to neocons, who made the area their violent playground. Refugees came to the US, where for some of them it was difficult for them to integrate into society via legal channels. Some of them later return home to Central America and exacerbate criminal violence there.
To our knowledge, there is no credible evidence linking the maras to terrorism. This is clearly good news for the United States considering the ease with which gang members cross the borders into this country. Further, while the maras are a crime problem in cities across the United States, the situation in most of Central America is much more serious because of a lower level of economic development and the fragility of the new democracies and their institutions.The following year, Military Review carried another article on the maras, this one by Federico Brevé, who served as the Honduran Minister of Defense 2002 to 2006, The Maras - A Menace to the Americas (July-Aug 2007). It mentions MS-13, as well, but its subject is the larger gang environment, and focuses on Central American issues.
We're back in American Carnage.— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) July 28, 2017
President Endorses Police Violence.— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) July 28, 2017
Man, double-fck these people.
Yes, organized crime never occurred to the previous waves of immigrants to this country.— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) July 28, 2017
The Democratic Party’s failures are also exemplified by its relationship with John McCain.
Democrats and the so-called liberal media lionize and respect him, fawning over his superior character and declaring him a “maverick.” But on Tuesday, as many times in the past, McCain sided with his fellow Republicans and against the American people. Even as Democrats cheered McCain’s return to the Senate, it should be clear that he is no friend of theirs.
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party continues to treat its enemies on the other side of the political aisle with respect and to hold out a pathetic expectation that bipartisan compromise and negotiation are possible. For years, the Democratic Party has been in a fight to the death with the Republican Party. Yet the Democrats keep bringing hugs and handshakes while the Republicans show up with knives and guns. Who will win in the end? The answer is obvious. The question is really just a formality.
It was an ugly day in the United States Senate on Tuesday, as ugly a day as has been seen in that chamber since the death of Strom Thurmond, who used to make a day ugly simply by showing up. The Senate took up the Motion To Proceed on whatever the hell hash Mitch McConnell wants to make out of the American healthcare system. (The decision now seems to be between whether we kick 30 million, 22 million, or 18 million of our fellow citizens to the curb.) ...
But the ugliest thing to witness on a very ugly day in the United States Senate was what John McCain did to what was left of his legacy as a national figure. He flew all the way across the country, leaving his high-end government healthcare behind in Arizona, in order to cast the deciding vote to allow debate on whatever ghastly critter emerges from what has been an utterly undemocratic process. He flew all the way across the country in order to facilitate the process of denying to millions of Americans the kind of medical treatment that is keeping him alive, and to do so at the behest of a president* who mocked McCain's undeniable military heroism.
... the Straight Talk Express is in the ditch. The Affordable Care Act was the product of endless hearings and at least 100 amendments proposed by Republicans. It was scored by the CBO. The Senate debated it for almost a month, and the senators knew what was in it. Right now, the bill that John McCain facilitated likely will be one that isn't scored by the CBO, and the Freedom Caucus crackpots in the House are trying to defund the CBO and hand the job of scoring legislation to the Heritage Foundation. I would bet a substantial number of buffalo nickels that John McCain votes for whatever bill finally comes before him, no matter how many people's lives that bill makes miserable.
[Max Blumenthal argues] that the anti-Moscow line Democrats are now pushing will come back to haunt them. It “will be repurposed by the political establishment” so that “anyone on the left … who steps out of line on the issues of permanent war or of corporate free trade will be painted as Russia puppets.” [Glenn] Greenwald has made a similar argument. On Monday he savaged a new foreign policy group, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, which brings Clinton campaign veterans together with “neoconservatives” like Bill Kristol. “The song Democrats are now singing about Russia and Putin,” wrote Greenwald, “is one the neocons wrote many years ago, and all of the accompanying rhetorical tactics—accusing those who seek better relations with Moscow of being Putin’s stooges, unpatriotic, of suspect loyalties, etc.—are the ones that have defined the neocons smear campaigns for decades.”
There’s a basis to this fear. Democrats have unleashed dangerous forces by getting to the GOP’s right on foreign policy before. In 1992, for instance, Bill Clinton criticized George H.W. Bush for not deposing Saddam Hussein. In so doing, he helped lay the foundation for the push for regime change that culminated a decade later in the Iraq War. (A war I mistakenly supported.)
But the problem with downplaying Russian election meddling because you’re afraid it will fuel militarism is that it evades the central question: How worrisome is the meddling itself? [my emphasis]
Democrats often justify this union [with Republican neocoonns]as a mere marriage of convenience: a pragmatic, temporary alliance necessitated by the narrow goal of stopping Trump. But for many reasons, that is an obvious pretext, unpersuasive in the extreme. This Democrat/neocon reunion had been developing long before anyone believed Donald Trump could ascend to power, and this alliance extends to common perspectives, goals, and policies that have little to do with the current president.And it's worth noting here that a more pro-Russian turn in foreign policy by the Trump Family Business Administration will not necessarily result in a more peaceful state of affairs. Managing a shift from antagonism and toward co-existence and partnership between the US and Russia is a complicated diplomatic and political task. The current Administration has so far not shown the aptitude for anything more complicated than haranguing the Boy Scouts with partisan rhetoric.
It is true that neocons were among the earliest and most vocal GOP opponents of Trump. That was because they viewed him as an ideological threat to their orthodoxies (such as when he advocated for U.S. “neutrality” on the Israel/Palestine conflict and railed against the wisdom of the wars in Iraq and Libya), but they were also worried that his uncouth, offensive personality would embarrass the U.S. and thus weaken the “soft power” needed for imperial hegemony. Even if Trump could be brought into line on neocon orthodoxy — as has largely happened — his ineptitude and instability posed a threat to their agenda.
But Democrats and neocons share far more than revulsion toward Trump; particularly once Hillary Clinton became the party’s standard-bearer, they share the same fundamental beliefs about the U.S. role in the world and how to assert U.S. power. In other words, this alliance is explained by far more than antipathy to Trump.
Indeed, the likelihood of a neocon/Democrat reunion long predates Trump. Back in the summer of 2014 — almost a year before Trump announced his intent to run for president — longtime neocon-watcher Jacob Heilbrunn, writing in the New York Times, predicted that “the neocons may be preparing a more brazen feat: aligning themselves with Hillary Rodham Clinton and her nascent presidential campaign, in a bid to return to the driver’s seat of American foreign policy.” [my emphasis]
In the last two elections, Democrats, including in the Senate, failed to articulate a strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there. We also failed to communicate our values to show that we were on the side of working people, not the special interests. We will not repeat the same mistake. This is the start of a new vision for the party, one strongly supported by House and Senate Democrats.A few decades back, it became a joke to say, "What we have here is a problem of communication." The joke was that this is a nicey-nice way of papering over disagreements that are over substantive questions, not just word choices. The Republicans have communicated very well that they want massive tax cuts for the very wealthiest. I understand what they're doing, it's not that they've failed to communicate that. It's that I think it's a bad idea.
Our better deal is not about expanding the government, or moving our party in one direction or another along the political spectrum. Nor is it about tearing down government agencies that work, that effectively protect consumers and promote the health and well-being of the country. It’s about reorienting government to work on behalf of people and families. [my emphasis]
Right now our antitrust laws are designed to allow huge corporations to merge, padding the pockets of investors but sending costs skyrocketing for everything from cable bills and airline tickets to food and health care. We are going to fight to allow regulators to break up big companies if they’re hurting consumers and to make it harder for companies to merge if it reduces competition. [my emphasis]There's a big difference in saying, we want to break up this monopoly that is acting in destructive ways, and saying, "we'll allow some regulators to consider breaking up some monopoly or other if they decide it's bad." One sounds like tackling an identifiable problem, maybe even like the classic populist stance of standing up for the People against the Elite. Schumer's version sounds like the Democrats making a half-hearted gesture at being Democrats, apologizing for it as he does it.