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Like it or not, the president of the United States embodies America itself. The individual inhabiting the White House has become the preeminent symbol of who we are and what we represent as a nation and a people. In a fundamental sense, he is us.

It was not always so. Millard Fillmore, the 13th president (1850-1853), presided over but did not personify the American republic. He was merely the federal chief executive. Contemporary observers did not refer to his term in office as the Age of Fillmore. With occasional exceptions, Abraham Lincoln in particular, much the same could be said of Fillmore’s successors. They brought to office low expectations, which they rarely exceeded. So when Chester A. Arthur (1881-1885) or William Howard Taft (1909-1913) left the White House, there was no rush to immortalize them by erecting gaudy shrines — now known as “presidential libraries” — to the glory of their presidencies. In those distant days, ex-presidents went back home or somewhere else where they could find work.

Over the course of the past century, all that has changed. Ours is a republic that has long since taken on the trappings of a monarchy, with the president inhabiting rarified space as our king-emperor. The Brits have their woman in Buckingham Palace. We have our man in the White House.

Nominally, the Constitution assigns responsibilities and allocates prerogatives to three co-equal branches of government. In practice, the executive branch enjoys primacy. Prompted by a seemingly endless series of crises since the Great Depression and World War II, presidents have accumulated ever-greater authority, partly through usurpation, but more often than not through forfeiture.

At the same time, they also took on various extra-constitutional responsibilities. By the beginning of the present century, Americans took it for granted that the occupant of the Oval Office should function as prophet, moral philosopher, style-setter, interpreter of the prevailing zeitgeist, and — last but hardly least — celebrity-in-chief. In short, POTUS was the bright star at the center of the American solar system.

As recently as a year ago, few saw in this cult of the presidency cause for complaint. On odd occasions, some particularly egregious bit of executive tomfoolery might trigger grumbling about an “imperial presidency.” Yet rarely did such complaints lead to effective remedial action. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 might be considered the exception that proves the rule. Inspired by the disaster of the Vietnam War and intended to constrain presidents from using force without congressional buy-in and support, that particular piece of legislation ranks alongside the Volstead Act of 1919 (enacted to enforce Prohibition) as among the least effective ever to become law.

In truth, influential American institutions — investment banks and multinational corporations, churches and universities, big city newspapers and TV networks, the bloated national security apparatus and both major political parties — have found reason aplenty to endorse a system that elevates the president to the status of demigod. By and large, it’s been good for business, whatever that business happens to be.

Furthermore, it’s our president — not some foreign dude — who is, by common consent, the most powerful person in the universe. For inhabitants of a nation that considers itself both “exceptional” and “indispensable,” this seems only right and proper. So Americans generally like it that their president is the acknowledged Leader of the Free World rather than some fresh-faced pretender from France or Canada.

Then came the Great Hysteria. Arriving with a Pearl Harbor-like shock, it erupted on the night of November 8, 2016, just as the news that Hillary Clinton was losing Florida and appeared certain to lose much else besides became apparent.

Suddenly, all the habits and precedents that had contributed to empowering the modern American presidency no longer made sense. That a single deeply flawed individual along with a handful of unelected associates and family members should be entrusted with determining the fate of the planet suddenly seemed the very definition of madness.

Emotion-laden upheavals producing behavior that is not entirely rational are hardly unknown in the American experience. Indeed, they recur with some frequency. The Great Awakenings of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are examples of the phenomenon. So also are the two Red Scares of the twentieth century, the first in the early 1920s and the second, commonly known as “McCarthyism,” coinciding with the onset of the Cold War.

Yet the response to Donald Trump’s election, combining as it has fear, anger, bewilderment, disgust, and something akin to despair, qualifies as an upheaval without precedent. History itself had seemingly gone off the rails. The crude Andrew Jackson’s 1828 ousting of an impeccably pedigreed president, John Quincy Adams, was nothing compared to the vulgar Donald Trump’s defeat of an impeccably credentialed graduate of Wellesley and Yale who had served as first lady, United States senator, and secretary of state. A self-evidently inconceivable outcome — all the smart people agreed on that point — had somehow happened anyway.

A vulgar, bombastic, thrice-married real-estate tycoon and reality TV host as prophet, moral philosopher, style-setter, interpreter of the prevailing zeitgeist, and chief celebrity? The very idea seemed both absurd and intolerable.

If we have, as innumerable commentators assert, embarked upon the Age of Trump, the defining feature of that age might well be the single-minded determination of those horrified and intent on ensuring its prompt termination. In 2016, TIME magazine chose Trump as its person of the year. In 2017, when it comes to dominating the news, that “person” might turn out to be a group — all those fixated on cleansing the White House of Trump’s defiling presence.

Egged on and abetted in every way by Trump himself, the anti-Trump resistance has made itself the Big Story. Lies, hate, collusion, conspiracy, fascism: rarely has the everyday vocabulary of American politics been as ominous and forbidding as over the past six months. Take resistance rhetoric at face value and you might conclude that Donald Trump is indeed the fifth horseman of the Apocalypse, his presence in the presidential saddle eclipsing all other concerns. Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death will just have to wait.

The unspoken assumption of those most determined to banish him from public life appears to be this: once he’s gone, history will be returned to its intended path, humankind will breathe a collective sigh of relief, and all will be well again. Yet such an assumption strikes me as remarkably wrongheaded — and not merely because, should Trump prematurely depart from office, Mike Pence will succeed him. Expectations that Trump’s ouster will restore normalcy ignore the very factors that first handed him the Republican nomination (with a slew of competitors wondering what hit them) and then put him in the Oval Office (with a vastly more seasoned and disciplined, if uninspiring, opponent left to bemoan the injustice of it all).

Not all, but many of Trump’s supporters voted for him for the same reason that people buy lottery tickets: Why not? In their estimation, they had little to lose. Their loathing of the status quo is such that they may well stick with Trump even as it becomes increasingly obvious that his promise of salvation — an America made “great again” — is not going to materialize.

Yet those who imagine that Trump’s removal will put things right are likewise deluding themselves. To persist in thinking that he defines the problem is to commit an error of the first order. Trump is not cause, but consequence.

For too long, the cult of the presidency has provided an excuse for treating politics as a melodrama staged at four-year intervals and centering on hopes of another Roosevelt or Kennedy or Reagan appearing as the agent of American deliverance. Donald Trump’s ascent to the office once inhabited by those worthies should demolish such fantasies once and for all.

How is it that someone like Trump could become president in the first place? Blame sexism, Fox News, James Comey, Russian meddling, and Hillary’s failure to visit Wisconsin all you want, but a more fundamental explanation is this: the election of 2016 constituted a de facto referendum on the course of recent American history. That referendum rendered a definitive judgment: the underlying consensus informing U.S. policy since the end of the Cold War has collapsed. Precepts that members of the policy elite have long treated as self-evident no longer command the backing or assent of the American people. Put simply: it’s the ideas, stupid.

Rabbit Poses a Question

“Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being an American?” As the long twilight struggle was finally winding down, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, novelist John Updike’s late-twentieth-century Everyman, pondered that question. In short order, Rabbit got his answer. So, too, after only perfunctory consultation, did his fellow citizens.

The passing of the Cold War offered cause for celebration. On that point all agreed. Yet, as it turned out, it did not require reflection from the public at large. Policy elites professed to have matters well in hand. The dawning era, they believed, summoned Americans not to think anew, but to keep doing precisely what they were accustomed to doing, albeit without fretting further about Communist takeovers or the risks of nuclear Armageddon. In a world where a “single superpower” was calling the shots, utopia was right around the corner. All that was needed was for the United States to demonstrate the requisite confidence and resolve.

Three specific propositions made up the elite consensus that coalesced during the initial decade of the post-Cold-War era. According to the first, the globalization of corporate capitalism held the key to wealth creation on a hitherto unimaginable scale. According to the second, jettisoning norms derived from Judeo-Christian religious traditions held the key to the further expansion of personal freedom. According to the third, muscular global leadership exercised by the United States held the key to promoting a stable and humane international order.

Unfettered neoliberalism plus the unencumbered self plus unabashed American assertiveness: these defined the elements of the post-Cold-War consensus that formed during the first half of the 1990s — plus what enthusiasts called the information revolution. The miracle of that “revolution,” gathering momentum just as the Soviet Union was going down for the count, provided the secret sauce that infused the emerging consensus with a sense of historical inevitability.

The Cold War itself had fostered notable improvements in computational speed and capacity, new modes of communication, and techniques for storing, accessing, and manipulating information. Yet, however impressive, such developments remained subsidiary to the larger East-West competition. Only as the Cold War receded did they move from background to forefront. For true believers, information technology came to serve a quasi-theological function, promising answers to life’s ultimate questions. Although God might be dead, Americans found in Bill Gates and Steve Jobs nerdy but compelling idols.

More immediately, in the eyes of the policy elite, the information revolution meshed with and reinforced the policy consensus. For those focused on the political economy, it greased the wheels of globalized capitalism, creating vast new opportunities for trade and investment. For those looking to shed constraints on personal freedom, information promised empowerment, making identity itself something to choose, discard, or modify. For members of the national security apparatus, the information revolution seemed certain to endow the United States with seemingly unassailable military capabilities. That these various enhancements would combine to improve the human condition was taken for granted; that they would, in due course, align everybody — from Afghans to Zimbabweans — with American values and the American way of life seemed more or less inevitable.

The three presidents of the post-Cold-War era — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — put these several propositions to the test. Politics-as-theater requires us to pretend that our 42nd, 43rd, and 44th presidents differed in fundamental ways. In practice, however, their similarities greatly outweighed any of those differences. Taken together, the administrations over which they presided collaborated in pursuing a common agenda, each intent on proving that the post-Cold-War consensus could work in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary.

To be fair, it did work for some. “Globalization” made some people very rich indeed. In doing so, however, it greatly exacerbated inequality, while doing nothing to alleviate the condition of the American working class and underclass.

The emphasis on diversity and multiculturalism improved the status of groups long subjected to discrimination. Yet these advances have done remarkably little to reduce the alienation and despair pervading a society suffering from epidemics of chronic substance abuse, morbid obesity, teen suicide, and similar afflictions. Throw in the world’s highest incarceration rate, a seemingly endless appetite for porn, urban school systems mired in permanent crisis, and mass shootings that occur with metronomic regularity, and what you have is something other than the profile of a healthy society.

As for militarized American global leadership, it has indeed resulted in various bad actors meeting richly deserved fates. Goodbye, Saddam. Good riddance, Osama. Yet it has also embroiled the United States in a series of costly, senseless, unsuccessful, and ultimately counterproductive wars. As for the vaunted information revolution, its impact has been ambiguous at best, even if those with eyeballs glued to their personal electronic devices can’t tolerate being offline long enough to assess the actual costs of being perpetually connected.

In November 2016, Americans who consider themselves ill served by the post-Cold-War consensus signaled that they had had enough. Voters not persuaded that neoliberal economic policies, a culture taking its motto from the Outback steakhouse chain, and a national security strategy that employs the U.S. military as a global police force were working to their benefit provided a crucial margin in the election of Donald Trump.

The response of the political establishment to this extraordinary repudiation testifies to the extent of its bankruptcy. The Republican Party still clings to the notion that reducing taxes, cutting government red tape, restricting abortion, curbing immigration, prohibiting flag-burning, and increasing military spending will alleviate all that ails the country. Meanwhile, to judge by the promises contained in their recently unveiled (and instantly forgotten) program for a “Better Deal,” Democrats believe that raising the minimum wage, capping the cost of prescription drugs, and creating apprenticeship programs for the unemployed will return their party to the good graces of the American electorate.

In both parties embarrassingly small-bore thinking prevails, with Republicans and Democrats equally bereft of fresh ideas. Each party is led by aging hacks. Neither has devised an antidote to the crisis in American politics signified by the nomination and election of Donald Trump.

While our emperor tweets, Rome itself fiddles.

Starting Over

I am by temperament a conservative and a traditionalist, wary of revolutionary movements that more often than not end up being hijacked by nefarious plotters more interested in satisfying their own ambitions than in pursuing high ideals. Yet even I am prepared to admit that the status quo appears increasingly untenable. Incremental change will not suffice. The challenge of the moment is to embrace radicalism without succumbing to irresponsibility.

The one good thing we can say about the election of Donald Trump — to borrow an image from Thomas Jefferson — is this: it ought to serve as a fire bell in the night. If Americans have an ounce of sense, the Trump presidency will cure them once and for all of the illusion that from the White House comes redemption. By now we ought to have had enough of de facto monarchy.

By extension, Americans should come to see as intolerable the meanness, corruption, and partisan dysfunction so much in evidence at the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue. We need not wax sentimental over the days when Lyndon Johnson and Everett Dirksen presided over the Senate to conclude that Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer represent something other than progress. If Congress continues to behave as contemptibly as it has in recent years (and in recent weeks), it will, by default, allow the conditions that have produced Trump and his cronies to prevail.

So it’s time to take another stab at an approach to governance worthy of a democratic republic. Where to begin? I submit that Rabbit Angstrom’s question offers a place to start: What’s the point of being an American?

Authentic progressives and principled conservatives will offer different answers to Rabbit’s query. My own answer is rooted in an abiding conviction that our problems are less quantitative than qualitative. Rather than simply more — yet more wealth, more freedom, more attempts at global leadership — the times call for different. In my view, the point of being an American is to participate in creating a society that strikes a balance between wants and needs, that exists in harmony with nature and the rest of humankind, and that is rooted in an agreed upon conception of the common good.

My own prescription for how to act upon that statement of purpose is unlikely to find favor with most readers of TomDispatch. But therein lies the basis for an interesting debate, one that is essential to prospects for stemming the accelerating decay of American civic life.

Initiating such a debate, and so bringing into focus core issues, will remain next to impossible, however, without first clearing away the accumulated debris of the post-Cold-War era. Preliminary steps in that direction, listed in no particular order, ought to include the following:

First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.

Second, rollback gerrymandering. Doing so will help restore competitive elections and make incumbency more tenuous.

Third, limit the impact of corporate money on elections at all levels, if need be by amending the Constitution.

Fourth, mandate a balanced federal budget, thereby demolishing the pretense that Americans need not choose between guns and butter.

Fifth, implement a program of national service, thereby eliminating the All-Volunteer military and restoring the tradition of the citizen-soldier. Doing so will help close the gap between the military and society and enrich the prevailing conception of citizenship. It might even encourage members of Congress to think twice before signing off on wars that the commander-in-chief wants to fight.

Sixth, enact tax policies that will promote greater income equality.

Seventh, increase public funding for public higher education, thereby ensuring that college remains an option for those who are not well-to-do.

Eighth, beyond mere “job” creation, attend to the growing challenges of providing meaningful work — employment that is both rewarding and reasonably remunerative — for those without advanced STEM degrees.

Ninth, end the thumb-twiddling on climate change and start treating it as the first-order national security priority that it is.

Tenth, absent evident progress on the above, create a new party system, breaking the current duopoly in which Republicans and Democrats tacitly collaborate to dictate the policy agenda and restrict the range of policy options deemed permissible.

These are not particularly original proposals and I do not offer them as a panacea. They may, however, represent preliminary steps toward devising some new paradigm to replace a post-Cold-War consensus that, in promoting transnational corporate greed, mistaking libertinism for liberty, and embracing militarized neo-imperialism as the essence of statecraft, has paved the way for the presidency of Donald Trump.

We can and must do better. But doing so will require that we come up with better and truer ideas to serve as a foundation for American politics.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History, now out in paperback. His next book will be an interpretive history of the United States from the end of the Cold War to the election of Donald Trump.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.

    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.

    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

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    • Replies: @LarryS
    The US Constitution would have to be amended to eliminate the Electoral College by 3/4 of the states ratifying the amendment. The smaller states would never vote to eliminate their role in electing the president. Nor should they. My respect for Bacevich is waning.
    , @Jus' Sayin'...
    Any citizen of the USA and/or student of its history who writes in the same essay both that he is a conservative and that he favors abolishing the Electoral College is either a fool, an unprincipled knave, or most likely both.
    , @Olorin
    I came in to make the same point and will add that it would be effectively only two metropolitan areas--LA and NYC.

    Whoever would control those cities politically would control the nation politically, economically, and socially the way Chicago's elites control much of Wisconsin (to use an example recently discussed at iSteve).

    The republic would be ripe for division into two coastal demesnes vying with each other for power, resources, and serfs (both in the coastal hives and the "flyover states").

    What is undermining the legitimacy of American politics isn't the United States Constitution. It is the countless billions of dollars spend on election campaigning each year. That includes all corollary expenditures, as on media buys and polling.

    Not the kind of polling that involves voting. The kind of polling that Nate Silver does.

    Election campaigns engineer infiltration of the public culture at every level--federal, state, county, municipal, and local--by divisive discourse and methods. These originally were developed so that merchants could differentiate and sell to the masses soap and junk food brands. Not even the commodities themselves--but brands of them.

    Political campaigning rolls up the worst elements of advertising, PR, propaganda, and opinion research into one unending tsunami of hostility, division, manufactured conflict, false equivalencies, forced choices, and sneering tearing-down of what others believe, want, or have built.

    The people who create political campaigns for a living--with all the corollary products that go with that, including the candidate himself/herself--are, like the people who communicate those, among the biggest parasites in the republic. They literally create positions, opinions, and ideas, then go out and create the demand for them by whatever means it takes. They produce nothing of value. They siphon off value and resources and set the conditions where by organic excellence is drowned in a sea of mass communications.

    If the Electoral College were demolished tomorrow, they would have even more unfettered access to more billions of dollars as Candidate Cool Ranch Dorito vied for an influential and lucrative sinecure with Candidate Salty Crunchy Triangular Fried Corn Thing.

    And thanks to Citizens United, money is free speech, and free speech means carefully selected, constructed, massaged, spun, and polled speech.

    Keeping the campaign-media-finance industrial complex operating is all that matters to these people. Sounds like Bacevich is one of them. Members of the Pontificating Caste usually are. The Constitution is a barrier to their aspirations.

    As it was designed to be.

    , @Joe Wong
    Eliminating Electoral College does nothing to change the true nature of American corrupted political culture, the big money control the national agenda, voters is the tool to legitimize this corrupted political culture. To complete cleanse the American corrupted political environment and culture the Americans need to do two things as listed in the following:
    1. Ban all private funding in political elections, making private funding in political elections a criminal crime subject to long term imprisonment. All political elections are public funded only.
    2. Limiting senators and house representatives to maximum two terms, and terms of all the Congressmen are the same length and ended at the same time.
    , @George
    abolish the Electoral College.

    And replace it with what?

    Counting up the votes will not work. All that will do is lead to months of complaining that one state juiced their vote totals illegally or unfairly. How exactly do you handle such a system over multiple time zones, for example, do Californians get to decide if they will go out to vote based on East Coast votes after the polls close on the East Coast. So in short abolish the Electoral College is not a position I respect, I want details of the replacement system. To be honest I don't think the Electoral College is the big issue it is being made out to be. The most import thing is whatever system is used makes it difficult to rig the election, the electoral college achieves that.

    rollback gerrymandering. - That is not a proposal it is a desire. Let's hear the details. One possibility is fractional voting. So a representative could have .624 votes in Congress while another could have 3.563. Under fractional voting you would not need to readjust boundaries, you could use zipcodes.

    Third, limit the impact of corporate money on elections at all levels, if need be by amending the Constitution. - silly billy, don't amend the Constitution, amend the tax and civil code. Eliminate limited liability for any entity that donates money to candidates or parties. End of problem.

    Fourth, mandate a balanced federal budget - Again I need a specific proposal. What does balanced mean? What does budget mean? What does federal mean? How about eliminating any requirement by government entities to repay debts. If the legislature votes for repayment fine, but there is no enforceable requirement, aka contracts clause. People would be very careful about loaning money to a government entity or allowing an underfunded pension in such a case.

    Running out of time but ,,,,
    Seventh, increase public funding for public higher education, = There is already too much going into higher education. Once honest state universities in New York now have division whatever sports teams. How about those gourmet meals for students. How about going to work after high school and your boss can fund your education and entertainment.
    , @Sowhat
    This might be helpful to those who suggest elimination of the Electoral College without first reading about it:
    http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5256V.pdf

    It's available in paperback but, I'm cheap.

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  2. If Bacevich had really balls, he would cut to the chase and say it like it is.

    I think Trump the person doesn’t want trouble with Iran, Syria, and Russia. He’s a businessman who wants to do business with the world while protecting US borders and sovereignty.

    Trump is anti-Iran because of Jewish Lobby.

    His peace with Russia was destroyed by the Lobby and its purse-strings and puppet-strings.

    The undeniable fact of the US is it’s not a democracy in terms of real power. It is a Jewish Supremacist Oligarchy. To be sure, there are Jewish critics of Jewish power. Think of Philip Weiss and others.

    Technically, US still has rule of law and due process. But in the end, the Power decides. Look at the anti-BDS bill supported even by Republicans who make a big stink about liberty and free speech.

    California is said to be uber-’progressive’, and many grassroots people there are supportive of BDS. But California elites and whore politicians are anti-BDS and even passed laws against it.

    What does that tell you?

    Rule of Law is for little people. The Power has Rule of Rule.

    And if American People, along with their politicians, seem to schizo, well, what does one expect? They get their info from J-Media that feed that lies 24/7.

    What is often called ‘American’ is processed mindset, like yellow American singles is bogus processed ‘cheese food’.
    Because handful of industries control all the media that beam same signals to over 300 million TV sets in the US, ‘Americanism’ is processed mind-food.

    We need more organic minds. Too many minds have been processed and re-processed by Great Mind Grinder of J-Media.

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  3. gustafus says:

    “Worthies??” – such as Roosevelt? Kennedy? Reagan? – Horse Puckey.

    Roosevelt and his bull dyke “other”- conducted a false flag on our own men at Pearl Harbor. The Kennedy’s were depraved Irish White Trash with a few bucks. And Reagan? — dim, with an adoring wife in an age of image over substance.

    You want VULGAR? — how about Georgie Jr in a cheer leading skirt giving head to the Skull & Bones regulars…. or Bubba and his dyke…. yeah, classy..His mom ran a brothel. And Bath House Barry… I don’t believe for a Minute he was born in Hawaii… he was a focus group creation to make Wisconsin housewives teary eyed for a “post racial” America… BARF

    And he hated White people… a white vote for Barry was date rape. I’m glad he’s back swiping at airplanes atop tall buildings… somebody toss him a banana. I am now a dedicated racist.

    I couldn’t even get through that trash talking diatribe… and as for MORE $$$ for schools — as we import more and more of the LOW IQ 3rd world – education will be more about how to use a western toilet, and the reasons we don’t boink our children siblings and cousins… and less about Democracy.

    Bacevich is everything I hate about the scribbling class…

    I voted Trump because he is a honest patriot, a great man, and a fearless leader. By his fruits shall we know him…..

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    • Agree: Ace
    • Replies: @Broompilot
    Cute. A Hillary supporter leaving a foul comment to further the idea that Trump supporters really are deplorable. The true deplorables have been showing themselves since November 2016.
    , @Logan
    " as we import more and more of the LOW IQ 3rd world – education will be more about ... the reasons we don’t boink our children siblings and cousins"

    Nahh, that would be imposing our Eurocentric values on their vibrant cultures.
  4. ‘create a new party system’ or follow our first President’s advice: “Parties become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion”.

    Ban parties–which are inherently undemocratic–and follow China’s example of a government that cares for all the people all the time. It works for them..

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    • Replies: @Ace
    Just pray that no Chinese official has a need for your organs.
  5. The Scalpel says: • Website

    AB’s 10 recommendations remind me of the beauty pageant contestant answering the question about what she intended to do….”promote world peace”.

    Actually the beauty queen is being more sincere and realistic. AB’s points are very nice sounding, but he gives us no idea how realistically, he or anyone could achieve them and we are left with the feeling that he is just grandstanding. Like the beauty queen, he knows that he will never do much of anything concrete to further these goals, not even if his life or his son’ life, depended on it.

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  6. @gustafus
    "Worthies??" - such as Roosevelt? Kennedy? Reagan? - Horse Puckey.

    Roosevelt and his bull dyke "other"- conducted a false flag on our own men at Pearl Harbor. The Kennedy's were depraved Irish White Trash with a few bucks. And Reagan? -- dim, with an adoring wife in an age of image over substance.

    You want VULGAR? -- how about Georgie Jr in a cheer leading skirt giving head to the Skull & Bones regulars.... or Bubba and his dyke.... yeah, classy..His mom ran a brothel. And Bath House Barry... I don't believe for a Minute he was born in Hawaii... he was a focus group creation to make Wisconsin housewives teary eyed for a "post racial" America... BARF

    And he hated White people... a white vote for Barry was date rape. I'm glad he's back swiping at airplanes atop tall buildings... somebody toss him a banana. I am now a dedicated racist.

    I couldn't even get through that trash talking diatribe... and as for MORE $$$ for schools -- as we import more and more of the LOW IQ 3rd world - education will be more about how to use a western toilet, and the reasons we don't boink our children siblings and cousins... and less about Democracy.

    Bacevich is everything I hate about the scribbling class...

    I voted Trump because he is a honest patriot, a great man, and a fearless leader. By his fruits shall we know him.....

    Cute. A Hillary supporter leaving a foul comment to further the idea that Trump supporters really are deplorable. The true deplorables have been showing themselves since November 2016.

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  7. DYiFC says:

    Well said. I agree – Trump is a symptom of the underlying problems in this country.

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    • Replies: @Wally
    IOW, you voted for Hillary.

    http://cnsnews.com/s3/files/styles/content_60p/s3/woods4.jpg?itok=Z-tY9Coz
  8. Stogumber says:

    “Without the Cold War, what’s the point of being an American?”

    Well, Updike speaks from the position of a “universalist”? Did he ever consider that being an American may not mean standing up for universal ideas, but simply caring for one’s own children and grandchildren?

    But even from a universalist position the answer seems simple now – not for Bacevich, but for me. The United States are singled out and unique w.r.t. their First Amendment. Whereas all other Western countries have succumbed to Bolshevist propaganda and have undermined freedom of speech, the “Americans” are the only ones to stand up for it. Why, even Damore may win a lawsuit against Google.

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  9. utu says:

    Bacevich never fails to disappoint. I wonder who does he imagine his target audience is when writing his unoriginal and fearful thoughts.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    A software program could have written this blithering of baby food.
    , @Alden
    A caldera of clichés, a bowl of blather, a pot of punditry, a putrid mess of pompousity,
    , @Alden
    Whatever TomDispatch is, I'll never read it after reading part of this nonsense.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    Excuse the ignorance of a non American who is grateful to read a number of valid seeming but - you say - unoriginal ideas pulled together....

    But also, a much bigger point, I am quite unaware of anyone making his one major and specufic point, namely that the character and performance of Trump, and the forces organising against him, may reverse 100 years and more of building the imperial presidency.

    I would be grateful if you would cite the earlier expressions of that opinion, or otherwise put me right.
  10. Whoops Colonel, you forgot to add slashing military spending to your list. The USA could cut its military budget in half and still spend more than Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China combined. Trump’s insane push for more military spending undermines his effort at cutting domestic programs to balance the budget. Yet Jimmy Dore explains that most Democrats voted boost the military budget even more than Trump!

    It is unfair to depict Trump as a bumpkin. He graduated from an excellent university and used a few million dollars from Dad’s seed money to become a billionaire. Moreover, he defied all odds to become President of the USA. I challenge all his brilliant critics to run for President in 2020 to prove that is simple.

    Read More
  11. LarryS says:
    @Robert Magill

    First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
     
    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.


    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    The US Constitution would have to be amended to eliminate the Electoral College by 3/4 of the states ratifying the amendment. The smaller states would never vote to eliminate their role in electing the president. Nor should they. My respect for Bacevich is waning.

    Read More
    • Agree: Sowhat
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Yes, it is interesting how smaller states in federations show that they understand and will hold on to their leverage even when , as in Australia, the people themselves vote on constitutional change.

    But why would eliminating the Electoral College allow presidentlal elections to be decided by the popular vote in California and NY as someone suggested? Aren't the number of electoral college votes adjusted quite promptly in proportion to population changes?
  12. Miro23 says:

    In my view, the point of being an American is to participate in creating a society that strikes a balance between wants and needs, that exists in harmony with nature and the rest of humankind, and that is rooted in an agreed upon conception of the common good.

    This is all very nice but the Zioglobs hold the power in the US and they want something completely different 1) everything outsourced 2) the destruction of Anglo society 3) spend $ Trillions on Israel .

    Read More
  13. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    As for militarized American global leadership, it has indeed resulted in various bad actors meeting richly deserved fates. Goodbye, Saddam. Good riddance, Osama.

    Goodbye Saddam?? The implication being that all the death and destruction was somehow worth it??

    You scum, of the most evil *beep* nation on earth! A pox on all of you.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sowhat
    That comment wasn't necessary. I don't lump all of ANY group together and condemn them. Immature. Not everyone that our government has singled out as a despot or a tyrannical dictator has necessarily been so and I cannot recall any whole oldies of people being disparaged as a group. It's possible that you purchased the narrative when the formers of public opinion shaped our go-to war mindset. WMD's?
  14. “First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.”

    Yeah, let’s trade the consensus of a nation of local communities for the tyranny of the (bi-coastal) majority. I might give up the EC, however, if the system was replaced by gladiatorial combat to the death for all who want the job, or, if we’re sticking to a two-party system, the decision can come by pistols at dawn (Good Morning America can’t get the nod … I hate that Roker chap, and I don’t think Megan Kelly should be anywhere near selection of a President). Real skin in the game, so to say.

    Yeah, bring back the draft. Military service only. We won’t end senseless wars unless many more of our young people actually experience them, and that’s not going to happen if they are picking up litter or emptying bed pans.

    More money for public education? We’ve been doing that for years dude, and we get worse results as we spend more. There’s already too much money in public education. College for all is a mistake, and in gen snowflake, tell me who isn’t deserving. How about serious testing for results and beating for those who do not achieve them?

    Income equality sounds nice, but it’s never been had anywhere by taxation. It takes a certain societal moderation and modesty requiring our ruling elites to not want to be so conspicuous in their consumption (this in the age of the Rich Kids of Instagram) and to share the wealth through employment and good wages to their fellow citizens. Good luck with that ever gracing our shores.

    Stop yakking about the pseudoscience … nay… the religion of climate change. Plant some more trees and take a couple aspirin. Add the costs of global wars for resources to the cost of gas, which will spike it to $6 per gallon and dissuade a lot of unnecessary driving.

    Require all candidates for Federal elective office to be physically neutered, and forbid any of their progeny for at least three generations as well as any immediate relations closer than fourth cousin from holding any position of honor, elective office, or Federal employment whatsoever.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Aren't the votes in the Electoral College quite promptly adjusted for population changes?
  15. Trump or no Trump, things would be much saner without Jewish globalist pressure.

    I never liked Obama, but I don’t think he has personal animus against Russia, Syria, Iran, Libya, or Palestinians. But given who was looking over his shoulder, he had to make things difficult for those nations, and that is why leaders of those nations and Obama came to hate one another. As for North Korea, much of the tensions wouldn’t exist if US hadn’t threatened or invaded ‘axis of evil’ nations and forced S. Korea to carry out joint exercises to prepare for invasion.

    Same with Trump. I seriously doubt if Trump has personal animus against Syrians, Russians, Iranians, Palestinians, and etc. But who is looking over his shoulder? So, he has to hate the same people that Obama had to hate.

    In the US, politicians must hate according to Jewish neurosis. And that’s the problem.

    We don’t have autonomy of likes and dislikes. Like dogs, we have to like or hate what our master likes or hates. And Jewish Globalists are elites.

    The great evil of America is we are forced to HATE whatever Jewish globalists Hate.

    It is a culture of Hate. Ironically, the biggest haters accuse others of hate.

    Read More
  16. Stephen Cohen on why we need close cooperation with Russia.

    A new kind of terrorism in aftermath of state collapse in Middle East.

    But it seems new sanctions will totally derail any sane policy.

    Read More
  17. Most of Mr. Bacevich’s piece was quite good. Then we got to the Ten-Point Program. A bold, revolutionary program calling for more of how we got here. What the hell?

    Read More
  18. @LarryS
    The US Constitution would have to be amended to eliminate the Electoral College by 3/4 of the states ratifying the amendment. The smaller states would never vote to eliminate their role in electing the president. Nor should they. My respect for Bacevich is waning.

    Yes, it is interesting how smaller states in federations show that they understand and will hold on to their leverage even when , as in Australia, the people themselves vote on constitutional change.

    But why would eliminating the Electoral College allow presidentlal elections to be decided by the popular vote in California and NY as someone suggested? Aren’t the number of electoral college votes adjusted quite promptly in proportion to population changes?

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Because these states are so blue to the point of wiping out the votes of a dozen red states. Also the small states have a stronger relative weight since the number of Electors is based on the number of Senators and Congressmen. So a small state with only two Representatives has 4 Electors while California's 2 Senators add a much smaller fraction to the total.
  19. Here’s an anti Imperial Presidency policy for the author to consider and perhaps endorse….

    1. Move towards the constitutiobal monarchy or limited presidency parliamentary model by strengthening the H of R and relying on ordinary human ambition to forward the project;

    2. Specifically extend Congressional terms from 2 years to 4 (and perhaps provide lots of public financing and free publicity to diminish thevcorruption by donors)

    3. Enhance the role of Majotity leader – indeed facilitate his forming his own Cabinet – and restrict the amending od budget bills submitted (as the main ones would hsve to be) by the leader of the majority – or his nominated Finance spokesperson..

    Read More
  20. …one that is essential to prospects for stemming the accelerating decay of American civic life.

    Why would anyone want to do that? A better thing to do would be to let it run its course, then start over.

    As for your well meaning prescriptions, they’re all pie-in-the-sky. A better approach would be to drop the (rather jejune) fetishization of government. We’d no doubt be much better off if we fostered faith in ourselves and our families rather than some sappy political structure, which in the end, is inevitably quickly and deeply corrupted.

    Save it my tush..I can’t wait til the USA goes the way of the USSR.

    Read More
  21. @The Alarmist

    "First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics."
     
    Yeah, let's trade the consensus of a nation of local communities for the tyranny of the (bi-coastal) majority. I might give up the EC, however, if the system was replaced by gladiatorial combat to the death for all who want the job, or, if we're sticking to a two-party system, the decision can come by pistols at dawn (Good Morning America can't get the nod ... I hate that Roker chap, and I don't think Megan Kelly should be anywhere near selection of a President). Real skin in the game, so to say.

    Yeah, bring back the draft. Military service only. We won't end senseless wars unless many more of our young people actually experience them, and that's not going to happen if they are picking up litter or emptying bed pans.

    More money for public education? We've been doing that for years dude, and we get worse results as we spend more. There's already too much money in public education. College for all is a mistake, and in gen snowflake, tell me who isn't deserving. How about serious testing for results and beating for those who do not achieve them?

    Income equality sounds nice, but it's never been had anywhere by taxation. It takes a certain societal moderation and modesty requiring our ruling elites to not want to be so conspicuous in their consumption (this in the age of the Rich Kids of Instagram) and to share the wealth through employment and good wages to their fellow citizens. Good luck with that ever gracing our shores.

    Stop yakking about the pseudoscience ... nay... the religion of climate change. Plant some more trees and take a couple aspirin. Add the costs of global wars for resources to the cost of gas, which will spike it to $6 per gallon and dissuade a lot of unnecessary driving.

    Require all candidates for Federal elective office to be physically neutered, and forbid any of their progeny for at least three generations as well as any immediate relations closer than fourth cousin from holding any position of honor, elective office, or Federal employment whatsoever.

    Aren’t the votes in the Electoral College quite promptly adjusted for population changes?

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    To some extent, but since each state has at least one Representative and two Senators, there is a bias toward political geography that is difficult to overcome by population. This is a good thing.
    , @The Alarmist
    Sorry, should have connected the dots ... each state's Electors total the same as their Congressional delegations in House and Senate, and House is capped at 435.
    , @anonymous
    Only with respect to the EC votes corresponding to the number of House Representatives. From Wikipedia:

    "Each state chooses electors, totaling in number to that state's combined total of senators and representatives."

    Each state - irrespective of population - has two senators, so this protects citizens of less populous states from those in, e.g., California. Part of the Constitutional bargain that makes for a republic as opposed to a national democracy.

    Were you sincerely unaware of this?
    , @Joe Franklin
    The number of Electoral College votes for each state is the sum of the number of US senators and US representatives assigned to each state.

    The number of US senators per state doesn't change.

    The number of US representatives is increased 1 per 30,000 additional citizens. The total number is apportioned by state population.

    The Electoral College was created to respect state powers, in recognition of the fact that it was the states and state citizens that created the federal government and the US constitution, not vice versa.

    Also, the Electoral college limits the effects of vote fraud.

    Without the Electoral College, Democrats-Neocons would commit their stereotypical vote fraud in a few selected populous cities or populous states and thereby steal a presidential election.

    The Electoral College limits the ill effect of big city and big state vote fraud from propagating beyond the state level, by giving each state a limited number of electoral votes.

    For example, without the electoral college Democrats-Neocons could commit massive vote fraud in only Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago or in California and New York state and win a presidential election with otherwise tepid support everywhere else.
  22. Joe Hide says:

    I hated the article. 3,300 words. I usually try to find something good to say about unz.com articles, or at least give reasons for disagreeing. I just got more disgusted the longer I read it. Disinformative.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Disinformative.
     
    Very much. The author hasn't offered a single original thought and what's there is riddled with falsehoods.
  23. Bacevich, usually a fairly interesting writer, stepped on his poncho by suggesting that the “Red Scares” of the early 20th century and the McCarthy period were in some way irrational or kooky. Nothing of the sort. By the end of World War One the large cities seethed with treasonous Communists and anarchists of every stripe. They were numerous and they were extremely violent, up to the point of trying to murder the attorney general. Leon Trotsky returned to Russia from New York City in 1917. The government was entirely right to round up this scum and, in some cases, deport it. As for McCarthy, I am appalled that Bacevich spews the old leftist line. McCarthy was not only right about massive Communist infiltration of the government in the 1930′s and 1940′s and up into the early 1950′s. He grossly underestimated the extent of it, by a factor of ten or twenty. Washington was a beehive of Red spies and they had tremendous influence on U.S. policy. FDR, far from being a wise and competent statesman, was an arrogant, doddering old fool who allowed these vicious traitors to operate and suppressed the attempts of patriots to stop their activity. Bacevich should be ashamed of himself for such shallow, ignorant comments. Read The Venona Papers, Bacevich. Your lack of professional knowledge is showing.

    Read More
    • Agree: jacques sheete, Alden
    • Replies: @Stephen Paul Foster
    Absolutely! FDR stands in a tie with Woodrow Wilson for the worst U.S. President -- a fool and a traitor.

    See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2014/01/stalin-fdrs-triumvirate-of-stooges.html
    , @nebulafox
    Too bad McCarthy happened to be an alcoholic yahoo who began to accuse everybody and his mama of being controlled by Moscow. Eisenhower knew what he was doing when he purged him.

    The ironic thing about Tailgunner Joe was that he turned out to be a boon for the Russians by ruining the reputation of anti-Communism. It was only because of his antics that you had influential bien-pensants who, for multiple decades, refused to accept that Golden Boys like Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White really *were* spies for Stalin, and that Soviet infiltration was a real threat to the US in the late 1940s. By the early 1950s, the Soviet intelligence network that bloomed in Washington throughout the previous few decades was under severe strain due to Truman and J. Edgar Hoover's massive crackdown. McCarthy pretty much saved their nuts from the fire.

  24. @Wizard of Oz
    Aren't the votes in the Electoral College quite promptly adjusted for population changes?

    To some extent, but since each state has at least one Representative and two Senators, there is a bias toward political geography that is difficult to overcome by population. This is a good thing.

    Read More
  25. @Wizard of Oz
    Aren't the votes in the Electoral College quite promptly adjusted for population changes?

    Sorry, should have connected the dots … each state’s Electors total the same as their Congressional delegations in House and Senate, and House is capped at 435.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Yes, the effect of adding in the senators is substantial. The two biggest (Democrat) states add just 4 out of 543 to their basic Congressional weighting while the 48 other states add 96/543. Thus 17.6 per cent against just an extra 0.7 per cent.
    Not even Texas would think of supporting the abolition of the Electoral College. A pity yhe excellent author should be so sloppy as not at least to acknowledge which items on his wish list are pure fantasy.
  26. Eleven: write more articles with never-can-be-done lists until the whole aberrant construct cracks wide open.

    Read More
  27. anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Wizard of Oz
    Aren't the votes in the Electoral College quite promptly adjusted for population changes?

    Only with respect to the EC votes corresponding to the number of House Representatives. From Wikipedia:

    “Each state chooses electors, totaling in number to that state’s combined total of senators and representatives.”

    Each state – irrespective of population – has two senators, so this protects citizens of less populous states from those in, e.g., California. Part of the Constitutional bargain that makes for a republic as opposed to a national democracy.

    Were you sincerely unaware of this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    No, just lazy enough to assume someone would tell me who didn't even have to look it up to be sure
  28. @The Alarmist
    Sorry, should have connected the dots ... each state's Electors total the same as their Congressional delegations in House and Senate, and House is capped at 435.

    Yes, the effect of adding in the senators is substantial. The two biggest (Democrat) states add just 4 out of 543 to their basic Congressional weighting while the 48 other states add 96/543. Thus 17.6 per cent against just an extra 0.7 per cent.
    Not even Texas would think of supporting the abolition of the Electoral College. A pity yhe excellent author should be so sloppy as not at least to acknowledge which items on his wish list are pure fantasy.

    Read More
  29. @anonymous
    Only with respect to the EC votes corresponding to the number of House Representatives. From Wikipedia:

    "Each state chooses electors, totaling in number to that state's combined total of senators and representatives."

    Each state - irrespective of population - has two senators, so this protects citizens of less populous states from those in, e.g., California. Part of the Constitutional bargain that makes for a republic as opposed to a national democracy.

    Were you sincerely unaware of this?

    No, just lazy enough to assume someone would tell me who didn’t even have to look it up to be sure

    Read More
  30. @Wizard of Oz
    Aren't the votes in the Electoral College quite promptly adjusted for population changes?

    The number of Electoral College votes for each state is the sum of the number of US senators and US representatives assigned to each state.

    The number of US senators per state doesn’t change.

    The number of US representatives is increased 1 per 30,000 additional citizens. The total number is apportioned by state population.

    The Electoral College was created to respect state powers, in recognition of the fact that it was the states and state citizens that created the federal government and the US constitution, not vice versa.

    Also, the Electoral college limits the effects of vote fraud.

    Without the Electoral College, Democrats-Neocons would commit their stereotypical vote fraud in a few selected populous cities or populous states and thereby steal a presidential election.

    The Electoral College limits the ill effect of big city and big state vote fraud from propagating beyond the state level, by giving each state a limited number of electoral votes.

    For example, without the electoral college Democrats-Neocons could commit massive vote fraud in only Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago or in California and New York state and win a presidential election with otherwise tepid support everywhere else.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    That sounds like another valid reason to stick with the EC.
    , @Alden
    Vote fraud is not necessary in California. I'm the only person I know who votes Republican.
  31. Logan says:

    “Nominally, the Constitution assigns responsibilities and allocates prerogatives to three co-equal branches of government.”

    Oh, dear, I do get tired of this meme.

    No, the Constitution does not create “three co-equal branches of government,” no matter how often the phrase is repeated.

    The Constitution establishes a legislative branch that, whenever it is sufficiently united and desirous, has absolute power over the other two branches.

    The Congress can remove any member of the other two branches from office, among other powers, but the countervailing power of the other two branches over Congress, at least per the Constitution, is very limited indeed.

    In most republics and constitutional monarchies, the executive branch has a number of ways to influence the legisilature, including calling new elections when desired. Our Constitution has none of that.

    Under the Constitution, the Congress is not co-equal. Its supreme.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    And that's why it's ownership by the donors is so destructive.
  32. Logan says:
    @gustafus
    "Worthies??" - such as Roosevelt? Kennedy? Reagan? - Horse Puckey.

    Roosevelt and his bull dyke "other"- conducted a false flag on our own men at Pearl Harbor. The Kennedy's were depraved Irish White Trash with a few bucks. And Reagan? -- dim, with an adoring wife in an age of image over substance.

    You want VULGAR? -- how about Georgie Jr in a cheer leading skirt giving head to the Skull & Bones regulars.... or Bubba and his dyke.... yeah, classy..His mom ran a brothel. And Bath House Barry... I don't believe for a Minute he was born in Hawaii... he was a focus group creation to make Wisconsin housewives teary eyed for a "post racial" America... BARF

    And he hated White people... a white vote for Barry was date rape. I'm glad he's back swiping at airplanes atop tall buildings... somebody toss him a banana. I am now a dedicated racist.

    I couldn't even get through that trash talking diatribe... and as for MORE $$$ for schools -- as we import more and more of the LOW IQ 3rd world - education will be more about how to use a western toilet, and the reasons we don't boink our children siblings and cousins... and less about Democracy.

    Bacevich is everything I hate about the scribbling class...

    I voted Trump because he is a honest patriot, a great man, and a fearless leader. By his fruits shall we know him.....

    ” as we import more and more of the LOW IQ 3rd world – education will be more about … the reasons we don’t boink our children siblings and cousins”

    Nahh, that would be imposing our Eurocentric values on their vibrant cultures.

    Read More
  33. @Joe Franklin
    The number of Electoral College votes for each state is the sum of the number of US senators and US representatives assigned to each state.

    The number of US senators per state doesn't change.

    The number of US representatives is increased 1 per 30,000 additional citizens. The total number is apportioned by state population.

    The Electoral College was created to respect state powers, in recognition of the fact that it was the states and state citizens that created the federal government and the US constitution, not vice versa.

    Also, the Electoral college limits the effects of vote fraud.

    Without the Electoral College, Democrats-Neocons would commit their stereotypical vote fraud in a few selected populous cities or populous states and thereby steal a presidential election.

    The Electoral College limits the ill effect of big city and big state vote fraud from propagating beyond the state level, by giving each state a limited number of electoral votes.

    For example, without the electoral college Democrats-Neocons could commit massive vote fraud in only Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago or in California and New York state and win a presidential election with otherwise tepid support everywhere else.

    That sounds like another valid reason to stick with the EC.

    Read More
  34. @Logan
    "Nominally, the Constitution assigns responsibilities and allocates prerogatives to three co-equal branches of government."

    Oh, dear, I do get tired of this meme.

    No, the Constitution does not create "three co-equal branches of government," no matter how often the phrase is repeated.

    The Constitution establishes a legislative branch that, whenever it is sufficiently united and desirous, has absolute power over the other two branches.

    The Congress can remove any member of the other two branches from office, among other powers, but the countervailing power of the other two branches over Congress, at least per the Constitution, is very limited indeed.

    In most republics and constitutional monarchies, the executive branch has a number of ways to influence the legisilature, including calling new elections when desired. Our Constitution has none of that.

    Under the Constitution, the Congress is not co-equal. Its supreme.

    And that’s why it’s ownership by the donors is so destructive.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Logan
    Quite right. Though the whole thing started when the "real" job of the congressman became re-election. Once that was internalized, the rest was pretty much inevitable.

    As long as the government is heavily involved with businesses, determining not only their profit rate but perhaps whether they even survive, they will continue efforts to influence government decisions. Limiting contribution's primary effect, I suspect, would be to drive the influence-buying underground.

    The solution, of course, is to get the government out of business and indeed everything else to the extent possible.
  35. @Robert Magill

    First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
     
    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.


    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    Any citizen of the USA and/or student of its history who writes in the same essay both that he is a conservative and that he favors abolishing the Electoral College is either a fool, an unprincipled knave, or most likely both.

    Read More
  36. Olorin says:
    @Robert Magill

    First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
     
    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.


    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    I came in to make the same point and will add that it would be effectively only two metropolitan areas–LA and NYC.

    Whoever would control those cities politically would control the nation politically, economically, and socially the way Chicago’s elites control much of Wisconsin (to use an example recently discussed at iSteve).

    The republic would be ripe for division into two coastal demesnes vying with each other for power, resources, and serfs (both in the coastal hives and the “flyover states”).

    What is undermining the legitimacy of American politics isn’t the United States Constitution. It is the countless billions of dollars spend on election campaigning each year. That includes all corollary expenditures, as on media buys and polling.

    Not the kind of polling that involves voting. The kind of polling that Nate Silver does.

    Election campaigns engineer infiltration of the public culture at every level–federal, state, county, municipal, and local–by divisive discourse and methods. These originally were developed so that merchants could differentiate and sell to the masses soap and junk food brands. Not even the commodities themselves–but brands of them.

    Political campaigning rolls up the worst elements of advertising, PR, propaganda, and opinion research into one unending tsunami of hostility, division, manufactured conflict, false equivalencies, forced choices, and sneering tearing-down of what others believe, want, or have built.

    The people who create political campaigns for a living–with all the corollary products that go with that, including the candidate himself/herself–are, like the people who communicate those, among the biggest parasites in the republic. They literally create positions, opinions, and ideas, then go out and create the demand for them by whatever means it takes. They produce nothing of value. They siphon off value and resources and set the conditions where by organic excellence is drowned in a sea of mass communications.

    If the Electoral College were demolished tomorrow, they would have even more unfettered access to more billions of dollars as Candidate Cool Ranch Dorito vied for an influential and lucrative sinecure with Candidate Salty Crunchy Triangular Fried Corn Thing.

    And thanks to Citizens United, money is free speech, and free speech means carefully selected, constructed, massaged, spun, and polled speech.

    Keeping the campaign-media-finance industrial complex operating is all that matters to these people. Sounds like Bacevich is one of them. Members of the Pontificating Caste usually are. The Constitution is a barrier to their aspirations.

    As it was designed to be.

    Read More
  37. The author did a decent job of describing the zeitgeist. But his list of 10 big government solutions is a riot! The solution is a return to human liberty and acceptance of the reality that all politics that matter to people is local. But our owners don’t like local, they like global, they like universal, they claim to be supporters of diversity but their diversity if they have their way looks exactly the same everywhere you go – wow, how diverse. You can be in any major metropolitan area in the US these days and you find it has the same chain store signage dominating the landscape, the same stories in the newspapers, the same ideological megaphones spouting (((their))) doctrines to the masses, the same conformity of expressed opinions (don’t say what you really think if you want to keep your job at xyz corp), the same. And unbeknownst to most Americans who are quick to thank servicemen for “their service”, their actual service is that when are elites have finally won the entire world will be indistinguishable like US metropolitan areas are today. There is not a big government solution to these issues, big xxx is the problem. The real question at least in my mind is if our owners would allow pockets of American style, liberty based pockets to emerge?

    If we could find responsible enough men to do it, we could take back monetary sovereignty from the federal reserve and start a Bank of America. We have our politicians beginning to sell off the commons (highways for example) to investors. We can fund that by letting some money creation occur by being earned into existence rather than loaned into existence. This is explicitly disallowed in the FEDs charter, and it is not for certain we can find men responsible enough to handle this task without problems nor is it certain that global finance would not retaliate. But we have a lot of infrastructure that needs upgrading and maintenance. This would allow some level of exodus from the metros back to Mayberry if there were jobs. We need a small effective government that has a long term plan of how we are going to maintain our infrastructure. Presently the elected children in Washington, short sighted immature bunch they are, put construction money for bridges in the back of bills recognizing a particular day as “insert bullshit day here day” to make their fellow child go along with the pork they put is some other garbage bill. This is an awful way to run a country and the chickens have come home and are roosting. Let the metros continue their present course of forced conformity via peer shaming and propaganda.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sowhat

    unbeknownst to most Americans who are quick to thank servicemen for “their service”, their actual service is that when the elites have finally won the entire world will be indistinguishable like US metropolitan areas are today.
     
    I used poetic license to correct your "are" to "the" elites...not my elites.
    I must admit that I get sick every time I hear "thank you for your service." I'm not proud of "my past service" (VN) and don't dare accuse me of being unpatriotic. Patriotism is not tested by blind allegiance to this Imperialistic Capitalism. We all know that these military adventures have never, in recent decades, been about removing despots and exporting democracy and the terrorists that we now hunt down were created, trained, armed, transported, and funded by us (or our "friends"). We've all see the pictures of McCain,taken with them in the same frame.

    My idea of patriotism is upholding the dreams, precepts, integrities, moralities and visions of The Framers...not the designs of the madmen in their quest for global hegemon for the benefit of the few instead of the common good. I don't really care about the cookie cutter metro areas. I don't visit them except for cultural enrichments.
  38. MBlanc46 says:

    Mandate a balanced federal budget. Yeah, that will work. We have that in Illinois. See how well that has worked for us.

    Read More
  39. Alden says:

    I couldn’t even read the entire article of clip and paste drivel. This reminds me of why no one reads Townhall and National Review anymore. I did read the part about the red scares. They were a lot more than scares. The FDR administration and its after math were very dangerous. For instance, Carl Bernstein’s of Watergate fame were fired in the Truman purge of commies hired in the FDR administration.

    This article is just a lot of blither blather hop skip and jump through history. BTW, Wharton is equal to Yale as far as academic prestige goes. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The same people who hate Trump hate me and every other normal hetero White in the country.

    Reading the first few pages of this drivel ensures I’ll never read any of his books or other books.

    Read More
  40. Alden says:
    @utu
    Bacevich never fails to disappoint. I wonder who does he imagine his target audience is when writing his unoriginal and fearful thoughts.

    A software program could have written this blithering of baby food.

    Read More
  41. Flavius says:

    Alarm bells going off in the night? How about Bill Clinton? Robert Dole? Al Gore? George W Bush? How about the stupendously unqualified mirage of Presidential gravitas, Barrack Obama? his opponents, the snarling ignoramus from Arizona, John McCain? the leaden corporatist Mitt Romney. Perhaps we are to understand these names that the Colonel leaves unmentioned as constituting the “slouching:” But the reason we have arrived at Mar-a-Lago is that the terminally corrupt Democratic Party chose as their candidate the terminally corrupt, stupendously unqualified former President’s wife. The foresight of our founding Father’s saved us from that miserable fate, thank you US Constitution.
    But lest we become too nostalgic for a time when our co-equal legislative branch had members who could assert themselves against the stooge of the moment who the people had installed in the White House, let us take a moment to ponder the stupendous stupidity of our current body that just recently, with near unanimity, chose to lump Russia in with Iran and North Korea on its sanctions bill while producing no evidence of any kind to justify its measure.

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  42. Alden says:
    @Joe Franklin
    The number of Electoral College votes for each state is the sum of the number of US senators and US representatives assigned to each state.

    The number of US senators per state doesn't change.

    The number of US representatives is increased 1 per 30,000 additional citizens. The total number is apportioned by state population.

    The Electoral College was created to respect state powers, in recognition of the fact that it was the states and state citizens that created the federal government and the US constitution, not vice versa.

    Also, the Electoral college limits the effects of vote fraud.

    Without the Electoral College, Democrats-Neocons would commit their stereotypical vote fraud in a few selected populous cities or populous states and thereby steal a presidential election.

    The Electoral College limits the ill effect of big city and big state vote fraud from propagating beyond the state level, by giving each state a limited number of electoral votes.

    For example, without the electoral college Democrats-Neocons could commit massive vote fraud in only Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago or in California and New York state and win a presidential election with otherwise tepid support everywhere else.

    Vote fraud is not necessary in California. I’m the only person I know who votes Republican.

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  43. Alden says:
    @utu
    Bacevich never fails to disappoint. I wonder who does he imagine his target audience is when writing his unoriginal and fearful thoughts.

    A caldera of clichés, a bowl of blather, a pot of punditry, a putrid mess of pompousity,

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  44. Logan says:
    @Wizard of Oz
    And that's why it's ownership by the donors is so destructive.

    Quite right. Though the whole thing started when the “real” job of the congressman became re-election. Once that was internalized, the rest was pretty much inevitable.

    As long as the government is heavily involved with businesses, determining not only their profit rate but perhaps whether they even survive, they will continue efforts to influence government decisions. Limiting contribution’s primary effect, I suspect, would be to drive the influence-buying underground.

    The solution, of course, is to get the government out of business and indeed everything else to the extent possible.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I woke up and read your comment. It made me frame this question for a bright student of political science:

    In the United States legislators are bribed by business and other donor interests; in Australia legislators seek to bribe their voters under cover of rhetorical humbug and appeals to a sense of entitlement. Which is worse in the long run?
  45. Alden says:
    @utu
    Bacevich never fails to disappoint. I wonder who does he imagine his target audience is when writing his unoriginal and fearful thoughts.

    Whatever TomDispatch is, I’ll never read it after reading part of this nonsense.

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  46. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Joe Hide
    I hated the article. 3,300 words. I usually try to find something good to say about unz.com articles, or at least give reasons for disagreeing. I just got more disgusted the longer I read it. Disinformative.

    Disinformative.

    Very much. The author hasn’t offered a single original thought and what’s there is riddled with falsehoods.

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  47. Joe Wong says:
    @Robert Magill

    First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
     
    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.


    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    Eliminating Electoral College does nothing to change the true nature of American corrupted political culture, the big money control the national agenda, voters is the tool to legitimize this corrupted political culture. To complete cleanse the American corrupted political environment and culture the Americans need to do two things as listed in the following:
    1. Ban all private funding in political elections, making private funding in political elections a criminal crime subject to long term imprisonment. All political elections are public funded only.
    2. Limiting senators and house representatives to maximum two terms, and terms of all the Congressmen are the same length and ended at the same time.

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  48. George says:
    @Robert Magill

    First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
     
    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.


    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    abolish the Electoral College.

    And replace it with what?

    Counting up the votes will not work. All that will do is lead to months of complaining that one state juiced their vote totals illegally or unfairly. How exactly do you handle such a system over multiple time zones, for example, do Californians get to decide if they will go out to vote based on East Coast votes after the polls close on the East Coast. So in short abolish the Electoral College is not a position I respect, I want details of the replacement system. To be honest I don’t think the Electoral College is the big issue it is being made out to be. The most import thing is whatever system is used makes it difficult to rig the election, the electoral college achieves that.

    rollback gerrymandering. – That is not a proposal it is a desire. Let’s hear the details. One possibility is fractional voting. So a representative could have .624 votes in Congress while another could have 3.563. Under fractional voting you would not need to readjust boundaries, you could use zipcodes.

    Third, limit the impact of corporate money on elections at all levels, if need be by amending the Constitution. – silly billy, don’t amend the Constitution, amend the tax and civil code. Eliminate limited liability for any entity that donates money to candidates or parties. End of problem.

    Fourth, mandate a balanced federal budget – Again I need a specific proposal. What does balanced mean? What does budget mean? What does federal mean? How about eliminating any requirement by government entities to repay debts. If the legislature votes for repayment fine, but there is no enforceable requirement, aka contracts clause. People would be very careful about loaning money to a government entity or allowing an underfunded pension in such a case.

    Running out of time but ,,,,
    Seventh, increase public funding for public higher education, = There is already too much going into higher education. Once honest state universities in New York now have division whatever sports teams. How about those gourmet meals for students. How about going to work after high school and your boss can fund your education and entertainment.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I like your approach and style of reasoning. Moteover, though I hate to use the cliché, you seem to respect the principle that the devil is in the detail.

    (But, as a matter of detail.... don't you mean "*decrease* public funding for public higher education"?)
  49. edNels says:
    @Priss Factor
    Stephen Cohen on why we need close cooperation with Russia.

    A new kind of terrorism in aftermath of state collapse in Middle East.

    But it seems new sanctions will totally derail any sane policy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTqjcb6U92o

    Thanks Priss Factor for the great videos!

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  50. @Chris Bridges
    Bacevich, usually a fairly interesting writer, stepped on his poncho by suggesting that the "Red Scares" of the early 20th century and the McCarthy period were in some way irrational or kooky. Nothing of the sort. By the end of World War One the large cities seethed with treasonous Communists and anarchists of every stripe. They were numerous and they were extremely violent, up to the point of trying to murder the attorney general. Leon Trotsky returned to Russia from New York City in 1917. The government was entirely right to round up this scum and, in some cases, deport it. As for McCarthy, I am appalled that Bacevich spews the old leftist line. McCarthy was not only right about massive Communist infiltration of the government in the 1930's and 1940's and up into the early 1950's. He grossly underestimated the extent of it, by a factor of ten or twenty. Washington was a beehive of Red spies and they had tremendous influence on U.S. policy. FDR, far from being a wise and competent statesman, was an arrogant, doddering old fool who allowed these vicious traitors to operate and suppressed the attempts of patriots to stop their activity. Bacevich should be ashamed of himself for such shallow, ignorant comments. Read The Venona Papers, Bacevich. Your lack of professional knowledge is showing.

    Absolutely! FDR stands in a tie with Woodrow Wilson for the worst U.S. President — a fool and a traitor.

    See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2014/01/stalin-fdrs-triumvirate-of-stooges.html

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sowhat
    Since Wilson helped establish the FED, I feel he did the greater damage. All of the wars were inspired by The Money Changers always listing after more- "Screw the loss of life and property...we can make more money."-their mindset.
  51. Sowhat says:

    Jacques sheet, I used to conjure the impossible changes of which the author alludes. Ain’t going to happen. I had hoped that something revolutionary would take place in my lifetime. Even now at retirement age, I hope but for naught. I agree with you and wish I had an accélérant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Jacques sheet, I used to conjure the impossible changes of which the author alludes. Ain’t going to happen. I had hoped that something revolutionary would take place in my lifetime.
     
    I know how you feel, and agree.

    Now, in my old age, I've come to realize that violent revolutions, while appearing dramatic, are typically nothing more than flashes in the pan. They're inevitably co-opted, and that goes for the one of 1776 which got co-opted almost right out of the box, in 1789. Same goes for non violent "political"fixes.

    The only revolution, if there is one of any lasting effect, is the one between that goes on between each individual's ears, i.e., each individual has to change himself first and a huge first step would be to grow up and realize that no one is here to save us. No king, no guru, no priest, no president, no government will deliver us from our own shortcomings. Therefore it's tragic beyond risible that people would seek relief in politics, or revolutions, or religions or other forms of fantasizing..

  52. Sowhat says:
    @Stephen Paul Foster
    Absolutely! FDR stands in a tie with Woodrow Wilson for the worst U.S. President -- a fool and a traitor.

    See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2014/01/stalin-fdrs-triumvirate-of-stooges.html

    Since Wilson helped establish the FED, I feel he did the greater damage. All of the wars were inspired by The Money Changers always listing after more- “Screw the loss of life and property…we can make more money.”-their mindset.

    Read More
  53. Sowhat says:
    @Robert Magill

    First, abolish the Electoral College. Doing so will preclude any further occurrence of the circumstances that twice in recent decades cast doubt on the outcome of national elections and thereby did far more than any foreign interference to undermine the legitimacy of American politics.
     
    The November numbers indicate that for the time being without the Electoral College, California and New York will elect our President well into the future.


    http://robertmagill.wordpress.com

    This might be helpful to those who suggest elimination of the Electoral College without first reading about it:

    http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5256V.pdf

    It’s available in paperback but, I’m cheap.

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  54. MarkinLA says:
    @Wizard of Oz
    Yes, it is interesting how smaller states in federations show that they understand and will hold on to their leverage even when , as in Australia, the people themselves vote on constitutional change.

    But why would eliminating the Electoral College allow presidentlal elections to be decided by the popular vote in California and NY as someone suggested? Aren't the number of electoral college votes adjusted quite promptly in proportion to population changes?

    Because these states are so blue to the point of wiping out the votes of a dozen red states. Also the small states have a stronger relative weight since the number of Electors is based on the number of Senators and Congressmen. So a small state with only two Representatives has 4 Electors while California’s 2 Senators add a much smaller fraction to the total.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    Thsnks, yes. I did some serious figuring (above) when told/reminded about the formula. The Senate weighting is critical for the smaller stayes in Australia too.
  55. nebulafox says:
    @Chris Bridges
    Bacevich, usually a fairly interesting writer, stepped on his poncho by suggesting that the "Red Scares" of the early 20th century and the McCarthy period were in some way irrational or kooky. Nothing of the sort. By the end of World War One the large cities seethed with treasonous Communists and anarchists of every stripe. They were numerous and they were extremely violent, up to the point of trying to murder the attorney general. Leon Trotsky returned to Russia from New York City in 1917. The government was entirely right to round up this scum and, in some cases, deport it. As for McCarthy, I am appalled that Bacevich spews the old leftist line. McCarthy was not only right about massive Communist infiltration of the government in the 1930's and 1940's and up into the early 1950's. He grossly underestimated the extent of it, by a factor of ten or twenty. Washington was a beehive of Red spies and they had tremendous influence on U.S. policy. FDR, far from being a wise and competent statesman, was an arrogant, doddering old fool who allowed these vicious traitors to operate and suppressed the attempts of patriots to stop their activity. Bacevich should be ashamed of himself for such shallow, ignorant comments. Read The Venona Papers, Bacevich. Your lack of professional knowledge is showing.

    Too bad McCarthy happened to be an alcoholic yahoo who began to accuse everybody and his mama of being controlled by Moscow. Eisenhower knew what he was doing when he purged him.

    The ironic thing about Tailgunner Joe was that he turned out to be a boon for the Russians by ruining the reputation of anti-Communism. It was only because of his antics that you had influential bien-pensants who, for multiple decades, refused to accept that Golden Boys like Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White really *were* spies for Stalin, and that Soviet infiltration was a real threat to the US in the late 1940s. By the early 1950s, the Soviet intelligence network that bloomed in Washington throughout the previous few decades was under severe strain due to Truman and J. Edgar Hoover’s massive crackdown. McCarthy pretty much saved their nuts from the fire.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Too bad McCarthy happened to be an alcoholic yahoo who began to accuse everybody and his mama of being controlled by Moscow.
     
    Too bad that even alcoholic yahoos obviously have a better handle on reality than the holier-than-thou types. McCarthy was on the right track, but the usual smear mongers did what they did best, and the mindless still parrot their rot decades later.

    Eisenhower knew what he was doing when he purged him.
     
    Eisenhower was no Smedley Butler. As one would expect of the typical West Pointer, he was a prancing, preening, pretty boy, ass kissing, clueless supporter of the bankster and corporatist-backed Red menace. A simple minded bureaucrat to the hilt. The world would have been better off if he'd been soused and sidelined.
  56. @Logan
    Quite right. Though the whole thing started when the "real" job of the congressman became re-election. Once that was internalized, the rest was pretty much inevitable.

    As long as the government is heavily involved with businesses, determining not only their profit rate but perhaps whether they even survive, they will continue efforts to influence government decisions. Limiting contribution's primary effect, I suspect, would be to drive the influence-buying underground.

    The solution, of course, is to get the government out of business and indeed everything else to the extent possible.

    I woke up and read your comment. It made me frame this question for a bright student of political science:

    In the United States legislators are bribed by business and other donor interests; in Australia legislators seek to bribe their voters under cover of rhetorical humbug and appeals to a sense of entitlement. Which is worse in the long run?

    Read More
  57. Vinteuil says:

    Does gas-baggery get any gas-baggier than this? As usual, Bacevich combines maximal self-importance with minimal substance.

    There are so many fish in such a small barrel just begging to be shot, here, that it’s hard to choose only one – but Bacevich’s suggestion that one thing we really need to do is to “increase public funding for public higher education, thereby ensuring that college remains an option for those who are not well-to-do” really takes the cake.

    Naïveté of this order shouldn’t even be possible, anymore.

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  58. @George
    abolish the Electoral College.

    And replace it with what?

    Counting up the votes will not work. All that will do is lead to months of complaining that one state juiced their vote totals illegally or unfairly. How exactly do you handle such a system over multiple time zones, for example, do Californians get to decide if they will go out to vote based on East Coast votes after the polls close on the East Coast. So in short abolish the Electoral College is not a position I respect, I want details of the replacement system. To be honest I don't think the Electoral College is the big issue it is being made out to be. The most import thing is whatever system is used makes it difficult to rig the election, the electoral college achieves that.

    rollback gerrymandering. - That is not a proposal it is a desire. Let's hear the details. One possibility is fractional voting. So a representative could have .624 votes in Congress while another could have 3.563. Under fractional voting you would not need to readjust boundaries, you could use zipcodes.

    Third, limit the impact of corporate money on elections at all levels, if need be by amending the Constitution. - silly billy, don't amend the Constitution, amend the tax and civil code. Eliminate limited liability for any entity that donates money to candidates or parties. End of problem.

    Fourth, mandate a balanced federal budget - Again I need a specific proposal. What does balanced mean? What does budget mean? What does federal mean? How about eliminating any requirement by government entities to repay debts. If the legislature votes for repayment fine, but there is no enforceable requirement, aka contracts clause. People would be very careful about loaning money to a government entity or allowing an underfunded pension in such a case.

    Running out of time but ,,,,
    Seventh, increase public funding for public higher education, = There is already too much going into higher education. Once honest state universities in New York now have division whatever sports teams. How about those gourmet meals for students. How about going to work after high school and your boss can fund your education and entertainment.

    I like your approach and style of reasoning. Moteover, though I hate to use the cliché, you seem to respect the principle that the devil is in the detail.

    (But, as a matter of detail…. don’t you mean “*decrease* public funding for public higher education”?)

    Read More
  59. @MarkinLA
    Because these states are so blue to the point of wiping out the votes of a dozen red states. Also the small states have a stronger relative weight since the number of Electors is based on the number of Senators and Congressmen. So a small state with only two Representatives has 4 Electors while California's 2 Senators add a much smaller fraction to the total.

    Thsnks, yes. I did some serious figuring (above) when told/reminded about the formula. The Senate weighting is critical for the smaller stayes in Australia too.

    Read More
  60. Sowhat says:
    @Linda Green
    The author did a decent job of describing the zeitgeist. But his list of 10 big government solutions is a riot! The solution is a return to human liberty and acceptance of the reality that all politics that matter to people is local. But our owners don't like local, they like global, they like universal, they claim to be supporters of diversity but their diversity if they have their way looks exactly the same everywhere you go - wow, how diverse. You can be in any major metropolitan area in the US these days and you find it has the same chain store signage dominating the landscape, the same stories in the newspapers, the same ideological megaphones spouting (((their))) doctrines to the masses, the same conformity of expressed opinions (don't say what you really think if you want to keep your job at xyz corp), the same. And unbeknownst to most Americans who are quick to thank servicemen for "their service", their actual service is that when are elites have finally won the entire world will be indistinguishable like US metropolitan areas are today. There is not a big government solution to these issues, big xxx is the problem. The real question at least in my mind is if our owners would allow pockets of American style, liberty based pockets to emerge?

    If we could find responsible enough men to do it, we could take back monetary sovereignty from the federal reserve and start a Bank of America. We have our politicians beginning to sell off the commons (highways for example) to investors. We can fund that by letting some money creation occur by being earned into existence rather than loaned into existence. This is explicitly disallowed in the FEDs charter, and it is not for certain we can find men responsible enough to handle this task without problems nor is it certain that global finance would not retaliate. But we have a lot of infrastructure that needs upgrading and maintenance. This would allow some level of exodus from the metros back to Mayberry if there were jobs. We need a small effective government that has a long term plan of how we are going to maintain our infrastructure. Presently the elected children in Washington, short sighted immature bunch they are, put construction money for bridges in the back of bills recognizing a particular day as "insert bullshit day here day" to make their fellow child go along with the pork they put is some other garbage bill. This is an awful way to run a country and the chickens have come home and are roosting. Let the metros continue their present course of forced conformity via peer shaming and propaganda.

    unbeknownst to most Americans who are quick to thank servicemen for “their service”, their actual service is that when the elites have finally won the entire world will be indistinguishable like US metropolitan areas are today.

    I used poetic license to correct your “are” to “the” elites…not my elites.
    I must admit that I get sick every time I hear “thank you for your service.” I’m not proud of “my past service” (VN) and don’t dare accuse me of being unpatriotic. Patriotism is not tested by blind allegiance to this Imperialistic Capitalism. We all know that these military adventures have never, in recent decades, been about removing despots and exporting democracy and the terrorists that we now hunt down were created, trained, armed, transported, and funded by us (or our “friends”). We’ve all see the pictures of McCain,taken with them in the same frame.

    My idea of patriotism is upholding the dreams, precepts, integrities, moralities and visions of The Framers…not the designs of the madmen in their quest for global hegemon for the benefit of the few instead of the common good. I don’t really care about the cookie cutter metro areas. I don’t visit them except for cultural enrichments.

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  61. Sowhat says:
    @anonymous

    As for militarized American global leadership, it has indeed resulted in various bad actors meeting richly deserved fates. Goodbye, Saddam. Good riddance, Osama.
     
    Goodbye Saddam?? The implication being that all the death and destruction was somehow worth it??

    You scum, of the most evil *beep* nation on earth! A pox on all of you.

    That comment wasn’t necessary. I don’t lump all of ANY group together and condemn them. Immature. Not everyone that our government has singled out as a despot or a tyrannical dictator has necessarily been so and I cannot recall any whole oldies of people being disparaged as a group. It’s possible that you purchased the narrative when the formers of public opinion shaped our go-to war mindset. WMD’s?

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  62. Hunter says:

    It was always bound to happen. In a restricted two-party form of democracy, sooner or later two candidates absolutely hated by the voters would get both nominations. That’s what the Hillary vs Donald election was all about. Both candidates had huge ‘negatives’ in the words of the pollsters.

    In the end, it turned out that the election was decided on the question of who was hated the most. Hillary or Donald? Even that was a split decision. On the overall popular vote, Donald won the prize of ‘Most Hated”. But, the small states had insisted that they didn’t want to be dominated by the large states back when the Constitution was written and approved, so the Electoral College tilts power a bit towards the smaller states. Donald was the most hated by large margins in California and New York. But in the rest of the country, Hillary won the prize as Most Hated.

    One thing that pollsters clearly said aften the last election was that many, many voters voted against the candidate they most hated, and not in favor of the other candidate.

    Donald lucked into the Presidency because he beat a lackluster Republican field in a year when the Democrats were rigging their party’s selection to Hillary the Most Hated. As such, he’s had a chance to stumble into greatness as President. A chance that Donald is rapidly failing because he doesn’t understand how he got there. Donald’s ego won’t let him accept that he’s sitting in the White House solely because everyone hated Hillary more.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Both candidates had huge ‘negatives’ in the words of the pollsters.

    Which means absolutely nothing today with it's push-polls concocted to get the results the person paying for the poll wants.

    There is no doubt that Hillary was hated. Trump was only hated by those on the rabid left. Hillary was the one with the rallies nobody went to and the "Hillary for Prison" signs. The media just tried to keep that out of the publics view while non-stop coverage of every Trump misstep made it seem nobody supported him.
  63. @utu
    Bacevich never fails to disappoint. I wonder who does he imagine his target audience is when writing his unoriginal and fearful thoughts.

    Excuse the ignorance of a non American who is grateful to read a number of valid seeming but – you say – unoriginal ideas pulled together….

    But also, a much bigger point, I am quite unaware of anyone making his one major and specufic point, namely that the character and performance of Trump, and the forces organising against him, may reverse 100 years and more of building the imperial presidency.

    I would be grateful if you would cite the earlier expressions of that opinion, or otherwise put me right.

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  64. joecbart says:

    Andrew J. Bacevich:”… I am by temperament a conservative and a traditionalist, wary of revolutionary movements that more often than not end up being hijacked by nefarious plotters more interested in satisfying their own ambitions than in pursuing high ideals.

    Yet even I am prepared to admit that the status quo appears increasingly untenable. Incremental change will not suffice.

    The challenge of the moment is to embrace radicalism without succumbing to irresponsibility.”

    Every Cook Can Govern C. L. R. James 1956
    A Study of Democracy in Ancient Greece, Its Meaning for Today

    Direct Democracy

    “…. Modern parliamentary democracy elects representatives and these representatives constitute the government.

    Before the democracy came into power, the Greeks had been governed by various forms of government, including government by representatives.

    The democracy knew representative government and rejected it.

    It refused to believe that the ordinary citizen was not able to perform practically all the business of government.

    Not only did the public assembly of all the citizens keep all the important decisions in its own hands.

    For the Greek, the word isonomia, which meant equality, was used interchangeably for democracy.

    For the Greek, the two meant the same thing.

    For the Greek, a man who did not take part in politics was an idiotes, an idiot, from which we get our modern word idiot, whose meaning, however, we have limited.

    Not only did the Greeks choose all officials by lot, they limited their time of service.

    When a man had served once, as a general rule, he was excluded from serving again because the Greeks believed in rotation, everybody taking his turn to administer the state.”

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/james-clr/works/1956/06/every-cook.htm

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  65. MarkinLA says:
    @Hunter
    It was always bound to happen. In a restricted two-party form of democracy, sooner or later two candidates absolutely hated by the voters would get both nominations. That's what the Hillary vs Donald election was all about. Both candidates had huge 'negatives' in the words of the pollsters.

    In the end, it turned out that the election was decided on the question of who was hated the most. Hillary or Donald? Even that was a split decision. On the overall popular vote, Donald won the prize of 'Most Hated". But, the small states had insisted that they didn't want to be dominated by the large states back when the Constitution was written and approved, so the Electoral College tilts power a bit towards the smaller states. Donald was the most hated by large margins in California and New York. But in the rest of the country, Hillary won the prize as Most Hated.

    One thing that pollsters clearly said aften the last election was that many, many voters voted against the candidate they most hated, and not in favor of the other candidate.

    Donald lucked into the Presidency because he beat a lackluster Republican field in a year when the Democrats were rigging their party's selection to Hillary the Most Hated. As such, he's had a chance to stumble into greatness as President. A chance that Donald is rapidly failing because he doesn't understand how he got there. Donald's ego won't let him accept that he's sitting in the White House solely because everyone hated Hillary more.

    Both candidates had huge ‘negatives’ in the words of the pollsters.

    Which means absolutely nothing today with it’s push-polls concocted to get the results the person paying for the poll wants.

    There is no doubt that Hillary was hated. Trump was only hated by those on the rabid left. Hillary was the one with the rallies nobody went to and the “Hillary for Prison” signs. The media just tried to keep that out of the publics view while non-stop coverage of every Trump misstep made it seem nobody supported him.

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  66. …norms derived from Judeo-Christian religious traditions…

    What is ‘Jew-Christianity’? Sounds like either a contradiction in terms or a redundant qualification.

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  67. Ace says:
    @godfree Roberts
    'create a new party system' or follow our first President's advice: “Parties become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion”.

    Ban parties–which are inherently undemocratic–and follow China's example of a government that cares for all the people all the time. It works for them..

    Just pray that no Chinese official has a need for your organs.

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  68. Ace says:

    Those two periods of great concern about reds were awash in evidence of reds and their hatred of the republic and their subversion. McCarthy was a patriot and knew whereof he spoke. Read Stan Evans, Diana West, and the Venona Papers, among other authors and books.

    A better example of hysteria is the anti-German hysteria in WWI.

    Trump is seen as vulgar on the basis of secretly-recorded conversation published because of a vile betrayal. Few people can afford to have cherry-picked private conversations see the light of day. My concern is that he doesn’t seem to think strategically. He was instantly backed into a corner on events in Charlottesville and speaks as though he has no knowledge at all of the AntiFa scum and their activities in the previous year. AntiFa who?? And white dispossession? What dispossession? No. Racism!!

    A good analysis of the post-USSR US thinking and the collapse if the consensus. However, your proposal to abolish the electoral college is laughable.

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  69. If Americans have an ounce of sense…

    That’s a big “if,” me lad! I see little evidence for the possession of much sense, and that goes for balls and morals as well.

    If ‘Merkins has much sense, they wouldn’t pine for the likes of this.:

    So it’s time to take another stab at an approach to governance worthy of a democratic republic.

    What republic, and what’s so great about a “democratic” (i.e., mob rule) one? Anyone with either a lick of sense or a handle on history knows that government, despite the rhetoric, is nothing more than a protection racket even if it seems to begin as something useful and benign.

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  70. @Sowhat
    Jacques sheet, I used to conjure the impossible changes of which the author alludes. Ain't going to happen. I had hoped that something revolutionary would take place in my lifetime. Even now at retirement age, I hope but for naught. I agree with you and wish I had an accélérant.

    Jacques sheet, I used to conjure the impossible changes of which the author alludes. Ain’t going to happen. I had hoped that something revolutionary would take place in my lifetime.

    I know how you feel, and agree.

    Now, in my old age, I’ve come to realize that violent revolutions, while appearing dramatic, are typically nothing more than flashes in the pan. They’re inevitably co-opted, and that goes for the one of 1776 which got co-opted almost right out of the box, in 1789. Same goes for non violent “political”fixes.

    The only revolution, if there is one of any lasting effect, is the one between that goes on between each individual’s ears, i.e., each individual has to change himself first and a huge first step would be to grow up and realize that no one is here to save us. No king, no guru, no priest, no president, no government will deliver us from our own shortcomings. Therefore it’s tragic beyond risible that people would seek relief in politics, or revolutions, or religions or other forms of fantasizing..

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  71. @nebulafox
    Too bad McCarthy happened to be an alcoholic yahoo who began to accuse everybody and his mama of being controlled by Moscow. Eisenhower knew what he was doing when he purged him.

    The ironic thing about Tailgunner Joe was that he turned out to be a boon for the Russians by ruining the reputation of anti-Communism. It was only because of his antics that you had influential bien-pensants who, for multiple decades, refused to accept that Golden Boys like Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White really *were* spies for Stalin, and that Soviet infiltration was a real threat to the US in the late 1940s. By the early 1950s, the Soviet intelligence network that bloomed in Washington throughout the previous few decades was under severe strain due to Truman and J. Edgar Hoover's massive crackdown. McCarthy pretty much saved their nuts from the fire.

    Too bad McCarthy happened to be an alcoholic yahoo who began to accuse everybody and his mama of being controlled by Moscow.

    Too bad that even alcoholic yahoos obviously have a better handle on reality than the holier-than-thou types. McCarthy was on the right track, but the usual smear mongers did what they did best, and the mindless still parrot their rot decades later.

    Eisenhower knew what he was doing when he purged him.

    Eisenhower was no Smedley Butler. As one would expect of the typical West Pointer, he was a prancing, preening, pretty boy, ass kissing, clueless supporter of the bankster and corporatist-backed Red menace. A simple minded bureaucrat to the hilt. The world would have been better off if he’d been soused and sidelined.

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  72. Chrisxxx says:

    First repeal the Electoral College? No, first purge the voter rolls of the dead, the illegal aliens and those voting more than once. To prove that we are serious about real representative democracy, enact tough laws protecting the vote – like life in prision for anyone not qualified to vote who does so, or does so more than once in any given Federal elections.

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