Thursday, June 02, 2016


Susan Webber, who blogs at Naked Capitalism under the names Yves Smith, has written a Politico op-ed largely devoted to a Sandersite takedown of Bill and Hillary Clinton. But that surely wasn't enough to get the op-ed published, so the hook of the piece is this:

Smith writes:
Why do progressives reject Hillary Clinton? The highly educated, high-income, finance-literate readers of my website, Naked Capitalism, don’t just overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders. They also say “Hell no!” to Hillary Clinton to the degree that many say they would even vote for Donald Trump over her....

To be sure, not all of my Sanders-supporting readers would vote for Trump. But only a minority would ever vote for Clinton....
And you'd better pay attention, because these aren't just a bunch of Millennial neckbeards -- they're wealthy middle-aged people with really really big brains!
Who does Naked Capitalism represent? The site, which I describe as “fearless commentary on finance, economics, politics and power,” receives 1.3 million to 1.5 million page views a month and has amassed approximately 80 million readers since its launch in 2006. Its readership is disproportionately graduate school-educated, older, male and high income.
Cue Robert Farley:
Oh, but they're not all wealthy old white male progs:
Despite the overall predominance of male readers, many of the fiercest critics of Clinton in the commentariat are women, with handles like HotFlash, Katniss Everdeen, Martha r, Portia, Bev and Pat.
Yeah, because nothing says "maturity of judgment" like the screen name "Katniss Everdeen."

Smith tells us that these upcoming Trump votes from progressives aren't just a flipped bird -- they'll be the result of a careful weighing of the alternatives:
Some of them also have very reasoned arguments for Trump. Hillary is a known evil. Trump is unknown. They'd rather bet on the unknown, since it will also send a big message to Team Dem that they can no longer abuse progressives. I personally know women in the demographic that is viewed as being solidly behind Hillary -- older, professional women who live in major cities -- who regard Trump as an acceptable cost of getting rid of the Clintons.
Right -- because he's "unknown." We've been listening to him nonstop for nearly a year, but we have absolutely no idea who he is, what he stands for, or what voters he represents.

Heck, what's the worst that could happen?
Trump Delegate Says Current US Leaders May Need to Be "Killed"

A Patriot Movement supporter, approved by the Trump campaign, talks of violently overthrowing the federal government.

Last December, Donald Trump's presidential campaign approved David Riden to be a delegate candidate on the Tennessee ballot, and when the state held its primary in March, voters selected Riden to go to the Republican National Convention. When Riden represents Trump there in July, it will not be his first time as a delegate to a political gathering. Seven years ago in Illinois he attended the so-called "Continental Congress of 2009," where he and other delegates put forth "Articles of Freedom" that called for abolishing all federal firearms laws, replacing the Department of Homeland Security with citizen militias, and, if necessary, launching an insurrection against the federal government.

Riden explains that his views today go even further than those of the Continental Congress of 2009 -- his involvement in which he says he explicitly disclosed to the Trump campaign when he applied to be a delegate. Riden told Mother Jones in an interview that US leaders who violate the Constitution may have to be done away with: "The polite word is 'eliminated,'" he said. "The harsh word is 'killed.'"
Hey, but at least Trump and his supporters aren't neoliberals!

Smith proudly quotes a comment from one of her readers:
“I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. … If the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it.”
Here's that quote in context:
Even if Trump rules as a typical Republican, the mere fact that he ran by repudiating its core beliefs means something. People are finding others who also see that the Emperor has no clothes, on both sides of the divide. That’s empowering. Collective action matters, even if votes don’t particularly. And people finding out they’re not alone is step 1. The elite has set up this “lesser of two evils” situation. This year, actually voting lesser of two evils could bring real good. Because Trump is unquestionably the lesser evil. Still probably evil, no question. But even if he goes back on all his leftish policy positions while keeping his racist incitement, the Ds will have to fight him, at least a tiny little bit. But more importantly, it should do real harm to both parties’ corrupt control. Purging the Clintons is good for the planet, in my opinion. And how much longer will corporations and banks flood the Democrats with money if they control NOTHING? Nothing in Washington, almost nothing in the states.

I don’t want to vote for Trump. I want to vote for Bernie. But I have reached the point where I feel like voting for Trump against Clinton would be doing my patriotic duty. Because you’re right, there are no good answers in this situation. But if the only way to escape a trap is to gnaw off my leg, I’d like to think I’d have the guts to do it. The blood either Clinton or Trump spill won’t be on my hands. I’m doing my best to stop them.
If I'm reading what this commenter says correctly, Hillary Clinton is so awful that "even if [Trump] goes back on all his leftish policy positions while keeping his racist incitement" he would be "unquestionably the lesser evil," because ... well, I guess because the commenter is white and probably male and probably safe from the worst Trump might unleash with his "racist incitement." And Trump is "unquestionably the lesser evil" even if he dispenses with all that jackbooted thuggery and "rules as a typical Republican," because (ick! pthui!) neoliberalism is way worse for economic inequality than this:

Besides, Trump and a GOP Congress running rampant will destroy the evil Democrats by depriving them of rich people's cash, and that's good, right? Because if the only major party left in America is the GOP receiving all the plutocrat cash on offer, what could possibly go wrong?

Enough. I just can't. Yves Smith's highly educated, well-to-do readers are too stupid to breathe.


I should add this, from David Neiwert:
I have spent the past 14 years trying to warn the public about the proto-fascist threat coming down the road at us through the auspices of the increasingly radicalized conservative movement and its official organ, the Republican Party. I’ve even published two books describing this threat -- five and six years before it actually emerged....

Well, now those trends have all come home to roost, and that “alarmism” has proven precisely accurate. The warnings have come true in no small part not just because conservatives drove their bus over the cliff, but because many progressives -- especially those in institutional progressive organizations -- did not take them seriously either, and took few steps to address the underlying dynamic....

And now these same, clueless progressives are insisting that -- even with the steam train of extremist right-wing populism, the historical foundation of all fascist movements, heading straight towards them in the form of the Trump candidacy -- their Purity of Essence will keep them from ever voting for the last remaining politician capable of keeping him from attaining the presidency.

Look, I support the Sanders campaign’s desire to take their movement into the convention, since I support most components of their agenda....

But if you can’t understand that a Donald Trump presidency would be an extinction-level event for American democracy -- and especially if you are so fanatically blinkered that you think that Clinton and Trump are actually comparable or similar -- then you have neither paid any attention to the matters that I’ve spent the past 14 years focused on, and/or you simply have no respect for it. You are, on a very deep level, no friend of mine.
Even if Niewert's worst fears wouldn't be realized in a Trump administration, how can you pretend to be a thinking person and shrug off the risk?


UPDATE: Scott Lemieux gives this op-ed the fisking it deserves.


Victor said...

These people must wear slip-on shoes, because, well, you know... knots!

You have two ends, and they have be worked together to make a knot:
"Why can't we just have a left-side lace that doesn't need a right-side lace to make a knot?
Until there's a left-side lace, I'll doom others to a hangman't knot! Then they'll see the errors of their ways, and we'll have left-side knots for whoever is left!"

I just can't take this purity bullshit anymore...

Marc McKenzie said...

They're f@#!ing idiots. But then again, of course they can spout this shower of sewage. Just like the Naderites in 2000, they feel that whatever apocalypse happens due to Trump will not affect them. They can sit right back and not be harmed when everything goes to hell because, hey, it'll only be four years and the people will be properly riled up and then REVOLUTION!!

Of course, they ignore the bloodbath that will happen and the deaths of thousands (or more) in the US and elsewhere. But that doesn't matter as long as the Democrats are properly punished for not putting their saint and savior Bernie in the position of nominee for President.

If I were a betting man, I'd swear that they were also secretly Republicans, because those are the people they would be helping. The GOP isn't scared of these twerps, not at all. After all, it's thanks to them that the GOP keeps getting into power.

Just my 2-cents--and also, f*#! Naked Capitalism.

Unknown said...

The Clinton supporters have expressed a great deal of distaste for Sanders supporters. Yet - quite annoyingly for them, I'm sure - the Clinton supporters find their candidate in an insufficiently strong position against Trump to allow them to tell the Sanders supporters to fuck off.

My friendly advice to them, as they steel themselves to the unpleasant chore of encouraging Sanders supporters to join the team: When they complain about all the things about Hillary that they typically complain about, don't try arguing with them. Just keep saying, as often as necessary, "But she's better than Trump."

It's the only point of agreement you're likely to find.

Sweet Sue said...

When they complain about all the things about Hillary that they typically complain about, don't try arguing with them. Just keep saying, as often as necessary, "But she's better than Trump."
Well, apparently, Susan Webber and Susan Sarandon don't agree.
Ugh, they make me want to change my name.

Gerald Parks said...

I have a colleague who goes epileptic over her denouncing of Sen Clinton and virtual sainthood of Sen Sanders.

It has to be a form of insanity that can not see the difference and advantage of having Sen Clinton in the White House than the GOP.

With that said ...if common sense was common ...these folks would be alright.

They aren't!!!

What does THAT tell you???

Boo Boo said...

For my part, I'll happily tell the Sanders supporters to fuck off. To fuck right off. I already have told them to fuck right off. They can take a flying fuck. Fuck 'em.

Yastreblyansky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yastreblyansky said...

"Yves" (speaking of feminine handles, I've been wondering for years if she knows that's a man's name) won't be chewing off her leg, because she'll be doing just fine, but she'll be chewing off the legs of 30 million people who lose their health insurance, and 11 million who will lose the few civil rights they have left because they don't have valid visas to stay in the US and I don't know how many millions of women who will lose the right to control their reproductive systems. Fuck her fuck her fuck her limousine liberal.

(deleted and reposted for a little proofreading, emotions got the better of me there.)

Yastreblyansky said...

Unknown, it's not a sense of political weakness that makes me want to persuade Sanders and (some of) his supporters to come along, it's a desire for those ideas to be in the mix. I love (some) Sanders supporters because they're young and idealistic and generous spirited and we need more of that in the republic. But I'll gladly tell Yves Smith to fuck off. And all the other journalists like her for whom theory is more important than human lives.

Chris Borthwick said...

I’m just reading Charles James Fox’s History of the Early Years of the Reign of James II, and the dissensions that wrecked the Duke of Argyle’s uprising against James II seemed eerily similar to today's events;

“Add to Argyle’s problems that where spirit was not wanting among his supporters, it was accompanied with a degree and species of perversity wholly inexplicable, and which can hardly gain belief from any one whose experience has not made him acquainted with the extreme difficulty of persuading men who pride themselves upon an extravagant love of liberty, rather to compromise upon some points with those who have in the main the same views with themselves, than to give power (a power which will infallibly be used for their own destruction) to an adversary of principles diametrically opposite; in other words, rather to concede something to a friend, than everything to an enemy.”

It's funny because it's true.

Feud Turgidson said...

Chiris B, I read that, jeezuzz, 44-5 years ago, for a polihist paper on how the English Civil War under Oliver Cromwell rendered first the Glorious Revolution and eventually our own both inevitable and just as inevitably successful. It was produced in the context of a seminar course on politial theory from one of a group of academics and self-styled theorists who contributed to Newt's Contract With [I always think "On"] America. The dude was Newt-class nuts and our small group discussions were very often simply that - but it's the only course other than statistics and computer programing (on the only main frame in town!] where I never missed a class because it came with a virtucal guarantee at least one zany thing was bound to be said ievery session. IMO we've not had a reasonable American comparator to Fox since Henry Clay (and Clay, um, somewhat lacked Fox's wit and humor).

IMO Fox doesn't get near enough ... credit, you could call it, for his contributions to both our Revolution and our crazy politics.

Ten Bears said...

There are many good reasons for pseudonymous posting, none-the-least it's an Internet Tradition. A measure of respect.

This is what the Retards do.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Yves, repoated Gaius Publius breathless article about Hillary's email "crimes", which contains Gaius interpretation of the 5th Amendment; "Taking the fifth” is an admission of guilt of something (who knows what?)