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‘Ruling class’ must regard Trump’s rise as response to ‘ill conceived wars’ — Matthews

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on 58 Comments

This has been the most dispiriting election anyone can remember, but Chris Matthews deserves applause for linking the populist rage against the “ruling class” that has fueled Donald Trump’s rise with foreign policy. Matthews wasn’t celebrating Trump– no, he said he will lose and he’s scurrilous. But he emphasized that Trump’s rise, in spite of his baggage, is a message to “the ruling class” about elite decision-making. On Hardball last night:

I find it important how close this election is drawing…. Enough for the ruling class to pay attention. By that I mean the people who think they have it all together and think the regular people out there should leave them to run the show, letting them to continue alternating Democrats and Republicans.

If this election is close… if someone carrying his trainload of baggage is able to seriously challenge someone with Hillary Clinton’s resume…the people will have spoken very loudly…

It tells you something about the power of his message. I believe he was on to something in this race. I believe that half the people in this country, maybe more have had with establishment elite politics, they’re tired of the same best and brightest who took us into Vietnam, went for broke there and have come back to take us into Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria and god knows what next desert war…

Matthews concluded that 40 percent of the electorate are an angry, anti-elite groundswell against “ill conceived wars” (though yes, he also cited immigration policy and trade agreements).

His comments resonate in one respect particularly: There have been no consequences inside the elite for the sponsorship of the Iraq War. Everyone talks about our society’s failure to put any Wall Street bankers in jail for the subprime/credit defaults bubble; but it seems more important that none of the thinkers and journalists who supported the war have suffered any career consequences, or have had to account for their decision. Jeffrey Goldberg was just elevated to one of the prime posts in journalism, editor in chief of the Atlantic, despite having promoted that war with bad reporting; and the Atlantic took care in its gushing statement on his promotion to leave out his support for that war. Shouldn’t that have been the black ball? The New York Times and the New Yorker have never had any kind of truth-and-reconciliation process over their cheerleading the war. And whenever I listen to NPR’s On the Media, I reflect that it will consider a hundred trivial media questions before it looks at Iraq, and for good reason, because its highly-able co-host is married to one of the armchair-war theorists who helped give us this war.

If I am leaving (most) names out of this, it’s because I need to temper my pride over having demonstrated against that war; and because I supported the Libya war, to my everlasting regret.

Matthews’s term “ruling class” is pointedly nostalgic. After Vietnam there was an accounting for the bastards. The best and the brightest were pilloried; university presidents stepped down; Robert McNamara was shunned (and a friend of my wife’s famously tried to push him off the Martha’s Vineyard ferry). Today Iraq is the elephant in the room of the establishment: we all know there has been a complete failure to exercise any real accounting for the terrible decision-making, because of an elite protection racket: too many members of the elite would suffer (and the Israel lobby would have to be named, something no one wants to do, beginning with Matthews). The other night Temple Emanu-El in New York hosted Bill Kristol, one of the lead authors of the Iraq war. Why on earth did that happen? These types of choices mask bitter rancor over the war decision that has divided our society at a deep level, and that Trump often tapped into.

Establishments fall over bad wars; or they should. This establishment has managed to sustain itself like the cartoon character running off the cliff who keeps on running. It’s got to end some time. Happily, Trump won’t do it; but when he loses the burden will be on the media, and thinktanks and ideas festivals, to deal with this question at last. Don’t hold your breath. The accounting probably won’t happen till all the decision-makers are collecting pensions.

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58 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    November 3, 2016, 1:37 pm

    Neocon support for Hillary Clinton, despite her espousing domestic policies (raising minimum wage, free or at least cheaper higher education, Social Security & Medicare) that they abhor, shows that Empire, not domestic issues is their paramount concern. Seems that the Neocon looks upon opposing global hegemony as the cardinal sin, whereas , opposition to free market dogma is a lesser and pardonable sin. Perhaps their tolerance for Hillary’s domestic positions (better, poses) is because they realize that even if she initially makes good on these, before long an expanding empire will drain the economy, such that, she’ll be telling us something like, “Sorry folks, but after we pay for the weapons and for our troops there just won’t be any money left to provide for the common good.”

  2. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    November 3, 2016, 2:45 pm

    Donald Trump’s rise is indicative of many of the dysfunctions of American democracy, including the dysfunctions that led to the ill-conceived decision to go to war against Iraq in 2003. The decision was made by an administration that had dodged the draft during vietnam and was approved by a congress and a ruling class whose sons were not in the ranks of our volunteer army. Though the idea of a volunteer army was applauded by most of the left when it was instituted by nixon, the net effect was: the rich get to decide if we go to war, which is fought by the poor. While economic disparities of any sort weaken our claims on democracy, this disparity vis a vis war decisions makes a mockery of our self image of being a democracy.
    Yet Trump’s rise is also due to a dysfunction of our society that cannot be solved by democracy and that is the problem of race. Let us not forget that Trump’s rise was signalled by his leadership of the birther movement and that no democrat since lbj’s support for civil rights has won a majority of white votes in the presidential contest (clinton in 96 came close to winning a plurality of the white vote, close, but not quite.) White resentment at an Obama presidency is the root cause for the rise of trump. Democracy cannot paper over the deep divisions in American society, thus it is not a dysfunction of our democracy, but rather a dysfunction of our society which is the real source of Trump’s rise.

    • Citizen
      November 3, 2016, 4:14 pm

      I disagree. Trump support’s main motivator is not race. The USA is not even close to ethnocentric Israel in why Trump (or Bernie, or Jill Stein) dissenters protest the ruling class.

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 4, 2016, 4:14 pm

        Lily white trump rallies merely reflect lily white Gop conventions since the beginning of time. No racism there. Disqualify the Mexican judge (born in america). No racism there. Just a scam artist working the judicial system. The birther movement, no racism there, and trump didn’t start it hillary did.
        The middle class is collapsing, whereas the blacks have had their messiah, a false messiah, but a messiah nonetheless, now it’s the white man’s time, our last chance to save this country. The trump movement does reflect political failures, but its major cause is psychological. Get us back to the pre 60’s, when the american middle class was booming, father knew best and all was well in Iily white america.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      November 4, 2016, 12:42 am

      On the question of a vibrant us military vs the isolationist urge: the mcgovern impulse towards isolationism was premature. Despite the stupidity of the specific involvement in vietnam, the general opposition to the Soviet Union was the proper historical stance and the victory of the fall of the Soviet union was a vindication of the peace through strength advocated by those previous to 1989. With Gulf wars I and II and the wars of yugoslavia’s breakup, a new murkier phase is our current reality. Policeman of the world, is not a role the American masses approve of, but is still in the minds of many global thinkers.
      The vast majority of US jews voted against bush Cheney in 2000, and on the Supreme court, neither Ruth Bader ginsberg nor Breyer voted the Bush way. It was the gentiles on the court who gave the presidency to the gentile president and vice president. A president who followed his vice president, who made no secret of his neoconservative affiliation. The Likud Zionist aspect of the neoconservatives push for war should be conceded, but they didn’t sneak their way in, the gentiles on the Supreme Court knew who Cheney was when they appointed him president and Cheney did not hide his signature on the pnac.

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 2:06 pm

        “On the question of a vibrant us military…”

        Oh, you bet, “Yonah”. “Vibrant”? And what was the other half of the pilpul you are compounding, the false equivalence you iontend to natter at? That “vibrant us military” is enough to make me glad I’ll never know.

        “Left, right, left, right, and c’mon, try to shine, men! The General will be here at at twelvehundred hours to inspect our battalion’s vibrancy! C’mon, shine, you crazy diamonds!”

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 3:08 pm

        “dysfunction of our society that cannot be solved by democracy and that is the problem of race.”

        That must be why the US could assimilate the Jews, with hardly any problems, and no laws, but is having a much harder time with other people, huh?
        That must be it! “The problem of race” cannot be solved by democracy!
        Wow “Yonah” aren’t you glad you don’t have a “race problem” “which can’t be solved by democracy”

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 4, 2016, 4:05 pm

        There are many who feel that the bloated pentagon budget was a problem going way back to ike and the milit.indust.complex. thank God I don’t have to deal with a real argument.
        As the man said on monty python: “this is insults. Arguments are down the hall.”

      • wondering jew
        wondering jew
        November 4, 2016, 5:18 pm

        america’s ability to assimilate the jews without much hassle is not comparable to america’s race problem. race, as in slavery was the original sin of america. (coupled with ethnic cleansing of the indigenous). jim crow was another 100 years after slavery. so from 1776 and before race has been an issue in america. all we need is mooser’s humor to deal with a serious subject. seeking intelligent comments? go elsewhere.

        i have given my explanation for the trump phenomenon: race. what’s your theory: entertainment?

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 5:28 pm

        “i have given my explanation for the trump phenomenon: race. what’s your theory: entertainment?”

        “Entertainment” Certainly not, “Yonah”! I would never be foolish enough to suggest the media’s involvement in Trump’s “phenomenon” with a mind like yours present to tear my conjectures to pieces.

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 5:33 pm

        “america’s ability to assimilate the jews without much hassle is not comparable to america’s race problem.”

        Absolutely! Our good fortune and equality in America has nothing to do with the fact that Jews were afforded the same citizen ship and rights as everybody else in America. It must be because, we’re, well, more worthy of it, or maybe it’s because, Jews are exactly the same race as all the white people in America, so there was no problem?

        Gosh “Yonah” just think of what we could have accomplished in the New World had we been afforded our separateness and nationhood, like the Native Americans, African-Americans!

  3. Citizen
    November 3, 2016, 4:18 pm

    Wow; this is the first time I have been able to see a comment of mine actually posted on Mondoweiss in a few months! Is Annie around? Who should I thank for finally being able to get a comment posted?

    • annie
      November 3, 2016, 8:38 pm

      citizen, click on your name and check your archives. you’ve had over 30 posted in the last month. and we’ve had some real problems w/commenting lately but hopefully it’s all getting better soon. thanks for making the effort to keep posting during this strange time.

      • Citizen
        November 4, 2016, 3:55 pm

        The problem then was, I was not able to see any of my own posts on MW; on my end, they just vanished into the ether. Why is that? Somebody knows, as it has been very recently fixed. Whatever happened, it was not a way to keep MW regulars interested in MW. I have been involved with MW since 2008, including helping Phil for free to get rid of hasbara trolls in the old days.

      • annie
        November 4, 2016, 4:25 pm

        i don’t know what happened to the “waiting for moderation” feature citizen. but not all of them vanished into ether. i discovered a bunch of them had gone automatically into trash last weekend and started clearing them. i wrote about it at the time in my comments. beginning here:

        i’m well aware how alienating it is and we have been working on it. it’s been a priority for me but not a lot i can do. no one has intentionally tried to prevent you from commenting, that’s for sure. i believe the comments are no longer landing in trash. i wish i could tell you more. i wrote several comments about it and we got some new tech people who are working on it. please write adam regarding the old feature where the comments appeared for you even before they were published. very sorry. very.

      • echinococcus
        November 4, 2016, 4:32 pm


        Essentially it looks as if MW has not collected enough during the funding drives to pay a competent kid to IT-manage the web site. Looks may deceive, of course, but the only other explanation would be in the realm of conspiracy theories.

      • annie
        November 4, 2016, 4:36 pm

        well, personally, i’m conspiracy minded. this year has been just one tech issue after another and i think we’ve been systematically attacked over and over. not everyone here shares my view.

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 6:17 pm

        “I have been involved with MW since 2008, including helping Phil for free to get rid of hasbara trolls in the old days”

        In light of that service, I felt I could do no less. About 3 weeks or so after comments shut down, I bought a new computer, hooked it up, and comments worked almost perfectly for everybody. I needed one anyway, my old Dell (XP, too) was not fast enough. The new one has a one-terrapin hard drive.

      • RoHa
        November 4, 2016, 9:08 pm

        Annie, the most depressing thing about conspiracy theories is that they often turn out to be correct. But we only find out when it is much too late.

        The “assume cock-up rather than conspiracy” principle certainly has some merit, in that we should try not to underestimate human stupidity, but following the principle rigidly leads to us underestimating human turpitude. And turpitude exists, and is nearly as destructive.

      • echinococcus
        November 4, 2016, 11:41 pm

        Annie and Roha,

        Just for the sake of not always being the same old whiners denouncing Zionist plots, we could join the “not everyone” and assume that the Zionists are not interested in Mondoweiss.

      • annie
        November 5, 2016, 8:21 am


    • mcohen.
      November 5, 2016, 5:08 am

      very strange indeed.still getting the waiting…..message.pretty weird.annie whats going on

  4. Jackdaw
    November 3, 2016, 4:55 pm

    “There have been no consequences inside the elite for the sponsorship of the Iraq War. ”

    Right there is Phil’s limp d#&* attempt to blame today’s angry electorate on the Neo-cons (Jews/Israel), of 2003.

    PhiI creeps me out sometimes.

    • amigo
      November 3, 2016, 7:52 pm


    • oldgeezer
      November 3, 2016, 7:55 pm


      To suggest that the neocons (who were not comprised solely of Jews) and Israel were not a part of the main proponents for this war is to live in denial. Phil blames the establishment in general and does not single out the neocons or the Israel lobby. Their efforts were made frequently and in public.

      Their should be consequences for this terrible folly (war crime and crime against hanity) if only because they were proven wrong in every aspect of the war and it’s outcome. They should be ignored in future as they have no credibility. Granted due the criminal nature of the venture it should be much more severe but at this stage hounding them out of the public sphere is a good start.

      Yeah Phil creeps you out for speaking the truth. The slaughter of hundreds of thousands and destruction of the future for millions bothers you not a whit. No surprises there.

      • annie
        November 3, 2016, 8:42 pm

        Phil blames the establishment in general and does not single out the neocons or the Israel lobby.

        oh, i think he blames the neocons. this is but one example from last year — we co wrote it:

        and here’s phil on his own 6 months earlier:

        Here are my two cents. We invaded Iraq because a powerful group of pro-Israel ideologues — the neoconservatives — who had mustered forces in Washington over the previous two decades and at last had come into the White House were able to sell a vision of transforming the Middle East that was pure wishful hokum but that they believed: that if Arab countries were converted by force into democracies, the people would embrace the change and would also accept Israel as a great neighbor. It’s a variation on a neocolonialist theory that pro-Israel ideologues have believed going back to the 1940s: that Palestinians would accept a Jewish state if you got rid of their corrupt leadership and allowed the people to share in Israel’s modern economic miracle.

        The evidence for this causation is at every hand.

        It is in the Clean Break plan written for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in 1996 by leading neocons Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser — all of whom would go into the Bush administration — calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein and the export of the Palestinian political problem to Jordan.

        It is in the Project for a New American Century letters written to Clinton in 1998 telling him that Saddam’s WMD were a threat to Israel. (A letter surely regretted by Francis Fukuyama, who later accused the neocons of seeing everything through a pro-Israel lens.)

        It is in the PNAC letter written to George W. Bush early in 2002 urging him to “accelerate plans for removign Saddam Hussein from power” for the sake of Israel.

        the United States and Israel share a common enemy. We are both targets of what you have correctly called an “Axis of Evil.” Israel is targeted in part because it is our friend, and in part because it is an island of liberal, democratic principles — American principles — in a sea of tyranny, intolerance, and hatred.

        It is in Netanyahu testifying to Congress in 2002 that he promised there would be “enormous positive reverberations” throughout the region if we only removed Saddam.

        It is in Wolfowitz saying that the road to peace in the Middle East runs through Baghdad. (Possibly the stupidest thing anyone has ever said in the history of the world, including Douglas Feith.)

        It is in all the neocon tracts, from Perle and Frum’s An End to Evil, to Kristol and Kaplan’s The War Over Saddam, to Berman’s Terror and Liberalism, saying that Saddam’s support for suicide bombers in Israel was a reason for the U.S. to topple him.

        It is in war-supporter Tom Friedman saying that we needed to invade Iraq because of suicide bombers in Tel Aviv— and the importance of conveying to Arabs they couldn’t get away with that.

        It is in the head of the 9/11 Commission, former Bush aide Philip Zelikow, saying Israel was the reason to take on Iraq back in 2002 even though Iraq was no threat to us:

        “Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 – it’s the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002. “And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don’t care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.”

        It is in Friedman saying that “elite” neoconservatives created the war in this interview with Ari Shavit back in 2003: 

        It’s the war the neoconservatives wanted, Friedman says. It’s the war the neoconservatives marketed. Those people had an idea to sell when September 11 came, and they sold it. Oh boy, did they sell it. So this is not a war that the masses demanded. This is a war of an elite. Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

        It is in Tony Judt’s statement about the Israel interest in the war back in 2003:

        For many in the current US administration, a major strategic consideration was the need to destabilize and then reconfigure the Middle East in a manner thought favorable to Israel.

        And yes this goes back to rightwing Zionism. It goes back to Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol launching neoconservatism in the 1970s because they said that the dovish policies of the Democratic Party were a direct threat to Israel– an analysis continued in this day by Norman Braman, Marco Rubio’s leading supporter, who says that the U.S. must be a military and economic power in order to “sustain” Israel.

        An Economist blogger wrote several years ago that if you leave out the Zionism you won’t understand the Iraq war:

        Yes, it would be ridiculous, and anti-semitic, to cast the Iraq war as a conspiracy monocausally driven by a cabal of Jewish neocons and the Israeli government. But it’s entirely accurate to count neoconservative policy analyses as among the important causes of the war, to point out that the pro-Israeli sympathies of Jewish neoconservatives played a role in these analyses, and to note the support of the Israeli government and public for the invasion. In fact any analysis of the war’s causes that didn’t take these into account would be deficient.

        Many writers, including Joe Klein, Jacob Heilbrunn, and Alan Dershowitz, have said the obvious, that neoconservatism came out of the Jewish community. And I have long written that the Jewish community needs to come to terms with the degree to which it has harbored warmongering neoconservatives, for our own sake.

        But America needs to come to terms with the extent to which it allowed rightwing Zionists to dominate discussions of going to war. This matter is now at the heart of the Republican embrace of the war on Iran. There is simply no other constituency in our country for that war besides rightwing Zionists. They should be called out for this role, so that we don’t make that terrible mistake again. And yes: this issue is going to play out frankly in the 2016 campaign, thanks in good measure to Matthews.

        – See more at:

        there’s a lot more where that came from

      • annie
        November 3, 2016, 9:03 pm

        and one more thing — the only “limp” around here is jack — too cowardly to admit who got us into that decade long genocidal disaster.. he should grow up.

      • oldgeezer
        November 3, 2016, 9:31 pm


        Any sensible person would blame the neocons . My sentence should have read that he doesn’t single out just the neocons and Israel.

        The neoconservative ‘s were the primary proponents whether in the halls of power or the press,

      • Jackdaw
        November 4, 2016, 1:37 am

        Maybe American voters aren’t sick of a long war, like Vietnam, and the Cold War.

        Maybe American voters are sick of our involvement in a region that slowly oozes putrescence and never heals.
        Maybe they are sick of bloodthirsty megalomaniac leaders like Saddam and Qaddafi. Maybe they are sick of hegemony hungry, terror-spreading theocracies like Iran. Maybe they are sick of venal kingdoms, like Saudi Arabia, that pretend to be our friends, but who plot against us. Maybe they don’t want the backwash of Syria and Afghanistan coming to America and sexually abusing American women, en masse, like the refugees do in Europe?

        Phil’s like a cat who won’t look at the gorilla in the room while he’s chasing mice.


      • eljay
        November 4, 2016, 10:04 am

        || Jackdaw: Maybe American voters are sick of our involvement in a region that slowly oozes putrescence and never heals. … ||

        Maybe American voters should stop supporting America’s desire to keep slashing open wounds in the M.E. and let it heal.

        || … Maybe they are sick of bloodthirsty megalomaniac leaders like Saddam and Qaddafi. … ||

        Bloodthirsty megalomaniacal leaders America supported when it suited its purpose.

        || … Maybe they are sick of hegemony hungry, terror-spreading theocracies like Iran. … ||

        If American voters are sick of “hegemony hungry” Iran, they should be doubled-over in pain and vomiting at the thought of hegemony-realizing Israel – an oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal, nuclear-armed and religion-supremacist state – staunchly supported, defended and funded by the U.S.ofA. – that happily employs its own brand of terrorism to maintain its supremacist status and to hold on to the territory outside of its / Partition borders that it has stolen, occupied and colonized.

        || … Maybe they are sick of venal kingdoms, like Saudi Arabia, that pretend to be our friends, but who plot against us. … ||

        Venal kingdoms America supports when it suits its purpose.

        || … Maybe they don’t want the backwash of Syria and Afghanistan coming to America and sexually abusing American women, en masse, like the refugees do in Europe? ||

        Maybe American voters should hold accountable the American leaders (and followers) who advocated, undertook and supported the destabilization of those countries which resulted in the waves of refugees that now offend them.

      • Mooser
        November 5, 2016, 12:30 pm

        Major gorilla-kitty cuteness at links above!

    • talknic
      November 4, 2016, 1:58 am

      @ Jackdaw November 3, 2016, 4:55 pm

      “Right there is Phil’s limp d#&* attempt to blame today’s angry electorate on the Neo-cons (Jews/Israel), of 2003”

      None of the neo-cons were Jewish or Israel firsters? Amazing. I wonder if those who were knew they weren’t.

      • Jackdaw
        November 4, 2016, 2:45 pm

        A few neo-cons were Jewish and had a hard on for Saddam. They thought he was regional bully who gassed to death innocent women and children and the neo-cons thought that Saddam should be taken down a few pegs. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld (non-Jews) sent the troops in (post 9/11) with the approval of Congress.

        That was thirteen years ago, and Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and Syria have nothing to do with the Second Gulf War.

        The Mondoweiss banshees scream, but the caravan has moved on.

      • annie
        November 4, 2016, 2:49 pm

        uh huh

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 3:41 pm

        “The Mondoweiss banshees scream,”

        plural noun: banshees
        (in Irish legend) a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house.”

      • Lillian Rosengarten
        Lillian Rosengarten
        November 4, 2016, 3:58 pm

        Sick of bloodthirsty megalomaniac leaders like Sadaam and Quadaffi??? Take another look at who are the megalomaniac leaders if you dare. Both Sadaam and Quadaffi at the time had stable secular governments. They were US allies for many years until we followed the dangerous violent neocon agendas. Look at the horrifying result including the birth of Isis. Except for the 1% corporate greedy ones, that include the neocon deadheads that have created our present day disaster, we are all afraid and wonder how the US reign of terror can be stopped

      • echinococcus
        November 4, 2016, 4:55 pm

        Jack, ehm, daw:

        A few neo-cons were Jewish

        Few perhaps, but definitely 90% or more of them; 101% rabid Zionist and with loyalty entirely pledged to the Zionist entity, as the tools to implement the Yinon program.

        and the neo-cons thought that Saddam should be taken down a few pegs.

        As requested in writing by the PNAC program, re-written from Yinon by Feith (Jewish and Zionist) on behalf of Likud, officially, mentioning in the program the next targets Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, the Lebanon.

        Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld (non-Jews)

        and Perle and Wolfowitz and Feith and Kaplan and Libby and Nuland and Kristol and Kagan and Schmitt and Goldfarb and Bauer and Abrams and Bennett and Decter and Cohen and Dobriansky and Friedberg and Gaffney and Podhoretz and Rosen, and Weber… along with a couple other Lost Goys.

        sent the troops in (post 9/11) with the approval of Congress.

        who had no power to approve this supreme international crime, as certified even by the UNSC; along with the Neocons and the US governments until now, Congress are criminals against humanity.

    • Marnie
      November 5, 2016, 7:04 am

      Yes, Phil has to work extra, extra hard to achieve the creep out factor you’ve got 24/7 Jackdaw.

  5. Donald
    November 3, 2016, 9:01 pm

    The depressing thing is that in the mainstream the neocons have won. In DC circles they are back in the drivers seat and the only lesson learned from Iraq is that ordinary Americans have no patience for long wars in which tens of thousands of Americans are killed or wounded. (Wounded make a much higher percentage of American casualties because people who would have died in earlier wars now come back missing limbs or worse.)

    So now they favor air strikes, mercenaries, special forces and so on. They regret Iraq mainly because it made ordinary Americans so skittish about future wars. Vietnam had the same effect and the ruling elite hated this pacifism–they called it the Vietnam syndrome and the Gulf War was supposed to have ended it. They are itching for a way to put Iraq behind them. They see Syria as an opportunity and to some extent Yemen too–Michael Morell wants us to go after Iranian ships allegedly carrying weapons to the Houthis.

  6. dx
    November 4, 2016, 3:24 am

    Well, I’ll try to inject a positive note (though maybe it’s a just a passing hope). Hillary Clinton has shown that she is not really wedded to any particular policies or principles. Remember that video that was going around of 10-15 min of her stating one position, then changing it some time later with no real explanation or even claiming she had not changed at all.? She can change on a dime is what I’m saying–when she feels pressured or threatened. Can’t beat ’em? Join ’em. That seems to be her motto.

    Also, she owes a lot to Bernie Sanders and especially Elizabeth Warren. Warren has bucked President Obama in the past. She’s obviously more popular and seen as a more honest actor in the political realm than Clinton. Clinton will still need Sanders’ support on things in the future and he’s quite free with his opinions.

    I have some hope that if Clinton wants to keep progressives on her side (and she likely will need those votes in the Senate), she will have to dance with the powerhouse progressives there who are far more popular than she is. They are bringing her to the ball. Clinton will have to work to keep in Warren and Sanders’ good graces. That ought to act as some sort of a brake on her military adventures.

    • Citizen
      November 4, 2016, 4:23 pm

      Wikileaks shows us Hillary is totally in Haim Sabab’s camp on the issue of US-Israel relations and they program now to kill BDS. How does that fit in to your picture?

  7. oneangrycomic
    November 4, 2016, 9:18 am

    Some claim that Elie Wiesel was the last “layperson” to speak with Bush Jr. before the idiot pulled the trigger on Iraq. Supposedly, Wiesel bent his ear for hours about how America had to save poor Iraqi children from monster Saddam, etc. Hasbara blah-blah-blah…

    If I’m not mistaken, Wiesel was a Zionist who only had Israel’s interests in mind. One thing is for sure – the ZioNeoCon disastrous war in Iraq killed WAY more innocent Iraqi children than Saddam ever could have. And fanatical anti-American groups like ISIS were spawned. Thank you “Mr. Hasbara”; your nickname “The Weasel” sure was accurate!

    • Citizen
      November 4, 2016, 4:27 pm

      Wikileaks emails show Hillary admitting many innocent Syrians will die when she accomplishes her safe zones in Syria, lauded as a way to save the ones she is ready to kill. Not to mention she wants to flirt with a nuclear war between US and Russia, the only country that can really nuke the USA. All that for Haim Saban’s Israel…

  8. AddictionMyth
    November 4, 2016, 9:40 am

    Uh, no. Trump’s appeal is that he will start new wars and witch hunts. That’s why the underclass is voting for him. They think they’ll be able to plunder the spoils. Rounding up illegals, door-to-door urban warfare, and nuking the middle east with his buddy Putin. I actually think that Goldberg and Frum have learned their lesson about starting wars, or at least can be thwarted. We shall see.

    • Citizen
      November 4, 2016, 4:29 pm

      Stupid comment, AdditionMyth. No Trump fans want more war for Israel. In this respect, they unite with Bernie fans.

      • Mooser
        November 4, 2016, 5:45 pm

        “. No Trump fans want more war for Israel.”

        With all due respect, “Citizen”, when has any of the wars the US has been in in the ME been billed as “a war for Israel”? If “Israel’s security” isn’t a popular thing to invoke, it’ll be something else given as the reason, and Israel’s part in it will be exposed later, maybe.

      • RoHa
        November 4, 2016, 7:15 pm

        Fair point, Mooser, but Trump himself doesn’t seem to want wars with anyone for any reason. Apparently he thinks that bombing the world into rubble would be bad for his business. Very un-American attitude.

  9. pabelmont
    November 4, 2016, 9:43 am

    Terrific essay. Things to think about right after Nov 8: coalition-building for
    pro-Palestine, pro-international-law, anti-imperial-wars (Israel and USA and maybe Russian Fed and/or China), serious-action-and-urgency-on global warming climate change, economic justice and environmental justice and big-money-out-of-politics at home in USA and the like.

    Readers might like to read // Steven Zunes’s take on the election // and also to consider that if Chomsky has it right that USA’s F/P is the result of a CONVERGENCE OF INTERESTS among the oligarchs (rather than just the strength of AIPAC alone), then any coalition the peace-and-environmental-and-justice camp manages to put together has a LOT to oppose (BIG-DEFENSE, BIG-BANKS, “deep state”, etc.).

    FWIW, my take is that the total refusal of the corporatist-Democratic-Party (or Clinton) to “bend” to any pressure against war, for Palestine, or anti-oligarchy is a signal that the oligarchy may not be afraid of a Trump win — and thus coerced corporatist-DEMs to take a BETTER TRUMP THAN ANTI-OLIGARCH stance for this election.

    • Citizen
      November 4, 2016, 4:38 pm

      Taking a clue from fact Hillary’s Haim Saban & Trump’s Sheldon Adelson have partnered to muzzle BDS?

  10. Bandolero
    November 4, 2016, 9:43 am

    The “ruling class” elite is responsible for wars on Yugoslavia, Iraq & Libya, just to name some of these bloody and expensive desasters, for the financial bubble thereby making people poor and FTAs designed not for the US people jobs but for their world dominance plots. Currently that very same ruling class elite is in bed with Al Qaeda (Read Consortium News 29/10/2016: The De Facto US/Al Qaeda Alliance) to bring down the Syrian government, the very same group they told people to be responsible for 9/11 which they told were the reason for their wars in the middle east, they advocate bombing the Syrian army, sinking Iranian ships and shooting down Russian planes and they push for more FTAs made for their geopolitical plots, read TPP.

    I think Matthews is correct that more and more ordinary people got that and they are simply and rightfully outraged. But Matthews is careful not to mention what I think will become the real big and messy issue soon.

    Who is the “ruling class” elite and what’s the aim of their desastrous wars?

    The Washington Post recently put up a headline:

    ‘Jew-S-A!’ chant is latest reminder of white supremacist support for Trump

    Other media carried similar headlines. But is it true? Or may be it’s more like many ordinary people now think the “ruling class” elite in the US is largely jewish and their desastrous wars are designed to serve Israeli aims? I think the latter is true.

    Counterpunch had recently put up an article by Badruddin Khan: Has Israel Effectively Colonized the United States?

    Can it be that Israel through a Jewish “ruling class” elite rules the US by proxy? So, who is the “ruling class” elite backing this election cycle? Almost everyone agrees the “ruling class” elite is backing Hillary Clinton and dislikes Donald Trump very much. The say so themselves, urge people to vote for Hillary, warn how bad a Trump presidency would be and their mass media even gave official endorsements to Hillary.

    So, now, everyone can have an easy look on who are the biggest donors of Hillary Clinton:

    Break down that list by religion and everybody can see that ~90% of the rich “ruling class” elite guys paying most to Clinton are in fact jewish. And quite a few of them make no secret what’s on top of their mind: Israel.

    I think it’s a quite convincing case, more and more people in the US see it that way and more and more people find it completely unacceptable.

    I’ld expect more chants like “Jew-S-A” in the future, swelling louder and louder until the ruling class elite is brought down and the Israeli colonialization of the US ends.

    I believe Trump is just a harbinger of that real big and messy issue coming. The US ruling class elite engaged in bloody regime change abroad, but now it looks like the chickens will come home to roost.

    • Citizen
      November 4, 2016, 4:42 pm

      Google most influential 50 jews in the world, from JP, if memory serves; Head of US Fed is #2 & Hillary’s Haim Saban & Trump’s Sheldon Adleson are right up there at the top of the list too.

  11. JLewisDickerson
    November 4, 2016, 11:54 am

    RE: “Matthews’s term ‘ruling class’ is pointedly nostalgic.” – Weiss
    AND: “I find it important how close this election is drawing…. Enough for the ruling class to pay attention. By that I mean the people who think they have it all together and think the regular people out there should leave them to run the show . . .” – Matthews

    MY COMMENT: Of course, the U.K. has its House of Lords.*

    Ruling class
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    [EXCERPTS] A ruling class is the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society’s political agenda by mandating that there is one such particular class in the given society, and then appointing itself as that class.[citation needed]

    The sociologist C. Wright Mills (1916-1962), argued that the ruling class differs from the power elite. The latter simply refers to the small group of people with the most political power. Many of them are politicians, hired political managers, and military leaders. A common term used to refer to people who directly influence politics, education, and government with the use of wealth or power is the ruling class.[1] In terms of Marxism the “ruling class” is typically seen as the Bourgeoisie.

    Analogous to the class of the major capitalists, other modes of production give rise to different ruling classes: under feudalism, it was the feudal lords, while under slavery, it was the slave-owners. Under the feudal society, feudal lords had power over the vassals because of their control of the fiefs. This gave them political and military power over the people. In slavery, because complete rights of the person’s life belonged to the slave owner, they could and did every implementation that would help the production in the farm.[2] . . .

    In the media
    There are several examples of ruling class systems in movies, novels, and television shows. The 2005 American independent film The American Ruling Class written by former Harper’s Magazine editor Lewis Lapham and directed by John Kirby is a semi-documentary that examines how the American economy is structured and for whom. . .
    . . . The comedic film The Ruling Class was a satire of British aristocracy, depicting nobility as self-serving and cruel, juxtaposed against an insane relative who believes that he is Jesus Christ, whom they identify as a “bloody Bolshevik”.

    SOURCE –

    * ■ The Ruling Class (1972) [VIDEO, 2:34:13]
    A member of the House of Lords dies in a shockingly silly way, leaving his estate to his son. Unfortunately, his son is insane: he thinks he is Jesus Christ. The other somewhat-more respectable members of their family plot to steal the estate from him. Murder and mayhem ensues. Peter O’Toole, Alastair Sim & Arthur Lowe star.
    • YouTube –
    • Netflix –

    The American Ruling Class
    2005 NR Rated NR
    Average of 29279 ratings: 3.6 stars
    This inventive, mildly fictionalized documentary follows noted editor Lewis Lapham as he introduces two Ivy League graduates to America’s elite in an effort to examine the role of class and moneyed privilege in American democracy.
    Cast: Robert Altman, Lewis Lapham, Bill Bradley, more…
    • NETFLIX LISTING (not currently available) –
    • PPV ($2.99) –

    ■ Jeffrey Dallet “Ballad of the Ruling Class” [VIDEO, 11:38] –

  12. Misterioso
    November 4, 2016, 12:15 pm

    For the Record:

    Ironically, the best argument against the illegal US led murderous invasion\occupation of Iraq in 2003 was made in 1991 by then Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, regarding the limited 1990-91 Gulf War: “Once you’ve got Baghdad, it’s not clear what you will do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime or a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Ba’athists, or one that tilts toward the Islamic fundamentalists . How much credibility is that government going to have if it’s set up by the United States military when it’s there? How long does the United States military have to stay to protect the people that sign on for the government, and what happens to it once we leave?” (New York Times, 13 April 1991)

    • Citizen
      November 4, 2016, 4:54 pm

      so why did he push for that war?

      • Misterioso
        November 4, 2016, 6:39 pm

        Orders from “on high.”

      • Mooser
        November 5, 2016, 12:33 pm

        Citizen, the First Gulf War was so easy, why not do it again, and this time, loot the place into the bargain? Do you remember anybody saying there might be any military difficulty? We couldn’t lose, so why not get on board? It was supposed to be no more than two Elinor Glyn units long.

  13. Mooser
    November 4, 2016, 12:43 pm

    If you haven’t had your chuckle for today, here’s the irrepressible Paul Krugman in the NYTs, vociferating about “Who Broke Politics”:

    “In other words, Republican leaders have spent the past couple of decades doing exactly what the likes of Mr. Ryan are doing now: trashing democratic norms in pursuit of economic benefits for their donor class.”

    Thank Goddess the Dems have no problem with that!

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