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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3255 on: June 27, 2018, 05:30:05 AM »
Read The Intercept's extensive reporting on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Puerto Rican socialist who just defeated the No. 4 Democrat in the House, Rep. Joe Crowley, in his first primary challenge in 14 years. A victory for the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

"Crowley’s second biggest donor, the Blackstone Group, is a close ally of President Donald Trump."

A BRONX ACTIVIST LOOKS TO DETHRONE JOSEPH CROWLEY, THE KING OF QUEENS

THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL system was said to be on the brink of a complete meltdown. From the press gallery overlooking the House floor, Rep. Joseph Crowley’s glistening dome could be seen above the crush of lawmakers deciding whether to bail out Wall Street.

It was September 29, 2008, and as the votes of those rejecting the demand for $700 billion began adding up, Crowley’s voice could be heard above the din. “600 points!” he shouted across the aisle, with his thumb down. As the Dow Jones industrial average continued to crash, Crowley, a New York Democrat, continued to loudly update his Republican colleagues on the market carnage being unleashed by the shock populist rejection.

The resistance was ultimately broken and the bailout was approved days later. But as the debate about what it would look like went on through the winter, Crowley found himself caught up in an ethics probe, having taken campaign money from lobbyists representing financial firms just before voting against imposing tougher restrictions on Wall Street. The Office of Congressional Ethics, which was created that March by Democrats in the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, looked into Crowley’s fundraising and referred it to the House Committee on Ethics for further investigation. The panel, comprised of fellow lawmakers, eventually cleared Crowley of any wrongdoing.

UNITED STATES - MARCH 5: Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., speaks during a media availability on the after a closed Democratic caucus meeting on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., speaks to the press after a closed Democratic caucus meeting on March 5, 2014.  Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

When the New York Daily News reported on the unfolding scandal, it noted that Crowley, when he was first elected, relied heavily on labor union money, but had since shifted to Wall Street cash. “I think I’ve matured here both personally and in terms of my assignments,” Crowley explained at the time. “Many people here in Washington view me as an important figure.”

At the time, Crowley was the vice chair for finance at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, his fundraising generosity a way to win the favor of colleagues and rise in the ranks. He’s been on a steady climb since and has only gotten better at hauling in cash. So far this campaign season, Crowley has raised $2.8 million and has $1.6 million cash on hand, according to Federal Elections Commission filings. Now the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, he has spent much of 2017 and 2018 doling out checks to moderate and conservative Democratic candidates around the country, part of a behind-the-scenes bid to be in a position to replace House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., if she’s ousted by her colleagues after the November elections.

But for the first time since 2004, Crowley will have to get through a primary first.

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, poses for a picture in Bronx, New York, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Photo: Andres Kudacki)

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez poses for a picture in the Bronx borough of New York, on April 21, 2018.

Photo: Andres Kudacki for The Intercept

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the first Democrat in years to challenge Crowley’s reign over New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of Queens and the Bronx. A 28-year-old community organizer, her drive to enter public office was shaped by a series of events that began to unfold at the height of the 2008 recession, she told The Intercept in an interview at a diner in Queens. That fall, she was a 19-year-old undergrad at Boston University. She remembers getting an emergency call from her mother while sitting in an economics class. She hopped in a taxi, took the next flight home, and went straight to the hospital to see her father. He died on September 9, and she felt she could only take a week off of school. “I come from a working-class background, so you don’t really get a ton of time to mourn,” she said.

As the economy collapsed, she found herself “deeper and deeper underwater,” she said. Her family became locked in a years-long probate battle with the Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, which processes the estates of people who died without a will, as Ocasio-Cortez’s father had. She witnessed firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy.

The family was barely getting by on her mom’s income as a housecleaner and bus driver, and after Ocasio-Cortez graduated in 2011, she began bartending and waitressing to pitch in. She also started working as educational director with the National Hispanic Institute, a nonprofit that aims to cultivate leadership in Latino youth. Back in New York, she was fighting to stave off the banks, which were eyeing the family home.

“We just couldn’t afford to keep our home, and we had bankers going up to the curb of our home and taking photos of our house,” she recalled. In 2012, four years after her father’s death, they finally shook free of the surrogate’s court, property records show. In 2016, as Ocasio-Cortez campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders, her mother and grandmother, falling further behind, sold the home before it was lost. They moved to Florida, while Ocasio-Cortez stayed behind in New York. Fending off foreclosure and being able to ride the New York real estate market back up had allowed the family to sell the home for more than $300,000, which Ocasio-Cortez knew had not been the fate of millions who’d fallen victim to the financial crisis.

When the young organizer entered the race to challenge Crowley, New York political observers assumed she’d fall short of the 1,250 signatures she needed to get on the ballot, because New York’s arcane, machine-driven electoral system means that most of them can be disqualified for one technicality or another. By the April 12 deadline, she had collected more than 5,000 names.

She has raised about $200,000, according to her campaign. Despite the financial disadvantage, Ocasio-Cortez cautioned against discounting a candidate based on their war chest: “You can’t really beat big money with more money,” she said. “You have to beat them with a totally different game.”

She’ll face off against Crowley on June 26.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 31: Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talk to reporters following a meeting of the House Democratic caucus at the U.S. Capitol January 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. House Democratic leaders responded to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address he delivered Tuesday night. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talk to reporters following a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 31, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

CROWLEY DOESN’T JUST sit atop the House Democratic machine: His influence in New York Democratic circles has only grown since he became a member of Congress in 1999, after more than a decade in the state legislature. He dominates the political machine in Queens, holding the official title of chair of the Queens County Democratic Party.

The county party — the visible expression of the Queens machine — projects power throughout the borough in a number of overlapping and interlocking ways. It holds tremendous sway over judicial elections, where the Democratic judges allowed on the ballot are elected nearly automatically. For years, party leaders have been able to keep challengers off the ballot by enforcing arcane election laws, which are then adjudicated by judges who themselves came up through the machine. By acting as the gatekeeper for making it onto the ballot, the machine effectively ensures that its chosen judicial or political candidates will be elected in the heavily Democratic county.

As the New York Daily News wrote in 2017:

For 30 years, the same three men have effectively controlled one of the largest Democratic organizations in America. They are Gerard Sweeney, Michael Reich and Frank Bolz, the powerful attorneys who serve Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the Queens County Democratic Party. Reich is the executive secretary of the party, a spokesperson and wrangler of district leaders. Bolz is the law chairman, entrusted with keeping county-approved candidates on the ballot and knocking their rivals off.

And then, there’s the Queens County Surrogate’s Court, which has a long history of corruption.

Ocasio-Cortez had only a faint impression that something was off in the Westchester Surrogate Court where her family did battle for four years. The more she learned about the Queens one, the more convinced she was that her hunch about the lawyers who profited off of probate proceedings had been correct. Here’s how the New York Times described the Queen’s court in a 2011 account, in which Crowley is dubbed “the party boss in Queens”:

Power and money are found not so much in the voting booth as in the machine-controlled judicial conventions that pick judges, and in the courthouse on Sutphin Boulevard.

That is where you find Surrogate’s Court, otherwise known as widows and orphans court. This court appoints guardians who make handsome fees processing the estates of those Queens residents who die without wills.

To enter this court is to stumble upon Ponce de Leon’s own spring, an eternal source of easy money for the politically wired.

Sweeney’s office, according to the Daily News, made $30 million as counsel to the public administrator of the court from 2006 to 2017, administering the estates of people who died without wills. He did not respond to The Intercept’s request for comment, and he declined to comment to the Daily News last year about his work. Scott Kaufman, who served as Crowley’s campaign treasurer for 17 years, made almost half a million dollars from assignments by the court from 2006 to 2017, the New York Post reported last June. Kaufman’s haul prompted a state probe into possible pay violations. He did not return The Intercept’s request for comment, but he told the Post last year that he was in compliance with state rules on court appointments. “Any review will conclude that the rules have been complied with,” Kaufman said. A spokesperson for the Office of Court Administration declined to comment on the investigation, but noted that “Scott Kaufman is currently eligible for appointments, meaning he is still able to accept court appointments as a public administrator. 

Crowley’s allies in the machine, Ocasio-Cortez charged, “defend him in court and they bump his opponents off the ballot,” referring to ballot challenges filed with the Board of Elections against candidates Crowley did not support or who oppose the machine. Last year, as DNAInfo reported, a candidate in a City Council primary was booted from the ballot for not having enough valid signatures; she said she was bullied for not “kissing the ring” of the party boss, Crowley. In that race, Crowley supported Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who went on to defeat Hiram Monserrate, a former council member and state senator who was expelled from the legislature after a 2009 conviction for assaulting his girlfriend.

The machine has a tight relationship with developers. Ocasio-Cortez noted in a follow-up email that Crowley’s organization reaped large sums of real estate money before the Queens machine installed the new City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who has since “led the council in rezoning neighborhoods for luxury developments — pricing out local families and constructing high rises when the city already has 275k vacant units.”

A spokesperson for Crowley said the incumbent was “proud” of his support for Johnson and Moya. “Joe Crowley is proud to have supported Corey Johnson for Speaker and to have helped him make history as the first openly gay man and the first HIV+ person to serve as Council Speaker,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Similarly, he is proud of his work to defeat convicted domestic abuser and thief Hiram Monserrate in last year’s Council race, just as he is proud to have helped lead efforts to stop Monserrate’s election to the State Senate and City Council.”

But the nepotism within the Democratic machine makes for “an extremely unethical arrangement that impacts families like mine,” Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to her family’s working-class roots. “It really is a David versus Goliath situation where you have someone that has, in my opinion, abused their power, abused their position to further marginalize working families. And now we’re challenging him.”

Given the recent volatility of American politics, there’s likely to be at least one stunning upset this November that rocks the establishment and that nobody saw coming. Could it be Crowley?

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, talks to a child during a political meeting, at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bronx, New York, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Photo: Andres Kudacki)

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez high-fives a child during a campaign event at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx borough of New York, on April 21, 2018. Photo: Andres Kudacki for The Intercept

THE SAFE MONEY on a race in a machine-dominated district is to bet on the boss. And, to be sure, Crowley is likely to be the favorite. But Ocasio-Cortez has a few plausible reasons to believe there’s a path to victory:

  • She has more than 8,000 individual donors; that’s a pool she’ll continue to grow and can keep tapping into if her campaign gains momentum. It suggests that the 5,000+ signatures she turned in were no fluke.
  • Primaries are very low-turnout affairs, meaning the absolute number of votes she needs to win is quite low, in the high-four figures or low-five figures.
  • Crowley is the king of Queens, but he represents the Bronx from a distance. If Ocasio-Cortez can organize and run up her numbers in the Bronx, while holding her own in Queens, she can win.

The case against her isn’t based on substance, but on raw politics. Crowley is a very good old-school politician: engaging on the stump, charismatic, and diligent about building relationships. He has close relationships with the bosses of the Bronx machine, which can turn out votes. And, for many Democratic voters, he’s not that bad.

The political differences between Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley are on issues of economic and racial justice. But, even for a corporate, Wall Street-funded Democrat, Crowley — like all good politicians — is flexible.

With Ocasio-Cortez giving him a real challenge from the left, Crowley came out and endorsed “Medicare for All.” “When I launched my campaign on an unapologetic advocacy for ‘Medicare for All,’ within two weeks, he co-sponsored the legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That’s when people first started noticing how sensitive he was to our race, how sensitive he was to this challenge.”

A Crowley campaign aide told The Intercept that the decision to co-sponsor “Medicare for All” had nothing to do with Ocasio-Cortez, adding, “She’s not making him any more progressive; he’s always been a progressive advocate.”

Ocasio-Cortez has also joined the chorus of voices calling for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Crowley has gotten noticeably more critical of the agency.

She also has the backing of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America and Black Lives Matter, while Crowley, whose district includes the notorious Rikers Island jail, has done little on criminal justice reform. In fact, as Ocasio-Cortez argued, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is fundraising for Crowley, “so we got the guy who created stop and frisk, who’s paying the representative of Rikers Island to continue this racket of incarcerating black and brown people in New York City.” An invitation for the fundraiser Bloomberg hosted at his Manhattan home on May 2 suggested contributions of $1,000, $2,700, and $5,400.

From Ocasio-Cortez’s perspective, the race is not about electing “just any old Democrat.” Democrats beholden to corporate interests are not representing their constituents and, oftentimes, “take the very same money as Republicans,” she said. Indeed, Crowley’s second biggest donor, the Blackstone Group, is a close ally of President Donald Trump.

“This is actually about electing Democrats whose financial interests are aligned with their communities’ interests,” Ocasio-Cortez said. And Crowley’s financial interests, she maintained, “are at odds with everything that this community needs,” so you can’t really trust his recent policy shifts “to be anything deeper than face value, anything deeper than a re-election bid.”

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, third left, have dinner with militants of her campaign after a meeting, at a latin restaurant in Bronx, New York, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Photo: Andres Kudacki)

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has dinner with supporters of her campaign at a Latin American restaurant in the Bronx borough of New York, on April 21, 2018. Photo: Andres Kudacki for The Intercept

But for many rank-and-file Democratic voters, even some who are inclined to back Ocasio-Cortez over Crowley, the possibility that Crowley could become speaker of the House — assuming Democrats wrest back control in the midterms — is alluring. With Trump in office, “Medicare for All” isn’t going to be implemented just yet, and dismantling ICE is a far-fetched dream. But a congressional representative who is House speaker might be able to bring home the kind of bacon that the impoverished district needs.

Ocasio-Cortez faces the challenge of countering that assumption. Her argument is that, yes, Crowley’s power — both locally and nationally – could theoretically be used for the benefit of the people of the district. In reality, though, Ocasio-Cortez said he’s used it to benefit Wall Street and luxury real-estate developers, who are gentrifying the district and pushing working-class people out.

Crowley’s support extends beyond Wall Street, though: He is backed by two dozen labor unions, including some of the state’s most powerful. Among his supporters are the Communications Workers of America, New York State AFL-CIO, 32BJ SEIU, and 1199SEIU.

New York City Central Labor Council President Vinny Alvarez said in a statement that “throughout his tenure in Congress, Rep. Crowley has demonstrated steadfast support for organized labor, working people, and for the issues affecting their families and communities.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said Crowley is a champion for the cause of workers, and that he has a record of standing up for the middle class. “From securing health benefits for 9/11 responders and survivors, to fighting for increased access to health care and housing and delivering federal funding to improve the Bronx-Queens community, he has demonstrated his commitment to working families,” Cilento said.

Despite Crowley’s labor backing, Ocasio-Cortez argues that the race is winnable because her opponent, a 56-year-old white man, does not reflect one of the most diverse districts in the country. About 40 percent of his stomping ground, after a 2012 redistricting, is now the Bronx. Half of the district’s residents are immigrants and 70 percent are people of color, his constituents don’t tend to work in the industries he takes money from, and he hasn’t lived in the district in years, she noted. (Nearly 75 percent of Ocasio-Cortez’s donations are small individual contributions, while less than 1 percent of Crowley’s funds are small donations, according to OpenSecrets.)

“The people of Queens and the Bronx have elected Joe Crowley to represent them in Congress by an overwhelming majority each and every time his name has appeared on the ballot,” Crowley’s campaign manager, Vijay Chaudhuri, said in an emailed statement. “This year will be no different.”

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, leaves a meeting in Bronx, New York, Saturday, April 21, 2018. (Photo: Andres Kudacki)

Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leaves a campaign meeting in the Bronx borough of New York, on April 21, 2018.

Photo: Andres Kudacki for The Intercept

OCASIO-CORTEZ HAS THE advantage of being able to connect with constituents, she said. She was born in the Bronx to a Puerto Rican family, but early on, her parents were disappointed with the public schools in the area and, after extended family chipped in, they moved to suburban Yorktown. Growing up between New York’s poorest borough, where her entire extended family lived, and wealthier suburbs gave her firsthand experience with income inequality.

“My entire extended family — my tias, my grandparents, everybody — all chipped in so we could get a down payment on a tiny home 40 minutes north of the Bronx, in a school district that was a little bit better than the one I was born into,” she said. “It was a reality of my life. That 40-minute drive, from where I went to school to where my family spent their time, kind of told the whole story.”

On the other hand, Ocasio-Cortez said, her opponent has “never authentically lived the experience of this community,” so he doesn’t appreciate the issues his constituents deal with.

“He wasn’t democratically elected” in the first place, she said, referring to the controversial manner in which Crowley won his seat. Then-Rep. Thomas Manton announced his retirement from Congress so late in his 1998 campaign that he ensured his handpicked replacement, Crowley, would compete in the primary without any serious challengers. “That’s the system,” she said, “by which a community that is 70 percent people of color has never had a person of color represent them in American history.”

The system could still bail Crowley out. Even if Ocasio-Cortez beats him in the Democratic primary, Crowley will be the nominee of the Working Families Party. That would set up a most unusual scenario: the potential Democratic Speaker of the House needing to beat a Democrat in the general election to make it back to Congress.

Update: June 5, 2018

A Crowley spokesperson objected to the characterization of Crowley as soft on criminal justice reform. Crowley has introduced the Kalief-Browder Re-Entry Success Act, is on record for decriminalizing marijuana and vacating past convictions, supports closing private prisons and cosponsored legislation to end mandatory minimums in drug-related cases.

Hawk Newsome, the greater New York president of Black Lives Matter, who is backing Ocasio-Cortez, said the characterization is fair.“There is a huge difference between the Congressman signing his name to or voting for a bill and it is a huge difference for him to be on the frontlines advocating for them. I was in the streets marching and advocating for Kalief Browder and I never saw him there,” said Newsome, noting that he also voted for controversial Blue Lives Matter bill, which was a direct challenge to the movement against police brutality.

“We must understand that the term Blue Lives Matter is a slap in the face to the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is an insult, but the injury is that he’s been in office since the inception of the BLM movement and has done nothing of consequence to address the issues that we face.”

Top photo: Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pastes campaign posters on a window in the Bronx borough of New York, on April 21, 2018.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline agelbert

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Prank Caller Patched Through To Trump For 3-Minute Conversation On Air Force One

by Tyler Durden

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 15:25

President Trump was prank called yesterday at 30,000 feet on Air Force One after "Stuttering John" Melendez pretended to be New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menendez.

Trump starts off the conversation by congratulating "Menendez" on his primary win against Lisa McCormick, telling him he "went through a very tough situation."

The two then discussed immigration - with Trump "Bob, let me just tell you I want to be able to take care of the situation every bit as much as anybody else at the top level. I'd rather do the larger solution rather than the smaller solution."

On the topic of a Supreme Court pick, "Menendez" tried to bait Trump into exchanging political favors for a less conservative pick:

"Bob Menendez": "I promise you, you will have my vote. I will help you if you if you don't go too conservative, you know what I'm saying?"

Trump: Ah... well, we will talk to you about it. We're gonna probably make a decision Bob over the next two weeks. We have some great choices.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/H5rA_2BoIgI&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/H5rA_2BoIgI&fs=1</a>

Melendez said on his podcast "This is how easy it is to infiltrate the administration."

Meanwhile, the White House is scrambling to figure out how Melendez was so easily transferred from the White House switchboard to Air Force on, reports Axios.



Trump of course isn't the first politician to be trolled in recent memory. Both John McCain and Maxine Waters fell victim to Russian pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Aleksey Stolyarov, known online as Vovan and Lexus, in 2017. McCain took a call from who he thought was the Ukrainian Prime Minister, while Waters was tricked into talking about Russian hacking and other Kremlin concerns.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/9YnWr5FQTPY&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/9YnWr5FQTPY&fs=1</a>

And while there's no way to prove that the recordings are actually them, neither have denied their authenticity.  ;D

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-06-29/prank-caller-patched-through-trump-3-minute-conversation-air-force-one

Agelbert NOTE: My wife told me this afternoon that Trump looked unusually disheveled on TV. Now I know why.

Also, I posted this on Surly's channel to provide him a nice chuckle.  :icon_mrgreen:
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 01:21:27 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Surly1

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Prank Caller Patched Through To Trump For 3-Minute Conversation On Air Force One

Agelbert NOTE: My wife told me this afternoon that Trump looked unusually disheveled on TV. Now I know why.

Also, I posted this on Surly's channel to provide him a nice chuckle.  :icon_mrgreen:

Glad you did! Thanks!
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline agelbert

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Glad to be of service 🐁
« Reply #3258 on: June 29, 2018, 02:17:13 PM »
Prank Caller Patched Through To Trump For 3-Minute Conversation On Air Force One

Agelbert NOTE: My wife told me this afternoon that Trump looked unusually disheveled on TV. Now I know why.

Also, I posted this on Surly's channel to provide him a nice chuckle.  :icon_mrgreen:

Glad you did! Thanks!

I figured you would enjoy it as much as I did. ;D In these dark times, we need to keep our spirits up with any humor available. Here's a picture of me going about my daily business of gathering material for posting.






fAll fhe fnews fthat fift to fprint.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 02:19:01 PM by agelbert »
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Surly1

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We Need a Financial Transactions Tax Before It’s Too Late
« Reply #3259 on: July 03, 2018, 03:20:34 AM »
We Need a Financial Transactions Tax Before It’s Too Late
As the country sits atop a giant debt-bomb, measures are needed to rein in excess speculation


The Charging Bull sculpture by Arturo Di Modica, in New York's Financial District, is shown in this photoFinancial Markets Wall Street Charging Bull, New York, USA - 07 Feb 2018

Richard Drew/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Sunday’s CNN Money headline was terrifying:

“The $6.3 trillion debt binge: American companies have never owed this much”

Thanks to low interest rates, Trump’s tax cuts and a financial unsafe-sex atmosphere where regulatory oversight is almost nonexistent, companies are borrowing massive amounts and encouraging waves of stock buybacks, sending an already insane market to worrisome new heights.

That $6.3 trillion debt bomb upon which corporate America is sitting is now bigger than any in history, eclipsing even pre-2008 levels. The national “economic miracle” Trump keeps lauding is – like his own financial empire – resting on a bed of borrowed cash.

For more than a year, the soaring stock market – and particularly the seemingly unsustainable performance of tech stocks – has led to whispers of a new speculative bubble.

Maybe it won’t all blow up this time, but it sure feels like we should pump the brakes. This would be a great time, for instance, to reinstate the doomed Glass-Steagall act, whose 85th birthday passed noiselessly late last month. The law curbed speculation for generations by separating commercial and investment banking.

The problem is, the current administration – and a bipartisan group of Senators – are determined to go the other way, having just rolled back more provisions of the already-weak Dodd-Frank Act. Returning to Glass-Steagall, which was designed to prevent banks from over-creating bad loans and pumping them into the economy via investment banking operations, seems like a distant fantasy.

A new approach to reining in speculation is needed, which is why the tiny glimmer of good news from late last week was so welcome.

On June 27th, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became the first co-sponsor to S. 805, the “Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2017,” originally introduced by Bernie Sanders.

The bill is the American version of a Financial Transactions Tax, a plan to raise revenue and curb speculation by attaching micro-taxes to financial transactions. The E.U. moved toward an FTT planfor 11 Eurozone countries in 2013.

The Sanders camp trumpets the plan as a money-raiser – a way to pay for big-ticket social programming like free college tuition. But it also has a huge safety component.

The Wall Street version of a sin tax, even the tiniest financial transactions surcharge could help rein in greed orgies just enough to keep the economy from exploding. In the past, these micro-taxes have been envisioned as a way to pay for the inevitable bailouts in our increasingly deregulated economy.

But if you really want to know why a financial transactions tax is needed, all you have to do is read Guy Lawson’s Octopus, a crazy story of a master con-man named Sam Israel who ends up being conned by even worse con-men.

The book is significantly about the evils of the financial-ization era, when Wall Street learned it could make bigger and faster profits on financial transactions than it could by nurturing the underlying brick-and-mortar economy.

In the early part of the book, Lawson describes how Israel and his former boss, Fred Graber, used to overwhelm the markets and make easy risk-free cash by using high volumes of transactions to move a stock price. They called this “painting the tape.” As Lawson writes:

The agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland was one of the stocks Graber fooled with relentlessly. To paint the tape on ADM, Graber and Israel would call eight different brokers and put in buy orders simultaneously to run up the price – at a time when Graber was holding lots of the stock ready to sell into a rising market. 

The practices Lawson describes took place in the Seventies and Eighties. Even back then, a couple of determined goons with telephones could do a lot of damage. These days, supercomputers can exponentially increase the scale of this breed of skullduggery.

For instance, the Israel-Garber “painting the tape” scheme would today be called “spoofing” or “momentum ignition,” and would invariably involve computers placing massive numbers of buy or sell orders.

In a computer-dominated trading environment, the aim isn’t just to move the stock with your own purchase power. The idea is also to trick other algorithmic traders into mass-dumping or buying their holdings.

Using this technique, a single slick operator can generate huge volumes of transactions often without having much or even any skin in the game.

All of this activity has no real economic purpose, other than to move the “tape” for an instant or two and make some over-moussed Wall Street parasite a bunch of unearned money.

A secondary problem is that even in the rare case that authorities get around to identifying and outlawing things like this, they tend not to be able to really do much in the way of enforcement.

For instance, the Dodd-Frank Act that Trump is so determined to wipe out specifically outlaws spoofing, as authorities (among other things) were responding to the infamous “flash crash” of May 2010. But the line between illegal spoofing and legal “momentum ignition” is “nuanced,” as the Congressional Research Service put it a few years ago. It’s very hard to detect and prove.

There are countless other schemes HFT experts have cooked up over the years, from “order anticipation” to “layering” to modern variants on the old “wire” con from The Sting, in which traders use computers to take advantage of infinitesimal time differences in the reporting of price changes.

The situation is similar to steroid use in sports. Even if authorities had the manpower and the inclination to police the markets properly, they’d still be years behind the innovators.

High-frequency trades currently make up between 50 and 60 percent of all stock transactions in the U.S., which isn’t inherently bad, but it’s not necessarily a positive thing, either. For sure, there’s a ton of economically useless activity buried in that percentage.

A financial transactions tax kills three birds with one stone. It raises money, provides a major disincentive to socially useless volume-based trading and decreases dangerous speculative volatility.

Late last month, CNN polled American feelings about the economy. The network found 66 percent of respondents think current economic conditions are good, while 59 percent think they will still be good a year from now. It’s the second time in a row pollsters found such a gap between current and future expectations:

Those numbers sound pretty good, but combined with a poll taken in November, that 7-point difference between confidence in the current economy versus where people think it will be in a year is something never seen before in nearly two decades of polling. CNN has asked that pair of questions 57 times since 1997, and has found a gap like that only twice — never more than four points, and never in consecutive polls.

After a pair of huge corrections following the dot-com and subprime bubbles, Americans are wary of tumescent stock market numbers. They’re catching on that there’s a difference between growth and gambling.

A financial transactions tax might help incentivize Wall Street to once again emphasize true long-term investment, as opposed to spending all day moving piles of money around. As with Medicare-for-all, it might take a while for Americans to accept an idea already embraced in Europe.

Still, a senator from New York signing on to an idea so universally despised by Wall Street is worth raising an eyebrow or two. Hopefully it leads to something more, perhaps even before it’s too late.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Fall of the American Empire
« Reply #3260 on: July 03, 2018, 09:53:58 AM »
Find myself of two minds about this. His point about the systematic rejection of longstanding American values makes sense to me, even though I take great issue with some of those values. Especially economic colonialism and Trump's much hoped for tariff/trade wars with our supposed closest allies.

Like it or not (and I often don't), Pax Americana bequeathed us a political and military order that kept peace in Europe, at least, for 70 years. To throw that away endangers us all. To what possible purpose?

Krugman waxes too poetic in re ideals: "Our role in the world was always about more than money and guns. It was also about ideals..." STFU. It was never about ideals. At least not after Jimmy carter.

His points about soft power are more salient. Cordell Hull stressed that that mutually beneficial trade was essential to building a lasting peace. We're in the process of throwing that all away, and for what, exactly? From what I can see, we're not even getting a handful of magic beans.

But perhaps Vlad will continue to hold onto the pee-pee tape.

Fall of the American Empire

Paul Krugman

CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures (which officials insist aren’t cages, oh no). The U.S. president is demanding that law enforcement stop investigating his associates and go after his political enemies instead. He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely.

What do these stories have in common? Obviously they’re all tied to the character of the man occupying the White House, surely the worst human being ever to hold his position. But there’s also a larger context, and it’s not just about Donald Trump. What we’re witnessing is a systematic rejection of longstanding American values — the values that actually made America great.

America has long been a powerful nation. In particular, we emerged from World War II with a level of both economic and military dominance not seen since the heyday of ancient Rome. But our role in the world was always about more than money and guns. It was also about ideals: America stood for something larger than itself — for freedom, human rights and the rule of law as universal principles.

Of course, we often fell short of those ideals. But the ideals were real, and mattered. Many nations have pursued racist policies; but when the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal wrote his 1944 book about our “Negro problem,” he called it “An American Dilemma,” because he viewed us as a nation whose civilization had a “flavor of enlightenment” and whose citizens were aware at some level that our treatment of blacks was at odds with our principles.

And his belief that there was a core of decency — maybe even goodness — to America was eventually vindicated by the rise and success, incomplete as it was, of the civil rights movement.

But what does American goodness — all too often honored in the breach, but still real — have to do with American power, let alone world trade? The answer is that for 70 years, American goodness and American greatness went hand in hand. Our ideals, and the fact that other countries knew we held those ideals, made us a different kind of great power, one that inspired trust.

Think about it. By the end of World War II, we and our British allies had in effect conquered a large part of the world. We could have become permanent occupiers, and/or installed subservient puppet governments, the way the Soviet Union did in Eastern Europe. And yes, we did do that in some developing countries; our history with, say,Iranis not at all pretty.

But what we mainly did instead was help defeated enemies get back on their feet, establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values.

The Pax Americana was a sort of empire; certainly America was for a long time very much first among equals. But it was by historical standards aremarkably benign empire, held together by soft power and respect rather than force. (There are actually some parallels with theancient Pax Romana, but that’s another story.)

And while you might be tempted to view international trade deals, which Trump says have turned us into a “piggy bank that everyone else is robbing,” as a completely separate story, they are anything but. Trade agreements were meant to (and did) make America richer, but they were also, from the beginning, about more than dollars and cents.

In fact, the modern world trading system was largely the brainchild not of economists or business interests, but ofCordell Hull, F.D.R.’s long-serving secretary of state, who believed that “prosperous trade among nations” was an essential element in building an “enduring peace.” So you want to think of the postwar creation of theGeneral Agreement on Tariffs and Tradeas part of the same strategy that more or less simultaneously gave rise to the Marshall Plan and the creation ofNATO.

So all the things happening now are of a piece. Committing atrocities at the border, attacking the domestic rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about ending American exceptionalism, turning our back on the ideals that made us different from other powerful nations.

And rejecting our ideals won’t make us stronger; it will make us weaker. We were the leader of the free world, a moral as well as financial and military force. But we’re throwing all that away.

What’s more, it won’t even serve our self-interest. America isn’t nearly as dominant a power as it was 70 years ago; Trump is delusional if he thinks that other countries will back down in the face of his threats. And if we are heading for a full-blown trade war, which seems increasingly likely, both he and those who voted for him will be shocked at how it goes: Some industries will gain, butmillions of workerswill be displaced.

So Trump isn’t making America great again; he’s trashing the things that made us great, turning us into just another bully — one whose bullying will be far less effective than he imagines.

Follow me on Twitter (@PaulKrugman).

Follow The New York Times Opinion section onFacebookandTwitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for theOpinion Today newsletter.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3261 on: July 03, 2018, 10:08:43 AM »

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.

                                                        --------- Jean Giraudoux


That, in a nutshell, is the problem. American values are fine. But the idea that American values shape foreign policy, or that our various leaders who parrot our values actually mean what they're saying, is completely ludicrous.

"Making the world safe for Democracy" has just about done us in. That assertion had some real meaning, when we were fighting the Nazis. Since then, not so much.

Krugman is part of the problem, not part of the solution. He should be catalogued under the heading of "useful idiots" and that's why he gets to write op-ed pieces. Maybe why they gave him his precious Nobel.

Our commitment to democratic government,high morals, honesty, and justice under the law? None of that is real. It's mythology. It's nostalgia for a past that never was.

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Surly1

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3262 on: July 03, 2018, 10:52:53 AM »

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.

                                                        --------- Jean Giraudoux


That, in a nutshell, is the problem. American values are fine. But the idea that American values shape foreign policy, or that our various leaders who parrot our values actually mean what they're saying, is completely ludicrous.

"Making the world safe for Democracy" has just about done us in. That assertion had some real meaning, when we were fighting the Nazis. Since then, not so much.

Krugman is part of the problem, not part of the solution. He should be catalogued under the heading of "useful idiots" and that's why he gets to write op-ed pieces. Maybe why they gave him his precious Nobel.

Our commitment to democratic government,high morals, honesty, and justice under the law? None of that is real. It's mythology. It's nostalgia for a past that never was.

Nope. The Marshall plan to rebuild a fallen Europe and institute a consensus of mutual trade and defense endured for 70 years. That was essentially altruistic. And, as rthe article makes clear, the work of FDR and Cordell Hull. Can you imagine the policies of a President Trump, after WWII? "We spent a fortune on this war. We've got to get our bait back..." Imagine the Trade arrangements a Trump admin would have imposed, with one of his princelings in charge of the boodle train. Every embassy would be a Trump Hotel, and every foreign aid package would have Trump earmarks...

Remember it was ruinous reparations imposed on a prostrate Germany that fueled German anger and which set the state for a WW II.

I was alive for half of Truman, but the first president I remember as a child is Eisenhower. I have seen nearly 70 years of American history unfold, and I can affirm that it was very different pre-Nixon. Watergate was a shock to the system. The we got Reagan, and Iran-Contra, and Ollie North, and the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and then Fox News. Plus we elected two republican Presidents that lost the popular vote, and two democrats that governed as republicans. A useless war, a PATRIOT Act, Citizen's United, and the theft of a SCOTUS seat.

The reasons we bear the costs of empire is that the neocons have won, and insist on their rake-off of defense contracts from the top of the cream pitcher every year. And this arrangement is further reinforced by lawmakers who through the gerrymander get to pick their own voters in perpetuity.

No, don't tell me it was always this way. It wasn't. There was a time when the government was a guarantor of individual rights and well being. Not now.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3263 on: July 03, 2018, 11:25:07 AM »
The so-called Marshall Plan was largely successful because the banksters wanted it to be. Them and the CIA. It's never as simple as we'd like it to be. Remember your Smedley Butler.

One interesting thing is the way the Marshall Plan restored the previous European big-money corporate industrial class, which had been wiped out, right back to privilege and power. I mean, why should that have even happened?

Here's a guy I know you know, writing about it. Don't take my word for it.


https://www.counterpunch.org/2006/05/22/but-what-about-the-marshall-plan/



What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Karpatok

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3264 on: July 03, 2018, 11:26:30 AM »

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you've got it made.

                                                        --------- Jean Giraudoux


That, in a nutshell, is the problem. American values are fine. But the idea that American values shape foreign policy, or that our various leaders who parrot our values actually mean what they're saying, is completely ludicrous.

"Making the world safe for Democracy" has just about done us in. That assertion had some real meaning, when we were fighting the Nazis. Since then, not so much.

Krugman is part of the problem, not part of the solution. He should be catalogued under the heading of "useful idiots" and that's why he gets to write op-ed pieces. Maybe why they gave him his precious Nobel.

Our commitment to democratic government,high morals, honesty, and justice under the law? None of that is real. It's mythology. It's nostalgia for a past that never was.

Nope. The Marshall plan to rebuild a fallen Europe and institute a consensus of mutual trade and defense endured for 70 years. That was essentially altruistic. And, as rthe article makes clear, the work of FDR and Cordell Hull. Can you imagine the policies of a President Trump, after WWII? "We spent a fortune on this war. We've got to get our bait back..." Imagine the Trade arrangements a Trump admin would have imposed, with one of his princelings in charge of the boodle train. Every embassy would be a Trump Hotel, and every foreign aid package would have Trump earmarks...

Remember it was ruinous reparations imposed on a prostrate Germany that fueled German anger and which set the state for a WW II.

I was alive for half of Truman, but the first president I remember as a child is Eisenhower. I have seen nearly 70 years of American history unfold, and I can affirm that it was very different pre-Nixon. Watergate was a shock to the system. The we got Reagan, and Iran-Contra, and Ollie North, and the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and then Fox News. Plus we elected two republican Presidents that lost the popular vote, and two democrats that governed as republicans. A useless war, a PATRIOT Act, Citizen's United, and the theft of a SCOTUS seat.

The reasons we bear the costs of empire is that the neocons have won, and insist on their rake-off of defense contracts from the top of the cream pitcher every year. And this arrangement is further reinforced by lawmakers who through the gerrymander get to pick their own voters in perpetuity.

No, don't tell me it was always this way. It wasn't. There was a time when the government was a guarantor of individual rights and well being. Not now.

                I remember all of this as well. From the time I stood in bitter cold with my father to watch the Cason's  pull the casket of Franklin Delano Roosevelt down Pennsylvania Avenue. Now since we have shared so much of America, you tell me:  Why and how those NeoCons won and why they have been allowed to remain and control everything. You would be doing me a very big favor, and everybody else here too! Thank you.

Offline Surly1

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3265 on: July 03, 2018, 01:50:45 PM »
Quote from: KK
Now since we have shared so much of America, you tell me:  Why and how those NeoCons won and why they have been allowed to remain and control everything. You would be doing me a very big favor, and everybody else here too! Thank you.

I am not really sure, but am about to post an article by Jim Wright that, while long, explains it in part. Spoiler alert: it's not all Trump, but has been part of the plan since 9-11 was staged. Stay tuned.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3266 on: July 03, 2018, 04:28:14 PM »
Quote from: KK
Now since we have shared so much of America, you tell me:  Why and how those NeoCons won and why they have been allowed to remain and control everything. You would be doing me a very big favor, and everybody else here too! Thank you.

I am not really sure, but am about to post an article by Jim Wright that, while long, explains it in part. Spoiler alert: it's not all Trump, but has been part of the plan since 9-11 was staged. Stay tuned.

KK, by which I meant this post:
http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php/topic,10421.msg157135.html#msg157135

I've had a couple hours to reflect on this. I'm not sure the proximate cause was not the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. With the "communist menace" gone as a bogeyman, the defense industry had to finds another mortal enemy to create a menace, the better to to sop up the promised "peace dividend," which for them would be an anathema. As the Global War on Terror was hatched in the wake of 9-11, the neocons (retooled cold warriors) were born.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline g

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3267 on: July 03, 2018, 06:51:32 PM »
Quote from: KK
Now since we have shared so much of America, you tell me:  Why and how those NeoCons won and why they have been allowed to remain and control everything. You would be doing me a very big favor, and everybody else here too! Thank you.

I am not really sure, but am about to post an article by Jim Wright that, while long, explains it in part. Spoiler alert: it's not all Trump, but has been part of the plan since 9-11 was staged. Stay tuned.

KK, by which I meant this post:
http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php/topic,10421.msg157135.html#msg157135

I've had a couple hours to reflect on this. I'm not sure the proximate cause was not the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. With the "communist menace" gone as a bogeyman, the defense industry had to finds another mortal enemy to create a menace, the better to to sop up the promised "peace dividend," which for them would be an anathema. As the Global War on Terror was hatched in the wake of 9-11, the neocons (retooled cold warriors) were born.

There still there because it is the only way we can preserve our wealth and extravagant, relative to most rest of the world's way of life.

Without them we would be over run tomorrow.

Simple answer, I know, but being very sincere and honest. Their and our Morality are different matters to complex for me to discuss, except to say by the very nature of their job, holiness and virtue are not requirements. 

Offline Agent Graves

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3268 on: July 03, 2018, 10:33:21 PM »
"But what we mainly did instead was help defeated enemies get back on their feet, establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values."


With 600+ bases in those friendly allies countries,  why did women's icon Hillary need to make sure US servicemen on any base around the world are not accountable to local authority, if they have the same democracy and values?

Korea and Vietnam? Not defeated but destroyed plenty.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria etc... Not really defeated yet either, but secular to moderate muslim govts replaced by corrupt puppets, financial black holes, refugee exodus, while extremists slowly take over.

Its only just begun eh? Im hearing Karen Carpenter. Someone spiked Krugmans koolaid.
Junior  Operative, FBI Counter-Doomsdaycult Taskforce

Offline Surly1

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Ed Schultz, Blunt-Spoken Political Talk-Show Host, Dies at 64
« Reply #3269 on: July 05, 2018, 06:04:29 PM »
Ed Schultz, Blunt-Spoken Political Talk-Show Host, Dies at 64

Ed Schultz hosting his nightly MSNBC program, “The Ed Show,” in 2009, the year he was hired.CreditVirginia Sherwood/MSNBC

Ed Schultz, a former conservative radio show host whose politics moved left before he joined MSNBC’s nightly lineup in 2009 and then shifted again when he was hired by RT America, Russia’s state-financed international cable network, died on Thursday at his home in Washington. He was 64.

His death was announced by RT America, which did not specify a cause. His stepdaughter Megan Espelien said he had heart problems.

Mr. Schultz, a burly former college football quarterback with a booming voice, ranged across the political spectrum during his radio and television career, achieving his highest visibility as a blunt-spoken liberal and champion of blue-collar America as host of “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.

In the 1990s, he had his own conservative radio talk show broadcast regionally from Fargo, N.D. But by 2000, when he announced he was a Democrat, he, and his show, had begun turning to the left, gaining listeners even while others may have dropped him.

While it had nowhere near the listenership of shows hosted by conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, the Schultz show grew in popularity as he established himself as a sharp critic of President George W. Bush.

In his book “Straight Talk From the Heartland” (2004), Mr. Schultz described the successful, if unusual, arc of his career.

“How did a prairie-dwelling, red-meat-eating, gun-toting former conservative become the hope of liberal radio?” he wrote. “It all started with this annoying habit I have of speaking my mind. Sometimes, when I open my mouth, all hell breaks loose. Other times I feel like a voice in the wilderness and I wonder, ‘Does anybody get this?’ ”

In 2005, he began a nationally syndicated liberal-leaning radio show with funding from a New York nonprofit organization called Democracy Radio. By then he was declaring to The Washington Post that conservative radio hosts were “meanspirited and intentionally dishonest.”

When MSNBC hired him to host his own show in 2009, he joined an unabashedly liberal lineup that featured Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann. He had moments of bombast, from calling Vice President Dick Cheney an “enemy of the country” to declaring President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, or “Putie,” a hero to Republicans.

Mr. Schultz was suspended by MSNBC for a week without pay in 2011 after calling the conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, on his radio show, a “right-wing slut.” (He was responding to her criticism of President Barack Obama for drinking a pint of beer in Dublin instead of flying to the scene of a tornado disaster in Joplin, Mo.)

Mr. Schultz apologized, and Ms. Ingraham accepted the apology.

The ratings of “The Ed Show,” which was broadcast on weeknights, never soared, and he moved to weekend duty before being given a weekday slot. His and other underperforming shows were canceled in 2015. In April, he told a National Review podcast that he had been fired for supporting Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primaries.

At MSNBC, Mr. Schultz was known for his embrace of the labor movement at a time when the mainstream media was all but ignoring it, said David Shuster, a former MSNBC host, in a Twitter post on Thursday.

“Ed,” he said, “focused on American blue collar workers most of the MSM had long forgotten.”

Edward Andrew Schultz was born on Jan. 27, 1954, in Norfolk, Va. His father, George, was an aeronautical engineer; his mother, Mary, was a schoolteacher. He played quarterback at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, where he led the N.C.A.A. Division II in passing in 1977. After graduating he tried out for teams in the National Football League, including the Jets, and the Canadian Football League without success. He then began his career in radio, originally as a sportscaster.

In addition to his stepdaughter Ms. Espelien, his survivors include his wife, Wendy (Noack) Schultz; his son, David; two other stepdaughters, Greta Guscette and Ingrid Murray; two stepsons, Christian and Joseph Kiedrowski; and 15 grandchildren. His marriage to Maureen Zimmerman ended in divorce.

Several months after losing his job at MSNBC, Mr. Schultz re-emerged as the anchor of an 8 p.m. program, “The News With Ed Schultz,” on RT America.

“I could have retired,” he told The West Fargo Pioneer, a North Dakota newspaper. “That’s not Ed Schultz; I’m not ready to do that. I got a lot of tire left. I have a lot of desire. This gives me a chance to do something that I haven’t had an opportunity to do in my career.”

And, he declared, the network’s Russian backing would not influence him. “Nobody is going to tell Ed Schultz what to say,” he said.

But his new show seemed to reflect a course correction from his MSNBC days. At RT, he adopted a friendlier tone toward Putin and President Donald J. Trump, whom he had once called a “racist” for questioning whether President Obama had been born in the United States.

In 2017, he criticized CNN’s reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

And, in the National Review podcast, he sidestepped his past comments about Putin’s “nasty” human rights record by saying: “I think the United States has a nasty human rights record. I do think that every superpower on the globe has a very poor record on human rights.”

In a statement, Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of RT, recalled a displeased Mr. Schultz’s strong reaction when the Justice Department required RT America to register as a foreign agent.

“Ed set an example for all of us,” she said, “saying: ‘Let them call me what they want. I am going to speak the truth no matter what.’ ”

His last broadcast was on May 31.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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