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|Is it really necessary for every economist to be brain-dead apologist for the rich and powerful and predatory, in every damn breath?|
|Smith briskly takes a sledgehammer to any number of plaster saints
cluttering up the edifice of modern economics:
"assumptions that are patently ridiculous: that individuals are rational and utility-maximizing (which has become such a slippery notion as to be meaningless), that buyers and sellers have perfect information, that there are no transaction costs, that capital flows freely"
And then...papers with cooked figures, economists oblivious to speculative factors driving oil prices, travesty versions of Keynes's ideas that airbrush out its most characteristic features in the name of mathematical tractability.
And then...any number of grand-sounding theoretical constructs: the Arrow-Debreu theorem, the Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium model, the Black-Scholes option model, Value at Risk, CAPM, the Gaussian copula, that only work under blatantly unrealistic assumptions that go by high falutin' names - equilibrium, ergodicity, and so on.
The outcome of this pseudo-scientific botching is an imposing corpus of pretentious quackery that somehow elevates unregulated "free markets" into the sole mechanism for distribution of the spoils of economic activity. We are supposed to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum indulgence of human greed results in maximum prosperity for all. That's unfair to alchemy: compared with the threadbare scientific underpinnings of this economic dogma, alchemy is a model of rigor.
|How many others are being paid for punditry? Or has the culture of corruption
spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?
"MIT and Wharton and University of Chicago created the financial engineering instruments which, like Samson and Delilah, blinded every CEO. They didn't realize the kind of leverage they were doing and they didn't understand when they were really creating a real profit or a fictitious one."
When you see this "neoclassical" gallery of expensive intellectual prostitutes (sorry, respectable priests of a dominant religion) that pretend to be professors of economics in various prominent universities, it is difficult not to say "It's political economy stupid". Those lackeys of ruling elite are just handing microphone bought by financial oligarchy. Here is am Amazon.com review of ECONned How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism eBook Yves Smith that states this position well:
kievite:Neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy
There are many good reviews of the book published already and I don't want to repeat them. But I think there is one aspect of the book that was not well covered in the published reviews and which I think is tremendously important and makes the book a class of its own: the use of neoclassical economics as a universal door opener for financial oligarchy. I hope that the term "econned" will became a new word in English language.
Neoclassical economics has become the modern religion with its own priests, sacred texts and a scheme of salvation. It was a successful attempt to legitimize the unlimited rule of financial oligarchy by using quasi-mathematical, oversimplified and detached for reality models. The net result is a new brand of theology, which proved to be pretty powerful in influencing people and capturing governments("cognitive regulatory capture"). Like Marxism, neoclassical economics is a triumph of ideology over science. It was much more profitable though: those who were the most successful in driving this Trojan horse into the gates were remunerated on the level of Wall Street traders.
Economics is essentially a political science. And politics is about perception. Neo-classical economics is all about manipulating the perception in such a way as to untie hands of banking elite to plunder the country (and get some cramps from the table for themselves). Yves contributed to our understanding how "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, economics professors from Chicago, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton and some other places warmed by flow of money from banks for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping Wall Street to plunder the country. The rhetorical question that a special counsel to the U.S. Army, Joseph Welch, asked Senator McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency?" applies.
The main effect of neoclassical economics is elevating unregulated ( "free" in neoclassic economics speak) markets into the key mechanism for distribution of the results of economic activity with banks as all-powerful middlemen and sedating any opposition with pseudo-mathematical mumbo-jumbo. Complexity was used as a powerful smoke screen to conceal greed and incompetence. As a result financial giants were able to loot almost all sectors of economics with impunity and without any remorse, not unlike the brutal conquerors in Middle Ages.
The key to the success of this nationwide looting is that people should be brainwashed/indoctrinated to believe that by some alchemical process, maximum level of greed results in maximum prosperity for all. Collapse of the USSR helped in this respect driving the message home: look how the alternative ended, when in reality the USSR was a neo-feudal society. But the exquisite irony here is that Bolsheviks-style ideological brainwashing was applied very successfully to the large part of the US population (especially student population) using neo-classical economics instead of Marxism (which by-and-large was also a pseudo-religious economic theory with slightly different priests and the plan of salvation ;-). The application of badly constructed mathematical models proved to be a powerful tool for distorting reality in a certain, desirable for financial elite direction. One of the many definitions of Ponzi Scheme is "transfer liabilities to unwilling others." The use of detached from reality mathematical models fits this definition pretty well.
The key idea here is that neoclassical economists are not and never have been scientists: much like Marxist economists they always were just high priests of a dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the benefit of the sect (and indirectly to their own benefit). All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: state support was and still is here, it is just working more subtly via ostracism, without open repressions. Look at Shiller story on p.9.
I think that one of lasting insights provided by Econned is the demonstration how the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the neoclassical economic school that has dominated the field at least for 30 or may be even 50 years. And that this ideological coup d'état was initiated and financed by banking establishment who was a puppeteer behind the curtain. This is not unlike the capture of Russia by Bolsheviks supported by German intelligence services (and Bolshevics rule lasted slightly longer -- 65 years). Bolsheviks were just adherents of similar wrapped in the mantle of economic theory religious cult, abeit more dangerous and destructive for the people of Russia then neoclassical economics is for the people of the USA. Quoting Marx we can say "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce".
That also means that there is no easy way out of the current situation. Ideologies are sticky and can lead to the collapse of society rather then peaceful evolution.
So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.
|So it's no surprise that there is a strong evidence that neo-classical economics is not a science, it's a political ideology of financial oligarchy masquerading as science. Or a religious cult, if you wish.|
The cult which served as a Trojan horse for bankers to grab power and wealth by robbing fellow Americans. In a way this is a classic story of a parasite killing the host. The powers that be in academia put their imprimatur on economic ‘theory,’ select and indoctrinate its high priests to teach it, and with a host of media players grinding out arguments pro and con this and that, provide legitimacy sufficient for cover of bankers objectives. Which control the disposition and annuity streams of pension fund assets and related financial services. In his new documentary Inside Job, filmmaker Charles Ferguson provides strong evidence of a systematic mass corruption of economic profession (Yahoo! Finance):
Ferguson points to 20 years of deregulation, rampant greed (a la Gordon Gekko) and cronyism. This cronyism is in large part due to a revolving door between not only Wall Street and Washington, but also the incestuous relationship between Wall Street, Washington and academia.The conflicts of interest that arise when academics take on roles outside of education are largely unspoken, but a very big problem. “The academic economics discipline has been very heavily penetrated by the financial services industry,” Ferguson tells Aaron in the accompanying clip. “Many prominent academics now actually make the majority of their money from the financial services industry, not from teaching or research. [This fact] has definitely compromised the research work and the policy advice that we get from academia.”
... ... ...
Feguson is astonished by the lack of regulation demanding financial disclosure of all academics and is now pushing for it. “At a minimum, federal law should require public disclosure of all outside income that is in any way related to professors’ publishing and policy advocacy,” he writes. “It may be desirable to go even further, and to limit the total size of outside income that potentially generates conflicts of interest.”
The dismantling of economic schools that favor financial oligarchy interests over real research (and prosecuting academic criminals -- many prominent professors in Chicago, Harvard, Columbia and other prominent members of neo-classical economic church) require a new funding model. As neoliberalism itself, the neoclassical economy is very sticky. Chances for success of any reform in the current environment are slim to non existent.
Here is one apt quote from Zero Hedge discussion of Gonzalo Lira article On The Identity Of The False Religion Behind The Mask Of Economic Science zero hedge
"They analyze data for Christ sakes"
Just like Mishkin analyzed Iceland for $120k? a huge proportion in US [are] on Fed payroll, or beneficiaries of corporate thinktank cash; they are coverup lipstick and makeup; hacks for hire.
Like truth-trashing mortgage pushers, credit raters, CDO CDS market manipulators and bribe-fueled fraud enablers of all stripes -- they do it for the dough -- and because everybody else is doing it.
It's now a common understanding that "These F#@king Guys" as Jon Steward defined them, professors of neoclassical economics from Chicago, Harvard and some other places are warmed by flow of money from financial services industries for specific services provided managed to serve as a fifth column helping financial oligarchy to destroy the country. This role of neo-classical economists as the fifth column of financial oligarchy is an interesting research topic. Just don't expect any grants for it ;-).As Reinhold Niebuhr aptly noted in his classic Moral Man and Immoral Society
Since inequalities of privilege are greater than could possibly be defended rationally, the intelligence of privileged groups is usually applied to the task of inventing specious proofs for the theory that universal values spring from, and that general interests are served by, the special privileges which they hold.
I would like to stress it again: they are not and never have been scientists: they are just high priests of dangerous cult -- neoliberalism -- and they are more then eager to stretch the truth for the sect (and that means their own) benefits. Fifth column of financial oligarchy. All-in-all this is not unlike Lysenkoism: at some point state support became obvious as financial oligarchy gained significant share of government power (as Glass-Steagall repeal signified). It is just more subtle working via ostracism and flow of funding, without open repressions. See also Politicization of science and The Republican War on Science
Like Russia with Bolsheviks, the US society was taken hostage by the ideological views of the Chicago economic school that has dominated the field for approximately 50 years ( as minimum over 30 years). Actually the situation not unlike the situation with Lysenkoism is the USSR. It's pretty notable that the USA suffered 30 years of this farce, actually approximately the same amount of time the USSR scientific community suffered from Lysenkoism (1934-1965)
|"Over the past 30 years, the economics profession—in economics departments, and in business,
public policy, and law schools—has become so compromised by conflicts of interest that it now
functions almost as a support group for financial services and other industries whose profits
depend heavily on government policy.
The route to the 2008 financial crisis, and the economic problems that still plague us, runs straight through the economics discipline. And it's due not just to ideology; it's also about straightforward, old-fashioned money."
Peter Dormat noticed amazing similarity between medical researchers taking money from drug companies and economists. In case of medical researchers widespread corruption can at least be partially kept in check by rules of disclosure. Universities are being called out for their failure to disclose to public agencies the other, private grants researchers are pulling in. This is not perfect policing as the universities themselves get a cut of the proceeds, so that the conflict of interest exists but at least this is theirs too.
But there is no corresponding policy for economics. So for them there are not even rules to be broken. And this is not a bug, this is feature. In a sense corruption is officially institualized and expected in economics. Being a paid shill is the typical career of many professional economists. Some foundations require an acknowledgment in the published research they support, but that's all about “thank you”, not disclaimer about the level of influence of those who pay for the music exert on the selection of the tune. Any disclosure of other, privately-interested funding sources by economists is strictly voluntary, and in practice seldom occurs. Trade researchers can be funded by foreign governments or business associations and so on and so forth.
In this atmosphere pseudo-theories have currency and are attractive to economists who want to enrich themselves. That situation is rarely reflected in mainstream press. For example, there some superficial critiques of neo-classical economics as a new form of Lysenkoism (it enjoyed the support of the state) but MSM usually frame the meltdown of neo-classical economic theory something like "To all you corrupt jerks out there: shake off the old camouflage as it became too visible and find a new way misleading the masses...". At the same time it's a real shocker, what a bunch of toxic theories and ideologies starting from Reagan have done to the US economy.
That suggests that neo-economics such as Milton Friedman (and lower level patsies like Eugene Fama ) were just paid propagandists of a superficial, uninformed, and simplistic view of the world that was convenient to the ruling elite. While this is somewhat simplistic explanation, it's by-and-large true and that was one of the factors led the USA very close to the cliff... Most of their theories is not only just nonsense for any trained Ph.D level mathematician or computer scientist, they look like nonsense to any person with a college degree, who looks at them with a fresh, unprejudiced mind. There are several economic myths, popularized by well paid propagandists over the last thirty years, that are falling hard in the recent series of financial crises: the efficient market hypothesis, the inherent benefits of globalization from the natural equilibrium of national competitive advantages, and the infallibility of unfettered greed as a ideal method of managing and organizing human social behavior and maximizing national production.
I would suggest that and economic theory has a strong political-economic dimension. The cult of markets, ideological subservience and manipulation, etc. certainly are part of neo-classical economics that was influenced by underling political agenda this pseudo-theory promotes. As pdavidsonutk wrote: July 16, 2009 16:14
Keynes noted that "classical theorists resemble Euclidean geometers in a non Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight --as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions. Yet in truth there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels to work out a non-Euclidean geometry. SOMETHING SIMILAR IS REQUIRED IN ECONOMICS TODAY. " [Emphasis added]
As I pointed out in my 2007 book JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (Mentioned in this ECONOMIST article as a biography "of the master") Keynes threw over three classical axioms: (1) the neutral money axiom (2) the gross substitution axiom, and (3) the ergodic axiom.
The latter is most important for understanding why modern macroeconomics is dwelling in an Euclidean economics world rather than the non-Euclidean economics Keynes set forth.
The Ergodic axiom asserts that the future is merely the statistical shadow of the past so that if one develops a probability distribution using historical data, the same probability distribution will govern all future events till the end of time!! Thus in this Euclidean economics there is no uncertainty about the future only probabilistic risk that can reduce the future to actuarial certainty! In such a world rational people and firms know (with actuarial certainty) their intertemporal budget constrains and optimize -- so that there can never be an loan defaults, insolvencies, or bankruptcies.
Keynes argued that important economic decisions involved nonergodic processes, so that the future could NOT be forecasted on the basis of past statistical probability results -- and therefore certain human institutions had to be develop0ed as part of the law of contracts to permit people to make crucial decisions regarding a future that they "knew" they could not know and still sleep at night. When the future seems very uncertain, then rational people in a nonergodic world would decide not to make any decisions to commit their real resources -- but instead save via liquid assets so they could make decisions another day when the future seemed to them less uncertain.
All this is developed and the policy implications derived in my JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES (2007) book. Furthermore this nonergodic model is applied to the current financial and economic crisis and its solution in my 2009 book THE KEYNES SOLUTION: THE PATH TO GLOBAL PROSPERITY (Palgrave/Macmillan) where I tell the reader what Keynes would have written regarding today's domestic crisis in each nation and its international aspects.
Paul Davidson ghaliban wrote:July 16, 2009 15:34
I think you could have written a shorter article to make your point about the dismal state of economics theory and practice, and saved space to think more imaginatively about ways to reform.
A bit like biology, economics must become econology - a study of real economic systems. It must give up its physics-envy. This on its own will lead its practitioners closer to the truth.
Like biological systems, economic systems are complex, and often exhibit emergent properties that cannot be predicted from the analysis of component parts. The best way to deal with this is (as in biology) to start with the basic organizational unit of analysis - the individual, and then study how the individual makes economic decisions in larger and larger groups (family/community), and how groups take economic decisions within larger and larger forms of economic organization. From this, econologists should determine whether there are any enduring patterns in how aggregate economic decisions are taken. If there are no easily discernable patterns, and aggregate decisions cannot be predicted from a knowledge of individual decision-making preferences, then the theory must rely (as it does in biology) on computer simulations with the economy replicated in as much detail as possible to limit the scope for modeling error. This path will illuminate the "physiology" of different economies.
A second area of development must look into "anatomy" - the connections between actors within the financial system, the connections between economic actors within the real economy, and the connections between the real and financial economies. What are the precise links demand and supply links between these groups, and how does money really flow through the economic system? A finer knowledge of economic anatomy will make it easier to produce better computer simulations of the economy, which will make it a bit easier to study economic physiology.
In her interview What Exactly Is Neoliberalism Wendy Brown advanced some Professor Wolin ideas to a new level and provide explanation why "neoclassical crooks" like Professor Frederic Mishkin (of Financial Stability in Iceland fame) still rule the economics departments of the USA. They are instrumental in giving legitimacy to the neoliberal rule favoured by the financial oligarchy:
"... I treat neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is "economized" and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm. Importantly, this is not simply a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere-that's the old Marxist depiction of capital's transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres-such as learning, dating, or exercising-in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices. Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value. ..."
"... The most common criticisms of neoliberalism, regarded solely as economic policy rather than as the broader phenomenon of a governing rationality, are that it generates and legitimates extreme inequalities of wealth and life conditions; that it leads to increasingly precarious and disposable populations; that it produces an unprecedented intimacy between capital (especially finance capital) and states, and thus permits domination of political life by capital; that it generates crass and even unethical commercialization of things rightly protected from markets, for example, babies, human organs, or endangered species or wilderness; that it privatizes public goods and thus eliminates shared and egalitarian access to them; and that it subjects states, societies, and individuals to the volatility and havoc of unregulated financial markets. ..."
"... with the neoliberal revolution that homo politicus is finally vanquished as a fundamental feature of being human and of democracy. Democracy requires that citizens be modestly oriented toward self-rule, not simply value enhancement, and that we understand our freedom as resting in such self-rule, not simply in market conduct. When this dimension of being human is extinguished, it takes with it the necessary energies, practices, and culture of democracy, as well as its very intelligibility. ..."
"... For most Marxists, neoliberalism emerges in the 1970s in response to capitalism's falling rate of profit; the shift of global economic gravity to OPEC, Asia, and other sites outside the West; and the dilution of class power generated by unions, redistributive welfare states, large and lazy corporations, and the expectations generated by educated democracies. From this perspective, neoliberalism is simply capitalism on steroids: a state and IMF-backed consolidation of class power aimed at releasing capital from regulatory and national constraints, and defanging all forms of popular solidarities, especially labor. ..."
"... The grains of truth in this analysis don't get at the fundamental transformation of social, cultural, and individual life brought about by neoliberal reason. They don't get at the ways that public institutions and services have not merely been outsourced but thoroughly recast as private goods for individual investment or consumption. And they don't get at the wholesale remaking of workplaces, schools, social life, and individuals. For that story, one has to track the dissemination of neoliberal economization through neoliberalism as a governing form of reason, not just a power grab by capital. There are many vehicles of this dissemination -- law, culture, and above all, the novel political-administrative form we have come to call governance. It is through governance practices that business models and metrics come to irrigate every crevice of society, circulating from investment banks to schools, from corporations to universities, from public agencies to the individual. It is through the replacement of democratic terms of law, participation, and justice with idioms of benchmarks, objectives, and buy-ins that governance dismantles democratic life while appearing only to instill it with "best practices." ..."
"... Progressives generally disparage Citizens United for having flooded the American electoral process with corporate money on the basis of tortured First Amendment reasoning that treats corporations as persons. However, a careful reading of the majority decision also reveals precisely the thoroughgoing economization of the terms and practices of democracy we have been talking about. In the majority opinion, electoral campaigns are cast as "political marketplaces," just as ideas are cast as freely circulating in a market where the only potential interference arises from restrictions on producers and consumers of ideas-who may speak and who may listen or judge. Thus, Justice Kennedy's insistence on the fundamental neoliberal principle that these marketplaces should be unregulated paves the way for overturning a century of campaign finance law aimed at modestly restricting the power of money in politics. Moreover, in the decision, political speech itself is rendered as a kind of capital right, functioning largely to advance the position of its bearer, whether that bearer is human capital, corporate capital, or finance capital. This understanding of political speech replaces the idea of democratic political speech as a vital (if potentially monopolizable and corruptible) medium for public deliberation and persuasion. ..."
"... My point was that democracy is really reduced to a whisper in the Euro-Atlantic nations today. Even Alan Greenspan says that elections don't much matter much because, "thanks to globalization . . . the world is governed by market forces," not elected representatives. ..."
Oct 14, 2019, www.thenation.com )
For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section
|I find an attempt to elevate academic finance and economics to sciences by using the word "scientism" to be bizarre. Finance models like CAPM, Black-Scholes and VAR all rest on assumptions that are demonstrably false, such as rational investors and continuous markets.|
Oct 20, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org
"Treason doth never prosper; what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason." – Sir John Harrington.
As Shakespeare would state in his play Hamlet, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark," like a fish that rots from head to tail, so do corrupt government systems rot from top to bottom.
This is a reference to the ruling system of Denmark and not just the foul murder that King Claudius has committed against his brother, Hamlet's father. This is showcased in the play by reference to the economy of Denmark being in a state of shambles and that the Danish people are ready to revolt since they are on the verge of starving. King Claudius has only been king for a couple of months, and thus this state of affairs, though he inflames, did not originate with him.
Thus, during our time of great upheaval we should ask ourselves; what constitutes the persisting "ruling system," of the United States, and where do the injustices in its state of affairs truly originate from?
The tragedy of Hamlet does not just lie in the action (or lack of action) of one man, but rather, it is contained in the choices and actions of all its main characters. Each character fails to see the longer term consequences of their own actions, which leads not only to their ruin but towards the ultimate collapse of Denmark. The characters are so caught up in their antagonism against one another that they fail to foresee that their very own destruction is intertwined with the other.
This is a reflection of a failing system.
A system that, though it believes itself to be fighting tooth and nail for its very survival, is only digging a deeper grave. A system that is incapable of generating any real solutions to the problems it faces.
The only way out of this is to address that very fact. The most important issue that will decide the fate of the country is what sort of changes are going to occur in the political and intelligence apparatus, such that a continuation of this tyrannical treason is finally stopped in its tracks and unable to sow further discord and chaos.
When the Matter of "Truth" Becomes a Threat to "National Security"
When the matter of truth is depicted as a possible threat to those that govern a country, you no longer have a democratic state. True, not everything can be disclosed to the public in real time, but we are sitting on a mountain of classified intelligence material that goes back more than 60 years.
How much time needs to elapse before the American people have the right to know the truth behind what their government agencies have been doing within their own country and abroad in the name of the "free" world?
From this recognition, the whole matter of declassifying material around the Russigate scandal in real time, and not highly redacted 50 years from now, is essential to addressing this festering putrefaction that has been bubbling over since the heinous assassination of President Kennedy on Nov. 22nd, 1963 and to which we are still waiting for full disclosure of classified papers 57 years later.
If the American people really want to finally see who is standing behind that curtain in Oz, now is the time.
These intelligence bureaus need to be reviewed for what kind of method and standard they are upholding in collecting their "intelligence," that has supposedly justified the Mueller investigation and the never-ending Flynn investigation which have provided zero conclusive evidence to back up their allegations and which have massively infringed on the elected government's ability to make the changes that they had committed to the American people.
Just like the Iraq and Libya war that was based off of cooked British intelligence (refer here and here ), Russiagate appears to have also had its impetus from our friends over at MI6 as well. It is no surprise that Sir Richard Dearlove, who was then MI6 chief (1999-2004) and who oversaw and stood by the fraudulent intelligence on Iraq stating they bought uranium from Niger to build a nuclear weapon, is the very same Sir Richard Dearlove who promoted the Christopher Steele dossier as something "credible" to American intelligence.
In other words, the same man who is largely responsible for encouraging the illegal invasion of Iraq, which set off the never-ending wars on "terror," that was justified with cooked British intelligence is also responsible for encouraging the Russian spook witch-hunt that has been occurring within the US for the last four years over more cooked British intelligence, and the FBI and CIA are knowingly complicit in this.
Neither the American people, nor the world as a whole, can afford to suffer any more of the so-called "mistaken" intelligence bumblings. It is time that these intelligence bureaus are held accountable for at best criminal negligence, at worst, treason against their own country.
When Great Figures of Hope Are Targeted as Threats to "National Security"
The Family Jewels report , which was an investigation conducted by the CIA to investigate itself, was spurred by the Watergate Scandal and the CIA's unconstitutional role in the whole affair. This investigation by the CIA reviewed its own conduct from the 1950s to mid-1970s.
The Family Jewels report was only partially declassified in June 25, 2007 (30 years later). Along with the release of the redacted report included a six-page summary with the following introduction:
"The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s." [emphasis added]
Despite this acknowledged violation of its charter for 25 years, which is pretty much since its inception, the details of this information were kept classified for 30 years from not just the public but major governmental bodies and it was left to the agency itself to judge how best to "reform" its ways.
On Dec. 22, 1974, The New York Times published an article by Seymour Hersh exposing illegal operations conducted by the CIA, dubbed the "family jewels". This included, covert action programs involving assassination attempts on foreign leaders and covert attempts to subvert foreign governments, which were reported for the first time. In addition, the article discussed efforts by intelligence agencies to collect information on the political activities of US citizens.
Largely as a reaction to Hersh's findings, the creation of the Church Committee was approved on January 27, 1975, by a vote of 82 to 4 in the Senate.
The Church Committee's final report was published in April 1976, including seven volumes of Church Committee hearings in the Senate.
The Church Committee also published an interim report titled "Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders", which investigated alleged attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, including Patrice Lumumba of Zaire, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam, Gen. René Schneider of Chile and Fidel Castro of Cuba. President Ford attempted to withhold the report from the public, but failed and reluctantly issued Executive Order 11905 after pressure from the public and the Church Committee.
Executive Order 11905 is a United States Presidential Executive Order signed on February 18, 1976, by a very reluctant President Ford in an attempt to reform the United States Intelligence Community, improve oversight on foreign intelligence activities, and ban political assassination.
The attempt is now regarded as a failure and was largely undone by President Reagan who issued Executive Order 12333 , which extended the powers and responsibilities of US intelligence agencies and directed leaders of the US federal agencies to co-operate fully with the CIA, which was the original arrangement that CIA have full authority over clandestine operations (for more information on this refer to my papers here and here ).
In addition, the Church Committee produced seven case studies on covert operations, but only the one on Chile was released, titled " Covert Action in Chile: 1963–1973 ". The rest were kept secret at the CIA's request.
Among the most shocking revelation of the Church Committee was the discovery of Operation SHAMROCK , in which the major telecommunications companies shared their traffic with the NSA from 1945 to the early 1970s. The information gathered in this operation fed directly into the NSA Watch List. It was found out during the committee investigations that Senator Frank Church, who was overseeing the committee, was among the prominent names under surveillance on this NSA Watch List.
In 1975, the Church Committee decided to unilaterally declassify the particulars of this operation, against the objections of President Ford's administration (refer here and here for more information).
The Church Committee's reports constitute the most extensive review of intelligence activities ever made available to the public. Much of the contents were classified, but over 50,000 pages were declassified under the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.
President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22nd, 1963. Two days before his assassination a hate-Kennedy handbill (see picture) was circulated in Dallas accusing the president of treasonous activities including being a communist sympathizer.
On March 1st, 1967 New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison arrested and charged Clay Shaw with conspiring to assassinate President Kennedy, with the help of David Ferrie and others. After a little over a one month long trial, Shaw was found not guilty on March 1st, 1969.
David Ferrie, a controller of Lee Harvey Oswald, was going to be a key witness and would have provided the "smoking gun" evidence linking himself to Clay Shaw, was likely murdered on Feb. 22nd, 1967, less than a week after news of Garrison's investigation broke in the media.
According to Garrison's team findings, there was reason to believe that the CIA was involved in the orchestrations of President Kennedy's assassination but access to classified material (which was nearly everything concerning the case) was necessary to continue such an investigation.
Though Garrison's team lacked direct evidence, they were able to collect an immense amount of circumstantial evidence, which should have given the justification for access to classified material for further investigation. Instead the case was thrown out of court prematurely and is now treated as if it were a circus. [Refer to Garrison's book for further details and Oliver Stone's excellently researched movie JFK ]
To date, it is the only trial to be brought forward concerning the assassination of President Kennedy.
The Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) was created in 1994 by the Congress enacted President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection within the National Archives and Records Administration. In July 1998, a staff report released by the ARRB emphasized shortcomings in the original autopsy.
The ARRB wrote , "One of the many tragedies of the assassination of President Kennedy has been the incompleteness of the autopsy record and the suspicion caused by the shroud of secrecy that has surrounded the records that do exist." [emphasis added]
The staff report for the Assassinations Records Review Board contended that brain photographs in the Kennedy records are not of Kennedy's brain and show much less damage than Kennedy sustained.
The Washington Post reported :Asked about the lunchroom episode [where he was overheard stating his notes of the autopsy went missing] in a May 1996 deposition, Finck said he did not remember it. He was also vague about how many notes he took during the autopsy but confirmed that 'after the autopsy I also wrote notes' and that he turned over whatever notes he had to the chief autopsy physician, James J. Humes.This not only shows that evidence tampering did indeed occur, as even the Warren Commission acknowledges, but this puts into question the reliability of the entire assassination record of John F. Kennedy and to what degree evidence tampering and forgery have occurred in these records.
It has long been known that Humes destroyed some original autopsy papers in a fireplace at his home on Nov. 24, 1963. He told the Warren Commission that what he burned was an original draft of his autopsy report. Under persistent questioning at a February 1996 deposition by the Review Board, Humes said he destroyed the draft and his 'original notes.'
Shown official autopsy photographs of Kennedy from the National Archives, [Saundra K.] Spencer [who worked in 'the White House lab'] said they were not the ones she helped process and were printed on different paper. She said 'there was no blood or opening cavities' and the wounds were much smaller in the pictures [than what she had] worked on
John T. Stringer, who said he was the only one to take photos during the autopsy itself, said some of those were missing as well. He said that pictures he took of Kennedy's brain at a 'supplementary autopsy' were different from the official set that was shown to him. [emphasis added]
We would also do well to remember the numerous crimes that the FBI and CIA have been guilty of committing upon the American people such as during the period of McCarthyism. That the FBI's COINTELPRO has been implicated in covert operations against members of the civil rights movement, including Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s. That FBI director J. Edgar Hoover made no secret of his hostility towards Dr. King and his ludicrous belief that King was influenced by communists, despite having no evidence to that effect.
King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968 and the civil rights movement took a major blow.
In November 1975, as the Church Committee was completing its investigation, the Department of Justice formed a Task Force to examine the FBI's program of harassment directed at Dr. King, including the FBI's security investigations of him, his assassination and the FBI conducted criminal investigation that followed. One aspect of the Task force study was to determine "whether any action taken in relation to Dr. King by the FBI before the assassination had, or might have had, an effect, direct or indirect, on that event."
In its report , the Task Force criticized the FBI not for the opening, but for the protracted continuation of, its security investigation of Dr. King:
"We think the security investigation which included both physical and technical surveillance, should have been terminated in 1963. That it was intensified and augmented by a COINTELPRO type campaign against Dr. King was unwarranted; the COINTELPRO type campaign, moreover, was ultra vires and very probably felonious."
In 1999, King Family v. Jowers civil suit in Memphis, Tennessee occurred, the full transcript of the trial can be found here . The jury found that Lloyd Jowers and unnamed others, including those in high ranking positions within government agencies, participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.
During the four week trial, it was pointed out that the rifle allegedly used to assassinate King did not have a scope that was sighted, which meant you could not have hit the broad side of a barn with that rifle, thus it could not have been the murder weapon.
This was only remarked on over 30 years after King was murdered and showed the level of incompetence, or more likely, evidence tampering that was committed from previous investigations conducted by the FBI.
The case of JFK and MLK are among the highest profile assassination cases in American history, and it has been shown in both cases that evidence tampering has indeed occurred, despite being in the center of the public eye. What are we then to expect as the standard of investigation for all the other cases of malfeasance? What expectation can we have that justice is ever upheld?
With a history of such blatant misconduct, it is clear that the present demand to declassify the Russiagate papers now, and not 50 years later, needs to occur if we are to address the level of criminality that is going on behind the scenes and which will determine the fate of the country.
The American People Deserve to Know
Today we see the continuation of the over seven decades' long ruse, the targeting of individuals as Russian agents without any basis, in order to remove them from the political arena. The present effort to declassify the Russiagate papers and exonerate Michael Flynn, so that he may freely speak of the intelligence he knows, is not a threat to national security, it is a threat to those who have committed treason against their country.
On Oct. 6th, 2020, President Trump ordered the declassification of the Russia Probe documents along with the classified documents on the findings concerning the Hillary Clinton emails. The release of these documents threatens to expose the entrapment of the Trump campaign by the Clinton campaign with help of the US intelligence agencies.
The Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe released some of these documents recently, including former CIA Director John Brennan's handwritten notes for a meeting with former President Obama, the notes revealing that Hillary Clinton approved a plan to "vilify Donald Trump by stirring up scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service."
Trey Gowdy, who was Chair of the House Oversight Committee from June 13th, 2017 – Jan. 3rd, 2019, has stated in an interview on Oct. 7th, 2020 that he has never seen these documents. Devin Nunes, who was Chair of the House Intelligence Committee from Jan. 3rd, 2015 – Jan. 3rd, 2019, has also said in a recent interview that he has never seen these documents.
And yet, both the FBI and CIA were aware and had access to these documents and sat on them for four years, withholding their release from several government-led investigations that were looking into the Russiagate scandal and who were requesting relevant material that was in the possession of both intelligence bureaus. Do these intelligence bureaus sound like they are working for the "national security" of the American people?
The truth must finally be brought to light, or the country will rot from its head to tail.
Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .
Oct 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
... ... ...
Anton notes that the founders believed that the American Revolution was grounded in universal truths, "but they did not expect their declaration to revolutionize the world - nor were they under any illusion that it, or they, had the power to do so... America is - in the words of John Quincy Adams - 'the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all' but also 'the champion and vindicator only of her own.'"
Those who wish to restore these principles face a challenge of unprecedented severity. Anton argues that an elite based in certain blue states disdains ordinary Americans.
" The core message of the meta-Narrative is that America is fundamentally and inherently racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, and so on. The flaws and sins of America derive directly from those of its founding stock, who are natural predators, inherently racist, and malevolent."
Elite policy is at its worst in California, now under the near-total domination of the left wing of the Democratic Party.
"In modern California, hypocrisy and double-standardism aren't merely part of the business climate; they're endemic to the whole society ...
Sam Francis dubbed this system 'anarcho-tyranny': complete freedom - even exemption from the gravest laws - for the favored, maximum vindictive enforcement against the pettiest infractions on the disfavored."
Anton fears that if President Trump isn't reelected, the Democrats will seek actively to suppress whomever in the red states challenges them, and they will prove very difficult to dislodge from power.
Who are the ordinary Americans the elite disdains, and who are the elite? The ordinary Americans are those whom Hillary Clinton called "deplorables," i.e., white males who value their family, their religion, and their property, including their guns.
"Funny thing, too: a core tenet of modern liberalism is supposed to be the sanctity of 'one man, one vote.' Except, you know, not really. The barely concealed presupposition of denouncing Republicans as 'racists' simply because whites vote for them is that all votes are not created equal. Votes of color are morally superior to white votes, which are inherently tainted. Which is why the left holds any election won by a Republican to be morally if not (yet) politically illegitimate. "
The elite consists at its core of wealthy financiers and business interests allied with government. It is buttressed by professionals who have attended top universities, especially those of the Ivy League. In a way that readers of Hunter Lewis on "crony capitalism" will recognize, Anton writes:
" So-called 'public-private cooperation' will increase. This benign-sounding phrase -- who could object to 'cooperation,' to government and business 'solving problems together'? -- masks a darker reality. What it really describes is the use of state power to serve private ends, at private direction. Hence foreign policy...will be further reoriented around securing trade, tax, and labor 'migration' patterns and paradigms that benefit finance and big business."
If elite dominance continues, Anton predicts that those of us who dissent will be rigidly restricted.lay_arrow 1
" Free speech as we have known it - as our founders insisted was the bedrock of political rights, without which self-government is impossible - will not survive coming leftist rule. The playbook is already being expanded to include banking and credit. Getting on the wrong side of elite-woke opinion is increasingly to find oneself locked out of the financial system: no bank account, no credit card, no ability to get a loan or pay a mortgage. Pay cash? The move to a 'cashless society'...will obviate that option right quick. "
Izzy Dunne , 3 hours agoBest Satan in Town , 2 hours ago
Whoever wins this election, America loses.
That which has been started will never go away.
Agenda 21 and The Great Reset.
Trump or Biden? Both will bend the knee.
It's looking that way. I'm waiting to see what side of this Trump ultimately takes. On the one hand he's in bed with serious criminals of 9/11 like Rudy Gulliani and arch-spooks like Michael Flynn (who co-wrote a book on psychological operations with satanist Michael Aquino) who have been made into heroes because of the "post postmodern bead game" known as QAnon.
Oct 20, 2020 | www.rt.com
What if neither Democrats nor Republicans want to win in 2020? No one wants the task of changing the full diaper of US Empire Helen Buyniski
is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23 18 Oct, 2020 20:23 Get short URL "Vote for that guy!" "No, vote for that guy!" © Reuters / Brian Snyder 126 Follow RT on Watching the many stumbles of both President Donald Trump and Democrat challenger Joe Biden on the campaign trail, one can't help but wonder if either really wants to win. Who'd want the thankless job of cleaning up such a mess?
Whoever wins the 2020 election will be immediately confronted with a full plate of thorny political issues, from impossible national debt to unwinnable (and apparently unendable) foreign wars to artificially-amplified racial strife to metastasizing income inequality to a pandemic that seems determined to put the last nail in the coffin of the US Empire.
No matter his actions, the winner will be blamed for everything that happens on his watch – never mind that these catastrophes have been decades in the making, and a single man stopping them is no more possible than halting an avalanche. In this light, Biden's doddering-old-man persona and Trump's own bewildering missteps make perfect sense. What sane candidate would want to be left holding the bag of crumbling American hegemony?ALSO ON RT.COM Trump-Biden debate put US democracy on display – we're now little more than the world's laughing stock armed with nukes World War III
" President 46 " may see the long-threatened start of World War III. Thanks to decades of overspending on unwinnable foreign wars against a vague conceptual enemy (" terrorism ") that the mighty wurlitzer of the US propaganda establishment has tied to countries that pose no legitimate threat to the American people, the US is has all but bankrupted itself destroying the Middle East. Despite promising to end the devastating quagmire in 2016, Trump poured ever more resources into the region to exert " maximum pressure " on Iran, the one country left standing of the " seven countries in five years " General Wesley Clark infamously claimed the Bush administration's bloodthirsty neocons had targeted for regime change.
The US spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined – or than 144 other countries put together, according to 2018 figures, but somehow can't keep from arming its enemies too. Perhaps the Pentagon just feels sorry for them and wants to try to ensure a fair fight, but this ill-thought-out policy has equipped groups like Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to stage false-flag attacks that can then be blamed on governments like Syria or Iran and used to justify the expansion of the never-ending war.
After taking millions of dollars in donations from rabid pro-Israel ideologues like Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer, Trump basically owes them their war on Iran, as they've made it clear that merely tearing up the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal wasn't enough. But his reluctance to actually follow through beyond round after round of devastating sanctions suggests he doesn't have the stomach for a full-on ground invasion. And Biden worked under Barack Obama, who actually defied the US' Middle Eastern taskmaster to sign that nuclear deal in the first place. Neither really wants that war, but it seems inevitable.Beating Big Tech READ MORE How is the US election going to be any more legitimate than the 'rigged' Belarus vote?
Whoever wins in 2020 will face a reckoning with a technology sector that has become in many ways more powerful than the government itself. Twitter and Facebook have taken to poking the president in the eye by shadowbanning or even removing his posts, rubbing their power in Trump's face, and Google and Amazon have so much dirt on the CIA, FBI, and DHS they could take down the whole system if some crusading president (or prosecutor) crosses them.
And what can Washington do? Government agencies have been using Big Tech as a workaround to skirt the First and Fourth Amendments for years. Constitutionally barred from censoring political speech themselves, they have merely leaned on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to shut down 'conspiracy theories' and other wrongthink and used specially-built backdoors to poke around in users' private lives without the hassle of warrants. Companies that allow these abuses are rewarded with protection of their monopoly status and billions in profits.
Despite an executive order and a lot of bluster threatening Big Tech's Section 230 protections, Trump has not made any real efforts to halt the ongoing censorship by social media of his most vociferous supporters – perhaps realizing these firms are de facto military contractors whose participation in the information war propping up US empire is vital to that empire's continued existence. And while Biden has been treated relatively well by Big Tech thus far, he needs the support of progressive Democrats in order to beat Trump, a group that has been subject to the same censorship as the pro-Trump conservative Right. The likelihood that he will stand up to Big Tech to win over this group is approximately zero.My Pet Rioters
So much hype has come out of both parties about a stolen election or " coup " that, whatever the result in November, violent street clashes are inevitable. If the winner tells the rioters to sit down and shut up, he'll be seen as capitulating to the system he was supposed to bring to heel. If he cheers them on, he risks losing the support of law enforcement and the military - which could really hasten the collapse of the empire. Neither Trump nor Biden – both old men a decade past traditional retirement age – want that kind of trouble.ALSO ON RT.COM US politicians are too old and the short-term philosophy this encourages creates a vicious circle that is dooming the country
Record levels of income inequality, plus the economic fallout of suicidally-stupid government responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, have pushed the American public into a state of panicked desperation. More than ever, they're wondering where their next meal will come from and how they'll pay the rent. But thanks to decades of dumbing-down imposed in the guise of public schooling, most lack the vocabulary to articulate these problems or trace them to their proximate causes (namely, a rapacious ruling class that is frantically asset-stripping the nation in the hope of getting out with the cash before the whole thing blows sky-high). Neither party's rhetoric is helping: Biden's " team " blames white supremacy, while Trump's blames crypto-communists.
Whoever gets elected has to follow through on the absurd fantasy they've spun to explain the nation's problems to their followers while unwinding their opponent's reasoning – not an enviable task. The Democrats have so amplified the " threat " of racism that a white person declaring him- or herself " not a racist " is actually deemed racist in itself, and Republicans have bizarrely declared anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan to be " radical leftists " bent on turning the US into Venezuela at a time when most Americans could desperately use some socialist-style government programs to get them back on their feet.
As November 3 looms, both candidates have seemingly been campaigning for their opponent. Biden urged voters who thought they were better off under Trump to reelect him earlier this week), while Trump recently threatened to hold cash-strapped Americans' Covid-19 aid hostage until after the election, only reversing course in the face of public outcry. Whoever is left holding the potentially-explosive hegemonic hot potato, their job as chief rearranger of deck chairs on the rapidly-sinking Titanic of empire is nothing to envy.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.Geraldmu 1 day ago The mess that the US is in, is home made. The SARS cov 2 virus is not so dangerous, when you consider that many deaths are those of people already close to the grave and next year there will be a deficit of deaths vz a normal year. Some countries have reacted much better than the US or the UK or most European countries: Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden that have not torpedoed their economy and rather test and isolate instead of lockdowns, partial or total. Reply 21 Winter7Mute 1 day ago Divided States of America, its been this way since when i entered the world in 1970's. And its still divided now in 2020. Americans enjoy rationalizing, instead of seeking the truth in all facets of life. That is why they embrace that saying "the truth hurts". I like the truth, even if it hurts emotionally. Its simple and requires very few words.
Juan_More Winter7Mute 1 day ago Stephen Colbert when he had the "Colbert Report" came up with a word that truly typifies the American experience. He coined the word truthiness /ˈtro͞oTHēnis/ noun - the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true. fazul Winter7Mute 1 day ago It was around that time when the US presidency lost control over the MIC and the deep state. Like it or not, around that time America was an obstacle to the new world order, so division and a demoralization campaign was performed. Iris15 1 day ago Great article. The fact that Biden isn't eager to win the presidency was visible many times. Trump often appears exhausted from all the criticism lobbed his way and close to a feeling "why should I care if this turns out right". Which means, no matter who wins, it will be Netanyahu and the Zionists who govern US policy in accord completely with the deep state. There is nothing to win in this election for the voter and people know it. Iris15 Iris15 1 day ago Antifa was used to stage race riots as a distraction from the vacuum in the Dem party: racism is all it has to offer but no solution on how to overcome it. There are no great economic solutions in the making and short of just such an economic miracle, misery will be long and desperate. And people know it. The election lost its luster as neither candidate has any real agenda and solution to deal with the pandemic and the tanking economy. Juan_More 1 day ago A well written OpEd piece. But she has left out the egos of these two clow . . er . . . politicians. Neither of them will settle for anything less than a scorched earth victory. We see it in themselves and in their parties. My crystal ball keeps coming up armed insurrection in the US regardless of who wins and the imposition of martial law in many states and possibly the entire country. As always there is an unasked question, "What will the Generals do?" Will they mobilise the troops to restore order (martial law), under Congress or will the restore order under a military junta? Good luck to all my American friends, you are going to need it over the next few months if there is no clear winner.
Oct 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
It appears the "Russia, Russia, Russia" cries from Adam Schiff and his dutiful media peons is dead (we can only hope) as Director of National Intel John Ratcliffe just confirmed to Foxx Business' Maria Bartiromo that:
"Hunter Biden's laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign."
As Politico's Quint Forgey details (@QuintForgey) , DNI Ratcliffe is asked directly whether accusations leveled against the Bidens in recent days are part of a Russian disinformation effort.
He says no:
"Let me be clear. The intelligence community doesn't believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that."
" We have shared no intelligence with Chairman Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden's laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign. It's simply not true. "
"And this is exactly what I said would I stop when I became the director of national intelligence, and that's people using the intelligence community to leverage some political narrative."
"And in this case, apparently Chairman Schiff wants anything against his preferred political candidate to be deemed as not real and as using the intelligence community or attempting to use the intelligence community to say there's nothing to see here."
"Don't drag the intelligence community into this. Hunter Biden's laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign. And I think it's clear that the American people know that."
Of course, this 'fact' from 'intelligence' is unlikely to stop the "emails are Russian" narrative growing ever louder as MSM attempt to distract from the actual content of the emails. As Caitlin Johnstone noted:
So "the emails are Russian" narrative serves the interests of political convenience, partisan media ratings, and the national security state's pre-planned agenda to continue escalating against Russia as part of its slow motion third world war against nations which refuse to bow to US dictates, and you've got essentially no critical mainstream news coverage putting the brakes on any of it. This means this narrative is going to become mainstream orthodoxy and treated as an established fact, despite the fact that there is no actual, tangible evidence for it.
Joe Biden could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and the mainstream press would crucify any journalist who so much as tweeted about it. Very little journalism is going into vetting and challenging him, and a great deal of the energy that would normally be doing so is going into ensuring that he slides right into the White House.
If the mainstream news really existed to tell you the truth about what's going on, everyone would know about every questionable decision that Joe Biden has ever made, Russiagate would never have happened, we'd all be acutely aware of the fact that powerful forces are pushing us into increasingly aggressive confrontations with two nuclear-armed nations, and Trump would be grilled about Yemen in every press conference.
But the mainstream news does not exist to tell you the truth about the world. The mainstream news exists to advance the interests of its wealthy owners and the status quo upon which they have built their kingdoms. That's why it's so very, very important that we find ways to break away from it and share information with each other that isn't tainted by corrupt and powerful interests.
* * *
As we detailed previously, as the Hunter Biden laptop scandal threatens to throw the 2020 election into chaos with what appears to be solid, undisputed evidence of high-level corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the same crowd which peddled the Trump-Russia hoax is now suggesting that Russia is behind it all .
To wit, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who swore on National television that he had evidence Trump was colluding with Russia - now says that President Trump is handing the Kremlin a "propaganda coup from Vladimir Putin."
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) has gone full tin-foil , suggesting that Giuliani was a 'key target' of 'Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.'
2/ Russia knew it had to play a different game than 2016. So it built an operation to cull virulently pro-Trump Americans as pseudo-assets, so blind in their allegiance to Trump that they'll willingly launder Kremlin constructed anti-Biden propaganda.
Guiliani was a key target.-- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 17, 2020
Headlines in major publications are perhaps even more conspiratorial:
And of course, propagandists are doing their thing...
Yet, if one looks at the actual facts of the case - in particular, that Hunter Biden appears to have dropped his own laptops off at a computer repair shop, signed a service ticket , and the shop owner approached the FBI first and Rudy Giuliani last after Biden failed to pick them up, the left's latest Russia conspiracy theory is quickly debunked .
* * *
Authored by Larry C Johnson via Sic Semper Tyrannis (emphasis ours)
This is the story of an American patriot, an honorable man, John Paul Mac Issac, who tried to do the right thing and is now being unfairly and maliciously slandered as an agent of foreign intelligence, specifically Russia. He is not an agent or spy for anyone. He is his own man. How do I know? I have known his dad for more than 20 years. I've known John Paul's dad as Mac. Mac is a decorated Vietnam Veteran, who flew gunships in Vietnam. And he continued his military service with an impeccable record until he retired as an Air Force Colonel. The crews of those gunships have an annual reunion and Mac usually takes John Paul along, who volunteers his computer and video skills to record and compile the stories of those brave men who served their country in a difficult war.
This story is very simple – Hunter Biden dropped off three computers with liquid damage at a repair shop in Wilmington, Delaware on April 12, 2019. The owner, John Mac Issac, examined the three and determined that one was beyond recovery, one was okay and the data on the harddrive of the third could be recovered. Hunter signed the service ticket and John Paul Mac Issac repaired the hard drive and down loaded the data . During this process he saw some disturbing images and a number of emails that concerned Ukraine, Burisma, China and other issues . With the work completed, Mr. Mac Issac prepared an invoice, sent it to Hunter Biden and notified him that the computer was ready to be retrieved. H unter did not respond . In the ensuing four months (May, June, July and August), Mr. Mac Issac made repeated efforts to contact Hunter Biden. Biden never answered and never responded. More importantly, Biden stiffed John Paul Mac Issac–i.e., he did not pay the bill.
When the manufactured Ukraine crisis surfaced in August 2019, John Paul realized he was sitting on radioactive material that might be relevant to the investigation. After conferring with his father, Mac and John Paul decided that Mac would take the information to the FBI office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mac walked into the Albuquerque FBI office and spoke with an agent who refused to give his name. Mac explained the material he had, but was rebuffed by the FBI. He was told basically, get lost . This was mid-September 2019.
Two months passed and then, out of the blue, the FBI contacted John Paul Mac Issac. Two FBI agents from the Wilmington FBI office–Joshua Williams and Mike Dzielak–came to John Paul's business . He offered immediately to give them the hard drive, no strings attached. Agents Williams and Dzielak declined to take the device .
Two weeks later, the intrepid agents called and asked to come and image the hard drive. John Paul agreed but, instead of taking the hard drive or imaging the drive, they gave him a subpoena. It was part of a grand jury proceeding but neither agent said anything about the purpose of the grand jury. John Paul complied with the subpoena and turned over the hard drive and the computer.
In the ensuing months, starting with the impeachment trial of President Trump, he heard nothing from the FBI and knew that none of the evidence from the hard drive had been shared with President Trump's defense team.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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The lack of action and communication with the FBI led John Paul to make the fateful decision to contact Rudy Giuliani's office and offer a copy of the drive to the former mayor. We now know that Rudy accepted John Paul's offer and that Rudy's team shared the information with the New York Post.
John Paul Mac Issac is not responsible for the emails, images and videos recovered from Hunter Biden's computer. He was hired to do a job, he did the job and submitted an invoice for the work. Hunter Biden, for some unexplained reason, never responded and never asked for the computer. But that changed last Tuesday, October 13, 2020. A person claiming to be Hunter Biden's lawyer called John Paul Mac Issac and asked for the computer to be returned. Too late. That horse had left the barn and was with the FBI.
John Paul, acting under Delaware law, understood that Hunter's computer became the property of his business 90 days after it had been abandoned.
At no time did John Paul approach any media outlet or tabloid offering to sell salacious material . A person of lesser character might have tried to profit. But that is not the essence of John Paul Mac Issac. He had information in his possession that he learned, thanks to events subsequent to receiving the computer for a repair job, was relevant to the security of our nation. He did what any clear thinking American would do–he, through his father, contacted the FBI. When the FBI finally responded to his call for help, John cooperated fully and turned over all material requested .
The failure here is not John Paul's . He did his job. The FBI dropped the ball and, by extension, the Department of Justice. Sadly, this is becoming a disturbing, repeating theme–the FBI through incompetence or malfeasance is not doing its job.
Any news outlet that is publishing the damnable lie that John Paul is part of some subversive effort to interfere in the United States Presidential election is on notice. That is slander and defamation. Fortunately, the evidence from Hunter Biden's computer is in the hands of the FBI and Rudy Giuliani and, I suspect, the U.S. Senate. Those with the power to do something must act. John Paul Mac Issac's honor is intact. We cannot say the same for those government officials who have a duty to deal with this information.
* * *
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Dao Gen ,
Dao Gen , Oct 17 2020 18:05 utc | 19The neocon/NATO aggressive expansionism has many purposes, but one is surely domestic repression: to gaslight and cause fear-the-foreign-bogeyman trauma among the American and British people as a whole and make most of them become docile and lose their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyze their own societies.
One of the best ways to lobotomize the publics of the US and UK is to very gradually impose martial law in the name of protecting national security and ensuring peace and harmony at home.
After several color revolutions succeeded, the Russiagate/Spygate op was carried out in the US, with British assistance. This op has been largely successful, though there has been limited resistance against its whole fake edifice as well as with the logic of Cold War2.0. Nevertheless, Spygate has shocked many tens of millions of Dems into a stupor, while millions more are dazed and manipulated by the Chinese bogeyman being manufactured by Trump.
The most dangerous result of the martial law lite mentality caused by Spygate and its MSM purveyors is the growing support for censorship of free speech coming mostly from the Dems, such as Schiff and Warner. The danger inherent in this trend became very clear when FaceBook and Twitter engaged in massive and unprecedented arbitrary censorship of the New York Post and of various Trump-related accounts.
This is the kind of thing you do during Stage 1 of a coup. Surely it was at least in part an experiment to see how various power points in the US would respond. Even though Twitter ended the censorship later, it was probably a successful experiment designed to gauge reactions and areas of resistance.
In November, there could be further, more serious experiments/ops. If so, the current expansionist movements being made and planned by the US and NATO may well be integral parts of a new non-democratic model of "American-style democracy" -- not constitution-based but "rules-based."
Oct 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The Backlash Against The Liberal World Order
Global liberalism has overreached, and Trump and others are merely predictable reactions. (By Brandon Stivers/Shutterstock)
OCTOBER 15, 2020|
12:01 AMROBERT MERRY
John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, one of the country's leading scholars of international relations, recently received the prestigious James Madison Award, administered by the American Political Science Association. In accepting the honor Mearsheimer delivered a notable lecture entitled "Liberalism and Nationalism in Contemporary America" (scheduled for publication in a journal called PS ). It's a remarkably penetrating and astute explication of American politics in our troubled times.
The central reality of today's political landscape, in Mearsheimer's view, is that the post-Cold War period of "unbounded liberalism" -- stretching roughly from 1990 to 2016 -- is about to be supplanted by an ascendant wave of nationalism. This is just a little difficult to credit, given the hegemonic force of liberalism in the firmament of American politics since the end of the Cold War and its hearty embrace by nearly all of the country's major elite institutions, including the Democratic Party, prestigious universities, influential think tanks, the popular culture, the big banks, big tech, big corporations, and most of big media.
But Mearsheimer posits a "core claim" that, when the balance of power in any polity shifts so heavily toward liberalism that it poses a mortal threat to nationalism, as happened in much of the West after the Cold War, a backlash inevitably ensues. Then, says Mearsheimer, "nationalism wins almost every time, because it is the most powerful political ideology in the modern world." We saw this in the watershed year of 2016, when Donald Trump became the American president and Britain voted to leave the European Union. "This upsurge of nationalism," says Mearsheimer, "has continued unabated since 2016."
To understand Mearsheimer's thesis, it's necessary to grasp fully what he means by liberalism and nationalism. Liberalism's first principle is the sanctity of the individual and the individual's "inalienable rights," including the right to pursue one's own concepts of the good life. This leads to a strong norm of tolerance and a stern injunction for people to "live and let live." Liberalism also advocates a national government powerful enough to protect individuals from each other and guarantee their rights, but not so powerful that it encroaches on those rights. The ultimate aim, though, is for individuals to have as much freedom as possible in their personal lives, within the context of civic harmony.
In economic terms, this leads to laissez faire thinking -- the breakdown of economic barriers, free trade, property rights, market forces. In philosophical terms, it includes "a powerful universalist dimension." Liberals strongly embrace the view that their outlook applies to all humankind, everywhere and at all times.
In contrast to liberalism's universalist ethos, nationalists are particularists. They believe that people are "born into and thrive in social groups that mold their identities and command their loyalties." And the most significant of all social groups is the nation. As Mearsheimer says:
Nations need political institutions to help their membes live together peacefully and productively. They need rules that define acceptable and unacceptable behavior and also stipulate how disputes will be settled. Nations also need political institutions to help shield them from other nations that might have an incentive to attack .Since the early 1500s, the dominant political form of the planet has been the state. Nations therefore want their own state, because that is the best way to survive and prosper.
Mearsheimer identifies four features of nationalism that have helped shape the centuries-long era of the nation-state:
It isn't difficult to see that liberalism and nationalism are in many ways contradictory outlooks and hence often "conflictual." Sometimes, though, the two -isms can actually mesh in positive ways, resulting in a harmonious civic balance. Such an equilibrium has existed in much of American history. But liberalism, steeled by its triumphant rise at the end of the Cold War, set out to marginalize or even nullify American nationalism, and that eventually unleashed the potent backlash we're seeing now. In many ways, suggests Mearsheimer, Trump's 2016 election can be seen as "nationalism's revenge."
And we can see from our own recent history, and that of other Western nations, that when liberalism gains near hegemonic power in a polity it poses a severe threat to nationalism. Liberal individualists, viewing themselves primarily as "egoistic utility maximizers," tend to undermine the nationalist sense of oneness. They seek to weaken national identity. Embracing the universalist concept of a common humanity, they seek to break down national borders and the very concept of sovereignty. They hail the emergence of a global elite, "tied together by shared economic interests and social networks, and with its own identity as 'citizens of the world.'" They work to foster an open international economy that further weakens state borders and state identity.
In short, unbounded liberalism inevitably launches a frontal attack on the very concept of a cohesive, hard-shell state. Such attacks serve, as intended, to encourage citizens to lose faith in the state. This erosion of national solidarity in turn unleashes societal tension and even chaos, because nationalism serves as a kind of civic glue that helps hold a society together. Remove the glue, and liberalism loses its ability to uphold national cohesiveness. When that happens, the impulse of liberal leaders is to inject more individualism and more universalism into the polity, thus exacerbating the gathering crisis of "liberalism on steroids," as Mearsheimer calls it.
That's what happened in America during what Mearsheimer calls "liberalism's golden age." The answer to porous borders generating increasing civic tensions was to open the borders further. The answer to a free trade regimen encouraging greater mercantilist aggressiveness among some U.S. trading partners was an even greater commitment to free trade. The growing problem of wealth inequality stirred the elites to embrace laissez-faire economics even more tightly as the rise of gargantuan tech empires further exacerbated inequality. And what was the response to America's awakening to the fact that the country's universalist warmaking was undermining America's cohesiveness and financial stability? Under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, it was a tendency toward more warmaking.
That's because the liberal tenets of individualism, universalism, the virtue of the transnational elite, and the sanctity of identity thinking were driving politics and policy in America. The liberal moment was embraced to a significant extent by both political parties, and there was hardly a nationalist counterweight of any consequence on the scene.
Indeed, in liberalism's heyday many in the West viewed nationalism as a political corpse. Mearsheimer quotes historian Jill Lepore (a universalist liberal of the first order) as writing, "It appeared to some globalists that nationalism had died."
And then came Trump and Brexit, following nationalist triumphs in Hungary and Poland, along with concurrent nationalist surges in numerous other European nations. "The unbounded liberalism that dominated the political landscape in the United States after the Cold War is in serious crisis," says Mearsheimer, "mainly because it threatened American nationalism, which has reasserted itself under President Trump."
One can question Trump's competence as president, "and I would be among the first to do so," says Mearsheimer, "but there is no question that he has pursued a nationalist agenda from the beginning of his political career and that it helped propel him into the White House." Indeed, Mearsheimer makes clear, in recounting evidence of Trump's nationalist ethos, that the real estate mogul's most significant distinguishing characteristic as a national politician was his understanding, alone among presidential contenders in 2016, that America was in the midst of an epic struggle between liberalism and nationalism. But, if Trump has benefitted from nationalism's resurgence, he didn't cause it. "His election," says Mearsheimer, "was the manifestation of a process that was well under way by 2016."
And it is ongoing. "Although liberalism is here to stay," says Mearsheimer, "the United States will continue to be a liberal nation-state, not just a liberal state. Nationalism remains the world's most formidable political ideology and neither it nor the nation state is going away anytime soon."
That calls into question some prevailing assumptions of our time. Many adherents of liberalism seem to harbor a view that, as soon as Trump is extracted from the political scene (which seems likely to happen soon), then everything can return to normal, meaning back to the days of liberal hegemony. If Mearsheimer is correct, that isn't likely. The struggle between the two -isms will continue, perhaps even more intensely joined than ever, as nationalism seeks to claw its way back at least to parity with the forces of liberalism. One thing can be predicted: we will continue to live through interesting times.
Robert W. Merry, former Wall Street Journal Washington correspondent and Congressional Quarterly CEO, is the author of five books on American history and foreign policy.
Gaius Gracchus • 2 days agoKenneth_Almquist • 2 days ago
There is need for a liberal state to embrace universalism. That is an aspect of French liberalism more than Anglo-American liberalism. But even that is secondary to the effort by the rich and powerful to break down the nation state and create a global regime that will rule and exploit.
Even more than individualism, liberalism needs the rule of law. When the rules are set up and enforced, it protects the individual and the market, especially from the crony capitalist.
Every time punishment of the rich and powerful is ignored, everyone loses a little more faith in the system. And corruption grows.
For liberalism to work, it must oppose concentrated power, something Adam Smith knew, but the oligarchs and their shills tried to cover up ever since.
Besides, no one is an atomized individual. Everyone is connected to someone or something or somewhere and ignoring that only creates more problems. People need to feel connected and the absence leads to depression and anxiety.IanDakar Kenneth_Almquist • a day ago
The problem with nationalism, at least in its present incarnation, it that it doesn't seem to be about actually advancing the national interest. Bush's justification for invading Iraq didn't actually make logical sense. I guess it made emotional sense to American nationalists.
"Nationalists particularly want their nations to be free from encumbering outside influences." So they voted for Trump, who welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump's major legislative achievement was to cut taxes on the rich. That's his response to "the growing problem of wealth inequality."
As a result of Brexit, the UK will have less power and influence, which I suspect will leave it with less ability to control its own destiny than if it had stayed in, giving it a seat at the table when EU policies that affect the UK are set. But at least the UK theoretically gets an increase in capacity for independent action in exchange for that loss of influence. Nationalism in the United States appears to stand for the proposition that America's interests should be represented by someone who is not interested in advancing America's interests and who would be incompetent to do so even if he were.
In principle, nationalism is not necessarily a bad thing, but I worry that nationalism as actually practiced, as opposed to some theoretical ideal of nationalism, will severely damage the United States.Victor_the_thinker IanDakar • a day ago
I have a suspicion that the general public, not the HIGHLY vocal extreme or the politicians, but the general voting public that leans right, is very interested in a general nationalistic trend. Much of the same voting public that leans left, while having an interest in being involved in national affairs (by that I mean good relations with nations and/or aid to nations in trouble, not foreign fighting) would be interested in many of the aspects of nationalism, such as lowering the influence of international corporations (more because of the 'corporation' part than the 'international' but still).
The problem is that the vocal side of politics, not just the leaders but the vocal minority of both groups, has a VERY different desire, whether it's military conquest, a racist motive, or a dream of globalism. The voters are then left to choose the least ugliest of the voices to stand behind. I put that for both 2016 on the right and 2020 on the left.Bureaucrat IanDakar • a day ago
Lessening the power of corporations is NOT nationalism. That is garden verity left politics.joeo Kenneth_Almquist • a day ago
The greatest leader in American history would be someone who can bring both those right/left instincts together in a unifying manner. I fear I won't see that person in my lifetime.patrick Kenneth_Almquist • a day ago
Why is it ok for the US to interfere in Russian affairs but the reverse is unconscionable? The US starts wars all over the planet but North Korea is the warmonger? It is wrong for China to assert itself but we have troops in Japan and Korea with our Navy in the South China Sea. Trump starts no wars and tries to protect industries for which the elite revile him.Bureaucrat Kenneth_Almquist • a day ago • edited
We are soon to have president Harris. Seemingly the choice of no one. Whatever nationalistic impulses exist at the moment will be completely erased under the banner of multiculturalism. To combat "white supremacy" we will be urged to cancel ourselves and many will.Kenneth_Almquist Bureaucrat • a day ago
Bush's efforts to remake the Middle East in America's image is a prime example of liberal internationalism, very much the antithesis to nationalism. The foundational core of universalism is that everyone and every society craves the "universal values" on individual rights (vs. social cohesion). This was the animating purpose of Bush Jr.'s foreign policy after 9/11, the ideal that those Middle Eastern people would instinctively embrace our political and social values. What Mearshimer diagnoses is that the post-Cold War mentality amplified efforts to destroy the careful balance every country has struck (between national cohesion and universal values).Bureaucrat Kenneth_Almquist • a day ago • edited
George W. Bush addressing the nation of March 17, 2003: "The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed."
The invasion wasn't justified by an appeal to liberal internationalism. It was justified as a necessary act of self defense. The rhetoric from conservatives was us vs. them. Republican lawmakers started calling French fries "freedom fries" because the French government wanted any WMD possessed by Saddam to be eliminated without a war.
Now, you can make a case that the exit strategy (such as it was) was based on a belief in liberal internationalism, but I think you could equally make the case that it was based a nationalistic belief in the superiority of the American way of life.Kessler Kenneth_Almquist • 18 hours ago
The false messaging on "national interests" via self-defense is a given, another example of political elites trying to reframe their priorities to placate the masses. But if you can't see the lie from the motive, then I can't help you there.Civis Romanus Sum Kenneth_Almquist • 11 hours ago
Of course justifications to get people on board was nationalistic sentiments. But the execution was pure liberal internationalism. A nationalistic foreign policy would have been laser focused on getting people responsible and not doing a bunch of nation building in countries, that had nothing to do with attacks.Jihadi Colin Kenneth_Almquist • a day ago
Bush and his journalistic enablers repeatedly said that they wanted to make Iraq into a democracy that would serve as a model for other Arab and Muslim states. You can't get more "liberal internationalist" than that.ekaneti Jihadi Colin • an hour ago
Bwahahahahahahaha.Kessler Kenneth_Almquist • 18 hours ago
In other words election interferenceVictor_the_thinker • 2 days ago
The current ruling class is liberal to the core - even if their voters want nationalism, they have trouble delivering it. The signal just doesn't transmit from the bottom, through democratic instiutions to the top. That`s why idiotic wars don't end and corporations get bailed out before actual people.C. L. H. Daniels Victor_the_thinker • a day ago
Another over interpretation of the Trump win in 2016. Trump lost the popular vote. He was only president because of a fluke in our system. People act as if that fluke is the same thing as actually representing a national majority. It really isn't. Now we're seeing the actual majority turn out like never before in living memory to vote against Trump and his administration. People have weeks to vote and yet are choosing to stand in 10 hour lines today because their antipathy to this president is white hot.Victor_the_thinker C. L. H. Daniels • a day ago
If you think Trump is a fluke, you are going to be in for an entire series of rude awakenings in the years to come.Magua1952 Victor_the_thinker • a day ago
Losing the popular vote yet winning the election has happened 5 times in the entire history of the US. Only 1 of those 5 times has the president who did this, win re-election. Trump is absolutely a fluke. He's never had majority support and his base is dying.Pete Barbeaux Magua1952 • a day ago • edited
The electoral college is not a "fluke in our system". It was designed by the writers of the Constitution. Virginia was the most populated state. Pennsylvania was second. New York was third. The other states didn't want most power centralized in the middle Atlantic states. Two Senators were assigned to every state and the electoral college was devised. This modified the power of the larger states. Without this compromise we might not have the United States. It was a brilliant compromise and it remains so.
Before you celebrate the landslide victory by the anti-Trumpers take a look at political rallies. Trump gets many thousands. Biden attracts a dozen or two. We saw this in 2016. If the Democrats were able to field a credible person for president they might be in a better position. None of their candidates were even adequate. Personally I think Bernie Sanders was the best they had but Americans are not ready for socialism and the Ds knew it.ekaneti Victor_the_thinker • an hour ago
Everything you just said is total nonsense. He wasn't even talking about the entire EC being a fluke. He was saying that thin margin EC victories when you lose the popular vote, are a fluke . Literally. It's only happened 3 times.
Also, Trump's WWE rallies attracting the Cult is totally irrelevant.ekaneti Victor_the_thinker • an hour ago
The EC is not a fluke. It is a featureVictor_the_thinker • 2 days ago
""People have weeks to vote and yet are choosing to stand in 10 hour lines
today because their antipathy to this president is white hot.""
You polled them on how they intend to vote?ekaneti Victor_the_thinker • an hour ago
This is real populism right here. Small dollar donors have raised $1.5 billion for democrats through ActBlue. Regular people around the country donating $10 at a time. All of this fire to be trained on republicans this year up and down the ballot. November is looking like it could be a bloodbath. When the people actually turn out to have their voices heard, they are quite powerful.
https://www.politico.com/ne...Revanchist • a day ago • edited
So you think that 150 million people gave to ActBlue?Pete Barbeaux Revanchist • a day ago
Let's not beat around the bush. The underlying lynchpin here is race. Those living in the western world who are of European descent are realizing that the multiculturalism imposed by globalism will mean the disinheritance of their own culture and their children's future. Amnesty, affirmative action and race based reparations that favor non-whites will intensify to solidify the globalist coalition. Our elites are at war with the founding stock of the nation. Within the next decade at least 80% of what remains of the white Christian majority will be voting for nationalist parties and policies. It won't be a matter of racism...it will be a matter of survival.Victor_the_thinker Pete Barbeaux • a day ago
"14 words"ekaneti Victor_the_thinker • an hour ago
Some fool will be on here saying "I've never seen any racism posted at TAC" I'm sure.Bureaucrat Revanchist • a day ago • edited
If Indians were to oppose 100 million Chinese immigrating to India, would they be racist?Wallstreet Panic Bureaucrat • 10 hours ago
Again, as I responded earlier, your left-liberal perspective that nationalism is a white supremacist ideology is ironically devoid of understanding the views and history of the Global South and non-Western countries, most of whom reject the notion of liberal universalism. It reminds me of the type of "UNESCO universalist" white liberal that the communist philosopher Slavoj Zizek mocked:"That's why white liberals love identity politics. It means minorities can have their particular identities, while we renounce our identity but keep the roles as guardians of universality."
Watch the video starting at 1:50:
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2F472lCEy4dBw%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D472lCEy4dBw&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2F472lCEy4dBw%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubeBureaucrat Wallstreet Panic • 8 hours ago
Slavoj is drinking vodka out of a plastic bottle. Never a good sign.Pete Barbeaux • a day ago
Funny! But do you instinctively resort to ad hominem to rebut hard-to-handle truths, or was it a learned character trait?gVOR08 Pete Barbeaux • a day ago
In every place that has Trumpy reactions, those people represent 30% or less of their national population. A loud sycophantic minority.ekaneti Pete Barbeaux • an hour ago
That. These people aren't the silent majority they believe themselves to be, but an annoyingly loud minority.RAF • a day ago
What is a "Trumpy reaction"Revanchist RAF • a day ago
The central reality of today's political landscape, in Mearsheimer's view, is that the post-Cold War period of "unbounded liberalism" -- stretching roughly from 1990 to 2016 -- is about to be supplanted by an ascendant wave of nationalism.
Not a wave of Nationalism...but a wave of White/Christian nationalism. Big difference.RAF Revanchist • a day ago
The Western nation states were founded by white Christians. So a rise in western nationalism would logically be European and Christian in nature. Just as a rise in Indian nationalism is Indian and Hindu in nature. Or a rise in Mexican nationalism is Latino and Catholic in nature. That is what a nation truly is, a body politic that forms around a community that is rooted in common culture and heritage.Revanchist RAF • a day ago
The Western nation states were founded by white Christians
The "Founding Fathers" were mostly Deists and Masons. Jefferson was just one example. John Adams was a Unitarian etc. (They were not atheists !)
Re Jefferson who was the primary author of the Constitution...America was NOT founded as a Christian nation.
"""Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting "Jesus Christ," so that it would read "A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;"
the insertion was rejected by the great majority,
in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.
-Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802
"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills"
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814Charles Revanchist • 11 hours ago • edited
While Christianity was never the official state religion of the United States it is undeniable that is deeply intertwined with our European cultural identity. Take a look at what book the President places his hand on when sworn in to office.Civis Romanus Sum • a day ago
"Take a look at what book the President places his hand on when sworn in to office."
Except in the case of Muslim office holders, it's the Koran for instance. I would assume that
officeholders of whatever religious beliefs would lay their hand on that person's religious symbol.Revanchist Civis Romanus Sum • a day ago • edited
Also important is the fact that liberalism (as defined in the article) is really only popular and powerful in Western countries (i.e. Western Europe and its colonial offshoots like the USA). And even in Western countries, there are serious challenges to it.
Meanwhile, the rising powers of the world (primarily China, but also India, Russia, and so on) are very anti-liberal and highly nationalistic. That's about 80-90% of the world's population. A century where China is hegemonic and these other countries are powerful is likely to be very illiberal. And since the hegemon influences everybody, it is likely that this anti-liberal culture will influence the Western countries as well.kenofken Revanchist • a day ago
After World War II American liberalism was attractive to much of the world because it was centered around freedoms of virtue such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The rest of the world yearned for this kind of governance and our country was held in high esteem. The "freedoms" or "human rights" as they are now promoted by the American empire are freedoms of vice such as abortion, pornography and all sorts of sexual deviancy. The world is no longer buying what we are selling...and i can't blame them.Bureaucrat Revanchist • a day ago
And yet no one at all is running toward these virtuous illiberal nations.
For such a horrible perverted place as we are, we sure have a lot of people clawing to get here.Hector_St_Clare Revanchist • a day ago
I can't believe you're not reading the article and Mearshimer carefully. He is not advocating an EITHER-OR embrace of liberalism and nationalism. The article argues for a balance, where too much of one paradigm can both be destructive. This is what the United States had for most of its history, and indeed is true for non-Western countries like Communist China (embracing elements of Western socialism), Japan (embracing a managed form of democracy, but certainly not free trade/mass immigration), or India (same embrace of some democracy, but restrained by caste and regional differences) have tried to balance. Those non-Western countries, as articulated by former Singaporean autocrat Lee Kwan Yew, believe in the value of collective cohesion as much (if not more) than individual liberty. Those are sentiments of balancing nationalism, far from a full-throated support for universal liberalism.GaryH • a day ago
People follow the strong horse, once America and other liberal powers are no longer the strongest horse (and that day is coming sooner or later, China is on track to be the world's largest economy within a decade or two), then liberalism is no longer going to look remotely attractive to most of the world.TreeofLiberty • a day ago • edited
The weakness of the article is that Imperialism is ignored. Imperialism always eventually destroys most of what is good, positive about any Nationalism. And Imperialism always makes alliance with Liberalism in order to keep the good in Nationalism (both the Nationalism in conquered nations and the Nationalism in the conquering nation become an Empire) from having any chance to revive.
Liberalism without any hint of Imperialism may be tolerable and even pleasant, but outside Switzerland and post-WW2 Scandinavia it may never have existed in any area larger than an homogenous small town/county. Nationalism fueled with Imperialism becomes a Hell of its own.
The great problem is the imperial mindset, the drive for Empire.M Orban TreeofLiberty • a day ago
..... " Nations need political institutions to help their members live together peacefull y and productively. They need rules that define acceptable and unacceptable behavior and also stipulate how disputes will be settled. "
- JOHN MEARSHEIMER
This quite succinctly describes that which is failing in the U.S. today.
1. Merely by checking in with the daily news cycle we see that some of us have no intention to " live together peacefully and productively ."
2. Likewise, ' acceptable and unacceptable behavior ," on which there used to be pretty widespread general agreement, has been turned in to relative definitions by the political Left , for their own debauched and highly-politicized purposes; and in the process, has given a sense of license to the un-peaceful.
..... " This erosion of national solidarity in turn unleashes societal tension and even chaos "
- ROBERT MERRY
Precisely as we witness today, from the purveyors of tension and chaos, the DestructocRAT Party.
..... " when the balance of power in any polity shifts so heavily toward liberalism that it poses a mortal threat to nationalism . . nationalism wins almost every time "
- R. M.
I looked in vain for Mr. MERRY's historical examples to illustrate this theory, but found only his reference to the current period; 1990 to today.
That seems a bit thin, for such a strong assertion.
.Woland M Orban • 11 hours ago
Lithium is not working as well as it once used to.WilliamRD • a day ago
The problem is that the people who need it cannot be relied on to properly cook their batteries.Kent • a day ago
"In economic terms, this leads to laissez faire thinking -- the breakdown of economic barriers, free trade, property rights, market forces. In philosophical terms, it includes "a powerful universalist dimension." Liberals strongly embrace the view that their outlook applies to all humankind, everywhere and at all times."
There is nothing laissez faire about governments printing money and manipulating their currencies to achieve a trade advantage. Also with the dollar being the reserve currency the FED has to provide the rest of the world with dollars to keep the global economy moving. Thus our producers are always at a disadvantage because the dollar is much stronger against the rest of the world.
WHEN IS "FREE-TRADE" NOT FREE-TRADE? WHEN IT'S DONE WITH FAKE, A.K.A., "FIAT" MONEY
I'm not sure I like the use of language in this article. We are using "liberalism" when in the US he is describing "libertarianism". Most of us associate liberalism with the philosophy of redistributing the fruits of capitalism to those harmed by capitalist interests, as a mechanism for maintaining a favorable national attitude towards capitalism.
In the US, it is libertarianism that, philosophically, wants to maximize the autonomy of the individual. That promotes globalism and open borders.
I also see the definition of "nationalism" being pretty much the definition of conservative. So in the end, if you replace liberalism with libertarianism and nationalism with conservativism, the article makes much more sense.
This isn't a left-right issue. It is a right-right issue.
And in my view, the solution is the redistributive liberalism with a healthy conservative view of society that prevailed in the country for much of the 20th century.
Oct 14, 2020 | www.rt.com
The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy 30 Sep, 2020 16:19 Get short URL FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo © Getty Images / Alex Wong 182 1 Follow RT on
Tom Fowdy is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.
His Holiness declining to meet the US secretary of state when he visited the Vatican on his European tour further proves that his misguided America-first chauvinism is alienating more nations than it's winning as friends.
Pompeo, everyone's favourite Cold Warrior and American chauvinist, is on a European tour . Visiting Greece, Italy, Croatia, and notably, the Vatican, the secretary of state is on a roll to win support for American security and energy interests across the region. But he wasn't welcomed by all. Attending the Holy See today, the US' 'top diplomat' found himself snubbed by the Pope as he rolled into town peddling his vitriolic anti-China agenda, and demanding the Church take on Beijing and refuse to renew a deal that gives it a say in the appointment of bishops within that country. Pope Francis wasn't too impressed and refused to meet him accordingly.
The snub is significant, because it reflects more broadly how Pompeo's highly aggressive and evangelical foreign policy agenda is being received around the world. In short, it's a shambles. Rather than respectfully and constructively engage with the interests of other countries, on his watch, the State Department does nothing but pressure other nations. And it does this while parroting the clichéd talking points of American exceptionalism, hysterical anti-Communism, and a refusal to take into account the interests and practicalities faced by its partners. The Vatican has its differences with Beijing, but how would embarking on a collision course help it or the cause of Catholics in China? It wouldn't.ALSO ON RT.COM US' failure to recognize Cuba's medical efforts during Covid is due to an innate fear of linking socialism with anything positive
Pompeo is repeatedly described by major US newspapers, the Washington Post among them, as " the worst secretary of state in American history," and it's no surprise why. Diplomacy requires the skills of understanding, prudence, compromise, calibration, and negotiation. The current man in charge of America's relations with the rest of the world has none of those in his armoury – only a one-sided diatribe about how every nation Washington holds a grudge against is evil and a threat to the world, and the US' own political system is far superior (as demonstrated by last night's presidential debate, perhaps ?). Pompeo repeatedly positions himself as speaking on behalf of other nations' people against their governments, while pushing a policy that amounts to little more than bullying.
A look at Pompeo and the State Department's Twitter feed shows it to be a unilateral, repetitive loop of the following topics: 'The Chinese Communist Party is evil and a threat to the world', 'Iran is an evil terrorist state', American values are the best', 'We stand with the people of X', and so on, ad nauseam. To describe it as hubris would be generous, and, of course, it does nothing to support the equally inadequate foreign policy of the United States in practice. This is further distorted by the unilateralist and anti-global governance politics of Donald Trump, which place emphasis only on the projection of power to force other countries into capitulating to American demands.
Against such a backdrop, it's no surprise that a toxic mixture of foreign policymaking has led to other countries not being willing to take notice of Washington. It's winning neither hearts nor minds, and it's this that has set the stage for not only the Vatican snub, but the largely fruitless outcomes of his European adventures. Pompeo's visit to Greece produced no meaningful agreements or outcomes of note , and he failed to get Athens to publicly commit to any anti-China measures or even statements. A similar non-result was achieved from his visit to the Czech Republic a month or so ago – the Czech prime minister even came out and played down Pompeo's comments , after he engaged in a spree of anti-Beijing vitriol.
So, what's at stake for the Vatican? Undoubtedly, religion is a sensitive topic in mainland China. The Chinese state sees unfettered religion as a threat to social stability, or as a potential vehicle for imperialism against the country, and thus has aimed to strongly regulate it under terms and conditions set by the state.ALSO ON RT.COM Oxford University's 'scholarly' RT hit piece has no room for the mundane reality of how the world's news organisations work
This has caused tensions with the Roman Catholic Church, which maintains a strict ecclesiastical hierarchy, answering to the Vatican and not national governments. With China being the world's most populous country, having among its vast population nine million Catholics, this means the Church has had to negotiate and compromise with the Beijing government to maintain its influence and control, and to secure the rights of its members to worship. This has resulted in a 'deal' whereby the Vatican can have a say in the appointment of its bishops in China, rather than the Church being completely subordinate to the government.
But Pompeo doesn't care about these sensitivities – he wants one thing: Cold War. He wants unbridled, unrestrained, and evangelical condemnation of China and, as noted above, is utilizing his 'diplomatic visits' to push that demand. However, building a foreign policy on preaching America First unilateralism, chauvinism, and zero compromise not surprisingly has its limitations. As a result, Pompeo is finding himself isolated and ignored in more than a few areas. Thus it was that, rather than completely squandering the Vatican's interests in diplomacy with China, Pope Francis simply refused to meet him. For someone as fanatically religious and pious as Pompeo, that's a pretty damning indictment of the incompetence within the US State Department right now.
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Oct 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Louis-Vincent Gave via Gavekal Research,
What is the dominant guiding principle of western societies today?
At the risk of sounding crass, let me suggest that it is the "cover your ass" or CYA principle. This principle has always been fairly prominent in participative democracies. But now it has gone into hyper-drive - so much so, that the CYA principle is also now an important driving force even in financial markets.CYA and Covid-19
Take the response to Covid-19 as an example of the CYA principle in action. Is there any doubt that the rush to lock down economies and suspend normal civil rights -- to go to church, to attend school, to visit friends -- in the face of Covid was driven largely by policymakers' fears that if large numbers of people died, they would be held accountable in the court of public opinion?
Of course, no policymakers want a surge in deaths on their watch. But economies did not get shut down during the 2009 swine flu pandemic, nor during Sars in 2003, the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1969, nor even the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. So what changed between the time of Sars and the time of Covid? One obvious answer is the rise of social media.
Now that every policy choice is reviewed and debated in real time by millions of people around the world, CYA has become all-important. Politicians have to put policies in place to hedge against the wildest tail risks imaginable. At the same time, the first instinct of policymakers (and of investors -- but more on this later) is to avoid doing anything that diverges too far from the pack. Any policymaker anywhere looking at the opprobrium heaped on Sweden will surely agree with John Kenneth Galbraith's observation that "it is far, far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone".
Once Denmark and Norway had decided to follow Italy's lead and lock down their populations, any western government that did not follow suit risked being accused of playing Russian roulette with people's lives, regardless of the epidemiological evidence. Unfortunately, we still seem stuck in this mindset, even as the weekly death tolls across western countries have dipped to generational lows, almost regardless of the Covid policies they adopted (see the chart below).
So, we should all be grateful that Donald Trump appears to be bouncing back from his brush with Covid having taken little harm. Firstly, of course, Trump is human, and it doesn't do to wish harm on another human. Secondly, if Covid were to have taken Trump's life, it would have claimed the highest profile victim possible. And after the death of the US president, who can doubt that anti-Covid measures would become even more liberticidal. Regardless what you think of Trump, that would be a very bearish development, at least for "Covid-victims" such as energy names, airlines, casinos, hotels, and restaurants , all of which are desperate for policymakers to acknowledge that Covid-19 no longer seems to be as lethal as it was six months ago.CYA and the fiscal and monetary policy mix
Moving on to the far less controversial fiscal and monetary policy responses to the recession, can there be any doubt -- again -- that policy is being driven above all by the CYA principle? What policymaker wants to espouse the Hippocratic principle of "first, do no harm," and let markets and prices find their own footing? None. As Anatole has argued, policymakers are scrambling always to do more, with ever-bigger budget deficits funded by ever-more money printing ( see Will A Keynesian Phoenix Arise From Covid? ).
Can this new enthusiasm for budget deficits and money printing guarantee prosperity? It seems to for some individual stocks. But for the broad market? Perhaps not, or at least not in "real terms". Take the equal-weighted S&P 500 as a proxy for the typical equity portfolio (appropriate now a handful of mega-cap names dominate the cap-weighted index), and discount it by the gold price to get a picture of equity returns adjusted for currency debasement.
When US governments keep spending under control, as Bill Clinton's did in the 1990s or the Tea-Party-led Congress did after 2011, the broad equity market goes through long phases of "rerating" against gold (see the chart below).
And when the government embraces expanding budget deficits funded by the Federal Reserve, as with George W Bush's "guns and butter" policies or Donald Trump's rapid deficit expansion, gold massively outperforms the broad equity market. Where does this leave us today? Since 2014, the equal-weighted S&P 500 has delivered the same returns as a pet rock -- gold. This is because the index has lost a third of its value since making a high in September 2018, and has basically been flat-lining since late April (see the chart below).
This may help to put the current debate on US stimulus into context. First, does anyone doubt that the US government will release a tsunami of new spending after the election? Because of the CYA principle, what policymaker will want to be seen to be blocking recovery? Secondly, will this increase in budget deficits, funded by the printing press, trigger stronger economic growth? If so, why weren't we doing it before? Will it lead to higher asset prices? If so, why are we so far off the 2018 high? Or will it mean further currency debasement? Looking at the ratio between the equal-weighted S&P 500 and the gold price, will a new round of stimulus mean a return to the February 2020 high? Or will it see the March 2020 low taken out?
Another way to look at this problem is through the prism of the US dollar. Will another round of fiscal stimulus be dollar-bullish? Or will it be dollar-bearish? The answer matters greatly to all those foreign investors currently seeking shelter in US equities. For them, the return on US equities has been flat since late May - and going further back, flat since mid-2019.
So, if another round of stimulus weakens the US dollar, as seems likely if the stimulus is funded by the Fed, then foreign investors will have to hope that increased equity values will more than compensate for their foreign exchange losses.CYA and indexing
This brings me to what is likely the most important element of all this for readers: the CYA principle and investing. Gavekal has written at length about the dangers of indexing (see, for example, Exponential Optimization). We have also argued that indexing is the new in-vogue form of socialism. Capital is not allocated according to its marginal return -- the foundation on which capitalism rests. Instead, capital is allocated according to the size of companies. Just as in the days of the old Soviet Union or Maoist China, the bigger you are, the more capital you get. It is hard to think of a stupider way to allocate one of the key resources on which future growth relies. So why is indexing so popular? Simple: it is the ultimate CYA strategy.
As Charlie Munger likes to say: "Show me the incentives, and I will show you the outcome." In a world where every money manager is told his or her target is to achieve a performance close to that of the index, it is hardly surprising that ever-more money ends up getting indexed ( see Indexation = Parasitism ). As a consequence, over the years the dispersion of results among money managers has become smaller and smaller.
Now, the Holy Grail of money management is to achieve decent long term returns combined with low volatility in those returns. However, in a world where ever-more capital is directed into investments that outperform -- playing momentum rather than mean reversion -- you inherently end up with greater volatility all round. Take the past few years as an example: since January 2018, the S&P 500 equal-weighted index has suffered six corrections of -10% or greater, including one -20% drop and one -40% drop. In contrast, in the preceding two years -- January 2016 to January 2018 -- the S&P 500 did not see a single -10% drop, while the July 2016 to January 2018 period didn't even see a -5% drop. Clearly, something in the environment has changed.
More indexing makes sense from a CYA perspective, but ends up delivering lower returns and higher volatility all round. This stands to reason. If capital is allocated only according to marginal variations in the price of an asset, then the more the asset's price rises, the more capital money managers will allocate to that asset. And the more an asset's price falls, the less capital is allocated to it. Such momentum-based investing inevitably creates an explosive-implosive system, which swings wildly from booms to busts and back again. And in the process, capital gets misallocated on a grand scale.
In the 20th century, the goal of every socialist experiment was for everybody to earn the same salary. In the 21st century, it seems that the goal of indexing is for everybody to earn the same return. As we now know, fixing everyone's return on labor at the same price was a disaster. People stopped working, and economic growth plummeted. Fast forward to today, and why should we expect a different outcome if the end-goal of our investment strategy is to ensure that everyone gets the same return, not on the their labor but on their capital? Isn't the entire world of money management now oriented towards delivering this remarkable ambition?
And should we really be surprised if the growth rates of our economies continue to slip? Why should we expect a positive growth outcome from an epic misallocation of capital? Take the current Big Tech craze as an example: everything is organized for investors to sink ever more capital into those very companies that need it least, and whose best use for this gusher of money is typically to buy back their own shares.
This CYA investment-decision-making process appears to be one of the key drivers behind the recent divergence between the S&P 500 market-capitalization-weighted index, and the S&P 500 equal-weighted index.
But it may also explain an interesting point raised by my friend Vincent Deluard, strategist at StoneX. In a recent tweet (he's well worth following) he noted that each of the last four major market corrections bottomed out in the last week of the quarter, just after the index futures expired. Now, this could be a remarkable coincidence. On the other hand, it might say a great deal about how capital is allocated today.Conclusion
In A Study Of History, Arnold Toynbee reviewed the rise and fall of the world's major civilizations. He showed that throughout history, when any civilization was confronted with a challenge, one of two things could occur. The elite could step up and tackle the problem, allowing the civilization to continue to thrive. Alternatively, the elite could fail to deal with the problem. In this case, as the problem grew, their failure led to one of three outcomes.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
1) A change of elite. An example is the clear-out of the French political class at the time of decolonization. As the old Fourth Republic stalwarts struggled to meet the challenges of Asian and African independence movements, they were replaced by Charles de Gaulle who brought in new personnel and established the institutions of the Fifth Republic.
2) A revolution. Obvious examples include the French revolution, with the bourgeoisie taking over from the aristocracy, and the American revolution, with the local elite taking power from the British king.
3) A civilizational collapse. Examples include the collapse of the Aztec, Mayan and Inca civilizations following the arrival of the conquistadores. Another is the disappearance of the Visigoths in Spain and North Africa following the Arab-Muslim invasions at the start of the eighth century.
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With this framework in mind, how does CYA as an organizational policy approach help in dealing with challenges? The obvious answer is that if CYA is your guiding principle, the problems you chose to tackle will be those where there is little controversy within the elite about the required solutions.
This explains the constant hectoring about tackling climate change. Here, policymakers can promise to spend lots of money, without leaving their backsides too exposed. This accounts for the dramatic divergence between the performance of green energy producers (who produce energy) and carbon energy producers (who also produce energy).
It may also explain the rush towards ever-more European integration, as if the real challenge facing Europe today is a resurgence of the Franco-German rivalry that tore the continent apart in the 19th and 20th centuries. Policymakers can spend entire weekends in summit meetings debating European integration. This allows them to feel useful and important, even if their debates increasingly seem about as relevant as the debates of the Byzantines over the gender of angels even as the Turks were storming their city. But while pushing for more European integration might not tackle any of the issues European voters actually care about, at least it doesn't leave your behind exposed.
This brings me back to Karl Popper's theory that at any one time, there is a set amount of risk in the system. Any attempt to contain this risk either displaces it to somewhere else, or stores it up for later. If Popper was right, then the extreme aversion of our policymakers to taking risks means that the risk must appear elsewhere. But where? Perhaps in financial markets? It does seem not only that spikes in the Vix have been getting sharper lately, but that the Vix is also staying more elevated than you would expect in the middle of a roaring bull market.
Or, to put it another way, over the past few years, it does seem that the "downside gaps" in markets have started to become more vicious.
So perhaps CYA makes sense in today's financial markets. The challenge, of course, has become finding the instruments that allow you to cover your posterior. In March 2020, as equity markets tanked, government bonds did not diversify portfolios adequately. And in September, as equities fell -10% from peak to trough, bonds also failed to deliver offsetting positive returns.
This new development -- that US treasuries no longer offer CYA protection for equity investors in difficult times -- is an important one. It makes allocating capital to either equities or bonds a lot more challenging. Or at least it becomes a lot more challenging if you are compelled to follow contemporary western society's all-important guiding principle: CYA.
Oct 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"Joe Biden's 'war economy' policies are a radical break with the status quo." Telegraph
"Bidenomics is a heady brew. The Democrats' $7.9 trillion blast of extra spending is a step beyond Roosevelt's New Deal. It mimics the Keynesian expansion of the Second World War and consciously aims to run the economy at red-hot speeds of growth.
If enacted in full, it is large enough to lift the US economy out of the zero-rate deflationary trap of the last decade and entirely reshape the social and financial landscape.
The stimulus will be corralled inside the closed US economy by Joe Biden's protectionist "Buy America" policies, his industrial strategy, and his carbon border tax (i.e. disguised tariffs against China). This limits leakage.
It is a laboratory of sorts for a post-globalisation experiment in what used to be called "reflation in one country" – before the free flow of goods and capital emasculated sovereign governments.
"It's quite likely that, just as in World War II, when we push down on the economic accelerator, we will find that we have been running on one cylinder up until no w," said the Roosevelt Institute, now advisors to the Biden campaign .
This is why Moody's Analytics estimates that Bidenomics accompanied by a Democrat clean sweep of Congress would lift American GDP by an extra 4.8pc, add an extra seven million jobs, and raise per capita income by an extra $4,800 over the next four years , compared to a clean sweep by Donald Trump. Economic growth would rocket to 7.7pc in 2022." Telegraph ------------- Evans-Pritchard, the author of this piece baldly declares that the Trump tax cut failed to stimulate economic growth and that a clean sweep by the Democrats in November would lead to massive GDP growth and a reduction in present economic inequalities in American society. I will be very interested in your comments. pl
Fred , 06 October 2020 at 12:19 PMGEORGE CHAMBERLAIN , 06 October 2020 at 12:20 PM
That's a fine read Col. Thank goodness that after 47 years as a politician, including 8 years as VP - during which TARP did what? - Biden finally has a plan to Tax and Spend that beats all the Tax and Spend plans that went before this one.
Just what is this getting spent on - the same things Obama-Biden promised, "green" (the color of money) energy, solar charging stations and 1.5 million energy efficient homes (didn't the Housing bubble cause a little economic problem?), 'educaiton'! I wonder if that includes teaching us all critical race theory? and "infrastructure". And here I thought broken records were out of style.
Where's the money coming from? According to Oxfordeconomics, which the Guardian links to, Biden's raising taxes, but it won't lower consumer spending:
".... we estimate an overall multiplier of 0.25 for the individual provisions in Biden's tax package. So, for every dollar of tax increase, households would reduce their spending by 25 cents. As such, while the proposal would generate a substantial revenue inflow, we don'tbelieve it would significantly constrain consumer spending."
So what is the decline in corporate spending if you raise corporate taxes? The economists at Oxfordeconomics conveniently left that out, nor did they eplicitly tell you that a decade of tax revenue will still leave you with 60 years of tax burden from Joe's spending.
"On the corporate tax front, the most significant revenue raisers are:•A 7ppt increase in the statutory corporate tax rate to 28%, which would raise $1.3tn over 10years.•An increase in taxes on foreign earnings.•A 15% minimum tax on global book income.•The elimination of several real estate investment tax preferences." (Oooh look, Trump's screwed! Yeah! I wonder how all those REITs look with that?)
Another unasked question: Who is going to do all that economy stimulating work if there is a national lockdown due to Covid?Leith , 06 October 2020 at 12:23 PM
"LaRouche's comments were prompted by an article published in the Telegraph on May 19 by British intelligence stringer Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, whose experience in orchestrating U.S. impeachment drives for the British goes back to his attacks on President Bill Clinton. Evans-Pritchard, on the eve of Trump's first trip abroad as President, is spreading the black propaganda line that Trump might already be incapacitated, in much the same way as President Richard Nixon was incapacitated by then-Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, who "instructed U.S. military officials to ignore any order from the Oval Office to use nuclear weapons."
Evans-Pritchard asserts that the key to overthrowing Trump is to pull Republican support away from him, which he admits is still strong. But what happens next? He quotes Sir Jeremy Greenstock, former British UN ambassador and now chairman at Gatehouse Advisory Partners: "America can be very powerful if it decides to act hard. Xi Jinping and Putin will probably wait and see whether Trump self-destructs." Evans-Pritchard then raises the question: How will Trump behave "when the special prosecutor [Robert Mueller] starts to let rip with a volley of subpoenas."Stag Deflated , 06 October 2020 at 12:40 PM
I like the idea of a Carbon Border Tax. Or at least the one proposed by the EU, as I have not seen Biden's proposal. It has never made sense to me that we import from countries with low environmental standards when our own manufacturers are handicapped.
But unless Biden can carry Democratic Senatorial challengers against GOP incumbents it ain't gonna happen. It will be stalled in the Senate. There is no way McConnell will even allow it on the Senate floor.Veg , 06 October 2020 at 12:48 PM
This thinking has been wrong, repeatedly so, for the last 10 years. The idea that there is just one more pedal to push down to jumpstart the economy belies the truth that we have experienced the most accommodative and expansive monetary policy on a global level in modern times.
Aside from the lack of efficacy, which I may look to discuss at length later on, there is another striking thing about this plan, and that is how it will be paid for. The reason is not the traditional "where will the money come from" I know where it will come from, cheap US debt, but it tells us two key things. The first is that the functional ideas of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) that you can basically just issue debt and have your central bank both monetize it and keep the interest payments low and use that to fund largely unlimited government spending have for the most part been endorsed by those on the left as a mechanism to deliver on their grand plans. The second thing that is striking though is what they want to spend the money on, which is military spending and infrastructure and not healthcare and a green new deal. This calls into question what alignment there is on the cadres of the left or the possibility that starting with infrastructure is a way to run cover to expand these fantasy economics to social projects without reorienting the economy towards their achievement.Deap , 06 October 2020 at 12:51 PM
Evans-Pritchard's talents are wasted on economic commentary. He writes well, but in the breathless tones of a failed thriller writer. His entire worldview is based on the notion that it is always two minutes to midnight. It's a shame that they put all of his stuff behind a paywall.
Maybe if Biden's plan is approved we will finally see the inflation that Wall Street and its media minions have been whining about for the past forty years.
I have no doubt that the collapsing pocket that is Conservative Inc will luxuriate back on the familiar loser's ground of "fiscal responsibility."
Biden's plan, such as it is, simply marries the essence of Trump's nationalist policies with Great Society spending levels. Like so much of his platform, it is designed to keep the progressives on the plantation until Nov 3 and not one minute beyond.j. casey , 06 October 2020 at 01:10 PM
Sure it will. The devil is in the details. When has any Democrat economic plan ever produced intended results. First they have to confess what went wrong with their trillion dollar "War on Poverty" that now requires another trillion to pretend to clean up that grotesquely distorted mess.
Until they confess to their sins of the past, they are doomed to repeat them. How are they going to remedy their decades of teacher union K1-2 fail turning out entire generations of dysfunctional illiterates who are somehow going to be absorbed into this dynamite economy.
They are sitting in the back room smoking dope and spinning tales. What I hear is wealth confiscation and/or turning on the printing presses. Time for a good recap of Obama's initial "Green Jobs Revolution" from his first term - who did those promise work out and why are we having to undo the piles of excrement Biden First Term left behind.
I have a bad case of deja vu When in fact the Trump Tweaking was paying long term dividends, until the deep state hijacked covid to destroy any possible Trump bragging rights. Never forget Nancy Pelosi tearing up Trump's SOTU address and declaring they were all lies -- and then carrying out her covid porn agenda to make sure she was proven correct.
Remember the three generation rule - all revolutionary and planned economies always fail by the third generation. Soviet Union, Margaret Thatcher's warning, Cuba, etc ......if all the wealth in the world was redistributed, it would be back in similar hands three generations later. Societies always stratify, even since the Sumerians.
America is unique primarily because of the mobility it offers between the strata by its relatively free market system. Don't mess with it. Democrat's heavy handed planned utopia is a nightmare.A. Pols , 06 October 2020 at 01:14 PM
"Bidenomics" is comedy gold, man. Here's another one: President "Printing Press" Harris.Diana Croissant , 06 October 2020 at 01:17 PM
Yup, and I've got some ocean front property in Arizona for sale. Sounds very hopey changey to me.blue peacock , 06 October 2020 at 01:27 PM
I am no economist. However, I am not in debt. I am not wealthy, but I have all I need and want. I've worked very hard during my life and enjoyed my jobs because they were suited to my training and kislls. My retirement funds keep me comfortable. My two sons are doing well in our current economy. That's, of course, a self-centered view of the situation.
But, with that in mind, I say this: "beware of Greeks bearing gifts." (I know Biden is not Greek, but I hope you get my point.)
I am also remembering the Obama administration. I may receive only an Obama phone and an EBT card.LondonBob , 06 October 2020 at 01:46 PM
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is generally a very astute writer. However, on economics and national fiscal policies and central banking he has bought into the Davos sophistry that defies common sense for over a decade.
An example of this sophistry is this line from the passage in your post - "..lift the US economy out of the zero-rate deflationary trap of the last decade...". Ask an average American if they've seen any price deflation in their rents or house prices, their kid's tuition, their health care premiums, their cost of pharmaceuticals, the cost of tacos at their neighborhood taqueria, the cost of getting their shirt cleaned, over the past decade and they'll laugh at you. The cost of living of average Americans have risen and that is the real living experience. But of course if you're Ben Bernanke or Mario Draghi or Jerome Powell or Ms. Lagarde then we are in a "deflationary trap" and they should print more and more money that gets shipped first to their friends on Wall St. The Party of Davos as Jack called it.
Under the government enforced lockdown, how many trillions has the US federal government under the Trump administration borrowed from future generations in the first and now the second stimulus waiting for approval? How many trillions did Jerome Powell print up and send to his friends at Blackrock and Citadel?
GDP is a useless indicator IMO. Digging trenches and filling them up will raise GDP. A very important indicator however is productivity growth. That has been lagging for many years. Another are median household income & wealth, which has also been lagging. What we've seen in the US is a dramatic increase in wealth inequality between the top 0.1% vs the bottom 80% over the past 50 years and this curve continues to accelerate - second order derivative!! The second is the level of systemic debt across all sectors - individuals, corporate and government at all levels that has continuously risen over 50 years increasing systemic leverage to a point larger than during the civil war and WW II. This has occurred under both parties and the Trump presidency has actually increased it despite the rhetoric. Compare the Balance of Trade relative to the soundbites.
A systematic restructuring of our economy away from financialization, away from bailouts of the oligarchy, away from unprecedented market concentration, away from untrammeled credit expansion to back previous credit losses and having a monetary authority with a singular focus on sound money is what's necessary. But that's not gonna happen under either Trump or Biden as it will gore the ox of the Party of Davos whose interests is what both sides primarily cater to. More debt-fueled government spending always ends up as socialism for the oligarchy which is exactly what we've had for decades. It is an economic truism that as productivity of debt continually declines, economic productivity also declines. That's the trap we are in!BillWade , 06 October 2020 at 01:57 PM
Been very happy with my gold investments these past two years and will stick with them thanks, Biden would supercharge them.
Longer term I am looking to have most of my money in Asia, Russian oil companies also seem to like drilling for oil, rather than desperately trying to be anything else than producing oil like BP and the rest. Demographics are dire for most of the West and the US is likely to continue transitioning in to a Latin American style country. People have been well conditioned in to not talking about such things but no point talking about the increasing economic dysfunction without talking about the underlying cause. A massive increase in immigration will lead to a surge in inequality, anemic economic growth, fiscal deficits and a decline in gdp per capita.
Time to start think about investments the way a well to do Latin would.Oilman2 , 06 October 2020 at 02:10 PM
Well, Biden has to get elected first, we'll see. Carbon taxes, hmmm - another way to destroy the middle-class?
Something to think about is the European Central Bank, they are a meeting late this month with "experts" to determine if they will go to a digital currency. The ECB might then decide the "experts" are right and go full digital on Jan 1st, 2021. We might see a whole lot of Euro money coming into the USA, hope so. However, the Federal Reserve has not been printing any new bank notes so you'll have trouble finding crisp bills for Christmas gifts.tedrichard , 06 October 2020 at 02:32 PM
IMO, based on the debt current and future we are loading on the backs of our children, it matters not a whit which of the paths are chosen. Both will end in destruction of said debt by some method - because you can only load so much on horseback and still ride. As we stand now, we are walking alongside a swaybacked packhorse already. Closing off the country, where the only growth has been in the services sector for decades, makes sense in what universe?
Raise taxes? They have only ever increased in my lifetime, my fathers and his. At what point does the Boston Tea Party repeat? From where I sit, everything either party does is only adding fuel to a coming conflagration, as nothing is actually paid for - a ledger entry is aggregated and we march on. The piper will get paid, as he has the children...Deap , 06 October 2020 at 04:22 PM
1.socialism and keynesian economics as a viable theory dead dead right now....today and politicians know it
2. central banks are trapped at zero bound interest rates with no way under heretofore main stream economic theories to stimulate their respective economies
3. politicians are largely dumb as a bag of hammers with not a shred of understanding what to do other than to listen to think tanks warmed over rehashed ideas that have not worked in the past and won't now.
4. what biden is proposing is MMT with communist thomas piketty theory disguised as classical keynesian nonsense being sold to a public almost as dumb as those doing the selling
5. in order to make this works they will have to institute guranteed basic income for the umpteen millions of people who will NEVER work again under this policy of bullshit
6. and lastly to ensure NO ONE can escape this trap which will evolve into an UGLY neo feudalism for 99% of the populace this team of genuinely EVIL people will have to CANCEL ALL paper money FORCING everyone to have a bank account for using digital money THE ONLY money that can exist if this comes to pass. banks loves this as it gives them a cut of all the action
7.as a result taxes will be anything they want and YOU have no escape or recourse whatsoever
8. say the wrong thing, think the wrong thing and your economic life under digital money will be cancelled placing you into destitution and death
9. this is a recipe for slavery on a gigantic scale ensuring the 1/10 of 1% can rule without disturbance forever
10 revolution will be the only option at that point and since the police and military will continue to be paid by the state it will be bloody
let see you pl print thisDeap , 06 October 2020 at 04:27 PM
On the other hand, if this scheme promises to bring back the Jimmy Carter 14% interest rates on CD's for us retired folks, I say bring it on. Everyone else will just have to deal with the economic rubble later on their own.
I just need another good 15 years or so myself. In other words, never believe old people when it comes to managing the US economy- our goals are selfish and very short term. So like, what's in this for meeeeeee?Bobo , 06 October 2020 at 05:04 PM
Biden must have listened to AOC for this fiscal policy advice. Bring back chicken coops and victory gardens, and turn in your scrap metal because we are WAR.Les Priest , 06 October 2020 at 05:05 PM
What in God's name is Biden having a Brit pushing his economic plan. We all know they embellish everything which then falls apart into pieces. Yes, Fred I remember those +14% interest rates I paid on my mortgage and still kick myself for not taking the 100k down payment and putting it into a 14% 30 year CD and renting. But then we all have those memories. Sure would not want my grandchildren paying those rates on a 500k mortgage as it would kill the real estate business and this country.
Sleepy Joe will be ready for the assisted living center by year two and we would be stuck with Checkbook Harris, UGH. Vote for the Bullcrapper that gets things done.English Outsider , 06 October 2020 at 06:46 PM
Ahem; This has been done before: After Hitler was elected in 1933; He slammed the borders shut to money transfer, then started building the autobahn. It worked, Germany came out of the slump. Of course, Hitler then moved on to building planes & tanks. Also, Modern Monetary theory says you can run the printing presses & print money like mad, as long as that paper is going into a real, working economy, it gets recycled. That does not describe the current 'developed world' economy; the FIRE economy (finance, insurance, real estate) has eaten it's own tail. When all the other assets have jacked up half way to the moon, there will be another gold rush (same as 1930s) & my shack in northern BC will shake with all the helicopters flying around to work up new gold mines.
Candidate Donald Trump's 2016 programme was clear. Bring industry back home. Ditto the troops. Ensure an adequate defence. Drain the swamp.
Looked good. I hadn't realised that his main achievement would be somewhat simpler. Stay functioning in office in the face of the most dangerous series of attacks on an American President that can have been seen since the early nineteenth century.
So clearly he's going to need another term in office to get on with all the things he should have been able to get on with in the first.
Candidate Joe Biden was, I thought at first, stealing part of the Trump 2016 programme. Bring industry back home. Turns out not - as far as I can see America will remain the most heavily industrialised country going. But, as in my own country, much of the industry will still be abroad. With the jobs.
As with my own country Biden's America will be environmentally virtuous. It'll hit some good targets. It'll not use as much fossil fuel. Yesterday's heavy polluters - the coal mines and steel mills - won't pollute any more.
Fake. Again as with my own country the dirty industries we still rely on will still be roaring full steam ahead. Coal will still be mined. Steel will still be produced. But elsewhere.
So Candidate Joe Biden will not be the man to put that part of the Trump 2016 programme into action. He'll be the man who continues with the fake environmentalism we've already seen so much of. Naturally, if the heavy industry is outsourced so is our pollution. Doesn't look that clever a trick to me, even if it fools the eco-warriors.
Oct 06, 2020 | www.rt.com
In backing Biden, the leftist 'resistance' to Trump is perpetuating illegal US invasions & wars, & handing victory to the neocons Michael Rectenwald
is an author of ten books, including the most recent, Beyond Woke . He was Professor of Liberal Arts at NYU from 2008 through 2019. Follow him on Twitter @TheAntiPCProf 6 Oct, 2020 17:17 Get short URL A supporter of Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden wears a Captain America costume during a gathering outside Perez Art Museum before his arrival for a town hall event in Miami, Florida, U.S., October 5, 2020 © REUTERS / Marco Bello 31 Follow RT on Trump calls the Iraqi invasion 'a disaster,' wants to end 'endless wars,' and bring US troops home. It's this that has fueled the deep state's attempts to remove him from office by any means possible. The hawks want Biden to win.
In a recent op-ed on RT, I outlined the puzzling and ironic configuration that is the anti-Trump 'resistance.' But I didn't explore one important 'interest group' within a 'deep state' intent on destroying Trump's presidency at all costs -- namely, the neocon hawks of both major political parties and the military and intelligence establishments that defy strict party affiliation.
This contingent includes members of top military brass and intelligence officers , of course, but also military and intelligence contractors, including those employed by the permanent bureaucracy to foil Trump's first run for the presidency by attempting to tie him to "Russian collusion ."
Condemn Trump all you want. It's quite fashionable and facile to do so. The penchant has long since leaked across the Atlantic via the US and international media establishments. But critics must be either uninformed or disingenuous to liken Trump to Hitler . Hitler was, after all, a fascist strong man and supremacist intent on militarism and world expansionism. And Trump is nothing of the sort.READ MORE Joe Biden isn't a foreign policy guru. He's a Stepford wife repeating 'War Party' talking points The Trump Doctrine
Quite the contrary, Trump wants no part of expansionism. He has insisted that he deplores the endless wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan . Trump has been removing troops from both regions since his presidency began. And he's reportedly been foiled in efforts for a complete withdrawal by his generals . But now he may be prepared to flout their prerogatives and take matters into his own hands, if given a second term.
While Trump touts a strengthened military , the Trump Doctrine involves a particular brand of populist American nationalism . This includes a foreign policy stemming from 19th-century Republican politics . Those who have subscribed to this political position have been traditionally non-interventionist, while demanding that a premium be laid on national self-determination, the protection of national sovereignty via strong borders, and the promotion of national self-interest over international or global entanglements.
Trump has suggested that the military brass wants to start wars to enrich military contractors.
The hue and cry coming from the political establishment over Trump's foreign military policy is a thin scrim to cover for the interests of the military industrial complex. And the interests of the military industrial complex are for its own expansion and the profits that derive from it.ALSO ON RT.COM The Rock may back Biden, but most celebrity endorsements are career opportunism which is why they NEVER come out for Republicans Why the hawks want Biden
Trump's foreign policy on the limited use of military force runs counter to those of the Bush-Cheney and Obama-Biden administrations. Both of these followed the orders of neocon hawks. Shocking his left-wing base, Obama retained many of Bush's top cabinet members, including war hawk Defense Secretary Robert Gates. And, of course, then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) voted in favor of and championed the invasion of Iraq in 2002.
The Obama administration not only continued the Bush campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, it extended them with record-breaking bombings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Libya. Recall that it was Obama who murdered, via a drone bomb, sixteen-year-old US citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. Abdulrahman was the son of alleged al-Qaeda fighter (and American citizen) Anwar Awlaki, who Obama had bombed two weeks earlier, in Yemen. In fairness it must be noted that a US raid in Yemen resulted in the death of Abdulrahman's 8-year-old sister in 2017. But it was Obama who exploded the conflict in Yemen.READ MORE Trump-Biden debate put US democracy on display – we're now little more than the world's laughing stock armed with nukes
The Obama-Biden international adventurism extended to the invasion of Libya and the assassination of Muammar Gaddafi, an escapade that destabilized that country and led directly to the arming of jihadists. Under Obama, the Pentagon and CIA directly armed and trained Syrian "rebels" fighting Bashar Assad, many of whom then grew into the ISIS caliphate. A 2016 iconic headline in the Los Angeles Times said it all: "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA ." It is interesting to note that it was Trump who ended the CIA's training of the so-called "moderate" Syrian rebels whose intent was the toppling Assad's government.
Obama was elected in 2008 on his promise to end Bush's war in Iraq, a conflict he said he opposed from the outset . Instead, Obama and his war hawks expanded this war and added several others. And all of this after Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (for no apparent reason) in 2009.
The military escalation under Obama-Biden surely explains the deep state's preference for Biden over Trump. But what about the voters? In opposing Trump and favouring Biden, the leftist 'resistance' is supporting the continuation of dodgy and illegal US invasions and endless wars. An achievement to be proud of. On the other hand, voters who support non-intervention and troop withdrawal favour the Republican, Donald Trump.
So, tell me again: who's 'left' and who's 'right' in this US presidential election?
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Oct 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
suzan , Oct 5 2020 0:48 utc | 79
Posted by: bevin | Oct 4 2020 23:17 utc | 65
Since you mentioned the pope, here's a link to the encyclical letter he just released, "FRATELLI TUTTI"
(OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON THE FRATERNITY AND SOCIAL FRIENDSHIP),
As (an agnostic) buddhist I find this pope's words needed in this world now. He refused to see Pompeo last week and then releases this letter. Take heed.
psychohistorian , Oct 5 2020 2:19 utc | 81Jackrabbit , Oct 5 2020 2:46 utc | 82
@ suzan | Oct 5 2020 0:48 utc | 79 with the link to the latest encyclical by the Catholic pope
I skimmed the link to the pope's latest and the following are a few quoted paragraphs from the more than 287 in the whole thing.
15. The best way to dominate and gain control over people is to spread despair and discouragement, even under the guise of defending certain values. Today, in many countries, hyperbole, extremism and polarization have become political tools. Employing a strategy of ridicule, suspicion and relentless criticism, in a variety of ways one denies the right of others to exist or to have an opinion. Their share of the truth and their values are rejected and, as a result, the life of society is impoverished and subjected to the hubris of the powerful. Political life no longer has to do with healthy debates about long-term plans to improve people's lives and to advance the common good, but only with slick marketing techniques primarily aimed at discrediting others. In this craven exchange of charges and counter-charges, debate degenerates into a permanent state of disagreement and confrontation.
16. Amid the fray of conflicting interests, where victory consists in eliminating one's opponents, how is it possible to raise our sights to recognize our neighbours or to help those who have fallen along the way? A plan that would set great goals for the development of our entire human family nowadays sounds like madness. We are growing ever more distant from one another, while the slow and demanding march towards an increasingly united and just world is suffering a new and dramatic setback.
25. War, terrorist attacks, racial or religious persecution, and many other affronts to human dignity are judged differently, depending on how convenient it proves for certain, primarily economic, interests. What is true as long as it is convenient for someone in power stops being true once it becomes inconvenient. These situations of violence, sad to say, "have become so common as to constitute a real 'third world war' fought piecemeal".
28. The loneliness, fear and insecurity experienced by those who feel abandoned by the system creates a fertile terrain for various "mafias". These flourish because they claim to be defenders of the forgotten, often by providing various forms of assistance even as they pursue their criminal interests. There also exists a typically "mafioso" pedagogy that, by appealing to a false communitarian mystique, creates bonds of dependency and fealty from which it is very difficult to break free.
44. Even as individuals maintain their comfortable consumerist isolation, they can choose a form of constant and febrile bonding that encourages remarkable hostility, insults, abuse, defamation and verbal violence destructive of others, and this with a lack of restraint that could not exist in physical contact without tearing us all apart. Social aggression has found unparalleled room for expansion through computers and mobile devices.
45. This has now given free rein to ideologies. Things that until a few years ago could not be said by anyone without risking the loss of universal respect can now be said with impunity, and in the crudest of terms, even by some political figures. Nor should we forget that "there are huge economic interests operating in the digital world, capable of exercising forms of control as subtle as they are invasive, creating mechanisms for the manipulation of consciences and of the democratic process. The way many platforms work often ends up favouring encounter between persons who think alike, shielding them from debate. These closed circuits facilitate the spread of fake news and false information, fomenting prejudice and hate".
46. We should also recognize that destructive forms of fanaticism are at times found among religious believers, including Christians; they too "can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned". How can this contribute to the fraternity that our common Father asks of us?
170. I would once more observe that "the financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world". Indeed, it appears that the actual strategies developed worldwide in the wake of the crisis fostered greater individualism, less integration and increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way to escape unscathed.
172. The twenty-first century "is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tend to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions". When we talk about the possibility of some form of world authority regulated by law, we need not necessarily think of a personal authority. Still, such an authority ought at least to promote more effective world organizations, equipped with the power to provide for the global common good, the elimination of hunger and poverty and the sure defence of fundamental human rights.
173. In this regard, I would also note the need for a reform of "the United Nations Organization, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth". Needless to say, this calls for clear legal limits to avoid power being co-opted only by a few countries and to prevent cultural impositions or a restriction of the basic freedoms of weaker nations on the basis of ideological differences. For "the international community is a juridical community founded on the sovereignty of each member state, without bonds of subordination that deny or limit its independence". At the same time, "the work of the United Nations, according to the principles set forth in the Preamble and the first Articles of its founding Charter, can be seen as the development and promotion of the rule of law, based on the realization that justice is an essential condition for achieving the ideal of universal fraternity There is a need to ensure the uncontested rule of law and tireless recourse to negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as proposed by the Charter of the United Nations, which constitutes truly a fundamental juridical norm". There is need to prevent this Organization from being delegitimized, since its problems and shortcomings are capable of being jointly addressed and resolved.
177. Here I would once more observe that "politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy". Although misuse of power, corruption, disregard for law and inefficiency must clearly be rejected, "economics without politics cannot be justified, since this would make it impossible to favour other ways of handling the various aspects of the present crisis". Instead, "what is needed is a politics which is far-sighted and capable of a new, integral and interdisciplinary approach to handling the different aspects of the crisis". In other words, a "healthy politics capable of reforming and coordinating institutions, promoting best practices and overcoming undue pressure and bureaucratic inertia". We cannot expect economics to do this, nor can we allow economics to take over the real power of the state.
Nice words but Pope Francis is still pulling punches. He knows exactly how global private finance works because before the Enlightenment the religious folk in the West ran the money system for a while. Pope Francis knows that finance is private in the West but not in China. The problem Pope Francis has with China is that the China government is the religion in China and governance is otherwise totally secular. In the West, monotheistic religions are given lots more than the lip service they are suppose to get in governance.....in the US there is suppose to be separation of church and state, correct? Do the financial holdings of the Catholic church make Pope Francis one of the elite that own global private finance in the West that I keep writing about?...I wouldn't be surprisedPope's EncyclicalTom , Oct 5 2020 3:49 utc | 90
I have to agree with psychohistorian on this.
The words "oligarchy" and "plutocracy" do not appear in the Pope's Encyclical. The Pope argues a moral case for feeding the poor and even calls for directing money spent on arms to the third world but he steers clear of any concern about class inequity in an age of record wealth inequality.
In this way, he "pulls punches" (as psychohistorian notes) as much as any Western politician. Many of the evils that the Pope rails against - including his remarks regarding populism vs popular government - have their origin in the extreme wealth of a small number of people.
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Capitalism vs. Socialism is a red herring. The real problem is oligarch capitalism which leads to neoliberalism (a sort of fascism) and supremacist thinking of neoconservativism (a sort of aristocracy) and zionism (a sort of colonialism).
!!psychohistorian , Oct 5 2020 4:01 utc | 92
Posted by: suzan | Oct 5 2020 0:48 utc | 79
Thanks for the link to the latest encyclical by the Catholic pope
Some of the WOKE crowd take offence to Pope Francis encyclical. Pathetic.
"Pope slams capitalism & injustices in WOKE view on post-Covid world but gets heat for insufficiently inclusive letter"
"Although the encyclical was woke-friendly in many respects, its title, "Fratelli Tutti," translates to "Brothers All" in English – connoting male dominance to some. The Vatican said the title was taken from the words of St. Francis of Assisi, the pope's namesake, and couldn't be changed. And in any case, an encyclical is inherently addressed to the whole world, and the Italian word "Fratelli" means brothers but can be used to mean brothers and sisters."
@ uncle tungsten | Oct 5 2020 3:28 utc | 89 who I think meant "..no one is being prosecuted in the courts."
uncle tungsten also wrote
So the head of the Roman Catholic Church is expressing compassion.
That compassion, if you read the screed, is coming from Saint Francis who was showing all this compassion to folks during the time of the Crusades......
The anglican church is a front for the faith based belief that global finance leaders are doing God's work.
The commenters here making fun of the visceral fear associated with potential impending death have never faced such themselves it is clear. I am not excusing Trump's actions but Trump is having to face his mortality in a way he has not had to before and he doesn't want to give up the reins of power so he has to look like still in control. I don't think Trump is out of the woods yet and may be setting himself up for a bigger crash given all the drugs he has crammed into his body in the past 72 hours.
I was taught in my Christian youth that my body was just a vessel in the here and now but what is more important than ones body is their soul. I blame that stupidity for much of the obesity in the US....and I blame genius Trump for that stupidity as well...
Oct 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vato , Oct 5 2020 9:03 utc | 104
Michael Hudson's newest interview on the Macro N Cheese Podcast either as a transcript or via audio is all about the coming debt deflation and what he calls the Neofeudal Empire.
If you haven't already known, Hudson reminds you that:Who is the dumbest economic Nobel Prize winner? [Paul Krugman?] Paul Krugman. That's right. He was given a Nobel Prize for not understanding what money was. If he would have understood it, that would've excluded him from getting the Nobel Prize.
Oct 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.comL RNY • 11 hours agoCollin Reid • 10 hours ago
The one thing I see in Maoist China, Nazi Germany and Czarist Russia/Soviet Union is that "freedom was curtailed" and the government cracked down on "law and order." If you look at the intimidation tactics of individuals, couples, families at restaurants and the assassinations of Police Officers, the violent riots, arson and looting in american cities you can see the justification for the government to "crack down on freedoms" and restore "law and order" similar to Maoist China and Pre-War Germany but for different reasons and justifications. If you look at the lefts handling of the Chinese biological weapon of terrorism COVID19 and the resulting lock down of the economy and the enforced government closing of churches, synagogues and mosques then you can see similarities in Maoist China, Nazi Germany and Bolshevik/Stalinist Soviet Union (and its satellites) but for different reasons and different justifications.
-The radical elements pushing for civil war and revolution in the US arent reacting to hunger or the economy as they did in Germany or Russia.
-The radical elements pushing for civil war and revolution in the US are fundamentally Marxist and are using feminism to pit men and women against one another, to destroy marriage and family to abort children. Marxists are using Gay Rights to pit sexual orientation of gays against sexual orientation of straights. Marxists are using the prejudice of minorities against the whites. Marxists are again pitting poor against rich. Marxists fracture society into entitled and embittered tribes. Radical elements are pushing for reparations and re-indoctrination as well as civil war and revolution. This is very close to the tactics of Maoist China and it has been proven that George Soros and Peoples Republic of China are financing Antifa and Black Lives Matters..China was too weak to fight the Maoist Communists so many fled to Taiwan. Russians were bribed to revolt against the Czar and put the Bolsheviks into power. Germans were desperate and the Pre-Nazi government was to weak to restore the economy. Americans aren't desperate. Americans are rich fat entitled and ridden with guilt for their blessings to the point where they are self destructive so Americans dont have motivational similarities to the Germans or the Russians for revolution.
Strong Correlation to today
Todays indoctrination youth with their rabid faces and penchant for violence remind me much more of indoctrinated Maoists destroying Chinese culture, attacking Chinese business owners and property owners to enforce a Cultural Revolution.FL Transplant Collin Reid • an hour ago
A Society That Values Loyalty More Than Expertise
I know people LOVE stating Ronald Reagan and 1980s was era of loyalty but I really don't see it.
1) The height of Americans moving across statelines was 1980s so everybody found new places to live all decade.
2) The 1980s Corporations moved towards primary goal of maximizing profit over worker relations
3) Weekly Church going would rise from 1975 - 1986 but began to fall after 1986 through 1995. Nobody has explained why this happened.
4) Being Gen X and entering career workforce in jobless recovery, there was clearly local institutions then.phreethink • 10 hours ago • edited
There was a fairly large economic diaspora during the Reagan years, as the heavy manufacturing (steel) and assembly (auto) factories in what became know as the Rust Belt closed down and people moved South and West for better opportunities. (One of the results of that diaspora s the nationwide popularity of the Pittsburgh Steelers, as thousands upon thousands of fans left western PA and moved elsewhere but maintained their loyalty.)Augustine • 10 hours ago
Hannah Arendt also said:
"The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist."
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism
Now, is it the right or left that is more anti-science and anti-fact? Who lies to us more, the right or left? Check PolitiFact or any other reasonably balanced fact checker before you answer (No, Media Matters doesn't count). Which party's leader said: "Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what's happening,"
I mean neither have a clean slate here, they are human and are politicians, too. But Trump's avalanche of lies and unsupported claims in Tuesday's "debate" makes it ridiculous to argue that Trump is on the side of fact, truth, and evidence.Kiyoshi01 Augustine • 9 hours ago
"Among the social and intellectual elite, sexual adventurism, celebrations of perversion, and all manner of sensuality was common."
The typical Joe six pack, or even the run of the mill not religious conservative, is the social and intellectual elite now?Rossbach • 9 hours ago
Bingo. I live in an overwhelmingly liberal suburb of NYC. This place is sleepier than Mayberry. My wallet (with over $200 inside) slipped out of my pocket while I was riding my bike. The police had called me to pick it up before I even realized that it was missing.
Last week a two motorized skateboards were stolen, and someone shoplifted 5 cigars from the local tobacconist.
There is little sexual adventurism, no visible celebrations of perversion, and sexuality is largely a private matter. If you told an off-color sexual joke at the local bar, you'd likely be asked to leave.
For a guy who cautions against living by lies, Rod would do well to engage some social and intellectual elites on a regular basis. Visit places like Potomac, Maryland, or Princeton, New Jersey, or Swampscott, Massachusetts. The reality is that it's out in "Christian America" that all of this stuff is running rampant.Fletcher Rossbach • 5 hours ago
"Democratic norms are under strain in many industrialized nations, with the support for mainstream parties of left and right in decline."
The reason that the "mainstream" parties are in decline is that they are no longer willing to represent the interests of ordinary people. Both are the captives of special interest groups (ethnic minorities and the radical Left in the case of the Dems, and corporations and wealthy individuals in the case of the GOP). Middle America no longer has any place to go.a Texas libertarian • 8 hours ago
An excellent point and a glaring flaw in the article.a Texas libertarian • 8 hours ago
Thanks for this overview of Hannah Arendt's thought and its relation to current circumstances. Very insightful. I've been wanting to read her book for a while now but have not yet done so."who today talks about totalitarianism?"
Political libertarians and social conservatives have for over 100 years been warning us of this coming totalitarianism. One was even so astute as to see past the absolute dictatorships of the 20th century to what we have at our doorstep today."Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things;it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits. After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd." - Alexis de TocquevilleEddie • 8 hours ago
Another Tocquevillian quote that commands attention today:"What good does it do me, after all, if an ever-watchful authority keeps an eye out to ensure that my pleasures will be tranquil and races ahead of me to ward off all danger, sparing me the need even to think about such things, if that authority, even as it removes the smallest thorns from my path, is also absolute master of my liberty and my life; if it monopolizes vitality and existence to such a degree that when it languishes, everything around it must also languish; when it sleeps, everything must also sleep; and when it dies, everything must also perish? There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in. The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called "the government." They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved. They are so divorced from their own interests that even when their own security and that of their children is finally compromised, they do not seek to avert the danger themselves but cross their arms and wait for the nation as a whole to come to their aid. Yet as utterly as they sacrifice their own free will, they are no fonder of obedience than anyone else. They submit, it is true, to the whims of a clerk, but no sooner is force removed than they are glad to defy the law as a defeated enemy. Thus one finds them ever wavering between servitude and license. When a nation has reached this point, it must either change its laws and mores or perish, for the well of public virtue has run dry: in such a place one no longer finds citizens but only subjects."Fletcher Eddie • 5 hours ago
You know, I'm a full Republican conservative, but in a way, I kinda think that maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a similar economy like what's in Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, Iran, North Korea, etc, etc, etc, so that idiots that think that kind of life style is good. THEN when they find out what it's like living in a WORKER'S PARADISE, they'll know.Mark Thomason • 8 hours ago
Yeah but I don't really wish to be dragged along with that.dbriz • 8 hours ago • edited
What I see happening seems to me to be less explained by Hannah Arendt than by Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer.
We are surrounded by the extreme emotions of people feeling desperate. They are grasping at whatever is on offer, and equally likely to grasp at anything else offered.
They are not accepting an evil, just banality of evil that goes unrecognized as evil for its very banality. They see the extremes, and as Hoffer wrote they are drawn by that extreme; that is the very appeal of it, not just something they excuse as if banal.
The emotions are running to such extremes that politics breaks up longstanding friendships, and even families, as we saw in the American Civil War. That did not happen in Germany's banal acceptance of evil and power.Steveb • 7 hours ago
Control requires widening the net, which requires expanding the parameters of government, which requires centralizing government power, which when done in boiling frog manner, can take a couple of centuries or so. Yet here we have arrived.
It took a long time to get from there to here and getting from here to there will require tough duty.
Sensible people might opt for a modernized Articles of Confederation with reasonable limited taxation privileges and a modified defense arrangement but of course sensible people are in low demand.Richard Parker • 6 hours ago
Impressive to see Godwin reach 1 so soon. I think projection should be added as a dependent variable that catalyzes Godwin logarithmically.
"For example, many who didn't really accept Marx's revisionist take on history -- that it is a manifestation of class struggle -- "
It is, partially.
Traditional Libertarian-Conservative here, but in my classes, I always said that Marx was a better historian than he was an economist.
cdugga Karen Richardson • 5 hours agototheleftofcentre Karen Richardson • 4 hours ago
Should quoting you include that perhaps as many as 5 million Russian POW's also perished in the holocaust, and that it was a good thing? I am saving this RD article much more for the commentary than what rod said. Anti-fascists and the radical left? Yeah, right. Okay folks, show of hands. How many out there, identifying themselves as left or right, wish that world war 2 had lasted longer? Bone spur patriotism seems to be on full display here.Charles Cosimano • 4 hours ago
One rarely sees evil so blatantly on display as in your comment.Gerald Arcuri • 4 hours ago
Your book arrived today. When I think of Soft Totalitarianism I think of the Hayes Office.
"At universities within the University of California system, for example, teachers who want to apply for tenure-track positions have to affirm their commitment to "equity, diversity, and inclusion" -- and to have demonstrated it, even if it has nothing to do with their field."
It isn't just the U.C. schools. Here in Thousand Oaks, California, sits the campus of California Lutheran University - a private institution ( though no longer "Lutheran" or indeed "Christian" in any meaningful sense of those words ). The faculty and staff are undergoing frank re-education, in preparation for the loyalty oath. And, those who dare resist ( sadly, there are few ) are simply shown the door. Any dissent is labelled "racist", "homophobic", etc., etc. The jackboots are echoing even in the quiet streets of suburbia...
And the so-called California Ethnic Studies Curriculum ( based on critical race will soon be introduced as a mandatory high school class. No class, no graduation. It's utterly chilling.
Oct 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by James Howard Kunstler via The Daily Reckoning,
America has a new manufactured crisis, ElectionGate, as if all the other troubles piling up like tropical depressions marching across the September seas were not enough.
America needs a constitutional crisis like a hole in the head, and that's exactly what's being engineered for the holiday season by the clever folks in the Democratic Party's Lawfare auxiliary.
Here's how it works:
The complicit newspapers and cable news channels publish polls showing Joe Biden leading in several swing states, even if it's not true.
Facebook and Twitter amplify expectations of a Biden victory.
This sets the stage for a furor when it turns out that he loses on election night.
On cue, Antifa commences to riot all around the country. Meanwhile, a mighty harvest of mail-in votes pours into election districts utterly unequipped to validate them.
Lawfare cadres agitate in the contested states' legislatures to send rogue elector slates to the electoral college. The dispute ends up in congress, which awaits a seating of newly-elected representatives on January 4, hopefully for Lawfare, mostly Democrats. Whoops !
Turns out, the Dems lost their majority there too. Fighting in the streets ramps up and overwhelms hamstrung police forces in Democratic-run cities.
January 20 -- Inauguration Day -- rolls around, and the Dems ask the military to drag Trump out of the White House "with great dispatch!" as Mr. Biden himself put it so nicely back in the summer.
The U.S. military breaks into two factions. Voilà: Civil War Two.
You didn't read that here first, of course. It's been all over the web for weeks, since the Democratic Party-sponsored Transition Integrity Project (cough cough) ran their summer "war game," intending to demonstrate that any Trump election victory would be evidence of treason and require correction by any means necessary , including sedition, which they'd already tried a few times in an organized way since 2016 (and botched).
The Democrats are crazy enough now to want this. They have driven themselves crazy for years with the death-wish of eradicating western civ (and themselves with it). There are many reasons for this phenomenon, mostly derived from Marxist theories of revolution, but my own explanation departs from that.
The matter was neatly laid out a year ago during the impeachment ploy: After the color revolution in Ukraine, 2014, Mr. Biden was designated not just as "point man" overseeing American interests in that sad-sack country, but specifically as a watchdog against the notorious deep corruption of Ukraine's entire political ecosystem -- as if, you understand, the internal workings of Ukraine's politics was any of our business in the first place.
The evidence aired publicly last year suggests that Mr. Biden jumped head-first and whole-heartedly into the hog-trough of loose money there, netting his son Hunter and cohorts millions of dollars for no-show jobs on the board of natural gas company, Burisma.
And then, of course, Mr. Biden stupidly bragged on a recorded panel session at the Council on Foreign Relations about threatening to withhold U.S. aid money as a lever to induce Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor looking into Burisma's sketchy affairs.
Naturally, the Democratic Party impeachment crew accused Mr. Trump of doing exactly what Mr. Biden accomplished a few years earlier.
The impeachment fizzled, but the charges and the odor of the Biden-Burisma scandal lingered without resolution -- all the while that Mr. Biden posed as a presidential candidate in the primaries.
This week, the Senate released a report detailing findings of their investigation into the Biden family's exploits abroad. It didn't look good.
Also implicated are the State Department officers in the Kiev embassy who pretended not to notice any of this, pointing also to their engagement in further shenanigans around the Trump-Clinton election of 2016 -- a lot of that entwined in the Clinton-sponsored RussiaGate scheme.
Of course, the Senate was not so bold as to issue criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
If Mr. Biden actually shows up at this week's debate, do you suppose that Mr. Trump will fail to bring up the subject?
Does this finally force Mr. Biden's withdrawal from what has been the most hollow, illusory, and dispirited campaign ever seen at this level in U.S. political history?
All of which is to say that the Democratic Party has other things to worry about, besides who will replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
That may be hard to believe, but it's how things are now after four years of implacable, seditious perfidy from the party.
A week ago, all the talk centered around the Democrats' election coup plan, as publicized stupidly by the so-called Transition Integrity Project. Nice try. What if all those mail-in ballots sent out recently have Joe Biden's name on them and it turns out that he is no longer a candidate?
Hmmmm . No doubt the recipients were so eager to fill them in and send them out that there's no going back on that scam. Apparently, a Biden withdrawal was not one of the scenarios scrimmaged out in the Transition Integrity Project's "war game."
What then? A do-over?
Hence, panic in the swamp. Joe Biden's misadventures, and his pitiful fate, are but the outer rainbands of the brewing storm.
There's the threat of further and widespread riots, of course, but since when has insurrection proved to be a winning campaign strategy in a country not entirely gone to the dogs?NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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People who are not insane usually object to their businesses being torched and their homes invaded. At this point, after months of violent antics by criminal nihilists, one can even imagine Multnomah County, Oregon, turning Trumpwise.
The orgy of political hysteria, insane thinking and violence is a psychotic reaction to the collapsing techno-industrial economy -- a feature of it, actually.
When all familiar social and economic arrangements are threatened, people go nuts. Interestingly, the craziness actually started in the colleges and universities where ideas (the products of thinking) are supposed to be the stock-in-trade.
The more pressing the practical matters of daily life became, the less intellectuals wanted to face them. So, they desperately generated a force-field of crazy counter-ideas to repel the threat, a curriculum of wishful thinking, childish utopian nostrums and exercises in boundary-smashing.
As all this moved out of the campuses (the graduation function), it infected every other corner of American endeavor, institutions, business, news media, sports, Hollywood, etc.
The country is now out of its mind echoes of France, 1793 a rhyme, not a reprise.
Wild Bill Steamcock , 47 minutes agoWild Bill Steamcock , 46 minutes ago
People just have to accept the fact- yes I said fact- that the Republic is dead and there's no saving it. When a guy like Comey, a seditionist, perhaps even treasonous criminal can testify before Congress and not have the cuffs slapped on him on the way out says it all.
The Government is rotten through to the core with corruption and cancer. There's nothing left to work with.Fizzy Head , 6 minutes ago
This election won't change anything. Not one thing.
And I'll gladly come back here and eat those words if I'm wrongNoDebt , 2 minutes ago
Good point, some swamp creatures that were drained are still out there minus the swamp.CRM114 , 16 minutes ago
Correct, elections mean nothing when politicians aren't afraid of the population they rule over. And by now I do mean literally RULE OVER. Consent of the governed has been completely tossed aside in abject ridicule. They see us as their intellectual and moral inferiors and hold us all in contempt.
Unless the politicians are afraid of us, this will continue. Right now they have no reason to fear us. Everyone who they wanted locked down and shut up has been- including even ZH getting the Google muzzle thrown on it. Meanwhile, everyone they wanted out in the streets fomenting chaos and revolution is out in the streets doing exactly as they are bidden (and paid) to do.
I imagine them chuckling to themselves and thinking how easy it was. It wasn't easy, of course, they spent 40 years doing their "slow march through the institutions" but that phase is over now. They're into the active (violent revolution) part.
And in case nobody has noticed, they're winning.
play_arrowtyberious , 57 minutes ago
Interesting point about corruption in Ukraine. Worth noting that the soccer Champion's League final in 2018 was in Kiev, Ukraine. Very inconvenient for both fans and teams, airlines couldn't cope, and the hotel ripoffs started immediately. Very stupid place to hold it. The location is decided by an "independent" FIFA committee, one of whom has a brother who is the mayor of Kiev. Coincidence, obviously ;)
The idea that Hunter Biden could operate in Ukraine without bribing anyone is ridiculous. The key question is whether he ripped off the American people as well as the Ukrainians ;)LetThemEatRand , 1 hour ago
"The Democrats are crazy enough now to want this"
They hang otherwise!J S Bach , 25 minutes ago
A bloody crisis over whether douchebag or turd sandwich won the election is just about par for the course these days.flyonmywall , 48 minutes ago
Another great article posted in the past 3 days on ZH. (Maybe there's hope for this site after all.)
However, as usual... the (((cancerous core))) of all of our malaise, from unconstitutional currency, to media, to academia, to corrupt courts, to twisted sexual ideologies... is NOT mentioned.
Hopefully, those who garnered at least an 8th grade education level and a modicum of ability to think, will be able to read between the lines of articles like these to glean to underlying truth as to the guilty party.
********. This isn't France in 1793.
The current President is way more popular than the media is willing to admit.
The media and the Democrats will lose, count on it. They are gambling with the life of the USA, but more importantly, they are gambling with their own lives.
, JasonT , says: September 26, 2020 at 9:44 pm GMT
Sep 28, 2020 | www.unz.com
Beckow says: September 26, 2020 at 6:58 pm GMT 200 Words ↑ @PetrOldSack
If it is about ' surplus populations ' – and I agree that is a strong motivation for the elites – why are they super-charging import of the additional surplus population from the Third World?
The corona panic is not helping, unless this is only Phase 1. Tanking the economy will most likely result in a much weaker control of the population – the draconian new rules won't make much difference because they can never be draconian enough. Tens of millions without work is a prescription for chaos – it has always been.
One explanation that I find possible is ' inertia ' – the rulers are stuck, the hired managerial class is both very stupid and very self-serving. What we see is helpless inertia and a slow slide, but no plan or even coherent thought.
The members of the ruling class seem lost and helpless (' tear it down so we can rebuilt it better ' is a weird refrain used by Macron, Trudeau and now Biden). The real story could be that there is nobody behind the curtain, no ideas, and inertia rules.
PetrOldSack , says: September 26, 2020 at 7:14 pm GMT@The Alarmist hat we need to get the global population back below one billion, because every action they have taken lately seems designed to lead to means to achieve that end.
To keep with the Saker, "the elites have gone mad", at government level, the public puppets mostly do not know what they are doing. A level deeper, the few bet on chaos, improvise, but at the least have some sort of quality goal: induce chaos to mask the causes of the necessary culling of the surplus populations. At the level of the middle class, and populus, the former are suicidal, the latter as always in the history of mankind, do not even grasp the situation they are in.
@Beckow much difference because they can never be draconian enough."
Corona panic leads to mandatory vaccinations.
Mandatory vaccinations leads to implantation of biochip.
Biochip sends and receives signals to/from 5G network.
Signals between biochips and AI through 5G network track everyone who has the chip, does not allow troublemakers to buy/sell thereby starving them, and in extreme cases, signals from 5G network to biochips kills/disables troublemakers.
The rules do not need to be draconian. In fact, no overt 'rules' are needed at all because people will learn through pain what they are allowed to do.
Sep 24, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org
Partially based on Wikipedia
In the early 1980s, students of color at Harvard Law School organized protests in various forms to problematize the lack of racial diversity in the curriculum, as well as among students and faculty. These students supported Professor Derrick Bell, who left Harvard Law in 1980 to become the dean at University of Oregon School of Law. During his time at Harvard, Bell had developed new courses which studied American law through a racial lens that students of color wanted faculty of color to teach in his absence. However, the university, ignoring student requests, hired two white civil rights attorneys instead. In response, numerous students, including Kimberlé Crenshaw and Mari Matsuda, boycotted and organized to develop an "Alternative Course" using Bell's Race, Racism, and American Law (1973, 1st edition) as a core text and included guest speakers Richard Delgado and Neil Gotanda.
The theory itself is a kind of Lysenkoism in this particular area. Read voodoo science. This pseudoscience includes several themes (Wikipedia)
- Critique of liberalism: CRT scholars favor a more aggressive approach to social transformation, as opposed to liberalism's more cautious approach; a race-conscious approach to transformation rejecting liberal embrace of affirmative action, color blindness, role modeling, or the merit principle; and an approach that relies more on political organizing, in contrast to liberalism's reliance on rights-based remedies.
- Storytelling, counter-storytelling, and "naming one's own reality": The use of narrative to illuminate and explore experiences of racial oppression. B
- Revisionist interpretations of American civil rights law and progress: Criticism of civil-rights scholarship and anti-discrimination law, such as Brown v. Board of Education. Derrick Bell, one of CRT's founders, argued that civil rights advances for blacks coincided with the self-interest of white elitists. Likewise, Mary L. Dudziak performed extensive archival research in the U.S. Department of State and Department of Justice, including the correspondence by U.S. ambassadors abroad, and found that U.S. civil rights legislation was not passed because people of color were discriminated against. Rather, it was enacted in order to improve the image of the United States in the eyes of third-world countries that the US needed as allies during the Cold War.
- Applying insights from social science writing on race and racism to legal problems.
- Intersectional theory: The examination of race, sex, class, national origin, and sexual orientation, and how their combination plays out in various settings, e.g., how the needs of a Latina female are different from those of a black male and whose needs are the ones promoted.
- Essentialism: Reducing the experience of a category (gender or race) to the experience of one sub-group (white women or African-Americans). In essence, all oppressed people share the commonality of oppression. However, such oppression varies by gender, class, race, etc., and therefore, the aims and strategies will differ for each of these groups.
- Non-white cultural nationalism and separatism (incl. Black nationalism): The exploration of more radical views that argue for separation and reparations as a form of foreign aid.
- Legal institutions, critical pedagogy , and minority lawyers in the bar.
- Structural determinism : Exploration of how "the structure of legal thought or culture influences its content," whereby a particular mode of thought or widely shared practice determines significant social outcomes, usually occurring without conscious knowledge. As such, theorists posit that our system cannot redress certain kinds of wrongs.
- White privilege : Belief in the notion of a myriad of social advantages, benefits, and courtesies that come with being a member of the dominant race (i.e. white people). A clerk not following you around in a store or not having people cross the street at night to avoid you, are two examples of white privilege.
- Microaggression : Belief in the notion that sudden, stunning, or dispiriting transactions have the power to mar the everyday of oppressed individuals. These include small acts of racism consciously or unconsciously perpetrated, whereby an analogy could be that of water dripping on a rock wearing away at it slowly. Microaggressions are based on the assumptions about racial matters that are absorbed from cultural heritage .
- Empathetic fallacy : Believing that one can change a narrative by offering an alternative narrative in hopes that the listener's empathy will quickly and reliably take over. Empathy is not enough to change racism as most people are not exposed to many people different from themselves and people mostly seek out information about their own culture and group.
Any rational legal scholar should reject CRT as voood science. But somehow it crioped in many federal againces. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to stop funding to federal government contractors who hold critical race theory training sessions.
“The President signed an Executive Order to end training sessions based on race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating in the Federal workforce, the Uniformed Services, and among Federal contractors,” the White House said in an announcement.
“This order will prohibit Federal agencies and Federal contractors from conducting training that promotes race stereotyping, for example, by portraying certain races as oppressors by virtue of their birth.”
The president provided a number of examples of such critical race theory trainings, which included a seminar recently held by the Treasury Department that promoted the message that “virtually all White people, regardless of how ‘woke’ they are, contribute to racism.” The same seminar was found to have told small group leaders to encourage employees to avoid the idea that Americans should be “more color-blind” or “let people’s skills and personalities be what differentiates them.”
In another example, the Sandia National Laboratories, a research lab and a federal entity, was found to have stated in training materials for non-minority males that an emphasis on “rationality over emotionality” was a characteristic of “white male[s].” The training materials also asked the trainees to “acknowledge” their “privilege” to each other.
The Argonne National Laboratories, a research center under the U.S. Department of Energy, was found to have stated in its training materials that racism “is interwoven into every fabric of America.” It also characterized statements like “color blindness” and “meritocracy” as “action of bias.”
The executive order also pointed to the Smithsonian Institution in another example, where one of the museum’s graphics asserted that concepts such as “objective, rational linear thinking,” “hard work” being “the key to success,” the “nuclear family,” and belief in a single god are “aspects and assumptions of whiteness” and not values that would unite Americans. The museum also stated that “[f]acing your whiteness is hard and can result in feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion, defensiveness, or fear,” according to the order.
Many rational legal scholars have criticized CRT as pseudoscience and voodoo: CRT scholars' reliance on narrative and storytelling, or CRT's critique of objectivity.
Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has "labeled critical race theorists and postmodernists the 'lunatic core' of 'radical legal egalitarianism.'" He wrote:
What is most arresting about critical race theory is that it turns its back on the Western tradition of rational inquiry, forswearing analysis for narrative. Rather than marshal logical arguments and empirical data, critical race theorists tell stories – fictional, science-fictional, quasi-fictional, autobiographical, anecdotal – designed to expose the pervasive and debilitating racism of America today. By repudiating reasoned argumentation, the storytellers reinforce stereotypes about the intellectual capacities of nonwhites.
Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote that critical race theorists have constructed a philosophy which makes a valid exchange of ideas between the various disciplines unattainable:
The radical multiculturalists' views raise insuperable barriers to mutual understanding. Consider the "Space Traders" story. How does one have a meaningful dialogue with Derrick Bell? Because his thesis is utterly untestable, one quickly reaches a dead end after either accepting or rejecting his assertion that white Americans would cheerfully sell all blacks to the aliens. The story is also a poke in the eye of American Jews, particularly those who risked life and limb by actively participating in the civil rights protests of the 1960s. Bell clearly implies that this was done out of tawdry self-interest. Perhaps most galling is Bell's insensitivity in making the symbol of Jewish hypocrisy the little girl who perished in the Holocaust – as close to a saint as Jews have. A Jewish professor who invoked the name of Rosa Parks so derisively would be bitterly condemned – and rightly so.
Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry have argued that critical race theory, along with critical feminism and critical legal studies, has anti-Semitic and anti-Asian implications, has worked to undermine notions of democratic community, and has impeded dialogue.
Jeffrey J. Pyle wrote in the Boston College Law Review:
Critical race theorists attack the very foundations of the [classical] liberal legal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism and neutral principles of constitutional law. These liberal values, they allege, have no enduring basis in principle, but are mere social constructs calculated to legitimate white supremacy. The rule of law, according to critical race theorists, is a false promise of principled government, and they have lost patience with false promises.
Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, considers CRT a "grievance ideology" and an "absurdity". He sees the central tenet of "white racism in the American legal system" to be shown false because of items such as the 14th Amendment, the Voting Rights Acts, and Brown v. Board of Education. Critics including George Will saw resonances between critical race theory's use of storytelling and insistence that race poses challenges to objective judgments in the US and the acquittal of O. J. Simpson.
In September 2020, the White House Office of Management and Budget took steps to cancel funding for training in critical race theory among federal agencies on the basis that it constituted "divisive, un-American propaganda".[
Controversies Critical race theory has stirred controversy since the 1980s over such issues as its:
- deviation from the ideal of color blindness; promotion of the use of narrative in legal studies;
- advocacy of "legal instrumentalism" as opposed to ideal-driven uses of the law;
- analysis of the U.S. Constitution and existing law as constructed according to and perpetuating racial power;
- and encouragement of legal scholars to be partial on the side of promoting racial equity.
In 2010, the Mexican American Studies Department Programs in Tucson, Arizona were effectively banned due to their connection to CRT, which was seen to be in violation of a recently-passed state law that "prohibits schools from offering courses that 'advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals'." The ban included the confiscation of books, in some cases in front of students, by the Tucson Unified School District.
Matt de la Peña's young-adult novel Mexican WhiteBoy was banned for containing CRT, However, this ban was later deemed unconstitutional on the grounds that the state showed discriminatory intent. "Both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus," federal Judge A. Wallace Tashima said in the ruling.Derrick Bell as the founder of critical rase thory and black racism
Derrick Bell as the founder of critical rase thory and black racism
Derrick Albert Bell Jr. (November 6, 1930 – October 5, 2011) became the first tenured African-American professor of law at Harvard Law School, and he is often credited as one of the originators of critical race theory along with Richard Delgado, Charles Lawrence, Mari Matsuda, and Patricia Williams. He promoted quota systems for racial groups in faculty which is a racist stance in itself.
He was a visiting professor at New York University School of Law from 1991 until his death. For five years he was also a dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.
He was hired by Harvard Law School In the 1970s, with the help of protests from black Harvard Law School students for a minority faculty member. At Harvard, Bell established a new course in civil rights law, published a book, Race, Racism and American Law, and produced several law review articles.
In 1980, he started a five-year tenure as dean of the University of Oregon School of Law, interrupted by his resignation after the university refused to hire an Asian-American woman he had chosen to join the faculty.
Returning to Harvard in 1986, after a year-long stint at Stanford University, Bell staged a five-day sit-in in his office to protest the school's failure to grant tenure to two professors on staff, both of whose work promoted critical race theory. The sit-in was widely supported by students, but divided the faculty, as Harvard administrators claimed the professors were denied tenure for substandard scholarship and teaching.
In 1990, Harvard Law School had 60 tenured professors. Three of these were black men, and five of them were women, but there were no African-American women among them -- a dearth Bell decided to protest with an unpaid leave of absence. Students supported the move which critics found "counterproductive," while Harvard administrators cited a lack of qualified candidates, defending that they had taken great strides in the previous decade to bring women and black people onto the faculty. The story of his protest is detailed in his book Confronting Authority.
Bell's protest at Harvard stirred angry criticism by opposing Harvard Law faculty who called him "a media manipulator who unfairly attacked the school," noting that other people had accused him of "depriv[ing] students of an education while he makes money on the lecture circuit."
Bell took his leave of absence and accepted a visiting professorship at NYU Law, starting in 1991. After two years, Harvard had still not hired any minority women, and Bell requested an extension of his leave, which the school refused, thereby ending his tenure.
Later in 1998, Harvard Law hired civil rights attorney and U.S. assistant attorney general nominee Lani Guinier, who became the law school's first black female tenured professor.
In March 2012, five months after his death, Bell became the target of conservative media, including Breitbart and Sean Hannity, in an exposé of President Barack Obama. The controversy focused on a 1990 video of Obama praising Bell at a protest by Harvard Law School students over the perceived lack of diversity in the school's faculty. Bell's widow stated that Bell and Obama had "very little contact" after Obama's law school graduation. She said that as far as she remembered, "He never had contact with the president as president." An examination of Senior Lecturer Obama's syllabus for his course on race and law at the University of Chicago revealed significant differences between Obama's perspective and that of Derrick Bell, even as Obama drew on major writings of critical race theory.
NYU School of Law Bell's visiting professorship at New York University began in 1991. After his two-year leave of absence, his position at Harvard ended and he remained at NYU where he continued to write and lecture on issues of race and civil rights.
Bell and other legal scholars began using the phrase "critical race theory" (CRT) in the 1970s as a takeoff on "critical legal theory", a branch of legal scholarship that challenges the validity of concepts such as rationality, objective truth, and judicial neutrality. Critical legal theory was itself a takeoff on critical theory, a philosophical framework with roots in Marxist thought.
Bell continued writing about critical race theory after accepting a teaching position at Harvard University. He worked alongside lawyers, activists, and legal scholars across the country. Much of his legal scholarship was influenced by his experience both as a black man and as a civil rights attorney. Writing in a narrative style, Bell contributed to the intellectual discussions on race. According to Bell, his purpose in writing was to examine the racial issues within the context of their economic and social and political dimensions from a legal standpoint. Bell's critical race theory was eventually branched into more theories describing the hardships of other races as well, such as AsianCrit (Asian), FemCrit (Women), LatCrit (Latino), TribalCrit (American Indian), and WhiteCrit (White). His theories were based on the following propositions:
First, racism is ordinary, not aberrational. Second, white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material, for the dominant group. Third, "social construction" thesis holds that race and races are products of social thought and relations. Fourth, how a dominant society racializes different minority groups at different times, in response to shifting needs such as the labor market. Fifth, intersectionality and anti-essentialism is the idea that each race has its own origins and ever-evolving history. Sixth, voice-of-color thesis holds that because of different histories and experiences to white counterparts', matters that the whites are unlikely to know can be conveyed. CRT has also led to the study of microaggressions, Paradigmatic kinship, the historical origins and shifting paradigmatic vision of CRT, and how in depth legal studies show law serves the interests of the powerful groups in society. Microaggressions are subtle insults (verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual) directed toward people of color, often automatically or unconsciously.
For instance, in The Constitutional Contradiction, Bell argued that the framers of the Constitution chose the rewards of property over justice. With regard to the interest convergence, he maintains that "whites will promote racial advances for blacks only when they also promote white self-interest." Finally, in The Price of Racial Remedies, Bell argues that whites will not support civil rights policies that may threaten white social status. Similar themes can be found in another well-known piece entitled, "Who's Afraid of Critical Race Theory?" from 1995.
His 2002 book, Ethical Ambition, encourages a life of ethical behavior, including "a good job well done, giving credit to others, standing up for what you believe in, voluntarily returning lost valuables, choosing what feels right over what might feel good right now".
Sep 24, 2020 | www.nytimes.com
Dr B San Diego Sept. 20Wouldn't the conspiracy theories and concerns about antifa be lessened if progresses were as vitriolic about violence committed in the name of equity, diversity and inclusion as they are about violence committed in support of MAGA? Would the right have anything to crow about if the NYT was as critical of physical altercations caused by social justice warriors as they are of white supremacists? Wouldn't we all have more trust in MSM if they investigated the facts before accusing Nick Sandman of racism or claiming a garbage pull was a noose? One sided reporting and editorials like these fan the flames rather than squelch them.
Ralphie CT Sept. 20It's amazing. You can write a column in the NY Times full of conspiracy theories -- all fully believed by the left -- and accuse the right of being prone to believing conspiracy theories. From Russia - collusion to rubes in the red states --a majority of dems share a set of beliefs that are as delusional as anything a small group on the right might believe. But, that's Kristof and the Ny Times for you.
Richard Vermont Sept. 20People seemed to have lost a sense of what is plausible. While few of us know the news first hand, we have to both trust and evaluate what is reported. Nothing is absolute. Jurors are asked to decide cases beyond a reasonable doubt. That is how I feel taking in the news. But within that sliver of doubt, within the fact that nothing is absolute is where conspiracy theories begin to fester. It is where some have found solace to confirm what they want to choose to believe despite how much there might be to question that. Events like this create an opportunism to demonize those you hate and in doing so the essence of what we should be debating is lost. How to prevent these fires in the first place? We will probably continue to debate it despite the evidence on climate change, whether there is a deep state trying to discredit Trump, whether the seriousness of covid is a hoax. Yes there is no absolute certainty but there is taking an educated guess as opposed to an emotional response. I'll go with the educated guess. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, I will say it is a duck and accept that sliver of possibility I might be wrong.
Neel Krishnan Brooklyn, NY Sept. 20The social fabric has unraveled, y'all pundits need to catch up.Steve Fankuchen Oakland, CA Sept. 20Why do people attach themselves to "conspiracy theories?" It's actually quite simple. Take QAnon for example: it is functionally just another religion competing for adherents. As with any religion, it offers its believers an explanation of what they deem is wrong while offering a path to right those wrongs. Certainty and simplicity: those are the essential elements of cults/religion/bumpersticker politics. And the internet guarantees that whatever you believe will be "validated." "Conspiracy theories" are, for the most part, not theories, merely assertions. A theory is subject to proof and disproof by evidence. In a world where truth has no inherent monetary value, don't expect it. Why the rapid spread? To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "It's the internet, Stupid!" Follow the money: Agenda + Clickbaitability = Profit That is the business model of the internet, a medium where "news" is whatever will produce the most clicks. As in profit. Unless and until the youngest generation developes a means of communication that does not depend on megacorporations, nothing will change. In the Sixties, a generation which disbelieved and had no honest access to the traditional media, created its own, the "alternative press." Hopefully, today's teenagers will develope their own way to communicate that is reliable. It is 100% guaranteed that if their "opposition" becomes an actual threat to the profits of Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, and the rest of their ilk, they will be cut off.RP NYC Sept. 20The antifa movement has grown since the 2016 United States presidential election. As of August 2017, approximately 200 groups existed, of varying sizes and levels of activity. It is particularly present in the Pacific Northwest. WikipediaMark Nuckols Moscow Sept. 20Well, Americans are notoriously gullible.
Steve Griffith Oakland, CA Sept. 20In an age when the US Justice Department is anything but just, more closely resembling something akin to "just us," I call to mind Thomas Jefferson, in a somewhat different context: "I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just."The Poet McTeagle California Sept. 20We spend hundred of billions of dollars every year on the types of weapons that won WWII, while the real threat to our Republic and yes, our civilization, is ,,, It's funny and tragic, simultaneously.Sigmond C. Monster Point Magu Sept. 20Antifa has done a lot of things. They have chosen to step into the arena. Whether they did it or not, this is accusation is a result of wading into the fight. If Antifa doesnt like to be accused of things and cant handle it, then Antifa should step off. Or does Antifa only want praise? Because that isnt going to happen. Many people dont like Antifa nor trust Antifa. And rightfully so. Ask any career criminal how many times they've been wrongfully accused of something. If an individual or group doesnt want to be accused of things, then dont get involved from the start.Larry Klein Walnut Creek Ca Sept. 20When people are uneducated, they do not understand what is happening around them. So they make up explanations to calm their uncertainty...JQGALT Philly Sept. 20Except that about a dozen people have been arrested and charged with starting the forest fires. Shouting "without evidence!" doesn't make it so. Facts matter.
Andy MD Sept. 20@JQGALT There are always people who are setting fires whether accidentally or intentionally. Do you have any proof that these arsonists were politically motivated I any way ?99percent downtown Sept. 20Why does NYT bend over to support Antifa? Kristof's 2nd headline should be changed to: "Absolute Defense of Antifa is a symptom of a deeper unraveling, and a sign of danger ahead." We know for a fact: BLM/Antifa destroyed thousands of buildings across the country in the last 90 days. Literally thousands. Minneapolis alone lost 700: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/06/16/minneapolis-issues-map-showing-extent-of-buildings-damaged-in-unrest-over-george-floyds-death / We know for a fact: At least 6 arsonists set fires in Oregon - one of which was the largest outbreak: https://www.oregonlive.com/wildfires/2020/09/rash-of-oregon-arson-cases-fuel-fear-conspiracy-theories-during-devastating-wildfires.html We are justified to assume: Other fires were set by arsonists, but were not caught. One man all alone with a pack of matches is hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to be Antifa. But common sense supports what we believe in our own hearts: the individual radical arsonists are most likely Antifa. Why does NYT bend over to support Antifa? 9 Recommend ShareThomas Shapley Washington State Sept. 20Yet the Almeda fire in Oregon that destroyed more than 2,300 homes was, according to NYT reporting, caused by human activity and is subject of a "criminal investigation." Perhaps it would be wise to reserve total judgment until that investigation is completed.
Observer of the Zeitgeist Middle America Sept. 20Who needs rumors? The organization showed what it is made of when it created its free zone in downtown Seattle and had the highest crime and murder rate per capita in its short life in the country.
joe atl Sept. 20Rational people know that Antifa is not staring forest fires. However, burning and looting and using fireworks as weapons in the recent riots make even the dumbest claims of Trump supporters more believable.LV USA Sept. 20Leftwing activists have literally been arrested for starting some of these fires. There is video of arsonists being caught, yet the media ignores this, and actively denies it. Gee, why could that be?
Andy MD Sept. 20@LV Do you have any proof that these people were were left wing activist or just the kind of people who are always starting fires ad they have in the past ?
Cloudy San Francisco Sept. 20Oh, I guess all those videos of protesters in Portland burning down police stations were fake. Good to know.
me again NYC- SF Sept. 20The [neoliberal] left spends 24/7 preaching to their choir about Trump fascists dictatorship, an illegal government installed by a foreign power, destroying the constitution while preparing to seize power and ignore coming election results. There is a zero factual evidence for it, such as a refusal to follow judicial injunctions for example, but their well educated audiences are buying it whole day long. So what is so baffling that a rural audience after watching night after night Portland burning by arson and accompanied by "peaceful protest" graphics on TV would buy into arson speculations and rumors and ignore your disclaimers?
Socrates Verona, N.J. Sept. 20Facebook needs to be regulated since it has effectively organ-harvested the critical thinking skills of a significant portion of the population. It'd be better if thinking people simply deleted Facebook and let Facebook shrink and become the right-wing agit-prop tool that it truly is. Mark Zuckerberg is happy to to destabilize society with his little toy invention. You'd think with all that money, he could afford a conscience. What a wrecking ball Facebook is.
Reasonable Orlando Sept. 20"All this rumormongering leaves me feeling that the social fabric is unraveling, as if the shared understanding of reality that is the basis for any society is eroding." Ya think?
AU San Diego, CA Sept. 20@California Scientist Amen. We are more like an international terminal at this point. A bunch of people gathered by happenstance, heading in different directions, and often with very little in common.
Steve Bolger New York City Sept. 20@California Scientist: It is even worse than when Adlai Stevenson noted that there aren't enough educated people to elect a liberal government in the US.MegWright Kansas City Sept. 20@LV - The point is that "urbanites" aren't able to boss anyone around. It's the low population rural areas that have outsize political power thanks to the unfortunate design of our government. Every state gets two senators, regardless of population, and that also factors into the allocation of Electoral College votes, so that an EC vote from WY is worth 4 times as much as an EC vote from CA, for example. In 2016, Senate Democrats got 20 million more votes than Senate Republicans, yet Republicans kept control. In 2018, Senate Democrats got "only" 11.5 million more votes, and consequently lost seats. We're being governed by a minority in may areas of the country, and nationally, yet the "rural rubes" or whatever you want to call them, insist that they don't have nearly enough power.
M CA Sept. 20Six accused of starting Oregon blazes amid devastating wildfire season - NYPostRobert Out west Sept. 20Nice try at making it seem these loons started the big fires. https://www.oregonlive.com/wildfires/2020/09/rash-of-oregon-arson-cases-fuel-fear-conspiracy-theories-during-devastating-wildfires.html They're loons, okay? Just loons.
Rolfe Shaker Heights Ohio Sept. 20Strange that anyone living in or just knowing the west would NOT know that arsonists could not burn down huge chunks of forest if they where not so very dry.
Augury Unhappy Bird Watcher, State of Grave Doubt Sept. 20The ugly truth of Oregon's political past is asserting itself...we aren't in "Portlandia" anymore Nick.
Victor Yokohama Sept. 20The social fabric in the United States was never tightly knit and tolerance has always been in short supply...
Dang Vermont Sept. 20The adage "A sucker is born every day" has never rung truer. That people believe these rumors says a whole lot about how gullible many people are...
Schrodinger Northern California Sept. 20Ominous! There are two information ecosystems in this country and Americans increasingly live in different realities. Much of the media is in the business of massaging the egos of their readers by feeding them stories that confirm their biases and make them feel clever. There is less and less fact based news and more and more propaganda. A lot of people aren't really interested in facts. They just want to be told how right they are and how stupid and evil the people who disagree with them are. Media corporations are providing the market with what it desires, and what it desires is poisonous.JRM Melbourne Sept. 20The fires and storms, the pandemic, stupid conspiracy theories, Black Lives Matter, Trump and his sycophants...
Ilene Bilenky Ridgway, CO Sept. 20There is a reptilian brain need to believe this nonsense and to propagate it- because the believers are so terrified of the facts of the truth (and the lack of knowing what might be done to address those facts). The people who are true believers are pointless to discuss. They are too frightened. They need to believe this stuff. It is hopeless to address them. Dark times, indeed.
stormy raleigh Sept. 20With the natural buildup of combustible matter, combined with houses everywhere now and little land management, these fires will happen and will cause problems. Lots of things can start them and they will.Len Arends California Sept. 20You left out "a century of zero-tolerance policies toward wildland fires (creating precariously dense underbrush), and resistance to traditional controlled burning at the human/wilderness interface". It's not the whole story, but neither is climate change which, due to global technological leveling, is evermore the responsibility of China and India than Western civilization. Signed, a moderate progressive endlessly frustrated with breathless liberalism
Cenvalman Fresno, CA Sept. 20If only there were no arsonists. Here is a video of a woman who found a man on her property with matches in his hand (and no cigarettes, which was his excuse for having matches in his hand). She made a citizen's arrest. This happened in peaceful Oregon. Don't listen if you can't handle harsh language by a woman who is trying to save her property. Arson is real, and it is no joke. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJW_M4pBCnY A man was arrested for arson in Southern Oregon. His fire damaged or destroyed numerous homes. https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-charged-arson-connection-almeda-fire-southern-oregon/story?id=72960208 Rumors of antifa notwithstanding, people in Oregon were looking for arsonists because there are arsonists.Steve Fankuchen Oakland, CA Sept. 20"Conspiracy theories" are, for the most part, not theories, merely assertions. A theory is subject to proof and disproof by evidence. In a world where truth has no inherent monetary value, don't expect it. To paraphrase President Clinton, "It's the internet, Stupid!" Follow the money: Agenda + Clickbaitability = Prominence That is the business model of the internet, a medium where "news" is whatever will produce the most clicks. As in profit. Unless and until the youngest generation developes a means of communication that does not depend on megacorporations, nothing will change. In the Sixties, a generation which disbelieved and had no honest access to the traditional media, created its own, the "alternative press." Hopefully, today's teenagers will develope their own way to communicate that is reliable. It is 100% guaranteed that if their "opposition" becomes an actual threat to the profits of Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, and the rest of their ilk, they will be cut off. As to why people attach themselves to "conspiracy theories", it's actually quite simple. Take QAnon for example: it is functionally just another religion competing for adherents. As with any religion, it offers its believers an explanation of what they deem is wrong while offering a path to right those wrongs. Certainty and simplicity: those are the essential elements of cults/religion/bumpersticker politics. And the internet guarantees that whatever you believe will be "validated."
Steve Fankuchen Oakland, CA Sept. 20"Conspiracy theories" are, for the most part, not theories, merely assertions. A theory is subject to proof and disproof by evidence. In a world where truth has no inherent monetary value, don't expect it. To paraphrase President Clinton, "It's the internet, Stupid!" Follow the money: Agenda + Clickbaitability = Prominence That is the business model of the internet, a medium where "news" is whatever will produce the most clicks. As in profit. Unless and until the youngest generation developes a means of communication that does not depend on megacorporations, nothing will change. In the Sixties, a generation which disbelieved and had no honest access to the traditional media, created its own, the "alternative press." Hopefully, today's teenagers will develope their own way to communicate that is reliable. It is 100% guaranteed that if their "opposition" becomes an actual threat to the profits of Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter, and the rest of their ilk, they will be cut off. As to why people attach themselves to "conspiracy theories", it's actually quite simple. Take QAnon for example: it is functionally just another religion competing for adherents. As with any religion, it offers its believers an explanation of what they deem is wrong while offering a path to right those wrongs. Certainty and simplicity: those are the essential elements of cults/religion/bumpersticker politics. And the internet guarantees that whatever you believe will be "validated."AU San Diego, CA Sept. 20" All this rumormongering leaves me feeling that the social fabric is unraveling, as if the shared understanding of reality that is the basis for any society is eroding." You betcha. (Palin doesn't look half bad compared to the current batch.) It's a simple formula: social media driven disinformation + extreme capitalism which leaves us with no real will to address it + legitimate grievances like racism and financial insecurity = craziness on all sides, fanned by a president whose personal agenda takes precedence over absolutely everything. All societies are constantly dealing with potentially destabilizing threats. Their institutions, media, leadership, and understanding of a common good are their immune system. Ours is compromised, we are destabilized.Ludmilla Wightman Princeton NJ Sept. 20How about a judicious Forrest management? We live in a period of global warming because of our planet axis precision, aggravated by the presence of an unprecedented population explosion needing more water, more food, the production of which needs more arable land, cutting trees, displacing wild animals, exhausting the aquifer. Cutting trees increases the CO2 in the atmosphere. More people in India, more cattle emitting methane, more old fashioned way of cooking food and producing more CO2 ... Permanent frost melting also sends more methane in the atmosphere ... The climate is extremely complex to permit exact modeling, but it is clear that if we want to stay healthy, it is vital to regularly clear our western forests of dead wood in order to prevent today's disaster of millions of people, particularly children with asthma and old people breathing the heavily polluted air. It is time to move to solar, wind power, electric trucks, cars etc. The technology is here. Let's hope that Biden will support clean air as means to better health. If all these years instead of using abstract terms like global warming or climate change, we have been appealing to people to keep the air clean in order to have better health, perhaps they would have stopped buying the behemoths cars, producing so much pollution?
Peter Texas Sept. 20As Nicholas and many readers on this page already know, this commentary is more evidence of how needlessly and recklessly polarized our country has become. When tribal instincts push people to look for anything - fact, fiction or fantasy - on social media or "rage commentary" that supports and validates their identities they will glom onto it faster than maggots on dead flesh. It is a sad state of affairs when so many people of all political persuasions will not take the time - even a few minutes - to question and investigate the latest "truth" being promoted. The new culture of low information consumers seems to be spreading as fast as a pandemic despite the heroic efforts of honest journalism. I wonder if low information consumption was so endemic to the citizens of Ancient Rome and Greece - long before Twitter, Facebook and Rage TV? People, please take a moment to "click" one step further to see if the latest conspiracy story is true. Why help propagate lies? It will only come back to haunt you, or your children.ST New York, NY Sept. 20Antifa or not, at least some of the big fires have been started by arsonists. Of this fact we have video proof. By downplaying or even denying it, the media are just as bad as the conspiracy theorists in promoting disinformation.
Bob Koelle Livermore, CA Sept. 20This reminds me of a time when people saw "Reds" behind anything that was going wrong in the country. Nothing new, but just as pathetically paranoid. I wonder how many people, or their parents, fit into both groups?
AT Idaho Sept. 20Here's another urban myth. Ok, more a lefty myth. That we can just keep adding people to this country (urban, suburban, rural, big city, anywhere and everywhere) and it won't have any effect. With the corollary that it's just a matter of "green new deal" or everybody getting a Prius or the dummies in the sticks realizing climate change is real and then we can just go on like this forever. We can't. Not only is our much hated lifestyle, which from what I can see, nobody really wants to give up, killing us, but believing 330 million Americans that add 2-3 million more a year is not a problem at all. Our entire way of life: endless population and economic growth is unsustainable. We don't need to wait until 2050 to see it. Just step outside.Robert Out west Sept. 20It is very difficult to teach people that "research," doesn't mean you go to some TV show or website you like and root around for stuff that tells you what you want to hear. One prob seems to be really simple: it takes actual work to do it right. Another is that research, done well, has an ugly habit of forcing you to think at least a little about whether your own ideas make any sense. And a third is that people really, really don't like it when their political views start getting contradicted by reality. It seems to be easier to change reality than to change views, even a little. Oh, and another prob? Too few Americans really read anything worth reading. I'm all for funsies (and I've probably read more crummy science fiction than all y'all put together) but one of the joys of walking around in Paris is seeing that the kiosks and bookstores still sell a ton of stuff on philosophy, lit, economics, and that everywhere, people actually read them. Books teach thought. Newsmax don't.Steve Bolger New York City Sept. 20@Beer Can Boyd: As a native-born American, I think the US fell down when the Congress put "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1953, ostensibly to preclude anyone thinking about Godless communism, and gave itself a stroke.
J. Park Seattle Sept. 20We, all of us, need to stop accepting assertions without a source of any sort identified.
Donald Florida Sept. 20... So much for our useless 750 Billion dollar military budget.
Joe Smith Chicago Sept. 20Societies are supposed to evolve. Instead, we are descending backwards into the age of witch hunts.
Pop PA Sept. 20Amazing how ,close minded people become when, for them, everything is political.
Toto Looking for Dorothy Sept. 20The melting pot burned over. It is now a word salad. But appears there is a method to the madness. It is hard for the world to tell the madness from the methodARL Texas Sept. 20@Carolyn then there are the lies and the demonization of China and Russia by both parties to top it off. How can voters believe anything and decide before they vote?
Harcourt Florida Sept. 20 Times PickSupporting this atmosphere of potential violence are some of my republican friends. They are mostly educated and not stupid. Yet they continue to support a man whom I think holds the responsibility for most of the violence if it comes. Now I want to get down to my point about these supporters. I believe they have succumbed to a cult-like dynamic. I say this because no rational person could possibly support Trump. Religious cults create this same addiction and irrationality. When my friends disagree with me, they try to put our friendship hostage to no further discussion of politics. They are unwilling to even be confronted with objections to their support of Trump. I have decided that I can always make new friends. What I do not want to do is take on the task of building a new country because I stayed silent.Robbie J. Miami Florida Sept. 20@Harcourt "They are mostly educated and not stupid." In my opinion, educated persons who behave as you describe never benefited from their education. Even worse, to me it seems like persons who behave like that are of the opinion that what they learnt in school is only for the purpose of writing the exams they needed to pass to get out of school. It was all just noise to them.
CA Vermont Sept. 20 Times PickYou nailed it. There is no longer "a shared reality" in America. So we have wildly different views of who Joe Biden and Donald Trump are. And how serious climate change is. And whether it's important to wear a mask. And if left-wing anarchists set forest fires. Thank you, Internet. Thank you, social media barons who refuse to ban Russian propaganda and manipulated videos. Thank you FCC that does not rein in Fox News and their promotion of lies. Who will step in and stop this madness?AU San Diego, CA Sept. 20@CA I agree with you completely except for the refusal to stop Russian interference. We can't. We can't unless we stop US interference in the process. The problem is that US interference, and rumor mongering, are the business model of these platforms which happen to be some of our largest companies. Extreme capitalism is preventing us from addressing any and all issues propagated by these companies. Russia is just a speck.
Objectivist Mass. Sept. 20Antifa adherents and wildfires ? Seems pretty far-fetched. Even ridiculous. But setting fire to occupied apartment buildings in Portland ? Oh yes, definitely. It happened, and more is on the menu, as well as municipal and federal buildings. Don't believe it ? Read the news releases for yourself, on the Portland Police Bureau's website.
James Thurber Mountain View, CA Sept. 20An excellent discussion of the perils of social media. Although newspapers, TV, radio, magazines have a historical principal of "generally" telling the truth, social media has opened up the world to every single Tom, Dick and Harry who with to spread their message. I believe that how we, as a nation, as a species, handle social media will define what happens over the next decade.vw pgh Sept. 20The state of this country is absolutely terrifying. While the shift to ever more conservative, insular, xenophobic, coroporate-controlled government has been going on for years, with the faux election of trump democracy is what has become fake, while common sense, empathy, and both fiscal and environmental responsibility have virtually disappeared. The US has gone off the deep end...
Mike S. Eugene, OR Sept. 20 Times PickOne of my neighbors has a bumper sticker that Covid is a Scamdemic and Plandemic...
Andy Makar Mason County WA Sept. 20Years ago I read a science fiction short story that is unsettling in its analogy to this situation. I starts with aliens visiting the Earth and accidently leaving behind a device that can allow metal to be manipulated by softening it, then hardening it. The device gets copied and mass produced. When they returned a year later, they come back and cannot fathom how their device could have resulted in anarchy. THAT is the internet. 5 Recommend ShareGP Oakland Sept. 20@Andy Makar One supposes that is a reference to the origins of metalworking? And the societal changes it produced? Not bad.
GP Oakland Sept. 20Let me ask you all a question. If your neighbor told you the fire in a nearby Oregon town was started by antifa, how would you disprove it? Since you cannot provide evidence for a negative statement, it's difficult. There is actually some evidence that antifa did start the fire: a voice said it on the radio, and tv showed them lighting fireworks in Portland. This isn't very good evidence, but it is evidence, and you can't produce any evidence that antifa did not do it (because there can't be any.) So you are in the position of asking your neighbor to look at the quality of the evidence. This is something very few outside the legal and scientific world are capable of. But that is all you have. Ultimately, it really does go back to belief. How many of us could independently prove that the earth turns around the sun? Those of us who aren't astronomers choose to accept this belief based on what we've been told, and that's how it is with antifa starting the fires.
Blaise Descartes Seattle Sept. 20Kristof is afraid that fires in the West represent the new normal. The evidence suggests that this fear is well-founded. He is concerned about the government's paralysis. That is partly due to Trump, who stands a good chance of being reelected on November 3. He is worried about ordinary citizens seeking oversimplified answers and finding them in the conspiracy theories presenting the fire as the work of antifa. I am more worried about the breakdown in credibility of news sources like the NY Times, which finds itself in competition with Fox News and a host of online sources. Indeed, you-tube and facebook will select news stories for you, confirming whatever bias you bring to your reading of the news. There is no guarantee that democracy will survive. One of the things that keeps me up at night is the realization that not only the right, but the left, is subject to oversimplified presentations of global warming. Global warming is a consequence of too much population growth. But as we argue over freedoms for LGBTQ minorities liberals have neglected the importance of freedom of speech. And voices which have warned about population growth have been simply ignored by the left. It isn't enough to shift from Fords using gasoline to Teslas running on electricity. We also need to control population growth. The population of earth will double again by 2072 if current rates continue. Population growth threatens to overwhelm the attempts to move to clean energy. 2 Recommend
secular socialist dem Bettendorf, IA Sept. 20The scientific consensus will also conclude that not allowing wildfires to burn compounds the problem. While what I am about to type is not science, continued development in fire prone areas amplifies and compounds every aspect of the problem. From my perspective the system has evolved to socializing cost and privatizing cost in every way. I don't see it getting better, until such time as individuals are held accountable this should be considered normal.deb inWA Sept. 20@secular socialist dem PG&E just paid billions in fines and PLEADED GUILTY in starting last year's Paradise fire. They also have already admitted fault in several fires started by their faulty, untended grid. "Individuals" don't need to be held accountable unless there are rules in place for them to follow regarding wildfire. There already are. Most already do. Why do folks act so proud about their 'anti-science' opinion? It's not like this conversation isn't ongoing; nobody argues that development in fire prone areas' carries risks. So does rebuilding in Oklahoma, Florida and Louisiana..... You're right (although confused) about socializing RISK and privatizing PROFIT. See PG&E above.S Day Texas Sept. 20Unsure how people lighting fires directly indicates climate change is corroborated. The fellow who was arrested in Tacoma, WA: https://thepostmillennial.com/antifa-activist-charged-for-fire-set-in-washington Looking to past wildfires, like the one's in Montana & Idaho in 2008, 5.5 million acres were burned and certain interest groups advocated for them to burn out because it's apart of the natural cycle. Federal government shouldn't send assistance unless it's possibly to communities in threat of burning, who are humans to say we ought to stop mother nature? It's natural to let these fires burn, if you try to hinder it's course you are stopping the cycle.Doug Terry Maryland, Washington DC metro Sept. 20 Times PickWhy do people believe wild stupid things more than actual facts? Partly it is because they like the wild stupid thing more, it gives them some weird comfort. It is also because people are busying with their lives and don't have time to gather enough information to counter the wild rumor that flies around faster than the speed of sound. The most important aspect of successful conspiracy theories is they impart to the person holding them the idea that they are smarter than other people and have "cracked the code" that explains everything or a lot of big things that people don't understand. Reading, thinking, considering and re-considering can seem like hard work, particularly if it is foreign to one's experience and life training. Why not just lock on to a cool idea that comes around, even if it is weird? .Murphy San Francisco Sept. 20 Times Pick
.. ... ...This story highlights for me an equally growing problem, the "selective framing" by media outlets on the left and right (NYT and Fox as just two examples). To read Mr Kristof's version, you may believe that arsonists are wild figments of the unhinged radical right imagination. To read the same story on Fox, Antifa arsonists are working their way up your street.
Kristin Portland, OR Sept. 20 Times Pick"...the shared understanding of reality that is the basis for any society is eroding." And yet reality still exist. Normally, if someone starts to exhibit the kind of behavior that these "vigilantes" are - screaming about boogeymen, thinking people are out to get them, engaging in aggressive behavior based on paranoid fantasies, creating self-reinforcing delusions, becoming obsessed with baseless conspiracy theories - we would rightly diagnose them as being mentally ill, and to the extent that they represent a danger to others, confine them. I don't think we can afford to see this as just a time of extreme differences of opinion. Facts, truth and reality are still actual, tangible things. And those who have become so disassociated from them that they are stopping vehicles and hunting down their fellow citizen need to be dealt with appropriately.
phornbein Colorado Sept. 20We have been witnessing the start of the Second Civil War in America. If we accept the definition of a civil war as a conflict between factions of citizens for either secession or control of the government--including organizations within the existing government--then we are in the beginning stages of a Second Civil War. The question is what the level of violence will be (not will there be violence, but how much violence). We are beginning to see indications of that level. When naturally or accidentally caused wildfires are attributed to one faction as a way to stoke the fires of civil violence, then physical violence between factions is a heartbeat away simply because of the falsity and extremity of the accusations. The era of peaceful protest has passed because of the intensity of feelings on both sides; the anger produced when a government begins denying civil rights, e.g., Freedom of Speech and the Right to Assemble, through legal actions where protest organizers could be charged with sedition (see Barr's comments, 9/16/2020, NYT), which then suggests that all protests become illegal, the fires of violence are stoked. With a heavily-armed populace on both sides, gunfire is a hair-trigger pull away. If Trump and the Republican's intention was to remake America in their image (I leave it to you to supply that image), they are succeeding. If Putin's intention was to bring down America, he is succeeding. If Xi's intention was to dominate the world, he is on that path. Vote 33 Recommend ShareJumblegym Longmont CO Sept. 20@phornbein They may have already done it. Keep your powder dry.
Mac New York Sept. 20The social fabric has unraveled. Aided and abetted by the world of the social networks....Brooklyncowgirl USA. Sept. 20... There's an old saying "Those who the gods would destroy they first make mad." I have come to the conclusion that America has gone qute a long way down that road.Jontavious Atlanta Sept. 20And yet, Mr. Kristoff, you never make mention of the real threat that groups like Antifa and other radical left rioters pose to this country (forgetting about attacks on federal buildings in Portland? Attempts to firebomb courthouses? Violence against law enforcement officers?). No, instead it's always Trump, or Trump supporters who are your focus. I do not know whether Antifa has been involved in any of these recent fires, but I do know that these violent elements on the left pose a massive danger to our democracy. You are correct about one thing, though: We should brace ourselves. It's just "what" we need to brace for that is off mark in your article...Jean CA Sept. 19It's heartbreaking to watch these three West Coast states burned. For days, the sky was red and the air was unbreathable. But the saddest part was the feeling of helplessness.
Aram Hollman Arlington, MA Sept. 1940 years ago, I hitchhiked around the Pacific Northwest during the summer after Mt. St. Helens blew up. Mt. Rainier was ash-coated, as were the wild blueberries I often ate. Epic and Biblical are words inadequate to describe that destruction near Mt. St. Helens, with millions of huge, old trees blown down, piles of mud, and rivers diverted. Yet I and others knew that eventually, that land would regrow, and it did.Stephanie Wood Montclair NJ Sept. 20I see a lot of egotism and self-love on both sides. The so-called progressives in our community are breeding at baby boom levels, driving SUVs, and, before the pandemic, you'd see a dozen school buses idling outside every school. Development is out of control as people flee from the city, and people flee from here, or downsize, and breed and breed and breed. Two years ago, we had a flash flood and our street was under water, and there was a lot of damage all over town. Hurricane Irene in 2011 left many with over a foot of water in their basements. And let's not even start on Sandy. My friend lives in Pensacola; their downtown area is under three or four feet of water from Hurricane Sally. It's not just fire, it's floods, and it's not just the GOP which is the problem...Ted Magnuson Portland OR Sept. 19That the fires have become a political football is well covered in this piece. As was the climate change crisis...
John Brown Idaho Sept. 19I don't blame anyone for guarding their roads if they think arsonists are about. The Tillamook Burn was larger and more devastating than these fires but are we to blame climate change ? Environmentalists and Liberals who do not even live out West, who did not rely upon Logging, placed their concerns about the Spotted Owl and Virgin Forests about the danger of Forest Fires and the livelihood of Loggers and the Towns and Peoples who depended upon Logging. Managed Logging of Forests is not an inherently evil act. Clearing the bush and dead trees is not bad in and of itself. Let Logging companies responsibly manage sections of the Forrests, let Towns clear fire breaks around their perimeters. Place large Water towers in strategic points throughout the Forests, huge mounds of dirt/sand/gravel next to them so that the Firefighters have what they need to fight the fires. Force developers to build houses 50 feet apart. Require fireproof roofs, require thinning of trees in housing developments. Require volunteer Fire Departments in every neighborhood so that if they do nothing else, they can cut a fire break, water down the grasses around their neighborhoods, chase and extinguish embers, something/anything versus fleeing their homes without putting up a fight.
Robert Seattle Sept. 19"... dry conditions exacerbated by climate change coupled with an unusual windstorm ..." May I add that a couple of other things have also contributed to making the fires worse or making them harder to manage? For a century or so, in California, Oregon and Washington we have not been letting the normal, periodic fires burn. Consequently, a great deal of fuel has built up on the forest floor. Second, folks have increasingly been building homes or even neighborhoods in places which have historically seen such normal, periodic fires.
Elizabeth CA Sept. 20@Robert Yes. But now controlled burns are a bit problematic, given the droughts, the heat, the massive fuel loads from all the dead trees. It's just so easy for the controlled burns to get out of control.
Carver Oregon Sept. 19Hi, I am from Clackamas County metro. Every time a FaceBook "Friend" (and I personally know all of mine) posted a rumor, I tried to find the footage from any of our 4 local news stations to depute their post but they just shared another one. One said she didn't trust KGW 8 the local NBC station and when I told her the same story was on KPTV 12, the local Fox station. She said, "I'm just stressed"M.i. Estner Wayland, MA Sept. 19@David Biesecker Remember that half the people are of below average intelligence. That may answer the existence of the small percentage of conspiracy theorists. One problem is social media provides free and outsized loudspeaker systems that enables them to find each other.
GreenSpirit Pacific Northwest Sept. 19@M.i. Estner First, let me identify myself as a liberal Democrat who has a masters degree. I find it more than disheartening when half of the country, or half of rural or not formally educated folks are said to have low intelligent quotas, critical thinking skills or analytical abilities. You better believe that when a highly trained Eastern Oregon firefighter is assessing how to save peoples lives, homes and land, has to quickly act with their many faceted skill set and are calling on abilities you or I would not be able to fathom. Same with farmers of large pieces of complicated crops and land. Same with city managers, librarians, and social workers for the elderly--all having low city budgets. What about the veterinarians, doctors and nurses in rural areas? This is exactly the same as calling Black or Hispanics people of lower intelligence. And, there are different types of intelligence. I know a literary critic, a liberal Democrat, who doesn't have the critical thinking skills to run her own home or raise her children. If you look, you can see these same differences in any group. It has to do with the way people are raised, what they are using their skill sets for, what information they are used to consuming, money, ideology, etc...And it has to do with being devalued for growing your food, producing your meat, chicken and eggs. I'm not excusing the violence, guns, racism and hatred. These divides have been with us for ages. Please don't stoke the fires.
Usok Houston Sept. 19If we have a selfish federal government, then we will have selfish states and people. Everyone is for himself or herself. No one will think about other people or public good. It all started from the topKathy Lollock Santa Rosa, CA Sept. 19In 2017, 2018, and 2019 northern California's new phenomenon of forceful 40 to 60 miles per hour winds - in Fall, no less - caused old and aging electrical equipment to malfunction. As a consequence, too much of Santa Rosa burnt to the ground, and the entire town of Paradise ceased to exist. This year during the heat of a hotter than usual summer following yet another dry winter, we had dry lightning strikes from Sonoma County to Santa Clara County and beyond.
Stuck on a mountain New England Sept. 19Yes, the science is clear and you fail to mention it. The forest fires reach critical mass and spread because of the surplus of dead or dying trees. They are there because the federal government essentially no longer allows logging on its vast landholdings and also fails to allow controlled burns to clean out the tinderbox. I won't bother attaching a link because any Google search proves the point. Why focus on hysteria and rumermongering among the Deplorables? Come on, Mr. Kristof, you were a Deplorable once (when you were a kid growing up in the countryside) as was I. Please defend them sometimes, particularly when the actual causes are so well documented.
Jorn Sagebrush Country Sept. 19@Stuck on a mountain Western States are working to clear the brush from forests where, due to our previous incomplete understanding of forest ecology, fires were suppressed for a century. However, the cost is astronomical and there are millions of acres left to clear. Spending their entire forest management budgets fighting current wildfires doesn't help. We've been doing controlled burns for decades but in many areas, they're now too dangerous. Dry forests and a dense understory can quickly turn a "controlled burn" into a conflagration. Many ranchers and timber companies who profit from our state and national forests seem unwilling to pay to keep those forests healthy. People who live in or near forests mostly have incomes too low to pay for forest management. The National Forest Service, Department of the Interior and USDA have made some progress, but the problem is huge. Saying we can prevent forest fires by allowing larger timber harvests is an oversimplification. No solution to this complex issue will be simple, perfect or cheap.
Glenn Ribotsky Queens Sept. 19Wacky conspiracy theories to explain seemingly bizarre and unusual occurrences have been around since the dawn of human cognition. But in an electronic/social media age, these get spread even faster than a wind-blown fire climbs a canyon hillside. Previously, they were spread one set of ears at a time; now millions of eyes can read them every second. And that is a major part of the problem.
DeHypnotist West Linn, Oregon Sept. 19As a grad student in sociology, having lived through the 60s and participated in the counterculture, I was deeply intrigued by the social construction of reality - how we come to share a taken-for-granted world. This is a long-standing concern within sociological social psychology. We examined how language, interpersonal communications, media and social structure shaped ones perception of one's self, what is real, what's important. At the time, however, this was considered theoretical and academic. 40 years later, understanding how Americans' realities have come to diverge is no longer armchair social science. It's urgent and in our faces, as is the question of how can we heal this terrible fracturing of our world?
Alex B Newton, MA Sept. 19@DeHypnotist Yes. When studying for the degree in and then teaching sociology in my early years, I learned that, too. But, I have to admit, it's actually taken all the decades of life since then, and now the obvious confirmation of it by this current 'reality' to actually realize, deep down in my guts, that we 'make up' our so-called 'social reality' simply to serve the most basic of biological requirements: the need to dominate in the deadly completion with the other 'tribes' of our species just to survive. We are, after all, animals like all the others, no matter how much we blab about how much 'smarter' we are.
Metaecongary Show Low, AZ Sept. 20@Alex B The primal driver, deep in the core of our brain, is usefully thought of as "reptilian." Cold-blooded. Egoistic. Hedonistic. And, in extreme cases, narcissistic, and, heaven forbid when all three are present...
Linda Anchorage Sept. 19I lived for a few years in Brazil when it was a dictatorship. The similarities between Brazil and what is happening in the US is startling. The police were being used to quell peaceful protesters and the justice system co-opted by authorities, fear mongering were present, just as now in the US....
Lois Ruble San Diego Sept. 19I didn't live in the US from 1977-1999, only visiting on short trips. That enabled me to see changes in society that were slow and not seen by those residing here. And when I came back permanently I could feel immediately a deep change....
JD Athey Oregon Sept. 20@Thomas Murphy 'Pandering to the lowest common denominator is how they play their game, and always have:'Agoldstein Pdx Sept. 19Perhaps an apt metaphor for the "danger sign ahead" is the approach of a Category three hurricane and it's increasing in intensity. One of the stark disconnects is between the message in an article like this and the politicians and citizens who are little concerned about tempering rhetoric and elevating the importance of eschewing misinformation. We are in the Misinformation Age and the victims of a cyber war, evolving into a civil war.Giogio Houston Sept. 20@ML What is happening here? These are the beginnings of what happened in Germany in the 30s. Over there the reason was the loss of WWI. Here, is the obvious decline of the American lifestyle and we have not seen anything yet. The range of the economic decline is covered by 7 trillion dollars in phony money. I fervently hope and pray that is not too late to stop the process. All men and women of goodwill have to rally to restore a sane, and one, country . Stay safe! It is going to get worse before it gets better.
grennan green bay Sept. 19@FunkyIrishman Right on. Water is an enormous issue waiting to happen here -- and Wisconsin is estimated to have between 10 and 20 percent of the world's fresh water (depending on how it's calculated and whether that includes some of Lakes Michigan and Superior. A Dept. of Climate, Weather and Water would be a logical cabinet department.
poslug Cambridge Sept. 20@FunkyIrishman And polluting the potable water continues sometimes by the most resolvable modern approaches: sewers and water treatment plants. Reagan ended federal funding for sewers leaving septic systems (and now ancient sewers) where sewers would lead to protected fresh water. All the medicines, chemicals, and toxins seep unseen but very real into fresh and also salt water. We are not a modern nation any more.
Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com
HOW GLOBALIZATION DESTROYED THE WESTERN MIDDLE CLASS Published: September 15, 2020
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SOURCE: INSIGHT HISTORY
The world is becoming more equal but largely at the expense of middle-class Westerners, according to a recent paper by Branko Milanovic , a Stone Center Senior Scholar and a Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics. Milanovic's paper was published in Foreign Affairs, the publication of the think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and was titled: The World Is Becoming More Equal, Even as Globalization Hurts Middle-Class Westerners . Broadly speaking, globalization is the process of increased " worldwide integration of the economic, cultural, political, religious, and social systems" of the globe, producing an increased flow of goods, capital, labour, and information, across national borders. It was a process that gained steam particularly in the mid-1980s, with globalization having the greatest transformative impact on life since the Industrial Revolution .
Milanovic's paper starts by arguing that the world became more equal between the end of the Cold War and 2007/08 financial crisis, a period of high globalization. During this period however, globalization weakened the middle class in the West. As Milanovic writes :
"The results highlighted two important cleavages [or divisions]: one between middle-class Asians and middle-class Westerners and one between middle-class Westerners and their richer compatriots. In both comparisons, the Western middle class was on the losing end. Middle-class Westerners saw less income growth than (comparatively poorer) Asians, providing further evidence of one of the defining dynamics of globalization: in the last 40 years, many jobs in Europe and North America were either outsourced to Asia or eliminated as a result of competition with Chinese industries. This was the first tension of globalization: Asian growth seems to take place on the backs of the Western middle class."
Milanovic continues :
"Another chasm opened between middle-class Westerners and their wealthy compatriots. Here, too, the middle class lost ground. It seemed that the wealthiest people in rich countries and almost everybody in Asia benefited from globalization, while only the middle class of the rich world lost out in relative terms. These facts supported the notion that the rise of "populist" political parties and leaders in the West stemmed from middle-class disenchantment. "
Milanovic goes on to note that in an updated paper that looks at incomes in 130 countries from 2008 to 2013-14, the first tension of globalization holds true: in that, the incomes of the non-Western middle class grew more than the incomes of the middle class in the West. The impact of globalization on the Western middle class is imperative to understand. Globalization is a process that has produced winners and losers , and the Western middle class has been the greatest loser.
In my opinion, any system that weakens the middle class in any country should be seen as counterproductive. Having a strong middle class is one of the most important tenets in building a strong, prosperous, and stable society. The middle class serves as the bedrock of any country: those who comprise the middle-class work hard, pay taxes, and buy goods. A true solution to poverty in underdeveloped countries would create more prosperity for everyone, not take prosperity from one region and redirect it into another. This so-called solution creates at least as many problems as it supposedly solves.
Globalization has produced, and will seemingly continue to produce, a global standardization of wealth in many ways. For those special interests who are in the process of creating a global system, an economic uniformity across the globe is advantageous for the creation of this one-world system.
Globalization Definition, Oxford Reference - https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095855259
MÜNCHAU , W. (24 April, 2016) The revenge of globalisation's losers, Financial Times https://www.ft.com/content/a4bfb89a-0885-11e6-a623-b84d06a39ec2
Milanovic, B. (28 Aug. 2020) The World Is Becoming More Equal, Even as Globalization Hurts Middle-Class Westerners. Foreign Affairs https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/world/2020-08-28/world-economic-inequality
Milanovic, B. (13 May, 2016) Why the Global 1% and the Asian Middle Class Have Gained the Most from Globalization, Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/2016/05/why-the-global-1-and-the-asian-middle-class-have-gained-the-most-from-globalization
Vanham, P. (17 Jan. 2019) A brief history of globalization, World Economic Forum https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/how-globalization-4-0-fits-into-the-history-of-globalization/
Sep 21, 2020 | prospectmagazine.co.uk
A s the US prepares to plunge into a new cold war with China in which its chances do not look good, it's an appropriate time to examine how we went so badly wrong after "victory" in the last Cold War. Looking back 30 years from the grim perspective of 2020, it is a challenge even for those who were adults at the time to remember just how triumphant the west appeared in the wake of the collapse of Soviet communism and the break-up of the USSR itself.
Today, of the rich fruits promised by that great victory, only wretched fragments remain. The much-vaunted "peace dividend," savings from military spending, was squandered. The opportunity to use the resources freed up to spread prosperity and deal with urgent social problems was wasted, and -- even worse -- the US military budget is today higher than ever. Attempts to mitigate the apocalyptic threat of climate change have fallen far short of what the scientific consensus deems to be urgently necessary. The chance to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stabilise the Middle East was thrown away even before 9/11 and the disastrous US response. The lauded "new world order" of international harmony and co-operation -- heralded by the elder George Bush after the first Gulf War -- is a tragic joke. Britain's European dream has been destroyed, and geopolitical stability on the European continent has been lost due chiefly to new and mostly unnecessary tension with Moscow. The one previously solid-seeming achievement, the democratisation of Eastern Europe, is looking questionable, as Poland and Hungary (see Samira Shackle, p20) sink into semi-authoritarian nationalism.
Russia after the Cold War was a shambles and today it remains a weak economy with a limited role on the world stage, concerned mainly with retaining some of its traditional areas of influence. China is a vastly more formidable competitor. If the US (and the UK, if as usual we tag along) approach the relationship with Beijing with anything like the combination of arrogance, ignorance, greed, criminality, bigotry, hypocrisy and incompetence with which western elites managed the period after the Cold War, then we risk losing the competition and endangering the world.
One of the most malign effects of western victory in 1989-91 was to drown out or marginalise criticism of what was already a deeply flawed western social and economic model. In the competition with the USSR, it was above all the visible superiority of the western model that eventually destroyed Soviet communism from within. Today, the superiority of the western model to the Chinese model is not nearly so evident to most of the world's population; and it is on successful western domestic reform that victory in the competition with China will depend.
Western triumph and western failure were deeply intertwined. The very completeness of the western victory both obscured its nature and legitimised all the western policies of the day, including ones that had nothing to do with the victory over the USSR, and some that proved utterly disastrous.
As Alexander Zevin has written of the house journal of Anglo-American elites, the revolutions in Eastern Europe "turbocharged the neoliberal dynamic at the Economist , and seemed to stamp it with an almost providential seal." In retrospect, the magazine's 1990s covers have a tragicomic appearance, reflecting a degree of faith in the rightness and righteousness of neoliberal capitalism more appropriate to a religious cult.
These beliefs interacted to produce a dominant atmosphere of "there is no alternative," which made it impossible and often in effect forbidden to conduct a proper public debate on the merits of the big western presumptions, policies or plans of the era. As a German official told me when I expressed some doubt about the wisdom of rapid EU enlargement, "In my ministry we are not even allowed to think about that."
This was a sentiment I encountered again and again (if not often so frankly expressed) in western establishment institutions in that era: in economic journals if it was suggested that rapid privatisation in the former USSR would lead to massive corruption, social resentment and political reaction; in security circles, if anyone dared to question the logic of Nato expansion; and almost anywhere if it was pointed out that the looting of former Soviet republics was being assiduously encouraged and profited from by western banks, and regarded with benign indifference by western governments.
The atmosphere of the time is (nowadays notoriously) summed up in Francis Fukuyama's The End of History , which essentially predicted that western liberal capitalist democracy would now be the only valid and successful economic and political model for all time. In fact, what victory in the Cold War ended was not history but the study of history by western elites."The US claiming the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world was an ambition greater than that of any previous power"
A curious feature of 1990s capitalist utopian thought was that it misunderstood the essential nature of capitalism, as revealed by its real (as opposed to faith-based) history. One is tempted to say that Fukuyama should have paid more attention to Karl Marx and a famous passage in The Communist Manifesto :
"The bourgeoisie [ie capitalism] cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society All fixed, fast-frozen relations with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify the bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed "
Then again, Marx himself made exactly the same mistake in his portrayal of a permanent socialist utopia after the overthrow of capitalism. The point is that utopias, being perfect, are unchanging, whereas continuous and radical change, driven by technological development, is at the heart of capitalism -- and, according to Marx, of the whole course of human history. Of course, those who believed in a permanently successful US "Goldilocks economy" -- not too hot, and not too cold -- also managed to forget 300 years of periodic capitalist economic crises.
Though much mocked at the time, Fukuyama's vision came to dominate western thinking. This was summed up in the universally employed but absurd phrases "Getting to Denmark" (as if Russia and China were ever going to resemble Denmark) and "The path to democracy and the free market" (my italics), which became the mantra of the new and lucrative academic-bureaucratic field of "transitionology." Absurd, because the merest glance at modern history reveals multiple different "paths" to -- and away from -- democracy and capitalism, not to mention myriad routes that have veered towards one at the same time as swerving away from the other.
Accompanying this overwhelmingly dominant political and economic ideology was an American geopolitical vision equally grandiose in ambition and equally blind to the lessons of history. This was summed up in the memorandum on "Defence Planning Guidance 1994-1999," drawn up in April 1992 for the Bush Senior administration by Under-Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and subsequently leaked to the media. Its central message was:
"The US must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role "
By claiming for the US the right of unilateral intervention anywhere in the world and denying other major powers a greater role in their regions, this strategy essentially extended the Monroe Doctrine (which effectively defined the "western hemisphere" as the US sphere of influence) to the entire planet: an ambition greater than that of any previous power. The British Empire at its height knew that it could never intervene unilaterally on the continent of Europe or in Central America. The most megalomaniac of European rulers understood that other great powers with influence in their own areas of the world would always exist.
While that 1992 Washington paper spoke of the "legitimate interests" of other states, it clearly implied that it would be Washington that would define what interests were legitimate, and how they could be pursued. And once again, though never formally adopted, this "doctrine" became in effect the standard operating procedure of subsequent administrations. In the early 2000s, when its influence reached its most dangerous height, military and security elites would couch it in the terms of "full spectrum dominance." As the younger President Bush declared in his State of the Union address in January 2002, which put the US on the road to the invasion of Iraq: "By the grace of God, America won the Cold War A world once divided into two armed camps now recognises one sole and pre-eminent power, the United States of America."
Triumphalism led US policymakers, and their transatlantic followers, to forget one cardinal truth about geopolitical and military power: that in the end it is not global and absolute, but local and relative. It is the amount of force or influence a state wants to bring to bear in a particular place and on a -particular issue, relative to the power that a rival state is willing and able to bring to bear. The truth of this has been shown repeatedly over the past generation. For all America's overwhelming superiority on paper, it has turned out that many countries have greater strength than the US in particular places: Russia in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia and Iran in Syria, China in the South China Sea, and even Pakistan in southern Afghanistan.
American over-confidence, accepted by many Europeans and many Britons especially, left the US in a severely weakened condition to conduct what should have been clear as far back as the 1990s to be the great competition of the future -- that between Washington and Beijing.
On the one hand, American moves to extend Nato to the Baltics and then (abortively) on to Ukraine and Georgia, and to abolish Russian influence and destroy Russian allies in the Middle East, inevitably produced a fierce and largely successful Russian nationalist reaction. Within Russia, the US threat to its national interests helped to consolidate and legitimise Putin's control. Internationally, it ensured that Russia would swallow its deep-seated fears of China and become a valuable partner of Beijing.
On the other hand, the benign and neglectful way in which Washington regarded the rise of China in the generation after the Cold War (for example, the blithe decision to allow China to join the World Trade Organisation) was also rooted in ideological arrogance. Western triumphalism meant that most of the US elites were convinced that as a result of economic growth, the Chinese Communist state would either democratise or be overthrown; and that China would eventually have to adopt the western version of economics or fail economically. This was coupled with the belief that good relations with China could be predicated on China accepting a so-called "rules-based" international order in which the US set the rules while also being free to break them whenever it wished; something that nobody with the slightest knowledge of Chinese history should
Throughout, the US establishment discourse (Democrat as much as Republican) has sought to legitimise American global hegemony by invoking the promotion of liberal democracy. At the same time, the supposedly intrinsic connection between economic change, democracy and peace was rationalised by cheerleaders such as the New York Times 's indefatigable Thomas Friedman, who advanced the (always absurd, and now flatly and repeatedly falsified) "Golden Arches theory of Conflict Prevention." This vulgarised version of Democratic Peace Theory pointed out that two countries with McDonald's franchises had never been to war. The humble and greasy American burger was turned into a world-historical symbol of the buoyant modern middle classes with too much to lose to countenance war.
Various equally hollow theories postulated cast-iron connections between free markets and guaranteed property rights on the one hand, and universal political rights and freedoms on the other, despite the fact that even within the west, much of political history can be characterised as the fraught and complex brokering of accommodations between these two sets of things.
And indeed, since the 1990s democracy has not advanced in the world as a whole, and belief in the US promotion of democracy has been discredited by US patronage of the authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and elsewhere. Of the predominantly Middle Eastern and South Asian students whom I teach at Georgetown University in Qatar, not one -- even among the liberals -- believes that the US is sincerely committed to spreading democracy; and, given their own regions' recent history, there is absolutely no reason why they should believe this.
The one great triumph of democratisation coupled with free market reform was -- or appeared to be -- in the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, and this success was endlessly cited as the model for political and economic reform across the globe.
But the portrayal of East European reform in the west failed to recognise the central role of local nationalism. Once again, to talk of this at the time was to find oneself in effect excluded from polite society, because to do so called into question the self-evident superiority and universal appeal of liberal reform. The overwhelming belief of western establishments was that nationalism was a superstition that was fast losing its hold on people who, given the choice, could everywhere be relied on to act like rational consumers, rather than citizens rooted in one particular land.
The more excitable technocrats imagined that nation state itself (except the US of course) was destined to wither away. This was also the picture reflected back to western observers and analysts by liberal reformers across the region, who whether or not they were genuinely convinced of this, knew what their western sponsors wanted to hear. Western economic and cultural hegemony produced a sort of mirror game, a copulation of illusions in which local informants provided false images to the west, which then reflected them back to the east, and so on.
Always the nation
Yet one did not have to travel far outside the centres of Eastern European cities to find large parts of populations outraged by the moral and cultural changes ordained by the EU, the collapse of social services, and the (western-indulged) seizure of public property by former communist elites. So why did Eastern Europeans swallow the whole western liberal package of the time? They did so precisely because of their nationalism, which persuaded them that if they did not pay the cultural and economic price of entry into the EU and Nato, they would sooner or later fall back under the dreaded hegemony of Moscow. For them, unwanted reform was the price that the nation had to pay for US protection. Not surprisingly, once membership of these institutions was secured, a powerful populist and nationalist backlash set in.
Western blindness to the power of nationalism has had several bad consequences for western policy, and the cohesion of "the west." In Eastern Europe, it would in time lead to the politically almost insane decision of the EU to try to order the local peoples, with their deeply-rooted ethnic nationalism and bitter memories of outside dictation, to accept large numbers of Muslim refugees. The backlash then became conjoined with the populist reactions in Western Europe, which led to Brexit and the sharp decline of centrist parties across the EU.
More widely, this blindness to the power of nationalism led the US grossly to underestimate the power of nationalist sentiment in Russia, China and Iran, and contributed to the US attempt to use "democratisation" as a means to overthrow their regimes. All that this has succeeded in doing is to help the regimes concerned turn nationalist sentiment against local liberals, by accusing them of being US stooges.
"A stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values"
Russian liberals in the 1990s were mostly not really US agents as such, but the collapse of Communism led some to a blind adulation of everything western and to identify unconditionally with US policies. In terms of public image, this made them look like western lackeys; in terms of policy, it led to the adoption of the economic "shock therapy" policies advocated by the west. Combined with monstrous corruption and the horribly disruptive collapse of the Soviet single market, this had a shattering effect on Russian industry and the living standards of ordinary Russians.
Many liberals gave the impression of complete indifference to the resulting immiseration of the Russian population in these years. At a meeting of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington that I attended later, former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar boasted to an applauding US audience of how he had destroyed the Russian military industrial complex. The fact that this also destroyed the livelihoods of tens of millions of Russians and Ukrainians was not mentioned.
This attitude was fed by contempt on the part of the educated classes of Moscow and St Petersburg for ordinary Russians, who were dubbed Homo Sovieticus and treated as an inferior species whose loathsome culture was preventing the liberal elites from taking their rightful place among the "civilised" nations of the west. This frame of mind was reminiscent of the traditional attitude of white elites in Latin America towards the Indio and Mestizo majorities in their countries.
I vividly remember one Russian liberal journalist state his desire to fire machine guns into crowds of elderly Russians who joined Communist demonstrations to protest about the collapse of their pensions. The response of the western journalists present was that this was perhaps a little bit excessive, but to be excused since the basic sentiment was correct.
The Russian liberals of the 1990s were crazy to reveal this contempt to the people whose votes they needed to win. So too was Hillary Clinton, with her disdain for the "basket of deplorables" in the 2016 election, much of the Remain camp in the years leading up to Brexit, and indeed the European elites in the way they rammed through the Maastricht Treaty and the euro in the 1990s.
If the post-Cold War world order was a form of US imperialism, it now looks like an empire in which rot in the over-extended periphery has spread to the core. The economic and social patterns of 1990s Russia and Ukraine have come back to haunt the west, though so far thank God in milder form. The massive looting of Russian state property and the systematic evasion of taxes by Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs was only possible with the help of western banks, which transferred the proceeds to the west and the Caribbean. This crime was euphemised in the western discourse (naturally including the Economist ) as "capital flight."
Peter Mandelson qualified his famous remark that the Blair government was "intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich" with the words "as long as they pay their taxes." The whole point, however, about the filthy Russian, Ukrainian, Nigerian, Pakistani and other money that flowed to and through London was not just that so much of it was stolen, but that it was escaping taxation, thereby harming the populations at home twice over. The infamous euphemism "light-touch regulation" was in effect a charter
In a bitter form of poetic justice, however, "light-touch regulation" paved the way for the 2008 economic crisis in the west itself, and western economic elites too (especially in the US) would also seize this opportunity to move their money into tax havens. This has done serious damage to state revenues, and to the fundamental faith of ordinary people in the west that the rich are truly subject to the same laws as them.
The indifference of Russian elites to the suffering of the Russian population has found a milder echo in the neglect of former industrial regions across Britain, Western Europe and the US that did so much to produce the votes for Brexit, for Trump and for populist nationalist parties in Europe. The catastrophic plunge in Russian male life expectancy in the 1990s has found its echo in the unprecedented decline in white working-class male life expectancy in the US.
Perhaps the greatest lesson of the period after the last Cold War is that in the end, a stable and healthy polity and economy must be based on some minimal moral values. To say this to western economists, businessmen and financial journalists in the 1990s was to receive the kindly contempt usually accorded to religious cranks. The only value recognised was shareholder value, a currency in which the crimes of the Russian oligarchs could be excused because their stolen companies had "added value." Any concern about duty to the Russian people as a whole, or the fact that tolerance of these crimes would make it grotesque to demand honesty of policemen or civil servants, were dismissed as irrelevant sentimentality.
Bringing it all back home
We in the west are living with the consequences of a generation of such attitudes. Western financial elites have mostly not engaged in outright illegality; but then again, they usually haven't needed to, since governments have made it easy for them to abide by the letter of the law while tearing its spirit to pieces. We are belatedly recognising that, as Franklin Foer wrote in the Atlantic last year: "New York, Los Angeles and Miami have joined London as the world's most desired destinations for laundered money. This boom has enriched the American elites who have enabled it -- and it has degraded the nation's political and social mores in the process. While everyone else was heralding an emergent globalist world that would take on the best values of America, [Richard] Palmer [a former CIA station chief in Moscow] had glimpsed the dire risk of the opposite: that the values of the kleptocrats would become America's own. This grim vision is now nearing fruition."
Those analysing the connection between Russia and Trump's administration have looked in the wrong place. The explanation of Trump's success is not that Putin somehow mesmerised American voters in 2016. It is that populations abandoned by their elites are liable to extreme political responses; and that societies whose economic elites have turned ethics into a joke should not be surprised if their political leaders too become scoundrels.
About this author Anatol Lieven Anatol Lieven is a professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and the author among other books of America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism and (with John Hulsman), Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World More by this author More by Anatol Lieven Will Qatar be reduced to a Saudi client state? July 18, 2017 Why the left needs nationalism January 3, 2017 Pakistan has survived -- now can it prosper?
Sep 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge 12 Sep, 2020 21:59 Get short URL © AFP /
Is the US really a land teeming with 'white supremacists', or are malicious forces working to crowbar the racial divide for their own ulterior motives? Whatever the case, America needs to get a handle on the issue, and fast.
Watching the video of George Floyd dying on the street under the knee of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, forced many people to ask themselves: is this yet another case of police brutality that has become so prevalent on the streets of America, or is it symptomatic of something even worse? Without any debate, the mainstream media had a ready-made answer for mass consumption: America is racist to the core and deserves whatever it gets. It was a simplistic, knee-jerk response at a time when America was already suffering under a lockdown due to a pandemic.
Before continuing, it is necessary to ask: does America really suffer from 'systemic racism', also known as institutional racism? As a white American who grew up in a multiethnic neighborhood and was later employed at several racially diverse workplaces, I would have to disagree. While the proverbial 'melting pot' still has some cooking to do, relations between black and white people have been stable for many years.
While the nation will never remove the scar of slavery, the creation of a welfare state, together with numerous government programs such as Affirmative Action, was designed to end the discrimination of minorities. And as every American will say, the United States is a 'nation of immigrants', an idea reinforced by the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, for example, which opened the door to millions of people of non-European descent. Those sorts of initiatives indicate that Americans are not the hooded pack of white supremacists that many now say they are. This does not mean, of course, that the scourge of racism has been stamped out; there is no shortage of racists and bigots in the US, but to call the problem 'systemic' seems overblown.ALSO ON RT.COM Beset by rioters & criminals & ruled by shady oligarchs, here are 6 reasons why my beloved USA is becoming a banana republic
At the same time, however, it cannot be denied that we are now living in radical 'woke' times, an entirely new animal. Thus, instead of responding to the outbreaks of violence in the wake of police killings with a unifying message of calm and civility, many politicians, in an effort to appease the angry social justice warriors that keep them in office, are stoking the fires of racial dissent with their rhetoric. You don't have to read between the lines to understand their message – just listen to Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for the vice presidency.
" Everyone beware, " Harris remarked in a recent interview with Stephen Colbert. " They [the protesters] are not going to stop before election day in November, and they're not going to stop after election day They're not going to let up, and they should not, and we should not. "
It would be difficult to cite a more irresponsible comment from any individual, and especially one who has a high chance of becoming – considering Joe Biden's advanced age – the first female president of the United States. This strange new willingness for Democratic leaders to court the mob reared its ugly head again this week, when Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler banned police from using tear gas to quell riots that have plagued the city for more than three months. Mind you, this is the very same mayor who was forced to vacate his condominium last week after rioters set fire to the building.ALSO ON RT.COM 'Placating the mob'?: Portland mayor BANS police from using tear gas at riots after fleeing violence at his own condo
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a number of influential individuals have declared their support for Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Few would be surprised to know that the financier George Soros, for example, donated almost a quarter of a billion dollars to several racial justice groups, including BLM. He was motivated by " systemic discrimination against blacks that can be traced back to slavery. "
On the other end of the spectrum, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, owned by the global Unilever Company, announced it was launching a podcast that prompts listeners to " dismantle systemic racism " and white supremacy. Shouldn't Americans be entitled to a national conversation on the question of 'systemic racism' first, before an ice cream company (ice cream!) practically declares it a full-blown fascist regime? After all, the 'race problem' could be a symptom of the deplorable state of the police forces, which are, arguably, both overworked and undertrained to handle their assigned tasks. The theory at least deserves much greater attention, but that would deprive the left of an opportunity to appear holier-than-thou in the most consequential presidential election in many decades.
In any case, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that if these protest groups – which, incidentally, have a large number of misguided white youths among their ranks – believe they can act with impunity, while also receiving massive injections of cash and ideological support, things are going to spiral out of control real fast.
Just this week, BLM protesters descended upon my hometown of Pittsburgh, where they harassed a group of diners enjoying the afternoon on a café patio. One of the female activists somehow thought it would be a great idea to gulp down one of the beverages on a table where an elderly couple was seated. Earlier, across the country in Portland, Oregon, BLM showed up in the middle of the night to inform 'privileged' suburban residents – not all of them white, by the way – that they were living on "occupied" land. If BLM really wants sympathy for its cause, those methods are certainly not the way to get it. In fact, they could trigger an ugly backlash, igniting the very racism that the group declares itself to be fighting in the first place.
On that note, more white citizens are coming around to the conclusion that they are the ones being subjected to a 'reverse' form of racism – or, at the very least, are not permitted to defend themselves from physical harm. That appeared to be the lesson for many after Mark and Patricia McCloskey, two lawyers from an upscale neighborhood in St. Louis, brandished firearms after protesters smashed through a gate and trespassed onto their property. Guess who was charged with a crime? Not the protesters. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who received funds for her campaign from none other than Mr. Soros, filed a felony count against the McCloskeys for unlawful use of a weapon.ALSO ON RT.COM Conspiracy FACT: Soros-funded prosecutors let rioters go but declare not agreeing with Black Lives Matter to be a 'hate crime'
Overnight, it appears that Americans have awakened to a nightmare world turned upside down, where all of the old rules of law and order have been thrown out the window. It's a place where political leaders no longer allow the police to perform their duties; citizens are condemned as criminals for protecting themselves, and all the while, "fiery yet mostly peaceful protests" are permitted to rage. Before the situation hits the point of no return, America really needs to have a calm discussion about 'systemic racism' to determine if it even exists in the first place. In the meantime, find a way to maintain law and order on the streets and, most importantly, trust the police; the majority are not bad apples. America's future peace and prosperity depends on it.
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Sep 11, 2020 | www.youtube.com
September 11. 2020
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Massive wildfires continue to sweep across huge portions of the Pacific Northwest.
In Oregon, half a million residents have been forced to evacuate -- one out of every ten people in the state.
Dozens are dead tonight, including small children. But the fires still aren't close to contained. Watch this report from Fox's Jeff Paul:
And it continues as we speak, walls of flame consuming everything in their path: homes, animals, human beings. Tragedy on a massive scale.
When something this awful happens, decent people pause. They put aside their own interests for a moment. They consider how they can help. We've seen that kind of selflessness before.
This is, remember, the anniversary of 9-11. But there are others for whom altruism is an alien concept. Self-interest is all they know. These people never pause. They relentlessly press for any advantage, under any circumstances. They see human suffering as a means to increase their power.
These are the people who turn funerals into political rallies and feel no shame for doing it.
As Americans burned to death, people like this swung into action immediately. They went on television with a partisan talking point: Climate change caused these fires, they said. They didn't explain how that happened. They just kept saying it.
In the hands of Democratic politicians, climate change is like systemic racism in the sky: you can't see it, but it's everywhere, and it's deadly. And, like systemic racism, it's your fault: The American middle class did it. They ate too many hamburgers, drove too many SUVs, had too many children.
A lot of them wear T-shirts to work and didn't finish college. That causes climate change too. And, worst of all, some of them may vote for Donald Trump in November.
If there's anything that absolutely, definitively causes climate change -- and literally over a hundred percent of scientists agree with this established fact -- it's voting for Donald Trump. You might as well start a tire fire. You're destroying the ozone layer.
Joe Biden has checked the science, and he agrees. Yesterday, the people on Biden's staff who understand the internet tweeted out an image of the wildfires, along with the message, "Climate change is already here -- and we're witnessing its devastating effects every single day. We have to get President Trump out of the White House."
Again, by voting for Donald Trump, you've made hundreds of thousands of Oregonians homeless tonight. You've killed people.
Joe Biden's closest friend in the world, a prominent Martha's Vineyard kite-surfer called Barack Obama, echoed that message with his trademark restraint. Obama declawed that your "life" depends on voting for Joe Biden.
Hold on a minute, you might say. Doesn't this very same Barack Obama own a $12 million spread right on the ocean in Massachusetts?
At a time when sea levels are rising and we're about to see killer whales in the Rockies? Honestly, it doesn't seem like Obama is overly concerned about climate change? And by the way, didn't he go to law school? When he did become a climate expert?
Those seem like good questions. But lawyers pretending to be scientists are now everywhere in the Democratic Party.
Here's the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, a proud graduate of Willamette University law school, explaining that he's already figured out the "cause" of the fires. Watch:
INSLEE: Fires are proof we need a stronger liberal agenda Sept 8 TRT: 18 Inslee: And these are conditions that are exacerbated by the changing climate that we are suffering. And I do not believe that we should surrender these subdivisions or these houses to climate change-exacerbated fires. We should fight the cause of these fires.
This is a crock. In fact, there is not a single scientist on earth who knows whether, or by how much, these fires may have been "exacerbated" by warmer temperatures caused by "climate change," whatever that means anymore.
All we have is conjecture from a handful of scientists, none of whom have reached any definitive conclusions.
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, for example, has admitted that it's, quote, "hard to determine whether climate change played a role in sparking the fires."
Meanwhile, investigators have determined that the massive El Dorado fire in California, which has torched nearly 14,000 acres, was caused by morons setting off some kind of fireworks. And then on Wednesday, police announced that a criminal investigation is underway into the massive Almeda fire in Ashland, Oregon.
The sheriff there said it's too early to say what caused the fire, but he's said human remains were found at the suspected origin point. Nothing is being ruled out, including arson.
The more you know, the more complicated it is, like everything. Serious people are just beginning to gather evidence to determine what happened to cause this disaster.
But at the same time, unserious people are now everywhere on the media right now, drowning out nuance. Don't worry about the facts, they say. Just trust us -- the sky orange is orange over San Francisco because households making $40,000 a year made the mistake of voting for a Republican.
Therefore you must hand us total control of the nation's economy. Watch amateur arson detective Nancy Pelosi explain:
PELOSI: Mother Earth is angry. She's telling us, whether she's telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the west, whatever it is, the climate crisis is real and has an impact.
Mother Nature is angry. Please. When was the last time Nancy Pelosi went outside? No one asked her. All we know is what she said: climate change caused this. Of course.
No matter the natural disaster -- hurricanes, tornadoes, whatever -- climate change did it. Keep in mind, Nancy Pelosi owns two sub-zero freezers. They cost $10,000 apiece.
We know because she showed them off on national television. Those use a lot of energy. Like Barack Obama, she constantly flies private between her multi-million dollar estates all over the country.
Obviously, she doesn't care about climate change. And neither do her supporters -- otherwise, they'd be trying to destroy the mansions she owns, not the hair salons that expose her hypocrisy.
For the left, this is really about blaming and ritually humiliating the middle-class for the election of Donald Trump. Joe Biden knows that the Pennsylvanians who would be financially ruined by his fracking ban are the same Pennsylvanians who flipped the state red in 2016 for the first time in a generation.
That's the whole point. One of the reasons Joe Biden is barely allowed outside is that he has no problem showing his contempt for the middle-class he supposedly cares so much about.
In 2019, he openly mocked coal miners and suggested they just get programming jobs once they're all fired. Watch:
BIDEN: I come from a family, an area where's coal mining – in Scranton. Anybody, that can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine, sure as hell can learn how to program as well.
Learn to code! Hilarious. Joe Biden should try it. But there isn't time. The world is ending. Last summer, Sandy Cortez [AOC] did the math and calculated we only have 12 years left to live .
If that sounds bad, consider this -- Just four months after that warning, Sandy Cortez tweeted that we only have 10 years to "cut carbon emissions in half."
Think about the math here. We lost two years in just four months. At that rate, we could literally all die unless Joe Biden wins in November. Which is of course what they're saying.
On Tuesday, California Gavin Newsom pretty much said it Newsom abandoned science long ago. Science is too stringent, too western, too patriarchal.
Newsom is a man of faith now. He's decided climate change caused all of this , and that's final. He's not listening to any other arguments. Watch:
NEWSOM: I have no patience. And I say this lovingly, not as an ideologue, but as someone who prides himself on being open to argument, interested in evidence. But I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers. It simply follows completely inconsistent, that point of view, with the reality on the ground.
People like Gavin Newsom don't want to listen to any "climate change deniers." What's a "climate change denier?" Anyone who thinks our ruling class has no idea how to run their states or protect their citizens.
Are we "climate change deniers" if we point out that California has failed to implement meaningful deforestation measures that would have dramatically slowed the spread of these wildfires?
In 2018, a state oversight agency in California found that years of poor or nonexistent forest management policies in the Sierra Nevada forests had contributed to wildfires.
One of the few Republicans who still hold elected office in California, state Assemblyman Heath Flora, last year called on using the state's $22 billion budget surplus to implement vegetation management.
Fires don't spread as well without huge connected forests functioning as kindling. It's obvious, which is why it's unthinkable to mention it in some Democratic circles."
Presumably, you're also a climate-change denier if you point out that six of the Oregon National Guard's wildfire-fighting helicopters are currently in Afghanistan.
Instead of dropping water to suppress blazes, the Chinook aircraft are busy supplying a war effort that's been going on for nearly 20 years. That seems significant. Has anyone asked Gavin Newsom or Jay Inslee about that? Do any of the Democrats who control these states even care?
The answer, of course, is probably not. It was just last week that Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti admitted on-the-record that his city has become completely third-world.
Of course, Garcetti didn't blame himself for this turn of events. He blamed you. Quote: "It's almost 3 p.m," Garcetti tweeted. "Time to turn off major appliances, set the thermostat to 78 degrees (or use a fan instead, turn off excess lights and unplug any appliances you're not using. We need every Californian to help conserve energy. Please do your part."
"Please do your part." Garcetti wants his constituents to suffer to try to solve a problem that Democrats in his state created. Even now, as residents in Northern California are facing sweeping power outages in addition to wildfires.
In the meantime, Gavin Newsom has vowed that 50 percent of California's energy grid will be based on quote "renewable" energy sources within a decade.
That means sources like wind and solar power -- which can't be dialed up to meet periods of extreme demand, like California is seeing right now during its heatwave.
Newsom was asked last month whether he would consider revising this stance given the blackouts that have left millions of Californians without power.
Newsom responded, quote, "We are going to radically change the way we produce and consume energy." In other words, The blackouts will continue until morale improves. So will the wildfires. Get used to it.
In the hands of Democratic politicians, climate change is like systemic racism in the sky: You can't see it, but it's everywhere and it's deadly. #FoxNews #Tucker SUBSCRIBE
tintin3366 , 1 week ago
The fires we had here in Australia were lit by humans. They tried to say it was climate change.
Jadyyn Starlight , 1 week ago
MAGA COUNTRY , 1 week ago (edited)
I think "Climate change" is exacerbated by the hot air coming out of these politicians
This is a direct result of Gavin Newsom eliminating forestation controls. Jerry Brown kept them in place, the only thing he did correctly. Democrats are to blame for all of this.
stelpa66 , 1 day ago
Quinten Belfor , 1 week ago (edited)
When environmentalists pushed through their "leave forests alone, allow nature to be undisturbed" bs, California and other states stopped clearing underbrush, also known as fire fuel and now we see a perfect example of cause and effect.
Don't get me wrong I am a conservatist , but with common sense , we can't conserve unless we protect and nurture nature to thrive. In fact extremism in environmentalism destroys as we see. People dead, animals dead, homes destroyed, forest destroyed because of extremism.
The narrative to leave forests alone happened long before Trump, believing otherwise makes you a useful idiot. Congratulations.
You could Google this old narrative but will you find it, well it's Google, you have to find the people who heard and lived the so called natural environmental push narrative, we remember and we remember the warnings. Congratulations, your ignorance has caused harm.
They were caused by "peaceful" arsonists
Lori Taylor , 2 days ago
Tucker most always speaks the truth. I say "most" bc no one is perfect 😉 Everything he said here was the truth! Thank you Tucker!! 👏🏼
Sep 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
jayman21 , 2 hours agoWedgeMan , 1 hour ago
The invisible hand will do its job.Zero-Hegemon , 34 minutes ago
Afraid not, it is too busy giving hand jobs.
Invisible Hand jobs?
Oct 14, 2019| www.thenation.com
THE CODE: SILICON VALLEY AND THE REMAKING OF AMERICA By Margaret O'Mara
Buy this book
The Apple Bill passed the House overwhelmingly but then died in the Senate after a bureaucratic snafu for which Jobs forever blamed Republican Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, then chair of the Finance Committee. Yet all was not lost: A similar bill passed in California, and Apple flooded its home state with almost 10,000 computers. Apple's success in California gave it a leg up in the lucrative education market as states around the country began to computerize their classrooms. But education was not radically transformed, unless you count a spike in The Oregon Trail –related deaths from dysentery. If anything, those who have studied the rapid introduction of computers into classrooms in the 1980s and '90s tend to conclude that it exacerbated inequities. Elite students and schools zoomed smoothly into cyberspace, while poorer schools fell further behind, bogged down by a lack of training and resources.
A young, charismatic geek hawks his wares using bold promises of social progress but actually makes things worse and gets extremely rich in the process -- today it is easy to see the story of the Apple Bill as a stand-in for the history of the digital revolution as a whole. The growing concern about the role that technology plays in our lives and society is fueled in no small part by a growing realization that we have been duped. We were told that computerizing everything would lead to greater prosperity, personal empowerment, collective understanding, even the ability to transcend the limits of the physical realm and create a big, beautiful global brain made out of electrons. Instead, our extreme dependence on technology seems to have mainly enriched and empowered a handful of tech companies at the expense of everyone else. The panic over Facebook's impact on democracy sparked by Donald Trump's election in a haze of fake news and Russian bots felt like the national version of the personal anxiety that seizes many of us when we find ourselves snapping away from our phone for what seems like the 1,000th time in an hour and contemplating how our lives are being stolen by a screen. We are stuck in a really bad system.
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This realization has led to a justifiable anger and derision aimed at the architects of this system. Silicon Valley executives and engineers are taken to task every week in the op-ed pages of our largest newspapers. We are told that their irresponsibility and greed have undermined our freedom and degraded our democratic institutions. While it is gratifying to see tech billionaires get a (very small) portion of their comeuppance, we often forget that until very recently, Silicon Valley was hailed by almost everyone as creating the path toward a brilliant future. Perhaps we should pause and contemplate how this situation came to be, lest we make the same mistakes again. The story of how Silicon Valley ended up at the center of the American dream in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as well as the ambiguous reality behind its own techno-utopian dreams, is the subject of Margaret O'Mara's sweeping new history, The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America . In it, she puts Silicon Valley into the context of a larger story about postwar America's economic and social transformations, highlighting its connections with the mainstream rather than the cultural quirks and business practices that set it apart. The Code urges us to consider Silicon Valley's shortcomings as America's shortcomings, even if it fails to interrogate them as deeply as our current crisis -- and the role that technology played in bringing it about -- seems to warrant.
S ilicon Valley entered the public consciousness in the 1970s as something of a charmed place. The first recorded mention of Silicon Valley was in a 1971 article by a writer for a technology newspaper reporting on the region's semiconductor industry, which was booming despite the economic doldrums that had descended on most of the country. As the Rust Belt foundered and Detroit crumbled, Silicon Valley soared to heights barely conveyed by the metrics that O'Mara rattles off in the opening pages of The Code : "Three billion smartphones. Two billion social media users. Two trillion-dollar companies" and "the richest people in the history of humanity." Many people have attempted to divine the secret of Silicon Valley's success. The consensus became that the Valley had pioneered a form of quicksilver entrepreneurialism perfectly suited to the Information Age. It was fast, flexible, meritocratic, and open to new ways of doing things. It allowed brilliant young people to turn crazy ideas into world-changing companies practically overnight. Silicon Valley came to represent the innovative power of capitalism freed from the clutches of uptight men in midcentury business suits, bestowed upon the masses by a new, appealing folk hero: the cherub-faced start-up founder hacking away in his dorm room.
The Code both bolsters and revises this story. On the one hand, O'Mara, a historian at the University of Washington, is clearly enamored with tales of entrepreneurial derring-do. From the "traitorous eight" who broke dramatically from the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1957 to start Fairchild Semiconductor and create the modern silicon transistor to the well-documented story of Facebook's founding, the major milestones of Silicon Valley history are told in heroic terms that can seem gratingly out of touch, given what we know about how it all turned out. In her portrayal of Silicon Valley's tech titans, O'Mara emphasizes virtuous qualities like determination, ingenuity, and humanistic concern, while hints of darker motives are studiously ignored. We learn that a "visionary and relentless" Jeff Bezos continued to drive a beat-up Honda Accord even as he became a billionaire, but his reported remark to an Amazon sales team that they ought to treat small publishers the way a lion treats a sickly gazelle is apparently not deemed worthy of the historical record. But at the same time, O'Mara helps us understand why Silicon Valley's economic dominance can't be chalked up solely to the grit and smarts of entrepreneurs battling it out in the free market. At every stage of its development, she shows how the booming tech industry was aided and abetted by a wide swath of American society both inside and outside the Valley. Marketing gurus shaped the tech companies' images, educators evangelized for technology in schools, best-selling futurists preached personalized tech as a means toward personal liberation. What emerges in The Code is less the story of a tribe of misfits working against the grain than the simultaneous alignment of the country's political, cultural, and technical elites around the view that Silicon Valley held the key to the future.
Above all, O'Mara highlights the profound role that the US government played in Silicon Valley's rise. At the end of World War II, the region was still the sleepy, sun-drenched Santa Clara Valley, home to farms and orchards, an upstart Stanford University, and a scattering of small electronics and aerospace firms. Then came the space and arms races, given new urgency in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik, which suggested a serious Soviet advantage. Millions of dollars in government funding flooded technology companies and universities around the country. An outsize portion went to Northern California's burgeoning tech industry, thanks in large part to Stanford's far-sighted provost Frederick Terman, who reshaped the university into a hub for engineering and the applied sciences.
Stanford and the surrounding area became a hive of government R&D during these years, as IBM and Lockheed Martin opened local outposts and the first native start-ups hit the ground. While these early companies relied on what O'Mara calls the Valley's "ecosystem" of fresh-faced engineers seeking freedom and sunshine in California, venture capitalists sniffing out a profitable new industry, and lawyers, construction companies, and real estate agents jumping to serve their somewhat quirky ways, she makes it clear that the lifeblood pumping through it all was government money. Fairchild Semiconductor's biggest clients for its new silicon chips were NASA, which put them in the Apollo rockets, and the Defense Department, which stuck them in Minuteman nuclear missiles. The brains of all of today's devices have their origin in the United States' drive to defeat the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
But the role of public funding in the creation of Silicon Valley is not the big government success story a good liberal might be tempted to consider it. As O'Mara points out, during the Cold War American leaders deliberately pushed public funds to private industry rather than government programs because they thought the market was the best way to spur technological progress while avoiding the specter of centralized planning, which had come to smack of communist tyranny. In the years that followed, this belief in the market as the means to achieve the goals of liberal democracy spread to nearly every aspect of life and society, from public education and health care to social justice, solidifying into the creed we now call neoliberalism. As the role of the state was eclipsed by the market, Silicon Valley -- full of brilliant entrepreneurs devising technologies that promised to revolutionize everything they touched -- was well positioned to step into the void.
The earliest start-up founders hardly seemed eager to assume the mantle of social visionary that their successors, today's flashy celebrity technologists, happily take up. They were buttoned-down engineers who reflected the cool practicality of their major government and corporate clients. As the 1960s wore on, they were increasingly out of touch. Amid the tumult of the civil rights movement and the protests against the Vietnam War, the major concern in Silicon Valley's manicured technology parks was a Johnson-era drop in military spending. The relatively few techies who were political at the time were conservative.
Things started to change in the 1970s. The '60s made a belated arrival in the Valley as a younger generation of geeks steeped in countercultural values began to apply them to the development of computer technology. The weight of Silicon Valley's culture shifted from the conservative suits to long-haired techno-utopians with dreams of radically reorganizing society through technology.
This shift was perhaps best embodied by Lee Felsenstein, a former self-described "child radical" who cut his teeth running communications operations for anti-war and civil rights protests before going on to develop the Tom Swift Terminal, one of the earliest personal computers.
Felsenstein believed that giving everyday people access to computers could liberate them from the crushing hierarchy of modern industrial society by breaking the monopoly on information held by corporations and government bureaucracies. "To change the rules, change the tools," he liked to say.
Whereas Silicon Valley had traditionally developed tools for the Man, these techies wanted to make tools to undermine him. They created a loose-knit network of hobbyist groups, drop-in computer centers, and DIY publications to share knowledge and work toward the ideal of personal liberation through technology. Their dreams seemed increasingly achievable as computers shrank from massive, room-filling mainframes to the smaller-room-filling minicomputers to, finally, in 1975, the first commercially viable personal computer, the Altair.
Yet as O'Mara shows, the techno-utopians did not ultimately constitute such a radical break from the past. While their calls to democratize computing may have echoed Marxist cries to seize the means of production, most were capitalists at heart. To advance the personal computer "revolution," they founded start-ups, trade magazines, and business forums, relying on funding from venture capital funds often with roots in the old money elite. Jobs became the most celebrated entrepreneur of the era by embodying the discordant figures of both the cowboy capitalist and the touchy-feely hippie, an image crafted in large part by the marketing guru Regis McKenna. Silicon Valley soon became an industry that looked a lot like those that had come before. It was nearly as white and male as they were. Its engineers worked soul-crushing hours and blew off steam with boozy pool parties. And its most successful company, Microsoft, clawed its way to the top through ruthless monopolistic tactics.
Perhaps the strongest case against the supposed subversiveness of the personal computer pioneers is how quickly they were embraced by those in power. As profits rose and spectacular IPOs seized headlines throughout the 1980s, Silicon Valley was championed by the rising stars of supply-side economics, who hitched their drive for tax cuts and deregulation to tech's venture-capital-fueled rocket ship. The groundwork was laid in 1978, when the Valley's venture capitalists formed an alliance with the Republicans to kill then-President Jimmy Carter's proposed increase in the capital gains tax. They beta-tested Reaganomics by advancing the dubious argument that millionaires' making slightly less money on their investments might stifle technological innovation by limiting the supply of capital available to start-ups. And they carried the day.
As president, Ronald Reagan doubled down with tax cuts and wild technophilia. In a truly trippy speech to students at Moscow State University in 1988, he hailed the transcendent possibilities of the new economy epitomized by Silicon Valley, predicting a future in which "human innovation increasingly makes physical resources obsolete." Meanwhile, the market-friendly New Democrats embraced the tech industry so enthusiastically that they became known, to their chagrin, as Atari Democrats. The media turned Silicon Valley entrepreneurs into international celebrities with flattering profiles and cover stories -- living proof that the mix of technological innovation, risk taking, corporate social responsibility, and lack of regulation that defined Silicon Valley in the popular imagination was the template for unending growth and prosperity, even in an era of deindustrialization and globalization.
T he near-universal celebration of Silicon Valley as an avatar of free-market capitalism in the 1980s helped ensure that the market would guide the Internet's development in the 1990s, as it became the cutting-edge technology that promised to change everything. The Internet began as an academic resource, first as ARPANET, funded and overseen by the Department of Defense, and later as the National Science Foundation's NSFNET. And while Al Gore didn't invent the Internet, he did spearhead the push to privatize it: As the Clinton administration's "technology czar," he helped develop its landmark National Information Infrastructure (NII) plan, which emphasized the role of private industry and the importance of telecommunications deregulation in constructing America's "information superhighway." Not surprisingly, Gore would later do a little-known turn as a venture capitalist with the prestigious Valley firm Kleiner Perkins, becoming very wealthy in the process. In response to his NII plan, the advocacy group Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility warned of a possible corporate takeover of the Internet. "An imaginative view of the risks of an NII designed without sufficient attention to public-interest needs can be found in the modern genre of dystopian fiction known as 'cyberpunk,'" they wrote. "Cyberpunk novelists depict a world in which a handful of multinational corporations have seized control, not only of the physical world, but of the virtual world of cyberspace." Who can deny that today's commercial Internet has largely fulfilled this cyberpunk nightmare? Someone should ask Gore what he thinks.
Despite offering evidence to the contrary, O'Mara narrates her tale of Silicon Valley's rise as, ultimately, a success story. At the end of the book, we see it as the envy of other states around the country and other countries around the world, an "exuberantly capitalist, slightly anarchic tech ecosystem that had evolved over several generations." Throughout the book, she highlights the many issues that have sparked increasing public consternation with Big Tech of late, from its lack of diversity to its stupendous concentration of wealth, but these are framed in the end as unfortunate side effects of the headlong rush to create a new and brilliant future. She hardly mentions the revelations by the National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden of the US government's chilling capacity to siphon users' most intimate information from Silicon Valley's platforms and the voraciousness with which it has done so. Nor does she grapple with Uber, which built its multibillion-dollar leviathan on the backs of meagerly paid drivers. The fact that in order to carry out almost anything online we must subject ourselves to a hypercommodified hellscape of targeted advertising and algorithmic sorting does not appear to be a huge cause for concern. But these and many other aspects of our digital landscape have made me wonder if a technical complex born out of Cold War militarism and mainstreamed in a free-market frenzy might not be fundamentally always at odds with human flourishing. O'Mara suggests at the end of her book that Silicon Valley's flaws might be redeemed by a new, more enlightened, and more diverse generation of techies. But haven't we heard this story before?
If there is a larger lesson to learn from The Code , it is that technology cannot be separated from the social and political contexts in which it is created. The major currents in society shape and guide the creation of a system that appears to spring from the minds of its inventors alone. Militarism and unbridled capitalism remain among the most powerful forces in the United States, and to my mind, there is no reason to believe that a new generation of techies might resist them any more effectively than the previous ones. The question of fixing Silicon Valley is inseparable from the question of fixing the system of postwar American capitalism, of which it is perhaps the purest expression. Some believe that the problems we see are bugs that might be fixed with a patch. Others think the code is so bad at its core that a radical rewrite is the only answer. Although The Code was written for people in the first group, it offers an important lesson for those of us in the second: Silicon Valley is as much a symptom as it is a cause of our current crisis. Resisting its bad influence on society will ultimately prove meaningless if we cannot also formulate a vision of a better world -- one with a more humane relationship to technology -- to counteract it. And, alas, there is no app for that.
Adrian Chen Adrian Chen is a freelance writer. He is working on a book about Internet culture.
Sep 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Doc McGee , 34 minutes ago
A list of some companies too stupid to care about truth or justice.
22 COMPANIES THAT SUPPORT #BLACKLIVESMATTER
- Matchstick Ventures
Sep 18, 2020 | www.unz.com
...Do the US plutocrats (that is, the American über-wealthy) control all that? I think they would be amazed to learn that, especially "for generations", bearing in mind that the US was not a very significant factor before the WWI. In my view, the rich are not that smart. But the network exists; I have called its obscure controllers The Masters of Discourse .
Sinaisky claims that they brought the pandemics upon us because of the high debt problem, or by their inability to continue colonial plunder. Alternatively, a notable commenter to his text suggests that it was done because of overproduction of capital. In other words, the bank-lending rate is so close to zero, or even negative, that the whole machinery of capitalism was deluged in a flood of capital, and needed a major war, or indeed a global pandemic, to use it up.
Finally, Sinaisky claims that "atomization of society, breaking up community solidarity, eroding all non-monetary connections between people, destroying family relations and weakening blood ties, is a long-standing plutocratic project. Now, using this fake pandemic, the plutocrats have gone even further, now they train us to see each other not as friend, not as brother, not even as a source of profit, but mainly as a source of mortal infection." I wonder what makes him think that is an object of plutocratic desire? Certainly rich people want to make money and have more power, agreed. Is it necessary for them to atomise society? Who will they and their kids socialize with in such a ruined world?
I am not sure that there is a human agency with such goals. A non-human factor is a much more suitable culprit. In the old days, such a culprit was called Satan, and there were mighty organisations aka churches that fought Satan. In a charming movie, Luc Besson's Fifth Element, 'Love' defeats 'the Shadow', the personified evil that was about to obliterate Earth. Call it Satan, call it Shadow, the thing surely has human collaborationists in the mainstream media. I wrote about it in a piece called The Shadow of Zog . Indeed media should be sorted out in order to deal with it.
Sweden, this lucky country that avoided lockdown and its consequences, was saved by a rare media misstep. (This story has never been published though it is known to many Swedes.) Corona propaganda was carried out by the same liberal Bonnier-owned newspaper, DN (Dagens Nyheter), that played up Greta Thunberg. (Sinaisky's senses served him right: indeed Covid is a new Greta multiplied by a factor of 50). The Greta campaign had as its favourite high horse flygskam , or flight-shaming. Stop taking flights to lower carbon emissions , was the idea. Now we have no flights at all, so this movement disappeared after achieving its goals.
In February 2020, the DN organised a week-long sleeper train culture trip to North Italy for the Greta-following liberal elite. A berth on this train was priced starting at ten thousand Euros. The group went up to the Italian Alps and down to the Carnival in Venice and finally returned home, full to the brim with interesting experiences and coronavirus infections. A few days after the train returned to Stockholm, the disease broke out at large. Many of the liberal journalists that travelled on the Corona Express (as the train became known) fell sick, and their close relatives suffered, too. This incident caused the death of many elderly Jews, parents or uncles of those liberal journalists. It was a media phenomenon, and the Jewish media reported that the death rate among Swedish Jews was 14 times higher than their share of the population (well, it is not as bad as it sounds; only nine very old Jews died, all over 80).
As the people in authority knew all about the Corona Express, the liberal lobby was too ashamed to call for quarantine against the disease they has carried to Sweden. (Or they did call, but in sotto voce.) Furthermore, the DN was their only significant liberal media outlet, as Bonnier had sold his TV channel to a state-owned company in December 2019, making heaps of money but losing his ability to influence people.
Because of this freak combination of forces, Sweden left its health policy in the hands of local professionals and remained free, while its neighbouring countries transferred the responsibility to globalist politicians and embraced quarantine.
Thus the liberal Blairite media (beginning with the NY Times and the Guardian) played a key part in the Corona crisis. They were the piper; but who ordered the piper?
Israel Shamir can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sep 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian , Sep 11 2020 16:05 utc | 2
The price for the worst tweet of the year goes to Paul Krugman .
In the real world the U.S. reacted to 9/11 by doing extremely bad and ridiculous things as well as this :In the days, weeks, and months immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Arab-Americans, South Asian-Americans, Muslim-Americans, and Sikh-Americans were the targets of widespread hate violence. Many of the perpetrators of these acts of hate violence claimed they were acting patriotically by retaliating against those responsible for 9/11.
Just after September 11, numerous Arabs, Muslims, and individuals perceived to be Arab or Muslim were assaulted, and some killed, by individuals who believed they were responsible for or connected to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The first backlash killing occurred four days after September 11.
Balbir Singh Sodhi was shot to death on September 15 as he was planting flowers outside his Chevron gas station. The man who shot Sodhi, Frank Roque, had told an employee of an Applebee's restaurant that he was "going to go out and shoot some towel heads." Roque mistakenly thought Sodhi was Arab because Sodhi, an immigrant from India, had a beard and wore a turban as part of his Sikh faith. After shooting Sodhi, Roque drove to a Mobil gas station a few miles away and shot at a Lebanese-American clerk. He then drove to a home he once owned and shot and almost hit an Afghani man who was coming out the front door. When he was arrested two hours later, Roque shouted, "I stand for America all the way."
The next two killings were committed by a man named Mark Stroman. On September 15, 2001, Stroman shot and killed Waquar Hassan, an immigrant from Pakistan, at Hassan's grocery store in Dallas, Texas. On October 4, 2001, Stroman shot and killed Vasudev Patel, an immigrant from India and a naturalized U.S. citizen, while Patel was working at his Shell station convenience store. A store video camera recorded the killing, helping police to identify Stroman as the killer. Stroman later told a Dallas television station that he shot Hassan and Patel because, "We're at war. I did what I had to do. I did it to retaliate against those who retaliated against us."
Beyond these killings, there were more than a thousand other anti-Muslim or anti-Arab acts of hate which took the form of physical assaults, verbal harassment and intimidation, arson, attacks on mosques, vandalism, and other property damage.
Instead of "calming prejudice" the GB Bush administration institutionalized hate crimes:First, in the weeks immediately following the September 11 attacks, the government began secretly arresting and detaining Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men. Within the first two months after the attacks, the government had detained at least 1,200 men.
Second, in November 2001, the Department of Justice began efforts to "interview" approximately 5,000 men between the ages of 18 and 33 from Middle Eastern or Muslim nations who had arrived in the United States within the previous two years on a temporary student, tourist, or business visa and were lawful residents of the United States. Four months later, the government announced it would seek to interview an additional 3,000 men from countries with an Al Qaeda presence.
Third, in September 2002, the government implemented a "Special Registration" program also known as NSEERS (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System), requiring immigrant men from 26 mostly Muslim countries to register their name, address, telephone number, place of birth, date of arrival in the United States, height, weight, hair and eye color, financial information and the addresses, birth dates and phone numbers of parents and any foreign friends with the government.
Besides all that a rather useless security theater was installed at U.S. airports which has costs many billions in lost time and productivity ever since. The Patriot Act was introduced which allowed for unlimited spying on private citizens. Wars were launched that were claimed to be justified by 9/11. These were "mass outbreaks of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence. Many were killed and maimed in them. People were tortured and vanished. All of this happened largely to applause of a majority of the U.S. people which were glued to 24 and dreamed of being "terrorist hunters".
Anyone with a functional memory knows that the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was anything but "pretty calm". It is ridiculous that Krugman is claiming that.Posted by b at 15:46 UTC | Comments (73)
I find it a bit humorous b that you are critical of Krugman for his 911 dementia when for years many of us finance types have railed about how morally corrupt the logic and thinking of Paul Krugman is.
Paul Krugman is to economics what Bernie Sanders has become for the purported "left" side of the "right wing" uni-party....a sheep dog for the easily led.
Paul Krugman is an acolyte for the God of Mammon/global private finance elite.
Clueless Joe , Sep 11 2020 16:11 utc | 3Red Ryder , Sep 11 2020 16:44 utc | 11
Paul is getting old. Looks like senile dementia isn't limited to Biden nowadays.Jackrabbit , Sep 11 2020 17:01 utc | 13
While spreading anger and hate toward Arab people, The Bush Administration rescued the many members of the Kingdom's family from all around the US and escorted their flights out of the US to safety in Saudi Arabia.
Distracting the public big time was Dick Cheney, VP, who insisted from the very next day that the plot to hit the Twin Towers was Saddam's plot.
So, the historical record and US response was skewed from the getgo. AQ and Bin Laden didn't concern the neocons. They wanted the US to go to Iraq again, and this time start a wide war that would spread to Syria and Lebanon and Iran.
It was easy times to spread fear and hate, and Cheney and the war mongers of CENTCOM were riding high. Americans were scared of all Arabs, all Sunnis, all Shiites, from anywhere. They were all the same in the public's mind. Enemies.
It was perfect and has led to 19 years of endless wars. Add ISIS and al Nusra and the Taliban and you have an endless soup of enemies.michaelj72 , Sep 11 2020 19:59 utc | 35
I'm coining a new term: "Empire apologist".
!!Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 11 2020 20:08 utc | 36
krugman is a terrible shill for the neo-cons and liberal-interventionists of the 21st century
at my age, I shouldn't really be surprised any more by what american "intellectuals" and "nobel prize winners" say about anything..... but I am.
He's neo-liberal interventionist moron of the first rank, and saying what he did actually normalizes the war mania and war-mongering which has become so staple in mainstream thought and the "think tanks" and is now practically part of the american DNA and "culture".
shame on krugmanRob , Sep 11 2020 20:08 utc | 37
It appears the Deep State has attacked the USA's people twice in two decades--on 911 and with the decision to let as many die as possible by deliberately not doing anything to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and allowing the real economy to atrophy so even more will die in the long run.
Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 11 2020 19:40 utc | 34
Talking about tilting at windmills - I'll never forget Robert Fisk angrily pointing out that the Yankees knew where to find Al CIA-duh because they extended the cave complex at Tora Bora to help Al CIA-duh, equipped with 10,000 US Stinger Missiles, kick the Russians out of Afghanistan in the 1980s!!!
(The Yankees had to wait for 10+ years to invade Afghanistan because it takes that long for Stingers to pass their Use By date)Jen , Sep 11 2020 21:02 utc | 44
@michaelj72. "krugman is a terrible shill for the neo-cons and liberal-interventionists of the 21st century"
Actually, Paul Krugman was a strong and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War since early 2003 and possibly earlier. He was amongst the few mainstream liberal commentators to take that stand.uncle tungsten , Sep 11 2020 22:13 utc | 50
If MoA readers and commenters were to read the entire series of Krugman's tweets, six in all, they will see mention of how the Bush govt began exploiting the events of 11 September 2001 almost immediately. Though the example Krugman actually uses would make most people cringe at what it suggests about the bubble he lives in and how far removed it is from most people's lives and experiences, and his reference to a "horrible war" does not mention either Afghanistan or Iraq.
It has to be said that Twitter is not designed very well for the kind of informal conversational commentary that people often use it for. But then you would think Krugman would use something other than Twitter to discuss and compare 9/11 with the impact of COVID-19.
The real issue I have with Krugman's Tweet is that he is revising history and bending over backwards to apologise for Dubya in a way to criticise Donald Trump's performance as President.b " Anyone with a functional memory knows that the U.S. reaction to 9/11 was anything but "pretty calm". It is ridiculous that Krugman is claiming that. "Prof K , Sep 11 2020 22:15 utc | 51
Careful with that axe b, you are talking about Biden's chief economic adviser and likely appointee as Chair of the Fed. How does this look?
What could go wrong?From 2019, Krugman de facto admits he was wrong his whole life. What a tool.David G , Sep 11 2020 22:34 utc | 54
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-10/inequality-globalization-and-the-missteps-of-1990s-economicsEt Tu , Sep 11 2020 22:48 utc | 55
uncle tungsten | Sep 11 2020 22:13 utc | 50:
Reading Krugman's columns in 2016, I had a strong to overwhelming sense that this was a person revving up for a spot in Hillary's White House or cabinet. For some reason it isn't hitting me as strongly this time around – he may not have as close connections in Biden's circle – but it certainly would not be a surprise to see him take a turn through the media/government revolving door if Trump loses (though, fwiw, I don't think it will be a job at the Fed).Russ , Sep 11 2020 22:48 utc | 56
Yep. Pretty staggering how a few disgruntled ex-CIA contractors managed to, deliberately or not, help the US Gov't launch the biggest world war operation right under the noses of the brainwashed masses.
99% of Westerners still are clueless as to explaining the last 20 years in a broader geopolitical context.Prof K , Sep 11 2020 22:55 utc | 57
Posted by: Caliman | Sep 11 2020 22:15 utc | 52
#28: "The antiwar protests in the US were small and insignificant."
No they were not. Millions of people demonstrated against the planned war, in the US, in the UK, and around the world...
We mustn't forget how the vast majority of those who allegedly were anti-war suddenly went totally pro-war silent upon Obama coming in.
But that pales compared to the vile spectacle of all the self-alleged "anti-authoritarians", "anti-propagandists" "dissidents", who suddenly regard the government media as the literal voice of God, where their alleged God speaks of Covid.vk , Sep 12 2020 0:16 utc | 64
His book, End this Depression Now, is pretty weak. He has no theory of why the crash occurred. He critiques the austerity agenda but doesn't understand that government spending CAN create tax liabilities for capital down the road and eat into profits, thus blocking expanded investments and growth. Moronic libertarians hate Krugman just because they are right wing assholes who think, like fairies, that a free market without the state will work fine and self correct. Marx debunked this fairy tale thoroughly in Capital Volume 1, showing that, even if we start with the mythical free market of libertarian morons, capitalism will still operate according to the general law by which concentration and centralization lead to class polarization. In any case, in volume 3 of Capital, Marx develops his laws of crisis, showing that the cycles of expansion and depression under capitalism follow the movements of the rate of profit, which itself is determined by the ratio of the value of sunk capital in production technologies to the rate of exploitation (profits/wages). If the former rises more than the latter, the rate of profit sinks, along with investment, output and employment. Financial crises then set in.
The empirical evidence in the data bears out Marx's theory, not Krugman's dumb notion of aggregate demand, or the stupid libertarian focus on interest rates.uncle tungsten , Sep 12 2020 1:15 utc | 65
We could discuss here all day about the sociological subject of the American people's true positioning in the aftermath of 9/11. It would be, sincerely, a waste of time.
The important thing to grasp over this episode - from the point of view of History - is this: it was a strategic victory for al-Qaeda . The USA took the bait (all scripted?) and went into a quagmire in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a few years, the surplus the USA had accumulated with the sacking and absorption of the Soviet space during Bill Clinton evaporated and became a huge deficit in the Empire's accounts. Not long after, the 2008 financial meltdown happened, burying Bushism in a spectacular way.
There's a debate about the size of the hole the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan cost the American Empire. Some put it into the dozens of billions of USDs; others put it into the trillions of USDs range. We will never know. What we know is that the hole was big enough to both erase the American surplus and to not avoid the financial meltdown of 2008.
Either the expansion through the Middle East wasn't fast and provided riches enough to keep up with the Empire's voracious appetite or the invasion itself already represented a last, desperate attempt by the Empire to avoid its imminent collapse. We know, however, that POTUS Bush had a list of countries he wanted to invade beyond Iraq (the "Axis of Evil") which contained a secret country (Venezuela). He was conscious Iraq and Afghanistan wouldn't be enough. Whatever the case, he didn't have the time, and the financial meltdown happened in his last year in the White House.Antonym , Sep 12 2020 1:26 utc | 66
karlof1 at #12great stuff from M. Hudson, one of my favorite reads these days. Hudson has krugman's number. thanks again for those snippets and the links!
Steve Keen also has his number and Keen is pro capitalist
Krugman is a moron dressed as a weasel sounding like a squawking hen, with the vision of a hemorrhoid.Kay Fabr , Sep 12 2020 2:30 utc | 69
The main harsh reaction of G.W. Bush after 9/11 was the formation of DHS and laws to legalize mass national and international spying on anybody with electronic traffic. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Homeland_Security#History
They knew who the perps of 9/11 were: their "own" Saudi irregulars in the CIA's US main land training camps, who started practicing on the "wrong"- domestic American- targets. These guys were officially entered without any background checks.
The Bush and Bin Laden families go way back in money making. That is why George had to ponder so long in that Florida kindergarten after hearing about the attacks: he had a suspicion. The Saudi only fly out after 9/11 confirms that.
Paul Krugman Is a pro. Completely owned by Deep State. His purpose is to deflect discussion and prevent questioning the official version of 9/11 , and get people chasing something completely irrelevant. Well done Paul, most have taken the bait.
Sep 01, 2020 | www.theregister.comI didn't get rich by signing checks // 10:30 UTC 141 GOT TIPS? Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco BIO EMAIL TWITTER SHARE
Amazon is famous for its extreme efficiency yet behind the curtain is a crippling culture of surveillance and stress, according to a study by the Open Markets Institute.
The think tank and advocacy group that repeatedly takes companies like Google and Facebook to task warned in the report [PDF] that Amazon's retail side has gone far beyond promoting efficient working and has adopted an almost dystopian level of control over its warehouse workers, firing them if they fail to meet targets that are often kept a secret.
Among the practices it highlighted, the report said that workers are told to hit a target rate of packages to process per hour, though they are not told what exactly that target is. "We don't know what the rate is," one pseudonymous worker told the authors. "They change it behind the scenes. You'll know when you get a warning. They don't tell you what rate you have to hit at the beginning."
If they grow close to not meeting a target rate, or miss it, the worker receives an automated message warning them, the report said. Workers who fail to meet hidden targets can also receive a different type of electronic message; one that fires them.
"Amazon's electronic system analyzes an employee's electronic record and, after falling below productivity measures, 'automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors'," it stated. The data is also generated automatically: for example, those picking and packing are required to use a scanner that records every detail, including the time between scans, and feed it into a system that pushes out automated warnings.Always watching
As with other companies, Amazon installs surveillance cameras in its workspaces to reduce theft. But the report claims Amazon has taken that approach to new lengths "with an extensive network of security cameras that tracks and monitors a worker's every move".
Bezos' bunch combines that level of surveillance with strict limits on behavior. "Upon entering the warehouse, Amazon requires workers to dispose of all of their personal belongings except a water bottle and a clear plastic bag of cash," the report noted.
For Amazon drivers, their location is constantly recorded and monitored and they are required to follow the exact route Amazon has mapped. They are required to deliver 999 out of every 1,000 packages on time or face the sack; something that the report argues has led to widespread speeding and a related increase in crashes.
The same tracking software ensures that workers only take 30 minutes for lunch and two separate 15-minute breaks during the day. The report also noted that the web goliath has patented a wristband that "can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction".
Amazon also attempts to prevent efforts to unionize by actively tracking workers and breaking up any meetings of too many people, including identifying possible union organizers and moving them around the workplace to prevent them talking to the same group for too long, the report claimed.
It quoted a source named Mohamed as saying: "They spread the workers out you cannot talk to your colleagues The managers come to you and say they'll send you to a different station."
The combined effort of constant surveillance with the risk of being fired at any point has created, according to workers, a " Lord Of The Flies -esque environment where the perceived weakest links are culled every year".Stress and quotas
The report said Amazon's workers "are under constant stress to make their quotas for collecting and organizing hundreds of packages per hour" resulting in "constant 'low-grade panic' to work. In this sense, workers are dehumanizingly treated by Amazon as if they are robots – persistently asked to accomplish task after task at an unforgiving rate."
At the end of the day, warehouse employees are required to go through mandatory screening to check they haven't stolen anything, which "requires waiting times that can range from 25 minutes to an hour" and is not compensated, the report said.'I don't recognise Amazon as a bullying workplace' says Bezos READ MORE
Amazon also allegedly fails to account for any injuries, the report said, to the extent that "Amazon employees feel forced to work through the pain and injuries they incur on the job, as Amazon routinely fires employees who fall behind their quotas, without taking such injuries into account."
It quoted another piece of reporting that found Amazon's rate of severe injuries in its warehouses is, in some cases, more than five times the industry average. It also noted that the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health listed Amazon as one of the "dirty dozen" on its list of the most dangerous places to work in the United States in 2018.
The report concluded that "Amazon's practices exacerbate the inequality between employees and management by keeping employees in a constant state of precariousness, with the threat of being fired for even the slightest deviation, which ensures full compliance with employer-demanded standards and limits worker freedom."
Being a think tank, the Open Markets Institute listed a series of policy and legal changes that would help alleviate the work issues. It proposed a complete ban on "invasive forms of worker surveillance" and a rule against any forms of surveillance that "preemptively interfere with unionization efforts".
It also wants a law that allows independent contractors to unionize and the legalization of secondary boycotts, as well as better enforcement of the rules against companies by government departments including America's trade watchdog the FTC and Department of Justice, as well as a ban on non-compete agreements and class action waivers.
In response to the allegations in the report, a spokesperson for Amazon told us: "Like most companies, we have performance expectations for every Amazonian – be it corporate employee or fulfillment center associate and we measure actual performance against those expectations.
"Associate performance is measured and evaluated over a long period of time as we know that a variety of things could impact the ability to meet expectations in any given day or hour. We support people who are not performing to the levels expected with dedicated coaching to help them improve." ®
Aug 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Tensions are becoming dangerous in Syria and on Russia's back doorstep. US soldiers stand near US and Russian military vehicles in the northeastern Syrian town of al-Malikiyah (Derik) at the border with Turkey, on June 3, 2020. (Photo by DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A dangerous vehicle collision between U.S and Russian soldiers in Northeastern Syria on Aug. 24 highlights the fragility of the relationship and the broader test of wills between the two major powers.
According to White House reports and a Russian video that went viral this week, it appeared that as the two sides were racing down a highway in armored vehicles, the Russians sideswiped the Americans, leaving four U.S. soldiers injured. It is but the latest clash as both sides continue their patrols in the volatile area. But it speaks of bigger problems with U.S. provocations on Russia's backdoor in Eastern Europe.
A sober examination of U.S. policy toward Russia since the disintegration of the Soviet Union leads to two possible conclusions. One is that U.S. leaders, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, have been utterly tone-deaf to how Washington's actions are perceived in Moscow. The other possibility is that those leaders adopted a policy of maximum jingoistic swagger intended to intimidate Russia, even if it meant obliterating a constructive bilateral relationship and eventually risking a dangerous showdown. Washington's latest military moves, especially in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea, are stoking alarming tensions.
There has been a long string of U.S. provocations toward Russia. The first one came in the late 1990s and the initial years of the twenty-first century when Washington violated tacit promises given to Mikhail Gorbachev and other Soviet leaders that if Moscow accepted a united Germany within NATO, the Alliance would not seek to move farther east. Instead of abiding by that bargain, the Clinton and Bush administrations successfully pushed NATO to admit multiple new members from Central and Eastern Europe, bringing that powerful military association directly to Russia's western border. In addition, the United States initiated "rotational" deployments of its forces to the new members so that the U.S. military presence in those countries became permanent in all but name. Even Robert M. Gates, who served as secretary of defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, was uneasy about those deployments and conceded that he should have warned Bush in 2007 that they might be unnecessarily provocative.
As if such steps were not antagonistic enough, both Bush and Obama sought to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The latter country is not only within what Russia regards as its legitimate sphere of influence, but within its core security zone. Even key European members of NATO, especially France and Germany, believed that such a move was unwise and blocked Washington's ambitions. That resistance, however, did not inhibit a Western effort to meddle in Ukraine's internal affairs to help demonstrators unseat Ukraine's elected, pro-Russia president and install a new, pro-NATO government in 2014.
Such provocative political steps, though, are now overshadowed by worrisome U.S. and NATO military moves. Weeks before the formal announcement on July 29, the Trump administration touted its plan to relocate some U.S. forces stationed in Germany. When Secretary of Defense Mike Esper finally made the announcement, the media's focus was largely on the point that 11,900 troops would leave that country.
However, Esper made it clear that only 6,400 would return to the United States; the other nearly 5,600 would be redeployed to other NATO members in Europe. Indeed, of the 6,400 coming back to the United States, "many of these or similar units will begin conducting rotational deployments back to Europe." Worse, of the 5,600 staying in Europe, it turns out that at least 1,000 are going to Poland's eastern border with Russia.
Another result of the redeployment will be to boost U.S. military power in the Black Sea. Esper confirmed that various units would "begin continuous rotations farther east in the Black Sea region, giving us a more enduring presence to enhance deterrence and reassure allies along NATO's southeastern flank." Moscow is certain to regard that measure as another on a growing list of Black Sea provocations by the United States.
Among other developments, there already has been a surge of alarming incidents between U.S. and Russian military aircraft in that region. Most of the cases involve U.S. spy planes flying near the Russian coast -- supposedly in international airspace. On July 30, a Russian Su-27 jet fighter intercepted two American surveillance aircraft; according to Russian officials, it was the fourth time in the final week of July that they caught U.S. planes in that sector approaching the Russian coast. Yet another interception occurred on August 5, again involving two U.S. spy planes. Still others have taken place throughout mid-August. It is a reckless practice that easily could escalate into a broader, very dangerous confrontation.
The growing number of such incidents is a manifestation of the surging U.S. military presence along Russia's border, especially in the Black Sea . They are taking place on Russia's doorstep, thousands of miles away from the American homeland. Americans should consider how the United States would react if Russia decided to establish a major naval and air presence in the Gulf of Mexico, operating out of bases in such allied countries as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
The undeniable reality is that the United States and its NATO allies are crowding Russia; Russia is not crowding the United States. Washington's bumptious policies already have wrecked a once-promising bilateral relationship and created a needless new cold war with Moscow. If more prudent U.S. policies are not adopted soon, that cold war might well turn hot.
Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative, is the author of 12 books and more than 850 articles on international affairs. His latest book is NATO: The Dangerous Dinosaur (2019).
Tradcon • 5 days ago • editedMike P Tradcon • 4 days ago
I mean, I think this has been bipartisan policy since at least 1947. Unlikely to change anytime soon, even with realists gaining ground. Perhaps expanding NATO east, sending support to Ukraine, and intervening in Syria (despite attempts to leave, the best we can get at this point are small troop reductions that most likely are redeployed to neighboring countries) aren't the best idea after all?northernobserver Mike P • 4 days ago
This is a very anti American article! Patriots know that where the U.S. gives political or economic ground Russia and other adversaries will fill the vacum with policies intended to destroy American peoeple. So no, it is not a bad idea to be involved in Syria and Ukraine in fact it is a very good idea.Aen Elle northernobserver • 4 days ago
The entire framing of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood as "pro American" and those who oppose them as "anti American" is delusional.
Russia is a weak state trying to maintain its natural spheres of influence along the Curzon line. Why has the State Department/ Pentagon decided to try and roll this back? How the F to they expect Russia to react. How would America react if a foreign power tried to turn Mexico into a strategic asset. So why is it ok to make Ukraine into a Nato member? It's reckless and ultimately it is pointless. Weakening Russia further serves little strategic purpose and potentially threatens to destabilize the Balkans and mid east with Turkish adventurism. What will America do if the Turks seize Rhodes under some pretext?
Syria is another case of State Department midwits not understanding the results of their regime change. What purpose does it serve to put a Sunni extremist government in Damascus. How hateful do you have to be to subject Syria's minorities to genocide at the hands of an ISIS sympathetic government? How do you delude yourself that such a regime will serve America's interests in the long run? So you can own Iran before the election? You are trading victory today for permanent loss tomorrow. It's insane.Bianca Aen Elle • a day agoHow the F to they expect Russia to react.
Just like you, they think Russia is a weak state and can do nothing therefore they are free to do as they please. Also, since Turkey is a NATO member and as such an ally to the U.S. shouldn't you be cheering in good faith for Turkey and against Russia?J Villain northernobserver • 4 days ago
You got that one. Because Turkey is a thorn in NATO side. It has massive economic interests in Russia, China and the rest of Asia. The "adventure" in Syria is coordinated with Russia to the last detail, while playacting tensions. US problem in Syria is not Russia or Turkey, but Russia AND Turkey.
As US is frowning at Egypt Al-Sisi , or Saudi MBS -- it is because they frown at Egypt AND Russia, as well as Saudi Arabia AND Russia.
Basically, countries nominally counted in OUR camp are frowned upon when collaborating with the ENEMY countries.
Our foreign policy is stuck in Middle East -- and cannot get unstuck. Cannot be better illustrated then Pompeo addressing Republican convention from Jerusalem.
The only way Russia can challenge encirclement is by challenging US in its home away from home -- Middle East. And creating new realities in the ground by collaborating with the countries in the region -- undermining monopoly.
And as the entire world is hurting from epidemic related economic setbacks, Russia and China are economies that are moving forward. And nobody in the Middle East can afford to ignore it.PJ London J Villain • a day ago
I agree with you with the exception of Russia being weak. One day the US which has never seen any thing in advance will push Russia one time to many and find the Russian Army in Poland and Romania. That is if China doesn't take out some thing precious to the US in the mean time like a U2, aircraft carrier etc.
There are two things at play here. The first is the US leadership wants ether country to take a shot at some thing US. Then then can scream and stomp their feet that no one on earth is allowed to trade with ether country and the US can block all trade with ether country.
The other thing at play is Americans love it when their leaders act like gangsters. That's why leaders do it. Nothing will get you votes faster in the US than saying your going to kill people. I see US citizens try that non-sense about it's all Washington we don't want that. But you keep voting for people that are going to give you the next war fix. When you stop they will stop.Bianca northernobserver • a day ago
I agree with your assessment except Russia will not put troops into any country without the express request from the legitimate government. They are not going into Poland and especially not Romania (Transnistria maybe) why would they? The countries do not have any resources that Russia wants. The only reason to put troops into Belarus is to maintain a distance between Poland and the borders.
Russia needs nothing from the rest of the world except trade. Un-coerced, free trade. This drives the US corporations crazy as no one will trade with the US anymore without coercion.
PS the same goes for China with the proviso that Taiwan is part of China and needs to be reabsorbed into the mainstream. It will take +20 years but China just keeps the pressure on until there will be no viable alternative.Tradcon Mike P • 4 days ago
It has never meant to serve American interests. Ever. Once you put it in perspective, it makes sense.
But if people are convinced that Russia is a weak state -- then it is easier to approve adventures abroad -- including ringing Russia.
The problem for never satiated Zealots is the following -- regional powers in the Middle East are hitching their wagons to Eurasian economic engine. That is definitely true of Turkey, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia. The tales of Moslem Brotherhood are here to interpret something today from the iconography from the past. And to explain today what an entirely different set of leaders did -- be that few years ago or one hundred years ago. Same goes for iconography of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Communism, Socialism, authoritarianism, and other ISMS.
Those icons serve the same purpose as icons in religion or in cyber-space. You look at them, or you click -- and the story and explanation is ready made for your consumption. Time to watch actions -- not media iconography to tell us what is going on.Alexandr Kosenkov Mike P • 3 days ago
If we're being purely ideological here those with an overtly internationalist disposition (barring leftists) are those who want to be involved overseas, hardly ones to go on about national interest or pride. Its been a common stance associated with American Nationalism and Paleoconservatives to be anti-intervention, these people (of which I consider myself a part) can hardly be bashed for holding unpatriotic views.)
Russia has a declining population, and an economy smaller than that of Spain. Its hardly a threat and our involvement in Eastern Europe was relatively limited pre-2014 and even so the overall international balance of power hasn't shifted after Russian annexation of Crimea, and the Ukrainians proved quite capable of defending their nation (though not so capable as to end retake separatist strongholds.Bianca Mike P • a day ago
Please explain to me, a Russian person, what kind of anti-American policy Russia is spreading in countries? If we exclude acts of counteraction against American expansion and aggression against Russia? What ideological foundations does Russia have after 1991? Isn't Russia's actions a guerrilla war on the communications of the self-proclaimed "Empire of Good", which is pursuing a tough offensive policy? And is it not because the Russians support a significant part of Putin's initiatives (despite a number of Putin's obvious shortcomings) precisely because they have experience of cooperation with the "Empire of Good" in the 90s: give loans, corrupt officials and deputies, put Russian firms under control big American companies, and then just give orders from the White House.
PS. I beg your pardon my google englishkouroi • 4 days ago • edited
Another Zealot in Patriot garb. The only people that are destroying Americans are within our borders, wielding power to fulfill their mission -- enrich themselves, keep the borders open, and our military all over the globe.Vhailor • 4 days ago
It would be interesting to read the minds of the US pilots engaged in these activities. My guess is that the cognitive dissonance energy in those heads is equivalent to the biggest nuclear bomb ever exploded...Kent Vhailor • 4 days ago
Hmmm... I think there is a third option besides escalation and deescalation - exhaustion. Projecting power across the globe is expensive, it is a slow but steady drain on US resources, which are needed elsewhere (for example to quell the riots in major US cities).
In a major crisis this could lead to a breaking point. What if some US adversary decides to double down and attack (directly or by proxy) US troops and the US will not be able to respond? A humiliating defeat combined with an exhausted public decidedly set against military adventures abroad could cause a rapid retrenchment and global withdrawal.Vhailor Kent • 4 days ago
I see it as exhaustion by corruption. The US military is increasingly bureaucratic, political and ineffectual. Our weapons are gold-plated, hyper-tech focused and require highly-skilled people to maintain them, which means we can't quickly train new people up. The weapons themselves are so complex and expensive that there is no way to manufacture them at scale quickly.
The DOD today is only about personal political position, and grubbing tax-payer dollars for self-aggrandizement. In any real war with a real adversary, we wouldn't stand a chance.kouroi Vhailor • 4 days ago
I wouldn't be so pessimistic regarding US military capabilities and I'm neither a US citizen or a fan of US global hegemony.
The US armed forces are made up of professionals. There are some universal advantages and disadvantages of such forces. A professional army is good at fighting wars but bad at controlling territory because of its limited size and higher costs-per-soldier. In order to control territory you need "boots on the ground" in great numbers, standing at checkpoints and patrolling the countryside. They didn't have to be trained to the level of Navy SEALS, for them it is enough if they can shoot straight and won't be scared from some fireworks and the US lacks such forces.Vhailor kouroi • 4 days ago
So how is one going to get the millions of manpower to fulfill these tasks? Pauperize the masses so that joining the army becomes the only viable solution? Introduce the Draft? Provide a pathway for US citizenship for any foreigner that joins, establishing a US Foreign Legion?
And then, how you'll have enough boots on the ground to pacify Russia or China. It took more than a month to establish and secure the beach heads in Bretagne in France in 1944. How do you think you can even get those boots to land in Russia or China, when you know that the ICBMs are going to start flying towards the continental US if something like this will ever happen?Baruch Dreamstalker Vhailor • 4 days ago
So how is one going to get the millions of manpower to fulfill these tasks? Pauperize the masses so that joining the army becomes the only viable solution? Introduce the Draft?
It is no longer possible to introduce the draft in the US - even mentioning it would lead to social unrests.alan Vhailor • 21 hours ago
The idea of a soft-mandatory year of service with a military option has been floated. It generates neither unrest nor interest.Scaathor Kent • 4 days ago
Read Jean Lartegy's "The Centurions." That is the direction where the tactically brilliant, but strategically incompetent US military leadership is headed.kouroi Vhailor • 4 days ago
In addition, those gold-plated weapon systems often do not work as advertised. Look how the multi-billion IADS of the Saudis couldn't protect their refinery complex from a cruise missile attack from Yemen. Look at the embarrassing failures of the LCS and Zumwalt ship classes, and the endless problems with the Ford CVN. The F35 is proving a ginormous boondoggle that will massively enrich LM shareholders but will do squat for US military capabilities.Baruch Dreamstalker William Toffan • 15 hours ago
It will go on as long as the US is able to benefit of its present ability to print money and have the world use that money...PJ London Feral Finster • a day ago
The alternative is an incumbent who runs against the condition of his own country as an outsider. It take an idiot to support that.Feral Finster PJ London • a day ago
He already did and the Military ignored him.
He backtracked with endless excuses and conditionals.
Bill Clinton once reportedly told senior White House reporter Sarah McClendon, "Sarah, there's a government inside the government, and I don't control it."
Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.
– Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States (1856-1924)
Do you really think that the adults with so much to lose would allow an idiot like Trump (or Clinton or Obama or Bush) to actually run things?Dan Greene bumbershoot • 3 days ago
And then, like the cuck he is, Trump knuckled under. "I like oil!"peter mcloughlin • 4 days ago
Stop focusing on what Trump says and look at what his administration does. Troops in Poland and Eastern Europe, Nord Stream 2, intrusive US reconnaissance flights along Russia's borders, support of Ukraine, interference with Russian patrols in Syria, the continuing attempt to destabilize Assad in Syria, the destruction of JCPOA, global sanctions campaign on Russia among others, withdrawal from arms control treaties, accusation that Russia was cheating on INF treaty, hiring dozens of anti-Russia hardliners, etc, etc.
I'll repeat: Focus on what Trump does, not what he says, and then total up the pro-Russia and anti-Russia actions of this administration and see what that reveals.I Don't Matter • 4 days ago
A danger with this "new Cold War" is the assumption it will end like the first one – peacefully. If this is the thinking among policy-makers we are in a very perilous situation. History shows that fatal miscalculations contributed to the First World War, and as a consequence the second. Today there is no room for miscalculation, which will set off unstoppable escalation into a third.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...Feral Finster I Don't Matter • 4 days ago
Russians deliberately repeatedly ram an American vehicle, but I'm sure it's all our fault. Shouldn't have worn that skirt I guess.
Before y'all armchair Putin experts say all your loving things: you have nothing to contribute unless you speak fluent Russian. I watched the video taken and published by the Russians and it was pretty clear what they were doing.dba12123 . I Don't Matter • 3 days ago • edited
The United States is not invited in Syria or wanted. Russian troops are in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate and recognized government.
Whatever happens to American troops there is deserved.hooly • 4 days ago
Something critical is being missed entirely. The United States has invaded Syria without a mandate from the UN. Its' president has explicitly stated that it is the intention of the US to take Syria's oil. Both are violations of international law. Any hostile action taken against the illegal US presence in Syria is justifiable as self defense. While the US presence in Syria is illegal, Russia's presence is not. Russia was invited into Syria by the UN recognized Syrian government to assist it in defending against the US regime change by Al Qaeda proxy operation..L RNY • 4 days ago
establish a major naval and air presence in the Gulf of Mexico, operating out of bases in such allied countries as Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.
What would happen if China or Russia established bases in the Caribbean and Latin America? Trump joked about selling Puerto Rico, what if the Chinese bought it?Carlton Meyer • 4 days ago
If the Israeli's have a problem with Russia being in Syria then Israel should deal with it. Its not our problem and Russia is not our enemy. Infact India is bringing closer relations between Russia and Japan. Which do you want? Russian antagonism because Israel doesn't want Russians in Syria or Russian partnership with India, Japan, Australia and the US dealing with China? Remember....you could spend 1000 years in the middle east and not make a dent in the animosities between peoples there...so one is a futile endeaver...while the other has great benefit.Hrant Carlton Meyer • 4 days ago
Note that Russian soldiers are in Syria at the request of its government to help fend off foreign invaders. The American troops are there illegally, with no UN or even Congressional authorization.
Also note the USA risks another Cuban missile crisis by withdrawing from the INF treaty after illegally building missile launch complexes in Romania and Poland that can hit Russia with nuclear cruise missiles.
The USA did much more than "meddle" in Ukraine. The Obama/Biden team openly organized a coup to overthrow its elected President because he didn't want to join NATO and the EU.
https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FnW7lNABfDVk%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DnW7lNABfDVk&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FnW7lNABfDVk%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=21d07d84db7f4d66a55297735025d6d1&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtubeAen Elle Hrant • 4 days ago
Is that guy in the middle of the left seated Vlad Klitschko? I great boxer no doubt, but also known for his stunning stupidity. Is he part of the new Ukrainian political elite? Poor Ukraine.longlance • 4 days ago
Klichko has been the mayor of Ukrainian capital city Kiev since the victory of Euromaidan in 2014 until present day.Baruch Dreamstalker • 4 days ago • edited
Russia has been threatened & attacked by military powers to its West, East & South for 1000 years. Russia is now lean & mean, but still standing.kouroi Baruch Dreamstalker • 4 days ago
A Russian vehicle sideswipes an American vehicle, injuring two US soldiers, and that's an American provocation? An American spy plane claims to be in international waters, and you tack in a "supposedly" in that sentence? "Violating" a tacit promise, really? Russia aggression against Georgia and Crimea is OK because Sphere of Influence? This article is loaded with Blame America First crap usually associated with the Left (much to this liberal's disgust). Never expected to find it here.
Yes, the expansion of NATO east must have looked to Russia like something coming at their borders entirely too fast. I thought it was a terrible idea at the time, and wrote it off to the wheels of a fifty-year-old bureaucracy not knowing how to slow down. Your eye-straining gaze at the tea-leaves for Deeper State motives is unpersuasive, even without your odious prejudices.Hannibal Jubal • 4 days ago
Maybe some play of Rashomon would be in order here. That is your perspective.
Now your honor, what I have seen is that Georgia attacked first and hoped to occupy a certain area that Russian Federation was protecting, As a side comment, I have to point to an Orwellian use of the word "aggressive" and "attack". It seems that anything that the US cannot wantonly control or bomb is inherently aggressive and attacking either directly or indirectly the "rules based order".
Crimea had Russian assets that became endangered. Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when was donated in an unsanctioned manner to Ukraine. The majority Russian population in Crimea has been persecuted by the Ukrainian state since at least 1994. The Euromaidan would have exacerbated that. A referendum was carried on and just considering ethnic lines, Russians won in their desire to re-unite with the Russian Federation. There aren't many legal arguments against that referendum and that process, if one looks for them...
So the above perspectives have nothing to do with just "sphere of influence" but with direct core interests of the Russian state and its core security...
The deep state is a tool that is trying to fulfill one objective: integration of Russian economy under the control of US and its Oligarchy. Otherwise it will always be a threat. A Nationalist, democratic (but not oligarchic) and sovereign Russia will always be considered an enemy of the world hegemon...
And the provocation is the actual presence in Syria of US troops. Ramming the US military vehicle is not a provocation from Russians, it is a simple eviction notification. End of story!Dan Greene Hannibal Jubal • 3 days ago
Isn't it just amazing how this writer gets to turn an incident of provocation by Russian soldiers into a story of persistent provocation by America. That is remarkable dexterity even for this paper. I am used to them suggesting that we should leave the people of Eastern Europe to the tender mercies of the whims and wishes of a dictator in Moscow - because they are in his backyard. But to be able to switch from that incident to their regular theme is an achievement one can recognize, though not respect. The people of those countries should have a choice about who they associate, and they certainly have a right not to align with people they fear. Calling us for not respecting he rights of other people to decide their fates is right and proper. I enthusiastically support this paper when they do. But when they turn right around and castigate us for not respecting Russia's right to do it - I am flabbergasted.Dan Greene • 3 days ago • edited
"Isn't it just amazing how this writer gets to turn an incident of provocation by Russian soldiers into a story of persistent provocation by America."
How do you know it's an incident of provocation by Russian soldiers? It almost certainly is almost the exact opposite.Dan Greene Hannibal Jubal • 3 days ago • edited
This piece spends too much time re-hashing everything Russia-US since 1990 and fails to focus on the key current issues.
The vehicle incidents in Syria are distinct from the European issue -- see below in this post -- that is generating some of the other tensions the author lists. Syria is really part of the larger Middle East issue.
His brief summary of the latest Syria mishap is inadequate to convey what actually happened.
If you actually look at the video, it does NOT appear to be the case that a Russian vehicle simply "sideswiped" a US vehicle. It appears that the US was maintaining a checkpoint on a road that in effect blocked Russian passage. Given the terrain, the Russians could of course bypass such a checkpoint, which is what they appear to have done. Then, however, other US vehicles left the checkpoint and attempted to block and turn back the Russian bypass movement, and this led to the collision. So the incident is part of a larger US policy to impede Russian operations in NE Syria.
Almost two years ago, Trump ordered US forces out of Syria, and Russia, in agreement with that plan, sent patrols to the NE to ensure that provisions of an stability agreement with Turkey and the Kurds were maintained. But then Trump was almost immediately convinced--by whom is not clear, but ultimately Israel in all probability--to do a 180 and keep US forces in NE Syria, the superficial rationale being to take control of oil, the kind of pirate operation that Trump likes. In fact, the goal of those who influence Trump is to keep Syria weak and unable to rebuild with the expectation that Assad can still be overthrown at some future point. This is the desire of Israel and its operatives in the US.
Trump's zag after the zig of planned withdrawal left the US-Russian understanding in chaos. Now both the US AND the Russians were operating in NE Syria. And over time the US has become more and more aggressive about impeding Russian operations. The Russians claim--credibly--that we are demanding that they, in moving their patrols up to the area of the Syria-Turkey border area not use the M4 highway, the main and direct route and instead follow a secondary route that circuitously follows the border. The Russians don't accept that demand. And the vehicle incidents that we are seeing are the outcome of that disagreement. The Russians are driving up Highway 4 and when they get to the US checkpoint are bypassing and then continuing up the highway. We are aggressively trying to deter them from that route choice.
Not sure why this article does not go into detail on this issue in order to clarify it.
Much of the other stuff the author is talking about here--intrusive air ops in the Black Sea, etc--is really a separate, European issue. The US is highly concerned about the economic interactions between Russia and Europe--especially the big economies of Western Europe and most especially Germany. We are worried that over time Russian-European economic integration will erode our strategic control and dominance over Europe in general.
Hence, we are making common cause with the anti-Russian elements in "the New Europe," i.e., Eastern Europe to try, in essence, to place a barrier between Russia and Western Europe, playing off Poland, the Baltics and Romania, among others, against Russia, Germany, France et al. Moving more US forces into Poland and the so-called "Black Sea Region"; impeding Nord Stream 2 and other Russian pipeline initiatives; indulging in recurrent anti-German propaganda for not maintaining a more robust anti-Russian military posture; fomenting (behind the scenes) the recent disturbances in Belarus; and promotion of the so-called "Three Seas Initiative" intended to weld Eastern and Central Europe together into a reliable tool of US policy are all part of this plan to retain US strategic control of Europe over the long term.
That's what the heightened tensions in Europe are about.
As I said, the Syria issue, part of the larger Middle East struggle, is separate from the parallel struggle for mastery in Europe.
It's all an important topic, but this article doesn't really capture the salient points.dba12123 . Hannibal Jubal • 3 days ago
You're living in a dreamland.
And you're playing word games. Syria's oil is effectively under US control. Yes, we are deriving strategic benefit from it in that we are denying it to the Syrian government in order to further destabilize it. It's not a good policy, but the policy does benefit from denying Syria its oil.
The problem is that most of the oil is on Arab land, not Kurdish land, and the Arabs of the Northeast are now realigning themselves with Assad, so holding on to the oil is likely to get more difficult in the future.
I have no idea what you mean by "slander." Guess that means truths you find inconvenient. Sorry--not in the business of coddling the faint of heart. Trump likes the idea of taking resources which he imagines to be payment for services we have rendered--like leaving the country in a state of ruin. He talked about Iraqi oil that way too, but taking that would be much harder.
Time for you to stop dismissing every reality you don't like as unpatriotic.Dan Greene Hannibal Jubal • 2 days ago • edited
The "Assad regime" is the UN recognized government of Syria. That is the only entity entitled to the country's resources. How is it "the property of the Syrian nation" if the Syrian government and its people no longer have access to it? To whom is the oil being sold? Who is receiving the proceeds of the oil sales?
Here are some of Trump's own words with respect to Syria's oil. "I like oil. We are keeping the oil." 4/11/2019. "The US is in Syria solely for the oil." "We are keeping the oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind only for oil." "The US military is in Syria only for oil." What part of Trump's public assertion that "We are keeping the oil" are you having difficulty in understanding? How can you say the US "did not take possession of the oil" when Trump could not have been more explicit in saying precisely the opposite? Do you not comprehend that the US presence in Syria has no mandate either from the UN or from the US Congress. Do you not understand that the US presence in Syria is illegal under international law? Do you not understand that "Keeping the oil" is a violation of international law? Your post is one of the most ridiculous I have even read.Dr.Diprospan • 3 days ago
1. It's quite clear from the video that the US had set up a checkpoint on the road at left in the video. (Indeed, we are open about the fact that we are doing so in general in NE Syria.) And it's equally clear that Russian vehicles are seen bypassing those checkpoints. The encounter between US and Russian vehicles takes place off the road. There is only one logical interpretation of what happened. What is your alternative explanation?
2. "No one reading this can believe that Eastern Europeans have genuine cause to fear Russia, or that these countries continually request more military and political involvement than we are willing to provide or that we are not inducing them to do anything or manipulating them."
First of all, there are no current indications of any Russian intent to do anything in regard to Eastern Europe. Yes, one can understand the history, which is why there is anti-Russian sentiment in Eastern Europe, but aside perhaps from the Baltic states in their unique geographic position, there is no country that has any basis in reality to worry about Russian aggression in the present.
Of course, this does not stop the Poles from doing exactly that. And perhaps the Romanians to a much lesser extent. So yes, there is fear in a few key countries based on past history, Poland being the keystone of the whole thing, and yes, we are indeed manipulating that fear in an attempt to block/undermine any economic integration between Germany and Russia. We are also trying to use the "Three Seas Initiative" to block Chinese commercial and tech penetration of Eastern Europe--5G and their plan to rebuild the port of Trieste to service Central and NE Europe.
Do you actually believe Russia, which has lately been cutting its defense budget, is actually going to invade Europe? That really is a fantasy. The only military operations they will take are to prevent further expansion of NATO into Ukraine and Belarus. The real game today is commercial and tech competition. Putin knows it would be disastrous for Russia to start a war with NATO. Not sure why that's hard for you to see.
Your notion of the Russian threat--as it exists today--is wildly exaggerated.stevek9 • 3 days ago • edited
Once President Putin remarked that there are forces in the United States trying to use Russia for internal political struggle. He added that we will nevertheless try not to be drawn into these confrontations.
A scene from a Hollywood action movie rises before my eyes, when two heroes of the film are fighting and a circular saw is spinning nearby, and each of the heroes is trying to shove a part of the enemy's body under this saw.
The relationship between Russian and American servicemen, I would compare with two hockey teams, when the tough behavior of the players on the ice does not mean that the players of one team would be happy with the death of the entire opposing team, say in some kind of plane crash, since the presence of a strong opponent is a necessary condition for getting a good salary.
Still, I would not completely deny the possibility of a "hot war".
Since the times of the Roman Empire, the West of Europe has been trying to take control of the territory of Europe, Eurasia, and Eurasia, in turn, dreams of mastering the technologies of the West.
The defeat of the 3rd Reich provided the Soviet Union with a breakthrough in the nuclear industry and space...
It's hard to imagine that Russia is capable of defeating NATO, but I can imagine that in the current situation, President Putin can offer China to build military bases in western Russia for a million Chinese servicemen, for 100 thousand on the Chukchi Peninsula, for 500 thousand on Sakhalin...
The extra money for renting military bases in a coronavirus crisis will not hurt anyone.Denmark002 • 3 days ago
Of all the things about Hillary Clinton to despise, her selfish attempt to explain her loss, and to attack the President (to whom she never conceded the election!) by blaming Russia, is at the top of the list. To generate a completely unnecessary conflict with a nuclear super-power that could burn this country to ashes in minutes, out of personal vindictiveness, ... is lower than it can get.Dan Greene LostForWords • 2 days ago • edited
We are totally messing with fire... we will need Europe but Russia as well to defeat the Chinese.Ram2017 LostForWords • a day ago
I don't think US-Russian cooperation is doable at this point--or any time soon. Given how erratic US policy is--yawing violently from one direction to another--Russia has no reason to accept the damage to its relationship with China that shifting to a strategic arrangement with the US would entail. The risk is too high and the potential rewards too uncertain.
We have pretty much alienated the Russian state under Putin, and now we're trying to wait him out, with the expectation that there is no one of his capabilities to maintain the strategic autonomy of the Russian state in the longer term and that once he exits the scene, some Yeltsin-like stooge will present himself.
We thought we were dealing with the main threats to our global hegemony sequentially--Russia "defeated" in the Cold War, and then on to a defeat of "militant Islam" in the Greater Middle East and finally to a showdown with China. But now, the sequencing has fallen apart, and we're trying to prosecute all three simultaneously.
We're in serious trouble.William H Warrick III MD • a day ago
Hizbollah arose as a defensive militia because of an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It is not a terrorist group even though labelled so by the US.Mark Thomason • a day ago
You have inverted the facts. The video evidence shows the Americans side-swiped the Russian vehicle and claimed "American soldiers had 'concussions'". A concussion requires loss of consciousness or significant changes in mental function. In football, you have your "Bell rung". You can't add 2+2 correctly. There is no evidence to support that.Jamie • a day ago
No, we are just trying to outdo each other with "Putin-under-the-bed" and all-powerful-Putin causing all the world's evils.alan • a day ago
Everyone is focusing on Russia because of the Russia hoax. Dems started a new cold war based on an irrational fear that Russia was threatening our democracy.
Along with Dems, I also blame Putin; he bribed Hillary millions for uranium -- that doesn't lend to good relations.
The foreign policy elite dislikes Russia, always has, and will do anything to keep this "adversary" front and center because their prospects for prestige, power and position depend upon the presence of an enemy. As an example see Strobe Talbot and Michael McFaul.
Aug 31, 2020 | quotes.cat-v.org
Just as a poetic discussion of the weather is not meteorology, so an issuance of moral pronouncements or political creeds about the economy is not economics. Economics is a study of cause-and-effect relationships in an economy.
-- Thomas Sowell
The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.
-- Thomas Sowell
Economics is the painful elaboration of the obvious.
The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
-- Friedrich von Hayek
I can't imagine economists admitting how little they actually know. If they admitted to themselves, it would hurt their ego. If they admitted to others, it would hurt their job prospects.
-- Joseph Mattes, Vienna (The Economist, letters December 04, 2010)
The use of mathematics has brought rigor to economics. Unfortunately, it has also brought mortis .
-- Attributed to Robert Heilbroner
A study of economics usually reveals that the best time to buy anything is last year.
-- Marty Allen
Economic statistics are like a bikini, what they reveal is important, what they conceal is vital
-- Attributed to Professor Sir Frank Holmes, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, 1967.
Doing econometrics is like trying to learn the laws of electricity by playing the radio.
-- Guy Orcutt
- The First Law of Economists: For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist.
- The Second Law of Economists: They're both wrong.
-- David Wildasin
"Murphys law of economic policy": Economists have the least influence on policy where they know the most and are most agreed; they have the most influence on policy where they know the least and disagree most vehemently.
-- Alan S. Blinder
An economist is someone who, when he finds something that works in practice, tries to make it work in theory.
The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.
-- Joan Violet Robinson
An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
-- Laurence J. Peter
Having a[n in] house economist became for many business people something like havinga resident astrologer for the royal court: I don't quite understand what this fellow is saying but there must be something to it.
-- Linden. (Jan. 11, 1993). Dreary Days in the Dismal Science. Forbes. Pp. 68-70.
Economics is the only field in which two people can get a Nobel Prize for saying exactly the opposite thing.
Economists do it with models.
-- Heard at the LSE
Bentley's second Law of Economics: The only thing more dangerous than an economist is an amateur economist!
Berta's Fundamental Law of Economic Rents.. "The only thing more dangerous than an amateur economist is a professional economist."
Definition: Policy Analyst is someone unethical enough to be a lawyer, impractical enough to be a theologian, and pedantic enough to be an economist.
- Q: Why did God create economists ?
- A: In order to make weather forecasters look good.
- Q: Why has astrology been invented?
- A: So that economy could be an accurate science.
Economists have forecasted 9 out of the last 5 recessions.
An econometrician and an astrologer are arguing about their subjects. The astrologer says, "Astrology is more scientific. My predictions come out right half the time. Yours can't even reach that proportion". The econometrician replies, "That's because of external shocks. Stars don't have those".
When an economist says the evidence is "mixed," he or she means that theory says one thing and data says the opposite.
-- Attributed to Richard Thaler, now at the Univ of Chicago
The last severe depression and banking crisis could not have been achieved by normal civil servants and politicians, it required economists involvement.
State run lotteries: think of them as tax breaks for the intelligent.
-- Evan Leibovitch
Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
-- Milton Friedman
Having a little inflation is like being a little pregnant–inflation feeds on itself and quickly passes the "little" mark.
-- Dian Cohen
Trade and Trade Barriers
Tariffs, quotas and other import restrictions protect the business of the rich at the expense of high cost of living for the poor. Their intent is to deprive you of the right to choose, and to force you to buy the high-priced inferior products of politically favored companies.
-- Alan Burris, A Liberty Primer
Perhaps the removal of trade restrictions throughout the world would do more for the cause of universal peace than can any political union of peoples separated by trade barriers.
-- Frank Chodorov
When goods don't cross borders, soldiers will.
-- Fredric Bastiat, early French economist
The primary reason for a tariff is that it enables the exploitation of the domestic consumer by a process indistinguishable from sheer robbery.
-- Albert Jay Nock
Regulation - which is based on force and fear - undermines the moral base of business dealings. It becomes cheaper to bribe a building inspector than to meet his standards of construction. A fly-by-night securities operator can quickly meet all the S.E.C. requirements, gain the inference of respectability, and proceed to fleece the public. In an unregulated economy, the operator would have had to spend a number of years in reputable dealings before he could earn a position of trust sufficient to induce a number of investors to place funds with him. Protection of the consumer by regulation is thus illusory.
-- Alan Greenspan
You fucking academic eggheads! You don't know shit. You can't deregulate this industry. You're going to wreck it. You don't know a goddamn thing!
-- Robert Crandall, boss of American Airlines, to an unnamed Senate lawyer in 1971
The direct use of physical force is so poor a solution to the problem of limited resources that it is commonly employed only by small children and great nations.
-- David Friedman
See, when the Government spends money, it creates jobs; whereas when the money is left in the hands of Taxpayers, God only knows what they do with it. Bake it into pies, probably. Anything to avoid creating jobs.
-- Dave Barry
I don't think you can spend yourself rich.
-- George Humphrey
Capitalism and Free Markets
A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.
-- Milton Friedman
The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
-- Milton Friedman
The only thing worse than being exploited by capitalism is not being exploited by capitalism.
-- Joan Violet Robinson
Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire.
-- Ludwig Mises, "Socialism"
If an exchange between two parties is voluntary, it will not take place unless both believe they will benefit from it. Most economic fallacies derive from the neglect of this simple insight, from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can only gain at the expense of another.
-- Milton Friedman
States with central-planning regimes [ ] do tend to consume much less energy (and much less of everything else) [ ] than do Americans. There is a word for that: poverty.
-- The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism
Any system which gives so much power and so much discretion to a few men, [so] that mistakes – excusable or not – can have such far reaching effects, is a bad system. It is a bad system to believers in freedom just because it gives a few men such power without any effective check by the body politic – this is the key political argument against an independent central bank To paraphrase Clemenceau: money is much too serious a matter to be left to the Central Bankers.
-- Milton Friedman
A central banker walks into a pizzeria to order a pizza.
When the pizza is done, he goes up to the counter get it. There a clerk asks him: "Should I cut it into six pieces or eight pieces?"
The central banker replies: "I'm feeling rather hungry right now. You'd better cut it into eight pieces."
For one thing, there are many "inventions" that are not patentable. The "inventor" of the supermarket, for example, conferred great benefits on his fellowmen for which he could not charge them. Insofar as the same kind of ability is required for the one kind of invention as for the other, the existence of patents tends to divert activity to patentable inventions.
-- Milton Friedman
From the experience of all ages and nations, I believe, that the work done by freemen comes cheaper in the end than the work performed by slaves.
The work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property can have no other interest but to eat as much and to labour as little as possible.
Whatever work he does, beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance, can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own.
-- Adam Smith
It is because it's prohibited. See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.
-- Milton Friedman
In the Long Run
- John Maynard Keynes: "In the long run we are all dead."
- Joan Robinson: "Yes, but not all at the same time."
Minimum Wage and Unemployment
The real minimum wage is zero: unemployment.
-- Thomas Sowell
All of the progress that the US has made over the last couple of centuries has come from unemployment. It has come from figuring out how to produce more goods with fewer workers, thereby releasing labor to be more productive in other areas. It has never come about through permanent unemployment, but temporary unemployment, in the process of shifting people from one area to another.
-- Milton FriedmanMisc
Talk is cheap. Supply exceeds Demand.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
-- Upton Sinclair
When you start paying people to be poor, you wind up with an awful lot of poor people.
-- Milton Friedman
of course the country could never listen to this guy .it just makes too much damn sense.
-- ryanx0 about Milton Friedman [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se_TJzB9-z0]
Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. He intends only his own gain, and he is, in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was not part of his intention.
-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
- SOCIALISM: You have two cows. State takes one and give it to someone else.
- COMMUNISM: You have two cows. State takes both of them and gives you milk.
- FASCISM: You have two cows. State takes both of them and sell you milk.
- NAZISM: You have two cows. State takes both of them and shoot you.
- BUREAUCRACY: You have two cows. State takes both of them, kill one and spill the milk in system of sewage.
- CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Back during the Solidarity days, I heard that the following joke was being told in Poland:A man goes into the Bank of Gdansk to make a deposit. Since he has never kept money in a bank before, he is a little nervous. "What happens if the Bank of Gdansk should fail?" he asks. "Well, in that case your money would be insured by the Bank of Warsaw." "But, what if the Bank of Warsaw fails?" "Well, there'd be no problem, because the Bank of Warsaw is insured by the National Bank of Poland." "And if the National Bank of Poland fails?" "Then your money would be insured by the Bank of Moscow." "And what if the Bank of Moscow fails?" "Then your money would be insured by the Great Bank of the Soviet Union." "And if that bank fails?" "Well, in that case, you'd lose all your money. But, wouldn't it be worth it?"
All models are wrong but some are useful.
-- George Box
I'd rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong.
-- J.M.Keynes; Found in Forbes magazine 01/25/1999 issue. In the Numbers Game column by Bernard Cohen
Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.
-- J. Tukey
There is an entirely leisure class located at both ends of the economic spectrum
Aug 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgPaul , Aug 27 2020 23:21 utc | 98
Et Tu @ 28
Here is some broader source material:
Remember the interviewer, Adams, is a long time PEP i.e. progressive except for Palestine.
William Gruff , Aug 28 2020 13:32 utc | 192
Bemildred @184: "If we go all Fortress America and withdraw into ourselves, as long as we are not a threat, I expect we would be allowed to do that."
That is the best possible outcome that I can imagine at this point. Several decades of deep introspection would be really good for America. Give this hysteria that's gripping the country some time to burn itself out and maybe real philosophy will have a chance to return. Perhaps that could be started by Trump sanctioning the entire planet, building his walls, and then the US will just become a blank spot on the map to the rest of the world... a coronavirus no man's land that everyone else just ignores for half century or so.
Yeah, that would actually be a far better future for us and the world than what I fear.
Aug 29, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Gun sales were up 72% compared to this time last year, with first-time buyers leading the pack. Americans are likely sensing that something is horribly wrong with the rigged system we are forced to live under.
... ... ...
J S Bach , 3 hours agoJazzyg , 3 hours ago
"Americans Sense Something Is Wrong: Gun Sales Up 72%"
It would be much more encouraging with this headline:
"Americans Sense Something Is Wrong: Guillotine & Noose Sales Up 72%"Meat Hammer , 2 hours ago
my little family expanded over the early summer
3 midget Derry's.....38...9mm...357/38 sp
Congrats. You must be very proud. Family is everything.
Aug 27, 2020 | www.unz.com
TG , says: August 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm GMT
But really, it's all about the cheap labor. And not just Europe.
The Ivory Coast used to be pretty prosperous. That meant that workers had high wages, because that's what prosperity is, but that limited the profits of the rich, and we can't have that. So the black elite imported massive numbers of muslim refugees as a source of cheap labor, and by the time they had doubled the population the poverty resulting from this tore the country apart in a bloody civil war. But that's OK, the right people made a lot of money.
Brazil had slavery for much longer than the United States, and unlike the United States, Brazil only got rid of slavery after massive immigration had boosted the population so much that 'free' labor was cheaper than slave labor. Crushed to the limits, Brazil was stuck in a capital-starved condition that it never pulled out of.
It's an old story. Look through history, whenever you hear about some place that imported workers to do whatever, no that's not what happened, they imported workers to cut labor costs – and the results for the average person have always been a reduction in living standards and social disruption.
When southern American plantation owners imported back African slaves, it wasn't because they thought the country needed more black people – they wanted cheap labor. And centuries later, the damage that that policy has done to American society continues. And it wasn't necessary – the free white north, without slaves and before mass immigration, was the place that produced the greatest technological and industrial power the world had ever seen – but there just wasn't enough cheap labor for a plantation owner to live the life they wanted, so sad.
So what's happening in Europe is perhaps a bit extreme, but it's an old story. It's not really about diversity or anti-white or any of that, that's just window dressing and rationalization. It's about jamming in more and more people so wages will go down and rents and profits will go up.
Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com
Hickory Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 9:35 AMSchinzy Ignored says: 08/15/2020 AT 12:02 PM
I capitulate. Ron you are correct, we are post peak.
OK, now what?
It is so strange to be post-peak and not have high prices for crude,
I guess that will be coming.
note- biofuels should not be counted in liquids tally. It is a different animal, with the source being dependent on farming and soil, not drilling and geology. Just because ethanol is used for propulsion shouldn't matter- electrons and batteries aren't counted either, and rightly so. Those belong in a different category- transportation energy.alimbiquated Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:52 AM
I have argued for several years that peak oil is a low price phenomenon, not a high priced phenomenon.
The most overrated law in economics is that of supply and demand. This law suffers from what Richard Feynman called "vagueness" (see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw ). The problem is that it is always satisfied and hence gives absolutely no information about prices.
The latest iteration of our article on the oil cycle can be found at
http://www.math.univ-toulouse.fr/~schindle/articles/2020_oil_cycle_notes.pdfSchinzy Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 12:25 PM
Another problem with market theory (beyond vagueness) is that it lacks a time axis.
The theory states that the relationship between price and supply moves along the demand curve, but doesn't say how fast, just that "in the long run" the system will reach equilibrium. Being in equilibrium means being somewhere on the demand curve.
So for example, if prices go up, the demand quantity is expected to go down. The question is when.
Where does this go wrong? In classical market theory, for example, unemployment is impossible, because if labor supply outstrips demand prices (wages) should fall until until equilibrium is attained. This has been observed to be false on many occasions, including right now.
As Feymann states in the video, "If it disagrees with experiment, it's WRONG! That's all there is to it." Classical economics isn't just too vague, it is wrong.
Keynes joked about this that in the long term we'll all be dead. He meant equilibrium will never be reached, so we are never on the demand curve. He argued that "sticky prices", meaning the unwillingness to accept pay cuts, kept labor markets permanently out of equilibrium.
It's worth pondering whether oil prices are "sticky" as well. Saying yes is saying the law of supply and demand doesn't apply (in the short term). This year we have seen that both OPEC's politicking and panicky traders can cause wild swings in price unrelated to supply and demand.
Where market theory is vague is the shape of the demand curve. For example, if oil supply can't meet demand in the near future, as some here have posited, how high will prices go? Some claim it will go over $200, as people get desperate for it. Some claim that higher prices would increase efforts to find and drill more, putting a lid on prices. Some claim the shortage would crash the world economy, depressing prices. Some claim that faced with oil shortages, the world would simply switch to EVs, or stop wasting the gunk on poorly designed transportation systems, so prices would stay more or less the same.
Who is right? Nobody knows. So we don't know the shape of the demand curve. The theory is hopelessly vague.Han Neumann Ignored says: 08/17/2020 AT 8:25 PM
Good points. For all these reasons it is not surprising that the journalist Robert Samuelson noted last year that frequently economists don't know what they're talking about: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/economists-often-dont-know-what-theyre-talking-about/2019/05/12/f91517d4-7338-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dc651d463df7 .
I have argued for several years that peak oil is a low price phenomenon, not a high priced phenomenon.
The price of crude oil is only part of the Peakoil phenomenon. How much is left in the ground counts, however more important is at which velocity the remaining Gb can be extracted. I am not a geologist, but common sense says that when an oilfield is well depleted (50-70%) the most of the remaining barrels will be extracted at a much lower speed, even at very high oilprices. With secondary and tertiary EOR technology most conventional oilfields will not produce the same or close to the same amount of barrels/day as before for many more years. That's also my conclusion from what I have read more than a decade ago.
Of course with high oilprices new, relatively small, oil fields will come online and (more advanced) EOR will start in other fields, but no matter how you look at it: depletion never stops. With most oilfields in the world past-peak, only a tremendous amount of money (needed to develop EOR) can prevent world crude oilproduction from falling like a rock. And all those EOR technologies will deplete oilfields faster. Big gains in the beginning, more disappointments later.
Will there be significant amount of shale oil developed in the future in other countries than the U.S. ? If so, is that wise, regarding an already existing runaway climate change ?
Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com
Stephen Hren Ignored says: 08/16/2020 AT 1:03 PM
Tesla market cap – $300B v. Exxon at $190B.
Wall Street is very story driven. They wasted a decade throwing money at tight oil and lost billions. It's hard to see how this tight oil story gets resuscitated. The '10s saw free debt, low regulatory regime, no effective alternatives to oil, skilled work force, entrenched globalized oil markets, no pandemics, etc, and they STILL lost hundreds of billions. Wall Street wants to lose their money in new ways. At least they get some novelty out of it.
Aug 24, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com
Hickory says: 08/15/2020 AT 9:35 AMSchinzy , says: 08/15/2020 AT 12:02 PM
I capitulate. Ron you are correct, we are post peak. Post Peak
OK, now what? It is so strange to be post-peak and not have high prices for crude, and food. I guess that will be coming.
- biofuels should not be counted in liquids tally. It is a different animal, with the source being dependent on farming and soil, not drilling and geology.
- Just because ethanol is used for propulsion shouldn't matter -- electrons and batteries aren't counted either, and rightly so. Those belong in a different category- transportation energy.alimbiquated , says: 08/16/2020 AT 9:52 AM
I have argued for several years that peak oil is a low price phenomenon, not a high priced phenomenon.
The most overrated law in economics is that of supply and demand. This law suffers from what Richard Feynman called "vagueness" (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw ). The problem is that it is always satisfied and hence gives absolutely no information about prices.
The latest iteration of our article on the oil cycle can be found at: http://www.math.univ-toulouse.fr/~schindle/articles/2020_oil_cycle_notes.pdfSchinzy , says: 08/16/2020 AT 12:25 PM
Another problem with market theory (beyond vagueness) is that it lacks a time axis. The theory states that the relationship between price and supply moves along the demand curve, but doesn't say how fast, just that "in the long run" the system will reach equilibrium. Being in equilibrium means being somewhere on the demand curve.
So for example, if prices go up, the demand quantity is expected to go down. The question is when.
Where does this go wrong? In classical market theory, for example, unemployment is impossible, because if labor supply outstrips demand prices (wages) should fall until until equilibrium is attained. This has been observed to be false on many occasions, including right now.
As Feymann states in the video, "If it disagrees with experiment, it's WRONG! That's all there is to it." Classical economics isn't just too vague, it is wrong.
Keynes joked about this that in the long term we'll all be dead. He meant equilibrium will never be reached, so we are never on the demand curve. He argued that "sticky prices", meaning the unwillingness to accept pay cuts, kept labor markets permanently out of equilibrium.
It's worth pondering whether oil prices are "sticky" as well. Saying yes is saying the law of supply and demand doesn't apply (in the short term). This year we have seen that both OPEC's politicking and panicky traders can cause wild swings in price unrelated to supply and demand.
Where market theory is vague is the shape of the demand curve. For example, if oil supply can't meet demand in the near future, as some here have posited, how high will prices go? Some claim it will go over $200, as people get desperate for it. Some claim that higher prices would increase efforts to find and drill more, putting a lid on prices. Some claim the shortage would crash the world economy, depressing prices. Some claim that faced with oil shortages, the world would simply switch to EVs, or stop wasting the gunk on poorly designed transportation systems, so prices would stay more or less the same.
Who is right? Nobody knows. So we don't know the shape of the demand curve. The theory is hopelessly vague.Han Neumann , says: 08/17/2020 AT 8:25 PM
Good points. For all these reasons it is not surprising that the journalist Robert Samuelson noted last year that frequently economists don't know what they're talking about: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/economists-often-dont-know-what-theyre-talking-about/2019/05/12/f91517d4-7338-11e9-9eb4-0828f5389013_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dc651d463df7 .
The price of crude oil is only part of the Peakoil phenomenon.
How much is left in the ground counts, however more important is at which velocity the remaining Gb can be extracted. I am not a geologist, but common sense says that when an oilfield is well depleted (50-70%) the most of the remaining barrels will be extracted at a much lower speed, even at very high oilprices.
With secondary and tertiary EOR technology most conventional oilfields will not produce the same or close to the same amount of barrels/day as before for many more years. That's also my conclusion from what I have read more than a decade ago.
Of course with high oilprices new, relatively small, oil fields will come online and (more advanced) EOR will start in other fields, but no matter how you look at it: depletion never stops.
With most oilfields in the world past-peak, only a tremendous amount of money (needed to develop EOR) can prevent world crude oil production from falling like a rock. And all those EOR technologies will deplete oilfields faster.
Big gains in the beginning, more disappointments later.
Will there be significant amount of shale oil developed in the future in other countries than the U.S. ? If so, is that wise, regarding an already existing runaway climate change ?
Aug 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Michael Regan via Bloomberg (emphasis ours),
Hey there! It's me, the stock market. I know it's weird to write you like this, but I felt like I needed to drop a quick thank-you note for everything you've done for me this year. I mean, your big ol' balance sheet is almost $3 trillion larger since early March! You're backing up the truck and loading it with Treasuries and corporate bonds and bond ETFs, all to keep the competition to stocks from fixed-income yields as limited as Jim Cramer's understanding of me. It's been a dream come true, honestly. I mean, fess up: Have you been reading my diary?!
... ... ...
So please do me a solid and keep this thank-you note in mind when you host your virtual Jackson Hole summit. No cowboy stuff, OK? If I hear anybody mutter something about "irrational exuberance," I swear I'm gonna blow my top and hurt a few of these Robinhood types, you got that? The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. It's what I do -- and I'm good at it! But right now, this is still a lot of fun for me...
... and when I do end up burning folks, do you really want to be the one who gets thrown under the bus?
I mean, you know you're going to catch all the blame, right?NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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C'mon, Fed. We both know you're smarter than that. What's another few trillion?
With sincere and deepest gratitude,
The Stock Market
Aug 22, 2020 | www.unz.com
Franz , says: August 21, 2020 at 7:25 am GMT@ThreeCranes trol -- China had already agreed to play ball, but was still gathering the infrastructure. S. Korea and a few other nations took the work in the meantime.
Meantime, as Sam Francis (RIP) noted in the early nineties, Main Street USA turned into dollar stores and flea markets and retail dumps and fast food pits.
Yes, nations that make things control the future. They also develop consumer economies. Thus in a few more years stuff made in China be beyond the price range of the average American.
Milton and Chile: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/mar/03/chile-earthquake
Aug 21, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
August 20, 2020 6:12 am
Yes you have a point. Some level of inequality is unavoidable and increase the we observe is partially due to the fact that late 40th and 50th were such an anomaly. The question is at what level inequality becomes a kind of cancer that negatively affect the whole society.
In the meantime I found an interesting comment from the Moon of Alabama:
In the meantime happening live in the USA but hardly on this blog
US has more power outages than any other !!! developed country. Our grid is outdated and rundown, but utilities aren't willing to do much about it oops (Generator-Industries bribes, lol ??!!)
AP-NORC poll: Nearly half say job lost to virus won't return
Millions(not exaggerated) will fear eviction !!!!!
Mortgage Delinquencies Spike in the Second Quarter of 2020
Evidence of the on-going "Dining-Disaster"
300 Pizza Huts are closing after a giant franchisee goes bankrupt
Big City Blues -- For Example: New York
New York Times had reported that 420,000 New Yorkers had moved out of the city between March 1st and May 1st.
According to Schmierblatt(German) aka tabloid DailyMail
>>Our community is terrified, angry and frightened': Upper West Side residents fury as homeless junkies and sex offenders are moved into three luxury hotels and turn the area into a spectacle of public urination, cat-calling and brazen drug use.
>>The sanitation budget was cut by more than 100 !!!!!! million dollars, and at this point giant mountains of trash are starting to pile up around the city.
NYC crime spree knocks on the doorsteps of America's ultra-rich
New York City's Upper East Side is seeing a 'significant uptick' in robberies, police say
>>Homelessness and poverty are both exploding, and crime rates are shooting into the stratosphere.
>>The number of shootings in July was 177 percent higher than for the same month last year.
>>Governor Andrew Cuomo lamented that this mass exodus is hitting tax revenues really hard.
"Look at everything. Everything's boarded up. Even the hotel. Boarded up," the video's narrator, who is obviously fed up with how the city looks, says."Post-Apocalyptic Manhattan" Video Drive Tour
And at last
Nearly half of the U.S.'s homeless people live in one state: California
Posted by: Ashino | Aug 20 2020 17:00 utc | 10
Aug 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Non-profit activity lets super-elites broker political power tax-free, reshaping the world according to their designs.
America's super-wealthy have too much power. A republican regime based on the consent of the governed cannot survive when a few hands control too large a sum of money and too much human capital. A dominion of monopolists spells ruin for the common man.
The Federal Reserve calculates that, at present, America's total household wealth equals $104 trillion . Of that, $3.4 trillion belongs to America's 600 billionaires alone. Put another way, 3% of the nation's wealth belongs to 0.0002% of the population. Those 600 names control twice as much wealth as the least wealthy 170 million Americans combined . This is a problem. Economic power means political power. In an era of mass media, it has never been easier to manufacture public opinion and to manipulate the citizenry.
Look no further than the consensus view of Fortune 500 companies as to the virtues of Black Lives Matter. That movement's incredible cultural reach is, in large part, a function of its cachet among American elites. In 2016, the Ford Foundation began a Black-Led Movement Fund to funnel $100 million into racial and social justice causes. George Soros' Open Society Foundation immediately poured in $33 million in grants.
Soros and company received a massive return on investment. The shift leftward on issues of racial and social justice in the last four years has been nothing short of remarkable. Net public support for BLM , at minus 5 percent in 2018, has surged to plus 28 percent in 2020. The New York Times estimates that some 15 to 26 million Americans participated in recent protests over George Floyd's death.
And the money keeps flowing. In the last three months, hundreds of millions of dollars have poured into social and racial justice causes. Sony Music Group , the NFL , Warner Music Group , and Comcast all have promised gifts in excess of $100 million. MacKenzie Bezos has promised more than a billion dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other racial and social justice organizations. Yet, as scholars like Heather MacDonald have pointed out -- America's justice system is not racist. Disquieting anecdotes and wrenching videos blasted across cyberspace are not the whole of, or even representative of, our reality. But well-heeled media and activism campaigns can change the perception. That's what matters.
The American tax code makes all of this possible. It greases the skids for the wealthy to use their fortunes to augment their political power. The 501(c)(3) designation makes all donations, of whatever size, to charitable nonprofits immune from taxation.
A man can only eat so much filet mignon in one lifetime. He can only drive so many Lamborghinis and vacation in so many French chalets. At a certain point, the longing for material pleasures gives way to a longing for honor and power. What a super-elite really wants is to be remembered for "changing the world." The tax code makes the purchasing of such honors even easier than buying fast cars and luxury homes.
For the super-wealthy, political power comes tax-free.
No one ever elected Bill Gates to anything. His wealth, and not the democratic process, is the only reason he has an outsized voice in shaping coronavirus policy. The man who couldn't keep viruses out of Windows now wants to vaccinate the planet. That isn't an unreasonable goal for a man of his wealth, either. Gates's foundation is the second largest donor to the World Health Organization, providing some 10 percent of its funds . That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April , Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high .
No one ever voted on those lockdowns, either. Like the mask-wearing mandates, they were instituted by executive fiat. The experts , many of them funded through donations given by tech billionaires like Gates , campaigned for policies that radically altered the basic structure of society. Here lies the danger of billionaire power. Without adequate checks and balances, the super-wealthy can skirt the normal political process, working behind the scenes to make policies that the people never even have a chance to debate or vote on.
A republic cannot be governed this way. America needs to bring its current crop of oligarchs to heel. That starts with constraining their ability to commandeer their massive personal fortunes to shape policy. Technically, the 501(c)(3) designation prevents political activities by tax-exempt charities. Those rules apply only to political campaigning and lobbying, however. They say nothing about funding legal battles or shaping specific policies indirectly through research and grants. America's universities, think tanks, and advocacy organizations are nearly universally considered tax-exempt nonprofits. Only a fool would believe they are not political.
One solution to the nonprofit problem to simply get rid of the charitable exemption all together. If there is no loophole, it can't be exploited by the mega-wealthy. Most Americans' charitable giving wouldn't be affected. The average American gives between $2,000 and $3,000 per year . That is well under the $24,800 standard tax deduction for married couples. Ninety percent of taxpayers have no reason to use a line-item deduction. Such a change likely wouldn't affect wealthy givers either. In 2014 , the average high-income American (defined as making more than $200,000 per year or having a million dollars in assets) gave an average of $68,000 to charity, and in 2018 93 percent said their giving had nothing to do with tax breaks.
Eliminating the tax exemption for charitable giving would make it simple to heavily tax the capital gains that drive the wealth of America's richest one thousand people. One could also leave the exemption in place for most Americans (those with a net worth under $100 million), while making larger gifts, especially those over a billion dollars, taxable at extremely high rates close to 100%. Bill Gates wants to give a billion dollars to his foundation? Great. But he should pay a steep fee to the American people to purchase that kind of power.
There is nothing socialist in these or similar tax proposals. We are not making an abstract commentary on whether having a billion dollars is "moral." These are simply prudential measures to put the people back in charge of their own country. Reining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy.
Incentives to make more money are generally good. The libertarians are mostly right -- people are usually better judges of how to spend and use their resources than the government.
But not always. The libertarian account does not adequately recognize man's political nature. We need law and order. We need a regime where elections matter and the opinions of the people actually shape policy. Contract law, borders, and taxes are all necessary to human flourishing, but all impede the total and unrestricted movement of labor and money. At the very top of the wealth pyramid, concentrated economic power always turns into political power. An economic policy that doesn't recognize that fact will create an untouchable class that controls both the market and the regime. There's nothing freeing about that outcome.
An America governed by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and George Soros will be -- arguably, already is -- a disaster for the middle class and everyday Americans. Cracking down on their "selfless" philanthropy, combined with antitrust enforcement and higher progressive tax rates, is a key way for Americans to leverage the power of the ballot box against the power of the banker's vault.
Josiah Lippincott is a former Marine officer and current Master's student at the Van Andel School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College.
Kent • 13 hours agoAlexanderHistory X • 12 hours ago
I'd like to thank the author for actually discussing policy proposals that actually make sense. That's a rarity on TAC. However, he needs to keep a couple of things in mind:
1. You can't just say something isn't socialist on a conservative website. Conservatives have been conditioned for decades to believe that anything the GOP considers to be bad is called by the name "socialism". And taxes are bad. Therefore socialist. To bring any nuance to that word will be devastating to long-term conservative ability to argue points.
2. This proposal won't just hurt the ability of left-leaning tech giants, but also right-leaning oil and defense industry barons. A double-edged sword.joeo • 12 hours ago
This is an interesting idea that might have had a shot, big maybe, 50 plus years ago. America is too far gone to fix with political changes, not that you could make any major changes like this in the current political environment.
The rotting edifice that is the United States is coming down one way or another. Just accept it.bumbershoot joeo • 10 hours ago
I would end tax exempt status for organizations. When everyone pays taxes we all become better stewards of how that money is used.Ted joeo • 10 hours ago
Certainly! Just so long as the word "organizations" encompasses churches as well, I think lots of people on all sides of the political spectrum would agree.YT14 joeo • 7 hours ago • edited
Starting with the Roman Catholic Church.YT14 • 12 hours ago • edited
Complicated argument. Basically, charitable people will always give charity, even from taxed income. However, if people give charity from taxed income, the state can no longer control what the institutions given money do with that money as long as salaries and surplus are taxed.Woland • 11 hours ago
Interesting proposal. Removing tax deduction should of course throw IRS out of monitoring charitable giving. So less power to Lois Lerner and colleagues.bumbershoot • 10 hours ago
To think both Mr. Dreher and Mr. Van Buren just recently posted about the superwealthy leaving the big cities, citing as the main reasons the Covid thing on the one hand, and "excessively high" income taxes on the other. Most comments that followed were in the line of "that's what happens when you let socialists run things" and "stop giving money to the poor, then they'll work and get rich." And here we have someone proposing more and higher taxes on the wealthy to bust their political nuts.
Note that the author carefully left out any mention of conservative megadonors shaping public policy. Must be the quiet part, to avoid tarring and feathering by his own side.AdmBenson • 10 hours agoReining in billionaires and monopolists is a conservative free market strategy.
It certainly never has been one before, but we on the left welcome this new appreciation of the perils of growing inequality.
Now all you have to do is convince the entire Republican Party that this isn't "socialism." Good luck!gnt • 8 hours ago • edited
Say you like the game of Monopoly so much that you want it to last longer than the few hours it takes for one player to dominate and beat the others. Well, you could replace $200 as you pass Go with progessive taxation on income, assets, or a combination thereof. If you do it right, you can make the game last into perpetuity by ensuring that the dominance of any one player is only temporary.YT14 gnt • 7 hours ago
It's an interesting proposal, but it seems that if you're worried about super-elites brokering political power tax-free, you might focus on direct brokering of political power. For example, we could pass a law requiring full disclosure of all sources of funding for any political advertising.
If we wanted to be aggressive, we could even pass a constitutional amendment to specify that corporations are not people. It seems odd to worry about the political power exercised by institutions with no direct control over politics, and ignore the institution whose purpose is politics.
Another approach to deal with the direct influence of the super-elite would be to make lobbying expenses no longer tax deductible. I'm sure you could find support for that.Pete Barbeaux • 4 hours ago
You are aware that this way IRS will lose control? Lois Lerner will be able no more to go after conservative non-profits?GeorgeMarshall65 • 3 hours ago
This is the 5th TAC article since May to take something word-for-word from a Bernie Sanders-esque Leftist platform and call it something "Conservatives" want. GTFOOH.L RNY • 2 hours ago
Mr. Lippincott: That kind of influence over expert opinion is immense -- and it yields results. In April, Gates called for a nationwide total lockdown for 10 weeks. America didn't quite sink to that level of draconian control, but the shutdowns we did get absolutely crushed small businesses. Massive tech firms, however, made out like bandits. Microsoft stock is at an all-time high.
So the argument here is that the experts were not going to call for a lockdown, but Mr. Gates' outsized influence made them do it? The experts weren't going to do it anyway? Did that outsized influence extend to every other country in the world which imposed lockdowns? Was there a secret communique between Mr. Gates and the NBA so they suspended their season in mid-March? In the US, CA, Clark Cty in NV, Illinois, Kansas City, MA, MI, NY, OR, and WI all began lockdowns in March. Around the world, 80 countries began lockdowns in March. No matter what Mr. Gates said, lockdowns were deemed to be appropriate. Plus, Mr. Lippincott admits that Mr. Gates' proposal was not followed. In terms of "massive tech firms making out like bandits" v small businesses, might that have anything to do with their value?
I very much agree with this article and I think we need another Teddy Roosevelt Monopoly (oligarchy) buster but much has changed in the 100 years since Teddy Roosevelt was President. The first thing that comes to mind is that the aristocracy was mostly protestant and the business class was mostly domestic with high tariffs keeping foreign competitors out so we could break up these companies without a foreign country purchasing them and possibly creating a national security risk.
Today's aristocracy is much more diverse. Its more Jewish and it has much more minority representation from African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, etc so that creates the first problem in breaking up a monopoly or an oligarchy which would be the accusation of targeting minorities for discrimination. The second problem is that many of the aristocratic class in the US consider themselves global citizens and have dual citizenship. They can live anywhere anytime they choose so if you target them the way say Cuomo and DiBlasio and Newsom do then they will leave. Third problem is our global society particularly the digital / virtual society. If you break that up without safeguards then you will only be inviting foreign ownership then you will have a national security issue and even less influence.
The biggest problem is the NGOs, nonprofits that the rich set up to usurp the government on various issues from immigration to gender identity to politics. These NGO nonprofits arent your harmless community soup kitchen doing good works. The anarchy, arson, looting, rioting in Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NYC, Baltimore these are paid for by NGO nonprofits and they have the money to threaten local government, state government and federal government. Trump was 100% correct when he started to tax college endowments but he didnt go far enough. The tax laws have to be rewritten with a very strict and narrow interpretation of what exactly constitutes the public good and is deserving on non-profit status. If you say education then I will say you are correct but endowments are an investment vehicle under the umbrella of an educational nonprofit. Thats like a nonprofit hospital buying a mutual fund company or a mine or a manufacturing plan and claiming its non-profit. For me its relatively simple unless someone has a some other way. If you look at the non-profit community good...what are the budgets for say hospitals, schools, orphanages, retirement homes, etc. Put monetary limits on nonprofits which can vary depending on industry and the rest is taxed at a high rate. We simply cannot have NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) using a nonprofit status to bring down a country's financial system, over-throwing a country, financing civil strife and civil war, usurping the government on things like immigration, etc.
Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Devastation Of The Middle Class: It Now Takes 53 Weeks Of Median Wages Every Year To Pay For Basic Needs by Tyler Durden Wed, 08/19/2020 - 13:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print
The stock market is back to all time highs, but for ordinary Americans the standard of living has not been worse in decades, if ever.
As Bank of America points out, while the recent covid shutdowns has thrown the economy into disarray with millions laid off and living on government stimulus checks, life for the vast majority of workers - i.e., those who comprise the country's middle class - was already precarious before the pandemic, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Cost of Thriving Index.
Consider that in 1985 it took 30 weeks at the median wage to pay for big fixed costs like housing, health care, a car, and education; fast forward to today when it takes a mathematically impossible 53 weeks of a 52-week year to buy those things.
In other words, as BofA puts it, "'thriving' has become impossible for the average worker" and adds that " it's no wonder that the uncertainty of forecasts for future growth remains near record highs."
Of course, it's also why millions of Americans are desperately looking forward to another stimulus round, and then another, and another after that, for the simple reason that it was the government's "pandemic relief" that boosted compensation to artificial, if "one-time" record highs.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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The question is whether this "one-time" stimulus which many equate with Universal Basic Income, has become a permanent fixture of American life.
Aug 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orgEt Tu , Aug 19 2020 8:07 utc | 16
...Rome fell to a disorganised bunch of heathens from the East. The US is contending with the two most competent and accomplished world leaders of the 21st century: Xi and Putin. Whether it's more of Trump or even if Biden gets in, it is still win-win for China and Russia with whoever gets elected. Johan Galtung's prediction of a 2020 end to the US empire has never felt closer to the mark.
Aug 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
MrBoompi , 3 hours agoTrezrek500 , 2 hours ago
Democrats are in bed with the deep state, take billions from the largest corporations, and conduct the most undemocratic nominating process ever seen in the US, but thank god they are not fascists!
It is amazing, Bezos becomes the richest guy in the world and the delivery of his packages is subsidized by tax payers. The USPS should triple their rates to AMZN. Problem solved.
Aug 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
If Zerohedge comment reflect general population sentiments this is clear sign of the crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal élite.
Via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
William Binney is the former technical director of the U.S. National Security Agency who worked at the agency for 30 years. He is a respected independent critic of how American intelligence services abuse their powers to illegally spy on private communications of U.S. citizens and around the globe.
Given his expert inside knowledge, it is worth paying attention to what Binney says.
In a media interview this week, he dismissed the so-called Russiagate scandal as a "fabrication" orchestrated by the American Central Intelligence Agency. Many other observers have come to the same conclusion about allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections with the objective of helping Donald Trump get elected.
But what is particularly valuable about Binney's judgment is that he cites technical analysis disproving the Russiagate narrative. That narrative remains dominant among U.S. intelligence officials, politicians and pundits, especially those affiliated with the Democrat party, as well as large sections of Western media. The premise of the narrative is the allegation that a Russian state-backed cyber operation hacked into the database and emails of the Democrat party back in 2016. The information perceived as damaging to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was subsequently disseminated to the Wikileaks whistleblower site and other U.S. media outlets.
A mysterious cyber persona known as "Guccifer 2.0" claimed to be the alleged hacker. U.S. intelligence and news media have attributed Guccifer as a front for Russian cyber operations.
Notably, however, the Russian government has always categorically denied any involvement in alleged hacking or other interference in the 2016 U.S. election, or elections thereafter.
William Binney and other independent former U.S. intelligence experts say they can prove the Russiagate narrative is bogus. The proof relies on their forensic analysis of the data released by Guccifer. The analysis of timestamps demonstrates that the download of voluminous data could not have been physically possible based on known standard internet speeds. These independent experts conclude that the data from the Democrat party could not have been hacked, as Guccifer and Russiagaters claim. It could only have been obtained by a leak from inside the party, perhaps by a disgruntled staffer who downloaded the information on to a disc. That is the only feasible way such a huge amount of data could have been released. That means the "Russian hacker" claims are baseless.
Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange is currently imprisoned in Britain pending an extradition trial to the U.S. to face espionage charges, has consistently maintained that their source of files was not a hacker, nor did they collude with Russian intelligence. As a matter of principle, Wikileaks does not disclose the identity of its sources, but the organization has indicated it was an insider leak which provided the information on senior Democrat party corruption.
William Binney says forensic analysis of the files released by Guccifer shows that the mystery hacker deliberately inserted digital "fingerprints" in order to give the impression that the files came from Russian sources. It is known from information later disclosed by former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the CIA has a secretive program – Vault 7 – which is dedicated to false incrimination of cyber attacks to other actors. It seems that the purpose of Guccifer was to create the perception of a connection between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence in order to beef up the Russiagate narrative.
"So that suggested [to] us all the evidence was pointing back to CIA as the originator [of] Guccifer 2.0. And that Guccifer 2.0 was inside CIA I'm pointing to that group as the group that was probably the originator of Guccifer 2.0 and also this fabrication of the entire story of Russiagate," concludes Binney in his interview with Sputnik news outlet.
This is not the first time that the Russiagate yarn has been debunked . But it is crucially important to make Binney's expert views more widely appreciated especially as the U.S. presidential election looms on November 3. As that date approaches, U.S. intelligence and media seem to be intensifying claims about Russian interference and cyber operations. Such wild and unsubstantiated "reports" always refer to the alleged 2016 "hack" of the Democrat party by "Guccifer 2.0" as if it were indisputable evidence of Russian interference and the "original sin" of supposed Kremlin malign activity. The unsubstantiated 2016 "hack" is continually cited as the "precedent" and "provenance" of more recent "reports" that purport to claim Russian interference.
Given the torrent of Russiagate derivatives expected in this U.S. election cycle, which is damaging U.S.-Russia bilateral relations and recklessly winding up geopolitical tensions, it is thus of paramount importance to listen to the conclusions of honorable experts like William Binney.
The American public are being played by their own intelligence agencies and corporate media with covert agendas that are deeply anti-democratic.
lay_arrow desertboy , 13 hours agomeditate_vigorously , 11 hours ago
Well - who set up them up, converted from the OSS? The banksters.
"Wild Bill" Donovan worked for JP Morgan immediately after WWII.
"our" US intelligence agencies were set up by, and serve, the masters of high finance. Is this in dispute?Isisraelquaeda , 2 hours ago
They have seeded enough misinformation that apparently it is. But, you are correct. It is the Banksters.SurfingUSA , 15 hours ago
Israel. The CIA was infiltrated by the Mossad long ago.Andrew G , 11 hours ago
JFK was on to that truth, and would have been wise to mini-nuke Langley before his ill-fated journey to Dallas.vova.2018 , 7 hours ago
Except when there's something exceptionally evil (like pedo/blackmail rings such as Epstein), in which case it's Mossad / AmanGreatUncle , 6 hours ago
Except when there's something exceptionally evil (like pedo/blackmail rings such as Epstein), in which case it's Mossad / Aman
The CIA & MOSSAD work hand in hand in all their clandestine operations. There is not doubt the CIA/MOSSAD are behind the creation, evolution, training, supplying weapons, logistic-planning & financing of the terrorists & the destruction of the Middle East. Anybody that believes the contrary has brain problems & need to have his head examined.
CIA/MOSAD has been running illegal activities in Colombia: drug, arms, organs & human (child-sex) trafficking. CIA/MOSAD is also giving training, logistic & arms to Colombia paramilitary for clandestine operation against Venezuela. After Bolsonaro became president, MOSSAD started running similar operation in Brazil. Israel & Brazil also recognizes Guaido as the legit president of Venezuela.
CIA/MOSSAD have a long time policy of assassinating & taking out pep who are a problem to the revisionist-zionist agenda, not just in the M-East but in the world. The CIA/MOSSAD organizations have many connections in other countries like the M-East, Saudi Arabia, UAE, et al but also to the UK-MI5.
The Israelis infiltrated the US to the highest levels a long time ago - Proof
- Israel has & collects information (a database) of US citizens in coordination with the CIA & the 5 eyes.
- Israel works with the NSA in the liaison-loophole operations
- Mossad undercover operations in WDC & all over the world
- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC
- People with 2 citizenships (US/Israel) in WDC/NYC (the real Power)
- From Steve Bannon a christian-zionist: Collusion between the Trump administration and Israel .
- D-Trump, Ivanka Trump & husband Kushner (orthodox Juus)
- Epstein & Ghislaine Maxwell, members of the MOSSAD ran their entire pedo-honey-pot operation for the CIA/Mossad
- CIA/MOSSA want to punish Iran for its role in Syria's victory over ISIS (created by CIA/Mossad) - PROOF: McCain Armed ISIS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziNlUuc167E
New book details Israel's secret history of assassinations
CIA Assassination Manual Revealed (CIA = Cover action agency)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3gQfoFCpPsLyman54 , 16 hours ago
Well I never expected anything different.
They have a hand in everything and probably the murder of JFK.
Hell the CIA have even had their own president.
They are supposed to be commanded by the president but personally I think they are a rogue operation controlled by somebody else.sborovay07 , 15 hours ago
Millie Weavers documentary explains everything quite well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HFxVvrXjCgsmacker , 11 hours ago
Funny how a number of the right wing conspiracy stories according to the MSM from a couple years back were true from the get go. 1 indictment over 4 years in the greatest attempted coup in this country's history. So sad that Binney and Assange were never listened to. They can try to silence us who know of the truth, but as Winston Churchill once said, 'Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it. Ignorance may deride it. Malice may distort it. But there it is.' KDP still censors my book on their advertising platform as it promotes conspiratorial theories (about the Obama led coup) and calls out BLM and Antifa for what they are (marxists) . Yet the same platform still recommends BLM books stating there is a pandemic of cops killing innocent blacks. F them!!!! #RIPSeth #FreeJulian #FreeMillieACMeCorporations , 12 hours ago
Yes, and we all know the name of the DNC leaker who downloaded and provided WikiLeaks
with evidence of CIA and DNC corruption.
He was assassinated to prevent him from naming who Guccifer 2.0 was and where he is located.
The Russia-gate farce itself provides solid evidence that the CIA and others are in bed with DNC
and went to extraordinary lengths to prevent Trump being elected. When that failed, they instigated
a program of x-gates to get him out of office any way they could. This continues to this day.
This is treason at the highest level.Nelbev , 9 hours ago
Hacking? What Russian hacking?
In recently released testimony, the CEO of CrowdStrike admitted in congressional testimony, under oath, that it actually has no direct evidence Russia stole the DNC emails.Vivekwhu , 8 hours ago
"The proof relies on their forensic analysis of the data released by Guccifer. The analysis of timestamps demonstrates that the download of voluminous data could not have been physically possible based on known standard internet speeds. ... a disgruntled staffer who downloaded the information on to a disc. That is the only feasible way such a huge amount of data could have been released. ... William Binney says forensic analysis of the files released by Guccifer shows that the mystery hacker deliberately inserted digital "fingerprints" in order to give the impression that the files came from Russian sources. ... "
Any computer file is a bunch of 1s and 0s. Anyone can change anything with a hex editor. E.g. I had wrong dates on some photographs once, downloaded as opposed to when taken, just edited the time stamp. You cannot claim any time stamp is original. If true time stamps, then the DNC files were downloaded to a thumb drive at a computer on location and not to the internet via a phone line. However anyone can change the time stamps. Stating a "mystery hacker deliberately inserted digital [Russian] 'fingerprints' " is a joke if denying the file time stamps were not tampered with. The real thing is where the narrative came from, political spin doctors, Perkins Coie law firm hired by DNC and Hillary campaign who hired Crowdstrike [and also hired Fusion GPS before for pissgate dossier propaganda and FISC warrants to spy on political opponents] and Perkins Coie edited Crowdstrike report with Russian narrative. FBI never looked at DNC servers. This is like your house was broken into. You deny police the ability to enter and look at evidence like DNC computers. You hire a private investigator to say your neighbor you do not like did it and publicise accusations. Take word of political consultants hired, spin doctor propaganda, Crowdstrike narrative , no police investigation. Atlantic Council?The_American , 15 hours ago
The Atlantic Council is another NATO fart. Nuff said!Yen Cross , 14 hours ago
God Damn traitor Obama!Leguran , 6 hours ago
For the youngsters.
Teleprompter Of The United States.Know thy enemy , 10 hours ago
The CIA has gotten away with so much criminal behavior and crimes against the American public that this is totally believable. Congress just lets this stuff happen and does nothing. Which is worse - Congress or the CIA?
Congress set up the system. It is mandated to perform oversight. And it just sits on its thumbs and wallows in it privileges.
This time Congress went further than ever before. It was behind and engaged in an attempted coup d'état.DontHateMeBecauseImABureaucrat , 9 hours ago
Link to ShadowGate (ShadowNet) documentary - which answers the question, what is the keystone,,,,,
"Comey here, and Holder, while I get a rope for Lynch, and don't forget Brennan."
Kudo's to Milliebringonthebigone , 8 hours ago
Neither google nor Apple will open the link. Or it's not there.I Claudius , 5 hours ago
currently it is up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HFxVvrXjCgfreedommusic , 7 hours ago
It's time for Assange and Wikileaks to name the person who they rec'd the info from. By hiding behind the "we don't name names" Mantra they are helping destroy America by polarizing its citizens. Name the damn person, get it all out there so the left can see that they've been played by their leaders. Let's cut this crap.on target , 4 hours ago
...all the evidence was pointing back to CIA as the originator [of] Guccifer 2.0.
Yep, I knew since day one. I remember seeing Hillary Clinton talking about Guccifer . As soon as uttered the name, I KNEW she with the CIA were the brainchild of this bogus decoy.
They copy. They mimic. These are NOT creative individuals.
Perhaps hell is too good a place for them.fersur , 7 hours ago
This is old news but worth bringing up again. The CIA never wanted Trump in, and of course, they want him out. Their fingerprints were all over Russiagate, The Kavanaugh hearings, Ukrainegate, and on and on. They are just trying to cover their asses for a string of illegal "irregularities" in their operations for years. Trump should never have tried to be a get along type of guy. He should have purged the entire leadership of the CIA on day one and the FBI on day 2. They can not be trusted with an "America First" agenda. They are all New World Order types who know whats best for everyone.STONEHILLADY , 7 hours ago
Boom, Boom, Boom !
Three Reseachable Tweets thru Facebook, I cut all at once, Unedited !
"#SusanRice has as much trouble with her memory as #HillaryClinton. Rice testified in writing that she 'does not recall' who gave her key #Benghazi talking points she used on TV, 'does not recall' being in any meetings regarding Benghazi in five days following the attack, and 'does not recall' communicating with anyone in Clinton's office about Benghazi," Tom Fitton in Breitbart.
"Adam Schiff secretly subpoenaed, without court authorization, the phone records of Rudy Giuliani and then published the phone records of innocent Americans, including @realDonaldTrump 's lawyers, a member of Congress, and a journalist," @TomFitton .
BREAKING: Judicial Watch announced today that former #Obama National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, admitted in written responses given under oath that she emailed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Clinton's non-government email account and that she received emails related to government business on her own personal email account.Max21c , 7 hours ago
It's not just the Democrats, the warmongering neocons of the Republican party are also in on it, the Bush/Romney McCain/McConnell/Cheney and many more. It's called "Kick Backs" Ever notice these so called retired Generals all end up working for all these spying companies that span the 5eyes to Israel. It seems our POTUS has got his hands full swimming up stream to get this stopped and actually get rid of the CIA. It's the number 1 reason he doesn't trust these people, they all try to tell him stuff that is mis-directed.
Liars, leakers, and thieves are running not only our nation but the world, as George Carlin said, "It's a Big Club, and we ain't in it." If you fall for this false narrative of mail in voting and not actually go and vote on election day, you better start learning Chinese for surely Peelosi and Schumer will have their way and mess up this election so they can drag Trump out of office and possible do him and his family some serious harm, all because so many of you listen to the MSM and don't research their phony claims.Max21c , 7 hours ago
It's called "Kick Backs" Ever notice these so called retired Generals all end up working for all these spying companies that span the 5eyes to Israel.
American Generals & Admirals are a lot more corrupt today than they were a few generations back. Many of them are outright evil people in today's times. Many of these people are just criminals that will steal anything they can get their banana republic klepto-paws on. They're nothing but common criminals and thieves. No different than the Waffen SS or any other group of brigands, bandits, and criminal gangsters.BandGap , 7 hours ago
The CIA, FBI, NSA, Military Intelligence, Pentagon Gestapo, defense contractors are mixed up in a lot of crimes and criminal activities on American soil against American citizens and American civilians. They do not recognize borders or laws or rights of liberty or property rights or ownership or intellectual property. They're all thieves and criminals in the military secret police and secret police gangsters cabal.otschelnik , 8 hours ago
I have seen Binney's input. He is correct in my view because he scientifically/mathematically proves his point.
The blinded masses do not care about this approach, just like wearing masks.
The truth is too difficult for many to fit into their understanding of the world.
So they repeat what they have been told, never stopping to consider the facts or how circumstances have been manipulated.
It is frustrating to watch, difficult to navigate at times for me. Good people who will not stop and think of what the facts show them.fersur , 8 hours ago
It could have been the CIA or it could have been one of the cut-outs for plausible deniability, and of all the usual suspects it was probably CrowdStrike.
- CGI / Global Strategy Group / Analysis Corp. - John Brennan (former CEO)
- Dynology, Wikistrat - General James L. Jones (former chairman of Atlantic Council, NSA under Obama)
- CrowdStrike - Dmitri Alperovich and Shawn Henry (former chief of cyber forensics FBI)
- Clearforce - Michael Hayden (former dir. NSA under Clinton, CIA under Bush) and Jim Jones Jr. (son Gnrl James Jones)
- McChrystal Group - Stanley McChrystal (former chief of special operations DOD)fersur , 8 hours ago
The Brookings Institute – a Deep State Hub Connected to the Fake Russia Collusion and Ukraine Scandals Is Now Also Connected to China Spying In the US
The Brookings Institute was heavily involved in the Democrat and Deep State Russia collusion hoax and Ukraine impeachment fraud. These actions against President Trump were criminal.
This institute is influenced from foreign donations from entities who don't have an America first agenda. New reports connect the Institute to Chinese spying.
As we reported previously, Julie Kelly at American Greatness released a report where she addresses the connections between the Brookings Institute, Democrats and foreign entities. She summarized her report as follows: Accepting millions from a state sponsor of terrorism, foisting one of the biggest frauds in history on the American people, and acting as a laundering agent of sorts for Democratic political contributions disguised as policy grants isn't a good look for such an esteemed institution. One would be hard-pressed to name a more influential think tank than the Brookings Institution. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit routinely ranks at the top of the list of the best think tanks in the world; Brookings scholars produce a steady flow of reports, symposiums, and news releases that sway the conversation on any number of issues ranging from domestic and economic policy to foreign affairs.
Brookings is home to lots of Beltway power players: Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, former chairmen of the Federal Reserve, are Brookings fellows. Top officials from both Republican and Democrat presidential administrations lend political heft to the organization. From 2002 until 2017, the organization's president was Strobe Talbott. He's a longtime BFF of Bill Clinton; they met in the 1970s at Oxford University and have been tight ever since. Talbott was a top aide to both President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Brookings-based fellows working at Lawfare were the media's go-to legal "experts" to legitimize the concocted crime; the outlet manipulated much of the news coverage on collusion by pumping out primers and guidance on how to report collusion events from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's appointment to his final report.
Now, testimony related to a defamation lawsuit against Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous "dossier" on Donald Trump, has exposed his direct ties to Talbott in 2016 when he was still head of Brookings. Talbott and Steele were in communication before and after the presidential election; Steele wanted Talbott to circulate the dossier to his pals in John Kerry's State Department, which reportedly is what Talbott did . Steele also briefed top state department officials in October 2016 about his work.
But this isn't the only connection between the Brookings Institute and the Russia collusion and Ukrainian scandals. We were the first to report that the Primary Sub-Source (PSS) in the Steele report, the main individual who supplied Steele with bogus information in his report was Igor Danchenko.
In November 2019, the star witness for the Democrat Representative Adam Schiff's impeachment show trial was announced. Her name was Fiona Hill.
Today we've uncovered that Hill is a close associate of the Primary Sub-Source (PSS) for the Steele dossier – Igor Danchenko – the individual behind most all the lies in the Steele dossier. No wonder Hill saw the Steele dossier before it was released. Her associate created it.
Both Fiona Hill and Igor Danchenko are connected to the Brookings Institute.
They gave a presentation together as Brookings Institute representatives:
Kelly writes about the foreign funding the Brookings Institute partakes:
So who and what have been funding the anti-Trump political operation at Brookings over the past few years? The think tank's top benefactors are a predictable mix of family foundations, Fortune 100 corporations, and Big Tech billionaires. But one of the biggest contributors to Brookings' $100 million-plus annual budget is the Embassy of Qatar. According to financial reports, Qatar has donated more than $22 million to the think tank since 2004. In fact, Brookings operates a satellite center in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The wealthy Middle Eastern oil producer spends billions on American institutions such as universities and other think tanks.
Qatar also is a top state sponsor of terrorism, pouring billions into Hamas, al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, to name a few. "The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level," President Trump said in 2017. "We have to stop the funding of terrorism."
An email from a Qatari official, obtained by WikiLeaks, said the Brookings Institution was as important to the country as "an aircraft carrier."
Yesterday the Brookings Institute was connected to spying by Communist China in a post at the Washington Free Beacon :
Part 1 of 2Let it Go , 8 hours ago
Part 2 of 2 !
The Brookings Institution, a prominent Washington, D.C., think tank, partnered with a Shanghai policy center that the FBI has described as a front for China's intelligence and spy recruitment operations, according to public records and federal court documents.
The Brookings Doha Center, the think tank's hub in Qatar, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences in January 2018, the institution said . The academy is a policy center funded by the Shanghai municipal government that has raised flags within the FBI.
The partnership raises questions about potential Chinese espionage activities at the think tank, which employs numerous former government officials and nearly two dozen current foreign policy advisers to Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
It is really frightening that one of two major political parties in the US is tied so closely with the Brookings Institute. It is even more frightening that foreign enemies of the United States are connected to this entity as well.fersur , 7 hours ago
One thing for sure is these guys have far to much of our money to spend promoting their own good.fersur , 7 hours ago
Mueller Indictments Tied To "ShadowNet," Former Obama National Security Advisor and Obama's CIA Director – Not Trump
By Patrick Bergy, Cyber-Security, Veteran & Former DoD Contractor
December 18th, 2018
According to a report in the Daily Beast, which cited the Wall Street Journal's reporting of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into two companies, Wikistrat and Psy Group, "The firm's advisory council lists former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser James L. Jones."
According to numerous reporting from major news outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Daily Beast, both Wikistrat and Psy Group represent themselves as being social media analysts and black PSYOP organizations. Both Wikistrat and Psy Group have foreign ownership mixed between Israeli, Saudi (Middle East) and Russian. Here is what the Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast and pretty much everyone else out there doesn't know (or won't tell you).
The fact Obama's former National Security Advisor, General James Jones, and former Obama CIA director, Gen. Michael Hayden, are both on Wikistrat's advisory board may not seem suspicious, but both of these general's have another thing in common, and that is the ShadowNet. The ShadowNet, and its optional companion relational database, iPsy, were both originally developed by the small, family owned defense contracting company, Dynology. The family that owns Dynology; Gen. James Jones. I would add Paul Manafort and Rick Davis was Dynology's partner at the time we were making the ShadowNet and iPsy commercially available.
After obtaining the contract in Iraq to develop social media psychological warfare capabilities, known in military nomenclature as Interactive Internet Activities, or IIA, Gen. Jones kept the taxpayer funded application we developed in Iraq for the 4th Psychological Operation Group, and made it commercially available under the trademark of the "ShadowNet" and the optional black PSYOP component, "iPsy." If you think it is interesting that one of the companies under Mueller's indictment is named, "Psy" Group, I did as well. In fact, literally everything both publicly described in news reports, and even their websites, are exactly the same as the ShadowNet and iPsy I helped build, and literally named.
The only thing different I saw as far as services offered by Wikistrat, and that of Dynology and the ShadowNet, was described by The Daily Beast as, "It also engaged in intelligence collection." Although iPsy was a relational database that allowed for the dissemination of whatever the required narrative was, "intelligence collection" struck another bell with me, and that's a company named ClearForce.
ClearForce was developed as a solution to stopping classified leaks following the Edward Snowden debacle in 2013. Changes in NISPOM compliance requirements forced companies and government agencies that had employees with government clearances to take preventive measure to mitigate the potential of leaking. Although the NISPOM compliance requirement almost certainly would have been influenced by either Hayden, Jones or both, they once again sought to profit from it.
Using components of the ShadowNet and iPsy, the ClearForce application (which the company, ClearForce, was named after,) was developed to provide compliance to a regulation I strongly suspect you will find Jones and Hayden had a hand in creating. In fact, I strongly suspect you will find General Jones had some influence in the original requirement for our Iraq contract Dynology won to build the ShadowNet – at taxpayer expense! Dynology worked for several years incorporating other collection sources, such as financial, law enforcement and foreign travel, and ties them all into your social media activity. Their relationship with Facebook and other social media giants would have been nice questions for congress to have asked them when they testified.
Part 1 of 2 !Balance-Sheet , 4 hours ago
Part 2 of 2 !
The ClearForce application combines all of these sources together in real-time and uses artificial intelligence to predictively determine if you are likely to steal or leak based on the behavioral profile ClearForce creates of you. It can be used to determine if you get a job, and even if you lose a job because a computer read your social media, credit and other sources to determine you were likely to commit a crime. It's important for you to stop for a moment and think about the fact it is privately controlled by the former CIA director and Obama's National Security Advisor/NATO Supreme Allied Commander, should scare the heck out of you.
When the ClearForce application was complete, Dynology handed it off to ClearForce, the new company, and Michael Hayden joined the board of directors along with Gen. Jones and his son, Jim, as the president of ClearForce. Doesn't that kind of sound like "intelligence collection" described by the Daily Beast in Wikistrat's services?
To wrap this all up, Paul Manafort, Rick Davis, George Nader, Wikistrat and Psy Group are all directly connected to Mueller's social media influence and election interreference in the 2016 presidential election. In fact, I believe all are under indictment, computers seized, some already sentenced. All of these people under indictment by Mueller have one key thing in common, General James Jones's and Michael Hayden's social media black PSYOP tools; the ShadowNet, iPsy and ClearForce.
A recent meeting I had with Congressman Gus Bilirakis' chief of staff, Elizabeth Hittos, is confirmation that they are reviewing my DoD memorandum stating the work I did on the IIA information operation in Iraq, the Dynology marketing slicks for the ShadowNet and iPsy, along with a screenshot of Goggle's Way-Back Machine showing Paul Manafort's partnership with Dynology in 2007 and later. After presenting to her these facts and making clear I have much more information that requires the highest classification SCIF to discuss and requires being read-on to the program, Elizabeth contacted the office of Congressman Devin Nunez to request that I brief the intelligence committee on this critical information pertaining directly to the 2010 Ukrainian elections, Michael Brown riots, 2016 election interference and the "Russia collusion" hoax. All of that is on top of numerous questionable ethical and potentially illegal profits from DoD contracts while servings as NATO Commander and Obama's National Security Advisor.
We also need to know if the ShadowNet and iPsy were allowed to fall into foreign hands, including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel. I'm pretty sure South America is going to have a few questions for Jones and Obama as well? Stay tuned!Balance-Sheet , 4 hours ago
Intelligence Agencies of all countries endlessly wage war at all times especially 'Information Warfare' (propaganda/disinformation) and the primary target has always and will always be the domestic population of the Intelligence Agency's country.
Yes, of course the CIA does target ALL other countries but the primary target will always be the Americans themselves.Paralentor , 5 hours ago
Intelligence Agencies of all countries endlessly wage war at all times especially 'Information Warfare' (propaganda/disinformation) and the primary target has always and will always be the domestic population of the Intelligence Agency's country.
Yes, of course the CIA does target ALL other countries but the primary target will always be the Americans themselves.yerfej , 8 hours ago
A lot more detail can be found here:
SHADOW GATE – FULL FILM
462,864 viewsLaugherNYC , 15 hours ago
The neoliberals own the media, courts, academia, and BUREAUCRACY (including CIA) and they will do anything to make sure they retain power over everyone. These control freaks work hard to create all sorts of enemies to justify their existence.Stone_d_agehurler , 15 hours ago
It is sad that this information has to be repeatedly published, over and over and over, by SCI and other Russian. outlets.
Because no legit AMERICAN news outlet will give Binney or Assange the time of day or any credence, this all becomes Kremlin-sponsored disinformation and denials. People roll their eyes and say "Oh God, not the whole 'Seth Rich was murdered by the CIA' crap again!! You know, his FAMILY has asked that people stop spreading these conspiracy theories and lies."
SCI is a garbage bin, nothing more than a dizinformatz machine for Putin, but in this case, they are likely right. It seems preposterous that the "best hackers in the world" would forget to use a VPN or leave a signature behind, and it makes far more sense that the emails were leaked by someone irate at the abuses of the DNC - the squashing of Bernie, the cheating for Hillary in the debates - behavior we saw repeated in 2020 with Bernie shoved aside again for the pathetic Biden.
Would that SOMEONE in the US who is not on the Kremlin payroll would pick up this thread. But all the "investigative journalists" now work indirectly for the DNC, and those that don't are cancelled by the left.PeterLong , 4 hours ago
I am Guccifer and I approve this message.
But i do share your opinion. They are likely right this time and most of the pundits and media in the U. S. know it. That's what makes this a sad story about how rotten the U. S. system has become.
Democrats will sacrifice the Union for getting Trump out of office.
If elections in Nov won't go their way, Civil War II might become a real thing in 2021.RightlyIndignent , 4 hours ago
If " digital "fingerprints" in order to give the impression that the files came from Russian sources" were inserted in the leak by "Guccifer", and if the leak to wikileaks came from Seth Rich, via whatever avenue, then the "Guccifer" release came after the wikileaks release, or after wikileaks had the files, and was a reaction to same attempting to diminish their importance/accuracy and cast doubt on Trump. Could CIA and/or DNC have known the files were obtained by wikileaks before wikileaks actually released them? In any case collusion of CIA with DNC seems to be a given.novictim , 4 hours ago
Because Seth had already given it to Wikileaks. There is no 'Fancy Bear'. There is no 'Cozy Bear'. Those were made up by CrowdStrike, and they tried the same crap on Ukraine, and Ukraine told them to pound sand. When push came to shove, and CrowdStrike was forced to say what they really had under oath, they said: "We have nothing."Joebloinvestor , 5 hours ago
You are leaving out Crowd Strike. Seth Rich was tasked by people at the DNC to copy data off the servers. He made a backup copy and gave a copy to people who then got it to Wiki leaks. He used highspeed file transfers to local drives to do his task.
Meanwhile, it was the Ukrainian company Crowd Strike that claimed the data was stolen over the internet and that the thieves were in Russia. That 'proof" was never verified by US Intelligence but was taken on its word as being true despite crowd strike falsifying Russian hacks and being caught for it in the past.Southern_Boy , 5 hours ago
The "five eyes" are convinced they run the world and try to.
That is what Brennan counted on for these agencies to help get President Trump.
As I said, it is time for the UK and the US to have a serious conversation about their current and ex-spies being involved in US elections.on target , 5 hours ago
It wasn't the CIA. It was John Brennan and Clapper. The CIA, NSA FBI, DOJ and the Ukrainian Intelligence Service just went along working together and followed orders from Brennan who got them from Hillary and Obama.
Oh, and don't forget the GOP Globalist RINOs who also participated in the coup attempt: McCain, Romney, Kasich, Boehner, Lee and Richard Burr.
With Kasich now performing as a puppy dog for Biden at the Democrat Convention as a Democrat DNC executive, the re-alignment is almost complete: Globalist Nationalist Socialist Bolshevism versus American Populism, i.e. Elites versus Deplorables or Academics versus Smelly Wal-Mart people.RightlyIndignent , 4 hours ago
No way. CIA up to their eyeballs in this as well as the State Department. Impossible for Russiagate or Ukrainegate without direct CIA and State involvement.LeadPipeDreams , 6 hours ago
Following Orders? How did that argument go at Nuremberg? (hint: not very well)Iconoclast27 , 5 hours ago
LOL - the CIA's main mission - despite their "official" charter, has always been to destabilize the US and its citizens via psyops, false flags, etc.
Covid-1984 is their latest and it appears most successful project yet.A_Huxley , 6 hours ago
The CIA received a $200 million initial investment from the Rockefeller and Carnegie foundations when it was first established, that should tell you everything you need to know how who they truly work for.Let it Go , 8 hours ago
CIA, MI6, 5 eye nations.
All wanted to sway the USA their own way.avoiceofliberty , 16 hours ago
Almost as frightening as the concentrated power held by companies such as Facebook and Google is the fact Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon and the world's richest man, is the person who owns and controls the Washington Post. It is silly to think Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013 because he expected newspapers to make a lucrative resurgence.
It is more likely he purchased the long-trusted U.S. newspaper for the power it would ensure him in Washington when wielded as a propaganda mouthpiece to extend his ability to both shape and control public opinion. More on this subject in the article below.
https://Amazon, Jeff Bezos, And The Influential Washington Post_31.htmlavoiceofliberty , 6 hours ago
The amazing thing about Binney's forensic analysis is that it has been around since 2018 .
It's also been clear since 2017 the hack of the DNC computers didn't hold up under scrutiny .
How it is the Democrats, the Deep State, and the legacy media are still able to cling to the remnants of these long discredited narratives is a mystery.Alice-the-dog , 6 hours ago
At the official level, you have a point.
However, even before Mueller was appointed, a review of the materials in the extant public record of both the DNC "hack" and the history of Crowdstrike showed the narrative simply did not make sense. A detailed investigation of materials not made public was not necessary to shoot down the entire narrative.
Indeed, one of the great scandals of the Mueller probe is the way it did not bring prudential skepticism to the question of the DNC "hack". When building a case, either for public debate or for public trial, a dose of skepticism is healthy; it leads to a careful vetting of facts and reasoning.snodgrass , 6 hours ago
The CIA has been an agency wholly independent of the US government almost since its inception. It is not under any significant control by the government, and has its own agenda which may occasionally coincide with that of the government, but only coincidentally. It has its own view of how the world should look, and will not balk at any means necessary to achieve such. Including the murder of dis-favorable members of government.Floki_Ragnarsson , 7 hours ago
It's the CIA and the FBI, Obama and people in his administration who cooked up Russiagate.DeportThemAll , 6 hours ago
The CIA whacked JFK because he was going to slow the roll to Vietnam AND disband the CIA and reform it.
It is broken and needs to be disbanded and reformed along lines that actually WORK! The CIA missed the fall of the USSR, 9/11, etc. HTF does THAT happen?Let it Go , 8 hours ago
The CIA didn't "miss" 9/11... they participated in it.tion , 16 hours ago
The CIA is a tool that when improperly used can do great damage.
Anyone who doesn't believe that countries use psychological warfare and propaganda to sway the opinions of people both in and outside of their country should be considered naive. Too many people America is more than a little hypocritical when they criticize other countries for trying to gain influence considering our history of meddling in the affairs of other countries.
Americans have every reason to be concerned and worried considering revelations of just how big the government intelligence agencies have grown since 9-11 and how unlimited their spying and surveillance operations have become. The article below explores this growth and questions whether we have lost control.
http://Psychological Warfare And Propaganda Out Of Control.htmlSon of Captain Nemo , 8 hours ago
The idea of Binney and Jason Sullivan privately working to 'secure the vote' is something that I actually consider to be very eyebrow raising and alarming.fliebinite , 9 hours ago
Bill Binney under "B" in the only "yellow pages" that show a conscience and a soul!...
https://www.ae911truth.org/signatures/#/General/B/williambinneysevernMDUSbringonthebigone , 9 hours ago
This is the dumbest article ever. Russiagate is a total fabrication of the FBI as per Clinesmith, CIA provided information that would have nipped it at the bud. Read the real news.PKKA , 14 hours ago
Wrong. this article is one small piece of the puzzle. Clinesmith is one small piece of the puzzle. The Flynn entrapment is one small piece of the puzzle. The Halper entrapment was one small piece of the puzzle.
Because Clinesmith at the FBI covered up the information saying Page was a CIA source does not mean it was a total FBI fabrication and does not mean the CIA was not involved and does not mean the DNC server hack is irrelevant.
Milley Weaver gets close in her recent video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HFxVvrXjCg
Sundance does a better job pulling it all together.smacker , 12 hours ago
Relations have already soured between Russia and the United States, and sanctions have been announced. Tensions have grown on the NATO-Russia border. The meat has already been rolled into the minced meat and it will not be possible to roll the minced meat back into the meat. The CIA got it. But the Russian people now absolutely understand that the United States will always be the enemy of Russia, no matter whether socialist or capitalist. But I like it even more than the feigned hypocritical "friendship". Russia has never reached such heights as during the good old Cold War. All Russians have a huge incentive, long live the new Cold War!smacker , 12 hours ago
More and more people have worked out that the fabricated tensions between the US and Russia
and US and China have little to do with those two countries posing any sort of threat to world peace.
It is all about the US trying to remain in No.1 position as uni-polar top dog via the Anglo American Empire.
We see examples of this every day in the M/E, South China Sea, Taiwan, Libya all over Eastern Europe,
Ukraine, Iran and now Belaruse. HK was added along the way.
Both Russia and China openly want a multi-polar world order. But the US will never accept that.
Hence the prospect of war. The only unknown today is what and where the trigger will be.hang_the_banksters , 31 minutes ago
More and more people have worked out that the fabricated tensions between the US and Russia
and US and China have little to do with those two countries posing any sort of threat to world peace.
It is all about the US trying to remain in No.1 position as uni-polar top dog via the Anglo American Empire.
We see examples of this every day in the M/E, South China Sea, Taiwan, Libya all over Eastern Europe,
Ukraine, Iran and now Belaruse. HK was added along the way.
Both Russia and China openly want a multi-polar world order. But the US will never accept that.
Hence the prospect of war. The only unknown today is what and where the trigger will be.ConanTheContrarian1 , 1 hour ago
the best proof thAt Guccifer 2 was CIA hacking themselves to frame Wikileaks is this:
Guccifer has not yet been identified, indicted and arrested.
you'd think CIAFBINSA would be turning over every stone to the ends of the earth to bust Guccifer. we just had to endure 4 years of hysterical propaganda that Russia had hacked our election and that Trump was their secret agent. so Guccifer should be the Most Wanted Man on the planet. meanwhile, it's crickets from FBI. they arent even looking for him. because Guccifer is over at Langley. maybe someone outta ask Brennan where G2 is now.
remember when DOJ indicted all those GRU cybersoldiers? the evidence listed in the indictment was so stunning that i dont believe it. NSA so thoroughly hacked back into GRU that NSA was watching GRU through their own webcams and recording them doing Google searches to translate words which were written in Guccifer's blog posts about the DNC email leaks. NSA and DOJ must think we are all stupid, that we will believe NSA is so powerful to do that, yet they cant identify Guccifer.
i say i dont believe that for a second because no way Russian GRU are so stupid to even have webcams on the computers they use to hack, and it is absurd to think GRU soldiers on a Russian military base would be using Google instead of Yandex to translate words into English.lay_arrowgreatdisconformity , 1 hour ago
As a confirmed conspiracy theorist since I came back from 'Nam, here's mine: The European nobility recognized with the American and French revolutions that they needed a better approach. They borrowed from the Tudors (who had to deal with Parliament) and began to rule by controlling the facade of representative government. This was enhanced by funding banks to control through currency, as well as blackmail and murder, and morphed into a complete propaganda machine like no other in history. The CIA, MI6 and Mossad, the mainstream media, deep plants in bureaucracy and "democratic" bodies all obey their dictates to create narratives that control our minds. Trump seems to offer hope, but remember, he could be their latest narrative.
A Democracy cannot function on a higher level than the general electorate.
The intelligence and education of the general electorate has been sliding for generations, because both political parties can play this to their advantage.
It is no accident that most of the messages coming from politicians are targeted to imbeciles.
Aug 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Aug 8 2020 20:48 utc | 23
I don't think the Chinese are wrong in that article. The idea that "...US politics have exposed a systemic disconnect with the country's grassroots. The process of readjusting through the general election is full of controversy, crises and will produce profound influences" seems accurate to me. But isn't that just a somewhat clinical way of describing a being turning into a corpse? "Hmm, the brain appears to now be disconnected from the body. It no longer seems to detect trauma occurring in the extremities."
It isn't as if China can do anything for America at this point, but failing to study the pathology of a dying empire would be gross intellectual negligence on their part. Moreover, they do seem to be respectful in their observations. It is not as if they are gloating and rubbing their hands in glee at America's decline.
Basically, I would say China's "new understanding" is more about discarding their previous misconceptions about America. At one time many people in the world looked up to America like it was some sort of nation sized comic book superhero. As the land of milk and honey where the streets are paved with gold, for billions in the world America was a fairy tale come true, and this was true of the Chinese people as well. In every category it seemed the USA was #1. Everyone looked to the USA to lead humanity into the future.
It is no longer possible to maintain that fantasy about America anymore. This requires a "new understanding" ; a fresh look at the US untainted by the automatic presumption of America's permanence and invulnerability. I think the Chinese imagined rising to become equals to the US, but I think it may have never occurred to them that America could stumble so badly that China would be left as the sole global superpower. That is obviously not a responsibility that they sought out, so they need to start thinking about it.
Americans will automatically assume this means military dominance because that is what they have become used to over the last few generations, but it really is more about setting standards and goals that the rest of the world will strive for. That was never a concern before because the Chinese aim was to become equals to America. They have largely achieved that, but America is on its way down, so now what?
The Chinese have some soul searching to do now, and developing a new understanding of America is part of that.
Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com
cranc , says: August 1, 2020 at 12:48 pm GMTanonymous  Disclaimer , says: August 1, 2020 at 12:53 pm GMT
There seems to be some dispute about whether there is a far Left socialist revolution unfolding. I can't see much distinction between 'Neoliberalism in its purest form' and authoritarian Communism. It boils down to control, whether that is in a 'market' context of monopoly corporations who are embedded within the state, or whether it is in the context of 'state enterprises' in the USSR.
What seems clear is that the society of the capitalism of small and medium sized businesses, relatively free movement, civil liberties and an open culture are being wound down and replaced by a centralised control society organised through the internet. State administration will matter less. Central banks, Blackrock investor algorithms, automated private security systems will matter more. This is not an attack on Trump, it is the bringing down and replacement of the US system per se.
Call it what you want. The jerks on the street have absolutely no idea what is taking place. They are brainwashed ideologues puppeteered by forces that operate above the distinction between 'capitalism' and 'communism'.
Why are there so many young people out there available to be radicalized and to just ruin and riot endlessly? Because American capitalism has devolved into a 'gig economy' where millions have no real future and nothing much to lose. People face a lifetime of meaningless, low paid service gigs that will never give them the means to have the standard of living of the previous generations. All the drug use is symptomatic of that.
Why would media and corporations promote and fund communism, being that they're the billionaire-corporate capitalist class? It's bait and switch from the class warfare of communist rhetoric to endless racial leveling and chaos along all social, racial and cultural lines. This leaves the billionaire benefactors of unisex toilets still in charge.
Small businesses are bankrupted under the guise of fighting the killer virus, their assets scooped up by the deep pockets. It's a huge transfer of wealth upwards scheme. The economy is being reset downwards using the ruin caused by these rioters and the killer virus. The mass of people will learn to adjust their expectations to fit the new grim reality. The commies, anarchists and whatever else is out there will later be rolled up. What with all the spying and fusion centers the government knows who they are. They're useful at the moment. It's a capitalist driven thing. Can't find a job after losing your business? Well here's some new legalized drugs for you and a welfare, I mean stimulus, check to tide you over at the hobo camp.
Jul 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
A Significant Decline Is Coming For The U.S. james , Jul 27 2020 18:10 utc | 1
by Passer by
In response to several comments in the last open thread (slightly edited).
Actually there is even some real, and not only relative, decline for the US, for example US life expectancy is dropping. This is a pretty bad sign for a developed country. Same for the UK by the way.
On the issue of China gaining during the Covid crisis, they gained in raw power, for example gained in GDP relatively to the US. And they gained in debt levels too, relatively, as US debt levels exploded due to the crisis. Now you have V-shaped recovery in China and poor, W-shaped double dip recovery in the US. With far more debt added.
Of course there is the issue of public relations and soft power. On the one hand the US blamed China for the pandemic, but on the other hand it embarrassed itself due to its poor performance in containing the pandemic, compared to other countries. And the US lost points around the world due to rejecting WHO right in the middle of the pandemic. Europe and developing countries did not like that at all. Don't forget that Covid also weakened the US military, they have problems with it, including on ships and overseas bases, and even broke the biggest US exercise planned in Europe for the last 30 years. And the pandemic in the US is still raging, its not fixed at all and death rates are increasing again.
Here for example, the futurologists from Pardee Canter that that China gained during the crisis, in raw capabilities. Future research and relative power between countries is their specialty :Research Associate Collin Meisel and Pardee Center Director Jonathan Moyer use IFs (International Futures) to explore the long-term impact of COVID-19 in China in this Duck Of Minerva blog post" "Where broad measures of material capabilities are concerned, the picture is clear: COVID-19 is closing the gap in relative capabilities for the U.S. and China and accelerating the U.S.-China transition. Through multiple long-term forecast scenarios using the International Futures tool, Research Associate Collin Meisel and Pardee Center Director Jonathan Moyer explain on the Duck of Minerva blog that China is likely to gain approximately one percent of global power relative to the U.S. by 2030 due to the economic and mortality impacts of COVID-19. This share of global power is similar to the relative capabilities of Turkey today.
On the issue of the USD, Stephen Roach also says that there will be a significant decline in the medium term. And the argument is pretty logical - if the US share in the global economy is declining (and it will be declining at least up to year 2060), and if the level of US debts is reaching all time high levels, then the USD will decline. I agree with that argument. It is fully logical.
On the chip/semiconductor issue. David Goldman is skeptical that the US will be able to stop China on this :The chip ban gives the world an enormous incentive to circumvent the USBasically Huawei still has advanced suppliers, from South Korea and Japan. And some of them are refusing to yield. The problem for the US is that China is the world's biggest semiconductor market and biggest chip importer on the world , which gives enormous initiative for private businesses to circumvent US made equipment in order to export to China. Then also China is stashing large quantities of chips. By 2025, it should be able to replace foreign production with homegrown. So these bans are lose lose situation for both the US and China - yes, this will cause come costs to China up to 2025. But it will also lead to US companies, such as Qualcomm, to lose the Chinese chip market, which is the largest in the world, and there is nothing to replace it.
These are hundreds of billions of losses for the US due to gradually losing the most lucrative market. Thus, in relative terms, China does not lose from these games, as the US will pay a large price just as China. It is lose-lose situation, but in relative terms the same. US loses just as China loses. And do not forget that China warned that a full US attack on Huawei will lead to Boeing being kicked from the country, which is becoming the biggest aviation market in the world, and will lead to hundreds of billions of losses for that company too, and will probably burry it under Airbus. China needs lots of planes up to 2028, when they will replace them with their own, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Elevating Airbus over Boeing, which already has big troubles, will be a significant hit for the US aerospace industry.
So China has cards to play too. On the issue of the US getting some countries to ban Huawei, it is again lose - lose situation - that is both the US and some of its allies will lose due to using more expensive 5G equipment and will lose more time to build their networks. So China loses, and US and some allies lose, but in relative terms things remain the same between them power-wise, as they both lose. Do not forget that Germany said that it will continue to use Huawei equipment, and this is the biggest economy in Europe:Germany's three major telecommunications operators Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica have been actively promoting 5G in recent years. They implement the "supplier diversification" strategy and use Huawei equipment in their networks among other vendors. Peter Altmaier, German minister of economy, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on July 11 that Germany would not exclude Huawei from the country's 5G network rollout. "There can only be an exclusion if national security is demonstrably at risk. However, we will strengthen our security measures, regardless of which country the products come from," said Altmaier. "There is no change in Germany's position," a spokesperson of the country's Interior Ministry told local broadcaster ARD on July 16.
So we can say that probably half of Europe will be using Huawei. Still, as you said, a large part of the world will exclude it. Maybe half of world's GDP. Unfortunately things are not perfect. One bright spot in that is that Huawei is betting on emerging markets, and emerging markets have higher growth rates than western markets - that is, they will matter more in the future.
I would agree that the US is harming China, but the damage is not large IMO, as these are mostly lose lose situations where relative power stays the same. And with time, there will be significant damages for the US too, such as losing the biggest chip and aviation markets and the empowerment of Boeing competitors such as Airbus.
So its not too bad in China. Thus, after mentioning all of this, I do not think that Pompeo is smelling blood and moving for the jugular, its not such a situation as China is not that vulnerable, it is more likely to be US elite anger due to the US weakening and China gains during the Covid-19 crisis.
On Hong Kong China had no options. It was a lose-lose situation. If they allowed everything to stay as it is there would be constant color revolution there and they will be constantly in the media. Maybe it is better to stop this once and for all. They hoped that the Covid crisis will give them cover to do this. It did not work very well.
Unfortunately it is right that the Trump strategy of bullying works many times. Supposedly there should be costs for the US in soft power and world opinion, but we are not seeing them.
I guess most of the world is too cowardly and prefers to go with the flow. They will abandon the US only after the US lost anyway. Well, it is not an easy situation. Still, the US reactions are very strong and hateful precisely because things are still not good for it and its decline is continuing, regardless of some tactical victories, where in some cases it is a lose lose situation anyway.
The data shows a significant decline incoming for the US.
- 2019 China 1,27 times bigger in GDP/PPP
- 2030 China 1,8 times bigger in GDP/PPP
- US debt to GDP 2019 80%
- US debt to GDP 2030 125%
- US debt to GDP 2050 230 %The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will be depleted by 2021, the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund by the beginning of 2024, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) trust fund in the 2020s, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) Multi-Employer fund at some point in the mid-2020s, and the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund by 2031. We estimate the theoretically combined Social Security OASDI Trust fund will run out of reserves by 2031.
- Military budget (before Covid estimates, Trump budget) 2019 3,2 % of GDP - 2030 2,5 % of GDP (Could drop to 2,3 % of GDP due to Covid)
- Civilian discretionary spending (before Covid estimates) 2019 3,2 % of GDP - 2030 1.8 % of GDP (drop to all time low) (Could drop further due to Covid)
That is not to mention the big divide in US society, and the ongoing Covid crisis, which is still not fixed in the US. But is largely fixed in China. Do you see the decline now? They have a big, big reason to be worried. A significant decline is coming for the US.
Posted by b on July 27, 2020 at 17:53 UTC | Permalink
thanks for highlighting 'passer by's post b... i agree with them for the most part... it reminds me of a game of chess where pieces are being removed from the board.. it is a lose- lose, but ultimately, it is a bigger loss for the usa down the road... for whatever reason the usa can't see that the financial sanctions, bullying and etc, only go so far and others work around this as we see with russia, iran, venezuala and china in particular...
the one comment i would view differently then passer by is this one - "Unfortunately it is right that the Trump strategy of bullying works many times. Supposedly there should be costs for the US in soft power and world opinion, but we are not seeing them." i think the usa is losing it's position in terms of soft power and world opinion but you won't be reading about it in the western msm.. that is going to come out later after the emergence of a new reality is very clear for all to see... the trump strategy is really more of the same and it is like a medicine that loses it's power over time and becomes ineffective - sort of like antibiotics...
O , Jul 27 2020 18:34 utc | 7Kadath , Jul 27 2020 18:46 utc | 8
In other words the western oligarchs will lose out to the eastern oligarchs in the Great Trade War under the cover of a fake pandemic.
Or perhaps the global oligarchs in general just want the world to follow more in the Chinese model where the population is more agreeable to total surveillance, social credit scores and even more out right fascistic government/corp model under the cover of a fake pandemic.O , Jul 27 2020 19:10 utc | 16
Re: James #1,
With respect to "bullying works", in international diplomacy it usually does since weaker powers have more to lose in a direct diplomatic crisis with a larger power. This is not to say that they won't push back, but they will be far more strategic in where they do. In essence, weaker powers have fewer "red lines" but they will still enforce those, while greater powers have more "red lines", because they have more power to squander on fundamentally insignificant issues. However, weaker states will still remember being abused and oppressed, so when the worms turns while they won't be the first to jump ship, they will be more than eager to pile on and extract some juicy retribution once it is clear they will not be singled out. I suspect the Germany will be the bellwether, when (if) Germany breaks from the US on a key aspect on the transatlantic relationship that will be the signal for others to start jumping ship. If Nordstream 2 go through, then there will be a break within 5 years; if Nordstream is killed, then the break might be delayed for 5 years or more but there will still be a break when the US pushes Germany to support the next major US regime change war in the Middle East.blum , Jul 27 2020 19:11 utc | 17
The engineered collapse is being called the "Great Reset" by many outlets already. The covid nonsense is just a cover for it. Instead of Saudi Arabian terrorist it is a basically a harmless coronavirus. Just in the days immediately following 911 the "terrorist'' threat was so overhyped that security theater was employed everywhere. Now sanitation theater is the new act in town.karlof1 , Jul 27 2020 19:24 utc | 19
Where does anyone get these numbers about military spend as a % of gdp? Have you listened to Katherine Austin Fitts on Corbett Report?
Posted by: oglalla | Jul 27 2020 18:27 utc | 4
If you could dig through the linked Committee for a Responsible Federal Budge links for me. I'd appreicate it a lot. ;)
Long time not heard anything from Katherine. You feel I should check both her and Corbert on Gates, I suppose?Jackrabbit , Jul 27 2020 20:48 utc | 29
Article discussing political fallout from info provided @11.
Good to see your comment. Lots of anecdotal evidence nationwide about store closures and many vacancies in business centers, particularly within economic engines of NYC and elsewhere along the East Coast. IMO, lots of self-censorship by business media while the reality reported by Shadowstats goes ignored. As for losing the status of #1 economy, that was always going to occur once China or India became a moderately developed economy. It just happened that China is far more efficient politically which allowed it to become #1. And until India improves politically, it will continue to lag behind numerous smaller nations. Too bad there isn't a place where one can bet on the great likelihood that the Outlaw US Empire will outperform all nations in the production of Bullshit and Lies.Mark2 , Jul 27 2020 21:13 utc | 39
I also disagree with the comparison between USA and China gdp and other statistics.
China is not simply competing against USA but against the Empire: 5 eyes, NATO, Euro poodles, Israel and the Gulf States and others like Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, India.
Anyone that is minimizing the conflict and the advantages of one side vs another is doing a disservice.
Cold War I lasted 40 years.
!!jadan , Jul 27 2020 21:50 utc | 54
CitizenX @ 26
Agree with your tone and content.
Particularly the third from last paragraph. I think people are missing by choice the growing ground-swell of public opinion US wide as this blog shows, a multi-faceted detereation of US political morals and legality.
Combined with a world wide growing awareness of how deranged American leaders now are.
Haterd consumes itself as dose greed.
My ear to the ground tells me, the protests at present are growing some in full sight some not.
This is not buseness as usual. Then return to normal. The mood now is -- -- - let's settle this thing once and for all, let's get the job done.
So my personal opinion ? we will see a US regime chainge faster than a lot here predict. Much faster.O , Jul 27 2020 22:23 utc | 68
Passer by is correct, no doubt, thanks to incompetent leadership in the US, but this economic horse race doesn't matter.
What matters above all is that nations should hold it together, "it" being sustainable, survivable support systems capable of providing for mass populations.We have failed that test here in our encounter with this pandemic. We have failed to develop a sustainable financial system. We have failed to meet any sort of environmental goals. We don't even have environmental goals! Our electoral system doesn't work, either, proof being the election of this idiot atavistic rich boy. If anyone thinks the election of Trump reflects the will of the majority of Americans, they are part of the problem.
China is in deep trouble. The CCP's greatest challenge is simply to hold "it" together. The Party has to perform economic miracles or the country will collapse. Those groups not satisfied with life in the PRC have no outlet for their voices to be heard. They cannot protest. They are under the strict control of an increasingly sophisticated but tiny elitist clique that is only 6.5% of the total population. This clique will not relinquish power and permit more democratic expression. On the contrary, more and more suppression of dissidence of any sort will happen. The social scoring system is an especially insidious program of social control. China's collectivism has turned the country into an ant hill. It is extremely productive, but people are not ants.
Passer by is looking at the world through a keyhole.O , Jul 27 2020 22:28 utc | 69
Nightmare' conditions at Chinese factories where Hasbro and Disney toys are made
Investigators found there were serious violations at the factories which were endangering workers.
In peak production season, employees were working up to 175 overtime hours per month. Chinese labour law restricts monthly overtime to 36 hours per month, but the report alleged factories would often ask local governments to implement a "comprehensive working hour scheme" to override existing legislation.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/07/nightmare-at-chinese-factories-making-hasbro-and-disney-toys.htmlJackrabbit , Jul 27 2020 22:39 utc | 72
One wonders if China will run into the same problems of the US in the not too distant future?
"The End of Sweatshops? Robotisation and the Making of New Skilled Workers in China"
Over the past four decades China has undergone a process of massive industrialisation that has allowed the country to achieve remarkable economic growth. Because of its large manufacturing capacity based on a seemingly unlimited supply of cheap migrant labour in light industries, China has come to be known as the 'workshop of the world'. However, since the early 2000s the country's labour market has experienced a remarkable transition from labour surplus to a shortage of labour, which has led to sustained increases in the wages of ordinary workers. In such a context, since 2015 robotisation has become a driving policy for industrial upgrading for manufacturing in China, with the slogan 'replacing human workers with industrial robots' (机器换人) frequently appearing in media reports and official policy documents.
karlof1 , Jul 27 2020 22:59 utc | 74
karlof1 @Jul27 21:50 #55
Thank you for clarifying that.
The early date of "full spectrum dominance" (1996 not 2010) suggests to me that the doctrine was related the "end of history" thinking of that time. USA Deep State believed its own propaganda.
It also strengthens my case for the proximate cause for the current conflict originating in 2014 when the US Deep State suddenly realized the threat that Russia and China Alliance posed to their plans for global domination.
Not only had they believed their own propaganda but they had overreached with their attempt to force Russia to capitulate and had been distracted by Israel interests that wanted to use USA for the greater Israel project.
!!When I wrote my economic analysis paper on China in 1999, it was quite clear that the 21st Century was going to become the Asian Century as the Outlaw US Empire would be eclipsed by Asia's economic dynamism. 20+ years later, my prediction holds true, and it's even stronger now than then with Russia's resurgence. Both outcomes clearly go against the 500+ years of Western Global Hegemony and goads numerous people. For students of history like myself, what's occurring isn't a surprise thanks to the West's adoption of--or should I write forced indoctrination into--the Neoliberal political-economic philosophy, which is akin to that of Feudalism since it benefits the same class as that of the Feudal Era. China too was once Feudal and suffered a massive Civil War that destroyed much of its structure, a conflict known to the West as The Taiping Rebellion that lasted almost 14 years, from 1850-1864. One might say that was the first half of China's overall effort to overthrow Feudalism and Western Imperialism, as the second half began in 1927 and finally concluded in 1949. That amounts to a large % of years for a newbie nation like the USA; but for a nation like China inhabited by humans for over 1.3 million years and with 4,500 years of recorded history, it's really just another Dynastic Rollover--something inconceivable to non-Asians.Hoarsewhisperer , Jul 27 2020 23:00 utc | 75
In reality, China's a conservative nation, culture and society with a several thousand year ethos of Collectivism, although that allowed a significant divergence in social stratification due to the ruling Feudal ways. Those who have read The Good Earth have an excellent grasp on the nature of Chinese Feudalism, which was embodied by the Kuomintang or KMT--as with Feudal lords, KMT leaders were deemed "Gangsters" by US Generals and diplomats during and after WW2. General Marshall wrote in 1947 it was clear to him that the KMT would lose to the CPC, that there was no good reason to throw good money after bad, and it would be best for the USA and the West to accept the fact of a Communist China (all noted by Kolko in his Politics of War ). Contemporary China when compared to China as depicted in 1931 by Pearl Buck is one of the most amazing human achievements of all time, and the conservative Chinese government intends to keep it that way through a series of well thought-out plans. That's the reality. It can be accepted and worked with as numerous nations realize, or it be somehow seen as unacceptable and fought against in what will prove to be a losing effort since all China need do is parry the blows and reflect them back upon its opponent using skills it developed over several thousand years. It would be much easier to join China than fight.It's misleading to assess the National Military Capability of various countries in $US terms. The West's M-IC is privately owned and puts shareholder profit before all else. And the owners of the Western M-IC also own the politicians who facilitate and approve the rip-offs.VietnamVet , Jul 27 2020 23:40 utc | 83
China and Russia's M-IC are owned and controlled by The People via the government and can therefore get $2+ of value for every $1 invested. For example, one can buy some very nifty twin-engine bizjets for less than half the price USG pays for a flying Batmobile (F-35) - a glorified hot-rod with guns.Jackrabbit , Jul 28 2020 0:26 utc | 87
There is definitely a decline in the USA. Deaths of despair and from the coronavirus are too great to ignore anymore. 150,000 dead and counting are not nothing. The Western Empire has fallen. The U.S. federal government failed. The Imperialists are quarantined at home.
The question is if the 19th century North American Empire from Hawaii to Puerto Rico survives. The Elite have bet it all on a vaccine or patentable treatment to give the Pharmaceutical Industry billions of dollars. However, quick cheap paper monoclonal antigen tests would make testing at home before going to work or school practical.
This would end viral transmission and the pandemic. No drug jackpot for the 10%. Instead public health is ignored as Americans die. The silence is deafening. The protests in the Pacific Northwest are not about slavery. They are about the 90% of Americans being treated as disposable trash.Richard Steven Hack , Jul 28 2020 0:37 utc | 89
VietnamVet | Jul 27 2020 23:40 utc | 83150,000 dead and counting are not nothing. The Western Empire has fallen.
No offense VV but I can't help thinking that you (and maybe some others) are talking past the issue.
To be clear, the issue is this: Will the West's decline play a role in the US/Empire's ability and willingness to confront Russia-China? Or is the oft-heard refrain that US/Empire can not 'win' against China (implying that they shouldn't/won't bother trying!) because of its decline (usually attributed to 'late-state capitalism') just wishful thinking?
Virtually everyone here has agreed that the West - especially USA - hasn't fought the virus correctly and with vigor. And virtually everyone agrees that there has been a relative decline in USA/West and in some areas an absolute decline.
IMO what is ignored is that:
- from the perspective of the US 'Deep State' or Western power-elite the failure to fight the virus is a net positive if the repercussions are blamed on China (in addition to other 'positives' from their perspective: saving on cost of care to elderly, boosting Big Pharma profits, etc.) -
In fact, deliberate mistakes and mounting only a token effort (as we've seen) is exactly what we should expect from a craven power-elite that want to further their interests;
- the overall decline, while troublesome - especially to the ordinary blokes who get the short end of that decline - is not yet significant enough to prevent USA/Empire from countering the Russia-China 'upstarts' aggressively.
I likened the hopefulness of the anti-Empire crowd about Western decline to their hopefulness they previously expressed regarding Turkey. "Erdogan is turning east!" proved to be wrong.
!!Richard Steven Hack , Jul 28 2020 1:12 utc | 92
Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Jul 27 2020 19:01 utc | 14 Within last 10 years China built surface fleet which in terms of hulls (and "freshness") rivals that of the US. US economy would have it bottom falling off if it tried to accomplish a similar task.
Nice to see you here again. Yes, I mentioned the relative navy building in the previous open thread. China's navy will exceed US capability by 2050 and be on parity by 2030-2040 according to reports I've read. That's just ten years to twenty years from now.
Result: US gets kicked out of the South China Sea and has to share the Pacific, Indian Ocean (as will India with gnashing of teeth) and even the Med with China. China will undoubtedly project naval power all the way to the Med in support of BRI in the Middle East.jadan , Jul 28 2020 1:30 utc | 95
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 27 2020 20:43 utc | 27 There is decline, and while it has been mostly relative it is also accelerating - but that hasn't significantly constrained USA/Empire's response to the upstarts.
I agree. US military power isn't going away in ten years or twenty. China may achieve parity at some point (and can do serious damage now). But that doesn't obviate the fact that, short of nuclear war, the US is still in a position to throw its weight around and will continue to do so until forced back by a (hopefully conventional) military defeat of serious proportions, i.e., not just "give up and go home". And economic woes won't change that as long as the taxpayer can be fleeced - and they will be, for at least a few more decades.Seer , Jul 28 2020 1:40 utc | 96
@ 62 A.L. "Would it be a surprise to you than there are many many protests in China at the grass root level everyday?"
There are indeed protests all the time, which is the fire under the local Party leaders that keeps them dancing. Usually the protests are against local corruption or mismanagement and are not serious. People can get what they want this way. Each year at the general Party gathering, however, special note is taken of "mass incidents", that is, protests on a larger scale, and overtly political events such as those in the Uighur province of Xinjiang and in Hong Kong. Any protest that challenges the control of the Party is not permitted. The current protests in the US could not happen in China because they challenge political orthodoxy. The Chinese don't just roll over on command for the CCP to scratch their bellies and the Party knows just how volatile the political situation could be if mishandled. China is developing into the ultimate surveillance state. There are lots of Chinese like that little guy that stood down the tank at Tienanmen in 1989. Eventually that guy is going to say: "There is some shit I will not eat!" The Party knows this.Cyril , Jul 28 2020 1:43 utc | 98
Several years ago (close to 10) I noted that the US would be bringing back US companies from China, that it would actually subsidize their relocation. It's only logical. I saw China as becoming hostile to US corporations: in light of how things are going today it's the US govt becoming hostile toward US companies in China. Make huge profits and then get free money to return back to the US: and be welcomed as victorious troops arriving back from some glorious war.
It's Musical Chairs. As the music plays more and more chairs are being removed. Capitalism has been the most efficient economic system in which to trigger an economic collapse. WTF did people think would happen with basing economic systems on the impossible, basing on perpetual growth on a finite planet. All of this was readily foreseeable using SIMPLE MATH.
Economies of scale in reverse...Daniel , Jul 28 2020 1:51 utc | 101
@jadan | Jul 27 2020 21:50 utc | 54
China is in deep trouble. The CCP's greatest challenge is simply to hold "it" together. The Party has to perform economic miracles or the country will collapse.
How do you square your dire prediction of China's collapse with the Edelman trust barometer of 2019 (warning: PDF file), where China scores 88 on the trust index and the US scores 60?O , Jul 28 2020 1:51 utc | 102
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that all the "leading" western countries are unable to handle even a relatively moderate public health crisis. The neoliberal economic model considers any aspect of society that isn't generating a profit as ideologically unsound and targets these areas for "reform" (i.e. privatization).
Sometimes this is done outright, as when a public utility or service is sold to a private, for-profit operator (e.g. British Rail in the UK). But when the government thinks the public will resist and push back it is done by stealth, usually by starving the targeted service/organization of funds and then farming out parts of it to for-profit companies in the name of "efficiency", "innovation", "resilience" or some other neoliberal doublespeak concept (they all mean only one thing of course: PROFIT). This is currently happening to the US Postal Service.
Every public healthcare system in the so-called "advanced" nations encompassed by the EU/NATO and Five Spies has been underfunded and subjected to stealth privatization for decades. Furthermore, people in neoliberal societies exist to serve as fodder and raw material for "the economy" (i.e. the plutocrat or oligarch class) and there is no mechanism to deal with emergencies that can't be milked for a profit. Hence, the half arsed, incompetent, making-it up-as-they-go-along response to COVID-19 that simply writes off older and sick people as expendable.
Neoliberalism began as a US/UK project, that's why poverty, crime, inadequate health care and social services etc. and governmental and societal dysfunction generally is more advanced there than in, say, Canada and Germany.
So, yes, the US is in decline, maybe even collapsing, but that doesn't mean the imperial lackey countries are immune to the forces tearing apart the United States. They are just proceeding down that road at a slower pace. If the US falls, the west falls...globalization takes no prisoners.
I live in Canada where sometimes people get a bit smug about how great everything is here compared to the US. In British Columbia, for example, opiate overdose deaths are at a record high and have killed many many more people than COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Housing in cities like Vancouver is increasingly unaffordable, there aren't enough jobs that pay a living wage, permanent homeless camps exist in city parks, there are entire blocks where people who live in their vehicles park etc.etc.
The reality is that it's the west that is in decline, not only the United States.Schmoe , Jul 28 2020 2:04 utc | 105
China is developing into the ultimate surveillance state.
Posted by: jadan | Jul 28 2020 1:30 utc | 95
But don't you see, dear jadan, it is for the good of the people, if only the rest of the world could see the benevolence of Big Brother we would all be much happier at least that is what the thought police has told me to think. One government, one heart, one mind. Long Live the PRC revolution./sPeter AU1 , Jul 28 2020 2:54 utc | 108
Amidst all of the nonsense in the discussion section of the following link, I believe there are some germane comments from individuals that work in the semiconductor space that touch on some of the challenges China's chip industry faces. link
This article notes the substantial challenges TSMC and Samsung would face it they tried to build a cutting edge chip facility without US cooperation: can-tsmc-and-samsung-build-a-production-line-for-huawei-without-us-equipment
I hope their hiring of 3,000 experienced chip engineers accelerates their learning curve. Developing a chip industry on a moment's notice, let alone competing with Samsung and TSMC, is no small chore.
One item not mentioned in the above article is whether China could build many consumer components based on domestic 14nm (or larger) technology. Given China used to spend more importing chips than oil, I assume that even less advanced chips used for TVs, etc. as opposed to cellphones, would be very helpful for China's consumer electronics manufacturing.
They are also making some strides in the flash memory and CPU space, but production quantities are still very low.ptb , Jul 28 2020 2:55 utc | 109
Lose lose China loses less?
Health, education, infrastructure, research and development. The backbone of prosperity. These will all continue no matter trade war or cold war but barring hot war. There must be a doubling time for this - something like an R0. Cold war and sanctions will only serve to increase R&D
US mistakes, hubris ect move in the opposite direction, mistakes multiplying mistakes.Peter AU1 , Jul 28 2020 3:20 utc | 113
thanks, interesting. Here is a complementary tho less detailed article on some of the same topics I ran across recently: China Speeds Up Advanced Chip Development [semiconductorengineering.com]
One important point, clearly visible in the tables in the seekingalpha article linked by Schmoe, is that the ultra-small 14nm/7nm stuff is for specialized (but strategically important) applications. Most consumer electronics, industry, and everything else is 40-60nm and up, although of course smaller has benefits to older applications in improve power (i.e. mobile applications and servers) and cost (higher density/wafer)
gepay , Jul 28 2020 3:46 utc | 114
US as an one excuse for its current hostilities against China is 'intellectual property' theft. Makes me think of ninja Chinese sneaking around removing peoples brains.
But back to semiconductors. One of China's biggest imports is chips, mostly made by machines using US tech. Many industries are highly specialized and it often makes sense from small community level to national and global level to by a product from those that specialist in that product.
China has been content to buy chips, but that will now change due to necessity. Yankistan can now expect to get its brains hacked, but I am also reminded of the Scientists in the Manhattan Project being the ones to pass on much information to the Soviet Union.
Yankistan will be leaking like a sieve. I guess that's why both oz and the poms are beefing up their secret police laws. Wont be long before we are getting shot trying to run through checkpoint charlie to the free east.John A Lee , Jul 28 2020 4:04 utc | 115
It is clear that the US is in decline. It is clear the US military is bloated and overpriced but it can still turn most countries into rubble (even without using nuclear weapons) and has done a few recently. Mostly the US uses its reserve currency status and control of financial networks to punish countries that do not go along with its program. Can you say sanctions. but as Hemingway said about bankruptcy - it happens slowly and then all at once - is probably how it will continue to go. It is even losing its technological advantage. Boeing used to be the leader and made reliable planes. Now they sometimes fall out of the air. Things like high speed railways used to be the kind of thing the US did well. Now California can't get one built. China has built thousands of miles of them. Russia built a 19 kilometer bridge to Crimea in 2 years after 2 years of planning. It appears to be competently built on time and on budget. Do you really think this could happen in the USA now? In the 70s the US was the leader in environmental actions. I wonder if the present day Congress could even pass bills comparable to the Clean Air ACT or the Clean water bill. US national politics are a mean joke. Our choice this year for President - two 70+ old white men with mental issues. Our health system is overpriced. Medical bills are one of the main reasons for personal bankruptcies. As others mentioned the US life expectancy is falling. As Dmitri Orlov who watched the Soviet Empire fail said - Empire hollowed out the Soviet Union till it failed, I see it doing the same thing in the US.Peter AU1 , Jul 28 2020 4:31 utc | 116
The current 'adjustment' in the USD & living standards is just what the doctor ordered to allow elites to roll out "tech wave 2" - there is precious little gain to be had from further staffing & wages cuts to the average shit-kicker, so now the bourgeoisie, medicos, architects, academics, writers plus all the rest of the tertiary educated types who blew hundreds of thousands on an education guaranteed to keep them employed, are about to be tossed on the scrap heap.
We already know from previous stunts such as 911 & the 2008 'global financial meltdown' that those most disadvantaged by this entirely predictable destruction of lives will be easily diverted into time-wasting and pointless arguments about the real cause of the mess.
This will allow the elites to use that diversion to funnel all federal funds into subsidising the capital costs of the retooling, as both parties have begun to with the despicable CARES Act, supported by the mad christian right in the senate, as well as the so-called socialists in the Congress squad.
All the Cares Act does is inject capital into big corporations, boosting their stock price & leaving citizens to lose most of their unemployment benefit. Citizens get evicted from their homes. This time it will be tenants as well as home owners.
Both of those factions of elite enablers are going to create a great deal of noise and crass finger pointing. The squad will jump up and down about this being a deliberate attack on citizens by the elite while senate fundies will claim that this 'retooling' is the result of unreasonable pay & working conditions demands by the communist unions.
What should be a universal expression of disgust will be reduced to just another culture war.
Neither will ever admit that it is far too late to be worrying about cause, it is time to concern themselves with effect, because to do so would create focus back on where the money was going at time when it is important to be saying "everyone is hurting, including the elites". Fools.
Eventually when the deed has been done assorted scummy senators & creepy congress people will announce "It is time to move on" That will be a signal that treasury tanks are dry, the elites have gotten everything which wasn't nailed down so now the citizens can roll clawing & scratching in the mud.
I have no doubt that will be the direction of discussion here as well, it is much easier to sit at a keyboard digging out obscure 'facts' that 'prove' one point of view or another, than it is to leave the keyboard behind and put work into resisting the elites and in doing so forcing a change that is more citizen friendly.Antonym , Jul 28 2020 5:29 utc | 119
With the return of Russia to the geo-political arena, US can no longer destroy counties at will through conventional weapons nor color revolutions and AQ freedom fighters.
Trump decided to go nuclear, so Russia placed its nuclear umbrella over it allies.
US can no longer destroy countries at will. It can attack a country and risk ensuring its own destruction.
So back to hybrid war and proxie war ... but now the field is narrowed down to five-eyes and in the case of China - India.
So to keep Russia out, yankistan has to rely on conventional war and hybrid war, though we are looking at a country where the lunatics are in charge of the asylum so anything could happen.aquadraht , Jul 28 2020 5:36 utc | 121
5G, who wants this?
The MNCs producing it, the MSS, NSA and GCHQ, the IoT idiots and all authoritarians on the globe. Consumers are happy with 3G: many don't even have 4G reception - give that to them.
With IoT more unemployment, more electricity and Internet dependency, more chance of hacks or natural disruptions (solar flares), more 1984.
More is not always better at all.Antonym , Jul 28 2020 5:40 utc | 123
Just read an "opinion piece" demonstrated how remote from reality are not only people like Pompeo from a"liberal" commentator:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/pompeos-surreal-speech-on-china/ar-BB17bk0tThe Chinese Communist Party wants a tributary international system where smaller countries are deferential to larger powers, instead of a rules-based international order where small countries enjoy equal rights.
HAHAHA!William Gruff , Jul 28 2020 16:19 utc | 160
The US/UK declining won't bother most billionaires with those passports: they just buy any other. Stuck are the millions of others.
Equally "China" ascending brings joy for all billionaires around the globe holding stock depending on Chinese near monopolies, including Anglo-es.
Some middle class Chinese are beginning to see that dying "rich" is is very limited goal, as zero can be taken to the Here After and the price for this Now is too high. Money is not everything. Welcome to this select club, Chinese brothers and sisters. Sure, a bit is good to live but amassing is a waste of precious time and attention.juliania , Jul 28 2020 16:23 utc | 161
The US lacks the capacity to erect an "economic wall" that can stop China's development. Trump's "trade war" was an attempt to do just that, and America got steamrolled.
To be sure, the US can attempt even more irrational and desperate acts such as trying to seize assets owned by Chinese people and organizations in the US, but that would be America shooting itself in the head rather than just the foot.
The US simply does not posses the ability to "take the wind out of China's sails" . That is not something that is within America's power to accomplish without going kinetic by, for instance, trying to enforce a naval blockade of China's maritime transport routes. At this point there are no economic measures America can take that will not do vastly more damage to America than to China. Both trade war and bio attack were the best options America had, and America has suffered grievously from those efforts with relatively minimal impact on China. China's economy remains fundamentally strong while America's economy is devastated.
As for disrupting China's international development efforts, America has been trying its hardest for years now with the only impact being minor delays in China's plans. The only way to truly disrupt China's international development efforts would be to offer a better deal, but America no longer has anything to offer that is better. The only option left to America to delay the BRI for longer would be a kinetic one, and the door is closing on that.foolisholdman , Jul 28 2020 16:38 utc | 165
jack rabbit @ 81,
Your item 1. reads:from the perspective of the US 'Deep State' or Western power-elite the failure to fight the virus is a net positive if the repercussions are blamed on China (in addition to other 'positives' from their perspective: saving on cost of care to elderly, boosting Big Pharma profits, etc.) -
It will not be possible to blame China, simply because no one believes the US press any longer, and there is no convincing the woman or man on the street that US handling of the virus has been in any way competent. We may not understand its virulence, and we perhaps don't understand yet how to cope with it, but the example of China has been clear from the earliest moments, and that speaks louder than any false rhetoric can claim.
We know what we have been experiencing in comparison with others who acted with celerity, and that basically was what was needed. The US chose to go it alone, at its peril. It stuck by a set of rules it had made for itself in these last years - rules which have not benefited the people at large. It all comes down to that.uncle tungsten , Jul 29 2020 2:13 utc | 197
O | Jul 27 2020 21:33 utc | 49https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chinese_labour_unrest
Care to comment on that.
I would not quote a Zionist dominated source like Wikipedia on anything politically sensitive and the article you refer to is in any case 10 years out of date. However if you read it it refers to two foreign-owned firms, and it mentions that there are (In 2010)plans to double wages in the next ten years which has happened. The article also states"Strikes are not new in China. Chinese authorities have long tolerated limited, local protests by workers unhappy over wages or other issues. The Pearl River Delta alone has up to 10,000 labor disputes each year. In the spring of 2008, a local union official described strikes as "as natural as arguments between a husband and wife". The Chinese government sought balance on the issue; while it has recently repeated calls for increased domestic consumption through wage increases and regulations, it is also aware that labour unrest could cause political instability.Which indicates to me that the suicides alerted the government to the fact that these firms were making the lives of their workers miserable and took steps to improve the control of them. They obviously realized that the Union officials had been bought by the management. I wonder how the British government or the USG would have reacted? What I am certain about is that the MSM would have been much less enthusiastic about reporting it.
In response to the string of employee suicides at Foxconn, Guangdong CPC chief Wang Yang called on companies to improve their treatment of workers. Wang said that "economic growth should be people-oriented". As the strikes intensified, Wang went further by calling for more effective negotiations mechanisms, particularly the reform of existing trade unions. At the same time, authorities began shutting down some websites reporting on the labour incidents, and have restricted reporting, particularly on strikes occurring at domestic-owned factories. Guangdong province also announced plans to "professionalize union staff" by taking union representatives off of company payroll to ensure their independence from management influence.Antonym , Jul 29 2020 5:07 utc | 198
karlof1 #86IMO, taking a good look at Brazil's situation provides close to a mirror image for those within the Outlaw US Empire having trouble seeing clearly. Too often we forget to look South at the great sewer and its misery US Imperialism's created. It may be getting defeated in Eurasia, but it's winning in Latin America.
That sewer of misery was running full flush during Susan Rice's rise through the ranks.
National Security Adviser to Obummer 2013 - 2017,
US Ambassador to the UN 2009 - 2013
Do read the rest:
And well beyond South America.
Now she is close to seizing the prize of VP to Biden. She is a iron war horse of formidable capacity and mendacity given her past roles. She has few redeeming features. She will conform exactly to the dictats of the permanent state and she will easily step right over Joe Biden as he either falls or is taken down at the most opportune time.
What drole sense of humour thought of this - the hapless Trump squeezed between two black American presidents. Seems like something the Clintons dreamed up.kiwiklown , Jul 29 2020 5:39 utc | 200
David Dayen's New Book Exposes the Dirty Hands of Wall Street Driving Monopoly Power in U.S. https://wallstreetonparade.com/2020/07/david-dayens-new-book-exposes-the-dirty-hands-of-wall-street-driving-monopoly-power-in-u-s/
New York Times Rewrites the Timeline of the Fed's Wall Street Bailouts, Giving Banks a Free Pass
Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 28 2020 22:30 utc | 191
"It was asked upthread if the US citizenry would trade its no-longer existing Superpower status for decent living standards.... There're only two forces keeping the American people from attaining freedom from the above fundamental fear and having lifelong security: The Duopoly and its Donor Class, the Rentier Class of Feudalistic Parasites that are the enemy of virtually all humanity."
The US citizenry will choose decent living standards in a heartbeat, but the present arrangement for eating off the labour of deplorables is just too profitable for the Duopoly & Donor Class to be permitted to change for a couple decades more.
Perhaps they will move on when there is no more meat on the American corpse, or when they have built up a sufficiently large group of useful idiots in China to begin eating off the backs of deplorables with Chinese characteristics.
Anything is possible, with the right amount of moolah, even overcoming Confucian morals. Joshua Wong comes to mind, who not only does idiotic, but actually looks idiotic.
Jul 28, 2020 | thebaffler.com
...while every country is different, the signposts tend to be the same. It is worth attending to the characteristics he describes. They should sound familiar:
- In a weak state , basic services such as education and health are privatized; public facilities decline. Infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, shows signs of neglect, particularly outside of major cities. Journalists and civil society activists are harassed. Tensions among ethnic, religious, or linguistic groups increase, but widespread violence does not erupt -- yet.
- In a failing state , a single leader gains control of the legislature, law enforcement, and the judiciary. The leader and his cronies are enriched while ordinary citizens are left without basic services.
- In a failed state , living standards deteriorate rapidly. Citizens feel they exist only to satisfy the ruler's greed and lust for power. The potential for violence increase