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Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy

There is no economics, only political economy, stupid

News Casino Capitalism Recommended Links Bookshelf Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Number racket Neoliberalism 101: 12 best articles on neoliberalism Economism and abuse of economic theory in American politics
Supply Side or Trickle down economics Invisible Hand Hypothesys Efficient Market Hypothesis Monetarism fiasco Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy Hyman Minsky Samuelson's bastard Keynesianism Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo
In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers GDP as a false measure of a country economic output Mathiness Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Think Tanks Enablers Twelve apostles of deregulation Bill Clinton, the founder of "Vichy left"
Free Market Fundamentalism Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Lawrence Summers Corruption of Regulators Glass-Steagall repeal Small government smoke screen Rational expectations scam Free Markets Newspeak
The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Deep State Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Introduction to Lysenkoism Republican Economic Policy Libertarian Philosophy    
John Kenneth Galbraith     History of Casino Capitalism Casino Capitalism Dictionary :-) Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Humor Etc
Is it really necessary for every economist to be brain-dead apologist for the rich and powerful and predatory, in every damn breath?

Bruce Wilder in comments to Clash of Autonomy and Interdependence

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 Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism

How many others are being paid for punditry? Or has the culture of corruption spread so far that the question is, Who isn't?

PAUL KRUGMAN, NYT, December 19, 2005

"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."

Paul Samuelson


Introduction

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)

Rules of disclosure of sources of financing for economic research are non-existent


"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.

"Markets uber alles" or more correctly "Financial oligarchy uber alles"

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. ..."

 


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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.

May 11, 2012 at 1-40 pm

[Aug 09, 2020] Previously the USA was considered to be 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. That gradually changing

Aug 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Aug 8 2020 20:48 utc | 23

karlof1 @13

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] I can't see much distinction between Neoliberalism in its purest form and authoritarian Communism

Aug 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

cranc , says: August 1, 2020 at 12:48 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'.

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: August 1, 2020 at 12:53 pm GMT

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] A Significant Decline Is Coming For The U.S-

Notable quotes:
"... The problem for the US is that China is the world's biggest semiconductor market and biggest chip importer on the world ..."
"... these bans are lose lose situation for both the US and China ..."
"... 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. ..."
"... 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. ..."
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 US
Basically 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.

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.

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 | 7

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.

Kadath , Jul 27 2020 18:46 utc | 8

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.

O , Jul 27 2020 19:10 utc | 16

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.

blum , Jul 27 2020 19:11 utc | 17

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. ;)
http://www.crfb.org/blogs/major-trust-funds-headed-insolvency-within-11-years

Long time not heard anything from Katherine. You feel I should check both her and Corbert on Gates, I suppose?

karlof1 , Jul 27 2020 19:24 utc | 19

Article discussing political fallout from info provided @11.

Andrei @14--

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.

Jackrabbit , Jul 27 2020 20:48 utc | 29

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.

!!

Mark2 , Jul 27 2020 21:13 utc | 39

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.

jadan , Jul 27 2020 21:50 utc | 54

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 22:23 utc | 68

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.html

O , Jul 27 2020 22:28 utc | 69

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.

https://madeinchinajournal.com/2020/05/07/the-end-of-sweatshops-robotisation-and-the-making-of-new-skilled-workers-in-china/


Jackrabbit , Jul 27 2020 22:39 utc | 72

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.

!!

karlof1 , Jul 27 2020 22:59 utc | 74
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.

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.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jul 27 2020 23:00 utc | 75
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.

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.

VietnamVet , Jul 27 2020 23:40 utc | 83

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7Sv_pS8MgQ

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.

Jackrabbit , Jul 28 2020 0:26 utc | 87

VietnamVet | Jul 27 2020 23:40 utc | 83

150,000 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:

  1. 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;

  2. 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 0:37 utc | 89

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.

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 28 2020 1:12 utc | 92

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.

jadan , Jul 28 2020 1:30 utc | 95

@ 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.

Seer , Jul 28 2020 1:40 utc | 96

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...

Cyril , Jul 28 2020 1:43 utc | 98

@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?

Daniel , Jul 28 2020 1:51 utc | 101

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.

O , Jul 28 2020 1:51 utc | 102

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./s

Schmoe , Jul 28 2020 2:04 utc | 105

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.

Peter AU1 , Jul 28 2020 2:54 utc | 108

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.

ptb , Jul 28 2020 2:55 utc | 109

@Schmoe 105
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)


Peter AU1 , Jul 28 2020 3:20 utc | 113

ptb

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.

gepay , Jul 28 2020 3:46 utc | 114

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.

John A Lee , Jul 28 2020 4:04 utc | 115

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.

Peter AU1 , Jul 28 2020 4:31 utc | 116

gepay

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.

Antonym , Jul 28 2020 5:29 utc | 119

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.

aquadraht , Jul 28 2020 5:36 utc | 121

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-BB17bk0t

The 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!

Antonym , Jul 28 2020 5:40 utc | 123

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.

William Gruff , Jul 28 2020 16:19 utc | 160

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.

juliania , Jul 28 2020 16:23 utc | 161

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.

foolisholdman , Jul 28 2020 16:38 utc | 165

O | Jul 27 2020 21:33 utc | 49

https://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.[40] 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".[41] 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.[42][43]

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".[44] 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.[46][47] Guangdong province also announced plans to "professionalize union staff" by taking union representatives off of company payroll to ensure their independence from management influence.

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.
uncle tungsten , Jul 29 2020 2:13 utc | 197

karlof1 #86

IMO, 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.

Antonym , Jul 29 2020 5:07 utc | 198

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
https://wallstreetonparade.com/2020/07/new-york-times-rewrites-the-timeline-of-the-feds-wall-street-bailouts-giving-banks-a-free-pass/

kiwiklown , Jul 29 2020 5:39 utc | 200

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.

class="posted">

[Jul 28, 2020] Near and Present Anarchy by Susan Zakin

Long and incoherent rambling with weak analogies. But some thoughts are interesting
Notable quotes:
"... collapsed state ..."
"... National Affairs ..."
"... über alles ..."
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:

...Rotberg points out that widespread violence, one of the key markers of a failed state, is not in evidence. But as John Comaroff noted, the soft coup of finance can make violence redundant. Rotberg is one of the more conservative voices on state failure, so I was surprised when I asked about the consequences of a second Trump term. He simply said: "Move."

... America's polarization is as much psychological as political, Rauch wrote in National Affairs , echoing John Comaroff's recognition of tribalism as intrinsic to human society. Rauch calls America's polarization neither "ideological or even rational," but deep and atavistic, a sign of the human need for group identity in a fragmented world. "Rebuilding institutions -- and, just as important, noticing and valuing them -- is more important for containing tribalism than pretty much anything that public policy could do," he writes. "And two institutions in particular deserve strengthening: the Republican Party and the Democratic Party."

... With the executive branch cratering and the legislature limping along, citizens seek recourse from the courts -- a trend Comaroff calls "lawfare" -- or become beggars, relying on the whims of billionaires. Neither are a substitute for good government. Start with the courts: since the Reagan years, the pro-business Federalist Society has been stacking the courts, so increasingly these, too, reflect that new system of finance über alles .

... Surprisingly, few have pointed out the parallels to the United States. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's cowboy anti-communism made institutions the enemy, whether government bureaucracies or labor unions. Libertarianism here means freedom for corporations and slavery for everyone else. James Carville's famous dictum on winning elections can be repurposed: it's corruption, stupid.

If American frontier culture is the disease, it may yet hold the cure. Among the self-described political realists, conservative Jospeh Postell's remedies sound the most realistic: grassroots organizing and restoring the power of local government to dispense largesse. In Texas, Beto O'Rourke has been pouring time and resources into just the kind of organizing Postell talks about, a test case that should be watched. The next few years will likely tell us if the old remedies work or if the restoration of America's civil society needs something that goes beyond electoral politics. The worst-case scenario? Politics as we know it may be irrelevant.

... "The United States is a state that is a partially owned commodity of the corporate sector. If that's the definition of a failed state, we are. The state has become analogous to McDonald's. It's a franchise." And what better leader for a nation reduced to a franchise than a puffed up, golf-playing billionaire whose wealth comes in large part from licensing his name? Perhaps, as some scholars are suggesting, the new world order won't be countries at all, but vast trading cities in a sea of ungoverned spaces.

... In his taxonomy of state failure, Rotberg uses a telling phrase to mark the state's decline: losing "the mandate of heaven." This expression, once invoked to describe the divine source of authority for China's rulers, invokes a crisis that is both individual and collective and more powerful for that dual nature.\

... The failure of a state shakes people to their foundations. Downward mobility has bred a hopelessness that's sent rates of suicide and alcoholism skyrocketing.

... Even now, America is more like Sierra Leone than we care to admit, disunited and conflicted, our spirits eaten by cynicism. No longer asking what we can do for our country, the old martial definition of the state has given way to the description of war-torn Sierra Leone by London School of Economics professor David Keen: "a war where one avoids battles but picks on unarmed civilians and perhaps eventually acquires a Mercedes may make more sense . . . [than] risking death in the name of the nation-state with little or no prospect of significant financial gain."

Susan Zakin is the editor of Journal of the Plague Year . She is the author of several books, including Coyotes and Town Dogs: Earth First! and the Environmental Movement and Waiting for Charlie. More of her writing can be found at www.susanzakin.com .

[Jul 27, 2020] A Significant Decline Is Coming For The U.S-

Jul 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A Significant Decline Is Coming For The U.S.

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 US
Basically 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.

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.

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


james , Jul 27 2020 18:10 utc | 1

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...

bob sykes , Jul 27 2020 18:20 utc | 2
There is a serious insurrection underway in the US, and it is between the children of the white elites. This insurrection has completely coopted Black Lives Matter, and BLM and its issues have faded into irrelevancy. The struggle among the white elites exemplifies Peter Turchin of excess elite production and the ensuing turmoil as elitistis struggle among themselves for power.

Most of the rioters are maoists, and when the winners take over the US will have a maoist dictatorship, complete with a Mao-communist and Green economy. If Russia and China merely stand aside, they will come to dominate the world.

ptb , Jul 27 2020 18:26 utc | 3
Quibble on the significance of US dollar; from the cited article "Roach is calling for the dollar to soon decline 35% against its major rivals". That would take the EURUSD back to its 2008 high. Not something that changes the balance of power.

But I think the rest of the story is true.

Certainly in the US we have everything we need to reverse our decline, build a better life for everyone living here, and stop trying to "compete" by sabotaging everyone else. Sadly zero sign of this being a priority on either side of the mainstream political spectrum.

oglalla , Jul 27 2020 18:27 utc | 4
Where does anyone get these numbers about military spend as a % of gdp? Have you listened to Katherine Austin Fitts on Corbett Report?
JohninMK , Jul 27 2020 18:27 utc | 5
UK life expectancy decline is pretty much down to bad diet and a growing number of fat and diabetic people. Plus those of us and our parents, who had rationing, organic and good diets prior to 1960 are starting to die off.
Christian J. Chuba , Jul 27 2020 18:32 utc | 6
Covid19 winners / losers as I mentioned an expert who writes for a financial publication made a reasonable list
Winner: Germany - will the rest of the EU notice that Germany has one of the closest relationships to China and that the countries closest to the U.S. are losers? (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico)

--------------------------------------------------
Covid19 is starting to gut Iran again, I hope China (or Russia) step in to help them more ... https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/daily-covid-deaths-per-million-7-day-average?country=USA~IRN

--------------------------------------------------
Trump has quit on Covid19 and is pretending to take it serious. I think the narrative of, 'a vaccine will be ready soon in the meantime compare it to automobile accidents' is still more or less the playbook. I'm not saying it is going to work, I just don't see anything serious going on other than posturing.

O , Jul 27 2020 18:34 utc | 7
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.

Kadath , Jul 27 2020 18:46 utc | 8
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.

Anonymous , Jul 27 2020 18:48 utc | 9
Well... Canadian analyst, David Prince, seems to think that currency is key, and the shift to the Euro from the USD is significant. "I've always felt that if you want to see where the big shifts are happening, it's at the currency level," he remarks.

We live on the same continent with this train wreck so, perhaps, have a vested interest in this topic.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/investors-move-away-from-the-u-s-dollar-as-uncertainty-ramps-up-in-america-david-prince~2001753

On Roach's comments, when a Yale University senior fellow and former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman tells you that the USD is about to drop precipitously, you can bet he's working behind the scenes to make that exact event happen. Of course it's logical. He's part of the creation of the chain of logic.

O , Jul 27 2020 18:51 utc | 10
On Roach's comments, when a Yale University senior fellow and former Morgan Stanley Asia chairman tells you that the USD is about to drop precipitously, you can bet he's working behind the scenes to make that exact event happen. Of course it's logical. He's part of the creation of the chain of logic.
Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 27 2020 18:48 utc | 9

Bingo! Engineered collapse under the guise of a fake pandemic.

karlof1 , Jul 27 2020 18:54 utc | 11
Nice review. Recall Global Times reported China's GDP rose 3.2% in 2Q versus a 5-9% drop for Outlaw US Empire. Also recall the need to deal with Real GDP, not the falsified numbers provided by USG that count negatives as positives. The following are Shadowstats "Economic Headlines" :

"Second-quarter 2020 Real New Orders for Durable Goods plunged an annualized 55% (-55%), down 22% (-22%) year-to-year / June Cass Freight Index® continued bottom-bouncing, running counter to the 'recovered' Retail Sales / June Building Permits and Housing Starts saw some rebound in the month having collapsed respectively at annualized rates of 56% (-56%) and 76% (-76%) in the quarter / Not-credible inflation-adjusted headline June Retail Sales recovered pre-Pandemic levels in a stronger than expected real 6.9% monthly gain (nominal sales gain of 7.5% held just shy of recovery) / Contracting for the third consecutive quarter, second-quarter real Retail Sales fell at a 24.2% (-24.2%) annualized pace / On top of downside revisions, June Industrial Production gained 5.4% in the month, fell 10.8% (-10.8%) year-to-year, with Second-Quarter 2020 activity collapsing at a 42.6% (-42.6%) annualized pace, following a first quarter drop of 6.8% (-6.8%)."

From the sidebar comment of 23 July:

"Reporting of Deepest-Ever GDP Decline Looms on July 30th • Annualized 49.1% (-49.1%) Quarterly Plunge in Household Survey Employed Was Consistent With a Real Second-Quarter 2020 GDP Annualized Collapse of 50% (-50%) and Year-to-Year Drop of 16.1% (-16.1%) • Potential Third-Quarter 2020 GDP Annualized 20% Rebound Still Would Be Down 12.7% (-12.7%) Year-to-Year, Rivaling Great Depression Depths and Post-World War II Readjustment."

Although it's yet to be updated for 2Q figures, here's the GDP chart , which in Real Terms is worse than the blue line depicts

So, contrary to JR's assertions, the Outlaw US Empire is in economic freefall. And unless the eviction moratorium is extended nationally, a massive crisis awaits as noted by the article I linked to in the Week in Review thread. Add the fact that most of China's ASEAN trade partners have recovered from COVID while BRI Eurasian projects continue, China's economy will continue to grow, which is where its focus is at as reiterated almost daily by China's media and reported here.

As for the US Dollar, this William Pesek item reviews the many times it was predicted to drown but didn't, although this time may be different:

"More recently, Stephen Roach of Yale University has hit the speaking circuit to argue that the 'TINA defense' – 'there is no alternative' – is no longer operative.

"'If TINA is the dollar's only hope, look out below,' Roach wrote in a recent Bloomberg column . 'America's saving and current-account problems are about to come into play with a vengeance. And the rest of the world is starting to look less bad.

"'Yes, a weaker dollar would boost US competitiveness, but only for a while. Notwithstanding the hubris of American exceptionalism, no leading nation has ever devalued its way to sustained prosperity.""

There're others cited by Pesek who provide decent reasoning for downgrading the dollar which he balances against past history, thus leading to this conclusion:

"Yet the risk of a reckoning is rising along with awareness of how the Trump era is exacerbating all of America's imbalances, and creating new ones few could have predicted."

What's certain--a great many US citizens are going to experience incredible financial pain for a considerable length of time, which may or may not alter the basic political situation within the Outlaw US Empire.

Anonymous , Jul 27 2020 18:59 utc | 12
Also, on the subject of currency, a reminder that UK does not use the USD or the Euro, but the Pound Sterling, so sweeping them into talks of US decline or European growth based on currency is likely inaccurate.
Josh , Jul 27 2020 19:01 utc | 13
With all respect for the honest attention and detailed data analysis that goes into these, umm, assesments and communications...
The covid action is finished.
The attack was immediately contained, and neutralized.
The Eastern Alliance has not been deterred or defeated, and the Western Block is currently eating its own shit.
Frankly, they and their collaborators deserve it.
Will peace now be made, or will the obvious provocateurs make another push for whatever they thought they would gain by this (and other acts of aggression and terrorism)?
Andrei Martyanov , Jul 27 2020 19:01 utc | 14
2019 China 1,27 times bigger in GDP/PPP

Absolutely false numbers since actual Chinese economy is much larger than American one. With or w/o PPP adjustments. I would go out on a limb here and state that at this stage in 2020 real size of Chinese economy is about 2.5-3 times larger than that of the US. In other words--it already dwarfs US economy.

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)

These are also meaningless numbers since they do not account for actual military capability, especially when based on a fraudulent US GDP numbers. 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.

james , Jul 27 2020 19:04 utc | 15
@ 8 kadath... thanks... i see it much the same as you which is why i conclude that although it is a lose-lose in the short term, it works out differently in the long term... germany is a good country to focus on with nordstream... i can't see it working out long term for the usa at this point.. short term it might seem even, but longer term the one with the longer range vision which seems to be china here - is in the ascendancy... these are more bumps on the road to it's leadership into the later part of the 21st century.. @ 11 karlof1's post seems to back this up as well..
O , Jul 27 2020 19:10 utc | 16
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.
blum , Jul 27 2020 19:11 utc | 17
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. ;)
http://www.crfb.org/blogs/major-trust-funds-headed-insolvency-within-11-years

Long time not heard anything from Katherine. You feel I should check both her and Corbert on Gates, I suppose?

winston2 , Jul 27 2020 19:22 utc | 18
You're missing an elephant in the room.
Dr.Mark Skidmore confirmed by Catherine Austin Fitts discovered it by monitoring UST rollovers.
The US national debt is not the claimed $26.5trn, its somewhere between $90-$126trn from the rollover volume.
How that fraud was committed is still being investigated,could be as simple as duplicated UST issues with the same cuspids,but it puts a whole different complexion on USD viability.
karlof1 , Jul 27 2020 19:24 utc | 19
Article discussing political fallout from info provided @11.

Andrei @14--

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.

O , Jul 27 2020 19:25 utc | 20
Are We Heading for a Historic Economic Collapse? Why the U.S. GDP Could Fall by 40%.

"The most horrific number I've seen is J.P. Morgan economists' estimate that U.S. gross domestic product is collapsing at a 40% annual rate, a revision from their previous calculation of 25%. It has been said that economists use decimal points in their forecasts to show they have a sense of humor. These numbers are nothing to joke about."
https://www.barrons.com/articles/is-the-economy-going-to-crash-because-of-coronavirus-how-quickly-will-the-economy-revive-51586560301

If JP Morgan, Gold Sacks and other major asset managers are betting on this 'bear' you can be damn certain that they are doing everything in their power to make it a reality. They will shakedown every gutless, spineless politician/health official/scientist they can find to ensure their profits keep rolling in.

vk , Jul 27 2020 19:35 utc | 21
Yes, the conclusion we must take from this crisis is that the USA (and most of the West, if not all the West) is now declining in absolute terms, not only in relative ones. That's what makes this 2020 crisis special for the time period analyzed.

Relative decline is nothing special for the Americans. During the High Cold War itself (1945-1969), the USA itself declined relatively to Japan, which simply grew even more. You can even talk about a relative decline in relation to Germany during the same period, at least in some areas. The difference lied in the fact that Germany and Japan were minuscule countries under full military control and were fellow capitalist nations. When necessity came, the USA simply ordered both countries to value their currencies in relation to the USD and decades of geopolitical gain evaporated in five years. This is not the case with China.

But what fascinates me more is the flux of History. The USSR was better than China in almost every single relevant aspect in the 1950s-1960s, but it lost the Cold War because it had the bad luck to face the capitalist powers at their historical best. China, being much inferior, is being able to gain terrain over the capitalist powers for more than 40 years and counting for the simple fact they were able to survive and live to see capitalism in its decline.

That's why Putin correctly stated the end of the USSR was the biggest catastrophe of the 20th Century. If it could survive for mere 17 years more, it would've lived to face capitalism on all fours, after the 2008 meltdown, and get a second chance.

O , Jul 27 2020 19:56 utc | 22
China, being much inferior, is being able to gain terrain over the capitalist powers for more than 40 years and counting for the simple fact they were able to survive and live to see capitalism in its decline.
Posted by: vk | Jul 27 2020 19:35 utc | 21

I would say it was that China began opening itself up more to capitalist oligarchs and intergrating itself into the world economy beginning with the Nixon years. In particular the western oligarchs shipping their manufacturing base to china. That cheap Chinese labor was too hard to pass up.

The engine of capitalism is cheap labor, slave labor if possible.

Now China has a decent size consumerist/middle class which gives it the leverage along with the manufacturing. It not magic


Digital Spartacus , Jul 27 2020 20:03 utc | 23
Andrei @ 14

Exactly so. Anyone can massage those data points to say anything they want. And that is precisely what's being done by the USG. Since admitting that they are in decline is a non starter for them, these types of numbers are always trotted out. That isn't to say though, that everybody isn't massaging their numbers as well to cast them in a shining light for whomever the audience for which it is intended.

[Jul 26, 2020] Stress Test of a Straining Superpower

Jul 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

How great a burden can even an unrivaled superpower carry before it buckles and breaks? We may be about to find out.

Rome was the superpower of its time, ruling for centuries almost the entirety of what was then called the civilized world.Great Britain was a superpower of its day, but she bled, bankrupted and broke herself in the Thirty Years War of the West from 1914-1945.

By Winston Churchill's death in 1965, the empire had vanished, and Britain was being invaded by a stream of migrants from its former colonies.

America was the real superpower of the 20th century and became sole claimant to that title with the collapse of the Soviet Union between 1989 and 1991, an event Vladimir Putin called "the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century."

Has America's turn come? Is America breaking under the burdens it has lately assumed and is attempting to carry?

Today, at the presidential library of Richard Nixon, who ushered Mao's China onto the world stage, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is laying out a strategy of containment and confrontation of a China that is far more the equal of the USA than was the USSR.

Writes Hudson's Institute's Arthur Herman:

"In the 1960s, manufacturing made up 25% of U.S. gross domestic product. It's barely 11% today. More than five million American manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000."

China controls the production of 97% of the antibiotics upon which the lives of millions of Americans depend. She provides critical components in the production chains of U.S. weapons systems.

Beijing commands more warships than the U.S. Navy and holds a trillion dollars in U.S. debt. Moscow never had this kind of hold on us.

Writes Herman: "Since 2000, America's defense industry has shed more than 20,000 U.S.-based manufacturing companies. As the work those companies once did domestically has shifted overseas, much of it has gone to China. From rare-earth metals and permanent magnets to high-end electronic components and printed circuit boards, the Pentagon has slowly become dependent on Chinese industrial output. Asia produces 90% of the world's circuit boards -- more than half of them in China. The U.S. share of global circuit-board production has fallen to 5%."

Decoupling from China and re-industrializing America would be an immense undertaking. But unless and until we do it, we remain vulnerable.

Another decades-long struggle, this time with China, like the Cold War that consumed so much of our attention and wealth from the 1940s to 1991, is not the only challenge America faces.

Through NATO, the U.S. is still the principal protector of almost 30 European nations. And despite Donald Trump's promise to end our forever wars, 8,500 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, 5,000 in Iraq, hundreds in Syria, thousands more in Kuwait and Bahrain.

There are other huge new claims on America's time, attention and resources. Some 145,000 Americans have perished in five months of the coronavirus pandemic, more U.S. dead than all the Americans soldiers lost in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A thousand Americans are dying every day, a higher daily death toll than in World War II and the Civil War combined.

The U.S. economy has been thrust into something approaching a second Depression. The 2020 deficit runs into the trillions of dollars. Our national debt is now far larger than our GDP and soaring. Tens of millions are unemployed. And the shutdowns are beginning anew.

From the protests, riots, rampages and statue-smashing of the last two months, it is apparent that millions of Americans detest our history and heroes. Though nowhere in recorded time have 42 million people of African descent achieved the measures of freedom and prosperity they have in the USA, we are daily admonished that ours is a rotten and sick society whose every institution is shot through with "systemic racism."

The racial divisions are almost as ugly as during the riots of the 1960s in Harlem, Watts, Newark and 100 cities that exploded after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

In the numbers of citizens now shot and killed every week, great American cities such as Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit and Chicago are looking more like Baghdad.

The Democratic Party is promising to take up the issue of racial reparations for our original sin of slavery. The first order of business, we are told, is ending inequality -- of income, wealth, educational attainment and health care. The racial disparity in police arrests, prosecutions, incarcerations and school expulsions, must end.

But if the trillions we have spent to address these inequalities since the Great Society days have failed to make greater progress, why should we believe that we even know how to succeed, absent the imposition of a rigid socialist egalitarianism of results?

The Old Republic is facing a stress test unlike any it has known since the Union was threatened with dissolution in the Civil War.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."


peter mcloughlin 3 days ago

The greatest challenge for the US is avoiding war with China. "Decoupling" and "re-industrializing America" are, as Pat Buchanan says, not easy. Furthermore, both countries need to create jobs and wealth for their peoples – but also export markets. The aims of national prosperity have them on course for war. This is not a new cold war: it's worse. Today's China "is far more the equal of the USA than was the USSR". It is unwilling to abandon the strides it has made in the last forty years. Russia is weaker than its Soviet predecessor, yet has a massive nuclear arsenal. What it does not have today is a buffer zone, without which faces an existential threat in a war with NATO. History warns that when the core interests of nations (commercial or security) clash the outcome is war, in this case world war, unless those interests can be accommodated.

https://www.ghostsofhistory...

TheSnark 2 days ago

Many historians say that the Roman republic collapsed because the demands of running the empire it had built unleashed forces that the republican institutions could not contain. The result was several decades of unrest and civil war, ending with the imposition of one-man rule. While that maintained the empire, the old institutions of the republic, like the Senate, became hollow shells, only for show.

alan TheSnark 2 days ago

Does the current state of America remind you of Rome, between 235 and 285 AD?

TheSnark alan a day ago

More like 150 BC 100 BC. The empire was already there, but it was a huge strain on the institutions of the Republic. After 100 BC those strains resulted in massive unrest and outright civil war until Augustus finally consolidated one-man rule. After that, Rome as an empire lasted several more centuries. But it was no longer a Republic.

I just hope we can learn a bit from history and not make the same mistakes.

FL Transplant TheSnark 10 hours ago

"Running the Empire" and "Imperial Overreach" have little to do with the sorry state of America today. The defense budget is a small fraction of federal spending/GDP, especially when compared to the past 80 years. With a national grand strategy based on something other than "play ball with us or we'll ram the bat down your throat" we could reduce it further. The nuclear deterrant is surprisingly cheap, even as a portion of the defense budget. Our federal deficit and debt aren't due to defense spending.

Same with the domestic economy. Manufacturing has declined substantially as a percentage of the labor force--because weve gotten incredibly productive when compared to the past. SUre, we've lost millions of manufacturingjobs--because those jobs have been replaced by automation, productivity through JIT, supply chain management, the emphasis on quality that's essential for JIT and the Toyota Production System, and much better design. Losing manufacturing jobs is like complaining about all the phone operators and Yellow Pages printers who no longer have jobs.

If you want to complain about an inefficient industry that sucks the lifeblood out of the economy because of unneeded overhead, fragmented structure, and excessive costs you could begin with health care which consumes about 18% of the total GDP--greatly in excess of comparable economices which have better outcomes for theri reduced costs. You could adress how the economy is providing ever-increasing returns for an ever-diminishing slice of out population. You could address how predatory capitalism and financial engineering has become more important than actually producing goods and services. But doing all that would mark you as a leftist hell-bent on taking oaway our freedoms for some socialist state, no?

HVac Archon79 19 hours ago

Slavery has been over for five or six generations and tickets on a steamship or plane to Africa have been available the whole time.

T Clark 2 days ago

So, this is the greatest threat to the US since the Civil War. Greater than the Depression. Greater than World War II. Bologna. That one of the most prominant right-wing writers would say that shows the lack of perspective and seriousness of today's conservatives. The American Conservative is supposed to be the place I can go to hear reasonable arguments from a conservative perspective. In the past few months, many of it's usually credible writers have shown they are full of fear and bitterness as they thrash around wildly.

stephen pickard T Clark 2 days ago

And did you notice that Buchanan threw in his evil toxic immigration sickness when referring to Grest Britian. Surprised that he didn't make us more fearful of that continuing to happen here. No problem is too small to relate it to our immigration policies.

If we could just keep those people out of the US we could sleep at night. The biggie man is out side wanting to get into your bedroom.

HVac stephen pickard 19 hours ago

It would be "evil and toxic" for indigenous British to object to their systematic demographic replacement by third world worlders? Evil and toxic for the English to object to being dispossessed in their own homeland? Good to know. Note to self: if leftists say you should love being replaced by third worlders you should love being replaced by third worlders because reasons.

alan 2 days ago

All this country need do, first and foremost, is shed the pretensions of hegemonic primacy and Empire.

HVac 19 hours ago

" and Britain was being invaded by a stream of migrants from its former colonies."

Oh, it wasn't just invaded. The demographic replacement was gleefully enabled and encouraged by the white leftists, who hate their own race, genocidally despise non-leftist whites, and seek to enact some kind of sick, sadistic morality play of "revenge" and "payback" on their own race, based on the leftist kindergarten-level of understanding of history.

Something something something "only white people did slavery" or something. White leftists murdered the West, and they did it with a big psychotic grin on their face all the while believing they were doing the work of "justice".

No relative or even yourself, dying of cancer, could ever be sadder and more depressing than the front row seat we've had to the murder of the West. It wasn't a suicide, it was a murder. Hopefully China purges the white leftists and liquidates them. The white leftist may have vanquished their non-leftist white enemy, but they will not be permitted to rule over their LGBT polyglot totalitarian paradise for long. For this reason I look to China, they will one day slay the murderers of the West and bring them to justice. I can die in peace knowing that the white leftists will face ruination eventually, for their crimes.

Heng Onn 10 hours ago

https://news.harvard.edu/ga...

Time is not on America's side. The entire nation has been destroyed from within. It is fragmented, disillusioned and impoverished. Wealth is controlled by 1% and congress is run like a circus. This is in contrast to China where the majority of the people are Han Chinese who are unified behind the Beijing government especially due to the belligerence of the Trump regime. When asked for their choice of US consulate to close, most Chinese chose Hong Kong. It is seen as a CIA hornet nest, responsible for the destabilization and subversion of Hong Kong. America cannot compete against China. This is why Pompeo is urgently provoking war against China. It is America's only hope. If it can launch a preemptive nuclear strike on China, that will remove America's worst nightmare.

HVac Heng Onn 9 hours ago

You support the abortion holocaust. Leftists/liberals have murdered 60 million pre-born babies since their activist judges gave women a license to kill their children:

This is the true morality of the caring, diversity and human rights supporting left, look at it, look at leftism:

Dr.Diprospan 8 hours ago

I don't think America is more rotten and sick than any other country in the world.

Perhaps Patrick Buchanan is simply accepting the fight for illness.

History was taught to me as the unity and struggle of opposites, as a continuous struggle for power between progressive and reactionary (conservative) forces, as a change of day and night. The current moment in history is more like twilight or dawn, thanks to the diversity, mosaicism, ambiguity of society, both in the United States and in other countries of the world.

The unfolding political struggle between the American Democrats and the Republicans created their own fans for each of the parties in different countries.

Russia and China are no exception: in both countries there are forces that sympathize with both American Republicans and Democrats.

I remember the beginning of Donald Trump's presidency by promises to make America great again, to get along with the Russians, to drain the swamp.

Indeed, President Trump has noticeably revitalized the national economy. he initiated a reformatting in trade with China, lowered the degree of confrontation with Russia.

The question is how he wanted to drain the swamp and not get sick with swamp fever? All efforts of Donald Trump have gone to waste due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Russian President Medvedev, now holding the post of Assistant to the President for National Security, recently said that he fears a full-scale nuclear war because of the activities of some biological laboratories.

His words reminded me of the dark story of the virology laboratory in Wuhan, which was overseen by an American Harvard professor.

Something tells me that this professor was not a Republican and an ardent supporter of the current president of America ..

[Jul 26, 2020] Alan Sabrosky thinks that America Headed for Civil War, by Kevin Barrett

Jul 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Piglet , says: July 26, 2020 at 1:45 pm GMT

@American Citizen 2.0 new cars, etc. Life in America was fantastic. Everyone got air conditioning and new TVs. We launched the "Great Society" programs and lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty.

I lived through that era and saw something very different. It was a time of tremendous cultural conflict and there are those who say we came close to having a civil war within the country. There were massive demonstrations in Washington and, when MLK was shot, cities all across the country went up in flames. As for the Great Society, ghettos remained ghettos, as the nature of orcs had not changed, despite how much taxpayer money was thrown at the orcs.

Anonymous [191] Disclaimer , says: July 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm GMT
@American Citizen 2.0 ds up, don't shoot" allowing Antifa and BLM combatants to do what's been working so well in the cities? My guess is the first order of business once Biden abjures to his homicidally anti-White black female VP will be deputizing, not the police, but leftover ACORN, Black Panther, BLM, and Antifas according to Obama's announcement that we will get a domestic "security force" as well armed, as numerous, and as well-funded as the military's 1.1 million members. One thing I picked up from Camp of the Saints is the strategy of using indoctrinated school children to line the streets during the invasions, waving BLM flags and their little essays denouncing themselves and their parents as not worth living.
KenH , says: July 26, 2020 at 2:35 pm GMT

Sabrosky said that people like Mattis, McMaster and General Kelly could have helped Trump better handle the rioting but he needs to explain himself since Mattis sided with the rioters and I wouldn't be surprised if the other two did as well. Most of the U.S. military brass is corrupt and partially woke evidenced by their war on confederate symbols and need to hang in the gallows.

Barrett's claim that whites shouldn't get all worked up about black on white crime because the vast majority of crime is black on black ignores the fact that when it comes to interracial crimes 83% is black on white and adjusted for population percentages blacks are over 20 times more likely to commit a violent crime against whites.

On average blacks commit just over 500K violent crimes against whites every year while whites commit less than 100K against blacks. This trend has persisted for decades so it's impossible to ignore nor should we. If this metric was reversed then every left wing politician and left wing media outlet would be screaming from the rooftops.

Or as shown in the updated, 2016 Color of Crime Report by Amren:
In 2013, of the approximately 660,000 crimes of interracial violence that involved blacks and whites, blacks were the perpetrators 85 percent of the time. This meant a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa. A Hispanic was eight times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa.
https://www.amren.com/archives/reports/the-color-of-crime-2016-revised-edition/

[Jul 25, 2020] the Minsky moment, which can kill the empire

Jul 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

TeraByte , 14 hours ago

"Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance."
This however is the Minsky moment, which can kill the empire, prioritizing warfare = War Communism that killed the Soviet. US cannot avert such a fate and a collapse may be as rapid and spectacular. AOC´s 12 year's dead line was a laugh, but this one much closer is a real challenge. You cannot have a functional society largely based on activities of blowing up other nations´ citizens.
Killing one Daesh terrorist required one ton explosives. How about air delivery cost, all other items plus sundries. This is the game, where everything citizens can contribute vanishes into one single black hole where nothing becomes retrievable ever after.

[Jul 21, 2020] Why We Shouldn't Believe Polling About Trump by Lord Pettigrew

Highly recommended!
If not this also about conformism? Social desirability == conformism.
Notable quotes:
"... Mark Twain is credited with introducing into the American vernacular the phrase, "Lies, damned lies and statistics." One of the pervasive damned lies people take for granted is the results of political polls, especially in the Trump era. Most polls show him behind several of the myriad candidates vying to represent Democrats in the 2020 election. But the American Association for Public Opinion Research confirms that "national polls in 2016 tended to under-estimate Trump's support significantly more than Clinton's." ..."
"... Social desirability is a concept first advanced by psychologist Allen L. Edwards in 1953. It advances the idea that when asked about an issue in a social setting, people will always answer in a socially desirable manner whether or not they really believe it. Political polling, whether by telephone or online, is a social setting. Respondents know that there is an audience who are posing the questions and monitoring their response. As a result, despite a respondent's true belief, many will answer polling questions in what may appear to be a more socially desirable way, or not answer at all. ..."
Jul 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Why We Shouldn't Believe Polling About Trump

Authored by Lord Pettigrew, op-ed via Townhall.com,

Many conservatives are concerned about polling results regarding conservative issues, especially about President Trump. For example, the latest CNN poll found that 51% of voters believe the president should be impeached. How much credence should conservatives give these polls?

Mark Twain is credited with introducing into the American vernacular the phrase, "Lies, damned lies and statistics." One of the pervasive damned lies people take for granted is the results of political polls, especially in the Trump era. Most polls show him behind several of the myriad candidates vying to represent Democrats in the 2020 election. But the American Association for Public Opinion Research confirms that "national polls in 2016 tended to under-estimate Trump's support significantly more than Clinton's."

We are inundated with the latest polling on President Trump's approval rating and how people are likely to vote in the 2020 election. Both bode poorly for the president, but he doesn't believe them and neither should we. As an academic, I ran a research center that conducted local, state-wide and national public opinion polls and took a year's leave of absence from my university to work for Lou Harris, founder of the Harris Poll.

Social Desirability

The reason why we shouldn't believe most of the current or future polling results about President Trump can be summarized in two words: Social Desirability.

Social desirability is a concept first advanced by psychologist Allen L. Edwards in 1953. It advances the idea that when asked about an issue in a social setting, people will always answer in a socially desirable manner whether or not they really believe it. Political polling, whether by telephone or online, is a social setting. Respondents know that there is an audience who are posing the questions and monitoring their response. As a result, despite a respondent's true belief, many will answer polling questions in what may appear to be a more socially desirable way, or not answer at all.

When it comes to President Trump, the mainstream media and academics have led us to believe that it is not socially desirable (or politically correct) to support him. When up against such sizable odds, most conservatives will do one of three things:

1) Say we support someone else when we really support the president (lie);

2) tell the truth despite the social undesirability of that response;

3) Not participate in the poll (nonresponse bias).

This situation has several real consequences for Trump polling. First, for those in the initial voter sample unwilling to participate, the pollster must replace them with people willing to take the poll. Assuming this segment is made up largely of pro-Trump supporters, finding representative replacements can be expensive, time-consuming and doing so increases the sampling error rate (SER) while decreasing the validity of the poll. Sampling error rate is the gold standard statistic in polling. It means that the results of a particular poll will vary by no more than + x% than if the entire voter population was surveyed. All else being equal, a poll with a sampling error rate of + 2% is more believable than one of + 4% because it has a larger sample. Immediate polling on issues like President Trump's impeachment may provide support to journalists with a point of view to broadcast, but with a small sample and high sampling error rates, the results aren't worthy of one's time and consideration.

Some political pollsters often get around the necessity of repeated sampling over the course of an election by forming a panel of people who match the demographics (party affiliation, age, gender, race, location, etc.) of registered voting public. Polling companies often compensate panel members and use them across the entire election cycle. Such panels are still subject to the effects of social desirability and initial substitution error.

Interpretive Bias

Another factor to consider is the institution that is conducting the poll and those reporting the data. Their progressive sensibilities are thumbing the scale of truth. In my experience, polls conducted by media companies are less credible since they are often guilty of the same biases seen in their news reports. The perfect example of this is The New York Times's " Poll Watch ," which provides a weekly review of their political poll. My experience is that it reflects strongly the Times's negative opinions about President Trump and conservative ideas and the paper's heavy political bias.

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Even the Harris Poll, when Lou was alive, suffered somewhat from this bias. Lou Harris was the first person to conduct serious political polling on a national level and is credited with giving John Kennedy the competitive advantage over Richard Nixon in the 1960 election. He made political polling de require for future elections. While many people point to Nixon's twelve o'clock shadow during the televised debate, Harris gave Kennedy the real competitive advantage -- a more complete grasp of what issues voters thought were most important and how to tailor his policy pitches toward that end.

I worked for Lou between 1999-2000. During the election season we would get the daily tab read-outs. While the results were pristine, Lou would interpret those numbers on NPR and in other media in a way that showed his clear Democrat bias. His wishful thinking that Al Gore would beat George W. Bush would color his interpretation of what the numbers meant. In the end, by a razon thin margin, Bush took the White House and Gore was relegated to inconvenient environmental truths. Similarly, the 2016 election saw Trump beat favorite Hillary Clinton by a significant electoral margin, despite the vast majority of polls giving Mrs. Clinton the edge by between 3-5%.

Where We Go from Here

Public opinion polling is generally not junk science although with some companies it can be. Companies like Gallup and Pew consistently do a good job of chronicling political opinion in America. At issue is the fact that these polling stalwarts don't work for media companies and use large national samples from current voter rolls; they also tend to not put their thumbs on the interpretation of data. President Trump is a president unlike any other and most of his supporters don't participate in political polls. Even Trump's own pollsters were surprised by his 2016 win. We would do well during these fractured times to ignore political opinion polls for they will continue to be much to do about nothing.

Just be sure to vote your conscience and that is nobody's opinion but your own. AntiSocial , 5 hours ago

The polls are skewed, intentionally by the pollsters and unintentionally by anyone with the common sense not to identify as a Trump supporter.

Would you tell the Nazi Party questioner you were anti - Nazi? How do you feel about Josef Stalin might be the last question someone would ever answer. Trump people have an overwhelmingly justified reason to keep it to themselves. Especially in the age of digital record keeping, and Neo fascism on the Left.

Trump vs: a man whose brain is dying should be a landslide, and could be. BUT the democrats have succeeded in making the entire population sick to death of hearing about Trump Is The Devil.

People en masse are not very intelligent and generally do what everyone else is doing, whatever it is. This time they may know instinctively that the Biden regime will be American history's biggest failure but they just don't want to hear about Trump anymore, or Covid, or BLM, and will vote for Biden making just hoping to make it all go away. After that they will find that when you make mistakes on purpose you usually get what you deserve.

Hawkenschpitt , 6 hours ago

There is another bias besides the article's "interpretive bias." I call it "assumption bias."

I am one of those whom Pew samples on a regular basis, and across a wide range of issues. In responding to their queries, I have in the back of my mind how I perceive my responses are going to show up in the aggregations and the public reporting. It certainly is a consideration when the survey question is double-edged. For example, given a series of questions surrounding my perceptions of "climate change" overlooks the wide variance of what is exactly meant by climate change: are the questions related to the natural dynamism of the earth's climate, or are they surrogates for Anthropogenic Global Warming? Their questions assume an agreed-upon definition, and my responses will vary, depending upon what I perceive to be the underlying basis to the series of questions. This introduces a bias in my responses.

A recent poll had a series of questions about my activities during these coronavirus lock-downs: e.g. how does the lock-down affect various of my activities (charitable donations, volunteer services, neighborly assistance)? Do I do more? Less? About the same? The wording of the questions shows that they had made an underlying, but false, assumption that the coronavirus affects my actions.

At the end of every Pew survey, they ask whether I perceived bias in the questions; they also allow comments on the survey. I take them to task when I encounter these kind of things. I can only hope that they take my remarks under consideration for their next efforts.

Homer E. Rectus , 6 hours ago

This article spends most of its words trying to convince us that polls are junk science and then says Pew and Gallup are not. How are they not also junk if they fail to get truthful answers?

isocratic , 6 hours ago

You have to be really special to trust polls after 2016.

Im4truth4all , 9 hours ago

Polls are just another example of the propaganda...

DrBrown314 , 10 hours ago

Public polls have been rubbish for decades. They average a 0.9% response rate. That is not a random sample folks. If only 1 person in 100 will agree to take a poll you have a self selecting sample. Pure garbage. The pollsters have resorted to using "invitation" polling on the internet and claim this is a probability sample. It is not. It too is rubbish. But you already knew that because of what the polls said in 2016 and what actually happened. qed.

Alice-the-dog , 10 hours ago

Not to mention that I'm sure there are many like me, who has lied profusely in answer to every polling call I've gotten ever since I became eligible to vote in 1972. In fact, I strongly suspect that Trump voters are the most likely demographic to do so.

The Herdsman , 11 hours ago

Bottom line; the polls are fake. We already saw this movie in 2016, we know how it ends. Back in 2016 you might be fooled by the polls but we already know empirically that they are rigged. We literally saw it all with our own eyes.... never let anyone talk you out of what you saw.

Ex-Oligarch , 11 hours ago

This article gives way too much credit to the pollsters.

Polls are constructed to produce a desired result. The respondents selected and the questions asked are designed to produce that result.

If they do not produce that result, the data can be altered. No one polices this sort of manipulation, formally or informally.

Adding spin to the result when it is "interpreted" is only the last step. The narrative promoted in this article that pollsters are honest social scientists carried away by unconscious biases is a crock.

We have seen articles blaming the respondents for the failures of pollsters over and over again. This narrative that Trump voters are ashamed of supporting him and so lie to the pollsters is just more spin designed to make republicans look insincere, amoral and devious.

Hook-Nosed Swede , 12 hours ago

Mark Twain was quoting Benjamin Disraeli and admitted he wasn't sure the PM actually ever used that phrase. Incidentally, Twain threw his Confederate uniform away and headed West in the middle of America's Civil War. I don't see support for Jefferson Davis or Abraham Lincoln there.

whatisthat , 12 hours ago

I would observe every intelligent and experienced person knows that political based polling data is suspect to corruption and used as propaganda...

hootowl , 13 hours ago

Political and media polls are used to persuade people to vote for the demonunists by purposely exaggerating the numbers of demonunists in their polling samples to deceive the public in order to try to swing the vote to the demonunists and/or to dissuqade conservatives into believing it is futile to vote because the demonunists are too numerous to overcome.

Ignore the political polls because they are largely conducted by paid liars, manipulators, and propagandists. The 2020 presidential election is easy to assess. Do you want to elect a senile, old , treasonous, crook and his family into the WH; or a man, who may, at times make you a little upset with his abrasive rhetoric, but can be trusted to do what he thinks is best for his fellow Americans, while he is continuously beset by the worst political cadre of communists, demonunists, lying MSM/academia, and anti-American deep state crooks in the history of our great republic.

Gold Banit , 13 hours ago

This is the end for the corrupt racist DemoRat party.

The DemoRats and their fake news media are in a panic and are very desperate and this is why they are promoting this rioting looting destroying and burning cause their internal polling has Trump wining 48 states in a landslide....

[Jul 19, 2020] Neoliberal globalization (globohomo) and its three defining features

Jun 27, 2020 | neznaika-nalune.livejournal.com
Over the past 10 years, several main theses of the agenda of globalism in its new form have been formed. This is not an official doctrine, but rather a marker of the definition of "friend-foe" for an ideology sometimes called "GloboHomo". It stands for "globalized, homogenous", not what you thought. If you do not like this term, it is possible to use a more euphonious expression of "Fucking Scum". So, among the most important components are the following:
  1. "Global warming", often replaced by "climate change" in cases where it is associated with abnormal cold or flooding. This can only be discussed in disastrous terms. Humanity faces a terrible future if we do not drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the near future, do not invest trillions of subsidies in "green energy", and do not reduce the consumption of animal proteins and industrial goods. Any deviation from the genral line - that the rate of warming may be significantly less than stated, that there may be important factors other than anthropogenic contributing to climate change, or that funds may be more effectively invested in coping with the effects of warming rather than preventing it-is anti-scientific heresy, and should be subject to maximum censorship.
  2. LGBT Rights, maximum gender fluidity. "Tolerance" in the true meaning of this word is no longer sufficient, and a neutral attitude towards LGBT people is equated with hidden homophobia and "transphobia". LGBT people only need to be touched and admired, you can not criticize any aspects of the LGBT lifestyle. Any psychological or social problems specific to the LGBT community should be explained by homophobia and transphobia on the part of the rest of society, but not by internal problems of the LGBT community itself.
  3. Refugees and freedom of immigration from poor countries . Rich and middle-developed countries should not prevent formally illegal migration from underdeveloped countries. Purely economic migration should be defined as much as possible through political, religious or national persecution. The own poor (if they are not special minorities) should not have an advantage over migrants in obtaining social benefits. Middle-class taxpayers are required to fork out substantial subsidies to migrants, often allowing them to stay out of work most of the time or even for life. National or racial profiling or the collection of statistics that may indicate increased problems with crime, dependency or family violence in a migrant environment should not be encouraged. The desire to preserve the traditional national culture and national composition must be equated with racism or even fascism. Migrants should not be forced to integrate quickly into the local culture.

These are General trends, and individual stormy movements like " Me Too "and" Black Lives Matter " fit into them.

This agenda, with a pronounced left-wing bias, is relatively recent, about 10 years old. The above theses have existed much longer, but until recently they were not the main mainstream markers of globalism. And 20 years ago, the globalist agenda was radically different. From about the early 80's to the mid-noughties, this agenda consisted of theses more generally known as the"Washington Consensus". It contains about 10 theses, but we can briefly distinguish three main topics:

  1. Privatization, maximum withdrawal of the state from the economy. Everything state-owned is inefficient, only an "effective private owner" can make the right economic decisions.
  2. Reducing social spending. Only "individual responsibility" allows full disclosure of human potential, state assistance is ineffective and breeds dependency.
  3. Financialization , maximum development of financial markets. Capital markets are the main or even the only judges of all economic and political decisions. They need to be cajoled as much as possible as ancient deities, including sacrificing a large part of the population that "did not fit" into these markets.

This is a very different, clearly right-wing agenda. The "Washington Consensus" is almost forgotten now. Its collapse actually occurred at the turn of the 90s and the nineties , in particular after the Russian default of 1998, and especially after Russia, instead of a complete collapse, experienced rapid growth according to recipes very different from the "Washington Consensus" of the 90s.

In 2001, in Argentina, which was considered an "exemplary student" of the "Washington Consensus", an even larger default and collapse than in Russia (and according to a scenario close to the Russian one), and the subsequent recovery from the crisis also occurred according to very different recipes. The "left turn", with the abandonment of the VC in the early nineties occurred almost throughout Latin America.

After the financial crisis of 1997-8, many Asian countries also changed their policy towards leaving the VC. Soon, even under the Republican administration of George W. Bush, protectionist tendencies and rejection of the liberal prescription of the 80-90's intensified in the United States itself.

Despite radical differences, these groups of three theses have a common goal-to undermine and dilute the industrial society of Modernism, which reached its highest point around the 1960s and 70s, and to try to create a postmodern society based on the models of globalists.

The direction of attack changed radically-first to the right, then to the left.

You can explain these trends by a conspiracy of globalists, but the main reasons are the internal socio-economic cycles of Western society - what I call the transition from the " bourgeois "phase to the" Bohemian "(and then "bandit"). But I will write about this separately.

[Jul 19, 2020] Welcome To The Crazed, Frantic Demise Of Finance Capitalism by Charles Hugh Smith

Notable quotes:
"... Just as Communism was a god that failed, finance capitalism is also a god that failed , an extreme version of crony-capitalism that is nothing more than a mechanism for concentrating wealth and power at the expense of everyone toiling in the real-world economy. ..."
"... Unfortunately for everyone invested in the scam, all the "wealth" created by financial engineering / legalized fraud is fictitious, i.e. phantom. All Ponzi schemes collapse once the supply of greed-blinded marks dries up, and so the "solution" in our finance capitalism fraud is for the central bank, the Federal Reserve, to become the mark with an infinite checkbook : the Fed is busily conjuring "money" out of thin air to buy corporate junk bonds and other "assets" (ha-ha, as if these are actually worth anything--the joke's on you) to prop up the Ponzi scheme. ..."
Jul 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The cognitive dissonance required to ignore the widening gap between the real economy and the fraud's basic machinery--speculation funded by "money" conjured out of thin air--has reached a level of denial that can only be termed psychotic.

When scams start unraveling, the scammers become increasingly frantic to maintain the illusion of legitimacy and the delusion of guaranteed gains that are the lifeblood of every scam. One sure sign that the flim-flam is about to collapse is the manic rise of FOMO, fear of missing out , as the scammers jam the Ponzi scheme's stellar returns to new extremes.

What greedy human can resist guaranteed gains , especially of the enviously grandiose variety?

The greatest scam of the past century is unraveling before our eyes. I'm calling it finance capitalism as a general descriptor of the dominant form of what's called "capitalism" because calling it what it actually is-- a fraud that's destroyed the foundations of our economy and society --is, well, a much more difficult sell than "capitalism," which still has some faint echoes of the open markets, etc. that characterized traditional capitalism, which I call naive capitalism because it is incapable of differentiating between the parasitic, predatory finance version cloaking itself as "capitalism" and actual capitalism, in which capital is put at risk, markets are transparent, etc.

There are many labels for the distorted, corrupted "capitalism" that dominates our economy and society: I've long used state-cartel capitalism, others prefer monopoly capitalism or crony capitalism.

I now favor finance capitalism because the heart of the fraud is finance: printing "money" out of thin air without creating any value or any goods and services. If you can't print "money," then borrow it into existence--that's just as profitable a fraud as printing it.

As I explained in Our Wile E. Coyote Economy: Nothing But Financial Engineering (June 11, 2020), the fairy tale that America has a truly capitalist economy no longer aligns with the reality that the U.S. economy is now a decaying billboard of "producing goods and services" behind which the real money is made in financial engineering, a.k.a. legalized fraud.

I've discussed this fraudulent distortion of capitalism for years:

Just as Communism was a god that failed, finance capitalism is also a god that failed , an extreme version of crony-capitalism that is nothing more than a mechanism for concentrating wealth and power at the expense of everyone toiling in the real-world economy.

And if we understand this, then we also understand that with its stock buybacks, high-frequency trading and after-hours manipulation, the stock market is nothing more than finance capitalism's primary mechanism for increasing the concentration of wealth.

How did outright fraud come to dominate our economy? The answer is simple: infinite greed plus the decline of gains from "real capitalism," i.e. increasing productivity via producing goods and services. The appeal of something for nothing is irresistible when "money" can be printed / borrowed out of thin air and used to run a fraud that exploits human greed.

Like every good Ponzi scheme, those invested in the scam promote the fraud and cajole new marks to sink their cash into the "guaranteed gains" scheme because everyone already in the fraud will lose if there aren't enough new marks joining to keep it from collapsing. That perfectly describes the entire financial media, the financial "industry" and everyone in it.

Unfortunately for everyone invested in the scam, all the "wealth" created by financial engineering / legalized fraud is fictitious, i.e. phantom. All Ponzi schemes collapse once the supply of greed-blinded marks dries up, and so the "solution" in our finance capitalism fraud is for the central bank, the Federal Reserve, to become the mark with an infinite checkbook : the Fed is busily conjuring "money" out of thin air to buy corporate junk bonds and other "assets" (ha-ha, as if these are actually worth anything--the joke's on you) to prop up the Ponzi scheme.

This works until it doesn't, of course. In the meantime, the folks running the fraud are pulling out all the stops to keep it from imploding--goosing the FOMO frenzy, printing and throwing trillions into the scam to maintain the illusion of legitimacy and the delusion of guaranteed gains and talking up the god-like powers of the Fed to prop up the fraud indefinitely.

Despite these massive manipulations, the cracks are increasingly visible. Volatility refuses to sink back to near zero, and the swings in the skimming machine, a.k.a. the stock market are becoming more extreme.

The cognitive dissonance required to ignore the widening gap between the real economy and the fraud's basic machinery--speculation funded by "money" conjured out of thin air-- has reached a level of denial that can only be termed psychotic.

All bubbles pop, all frauds implode, all scams collapse. That ominous clicking coming from behind the tattered billboard is the sound of dominoes falling.

As Mark, Jesse and I discuss in Salon #13: The "Phase Shift" everyone is worried about has already happened , the meteor triggering the demise of finance capitalism has already hit.

All that's left is the psychotic state of denial and the evaporation of phantom capital.

* * *

My recent books:

* * *

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[Jul 19, 2020] The Global Reset Unplugged -The Deep State by Peter Koenig

Notable quotes:
"... In addition to the key international financial institutions, WB and IMF, there are the so-called regional development banks and similar financial institutions, keeping the countries of their respective regions in check. ..."
Jul 18, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
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Authored by Peter Koenig via GlobalResearch.ca,

Imagine, you are living in a world that you are told is a democracy – and you may even believe it – but in fact your life and fate is in the hands of a few ultra-rich, ultra-powerful and ultra-inhuman oligarchs. They may be called Deep State, or simply the Beast, or anything else obscure or untraceable – it doesn't matter. They are less than the 0.0001%.

For lack of a better expression, let's call them for now "obscure individuals".

These obscure individuals who pretend running our world have never been elected . We don't need to name them. You will figure out who they are, and why they are famous, and some of them totally invisible. They have created structures, or organisms without any legal format. They are fully out of international legality. They are a forefront for the Beast. Maybe there are several competing Beasts. But they have the same objective: A New or One World Order (NWO, or OWO).

These obscure individuals are running, for example, The World Economic Forum (WEF – representing Big Industry, Big Finance and Big Fame), the Group of 7 – G7, the Group of 20 – G20 (the leaders of the economically" strongest" nations). There are also some lesser entities, called the Bilderberg Society, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), Chatham House and more.

The members of all of them are overlapping. Even this expanded forefront combined represents less than 0.001%. They all have superimposed themselves over sovereign national elected and constitutional governments, and over THE multinational world body, the United Nations, the UN.

In fact, they have coopted the UN to do their bidding. UN Director Generals, as well as the DGs of the multiple UN-suborganizations, are chosen mostly by the US, with the consenting nod of their European vassals – according to the candidate's political and psychological profile. If his or her 'performance' as head of the UN or head of one of the UN suborganizations fails, his or her days are counted. Coopted or created by the Beast(s) are also, the European Union, the Bretton Woods Organizations, World Bank and IMF, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO) – and – make no mistake – the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. It has no teeth. Just to make sure the law is always on the side of the lawless.

In addition to the key international financial institutions, WB and IMF, there are the so-called regional development banks and similar financial institutions, keeping the countries of their respective regions in check.

In the end its financial or debt-economy that controls everything. Western neoliberal banditry has created a system, where political disobedience can be punished by economic oppression or outright theft of national assets in international territories. The system's common denominator is the (still) omnipresent US-dollar.

"Unelected Individuals"

The supremacy of these obscure unelected individuals becomes ever more exposed. We, the People consider it "normal" that they call the shots, not what we call – or once were proud of calling, our sovereign nations and sovereignly elected governments. They have become a herd of obedient sheep. The Beast has gradually and quietly taken over. We haven't noticed. It's the salami tactic: You cut off slice by tiny slice and when the salami is gone, you realize that you have nothing left, that your freedom, your civil and human rights are gone. By then it's too late. Case in point is the US Patriot Act. It was prepared way before 9/11. Once 9/11 "happened", the Patriot Legislation was whizzed through Congress in no time – for the people's future protection – people called for it for fear – and – bingo, the Patriot Act took about 90% of the American population's freedom and civil rights away. For good.

We have become enslaved to the Beast. The Beast calls the shots on boom or bust of our economies, on who should be shackled by debt, when and where a pandemic should break out, and on the conditions of surviving the pandemic, for example, social confinement. And to top it all off – the instruments the Beast uses, very cleverly, are a tiny-tiny invisible enemy, called a virus, and a huge but also invisible monster, called FEAR. That keeps us off the street, off reunions with our friends, and off our social entertainment, theatre, sports, or a picnic in the park.

Soon the Beast will decide who will live and who will die, literally – if we let it. This may be not far away. Another wave of pandemic and people may beg, yell and scream for a vaccine, for their death knell, and for the super bonanza of Big Pharma – and towards the objectives of the eugenicists blatantly roaming the world – see this . There is still time to collectively say NO. Collectively and solidarily.

Take the latest case of blatant imposture. Conveniently, after the first wave of Covid-19 had passed, at least in the Global North, where the major world decisions are made, in early June 2020, the unelected WEF Chairman, Klaus Schwab , announced "The Great Reset". Taking advantage of the economic collapse – the crisis shock, as in "The Shock Doctrine" – Mr. Schwab, one of the Beast's frontrunners, announces openly what the WEF will discuss and decide for the world-to-come in their next Davos Forum in January 2021. For more details see this .

Will, We, The People, accept the agenda of the unelected WEF?

It will opportunely focus on the protection of what's left of Mother Earth; obviously at the center will be man-made CO2-based "Global Warming". The instrument for that protection of nature and humankind will be the UN Agenda 2030 – which equals the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). It will focus on how to rebuild the willfully destroyed global economy, while respecting the ("green") principles of the 17 SDGs.

Mind you, it's all connected. There are no coincidences. The infamous Agenda 2021 which coincides with and complements the so-called (UN) Agenda 2030, will be duly inaugurated by the WEF's official declaration of The Great Reset, in January 2021. Similarly, the implementation of the agenda of The Great Reset began in January 2020, by the launch of the corona pandemic – planned for decades with the latest visible events being the 2010 Rockefeller Report with its "Lockstep Scenario" , and Event 201, of 18 October in NYC which computer-simulated a corona pandemic, leaving within 18 months 65 million deaths and an economy in ruin, programmed just a few weeks before the launch of the actual corona pandemic. See COVID-19, We Are Now Living the "Lock Step Scenario" and this and this .

The Race Riots

The racial riots, initiated by the movement Black Lives Matter (funded by the Ford Foundation and Soros' Open Society Foundation), following the brutal assassination of the Afro-American George Floyd by a gang of Minneapolis police, and spreading like brush-fire in no time to more than 160 cities, first in the US, then in Europe – are not only connected to the Beast's agenda, but they were a convenient deviation from the human catastrophe left behind by Covid-19. See also this .

The Beast's nefarious plan to implement what's really behind the UN Agenda 2030 is the little heard-of Agenda ID2020 . See The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic: The Real Danger is "Agenda ID2020" . It has been created and funded by the vaccination guru Bill Gates, and so has GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations), the association of Big Pharma – involved in creating the corona vaccines, and which funds along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) a major proportion of WHO's budget.

The Great Reset, as announced by WEF's Klaus Schwab , is supposedly implemented by Agenda ID2020. It is more than meets the eye. Agenda ID2020 is even anchored in the SDGs, as SDG 16.9 "by 2030 provide legal [digital] identity for all, including free birth registration" . This fits perfectly into the overall goal of SDG 16: " Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels ."

Following the official path of the UN Agenda 2030 of achieving the SDGs, the 'implementing' Agenda ID2020 – which is currently being tested on school children in Bangladesh – will provide digitized IDs possibly in the form of nano-chips implanted along with compulsory vaccination programs, will promote digitization of money and the rolling out of 5G – which would be needed to upload and monitor personal data on the nano chips and to control the populace. Agenda ID2020 will most likely also include 'programs' – through vaccination? – of significantly reducing world population. Eugenics is an important component in the control of future world population under a NOW / OWO – see also Georgia Guidestones , mysteriously built in 1980.

The ruling elite used the lockdown as an instrument to carry out this agenda. Its implementation would naturally face massive protests, organized and funded along the same lines as were the BLM protests and demonstrations. They may not be peaceful – and may not be planned as being peaceful. Because to control the population in the US and in Europe, where most of the civil unrest would be expected, a total militarization of the people is required. This is well under preparation.

In his essay "The Big Plantation" , John Steppling reports from a NYT article that a

"minimum of 93,763 machine guns, 180,718 magazine cartridges, hundreds of silencers and an unknown number of grenade launchers have been provided to state and local police departments in the US since 2006. This is in addition to at least 533 planes and helicopters, and 432 MRAPs -- 9-foot high, 30-ton Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles with gun turrets and more than 44,900 pieces of night vision equipment, regularly used in nighttime raids in Afghanistan and Iraq."

He adds that this militarization is part of a broader trend. Since the late 1990s, about 89 percent of police departments in the United States serving populations of 50,000 people or more had a PPU (Police Paramilitary Unit), almost double of what existed in the mid-1980s. He refers to these militarized police as the new Gestapo.

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Even before Covid, about 15% to 20% of the population was on or below the poverty line in the United States. The post-covid lockdown economic annihilation will at least double that percentage – and commensurately increase the risk for civil turbulence and clashes with authorities – further enhancing the reasoning for a militarized police force.

China's Crypto RMB

None of these scenarios will, of course, be presented to the public by the WEF in January 2021. These are decisions taken behind closed doors by the key actors for the Beast. However, this grandiose plan of the Great Reset does not have to happen. There is at least half the world population and some of the most powerful countries, economically and militarily – like China and Russia – opposed to it. "Reset" maybe yes, but not in these western terms. In fact, a reset of kinds is already happening with China about to roll out a new People's Bank of China backed blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the crypto RMB, or yuan . This is not only a hard currency based on a solid economy, it is also supported by gold.

While President Trump keeps trashing China for unfair trade, for improperly managing the covid pandemic, for stealing property rights – China bashing no end – that China depends on the US and that the US will cut trading ties with China – or cut ties altogether, China is calling Trump's bluff. China is quietly reorienting herself towards the ASEAN countries plus Japan (yes, Japan!) and South Korea, where trade already today accounts for about 15% of all China's trade and is expected to double in the next five years.

Despite the lockdown and the disruption of trade, China's overall exports recovered with a 3.2% increase in April (in relation to April 2019). This overall performance in China exports was nonetheless accompanied by a dramatic decline in US-China trade. China exports to the US decreased by 7.9% in April (in relation to April 2019).

It is clear that the vast majority of US industries could not survive without Chinese supply chains. The western dependence on Chinese medical supplies is particularly strong. Let alone Chinese dependence by US consumers. In 2019, US total consumption, about 70% of GDP, amounted to $13.3 trillion, of which a fair amount is directly imported from China or dependent on ingredients from China.

The WEF-masters are confronted with a real dilemma. Their plan depends very much on the dollar supremacy which would continue to allow dishing out sanctions and confiscating assets from those countries opposing US rule; a dollar-hegemony which would allow imposing the components of The Great Reset scheme, as described above.

At present, the dollar is fiat money, debt-money created from thin air. It has no backing whatsoever. Therefore, its worth as a reserve currency is increasingly decaying, especially vis-à-vis the new crypto-yuan from China. In order to compete with the Chinese yuan, the US Government would have to move away from its monetary Ponzi-scheme, by separating itself from the 1913 Federal Reserve Act and print her own US-economy- and possibly gold-backed (crypto) money – not fiat FED-money, as is the case today. That would mean cutting the more than 100-year old ties to the Rothschild and Co. clan-owned FED, and creating a real peoples-owned central bank. Not impossible, but highly improbable. Here, two Beasts might clash, as world power is at stake.

Meanwhile, China, with her philosophy of endless creation would continue forging ahead unstoppably with her mammoth socioeconomic development plan of the 21st Century, the Belt and Road Initiative, connecting and bridging the world with infrastructure for land and maritime transport, with joint research and industrial projects, cultural exchanges – and not least, multinational trade with "win-win" characteristics, equality for all partners – towards a multi-polar world, towards a world with a common future for mankind.

Today already more than 120 countries are associated with BRI – and the field is wide open for others to join – and to defy, unmask and unplug The Great Reset of the West.

[Jul 11, 2020] The Groupthink Pandemic -

Jul 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Groupthink Pandemic by Tyler Durden Sat, 07/11/2020 - 07:00 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Kevin Smith via Off-Guardian.org,

Groupthink is all around us. Decision-making in government, in the media and at work. It's slowly killing the world.

In the background of the most important events, the Covid-19 response and increasing tension and conflict in the world, it might be worth looking through some of this in a bit more detail.

me title=

I've experienced groupthink working for large organisations, most notably in my last job. We were tasked with investigating and solving complex problems. Some technical expertise helped but was not crucial to the role.

Critical thinking and balancing evidence and differing viewpoints was key.

Yet the organisation decided that this was no longer required and changed the whole operating model to a one-size fits all type of call-centre. This new high-risk approach was recommended to us by the outside consultants Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) who were clueless about our business.

Those of us who were experienced in the role argued that the model wouldn't work. But the organisation ploughed on regardless. It was obvious from day one that the financials didn't stack up which they tried to deny and later concealed.

The executive largely ignored our concerns to start but then paid limited lip-service when the wheels started to come off. Anyway, in the end they offered us redundancy while employing fresh university graduates to replace us. As far as I know the place is still in denial and heading down the pan.

Groupthink is described as follows:

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Groupthink is a term first used in 1972 by social psychologist Irving L. Janis that refers to a psychological phenomenon in which people strive for consensus within a group. In many cases, people will set aside their own personal beliefs or adopt the opinion of the rest of the group.

People who are opposed to the decisions or overriding opinion of the group as a whole frequently remain quiet, preferring to keep the peace rather than disrupt the uniformity of the crowd'.

Groupthink is common where group members have similar backgrounds and particularly where that group is placed under stress, resulting in irrational decision outcomes.

These are the main behaviors to watch out for:

  1. Illusions of invulnerability lead members of the group to be overly optimistic and engage in risk-taking.

  2. Unquestioned beliefs lead members to ignore possible moral problems and ignore the consequences of individual and group actions.

  3. Rationalising prevents members from reconsidering their beliefs and causes them to ignore warning signs.

  4. Stereotyping leads members of the in-group to ignore or even demonise out-group members who may oppose or challenge the group's ideas.

  5. Self-censorship causes people who might have doubts to hide their fears or misgivings.

  6. "Mindguards" act as self-appointed censors to hide problematic information from the group.

  7. Illusions of unanimity lead members to believe that everyone is in agreement and feels the same way.

  8. Direct pressure to conform is often placed on members who pose questions, and those who question the group are often seen as disloyal or traitorous.

There are two further observations I made in the workplace, particularly relevant to groups going through major change or/and a crisis.

Firstly, they tend to swing from the status quo to the complete opposite. In our organisation, we definitely needed some changes and tweaks but we lurched towards a model which was completely unsuitable and unsustainable operationally and financially.

The other thing I noticed was our employers became control freaks. They started to talk down to us and our customers like children. They introduced office slogans such as 'let's crack on' or 'we're all in this together' and deflected from the problems of the disastrous reorganisation towards 'celebrating diversity' in the workplace. Critical thinking, creativity and expression were sucked out of the place.

The obvious analogy for all these behaviors is the response to Covid-19 when government ministers were collectively panicked into making extreme decisions on lockdown , using just one preferred source of 'expertise'.

At the same time, they sidelined dissenters and independent experts who could have offered a calm, rational perspective and a targeted response to Covid-19.

In summing up this thinking and behavior, I'm reminded of these observations from Dr Malcolm Kendrick and Lord Sumption about the response to Covid-19. Dr Kendrick here :

We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group. If you had written a plan for making a complete bollocks of things you would have come up with this one".

And Lord Sumption writing in the Mail on Sunday :

The Prime Minister, who in practice makes most of the decisions, has low political cunning but no governmental skills whatever. He is incapable of studying a complex problem in depth. He thinks as he speaks – in slogans.

These people have no idea what they are doing, because they are unable to think about more than one thing at a time or to look further ahead than the end of their noses.

THE BBC – A CASE-STUDY

A large organisation which has a high opinion of its news service . But of course, the reality is the opposite. There are so many groupthink case-studies but the BBC is as good as any, particularly in terms of making a bollocks of things.

The executives at the BBC and some senior correspondents will no doubt be aware that they run a politicised agenda of bias and misinformation on a grand scale. Outsiders who've researched their coverage will recognise this too. But this won't be obvious to the vast majority of BBC employees, the victims of groupthink.

This came across in some of Andrew Marr's incredulous reactions to Noam Chomsky's observations about the media during their interview :

Andrew Marr: How can you know I'm self-censoring?

Noam Chomsky: I'm not saying you're self-censoring. I'm sure you believe everything you say. But what I'm saying is if you believed something different you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting.

I believe the foreign affairs reporting of the BBC is where this problem stands out most. Real expertise and impartiality has been completely absent from any reporting I've seen in recent years.

First, while not unusual in this profession, most journalists employed by the BBC will have a degree. Typically, when you look at today's 'top' BBC journalists, many have attended the elite universities which tends to create a culture of like-minded people of similar backgrounds. This has been identified as one cause of creating groupthink.

Also, the younger journalists will be impressionable within the BBC hierarchy to the views and ways of the senior house-hold name journalists.

It's sometimes said that there aren't specific rules within the BBC and other media stating what a journalist can and can't report and write and they generally don't knowingly mislead. But they will learn almost instinctively to self-censor and operate within a set of unwritten, unspoken rules and a strait-jacket narrative.

The other problem in foreign affairs reporting is that BBC journalists and most others rarely visit the warzones. On Syria, they typically report from Lebanon or Turkey only occasionally venturing into a government or relatively safe terrorist or Kurd held area. So unlike previous conflicts, such as Bosnia where I remember at least a tiny degree of balance, journalists seldom see what is actually going on.

Under the pressure of deadlines they rely on dubious sources such as Al Qaeda terrorists and Bellingcat and pre-determined assumptions which conveniently slot in with the anti-Assad narrative of the BBC and establishment.

Recently, some grave doubts emerged about the OPCW report on the Douma incident , a huge story which has wider implications.

The investigations of Robert Stuart into a likely previously staged incident involving BBC journalist s was swept under the carpet. Both matters have been ignored because the BBC have no way or will to refute evidence which goes against their bias.

On the other hand, the BBC are more than happy to provide extensive coverage to more allegations against Russia and Trump from anonymous sources, providing no background or balance within the overall of climate of related allegations which have collapsed or are unproven.

And in recent days the BBC has provided coverage on Hong Kong which looks like it's come from a script .

It's well known BBC journalists are silent on malpractice. We saw this with the Jimmy Savile scandal and decades of sexual abuse. This attitude is similar to what I experienced with my employer who were very vocal and proud of their anti-bullying and mental health policies. Yet when the staff were surveyed anonymously, bullying rates were through the roof.

The other obvious signs of groupthink within the BBC, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, is dumbing-down and its slogan-filled website written as though their readers are idiots.

Another strong theme is a preoccupation with race and diversity, American affairs and general tittle-tattle, to the detriment of more pressing matters such as the longer-term and wider impact of the world's current problems.

Covid-19 and our response to it is probably the most important event of our lifetime but there's barely a peep about whether the response is necessary and proportionate. Instead, this totally rational viewpoint is only ever mentioned in the context of BBC articles about Covid-19 'conspiracy theories' .

Many of the examples I've described neatly fit in with groupthink behaviors and experiences I encountered in a large organisation.

But I think the biggest groupthink problem is with senior BBC journalists. Ultimately their lazy arrogance has trickled down to the newer journalists and so over time, wrong behavior has been normalised throughout.

THE BBC 'GRANDEES'

A few months ago Huw Edwards made some comments about accusations of bias directed towards the BBC, defending the corporation and journalists. These are some of the specific comments he made which to me showed a complete lack of understanding of the concerns people have.

The BBC is not, to put it politely, run like some newspapers, with an all-powerful proprietor and/or editor making his or her mark on the tone and direction of the coverage [ ] BBC News is a rather unsettling mix of awkward, contrary and assertive people who (in my very long experience) delight in either ignoring the suggestions of managers or simply telling them where to get off. That's how it works."

Around this time, I also recall Edwards arguing on Twitter on the subject and he said that it was ridiculous to say that journalists within the BBC were willfully misleading the public. His Twitter opponent replied that this was not what he had said and was simply stating that the BBC had fallen victim to groupthink. Edwards just couldn't get his head past this, while continuing to attack and misrepresent BBC critics.

This defensive attitude and stereotyping of critics is classic groupthink behavior in which he, Nick Robinson and others have taken part.

I used to admire John Simpson and in the 1980s he visited Iran post-revolution. He wrote a book of the visit which I enjoyed. But in recent years, he has shown that he doesn't understand modern geo-politics and like the BBC can only assess it in terms of the ethno-centric British view on the world and our influence.

In this President Putin press conference he asked the most ridiculous question imaginable which confirms he's lost the plot. His question was about Russian behavior in the world and whether Putin wanted to create a new Cold War.

Putin wiped the floor with him pointing out the hundreds of NATO bases and numerous wars which put Simpson's aspersions into their rightful place.

Jeremy Bowen is another who has lost his way. I saw a recent report from him from the position of a Christian militia unit fighting terrorists in Syria.

Again, BBC arrogance was on full display . His report made generalised comparisons between him meeting Serbs in Bosnia in the 1990s and these Syrian fighters, clearly indicating that he doesn't listen and is not interested in Syrian views on western complicity and the White Helmets.

In the usual group-speak he described the Syrian Government 'the regime' and Al Qaeda as 'rebels'. His report simply rubber-stamped the BBC coverage of the whole conflict.

This arrogance is typical of journalists who rely on their past achievements, creating an air of gravitas to impress their audience. The reality is his reporting is based on no substance and outdated and lazy assumptions.

THE MADNESS OF JOHN SWEENEY NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST

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Ex-BBC nowadays, John Sweeney's arrogance is off the scale. These days he spends his time on Twitter attacking lockdown sceptics , like Peter Hitchens accusing him of 'killing' his Mail on Sunday column readers with his views on Covid-19 lockdown.

Sweeney is off his trolley but the reality is he probably always was as this clip during his BBC days shows.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mjlo4u_8g60

This behaviour, extreme as it is, certainly suggests groupthink played a big part somewhere in his career.

AN ILLUSION OF SANITY

BBC Dateline is a current affairs TV panel discussion which I occasionally watched. The panel which changed regularly were seemingly well qualified with foreign writers and journalists which included Russia or Arab affairs experts.

Sitting around that table they gave the impression of people who knew what they were talking about.

However, when you listened carefully to what they were saying, there was very little substance. Their arguments, all based on a simple premise that Russia/Syria are bad, the West is good, tempered with a little occasional criticism of western policy to give the illusion of balance.

Occasionally you would have a more pro-Russia expert on but with the prevailing consensus of the rest of the panel, his or her views would be ridiculed. It got to the point any dissenting panel member started to self-censor to sound more credible, perhaps to remain on the panel. This is the dilemma for any progressively minded BBC guest nowadays.

Peter Hitchens who complains the BBC never invite him on, appeared on Good Morning Britain (GMB) recently. As is normal with many GMB debates, the discussion on Covid-19 descended to retorts and abuse and was simply not the forum for Hitchens to get across his well thought out points on the big picture.

But I don't think he would have fared any better on the BBC. The BBC create an illusion of civilised, intelligent discussion but the reality is there is no substance, depth or balance. The crucial discussion points about Covid-19 or conflict in the world don't get a hearing. The premise and the rules are already set in stone before the guests arrive.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There are many reasons why the world is in its current madness and on the brink of serious conflict.

Groupthink in government, the media and the general public is probably a key factor as this represents the thinking culture alongside and below the psychopaths and war criminals who pull the strings.

It's almost impossible to break this cycle by chipping away at it. But it's possible a large event connected to Covid-19 or a major war will be the catalyst which might shock us out of our distorted view of reality.

In the meantime, independent commentators and ex-MSM like Peter Hitchens, Anna Brees and Tareq Haddad , are putting their careers on the line and self-interests aside. We can only encourage others employed by the BBC and other media to be brave and do the same.

Certainly, the consequences will be far more disastrous doing nothing and not speaking up.

In the sudden, new founded willingness to demonstrate on the streets perhaps those participating might be better reflecting on who and what the real enemy is.

Party politics, Brexit and Black Lives Matter really don't matter.

Groupthink, escalating world conflict, All Lives Matter, including Syrians, Libyans, Palestinians and Blacks,(including those outside of US,UK and Europe) together with the post-Covid-19 march to an uncertain 'new normal', are the issues which matter right now.

[Jul 09, 2020] Austerity is part and parcel of the neoliberal business model. In other words "austerity is what a good economic policy looks like to a creditor [or rentier] by likbez

Notable quotes:
"... Wealth of Nations ..."
"... Political Aspects of Full Employment ..."
Jul 09, 2020 | crookedtimber.org
likbez 07.09.20 at 5:10 pm ( 8 )

What is needed is a transfer of resources from private consumption and privately directed investment to public use. That can be achieved through various forms of predistribution, reducing the incomes of those receiving an excessive reward at present, or through taxation. While both need to be pursued, it's unlikely that predistribution can do all the work.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Austerity is part and parcel of the neoliberal business model. In other words "austerity is what a good economic policy looks like to a creditor [or rentier]" (Michael Hudson)

Neoliberalism essentially re-structures the whole economy for rent seeking using financialization and unnecessary (parasitic) financial intermediation. This is the nature of the beast. And leopard can't change its spots.

That's why austerity has been a central component of state policy at every level of government in the USA and in Europe for the last four decades. In the USA austerity policies were being applied, in particular, for the elimination or reduction in social services. As there is no countervailing force (James K Galbraith) -- the role previously played by unions, the neoliberal elite happily drives the country to the cliff.

Both the Democrats and Republicans are united in their commitment to continue to feed the USA war machine and empire building with dollars extracted -- to the tune of almost a trillion a year -- from the lower 80% of population, and transfer those money to the pockets of the military-industrial complex and financial oligarchy. After all neoliberalism is about redistribution of wealth up, not down.

Austerity align neatly with key goals of neoliberalism: drive to discipline labor, to reduce the role of state and to redistribute wealth and power up.

That's why we have seen an increase in social inequality since 1970th. Neoliberal changes to welfare provisions partially drive the rises in homelessness, food bank usage and "death of despair. "

On December 5, 2019, Lawrence O'Donnel described the Neoliberal Democrats (Bill Clinton and Al Gore) as knowingly taking a "grave political risk" in 1993 in voting in favor of austerity.

The risk was to lose scores of seats -- and control of the House and Senate. O'Donnell stressed that no Republicans voted for the Neoliberal Democrat's 1993 austerity program. As the result the neoliberal Democrats lost the House for the first time in 40 years." They also lost the Senate.

Neoliberal Democrats can't abandon austerity and it forces Democrats into an unending series of "Sophie's choices." Under austerity, Democrats must shrink existing overall federal spending. Which naturally results in the election defeat.

Republican fiscal policies cleverly combine "wedge" offerings to fire up their base and massive tax breaks for the elite which fund their campaigns -- leading to a recurrent cycle in which the Neoliberal Democrats are forces to champion policies that cause the public to identify Democrats as the party most likely to raise taxes and cut vital federal programs.

The larger is created by previous Republican administration deficit, the greater the Neoliberal Democrats' new administration urgency to inflict austerity -- and embrace political suicide. It is a self-reinforcing cycle producing recurrent political disaster for Neoliberal Democrats.

The permanent professional wrestling spectacle in which the hapless patsies keep losing to the real tough guy? After all, they get paid handsomely in any case.

Andres 07.09.20 at 9:52 pm (
12
)

Hi John. Just a couple of bones to pick:

First, Keynes was either misled or misleading in attributing macroeconomic self-correcting tendencies to all classical economists. Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Malthus and Marx were all aware of the possibility of deep financial crises (The South Sea Bubble was already 50 years in the past when Wealth of Nations was published), and of the possibility that financial crises might lead to business slumps; they wrote about it but did not make it the center of their focus because nothing as bad as the Great Depression took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. Brad DeLong also points out that J.B. Say had to partially recant Say’s Law later in his life:

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2010/07/after-the-british-financial-crisis-and-depression-of-1825-6-jean-baptiste-say-was-too-smart-to-believe-in-says-law.html

Of the famous classical economists, only Ricardo seems to have wholeheartedly believed in macroeconomic self-correction, and this was likely only because his entire career spanned a period of time when there was plenty of poverty in England, but little underemployment if only thanks to the Napoleonic wars plus emigration to the Western hemisphere and Pacific.

Probably a more useful distinction is Marx’s dichotomy between “scientific bourgeois economists” like Smith, Ricardo, and Mill, and the “vulgar” bourgeois economist propagandists who did end up adopting macroeconomic self-correction as a mantra.

Second, Keynes famous assertion that “the boom not the slump is the time for austerity at the Treasury” is potentially misleading. Depending on the state of business confidence, consumer spending, and the trade balance, it is more accurate to say that the boom not the slump is the time for improving the fiscal balance, which is not necessarily the same thing as either austerity or budget surpluses.

I agree that the one of the big flaws in MMT is the lack of attention paid to the distributional effects of fiscal policy: you can’t rein in inflationary pressure by raising taxes on the very wealthy, as this will only result in reduced saving rather than reduced spending; less progressive taxes may do the trick but will worsen the existing distribution and thus worsen the political situation; the same goes for raising taxes to finance Green New Deal programs.

However, I don’t think that the MMT position boils down to the U.S. being in a permanent liquidity trap situation. The idea of a liquidity trap no longer makes sense once you view the money supply as endogenous, with fluctuations being influenced by fiscal spending (increase) and taxes (decrease). Or to put it in Macro 201 gibberish terms, with an endogenous money supply whose chief influence is the fiscal balance, the IS and LM curves are no longer independent: a shift out in IS curve leads to a shift out in the LM curve, with little effect on interest rates unless the central bank is actively trying to raise them.

Provided they are careful with the distributional effects of tax policy, MMT policy prescriptions may actually work well quite well in terms of economic theory for the U.S., which has both a sovereign and borrower-of-last-resort currency and consequently also has a large import cushion to absorb inflationary pressure. The real problem is political: neither Wall Street nor other important sectors of the U.S. industry (oil/gas and Silicon Valley, among others) are fond of full employment if it caused by an expansionary government, and will pull their campaign financing towards the pro-austerity party at minimum and possibly even threaten to limit investment inside the U.S. Kalecki’s Political Aspects of Full Employment rears its ugly head yet again.

And in most countries other than the U.S., the assumptions of MMT don’t fully apply: either there’s no sovereign currency, or governments are forced to borrow in foreign currencies and become subject to foreign currency reserve constraints, plus there’s no anti-inflation cushion provided by extra imports from having the borrower-of-last-resort currency and the resulting capital inflows.

Lastly, Keynes did not go all-out to advocate rationing during the war, favoring consumption taxes instead. It was Kalecki who provided the theoretical justification for rationing by arguing that consumption taxes would also reduce voluntary saving and likely leave total saving unaffected. Rationing in effect works like a type of progressive tax. But short of wartime expedients, it is unlikely that taxation under full employment can be so effective as to by itself eliminate inflationary pressure: either it has to be weighted towards the lower income brackets with unpleasant political consequences as John points out, or it has to be accompanied by an upward push on interest rates, which invalidates the MMT argument against crowding out.

Overall, MMT founders not because it is an inaccurate picture of the Keynesian system and its Lerner/Knapp satellites, but because Keynes’s theory was itself incomplete (not general enough?): it does not incorporate distributional, political economy, and international finance dynamics needed to have a fully complete theory of macroeconomics.

[Jul 08, 2020] A note on the "professional-managerial class,

Notable quotes:
"... The notion that socioeconomic status is the difference between working and middle classes strikes me as more convenient to obscurantists than useful to serious analysis. Even worse, true SES is better defined by the acceptability of marriage partners. (This brings up religion, by the way, meaning Sunday segregation is an overlooked phenomenon in discussions of systemic racism.) In particular, in dealing with so-called working class people, the issue of property, particularly home ownership, seems to be sharply pertinent. This is true in the form of privilege, such as interest mortgage deduction and property tax rates. (Yes, I know this is not an acceptable use of the term "privilege" but this actually means something, so there.) ..."
"... Most of all, many people live in de facto one party systems, where elections don't make much difference. Much of this country would be more usefully understood I think as more like Mexico or the Philippines, where caciques and landed families tend to run things. The factional struggles play out in the struggles for nominations of the ruling party, while the Outs play catchup in the Out Party, whatever it may be called. The larger part of the people have no political vehicle at all, therefore are largely disengaged. ..."
"... Lastly, on the OP, I'm not at all convinced the near collapse of the stock market and the international credit system last winter, which prompted the reversal of all efforts by the Fed to "normalize" the financial system, wasn't the beginning of the economic consequences we face. And that the pandemic is simply the gust of wind that toppled the house of cards. ..."
Jul 08, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Originally from: The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic -- Crooked Timber

steven t johnson 07.08.20 at 2:12 pm ( 98 )

A note on the "professional-managerial class," if you don't mind?

Generally a professional is a small businessman. A clergyman may not be able to sell his practice but a doctor or a lawyer can. But clergy have even greater powers over who gets to compete than the AMA or the Bar do.

As for managers, those with an individually negotiated contract, especially those that include things like stock options, golden parachutes, etc. seem to me to be in an entirely different, well, class, than most others.

Academics who have an agent have a different situation than those who don't. Even so-called police unions have enough influence over policies and budgets (as near as I can tell) that the Fraternal Order of Police, or the Police Benevolent Association are more like the Bar than a trade union. I suggest "professional-managerial class" is not enough a genuine thing to be useful at all.

The notion that socioeconomic status is the difference between working and middle classes strikes me as more convenient to obscurantists than useful to serious analysis. Even worse, true SES is better defined by the acceptability of marriage partners. (This brings up religion, by the way, meaning Sunday segregation is an overlooked phenomenon in discussions of systemic racism.) In particular, in dealing with so-called working class people, the issue of property, particularly home ownership, seems to be sharply pertinent. This is true in the form of privilege, such as interest mortgage deduction and property tax rates. (Yes, I know this is not an acceptable use of the term "privilege" but this actually means something, so there.)

And other issues such as decline in property values, tax rates, school districts, are pertinent to individuals deciding what their "wallets" are doing. The question for many is, what's going to happen for their families in the long run, not just this quarter's profits. The fact that most people don't make profits is even more relevant in my opinion. (Yes, Obamacare was something of a redistribution the biggest since Shrub added prescription benefits. This kind of reasoning tells us Nixon was a liberal president!)

Most of all, many people live in de facto one party systems, where elections don't make much difference. Much of this country would be more usefully understood I think as more like Mexico or the Philippines, where caciques and landed families tend to run things. The factional struggles play out in the struggles for nominations of the ruling party, while the Outs play catchup in the Out Party, whatever it may be called. The larger part of the people have no political vehicle at all, therefore are largely disengaged.

On the subject of change, change from time is remorseless, invincible but usually invisible. It is always today, which is pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow is pretty much like today, but the changes still come, despite the plans of a changer. This is true despite the seeming invulnerability to time of all manner of habits, from the imperial measures to the QWERTY keyboard. The idea that all sorts of things may be so simply because they were and there hasn't been enough of a conscious decision by the majority to re-arrange such things may deflate exaggerated ideas of agency. But it's so.

Lastly, on the OP, I'm not at all convinced the near collapse of the stock market and the international credit system last winter, which prompted the reversal of all efforts by the Fed to "normalize" the financial system, wasn't the beginning of the economic consequences we face. And that the pandemic is simply the gust of wind that toppled the house of cards.

[Jul 08, 2020] US is destroying itself and world through erratic moves- Global Times editorial - Global Times

Notable quotes:
"... The US is too indulged in using geopolitical means to cope with challenges and pursuing its own interests. Following the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, Russia hoped to integrate into the Western world, but the US pulled geopolitical levers and imposed the most intense strategic pressure on Russia. As NATO expanded eastward, it not only incorporated all countries of the Warsaw Pact and the Baltic states, but also extended its hand to the Commonwealth of Independent States, such as Georgia and Ukraine, eventually prompting Russia to have no other options but to take countermeasures. ..."
"... The world has to pay for Washington's ambition to strengthen its hegemony. What the US advocates is not simply decoupling from China, but urging the Western world and more countries to side with the US amid its clashes with China, and to contain China. China is the largest trading partner of more than 100 countries, and has a market almost as big as that of the US. The US not only stabbed China, but the current global cooperative system as well. ..."
"... Unfortunately, those geopolitical maniacs in the US are ending the "good old days" since the end of the Cold War. We are likely to enter a new era with more hatred and the menace of war. Major countries would become more nervous, and the prosperity of small countries would become fragile. The US political elite behind such changes are bound to be shamed by history. ..."
Jul 08, 2020 | www.globaltimes.cn

Washington has almost destroyed the cooperation-centered major-power relations and is pushing the world back to confrontation between major powers.

The global geopolitical struggle has apparently become an irreversible trend. This will have a profound influence on the nature of international relations, fundamentally disturb globalization, and lead to undesirable consequences.

The US is too indulged in using geopolitical means to cope with challenges and pursuing its own interests. Following the disintegration of the former Soviet Union, Russia hoped to integrate into the Western world, but the US pulled geopolitical levers and imposed the most intense strategic pressure on Russia. As NATO expanded eastward, it not only incorporated all countries of the Warsaw Pact and the Baltic states, but also extended its hand to the Commonwealth of Independent States, such as Georgia and Ukraine, eventually prompting Russia to have no other options but to take countermeasures.

Now, the US is using its extreme geopolitical tools on China. It is making the ideological conflict with China more extreme, because it is the cheapest means to mobilize its allies against China. It supports all countries that have territorial disputes with China, incites them to adopt a hard-line approach toward China, and smears China's foreign cooperation to overthrow the world order. It aims to worsen China's external environment, and make people in other countries less willing to cooperate with China.

The world has to pay for Washington's ambition to strengthen its hegemony. What the US advocates is not simply decoupling from China, but urging the Western world and more countries to side with the US amid its clashes with China, and to contain China. China is the largest trading partner of more than 100 countries, and has a market almost as big as that of the US. The US not only stabbed China, but the current global cooperative system as well.

The world will suffer long-lasting costs. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is just the first wave. In the face of the raging pandemic, the US has blocked international cooperation. It has only two perspectives on the anti-virus fight - one from the upcoming presidential elections, and the other from international geopolitics. Its lack of a scientific perspective has become the biggest obstacle to international cooperation.

It is not hard to imagine that if China and the US, together with all major powers, join hands and coordinate strategies, the COVID-19 pandemic could have been much less severe than it is now, and the global economy could resume in a more orderly manner.

The US policy that favors major-power confrontation will surely drag down global economic growth, which will force countries to consume their own resources. Coupled with the destructive impact of the pandemic, global economic prosperity after the Cold War is, perhaps, coming to an end. The world will lose huge employment. The global economy will become politicized, and the concept of national security would play a leading role in irrelevant sectors such as the economy.

An arms race and intimidation will return to international relations. Age-old contradictions will be reinforced in the loss of a world order. Favorable opinions toward each other's society will be reduced. The passion for studying and traveling abroad will cool down. The lives of many people will change.

Unfortunately, those geopolitical maniacs in the US are ending the "good old days" since the end of the Cold War. We are likely to enter a new era with more hatred and the menace of war. Major countries would become more nervous, and the prosperity of small countries would become fragile. The US political elite behind such changes are bound to be shamed by history.

[Jul 06, 2020] The inevitable end of neoliberal Dems political dominance

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This is a zugzwang for neoliberal Dems. Without working class votes they can't win. And those votes are lost. Clinton gambit that in Cola-Pepsi duopoly the working class has nowhere to go (because Republicans are ever worse) worked for a couple of decades but in 2016 suddenly stopped. They same happened in UK. And will soon happen in Germany as Merkel is history too: Biden without senility. ..."
"... We need to accept the fact that the Neoliberal Dems lost its key constituency and that limits their ability to win the political power. They can't even select a decent leader, because Biden as a party leader is a cruel joke. ..."
"... IMHO 20% of upper middle class is not enough as the key constituency simply because a part of this voter block belongs to Republicans (military middle class). And that essentially all what the neoliberal Dems, as "Republicans-lite" currently have. ..."
"... Although in 2020 they might have a unique chance due to Trump self-disintegration. But their ability to hold into minorities votes, while selling those minorities down the river is an aberration, so in this case in 2022 they might lose all the gains. ..."
"... Biden in a way symbolizes the crisis of Clinton wing of the Democratic Party really well: they have no future, only the past. ..."
"... It is July. By January 2021, the U.S. economy will have suffered a structural collapse in multiple sectors. That is the economic consequence of the pandemic. Restaurants, shopping malls, bars, colleges, hotels, airlines, cruise lines -- easily 15% of the workforce will be unemployed and another 25% seriously underemployed. ..."
"... For some reason, the main divide in politics today is a sort of culture war, and republicans and other right wing parties managed to present the traditionalist side of the culture war as the "working class" one, and therefore the other side as the evil cosmopolitan prosecco sipping faux leftish but in reality very snobbish one, so that they pretend that they are the working class party because of their traditionalist stance. ..."
"... But they aren't: already the fact that they blame "cosmopolitans" shows that they think in terms of nationalism (like Trump and his China virus), which is a way to deflect the attention from class conflict. ..."
"... This doesn't automatically mean that the Dems get the working class: what happens is that conservative vote is U shaped, they get a ton of votes from very low incomes, and a ton of votes from very high incomes, but few votes in the middle. ..."
"... it is still true that in the very low incomes Reps rake up a lot of votes (although, as for my previous comment, I think this is a case of false consciousness, aka they cling to their guns and their Bibles, aka they've been bamboozled). ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 07.05.20 at 10:36 pm ( 39 )

a party that is no longer of the working class is unlikely to pass legislation that benefits the working class.

This is an important point worth repeating again and again.

This is a zugzwang for neoliberal Dems. Without working class votes they can't win. And those votes are lost. Clinton gambit that in Cola-Pepsi duopoly the working class has nowhere to go (because Republicans are ever worse) worked for a couple of decades but in 2016 suddenly stopped. They same happened in UK. And will soon happen in Germany as Merkel is history too: Biden without senility.

Using "identity wedge" and amplifying the current riots is a desperate move of "substituting with minorities" the lost working class votes. They want to split the country in such a way that Republicans are in minority. Probably will not work as nationalism as a platform is on upswing now and Trump's "national neoliberalism" has some grass roots support even among the minorities, despite that his promises are all fake. Riots dramatically increased polarization and the result of this polarization are not necessary beneficial to neoliberal Dems.

We need to accept the fact that the Neoliberal Dems lost its key constituency and that limits their ability to win the political power. They can't even select a decent leader, because Biden as a party leader is a cruel joke. The fact that "there is no alternative" no longer holds -- the return (on a new level) to some form of the New Deal is clearly an alternative. The alternative that the majority of population wants.

All those neoliberal fairy tales about "free market" (can it exists with multinationals in power?), "personal responsibility" (which means unlimited ability of capital to eliminate decent jobs and replace them with perma-temps, or offshore them) and that "rising tide lifts all boats" no longer work. That's why Bezos supports BLM while paying below average to the workers in warehouses. He "feels the pain." ;-)

IMHO 20% of upper middle class is not enough as the key constituency simply because a part of this voter block belongs to Republicans (military middle class). And that essentially all what the neoliberal Dems, as "Republicans-lite" currently have.

Although in 2020 they might have a unique chance due to Trump self-disintegration. But their ability to hold into minorities votes, while selling those minorities down the river is an aberration, so in this case in 2022 they might lose all the gains.

Biden in a way symbolizes the crisis of Clinton wing of the Democratic Party really well: they have no future, only the past.

While Republicans now can play the nationalist card like in Weimar Germany. The recent riots play into their hands, and this effect will last till November.

bruce wilder 07.06.20 at 4:11 am (45 )

mainstream Democrats recognise the need for radical change, and Biden will align with the mainstream position as he always has done

You said you would leave this, your third assumption, to comments, so here is my comment.

The U.S. is in the midst of a deep legitimacy crisis and contrary to popular belief among liberals, it is not Trump particularly whose legitimacy is being called into question. Oh, sure, there have been relentless attacks on him -- from partisan opponents and from much of mainstream media -- but like the "anti-racism" of the recent protests -- much of it is dissembling and distraction. Charges of colluding with Putin to win the 2016 election turned out to be fake news -- rather obviously so from the beginning -- but a big enough mob went down that path with no self-awareness. I am not saying Trump is not an egregiously bad President; he is. But, notice please, before you go assuming that mainstream Democrats are going wake up in 2021 wanting to govern in the real world , that they have not shown much inclination toward truth-telling or critical realism these last 20 years.

It is July. By January 2021, the U.S. economy will have suffered a structural collapse in multiple sectors. That is the economic consequence of the pandemic. Restaurants, shopping malls, bars, colleges, hotels, airlines, cruise lines -- easily 15% of the workforce will be unemployed and another 25% seriously underemployed.

Did I mention that the U.S. is undergoing a legitimacy crisis?? Whose legitimacy is being called into question?

I would submit that the legitimacy of the elite professional and managerial classes is being called into question, for want of performance or any sense of responsibility. The urban PMC are the core constituency of the establishment Democratic Party. The vestigial working class elements and the ideological Left are distant memories and oppressed minorities seeking social justice, mere props. I would say the Party establishment is confident they can put the re-animated corpse of Biden into the White House. And look how gleefully they welcome Republican never-Trumpers into the clubhouse! If you were one of the fools and tools who thought Obama did not want Republicans to control Congress, you are getting another chance to see how the Obama Alumni Association works with the Lincoln Project, how happy they are to deliver the kind of policy that appeals to rich, old, suburban Republican women.

The thing is, the political classes -- the millionaire media pundits, the politicians, the lobbyists, the generals, the journamalists, the manipulative political operatives and propagandists, the pious policy "experts", the highly paid executives and financial managers running monopolies into the ground and non-profits into irrelevance -- they have enacted their neo-liberal agenda and it doesn't work.

We have just watched the once highly touted CDC completely botch the great Pandemic. They could not devise a test. They screwed up the rules on who could or should be tested. They lied early on about the need to wear masks. They staged a moral panic over a need for ventilators, when ventilators are a terrible therapeutic alternative. In the new Puritanism, they shut down public beaches but they watched passively as liberal heroes like Cuomo set off a holocaust by sending COVID-19 patients to nursing homes.

This in a country that cannot manufacture PPE. Or win a war. Trump, in his fumbling way, might get the U.S. out of Afganistan, but the NY Times -- who brought us WMD not that long ago -- reports the Russians are paying bounties on American soldiers killed. No report on the treatment of Julian Assange though. Boeing is going to get the 737 Max in the air real soon now. Citibank is borrowing at 0.03 from the Fed and lending to credit card users at 27% and may be insolvent.

So, let us assume the Democrats, after nominating an elderly sob who had a hand in the crime bill that gave the U.S. the highest incarceration rate in the world, the bankruptcy bill that saddled tens of millions with credit card and student debt that cannot be discharged, and every stupid war of the last nearly twenty years, will suddenly see the necessity of radical change. And, after making an alliance with conservative Republicans hostile to even Trump's fake populism in order to elect Biden, seeing the light on radical reform is so likely! So plausible.

And, what's the play? The carrot of bi-partisan cooperation coupled with the fearful stick of abolishing the filibuster someday somehow if they don't play nice. You do realize that only Republicans are allowed to manipulate the filibuster and only in ways that favor their agenda of, say, stacking the courts? And, the strategic vision? Reinforcing the Rube Goldberg contraption which is Obamacare? You do know Biden is on record as adamantly opposed to Medicare4all? And, that Medicaid is a need-based nightmare of controlled deprivation? In a country where public health is such a shambles that a pandemic is running out of control.

You can do better.

Chetan Murthy 07.06.20 at 6:45 am ( 48 )

likbez @ 39:

Without working class votes they can't win. And those votes are lost

It's helpful that you told us who you were, in so few words. The Dems didn't lose working-class votes in 2016: the median income of a Hillary voter was less than that of a Trump voter [or maybe it was average? In any case, not much difference.] What the Dems lost, was "white non-college-educated" voters. They retained working class voters of color.

But hey, they don't count as working-class voters to you. Thanks for playing.

MisterMr 07.06.20 at 8:21 am ( 49 )

Two points:

  1. White collar are, by definition, working class, because they don't own the means of production. What I see is an opposition between blue collars and white collars, that are two wings of the working class, not that democrats are going against the working class.

    For some reason, the main divide in politics today is a sort of culture war, and republicans and other right wing parties managed to present the traditionalist side of the culture war as the "working class" one, and therefore the other side as the evil cosmopolitan prosecco sipping faux leftish but in reality very snobbish one, so that they pretend that they are the working class party because of their traditionalist stance.

    But they aren't: already the fact that they blame "cosmopolitans" shows that they think in terms of nationalism (like Trump and his China virus), which is a way to deflect the attention from class conflict.

    So comparatively the Dems are still the working class party, and the fact that some working class guys vote for trump sows that they suffer from false consciousness, not that the Dems are too right wing (the dems ARE too right wing, but this isn't the reason some working class guys are voting Trump).

  2. Neoliberalism and free markets are not the same thing, and furthermore neoliberalism and capitalism are not the same thing; at most neoliberalism is a form of unadultered capitalism. However since neoliberalism basically means "anti new deal", and new deal economies were still free market and still capitalist (we can call them social democratic, but in this sense social democracy is a form of controlled capitalism), it follows that the most economically successful form of capitalism and free markets to date is not neoliberalism.
MisterMr 07.06.20 at 8:30 am ( 50 )

@Chetan Murthy 48

"the median income of a Hillary voter was less than that of a Trump voter"

This doesn't automatically mean that the Dems get the working class: what happens is that conservative vote is U shaped, they get a ton of votes from very low incomes, and a ton of votes from very high incomes, but few votes in the middle.

Since income distribution is pear shaped (there is more distance between high incomes and the median than between low incomes and the median) this still gives an higher average income than the Dem's base, but it is still true that in the very low incomes Reps rake up a lot of votes (although, as for my previous comment, I think this is a case of false consciousness, aka they cling to their guns and their Bibles, aka they've been bamboozled).

[Jul 03, 2020] Neoliberalism and Christianity

Notable quotes:
"... The interesting point of the Christianization of the USA here is not in Christianity itself, but in the socioeconomic process it represents (on the right; on the left, we already have the "wokeist" phenomenon). The USA is degenerating as a world empire and, if the USG chooses an escape route through the right end of the political spectrum, it could potentially result in a Fascist USA - an extremely virulent, fundamentalist and nihilist (and thus very dangerous) empire. ..."
"... That said, the influence of religious organizations in politics is overweight, because few other institutions that can turn out large blocs of voters. Unions used to, once. ..."
"... Nationalists claiming to represent "Judeo-Christian values" (a euphemism if ever) have been disproportionately visible in media for years. This is hardly new. Certainly as of the Bush administration. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

450.org , Jul 2 2020 16:59 utc | 16

Christianity has transformed into a business, an industry even. Since the Cold War, everything has become an opportunity to exploit for maximum gain and religion is not an exception.

vk , Jul 2 2020 20:04 utc | 34

@ Posted by: CitizenX | Jul 2 2020 19:48 utc | 33

Christianism can surive in a political form. Indeed, that was when it was at its best: using the Roman State machinery to force conversion from paganism and exterminating pagans. That's its greatest strength in comparison to, e.g. its Jewish fathers: the Jews were (still are) outright imperialists - the Chosen People - who wanted to destroy the Roman Empire from the outside; the Christians were Jews who wanted to take control of Rome from within.

For Christianism to survive, you don't need every of its followers to be an expert of Christian faith: it only needs a strong Church with direct access and control of the State.

The rehabilitation of Christianity from the High Cold War in the USA as a weapon against communism is a known fact. What I hypothesize here is that this process didn't stop: either it continues today with full-fledged support from the USG (as seen in George W. Bush's reign) and/or it got out of control (i.e. the new rapturist churches gained a life of their own, as seen by the ones funded by billionaires with the aim of aligning American Christianity with the geopolitical interests of Israel).

What I'm speculating here is that this process will suffer another metamorphosis, thanks to the rise of the so-called "woke leftism" which are allegedly commanding the Floyd revolts. This metamorphosis - I'm betting - will result in the far-rightification of the US Army and police forces (or accelerate it). Since the far-right in the USA is blatantly Christian (as we can read by their manifestos), this would result in the Christianization of the USG - even if, ultimately, it serves the more immediate interests of the Zionists (in the case of the rapturists).

The interesting point of the Christianization of the USA here is not in Christianity itself, but in the socioeconomic process it represents (on the right; on the left, we already have the "wokeist" phenomenon). The USA is degenerating as a world empire and, if the USG chooses an escape route through the right end of the political spectrum, it could potentially result in a Fascist USA - an extremely virulent, fundamentalist and nihilist (and thus very dangerous) empire.

ptb , Jul 2 2020 21:28 utc | 47
re: religion in the US...

Down 10% in past 10 years [Pew] .

That said, the influence of religious organizations in politics is overweight, because few other institutions that can turn out large blocs of voters. Unions used to, once.

Nationalists claiming to represent "Judeo-Christian values" (a euphemism if ever) have been disproportionately visible in media for years. This is hardly new. Certainly as of the Bush administration.

[Jul 03, 2020] The God That Failed -- Why The US Cannot Now Re-Impose Its Civilisational Worldview by Alastair Crooke

He should talk about neoliberal ideology not some "universal civilization"
Notable quotes:
"... So, not only was the claim to universal civilisation not supported by evidence, but the very idea of humans sharing a common destination ('End of Times') is nothing more than an apocalyptic remnant of Latin Christianity, and of one minor current in Judaism. Mill's was always a matter of secularized religion – faith – rather than empiricism. A shared human 'destination' does not exist in Orthodox Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism. It could never therefore qualify as universal. ..."
"... But today, with America's soft power collapsed – not even the illusion of universalism can be sustained. Other states are coming forward, offering themselves as separate, equally compelling 'civilisational' states. It is clear that even were the classic liberal Establishment to win in the November U.S. elections, America no longer has claim to path-find a New World Order. ..."
"... 'Freedom' is being torn down from within. Dissidents from the woke ideology , are being 'called out', made to repent on the knee, or face reputational or economic ruin. It is 'soft totalitarianism'. It recalls one of Dostoevsky's characters – at a time when Russian progressives were discrediting traditional institutions – who, in a celebrated line, says: "I got entangled in my data Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism". ..."
"... "This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself We're too literal and good-hearted to understand what's happening We have no idea what we are up against These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement" ..."
"... The "toy radicals, and Champagne Bolsheviks" – in these terms of dripping disdain from Williamson – are very similar to those who rushed into the streets in 1917. But before dismissing them so peremptorily and lightly, recall what occurred. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

It was always a paradox: John Stuart Mill, in his seminal (1859), On Liberty , never doubted that a universal civilisation, grounded in liberal values, was the eventual destination of all of humankind. He looked forward to an 'Exact Science of Human Nature', which would formulate laws of psychology and society as precise and universal as those of the physical sciences.

Yet, not only did that science never emerge, in today's world, such social 'laws' are taken as strictly (western) cultural constructs, rather than as laws or science.

So, not only was the claim to universal civilisation not supported by evidence, but the very idea of humans sharing a common destination ('End of Times') is nothing more than an apocalyptic remnant of Latin Christianity, and of one minor current in Judaism. Mill's was always a matter of secularized religion – faith – rather than empiricism. A shared human 'destination' does not exist in Orthodox Christianity, Taoism or Buddhism. It could never therefore qualify as universal.

Liberal core tenets of individual autonomy, freedom, industry, free trade and commerce essentially reflected the triumph of the Protestant worldview in Europe's 30-years' civil war. It was not fully even a Christian view, but more a Protestant one.

This narrow, sectarian pillar was able to be projected into a universal project – only so long as it was underpinned by power . In Mill's day, the civilisational claim served Europe's need for colonial validation . Mill tacitly acknowledges this when he validates the clearing of the indigenous American populations for not having tamed the wilderness, nor made the land productive.

However, with America's Cold War triumph – that had by then become a cynical framework for U.S. 'soft power' – acquired a new potency. The merits of America's culture, and way of life, seemed to acquire practical validation through the implosion of the USSR.

But today, with America's soft power collapsed – not even the illusion of universalism can be sustained. Other states are coming forward, offering themselves as separate, equally compelling 'civilisational' states. It is clear that even were the classic liberal Establishment to win in the November U.S. elections, America no longer has claim to path-find a New World Order.

Yet, should this secularised Protestant current be over – beware! Because its subterranean, unconscious religiosity is the 'ghost at the table' today. It is returning in a new guise.

The 'old illusion' cannot continue, because its core values are being radicalised, stood on their head, and turned into the swords with which to impale classic American and European liberals (and U.S. Christian Conservatives). It is now the younger generation of American woke liberals who are asserting vociferously not merely that the old liberal paradigm is illusory, but that it was never more than 'a cover' hiding oppression – whether domestic, or colonial, racist or imperial; a moral stain that only redemption can cleanse.

It is an attack – which coming from within – forecloses on any U.S. moral, soft power, global leadership aspirations. For with the illusion exploded, and nothing in its place, a New World Order cannot coherently be formulated.

Not content with exposing the illusion, the woke generation are also tearing down, and shredding, the flags at the masthead: Freedom and prosperity achieved via the liberal market.

'Freedom' is being torn down from within. Dissidents from the woke ideology , are being 'called out', made to repent on the knee, or face reputational or economic ruin. It is 'soft totalitarianism'. It recalls one of Dostoevsky's characters – at a time when Russian progressives were discrediting traditional institutions – who, in a celebrated line, says: "I got entangled in my data Starting from unlimited freedom, I conclude with unlimited despotism".

Even 'science' has become a 'God that failed'; instead of being the path to liberty, it has become a dark soulless path toward unfreedom . From algorithms that 'cost' the value of human lives, versus the 'costing' of lockdown; from secret 'Black Box' algos that limit distribution of news and thinking, to Bill Gates' vaccination ID project, science now portends despotic social control , rather than a fluttering standard, hoist as the symbol of freedom.

But the most prominent of these flags, torn down, cannot be blamed on the woke generation . There has been no 'prosperity for all' – only distortions and warped structures. There are not even free markets. The Fed and the U.S. Treasury simply print new money, and hand it out to select recipients. There is no means now to attribute 'worth' to financial assets. Their value simply is that which Central Government is willing to pay for bonds, or grant in bail-outs.

Wow. 'The God who failed' (André Gide's book title) – a crash of idols. One wonders now, what is the point to that huge financial eco-system known as Wall Street. Why not winnow it down to a couple of entities, say, Blackrock and KKR (hedge funds), and leave it to them to distribute the Fed's freshly-printed 'boodle' amongst friends? Liberal markets no more – and many fewer jobs.

Many commentators have noted the wokes' absence of vision for the future . Some describe them in highly caustic terms:

"Today, America's tumbrils are clattering about, carrying toppled statues, ruined careers, unwoke brands. Over their sides peer those deemed racist by left-wing identitarians and sentenced to cancelation, even as the evidentiary standard for that crime falls through the floor But who are these cultural revolutionaries? The conventional wisdom goes that this is the inner-cities erupting, economically disadvantaged victims of racism enraged over the murder of George Floyd. The reality is something more bourgeoisie. As Kevin Williamson observed last week, "These are the idiot children of the American ruling class, toy radicals and Champagne Bolsheviks, playing Jacobin for a while, until they go back to graduate school".

Is that so? I well recall listening in the Middle East to other angry young men who, too, wanted to 'topple the statues'; to burn down everything. 'You really believed that Washington would allow you in', they taunted and tortured their leaders: "No, we must burn it all down. Start from scratch".

Did they have a blueprint for the future? No. They simply believed that Islam would organically inflate, and expand to fill the void. It would happen by itself – of its own accord: Faith.

Professor John Gray has noted "that in The God that failed, Gide says: 'My faith in communism is like my faith in religion. It is a promise of salvation for mankind'' . "Here Gide acknowledged", Gray continues, "that communism was an atheist version of monotheism. But so is liberalism, and when Gide and others gave up faith in communism to become liberals, they were not renouncing the concepts and values that both ideologies had inherited from western religion. They continued to believe that history was a directional process in which humankind was advancing towards universal freedom".

So too with the wokes. The emphasis is on Redemption; on a Truth catharsis; on their own Virtue as sufficient agency to stand-in for the lack of plan for the future. All are clear signals: A secularised 'illusion' is metamorphosing back into 'religion'. Not as Islam, of course, but as angry Man, burning at the deep and dark moral stain of the past. And acting now as purifying 'fire' to bring about the uplifting and shining future ahead.

Tucker Carlson, a leading American conservative commentator known for plain speaking, frames the movement a little differently:

"This is not a momentary civil disturbance. This is a serious, and highly organized political movement It is deep and profound and has vast political ambitions. It is insidious, it will grow. Its goal is to end liberal democracy and challenge western civilization itself We're too literal and good-hearted to understand what's happening We have no idea what we are up against These are not protests. This is a totalitarian political movement" .

Again, nothing needs to be done by this new generation to bring into being a new world, apart from destroying the old one. This vision is a relic – albeit secularised – of western Christianity. Apocalypse and redemption, these wokes believe, have their own path; their own internal logic.

Mill's 'ghost' is arrived at the table. And with its return, America's exceptionalism has its re-birth. Redemption for humankind's dark stains. A narrative in which the history of mankind is reduced to the history of racial struggle. Yet Americans, young or old, now lack the power to project it as a universal vision.

'Virtue', however deeply felt, on its own, is insufficient. Might President Trump try nevertheless to sustain the old illusion by hard power? The U.S. is deeply fractured and dysfunctional – but if desperate, this is possible.

The "toy radicals, and Champagne Bolsheviks" – in these terms of dripping disdain from Williamson – are very similar to those who rushed into the streets in 1917. But before dismissing them so peremptorily and lightly, recall what occurred.

Into that combustible mass of youth – so acultured by their progressive parents to see a Russian past that was imperfect and darkly stained – a Trotsky and Lenin were inserted. And Stalin ensued. No 'toy radicals'. Soft became hard totalitarianism.

[Jul 01, 2020] Putin s economic and social policies have a neoliberal bent but Putin is far from a classic neoliberal

Highly recommended!
Putin has to stay within neoliberal framework because this is a the dominant social framework in existence. But he is determine to "tame the markets" when necessary which is definitely anathema to neoliberals. So he is kind of mixture of neoliberal and traditional New Deal style statist. At the same time he definitely deviates from neoliberalism in some major areas, such as labor market and monopolies.
Jul 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
likbez , July 02, 2020 at 03:51
@Prof K | Jul 1 2020 20:50 utc | 18
In fact, much of his economic and social policies have a decidedly neoliberal bent. As Tony Wood argues, Putin has reformed and consolidated the Yeltsin system. There is not as much of a break with Yeltsin as liberals -- or apparently leftists looking for any hope -- want to believe.
You have no clue. This is a typical left-wing "Infantile Disorder" point of view based on zero understanding of Russia and neoliberalism as a social system. Not that I am a big specialist, but your level of ignorance and arrogance is really stunning.

Neoliberalism as a social system means internal colonization of population by financial oligarchy and resulting decline of the standard of living for lower 80% due to the redistribution of wealth up. It also means subservience to international financial capital and debt slavery for vassal countries (the group to which Russia in views of Washington belongs) .

The classic example is Ukraine where 80% of population are now live on the edge of abject poverty. Russia, although with great difficulties, follows a different path. This is indisputable.

The neoliberal resolution which happened under alcoholic Yeltsin was stopped or at least drastically slowed down by Putin. Some issues were even reversed. For example, the USA interference via NGO ended. Direct interference of the USA into internal affairs of Russia ( Russia was a USA colony under Yeltsin ) also diminished, although was not completely eliminated (and this is impossible in view of the USA position in the the hegemon of the neoliberal "International" and owner of the world reserve currency.)

Those attempts to restore the sovereignty of Russia were clearly anti-neoliberal acts of Putin. After all the slogan of neoliberalism is "financial oligarchy of all countries unite" -- kind of perversion of Trotskyism (or. more correctly, "Trotskyism for the rich.")

In general, Yeltsin's model of neoliberalism in Russia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semibankirschina ) experienced serious setbacks under Putin's rule, although some of his measures were distinctly neoliberal.

Recent "Medvedev's" pension reform is one (which was partially a necessity due to the state of Russian finances at the time; although the form that was chosen -- in your face, without some type of carrot -- was really mediocre, like almost anything coming from Medvedev ); some botched attempt in privatization of electrical networks with Chubais at the helm is another -- later stopped, etc.

But in reality, considerable if not dominant political power now belongs to corporations, whether you want it or not. And that creates strong neoliberal fifth column within the country. That's a huge problem for Putin. The alternative is dictatorship which usually does not end well. So there is not much space for maneuvering anyway. You need to play the anti-neoliberal game very skillfully as you always have weak cards in hands, the point which people like VK never understand.

BTW, unlike classic neoliberals, Putin is a consistent proponent of indexation of income of lower strata of the population to inflation, which he even put in the constitution. Unlike Putin, classic neoliberals preach false narrative that "the rising tide lifts all boats."

All-in-all whenever possible, Putin often behaves more like a New Deal Capitalism adherent, than like a neoliberal. He sincerely is trying to provide a decent standard of living for lower 80% of the population. He preserves a large share of state capital in strategically important companies. Some of them are still state-owned (anathema for any neoliberal.)

But he operates in conditions where neoliberalism is the dominant system and when Russia is under constant, unrelenting pressure, and he needs to play by the rules.

Like any talented politician, he found some issues were he can safely deviate from neoliberal consensus without too hard sanctions. In other matters, he needs to give up to survive.

[Jul 01, 2020] End of empire by Andrew Bacevich

Bacevich is extremely naive. Neoliberal elite does not care one bit about the USA population. It is essentially behaves like an occupying force. So probably only external shocks can change things.
Jul 01, 2020 | spectator.us

This article is in The Spectator 's July 2020 US edition. Subscribe here to get yours .

The end of World War Two inaugurated the era of American dominion, with the United States politically, economically and militarily the most powerful nation on the planet. Yet throughout the subsequent period of American global ascendency, the American people endured a seemingly endless sequence of domestic crises, upheavals and disasters. Primacy abroad did not insulate them, convinced of their unique place in human history, from the trials and tribulations routinely befalling other, more 'ordinary' nations.

Yet neither did trials at home undermine the deep-seated belief that history had summoned the United States -- and no one else -- to lead the world. So even as presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama wrestled with pressing challenges at home (for Truman there was race and McCarthyism , for Obama race and the Great Recession), they all, without exception, testified to the nation's indispensability. They deemed it their duty to do so. All, therefore, found ways to prevent domestic problems from encroaching upon America's assertion of singularity among nations. Leading the world took precedence over addressing the contradictions and shortcomings affecting the American way of life. So from 1945 until the end of the 20th century, creating 'a more perfect Union' took a back seat to venturing 'abroad, in search of monsters to destroy'.

...Americans suddenly awakened to the fact that global leadership ("aka imperial policy and costly neocolonial wars") as practiced by the United States can produce painful blowback.

Reinforcing this shock to the system were other unpleasant surprises. First came wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the world's mightiest military was supposed to win but did not, despite sustaining terrible casualties and expending trillions of dollars. Second came episodes of stunning ineptitude by political authorities. Hurricane Katrina provided one example among many, showing that the people in charge were clueless about how to protect the population for which they were responsible. Hard on the heels of Katrina came the worst economic crisis since the Depression, suggesting that the people charged with managing the economy were incompetent, on the take, or both.

In 2016, the electorate responded by repudiating the establishment, voting into office a thoroughly unqualified presidential wannabe who promised to 'drain the swamp' and put 'America First'. Donald Trump has kept neither of those promises. As the end of his first term approaches, the actual legacy of his presidency has now become clear: yet more ineptitude, cluelessness and incompetence, all reinforced by Trump's trademark narcissism, vulgarity, blustering tough-guy posturing and casual dissembling.

History will doubtless judge Trump harshly. As US president, he has proven to be an abysmal flop. Trump has failed to end the wars he vowed to end. For all his self- touted skills as a dealmaker, his record consists chiefly of unfulfilled promises. He also failed to address effectively -- or even acknowledge -- the threat posed by COVID-19. As a direct consequence of his administration's belated and bungling response to the pandemic, the death toll in the United States now exceeds a staggering 125,000. Trump, of course, accepts no responsibility for that outcome. Coming hard on the heels of the pandemic is the worst economic calamity since Herbert Hoover occupied the White House almost a century ago. Hoover 'owned' the Great Depression. So too Trump 'owns' the economic consequences of the Great Lockdown. Yet again he refuses accountability.

... ... ...

A partial answer to the first question is this: for too long, ruling elites allowed the purported obligations of global leadership to take precedence over tending to the collective wellbeing of the American people. This was a conscious choice made by leaders of both political parties. We are now living with the consequences of that choice...

A preliminary answer to the second question must begin with this admission: the era of US dominion has now passed. So Americans can no longer afford to indulge in the fiction of their indispensability, cherished in elite circles. In fact, the sun has set on the American empire. Subordinating the wellbeing of the American people to ostensible imperatives of global leadership -- thereby allowing racism, inequality, and other problems to fester at home -- has become intolerable.

A massive reordering of national priorities is required. It goes without saying that Trump is incapable of presiding over any such reordering. Yet whether anyone else in mainstream politics is capable of doing so remains very much an open question.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. This article is in The Spectator 's July 2020 US edition. Subscribe here to get yours .

[Jun 30, 2020] The coronavirus crisis has caused a dramatic deterioration in the European public perception of the US, extensive new polling from across Europe reveals

Jun 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A User , Jun 29 2020 9:40 utc | 118

To put it politely I, A User, am not a big fan of the grauniad's opinion on anything.
However just now I have been drawn to this article about a poll on euro's changing attitudes towards amerika since the Covid 19 pandemic kicked off.
Yep we all see that the graun's interest is purely political, that the purpose of the article is to sledge orangeman and advance the cause for the even less capable dim hopeful, sleazy Joe Biden.
Nevertheless discounting that furphy there is something quite apposite in this:

"The coronavirus crisis has caused a dramatic deterioration in the European public perception of the US, extensive new polling from across Europe reveals. More than 60% of respondents in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal said they had lost trust in the United States as a global leader.

A report based on the survey's findings argues that the shock of the pandemic has "traumatised" European citizens, leaving them feeling "alone and vulnerable".

In almost every country surveyed, a majority of people said their perception of the US had deteriorated since the outbreak. Negative attitudes of the US were most marked in Denmark (71%) Portugal (70%), France (68%), Germany (65%) and Spain (64%). In France, 46% and in Germany 42% said their view of the US had worsened "a lot" during the pandemic."

If amerika moves straight from this into a seemingly more tolerable stance, courtesy of a smooth operator such as Barak Oblamblam, the euro bourgeoisie attitude towards amerika & its inherent sociopathy (amerika is an accurate model of sociopath), then this belief by euro bourgeoisie would probably expire before it gains traction.

However there is no grinning hypocrite with a fast line in tamping shit down, then smoothing it over available.
If Biden wins election, garbage news vectors such as the graun will be pushing for that, however I reckon the neolib fishwraps will be overwhelmed by an ugly reality which is a function of Biden's flaws. The man is racist down to his bones

Biden as a white supremacist is the low-life's default position.
When this careerist & corrupt example of everything which is wrong with amerikan politics, chose to hang out with Strom Thurmond (by that time a rethug) and the dixiecrat wing of the dim party, that was by choice. As a yankee congresscreep, Biden wouldn't have been under any political pressure to side with the white supremacists, but he did 'cos he was motivated by personal choice.

I reckon that should he beat orangeman, Biden will indulge the hubris which so many (esp undeserving winners of the prez beauty contest) little people fall victim to.

That is, on waking up 1st day after election day and deciding he is indeed 'king of the world' he'll indulge his long suppressed prejudices to give african amerikans a bit of a swipe, for no reason other than to show 'em who is who in the fucking zoo,

This will play really badly in europe, even tho deep down, the euro bourgeoisie are about as stone racist as they come.

For the last 50 years or so they have been getting by, even claiming they are "not racist" when deep down (take it from one who has seen 'em up close , burbling their poison when they believe they're surrounded by 'fellow travelers') many have not moved far beyond the Nazi shit their grandfathers burbled in the 1930's & 40's.

Don't agree?

Why is it that despite the ongoing criticism from EU "professionals" directed at arsehole states such as Hungary & Poland, nothing happens. Both collect far more EU subsidies than an up until recently 100% opposed to white supremacy state such as Greece?

Euros pretend that the last 3 centuries of pillaging of Africa & Asia by euro states, pillaging which has kept a big mob of them in the top income bracket, never happened, that they have been 'straight up' with the blackfellas when they haven't.
Everyone silently accepts the deception to stay nice, when actually, they are anything but. However just a euro gentleman would never fart in an elevator neither would he ever articulate his racist attitudes.

Biden, like Trump doesn't get euro sophistication, aka euro hypocrisy, so when he opens his yobby gob, he will spruik the type of tosh that will alienate euro arseholes, driving the wedge between euro & amerika which Trump initially hammered in, so deep that the euros & amerika are split asunder.
Not because the sides disagree but because both elements create so much the same noise within their individual webs of deceit, that they cannot afford to be seen agreeing lest Jo/Joe catches on.

[Jun 25, 2020] Neoliberalism as internal colonialism

Jun 25, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
Globalization: From a US perspective, globalization began in the 1970s with the first large-scale offshoring of semi-conductor, clothing, shoe, electronic, manufacturing, and the large-scale importation of automobiles, and accelerated during the 1980s. Capitalists and 401Ks were the most significant forces driving globalization. As a result of globalization, the DJI soared to new heights.

By 2020, most all of our critical medicines were being manufactured in China and India; hampering our ability to respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic, causing tens of thousands of Americans to die unnecessarily. The US was no longer self-sufficient, hadn't been for more than twenty years.

Significant unintended consequences of Globalization include: Millions of well-paying jobs were sent overseas. A Globalization related Opioid Epidemic that began in the 1990s. The American landscape was littered with dead and dying communities. By 2020, 40% of US Workers were living from paycheck to paycheck; working at jobs that did not pay a living wage. America suffered a soaring homeless population. Due to offshored critical manufacturing, the nation was unable to respond to a worldwide pandemic.

likbez , June 25, 2020 9:38 am

...Money quote:

Significant unintended consequences of Globalization include: Millions of well-paying jobs were sent overseas. A Globalization related Opioid Epidemic that began in the 1990s. The American landscape was littered with dead and dying communities.

By 2020, 40% of US Workers were living from paycheck to paycheck; working at jobs that did not pay a living wage. America suffered a soaring homeless population.

Due to offshored critical manufacturing, the nation was unable to respond to a worldwide pandemic.

It is important to understand that the current situation is the result of the crisis of neoliberalism. And the key idea of neoliberalism is the use of colonial methods against the USA population ("internal colonialism").. Even current "blacks against whites" divide and conquer strategy is taken fully from British colonialism.

Of course, slogans are different, but the reality is really brutal neocolonialism.

And it penetrates culture too. Black ghetto culture and rap are just two (superficial) demonstrations of this sad fact.

For proper framework see Ganesh Sitaraman

https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

Some quotes:

" In study after study, political scientists have shown that the U.S. government is highly responsive to the policy preferences of the wealthiest people, corporations, and trade associations -- and that it is largely unresponsive to the views of ordinary people. The wealthiest people, corporations, and their interest groups participate more in politics, spend more on politics, and lobby governments more. Leading political scientists have declared that the U.S. is no longer best characterized as a democracy or a republic but as an oligarchy -- a government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. "

" Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism. "

" neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. "

" Demagogues rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. "

" neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. "

" They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. "

" In spite of these failures, most policymakers did not have a new ideology or different worldview through which to comprehend the problems of this time. So, by and large, the collective response was not to abandon neoliberalism. After the Great Crash of 2008, neoliberals chafed at attempts to push forward aggressive Keynesian spending programs to spark demand. President Barack Obama's advisers shrank the size of the post-crash stimulus package for fear it would seem too large to the neoliberal consensus of the era -- and on top of that, they compromised on its content. "

" Although neoliberalism had little to offer, in the absence of a new ideological framework, it hung over the Obama presidency -- but now in a new form. Many on the center-left adopted what we might call the "technocratic ideology," a rebranded version of the policy minimalism of the 1990s that replaced minimalism's tactical and pragmatic foundations with scientific ones. The term itself is somewhat oxymoronic, as technocrats seem like the opposite of ideologues. "

" The technocratic ideology preserves the status quo with a variety of tactics. We might call the first the "complexity canard." "

" The most frequent uses of this tactic are in sectors that economists have come to dominate -- international trade, antitrust, and financial regulation, for example. The result of this mind-set is that bold, structural reforms are pushed aside and highly technical changes adopted instead. Financial regulation provides a particularly good case, given the 2008 crash and the Great Recession. When it came time to establish a new regulatory regime for the financial sector, there wasn't a massive restructuring, despite the biggest crash in 70 years. "

" Instead, for the most part, the Dodd-Frank Act was classically technocratic. It kept the sector basically the same, with a few tweaks here and there. There was no attempt to restructure the financial sector completely. "

" The Volcker Rule, for example, sought to ban banks from proprietary trading. But instead of doing that through a simple, clean breakup rule (like the one enacted under the old Glass-Steagall regime), the Volcker Rule was subject to a multitude of exceptions and carve-outs -- measures that federal regulators were then required to explain and implement with hundreds of pages of technical regulations "

" Dodd-Frank also illustrates a second tenet of the technocratic ideology: The failures of technocracy can be solved by more technocracy. "

[Jun 23, 2020] Identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ( soft neoliberals ) to counter the defection of trade union members from the party

Highly recommended!
divide and conquer 1. To gain or maintain power by generating tension among others, especially those less powerful, so that they cannot unite in opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new. ..."
"... The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy. ..."
"... Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity. ..."
"... If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump. ..."
Dec 28, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

likbez 12.27.19 at 10:21 pm

John,

I've been thinking about the various versions of and critiques of identity politics that are around at the moment. In its most general form, identity politics involves (i) a claim that a particular group is not being treated fairly and (ii) a claim that members of that group should place political priority on the demand for fairer treatment. But "fairer" can mean lots of different things. I'm trying to think about this using contrasts between the set of terms in the post title. A lot of this is unoriginal, but I'm hoping I can say something new.

You missed one important line of critique -- identity politics as a dirty political strategy of soft neoliberals.

See discussion of this issue by Professor Ganesh Sitaraman in his recent article (based on his excellent book The Great Democracy ) https://newrepublic.com/article/155970/collapse-neoliberalism

To be sure, race, gender, culture, and other aspects of social life have always been important to politics. But neoliberalism's radical individualism has increasingly raised two interlocking problems. First, when taken to an extreme, social fracturing into identity groups can be used to divide people and prevent the creation of a shared civic identity. Self-government requires uniting through our commonalities and aspiring to achieve a shared future.

When individuals fall back onto clans, tribes, and us-versus-them identities, the political community gets fragmented. It becomes harder for people to see each other as part of that same shared future.

Demagogues [more correctly neoliberals -- likbez] rely on this fracturing to inflame racial, nationalist, and religious antagonism, which only further fuels the divisions within society. Neoliberalism's war on "society," by pushing toward the privatization and marketization of everything, thus indirectly facilitates a retreat into tribalism that further undermines the preconditions for a free and democratic society.

The second problem is that neoliberals on right and left sometimes use identity as a shield to protect neoliberal policies. As one commentator has argued, "Without the bedrock of class politics, identity politics has become an agenda of inclusionary neoliberalism in which individuals can be accommodated but addressing structural inequalities cannot." What this means is that some neoliberals hold high the banner of inclusiveness on gender and race and thus claim to be progressive reformers, but they then turn a blind eye to systemic changes in politics and the economy.

Critics argue that this is "neoliberal identity politics," and it gives its proponents the space to perpetuate the policies of deregulation, privatization, liberalization, and austerity.

Of course, the result is to leave in place political and economic structures that harm the very groups that inclusionary neoliberals claim to support. The foreign policy adventures of the neoconservatives and liberal internationalists haven't fared much better than economic policy or cultural politics. The U.S. and its coalition partners have been bogged down in the war in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is a liberal democracy, nor did the attempt to establish democracy in Iraq lead to a domino effect that swept the Middle East and reformed its governments for the better. Instead, power in Iraq has shifted from American occupiers to sectarian militias, to the Iraqi government, to Islamic State terrorists, and back to the Iraqi government -- and more than 100,000 Iraqis are dead.

Or take the liberal internationalist 2011 intervention in Libya. The result was not a peaceful transition to stable democracy but instead civil war and instability, with thousands dead as the country splintered and portions were overrun by terrorist groups. On the grounds of democracy promotion, it is hard to say these interventions were a success. And for those motivated to expand human rights around the world, it is hard to justify these wars as humanitarian victories -- on the civilian death count alone.

Indeed, the central anchoring assumptions of the American foreign policy establishment have been proven wrong. Foreign policymakers largely assumed that all good things would go together -- democracy, markets, and human rights -- and so they thought opening China to trade would inexorably lead to it becoming a liberal democracy. They were wrong. They thought Russia would become liberal through swift democratization and privatization. They were wrong.

They thought globalization was inevitable and that ever-expanding trade liberalization was desirable even if the political system never corrected for trade's winners and losers. They were wrong. These aren't minor mistakes. And to be clear, Donald Trump had nothing to do with them. All of these failures were evident prior to the 2016 election.

If we assume that identity politics is, first and foremost, a dirty and shrewd political strategy developed by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party ("soft neoliberals") many things became much more clear. Along with Neo-McCarthyism it represents a mechanism to compensate for the loss of their primary voting block: trade union members, who in 2016 "en mass" defected to Trump.

Initially Clinton calculation was that trade union voters has nowhere to go anyways, and it was correct for first decade or so of his betrayal. But gradually trade union members and lower middle class started to leave Dems in droves (Demexit, compare with Brexit) and that where identity politics was invented to compensate for this loss.

So in addition to issues that you mention we also need to view the role of identity politics as the political strategy of the "soft neoliberals " directed at discrediting and the suppression of nationalism.

The resurgence of nationalism is the inevitable byproduct of the dominance of neoliberalism, resurgence which I think is capable to bury neoliberalism as it lost popular support (which now is limited to financial oligarchy and high income professional groups, such as we can find in corporate and military brass, (shrinking) IT sector, upper strata of academy, upper strata of medical professionals, etc)

That means that the structure of the current system isn't just flawed which imply that most problems are relatively minor and can be fixed by making some tweaks. It is unfixable, because the "Identity wars" reflect a deep moral contradictions within neoliberal ideology. And they can't be solved within this framework.

[Jun 23, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple. ..."
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
"... Joe Biden is a crook and a con man. He has been lying his whole life. Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class. Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man. He has been lying his whole life. Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class. Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Jun 23, 2020] On Choosing a Belief System by Ken Melvin

Belief system is not chosen. The individual is indoctrinated into it via socialization process. Only few can break this bond.
Notable quotes:
"... Social or Cultural Norms are standards for behavior engendered from infancy by parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, and others in one's life. Social Norms are the shared expectations and rules that guide the behavior of people within social groups; Social Norms can go a long way toward maintaining social order. Engendered, Social or Cultural Norms can be enforced by something as subtle as a gesture, a look, or even the absence of any response at all. At the extremes, aberrant social behavior becomes a crime. One could adopt Social Norms as a part or all of their Belief System. ..."
"... Religions were an early form of Social Norms. Yet and still, all Religious Beliefs address Social Behavior, Social Norms. As with Social Norms, most, if not all, Religions have slowly evolved over time. As with Social Norms, Religious Beliefs are often engendered from infancy by parents; handed down from generation to generation. Most Religions require one's Believing; Believing that the precepts of the Religion come down to us from a supreme being or deity via a prophet or inspired teacher. Whereas science asks questions in the quest for knowledge, Abrahamic religions hold that any questioning of their particular beliefs is blasphemous, a great sin. Rather than welcome questions in re validity, religions insist that, first and foremost, adherents believe. Religions might be a part of the whole of one's Belief System. ..."
"... Can we even have stable societies without Belief Systems? Is it possible to build a Society around Science, Philosophy, and/or Reason? Can we, benefitting from Science and Philosophy: Improve the quality of our Belief Systems? Of our Religions? Can Beliefs become Informed Opinions? Will future societies' Belief Systems be based more on Science and Philosophy, and less on opinion and belief? Do they have a choice? It seems that the more successful societies have long since chosen to give the thinking of Science and Philosophy precedence over Believing. Darwin tells us that survival goes to those that adapt. ..."
Jun 22, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Belief Systems, these prisms through which we view the world, have been around from our earliest days. Not so long ago, the Ancient Greeks separated the concept of what we might call belief into two concepts: pistis and doxa with pistis referring to trust and confidence (notably akin the regard accorded science) and doxa referring to opinion and acceptance (more akin the regard accorded cultural norms).

In quest of a personal Belief System, should one: Go with the flow and adapt to the Social or Cultural Norm? Follow the Abrahamic admonishment to first believe? Follow their own Reasoning? Or, should one look to Science?

Social or Cultural Norms are standards for behavior engendered from infancy by parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, and others in one's life. Social Norms are the shared expectations and rules that guide the behavior of people within social groups; Social Norms can go a long way toward maintaining social order. Engendered, Social or Cultural Norms can be enforced by something as subtle as a gesture, a look, or even the absence of any response at all. At the extremes, aberrant social behavior becomes a crime. One could adopt Social Norms as a part or all of their Belief System.

Most modern Religions are handed down from times long past, times before much was known about anything. Most, if not all, early Religions were based on mythology. Later on, some Religions found more of their basis in whatever evidence and reasoning skills were available to a people. From the earliest times, human cultures have developed some form or another of a Belief System premised on Religion.

Humans are, uniquely it seems, given the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking in an orderly rational way; they are given the faculty of Reason. To Reason is to use the faculty of Reason so as to arrive at conclusions; to discover, formulate, or conclude by way of a carefully Reasoned Analysis. One might base a part or all of their Belief System on Reason.

Science can be seen as an endeavor to increase knowledge, to understand; to reduce ignorance and misunderstanding. Science encourages active skepticism. Science, the word comes from the Latin word for knowledge, is premised on verifiable empirical evidence and best thinking. Science employs our faculty to Reason. Belief is not a scientific criterion but is rather a bias to be filtered out of any scientific experiment. We have confidence in the knowledge afforded us by Science to the extent that we have confidence in the validity of the evidence and the rigor of the Reasoning, and in Scientific Methodology. Science can form the basis of one's Belief System to the extent that they have confidence in Science.

Religions were an early form of Social Norms. Yet and still, all Religious Beliefs address Social Behavior, Social Norms. As with Social Norms, most, if not all, Religions have slowly evolved over time. As with Social Norms, Religious Beliefs are often engendered from infancy by parents; handed down from generation to generation. Most Religions require one's Believing; Believing that the precepts of the Religion come down to us from a supreme being or deity via a prophet or inspired teacher. Whereas science asks questions in the quest for knowledge, Abrahamic religions hold that any questioning of their particular beliefs is blasphemous, a great sin. Rather than welcome questions in re validity, religions insist that, first and foremost, adherents believe. Religions might be a part of the whole of one's Belief System.

As is to be expected, Science is often in conflict with religious beliefs. This dichotomy between the Reasoning of Science and the Believing of Religion goes back at least to early Egypt, Greece, and India; has played, and still plays, a huge role for philosophers, scientists, and others given to thought.

While most modern societies have moved away from a Religious dominance of their culture; at the extremes, we still have theocracies where Religious Belief is given reign over culture and politics, and, to some extent or another, thought itself.

Preceding statute law, Religious associated Belief Systems played an important role in mankind's development. Down through the centuries, religious behavioral standards have provided societies personal security, social stability. Religious Beliefs have long been, are still being, codified into law.

Codified laws can also be based on 'Social Norms', on philosophy and reason ( love of learning, the pursuit of wisdom, a search for understanding, ); or on yet other Belief Systems.

Can we even have stable societies without Belief Systems? Is it possible to build a Society around Science, Philosophy, and/or Reason? Can we, benefitting from Science and Philosophy: Improve the quality of our Belief Systems? Of our Religions? Can Beliefs become Informed Opinions? Will future societies' Belief Systems be based more on Science and Philosophy, and less on opinion and belief? Do they have a choice? It seems that the more successful societies have long since chosen to give the thinking of Science and Philosophy precedence over Believing. Darwin tells us that survival goes to those that adapt.

He didn't say it quite that way, but that is what he meant.

This seeming need of humans to Believe can be abused. The atrocities of Colonial Spain and Portugal and the Era of Slavery were ostensibly committed under the aegis of Christian Belief. Nazi Germany, Jonestown, ISIS, and a Trump Presidency are examples of some of the more negative consequences of aberrant Belief Systems.

Demagogues prey on this need to Believe by telling the people what to Believe; by giving them something to Believe. Fox News, by telling its viewers what to Believe, gives them this thing they need; something to Believe. All those arbiters of opinion we see and read on the media are trying to sell Beliefs to their audience; an audience that needs something to Believe. Fox News has become a Belief System for millions. So too, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, and Shawn Hannity.

Adolph Hitler and Jim Jones gave their needy followers something to Believe. Osama bin Laden/Al-Qaeda and ISIS gave their needy followers something to Believe. Donald J. Trump is giving his needy followers something to Believe.

Thinking's too hard.

Obviously, existing well-meaning Belief Systems can be co-opted by unsavory persons, societies. Equally obvious, Belief Systems can be instilled into a population. From the days of slavery and for these 150 yrs hence, whites in the Southern States have engendered racism into their progeny. For 150 yrs now they propagated a false version of history in their schools. They created and propagated a Belief System premised on mendacity.

Though many Belief Systems are based on Religious Tenets; we also see them based on economic models, personality cults, , even in science. Economic dogma can be instilled in a society as a Belief System to the extent that any challenge thereto is considered to be heretical, blasphemous. One can be born a Republican, a Baptist, or both, as were their parents and their parents' parents. People have been being born Catholic for 2,000 yrs. Joseph Smith, a come lately, instilled.

Some positive consequences of Belief Systems include: higher moral standards, the great art and science flowing from the Renaissance; the science, philosophy, and art from The Age of Reason/The Enlightenment. More recently: the ending of slavery, the ending of Colonialism, the ending of apartheid, the codification of LGBT rights, and the struggle to end racism correlate with changes in Belief Systems. Pending challenges for Belief Systems include such as freedom from hunger, access to housing, and alleviating economic disparity. Belief Systems can carry us forward. Belief Systems can hold us back.

Is tweeting believing?

To what Belief System, if any, is this our Age of Technology attributable? Has Technology itself become a Belief System?

A very famous frog once said, "It is not easy being green."

Closely held, long-held, Beliefs are hard to give up; especially if they have been engendered via emulation, imprinting, repetition, , since infancy. In America, the most technologically advanced economy ever known; our technology, our scientific achievements, are all based on science. Yet today we have upwards of half of our politicians pandering to one or another Religious group that, for the most part, denies Science. Quid pro quo: the pols get the Religious groups' vote, the Religious group gets the laws, and the judges and justices, they want. Perhaps in part as a consequence of this support, most of this same group of politicians would govern all the while making little effort to acquaint themselves with Science, with technology, in this day and age of Science and Technology. Many, maybe most, of these same politicians hold fast to theories of economics and law that are, themselves, based on Belief.

John Prine, recently departed, not a frog, wrote the tune "In Spite of Ourselves".

In spite of ourselves, we humans mumble and fumble our way as is our wont.

Ron (RC) Weakley (a.k.a., Darryl for a while at EV) , June 22, 2020 8:35 am

" Darwin tells us that survival goes to those that adapt.

He didn't say it quite that way, but that is what he meant "

[No he did not say it that way because that is not what he meant. Human beings just like to misrepresent Darwin that way because it follows along with their own narrative of innovative superiority and control of their own fate. To transpose biological mutation from the natural selection process of biological evolution over to social evolution is a bit of a stretch, but clearly it would favor diversity and freedom over rigid authoritarian orthodoxy. It comes with no guaranty of course, but it also more accidental or incidental than contrived.]

Ron (RC) Weakley (a.k.a., Darryl for a while at EV) , June 22, 2020 9:18 am

Reason is not the same as logic, not pure logic at least. Impure logic is mostly sophistry. Reason is not necessarily sophistry, but still depends upon assumptions which in life may be less reliable than in math.

Nietzsche and Machiavelli were notable philosophers of celebrated capacity for reason. By my own anti-intellectual biases I have found them both intolerable as human beings and deceptive as arbiters of truth. Science, when correctly applied, has evolved far beyond its roots in philosophy. I am skeptical of both incorrect science and any philosophy that I am not taking an active roll in. Any valid philosophy should be about the present rather than the past. Kant and William James are tolerable, but still insufficient despite their well meaning morality.

[Jun 23, 2020] Scary Signs - Cafe Hayek by Don Boudreaux

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Failure to blame all problems suffered by minorities on racism ..."
"... Groupthink must be fun for many people. Emoting without as much as a thread of a connection to knowledge of history and careful ..."
"... But what today most scares me – a true liberal to my marrow – is the rabid mobthink on the political and ideological left. My fear is neither my forgiving nor tolerating the many prejudices and idiocies rampant on the right. I despise these unconditionally. But today – June 12th, 2020 – I fear more the prejudices and idiocies rampant on the left, if only because these seem to me to be today more widespread and socially encouraged. ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | cafehayek.com
Scary Signs

by Don Boudreaux on June 12, 2020

in Current Affairs , Philosophy of Freedom

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Reading David Henderson's recent EconLog post titled " Why Don't People Speak Up? " prompts me to offer a more general yet personal point, which is this:

These are, at least for me, especially scary times. I refer here not principally to the covid lockdown (although that, too, is scary in its own way). Instead, I refer to the tsunami of virtue signaling now drowning the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Frank and honest disagreement with any parts of the narrative that dominates the mainstream media is treated by too many people as proof of evil intentions or, at best, of indifference to evil.

Underway now is something far more extreme than a mere loss of nuance. The world is now painted exclusively in the darkest black and brightest white. (Please, do not interpret my use of "black and white" as referring to anything other than the traditionally used example of the starkest of distinctions.)

Failure to blame all problems suffered by minorities on racism – failure to denounce loudly and angrily American bourgeois society's allegedly inherent bigotry, greed, and rapaciousness – failure to acknowledge that America today is a brutal and cruel place for all but the elite, and hellish especially for blacks, women, and gay, bi, and transgender people – is frequently interpreted as sympathy for dark-ages-like superstition and prejudices.

Equally bad, in the eyes of the Virtuous, are attempts at offering historical perspective. Even if accompanied by a sincere and express acknowledgement that serious problems remain, the mere suggestion that at least some of these problems were more widespread and worse in the past – the slightest hint that over time there's been some real improvement for anyone but white, heterosexual, high-income Christian males – is treated as evidence of blindness or malignant bias.

Groupthink must be fun for many people. Emoting without as much as a thread of a connection to knowledge of history and careful consideration of the facts is the practice of very many people today. And it's de rigueur now to treat one's emotions – along with rioting-crowds' outrage and passions – as sources of understanding and knowledge more reliable than an actual understanding of history and economics.

Sadly, but unsurprisingly, this irrationality centered in the political left spawns irrationality on the right. I've heard it said that George Floyd wasn't killed by Derek Chauvin, or that Floyd deserved his fate. I hear it said that any success at reforming government police departments would undermine law and order. Nonsense, of course. Pure nonsense.

But what today most scares me – a true liberal to my marrow – is the rabid mobthink on the political and ideological left. My fear is neither my forgiving nor tolerating the many prejudices and idiocies rampant on the right. I despise these unconditionally. But today – June 12th, 2020 – I fear more the prejudices and idiocies rampant on the left, if only because these seem to me to be today more widespread and socially encouraged.

Seldom have I been as distraught as I am now.

[Jun 21, 2020] How Workers Can Win the Class War Being Waged Against Them by Richard D. Wolff

Notable quotes:
"... Mass unemployment will bring the United States closer to less-developed economies. Very large regions of the poor will surround small enclaves of the rich. Narrow bands of "middle-income professionals," etc., will separate rich from poor. Ever-more rigid social divisions enforced by strong police and military apparatuses are becoming the norm. Their outlines are already visible across the United States. ..."
"... In this context, U.S. capitalism strode confidently toward the 21st century. The Soviet threat had imploded. A divided Europe threatened no U.S. interests. Its individual nations competed for U.S. favor (especially the UK). China's poverty blocked its becoming an economic competitor. U.S. military and technological supremacy seemed insurmountable. ..."
"... Amid success, internal contradictions surfaced. U.S. capitalism crashed three times. The first happened early in 2000 (triggered by dot-com share-price inflation); next came the big crash of 2008 (triggered by defaulting subprime mortgages); and the hugest crash hit in 2020 (triggered by COVID-19). ..."
"... Second, we must face a major obstacle. Since 1945, capitalists and their supporters developed arguments and institutions to undo the New Deal and its leftist legacies. They silenced, deflected, co-opted, and/or demonized criticisms of capitalism. ..."
"... Third, to newly organized versions of a New Deal coalition or of social democracy, we must add a new element. We cannot again leave capitalists in the exclusive positions to receive enterprise profits and make major enterprise decisions. ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Organized labor led no mass opposition to Trump's presidency or the December 2017 tax cut or the failed U.S. preparation for and management of COVID-19. Nor do we yet see a labor-led national protest against the worst mass firing since the 1930s Great Depression. All of these events, but especially the unemployment, mark an employers' class war against employees. The U.S. government directs it, but the employers as a class inspire and benefit the most from it.

Before the 2020 crash, class war had been redistributing wealth for decades from middle-income people and the poor to the top 1 percent. That upward redistribution was U.S. employers' response to the legacy of the New Deal. During the Great Depression and afterward, wealth had been redistributed downward. By the 1970s, that was reversed. The 2020 crash will accelerate upward wealth redistribution sharply.

With tens of millions now a "reserve army" of the unemployed, nearly every U.S. employer can cut wages, benefits, etc. Employees dissatisfied with these cuts are easily replaced. Vast numbers of unemployed, stressed by uncertain job prospects and unemployment benefits, disappearing savings, and rising household tensions, will take jobs despite reduced wages, benefits, and working conditions. As the unemployed return to work, most employees' standards of consumption and living will drop.

Germany, France, and other European nations could not fire workers as the United States did. Strong labor movements and socialist parties with deep social influences preclude governments risking comparable mass unemployment; it would risk deposing them from office. Thus their antiviral lockdowns keep most at work with governments paying 70 percent or more of pre-virus wages and salaries.

Mass unemployment will bring the United States closer to less-developed economies. Very large regions of the poor will surround small enclaves of the rich. Narrow bands of "middle-income professionals," etc., will separate rich from poor. Ever-more rigid social divisions enforced by strong police and military apparatuses are becoming the norm. Their outlines are already visible across the United States.

Only if workers understand and mobilize to fight this class war can the trends sketched above be stopped or reversed. U.S. workers did exactly that in the 1930s. They fought -- in highly organized ways -- the class war waged against them then. Millions joined labor unions, and many tens of thousands joined two socialist parties and one communist party. All four organizations worked together, in coalition, to mobilize and activate the U.S. working class.

Weekly, and sometimes daily, workers marched across the United States. They criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies and capitalism itself by intermingling reformist and revolutionary demands. The coalition's size and political reach forced politicians, including FDR, to listen and respond, often positively. An initially "centrist" FDR adapted to become a champion of Social Security, unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, and a huge federal jobs program. The coalition achieved those moderate socialist reforms -- the New Deal -- and paid for them by setting aside revolutionary change.

It proved to be a good deal, but only in the short run. Its benefits to workers included a downward redistribution of income and wealth (especially via homeownership), and thereby the emergence of a new "middle class." Relatively well-paid employees were sufficient in number to sustain widespread notions of American exceptionalism, beliefs in ever-rising standards of working-class living across generations, and celebrations of capitalism as guaranteeing these social benefits. The reality was quite different. Not capitalists but rather their critics and victims had forced the New Deal against capitalists' resistance. And those middle-class benefits bypassed most African Americans.

The good deal did not last because U.S. capitalists largely resented the New Deal and sought to undo it. With World War II's end and FDR's death in 1945, the undoing accelerated. An anti-Soviet Cold War plus anti-communist/socialist crusades at home gave patriotic cover for destroying the New Deal coalition. The 1947 Taft-Hartley Act targeted organized labor. Senate and House committees spearheaded a unified effort (government, mass media, and academia) to demonize, silence, and socially exclude communists, socialists, leftists, etc. For decades after 1945 -- and still now in parts of the United States -- a sustained hysteria defined all left-wing thought, policy, or movement as always and necessarily the worst imaginable social evil.

Over time, the New Deal coalition was destroyed and left-wing thinking was labeled "disloyal." Even barely left-of-center labor and political organizations repeatedly denounced and distanced themselves from any sort of anti-capitalist impulse, any connection to socialism. Many New Deal reforms were evaded, amended, or repealed. Some simply vanished from politicians' knowledge and vocabulary and then journalists' too. Having witnessed the purges of leftist colleagues from 1945 through the 1950s, a largely docile academic community celebrated capitalism in general and U.S. capitalism in particular. The good in U.S. society was capitalism's gift. The rest resulted from government or foreign or ideological interferences in capitalism's wonderful invisible hand. Any person or group excluded from this American Dream had only themselves to blame for inadequate ability, insufficient effort, or ideological deviancy.

In this context, U.S. capitalism strode confidently toward the 21st century. The Soviet threat had imploded. A divided Europe threatened no U.S. interests. Its individual nations competed for U.S. favor (especially the UK). China's poverty blocked its becoming an economic competitor. U.S. military and technological supremacy seemed insurmountable.

Amid success, internal contradictions surfaced. U.S. capitalism crashed three times. The first happened early in 2000 (triggered by dot-com share-price inflation); next came the big crash of 2008 (triggered by defaulting subprime mortgages); and the hugest crash hit in 2020 (triggered by COVID-19). Unprepared economically, politically, and ideologically for any of them, the Federal Reserve responded by creating vast sums of new money that it threw at/lent to (at historically low interest rates) banks, large corporations, etc. Three successive exercises in trickle-down economic policy saw little trickle down. No underlying economic problems (inequality, excess systemic debts, cyclical instability, etc.) have been solved. On the contrary, all worsened. In other words, class war has been intensified.

What then is to be done? First, we need to recognize the class war that is underway and commit to fighting it. On that basis, we must organize a mass base to put real political force behind social democratic policies, parties, and politicians. We need something like the New Deal coalition. The pandemic, economic crash, and gross official policy failures (including violent official scapegoating) draw many toward classical social democracy. The successes of the Democratic Socialists of America show this.

Second, we must face a major obstacle. Since 1945, capitalists and their supporters developed arguments and institutions to undo the New Deal and its leftist legacies. They silenced, deflected, co-opted, and/or demonized criticisms of capitalism. Strategic decisions made by both the U.S. New Deal and European social democracy contributed to their defeats. Both always left and still leave employers exclusively in positions to (1) receive and dispense their enterprises' profits and (2) decide and direct what, how, and where their enterprises produce. Those positions gave capitalists the financial resources and power -- politically, economically, and culturally -- repeatedly to outmaneuver and repress labor and the left.

Third, to newly organized versions of a New Deal coalition or of social democracy, we must add a new element. We cannot again leave capitalists in the exclusive positions to receive enterprise profits and make major enterprise decisions. The new element is thus the demand to change enterprises producing goods and services. From hierarchical, capitalist organizations (where owners, boards of directors, etc., occupy the employer position) we need to transition to the altogether different democratic, worker co-op organizations. In the latter, no employer/employee split occurs. All workers have equal voice in deciding what gets produced, how, and where and how any profits get used. The collective of all employees is their own employer. As such an employer, the employees will finally protect and thus secure the reforms associated with the New Deal and social democracy.

We could describe the transition from capitalist to worker co-op enterprise organizations as a revolution. That would resolve the old debate of reform versus revolution. Revolution becomes the only way finally to secure progressive reforms. Capitalism's reforms were generated by the system's impacts on people and their resulting demands for change. Capitalism's resistances to those reforms -- and undoing them after they happened -- spawned the revolution needed to secure them. In that revolution, society moves beyond capitalism itself. So it was in the French Revolution: demands for reform within feudal society could only finally be realized by a social transition from feudalism to capitalism.

This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Richard D. Wolff

Richard Wolff is the author of Capitalism Hits the Fan and Capitalism's Crisis Deepens . He is founder of Democracy at Work .

[Jun 19, 2020] The Police Weren t Created to Protect and Serve. They Were Created to Maintain Order. A Brief Look at the History of Police

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's a commonplace to say the primary job of police is to "protect and serve," but that's not their goal in the way it's commonly understood -- not in the deed, the practice of what they daily do, and not true in the original intention, in why police departments were created in the first place. "Protect and serve" as we understand it is just the cover story. ..."
"... Urban police forces in America were created for one purpose -- to "maintain order" after a waves of immigrants swept into northern U.S. cities, both from abroad and later from the South, immigrants who threatened to disturb that "order." The threat wasn't primarily from crime as we understand it, from violence inflicted by the working poor on the poor or middle class. The threat came from unions, from strikes, and from the suffering, the misery and the anger caused by the rise of rapacious capitalism. ..."
"... What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. Who's being served? Owners, their property, and the sources of their wealth, the orderly and uninterrupted running of their factories. The goal of police departments, as originally constituted, was to keep the workers in line, in their jobs, and off the streets. ..."
"... In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police. ..."
"... Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half. ..."
"... I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890's. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905. ..."
"... Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn't mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like.. ..."
"... Straight-up fact: The police weren't created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, [enforced] over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.* ..."
Jun 18, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Tom mentions in passing the role of Pinkertons as goons for hire to crush early labor activists. Some employers like Ford went as far as forming private armies for that purpose. Establishing police forces were a way to socialize this cost.

By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

One version of the "thin blue line" flag, a symbol used in a variety of ways by American police departments , their most fervent supporters , and other right-wing fellow travelers . The thin blue line represents the wall of protection that separates the orderly "us" from the disorderly, uncivilized "them" .

[In the 1800s] the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class.
-- Sam Mitrani here

It's a commonplace to say the primary job of police is to "protect and serve," but that's not their goal in the way it's commonly understood -- not in the deed, the practice of what they daily do, and not true in the original intention, in why police departments were created in the first place. "Protect and serve" as we understand it is just the cover story.

To understand the true purpose of police, we have to ask, "What's being protected?" and "Who's being served?"

Urban police forces in America were created for one purpose -- to "maintain order" after a waves of immigrants swept into northern U.S. cities, both from abroad and later from the South, immigrants who threatened to disturb that "order." The threat wasn't primarily from crime as we understand it, from violence inflicted by the working poor on the poor or middle class. The threat came from unions, from strikes, and from the suffering, the misery and the anger caused by the rise of rapacious capitalism.

What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. Who's being served? Owners, their property, and the sources of their wealth, the orderly and uninterrupted running of their factories. The goal of police departments, as originally constituted, was to keep the workers in line, in their jobs, and off the streets.

Looking Behind Us

The following comes from an essay published at the blog of the Labor and Working-Class History Association, an academic group for teachers of labor studies, by Sam Mitrani, Associate Professor of History at the College of DuPage and author of The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894 .

According to Mitrani, "The police were not created to protect and serve the population. They were not created to stop crime, at least not as most people understand it. And they were certainly not created to promote justice. They were created to protect the new form of wage-labor capitalism that emerged in the mid to late nineteenth century from the threat posed by that system's offspring, the working class."

Keep in mind that there were no police departments anywhere in Europe or the U.S. prior to the 19th century -- in fact, "anywhere in the world" according to Mitrani. In the U.S., the North had constables, many part-time, and elected sheriffs, while the South had slave patrols. But nascent capitalism soon created a large working class, and a mass of European immigrants, "yearning to be free," ended up working in capitalism's northern factories and living in its cities.

"[A]s Northern cities grew and filled with mostly immigrant wage workers who were physically and socially separated from the ruling class, the wealthy elite who ran the various municipal governments hired hundreds and then thousands of armed men to impose order on the new working class neighborhoods ." [emphasis added]

America of the early and mid 1800s was still a world without organized police departments. What the Pinkertons were to strikes , these "thousands of armed men" were to the unruly working poor in those cities.

Imagine this situation from two angles. First, from the standpoint of the workers, picture the oppression these armed men must have represented, lawless themselves yet tasked with imposing "order" and violence on the poor and miserable, who were frequently and understandably both angry and drunk. (Pre-Depression drunkenness, under this interpretation, is not just a social phenomenon, but a political one as well.)

Second, consider this situation from the standpoint of the wealthy who hired these men. Given the rapid growth of capitalism during this period, "maintaining order" was a costly undertaking, and likely to become costlier. Pinkertons, for example, were hired at private expense, as were the "thousands of armed men" Mitrani mentions above.

The solution was to offload this burden onto municipal budgets. Thus, between 1840 and 1880, every major northern city in America had created a substantial police force, tasked with a single job, the one originally performed by the armed men paid by the business elites -- to keep the workers in line, to "maintain order" as factory owners and the moneyed class understood it.

"Class conflict roiled late nineteenth century American cities like Chicago, which experienced major strikes and riots in 1867, 1877, 1886, and 1894. In each of these upheavals, the police attacked strikers with extreme violence, even if in 1877 and 1894 the U.S. Army played a bigger role in ultimately repressing the working class. In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization , by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. This ideology of order that developed in the late nineteenth century echoes down to today – except that today, poor black and Latino people are the main threat, rather than immigrant workers."

That "thin blue line protecting civilization" is the same blue line we're witnessing today. Yes, big-city police are culturally racist as a group; but they're not just racist. They dislike all the "unwashed." A recent study that reviewed "all the data available on police shootings for the year 2017, and analyze[d] it based on geography, income, and poverty levels, as well as race" revealed the following remarkable pattern:

" Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder : in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

As they have always been, the police departments in the U.S. are a violent force for maintaining an order that separates and protects society's predator class from its victims -- a racist order to be sure, but a class-based order as well.

Looking Ahead

We've seen the violence of the police as visited on society's urban poor (and anyone else, poor or not, who happens to be the same race and color as the poor too often are), and we've witnessed the violent reactions of police to mass protests challenging the racism of that violence.

But we've also seen the violence of police during the mainly white-led Occupy movement (one instance here ; note that while the officer involved was fired, he was also compensated $38,000 for "suffering he experienced after the incident").

So what could we expect from police if there were, say, a national, angry, multiracial rent strike with demonstrations? Or a student debt s trike? None of these possibilities are off the table, given the economic damage -- most of it still unrealized -- caused by the current Covid crisis.

Will police "protect and serve" the protesters, victims of the latest massive transfer of wealth to the already massively wealthy? Or will they, with violence, "maintain order" by maintaining elite control of the current predatory system?

If Mitrani is right, the latter is almost certain.


MK , June 19, 2020 at 12:31 am

Possible solutions? One, universal public works system for everyone 18-20. [Avoiding armed service because that will never happen, nor peace corp.] Not allow the rich to buy then or their children an out. Let the billionaires children work along side those who never had a single family house or car growing up.

Two, eliminate suburban school districts and simply have one per state, broken down into regional areas. No rich [or white] flight to avoid poor systems. Children of differing means growing up side by side. Of course the upper class would simply send their children to private schools, much as the elite do now anyway.

Class and privilege is the real underlying issue and has been since capital began to be concentrated and hoarded as the article points out. It has to begin with the children if the future is to really change in a meaningful way.

timbers , June 19, 2020 at 8:06 am

I would add items targeted as what is causing inequality. Some of these might be:

1). Abolish the Federal Reserve. It's current action since 2008 are a huge transfer of wealth from us to the wealthy. No more Quantitative Easing, no Fed buying of stocks or bonds.

2). Make the only retirement and medical program allowed Congress and the President, Social Security and Medicare. That will cause it to be improved for all of us.

3). No stock ownership allowed for Congress folk while serving terms. Also, rules against joining those leaving Congress acting as lobbyists.

4). Something that makes it an iron rule that any law passed by Congress and the President, must equally apply to Congress and the President. For example, no separate retirement or healthcare access, but have this more broadly applied to all aspects of legislation and all aspects of life.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:11 am

Abolish the Fed and/or abolish the police?

Inbetween, there is

Defund Wall Street
Abolish banking
Abolish lending
Abolish cash
Defund fossil fuel subsidies

Etc.

Broader, more on the economic side, and perhaps more fundamental???

TiPs , June 19, 2020 at 8:34 am

I think you'd also have to legalize drugs and any other thing that leads creation of "organized ciminal groups." Take away the sources that lead to the creation of the well-armed gangs that control illegal activities.

David , June 19, 2020 at 9:32 am

Unfortunately, legalising drugs in itself, whatever the abstract merits, wouldn't solve the problem. Organised crime would still have a major market selling cut-price, tax-free or imitation drugs, as well, of course, as controlled drugs which are not allowed to be sold to just anybody now. Organised crime doesn't arise as a result of prohibitions, it expands into new areas thanks to them, and often these areas involve smuggling and evading customs duties. Tobacco products are legal virtually everywhere, but there's a massive criminal trade in smuggling them from the Balkans into Italy, where taxes are much higher. Any time you create a border, in effect, you create crime: there is even alcohol smuggling between Sweden and Norway. Even when activities are completely legal (such as prostitution in many European countries) organised crime is still largely in control through protection rackets and the provision of "security."

In effect, you'd need to abolish all borders, all import and customs duties and all health and safety and other controls which create price differentials between states. And OC is not fussy, it moves from one racket to another, as the Mafia did in the 1930s with the end of prohibition. To really tackle OC you'd need to legalise, oh, child pornography, human trafficking, sex slavery, the trade in rare wild animals, the trade in stolen gems and conflict diamonds, internet fraud and cyberattacks, and the illicit trade in rare metals, to name, as they say, but a few. As Monty Python well observed, the only way to reduce the crime rate (and hence the need for the police) is to reduce the number of criminal offences. Mind you, if you defund the police you effectively legalise all these things anyway.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:48 am

I dunno, ending Prohibition sure cut down on the market for bootleg liquor. It's still out there, but the market is nothing like what it once was.

Most people, even hardcore alcoholics, aren't going to go through the hassle of buying rotgut of dubious origin just to save a few dimes, when you can go to the corner liquor store and get a known product, no issues with supply 'cause your dealer's supplier just got arrested.

For that matter, OC is still definitely out there, but it isn't the force that it was during Prohibition, or when gambling was illegal.

As an aside, years ago, I knew a guy whose father had worked for Meyer Lansky's outfit, until Prohibition put him and others out of a job. As a token of his loyal service, the outfit gave him a (legal) liquor store to own and run.

David , June 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Yes, but in Norway, for example, you'd pay perhaps $30 for a six-pack of beer in a supermarket, whereas you'd pay half that to somebody selling beers out of the back of a car. In general people make too much of the Prohibition case, which was geographically and politically very special, and a a stage in history when OC was much less sophisticated. The Mob diversified into gambling and similar industries (higher profits, fewer risks). These days OC as a whole is much more powerful and dangerous, as well as sophisticated, than it was then, helped by globalisation and the Internet.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:25 pm

I think ending prohibitions on substances, would take quite a bite out of OC's pocketbook. and having someone move trailers of ciggarettes of bottles of beer big deal. That isn't really paying for the lifestyle.and it doesn't buy political protection. An old number I saw @ 2000 . the UN figured(guess) that illegal drugs were @ 600 billion dollars/year industry and most of that was being laundered though banks. Which to the banking industry is 600 billion in cash going into it's house of mirrors. Taking something like that out of the equation EVERY YEAR is no small thing. And the lobby from the OC who wants drugs kept illegal, coupled with the bankers who want the cash inputs equals a community of interest against legalization
and if the local police forces and the interstate/internationals were actually looking to use their smaller budgets and non-bill of rights infringing tactics, on helping the victim side of crimes then they could have a real mission/ Instead of just abusing otherwise innocent people who victimize no one.
so if we are looking for "low hanging fruit" . ending the war on drugs is a no brainer.

flora , June 19, 2020 at 1:36 am

Thanks for this post.

"What's being protected? The social order that feeds the wealthy at the expense of the working poor. " – Neuberger

In the aftermath of these movements, the police increasingly presented themselves as a thin blue line protecting civilization, by which they meant bourgeois civilization, from the disorder of the working class. – Mitrani

I think this ties in, if only indirectly, with the way so many peaceful recent protests seemed to turn violent after the police showed up. It's possible I suppose the police want to create disorder to frighten not only the protestors with immediate harm but also frighten the bourgeois about the threate of a "dangerous mob". Historically violent protests created a political backlash that usually benefited political conservatives and the wealthy owners. (The current protests may be different in this regard. The violence seems to have created a political backlash against conservatives and overzealous police departments' violence. ) My 2 cents.

John Anthony La Pietra , June 19, 2020 at 2:20 am

Sorry, but the title sent my mind back to the days of old -- of old Daley, that is, and his immortal quote from 1968: "Gentlemen, let's get the thing straight, once and for all. The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder."

Adam1 , June 19, 2020 at 7:39 am

LOL!!! great quote. Talk about saying it the way it is.

It kind of goes along with, "Police violence is focused overwhelmingly on men lowest on the socio-economic ladder: in rural areas outside the South, predominately white men; in the Southwest, disproportionately Hispanic men; in mid-size and major cities, disproportionately black men. Significantly, in the rural South, where the population is racially mixed, white men and black men are killed by police at nearly identical rates."

I bang my head on the table sometimes because poor white men and poor men of color are so often placed at odds when they increasingly face (mostly) the same problems. God forbid someone tried to unite them, there might really be some pearl clutching then.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 8:07 am

yeah, like Martin Luther King's "poor people's campaign". the thought of including the poor ,of all colors .. just too much for the status quo to stomach.
The "mechanism" that keeps masses in line . is one of those "invisible hands" too.

run75441 , June 19, 2020 at 8:23 am

Great response! I am sure you have more to add to this. A while back, I was researching the issues you state in your last paragraph. Was about ten pages into it and had to stop as I was drawn out of state and country. From my research.

While not as overt in the 20th century, the distinction of black slave versus poor white man has kept the class system alive and well in the US in the development of a discriminatory informal caste system. This distraction of a class level lower than the poorest of the white has kept them from concentrating on the disproportionate, and growing, distribution of wealth and income in the US. For the lower class, an allowed luxury, a place in the hierarchy and a sure form of self esteem insurance.

Sennett and Cobb (1972) observed that class distinction sets up a contest between upper and lower class with the lower social class always losing and promulgating a perception amongst themselves the educated and upper classes are in a position to judge and draw a conclusion of them being less than equal. The hidden injury is in the regard to the person perceiving himself as a piece of the woodwork or seen as a function such as "George the Porter." It was not the status or material wealth causing the harsh feelings; but, the feeling of being treated less than equal, having little status, and the resulting shame. The answer for many was violence.

James Gilligan wrote "Violence; Reflections on A National Epidemic." He worked as a prison psychiatrist and talked with many of the inmates of the issues of inequality and feeling less than those around them. His finding are in his book which is not a long read and adds to the discussion.

A little John Adams for you.

" The poor man's conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded.

In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar.

He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable ."

likbez, June 19, 2020 at 3:18 pm

That's a very important observation.

Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with "identity wedge," is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for a better standard of living, which considerably dropped under neoliberalism.

In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network.

This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, "Floydgate" can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks.

This is another way to explain "What's the matter with Kansas" effect.

John Anthony La Pietra, June 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

I like that one! - and I have to admit it's not familiar to me, though I've been a fan since before I got to play him in a neighboring community theater. Now I'm having some difficulty finding it. Where is it from, may I ask?

run75441, June 20, 2020 at 7:56 am

JAL:

Page 239, "The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States."

Read the book "Violence: Reflections of A National Epidemic" . Not a long read and well documented.

Carla , June 19, 2020 at 12:39 pm

MLK Jr. tried, and look what happened to him once he really got some traction. If the Rev. William Barber's Poor People's Campaign picks up steam, I'm afraid the same thing will happen to him.

I wish it were only pearl-clutching that the money power would resort to, but that's not the way it works.

JacobiteInTraining , June 19, 2020 at 9:20 am

Yeah – that quote struck me too, never seen it before. At times when they feel so liberated to 'say the quiet part out loud', then as now, you know the glove is coming off and the vicious mailed fist is free to roam for victims.

Those times are where you know you need to resist or .well, die in many cases.

That's something that really gets me in public response to many of these things. The normal instinct of the populace to wake from their somnambulant slumber just long enough to ascribe to buffoonery and idiocy ala Keystone Cops the things so much better understood as fully consciously and purposefully repressive, reactionary, and indicating a desire to take that next step to crush fully. To obliterate.

Many responses to this – https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1273809160128389120 – are like, 'the police are dumb', 'out of touch', 'a lot of dumb gomer pyles in that room, yuk yuk yuk'. Or, 'cops/FBI are so dumb to pursue this antifa thing, its just a boogieman' thinking that somehow once the authorities realize 'antifa' is a boogieman, their attitudes towards other protesters will somehow be different 'now that they realize the silliness of the claims'.

No, not remotely the case – to a terrifyingly large percentage of those in command, and in rank & file they know exactly where it came from, exactly how the tactics work, and have every intention of classifying all protesters (peaceful or not) into that worldview. The peaceful protesters *are* antifa in their eyes, to be dealt with in the fully approved manner of violence and repression.

km , June 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

In most countries, the police are there solely to protect the Haves from the Have-Nots. In fact, when the average frustrated citizen has trouble, the last people he would consider turning to are the police.

This is why in the Third World, the only job of lower social standing than "policeman" is "police informer".

cripes , June 19, 2020 at 3:35 am

The anti-rascist identity of the recent protests rests on a much larger base of class warfare waged over the past 40 years against the entire population led by a determined oligarchy and enforced by their political, media and militarized police retainers. This same oligarchy, with a despicable zeal and revolting media-orchestrated campaign–co-branding the movement with it's usual corporate perpetrators– distorts escalating carceral and economic violence solely through a lens of racial conflict and their time-tested toothless reforms. A few unlucky "peace officers" may have to TOFTT until the furor recedes, can't be helped.

Crowding out debt relief, single payer health, living wages, affordable housing and actual justice reform from the debate that would benefit African Americans more than any other demographic is the goal.

The handful of Emperors far prefer kabuki theater and random ritual Seppuku than facing the rage of millions of staring down the barrel of zero income, debt, bankruptcy, evictions and dispossession. The Praetorians will follow the money as always.

I suppose we'll get some boulevards re-named and a paid Juneteenth holiday to compensate for the destruction 100+ years of labor rights struggle, so there's that..

Boatwright , June 19, 2020 at 7:51 am

Homestead, Ludlow, Haymarket, Matewan -- the list is long

Working men and women asking for justice gunned down by the cops. There will always be men ready to murder on command as long as the orders come from the rich and powerful. We are at a moment in history folks were some of us, today mostly people of color, are willing to put their lives on the line. It's an ongoing struggle.

MichaelSF , June 19, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Jay Gould, a U.S. robber baron, is supposed to have claimed that he could hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Gould

rob , June 19, 2020 at 7:58 am

So how can a tier of society(the police) . be what a society needs ? When as this story and many others show how and why the police were formed. To break heads. When they have been "the tool" of the elite forever. When so many of them are such dishonest, immoral, wanna be fascists. And the main direction of the US is towards a police state and fascists running the show . both republican and democrat. With technology being the boot on the neck of the people and the police are there to take it to the streets.

Can those elusive "good apples" turn the whole rotten barrel into sweet smelling apple pie? That is a big ask.

Or should the structure be liquidated, sell their army toys. fill the ranks with people who are not pathological liars and abusers and /or racists; of one sort or another. Get rid of the mentality of overcompensation by uber machismo. and make them watch the andy griffith show. They ought to learn that they can be respected if they are good people, and that they are not respected because they seek respect through fear and intimidation.

Is that idiot cry of theirs, .. the whole yelling at you; demanding absolute obedience to arbitrary ,assinine orders, really working to get them respect or is it just something they get off on?

When the police are shown to be bad, they strike by work slowdown, or letting a little chaos loose themselves. So the people know they need them So any reform of the police will go through the police not doing their jobs . but then something like better communities may result. less people being busted and harassed , or pulled over for the sake of a quota . may just show we don't need so much policing anyway. And then if the new social workers brigade starts intervening in peoples with issues when they are young and in school maybe fewer will be in the system. Couple that with the police not throwing their family in jail for nothing, and forcing them to pay fines for breaking stupid laws. The system will have less of a load, and the new , better cops without attitudes will be able to handle their communities in a way that works for everyone. Making them a net positive, as opposed to now where they are a net negative.
Also,

The drug war is over. The cops have only done the bidding of the organized criminal elements who make their bread and butter because of prohibition.

Our representatives can legally smoke pot , and grow it in their windowboxes in the capital dc., but people in many places are still living in fear of police using possession of some substance,as a pretext to take all their stuff,throw them in jail. But besides the cops, there are the prosecutors . they earn their salaries by stealing it from poor people through fines for things that ought to be legal. This is one way to drain money from poor communities, causing people to go steal from others in society to pay their court costs.

And who is gonna come and bust down your door when you can't pay a fine and choose to pay rent and buy your kids food instead . the cops. just doing their jobs. Evil is the banality of business as usual

Tom Stone , June 19, 2020 at 8:20 am

The late Kevin R C O'Brien noted that in every case where the Police had been ordered to "Round up the usual suspects" they have done so, and delivered them where ordered. It did not matter who the "Usual suspects" were, or to what fate they were to be delivered. They are the King's men and they do the King's bidding.

The Rev Kev , June 19, 2020 at 10:10 am

To have a reasonable discussion, I think that it should be recognized that modern police are but one leg of a triad. The first of course is the police who appear to seem themselves as not part of a community but as enforcers in that community. To swipe an idea from Mao, the police should move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. Not be a patrolling shark that attacks who they want at will knowing that there will be no repercussions against them. When you get to the point that you have police arresting children in school for infractions of school discipline – giving them a police record – you know that things have gotten out of hand.

The next leg is the courts which of course includes prosecutors. It is my understanding that prosecutors are elected to office in the US and so have incentives to appear to be tough on crime"" . They seem to operate more like 'Let's Make a Deal' from what I have read. When they tell some kid that he has a choice of 1,000 years in prison on trumped up charges or pleads guilty to a smaller offence, you know that that is not justice at work. Judges too operate in their own world and will always take the word of a policeman as a witness.

And the third leg is the prisons which operate as sweatshops for corporate America. It is in the interest of the police and the courts to fill up the prisons to overflowing. Anybody remember the Pennsylvania "kids for cash" scandal where kids lives were being ruined with criminal records that were bogus so that some people could make a profit? And what sort of prison system is it where a private contractor can build a prison without a contract at all , knowing that the government (California in this case) will nonetheless fill it up for a good profit.

In short, in sorting out police doctrine and methods like is happening now, it should be recognized that they are actually only the face of a set of problems.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:00 am

How did ancient states police? Perhaps Wiki is a starting point of this journey. Per Its entry, Police, in ancient Greece, policing was done by public owned slaves. In Rome, the army, initially. In China, prefects leading to a level of government called prefectures .

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 10:54 am

I spent some time in the Silver Valley of northern Idaho. This area was the hot bed of labor unrest during the 1890's. Federal troops controlled the area 3 separate times,1892, 1894 and 1899. Twice miners hijacked trains loaded them with dynamite and drove them to mining company stamping mills that they then blew up. Dozens of deaths in shoot outs. The entire male population was herded up and placed in concentration camps for weeks. The end result was the assassination of the Governor in 1905.

Interestingly this history has been completely expunged. There is a mining museum in the town which doesn't mention a word on these events. Even nationwide there seems to be a complete erasure of what real labor unrest can look like..

rob , June 19, 2020 at 11:58 am

Yeah, labor unrest does get swept under the rug. Howard zinn had examples in his works "the peoples history of the United States" The pictched battles in upstate new york with the Van Rennselear's in the 1840's breaking up rennselearwyk . the million acre estate of theirs . it was a rent strike.

People remembering , we have been here before doesn't help the case of the establishment so they try to not let it happen.

We get experts telling us . well, this is all new we need experts to tell you what to think. It is like watching the footage from the past 100 years on film of blacks marching for their rights and being told.. reform is coming.. the more things change, the more things stay the same. Decade after decade. Century after century. Time to start figuring this out people. So, the enemy is us. Now what?

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 11:01 am

Doubtless the facts presented above are correct, but shouldn't one point out that the 21st century is quite different from the 19th and therefore analogizing the current situation to what went on before is quite facile? For example it's no longer necessary for the police to put down strikes because strike actions barely still exist. In our current US the working class has diminished greatly while the middle class has expanded. We are a much richer country overall with a lot more people–not just those one percenters–concerned about crime. Whatever one thinks of the police, politically an attempt to go back to the 18th century isn't going to fly.

MLTPB , June 19, 2020 at 11:15 am

Perhaps we are more likely to argue among ourselves, when genetic fallacy is possibly in play.

Pookah Harvey , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

" the 21st century is quite different from the 19th "

From the Guardian: "How Starbucks, Target, Google and Microsoft quietly fund police through private donations"

More than 25 large corporations in the past three years have contributed funding to private police foundations, new report says.

These foundations receive millions of dollars a year from private and corporate donors, according to the report, and are able to use the funds to purchase equipment and weapons with little public input. The analysis notes, for example, how the Los Angeles police department in 2007 used foundation funding to purchase surveillance software from controversial technology firm Palantir. Buying the technology with private foundation funding rather than its public budget allowed the department to bypass requirements to hold public meetings and gain approval from the city council.

The Houston police foundation has purchased for the local police department a variety of equipment, including Swat equipment, sound equipment and dogs for the K-9 unit, according to the report. The Philadelphia police foundation purchased for its police force long guns, drones and ballistic helmets, and the Atlanta police foundation helped fund a major surveillance network of over 12,000 cameras.

In addition to weaponry, foundation funding can also go toward specialized training and support programs that complement the department's policing strategies, according to one police foundation.

"Not a lot of people are aware of this public-private partnership where corporations and wealthy donors are able to siphon money into police forces with little to no oversight," said Gin Armstrong, a senior research analyst at LittleSis.

Maybe it is just me, but things don't seem to be all that different.

Bob , June 19, 2020 at 11:40 am

If we made America Great Again we could go back to the 18th century.

rob , June 19, 2020 at 12:11 pm

While it is true, this is a new century. Knowing how the present came to be, is entirely necessary to be able to attempt any move forward.
The likelihood of making the same old mistakes is almost certain, if one doesn't try to use the past as a reference.
And considering the effect of propaganda and revisionism in the formation of peoples opinions, we do need " learning against learning" to borrow a Jesuit strategy against the reformation, but this time it should embrace reality, rather than sow falsehoods.
But I do agree,
We have never been here before, and now is a great time to reset everything. With all due respect to "getting it right" or at least "better".
and knowing the false fables of righteousness, is what people need to know, before they go about "burning down the house".

Carolinian , June 19, 2020 at 12:42 pm

You know it's not as though white people aren't also afraid of the police. Alfred Hitchcock said he was deathly afraid of police and that paranoia informed many of his movies. Woody Allen has a funny scene in Annie Hall where he is pulled over by a cop and is comically flustered. White people also get shot and killed by the police as the rightwingers are constantly pointing out.

And thousands of people in the streets tell us that police reform is necessary. But the country is not going to get rid of them and replace police with social workers so why even talk about it? I'd say the above is interesting .not terribly relevant.

Mattski , June 19, 2020 at 11:37 am

Straight-up fact: The police weren't created to preserve and protect. They were created to maintain order, [enforced] over certain subjected classes and races of people, including–for many white people, too–many of our ancestors, too.*

And the question that arises from this: Are we willing to the subjects in a police state? Are we willing to continue to let our Black and brown brothers and sisters be subjected BY such a police state, and to half-wittingly be party TO it?

Or do we want to exercise AGENCY over "our" government(s), and decide–anew–how we go out our vast, vast array of social ills.

Obviously, armed police officers with an average of six months training–almost all from the white underclass–are a pretty f*cking blunt instrument to bring to bear.

On our own heads. On those who we and history have consigned to second-class citizenship.
Warning: this is a revolutionary situation. We should embrace it.

*Acceding to white supremacy, becoming "white" and often joining that police order, if you were poor, was the road out of such subjectivity. My grandfather's father, for example, was said to have fled a failed revolution in Bohemia to come here. Look back through history, you will find plenty of reason to feel solidarity, too. Race alone cannot divide us if we are intent on the lessons of that history.

[Jun 19, 2020] A discriminatory informal caste system that racism create was used by neoliberals for supression of white working poor protest against deteriorating standard of living and cooping them to support economic policies of redistribution of wealth up, directly against them

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... While not as overt in the 20th century, the distinction of black slave versus poor white man has kept the class system alive and well in the US in the development of a discriminatory informal caste system. ..."
"... a class level lower than the poorest of the white has kept them from concentrating on the disproportionate, and growing, distribution of wealth and income in the US. ..."
"... It was not the status or material wealth causing the harsh feelings; but, the feeling of being treated less than equal, having little status, and the resulting shame. ..."
"... In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network. ..."
"... This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, “Floydgate” can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks. ..."
Jun 19, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

run75441 June 19, 2020 at 8:23 am

...A while back, I was researching the issues you state in your last paragraph. Was about ten pages into it and had to stop as I was drawn out of state and country.

From my research.

While not as overt in the 20th century, the distinction of black slave versus poor white man has kept the class system alive and well in the US in the development of a discriminatory informal caste system.

This distraction of a class level lower than the poorest of the white has kept them from concentrating on the disproportionate, and growing, distribution of wealth and income in the US.

For the lower class, an allowed luxury, a place in the hierarchy and a sure form of self esteem insurance.

Sennett and Cobb (1972) observed that class distinction sets up a contest between upper and lower class with the lower social class always losing and promulgating a perception amongst themselves the educated and upper classes are in a position to judge and draw a conclusion of them being less than equal.

The hidden injury is in the regard to the person perceiving himself as a piece of the woodwork or seen as a function such as "George the Porter."

It was not the status or material wealth causing the harsh feelings; but, the feeling of being treated less than equal, having little status, and the resulting shame.

The answer for many was violence.

James Gilligan wrote "Violence; Reflections on A National Epidemic." He worked as a prison psychiatrist and talked with many of the inmates of the issues of inequality and feeling less than those around them. His finding are in his book which is not a long read and adds to the discussion.

A little John Adams for you.

"The poor man's conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded.

In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar.

He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable."

likbez June 19, 2020 1:25 pm
That’s a very important observation. Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with “identity wedge,” is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for a better standard of living, which considerably dropped under neoliberalism.

In other words, by providing poor whites with a stratum of the population that has even lower social status, neoliberals manage to co-opt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalist social protection network.

This is a pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme if you ask me. In a way, “Floydgate” can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality, and social protection for low-income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks.

This is another way to explain “What’s the matter with Kansas” effect.

[Jun 18, 2020] In the Ruins of Neoliberalism The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West by Wendy Brown

Looks like a weak book...
Notable quotes:
"... They conjoin moral righteousness with nearly celebratory amoral and uncivil conduct. They endorse authority while featuring unprecedented public social disinhibition and aggression. They rage against relativism, but also against science and reason, and spurn evidence- based claims, rational argumentation, credibility, and accountability. ..."
"... neoliberalism yielded effects very different from those imagined and sought by its architects. The reasons for this are several. There is, first, a kind of return of the repressed in neoliberalism reason -- a ferocious eruption of the social and political forces that the neoliberals at once opposed, underestimated, and deformed with their stupid free market project. ..."
"... What this means is that actually existing neo- liberalism now features what Sheldon Wolin characterizes as an "enraged" form of majority rule (often termed "populism" by pundits) arising from the society that neoliberals aimed to disintegrate, but failed to vanquish, and thus left without common civil norms or commitments. ..."
"... There is, second, neoliberalism's accidental unleashing of the financial sector and the ways that financialization profoundly undermined neoliberal dreams of a competitive global order lightly tended by supranational institutions, on the one hand, and facilitated by states fully autonomous of economic interests and manipulation, on the other. ..."
"... Third, there are the ways that markets and morals twisted as they were submitted to the grammars and spirit of one another -- that is, as morality was marketized and markets were moralized. Through this process, both became politicized as fighting creeds, thus losing the "organic, spontaneous" character and mode of organizing conduct for which Hayek and his colleagues cherished them. Finally, neoliberalism intensified the nihilism, fatalism, and rancorous resentment already present in late modern culture. ..."
"... Instead, neoliberalism produced a monster its founders would abhor. ..."
Jun 18, 2020 | www.amazon.com

[Neoliberal] Politicians and political victories embolden far-right movements, which in turn acquire sophistication as political handlers and social media experts craft the message. As recruits continue to grow, centrists, mainstream neoliberals, liberals, and leftists are reeling. Outrage, moralizing, satire, and vain hopes that internal factions or scandals on the right will yield self-destruction are far more prevalent than serious strategies for challenging these forces with compelling alternatives. We even have trouble with the naming -- is this authoritarianism, fascism, populism, illiberal democracy, undemocratic liberalism, right-wing plutocracy? Or something else?

Failure to predict, understand, or effectively contest these developments is due partly to blinding assumptions about perduring Western values and institutions, especially progress and Enlightenment and liberal democracy, and partly to the unfamiliar agglomeration of elements in the rising Right -- its curious combination of libertarianism, moralism, authoritarianism, nationalism, hatred of the state, Christian conservatism, and racism.

These new forces conjoin familiar elements of neoliberalism (licensing capital, leashing labor, demonizing the social state and the political, attacking equality, promulgating freedom) with their seeming opposites (nationalism, enforcement of traditional morality, populist antielitism, and demands for state solutions to economic and social problems).

They conjoin moral righteousness with nearly celebratory amoral and uncivil conduct. They endorse authority while featuring unprecedented public social disinhibition and aggression. They rage against relativism, but also against science and reason, and spurn evidence- based claims, rational argumentation, credibility, and accountability.

They disdain politicians and politics while evincing a ferocious will to power and political ambition. Where are we?

Introduction

There has been no shortage of efforts by pundits and scholars alike to answer this question. A composite Left account, whose limits will soon become clear, goes roughly like this: in the Global North, neoliberal economic policy devastated rural and suburban regions, emptying them of decent jobs, pensions, schools, services, and infrastructure as social spending dried up and capital chased the cheap labor and tax havens of the Global South.

Meanwhile, an unprecedented cultural and religious divide was opening. Hip, educated, slender, secular, multicultural, globetrotting urbanites were building a different moral and cultural universe from the midlanders, whose economic woes were salted with steadily growing estrangement from the mores of those who ignored, ridiculed, or disdained them. More than hard up and frustrated, the Christian white rural and sub- urban dwellers were alienated and humiliated, left out, and left behind.

Then there was enduring racism, rising as new immigrants transformed suburban neighborhoods and as policies of "equity and inclusion" appeared to the uneducated white male to favor everyone over him. Thus, liberal political agendas, neoliberal economic agendas, and cosmopolitan cultural agendas generated a growing experience of abandonment, betrayal, and ultimately rage on the part of the new dispossessed, the white working-class and middle-class populations of the First and Second Worlds.

If their dark-skinned counterparts were hurt as much or more by neoliberal decimations of union-protected jobs and public goods, by declining opportunities and educa- tional access and quality, what blacks and Latinos did not suf- fer was lost pride of place in America or the West.

As this phenomenon first took shape, the story goes, conservative plutocrats manipulated it brilliantly: the dispossessed were thrown under the economic bus at every turn while being played a political symphony of Christian family values along with paeans to whiteness and to their young sacrificed in sense- less and endless wars. That is "what's the matter with Kansas."2

Combining patriotism as militarism, Christianity, family, racist dog whistles, and unbridled capitalism was the successful recipe of conservative neoliberals until the 2008 finance capital crisis devastated incomes, retirements, and home ownership for its working-class and middle-class white base.3

With even the economists muttering that they had been wrong about unchecked deregulation, debt financing, and globalization, serious displacement was now required. This meant screaming about ISIS, undocumented immigrants, affirmative action myths, and above all, demonizing government and the social state for the economic catastrophe -- slyly shifting the blame from Wall Street to Washington because the latter mopped up the mess by rescuing the banks while hanging little people out to dry. Thus was a second wave of reaction to neoliberalism born, this one more unruly, populist, and ugly. Already galled by an elegant black family in the White House, disgruntled whites were also fed a steady diet of right-wing commentary by Fox News, talk radio, and social media, inflected from the fringes as a potpourri of previously isolated movements -- white nationalist, libertarian, antigovernment, and fascist -- connected with each other via the internet.4

... ... ...

...neoliberalism by itself caused the hard-right insurgency in the West today or that every dimension of the present, from the catastrophes generating great flows of refugees to Europe and North America to the political siloization and polarization generated by digital media can be reduced to neoliberalism.8

Rather, the argument is that nothing is untouched by a neoliberal mode of reason and valuation and that neoliberalism's attack on democracy has everywhere inflected law, political culture, and political subjectivity.

Understanding the roots and energies of the current situation requires appreciating neoliberal political culture and subject production, not only the economic conditions and enduring racisms that spawned it. It means appreciating the rise of white nationalist authoritarian political formations as animated by the mobilized anger of the economically abandoned and racially resentful, but as contoured by more than three decades of neoliberal assaults on democracy, equality, and society.

White working-class and middle-class economic suffering and racialized rancor, far from distinct from these assaults, acquire voice and shape from them. These assaults also fuel (though they do not by themselves cause) the Christian nationalist ambition to (re)conquer the West. They also inter- mix with an intensifying nihilism manifesting as broken faith in truth, facticity, and foundational values.

Especially given widespread disillusionment with the interminable Middle East wars, militaristic patriotism and family values were no longer enough.

... ... ...

The fifth chapter also develops a leitmotif running through the others: as I have already noted, neoliberalism yielded effects very different from those imagined and sought by its architects. The reasons for this are several. There is, first, a kind of return of the repressed in neoliberalism reason -- a ferocious eruption of the social and political forces that the neoliberals at once opposed, underestimated, and deformed with their stupid free market project.

What this means is that actually existing neo- liberalism now features what Sheldon Wolin characterizes as an "enraged" form of majority rule (often termed "populism" by pundits) arising from the society that neoliberals aimed to disintegrate, but failed to vanquish, and thus left without common civil norms or commitments.

There is, second, neoliberalism's accidental unleashing of the financial sector and the ways that financialization profoundly undermined neoliberal dreams of a competitive global order lightly tended by supranational institutions, on the one hand, and facilitated by states fully autonomous of economic interests and manipulation, on the other. 19

Third, there are the ways that markets and morals twisted as they were submitted to the grammars and spirit of one another -- that is, as morality was marketized and markets were moralized. Through this process, both became politicized as fighting creeds, thus losing the "organic, spontaneous" character and mode of organizing conduct for which Hayek and his colleagues cherished them. Finally, neoliberalism intensified the nihilism, fatalism, and rancorous resentment already present in late modern culture.

Together, these developments and effects generated something radically different from the neoliberal utopia of an inegalitarian liberal order in which individuals and families would be politically pacified by markets and morals and subtended by an autonomous authoritative, but depoliticized state. Instead, neoliberalism produced a monster its founders would abhor.

[Jun 18, 2020] This is clearly Catch-22 situation as the global crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization is overlaid on the current racial riots and COVID-19 level of unemployment

Highly recommended!
Jun 18, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , June 17, 2020 11:11 pm

@Ron (RC) Weakley (a.k.a., Darryl for a while at EV) June 16, 2020 4:00 pm

> the Democratic Party depends upon the problems of racial discrimination to win elections. It is a Catch-22 dilemma.

Yes. Thanks you. This is clearly Catch-22 situation as the global crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization is overlaid on the current racial riots and COVID-19 level of unemployment.

I do not pretend that I see it right. Only time will tell. But here is my view:

IMHO the developments of neoliberalism in the US generated a social system radically different from the neoliberal utopia of the benign rule of the financial oligarchy over politically neutered by free-market ideology and brainwashed "homo homini lupus est" neoliberal rationality population. Which should passively submit to the "depoliticized" version of the National Security State and act strictly as a consumer and passive voter.

Kind of replay of the political reality of Stalinism (with the neoliberal deification of "free market" and competition as the replacement of Marxism; in both case playing the role of state-enforced secular religion questioning of which is a punishable heresy )

Unlike Stalinism, Neoliberalism enforces its secular-religious doctrine on a new "inverted totalitarianism" level with minimal physical repression of dissidents. MSM brainwashing, defunding, ostracism and shunning are the main tools.

The use of external enemy as the scapegoat is the same under both Stalinism and late neoliberalism with the accusation of being a "foreign agent" as a natural part of the dirty fight of various factions of oligarchy for power.

But generally, this is more of the "Brave New World" model than the "1984" model. See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/books/review/which-dystopian-novel-got-it-right-orwells-1984-or-huxleys-brave-new-world.html

Despite Hayek's hope about politically neutered population ruled by financial oligarchy neoliberalism intensified the rancorous resentment already present in modern culture.

Now we see a kind of return of the repressed under neoliberalism violent social protests that the neoliberals always opposed, and which they deformed with the injection of a heavy doze of identity politics.

As a result, we now have clear resurgence of the far-right nationalism and simultaneously the rise of "woke" far left with its radical feminism, anarchism, LGBT, and a one-dimensional "anti-racism" (strictly white vs black as it if is the only one in existence and black racism a la South Africa or Rhodesia does not exists ).

In a way, this is a return to the very dangerous and unpredictable social situation that existed in late 1920th on a new level, but without Marxists as a political player. A very dangerous level with elements of Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451.": Toppling of statues is not that different from book burning.

Pelosi wearing an African scarf looks like a failed attempt of neoliberal Dems to get it under control of a monster that they created via identity politics.

Neoliberal political culture and systemic impoverishment of the lower 80% of the population create the economic conditions for enduring racism and glaring economic inequality.

Add to this identity politics, used as the "divide and conquer" strategy for the political isolation and partial cooptation (despite clear oppression on the part of neoliberals) of the white working-class ("What's the matter with Kansas" effect ) and the mixture becomes clearly explosive.

Identity wedge worked beautifully for several decades, but now it looks like it got out of control and provoke a clash of far-left with far-right nationalists in a real 1920th fashion. https://www.gopusa.com/man-shot-in-albuquerque-as-armed-citizens-try-to-defend-conquistador-statue-from-rioters/

The US financial oligarchy is no less evil than either Italian or Kosher-Nostra mafia. They are completely ruthless. And that means that they still might be able to swipe this under the rug: one way, or another. Racial protests, or coming to power of radical far-right does not threaten their power, but possible disintegration of the state in Ukrainian Maidan fashion clearly does.

So how events will unfold in completely unclear. I just try to provide my 2c within the adopted framework of analysis.

[Jun 16, 2020] How Woke Politics Keeps Class Solidarity Down by GREGOR BASZAK

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for corporations that ultimately take workers for granted. ..."
"... Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated . Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry , one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln's appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time. ..."
"... Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee -- and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going. ..."
"... Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can't pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.) ..."
"... But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren't truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all. ..."
"... Always remember Barbara Fields's formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss. ..."
"... Michael Lind argues in his new book The New Class War that many powerful businesses in America today continue to rely on the work of quasi indentured servants. Hungry for unfree, cheap workers, corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond employ tens of thousands of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. These workers are bound to the company that provided them with the visa. If they find conditions at their jobs unbearable, they can't switch employers -- they would get deported first. In turn, this source of cheap labor effectively underbids American workers who could do the same job, except that they would ask for higher pay. ..."
"... We're getting turned into rats. Naturally, this is no fertile soil for solidarity. And with so many jobs precarious and subcontracted out on a temporary basis, there is preciously little that most workers can do to fight back this insidious managerial control. Free labor looks different. ..."
"... It's hard to come out of the 2020 primaries without realizing that the corporations that run our mainstream media will do anything to protect their right to abuse cheap labor. ..."
"... At this point in history, to the extent that black people suffer any meaningful oppression at all, its down to disproportionate poverty rates, not their racial background. ..."
"... I agree one hundred percent with your take on Biden. Let me add something else: he is a war hawk who not only voted for the Iraq war but used his position as the chairman of an important committee to promote it. ..."
"... Because of slavery alot of bad political policy was incorporated in the founding documents. If a police officer is about to wrongly arrest you because you are black , you do not care if his hatred stems from 400 years of discrimination against blacks. Rather you care that he won't kill you in this encounter because of his racism. ..."
"... Baszak believes racism has no life of its own, it exists only as a tool of the bosses. This is vulgar Marxism. At least since the decades after Bacon's Rebellion ended in 1677, poor whites have invested in white supremacy as a way of boosting their social status. Most Southern families owned no slaves, yet most joined the Civil War cause. ..."
"... They made a movie that beautifully touches this in the 1970s with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor called " Blue Collar ." ..."
"... "That's exactly what the company wants: to keep you on their line," says Smokey, the coolest and most strategically minded of the crew. "They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white -- everybody -- to keep us in our place." ..."
"... The core thesis in this piece is the animating foundation of The Hill's political talk show "Rising." Composed of a populist Bernie supporter (Krystal Ball) and populist conservative (Saagar Enjeti) as hosts, they frequently highlight the purpose of woke cultural battles is to distract everyone for their neoliberal economic models ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for corporations that ultimately take workers for granted.

Former injured Amazon employees join labor organizers and community activists to demonstrate and hold a press conference outside of an Amazon Go store to express concerns about what they claim is the company's "alarming injury rate" among warehouse workers on December 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

On April 2, 1865, in the dying days of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wandered the streets of burnt out Richmond, the former Confederate capital. All of a sudden, Lincoln found himself surrounded by scores of emancipated men and women. Here's how the historian James McPherson describes the moving episode in his magisterial book Battle Cry of Freedom :

Several freed slaves touched Lincoln to make sure he was real. "I know I am free," shouted an old woman, "for I have seen Father Abraham and felt him." Overwhelmed by rare emotions, Lincoln said to one black man who fell on his knees in front of him: "Don't kneel to me. That is not right. You must kneel to God only, and thank Him for the liberty you will enjoy hereafter."

Lincoln's legacy as the Great Emancipator has survived the century and a half since then largely intact. But there have been cracks in this image, mostly caused by questioning academics who decried him as an overt white supremacist. This view eventually entered the mainstream when Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote misleadingly in her lead essay to the "1619 Project" that Lincoln "opposed black equality."

Today, we find Lincoln statues desecrated . Neither has the memorial to the 54th Massachusetts Infantry , one of the first all-black units in the Civil War, survived the recent protests unscathed. To many on the left, history seems like the succession of one cruelty by the next. And so, justice may only be served if we scrap the past and start from a blank slate. As a result, Lincoln's appeal that we stand upright and enjoy our liberty gets lost to time.

Ironically, this will only help the cause of Robert E. Lee -- and the modern corporations who rely on cheap, inhumane labor to keep themselves going.

***

The main idea driving the "1619 Project" and so much of recent scholarship is that the United States of America originated in slavery and white supremacy. These were its true founding ideals. Racism, Hannah-Jones writes, is in our DNA.

Such arguments don't make any sense, as the historian Barbara Fields clairvoyantly argued in a groundbreaking essay from 1990. Why would Virginia planters in the 17th century import black people purely out of hate? No, Fields countered, the planters were driven by a real need for dependable workers who would toil on their cotton, rice, and tobacco fields for little to no pay. Before black slaves did this work, white indentured servants had. (An indentured servant is bound for a number of years to his master, i.e. he can't pack up and leave to find a new opportunity elsewhere.)

After 1776 everything changed. Suddenly the new republic claimed that "all men are created equal" -- and yet there were millions of slaves who still couldn't enjoy this equality. Racism helped to square our founding ideals with the brute reality of continued chattel slavery: Black people simply weren't men.

But in the eyes of the Southern slavocracy, the white laboring poor of the North also weren't truly human. Such unholy antebellum figures as the social theorist George Fitzhugh or South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond urged that the condition of slavery be expanded to include poor whites, too. Their hunger for a cheap, subservient labor source did not stop at black people, after all.

Always remember Barbara Fields's formula: The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss.

The true cause of the Civil War -- and it bears constant repeating for all the doubters -- was whether slavery would expand its reach or whether "free labor" would reign supreme. The latter was the dominant ideology of the North: Free laborers are independent, self-reliant, and eventually achieve economic security and independence by the sweat of their brow. It's the American Dream. But if that is so, then the Civil War ended in a tie -- and its underlying conflict was never really settled.

***

Michael Lind argues in his new book The New Class War that many powerful businesses in America today continue to rely on the work of quasi indentured servants. Hungry for unfree, cheap workers, corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond employ tens of thousands of foreign workers through the H-2B visa program. These workers are bound to the company that provided them with the visa. If they find conditions at their jobs unbearable, they can't switch employers -- they would get deported first. In turn, this source of cheap labor effectively underbids American workers who could do the same job, except that they would ask for higher pay.

America's wealth rests on this mutual competition between workers -- some nominally "free," others basically indentured -- whether it be through unjust visa schemes or other unfair managerial practices.

Remember that the next time you read a public announcement by the Amazons of this world that they remain committed to "black lives matter" and similar identitarian causes.

Fortunately, very few Americans hold the same racial resentments in their hearts as their ancestors did even just half a century ago. Rarely did we agree as much than when the nation near unanimously condemned the death of George Floyd at the hands of a few Minneapolis police officers. This is in keeping with another fortunate trend: Over the last 40 years, the rate of police killings of young black men declined by 79% percent .

But anti-racism as an ideology serves a perfect function for our corporations, even despite the evidence that people in this country have grown much less bigotted than they once were: As a management tool, anti-racism sows constant suspicion among workers who are encouraged to detect white supremacist sentiments in everything that their fellow workers say or do.

We're getting turned into rats. Naturally, this is no fertile soil for solidarity. And with so many jobs precarious and subcontracted out on a temporary basis, there is preciously little that most workers can do to fight back this insidious managerial control. Free labor looks different.

And so, through a surprising back door, the true cause for which Robert E. Lee chose to betray his country might still be coming out on top, whether we remove his statues or not -- namely, the steady supply to our ruling corporations of unfree workers willing to hustle for scraps.

It's time to follow Abraham Lincoln's urging and get off our knees again. We should assert our rights as American citizens to live free from economic insecurity and mutual resentment. The vast majority of us harbor no white supremacist views, period. Instead, we have so many more things in common, and we know it.

Another anecdote from the last days of the Civil War, also taken from Battle Cry of Freedom, might prove instructive here: The surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865 essentially ended the Civil War. The ceremony was held with solemn respect for Lee, though one of Grant's adjutants couldn't help himself but have a subtle dig at Lee's expense:

After signing the papers, Grant introduced Lee to his staff. As he shook hands with Grant's military secretary Ely Parker, a Seneca Indian, Lee stared a moment at Parker's dark features and said, "I am glad to see one real American here." Parker responded, "We are all Americans."

Gregor Baszak is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a writer. His articles have appeared in Los Angeles Review of Books, Public Books, Spectator USA, Spiked, and elsewhere. Follow Gregor on Twitter at @gregorbas1.


Megan S 15 hours ago

It's a bit off-topic but this is a big reason I supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Primary this year, he was the only candidate talking about how businesses demand that cheap labor, illegal labor, replace American labor. For this, the corporate media called him a racist, an anti-semite, a dangerous radical. None of his opponents aside from Elizabeth Warren had anything to run on aside from pseudo-woke touchy-feely bs. And somehow, with the media insisting that Joe Biden was the only one who could beat Trump, we ended up with the one candidate who was neither good on economics, good for American workers, or offering platitudes about wokeness.

It's hard to come out of the 2020 primaries without realizing that the corporations that run our mainstream media will do anything to protect their right to abuse cheap labor.

JonF311 Victor_the_thinker 8 hours ago

Racism is very real. If it weren't it couldn't be used to "divide and conquer" the working calss. we can walk and chew gum and the same time: oppose racism, and also oppose exploitive labor practices.

Bureaucrat Victor_the_thinker an hour ago • edited

What kind of polemic, unsupported statement is "black fast food workers are the ones who gave us the fight for $15"? How about it was a broad coalition of progressives (of all colors)? Moreover, $15 minimum wage is a poor, one-size-fits-all band-aid that I doubt even fits ONE scenario. Tackling the broader shareholder capitalism model of labor arbitrage (free trade/mass immigration), deunionization, and monopolistic hurdles drafted by corporations is where it actually matters. And on that, we are seeing the inklings of a populist left-right coalition -- if corporate-funded race hustlers could only get out of the way.

Bureaucrat JonF311 2 hours ago • edited

That's the problem. We CAN'T chew gum and walk at the same time. Every minute focusing on racial friction is a minute NOT talking about neoliberal economics. What's the ratio of air time, social media discussion, or newspaper inches are devoted to race vis-a-vis the economic system that has starved the working class -- which is disproportionately black and brown? 10 to 1? 100 to 1? 1000 to 1? If there are no decent working class jobs for young black and brown men, then it makes it nearly impossible to raise families. Let's be clear: Systemic racism is real, but it is far less impactful than economic injustices and family dissolution.

Selvar Victor_the_thinker 33 minutes ago • edited

Class really isn't the primary issue for black people.

That's a frankly ridiculous statement. At this point in history, to the extent that black people suffer any meaningful oppression at all, its down to disproportionate poverty rates, not their racial background. No one--except a few neurotic, high-strung corporate HR PMC types--cares about "microaggressions". Even unjust police shootings of blacks are likely down to class and not race--despite the politically correct narrative saying otherwise.

Putting racial identity politics as an equal (or even greater) priority than class-based solidarity creates an absurd system where an upper-middle class black woman attending Yale can act as if a working class white man is oppressing her by not acknowledging his "white privilege", and not bowing to her every demand. It's utterly delusional to think that sort of culture is going to create a more just or equal world.

joeo Megan S 9 hours ago shiva

Biden is a Rorschach test, people see whatever they want in a party apparatchik. Trump has been Shiva, the destroyer of the traditional Republican party. How else do you explain the support among Multi-Billionaires for the Democratic party. Truly ironic.

Jessica Ramer Megan S 8 hours ago

I agree one hundred percent with your take on Biden. Let me add something else: he is a war hawk who not only voted for the Iraq war but used his position as the chairman of an important committee to promote it. I understand that he still wants to divide Iraq into three separate countries--a decision for Iraqis to make and not us. If we try to implement that policy, it would doubtless lead to more American deaths--to say nothing of Iraqi deaths.

So not only is he not good for American workers, he is not good for the American soldier who is disproportionately likely not to be from the elite classes but rather from the working and lower-middle class.

The only other Democratic candidate who opposed war-mongering besides Sanders was Tulsi Gabbard. I watched CNN commentary after a debate in which she participated. While the other participants received lots of commentary from CNN talking heads. she got almost nothing. She was featured in a video montage of candidates saying "Trump"; other than that, she was invisible in the post-debate analysis.

Megan S Jessica Ramer 7 hours ago

I don't know how far it travelled outside of Democratic primary voters, but I recall Biden's campaign saying that they were planning to be sort of a placeholder that would pass the torch to the next generation. He's insinuated that he only wants to serve one term and saw jumping into the race as the only way to beat Trump. Not the most exciting platform for the Democrats to run on.

As depressing as this primary was, it's good to see that the rising generation of Democrats was resistant to platitudes and demanded actual policy proposals.

Shame the party elders fell for the same old tricks yet again. I just hope that once there are more of us, we can have a serious policy debate in both major parties about free trade, immigration, inequality. The parties' voters aren't all that far apart on economics, yet neither of us is being given what we want. Whichever party sincerely takes a stand for the American working class stands to dominate American politics for a generation.

kouroi Megan S 5 hours ago

"Shame the party elders fell for the same old tricks yet again."

Oops, they tripped, poor oldies, not good in keeping their balance, eh?!

Bureaucrat Megan S 2 hours ago • edited

The problem with Biden's "placeholder" comments is that he specifically mentioned it for Pete Buttigeig, the McKinsey-trained career opportunist who believes in his bones the same neoliberal economics and interventionist foreign policies as the last generation. Same bad ideas, new woke packaging.

Megan S Bureaucrat 2 hours ago

On the bright side, young people despise Buttigieg and his attempt to cast us all as homophobic didn't really catch on outside of corporate media.

Bureaucrat Megan S an hour ago

Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, both tops on the VP list, will do just fine in place of Buttigieg - he's slated to revive TPP as the new USTR cabinet lead.

kouroi 14 hours ago

And just like that Mr. Baszak has become the second favorite writer here at TAC, after Mr. Larison...

stephen pickard 9 hours ago

Because of slavery alot of bad political policy was incorporated in the founding documents. If a police officer is about to wrongly arrest you because you are black , you do not care if his hatred stems from 400 years of discrimination against blacks. Rather you care that he won't kill you in this encounter because of his racism.

To me, I have always thought that America's original sin was slavery. Its stain can not be completely wiped out.

And I further believe that if Native Americans would have enslaved the newly arrived Europeans, and remained the ruling majority, white people would be discriminated against today.

So the problem is not that white people are inherently evil, or other races are inherently good. It is that because of slavery black people are bad, white people are good.

As a nation we have never been able to wash out the stain completely. Never will. Getting closer to the promised land is the best we are going to do. Probably take another 400 years.

In everyday encounters no one cares how discrimination began, just treat me like you want to be treated. Pretty simple.

Randolph Bourne 2 hours ago

"As a management tool, anti-racism sows constant suspicion among workers who are encouraged to detect white supremacist sentiments in everything that their fellow workers say or do."

The author does not offer one smidgen of proof that any company uses antiracism to divide workers. It might be plausible that it's happened, but Baszak has no data at all.

Over the last 40 years, the rate of police killings of young black men declined by 79% percent.

You think this is an accident? It came about through intense pressure on the police to stop killing Black people -- exactly the sort of racial emphasis the author seems to be decrying. Important to note that the non-fatal mistreatment has remained high.

The need for cheap labor comes first; ideologies like white supremacy only give this bleak reality a spiritual gloss

Baszak believes racism has no life of its own, it exists only as a tool of the bosses. This is vulgar Marxism. At least since the decades after Bacon's Rebellion ended in 1677, poor whites have invested in white supremacy as a way of boosting their social status. Most Southern families owned no slaves, yet most joined the Civil War cause. The psychological draw of racism, its cultural strength, are obviated by Barszak. And I bet Barbara Fields does not consider racism an epiphenomenon of economics.

Bureaucrat 2 hours ago

They made a movie that beautifully touches this in the 1970s with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor called "Blue Collar."

"That's exactly what the company wants: to keep you on their line," says Smokey, the coolest and most strategically minded of the crew. "They'll do anything to keep you on their line. They pit the lifers against the new boys, the old against the young, the black against the white -- everybody -- to keep us in our place."

Bureaucrat an hour ago

The core thesis in this piece is the animating foundation of The Hill's political talk show "Rising." Composed of a populist Bernie supporter (Krystal Ball) and populist conservative (Saagar Enjeti) as hosts, they frequently highlight the purpose of woke cultural battles is to distract everyone for their neoliberal economic models -- a system that actually has greater deleterious impact on black communities.

This video is one recent example of what you'll rarely see in mainstream media:

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

[Jun 16, 2020] "That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." by George Carlin

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job. ..."
"... A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business. ..."
"... There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost ..."
"... Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Dave C , 4 days ago

"That's why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it." -George Carlin

Robert Schupp , 4 days ago

You can't just move to American cities to pursue opportunity; even the high wages paid in New York are rendered unhelpful because the cost of housing is so high.


Dingo Jones
, 3 days ago

@JOHN GAGLIANO Cost of living is ridiculous too.

Dirtysparkles , 4 days ago

Our country has become the American Nightmare

Jean-Pierre S , 4 days ago

Martin Luther King, Jr. was vilified and ultimately murdered when he was helping organize a Poor People's Campaign. Racial justice means economic justice.

John Sanders , 3 days ago

Old saying: A Recession is when your neighbor loses their Job. A Depression is when you lose your Job.

Adriano de Jesus , 4 days ago

A lot of mega wealthy people are cheats. They get insider info, they don't pay people and do all they can to provide the least amount of value possible while tricking suckers into buying their crap. Don't even get me started on trust fund brats who come out of the womb thinking they are Warren buffet level genius in business.

Ammon Weser , 4 days ago

There's a documentary about Wal-Mart that has the best title ever: The High Cost of Low Cost

crazyman8472 , 4 days ago

Night Owl: "What the hell happened to us? What happened to the American Dream?"

Comedian: "What happened to the American Dream? It came true! You're looking at it."

-- Watchmen

David Tidwell , 4 days ago

Nailed it. As a millennial, I'm sick of being told to just "deal with it" when the cards have always been stacked against me. Am I surviving? Yes. Am I thriving? No.

D dicin , 4 days ago

When the reserve status of the American dollar goes away, then it will become apparent how poor the US really is. You cannot maintain a country without retention of the ability to manufacture the articles you use on a daily basis. The military budget and all the jobs it brings will have to shrink catastrophically.

farber2 , 4 days ago

American trance. The billionaires hypnotized people with this lie.

Michael D , 4 days ago (edited)

...and sometimes you CAN'T afford to move. You can't find a decent job. You certainly can't build a meaningful savings. You can't find an apartment. And if you have kids? That makes it even harder. I've been trying to move for years, but the conditions have to be perfect to do it responsibly. The American Dream died for me once I realized that no matter the choices I made, my four years of college, my years of saving and working hard....I do NOT have upward mobility. For me, the American Dream is dead. I've been finding a new dream. The human dream.

B Sim , 3 days ago

This is a very truncated view. You need to expand your thinking. WHY has the system been so overtly corrupted? It's globalism that has pushed all this economic pressure on the millennials and the middle class. It was the elites, working with corrupt politicians, that rigged the game so the law benefited them.

This is all reversible. History shows that capitalism can be properly regulated in a way that benefits all. The answer to the problem is to bring back those rules, not implement socialism.

Trump has:

The result? before COVID hit the average American worker saw the first inflation adjusted wage increase in over 30 years!

This is why the fake news and hollywood continue to propagandize the masses into hating Trump.

Trump is implementing economic policies good for the people and bad for the elites

Sound Author , 3 days ago

The dream was never alive in the first place. It was always bullshit.

Julia Galaudet , 4 days ago

Maybe it's time for a maximum wage.

Scott Clark , 4 days ago

Private equity strips the country for years! It's the AMERICAN DREAM!!!

Siri Erieott , 4 days ago

A dream for 1%, a nightmare for 99%.

andrew kubiak , 4 days ago

Globalism killed the American dream. We can buy cheap goods made somewhere else if we have a job here that pays us enough money.

[Jun 16, 2020] Krystal Ball: The American dream is dead, good riddance

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Debt-free is the new American dream ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Krystal Ball exposes the delusion of the American dream.

About Rising: Rising is a weekday morning show with bipartisan hosts that breaks the mold of morning TV by taking viewers inside the halls of Washington power like never before. The show leans into the day's political cycle with cutting edge analysis from DC insiders who can predict what is going to happen.

It also sets the day's political agenda by breaking exclusive news with a team of scoop-driven reporters and demanding answers during interviews with the country's most important political newsmakers.

Owen Cousino , 4 days ago

Debt-free is the new American dream

poppaDehorn , 4 days ago

Got my degree just as the great recession hit. Couldn't find real work for 3 years, not using my degree... But it was work. now after 8 years, im laid off. I did everything "right". do good in school, go to college, get a job...

I've never been fired in my life. its always, "Your contract is up" "Sorry we cant afford to keep you", "You can make more money collecting! but we'll give a recommendation if you find anything."

Now I'm back where i started... only now I have new house and a family to support... no pressure.

[Jun 16, 2020] Neoliberalism and the USA: Americans are no longer a moral and religious people even though they present the trappings of such

Notable quotes:
"... Highly recommended. America has been transformed into a public relations image - she no longer has substance. She is like a hologram - reach out to touch her and you find there is nothing there - it's all been taken and replaced with an image. ..."
Jun 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

pparalegal , 11 hours ago

John Adams 1798:

While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence.

But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Iniquity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World.

Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by eletion, morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, Revenge or Galantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other

Victor999 , 11 hours ago

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other

Key statement. Americans are no longer a moral and religious people even though they present the trappings of such.

katagorikal , 11 hours ago

The Century of the Self - Adam Curtis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ3RzGoQC4s

Victor999 , 11 hours ago

Highly recommended. America has been transformed into a public relations image - she no longer has substance. She is like a hologram - reach out to touch her and you find there is nothing there - it's all been taken and replaced with an image.

[Jun 14, 2020] Former MI6 Spy Alastair Crooke- For This To Slip Would Be The 'End Of Empire' -

Jun 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

He observes too, the anticipatory raising of bail money; the preparing of medical teams, ready to treat injuries; and of caches of flammable materials (suitable for torching official vehicles), pre-positioned in places where protests would later occur. All this – with simultaneous protests in more than 380 U.S. cities – in my experience, signals much bigger, silent backstage organization. And behind 'the organisation', the instigators lie, far back: maybe even thousands of miles back; and somewhere out there will be the financier.

However, in the U.S., commentators say they see no leadership; the protests are amorphous. That is not unusual to see no leadership – a 'leadership' appears only if negotiations are sought and planned; otherwise key actors are to be protected from arrest. The most telling sign of a backstage organisation is that on one day, it is 'full on', and the next all is quiet – as if a switch has been pulled. It often has.

Of course, the overwhelming majority of protestors in the U.S. this last week, were – and are – decent sincere Americans, outraged at George Floyd's killing and continuing social and institutional racism. Was this then, an Antifa and anarchist operation, as the White House contends? I doubt it – any more than those Palestinian youth in Beit El constituted anything other than fodder for the front of stage. We simply don't know the backstage. Keep an open mind.

Tom Luongo presciently suggests that should we wish to understand better the context to these recent events – and not be stuck at stage appearances – we need to look to Hong Kong for indicators .

Writing in October 2019, Luongo noted that: "What started as peaceful protests against an extradition law and worry over reunification with China has morphed into an ugly and vicious assault on the city's economic future. [This is] being perpetrated by the so-called "Block Bloc", roving bands of mask-wearing, police-tactic defying vandals attacking randomly around the city to disrupt people going to work ".

An exasperated local man exclaims : "Not only you [i.e. Block Bloc protestors are] harming the people making their living in businesses, companies, shopping malls. You're destroying subway stations. You're destroying our streets. You're destroying our hard-earned reputation as a safe, international business centre. You're destroying our economy". The man cannot explain why there was not a single police officer in sight, for hours, as the rampage continued.

What is going on? Luongo quotes a September Bloomberg interview with HK tycoon, Jimmy Lai, billionaire publisher of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) scourge, the Apple Daily, and the highly visible interlocutor of official Washington notables, such as Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. In it, Lai pronounced himself convinced that if protests in HK turned violent, China would have no choice but to send the People's Armed Police units from Shenzen into Hong Kong to put down unrest: "That," Lai said on Bloomberg TV, "will be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square massacre; and that will bring in the whole world against China Hong Kong will be done, and China will be done, too".

In brief, Lai proposes to 'burn' Hong Kong – to 'save' Hong Kong. That is, 'burn it to save it' from the CCP – to keep its residue in the 'Anglo-sphere'.

"Jimmy Lai", Luongo writes, "is telling you what the strategy is here. The goal is to thoroughly undermine China's standing on the world stage and raise that of the U.S. This is economic warfare, it's a hybrid war tactic. And the soldiers are radicalized kids in uniforms bonking old men on the heads with sticks and taunting cops. Sound familiar? Because that's what's going on in places like Portland, Oregon with Antifa And that cause is chaos". (Recall, Luongo wrote this more than six months ago).

Well, here we are today: Steve Bannon, closely allied with what he, himself, terms the U.S.' China super-hawks , and allied with yet another Chinese billionaire financier, Guo Wengui ( a fugitive from the Chinese Authorities, and member at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club), is pursuing an incandescent campaign of denigration and vitriol against the Chinese Communist Party – intended, like Lai's campaign, to destroy utterly China's global standing.

Here it is again – the tightly-knit band of U.S. and exile super-hawks want to 'burn' down the CCP, to 'save' what? To save the 'Empire Waning' (America), through 'burning' the 'Empire Rising' (China). Bannon (at least, and to his credit), is explicit about the risk: A failure to prevail in this this info-war mounted against the CCP, he says, will end in "kinetic war".

Via The New York Times

So, back to the U.S. protests, and drawing on Luongo's insights from Hong Kong – I wrote last week that Trump sees himself fighting a hidden global 'war' to retain America's present dominance over global money (the dollar) – now America's principal source of external power. For America to lose this struggle to a putative multi-lateral cosmopolitan governance – Trump perceives – would result in the whole, white Anglo-sphere's ejection from control over the global financial system – and its associated political privilege. It would entail control of the global financial and political system slipping away to an amorphous multi-lateral financial governance, operated by an international institution, or some global Central Bank. Since before WW1, control of global financial governance has been in the hands of the Anglo-American nexus running between London and New York. It still does, just about – albeit that today's Wall Street elite is cosmopolitan, rather than Anglo, yet still it is firmly anchored to Washington, via the Fed and the U.S. Treasury. For this to slip would be the 'end of Empire'.

To maintain the status of the dollar, Trump therefore has assiduously devoted himself to disrupting the multi-lateral global order, sensing this danger to the unique privileges conveyed by control of the world's monetary base. His particular concern would be to see a Europe that was umbilically-linked to the financial and technological heavy-weight that is China. This, in itself, effectively would presage a different world financial governance.

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But, is the fear that the threat principally lies with Europe's Soros-style vision justified? There may – just as well – be a fifth-column at home. The billionaires' club of the very rich has long ceased to be culturally 'Anglo'. It has become a borderless, 'self-selecting', governing entity unto itself.

Perhaps an earlier 'end of Époque' metamorphosis shows us how readily an old-established elite can swap horses in order to survive . In the historical Sicilian novel, The Leopard, Prince Salina's nephew tells his uncle that the old order is 'done' , and with it, the family is 'done' too, unless "Unless we ourselves take a hand now, they'll foist a republic on us. If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change".

It is clear that some billionaire oligarchs – whether American or not – can see the 'writing on the wall': A financial crisis is coming. And so, too, is a social one. A recent survey done by one such member, showed that 55% of American millennials supported the end to the capitalist system. Perhaps the brotherhood of billionaires is thinking that 'unless we ourselves take a hand now, they'll foist socialism on us'. If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change. The recent disorder in the U.S. will have unnerved them further.

The push towards radical change – towards that global financial, political and ecological governance that threatens dollar hegemony – paradoxically may emerge from within: from within America's own financial elite. 'Burning' the dollar's privileged global status may become seen as the price for things to stay as they are -- and for the elite to be saved. The future of Empire hangs on this issue: Can US dollar hegemony be preserved, or might the financial 'nobility' see that things must change – if they are to stay as they are? That is, the Revolution may come from within -- and not necessarily from abroad.

In recent days, Trump has pivoted to being the President of 'Law and Order' – a shift which he explicitly connected to 1968, when, in response to protests in Minneapolis after the police suffocation last week of George Floyd, Trump tweeted: "When the looting begins, the shooting starts". These were the words used by Governor George Wallace, the segregationist third-party candidate, in the 1968 Presidential election: Republicans launched their "southern strategy" to win over resentful white Democrats after the civil rights revolution.

Trump is determined to prevail – but today is not 1968. Can a Law and Order platform work now? U.S. demography in the south has shifted, and it is not clear that the liberal, urban electorates of America would sign up to a law-and-order platform, which implicitly appeals to white anxieties?

In a sense, President Trump finds himself between a rock and a hard place. If the protests are not quelled, and "the right normal (not) restored" (as per Esper's words), Trump may lose those remaining 'law and order' conservatives. But, were he to lose control and over-react using the military, then it may be Trump who has his own 'Tiananmen Square' – one, which Jimmy Lai (gleefully) predicted in Hong Kong's case would bring in the whole world against China: "Hong Kong will be done, and China will be done, too."

Or, in this instance, Trump might be done, and the U.S. too.

[Jun 14, 2020] Anonymous Berkeley Professor Shreds BLM Injustice Narrative With Damning Facts And Logic

Highly recommended!
A strange mixture of Black nationalism with Black Bolshevism is a very interesting and pretty alarming phenomenon. It proved to be a pretty toxic mix. But it is far from being new. We saw how the Eugène Pottier famous song International lines "We have been naught we shall be all." and "Servile masses arise, arise." unfolded before under Stalinism in Soviet Russia.
We also saw Lysenkoism in Academia before, and it was not a pretty picture. Some Russian/Soviet scientists such as Academician Vavilov paid with their life for the sin of not being politically correct. From this letter it is clear that the some departments already reached the stage tragically close to that situation.
Lysenkoism was "politically correct" (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with the broader Marxist doctrine. Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans. Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man
"Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine. Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award. Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism." The Disgraceful Episode Of Lysenkoism Brings Us Global Warming Theory
Notable quotes:
"... In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. ..."
"... any cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or 'Uncle Toms'. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders . Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques. ..."
"... The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians ..."
"... Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict . This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries. ..."
"... If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? ..."
"... Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM's problematic view of history , and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position , which is no small number. ..."
"... The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people . There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is. ..."
"... The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim. It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn't led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively. ..."
"... Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11, as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices - as do Nigerian Americans , who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possible in the current climate at our department . The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession. ..."
"... Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden's 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades ; the 'systemic racism' there was built by successive Democrat administrations. ..."
"... The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes , carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed. ..."
"... MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today . We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing? ..."
Jun 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Dear profs X, Y, Z

I am one of your colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. I have met you both personally but do not know you closely, and am contacting you anonymously, with apologies. I am worried that writing this email publicly might lead to me losing my job, and likely all future jobs in my field.

In your recent departmental emails you mentioned our pledge to diversity, but I am increasingly alarmed by the absence of diversity of opinion on the topic of the recent protests and our community response to them.

In the extended links and resources you provided, I could not find a single instance of substantial counter-argument or alternative narrative to explain the under-representation of black individuals in academia or their over-representation in the criminal justice system. The explanation provided in your documentation, to the near exclusion of all others, is univariate: the problems of the black community are caused by whites, or, when whites are not physically present, by the infiltration of white supremacy and white systemic racism into American brains, souls, and institutions.

Many cogent objections to this thesis have been raised by sober voices, including from within the black community itself, such as Thomas Sowell and Wilfred Reilly. These people are not racists or 'Uncle Toms'. They are intelligent scholars who reject a narrative that strips black people of agency and systematically externalizes the problems of the black community onto outsiders . Their view is entirely absent from the departmental and UCB-wide communiques.

The claim that the difficulties that the black community faces are entirely causally explained by exogenous factors in the form of white systemic racism, white supremacy, and other forms of white discrimination remains a problematic hypothesis that should be vigorously challenged by historians . Instead, it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, or its worrying implication of total black impotence. This hypothesis is transforming our institution and our culture, without any space for dissent outside of a tightly policed, narrow discourse.

A counternarrative exists. If you have time, please consider examining some of the documents I attach at the end of this email. Overwhelmingly, the reasoning provided by BLM and allies is either primarily anecdotal (as in the case with the bulk of Ta-Nehisi Coates' undeniably moving article) or it is transparently motivated. As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black .

Would we characterize criminal justice as a systemically misandrist conspiracy against innocent American men? I hope you see that this type of reasoning is flawed, and requires a significant suspension of our rational faculties. Black people are not incarcerated at higher rates than their involvement in violent crime would predict . This fact has been demonstrated multiple times across multiple jurisdictions in multiple countries.

And yet, I see my department uncritically reproducing a narrative that diminishes black agency in favor of a white-centric explanation that appeals to the department's apparent desire to shoulder the 'white man's burden' and to promote a narrative of white guilt .

If we claim that the criminal justice system is white-supremacist, why is it that Asian Americans, Indian Americans, and Nigerian Americans are incarcerated at vastly lower rates than white Americans? This is a funny sort of white supremacy. Even Jewish Americans are incarcerated less than gentile whites. I think it's fair to say that your average white supremacist disapproves of Jews. And yet, these alleged white supremacists incarcerate gentiles at vastly higher rates than Jews. None of this is addressed in your literature. None of this is explained, beyond hand-waving and ad hominems. "Those are racist dogwhistles". "The model minority myth is white supremacist". "Only fascists talk about black-on-black crime", ad nauseam.

These types of statements do not amount to counterarguments: they are simply arbitrary offensive classifications, intended to silence and oppress discourse . Any serious historian will recognize these for the silencing orthodoxy tactics they are , common to suppressive regimes, doctrines, and religions throughout time and space. They are intended to crush real diversity and permanently exile the culture of robust criticism from our department.

Increasingly, we are being called upon to comply and subscribe to BLM's problematic view of history , and the department is being presented as unified on the matter. In particular, ethnic minorities are being aggressively marshaled into a single position. Any apparent unity is surely a function of the fact that dissent could almost certainly lead to expulsion or cancellation for those of us in a precarious position , which is no small number.

I personally don't dare speak out against the BLM narrative , and with this barrage of alleged unity being mass-produced by the administration, tenured professoriat, the UC administration, corporate America, and the media, the punishment for dissent is a clear danger at a time of widespread economic vulnerability. I am certain that if my name were attached to this email, I would lose my job and all future jobs, even though I believe in and can justify every word I type.

The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people . There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is.

No discussion is permitted for nonblack victims of black violence, who proportionally outnumber black victims of nonblack violence. This is especially bitter in the Bay Area, where Asian victimization by black assailants has reached epidemic proportions, to the point that the SF police chief has advised Asians to stop hanging good-luck charms on their doors, as this attracts the attention of (overwhelmingly black) home invaders . Home invaders like George Floyd . For this actual, lived, physically experienced reality of violence in the USA, there are no marches, no tearful emails from departmental heads, no support from McDonald's and Wal-Mart. For the History department, our silence is not a mere abrogation of our duty to shed light on the truth: it is a rejection of it.

The claim that black intraracial violence is the product of redlining, slavery, and other injustices is a largely historical claim. It is for historians, therefore, to explain why Japanese internment or the massacre of European Jewry hasn't led to equivalent rates of dysfunction and low SES performance among Japanese and Jewish Americans respectively.

Arab Americans have been viciously demonized since 9/11, as have Chinese Americans more recently. However, both groups outperform white Americans on nearly all SES indices - as do Nigerian Americans , who incidentally have black skin. It is for historians to point out and discuss these anomalies. However, no real discussion is possible in the current climate at our department . The explanation is provided to us, disagreement with it is racist, and the job of historians is to further explore additional ways in which the explanation is additionally correct. This is a mockery of the historical profession.

Most troublingly, our department appears to have been entirely captured by the interests of the Democratic National Convention, and the Democratic Party more broadly. To explain what I mean, consider what happens if you choose to donate to Black Lives Matter, an organization UCB History has explicitly promoted in its recent mailers. All donations to the official BLM website are immediately redirected to ActBlue Charities , an organization primarily concerned with bankrolling election campaigns for Democrat candidates. Donating to BLM today is to indirectly donate to Joe Biden's 2020 campaign. This is grotesque given the fact that the American cities with the worst rates of black-on-black violence and police-on-black violence are overwhelmingly Democrat-run. Minneapolis itself has been entirely in the hands of Democrats for over five decades ; the 'systemic racism' there was built by successive Democrat administrations.

The patronizing and condescending attitudes of Democrat leaders towards the black community, exemplified by nearly every Biden statement on the black race, all but guarantee a perpetual state of misery, resentment, poverty, and the attendant grievance politics which are simultaneously annihilating American political discourse and black lives. And yet, donating to BLM is bankrolling the election campaigns of men like Mayor Frey, who saw their cities devolve into violence . This is a grotesque capture of a good-faith movement for necessary police reform, and of our department, by a political party. Even worse, there are virtually no avenues for dissent in academic circles . I refuse to serve the Party, and so should you.

The total alliance of major corporations involved in human exploitation with BLM should be a warning flag to us, and yet this damning evidence goes unnoticed, purposefully ignored, or perversely celebrated. We are the useful idiots of the wealthiest classes , carrying water for Jeff Bezos and other actual, real, modern-day slavers. Starbucks, an organisation using literal black slaves in its coffee plantation suppliers, is in favor of BLM. Sony, an organisation using cobalt mined by yet more literal black slaves, many of whom are children, is in favor of BLM. And so, apparently, are we. The absence of counter-narrative enables this obscenity. Fiat lux, indeed.

There also exists a large constituency of what can only be called 'race hustlers': hucksters of all colors who benefit from stoking the fires of racial conflict to secure administrative jobs, charity management positions, academic jobs and advancement, or personal political entrepreneurship.

Given the direction our history department appears to be taking far from any commitment to truth , we can regard ourselves as a formative training institution for this brand of snake-oil salespeople. Their activities are corrosive, demolishing any hope at harmonious racial coexistence in our nation and colonizing our political and institutional life. Many of their voices are unironically segregationist.

MLK would likely be called an Uncle Tom if he spoke on our campus today . We are training leaders who intend, explicitly, to destroy one of the only truly successful ethnically diverse societies in modern history. As the PRC, an ethnonationalist and aggressively racially chauvinist national polity with null immigration and no concept of jus solis increasingly presents itself as the global political alternative to the US, I ask you: Is this wise? Are we really doing the right thing?

As a final point, our university and department has made multiple statements celebrating and eulogizing George Floyd. Floyd was a multiple felon who once held a pregnant black woman at gunpoint. He broke into her home with a gang of men and pointed a gun at her pregnant stomach. He terrorized the women in his community. He sired and abandoned multiple children , playing no part in their support or upbringing, failing one of the most basic tests of decency for a human being. He was a drug-addict and sometime drug-dealer, a swindler who preyed upon his honest and hard-working neighbors .

And yet, the regents of UC and the historians of the UCB History department are celebrating this violent criminal, elevating his name to virtual sainthood . A man who hurt women. A man who hurt black women. With the full collaboration of the UCB history department, corporate America, most mainstream media outlets, and some of the wealthiest and most privileged opinion-shaping elites of the USA, he has become a culture hero, buried in a golden casket, his (recognized) family showered with gifts and praise . Americans are being socially pressured into kneeling for this violent, abusive misogynist . A generation of black men are being coerced into identifying with George Floyd, the absolute worst specimen of our race and species.

I'm ashamed of my department. I would say that I'm ashamed of both of you, but perhaps you agree with me, and are simply afraid, as I am, of the backlash of speaking the truth. It's hard to know what kneeling means, when you have to kneel to keep your job.

It shouldn't affect the strength of my argument above, but for the record, I write as a person of color . My family have been personally victimized by men like Floyd. We are aware of the condescending depredations of the Democrat party against our race. The humiliating assumption that we are too stupid to do STEM , that we need special help and lower requirements to get ahead in life, is richly familiar to us. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be easier to deal with open fascists, who at least would be straightforward in calling me a subhuman, and who are unlikely to share my race.

The ever-present soft bigotry of low expectations and the permanent claim that the solutions to the plight of my people rest exclusively on the goodwill of whites rather than on our own hard work is psychologically devastating . No other group in America is systematically demoralized in this way by its alleged allies. A whole generation of black children are being taught that only by begging and weeping and screaming will they get handouts from guilt-ridden whites.

No message will more surely devastate their futures, especially if whites run out of guilt, or indeed if America runs out of whites. If this had been done to Japanese Americans, or Jewish Americans, or Chinese Americans, then Chinatown and Japantown would surely be no different to the roughest parts of Baltimore and East St. Louis today. The History department of UCB is now an integral institutional promulgator of a destructive and denigrating fallacy about the black race.

I hope you appreciate the frustration behind this message. I do not support BLM. I do not support the Democrat grievance agenda and the Party's uncontested capture of our department. I do not support the Party co-opting my race, as Biden recently did in his disturbing interview, claiming that voting Democrat and being black are isomorphic. I condemn the manner of George Floyd's death and join you in calling for greater police accountability and police reform. However, I will not pretend that George Floyd was anything other than a violent misogynist, a brutal man who met a predictably brutal end .

I also want to protect the practice of history. Cleo is no grovelling handmaiden to politicians and corporations. Like us, she is free. play_arrow

LEEPERMAX , 12 seconds ago

Donations to Black Lives Matter are funneled through a Democratic fundraising group ...

seryanhoj , 36 seconds ago

This guy is not playing by the rules of US political discourse. His sins are:

1). Using real facts

2). Making logical deductions from the facts

3) Making assertions not in line with the script from his party, social group or race.

There is no future for such a man. We are in a time which prefers hysteria , lies and epic partisanship

simpson seers , 36 minutes ago

white muricans aren't racist, they kill equally....

https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/01/u-s-regime-has-killed-20-30-million-people-since-world-war-ii/

https://www.fort-russ.com/2020/02/former-american-drone-operator-us-military-worse-than-nazis/

Aubiekong , 36 minutes ago

Blacks will always be poor and fucked in life when 75% of black infants are born to single most likely welfare dependent mothers... And the more amount of welfare monies spent to combat poverty the worse this problem will grow...

taketheredpill , 37 minutes ago

Anonymous....

1) Is he really a Professor at Berkeley?

2) Is he really a Professor anywhere?

3) Is he really Black?

4) Is he really a He?

LEEPERMAX , 44 minutes ago

BLM is an international organization. They solicit tax free charitable donations via ActBlue. ActBlue then funnels billions of dollars to DNC campaigns. This is a violation of campaign finance law and allows foreign influence in American elections.

CRM114 , 44 minutes ago

I've pointed this out before:

In 2015, after the Freddie Gray death Officers were hung out to dry by the Mayor of Baltimore (yes, her, the Chair of the DNC in 2016), active policing in Baltimore basically stopped. They just count the bodies now. The clearance rate for homicides has dropped to, well, we don't know because the Police refuse to say, but it appears to be under 15%. The homicide rate jumped 50% almost immediately and has stayed there. 95% of homicides are black on black.

The Baltimore Sun keeps excellent records, so you can check this all for yourself.

Looking at killings by cops; if we take the worst case and exclude all the ones where the victim was armed and independent witnesses state fired first, and assume all the others were cop murders, then there's about 1 cop murder every 3 years, which means that since has now stopped and the homicide rate's gone up...

For every black man now not murdered by a cop, 400 more black men are murdered by other black men.

taketheredpill , 46 minutes ago

"As an example of the latter problem, consider the proportion of black incarcerated Americans. This proportion is often used to characterize the criminal justice system as anti-black. However, if we use the precise same methodology, we would have to conclude that the criminal justice system is even more anti-male than it is anti-black ."

It is the RATIO of UNARMED BLACK MALES KILLED to UNARMED WHITE MALES KILLED in RELATION TO % OF POPULATION. RATIO.

RATIO. UNARMED.

BLACK % POPULATION 13% BLACK % UNARMED MEN KILLED 37%

WHITE % POPULATION 74% BLACK % UNARMED MEN KILLED 45%

Is there a trend of MORE Black people being killed by police?

No. But there is an underlying difference in the numbers that is bad.

>>>>> As of 2018, Unarmed Blacks made up 36% of all people UNARMED killed by police. But black people make up 13% of the (unarmed) population.

UNARMED KILLINGS BY POLICE

UNARMED KILLINGS BY POLICE

YEAR Black Hispanic White

2015 36 19 31

2016 18 9 20

2017 19 12 24

2018(Apr) 7 1 10

2019 15 11 25

YEAR Black Hispanic White

2015 42% 22% 36%

2016 38% 19% 43%

2017 35% 22% 44%

2018(Apr) 39% 6% 56%

2019 29% 22% 49%

AVG 37% 18% 45%

% POPN 13% 16% 72%

ARMED > 18 YRS OLD TOY WEAPON

Black Hispanic White

2019 5 3 11

26% 16% 58%

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/fatal-police-shootings-of-unarmed-people-have-significantly-declined-experts-say/2018/05/03/d5eab374-4349-11e8-8569-26fda6b404c7_story.html

radical-extremist , 47 minutes ago

There's a massive Silent Majority of Americans , including black Americans, that are fed up with this absurd nonsense.

While there's a Vocal Minority of Americans : including Democrats, the media, corporations and race hustlers, that wish to continue to promulgate a FALSE NARRATIVE into perpetuity...because it's a lucrative industry.

Gaius Konstantine , 57 minutes ago

A short while ago I had an ex friend get into it with me about how Europeans (whites), were the most destructive race on the planet, responsible for all the world's evil. I pointed out to him that Genghis Khan, an Asian, slaughtered millions at a time when technology made this a remarkable feat. I reminded him the Japanese gleefully killed millions in China and that the American Indian Empires ran 24/7 human sacrifices with some also practicing cannibalism. His poor libtard brain couldn't handle the fact that evil is a human trait, not restricted to a particular race and we parted (good riddance)

But along with evil, there is accomplishment. Europeans created Empires and pursued science, The Asians also participated in these pursuits and even the Aztec and Inca built marvelous cities and massive states spanning vast stretches of territory. The only race that accomplished little save entering the stone age is the Africans. Are we supposed to give them a participation trophy to make them feel better? Is this feeling of inferiority what is truly behind their constant rage?

Police in the US have been militarized for a long time now and kill many more unarmed whites than they do blacks, where is the outrage? I'm getting the feeling that this isn't really about George, just an excuse to do what savages do.

lwilland1012 , 1 hour ago

"Truth is treason in an empire of lies."

George Orwell

You know that the reason he is anonymous is that Berkley would strip him of his teaching credentials and there would be multiple attempts on his life...

Ignatius , 1 hour ago

" The vast majority of violence visited on the black community is committed by black people . There are virtually no marches for these invisible victims, no public silences, no heartfelt letters from the UC regents, deans, and departmental heads. The message is clear: Black lives only matter when whites take them. Black violence is expected and insoluble, while white violence requires explanation and demands solution. Please look into your hearts and see how monstrously bigoted this formulation truly is."

PhD thesis, right there. ..

Templar X , 1 hour ago

Ex-fed who trained Buffalo cops says shoved activist 'got away lightly'

By Craig McCarthy

June 12, 2020 | 12:31pm

A former fed who trained the police in Buffalo believes the elderly protester who was hospitalized after a cop pushed him to the ground "got away lightly" and "took a dive," according to a report.

The retired FBI agent, Gary DiLaura, told The Sun he thinks there's no chance Buffalo officers will be convicted of assault over the now-viral video showing the longtime peace activist Martin Gugino fall and left bleeding on the ground.

" I can't believe that they didn't deck him. If that would have been a 40-year-old guy going up there, I guarantee you they'd have been all over him, " DiLaura said.

" He absolutely got away lightly. He got a light push and in my humble opinion, he took a dive and the dive backfired because he hit his head. Maybe it'll knock a little bit of sense into him, " added the former fed, who trained Buffalo police on firearms and defensive tactics, according to the report...

https://nypost.com/2020/06/12/ex-fed-who-trained-buffalo-cops-elderly-activist-got-away-lightly/

NanoRap , 17 minutes ago

It's a great brainwashing process, which goes very slow[ly] and is divided [into] four basic stages. The first one [is] demoralization ; it takes from 15-20 years to demoralize a nation. Why that many years? Because this is the minimum number of years which [is required] to educate one generation of students in the country of your enemy, exposed to the ideology of the enemy. In other words, Marxist-Leninist ideology is being pumped into the soft heads of at least three generations of American students, without being challenged, or counter-balanced by the basic values of Americanism (American patriotism).

The result? The result you can see. Most of the people who graduated in the sixties (drop-outs or half-baked intellectuals) are now occupying the positions of power in the government, civil service, business, mass media, [and the] educational system. You are stuck with them. You cannot get rid of them. T hey are contaminated; they are programmed to think and react to certain stimuli in a certain pattern. You cannot change their mind[s], even if you expose them to authentic information, even if you prove that white is white and black is black, you still cannot change the basic perception and the logic of behavior. In other words, these people... the process of demoralization is complete and irreversible. To [rid] society of these people, you need another twenty or fifteen years to educate a new generation of patriotically-minded and common sense people, who would be acting in favor and in the interests of United States society.

Yuri Bezmenov

American Psycho , 16 minutes ago

This article was one of the most articulate and succinct rebuttals to the BLM political power grab. I too have been calling these "allies" useful idiots and I am happy to hear this professor doing the same. Bravo professor!

[Jun 11, 2020] There's a Crisis in US Capitalism but how it will unfold is completely unclear by Richard D. Wolff

Looks like there are some elements of systemic crisis of neoliberalism in the current situation. a revived Cold War (against Russia and China) is a desperate attempt to find a scapegoat and switch attention of population from the subservience of both Party to Wall Street and MIC. To the "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine which ensure record levels of military spending, sealing money from working class and lower middle class. At the same time top 20% of population still support neoliberalism so the current riots will pass like Occupy Wall Street movement.
Notable quotes:
"... Today's mass unemployment also threatens those still employed, the remaining 120 million members of the U.S. labor force. ..."
"... the predictable results of mass joblessness in the U.S. are deepening social divisions, renewed racism, social protests, and government repression (often violent). ..."
"... By thereby blocking, if only temporarily, a powerful emerging opposition, Democratic Party leaders deterred mass opposition to bailouts, unemployment, minimal COVID-19 testing, and all the government's other failures. They just want to win the November 2020 election. Biden's vague "return to normal" promises are offered as soothing antidotes to the Trump/GOP's crisis-wracked, fear-mongering divisiveness. Trump plunges ahead with a radically pro-capitalist agenda coupled with reactionary cultural and political warfare against civil rights and liberties. ..."
"... Global isolation accompanies the U.S.'s declining economic and political footprints. Its technological supremacy is increasingly challenged globally and especially in and by China. ..."
"... Further China-bashing -- pursued by both major parties -- will only slow global economic growth just when many circumstances converge to make that the least desirable future. Record-breaking levels of government, corporate and household debt make the U.S. economy exceptionally vulnerable to future shocks and cyclical downturns. ..."
"... No "return to normal" after the combined systemic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist depression is likely. ..."
"... Richard D. Wolff, Professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York. Wolff's weekly show, "Economic Update," is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism, both available at democracyatwork.info. This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute. ..."
"... democracy needs an alternative! ..."
"... In a rather simplistic understanding of these issues, I too have often wondered about this endless "growth" goal. How can we have long-term a system, whose inner logic requires constant growth to remain 'viable' – on a planet with finite resources? A collision of the two seems inevitable at some point. Am I missing something? ..."
"... Economic growth and human population growth have been disasters for much of the animal/plant world (insects, large mammals, forests, oceans). ..."
"... Human focused economists seem to ignore this vitally important earth inhabiting non-human constituency in the quest for the, always assumed necessary, headline economic growth. ..."
Jun 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
June 10, 2020 Capitalism has always had business cycles. The capitalist enterprises that produce goods and services are distinctively organized around the conflicted relationship of employer and employees and the competitive relationship of markets. These central relationships of capitalism together generate cyclical instability. Wherever capitalism became a society's economic system over the last three centuries, business cycles recurred every four to seven years. Capitalism has mechanisms to survive its cycles, but they are painful, especially when employers fire employees. Widespread pain (unemployment, bankruptcies, disrupted public finances, etc.) brought the label "crisis" to capitalism's cyclical downturns. Only on special occasions, and rarely, did the cyclical crises in capitalism become crises of capitalism as a system. That has usually required other non-economic problems (political, cultural, and/or natural) to reach crescendo peaks around the same time as a cyclical economic downturn. Today is a time of crisis both in and of U.S. capitalism.

U.S. economic policy now focuses on what is already the worst business cycle downturn since the 1929 crash. As data accumulate, it may well prove to be the worst in global capitalism's entire history. Forty million jobless U.S. workers find incomes lost, savings disappearing and over-indebted family finances worsening.

Today's mass unemployment also threatens those still employed, the remaining 120 million members of the U.S. labor force. Mass unemployment always invites employers to cut wages, benefits and working conditions. If any of their employees quit, many among the millions of unemployed will accept those abandoned jobs. Knowing that, most employees accept their employers' cuts. Employers will justify them as required by "the pandemic" or by what they say are its effects on their profits.

Led by Trump and the Republicans and tolerated by the Democrats' leaders, U.S. employers are intensifying class war against workers. That is what mass joblessness accomplishes. On one hand, Washington bails out employers with trillions of dollars. On the other, Washington enables (by funding) a mass joblessness that directly undermines the entire working class. Germany and France, for example, could not allow such joblessness because of their labor movements' and socialist parties' social influences. In sharp contrast, the predictable results of mass joblessness in the U.S. are deepening social divisions, renewed racism, social protests, and government repression (often violent).

... ... ...

By thereby blocking, if only temporarily, a powerful emerging opposition, Democratic Party leaders deterred mass opposition to bailouts, unemployment, minimal COVID-19 testing, and all the government's other failures. They just want to win the November 2020 election. Biden's vague "return to normal" promises are offered as soothing antidotes to the Trump/GOP's crisis-wracked, fear-mongering divisiveness. Trump plunges ahead with a radically pro-capitalist agenda coupled with reactionary cultural and political warfare against civil rights and liberties.

It is the old GOP strategy but a much more extreme version. The Democrats counter with reactionary responses: a revived Cold War (against Russia and/or China) and a domestic safety less shredded than what the GOP plans. Culture wars are perhaps the only realm where Democrats sense some votes in not caving further to right-wing pressures.

Alternating Democratic and Republican governments produced today's impasse. Global isolation accompanies the U.S.'s declining economic and political footprints. Its technological supremacy is increasingly challenged globally and especially in and by China. Efforts to break that challenge have not succeeded and will not likely do better in the future. Further China-bashing -- pursued by both major parties -- will only slow global economic growth just when many circumstances converge to make that the least desirable future. Record-breaking levels of government, corporate and household debt make the U.S. economy exceptionally vulnerable to future shocks and cyclical downturns.

The U.S. population below 40 years of age struggles increasingly with unsustainable debts. The jobs and incomes it faces have already undermined access to the "American Dream" they were promised as children. Nor have they much hope for the future as today's pandemic-cum-crash imposes more hardships on them. That protests surge, provoked further by government repression, should surprise no one.

Repeated polls where half the young "prefer socialism over capitalism" reflect growing antipathy to their deteriorating capitalist reality. In the Cold War-shaped U.S. school system since the late 1940s, socialism's substantive theories and practices were not seriously taught. Debates among socialists over how socialism was changing or should change remain largely unknown. Today's growing interests in critiques of capitalism and in socialism's varieties reflect young peoples' rejection of Cold War taboos as well as a capitalism that has failed them.

No "return to normal" after the combined systemic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and capitalist depression is likely. Many want no such return because they believe that that normal led to both the pandemic and the economic crash. They also believe that the managers of that old normal -- corporate CEOs in both their private and governmental positions -- should face tough public scrutiny and opposition because of where that normal led and where it will likely lead again.

Those managers are not solving the problems they helped to create: utterly inadequate testing for the virus, bigger-than-ever bailouts for the biggest banks and corporations, mass unemployment, and deepening wealth and income inequalities.

Why then keep those managers in power? We should not expect different results from them now than when conditions were "normal."

Of course protests flared up in and around African American communities. Beyond their long history of suffering social and employment discrimination and police oppression, it is important to remember that those communities suffered worst in the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Their unemployment then shot up, they lost homes disproportionately to foreclosures, etc. They have died from the coronavirus significantly more than white communities. Because of disproportionate reliance on low-paid service sector jobs, they have once again suffered disproportionately in 2020's crash of U.S. capitalism. When a president then blatantly panders to white supremacy and white supremacists, while making and repeating racist comments, the ingredients are in place to provoke protests. However useful for Trump/GOP electoral campaigns, social protests and oppressive police responses add sharp social conflicts to the already disastrous combination of viral pandemic and economic crash.

Trump is a product and sign of U.S. capitalism's exhaustion. The long, cozy governmental alternation between GOP and Democrats after the trauma of the 1930s Great Depression had achieved its purpose. It had undone FDR's redistribution of wealth from the top to the middle and the bottom. It had "fixed" that problem by reversing the redistribution of wealth and income. The ideological cover for that "fix" was bipartisan demonization of domestic socialism combined with bipartisan pursuit of Cold War with the USSR. The major GOP vs. Democratic Party dispute concerned the modes and extents of governmental support for private capitalism (as in Keynes vs. Friedman, etc.). That minor squabble got raised to the status of "the major issue" for politicians, journalists, and academics to debate because they caved to the taboo on debates over capitalism vs. socialism.

Capitalism has so extremely redistributed wealth and income to the top 1 percent, so mired the vast majority in overwork and excess debt, and so extinguished "good jobs" (via relocating them abroad and automation) that the system itself draws ever-deeper disaffection, criticism, and opposition. At first, deepening social divisions expressed the system's disintegration. Now open street protests take the U.S. a step closer to a full-on crisis of the system.

Trump subordinated the old managers of capitalism by politically threatening them with aroused, angry small businesses and middle-income workers. Trump promises the latter a return to what they had before the upwards redistribution of wealth hurt them. He tells the old managers that he and his base alone can secure their social positions atop an upwardly redistributed contemporary capitalism. They will save the old managers from Bernie, "progressivism" and "socialism." The Democratic Party's old, "centrist" leadership offers weak, partial opposition, hoping Trump goes too far and implodes the GOP.

In the wake of the pandemic and the massive unemployment used to "manage" it, wages and benefits will take major hits in the months and years ahead. Wealth will be further redistributed upward. Social divisions will deepen and so will social protests. This crisis in capitalism is also a crisis of capitalism.

Richard D. Wolff, Professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a visiting professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, in New York. Wolff's weekly show, "Economic Update," is syndicated by more than 100 radio stations and goes to 55 million TV receivers via Free Speech TV. His two recent books with Democracy at Work are Understanding Marxism and Understanding Socialism, both available at democracyatwork.info. This article was produced by Economy for All , a project of the Independent Media Institute.


Louis Fyne , June 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

(IMO) things could've been righted in 2009-2010, when US capitalism had two wheels over the precipice and the political will was there for systemic change.

instead the system floored the accelerator and the bus is off the cliff

If only Democrats, Pelosi and Bide were around to do something then! (sarc)

Rolf , June 10, 2020 at 2:22 pm

+2 The good ship America, capsized, can right itself and escape what seems to be inevitable submergence by reversing regressive policies embraced by both political parties since the Reagan "revolution". But both parties also seemed doomed to irrelevance, because both have, as Wolff describes, just played musical chairs over four decades. Little surprise that the only growing political affiliation is "Independent": democracy needs an alternative! Even BEFORE COVID-19, those under 40 could not find sustainable employment, and those over 40 were jettisoned as too expensive to maintain. Meanwhile the mainstream media supply a steady diet of trivia and misinformation, gushing over stock market rebounds or growth in Jeff Bezos' literal mountain of wealth, while a realistic 25% of the work force (including those in the darling "gig" economy) don't have a job or a paycheck, and can't make the rent. Unbelievable. And a disgrace in any country with the means to correct it.

The political response to this virus and the ensuing economic collapse is but one preview to our future: we should study it, and hard. A vaccine may take a few years to put in place, but there is no "vaccine" against profound environmental shifts on the horizon, broadly labeled climate change. A response that avoids enormous human suffering requires planning and transformations on space and time scales unlike anything we have faced heretofore. The bad news: these shifts are already manifest and likely irreversible. The good news: a response will require everyone's labor, creativity, and collaboration. This means planning, cooperation, and work , much of which can't be automated easily. These are political and economic transformations in which we will have no choice, if we are to survive.

John Steinbach , June 10, 2020 at 4:48 pm

Emphasizing that there will be radical reduction in energy/resource use in the near future, either planned or unplanned. The Club of Rome models appear to be still spot on.

ChrisFromGeorgia , June 10, 2020 at 10:32 am

Good article that makes many valid points. One I disagree with though is:

will only slow global economic growth just when many circumstances converge to make that the least desirable future

Why is growth always the goal? Given the looming climate change catastrophe, economic growth is the enemy. We must figure out how to live in a zero-growth (i.e. balanced) economy or we will kill off the human race. A lot of the tensions we see are because it is no longer possible to "grow" the economy in a way that benefits all segments of society. Energy and GDP are related. As we run out of the former the latter must adjust.

Olga , June 10, 2020 at 11:46 am

In a rather simplistic understanding of these issues, I too have often wondered about this endless "growth" goal. How can we have long-term a system, whose inner logic requires constant growth to remain 'viable' – on a planet with finite resources? A collision of the two seems inevitable at some point. Am I missing something?

John Wright , June 10, 2020 at 12:40 pm

You are not missing something.

Economic growth and human population growth have been disasters for much of the animal/plant world (insects, large mammals, forests, oceans).

Human focused economists seem to ignore this vitally important earth inhabiting non-human constituency in the quest for the, always assumed necessary, headline economic growth.

As we follow in the path of our already distressed animal/plant kingdom, achieving a "balanced" economy without a great deal of human distress seems unlikely to this reader .

[Jun 10, 2020] The Left and Wall Street are not going to go after each because at the moment they are allies pursuing a common goal; the dismantling of the traditional nation-state and its replacement by a new transnational system

Jun 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Alfa158 , says: Show Comment June 10, 2020 at 5:46 am GMT

The Left and Wall Street are not going to go after each because at the moment they are allies pursuing a common goal; the dismantling of the traditional nation-state and its replacement by a new transnational system.
Capital wants it because it wants totally free access to markets and resources, both human and natural. Natural resources and product will flow with no regulation or tariffs. Capital wants to reduce the cost of labor, at every level from manual day laborers to advanced engineers and scientists, by forcing everyone to compete with their counterparts worldwide in a wage race to the bottom. They will do it by shifting business to lower cost areas, and/or mass immigration. Energy and material resources will be plundered without hindrance from any corner of the earth. The deracinated new Brown populations will have no coherence or vision for resistance, instead everyone will be a consumer trying to improve themselves or their tribe against everyone else. Meanwhile the hyper-competent will claw their way to the top of meritocratic aristocracy. The rich don't care if police forces are de-funded. Only the middle class want police. Ancient Rome operated just fine without police. The wealthy had slaves and hired muscle to guard their person and property. The poor used local gangs to provide protection.
The Left wants the end of the nation-state because they think it will allow them to end racism by the simple measure of eliminating race, save the environment by forcing de-industrialization, and end war by ending nations. Oh, and they will be happy to accept the role of wise philosopher-kings administering the brave new world.
Both Capital and the Left think they'll suppress the other and be the ones in charge once the transnational world order is in place.
I think maybe there won't be a final struggle between the winning allies of the Left and Capital because they are merging. Look at how many plutocrats have the same political beliefs as Leftists. Try find an inch of daylight between the stated values of the HR department at a mega-corporation and a modern university.
Neither side gives a rat's ass for the working people.

[Jun 10, 2020] while this is happening, the entire world is undergoing what appears to be a severe Kondratiev Winter, in which malinvestment shows up as failure to repay loans and undesirable trade relations are ended. Attempts to avoid this K Winter appear to be under severe stress

Jun 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [382] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 10, 2020 at 8:09 am GMT

1) Black average IQ is about 85. That means half of the Black population can't do anything of economic importance in an industrial economy. Any industrial economy. The Black population therefore regards industrial societies, in which they always lose, as "white supremacy" and "white privilege". Massive interventions have failed; the above situation will persist indefinitely.

2) The above situation is incompatible with contemporary Christian doctrine, which says that all Homo Sapiens are capable of salvation, and therefore deserving of a secular life that permits them to choose whether to accept or reject salvation. This doctrine is also old; it was responsible for much of the propaganda the led up to the American Civil War. It is very difficult to refute from a Christian standpoint, and therefore enjoys the support of many Christians who are an integral part of industrial society (as was New England / New York Hudson Valley during the run-up to the Civil War).

3) "Defund the Police", like decriminalizing shoplifting, de-rationalizing the universities, or for that matter the entire corpus of Civil Rights laws (See: C. Caldwell, _The Age of Entitlement_), have the effect of making industrial society much less sustainable. These steps respectively decrease protection of the life and property of people who have gained from industrial society, increasing the cost of urban retail operations, greatly reducing education for industrial work, and changing laws to make it impossible for industrial operations to avoid torts. "Defund the police" is actually a logical step in a process started long, long ago, and is intended to make industrial society impossible.

4) The reaction against industrial society has resulted in a decrease of the population that actually makes industrial society possible (See: G. Clark, _A Farewell to Alms_, Princeton University, 2007). This population has, historically, been identical to what H. Clinton called "The Deplorables", and are now identical to what C. Caldwell calls "the coalition of those who have not benefitted from civil rights laws". While this population increased considerably during the 1800s, it is now decreasing for reasons that are plausibly related to the reaction against industrial society. Note that many of the Deplorables are Christians who accept the argument for secular equality presented above, paragraph 2, and are thus unwilling to strongly favor maintenance of industrial society.

5) As industrial society declines, urban areas (which lost their economic functions back in the 1950s/1960s) become unable to maintain their infrastructures, both physical and social. Their political forms devolve to simple pillage (e.g. "Calling the police comes from position of privilege", the "privilege" being the ability to hold down a job that pays well, hence being able to own something worth taking). This marks the end of urban dominance in political affairs. Money is the mothers milk of politics, and without it the political infant dies. The urban hinterland says "no" to requests for more money, and the cities wither (Copley, _Uncivilization_)

6) And, while this is happening, the entire world is undergoing what appears to be a severe Kondratiev Winter, in which malinvestment shows up as failure to repay loans and undesirable trade relations are ended. Attempts to avoid this K Winter appear to be under severe stress. The US crisis
is, in somewhat different forms, global.

7) So, here we are. We now have to construct a society that will let us stay alive.
The existing model of industrial civilization – silence the non-participants with make work ("Walk for Cancer Prevention") and goods/services, use industrial productivity to provide these goods/services" – has failed. The non-participants have (with no work and lots of money) become so numerous that they are silenced no longer." To quote a revolutionary leader from a novel protesting the Cold War (J. Blish, _A Case of Conscience_), "Your people, sir, are a great beast". And a great beast can do what it wants; in fact, can't do anything else. The beast says the urban based system of industrial society is over, and, Bingo, that's a performative statement ( ** ) -- once uttered, it's real.
( ** Like the leader of a jury saying "The jury finds the defendant guilty" or a priest saying "I now pronounce you man and wife". The statement is true _because_ the statement was made).
Good luck to you all.

[Jun 08, 2020] Total and final collapses are very rare, mostly they just initiate a lengthy and potentially very dangerous transformation process, the outcome of which is almost impossible to predict.

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Dieter Kief , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 1:39 pm GMT

Total and final collapses are very rare, mostly they just initiate a lengthy and potentially very dangerous transformation process, the outcome of which is almost impossible to predict.

You say basically the same thing as Jonathan Haidt did about half a year ago – before CO-19 and before Minneapolis – that the US might at the brink of a civil war. I then thought Jonathan Haidt was a little bit over the top, I have to admit.

Anonymous [849] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 1:39 pm GMT
This civil unrest and racial strife seems to be confined largely to Anglo countries, I think the UK is the only other country showing real signs of civil unrest like in the US at the moment.

There have been protests in non-Anglo countries, but that seems to be more leftists jumping on the bandwagon than indicative of real domestic problems unlike those that exist in the US and UK.

[Jun 08, 2020] I agree the US is long overdue a collapse not out of glee, but just out of the fact that you can't shit on your own house that much and not expect to find yourself in a cesspit sooner than later

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ilya G Poimandres , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 5:30 am GMT

I do love a Saker article, but it is more what I wish to happen, rather than what is happening.

I agree the US is long overdue a collapse – not out of glee, but just out of the fact that you can't shit on your own house that much and not expect to find yourself in a cesspit sooner than later – but it seems that human tolerance for human excrement is on average higher than my own, or indeed the Saker's, so I will have to wait still.

The firing shot for the true acceleration of the collapse – economic not social, that's been long in the making – will be a run on the US Dollar, and economy. It's already at 130% GDP debt by international standards, whether the mark is 150, 170, before the players herd and run over the cliff

I don't want to guess anymore, but no one is driving away from the cliff, least of all Trump – in all his feisty-cuffs with China over the trade deficit, he ain't never once mentioned the budget deficit. And avoidance is the weakest response to finding yourself on a train track with a train steaming at you!

[Jun 08, 2020] Much of the rest of the world is in the same situation as the US

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Anonymous [139] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 9:52 am GMT

Not a bad article. Much of the rest of the world is in the same situation as the US, so it's going to reorganize itself at about the same time as the US does. Your Russia has already reorganized itself, events may force that again, but I'd hope not. Russia has suffered enough, in my opinion.

Suggested reading:

Caldwell, _The Entitlement Society_ -- effect of Civil Rights legislation on the US. Caldwell suggests that implementing Civil Rights as interpreted by the Judicial Branch is physically impossible and has been a proximate cause of the situation Saker describes.

Copley, _Uncivilization_ -- The US situation of megacities destroying their hinterlands is not limited to the US, but is worldwide. Copley considers this a strategic weakness should there be a central war, but the current situation suggests that the weakness may make cities unable to get resources needed for urban survival even without a central war.

Martin von Creveld, "The Fate of the State', _Parameters_, 1996 (search Google Scholar for original article). Shows that decline is not limited to the West, but is a retreat of civilization worldwide, both in terms of a reduction of civilized territory and in terms of governmental control/legitimacy within governmental boundaries. So far, the decline von Creveld described in 1996 has continued unabated. Few predictions in the field of strategic analysis have been as successful.

Levinson, _The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger_, In passing, Levinson recounts how the cities lost their natural monopoly on shipping and manufacturing to container ports and distributed manufacturing.

Harper, _The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (The Princeton History of the Ancient World) _. Demonstrates that social failure was not responsible for the fall of Rome, but that physical factors (disease, end of the Roman Climate Optimum was). Club of Rome, _Limits to Growth_, was an early attempt to find physical limiting factors for industrial societies.

[Jun 08, 2020] The Systemic Collapse Of The US Society Has Begun by the Saker

In many way this is just a wishful thinking. Saker's hyperbolic rhetoric is just cheap propaganda and does not help to decifer the issues the USA faces!
Looks like Clinton wing of Dems is willing to burn their own house to get rid of Trump. "If I had to guess, I'd say it's the neoliberal, CIA-Obama faction vs. the Trump-Military faction, (Pompeo et al)" But why? Why Obamagate is picking up steam? Looks Barry CIA Obama is still a player. Is he also a reason we have senile Biden is the candidate for President on the Dem side? Are we seeing the power of a CIA community organizer, color-revolutionary pulling strings across multiple strata of society?
The current riots create pressure of Trump and attempt are made to use them as the third act of anti-Trump revolution but this clearly is nor a civil war. Like other protests before it (Civil rights marches, anti-Vietnam and Iraq wars, Occupy) little to no substantive changes have been introduced insofar as reining in of the war machine, the pursuit of social and economic justice (universal free education and health care, equal employment and housing opportunities, scaling down of the MIC and the Prison Industrial Complex, degrade Israel and Saudi lobbies, etc.
Jun 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
  1. Racism or "White privilege"
  2. Police violence
  3. Social alienation and despair
  4. Poverty
  5. Trump
  6. The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
  7. The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of " cause " and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

The next thing which we must also keep in mind is that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causality . Take, for example, this article from CNN entitled "US black-white inequality in 6 stark charts" which completely conflates the two concepts and which includes the following sentence (stress added) " Those disparities exist because of a long history of policies that excluded and exploited black Americans, said Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning group. " The word "because" clearly point to a causality, yet absolutely nothing in the article or data support this. The US media is chock-full of such conflations of correlation and causality, yet it is rarely denounced.

For a society, any society, to function a number of factors that make up the social contract need to be present. The exact list that make up these factors will depend on each individual country, but they would typically include some kind of social consensus, the acceptance by most people of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, often a unifying ideology or, at least, common values, the presence of a stable middle-class, the reasonable hope for a functioning "social life", educational institutions etc. Finally, and cynically, it always helps the ruling elites if they can provide enough circuses (TV) and bread (food) to most citizens. This is even true of so-called authoritarian/totalitarian societies which, contrary to the liberal myth, typically do enjoy the support of a large segment of the population (if only because these regimes are often more capable of providing for the basic needs of society).

Right now, I would argue that the US government has almost completely lost its ability to deliver any of those factors, or act to repair the broken social contract. In fact, what we can observe is the exact opposite: the US society is highly divided, as is the US ruling class (which is even more important). Not only that, but ever since the election of Trump, all the vociferous Trump-haters have been undermining the legitimacy not only of Trump himself, but of the political system which made his election possible. I have been saying that for years: by saying "not my President" the Trump-haters have de-legitimized not only Trump personally, but also de-legitimized the Executive branch as such.

This is an absolutely amazing phenomenon: while for almost four years Trump has been destroying the US Empire externally, Trump-haters spent the same four years destroying the US from the inside! If we look past the (largely fictional) differences between the Republicrats and the Demolicans we can see that they operate like a demolition tag-team of sorts and while they hate each other with a passion, they both contribute to bringing down both the Empire and the United States. For anybody who has studied dialectics this would be very predictable but, alas, dialectics are not taught anymore, hence the stunned "deer in the headlights" look on the faces of most people today.

Finally, it is pretty clear that for all its disclaimers about supporting only the "peaceful protestors" and its condemnation of the "out of town looters", most of the US media (as well as the alt media) is completely unable to give a moral/ethical evaluation of what is taking place. What I mean by this is the following:

  1. obwandiyag says: Show Comment June 4, 2020 at 11:22 pm GMT Cops don't protect nothing but rich people's money. You been watching too much TV.

    And this ain't nothing. Nothing. Not compared to 1967-68.

    But you young people don't know nothing. Especially about history. So, no surprise there.

  1. Si1ver1ock says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 3:14 am GMT • 100 Words If I had to guess, I'd say it's the neoliberal, CIA-Obama faction vs the Trump-Military faction, (Pompeo et al)

    This came to a head just as Obama-gate was picking up steam. Obama is still a player. He is the reason we have Biden for President on the Dem side, for example.

    My guess is that you are seeing the power of a CIA community organizer, color-revolutionary, Jedi psyop master, pulling strings across multiple strata of society.

    Trump and Obama don't like each other for some reason.

  1. Just another serf says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 4:35 am GMT • 200 Words

    The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

    Begun? It's been in process for many decades. It might have begun in the early 20th century. What's new here? Focusing on recent times, jobs disappeared in the 70's. Inflation exploded at the same time. Negro antagonism began in the 60's. Replacement of the white population accelerated in 1965 and continued relentlessly to the current moment.

    We are seeing the looting phase of the business known as the United States of America. Refer to an informative scene from the movie Goodfellas. The criminals got control of a business, looted it into bankruptcy and burned the place down. Except in this case there are no Italians involved. And you know who replaces them in our real life experience.

  1. Espinoza says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 6:44 am GMT It's controlled demolition. First unjustified lockdown. Then unjustified race riots. The deep state is intent on destroying Trump.

    If US is divided into mutually hostile territories, guess where the majority will go. That is right. They will go to white dominated areas as they do now to white dominated neighborhoods.

    Can no one stop the deep state?

  1. Brewer says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 7:17 am GMT • 100 Words Seen it all before. How short do memories have to be to forget Kent State, Rodney King, the Civil Rights protests of the sixties, Harlem riot of 1964, the Watts riot of 1965 et al ?

    America is and will remain a deeply disturbed society given that their entire philosophy, lifestyle and Politics is based on consumerism. Winners (no matter how unethical) are heroes, losers (no matter how unjustly) are despised.

    America will bump and grind on through bankruptcy, both morally and economically. It is the Judaic way.

    Simple fact is that most Americans are ignorant of History and are therefore condemned to go on repeating the past.

[Jun 08, 2020] The news about the USA collapse staring is probably 12 years old

Jun 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Hippopotamusdrome , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 9:48 am GMT

The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

News is like 50 years too late.

Minority areas in cities were uninhabitable shitholes before, riots don't make them any worse now.

[Jun 05, 2020] We re South Africa now

Notable quotes:
"... Elections are coming up, race-baiting is part of the agenda once more ..."
"... The appalling thing is violence is completely normalized this time around. With the white wokies unapologetically supporting the destruction and looting of especially the black neighborhoods ..."
Jun 05, 2020 | www.unz.com

RoatanBill , says: Show Comment June 4, 2020 at 2:11 pm GMT

@ThreeCranes

I want the US to fracture into smaller units – specifically the states to become new countries.

The reason should be obvious – the Fed Gov is a cancer on the society and the entire world. What I'd like to know is why someone would want a continuation of the Fed Gov given it's track record of wars around the world, and support for the oligarchy / corporatocracy that is looting the country.

T.T , says: Show Comment June 3, 2020 at 7:54 pm GMT
So who is financing the useful idiots? who is meming it?

When the "poor innocent jogger" story got pushed 2 weeks ago it was clear the BLM story narrative was being moved out of the freezer back into the mainstream again. Elections are coming up, race-baiting is part of the agenda once more. But this time around the internet has been taken over by the borg. Bots are everywhere and 4chan is botted heavily. I don't get the feeling it's the shareblue office that message the boards this time around, it feels quite botted and very planned.

The appalling thing is violence is completely normalized this time around. With the white wokies unapologetically supporting the destruction and looting of especially the black neighborhoods. up until the moment, it comes too close. Has the situation escalated more then they expected or is more to come? It seems Trump's threat to involve the military was what they were after afterwards strongly pushing the "trump is a violent authoritarian" narrative, rather ineffectively since trump waited until a large majority wanted this to happen. He does manoeuvre it decently, threatening the mostly local democratic government to intervene so that his hands aren't dirty but theirs. But will they let is escalate further so that they can push the trump is violent narrative again I wonder.

My bet is they will escalate further. There are too many liberals buying guns, or perhaps not enough..

It's amazing how effective American propaganda is. With protests happening in Europe of all places..

dvorak , says: Show Comment June 5, 2020 at 5:29 am GMT
@Beavertales

If given an informed choice, the Silent Majority of Americans would side with young conservatives over young anarchists. The problem is that the other side is ahead in a culture war, and the right is only just getting on its feet to fight it.

You're fifty years late for the Silent Majority. We're South Africa now, plus depopulated rural areas and a smattering of high-tech city-states (Seattle, Austin, etc.).

The 'right' is flat on its back, and will stay there indefinitely. Every conservative or Republican you see on TV, save one or two, is a neoliberal. They aren't even on the right.

[Jun 04, 2020] Neoliberalism WTF: Neoliberal Capitalism from Ronald Reagan to the Gig Economy by Tom Nicholas

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Unregulated capitalism is the fastest way to get monopoly's and corruption. Just like big money in governments. ..."
"... The best I've heard it defined loosely is "the idea to extend market practices to more and more human spheres of life" ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Neoliberalism (or neoliberal capitalism) is a term which gets thrown around a lot in cultural and political discourse. Is it often used to describe the policies of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s and 1980s and the subsequent premierships of Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and the adjective "neoliberal" continues to be used as a derogatory phrase in the ongoing Democratic debates in the US.

Yet it is also used with reference to the "gig economy" and services such as Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb. Is neoliberalism, then, simply a synonym for capitalism or is there more to it than that? In this "neoliberalism explained" video, I aim to answer just that. In this month's episode of What the Theory, I unpack what we mean when we talk about neoliberalism.

From the early work of economists such as Milton Friedman (author of Capitalism and Freedom), Friedrich von Hayek (author of The Road to Serfdom) and the Mont Pelerin Society, through its implementation by Reagan and Thatcher to its infliction upon countries in the global south as described in The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, I undertake a brief history of free-market capitalism and consider some of its consequences.

Support me on Patreon at http://patreon.com/tomnicholas

Further Reading

[The above are affiliate links. I receive a small kickback from anything you buy which, in turn, helps to support the channel.]

If you've enjoyed this video and would like to see more including my What The Theory? series in which I provide some snappy introductions to key theories in the humanities as well as PhD vlogs in which I talk about some of the challenges of being a PhD student then do consider subscribing.

Thanks for watching! Twitter: @Tom_Nicholas Website: www.tomnicholas.com #neoliberalism #Reagan #gigeconomy


Timothy Lee , 8 months ago

Neoliberalism is human arrogance to the extreme. It speeds up globe disharmony that will ultimately cause the extinction of the species. Mans greed will be it's own end. cheers

Trudox , 8 months ago

So if the welfare state of the post war period was a means of stabilizing labour and capital relations and neoliberalism seeks to destroy that and has its ideological roots in 19th century liberalism, does that mean we're going to witness the mass poverty and precarization of that same period again?

Marco , 8 months ago

Unregulated capitalism is the fastest way to get monopoly's and corruption. Just like big money in governments.

D-Squared , 8 months ago

Your presentation style gives me a slight vibe of "guy talking to a room full of children about how cool bugs are," which I do mean as a complement Anyway yeah good stuff I like it

B. Greene , 8 months ago (edited)

Being someone who is old enough to clearly remember the pre-Reagan/ Thatcher era, I always feel badly for those who have never known life outside of this neoliberal dystopian nightmare that we find ourselves in. Back then people talked a lot about "intrinsic worth"; that a human life, a species, or a special place (natural or historic) has a value far beyond what money could buy, and should therefore be protected.

Fairness was always a consideration; if an employee did a good job and was loyal to the company for a number of years, then the company owners gave them extra paid vacation, a pension, a Christmas bonus, and a gold watch on retirement to show their appreciation.

A 10% profit for the year was considered satisfactory and sustainable, unlike today, where stockholders demand increasing returns at the expense of employees, product quality, etc. If a company sold toxic or dangerous products, or mistreated employees, an expose would be done on 60 minutes and that company would either fold, or pay damages. The well being of citizens and the environment was the first consideration (at least outside of the military industrial complex and fossil fuel companies), and anyone who put profits before all else was viewed as favorably as a KKK grand wizard is today. It's amazing what 38 years of pro-neoliberal Ayn Randian propaganda has done to the world. We'll likely drive ourselves to an early extinction because of it, and knowing this, the Oligarchy searches for new ways to profit from out impending demise. Madness!

Derek Anderson , 8 months ago (edited)

Yes, please do a video on the gig economy. I am also interested to hear your thoughts on neoliberalism's attack on education. New subscriber... love the channel! Look forward to seeing more!

Chameleon Firestorm , 8 months ago

Neoliberalism is explicitly different from Classical Liberalism, which is why they are distinguished by the prefix... Adam Smith's theories for example are completely incompatible with neoliberal theory.

B. Levin , 8 months ago (edited)

Another very interesting video. I do think there is some missing context on: Cold War, Decolonization, Decline of traditional Communism in 1980s, defeat of traditional Communism in 1990's. To be fair, I don't think your narrative would change much or at all with the other context pieces included. It would just provided the "more complete" picture on neoliberalism. Very thoughtful analysis overall. Well done.

Christie Brooks , 8 months ago

I would love videos on the Gig Economy and the implementation of neoliberal ideas across the global south

Ender Wiggin , 8 months ago

Huh, seems like Hayek's group recuperated the leftist language and sentiment of discontent for its right wing purposes in the 70's

Demiurge Shadow , 8 months ago

The best ive heard it defined loosely is "the idea to extend market practices to more and more human spheres of life" As if thats worked well with housing, prisons, and politics...

Andrea Dovizioso , 8 months ago

I was researching on Gramsci and I watched your video only because I couldn't find anything on the more popular channels and wasn't so sure if I wanted to click on it or just let go and read an article on Gramsci or something. Casually scrolled through your content and now watching your latest upload. This is what I've been looking for, for so long. You've got almost everything I'm interested in and I like your way of explaining things. Instantly subscribed. Keep up the good work man!

Moaz Abdelrahman , 8 months ago

I know that what you've drawn upon is quite similar to Heide Gerstenberger's argument on how capitalism changed and came in different guises (2007), but, and forgive me if I'm mistaken, the literary and philosophical background of neoliberalism are nothing but a misunderstanding of liberalism, specifically Adam Smith, as they forget, or neglect, that he was concerned with moral philosophy and his "the invisible hand" was a mere metaphor that he mentioned only once in The Wealth of Nation. I just wanted to add this point as it is important regarding the fallacies of the literature of neoliberalism. I love your channel. My students will have a new video to watch this semester. Good luck and I'm waiting for your gig economy episode. Keep it up bruv!

Jay McDanieL , 8 months ago

If you watched Wall St. & thought Gordon Gecko was the hero of the story. You are a NeoLiberal

[Jun 04, 2020] Neoliberalism carries within its DNS the gene for destruction -- excessive greed

Jun 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lohmann , Jun 3 2020 21:26 utc | 45

Adam Smith, that Prime Mover of Capitalism, knew what he was talking about. After all, if you're going to create a religion based on greed (for, ultimately, economics is nothing more than a religion ), you probably have a keen and subtle awareness of the psychology of greed. Here, in the conclusion of Book One Chapter 11 of Adam Smith's sacred text The Wealth of Nations he reveals the extent to which he understood that an economic system based upon greed must seek ways to prevent the greedy (ie: business) from assuming the reins of political power [em. mine]:
The plans and projects of the employers of stock regulate and direct all the most important operations of labour, and profit is the end proposed by all those plans and projects. But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity and fall with the declension of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. The interest of this third order [ie, "those who live by profit"] , therefore, has not the same connection with the general interest of the society as that of the other two [ie, landowners, and "those who live by wages"]. Merchants and master manufacturers are, in this order, the two classes of people who commonly employ the largest capitals, and who by their wealth draw to themselves the greatest share of the public consideration. As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have frequently more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercised rather about the interest of their own particular branch of business, than about that of the society, their judgment, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every occasion) is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former of those two objects than with regard to the latter. Their superiority over the country gentleman is not so much in their knowledge of the public interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own interest than he has of his . It is by this superior knowledge of their own interest that they have frequently imposed upon his generosity, and persuaded him to give up both his own interest and that of the public, from a very simple but honest conviction that their interest, and not his, was the interest of the public. The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

Thus the Prime Mover of Capitalism Himself said in his Bible that political power should never be exercised by businessmen because all they care about is their own gain, and will gladly "deceive" and "oppress" the public for it. Since he had such profound insight into the nature of such men, even to the point of understanding that the greatest profits are reaped when a country is going to ruin! , did he have a strategy to prevent such men from assuming the organs of government? No, none that I've found. Because there aren't any. Such men would inevitably find ways to assume the reins of political power. Adam Smith's economic religious theories basically gave such men the keys to Pandora's Box without providing any way to close it again. That's because greed is an unstoppable force, and there is nothing to stop an unstoppable force from eventually assuming the absolute power they need to "deceive" and "oppress" to further their gain.

Obviously Smith clearly understood what those devoted to wealth would do with political power. That's why he so clearly and strongly cautioned against putting "those who live by profit" -- ie, modern-day neoliberal corporatists (aka businessmen) -- in such positions. That's because Smith, like Ralph Nader, like Paul Hawkens with his philosophy of Natural Capitalism , all understand that the motor behind capitalism is the drive for profit, and they all understand that for capitalism to work for society rather than against it it must remain small (capitalism with a "c") and be held in check.

But capitalism cannot remain small. It must always expand. That's the inherent contradiction that must inevitably explode in greed's favor. You cannot foment an addiction and expect that it will never develop into a pathology. And we are seeing the result of that right now. Capitalism without any regulatory oversight -- the neoliberal vision that has been American policy since Reagan -- is a catastrophe waiting to happen: it is letting drug addicts into the pharmacy while the druggist goes out for lunch, expecting that the addicts won't help themselves to all those Category I & II drugs. And now the catastrophe is happening, but it's only just the beginning, a mere trickle before the tsunami that is quickly coming.

[Jun 04, 2020] When recruiters or job ads say "flexible working hours" all I hear is "you must be flexible to work whatever hours we give you"

Jun 04, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Suadela , 4 months ago

When recruiters or job ads say "flexible working hours" all I hear is "you must be flexible to work whatever hours we give you"

[Jun 02, 2020] What Was Liberalism #3 Neoliberalism Philosophy Tube

Highly recommended!
The author of this video, if you looks at his other video is pretty bizarre and way outside Softpanorama preferences. But this is a very good, highly compressed analyses.
Notable quotes:
"... Liberalism for the poor: "Too bad, personal responsibility" Liberalism for the rich: "All is forgiven, society will pay the bill" ..."
Jun 02, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Xadion , 10 months ago

Neoliberalism: how to be a sociopath and feel good about it.

Tambourine , 2 years ago

The great thing about neoliberalism is that it allows us to blame every single structural problem of our society on either personal failures or too much government.

Elijah Golafale , 2 years ago

To paraphrase Noam Chomsky: "Neoliberalism isn't liberal and, it isn't new"

Super Sand Gaki Super Sand , 1 year ago

>Maggie Thatcher in the thumbnail spits on the screen

Kiloku2 , 2 years ago

The oddest thing I find when arguing with ancaps and neolibs is when I talk about wage-slavery. How the bus driver who gets paid minimum wage and has to work 12h/day in harsh conditions to simply put some bread on their family's table the next morning is basically impeded to seek anything else, and how proper welfare would allow them to at least guarantee a better future for their kids.

The response is that the bus driver "is free" and "chooses" to be a wage-slave, because there is the alternative of not working and dying of hunger.

(They literally said that. Their idea of freedom is that you can choose to die if you don't want to be work terrible conditions because you weren't born into a middle-class family)

cody , 2 years ago

I got the most excited when you insulted neoliberalism immediately.

The Hunter x Hunter 2011 Dickriding Association , 2 years ago

It's all personal responsibility until you are the one that needs help XD

Grace M , 2 years ago (edited)

As a disabled person I'm really glad you talked about disability and it's relation to neoliberalism as many people often forget about how important a point it is. I am not free as a disabled person under neoliberalism/capitalism. This is just a true statement regardless of your view point. Even with the class privilege I have from having had a relatively middle class upbringing I am still trapped. I'm 19 and in university and my family mostly look after me but what will happen when I inevitably have to move out?

Will I be completely reliant on benefits (which are often not enough to live on?) Will I be working in a part time job where I'm constantly in pain and tired barely able to pay rent? Will my house be accessible? And with all these worries will I ever live a meaningful life? Or will I be living pay check to pay check in debt (after the NHS is privatised) and with pain my entire life?

I know everybody has worries but I feel like it's more intensified when you have a disability. I've been worrying about this stuff since I was just entering high school and it is crushingly real and personal. If every person with a disability has to go through this I completely understand the suicide statistics - why would I live in a world that hates me? I'm sorry to be so depressing but this is why I hate when people dismiss it as "just a political opinion" or "not personal." It absolutely is personal. Thank you for bringing this stuff to people's attention - really enjoy your videos! Keep up the good work

UnderdogRecords91 , 1 year ago

Liberalism for the poor: "Too bad, personal responsibility" Liberalism for the rich: "All is forgiven, society will pay the bill"

Josiah Finnemore , 2 years ago (edited)

Welfare reduces freedom, because it prevents you from being able to choose between having a place to live and having access to healthcare, and instead forces you to have both. /s

Brandon , 2 years ago (edited)

I think the primary problem with neoliberalism is simply that it ignores class realities. It ignores the material differences and power imbalances between employers and wage workers and the fact that liberal society contains a ruling class that will always defend its interest against the masses, and how the ruling class propagates the suffering and misery of the lower class.

onlinealiasuk , 2 years ago (edited)

0:29 ''a garbage idea for garbage Humans' is that a shout out for Sargon

Vis Inebrians , 1 year ago

"nowadays 'economic benefits' basically means rich people getting richer and everyone else working harder"

Lovs , 2 years ago

TIL Sargon is a neoliberal.

KOKO ** , 10 months ago

"Choose with your dollars" My father lives where the ONLY general store for MANY miles is a Wal-mart. Just how much freaking frakkin choice is THAT?!?🤯🤯

Michael Gutierrez , 2 years ago

I love that Prager "U" is the ad for this content.

matt & LDN , 1 year ago

Neoliberalism doesn't like the intervention of the state until the go bankrupt and ask the state to bail them with taxpayers money

Abuse of mainstream media can harm your mind! , 1 year ago

"When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will you realize that one cannot eat money." Quote of victims of a genocide nobody talks about ..

JulesSpeaksWithWords , 2 years ago

You look like a put together British version of Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

beauson1983 , 1 year ago

I feel that most of this video was recorded through clenched teeth with many, many breaks for screaming in frustration

[Jun 02, 2020] It didn t happen overnight by Ken Melvin

Under neoliberalism (and generally under any form of capitalism without countervailing force) the wages tend to deteriorate to the starvation level
Jun 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Sound too familiar? Sometime in the late 80s (??) Americans began to see day labors line up at Home Depot and Lowe's lots in numbers not seen since The Great Depression. Manufacturing Corporations began subbing out their work to sub-contractors, otherwise known as employees without benefits; Construction Contractors subbed out construction work to these employees without benefits; Engineering Firms subbed out engineering to these employees without benefits; Landscapers' workers were now sub-contractors/independent contractors; Here, in the SF Bay Area, time and again, we saw vans loads of undocumented Hispanics under a 'Labor Contractor' come in from the Central Valley to build condos; the white Contractor for the project didn't have a single employee; none of the workers got a W-2. Recall watching, sometime in the 90s (??), a familiar, well dressed, rotund guest from Wall Street, on the PBS News Hour, forcefully proclaiming to the TV audience:

American workers are going to have to learn to compete with the Chinese; Civil Service employees, factory employees, are all going to have to work for less

All this subcontracting, independent contractors, was a scam, a scam meant to circumvent paying going wages and benefits, to enhance profit margins; a scam that transferred more wealth to the top. Meanwhile back at The Ranch, after the H1B Immigration Act of 1990, Microsoft could hire programmers from India for one-half the cost of a citizen programmer. Half of Bill Gates' fortune was resultant these labor savings; the other half was made off those not US Citizens. Taking a cue, Banks, Bio-Techs, some City and State Governments began subcontracting out their programming to H1Bs. Often, the subcontractors/labor contractors (often themselves immigrants) providing the programmers, held the programmers' passports/visas for security.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, friends of Bush/Cheney made fortunes on clean up contracts they subbed out for next to nothing; the independent/subcontractor scam was now officially governmentally sanctioned.

By about 2000 we began to hear the term gig-workers applied to these employees without benefits. Uber appeared in 2007 to be followed by Lift. Both are scams based on paying less than prevailing wages, on not providing worker benefits,

These days, the nightly news, when talking about the effect of the pandemic on the populace in America, shows footage of Food Banks in California with lines 2! miles long. Many of those waiting in these lines didn't have a real job before; they were gig-workers; they can't apply for Unemployment Benefits. It is estimated that 1.6 million American workers (1% of the workforce) are gig-workers; they don't have a real job. That 1% is in addition to the 16 million American workers (10% of the workforce) that are independent contractors. Of the more than 40 million currently unemployed Americans, some 17 million are either gig-workers or subcontractors/independent contractors. All of these are scams meant to transfer more wealth to the top. All of these are scams with American Workers the victims; scams, in a race to the bottom.


Denis Drew , May 31, 2020 10:51 am

Ken,

Read this by the SEIU counsel Andrew Strom -- and tell me what you think:
https://onlabor.org/why-not-hold-union-representation-elections-on-a-regular-schedule/

Democrats in the so called battle ground states would clean up at the polls with this. Why do you think those states strayed? It was because Obama and Hillary had no idea what they really needed. Voters had no idea what they SPECIFICALLY needed either -- UNIONS! They had been deunionized so thoroughly for so long that they THEMSELVES no long knew what they were missing (frogs in the slowly boiling pot).

In 1988 Jesse Jackson took the Democratic primary in Michigan with 54% against Dukakis and Gephardt. Obama beat Wall Street Romney and red-white-and-blue McCain in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan. But nobody told these voters -- because nobody seems to remember -- what they really needed. These voter just knew by 2016 that Democrats had not what they needed and looked elsewhere -- anywhere else!

Strom presents an easy as can be, on-step-back treatment that should go down oh, so smoothly and sweetly. What do you think?

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:04 pm

Denis

Thanks for your comment and the link. Wow! Where to start, huh?

SEIU was a player from the get go, but I don't want to go there just now.

Before Reagan, there was the first rust belt move to the non-union south. Why was the south so anti-union? I think this stuff is engendered from infancy and most of us are incapable of thinking anew when it comes to stuff our parents 'taught' us. MLK was the best thing that ever happened to the dirt-road poor south, yet they hated him and they hated the very unions that might have lifted them up. They did seem to take pleasure in the yanks' loss of jobs.

I think the Reagan era was prelude to what is going on now, i.e., going backward while yelling whee look at me go. No doubt, Reagan turned union members against their own unions. But, the genesis of demise probably lay with automation and the early offshoring to Mexico. By Reagan, the car plants were losing jobs to Toyota and Honda and automation. By 1990, car plants that had previously employed 5,000, now automated, produced more cars employing only 1200. At the time, much of the nation's wealth was still derived from car production.

Skipping forward a bit, the democrats blew it for years with all their talk about the 'middle-class' without realizing it was the 'disappearing middle-class'. They ignored the poor working-class vote and lost election after election.

I've come to not like the term labor, think it affords capital an undeserved status, though much diminished, I think thought all workers would be better off in a union. Otherwise, as we are witnessing, there is no parity between workers and wealth; we are in a race to the bottom with the wealth increasingly go to the top.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:15 pm

Matthew – thanks for your comment

I think that we are into a transition (about 45 yrs into) as great as the industrial revolution. We, as probably those poor souls of the 18th and 19th centuries did, are floundering, unable to come to terms with what is going on.

I also think that those such as the Kochs have a good grasp of what is going on and are moving to protect themselves and their class.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 1:21 pm

EMichael, thanks for the comment

Are you implying that the politicians are way behind the curve? If so, I think that you are right.

Let me share what I was thinking last night about thinking:

Descartes' problem was that he desperately wanted to make philosophy work within the framework of his religion, Catholicism. Paul Krugman desperately wants to make economics all work within the Holy Duality of Capitalism and Free Markets. Even Joe Stiglitz can't step out of this text. All things being possible, it is possible that either could come up with a solution to today's economic problems that would fit within the Two; but the odds are not good. Better to think anew.

We see politicians try and try to find solutions for today's problems from within their own dogmas/ideologies. Even if they can't, they persist, they still try to impose these dogmas/ideologies in the desperate hope they might work if only applied to a greater degree. How else explain any belief that markets could anticipate and respond to pandemics? That markets could best respond to housing demand?

  1. Interesting and fine writing.
anne , May 31, 2020 1:49 pm

https://twitter.com/paulkrugman/status/1267060950026326018

Paul Krugman @paulkrugman

Glad to see Noah Smith highlighting this all-too-relevant work by the late Alberto Alesina 1/

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-05-30/racism-is-the-biggest-reason-u-s-safety-net-is-so-weak

Racism Is the Biggest Reason the U.S. Safety Net Is So Weak
Harvard economist Alberto Alesina, who died last week, found that ethnic divisions made the country less effective at providing public goods.

7:50 AM · May 31, 2020

The Alesina/Glaeser/Sacerdote paper on why America doesn't have a European-style welfare state -- racism -- had a big impact on my own thinking 2/

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

For a long time anyone who pointed out that the modern GOP is basically a party that serves plutocratic ends by weaponizing white racism was treated as "shrill" and partisan. Can we now admit the obvious? 3/

  1. a long, long time. Possibly forever.
anne , May 31, 2020 1:56 pm

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/glaeser/files/why_doesnt_the_u.s._have_a_european-style_welfare_state.pdf

September, 2001

Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?
By Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser and Bruce Sacerdote

Abstract

European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the US level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre-tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter. None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the US and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the US and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.

rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:07 pm

This dynamic is not limited to low-skill jobs. I have seen it at work in electronics engineering. When I was a sprat, job shoppers got an hourly wage nearly twice that of their company peers, because they had no benefits or long-term employment. Today, job shoppers are actually paid less than company engineers; and the companies are outsourcing ever more of their staffing to the brokers.
Without labor market frictions, the iron law of wages drives wages to starvation levels. As sophisticated uberization software eliminates the frictions that have protected middle class wages in the recent past, we will all need to enlist unionization and government wage standards to protect us.

ken melvin , May 31, 2020 2:29 pm

Rick

The big engineering offices of the 70s were decimated and worse by the mid-90s; mostly by the advent of computers w/ software. One engineer could now do the work of 10 and didn't need any draftsman.

rick shapiro , May 31, 2020 2:40 pm

I was speaking of engineers with equal skill in the same office. Many at GE Avionics were laid off, and came back as lower paid contract employees.

[Jun 02, 2020] Ross Ashcroft on his program Renegade Inc continues to follow up on the Four Horsemen documentary by interviewing Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson and showing additional footage from the interview done with him for the film which sadly wasn't included or aired until now

End of empire Blueprint or scramble -- RT Renegade Inc. Of the many important interviews you've done, this is one of the most important and best.
Jun 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
karlof1 , Jun 1 2020 21:19 utc | 77
Yes, It's True.... Today, Ross Ashcroft on his program Renegade Inc continues to follow up on the Four Horsemen documentary by interviewing Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson and showing additional footage from the interview done with him for the film which sadly wasn't included or aired until now.

Yes, Wilkerson's clearly an Establishment figure, but he doesn't think or hold what many would consider Establishment views.

Entirely worth spending 25 minutes of your precious time viewing and closely listening.

At the 4:28 mark, the first of the omitted earlier interview begins, but well before that point, Wilkerson ought to have your ear -- do note what he calls all members of Congress at the end of that clip!

At 18:00, please note who he says is behind it all!

All I can say about that show at the moment is WOW!! Watch it!!

[May 31, 2020] The Phillips Curve is a farce, neoclassical theory is a fraud

May 31, 2020 | japantimes.co.jp
Japan's low official jobless rate conceals deeper pain in its labor market: think tank estimates real rate is more than 11%

Capitalism always prevails: everything else is either a prop up or an obstacle. An obstacle is expected to be either ignored or destroyed. In this context, there's only so much Asian hive mind culture (fascism) can do.

Oh, and wages are also at historical lows. The Phillips Curve is a farce, neoclassical theory is a fraud

[May 29, 2020] Trump's Tax Cuts Get an "F" for enriching the Globalist Elite by Michael Cuenco

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia. ..."
"... Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb." ..."
"... With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign. ..."
"... The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy ..."
"... If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country. ..."
"... It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood." ..."
"... It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy. ..."
"... Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more. ..."
"... There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel. ..."
"... But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring. ..."
"... In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class. ..."
"... A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism. ..."
"... Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs. ..."
May 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?

Much has been written about the disappointment of certain segments of the right in the apparent capitulation of Donald Trump to the agenda of the conservative establishment.

Instead of reining in the "globalist elites" he so vociferously ran against or those corporations "who have no loyalty to America," his one legislative achievement has been to award them a massive tax cut. Through it, he has maintained their favorite mix of low revenue intake and high deficits which gives Republicans a pretext to "starve the beast" and induce fiscal anorexia.

The president has granted them as well their ideal labor market through an ingenious formula: double down on mostly symbolic raids (as opposed to systemic solutions like Mandatory E-Verify) and ramp up the rhetoric about "shithole countries" to distract the media, but keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby.

Trump ran as a populist firebrand -- a fusion of Huey Long and Ross Perot -- and while he never abandoned that style, he has governed for the most part as a milquetoast free market Republican in perfect tandem with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, one whose solution to everything is more tax cuts and deregulation: a kind of turbo-charged "high-energy Jeb."

With the outbreak of COVID-19, many on the reformist right are hoping for the emergence of the President Trump they thought they were promised, a leader just as ready to break out of the donor-enforced "small government" straitjacket while in power as he was during the campaign.

Despite signs of progress, what's more likely is a return to business as usual. Already the GOP's impulse for austerity and parsimony is proving to be stronger than any willingness to think and act outside the box.

The heightened rhetoric against China will continue -- the one thing Trump is good at -- but it is unlikely to be matched with the required policy, such as a long-term plan to reshore U.S. industry (that doesn't just rely on blindly giving corporations the benefit of the doubt). At this point, we already know where the president's priorities lie when given a choice between the advancement of America's workers or continued labor arbitrage and carte blanche corporate handouts.

Lest they be engulfed by it like everyone else, the reformist right should ask: is there any way to stand athwart the supply-side swamp yelling Stop?

Many of these conservatives lament the Trump tax cut not just because it was a disaster that failed to spark reinvestment, left wages stagnant, needlessly blew up the deficit and served as a slush fund for stock buybacks, but more fundamentally because it betrayed the overwhelming intellectual inertia and lack of imagination that characterizes conservative policymaking.

More than in any other issue then, a distinct position on taxes would make the new conservatism truly worth distinguishing from the old: tax cuts were after all the defining policy dogma of the neoliberal Reagan era.

If neoliberalism excused inequality at home by extolling the equalization of incomes across the globe (millions of Chinese raised from poverty, while millions of American workers fall back into it!), the new position must shift emphasis back to ensuring a more equitable domestic distribution of wealth and opportunity across all classes and communities in this country.

A reformulation of fiscal policy along populist economic nationalist lines can help with that.

It is worth pondering what might have happened if the administration had gone the other way and followed the last piece of policy advice given by Steve Bannon before his ouster in August 2017. Bannon suggested raising the top marginal income tax rate to 44 percent while "arguing that it would actually hit left-wing millionaires in Silicon Valley, on Wall Street, and in Hollywood."

Such a move would have been nothing short of revolutionary: it would have been a faithful and full-blown expression of the populist economic nationalism Trump ran on; it would have presented a genuine material threat to the elite ruling class of both parties, and likely would have pre-empted the shock value of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposing a 70 percent top marginal rate.

It might well have put Trump on the path to becoming what Daniel Patrick Moynihan once proposed as a model for Richard Nixon when he gifted the 37th president a biography of Disraeli, namely a Tory Republican who could outsmart the left by crafting broad popular coalitions based on a blending of patriotic cultural conservatism with class-conscious economic and social policy.

Not that Trump would have needed to go back to Nixon or Disraeli for instruction on the matter. In 1999, long before Elizabeth Warren came along on the national scene, a presidential candidate eyeing the Reform Party nomination contemplated the imposition of a 14.25 percent wealth tax on America's richest citizens in order to pay off the national debt: his name was Donald Trump.

What ever happened to that guy? The Trump of 1999 was onto something. Maybe this could be a way to deal with our post-pandemic deficits.

Then and even more so now, the idea resonates: a Reuters/Ipsos poll from January found that 64 percent of Americans support a wealth tax, a majority of Republicans included. Poll after poll has reaffirmed this. It seems as if there is right-wing populist support for taxing the rich more.

To the common refrain, "the rich are just going to find ways to shelter their income or relocate it offshore," I have written elsewhere about the concrete policy measures countries can and have taken to clip the wings of mobile global capital and prevent such an outcome.

I have written as well about how taxing the rich and tightening the screws on tax enforcement have implications that go beyond the merely redistributive approach to fiscal policy conventionally favored by the left; about how it can be a form of leverage against an unaccountable investor class used to shopping at home and abroad for the most opaque assets in which to hoard vast amounts of essentially idle capital.

A deft administration would use aggressive fiscal policy as an inducement for this irresponsible class to make things right by reinvesting in such priorities as the wages and well-being of workers, the vitality of communities, the strength of strategic industries and the productivity of the real economy – or else Uncle Sam will tax their wealth and do it for them.

It would also be an assertion of national sovereignty against globalization's command for countries to stay "competitive" by immiserating their citizens with ever-lower taxes on capital holders and ever more loose and "flexible" labor markets in a never-ending race to the bottom.

Mike Lofgren has penned a marvelous essay in these pages about the virtual secession of the rich from the American nation, "with their prehensile greed, their asocial cultural values, and their absence of civic responsibility."

What better way to remind them that they are still citizens of a country and members of a society -- and not just floating streams of deracinated capital -- than by making them perform that most basic of civic duties, paying one's fair share and contributing to the commonweal? America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome.

There is one more thing to be said about the significance of taxing the rich. Up until very recently, there has been a prevailing tendency among the reformist right (with some important exceptions) to couch criticism of the elites primarily or even exclusively in cultural terms. There seems to have been a polite hesitation at taking the cultural critique to its logical economic conclusions. It is easy to excoriate the excesses of elite identity politics, the "woke" part of woke capitalism; it's something all conservatives -- and indeed growing numbers of liberals and socialists -- agree on. Fish in a barrel.

But to challenge the capitalism part, i.e. free market orthodoxy, not in a secondary or tertiary way, but head on and in specific policy terms as Lofgren and a few others have done, would involve confronting difficult truths, namely that the biggest beneficiaries of tax cuts and Reaganite economic policy in general, which most conservatives enthusiastically promoted for four decades, are the selfsame decadent coastal elites they claim to oppose. It is they who more than anyone else thrive on financialized globalization, arbitrage and offshoring.

In other words, it amounts to an honest recognition of the complicity of conservatism in the mess we're in, which is perhaps a psychological bridge too far for too many on the right, reformist or not. (Trigger Warning!) This separation of culture and economics has led to the farce of a self-styled nationalist president lining the pockets of his nominal enemies, the globalist ruling class.

Already, the White House is proposing yet another gigantic corporate tax cut. Using the exact same discredited logic as the last one, senior economic advisor Larry Kudlow wants Americans to trust him when he says that halving the already lowered 2017 rate to 10.5 percent will encourage these eminently reasonable multinationals to reinvest. There he goes again.

A conservative call to tax the rich would signal that the right is ready to end this charade and chart a course toward a more patriotic, public-spirited and yes, proudly hyphenated capitalism.

Michael Cuenco is a writer on politics and policy. He has also written for American Affairs.


Kent 3 days ago

"America need not revert to the 70-90 percent top marginal rates of the bolshevik administrations of Truman, Eisenhower or Kennedy, but proposals for modest moves in that direction would be welcome."

Those tax rates were offset by direct investment in the US economy. So if I invested in the stock market, I'd get a 90% tax rate because that doesn't produce actual wealth. On the other hand, if I invested in building factories that created thousands of jobs for American citizens, my tax rate may fall to 0%. And those policies created a fantastic economy that we oldsters remember as the golden age. That wasn't bolshevism, it was competitive capitalism. What we have today is libertarianism. And as long as conservatives are going to let the libertarian boogey-man's nose under the tent, we are going to have this ugly, bifurcated economy. Your choice. Man up.

Winston Nevis Kent 3 days ago • edited
You ever tell hear of sarcasm, bud? I think that's what the author was going for. Don't think he was trying to say that Ike and Truman were Bolsheviks but was rather making fun of libertarians who hyperbolically associate high tax rates with socialism and Soviet Communism...
K squared Winston Nevis 3 days ago
Plenty of goldwater's supporters in 1964 called President Eisenhower a communist
GAguilar K squared 2 days ago
Particularly the John Birchers, including my parents!
SKPeterson Kent 3 days ago • edited
We absolutely do not have libertarianism operating in this country today. There is simply no evidence that there is any sort of libertarian economic or political system in place. Oh sure, you'll whine "but globalism without actually defining what globalism is, or what is wrong about precisely, but just that it's somehow wrong and that libertarians are to blame for it. There's a good word for such an argument: bullshit.
We have an economy that is extraordinarily dominated by the state via mandates, regulations, and monetary interference that is most decidedly not libertarian in any way whatsoever. The current system though does create and perpetuate a system of rent-seeking cronies who conform rather nicely to the descriptions of said actors by Buchanan and Tullock. The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence, and Cuenco's sorry policy prescriptions do nothing to minimize the state but instead just create a different set of rent-seeking cronies for which the wealth and incomes of the nation are to be expropriated.
marku52 SKPeterson 3 days ago
O dear, No True Scotsman....
SKPeterson marku52 2 days ago
If you can point to how the current situation is in any way "libertarian" without creating your own perfect little lazy straw man definition then by all means do so. Until then your retort is without
substance (you see a no true Scotsman reply doesn't work if the facts are in the favor of the person supposedly making such an argument. Here you fail to establish why what I said is such a case; saying it doesn't make it so). When Kent makes some throwaway comment that we're somehow living in some sort of libertarian era he's full of it, you know it, and all you can do is provide some weak "no true Scotsman" defense? Come on and man up, stop appealing to artificial complaints of fallacious argumentation, and give me an actual solid argument with evidence beyond "this is so libertarian" that we're living in some libertarian golden age that's driving the oppression of the masses.
cka2nd SKPeterson 3 days ago
Busted unions, contracting out and privatization, deregulation of vast swaths of the economy since the late 1970's (Jimmy Carter has gotten kudos from libertarian writers for his de-regulatory efforts), lowered tax rates, especially on financial speculation and concentrated wealth, a blind eye or shrugged shoulder to anti-trust law and corporate consolidation. Yeah, nothing to see here, no partial victories for the libertarian wings of the ruling class or the GOP, at all. The Koch Brothers accomplished nothing, absolutely nothing, since David was the Libertarian Party's nominee for Vice President in 1980; all that money gone to waste. Sure.
SKPeterson cka2nd 2 days ago
So, now some sort of "partial victory" means we're living in some sort of libertarian era? And what exactly was so wonderful about all the things you listed being perpetuated? So, union "busting" is terrible, but union corruption was a great part of our national solidarity and should have been protected? Deregulation of vast swathes of the economy? You mean the elimination of government controlled cartels in the form of trucking and airlines? You mean the sorts of things that have enabled the working class folks you supposedly favor to travel to places that were previously out of reach for them and only accessible to the rich for their vacations? Yes, that's truly terrible. Again, you're on the side of the little guy, right? Lowered taxes? Are you seriously going to argue that the traditional conservative position has been for high tax rates? What are taxes placed upon? People and property. What do conservatives want to protect? People and property. So... arguing for higher taxes or saying that low taxes are bad or even especially, libertarian, is really going off the rails. That's just bad reasoning. And regarding financialization, those weren't especially libertarian in their enacting, but rather flow directly out of the consequences of the modern Progressive implementation of neo-Keynesian monetary and fiscal policy. Suffice it to say, I don't think you'll find too many arguments from libertarians that the policies encouraging financialization were good or followed libertarian economic policy prescriptions. Moreover, they led entirely to the repulsive "too big to fail" situation and if there's one thing that libertarians hold to is that there is no such thing (or shouldn't be) as "too big to fail." The objection to anti-trust law is that it was regularly abused and actually created government-protected firms that harmed consumers. If you think anti-trust laws are good things and should be supported by conservatives then by all means encourage Joe Biden to have Elizabeth Warren as his vice-presidential running mate and go vote Democrat this fall.
Blood Alcohol SKPeterson 3 days ago
"The problems of the modern economy are the result of state interference, not its absence". That's because the "state interference" is working as proxy for the interests of vulture capitalist.

What we have today is vulture capitalism as opposed to free enterprise capitalism.

DUNK Blood Alcohol 2 days ago • edited
You could also call it "crony capitalism" or "inverted totalitarianism".

Chris Hedges: "Sheldon Wolin and Inverted Totalitarianism" (November 2, 2015)

GAguilar DUNK 2 days ago
Princeton professor Sheldon Wolin's excellent book is entitled, "Democracy Incorporated."

He lays out how we're living in a totalitarian, capitalist surveillance state, as if that's not already obvious to most people around here.

SKPeterson Blood Alcohol 2 days ago
Exactly. The existence of a vulture capitalist or crony capitalist economy, which we have in many sectors, is evidence that "libertarianism" is nothing more than a convenient totem to invoke as a rationale for complaint against the outcomes of the existing crony capitalist state of affairs. My contention is that Cuenco, et al are simply advocating for a replacement of the cronies and vultures.
1701 3 days ago
A very similar article(but probably coming at it from a slightly different angle) wouldn't look out of place in a socialist publication.
The culture war really is a pointless waste of time that keeps working class people from working towards a common solution to shared problems.
bumbershoot 3 days ago
Trump wants to "keep the supply of cheap, exploitable low-skill labor (legal and illegal) intact for the business lobby."

Well of course he does -- otherwise how would he staff Mar-A-Lago and other Trump Organization businesses?

SKPeterson 3 days ago
I used to think that conservatism was about protecting private property and not, like Cuenco, in coming up with ever more excuses for expropriating it.
Kent SKPeterson 3 days ago
No, that's libertarianism (or more properly propertarianism). Conservatism is first and foremost about responsibility to God, community, family and self. Property is only of value in its utility towards a means.
GAguilar Kent 2 days ago • edited
As I see it, here are examples of how "conservatives" have actually practiced their "responsibility to God, community, family and self":

The genocide of Native Americans
The slavery and murder of blacks

Their opposition to child labor laws, to womens' suffrage, etc.
Their support of Jim Crow laws
Their opposition to ending slavery and opposition to desegregation
Opposition to Civil Liberties Laws

Willingness to block, or curtail, voting rights.

Hyping the "imminent threat" of an ever more powerful communist menace bearing
down on us from the late 40s to the "unanticipated" collapse of the
USSR in '91. All of which was little more than endless "threat inflation" used
by our defense industry-corporate kleptocrats to justify monstrous increases
in deficits that have been "invested" in our meddlesome, murderous militarism all around the world, with the torture and deaths of millions from S. E. Asia, to Indonesia, to Latin America, to the Middle East, to Africa, etc.

Violations of privacy rights (conservative hero J. Edgar Hoover's illegal domestic surveillance and acts of domestic terrorism, "justified" by
his loopy paranoia about commies on every corner and under every bed.)

Toppling of democracies to install totalitarian despots in Iran
("Ike" '53), Guatemala (Ike, again, '54), Chile (Nixon '73), Brazil (LBJ, '64) and many, many more countries.

Strong support of the Vietnam War, the wars in Laos and Cambodia, and the Iraq War, which, according to conservative W. Bush, God had inspired.

The myriad "dirty wars" we've fought around the world, and not only in Latin America.

With a few, notable exceptions, conservatives have routinely been on the wrong side of these issues. For the most part, it has been the left, particularly the "hard left," that has gotten it right.

AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
"conservatism was about protecting private property"

You're conflating conservatism and libertarianism. Conservatives realize they are citizens of a country. Libertarians wish they weren't.

SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
So conservatism should be entirely about taking people's property "for the good of the country"? That the purpose of a country is to loot the people? That the people exist for the government and not the government for the people? Seems Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk would like to have a word with you Adm.

To quote Kirk as just one example of your fundamental error:

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked . [Apparently, Adm. you dispute Kirk's assertion and accuse him thereby of conflating libertarianism and conservatism. Yes, I know Kirk was a hater of the idea of patriotism, but he was such a raging libertarian what else could he do?] Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling [this is the outcome of Cuenco's policy prescriptions by the way] , conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

So, either "Mr. Conservative" Russell Kirk wasn't really a conservative but a man who horribly conflated libertarianism and conservatism, or we can say that Kirk was a conservative and that he recognized the protection of private property as crucial in minimizing the control and reach of the Leviathan state. If the latter holds, then maybe what we've established is that AdmBenson isn't particularly conservative.

Winston Nevis SKPeterson 2 days ago • edited
"The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth." This status quo has produced precisely the opposite of this. Wealth, assets, capital has been captured by the elite. The pitchforks are coming. See this CBO chart: View Hide
AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
Conservatives accept taxes as a part of citizenship. Since taxes can't be avoided, a conservative insists on democratic representation and has a general desire to get maximum bang for their taxpayer buck.

Libertarians, on the other hand, see everything through the lens of an individual's property rights. Taxes and regulation are infringements on those rights, so a libertarian is always at war with their own government. They're not interested in bang for their taxpayer buck, they just want the government to go away. I can't fault people for believing this way, but I can point out that it is severely faulty as the operating philosophy beyond anything but a small community.

As for me not being particularly conservative, ya got me. It really depends on time of day and the level of sunspot activity.

SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
Sunspots, eh? And here I thought it was your reliance on tinfoil.
AdmBenson SKPeterson 2 days ago
The tinfoil and the mask were scaring people. The tinfoil had to go, but that's had side effects.
SKPeterson AdmBenson 2 days ago
I should have put the /s on my reply, but your response did give me a good chuckle. Besides, for that finger pointing at you, there were three more pointing back at me.
JMWB 3 days ago
And somehow people continually fall for the Trickle Down economic theory. George HW Bush was correct when he called this VooDoo economics. Fiscal irresponsibility at it's finest.
Victor_the_thinker JMWB 3 days ago
Nah people don't fall for it, republicans do. The rest of us know this stuff doesn't work. We didn't need an additional datapoint to realize that. The Tax Cuts and Jobs act was the single most unpopular piece of legislation to ever pass since polling began. It never had support outside of the Republican Party which is why it's never had majority support.

https://news.gallup.com/pol...

Blood Alcohol JMWB 3 days ago
John Kenneth Galbraith called Trickle Down "economics", "Oats and Horse Economics". If you feed the horse a lot of oats, eventually some be left on the road...
Nelson 3 days ago
The leader of Republicans isn't Trump. It's Mitch McConnell.
J Villain Nelson 3 days ago
Mitch is fully owned by Trump as is every republican that holds office except Romney. Mitch can't go to the bathroom with out asking Trumps permission.
Nelson J Villain 3 days ago
Mitch is owned by corporations and he likes it that way. He basically says as much whenever campaign finance reform pops up and he defends the status quo.
aha! Nelson 2 hours ago
Yep. The guy who declared war on the Tea Party. The guy who changed his tune entirely about China when he married into the family of a shipping magnate.
SeekingTruth 3 days ago
I'm eagerly awaiting a GOP plan for economic restructuring. I've been waiting for decade(s). Surely there is someone in the entire body of think tanks, congressional staffers, and political class that can propose a genuine and comprehensive plan for how to rebalance production, education, and technology for the better of ALL Americans. Surely...
Tradcon SeekingTruth 3 days ago
American Affairs (the policy journal this author writes for) and The American Compass are both very good.
cka2nd SeekingTruth 3 days ago
I honestly wonder if Jack Kemp might have had a "Road to Damascus" conversion away from his pseudo-libertarian and supply side economic convictions if he had lived through the decade after the Great Recession. Probably not, given his political and economic activity up until his death.
Barry_II 3 days ago
"They also left worker wages stagnant and increased the deficit. Where is our more nationalist economic policy?"

In your dreams, just like those many large projects which Trump drove into bankruptcy.

Right alongside the money owed to the many people he's stiffed.

Name 3 days ago
So after 30 years or more of " globalism" , the GOP is adopting Bernie Sanderism?
Johnny Larue Name 3 days ago
Uh, no.
Name Johnny Larue 2 days ago
Uh, it seems so. Did you even read?
TheSnark 3 days ago • edited
Trump pushed the tax cut because it saves him at least $20 million each year in taxes, probably closer to $50 million. That's the only reason he does anything, because he benefits personally.
kouroi 3 days ago
Thank you very much for posting the link to the wonderful essay by Mike Lofgren. Written 8 years ago it feels even more actual than then. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

Looking at the US it always comes to my mind the way Rome and then Byzantium fell: a total erosion of the tax-base the rich refused to pay anything to the imperial coffers, and then some of the rich had land bigger than some modern countries... And then the barbarians came...

Kent kouroi 3 days ago
And, by then, the population welcomed the barbarians.
kouroi Kent 3 days ago
Likely true, with some exceptions... The Huns - and on that one I keep wondering if there isn't a whiff of "Yellow Peril" smell in all that outcry...
Ray Woodcock kouroi 2 days ago • edited
Lofgren: "What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot."

That was in 2012, but that was what struck me about my well-to-do classmates when I transferred from Cal State Long Beach to Columbia University in 1977 . Suddenly I was among people who saw America, American laws, and a shared sense of civic responsibility as quaint, bothersome, rather tangential to the project of promoting oneself and/or one's special interest.

kouroi Ray Woodcock 2 days ago
Cold, eh mate? Reptiles, lizards...?
Adriana Pena 3 days ago
Did you ever hope that Trump would do what you wanted? You are adorable
sam 3 days ago
The only way that factories would come back is when Americans start buying made in America. We can't wait for ANY government to bring those factories and jobs ( and technology) . Only people voting with their pocketbooks can do it.
J Villain 3 days ago
Still waiting for the day the first American asks "What have WE done wrong?" Rather than just following in Trumps step and playing the victim card every step of the way and wondering why nothing gets better.
Blood Alcohol J Villain 3 days ago
nuffsaid. The blood is on everyone's hands.

[May 26, 2020] There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning

Highly recommended!
May 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

likbez , May 25 2020 18:58 utc | 102

@vk | May 25 2020 15:19 utc | 83

Please understand that communism is a utopia, a religious dogma, completely discredited by the history.

While Marx critique of capitalism and the idea of class struggle survived the test of time, the idea of communism with its central postulate about future hegemonic role of proletariat proved to be false. Which means the communism is yet another utopia, a religious cult, if you wish.

Bolshevism as it existed in the USSR in a form of Stalinism and than "Brezhnev developed socialism" was really a cruel and bloodthirsty religious cult (less bloodthirsty in the latter form, but still). No questions about it.

Although I do not understand details, it look like China Communist Party also degenerated into hypocritical religious cult, not that dissimilar from CPSU. That might well makes Chinese society somewhat unstable and vulnerable to the color revolution. As soon as intelligence services change flag like KGB did, that would be it.

On the contrary neoliberalism (which probably should be understood as Trotskyism for the rich -- financial oligarchy of all countries unite) is the only derivative of Marxism that survived as a widespread social system. It managed to survive the major crisis of 2008 as a social system almost intact, despite the fact that the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited. Its resilience after 2008 is simply amazing.

Moreover, Neoliberalism does enjoy unweaving support of probably 20% of the USA society -- PMC or "professional and managerial class" which IMHO includes a part of brainwashed working class and small business owners. Which is a factor that essentially guarantees its longevity and survival after the current shock, despite all our wishes for the contrary. In other words, class struggle does exist, but it is almost always uphill battle, and the max achievable are some watered down reforms. That essentially the idea of social democracy and the USA the New Deal.

As Warren Buffett aptly said "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

And we should not mix Trump "national neoliberalism" with fascism. It is a completely different social phenomena, a social system that does not require mass mobilization and a mass Party. It does has some common features (the role on intelligence agencies, the role of propaganda, etc,) but still the differences are more prononced then similarities. Sheldon Wolin called it "inverted totalitarism" ( https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sheldon-wolin-and-inverted-totalitarianism/ )


Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls "inverted totalitarianism."

Wendy Brown, a political science professor at UC Berkeley and another former student of Wolin's, said in an email to me: "Resisting the monopolies on left theory by Marxism and on democratic theory by liberalism, Wolin developed a distinctive -- even distinctively American -- analysis of the political present and of radical democratic possibilities. He was especially prescient in theorizing the heavy statism forging what we now call neoliberalism, and in revealing the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root."

Wolin throughout his scholarship charted the devolution of American democracy and in his last book, "Democracy Incorporated," details our peculiar form of corporate totalitarianism. "One cannot point to any national institution[s] that can accurately be described as democratic," he writes in that book, "surely not in the highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, or, least of all, the media."

[May 25, 2020] Gangster politics at the age of Trump: Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

May 25, 2020 | logosjournal.com

Originally from: Gangster Politics Logos Journal by by Stephen Eric Bronner

Gangster politicians like to think that they are slick. They talk slang and curse a lot, grab a girl's ass (or worse), insist that they never read a book, thumb their noses at intellectual elites, boast about their high IQs, and proclaim their "street smarts." They also view themselves both as victims of their critics' malice and "great men" alone capable of curing the nation's ills.

They make their base feel the same: they are despised and yet the real Americans! Their belief in the boss is unwavering. Only he can make America great again.

Those who oppose his policies are traitors and the threats they pose are serious -- and, if they are not serious, then they must be made serious. History teaches what might become necessary in order to teach them a lesson. The Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the (staged) assassination of Sergei Kirov in 1934 were the dramatic events that led Hitler and Stalin to justify attacks on enemies, renegades, and supposed traitors to the state. Gangster politicians under internal pressure pray for a crisis, or what Trump once forecast as a "major event," in order to rally the troops and clean house.

Gangster politics requires no ideology. Lack of principle itself becomes a principle.

The great man must do what must be done: if that means lying, reneging on deals, shifting gears, rejecting transparency, and whatever else, then so be it. That he can employ the double standard is a given.

Big talk takes the place of diplomacy and, if the bluster doesn't work then America alone -- or, better, the boss alone -- can rely on "fire and fury" whenever and wherever he likes.

Traditionalists employed jingoistic rhetoric and wrapped themselves in the flag. The gangster politician talks like a schoolyard bully and salutes himself.

Gangster politicians of times past had subordinates swear an oath of loyalty not to the state but to them. Yesterday's "America! Love it or leave it!" has today turned into: "Trump! Love him -- or shut up!"

[May 25, 2020] Neoliberalism will probably survive the crush of the American empire.

May 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

likbez , May 25 2020 18:58 utc | 102

@vk | May 25 2020 15:19 utc | 83

Please understand that communism is a utopia, a religious dogma, completely discredited by the history.

While Marx critique of capitalism and the idea of class struggle survived the test of time, the idea of communism with its central postulate about future hegemonic role of proletariat proved to be false. Which means the communism is yet another utopia, a religious cult, if you wish.

Bolshevism as it existed in the USSR in a form of Stalinism and than "Brezhnev developed socialism" was really a cruel and bloodthirsty religious cult (less bloodthirsty in the latter form, but still). No questions about it.

Although I do not understand details, it look like China Communist Party also degenerated into hypocritical religious cult, not that dissimilar from CPSU. That might well makes Chinese society somewhat unstable and vulnerable to the color revolution. As soon as intelligence services change flag like KGB did, that would be it.

On the contrary Neoliberalism (which probably should be understood as Trotskyism for the rich -- financial oligarchy of all countries unite) is the only derivative of Marxism that survived as a widespread social system. It managed to survive the major crisis of 2008 as a social system almost intact, despite the fact that the neoliberal ideology was completely discredited. Its resilience after 2008 is simply amazing.

Moreover, Neoliberalism does enjoy unweaving support of probably 20% of the USA society -- PMC or "professional and managerial class" which IMHO includes a part of brainwashed working class and small business owners. Which is a factor that essentially guarantees its longevity and survival after the current shock, despite all our wishes for the contrary. In other words, class struggle does exist, but it is almost always uphill battle, and the max achievable are some watered down reforms. That essentially the idea of social democracy and the specific USA for of it -- The New Deal.

As Warren Buffett aptly said "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."

And we should not mix Trump "national neoliberalism" with fascism. It is a completely different social phenomena, a social system that does not require mass mobilization and a mass Party. It does has some common features (the role on intelligence agencies, the role of propaganda, etc,) but still the differences are more pronounced then similarities. Sheldon Wolin called it "inverted totalitarism" ( https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sheldon-wolin-and-inverted-totalitarianism/ )


Wolin lays bare the realities of our bankrupt democracy, the causes behind the decline of American empire and the rise of a new and terrifying configuration of corporate power he calls "inverted totalitarianism."

Wendy Brown, a political science professor at UC Berkeley and another former student of Wolin's, said in an email to me: "Resisting the monopolies on left theory by Marxism and on democratic theory by liberalism, Wolin developed a distinctive -- even distinctively American -- analysis of the political present and of radical democratic possibilities. He was especially prescient in theorizing the heavy statism forging what we now call neoliberalism, and in revealing the novel fusions of economic with political power that he took to be poisoning democracy at its root."

Wolin throughout his scholarship charted the devolution of American democracy and in his last book, "Democracy Incorporated," details our peculiar form of corporate totalitarianism. "One cannot point to any national institution[s] that can accurately be described as democratic," he writes in that book, "surely not in the highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, or, least of all, the media."

In other words Neoliberalism will probably survive the crush of the American empire.

[May 24, 2020] As its own infrastructure has been laid waste by the COLLASSAL MONEY PIT that is the Pentagon, its flagrant use of the most valuable energy commodity, oil, to maintain some 4000 bases worldwide, this rickety over-extended upside down version of old Anglo-Dutch trading empires, will finally collapse

Kissinger laid out the transition plan in 2014 in his WSJ Op-Ed: Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order . USA Deep State are not the complete idiots that some want to make them seem.
China is still very vulnerable and the USA has multiple levers to force it to suffer.
May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Kurt Zumdieck , May 22 2020 18:24 utc | 4
If Washington lured the Soviet Union into it's demise in Afghanistan, which left that minor empire in shambles - socially, militarily, economically - it was the nuclear conflagration at Chernobyl that put the corpse in the ground.....

(Watch the GREAT HBO five-part tragedy on it and you will see that the brutally heroic response of the Soviets, that saved the Western World at least temporarily, but is the portrait of self-sacrifice)

What was lost in the Soviets fumbling immediate post-explosion cover-up was the trust of their Eastern European satellite countries. That doomed that empire. So much military might was given up in Afghanistan, then on Chernobyl, it was not clear if the Soviets had the wherewithal to put down the rebellions that spread from Czechoslovakia to East Germany and beyond.

Covid-19 will do the same to the American Empire.

As its own infrastructure has been laid waste by the COLLASSAL MONEY PIT that is the Pentagon, its flagrant use of the most valuable energy commodity, oil, to maintain some 4000 bases worldwide, this rickety over-extended upside down version of old Anglo-Dutch trading empires, will finally collapse.

Loss of trust by the many craven satellites, in America's fractured response, to Covid-19 will put the final nail in its coffin.

A hot-shooting War may come next, but the empire cannot win it.


William Gruff , May 23 2020 14:25 utc | 79

"I will believe my eyes." --oldhippie @76

It would be nice if that were so, but it is very unlikely.

"So tired of reading propaganda."

Is that why you regurgitate it onto forums? Kinda like purging the system, eh?

If you are going to be judging China's economic health by their pollution levels then in the future you will find yourself convinced that they have never recovered, even when it becomes inescapably obvious that they have. The fact is that China's pollution levels are never going back to 2019 levels, but that has nothing to do with their economic health.

It really never ceases to amaze me how deeply rooted and pervasive the delusions and sense of exceptionality is in America. It is woven into the thinking, from the lowest levels to the very top of their thoughts, of even the very most intelligent Americans. It is apparently a phenomenon that operates at an even deeper level than mass media brainwashing, as it seems it was just as much a problem in every empire in history. That is, I am sure citizens of the Roman Empire had the same blinding biases embedded deep below their consciousness. I guess Marx was entirely correct to say that consciousness arises from material conditions, and being citizen of an empire must be one of those material conditions that gives rise to this all-pervasive and unconscious sense of exceptionality.

oldhippie , May 23 2020 11:47 utc | 71
Go over to EOSDIS Worldview and take a look at satellite photos of China. Simple toggle in lower left hand corner will take you to photos of same day, earlier years. Or any day in satellite record.

The skies over China are clear. Chinese industry is not back at work. It may be that China at 50% or even at 20% is a manufacturing powerhouse compared to a crumbling US. But until China is back at work the thread so far is about the historical situation six months ago.

Xi used to do elaborately staged state appearances with well planned camera angles, fabulous lighting, pomp and circumstance. He enjoyed the trappings of power and knew how to use the trappings of power. Hasn't done that kind of state appearance since January.

Paul , May 23 2020 12:47 utc | 72
The Empire has no respect for international agreements, laws or anything that interferes with maintaining US global hegemony.
lizzie dw , May 23 2020 12:55 utc | 73
China and the US are so different. The citizens of China cannot vote. The population's movements are micromanaged by the government. This is not the case here (yet). And I hope it is never the case. I agree with the premise that there are those in our government who are living in a dream of the past and that is over, unless we want to destroy the world. But China's government is so repressive. The rules must be obeyed. We seem to be compliant so far of some of our government officials stepping over the bounds allowed by our Constitution, due to the fear of C-19 engendered by the deep state (aka the bsmsm). But we will not do that forever and our government cannot just start shooting big crowds of us as they can and have done in China. Theirs is all top down rule, which is not the case here. Also, although it is probably heretical to say this I am glad that the US has many cases of C-19. We will eventually get herd immunity. IMO, China can lock down as many millions of citizens as they wish; they cannot stop this virus and as time goes by they will have as many deaths and as many cases as everybody else. Well, that is off the topic of the article. In the end I agree that we are fighting weird battles we can never win and we citizens need to keep informing our government employees that we just want to trade and make money, not threaten companies and countries and lose money.

[May 24, 2020] Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training

Highly recommended!
I wouldn't hold my breath for the slightest change in that status quo any time soon.
May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 12:34 pm GMT

Unable to communicate in Arabic and with no relevant experience or appropriate educational training

Seems rather typical of those making policy, not knowing much about the area they're assigned to. If a person did know Arabic and had an understanding of the culture they wouldn't get hired as they'd be viewed with suspicion, suspected of being sympathetic to Middle Easterners. How and why these neocons can come back into government is puzzling and one wonders who within the establishment is backing them. Judging by the quotes her father certainly seems deranged and not someone to be allowed anywhere near any policy making positions.
Flynn also seems to be a dolt what with his 'worldwide war against radical Islam'. Someone should clue him in that much of this radical Islam has been created and stoked by the US who hyped up radical Islam, recruiting and arming them to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was there, remember? Flynn, a general, is unaware of this? Islamic jihadists are America's Foreign Legion and have been used all over the Muslim world, most recently in Syria. Does this portend war with Iran? Possibly, but perhaps Trump wouldn't want to go it alone but would want the financial support of other countries. They've probably war-gamed it to death and found it to be a loser.

[May 23, 2020] Coronavirus had shown Brezhnev socialism and the US neoliberalism are never as far apart as people imagined

Highly recommended!
May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

Comment edited for clarity

Bolsheviks put ideology above and before the people needs; Neoliberals put capital above people. Neoliberals are the next-worst thing after Boslheviks (although nobody can match Bolsheviks as for excesses including Stalin terror) .

That's why both now in the USA and in the USSR before the dissolution we have a lot of "death of despair" That said, why would anybody trust neolibral pols ?

twiglette , 11 Apr 2019 05:13

Coronavirus had shown Brezhnev socialism and the US neoliberalism were never as far apart as people imagined. Two sides of a coin. A theological dispute.

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberal ideology is often presented as a natural state. This deception is a central feature of neoliberalism, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions of financial oligarchy, and to prevent challenges to the financial oligarchy rule and debt slavery

May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:42

Back in the Thatcher/Reagan years there were at people around who genuinely believed in the superiority of the market, or at least, made the effort to set out an intellectual case for it.

Now we're in a different era. After 2008, hardly anyone really believes in neoliberal ideas anymore, not to the point that they'd openly make the case for them anyway. But while different visions have appeared to some extent on both left and right, most of those in positions of power and influence have so internalised Thatcher's 'there is no alternative' that it's beyond their political horizons to treat any alternatives which do emerge as serious propositions, let alone come up with their own.

So neoliberalism stumbles on almost as a reflex action. Ben Fine calls it a 'zombie' but I think the better analogy is cannibalism. Unlike the privatisations of the 80s and 90s there's barely any pretence these days that new sell-offs are anything more than simply part of a quest to find new avenues for profit-making in an economy with tons of liquid capital but not enough places to profitability put it. Because structurally speaking most of the economy is tapped out.

Privatising public services at this point is just a way to asset strip and/or funnel public revenue streams to a private sector which has been stuck in neoliberal short-term, low skill, low productivity, low wage, high debt mode for so long that it has lost the ability to grow. So now it is eating itself, or at least eating the structures which hold it up and allow it to survive.

Apomorph -> GeorgeMonbiot , 10 Apr 2019 18:19
Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions and providing means of fostering intellectual suspicion to prevent challenges or structured and coherent critiques like your own. The right engenders coalitions of people disinterested in politics and distrustful of politicians with those who feel intellectually superior but see politics as an amoral game in the pursuit of "enlightened" self-interest.

As a result, everything about it is disingenous. There is no alternative (that we want you to choose). It's not racist to (constantly, always negatively and to the expense of everything else) talk about immigration. Cutting taxes for the rich reduces inequality (because we change the criteria to exclude the richest from the calculations). This is also because there are dualities at play. Neoliberalism relies on immigration to increase worker competition and suppress wage demand but courts the xenophobic vote (which is why even with reduced EU migration Brexit has so far increased overall immigration and would continue to do so in the event of no deal or May's deal). Both Remainers and Leavers have accused the other of being a neoliberal project, and in certain aspects -because of these dualities - both sides are correct.

I also believe the disdain for "political correctness" is somewhat a result of neoliberalism, since marketisation is so fundamental to the project and the wedge of the market is advertising, the language of bullshit and manipulation. People railing against political correctness feel judged for their automatic thoughts that they identify as natural instead of culturally determined. Behavioural advertising encourages these thoughts and suppresses consideration. It is a recipe for resentment.

[May 23, 2020] Who are serfs

Money quote: ""Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd." -- that's definition of a serf -- a neoliberal serf
I feel a lot of people just use the term neoliberalism as a term of a specific abuse of labor via debt slavery. .
May 23, 2020 | discussion.theguardian.com

TenTribesofTexas , 11 Apr 2019 01:15

2 simple points that epitomize neo liberalism.

1. Hayek's book 'The Road to Serfdom' uses an erroneous metaphor. He argues that if we allow gov regulation, services and spending to continue then we will end up serfs. However, serfs are basically the indentured or slave labourers of private citizens and landowners not of the state. Only in a system of private capital can there be serfs. Neo liberalism creates serfs not a public system.

2. According to Hayek all regulation on business should be eliminated and only labour should be regulated to make it cheap and contain it so that private investors can have their returns guaranteed. Hence the purpose of the state is to pass laws to suppress workers.

These two things illustrate neo-liberalism. Deception and repression of labour.

marshwren , 10 Apr 2019 22:29
As a matter of semantics, neo-liberalism delivered on the promise of freedom...for capitalists to be free of ethical accountability, social responsibility, and government regulation and taxes. And people can't understand why i'm a socialist.

[May 23, 2020] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Highly recommended!
From comments: " neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation."
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
"... The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist


Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood.

A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy. The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

glisson , 12 Apr 2019 00:10
This is the best piece of writing on neoliberalism I have ever seen. Look, 'what is in general good and probably most importantly what is in the future good'. Why are we collectively not viewing everything that way? Surely those thoughts should drive us all?
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
economicalternative , 11 Apr 2019 20:42
Finally. A writer who can talk about neoliberalism as NOT being a retro version of classical laissez faire liberalism. It is about imposing "The Market" as the sole arbiter of Truth on us all.
Only the 'Market' knows what is true in life - no need for 'democracy' or 'education'. Neoliberals believe - unlike classical liberals with their view of people as rational individuals acting in their own self-interest - people are inherently 'unreliable', stupid. Only entrepreneurs - those close to the market - can know 'the truth' about anything. To succeed we all need to take our cues in life from what the market tells us. Neoliberalism is not about a 'small state'. The state is repurposed to impose the 'all knowing' market on everyone and everything. That is neoliberalism's political project. It is ultimately not about 'economics'.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives. Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.


Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

manolito22 -> MrJoe , 11 Apr 2019 08:14
Nationalised rail in the UK was under-funded and 'set up to fail' in its latter phase to make privatisation seem like an attractive prospect. I have travelled by train under both nationalisation and privatisation and the latter has been an unmitigated disaster in my experience. Under privatisation, public services are run for the benefit of shareholders and CEO's, rather than customers and citizens and under the opaque shroud of undemocratic 'commercial confidentiality'.
Galluses , 11 Apr 2019 07:26
What has been very noticeable about the development of bureaucracy in the public and private spheres over the last 40 years (since Thatcher govt of 79) has been the way systems are designed now to place responsibility and culpability on the workers delivering the services - Teachers, Nurses, social workers, etc. While those making the policies, passing the laws, overseeing the regulations- viz. the people 'at the top', now no longer take the rap when something goes wrong- they may be the Captain of their particular ship, but the responsibility now rests with the man sweeping the decks. Instead they are covered by tying up in knots those teachers etc. having to fill in endless check lists and reports, which have as much use as clicking 'yes' one has understood those long legal terms provided by software companies.... yet are legally binding. So how the hell do we get out of this mess? By us as individuals uniting through unions or whatever and saying NO. No to your dumb educational directives, No to your cruel welfare policies, No to your stupid NHS mismanagement.... there would be a lot of No's but eventually we could say collectively 'Yes I did the right thing'.
fairshares -> rjb04tony , 11 Apr 2019 07:17
'The left wing dialogue about neoliberalism used to be that it was the Wild West and that anything goes. Now apparently it's a machine of mass control.'

It is the Wild West and anything goes for the corporate entities, and a machine of control of the masses. Hence the wish of neoliberals to remove legislation that protects workers and consumers.

[May 22, 2020] It is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid's lives on the line of fire most will ran away to Canada or Mexico

May 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

milomilo , May 23 2020 0:24 utc | 44

@vk , hilarious post trying to potray modern day USN as fhe same one who fought japanese.. after WW2 all USN did was doing tag with soviets and today even their skill lost in the current situation.. The good ole US navy is gone, all that left is aging airframes and ships and confused doctrine that focused on clearing endless brush fires from restless natives..

USN are not able to fight peer enemy naval force, its man power are not sustainable in such fight , thus they will resort to military draft system again and pray tell how many foolish ignorant gung ho flag waving american would enlist ? it is easy for chickenhawks to scream war war war but when their lives or their kid's lives on the line of fire most will ran away to canada or mexico

[May 21, 2020] The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion of labour in which Western societies could prosper from the ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks

Notable quotes:
"... In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron. ..."
"... What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once. ..."
"... The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed. ..."
"... In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use. ..."
"... The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature. ..."
"... Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay. ..."
"... The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro. ..."
"... The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly. ..."
"... A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions. ..."
"... Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided. ..."
"... But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone. ..."
"... The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe. ..."
"... I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented. ..."
"... "Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic." ..."
"... Since WWII the US has itself been occupied by tyrants, using Russophobia to demand power as fake defenders. ..."
"... " French philosophy .By constantly attacking, deconstructing, and denouncing every remnant of human "power" they could spot, the intellectual rebels left the power of "the markets" unimpeded, and did nothing to stand in the way of the expansion of U.S. military power all around the world " ..."
"... From her groundbreaking work on the NATO empire's sickening war on sovereign Serbia, the dead end of identity politics and trans bathroom debates, to her critique of unfettered immigration and open borders, and her dismissal of the absurd Russsiagate baloney, better than anyone else, Johnstone has kept her intellect carefully honed to the real genuine kitchen table bread and butter issues that truly matter. She recognized before most of the world's scholars the perils of rampant inequality and saw the writing on the wall as to where this grotesque economic system is taking us all: down a dystopian slope into penury and police-state heavy-handedness, with millions unable to come up with $500 for an emergency car repair or dental bill. ..."
"... The mask competition and fiasco shows the importance of a country simply making things in their own country, not on the other side of the world, it's not nationalism it's just a better way to logistically deliver reliable products to the citizens. ..."
"... Some hold that they never departed, but mutated tools including CFA zones and "intelligence" relations in furtherance of "changing" to remain qualitatively the same. Just as "The United States of America" is a system of coercive relations not synonymous with the political geographical area designated "The United States of America", the colonialism of former and present "colonial powers" continues to exist, since the "independence" of the colonised was always, and continues to be, framed within linear systems of coercive relations, facilitated by the complicity of "local elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest, and the acquiescence of "local others" for myriad reasons. ..."
"... After reading Circle in the Darkness, I have ordered and am now reading her books on Hillary Clinton (Queen of Chaos) and the Yugoslav wars (Fool's Crusade), which are very worthwhile and important. I would recommend that her many articles over the years, appearing in such publications such as In These Times, Counterpunch and Consortium News, be reprinted and published together as an anthology. Through Circle in the Darkness, we have Diana Johnstone's "Life", but it would be good also to have her "Letters". ..."
"... Mr. de Gaulle like other "leaders" of colonial powers did understand that the moment of overt coercive relations of colonialism had passed and that colonialism to remain qualitatively the same, required covert coercive relations facilitated by the complicity of local "elites" on the basis of perceived self-interest. ..."
May 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

In France, confinement has been generally well accepted as necessary, but that does not mean people are content with the government -- on the contrary. Every evening at eight, people go to their windows to cheer for health workers and others doing essential tasks, but the applause is not for President Macron.

Macron and his government are criticized for hesitating too long to confine the population, for vacillating about the need for masks and tests, or about when or how much to end the confinement. Their confusion and indecision at least defend them from the wild accusation of having staged the whole thing in order to lock up the population.

What we have witnessed is the failure of what used to be one of the very best public health services in the world. It has been degraded by years of cost-cutting. In recent years, the number of hospital beds per capita has declined steadily. Many hospitals have been shut down and those that remain are drastically understaffed. Public hospital facilities have been reduced to a state of perpetual saturation, so that when a new epidemic comes along, on top of all the other usual illnesses, there is simply not the capacity to deal with it all at once.

The neoliberal globalization myth fostered the delusion that advanced Western societies could prosper from their superior brains, thanks to ideas and computer startups, while the dirty work of actually making things is left to low-wage countries. One result: a drastic shortage of face masks. The government let a factory that produced masks and other surgical equipment be sold off and shut down. Having outsourced its textile industry, France had no immediate way to produce the masks it needed.

Meanwhile, in early April, Vietnam donated hundreds of thousands of antimicrobial face masks to European countries and is producing them by the million. Employing tests and selective isolation, Vietnam has fought off the epidemic with only a few hundred cases and no deaths.

You must have thoughts as to the question of Western unity in response to Covid–19.

In late March, French media reported that a large stock of masks ordered and paid for by the southeastern region of France was virtually hijacked on the tarmac of a Chinese airport by Americans, who tripled the price and had the cargo flown to the United States. There are also reports of Polish and Czech airport authorities intercepting Chinese or Russian shipments of masks intended for hard-hit Italy and keeping them for their own use.

The absence of European solidarity has been shockingly clear. Better-equipped Germany banned exports of masks to Italy. In the depth of its crisis, Italy found that the German and Dutch governments were mainly concerned with making sure Italy pays its debts. Meanwhile, a team of Chinese experts arrived in Rome to help Italy with its Covid–19 crisis, displaying a banner reading "We are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, flowers of the same garden." The European institutions lack such humanistic poetry. Their founding value is not solidarity but the neoliberal principle of "free unimpeded competition."

How do you think this reflects on the European Union?

The Covid–19 crisis makes it just that much clearer that the European Union is no more than a complex economic arrangement, with neither the sentiment nor the popular leaders that hold together a nation. For a generation, schools, media, politicians have instilled the belief that the "nation" is an obsolete entity. But in a crisis, people find that they are in France, or Germany, or Italy, or Belgium -- but not in "Europe." The European Union is structured to care about trade, investment, competition, debt, economic growth. Public health is merely an economic indicator. For decades, the European Commission has put irresistible pressure on nations to reduce the costs of their public health facilities in order to open competition for contracts to the private sector -- which is international by nature.

Globalization has hastened the spread of the pandemic, but it has not strengthened internationalist solidarity. Initial gratitude for Chinese aid is being brutally opposed by European Atlanticists. In early May, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the Springer publishing giant, bluntly called on Germany to ally with the U.S. -- against China. Scapegoating China may seem the way to try to hold the declining Western world together, even as Europeans' long-standing admiration for America turns to dismay.

Meanwhile, relations between EU member states have never been worse. In Italy and to a greater extent in France, the coronavirus crisis has enforced growing disillusion with the European Union and an ill-defined desire to restore national sovereignty.

Corollary question: What are the prospects that Europe will produce leaders capable of seizing that right moment, that assertion of independence? What do you reckon such leaders would be like?

The EU is likely to be a central issue in the near future, but this issue can be exploited in very different ways, depending on which leaders get hold of it. The coronavirus crisis has intensified the centrifugal forces already undermining the European Union. The countries that have suffered most from the epidemic are among the most indebted of the EU member states, starting with Italy. The economic damage from the lockdown obliges them to borrow further. As their debt increases, so do interest rates charged by commercial banks. They turned to the EU for help, for instance by issuing eurobonds that would share the debt at lower interest rates. This has increased tension between debtor countries in the south and creditor countries in the north, which said nein . Countries in the eurozone cannot borrow from the European Central Bank as the U.S. Treasury borrows from the Fed. And their own national central banks take orders from the ECB, which controls the euro.

What does the crisis mean for the euro? I confess I've lost faith in this project, given how disadvantaged it leaves the nations on the Continent's southern rim.

The great irony is that "a common currency" was conceived by its sponsors as the key to European unity. On the contrary, the euro has a polarizing effect -- with Greece at the bottom and Germany at the top. And Italy sinking. But Italy is much bigger than Greece and won't go quietly.

The German constitutional court in Karlsruhe recently issued a long judgment making it clear who is boss. It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states. If these rules were not followed, the Bundesbank, the German central bank, would be obliged to pull out of the ECB. And since the Bundesbank is the ECB's main creditor, that is that. There can be no generous financial help to troubled governments within the eurozone. Period.

Is there a possibility of disintegration here?

The idea of leaving the EU is most developed in France. The Union Populaire Républicaine, founded in 2007 by former senior functionary François Asselineau, calls for France to leave the euro, the European Union, and NATO.

The party has been a didactic success, spreading its ideas and attracting around 20,000 active militants without scoring any electoral success. A main argument for leaving the EU is to escape from the constraints of EU competition rules in order to protect its vital industry, agriculture, and above all its public services.

A major paradox is that the left and the Yellow Vests call for economic and social policies that are impossible under EU rules, and yet many on the left shy away from even thinking of leaving the EU. For over a generation, the French left has made an imaginary "social Europe" the center of its utopian ambitions.

" Europe" as an idea or an ideal, you mean.

Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic.

Two and a half months of coronavirus crisis have brought to light a factor that makes any predictions about future leaders even more problematic. That factor is a widespread distrust and rejection of all established authority. This makes rational political programs extremely difficult, because rejection of one authority implies acceptance of another. For instance, the way to liberate public services and pharmaceuticals from the distortions of the profit motive is nationalization. If you distrust the power of one as much as the other, there is nowhere to go.

Such radical distrust can be explained by two main factors -- the inevitable feeling of helplessness in our technologically advanced world, combined with the deliberate and even transparent lies on the part of mainstream politicians and media. But it sets the stage for the emergence of manipulated saviors or opportunistic charlatans every bit as deceptive as the leaders we already have, or even more so. I hope these irrational tendencies are less pronounced in France than in some other countries.

I'm eager to talk about Russia. There are signs that relations with Russia are another source of European dissatisfaction as "junior partners" within the U.S.–led Atlantic alliance. Macron is outspoken on this point, "junior partners" being his phrase. The Germans -- business people, some senior officials in government -- are quite plainly restive.

Russia is a living part of European history and culture. Its exclusion is totally unnatural and artificial. Brzezinski [the late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Carter administration's national security adviser] spelled it out in The Great Chessboard : The U.S. maintains world hegemony by keeping the Eurasian landmass divided.

But this policy can be seen to be inherited from the British. It was Churchill who proclaimed -- in fact welcomed -- the Iron Curtain that kept continental Europe divided. In retrospect, the Cold War was basically part of the divide-and-rule strategy, since it persists with greater intensity than ever after its ostensible cause -- the Communist threat -- is long gone.

I hadn't put our current circumstance in this context. US-backed, violent coup in Ukraine, 2014.

The whole Ukrainian operation of 2014 [the U.S.–cultivated coup in Kyiv, February 2014] was lavishly financed and stimulated by the United States in order to create a new conflict with Russia. Joe Biden has been the Deep State's main front man in turning Ukraine into an American satellite, used as a battering ram to weaken Russia and destroy its natural trade and cultural relations with Western Europe.

U.S. sanctions are particularly contrary to German business interests, and NATO's aggressive gestures put Germany on the front lines of an eventual war.

But Germany has been an occupied country -- militarily and politically -- for 75 years, and I suspect that many German political leaders (usually vetted by Washington) have learned to fit their projects into U.S. policies. I think that under the cover of Atlantic loyalty, there are some frustrated imperialists lurking in the German establishment, who think they can use Washington's Russophobia as an instrument to make a comeback as a world military power.

But I also think that the political debate in Germany is overwhelmingly hypocritical, with concrete aims veiled by fake issues such as human rights and, of course, devotion to Israel.

We should remember that the U.S. does not merely use its allies -- its allies, or rather their leaders, figure they are using the U.S. for some purposes of their own.

What about what the French have been saying since the G–7 session in Biarritz two years ago, that Europe should forge its own relations with Russia according to Europe's interests, not America's?

At G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 26, 2019. (White House)

I think France is likelier than Germany to break with the U.S.–imposed Russophobia simply because, thanks to de Gaulle, France is not quite as thoroughly under U.S. occupation. Moreover, friendship with Russia is a traditional French balance against German domination -- which is currently being felt and resented.

Stepping back for a broader look, do you think Europe's position on the western flank of the Eurasian landmass will inevitably shape its position with regard not only to Russia but also China? To put this another way, is Europe destined to become an independent pole of power in the course of this century, standing between West and East?

At present, what we have standing between West and East is not Europe but Russia, and what matters is which way Russia leans. Including Russia, Europe might become an independent pole of power. The U.S. is currently doing everything to prevent this. But there is a school of strategic thought in Washington which considers this a mistake, because it pushes Russia into the arms of China. This school is in the ascendant with the campaign to denounce China as responsible for the pandemic. As mentioned, the Atlanticists in Europe are leaping into the anti–China propaganda battle. But they are not displaying any particular affection for Russia, which shows no sign of sacrificing its partnership with China for the unreliable Europeans.

If Russia were allowed to become a friendly bridge between China and Europe, the U.S. would be obliged to abandon its pretensions of world hegemony. But we are far from that peaceful prospect.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .


Josep , May 19, 2020 at 02:04

It recalled and insisted that Germany agreed to the euro only on the grounds that the main mission of the European Central Bank was to fight inflation, and that it could not directly finance member states.

I once read a comment elsewhere saying that, back in 1989, both Britain (under Margaret Thatcher) and the US objected to German reunification. Since they could not stop the reunification, they insisted that Germany accept the incoming euro. A heap of German university professors jumped up and protested, knowing fully well what the game was: namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers.

Thorben Sunkimat , May 20, 2020 at 13:45

France and Britain rejected the german reunification. The americans were supportive, even though they had their demands. Mainly privatisation of german public utilities. After agreeing to those demands the americans persuaded the british and pressured the french who agreed to german reunification after germany agreed to the euro.

So why did france want the euro?

The German central bank crashed the European economy after reunification with high interest rates. This was because of above average growth rates mainly in Eastern Germany. Main function of the Bundesbank is to keep inflation low, which is more important to them than anything else. Since Germany's D Mark was the leading currency in Europe the rest of Europe had to heighten their interest rates too, witch lead to great economic problems within Europe. Including France.

OlyaPola , May 21, 2020 at 05:30

"namely the creation of a banker's empire in Europe controlled by private bankers."

Resort to binaries (controlled/not controlled) is a practice of self-imposed blindness. In any interactive system no absolutes exist only analogues of varying assays since "control" is limited and variable. In respect of what became the German Empire this relationship predated and facilitated the German Empire through financing the war with Denmark in 1864 courtesy of the arrangements between Mr. von Bismark and Mr. Bleichroder. The assay of "control of bankers" has varied/increased subsequently but never attained the absolute.

It is true that finance capital perceived and continues to perceive the European Union as an opportunity to increase their assay of "control" – the Austrian banks in conjunction with German bank assigning a level of priority to resurrecting spheres of influence existing prior to 1918 and until 1945.

One of the joint projects at a level of planning in the early 1990's was development of the Danube and its hinterland from Regensburg to Cerna Voda/Constanta in Romania but this was delayed in the hope of curtailment by some when NATO bombed Serbia in 1999 (Serbia not being the only target – so much for honesty-amongst-theives.)

This project was resurrected in a limited form primarily downstream from Vidin/Calafat from 2015 onwards given that some states of the former Yugoslavia were not members of the European Union and some were within spheres of influence of "The United States of America".

As to France, "Vichy" and Europa also facilitated the resurrection of finance capital and increase in its assay of control after the 1930's, some of the practices of the 1940's still being subject to dispute in France.

mkb29 , May 18, 2020 at 16:33

I've always admired Diana Johnstone's clear headed analyses of world/European/U.S./ China/Israel-Palestine/Russia/ interactions and the motivation of its "players". She has given some credence to what as been known as French rationalism and enlightenment. (Albeit as an American expat) Think Descartes, Diderot, Sartre , and She loves France in her own rationalist-humanist way.

Linda J , May 18, 2020 at 13:21

I have admired Ms. Johnstone's work for quite awhile. This enlightening interview spurs me to get a copy of the book and to contribute to Consortium News.

Others may be interested in the two-part video discovered yesterday featuring Douglas Valentine's analysis of the CIA's corporate backers and their global choke-hold on governments and their influencers in every region of the world.

Part 1
see:youtu(dot)be/cP15Ehx1yvI

Part 2
see:youtu(dot)be/IYvvEn_N1sE

worldblee , May 18, 2020 at 12:26

Not many have the long distance perspective on the world, let alone Europe, that Diana Johnstone has. Great interview!

Drew Hunkins , May 18, 2020 at 11:03

"Decades of indoctrination in the ideology of "Europe" has instilled the belief that the nation-state is a bad thing of the past. The result is that people raised in the European Union faith tend to regard any suggestion of return to national sovereignty as a fatal step toward fascism. This fear of contagion from "the right" is an obstacle to clear analysis which weakens the left and favors the right, which dares be patriotic."

Bingo! A marvelous point indeed! Quick little example -- Bernard Sanders should have worn an American flag pin on his suit during the 2020 Dem primary campaign.

chris , May 18, 2020 at 04:46

A very good analysis. As an American who has relocated to Spain several years ago, I am always disappointed that discussions of European politics always assume that Europe ends at the Pyr