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The Secular Stagnation as an Immanent Feature of Post-2008 Neoliberalism

Image courtesy of Koren Shadmi (What’s Behind a Rise in Ethnic Nationalism? Maybe the Economy - The New York Times, Oct 14, 2016)
News Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Recommended Links GDP as a false measure of a country economic output Ethno-linguistic and "Cultural" Nationalism as antidote to Neoliberalism Chronic Unemployment Redistribution of wealth up as the essence of neoliberalism
Forthcoming slow motion collapse of global neoliberal empire led by the USA Anti-globalization movement Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Economics of Peak Energy Upward Redistribution of Wealth
Identity politics as diversion of attention from social inequality Neoliberalism war on labor The Great Transformation Eroding Western living standards Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement
Neoliberal rationality Neoliberal "New Class" as variant of Soviet Nomenklatura The fiasco of suburbia Quite coup Casino Capitalism Lawrence Summers Oil glut fallacy
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Russia oil production Helicopter Ben: Arsonist Turned into Firefighter Financial Quotes Casino Capitalism Dictionary Financial Humor Humor Etc

Introduction

Secular stagnation is a term proposed by Keynesian economist Alvin Hansen back in the 1930s to explain the USA dismal economic performance during this period. The period in which sluggish growth and output, and employment levels well below potential, coincide with a problematically low (even negative) real interest rates even in the face of the extraordinarily easy monetary policy. Later a similar phenomenon occurred in Japan. that's why it is often called called Japanification of the economy.  Secular stagnation returned to the USA in full force after the financial crisis of 2008 (so called The Long Recession), so this is the second time the USA society experience the same socio-economic phenomenon. 

Formally it can be defined as any stagnation that lasts substantially longer then the business cycle (and dominates the business cycle induced variations of economic activities), the suppression of economic performance for a long (aka secular) period. It also can be viewed as the crisis of demand, when demand became systemically weak (which under neoliberalism is ensured by redistribution of wealth up).

The global stagnation we are experiencing is the logical result of the dominance of neoliberalism and a sign of its crisis an a ideology. It is somewhat similar to the crisis of Bolshevik's ideology in the USSR in 60th when everybody realized that the existing society cannot fulfill the key promise of higher living standards. And that over centralization of economic life naturally leads to stagnation.  The analogy does not ends here, but this point is the most important.

Neoliberalism replaced over-centralization (with iron fist one party rule) with over-financialization (with iron fist rule of financial oligarchy), with generally the same result as for the economy ( In other words neoliberalism like bolshevism is equal to economic stagnation; extremes meet).  The end of cheap oil did not help iether. In a sense neoliberalism might be viewed as the elite reaction to the end of cheap oil, when it became clear that there are not enough cookies for everyone.

This growth in the financial sector's profits has not been an accident; it is the result of  engineered shift in the elite thinking, which changed government policies. The central question of politics is, in my view, "Who has a right to live and who does not".  In the answer to this question, neoliberal subscribes to Social Darwinism: ordinary citizens should be given much less rather than more social protection. Such  policies would have been impossible in 50th and 60th (A Short History of Neo-liberalism)

In 1945 or 1950, if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today's standard neo-liberal toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage at or sent off to the insane asylum. At least in the Western countries, at that time, everyone was a Keynesian, a social democrat or a social-Christian democrat or some shade of Marxist.

The idea that the market should be allowed to make major social and political decisions; the idea that the State should voluntarily reduce its role in the economy, or that corporations should be given total freedom, that trade unions should be curbed and citizens given much less rather than more social protection--such ideas were utterly foreign to the spirit of the time. Even if someone actually agreed with these ideas, he or she would have hesitated to take such a position in public and would have had a hard time finding an audience.

And this change in government polices was achieved in classic Bolsheviks coup d'état way, when yoiu first create the Party of "professional neoliberal revolutionaries". Who then push for this change and "occupy" strategic places like economics departments at the universities, privately funded think tanks, MSM, and then subvert one or both major parties.  The crisis of "New Deal Capitalism" helped, but without network of think tanks and rich donors, the triumph of neoliberalism in the USA would have been impossible:

...one explanation for this triumph of neo-liberalism and the economic, political, social and ecological disasters that go with it is that neo-liberals have bought and paid for their own vicious and regressive "Great Transformation". They have understood, as progressives have not, that ideas have consequences. Starting from a tiny embryo at the University of Chicago with the philosopher-economist Friedrich von Hayek and his students like Milton Friedman at its nucleus, the neo-liberals and their funders have created a huge international network of foundations, institutes, research centers, publications, scholars, writers and public relations hacks to develop, package and push their ideas and doctrine relentlessly.

Most economists are acutely aware of the increasing role in economic life of financial markets, institutions and operations and the pursuit of prifits via excotic instruments such as derivatives (all this constituted  financialization). This dominant feature of neoliberalism has huge the re-distributional implications, huge effects on the US economy, international dimensions and monetary system, depth and longevity of financial crises and unapt policy responses to them.

They have built this highly efficient ideological cadre because they understand what the Italian Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci was talking about when he developed the concept of cultural hegemony. If you can occupy peoples' heads, their hearts and their hands will follow.

I do not have time to give you details here, but believe me, the ideological and promotional work of the right has been absolutely brilliant. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars, but the result has been worth every penny to them because they have made neo-liberalism seem as if it were the natural and normal condition of humankind. No matter how many disasters of all kinds the neo-liberal system has visibly created, no matter what financial crises it may engender, no matter how many losers and outcasts it may create, it is still made to seem inevitable, like an act of God, the only possible economic and social order available to us.  

Neoliberalism naturally leads to secular stagnation due to redistribution of wealth up. which undermines purchasing power of the 99%, or more correctly 99.9 of the population. In the USA this topic became hotly debated theme in establishment circles after Summers speech in 2013.  Unfortunately it was suppressed in Presidential campaign of 2016. Please note that Sanders speaks about Wall Street shenanigans, but not about ideology of neoliberalism.  No candidates tried to address this problem of "self-colonization" of the USA, which is probably crucial to "making America great again" instead of continued slide into what is called "banana republic" coined by American writer O. Henry (William Sydney Porter 1862–1910). Here is how Wikipedia described the term:

Banana republic or banana state is a pejorative political science term for politically unstable countries in Latin America whose economies are largely dependent on exporting a limited-resource product, e.g. bananas. It typically has stratified social classes, including a large, impoverished working class and a ruling plutocracy of business, political, and military elites.[1] This politico-economic oligarchy controls the primary-sector productions to exploit the country's economy.[2]

... ... ...

In economics, a banana republic is a country operated as a commercial enterprise for private profit, effected by a collusion between the State and favoured monopolies, in which the profit derived from the private exploitation of public lands is private property, while the debts incurred thereby are a public responsibility.

This topic is of great importance to the US elite because the USA is the citadel of  neoliberalism. It also suggest that the natural way neoliberal economic system based on increasing of the level of inequality (redistribution of wealth up) should behave: after the initial economic boom (like in case of steroids use) caused by  financialization of economy (as well as dissolution of the USSR), helped by off-shoring of manufacturing, the destructive effects of this temporary boost come into foreground. Redistribution of wealth up increases inequality which after a certain delay starts to undercuts domestic demand. It also tilts the demand more toward conspicuous consumption (note the boom of luxury cars sales in the USA).  

But after  inequality reaches certain critical threshold  the economy faces extended period of low growth reflecting persistently weak private demand (purchasing power of lower 90% of population).  People who mostly have low level service economy jobs (aka MC-jobs) can't buy that much.  Earlier giants of American capitalism like Ford understood that, but Wall Street sharks do not and does not want.  They operate under principle "Après nous le déluge" ("After us, the deluge").

An economic cycle enters recession when total spending falls below expected by producers and they realize that production level is too high relative to demand. What we have under neoliberalism is Marx's crisis of overproduction on a new level. At this level it is intrinsically connected with the parasitic nature of complete financialization of the economy. The focus on monetary policy and the failure to enact fiscal policy options is the key structural defect of neoliberalism ideology and can't be changed unless neoliberal ideology is abandoned. Which probably will not happen unless another huge crisis hits the USA. That might not happen soon.  Bolshevism lasted more then 70 years. If we assume that the "age of neoliberalism" started at 1973 with Pinochet coup d'état in Chile, neoliberalism as a social system is just 43 years old (as of 2016). It still has some "time to live"(TTL) in zombies state due to the principle first formulated by Margaret Thatcher as TINA ("There Is No Alternative") -- the main competitor, bolshevism, was discredited by the collapse of the USSR and China leadership adoption of neoliberalism. While Soviet leadership simply abandoned the sinking ship and became Nouveau riche in a neoliberal society that followed, Chinese elite managed to preserved at least outer framework of the Marxist state and the political control of the Communist party (not clear for how long). But there was a neoliberal transformation of Chinese economy, initiated, paradoxically, by the Chinese Communist Party.

Currently, no other ideology, including old "New Deal" ideology can  compete with neoliberal ideology, although things started to change with Sanders campaign in the USA on  the left and Trump campaign on the right. Most of what we see as a negative reaction to neoliberalism in Europe generally falls into the domain of cultural nationalism.    

The 2008 financial crisis, while discrediting neoliberalism as an ideology (in the same way as WWII discredited Bolshevism), was clearly not enough for the abandonment of this ideology. Actually neoliberalism proved to be remarkably resilient after this crisis. Some researchers claim that it entered "zombie state" and became more bloodthirsty and ruthless.

There is also religious overtones of neoliberalism which increase its longevity (similar to Trotskyism, and neoliberalism can be called "Trotskyism for rich"). So, from a small, unpopular sect with virtually no influence, neo-liberalism has become the major world religion with its dogmatic doctrine, its priesthood, its law-giving institutions and perhaps most important of all, its hell for heathen and sinners who dare to contest the revealed truth.  Like in most cults adherents became more fanatical believers after the prophecy did not materialized. The USA elite tried partially alleviate this problem by resorting to military Keynesianism as a supplementary strategy. But while military budget was raised to unprecedented levels, it can't reverse the tendency. Persistent high output gap is now a feature of the US economy, not a transitory state.

But there is another factor in play here: combination of peak (aka "plato" ;-) oil and established correlation of  the speed of economic growth and prices on fossil fuels and first of all on oil. Oil provides more than a third of the energy we use on the planet every day, more than any other energy source (How High Oil Prices Will Permanently Cap Economic Growth - Bloomberg). It is dominant fuel for transport and in this role it is very difficult to replace. 

That means that a substantial increase of price of oil acts as a fundamental limiting factor for economic growth. And "end of cheap oil" simply means that any increase of supply of oil to support growing population on the planet and economic growth now requires higher prices. Which naturally undermine economic growth, unless massive injection of currency are instituted. that probably was the factor that prevented slide of the US economy into the recession in 2009-2012.  Such a Catch-22.

Growth dampening potential of over $100-a-barrel oil is now a well established factor. Unfortunately, the reverse is not true. Drop of oil price to below $50 as happened in late 2014 and first half of 2015 did not increase growth rate of the USA economy. It might simply prevented it from sliding it into another phase of Great Recession. Moreover when  economies activity drops, less oil is needed.  Enter permanent stagnation.

Also there is not much oil left that can be profitably extracted at prices below $80. So the current oil price slump is a temporary phenomenon, whether it was engineered, or is a mixture of factors including temporary overcapacity . Sooner or later oil prices should return to level "above $80", as only at this level of oil price capital expenditures in new production make sense. That des not mean that oil prices can't be suppressed for another year or even two, but as Herbert Stein aptly noted   "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop,"

 The alien spaceship landing

Imagine the alien spaceship landed somewhere in the world. There would be denial, disbelief, fear, and great uncertainty for the future. World leaders would struggle to make sense of the events. The landing would change everything.

The secular stagnation (aka "end of permanent growth") is a very similar event.  This also is the event that has potential to change everything, but it is much more prolonged in time and due to this less visible ("boiling frog effect").  Also this is not a single event, but a long sequence of related events that probably might last several decades (as Japan had shown) or even centuries. The current "Great Recession" might be just a prolog to those events. It is clearly incompatible with capitalism as a mode of production, although capitalism as a social system demonstrated over the years tremendous adaptability and it is too early to write it down completely.  Also no clear alternatives exists. 

A very slow recovery and the secular stagnation is characteristic of economies suffering from a balance-sheet recession (aka crisis of overproduction), as forcefully argued by Nomura’s Richard Koo and other economists. The key point is that private investment is down, not because of “policy uncertainty” or “increased regulation”, but because business-sector expectations about future profitability have become dramatically depressed — and rationally so — in a context characterized by heavy indebtedness (of both households and corporations). As businesses see the demand falls they scale down production which creates negative feedback look and depresses demand further. 

The key point is that private investment is down, not because of “policy uncertainty” or “increased regulation”, but because business-sector expectations about future profitability have become dramatically depressed — and rationally so — in a context characterized by heavy indebtedness (of both households and corporations). As businesses see the demand falls they scale down production which creates negative feedback look and depresses demand further.   

Five  hypothesis about the roots of secular stagnation

There are at least five different hypothesis about the roots of secular stagnation:

Summers’s remarks and articles were followed by an explosion of debate concerning “secular stagnation”—a term commonly associated with Alvin Hansen’s work from the 1930s to ’50s, and frequently employed in Monthly Review to explain developments in the advanced economies from the 1970s to the early 2000s.2 Secular stagnation can be defined as the tendency to long-term (or secular) stagnation in the private accumulation process of the capitalist economy, manifested in rising unemployment and excess capacity and a slowdown in overall economic growth. It is often referred to simply as “stagnation.” There are numerous theories of secular stagnation but most mainstream theories hearken back to Hansen, who was Keynes’s leading early follower in the United States, and who derived the idea from various suggestions in Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936).

Responses to Summers have been all over the map, reflecting both the fact that the capitalist economy has been slowing down, and the role in denying it by many of those seeking to legitimate the system. Stanford economist John B. Taylor contributed a stalwart denial of secular stagnation in the Wall Street Journal. In contrast, Paul Krugman, who is closely aligned with Summers, endorsed secular stagnation on several occasions in the New York Times. Other notable economists such as Brad DeLong and Michael Spence soon weighed in with their own views.3

Three prominent economists have new books directly addressing the phenomena of secular stagnation.4 It has now been formally modelled by Brown University economists Gauti Eggertsson and Neil Mehrotra, while Thomas Piketty’s high-profile book bases its theoretical argument and policy recommendations on stagnation tendencies of capitalism. This explosion of interest in the Summers/Krugman version of stagnation has also resulted in a collection of articles and debate, edited by Coen Teulings and Richard Baldwin, entitled Secular Stagnation: Facts, Causes and Cures.5

Seven years after “The Great Financial Crisis” of 2007–2008, the recovery remains sluggish. It can be argued that the length and depth of the Great Financial Crisis is a rather ordinary cyclical crisis. However, the monetary and fiscal measures to combat it were extraordinary. This has resulted in a widespread sense that there will not be a return to “normal.” Summers/Krugman’s resurrection within the mainstream of Hansen’s concept of secular stagnation is an attempt to explain how extraordinary policy measures following the 2007–2008 crisis merely led to the stabilization of a lethargic, if not comatose, economy.

But what do these economists mean by secular stagnation? If stagnation is a reality, does their conception of it make current policy tools obsolete? And what is the relationship between the Summers/Krugman notion of secular stagnation and the monopoly-finance capital theory?

... ... ...

In “secular stagnation,” the term “secular” is intended to differentiate between the normal business cycle and long-term, chronic stagnation. A long-term slowdown in the economy over decades can be seen as superimposed on the regular business cycle, reflecting the trend rather than the cycle.

In the general language of economics, secular stagnation, or simply stagnation, thus implies that the long-run potential economic growth has fallen, constituting the first pillar of MISS. This has been most forcefully argued for by Robert Gordon, as well as Garry Kasparov and Peter Thiel.6 Their argument is that the cumulative growth effect of current (and future) technological changes will be far weaker than in the past. Moreover, demographic changes place limits on the development of “human capital.” The focus is on technology, which orthodox economics generally sees as a factor external to the economy and on the supply-side (i.e., in relation to cost). Gordon’s position is thus different than that of moderate Keynesians like Summers and Krugman, who focus on demand-side contradictions of the system.

In Gordon’s supply-side, technocratic view, there are forces at work that will limit the growth in productive input and the efficiency of these inputs. This pillar of MISS emphasizes that it is constraints on the aggregate supply-side of the economy that have diminished absolutely the long-run potential growth.

The second pillar of MISS, also a supply-side view, goes back at least to Joseph Schumpeter. To explain the massive slump of 1937, Schumpeter maintained there had emerged a growing anti-business climate. Moreover, he contended that the rise of the modern corporation had displaced the role of the entrepreneur; the anti-business spirit had a repressive effect on entrepreneurs’ confidence and optimism.7 Today, this second pillar of MISS has been resurrected suggestively by John B. Taylor, who argues the poor recovery is best “explained by policy uncertainty” and “increased regulation” that is unfavorable to business. Likewise, Baker, Bloom, and Davis have forcefully argued that political uncertainty can hold back private investment and economic growth.8

Summers and Krugman, as Keynesians, emphasize a third MISS pillar, derived from Keynes’s famous liquidity trap theory, which contends that the “full-employment real interest rate” has declined in recent years. Indeed, both Summers and Krugman demonstrate that real interest rates have declined over recent decades, therefore moving from an exogenous explanation (as in pillars one and two) to a more endogenous explanation of secular stagnation.9 The ultimate problem here is lack of investment demand, such that, in order for net investment to occur at all, interest rates have to be driven to near zero or below. Their strong argument is that there are now times when negative real interest rates are needed to equate saving and investment with full employment.

However, “interest rates are not fully flexible in modern economies”—in other words, market-determined interest rate adjustments chronically fail to achieve full employment. Summers contends there are financial forces that prohibit the real interest rate from becoming negative; hence, full employment cannot be realized.10

Some theorists contend that there has been demographic structural shifts increasing the supply of saving, thus decreasing interest rates. These shifts include an increase in life expectancy, a decrease in retirement age, and a decline in the growth rate of population.

Others, including Summers, point out that stagnation in capital formation (or accumulation) can be attributed to a decrease in the demand for loanable funds for investment. One mainstream explanation offered for this is that today’s new technologies and companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, require far less capital investment. Another hypothesis is that there has been an important decrease in the demand for loanable funds, although they argue this is due to a preference for safe assets. These factors can function together to keep the real interest rate very low. The policy implication of secular low interest rates is that monetary policy is more difficult to implement effectually; during a recession, it is weakened and can even become ineffectual.

Edward Glaeser, focusing on “secular joblessness,” places severe doubt on the first pillar of MISS, but then makes a very important additional argument. Glaeser rejects the notion that there has been a slowdown in technological innovation; innovation is simply “unrelenting.” Likewise, he is far less concerned with secular low real interest rates, which may be far more cyclical. “Therefore,” contends Glaeser, “stagnation is likely to be temporary.”

Nonetheless, Glaeser underscores secular joblessness, and thus the dysfunction of U.S. labor markets constitutes a fourth pillar of MISS: “The dysfunction in the labour market is real and serious, and seems unlikely to be solved by any obvious economic trend.” Somehow, then, the problem is due to a misfit of skills or “human capital” on the side of workers, who thus need retraining. “The massive secular trend in joblessness is a terrible social problem for the US, and one that the country must try to address” with targeted policy.11 Glaeser’s argument for the dysfunction of U.S. labor markets is based on recession-generated shocks to employment, specifically of less-skilled U.S. workers. After 1970, when workers lost their job, the damage to human capital became permanent. In short, when human capital depreciates due to unemployment, overall abilities and “talent” are “lost” permanently. This may be because the skills required in today’s economy need to be constantly practiced to be retained. Thus, there is a ratchet-like effect in joblessness caused by recessions, whereby recession-linked joblessness is not fully reversed during recoveries—and all this is related to skills (the human capital of the workers), and not to capital itself. According to Glaeser, the ratchet-like effect of recession-linked joblessness is further exacerbated by the U.S. social-safety net, which has “made joblessness less painful and increased the incentives to stay out of work.”12

Glaeser contends that, if his secular joblessness argument is correct, the macroeconomic fiscal interventions argued for by Summers and Krugman are off-base.13 Instead, the safety net should be redesigned in order to encourage rather than discourage people from working. Additionally, incentives to work need to be radically improved through targeted investments in education and workforce training.14 Such views within the mainstream debate, emphasizing exogenous factors, are generally promoted by freshwater (conservative) rather than saltwater (liberal) economists. Thus, they tend to emphasize supply-side or cost factors.

The fifth pillar of MISS contends that output and productivity growth are stagnant due to a failure to invest in infrastructure, education, and training. Nearly all versions of MISS subscribe to some version of this, although there are both conservative and liberal variations. Barry Eichengreen underscores this pillar and condemns recent U.S. fiscal developments that have “cut to the bone” federal government spending devoted to infrastructure, education, and training.

The fifth pillar of MISS necessarily reflects an imbalance between public and private investment spending. Many theorists maintain that the imbalance between public and private investment spending, hence secular stagnation, “is not inevitable.” For example, Eichengreen contends if “the US experiences secular stagnation, the condition will be self-inflicted. It will reflect the country’s failure to address its infrastructure, education and training needs. It will reflect its failure to…support aggregate demand in an effort to bring the long-term unemployed back into the labour market.”15

The sixth pillar of MISS argues that the “debt overhang” from the overleveraging of financial firms and households, as well as private and public indebtedness, are a serious drag on the economy. This position has been argued for most forcefully by several colleagues of Summers at Harvard, most notably Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.16 Atif Mian and Amir Sufi also argue that household indebtedness was the primary culprit causing the economic collapse of 2007–2008. Their policy recommendation is that the risk to mortgage borrowers must be reduced to avoid future calamities.17

As noted, the defenders of MISS do not necessarily support a compatibility between the above six pillars: those favored by conservatives are supply-side and exogenous in emphasis, while liberals tend towards demand-side and endogenous ones. Instead, most often these pillars are developed as competing theories to explain the warrant of some aspect of secular stagnation, and/or to defend particular policy positions while criticizing alternative policy positions. However, the concern here is not whether there is the possibility for a synthesis of mainstream views. Rather, the emphasis is on how partial and separate such explanations are, both individually and in combination.

Neoliberal economy actually needs bubbles to function

As Krugman said "We now know that the economic expansion of 2003-2007 was driven by a bubble. You can say the same about the latter part of the 90s expansion; and you can in fact say the same about the later years of the Reagan expansion, which was driven at that point by runaway thrift institutions and a large bubble in commercial real estate." In other words blowing bubbles is the fundamental way neoliberal economy functions, not an anomaly.

As much as the USA population is accustomed to hypocrisy of the ruling elite and is brainwashed by MSM, this news, delivered to them personally by the crisis of 2008 was too much for them not question the fundamentals (A Primer on Neoliberalism):

Of course, the irony that those same institutions would now themselves agree that those “anti-capitalist” regulations are required is of course barely noted. Such options now being considered are not anti-capitalist. However, they could be described as more regulatory or managed rather than completely free or laissez faire capitalism, which critics of regulation have often preferred.

But a regulatory capitalist economy is very different to a state-based command economy, the style of which the Soviet Union was known for. The points is that there are various forms of capitalism, not just the black-and-white capitalism and communism. And at the same time, the most extreme forms of capitalism can also lead to the bigger bubbles and the bigger busts.

In that context, the financial crisis, as severe as it was, led to key architects of the system admitting to flaws in key aspects of the ideology.

At the end of 2008, Alan Greenspan was summoned to the U.S. Congress to testify about the financial crisis. His tenure at the Federal Reserve had been long and lauded, and Congress wanted to know what had gone wrong. Henry Waxman questioned him:

[Greenspan’s flaw] warped his view about how the world was organized, about the sociology of the market. And Greenspan is not alone. Larry Summers, the president’s senior economic advisor, has had to come to terms with a similar error—his view that the market was inherently self-stabilizing has been “dealt a fatal blow.” Hank Paulson, Bush’s treasury secretary, has shrugged his shoulders with similar resignation. Even Jim Cramer from CNBC’s Mad Money admitted defeat: “The only guy who really called this right was Karl Marx.” One after the other, the celebrants of the free market are finding themselves, to use the language of the market, corrected.

Raj Patel, Flaw PDF formatted document, The Value of Nothing, (Picador, 2010), pp.4, 6-7

Now for the second time in history, the challenge is to save capitalism from itself

Now for the second time in history, the challenge is to save capitalism from itself: to recognize the great strengths of open, competitive markets while rejecting the extreme capitalism and unrestrained greed that have perverted so much of the global financial system in recent times. It took such a statesman as Franklin Delano Roosevelt to rebuild American capitalism after the Great Depression. New Deal policies allowed to rebuild postwar domestic demand, to engineer the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe and to set in place the Bretton Woods system to govern international economic engagement.

With the abolishment of those policies blowing of one bubble after another, each followed by a financial crisis  became standard chain of the events. Since 1973 we already have a half-dozen bubbles following by economic crisis. It started with  Savings and loan crisis which partially was caused by the deregulation of S&Ls in 1980, by the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act signed by President Jimmy Carter on March 31, 1980, an important step is a series that eliminated regulations initially designed to prevent lending excesses and minimize failures.

To hide this unpleasant fact neoliberals resort to so called the Great Neoliberal Lie:

What is neoliberalism

The fallacious and utterly misleading argument that the global economic crisis (credit crunch) was caused by excessive state spending, rather than by the reckless gambling of the deregulated, neoliberalized financial sector.

Just as with other pseudo-scientific theories and fundamentalist ideologies, the excuse that "we just weren't fundamentalist enough last time" is always there. The neoliberal pushers of the establishment know that pure free-market economies are as much of an absurd fairytale as 100% pure communist economies, however they keep pushing for further privatizations, tax cuts for the rich, wage repression for the ordinary, and reckless financial sector deregulations precisely because they are the direct beneficiaries of these policies. Take the constantly widening wealth gap in the UK throughout three decades of neoliberal policy. The minority of beneficiaries from this ever widening wealth gap are the business classes, financial sector workers, the mainstream media elite and the political classes. It is no wonder at all that these people think neoliberalism is a successful ideology. Within their bubbles of wealth and privilege it has been. To everyone else it has been an absolute disaster.

Returning to a point I raised earlier in the article; one of the main problems with the concept of "neoliberalism" is the nebulousness of the definition. It is like a form of libertarianism, however it completely neglects the fundamental libertarian idea of non-aggression. In fact, it is so closely related to that other (highly aggressive) US born political ideology of Neo-Conservatism that many people get the two concepts muddled up. A true libertarian would never approve of vast taxpayer funded military budgets, the waging of imperialist wars of aggression nor the wanton destruction of the environment in pursuit of profit.

Another concept that is closely related to neoliberalism is the ideology of minarchism (small stateism), however the neoliberal brigade seem perfectly happy to ignore the small-state ideology when it suits their personal interests. Take the vast banker bailouts (the biggest state subsidies in human history) that were needed to save the neoliberalised global financial sector from the consequences of their own reckless gambling, the exponential growth of the parasitic corporate outsourcing sector (corporations that make virtually 100% of their turnover from the state) and the ludicrous housing subsidies (such as "Help to Buy and Housing Benefits) that have fueled the reinflation of yet another property Ponzi bubble.

The Godfather of neoliberalism was Milton Friedman. He made the case that illegal drugs should be legalised in order to create a free-market drug trade, which is one of the very few things I agreed with him about. However this is politically inconvenient (because the illegal drug market is a vital source of financial sector liquidity) so unlike so many of his neoliberal ideas that have consistently failed, yet remain incredibly popular with the wealthy elite, Friedman's libertarian drug legalisation proposals have never even been tried out.

The fact that neoliberals are so often prepared to ignore the fundamental principles of libertarianism (the non-aggression principle, drug legalisation, individual freedoms, the right to peaceful protest ...) and abuse the fundamental principles of small state minarchism (vast taxpayer funded bailouts for their financial sector friends, £billions in taxpayer funded outsourcing contracts, alcohol price fixing schemes) demonstrate that neoliberalism is actually more like Ayn Rand's barmy (greed is the only virtue, all other "virtues" are aberrations) pseudo-philosophical ideology of objectivism  than a set of formal economic theories.

The result of neoliberal economic theories has been proven time and again. Countries that embrace the neoliberal pseudo-economic ideology end up with "crony capitalism", where the poor and ordinary suffer "austerity", wage repression, revocation of labor rights and the right to protest, whilst a tiny cabal of corporate interests and establishment insiders enrich themselves via anti-competitive practices, outright criminality and corruption and vast socialism-for-the-rich schemes.

Neoliberal fanatics in powerful positions have demonstrated time and again that they will willingly ditch their right-wing libertarian and minarchist "principles" if those principles happen to conflict with their own personal self-interest. Neoliberalism is less of a formal set of economic theories than an error strewn obfuscation narrative to promote the economic interests, and  justify the personal greed of the wealthy, self-serving establishment elite.
 

Bubbles as the neoliberal tool for wealth redistribution

The 1930s, a well researched period of balance-sheet recession, provides some interesting perspective despite large historical distance.  Roosevelt was no socialist, but his New Deal did frighten many businesses, especially large business which BTW attempted a coupe to remove him from is position. Fortunately for Roosevelt CIA did not exist yet.  And New Deal  government projects has been much bigger and bolder, then anything Obama ever tried, because Obama administration was constrained in its action by dominant neoliberal thinking. Like regulatory capture, which is an immanent feature of neoliberalism,  there is also less known and less visible ideological capture of the government. Which also makes neoliberalism more similar to bolshevism as this ideological capture and related inability of the USSR elite to modernize the economy on some "mixed" principles, when over-centralization stopped working. It, along with the collapse of the ideology,  probably was one of the main reasons of the collapse of the USSR.  Chinese leadership managed to do this and introduced "new economic policies"(NEP). 

Uner New deal regime when public investment and hence aggregate demand expanded, the economy started to grow anyway. Roosevelt did have a vision and he did convince the electorate about the way to go. Cheap optimism of Reagan, or even audacity of hope "Obama style" were not enough. After all, as Francis Bacon may remind us: “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper” (Apophthegms, 1624).

Obama/Bernanke-style attempts to stimulate growth by pure injection of cheap money in this environment not only inflate new bubbles instead of old one, with which the fighting starts. They also lead to massive redistribution of wealth that makes the problem even worse:

Paul Krugman tells us that Larry Summers joined the camp concerned about secular stagnation in his I.M.F. talk last week, something that I had not picked up from prior coverage of the session. This is good news, but I would qualify a few of the points that Krugman makes in his elaboration of Summers' remarks.

First, while the economy may presently need asset bubbles to maintain full employment (a point I made in Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy), it doesn't follow that we should not be concerned about asset bubbles. The problem with bubbles is that their inflation and inevitable deflation lead to massive redistribution of wealth.

Larry Summers was the first establishment economist who conceded that this is the fact (Wikipedia)

... Larry Summers presented his view during November 2013 that secular (long-term) stagnation may be a reason that U.S. growth is insufficient to reach full employment: "Suppose then that the short term real interest rate that was consistent with full employment [i.e., the "natural rate"] had fallen to negative two or negative three percent. Even with artificial stimulus to demand you wouldn't see any excess demand. Even with a resumption in normal credit conditions you would have a lot of difficulty getting back to full employment."[13][14]

Robert J. Gordon wrote in August 2012:

"Even if innovation were to continue into the future at the rate of the two decades before 2007, the U.S. faces six headwinds that are in the process of dragging long-term growth to half or less of the 1.9 percent annual rate experienced between 1860 and 2007. These include demography, education, inequality, globalization, energy/environment, and the overhang of consumer and government debt. A provocative 'exercise in subtraction' suggests that future growth in consumption per capita for the bottom 99 percent of the income distribution could fall below 0.5 percent per year for an extended period of decades".[15]

One hypothesis is that high levels of productivity greater than the economic growth rate are creating economic slack, in which fewer workers are required to meet the demand for goods and services. Firms have less incentive to invest and instead prefer to hold cash. Journalist Marco Nappolini wrote in November 2013:

 "If the expected return on investment over the short term is presumed to be lower than the cost of holding cash then even pushing interest rates to zero will have little effect. That is, if you cannot push real interest rates below the so-called short run natural rate [i.e., the rate of interest required to achieve the growth rate necessary to achieve full employment] you will struggle to bring forward future consumption, blunting the short run effectiveness of monetary policy...Moreover, if you fail to bring it below the long run natural rate there is a strong disincentive to increase fixed capital investment and a consequent preference to hold cash or cash-like instruments in an attempt to mitigate risk. This could cause longer-term hysteresis effects and reduce an economy's potential output."[13] 

Cost of energy as a defining new factor

The cost of energy is probably another reason of secular stagnation along with excessive public and private debt. Rising cost of energy is deadly for capitalism.  Here are some comments that might clarify the situation:

raskolnikov:

This is the biggest crybaby column Krugman's ever written. He should be ashamed of himself and return his Nobel prize immediately. Has he ever put down Keynes long enough to read a little Marx?  Here's Robert Brenner summing it up in 2009:

 What mainly accounts for the long-term weakening of the real economy is a deep, and lasting, decline of the rate of return on capital investment since the end of the 1960s.

The failure of the rate of profit to recover is all the more remarkable, in view of the huge drop-off in the growth of real wages over the period.

The main cause, though not the only cause, of the decline in the rate of profit has been a persistent tendency to overcapacity in global manufacturing industries."

 There's more, too. Instead of siding with crackpot Summers, Krugman should expand his research and be of some use to us all.

Kievite

I am not sure that it is correct to think about public debt as internal debt. It's all about energy.

That means that public debt is to a large extent foreign due to unalterable oil consumption (and related trade deficits). And that completely changes the situation unless you are the owner of the world reserve currency.

But even in the latter case (exorbitant privilege as Valéry Giscard d'Estaing called it ) you can expect attacks on the status of the currency as world reserve currency. The growth is still supported via militarization, forced opening of foreign markets (with military force, if necessary) and conversion of the state into national security state. But as Napoleon admitted "You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them"

One positive thing about high public (and to a large extent foreign owned) debt in the USA is that it undermines what Bacevich called "new American militarism" (http://www.amazon.com/The-New-American-Militarism-Americans/dp/0195173384). Bacevich argues that this is distinct political course adopted by the "defense intellectuals," the evangelicals, and the neocons. And they will never regret their failed efforts such as Iraq invasion.

From Amazon review:

=== Quote ===

Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.

=== End of Quote ==

Heinberg's Five Axioms of Sustainability

As Heinberg explained fossil fuels, primarily oil, permeate every aspect of our modern culture - from agriculture to cities and a long-term perspective. In the age of almost 7 billion people demanding more and more of limited resources, the media, politicians and governments tend to only report short-term perspectives and ignore Heinberg's Five Axioms of Sustainability to the extent that these concepts are taboo to be spoken, discussed or thought (Heinberg, Richard (2007) Five Axioms of Sustainability):

1. (Tainter’s Axiom): Any society that continues to use critical resources unsustainably will collapse.

Exception: A society can avoid collapse by finding replacement resources.

Limit to the exception: In a finite world, the number of possible replacements is also finite.

...

2. (Bartlett’s Axiom): Population growth and/or growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained.

...

3. To be sustainable, the use of renewable resources must proceed at a rate that is less than or equal to the rate of natural replenishment.

...

4. To be sustainable, the use of non-renewable resources must proceed at a rate that is declining, and the rate of decline must be greater than or equal to the rate of depletion.

The rate of depletion is defined as the amount being extracted and used during a specified time interval (usually a year) as a percentage of the amount left to extract.

...

5. Sustainability requires that substances introduced into the environment from human activities be minimized and rendered harmless to biosphere functions.

In cases where pollution from the extraction and consumption of non-renewable resources that has proceeded at expanding rates for some time threatens the viability of ecosystems, reduction in the rates of extraction and consumption of those resources may need to occur at a rate greater than the rate of depletion. 

Archaeologist Joseph Tainter, in his classic study The Collapse of Complex Societies (1988), demonstrated that collapse is a frequent if not universal fate of complex societies and argued that collapse results from declining returns on efforts to support growing levels of societal complexity using energy harvested from the environment.  Jared Diamond’s popular book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005) similarly  makes the argument that collapse is the common destiny of societies that ignore resourse constraints. This axiom defines sustainability by the consequences of its absence—that is, collapse.

Historical periods of stagnation in the United States

Adapted from Wikipedia

Excluding the current, there were two period of stagnation in the USA history:

Construction of structures, residential, commercial and industrial, fell off dramatically during the depression, but housing was well on its way to recovering by the late 1930s.[17]

The depression years were the period of the highest total factor productivity growth in the United States, primarily to the building of roads and bridges, abandonment of unneeded railroad track and reduction in railroad employment, expansion of electric utilities and improvements wholesale and retail distribution.[17]

The war created pent up demand for many items as factories that once produced automobiles and other machinery converted to production of tanks, guns, military vehicles and supplies. Tires had been rationed due to shortages of natural rubber; however, the U.S. government built synthetic rubber plants. The U.S. government also built synthetic ammonia plants, aluminum smelters, aviation fuel refineries and aircraft engine factories during the war.[17] After the war commercial aviation, plastics and synthetic rubber would become major industries and synthetic ammonia was used for fertilizer. The end of armaments production free up hundreds of thousands of machine tools, which were made available for other industries. They were needed in the rapidly growing aircraft manufacturing industry.[18]

The memory of war created a need for preparedness in the United States. This resulted in constant spending for defense programs, creating what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex.

U.S. birth rates began to recover by the time of World War II, and turned into the baby boom of the postwar decades. A building boom commenced in the years following the war. Suburbs began a rapid expansion and automobile ownership increased.[17]

High-yielding crops and chemical fertilizers dramatically increased crop yields and greatly lowered the cost of food, giving consumers more discretionary income. Railroad locomotives switched from steam to diesel power, with a large increase in fuel efficiency. Most importantly, cheap food essentially eliminated malnutrition in countries like the United States and much of Europe.

Many trends that began before the war continued:

Researchers who contributed to understating secular stagnation

One of the first researchers who clearly attributed secular stagnation problem to neoliberalism was Alan Nasser, Professor Emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. In his September 22, 2005 paper  ECONOMIC LAWS, STRUCTURAL TENDENCIES, SECULAR STAGNATION THEORY, AND THE FATE OF NEOLIBERALISM  he pointed out the key features of secular stagnation long before Summers started to understand the problem  and even befor the economic crash of 2008 ;-)

September 22, 2005 | alannasser.org

Alan Nasser Invited presentation, University of Lille,

"We have now grown used to the idea that most ordinary or natural growth processes (the growth of organisms, or popu- lations of organisms or, for example, of cities) is not merely limited, but self-limited, i.e. is slowed down or eventually brought to a standstill as a consequence of the act of growth itself. For one reason or another, but always for some reason, organisms cannot grow indefinitely, just as beyond a certain level of size or density a population defeats its own capacity for further growth."

Sir Peter Medawar, The Revolution of Hope

"A business firm grows and attains great strength, and afterwards perhaps stagnates and decays; and at the turning point there is a balancing or equilibrium of the forces of life and decay. And as we reach to the higher stages of our work, we shall need ever more and more to think of economic forces as those which make a young man grow in strength until he reaches his prime; after which he gradually becomes stiff and inactive, till at last he sinks to make room for other and more vigorous life."

Alfred Marshall, Principals of Economics (1890)

"Though Keynes's 'breakdown theory is quite different from Marx's, it has an important feature in common with the latter: in both theories, the breakdown is motivated by causes inherent to the working of the economic engine, not by the action of factors external to it."

Joseph Schumpeter, Ten Great Economists

In this paper I shall address two major issues. Firstly, I shall discuss the implications for economic theory of a conception of economic laws widely at variance with the empiricist and/or positivist account of what laws are, how they are discovered, and how they are related to theory. At the same time, I will reject one cornerstone of anti-positivist thought, namely the idea that one cannot provide an account of laws that is fundamentally the same for the natural and the social sciences. Thus, I shall argue that an anti-positivist account of laws is entirely compatible with a conception of scientific laws that applies to both the "hard" (natural) and the "soft" (social) sciences. I shall defend this position by showing its application to economics and economic laws. In doing so, I will compare and contrast both natural-scientific (primarily physical) laws and social-scientific (primarily economic) laws. Secondly, I will argue that perhaps the most significant economic law descriptive of mature capitalism is the law of secular stagnation. The latter states that it is the natural tendency of a developed, industrialized capitalist economy to default to a state of chronic excess capacity and underconsumption. And this is itself a result of the tendency in advanced capitalism for the economic surplus (roughly, the difference between the Gross Domectic Product and the cost of producing the GDP) to grow at a rate more rapid than the growth of profitable industrial investment opportunities. In the course of my discussion I will use the United States as a paradigm case, Much as Marx attempted to identify the underlying features of the accumulation process by reference to England during the Industrial Revulution.

This has in fact been the state of global capital since the end of the "Golden Age" and the commencement of the age of globalized Reaganism/Thatcherism, i.e. the Age of Neoliberalism. I date the transition as commencing in 1973, the last year of post-War Keynesian growth rates in the USA. In fact, I will argue, neoliberal economic policy exacerbates capitalism'a tendency to stagnation. Let me begin with an account of economic laws.

LAWS, GENERATIVE MECHANISMS AND TENDENCIES

On the Humean or radical empiricist (positivist) account of laws, the latter are descriptions of observed regularities. Presumably, the scientist observes a "constant conjunction" of different kinds of happening, and infers from the regularity of the conjunction that the latter could not be merely accidental, and so concludes that the observed pattern of regularities must be nomological or law-like. 'Sodium chloride dissolves in water' and 'Metal expands when heated' would be simple examples of the results of this account of how laws of nature are discovered.

That this empiricist account is flawed becomes evident when we consider full-fledged laws of a genuine natural science, e.g. physics. I emphasize that laws are components of theories, which themselves are constitutive of established scientific disciplines, such as physics, chemistry, and biology. In fact, the two "laws" mentioned at the end of the preceding paragraph are not laws of physics at all. Among the genuine laws of physics is, e.g., 'Falling bodies near the surface of the earth accelerate at a constant rate.' This law is certainly not established by the observation of repeated conjunctions of events. On the contrary, actually observed falling bodies in "open systems", that is, in the circumstances of everyday life, conspicuously fail to conform to this law. Yet this is not taken to refute the law. For the law describes the behavior of bodies in a vacuum, that is to say, in a "closed system", one created by the scientist, typically in a laboratory situation. Philosophers of science have tended to ignore the distinction between regularities observed only in closed systems, and conjunctions observed in everyday life, which, as such, have no value as contributions to scientific knowledge. These philosophers have, accordingly, written as if the regularities in question were features of open systems, of nature. This confusion impedes our understanding of all types of laws, from physical to economic.

This failure –until relatively recently- of philosophers of science to properly attend to the importance of laboratory work in the acquisition of scientific knowledge is due to the fact that these philosophers have focused almost exclusively on science as established theory, i.e. as a way of representing the world. They had ignored how these theories were actually established. That is, they paid little attention to experiment, which is a way of intervening in the world. This inattention to what happens in closed systems created in the laboratory led thinkers to miss the importance of the concept of tendencies or dispositions in grasping the concept of a law of science. Let us dwell on this point and its relation to economic laws.

It is not that our knowledge of natural laws is not based on observed regularities. The point, rather, is that these regularities are not found in nature. They are found in closed systems, elaborately designed experimental circumstances found in laboratories. Yet, we correctly believe that what we learn in experimental situations gives us knowledge that is not confined to these situations. We believe that what we learn from observations of repeated patterns in experiments gives us not only knowledge of the behavior of objects in laboratory circumstances, but also knowledge of these same (kinds of) objects as they behave in nature, in the open systems of everyday life. But scientifically significant repeated patterns are not found in the world of daily life. This raises profound epistemological and ontological questions.

The most significant epistemological question arises from the following consideration: Were it not for the intervention of the experimenter, closed-system regularities would not obtain. Hence, the experimenter is a causal agent of the pattern of regularities observed in the laboratory. It is these contrived conjunctions which we invoke to justify our belief in (usually causal) laws. And while these regularities are the (partial) result of the intervention of the experimenter, we do not believe that the experimenter in any way originates the laws whose existence is attested to by the contrived regularities. The question therefore arises: What justifies our (correct) belief that knowledge obtained in closed laboratory systems designed by an agent applies also in open systems, i.e. in nature, which of course is not designed by scientists and does not evidence the regularities found under designed experimental circumstances?

I want to suggest that this question comes to the same as the following question: What must nature be like, and what must experiment reveal, in order for experimental knowledge to be able to be legitimately extended to the world outside of the laboratory, i.e. to nature? Note that this is a Realist question: it asks what we must presuppose about the constitution of the world in order that our experimentally-based scientific beliefs be justified. This is the precise Realist counterpart to Kant's Idealist question: What must we presoppose our minds –as opposed to nature or the world- to be like in order for scientific knowledge to be possible? I will argue that the answer to our Realist question provides the conceptual resources to elucidate the general nature of economic laws and economic theory, and the nature of the subject matter investigated by economists.

I will argue that since we believe that what we learn by experimental observation justifies our claim to knowledge of the experimental objects as they behave in nature, we must assume that these objects possess natural structures, similar to what Aristotle and the scholastics called "natures" or "essences." A natural structure must be conceived as what Critical Realists call a generative mechanism (hereafter, GM). The latter is a specific mode of material organization. What GMs generate are tendencies or dispositions to behave in characteristic ways. The statement that a physical thing or a social institution or structure tends to generate characteristic regularities is a statement of a law. The natural structure of salt, expressed in chemistry as HCl, is such that when it is mixed with water, whose natural structure or organization is expressed as H2O, it tends to dissolve. Gases tend to expand when heated and falling bodies near the surface of the earth tend to accelerate at a constant rate. These are statements of chemical and physical laws. We shall see that precisely the same kind of analysis can be made of laws in economics.

Tendencies are not the same as trends. The latter are merely observed regularities; there need be no implication that an underlying structural feature of the thing in question generates the regularity. This feature of laws is reflected in ordinary language in non-scientific contexts: we might say "He has a tendency to exaggerate." We mean that a disposition to exaggerate is a natural expression of his underlying character. We do not usually mean that he exaggerates whenever it is possible for him to exaggerate. This is part of the meaning of 'tendency.' Thus, tendencies can exist without being exercised. This happens when, e.g. salt is not mixed with water. Salt's nomological tendency to dissolve in water remains its categorical property even in the absence of circumstances in which its tendency to dissolve can be exercised. In addition, tendencies can be exercised without being realized. This is the case in the natural sciences when we observe, in non-laboratory situations, falling bodies accelerating at different rates. Indeed, no falling body in open systems is observed to accelerate at a constant or the same rate. But of course this is not taken to falsify the law of falling bodies. In nature, GMs continue to act in their characteristic ways without producing the patterned outcomes observable in closed experimental systems. This is so because in nature a multiplicity of GMs combine, interact and collide such as to result in the (scientifically irrelevant) flux of phenomena of the everyday world. The realization of a natural tendency can, in other words, be offset by counteracting forces. Thus, empiricism's mistake is to fail to recognize that GMs operate independent of the effects they generate. That is, GMs endure and go on acting (in the way that experimental closure enables us to identify) in nature, i.e. in open systems, where patterned regularities do not prevail. Statements about tendencies are not equivalent, salva veritate, to statements about their effects. Laws may exist and exercise their tendencies or powers even though no Humean "constant conjunctions" are observed. (This would be the case if it happened that the practice of creating closed experimental conditions had never been engaged in, i.e. in a world without science.)

LAWS, GENERATIVE MECHANISMS AND TENDENCIES IN ECONOMICS

GMs are not confined to the natural world. Natural structures are not the only structures there are. Plainly, there are humanely constructed structures. Capitalism is one such structure. Structures of this kind, GMs, that are dynamic by nature, i.e. which are characteristically diachronic, be they natural or socially constituted, share the same ontology. This should not be confused with the radical empiricist (positivist) claim that the natural and the social sciences share the same method. Clearly they do not: closed experimental situations exist but are not typical i istic outcomes ceteris paribus, ie. other things being equal, i.e. ceteris absentibus, other things being absent. When we identify the tendency of a thing, we specify what will happen, as a matter of course, if interfering conditions are absent. That is the point of vacuums in the closed systems created in laboratory experiments: they permit exercised tendencies, i.e. tendencies in operation, to be realized. If we want to know what gases tend to do when acted upon by heat, we eliminate all potential counteracting forces by creating a vacuum in the chamber, so that both gas and heat can express their natures unimpeded.

Thus, implicit in both physical- and social-scientific practice is the crucial distinction between the exercise and the realization (or manifestation) of a tendency. This distinction is essential to structural analysis in economics because of the impossibility of creating the social equivalent of a vacuum in the social sciences, which deal with the open systems of everyday life, where a great many forces and tendencies collide. Accordingly, just as the law of the tendency of falling bodies to accelerate at a constant rate is not falsified by the failure of falling bodies to behave accordingly in open systems, so too, e.g., the law of the tendency of the growth of productive capacity to outpace the growth of profitable investment opportunities -the thesis of secular stagnation theory- is not undermined by the remarkable growth rates of the Golden Age. In both cases, the presence of offsetting factors prevents the structurally generated tendency from being realized or manifested. I argue that the same can be said for any putative economic law.

In social science –and this is most conspicuous in economics, the most theoretically developed of the human sciences- we compensate for the absence of experimentally closed systems by constructing their functional equivalent, which we might call, in terms redolent of Weber, an ideal-typical theoretical model. It is an unfortunate habit (perhaps a tendency in the above-elaborated sense…) of mainstream economists to employ these models as if they described the open-system observable facts of economic life. This is, I suspect, a consequence of the economic empiricist's mistake referred to above, namely to think that GMs, if they must be spoken of at all, are to be conceived as reducible to their effects. (Recall Hume's claim, inspired by his reading of Newton, to expunge all notions of "power", "generation" and "production" from his analyses.) But, as noted above, GMs in both the social and the natural sciences employ unrealistic models, i.e. models which do not pretend to offer the equivalent of a photographic representation of the world. In both natural-scientific experiments and social-scientific ideal-type models, an attempt is made to abstract from the nonessential. We seek to place the spotlight of theory on what is necessary to the situation, system or institution under investigation, and to prescind from the arbitrary and accidental. In economics we seek to identify those features of capitalism that make it what it is. This enables us to identify capitalism's distinct and characteristic tendencies, and to describe what will happen as a result of the exercise of these tendencies, ceteris absentibus.

That there are such tendencies seems to me to be uncontroversial. We all know, for example, that cyclical downturns are not mere empirical contingencies of capitalist development, but structurally generated tendencies which follow inexorably from the specific mode of organization (structure) of capitalism. And like all tendencies, their realization can be offset, as we have seen above, by counteracting factors, such as fiscal and monetary policy. Other examples would be what Marx called the tendencies of capital to concentrate and centralize. The tendency, and corresponding law, with which I will be primarily concerned in this paper is constitutive of the theory of secular stagnation, and is far more likely than the immediately foregoing examples to generate controversy. I refer to the tendency of mature capitalism to suffer from a chronic paucity of profitable industrial investment opportunities, relative to the great magnitude of its investable surplus. Let us look more closely at this tendency.

THE THEORY OF SECULAR STAGNATION

It is worth mentioning that the view that the continuous accumulation of capital is both essential to the normal development of capitalist societies and essentially self-limiting was held by virtually all of the major modern political economists, in the form of one version or another of the doctrine of the falling rate of profit. Adam Smith explained the secular decline of the profit rate by the increasing abundance of capital in a developing capitalist society. Ricardo and Mill believed that the rate of profit would be depressed by the diminishing productivity of the land which would drive up the price of wage goods and therefore of the wages of labor, and so drive down the profits of capital. Marx pointed to the increasing capital-intensity of industry and the paucity of working-class purchasing power relative to the productive capacity of the economy, as the principal threat to the profit rate. And Keynes held that in mature capitalist economies the "marginal efficiency of capital", i.e. the expected rate of return (over cost) on an additional unit of a given capital asset, would tend to decline. All these thinkers had an at least intuitive appreciation of the fact that the growth of capital tends to be terminally self-limiting. (It is worth citing a remark of Joseph Shumpeter at this point:

"Though Keynes's 'breakdown theory is quite different from Marx's, it has an important feature in common with the latter: in both theories, the breakdown is motivated by causes inherent to the working of the economic engine, not by the action of factors external to it.")

In my estimation, no one understood the underlying dynamics of the tendency to stagnation better than the Polish economist Michal Kalecki, who is known to have developed the essentials of Keynes's General Theory before Keynes himself (and to have produced far more elegant mathematical formulations thereof). Perhaps the best way to understand Kalecki's thought is to see him as having argued that certain features of a not-yet-mature industrializing economy persist after the process of industrialization has been accomplished, with the effect that the developed capitalist economy is saddled with a problem of chronic excess capacity. Let me sketch this train of thought.

In the course of their natural growth capitalist economies reach a level of industrial development characterizable as maturity, a point beyond which growth must either cease, or be sustained by exogenous (in a sense to be elucidated below) means. Straight away we are confronted with a rejection of an assumption that is implicit in mainstream neoclassical theory, viz. that both the supply and the demand curves shift, virtually automatically, to the right. On the stagnationist conceptualization of growth or development, the process of development is not everlasting, but rather is at some point accomplished. There is the period, industrialization, during which the economy is developing, and which culminates in a (finally) industrialized or developed infrastructure. At this stage there will have been built up, or "accumulated", a complement of plant and equipment in steel production, machine tools, power stations, transport systems, etc., that is capable of satisfying a level of consumption demand consistent with the moral limits of a reasonably civilized style of life, the constraints imposed by a finite fund of natural resources, and, most importantly for stagnation theory, the limited possibilities of what Marx called "expanded reproduction" imposed by the accumulation process itself.

This account point can be expanded as follows. During any period of industrialization, the growth of the capital goods industry (hereafter, following Marx, Department I, or DI) must outpace the growth of the consumption goods industries (hereafter, again following Marx, Department II, or DII). Indeed, it belongs to the nature of the process of industrialization that the demand for the output of DI cannot be a function of the behavior of consumption demand; during industrialization, investment demand is both rapid and relatively autonomous. For if the principal project is to develop the means of production, then a disproportionate share of national wealth must be devoted to investment/accumulation at the expense of consumption. Strategic capital goods such as transport and communications networks and steel mills cannot be built bit by bit. This is clear with respect to railroads (Recall Keynes's remark that "Two pyramids are better than one, and two masses for the dead better than one; but two railroads from London to York are not necessarily better than one."), but perhaps not as clear with respect to steel facilities.

Suppose 1) that the efficient production of steel requires equipment with the capacity to produce 200,000 tons of steel, and 2) that demand turns out to be for 300,000 tons. The investor has two alternatives, either to forgo an extra market or to take a chance and add another 200.000 tons. On the second alternative, the one virtually assured in a period of (rapid) industrialization, the manufacturer is left with a surplus capacity of 100,000 tons. Here we see, writ small, a crucial source of two basic tendencies of capitalist development, the unrelenting pressure to expand markets, and the tendency to overproduction of a specific kind, namely the overproduction of capital goods, the tendency to overaccumulation. Each of these tendencies is the basis of a corresponding law of economics: Wherever we find a competitive, profit-driven market economy, we must also find a system-driven tendency to expand markets, and: Wherever we find a competitive, profit-driven market economy, we must also find a system-driven tendency for the growth of productive capacity to outpace the growth of effective demand.

As we have seen, all the major classical political economists anticipated the stationary state; they all assumed that the period of development or industrialization would come to an end. Basic industries would be in place, and DI would be capable of meeting all the replacement and expansion demands of DII. Prescinding for the moment from the emergence of new industries, DI would no longer be a source of substantial expansion demand for its own output; most of DI's internal expansion demand would be extinct.

But this is not th hread of classical (and perhaps neoclassical) theory contains the assurance that the capitalist economy provides a mechanism that in the long run counteracts the tendency of the demand for the products of DI to peter out. As one might expect, this is the price mechanism, which brings about, in the circumstances described above, a falling rate of profit (or interest) and thereby a simultaneous check on accumulation and spur to consumption. The causal chain is simple: the fall of the profit rate would lower capital's share of national income, i.e. it would transfer income from capital to labor. Thus, the demand gap created by the sharp waning of DI's expansion demand would be made up by the increase in consumption demand, which would of course mean an expansion in the demand for the output of DII. Moreover, an immediate expansion of DII at the expense of DI in order to assure a rapid transition out of the stationary state would be entirely feasible given the adaptability of certain key industries in DI to new market conditions resulting from the newly-expanded purchasing power of the working class. The construction of new factories could, for example, yield to the construction of new homes.

The theoretical elegance of this scenario is impressive -almost inspirational- but, alas for illusions, the price mechanism does not work this way. For the above-mentioned transfer in national income from capital to labor is supposed to happen when industrialization comes to an end by virtue of its having been accomplished. But from the capitalists' perspective, it is as if nothing counts as industrialization coming to an end. New industries, for example, can create a situation functionally equivalent to industrialization. "Accumulate, accumulate, that is Moses and the prophets."

We have at this point arrived at a picture of a developed capitalist economy which is in a state of permanent industrialization. Excess capacity prevails and working-class income is stagnant or declining. Interestingly, this has in fact been the state of both the U.S. and the global economy since 1973. According to the foregoing analysis, this reflects the fact that the U.S. and global economies are now instances not merely of the exercise of the law of the tendency of mature capitalism to stagnate, but of its realization. To put it differently: these economies are now in their natural state.

But important questions immediately arise. Why are these economies in their natural state now? And if there is a structurally generated tendency for capitalist economies to stagnate, how shall we account for the historically unprecedented growth rates of the Golden Age? I have barely sketched an outline of a response to these challenges above: if there is indeed a tendency for capitalism to stagnate, then there must have been in operation during the Golden Age what I called "counteracting forces and tendencies" which had spent themselves by the mid-1970s. In the absence of new offsetting forces, the tendency to stagnate has, as we should expect, re-asserted itself. These claims require further elaboration, and it is to this task that I now turn.

SECULAR STAGNATION AND TRANSFORMATIONAL GROWTH

In order to account for the actual pattern of capitalist growth in the context of stagnation theory, we must reflect on the kind of growth required by capitalist economic arrangements. Mainstream theory does not distinguish between kinds of growth if and when it addresses the specific requirements of capitalist growth at all. This is, I believe, a serious error. I will begin by introducing the notion of transformational growth, which transforms the entire way of life of society and absorbs exceptionally large amounts of the investible surplus. My point shall be that a capitalist economy cannot sustain growth merely by producing more and more different types of widgets, in the absence of pervasive structural change. Growth sustained in the latter manner is transformational growth.

We are forced to introduce the concept of transformational growth for reasons related to my earlier discussion of the structural features of mature capitalism which generates a chronic tendency to stagnation. I will now embellish this analysis. It should be clear that capitalism cannot grow in the way in which a balloon grows: its growth cannot leave its proportions intact, i.e. such that there are no new products and no new processes of production. This is to say that a capitalist economy either undergoes transformational growth or it stagnates. The argument is as follows.

Investment expands productive capacity, which in turn requires that demand increase at the same rate as potential production. Without the required rate of demand growth, underutilization/excess capacity will discourage further investment or capital accumulation and the result will of course be stagnation. Let us not address this issue in the manner of the neoclassical economist, who seems to assume that both supply and demand curves can be counted on to perennially shift to the right (absent, of course, undue government interference). But this quaint assumption is belied by the enormous literature on the development and indispensability to capitalism of the marketing and advertising industries, which we might view as massive efforts to counteract Keynes's declining marginal propensity to consume by deliberately creating among the consuming masses a full panoply of "manufactured" consumption desires. These considerations point to the need constantly to exogenously stimulate consumption demand in order to narrow the demand gap generated by the tendency to overaccumulation. But they do not yet establish the need to generate a broad, nation-wide pattern of demand required by structural change and transformational growth.

What is needed at this point are concrete examples of the generators of transformational growth, and of exactly how these generators accomplish one of the fundamental features of transformational growth, the mobilization and coordination of the economic resources of the entire country into a grand national project which stimulates demand not merely for this and that consumption good, but for crucial commodities and institutions such as oil, steel rubber, and other primary products, and communication and transportation facilities. What this requires are what Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy termed, in their influential Monopoly Capital (Monthly Review Press, 1966), "epoch-making innovations". Edward Nell and Robert Heilbroner have characterized these same innovations as "transformative innovations". Let me approach transformative innovations by looking at the tendency to stagnation from yet another perspective, one which focuses on the role of competition as a major force behind the growth of both investment and consumption.

Competition reduces the need for investment by tending to increase both productivity and savings. Let us see how this happens. As a result of competition business is under continuous pressure to cut costs and produce more efficiently. To the extent that business succeeds in these respects, productive potential is increased. At the same time, competition also requires business to hold down wages and salaries and to pay out dividend and profit income relatively sparingly. Together, these pressures hold back both worker and capitalist consumption. The result is a tendency for productive capacity to expand faster than consumption. This means that there is no reason for investment to grow, for capital to achieve the required rate of accumulation, unless there are major pressures transforming the way people live. In the absence of such pressures, we may expect stagnation.

There are two dimensions of transformative innovations which are in fact two aspects of the same phenomenon. One dimension is solely technological, and the other points to changes in a population's entire way of life. Neither of these is part of a process of steady, balloon-like growth, nor is either automatically, or normally, generated by the fundamental capitalist dynamics identified by the mainstream textbooks. For this reason I have called the stimulus imparted by these innovations 'exogenous'. Let us look first at the technological dimension of transformative innovation.

This can be identified, after the owl of Minerva has spread its wings, by reflecting on some of the requirements of ideal-typical capitalism. Neoliberals correctly remind us that the bottom line is of course "freedom", primarily the freedom of capital to roam the world seeking markets, sources of cheap labor and investment opportunities. Microecenomic textbooks in fact tend to assume the perfect mobility of both capital and labor.

Let us focus on sources of power, which became especially important after the industrial revolution. Technological development resulted in the virtually total replacement of human and animal muscle power by inanimate sources of power, mainly water and steam. But reliance on water as a source of power places extreme limits on the mobility of capital, and hence on the possibilities of capitalist growth. Water power is site-specific, and the number of rivers and streams is limited. Moreover, the water had to be fast-running and productive facilities had to be located as far downstream as possible. And of course water power is only seasonally available. These restraints alone place an intolerable obstacle to the free and ongoing accumulation of capital. Here we find an overwhelming incentive to switch from water to steam power. This constitutes a huge stimulus to the accumulation of capital on a national scale.

Capitalism requires sources of power that are independent of nature and can be applied constantly wherever they are needed. And these are precisely what steam power made possible. It was now possible to set up productive facilities virtually anywhere; a major fetter to the accumulation of capital was removed. The universal mobility required by capital was now much more fully realized. At this point I want to emphasize that this technological /economic transformation was necessarily accompanied by profound social and cultural changes. For the steam engine's reduction of the seasonality of water power made possible a feature of work that is increasingly common on a global scale: the emergence of modern year-round work habits. With this change comes a dramatic transformation of our notions (and practices) of work and leisure, with all the consequences these have for the felt experience of everyday life. That is an instance of the second dimension of transformative innovation, i.e. its introduction of dramatic cultural changes, changes in the way populations live.

Much the same can be said for the subsequent shift to electrical power, which makes possible trolley cars, refrigerators (as opposed to what used to be called, in the U.S., "ice boxes"), ranges, toasters, radios, washing machines, fans, et al.

The railroad too is a transformative innovation par excellence. Consider the spectacular effects of railroad expansion: internal transport costs are sharply reduced; both new products and new geographical areas are brought into commercial markets; it is now possible to deliver exports to port with unprecedented efficiency, thereby encouraging the extensive development of the export sector; and impetus is provided to the development of the coal, iron and engineering industries. As with the steam engine, these technological and economic benefits wee necessarily accompanied by profound social and cultural changes. The railroads changed the way of life of the people by binding them as never before. The possibility now existed for mass production, mass consumption and indeed mass culture.

And of course the establishment of a national rail network absorbed massive amounts of investible capital, thereby spurring sustainable growth and offsetting the realization of the economic law that capitalist economies tend to stagnate. Apropos: in the latter third of the nineteenth century, railroad investment in the U.S. amounted to more than all investment in manufacturing industries.

And who can doubt that the transformative effects of the introduction of the automobile were epoch-making? The expansion of the automobile industry was the single most important force in the economic expansion of the 1920s. Car production increased threefold during this decade. (The automobile industry produced 12.7% of all manufactured output, employed 7.1% of all manufacturing workers, and paid 8.7% of all industrial wages.) Immediately after World War II the auto industry continued what was to be its breakneck expansion, and the possibilities created thereby constituted what was perhaps the most extensive transformation of the country's way of life in its history.

Consider the stimulus to capital accumulation and employment constituted by the following, each and all a consequence of the increasing automobilization of American society and culture: the migration of the population from the central city to the suburbs and exurbs (first made possible by the streetcar, before the major streetcar operations were bough and then quickly dismantled by the auto companies); the need for surfaced roads, road construction and maintenance, highway construction and maintenance (which had already accounted for 2% of GDP in 1929); the suburbanization of America, with the attendant construction of housing, schools, hospitals, workplaces, and more; the growth of shopping malls; the expansion of the credit industry; the spread of hotels and motels; and of course the growth of the tourism/travel industry. Never before had any population's way of living been transformed so profoundly in so short a period of time. And of course no one has failed to recognize that Americans' main symbol of their most precious possession, their personal freedom/liberty, is their ability to drive, solo, cars that have increasingly come to resemble tanks. Americans' liberty, embodied in the automobile, has become, literally, a commodity.

The long-term growth of the U.S. economy cannot be adequately explained or described without reference to these transformative innovations. None of these are required by the models of capital accumulation found in neoclassical, Keynesian or Marxian growth theory. After the civil war, growth in the last third of the nineteenth century was spurred primarily by the railroads. This stimulus fizzled, as railroad expansion began to slow down, around 1907, when, in spite of extensive electrification of urban (and even some rural) areas, the U.S. economy began a stretch of slow growth, which lasted until the outbreak of World War I. After the end of the War, the economy experienced a brief slump, which was followed by a period of fairly sustained expansion in the 1920s. The latter, as we have seen, was spurred mainly by the growth of the automobile industry. But the rate of growth of the automobile industry slowed down after 1926, and with it the rate of growth of almost all other manufacturing industries. And wages and employment had not risen as rapidly as production, productivity or profits.

In fact, the economic situation in the U.S. at the end of the 1920s bore a remarkable resemblance to the current economic situation in America. After 1926 overcapacity emerged in many key industries, the most significant of these being automobiles, textiles, and residential construction. Contractionary forces are cumulative: excess capacity caused business confidence to decline, with resulting cutbacks in spending on productive capacity in the consumer durables and capital goods industries. The economy was intensely unsound at the end of the 1920s, and the indications at the time were clear. Consumer demand was held down by a steadily growing inequality of income. Thus, an increasing percentage of total purchases were financed by credit in order to foster purchases of consumer durables. About seventy-five percent of all cars were sold on credit. Accordingly, both home mortgages and installment debt grew rapidly. This was the extension of a trend that had begun as early as 1922, when total personal debt began rising faster than disposable income. Thus, underconsumption and traces of excess capacity, key indicators of stagnationist forces, were in effect from the very beginning of the "roaring '20s". These tendencies became increasingly foregrounded over the course of the decade.

Excess capacity in key manufacturing industries was displacing workers from capital-intensive, technologically advanced sectors to industries relatively devoid of technological advance, i.e. service industries such as trade, finance and government. With capital unable to find sufficiently profitable investment opportunities in high-productivity industries, rampant speculative activity ensued, fostered by the growing concentration of income and therefore savings during the decade. More than two thirds of all personal savings was held by slightly over two percent of all families. The wanton optimism of the 1920s led those with substantial savings to want to get richer quickly, and with little effort. The stock market bubble that materialized at the end of the decade seemed to justify the expectations that fortunes could be made overnight in real estate and the stock market. When investors acted on these expectations, the existing bubble became bigger and hence more fragile. To those familiar with the current state of the U.S. economy, the present situation presents itself as history repeating itself -contra Marx- yet again as farce.

FROM GREAT DEPRESSION TO GOLDEN AGE TO NEOLIBERALISM

The mounting instabilities of the economy of the 1920s led to a Depression that was unresponsive to the Roosevelt administration's elevenfold increase in government spending. When U.S. entry into World War II finally brought about a resumption of growth, there was nonetheless an abiding fear among economists that once War spending ceased, the forces and tendencies that had generated the Depression might reassert themselves and exceptionally slow growth could resume. Instead, much to the surprise of many economists, American capitalism began the most sustained period of expansion in its entire history. The period from 1947 to 1973 has come to be called "The Golden Age", and appears, on the face of it, to be a fatal anomaly with respect to secular stagnation theory. After all, if the causes of the Great Depression were structural, and the exogenous stimulus provided by the War was what produced a resumption of growth, how was it possible that the economy, in the absence of powerful exogenous stimulus, exhibited an historically unprecedented period of long-term growth?

I have suggested that sustained national (as opposed to intra-national regional) growth has been engendered by the emergence of transformative innovations, and it is this kind of consideration that I believe offers the most plausible explanation both of Golden-Age expansion and of the petering out of this growth period and the resumption of (global) stagnation. Five stimuli to long-term growth were set in motion after the War, and these were for the most part exogenous in the sense indicated, and essentially limited. I will construe these stimuli as forces counteracting the tendency to stagnation. Once most of these stimuli had spent their potential, stagnationist tendencies re-asserted themselves, and overinvestment became evident once again. With profitable industrial investment opportunities in short supply, the economic surplus was invested instead in what became a vast proliferation of financial instruments. When the bubble created by this process finally burst, it was replaced with a housing bubble. Indeed a variety of bubbles, in financial assets, in housing, in credit, and a substantially overvalued dollar now threaten an historically unparalleled reassertion of the tendency to stagnation. But let us look first at the counteracting forces.

After the War, and as a result of wartime rationing, Americans had accumulated a very large fund of savings, and the time had come when these could finally be spent. This accounted for an immediate surge of consumption spending which temporarily averted the onset of recession. But the effectiveness of this source of spending was soon spent. What truly impelled the sustained growth of the Golden Age was 1) the resumption of a vast expansion of the automobile industry, and with it the stimulation of the broad range of investment and employment opportunities discussed above in connection with automobilization; 2) large-scale economic aid to Europe, which stimulated export demand; 3) a nationwide process of suburbanization, which, in tandem with the expansion of auto production, expanded significantly the demand for the output of every other major industry; 4) the emergence of what president Eisenhower christened the "military-industrial" complex, which provided additional stimulus to the industries most vulnerable to economic instability, the industries of DI, the capital goods sector; and finally 5) the steady and growing expansion of business and especially consumer credit, which in recent years has assumed elephantine proportions.

Three of these factors bear the two most important features of epoch-making innovations. The expansion of the auto industry, suburbanization, and the ever-increasing expansion and extension of credit all absorb massive amounts of investible surplus, and transform the mode of life of the entire population. In so doing they impart a massive push to the macro-growth process. The first two of these have their initial direct effect on investment. The third factor, the growing importance of credit, affects both investment and consumption, but the long-term trend of the credit industry in the U.S., evident now in hindsight, is much more significant in relation to consumption. There is now in the States a credit bubble of menacing proportions, with consumers now in debt to the tune of about107% of disposable income. The Marshall Plan (number 2 above) affected mainly and directly investment and employment, with boosts to consumption following thereupon. By the mid- to late-1970s, the employment-generating capacity of the military had declined. Washington determined, in the light of the defeat in Vietnam, that hi-tech warfare, which is of course technology- rather than labor-intensive, must replace traditional forms of subversion and aggression, in order to render less likely a repeat of the "Vietnam Syndrome."

It is worth mentioning that the military-industrial complex and the vast extension of consumer credit were what constituted what Joan Robinson called "bastard Keynesianism" in the United States. Recall that Keynes had insisted that fiscal and monetary policy were necessary but not sufficient conditions for avoiding stagnation. The tendency to stagnation could be offset for the long run only if some key industries were nationalized, and income redistributed. Nationalization would allow the State to offset lagging demand by providing cheap inputs to the private sector, thereby enabling lower prices. And redistributing income would transfer liquidity from those who had more than they could either consume or invest to those whose consumption demand was severely constrained.

American policymakers saw it as their challenge to reap the effects of nationalization and redistribution without actually nationalizing industries or redistributing income. The solution was ingenious: the military-industrial complex would be the functional equivalent of state-owned industries, and would, as noted above, stimulate the demand for the output of those very firms that produced capital goods. And the extension of consumer credit would allow working people to mortgage future years' incomes and spend more without a corresponding increase in either their private or their social wage.

As mentioned earlier, these forces counteracting the tendency to stagnation were all inherently limited and temporary. By the late 1960s, the automobile industry had achieved maturity, suburbanization had been accomplished, and aid to Europe had not only long ended, but had apparently created for America the economic equivalent of Frankenstein's monster. Europe and Japan were now formidable threats to U.S. economic hegemony. (Germany, for example, has overtaken the U.S. as an exporter of capital goods.) These three colossal absorbers of surplus were now no longer in operation. In the mid-1960s social spending had overtaken military spending as the larger share of government spending. And credit had begun to function as a supplement to declining real income, rather than a further addition to growing income.

These combined developments rendered the post-War counters to the realization of the tendency to stagnation obsolete. The result was the onset of stagnation not only in the U.S. but also worldwide. In America there has been overcapacity in autos, steel, shipbuilding and petrochemicals since the mid- to late-1970s.

This general picture is widely reflected in the business press. Business Week noted that "..supply outpaces demand everywhere, sending prices lower, eroding corporate profits and increasing layoffs" (Jan. 25, 1999, p. 118). The former chairman of General Electric claimed that "..there is excess capacity in almost every industry" (The New York Times, Nov. 16, 1997, p. 3). The Wall Street Journal noted that "..from cashmere to blue jeans, silver jewelry to aluminum cans, the world is in oversupply" (Nov. 30, 1998, p. A17). And The Economist fretted that " the gap between sales and capacity is "at its widest since the 1930s" (Feb. 20, 1999, p. 15). At this time excess capacity in steel is exceeding twenty percent, in autos it has fluctuated around 30%. And these figures look good in comparison to unused capacity numbers in the "industries of the future" of the "New Economy", semiconductors and telecommunications. Not long ago, ninety-seven percent of fibre optic capacity was idle.

MAINSTREAM ECONOMICS AND STAGNATION THEORY

Let us begin with the indisputable fact that the regime of neoliberalism has brought with it a substantial decline in economic growth. The most widely cited study on this issue, produced for the IECD by Angus Maddison, shows that the annual rate of growth of real global GDP fell from 4.9% in 1950-1973 to 3 % in 1973-1998, a drop of 39 %. Theoretical commitments can guide perception: neoliberal economists either denied or ignored the decline in global growth because of their reliance on Say's Law, that it is not possible for total demand to fall below full-capacity supply over the long run. In my earlier remarks I offered an explanation of sluggish growth rates since 1973. Many orthodox economics have done something similar: they have offered explanations of the initial rise in excess capacity. But what has not been explained is why global supply did not eventually adjust itself to the slower rate of demand growth, with the result that in the mid-1970s the global economy would enter a period of sluggish expansion. And it is worth mentioning that even Keynesian macro-theory is inadequate in this regard. It assumes that slow growth in aggregate demand will result in a proportionate decline in the growth of aggregate supply through its effect upon investment and therefore productivity.

An adequate explanation of the sustained character of excess capacity can be constructed from insights from Schumpeter, Marx and the contemporary economist James Crotty. The analysis that follows should be understood within the framework of the version of secular stagnation theory sketched above.

Before the shift to neoliberal policies by Jimmy Carter, Reagan and Thatcher, the global economy was already subject to downward pressures on demand growth resulting from two oil price shocks and the restrictive macro policy imposed in response to oil-price induced inflation. These impediments to demand growth were exacerbated by neoliberal policies. In combination, these forces led to a sharp rise in excess capacity in globally competing industries. At the same time competitive pressures were further intensified by the reduction of the market power of national oligopolies caused by the removal of protectionist barriers to the free movement of goods and money across national boundaries. Accordingly, competitive pressures between nations rose dramatically. In this context, normal stagnationist tendencies operated to further constrain global demand growth and further reproduce industrial capacity faster than either neoclassical or Keynesian theory could comprehend.

The Achilles Heel of neoclassical theory with respect to its inability to account for the persistence of overcapacity during the neoliberal period is its account of competition. So-called "perfect competition" is alleged to lead to maximum efficiency and the elimination of excess capacity. This claim appears inconsistent with the history of real-world, pre- and post-oligopolistic competition. Textbook-like competition has led to periodic market gluts or overproduction crises, price wars, plummeting profits, unbearable debt burdens and violent labor relations. Neoclassical theory banishes these demons with the aid of two assumptions which appear designed explicitly to make them impossible. The first assumption claims that production cost per unit rises rapidly as output increases, and the second that exit from low-profit industries is free or costless. If these assumptions were indeed true, then pure competition could not be shown to have stagnation- or depression-inducing effects. But these assumptions are, I shall suggest, false.

I will begin with the least plausible of these two assumptions. It states that there is free or costless exit from low-profit industries. But productive assets are typically immobile or irreversible, i.e., they are not liquid, and this forces a sizeable loss in the value of a firm's capital should it choose to leave an unprofitable industry. Whether they are sold on a second-hand market or reallocated to a different industry, productive assets will lose substantial value. Capital flowing out of the aerospace industry has been found to sell for one third of its replacement cost. Insolvent telecom firms in the U.S. have sold their assets for 20 cents on the dollar. And isn't this what one would expect? For it is usually poor profit prospects and/or great excess capacity that heighten a firm's incentive to leave an industry. But it is precisely those circumstances which deeply depress the price of industry-specific assets on the second-hand market, since the supply of these assets grows even as the demand for them has collapsed.

Before I turn to the slightly more plausible (yet still false) assumption -that unit production cost rises dramatically as output increases- I will outline the corollary of neoclassical theory itself which neoclassical economists seek to evade by introducing this assumption. The theory tells us that pure competition will force price down until it covers marginal cost. Now if unit production cost remained constant irrespective of the output level, then marginal production cost and average production cost per unit would be equal. When perfect competition forces price to equal marginal cost, total revenue will be equal to total production cost. But in this case there will be no revenue left over either to pay the "fixed" cost of maintaining capital stock in the face of depreciation or obsolescence, or to pay interest and/or dividends to investors. Thus, perfect competition is seen to cause the representative firm to suffer, in each production period, a loss that is equal to fixed costs. Keeping in mind that most important global industries have huge fixed costs, no industry could long survive the consequences of intense competition.

We seem to have found a tendency to stagnation or complete system breakdown where we would least expect to find it - in neoclassical theory itself. But the theory claims to have a response to this embarrassment. It simply denies the claim that appears to entail the undesired consequence, namely the claim that unit production cost remains constant no matter what the output level. Armed now with the (false) assumption that unit production cost rises rapidly as production increases, the conclusion is drawn that marginal cost and price are greater than average unit production cost. Thus, in equilibrium, the gap between price and average production cost is sufficiently large to cover all fixed costs. Let competition be as fierce as you wish, the typical firm will not lose money. Voila!

I have claimed that each of the rescuing assumptions discussed above is false. What would realistic assumptions about marginal cost and the reversibility of invested capital look like? To answer this question we must recognize the distinctive character of the dominant industries of global trade and investment. These industries include steel, autos, aircraft, shipbuilding, petrochemicals, consumer durables, electronics, semiconductors and banking. Studies of this type of industry suggest that marginal cost does not typically rise with output, with the rare exception of cases when the industry is producing near full capacity output. Marginal cost behaves as we would expect in cases of economies of scale: it remains constant or declines as capacity utilization rises. It follows that if free competition forces price to equal marginal cost in these industries, we should count on an ensuing wave of bankruptcies. Here again we see that neoclassical theory, corrected for unrealistic assumptions, seems to commit us to conceptualize mature capitalism as subject to the law of an inherent tendency to stagnation or worse.

The issue I am focusing on here turns on the dynamics of unrestricted competition among oligopolies in the context of economies of scale. The importance of economies of scale underscores the crucial similarity of all the dominant industries, including the new information-technology and telecommunications (ITC) industries. I stress this point because influential neoclassical economists have wanted to claim a significant difference, with respect to overcapacity problems, between the ITC industries and the other dominant industries. For purposes of explaining the persistence of excess capacity under neoliberalism, we want to remember that as scale economies grow, marginal costs fall as fixed costs per unit rise. Thus, the greater the economies of scale, the more destructive becomes the marginal cost pricing required by intense competition. With this in mind, we can more easily see that 1) these dynamics in especially conspicuous operation in the ITC industries, and 2) that such differences as there are between ITC and the other dominant oligopolies are insignificant for the analysis of secular stagnation theory, and of capitalist growth in general.

The key issue right now, recall, is the highly destructive consequences of the tendency of free competition among dominant industries to force price to equal marginal cost. That this is the case is easier to see in the ITC sector than in the other dominant industries. This is because in ITC marginal cost is often close to zero. Producing another copy of software or adding another customer to eBay is virtually costless. This has led many mainstream economists to argue that ITC industries are exempt from the laws of the neoclassical theory of perfect competition. Since ITC firms have marginal costs much lower than their large fixed costs, the argument goes, the possession of at least temporary monopoly power is the only guarantee of an incentive to produce anything at all. Without monopoly pricing power prices will be competed down to marginal cost and fixed costs will be unable to be covered. Thus, the motor of the "new economy" is said to be the constant pursuit of monopoly power. But, contrary to the neoclassical claim, none of this distinguishes significantly between ITC and other key industries. The drive to monopoly power is characteristic of all large corporations in the present age.

As Paul Sweezy argued in his Marshall Lectures, the typical firm in an oligopolized industry strives to be a monopolist. Each firm does this individually, and they all do it collectively. Individual firms seek monopoly status through the sales effort, where the firm's product is put forth as the best in the industry and as different from all the others. Firms within the same industry seek to approach monopoly status by collusion with respect to pricing policy, especially by agreeing to refrain from cutthroat price competition. For reasons developed at length above, therefore, all dominant firms, whether old- or new-economy operations, will tend to achieve monopoly status and to be chronically saddled with excess capacity.

A SCANDALOUSLY BRIEF LOOK AT SLOW-GROWTH CAPITALISM

We are in the midst of another unparalleled period of historical capitalism. Since the onset of stagnation, the median wage in the States has not changed at all for the vast majority of wage workers. Over the past six quarters the gowth of wage income has been negative. A brief sketch of the state of the U.S. economy toward the end of last year highlights features whose most plausible explanation may lie in the fact of secular stagnation. If stagnation theory is accurate, what follows is precisely what we would expect to find. The current state of the U.S. and the global economy is best understood, I believe, against the background too briefly elaborated above. Here is a picture of the U.S. economy today. The key to a healthy economy is job- and income-creating investment in capital goods, which in turn generates a virtuous cycle of further growth in investment, jobs and income. Ominously, the investment, growth, employment and income pictures are unprecedentedly dismal.

Compared to cyclical recoveries between 1949 and 1973, recoveries during the neoliberal period have been weak. Indeed, one or two of the post-1973 upturns has been weaker than some downturns during the Golden Age. Since the stock market collapse of four years ago, the situation has worsened. Growth rates since 2000 have been half their previous average. Even this weak performance required historically unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus: 13 rate cuts, three tax cuts, massive government deficits and record growth in money and credit.

Official figures mask the economy's most serious problems. Growth figures are annualized by U.S. statisticians. Thus, the much-touted 7.1% growth rate in the third quarter of 2003 was the one that would emerge after twelve months if the current trend were to continue. The same growth rate would have been reported in the eurozone as 1.8%. This is an uncommonly weak performance.

Investment data are equally misleading. Since the mid-1990s the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has adjusted upward actual business dollar outlays on computers and related equipment to take into account quality improvements (faster processors, bigger hard drives, more memory). BEA calls this "hedonic adjustment." Accordingly, the BEA estimates that business high-tech investment quadrupled between 1996 and 2002, from $70.9 to $283.7. But in actual dollars spent, the increase was only from $70.9 billion to $74.2 billion, very low by historic standards. The high-tech boom was both greatly exaggerated and misleading. After all, neither profits nor wages are taken in "hedonically adjusted" dollars.

The difference between real and hedonic outlays explains what would otherwise be a paradoxical feature of the years 2000-2003: government was reporting big increases in high-tech investment, while manufacturers were bemoaning declining sales.

Hedonic pricing has accounted for a steadily rising percentage of all reported capital investment. But if we look at actual dollars spent, we find that since 1998 the growth rate of business fixed investment has actually been declining. Real capital investment has in fact not been this weak since the Great Depression.

The fudging of investment figures also obscures the sorry state of the jobs market. The Commerce Department's figures on nonresidential investment for the third and fourth quarters of 2003 reported increases of, respectively, 12.8 and 9.6%. A closer look reveals that the "adjusted" hi-tech sector is the only bright spot, with production and capacity rising, respectively, 24.6% and 11.1% over the past year. But hi-tech is not where significant jobs increases are found. Employment in hi-tech has declined steadily through the so-called "recovery" since its 2001 peak.

In non-hi-tech manufacturing, where investment figures are not adjusted, production from January 2003 to January 2004 rose only 0.9%, while capacity actually declined -0.2%. This represents a record nineteen-straight-month decline in mainline manufacturing capacity. Since it is mainline manufacturing which employs almost 95% of all manufacturing workers, it comes as no surprise that for the first time since the Great Depression the economy has gone more than three years without creating any jobs.

The jobs crisis is even worse than it appears. Here again statistical sleight-of-hand, this time by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), obscures economic reality. Based on data gathered employing the "net birth/death adjustment," BLS announced in April, 2004, that the long-awaited jobs recovery had finally arrived. Nonfarm payrolls had allegedly surged by a whopping 308,000 in March, 2004. The birth/death model uses business deaths to "impute" employment from business births. Thus, as more businesses fail, more new jobs are imputed to have materialized through business births. This improbable statistical artefact accounts for about half of the reported 308,000 March, 2004 payroll increase.

The birth/death model is based on statistics covering 1998-2002. This was a period of explosive telecom and dot.com startups, quite unlike today's flat economic landscape. Thus, two thirds of the 947,000 new jobs BLS "imputed" for March-May, 2004, were never actually counted by BLS and never reported by any firm.

BlS's household and establishment surveys tell a more sobering story. March employment by private industry actually fell by 175,000, and the number of self-employed workers declined by 288,000. Without the simultaneous increase of 439,000 government jobs, the March job announcement would have been a calamity. And both average weekly hours and total hours worked declined markedly, even as (according to the dubious birth/death findings) the work force increased. This is the first time in U.S. history that net job growth has been negative 26 months into a recovery.

The wage and salary picture has also set grim records. During the current recovery, wage and salary growth has actually been negative, at -0.6%, in contrast to the average increase of 7.2% characteristic of this point into each of the other eight post-War recoveries. In fact, median family income in the post-War period exhibits an ominous trend. From 1947 to 1967, real median family income rose by 75%. But since 1967, it has grown by only 30%.

Labor's losses have been capital's gain: since the peak of the last recovery, in the first quarter of 2001, corporate profits have risen 62.2%, compared to the average of 13.9% at the same point in the last eight recoveries. Never in American history has any recorded recovery had such a lopsided balance in the distribution of income gains between labor and capital.

Given the dismal investment, wage/salary and employment pictures, how has it been possible for consumption to have risen to 71% of GDP in the early nineties, from its prior post-War average of 66%? The answer is a growth rate of consumer debt never seen before in America. For the first time ever, in March 2001, overall debt levels (mortgage debt plus consumer debt, mainly credit card debt and car loans) rose above annual disposable income. And from 2001 to 2004 consumer debt rose from 101% to 116% of disposable income. In the first half of 2004, consumer borrowing has been at its highest ever. It has declined slightly in the meantime. So has consumer spending. Should Americans decide to significantly increase their saving and service debts, while lowering correspondingly their consumption expenditures, the global economy could experience a major disruption.

Up until very recently, consumers had stepped up their borrowing to compensate for slowing income growth. Thus, such growth as the U.S. has experienced in recent years has been almost entirely consumption- and debt-driven. More fundamentally, it has been bubble-driven, fueled principally by bubbles in home values and credit.

Since the collapse of stock market/hi-tech bubbles in 2001, the illusory "wealth effect" has been sustained, and consumer spending thereby encouraged, by another bubble, the enormous inflation of house prices. The biggest increase in household debt came from home mortgage debt, especially home mortgage refinancing. With mortgage rates low and home prices rising, households' home equity ballooned. Bloated home equity then provided rising collateral to underwrite still more borrowing.

What makes this especially problematic is that over the last ten years, the average family has suffered under large increases in health premiums, housing costs, tuition fees and child care costs. As a result, households' and individuals' margin of protection against insolvency has dramatically declined. Filings for personal bankruptcy are approaching a record high.

There are indications that these weaknesses and imbalances in the economy are reaching a critical mass. The mortgage refi boom has fizzled, and consumer spending is beginning to decline. Two years ago the Fed's quarterly Beige Book reported a disturbing shift in the composition of credit spending: more and more families are using their credit cards to finance spending on essentials, such as food and energy.

It is no exaggeration to say that both the U.S. economy and the global economy are hugely dependent on the American consumer's increasing willingness to spend more than (s)he makes. (Imported goods have been a rising proportion of all goods purchased here.) Thus, a decline in U.S. consumer spending portends further declines in investment, jobs and income. From January to July of 2004, consumer spending rose at an annual rate of 2.8%, down from 3.3% in 2003 and 3.1 % in 2002. For perspective, during the boom years 1999-2000, growth rates were 5.1% and 4.7%.

Spending on consumer durables is the most significant indicator of healthy growth, and the drastically lower spending in this area is cause for alarm: spending for consumer durables was down to $23.5 billion in the first seven months of this year, in contrast to $71 billion on 2003 and $58 billion in 2002.

Should consumer spending continue to decline, the economy faces the genuine likelihood of a severe recession. Of course not a single American politician addresses this issue.

What is required is a shift from bubble-, debt-, and consumption-driven growth to investment- and income-driven growth. This in turn necessitates a decline in Americas principal export, jobs. Domestic job growth, a higher minimum wage, tax cuts aimed predominantly at low- and middle-income families, a sharp reduction in defense spending and a redirection of these funds to long-neglected and pressing social needs such as health care reform, the provision of universal pre-school, and across-the-board repair and upgrading of America's deteriorated infrastructure of roads, highways,tunnels and bridges, all these should be at the forefront of a Democratic administration's agenda. The restoration of infrastructure is especially labor intensive, and would generate an enormous number of productive jobs. And as a national project spearheaded by government initiative, government would emerge as a major employer.

All this si entirely incompatible with the overwhelming neoliberal bent of even the most "liberal" political leaders. It was after all Bill Clinton who urinated on the grave of Franklin Roosevelt when he proclaimed "the end of welfare as we know it".

As unfashionable as it is to suggest such a thing at a conference of economists, the only hope for the world's majority seems to be the revival of the kinds of mass movements witnessed here in May of 1968, and throughout the world during the 1960s. And time may be short.

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Alan Nasser is Professor emeritus of Political Economy and Philosophy at The Evergreen State College. His book, The “New Normal”: Persistent Austerity, Declining Democracy and the Globalization of Resistance will be published by Pluto Press in 2013. If you would like to be notified when the book is released, please send a request to nassera@evergreen.edu

Thomas Palley » Blog Archive » Explaining Stagnation Why it Matters

John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff clearly identify stagnation in their 2009 book The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences (HERE). They conclude with a section titled “Back to the real economy: the stagnation problem” and they write:

“It was the reality of economic stagnation beginning in the 1970s, as heterodox economists Ricardo Belliofiore and Joseph Halevi have recently emphasized, that led to the emergence of “the new financialized capitalist regime,” a kind of “paradoxical financial Keynesianiasm” whereby demand in the economy was stimulated primarily “thanks to asset-bubbles” (Foster and Magdoff, p.129).”

My own 2009 New America Foundation report, “America’s Exhausted Paradigm: Macroeconomic Causes of the Financial Crisis and Great Recession”, concluded (HERE):

“The bottom line is macroeconomic failure rooted in America’s flawed economic paradigm is the ultimate cause of the financial crisis and Great Recession…. Now, there is a grave danger that policymakers only focus on financial market reform and ignore reform of America’s flawed economic paradigm. In that event, though the economy may stabilize, it will likely be unable to escape the pull of economic stagnation. That is because stagnation is the logical next stage of the existing paradigm.”

That report became a core chapter in my 2012 book, From Financial Crisis to Stagnation, the blurb for which reads (HERE):

“The U.S. economy today is confronted with the prospect of extended stagnation. This book explores why…. Financial deregulation and the house price bubble kept the economy going by making ever more credit available. As the economy cannibalized itself by undercutting income distribution and accumulating debt, it needed larger speculative bubbles to grow. That process ended when the housing bubble burst. The earlier post–World War II economic model based on rising middle-class incomes has been dismantled, while the new neoliberal model has imploded. Absent a change of policy paradigm, the logical next step is stagnation. The political challenge we face now is how to achieve paradigm change.”

The big analytical difference between Foster and Magdoff and myself is that they see stagnation as inherent to capitalism whereas I see it as the product of neoliberal economic policy. Foster and Magdoff partake of the Baran-Sweezy tradition that recommends deeper socialist transformation. I use a structural Keynesian framework that recommends reconstructing the income and demand generation mechanism via policies that include rebuilding worker bargaining power, reforming globalization, and reining in corporations and financial markets.

Larry Summers’ story of serial bubbles delaying stagnation has substantial similarities with both accounts but he avoids blaming either capitalism or neoliberalism. That is hardly surprising as Summers has been a chief architect of the neoliberal system and remains committed to it, though he now wants to soften its impact. Instead, he appeals to the black box of “secular stagnation” as ultimate cause and suggests fiscal policies that would ameliorate the demand shortage problem. However, those policies would not remedy the root cause of stagnation as they leave the economic architecture unchanged.

Though Summers and Krugman are relative late-comers to the stagnation hypothesis, they have still done a great public service by drawing attention to it. Now that stagnation has been identified, the real debate can begin.

The questions are what caused stagnation and what must be done to restore shared prosperity? There is no guarantee we will answer those questions correctly (my prior is mainstream economists will continue their track record of getting it wrong). But it is absolutely certain we will not get the right answer if we do not ask the right question. So thank you Larry Summers and Paul Krugman for putting stagnation on the table. Let the debate begin.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 24th, 2014 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Economics, U.S. Policy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Summers makes the idea of secular stagnation mainstream

Larry Summers (“Why Stagnation May Prove To Be The New Normal,” The Financial Times, December 15, 2013)  suggested the current "lack of demand" is not anomaly but a feature of the current sociao-economic system.  He suggested that we have been in the throes of stagnation for a long while, but that has been obscured by years of serial asset price bubbles. His article produced great public debate and marked the point when the idea became mainstream. The debate began with Summers’ speech to the IMF’s Fourteenth Annual Research Conference in Honor of Stanley Fisher. Summers noted that the panic of 2008 was “an event that in the fall of 2008 and winter of 2009 … appeared, by most of the statistics—GDP, industrial production, employment, world trade, the stock market—worse than the fall of 1929 and the winter of 1930. …”

Tha means the major defeat for “stabilization policies” that were supposed to smooth the capitalist industrial cycle and abolish panics. And the problem preceeds the 2008 panic itself.

The highly misleading unemployment rate calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor notwithstanding, there has been a massive growth in long-term unemployment in the U.S. in the wake of the crisis, as shown by the declining percentage of the U.S. population actually working.

The current situation also refute the key tenet of neoclassical economy (which is pseudo-religious doctrine, so that only increase fanatic devotion of its well-paid adherents). Neoclassical economists insisted that since a “free market economy” naturally tends toward an equilibrium with full employment of both workers and machines, the economy should should quickly return to “full employment” after a recession. This is not the case. See also Secular Stagnation Lawrence H. Summers

There were several uncessful attempts to explaint his situation from neoclassical positions. In Secular Stagnation, Coalmines, Bubbles, and Larry Summers - NYTimes.com Paul Krugman  emphasized the liquidity trap – zero lower bound to interest rates which supposedly prevents spending from reaching a level sufficient for full employment.

Larry’s formulation of our current economic situation is the same as my own. Although he doesn’t use the words “liquidity trap”, he works from the understanding that we are an economy in which monetary policy is de facto constrained by the zero lower bound (even if you think central banks could be doing more), and that this corresponds to a situation in which the “natural” rate of interest – the rate at which desired savings and desired investment would be equal at full employment – is negative.

And as he also notes, in this situation the normal rules of economic policy don’t apply. As I like to put it, virtue becomes vice and prudence becomes folly. Saving hurts the economy – it even hurts investment, thanks to the paradox of thrift. Fixating on debt and deficits deepens the depression. And so on down the line.

This is the kind of environment in which Keynes’s hypothetical policy of burying currency in coalmines and letting the private sector dig it up – or my version, which involves faking a threat from nonexistent space aliens – becomes a good thing; spending is good, and while productive spending is best, unproductive spending is still better than nothing.

Larry also indirectly states an important corollary: this isn’t just true of public spending. Private spending that is wholly or partially wasteful is also a good thing, unless it somehow stores up trouble for the future. That last bit is an important qualification. But suppose that U.S. corporations, which are currently sitting on a huge hoard of cash, were somehow to become convinced that it would be a great idea to fit out all their employees as cyborgs, with Google Glass and smart wristwatches everywhere. And suppose that three years later they realized that there wasn’t really much payoff to all that spending. Nonetheless, the resulting investment boom would have given us several years of much higher employment, with no real waste, since the resources employed would otherwise have been idle.

OK, this is still mostly standard, although a lot of people hate, just hate, this kind of logic – they want economics to be a morality play, and they don’t care how many people have to suffer in the process.

But now comes the radical part of Larry’s presentation: his suggestion that this may not be a temporary state of affairs.

2. An economy that needs bubbles?

We now know that the economic expansion of 2003-2007 was driven by a bubble. You can say the same about the latter part of the 90s expansion; and you can in fact say the same about the later years of the Reagan expansion, which was driven at that point by runaway thrift institutions and a large bubble in commercial real estate.

So you might be tempted to say that monetary policy has consistently been too loose. After all, haven’t low interest rates been encouraging repeated bubbles?

But as Larry emphasizes, there’s a big problem with the claim that monetary policy has been too loose: where’s the inflation? Where has the overheated economy been visible?

So how can you reconcile repeated bubbles with an economy showing no sign of inflationary pressures? Summers’s answer is that we may be an economy that needs bubbles just to achieve something near full employment – that in the absence of bubbles the economy has a negative natural rate of interest. And this hasn’t just been true since the 2008 financial crisis; it has arguably been true, although perhaps with increasing severity, since the 1980s.

One way to quantify this is, I think, to look at household debt. Here’s the ratio of household debt to GDP since the 50s:

There was a sharp increase in the ratio after World War II, but from a low base, as families moved to the suburbs and all that. Then there were about 25 years of rough stability, from 1960 to around 1985. After that, however, household debt rose rapidly and inexorably, until the crisis struck.

So with all that household borrowing, you might have expected the period 1985-2007 to be one of strong inflationary pressure, high interest rates, or both. In fact, you see neither – this was the era of the Great Moderation, a time of low inflation and generally low interest rates. Without all that increase in household debt, interest rates would presumably have to have been considerably lower – maybe negative. In other words, you can argue that our economy has been trying to get into the liquidity trap for a number of years, and that it only avoided the trap for a while thanks to successive bubbles.

And if that’s how you see things, when looking forward you have to regard the liquidity trap not as an exceptional state of affairs but as the new normal.

3. Secular stagnation?

How did this happen? Larry explicitly invokes the notion of secular stagnation, associated in particular with Alvin Hansen (pdf).  He doesn’t say why this might be happening to us now, but it’s not hard to think of possible reasons.

Back in the day, Hansen stressed demographic factors: he thought slowing population growth would mean low investment demand. Then came the baby boom. But this time around the slowdown is here, and looks real.

Think of it this way: during the period 1960-85, when the U.S. economy seemed able to achieve full employment without bubbles, our labor force grew an average 2.1 percent annually. In part this reflected the maturing of the baby boomers, in part the move of women into the labor force.

This growth made sustaining investment fairly easy: the business of providing Americans with new houses, new offices, and so on easily absorbed a fairly high fraction of GDP.

Now look forward. The Census projects that the population aged 18 to 64 will grow at an annual rate of only 0.2 percent between 2015 and 2025. Unless labor force participation not only stops declining but starts rising rapidly again, this means a slower-growth economy, and thanks to the accelerator effect, lower investment demand.

By the way, in a Samuelson consumption-loan model, the natural rate of interest equals the rate of population growth. Reality is a lot more complicated than that, but I don’t think it’s foolish to guess that the decline in population growth has reduced the natural real rate of interest by something like an equal amount (and to note that Japan’s shrinking working-age population is probably a major factor in its secular stagnation.)

There may be other factors – a Bob Gordonesque decline in innovation, etc.. The point is that it’s not hard to think of reasons why the liquidity trap could be a lot more persistent than anyone currently wants to admit.

4. Destructive virtue

If you take a secular stagnation view seriously, it has some radical implications – and Larry goes there.

Currently, even policymakers who are willing to concede that the liquidity trap makes nonsense of conventional notions of policy prudence are busy preparing for the time when normality returns. This means that they are preoccupied with the idea that they must act now to head off future crises. Yet this crisis isn’t over – and as Larry says, “Most of what would be done under the aegis of preventing a future crisis would be counterproductive.”

He goes on to say that the officially respectable policy agenda involves “doing less with monetary policy than was done before and doing less with fiscal policy than was done before,” even though the economy remains deeply depressed. And he says, a bit fuzzily but bravely all the same, that even improved financial regulation is not necessarily a good thing – that it may discourage irresponsible lending and borrowing at a time when more spending of any kind is good for the economy.

Amazing stuff – and if we really are looking at secular stagnation, he’s right.

Of course, the underlying problem in all of this is simply that real interest rates are too high. But, you say, they’re negative – zero nominal rates minus at least some expected inflation. To which the answer is, so? If the market wants a strongly negative real interest rate, we’ll have persistent problems until we find a way to deliver such a rate.

One way to get there would be to reconstruct our whole monetary system – say, eliminate paper money and pay negative interest rates on deposits. Another way would be to take advantage of the next boom – whether it’s a bubble or driven by expansionary fiscal policy – to push inflation substantially higher, and keep it there. Or maybe, possibly, we could go the Krugman 1998/Abe 2013 route of pushing up inflation through the sheer power of self-fulfilling expectations.

Any such suggestions are, of course, met with outrage. How dare anyone suggest that virtuous individuals, people who are prudent and save for the future, face expropriation? How can you suggest steadily eroding their savings either through inflation or through negative interest rates? It’s tyranny!

But in a liquidity trap saving may be a personal virtue, but it’s a social vice. And in an economy facing secular stagnation, this isn’t just a temporary state of affairs, it’s the norm. Assuring people that they can get a positive rate of return on safe assets means promising them something the market doesn’t want to deliver – it’s like farm price supports, except for rentiers.

Oh, and one last point. If we’re going to have persistently negative real interest rates along with at least somewhat positive overall economic growth, the panic over public debt looks even more foolish than people like me have been saying: servicing the debt in the sense of stabilizing the ratio of debt to GDP has no cost, in fact negative cost.

I could go on, but by now I hope you’ve gotten the point. What Larry did at the IMF wasn’t just give an interesting speech. He laid down what amounts to a very radical manifesto. And I very much fear that he may be right.

Supplement 1: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (reprint)

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - The Baffler

David Graeber

A secret question hovers over us, a sense of disappointment, a broken promise we were given as children about what our adult world was supposed to be like. I am referring not to the standard false promises that children are always given (about how the world is fair, or how those who work hard shall be rewarded), but to a particular generational promise—given to those who were children in the fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties—one that was never quite articulated as a promise but rather as a set of assumptions about what our adult world would be like. And since it was never quite promised, now that it has failed to come true, we’re left confused: indignant, but at the same time, embarrassed at our own indignation, ashamed we were ever so silly to believe our elders to begin with.

Where, in short, are the flying cars? Where are the force fields, tractor beams, teleportation pods, antigravity sleds, tricorders, immortality drugs, colonies on Mars, and all the other technological wonders any child growing up in the mid-to-late twentieth century assumed would exist by now? Even those inventions that seemed ready to emerge—like cloning or cryogenics—ended up betraying their lofty promises. What happened to them?

We are well informed of the wonders of computers, as if this is some sort of unanticipated compensation, but, in fact, we haven’t moved even computing to the point of progress that people in the fifties expected we’d have reached by now. We don’t have computers we can have an interesting conversation with, or robots that can walk our dogs or take our clothes to the Laundromat.

As someone who was eight years old at the time of the Apollo moon landing, I remember calculating that I would be thirty-nine in the magic year 2000 and wondering what the world would be like. Did I expect I would be living in such a world of wonders? Of course. Everyone did. Do I feel cheated now? It seemed unlikely that I’d live to see all the things I was reading about in science fiction, but it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t see any of them.

At the turn of the millennium, I was expecting an outpouring of reflections on why we had gotten the future of technology so wrong. Instead, just about all the authoritative voices—both Left and Right—began their reflections from the assumption that we do live in an unprecedented new technological utopia of one sort or another.

The common way of dealing with the uneasy sense that this might not be so is to brush it aside, to insist all the progress that could have happened has happened and to treat anything more as silly. “Oh, you mean all that Jetsons stuff?” I’m asked—as if to say, but that was just for children! Surely, as grown-ups, we understand The Jetsons offered as accurate a view of the future as The Flintstones offered of the Stone Age.

Surely, as grown-ups, we understand The Jetsons offered as accurate a view of the future as The Flintstones did of the Stone Age.

Even in the seventies and eighties, in fact, sober sources such as National Geographic and the Smithsonian were informing children of imminent space stations and expeditions to Mars. Creators of science fiction movies used to come up with concrete dates, often no more than a generation in the future, in which to place their futuristic fantasies. In 1968, Stanley Kubrick felt that a moviegoing audience would find it perfectly natural to assume that only thirty-three years later, in 2001, we would have commercial moon flights, city-like space stations, and computers with human personalities maintaining astronauts in suspended animation while traveling to Jupiter. Video telephony is just about the only new technology from that particular movie that has appeared—and it was technically possible when the movie was showing. 2001 can be seen as a curio, but what about Star Trek? The Star Trek mythos was set in the sixties, too, but the show kept getting revived, leaving audiences for Star Trek Voyager in, say, 2005, to try to figure out what to make of the fact that according to the logic of the program, the world was supposed to be recovering from fighting off the rule of genetically engineered supermen in the Eugenics Wars of the nineties.

By 1989, when the creators of Back to the Future II were dutifully placing flying cars and anti-gravity hoverboards in the hands of ordinary teenagers in the year 2015, it wasn’t clear if this was meant as a prediction or a joke.

The usual move in science fiction is to remain vague about the dates, so as to render “the future” a zone of pure fantasy, no different than Middle Earth or Narnia, or like Star Wars, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” As a result, our science fiction future is, most often, not a future at all, but more like an alternative dimension, a dream-time, a technological Elsewhere, existing in days to come in the same sense that elves and dragon-slayers existed in the past—another screen for the displacement of moral dramas and mythic fantasies into the dead ends of consumer pleasure.

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Might the cultural sensibility that came to be referred to as postmodernism best be seen as a prolonged meditation on all the technological changes that never happened? The question struck me as I watched one of the recent Star Wars movies. The movie was terrible, but I couldn’t help but feel impressed by the quality of the special effects. Recalling the clumsy special effects typical of fifties sci-fi films, I kept thinking how impressed a fifties audience would have been if they’d known what we could do by now—only to realize, “Actually, no. They wouldn’t be impressed at all, would they? They thought we’d be doing this kind of thing by now. Not just figuring out more sophisticated ways to simulate it.”

That last word—simulate—is key. The technologies that have advanced since the seventies are mainly either medical technologies or information technologies—largely, technologies of simulation. They are technologies of what Jean Baudrillard and Umberto Eco called the “hyper-real,” the ability to make imitations that are more realistic than originals. The postmodern sensibility, the feeling that we had somehow broken into an unprecedented new historical period in which we understood that there is nothing new; that grand historical narratives of progress and liberation were meaningless; that everything now was simulation, ironic repetition, fragmentation, and pastiche—all this makes sense in a technological environment in which the only breakthroughs were those that made it easier to create, transfer, and rearrange virtual projections of things that either already existed, or, we came to realize, never would. Surely, if we were vacationing in geodesic domes on Mars or toting about pocket-size nuclear fusion plants or telekinetic mind-reading devices no one would ever have been talking like this. The postmodern moment was a desperate way to take what could otherwise only be felt as a bitter disappointment and to dress it up as something epochal, exciting, and new.

In the earliest formulations, which largely came out of the Marxist tradition, a lot of this technological background was acknowledged. Fredric Jameson’s “Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism” proposed the term “postmodernism” to refer to the cultural logic appropriate to a new, technological phase of capitalism, one that had been heralded by Marxist economist Ernest Mandel as early as 1972. Mandel had argued that humanity stood at the verge of a “third technological revolution,” as profound as the Agricultural or Industrial Revolution, in which computers, robots, new energy sources, and new information technologies would replace industrial labor—the “end of work” as it soon came to be called—reducing us all to designers and computer technicians coming up with crazy visions that cybernetic factories would produce.

End of work arguments were popular in the late seventies and early eighties as social thinkers pondered what would happen to the traditional working-class-led popular struggle once the working class no longer existed. (The answer: it would turn into identity politics.) Jameson thought of himself as exploring the forms of consciousness and historical sensibilities likely to emerge from this new age.

What happened, instead, is that the spread of information technologies and new ways of organizing transport—the containerization of shipping, for example—allowed those same industrial jobs to be outsourced to East Asia, Latin America, and other countries where the availability of cheap labor allowed manufacturers to employ much less technologically sophisticated production-line techniques than they would have been obliged to employ at home.

From the perspective of those living in Europe, North America, and Japan, the results did seem to be much as predicted. Smokestack industries did disappear; jobs came to be divided between a lower stratum of service workers and an upper stratum sitting in antiseptic bubbles playing with computers. But below it all lay an uneasy awareness that the postwork civilization was a giant fraud. Our carefully engineered high-tech sneakers were not being produced by intelligent cyborgs or self-replicating molecular nanotechnology; they were being made on the equivalent of old-fashioned Singer sewing machines, by the daughters of Mexican and Indonesian farmers who, as the result of WTO or NAFTA–sponsored trade deals, had been ousted from their ancestral lands. It was a guilty awareness that lay beneath the postmodern sensibility and its celebration of the endless play of images and surfaces.

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Why did the projected explosion of technological growth everyone was expecting—the moon bases, the robot factories—fail to happen? There are two possibilities. Either our expectations about the pace of technological change were unrealistic (in which case, we need to know why so many intelligent people believed they were not) or our expectations were not unrealistic (in which case, we need to know what happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects).

Most social analysts choose the first explanation and trace the problem to the Cold War space race. Why, these analysts wonder, did both the United States and the Soviet Union become so obsessed with the idea of manned space travel? It was never an efficient way to engage in scientific research. And it encouraged unrealistic ideas of what the human future would be like.

Could the answer be that both the United States and the Soviet Union had been, in the century before, societies of pioneers, one expanding across the Western frontier, the other across Siberia? Didn’t they share a commitment to the myth of a limitless, expansive future, of human colonization of vast empty spaces, that helped convince the leaders of both superpowers they had entered into a “space age” in which they were battling over control of the future itself? All sorts of myths were at play here, no doubt, but that proves nothing about the feasibility of the project.

Some of those science fiction fantasies (at this point we can’t know which ones) could have been brought into being. For earlier generations, many science fiction fantasies had been brought into being. Those who grew up at the turn of the century reading Jules Verne or H.G. Wells imagined the world of, say, 1960 with flying machines, rocket ships, submarines, radio, and television—and that was pretty much what they got. If it wasn’t unrealistic in 1900 to dream of men traveling to the moon, then why was it unrealistic in the sixties to dream of jet-packs and robot laundry-maids?

In fact, even as those dreams were being outlined, the material base for their achievement was beginning to be whittled away. There is reason to believe that even by the fifties and sixties, the pace of technological innovation was slowing down from the heady pace of the first half of the century. There was a last spate in the fifties when microwave ovens (1954), the Pill (1957), and lasers (1958) all appeared in rapid succession. But since then, technological advances have taken the form of clever new ways of combining existing technologies (as in the space race) and new ways of putting existing technologies to consumer use (the most famous example is television, invented in 1926, but mass produced only after the war.) Yet, in part because the space race gave everyone the impression that remarkable advances were happening, the popular impression during the sixties was that the pace of technological change was speeding up in terrifying, uncontrollable ways.

Alvin Toffler’s 1970 best seller Future Shock argued that almost all the social problems of the sixties could be traced back to the increasing pace of technological change. The endless outpouring of scientific breakthroughs transformed the grounds of daily existence, and left Americans without any clear idea of what normal life was. Just consider the family, where not just the Pill, but also the prospect of in vitro fertilization, test tube babies, and sperm and egg donation were about to make the idea of motherhood obsolete.

Humans were not psychologically prepared for the pace of change, Toffler wrote. He coined a term for the phenomenon: “accelerative thrust.” It had begun with the Industrial Revolution, but by roughly 1850, the effect had become unmistakable. Not only was everything around us changing, but most of it—human knowledge, the size of the population, industrial growth, energy use—was changing exponentially. The only solution, Toffler argued, was to begin some kind of control over the process, to create institutions that would assess emerging technologies and their likely effects, to ban technologies likely to be too socially disruptive, and to guide development in the direction of social harmony.

While many of the historical trends Toffler describes are accurate, the book appeared when most of these exponential trends halted. It was right around 1970 when the increase in the number of scientific papers published in the world—a figure that had doubled every fifteen years since, roughly, 1685—began leveling off. The same was true of books and patents.

Toffler’s use of acceleration was particularly unfortunate. For most of human history, the top speed at which human beings could travel had been around 25 miles per hour. By 1900 it had increased to 100 miles per hour, and for the next seventy years it did seem to be increasing exponentially. By the time Toffler was writing, in 1970, the record for the fastest speed at which any human had traveled stood at roughly 25,000 mph, achieved by the crew of Apollo 10 in 1969, just one year before. At such an exponential rate, it must have seemed reasonable to assume that within a matter of decades, humanity would be exploring other solar systems.

Since 1970, no further increase has occurred. The record for the fastest a human has ever traveled remains with the crew of Apollo 10. True, the commercial airliner Concorde, which first flew in 1969, reached a maximum speed of 1,400 mph. And the Soviet Tupolev Tu-144, which flew first, reached an even faster speed of 1,553 mph. But those speeds not only have failed to increase; they have decreased since the Tupolev Tu-144 was cancelled and the Concorde was abandoned.

None of this stopped Toffler’s own career. He kept retooling his analysis to come up with new spectacular pronouncements. In 1980, he produced The Third Wave, its argument lifted from Ernest Mandel’s “third technological revolution”—except that while Mandel thought these changes would spell the end of capitalism, Toffler assumed capitalism was eternal. By 1990, Toffler was the personal intellectual guru to Republican congressman Newt Gingrich, who claimed that his 1994 “Contract With America” was inspired, in part, by the understanding that the United States needed to move from an antiquated, materialist, industrial mind-set to a new, free-market, information age, Third Wave civilization.

There are all sorts of ironies in this connection. One of Toffler’s greatest achievements was inspiring the government to create an Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). One of Gingrich’s first acts on winning control of the House of Representatives in 1995 was defunding the OTA as an example of useless government extravagance. Still, there’s no contradiction here. By this time, Toffler had long since given up on influencing policy by appealing to the general public; he was making a living largely by giving seminars to CEOs and corporate think tanks. His insights had been privatized.

Gingrich liked to call himself a “conservative futurologist.” This, too, might seem oxymoronic; but, in fact, Toffler’s own conception of futurology was never progressive. Progress was always presented as a problem that needed to be solved.

Toffler might best be seen as a lightweight version of the nineteenth-century social theorist Auguste Comte, who believed that he was standing on the brink of a new age—in his case, the Industrial Age—driven by the inexorable progress of technology, and that the social cataclysms of his times were caused by the social system not adjusting. The older feudal order had developed Catholic theology, a way of thinking about man’s place in the cosmos perfectly suited to the social system of the time, as well as an institutional structure, the Church, that conveyed and enforced such ideas in a way that could give everyone a sense of meaning and belonging. The Industrial Age had developed its own system of ideas—science—but scientists had not succeeded in creating anything like the Catholic Church. Comte concluded that we needed to develop a new science, which he dubbed “sociology,” and said that sociologists should play the role of priests in a new Religion of Society that would inspire everyone with a love of order, community, work discipline, and family values. Toffler was less ambitious; his futurologists were not supposed to play the role of priests.

Gingrich had a second guru, a libertarian theologian named George Gilder, and Gilder, like Toffler, was obsessed with technology and social change. In an odd way, Gilder was more optimistic. Embracing a radical version of Mandel’s Third Wave argument, he insisted that what we were seeing with the rise of computers was an “overthrow of matter.” The old, materialist Industrial Society, where value came from physical labor, was giving way to an Information Age where value emerges directly from the minds of entrepreneurs, just as the world had originally appeared ex nihilo from the mind of God, just as money, in a proper supply-side economy, emerged ex nihilo from the Federal Reserve and into the hands of value-creating capitalists. Supply-side economic policies, Gilder concluded, would ensure that investment would continue to steer away from old government boondoggles like the space program and toward more productive information and medical technologies.

But if there was a conscious, or semi-conscious, move away from investment in research that might lead to better rockets and robots, and toward research that would lead to such things as laser printers and CAT scans, it had begun well before Toffler’s Future Shock (1970) and Gilder’s Wealth and Poverty (1981). What their success shows is that the issues they raised—that existing patterns of technological development would lead to social upheaval, and that we needed to guide technological development in directions that did not challenge existing structures of authority—echoed in the corridors of power. Statesmen and captains of industry had been thinking about such questions for some time.

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Industrial capitalism has fostered an extremely rapid rate of scientific advance and technological innovation—one with no parallel in previous human history. Even capitalism’s greatest detractors, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, celebrated its unleashing of the “productive forces.” Marx and Engels also believed that capitalism’s continual need to revolutionize the means of industrial production would be its undoing. Marx argued that, for certain technical reasons, value—and therefore profits—can be extracted only from human labor. Competition forces factory owners to mechanize production, to reduce labor costs, but while this is to the short-term advantage of the firm, mechanization’s effect is to drive down the general rate of profit.

For 150 years, economists have debated whether all this is true. But if it is true, then the decision by industrialists not to pour research funds into the invention of the robot factories that everyone was anticipating in the sixties, and instead to relocate their factories to labor-intensive, low-tech facilities in China or the Global South makes a great deal of sense.

As I’ve noted, there’s reason to believe the pace of technological innovation in productive processes—the factories themselves—began to slow in the fifties and sixties, but the side effects of America’s rivalry with the Soviet Union made innovation appear to accelerate. There was the awesome space race, alongside frenetic efforts by U.S. industrial planners to apply existing technologies to consumer purposes, to create an optimistic sense of burgeoning prosperity and guaranteed progress that would undercut the appeal of working-class politics.

These moves were reactions to initiatives from the Soviet Union. But this part of the history is difficult for Americans to remember, because at the end of the Cold War, the popular image of the Soviet Union switched from terrifyingly bold rival to pathetic basket case—the exemplar of a society that could not work. Back in the fifties, in fact, many United States planners suspected the Soviet system worked better. Certainly, they recalled the fact that in the thirties, while the United States had been mired in depression, the Soviet Union had maintained almost unprecedented economic growth rates of 10 percent to 12 percent a year—an achievement quickly followed by the production of tank armies that defeated Nazi Germany, then by the launching of Sputnik in 1957, then by the first manned spacecraft, the Vostok, in 1961.

It’s often said the Apollo moon landing was the greatest historical achievement of Soviet communism. Surely, the United States would never have contemplated such a feat had it not been for the cosmic ambitions of the Soviet Politburo. We are used to thinking of the Politburo as a group of unimaginative gray bureaucrats, but they were bureaucrats who dared to dream astounding dreams. The dream of world revolution was only the first. It’s also true that most of them—changing the course of mighty rivers, this sort of thing—either turned out to be ecologically and socially disastrous, or, like Joseph Stalin’s one-hundred-story Palace of the Soviets or a twenty-story statue of Vladimir Lenin, never got off the ground.

After the initial successes of the Soviet space program, few of these schemes were realized, but the leadership never ceased coming up with new ones. Even in the eighties, when the United States was attempting its own last, grandiose scheme, Star Wars, the Soviets were planning to transform the world through creative uses of technology. Few outside of Russia remember most of these projects, but great resources were devoted to them. It’s also worth noting that unlike the Star Wars project, which was designed to sink the Soviet Union, most were not military in nature: as, for instance, the attempt to solve the world hunger problem by harvesting lakes and oceans with an edible bacteria called spirulina, or to solve the world energy problem by launching hundreds of gigantic solar-power platforms into orbit and beaming the electricity back to earth.

The American victory in the space race meant that, after 1968, U.S. planners no longer took the competition seriously. As a result, the mythology of the final frontier was maintained, even as the direction of research and development shifted away from anything that might lead to the creation of Mars bases and robot factories.

The standard line is that all this was a result of the triumph of the market. The Apollo program was a Big Government project, Soviet-inspired in the sense that it required a national effort coordinated by government bureaucracies. As soon as the Soviet threat drew safely out of the picture, though, capitalism was free to revert to lines of technological development more in accord with its normal, decentralized, free-market imperatives—such as privately funded research into marketable products like personal computers. This is the line that men like Toffler and Gilder took in the late seventies and early eighties.

In fact, the United States never did abandon gigantic, government-controlled schemes of technological development. Mainly, they just shifted to military research—and not just to Soviet-scale schemes like Star Wars, but to weapons projects, research in communications and surveillance technologies, and similar security-related concerns. To some degree this had always been true: the billions poured into missile research had always dwarfed the sums allocated to the space program. Yet by the seventies, even basic research came to be conducted following military priorities. One reason we don’t have robot factories is because roughly 95 percent of robotics research funding has been channeled through the Pentagon, which is more interested in developing unmanned drones than in automating paper mills.

A case could be made that even the shift to research and development on information technologies and medicine was not so much a reorientation toward market-driven consumer imperatives, but part of an all-out effort to follow the technological humbling of the Soviet Union with total victory in the global class war—seen simultaneously as the imposition of absolute U.S. military dominance overseas, and, at home, the utter rout of social movements.

For the technologies that did emerge proved most conducive to surveillance, work discipline, and social control. Computers have opened up certain spaces of freedom, as we’re constantly reminded, but instead of leading to the workless utopia Abbie Hoffman imagined, they have been employed in such a way as to produce the opposite effect. They have enabled a financialization of capital that has driven workers desperately into debt, and, at the same time, provided the means by which employers have created “flexible” work regimes that have both destroyed traditional job security and increased working hours for almost everyone. Along with the export of factory jobs, the new work regime has routed the union movement and destroyed any possibility of effective working-class politics.

Meanwhile, despite unprecedented investment in research on medicine and life sciences, we await cures for cancer and the common cold, and the most dramatic medical breakthroughs we have seen have taken the form of drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, or Ritalin—tailor-made to ensure that the new work demands don’t drive us completely, dysfunctionally crazy.

With results like these, what will the epitaph for neoliberalism look like? I think historians will conclude it was a form of capitalism that systematically prioritized political imperatives over economic ones. Given a choice between a course of action that would make capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and one that would transform capitalism into a viable, long-term economic system, neoliberalism chooses the former every time. There is every reason to believe that destroying job security while increasing working hours does not create a more productive (let alone more innovative or loyal) workforce. Probably, in economic terms, the result is negative—an impression confirmed by lower growth rates in just about all parts of the world in the eighties and nineties.

But the neoliberal choice has been effective in depoliticizing labor and overdetermining the future. Economically, the growth of armies, police, and private security services amounts to dead weight. It’s possible, in fact, that the very dead weight of the apparatus created to ensure the ideological victory of capitalism will sink it. But it’s also easy to see how choking off any sense of an inevitable, redemptive future that could be different from our world is a crucial part of the neoliberal project.

At this point all the pieces would seem to be falling neatly into place. By the sixties, conservative political forces were growing skittish about the socially disruptive effects of technological progress, and employers were beginning to worry about the economic impact of mechanization. The fading Soviet threat allowed for a reallocation of resources in directions seen as less challenging to social and economic arrangements, or indeed directions that could support a campaign of reversing the gains of progressive social movements and achieving a decisive victory in what U.S. elites saw as a global class war. The change of priorities was introduced as a withdrawal of big-government projects and a return to the market, but in fact the change shifted government-directed research away from programs like NASA or alternative energy sources and toward military, information, and medical technologies.

Of course this doesn’t explain everything. Above all, it does not explain why, even in those areas that have become the focus of well-funded research projects, we have not seen anything like the kind of advances anticipated fifty years ago. If 95 percent of robotics research has been funded by the military, then where are the Klaatu-style killer robots shooting death rays from their eyes?

Obviously, there have been advances in military technology in recent decades. One of the reasons we all survived the Cold War is that while nuclear bombs might have worked as advertised, their delivery systems did not; intercontinental ballistic missiles weren’t capable of striking cities, let alone specific targets inside cities, and this fact meant there was little point in launching a nuclear first strike unless you intended to destroy the world.

Contemporary cruise missiles are accurate by comparison. Still, precision weapons never do seem capable of assassinating specific individuals (Saddam, Osama, Qaddafi), even when hundreds are dropped. And ray guns have not materialized—surely not for lack of trying. We can assume the Pentagon has spent billions on death ray research, but the closest they’ve come so far are lasers that might, if aimed correctly, blind an enemy gunner looking directly at the beam. Aside from being unsporting, this is pathetic: lasers are a fifties technology. Phasers that can be set to stun do not appear to be on the drawing boards; and when it comes to infantry combat, the preferred weapon almost everywhere remains the AK-47, a Soviet design named for the year it was introduced: 1947.

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The Internet is a remarkable innovation, but all we are talking about is a super-fast and globally accessible combination of library, post office, and mail-order catalogue. Had the Internet been described to a science fiction aficionado in the fifties and sixties and touted as the most dramatic technological achievement since his time, his reaction would have been disappointment. Fifty years and this is the best our scientists managed to come up with? We expected computers that would think!

Overall, levels of research funding have increased dramatically since the seventies. Admittedly, the proportion of that funding that comes from the corporate sector has increased most dramatically, to the point that private enterprise is now funding twice as much research as the government, but the increase is so large that the total amount of government research funding, in real-dollar terms, is much higher than it was in the sixties. “Basic,” “curiosity-driven,” or “blue skies” research—the kind that is not driven by the prospect of any immediate practical application, and that is most likely to lead to unexpected breakthroughs—occupies an ever smaller proportion of the total, though so much money is being thrown around nowadays that overall levels of basic research funding have increased.

Yet most observers agree that the results have been paltry. Certainly we no longer see anything like the continual stream of conceptual revolutions—genetic inheritance, relativity, psychoanalysis, quantum mechanics—that people had grown used to, and even expected, a hundred years before. Why?

Part of the answer has to do with the concentration of resources on a handful of gigantic projects: “big science,” as it has come to be called. The Human Genome Project is often held out as an example. After spending almost three billion dollars and employing thousands of scientists and staff in five different countries, it has mainly served to establish that there isn’t very much to be learned from sequencing genes that’s of much use to anyone else. Even more, the hype and political investment surrounding such projects demonstrate the degree to which even basic research now seems to be driven by political, administrative, and marketing imperatives that make it unlikely anything revolutionary will happen.

Here, our fascination with the mythic origins of Silicon Valley and the Internet has blinded us to what’s really going on. It has allowed us to imagine that research and development is now driven, primarily, by small teams of plucky entrepreneurs, or the sort of decentralized cooperation that creates open-source software. This is not so, even though such research teams are most likely to produce results. Research and development is still driven by giant bureaucratic projects.

What has changed is the bureaucratic culture. The increasing interpenetration of government, university, and private firms has led everyone to adopt the language, sensibilities, and organizational forms that originated in the corporate world. Although this might have helped in creating marketable products, since that is what corporate bureaucracies are designed to do, in terms of fostering original research, the results have been catastrophic.

My own knowledge comes from universities, both in the United States and Britain. In both countries, the last thirty years have seen a veritable explosion of the proportion of working hours spent on administrative tasks at the expense of pretty much everything else. In my own university, for instance, we have more administrators than faculty members, and the faculty members, too, are expected to spend at least as much time on administration as on teaching and research combined. The same is true, more or less, at universities worldwide.

The growth of administrative work has directly resulted from introducing corporate management techniques. Invariably, these are justified as ways of increasing efficiency and introducing competition at every level. What they end up meaning in practice is that everyone winds up spending most of their time trying to sell things: grant proposals; book proposals; assessments of students’ jobs and grant applications; assessments of our colleagues; prospectuses for new interdisciplinary majors; institutes; conference workshops; universities themselves (which have now become brands to be marketed to prospective students or contributors); and so on.

As marketing overwhelms university life, it generates documents about fostering imagination and creativity that might just as well have been designed to strangle imagination and creativity in the cradle. No major new works of social theory have emerged in the United States in the last thirty years. We have been reduced to the equivalent of medieval scholastics, writing endless annotations of French theory from the seventies, despite the guilty awareness that if new incarnations of Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, or Pierre Bourdieu were to appear in the academy today, we would deny them tenure.

There was a time when academia was society’s refuge for the eccentric, brilliant, and impractical. No longer. It is now the domain of professional self-marketers. As a result, in one of the most bizarre fits of social self-destructiveness in history, we seem to have decided we have no place for our eccentric, brilliant, and impractical citizens. Most languish in their mothers’ basements, at best making the occasional, acute intervention on the Internet.

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If all this is true in the social sciences, where research is still carried out with minimal overhead largely by individuals, one can imagine how much worse it is for astrophysicists. And, indeed, one astrophysicist, Jonathan Katz, has recently warned students pondering a career in the sciences. Even if you do emerge from the usual decade-long period languishing as someone else’s flunky, he says, you can expect your best ideas to be stymied at every point:

You will spend your time writing proposals rather than doing research. Worse, because your proposals are judged by your competitors, you cannot follow your curiosity, but must spend your effort and talents on anticipating and deflecting criticism rather than on solving the important scientific problems. . . . It is proverbial that original ideas are the kiss of death for a proposal, because they have not yet been proved to work.

That pretty much answers the question of why we don’t have teleportation devices or antigravity shoes. Common sense suggests that if you want to maximize scientific creativity, you find some bright people, give them the resources they need to pursue whatever idea comes into their heads, and then leave them alone. Most will turn up nothing, but one or two may well discover something. But if you want to minimize the possibility of unexpected breakthroughs, tell those same people they will receive no resources at all unless they spend the bulk of their time competing against each other to convince you they know in advance what they are going to discover.

In the natural sciences, to the tyranny of managerialism we can add the privatization of research results. As the British economist David Harvie has reminded us, “open source” research is not new. Scholarly research has always been open source, in the sense that scholars share materials and results. There is competition, certainly, but it is “convivial.” This is no longer true of scientists working in the corporate sector, where findings are jealously guarded, but the spread of the corporate ethos within the academy and research institutes themselves has caused even publicly funded scholars to treat their findings as personal property. Academic publishers ensure that findings that are published are increasingly difficult to access, further enclosing the intellectual commons. As a result, convivial, open-source competition turns into something much more like classic market competition.

There are many forms of privatization, up to and including the simple buying up and suppression of inconvenient discoveries by large corporations fearful of their economic effects. (We cannot know how many synthetic fuel formulae have been bought up and placed in the vaults of oil companies, but it’s hard to imagine nothing like this happens.) More subtle is the way the managerial ethos discourages everything adventurous or quirky, especially if there is no prospect of immediate results. Oddly, the Internet can be part of the problem here. As Neal Stephenson put it:

Most people who work in corporations or academia have witnessed something like the following: A number of engineers are sitting together in a room, bouncing ideas off each other. Out of the discussion emerges a new concept that seems promising. Then some laptop-wielding person in the corner, having performed a quick Google search, announces that this “new” idea is, in fact, an old one; it—or at least something vaguely similar—has already been tried. Either it failed, or it succeeded. If it failed, then no manager who wants to keep his or her job will approve spending money trying to revive it. If it succeeded, then it’s patented and entry to the market is presumed to be unattainable, since the first people who thought of it will have “first-mover advantage” and will have created “barriers to entry.” The number of seemingly promising ideas that have been crushed in this way must number in the millions.

And so a timid, bureaucratic spirit suffuses every aspect of cultural life. It comes festooned in a language of creativity, initiative, and entrepreneurialism. But the language is meaningless. Those thinkers most likely to make a conceptual breakthrough are the least likely to receive funding, and, if breakthroughs occur, they are not likely to find anyone willing to follow up on their most daring implications.

Giovanni Arrighi has noted that after the South Sea Bubble, British capitalism largely abandoned the corporate form. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, Britain had instead come to rely on a combination of high finance and small family firms—a pattern that held throughout the next century, the period of maximum scientific and technological innovation. (Britain at that time was also notorious for being just as generous to its oddballs and eccentrics as contemporary America is intolerant. A common expedient was to allow them to become rural vicars, who, predictably, became one of the main sources for amateur scientific discoveries.)

Contemporary, bureaucratic corporate capitalism was a creation not of Britain, but of the United States and Germany, the two rival powers that spent the first half of the twentieth century fighting two bloody wars over who would replace Britain as a dominant world power—wars that culminated, appropriately enough, in government-sponsored scientific programs to see who would be the first to discover the atom bomb. It is significant, then, that our current technological stagnation seems to have begun after 1945, when the United States replaced Britain as organizer of the world economy.

Americans do not like to think of themselves as a nation of bureaucrats—quite the opposite—but the moment we stop imagining bureaucracy as a phenomenon limited to government offices, it becomes obvious that this is precisely what we have become. The final victory over the Soviet Union did not lead to the domination of the market, but, in fact, cemented the dominance of conservative managerial elites, corporate bureaucrats who use the pretext of short-term, competitive, bottom-line thinking to squelch anything likely to have revolutionary implications of any kind.

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If we do not notice that we live in a bureaucratic society, that is because bureaucratic norms and practices have become so all-pervasive that we cannot see them, or, worse, cannot imagine doing things any other way.

Computers have played a crucial role in this narrowing of our social imaginations. Just as the invention of new forms of industrial automation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had the paradoxical effect of turning more and more of the world’s population into full-time industrial workers, so has all the software designed to save us from administrative responsibilities turned us into part- or full-time administrators. In the same way that university professors seem to feel it is inevitable they will spend more of their time managing grants, so affluent housewives simply accept that they will spend weeks every year filling out forty-page online forms to get their children into grade schools. We all spend increasing amounts of time punching passwords into our phones to manage bank and credit accounts and learning how to perform jobs once performed by travel agents, brokers, and accountants.

Someone once figured out that the average American will spend a cumulative six months of life waiting for traffic lights to change. I don’t know if similar figures are available for how long it takes to fill out forms, but it must be at least as long. No population in the history of the world has spent nearly so much time engaged in paperwork.

In this final, stultifying stage of capitalism, we are moving from poetic technologies to bureaucratic technologies. By poetic technologies I refer to the use of rational and technical means to bring wild fantasies to reality. Poetic technologies, so understood, are as old as civilization. Lewis Mumford noted that the first complex machines were made of people. Egyptian pharaohs were able to build the pyramids only because of their mastery of administrative procedures, which allowed them to develop production-line techniques, dividing up complex tasks into dozens of simple operations and assigning each to one team of workmen—even though they lacked mechanical technology more complex than the inclined plane and lever. Administrative oversight turned armies of peasant farmers into the cogs of a vast machine. Much later, after cogs had been invented, the design of complex machinery elaborated principles originally developed to organize people.

Yet we have seen those machines—whether their moving parts are arms and torsos or pistons, wheels, and springs—being put to work to realize impossible fantasies: cathedrals, moon shots, transcontinental railways. Certainly, poetic technologies had something terrible about them; the poetry is likely to be as much of dark satanic mills as of grace or liberation. But the rational, administrative techniques were always in service to some fantastic end.

From this perspective, all those mad Soviet plans—even if never realized—marked the climax of poetic technologies. What we have now is the reverse. It’s not that vision, creativity, and mad fantasies are no longer encouraged, but that most remain free-floating; there’s no longer even the pretense that they could ever take form or flesh. The greatest and most powerful nation that has ever existed has spent the last decades telling its citizens they can no longer contemplate fantastic collective enterprises, even if—as the environmental crisis demands— the fate of the earth depends on it.

What are the political implications of all this? First of all, we need to rethink some of our most basic assumptions about the nature of capitalism. One is that capitalism is identical with the market, and that both therefore are inimical to bureaucracy, which is supposed to be a creature of the state.

The second assumption is that capitalism is in its nature technologically progressive. It would seem that Marx and Engels, in their giddy enthusiasm for the industrial revolutions of their day, were wrong about this. Or, to be more precise: they were right to insist that the mechanization of industrial production would destroy capitalism; they were wrong to predict that market competition would compel factory owners to mechanize anyway. If it didn’t happen, that is because market competition is not, in fact, as essential to the nature of capitalism as they had assumed. If nothing else, the current form of capitalism, where much of the competition seems to take the form of internal marketing within the bureaucratic structures of large semi-monopolistic enterprises, would come as a complete surprise to them.

Defenders of capitalism make three broad historical claims: first, that it has fostered rapid scientific and technological growth; second, that however much it may throw enormous wealth to a small minority, it does so in such a way as to increase overall prosperity; third, that in doing so, it creates a more secure and democratic world for everyone. It is clear that capitalism is not doing any of these things any longer. In fact, many of its defenders are retreating from claiming that it is a good system and instead falling back on the claim that it is the only possible system—or, at least, the only possible system for a complex, technologically sophisticated society such as our own.

But how could anyone argue that current economic arrangements are also the only ones that will ever be viable under any possible future technological society? The argument is absurd. How could anyone know?

Granted, there are people who take that position—on both ends of the political spectrum. As an anthropologist and anarchist, I encounter anticivilizational types who insist not only that current industrial technology leads only to capitalist-style oppression, but that this must necessarily be true of any future technology as well, and therefore that human liberation can be achieved only by returning to the Stone Age. Most of us are not technological determinists.

But claims for the inevitability of capitalism have to be based on a kind of technological determinism. And for that very reason, if the aim of neoliberal capitalism is to create a world in which no one believes any other economic system could work, then it needs to suppress not just any idea of an inevitable redemptive future, but any radically different technological future. Yet there’s a contradiction. Defenders of capitalism cannot mean to convince us that technological change has ended—since that would mean capitalism is not progressive. No, they mean to convince us that technological progress is indeed continuing, that we do live in a world of wonders, but that those wonders take the form of modest improvements (the latest iPhone!), rumors of inventions about to happen (“I hear they are going to have flying cars pretty soon”), complex ways of juggling information and imagery, and still more complex platforms for filling out of forms.

I do not mean to suggest that neoliberal capitalism—or any other system—can be successful in this regard. First, there’s the problem of trying to convince the world you are leading the way in technological progress when you are holding it back. The United States, with its decaying infrastructure, paralysis in the face of global warming, and symbolically devastating abandonment of its manned space program just as China accelerates its own, is doing a particularly bad public relations job. Second, the pace of change can’t be held back forever. Breakthroughs will happen; inconvenient discoveries cannot be permanently suppressed. Other, less bureaucratized parts of the world—or at least, parts of the world with bureaucracies that are not so hostile to creative thinking—will slowly but inevitably attain the resources required to pick up where the United States and its allies have left off. The Internet does provide opportunities for collaboration and dissemination that may help break us through the wall as well. Where will the breakthrough come? We can’t know. Maybe 3D printing will do what the robot factories were supposed to. Or maybe it will be something else. But it will happen.

About one conclusion we can feel especially confident: it will not happen within the framework of contemporary corporate capitalism—or any form of capitalism. To begin setting up domes on Mars, let alone to develop the means to figure out if there are alien civilizations to contact, we’re going to have to figure out a different economic system. Must the new system take the form of some massive new bureaucracy? Why do we assume it must? Only by breaking up existing bureaucratic structures can we begin. And if we’re going to invent robots that will do our laundry and tidy up the kitchen, then we’re going to have to make sure that whatever replaces capitalism is based on a far more egalitarian distribution of wealth and power—one that no longer contains either the super-rich or the desperately poor willing to do their housework. Only then will technology begin to be marshaled toward human needs. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and the CEOs—to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations once again become a material force in human history.


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[Feb 21, 2020] After the attack of Sanders Warren emerges as the Reactionary, Man-hating, Pathological Liar-Victim.

Feb 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

IronForge , Feb 20 2020 23:23 utc | 68

Warren is the Reactionary, Man-hating, Pathological Liar-Victim.

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/politics-ideas/campaigns-elections/elizabeth-warren-cornering-the-man-hating-vote/

Don't think America is going to Vote in Someone who Defrauded Others with Claims of being Part Native American.

Maybe Bloomberg may have been Out of Line a few times. A "Horse Faced Lesbian" - what if it were an accurate description? A "Fat Drunkard" - to someone who is correctly described - is it really that offensive?

If it were said in an inappropriate context - say for job interviews - we can see the error; but reading about Warren calling an Male Actor as "Eye Candy" puts her brand of Sexist Comments in the same Boat.

What was Fauxahontas' Native American Name, anyway?
"Doesn't like Horses"?

[Feb 21, 2020] Bloomberg as a symbol of the degradatin of the US Empire's political system

Feb 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Feb 20 2020 20:24 utc | 40

Finnian Cunningham weighs in with an excellent article about Bloomberg as symbolic of the demise of the Outlaw US Empire's nationwide electoral political system, "With Bloomberg Entering Race, U.S. Oligarchy Takes Stage" . A portion of the juicy meat:

"In a nutshell, the political party is bought. It has become a vehicle that is patently the political property of an oligarch. And not just this one oligarch, but the entire oligarchic system of super-wealth in the United States. Hillary Clinton, the Democrat candidate in 2016, was despised by voters because of her solicitous connections to Wall Street and Big Business. That corruption has now only become starkly manifest in the form an oligarch-in-person taking the political stage instead of a politician-surrogate. The same can be said for the other side of the oligarch coin, the Republicans.

"It is rather fitting too that Bloomberg stood as a Republican when he was elected Mayor of Gotham (er, New York City) between 2001-2013. Since leaving that office be flipped to the Democrats, no doubt sensing a more expedient route for buying his way to the White House. That again demonstrates how hollow the party names are of any substantive meaning regarding policy.

"In the 2018 mid-term elections, Bloomberg donated $100 million to the DNC to promote 16 new female lawmakers to Congress. Enamored by that superficial progressive benevolence, the party bosses are in his pocket."

Cunningham concludes with an observation that many of us arrived at long ago:

"The only 'superhero' that can save Gotham (er, the U.S.) from the oligarchs is the American people themselves finding the strength and independence to rise up against the endemic two-party corruption, and voting for real change.

" That, however, requires mass organization, mobilization and a class consciousness about the predatory capitalist, oligarch-ridden system that the U.S. has descended into ." [My Emphasis]

The bolded sentence above provides us with our task and goal, that is if we--non-Americans included--wish to save the nation and the world from Oligarchical Ruin. Our only chance is to provide Sanders with 1991+ delegates so he can gain the nomination outright on the first ballot before the corrupt delegates can enter the fray. Yes, he has issues with his foreign policy record; but it's his domestic record most voters will want to know about since so many are struggling. And it's on that part of his record that I intend to focus upon, while I'm certain the naysayers like the rabbit will focus exclusively elsewhere.


Steve , Feb 20 2020 20:44 utc | 45

It is a sign of the bankruptcy of the USA'system that the best hope on both left and right are Bernie and Trump. The system suffocates true statesmen.
b4real , Feb 20 2020 21:11 utc | 47
@karlof1 | Feb 20 2020 20:43 utc | 43

"As I wrote the other day echoing Solomon and Sanders, it's a Class War, and we need everyone to come to the barricades and the polling stations"


Karlof1, I admire your knowledge. That being said, can you tell me of any instance in the history of mankind, wherein a national government has changed its behavior due to the results of an election? As far as I can see, governments have only changed their ways after catastrophic war, economic or foundational collapse or a peasant revolt.

TIA

b4real

David G , Feb 20 2020 22:48 utc | 63
Bloomberg bought his way onto the debate stage by getting the rules changed in exchange for money to the DNC (and assorted Dem big shots).

He could've, and should've, paid them to not change the rules, even as he pretended to clamor to be included, thereby keeping the initial bubble in his popularity going until after the big Super Tuesday primaries, while playing the victim for being excluded from the debates.

He still would have been exposed eventually, but only after having had a shot at collecting a large number of delegates, strengthening his position.

But Bloomberg was too engorged with the knowledge he can pay these corrupt Dems to do anything he wants to realize that this was a case where it was better not to (or rather, to be seen not to be able to ).

He's a pisher.

[Feb 20, 2020] Warren comes across, to me, as even more shrill, harsh, angry and unlikeable than Clinton did at her worst.

Feb 20, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Bill H , 20 February 2020 at 01:31 PM

The media is cheering wildly for Warren and saying that she won the debate, but I found her to be utterly repugnant. She comes across, to me, as even more shrill, harsh, angry and unlikeable than Clinton did at her worst.

[Feb 20, 2020] Fratricide in Las Vegas - Six dwarfs mud fight should be fun all the way to November

Looks like it will Oligarch vs Oligarch Wrestling World Championship match again ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... These six dwarves will probably persist in their quest for the brass ring all the way to the convention ..."
Feb 20, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Some particulars:

  1. Bloomberg is revealed as having said in public that all the disposable income of the poor should be taxed away so that they will not have funds with which to do mischief like buying fast food or sugary drinks.
  2. Bloomberg described Sanders as a Communist who cannot be elected. In this he was correct.
  3. Bloomberg was described by Warren as a cold-hearted and insulting man who openly scorns women, gays and minorities.
  4. Mayor Pete mocked Klobuchar for her inability to remember the name of the president of Mexico. She asked if he was calling her "stupid."

These six dwarves will probably persist in their quest for the brass ring all the way to the convention. In the mayhem there, the "winner" will probably have to choose one of the "losers" to be his VP running mate.

This should be fun all the way to November. pl

[Feb 19, 2020] During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d' tat) changed sides and betrayed the working class

Highly recommended!
This was an outright declaration of "class war" against working-class voters by a "university-credentialed overclass" -- "managerial elite" which changed sides and allied with financial oligrchy. See "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind
Notable quotes:
"... By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. The "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI. ..."
Feb 19, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 19, 2020 12:31 pm

Does not matter.

It looks like Bloomberg is finished. He just committed political suicide with his comments about farmers and metal workers.

BTW Bloomberg's plan is highly hypocritical -- like is Bloomberg himself.

During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d'état) changed sides and betrayed the working class.

So those neoliberal scoundrels reversed the class compromise embodied in the New Deal.

The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the neoliberal managerial class and financial oligarchy who got to power via the "Quiet Coup" was the global labor arbitrage in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations.

So all those "improving education" plans are, to a large extent, the smoke screen over the fact that the US workers now need to compete against highly qualified and lower cost immigrants and outsourced workforce.

The fact is that it is very difficult to find for US graduates in STEM disciplines a decent job, and this is by design.

Also, after the "Reagan neoliberal revolution" ( actually a coup d'état ), profits were maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of the immigrant workforce (the collapse of the USSR helped greatly ). They push down wages and compete for jobs with their domestic counterparts, including the recent graduates. So the situation since 1991 was never too bright for STEM graduates.

By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. The "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI.

See also recently published "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind.

One of his quotes:

The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.

[Feb 19, 2020] During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d' tat) changed sides and betrayed the working class

This was an outright declaration of "class war" against working-class voters by a "university-credentialed overclass" -- "managerial elite" which changed sides and allied with financial oligrchy. See "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind
Feb 19, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 19, 2020 12:31 pm

Does not matter.

It looks like Bloomberg is finished. He just committed political suicide with his comments about farmers and metal workers.

BTW Bloomberg's plan is highly hypocritical -- like is Bloomberg himself.

During the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" was staged in the USA by "managerial elite" which like Soviet nomenklatura (which also staged a neoliberal coup d'état) changed sides and betrayed the working class.

So those neoliberal scoundrels reversed the class compromise embodied in the New Deal.

The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the neoliberal managerial class and financial oligarchy who got to power via the "Quiet Coup" was the global labor arbitrage in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations.

So all those "improving education" plans are, to a large extent, the smoke screen over the fact that the US workers now need to compete against highly qualified and lower cost immigrant and outsourced workforce.

The fact is that it is very difficult to find for US graduates in STEM disciplines a decent job, and this is by design.

Also, after the "Reagan neoliberal revolution" ( actually a coup d'état ), profits were maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of the immigrant workforce (the collapse of the USSR helped greatly ). They push down wages and compete for jobs s with their domestic counterparts, including the recent graduates. So the situation since 1991 was never too bright for STEM graduates.

By canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, the neoliberal elite saws the seed of the current populist backlash. Many of the "soft neoliberal" backbone of the Democratic Party (Clinton wing) were incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat -- the rejection of the establishment candidate by the US population and first of all by the working class. The result has been the neo-McCarthyism campaign and the attempt to derail Trump via color revolution spearheaded by Brennan-Obama factions in CIA and FBI.

See also recently published "The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite" by Michael Lind.

One of his quotes:

The American oligarchy spares no pains in promoting the belief that it does not exist, but the success of its disappearing act depends on equally strenuous efforts on the part of an American public anxious to believe in egalitarian fictions and unwilling to see what is hidden in plain sight.

[Feb 19, 2020] On Michael Lind's "The New Class War" by Gregor Baszak

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. ..."
"... Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt. ..."
"... Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists." ..."
"... To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration. ..."
"... Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages. ..."
"... This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up. ..."
"... But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself. ..."
"... American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises. ..."
"... In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism." ..."
"... A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes. ..."
Jan 08, 2020 | lareviewofbooks.org

A FEW DAYS AFTER Donald Trump's electoral upset in 2016, Club for Growth co-founder Stephen Moore told an audience of Republican House members that the GOP was "now officially a Trump working class party." No longer the party of traditional Reaganite conservatism, the GOP had been converted instead "into a populist America First party." As he uttered these words, Moore says, "the shock was palpable" in the room.

The Club for Growth had long dominated Republican orthodoxy by promoting low tax rates and limited government. Any conservative candidate for political office wanting to reap the benefits of the Club's massive fundraising arm had to pay homage to this doctrine. For one of its formerly leading voices to pronounce the transformation of this orthodoxy toward a more populist nationalism showed just how much the ground had shifted on election night.

To writer Michael Lind, Trump's victory, along with Brexit and other populist stirrings in Europe, was an outright declaration of "class war" by alienated working-class voters against what he calls a "university-credentialed overclass" of managerial elites. The title of Lind's new book, The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite , leaves no doubt as to where his sympathies lie, though he's adamant that he's not some sort of guru for a " smarter Trumpism ," as some have labeled him.

Lind cautions against a turn to populism, which he believes to be too personality-centered and intellectually incoherent -- not to mention, too demagogic -- to help solve the terminal crisis of "technocratic neoliberalism" with its rule by self-righteous and democratically unaccountable "experts" with hyperactive Twitter handles. Only a return to what Lind calls "democratic pluralism" will help stem the tide of the populist revolt.

The New Class War is a breath of fresh air. Many on the left have been incapable of coming to terms with Hillary Clinton's defeat. The result has been the stifling climate of a neo-McCarthyism, in which the only explanation for Trump's success was an unholy alliance of "Putin stooges" and unrepentant "white supremacists."

To Lind, the case is much more straightforward: while the vast majority of Americans supports Social Security spending and containing unskilled immigration, the elites of the bipartisan swamp favor libertarian free trade policies combined with the steady influx of unskilled migrants to help suppress wage levels in the United States. Trump had outflanked his opponents in the Republican primaries and Clinton in the general election by tacking left on the economy (he refused to lay hands on Social Security) and right on immigration.

The strategy has since been successfully repeated in the United Kingdom by Boris Johnson, and it looks, for now, like a foolproof way for conservative parties in the West to capture or defend their majorities against center-left parties that are too beholden to wealthy, metropolitan interests to seriously attract working-class support. Berating the latter as irredeemably racist certainly doesn't help either.

What happened in the preceding decades to produce this divide in Western democracies? Lind's narrative begins with the New Deal, which had brought to an end what he calls "the first class war" in favor of a class compromise between management and labor. This first class war is the one we are the most familiar with: originating in the Industrial Revolution, which had produced the wretchedly poor proletariat, it soon led to the rise of competing parties of organized workers on the one hand and the liberal bourgeoisie on the other, a clash that came to a head in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Then, in the 1930s, while the world was writhing from the consequences of the Great Depression, a series of fascist parties took the reigns in countries from Germany to Spain. To spare the United States a similar descent into barbarism, President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal, in which the working class would find a seat at the bargaining table under a government-supervised tripartite system where business and organized labor met seemingly as equals and in which collective bargaining would help the working class set sector-wide wages.

This class compromise ruled unquestioned for the first decades of the postwar era. It was made possible thanks to the system of democratic pluralism, which allowed working-class and rural constituencies to actively partake in mass-membership organizations like unions as well as civic and religious institutions that would empower these communities to shape society from the ground up.

But then, amid the stagflation crisis of the 1970s, a "neoliberal revolution from above" set in that sought to reverse the class compromise. The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the newly emboldened managerial class was "global labor arbitrage" in which production is outsourced to countries with lower wage levels and laxer regulations; alternatively, profits can be maximized by putting downward pressure on domestic wages through the introduction of an unskilled, non-unionized immigrant workforce that competes for jobs with its unionized domestic counterparts. By one-sidedly canceling the class compromise that governed the capitalist societies after World War II, Lind concludes, the managerial elite had brought the recent populist backlash on itself.

Likewise, only it can contain this backlash by returning to the bargaining table and reestablishing the tripartite system it had walked away from. According to Lind, the new class peace can only come about on the level of the individual nation-state because transnational treaty organizations like the EU cannot allow the various national working classes to escape the curse of labor arbitrage. This will mean that unskilled immigration will necessarily have to be curbed to strengthen the bargaining power of domestic workers. The free-market orthodoxy of the Club for Growth will also have to take a backseat, to be replaced by government-promoted industrial strategies that invest in innovation to help modernize their national economies.

Under which circumstances would the managerial elites ever return to the bargaining table? "The answer is fear," Lind suggests -- fear of working-class resentment of hyper-woke, authoritarian elites. Ironically, this leaves all the agency with the ruling class, who first acceded to the class compromise, then canceled it, and is now called on to forge a new one lest its underlings revolt.

Lind rightly complains all throughout the book that the old mass-membership based organizations of the 20th century have collapsed. He's coy, however, about who would reconstitute them and how. At best, Lind argues for a return to the old system where party bosses and ward captains served their local constituencies through patronage, but once more this leaves the agency with entities like the Republicans and Democrats who have a combined zero members. As the third-party activist Howie Hawkins remarked cunningly elsewhere ,

American parties are not organized parties built around active members and policy platforms; they are shifting coalitions of entrepreneurial candidate campaign organizations. Hence, the Democratic and Republican Parties are not only capitalist ideologically; they are capitalistically run enterprises.

Thus, they would hardly be the first options one would think of to reinvigorate the forces of civil society toward self-rule from the bottom up.

The key to Lind's fraught logic lies hidden in plain sight -- in the book's title. Lind does not speak of "class struggle ," the heroic Marxist narrative in which an organized proletariat strove for global power; no, "class war " smacks of a gloomy, Hobbesian war of all against all in which no side truly stands to win.

In the epigraph to the book, Lind cites approvingly the 1949 treatise The Vital Center by historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. who wrote that "class conflict, pursued to excess, may well destroy the underlying fabric of common principle which sustains free society." Schlesinger was just one among many voices who believed that Western societies after World War II were experiencing the "end of ideology." From now on, the reasoning went, the ideological battles of yesteryear were settled in favor of a more disinterested capitalist (albeit New Deal–inflected) governance. This, in turn, gave rise to the managerial forces in government, the military, and business whose unchecked hold on power Lind laments. The midcentury social-democratic thinker Michael Harrington had it right when he wrote that "[t]he end of ideology is a shorthand way of saying the end of socialism."

Looked at from this perspective, the break between the postwar Fordist regime and technocratic neoliberalism isn't as massive as one would suppose. The overclass antagonists of The New Class War believe that they derive their power from the same "liberal order" of the first-class peace that Lind upholds as a positive utopia. A cursory glance at the recent impeachment hearings bears witness to this, as career bureaucrats complained that President Trump unjustifiably sought to change the course of an American foreign policy that had been nobly steered by them since the onset of the Cold War. In their eyes, Trump, like the Brexiteers or the French yellow vest protesters, are vulgar usurpers who threaten the stability of the vital center from polar extremes.

A more honest account of capitalism would also acknowledge its natural tendencies to persistently contract and to disrupt the social fabric. There is thus no reason to believe why some future class compromise would once and for all quell these tendencies -- and why nationalistically operating capitalist states would not be inclined to confront each other again in war.

Gregor Baszak is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His Twitter handle is @gregorbas1.

Stourley Kracklite 20 days ago • edited ,

Reagan was a free-trader and a union buster. Lind's people jumped the Democratic ship to vote for Reagan in (lemming-like) droves. As Republicans consolidated power over labor with cheap goods from China and the meth of deficit spending Democrats struggled with being necklaced as the party of civil rights.
The idea that people who are well-informed ought not to govern is a sad and sick cover story that the culpable are forced to chant in their caves until their days are done, the reckoning being too great.

[Feb 18, 2020] The West "Weeps" for What It Has Sowed by Stormy

Feb 16, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
At the Munich Security Conference the U.S. and its allies had no idea of how to handle China, a problem of their greed and stupidity. The West is divided, confused. What to do about Huawei? Really, what to do with China?

So when Mike Pompeo proclaimed "we are winning," the largely European audience was silent and worried in what sense "we" existed longer.
In the meantime, Europe, including the U.K, finds itself in a mincer between the U.S. and China

Unfortunately for us. China has followed the U.S. playbook and has outplayed the West, especially the U.S.

Walter Rostow of the Johnson administration, an avid anti-communist, wrote the playbook: How can an undeveloped nation take its place among the leaders of the world.

The answer : Industrialize as rapidly as possible. Do whatever it takes. China did just that.

In its five year plans, China acknowledged its debt to Rostow and started to industrialize. While I have described this process many years ago, I again outline it briefly here.

First : China entered the W.T.O. Bill Clinton and Congress were accommodating and instrumental:

Last fall, as all of you know, the United States signed an agreement to bring China into the W.T.O, on terms that will open its markets to American products and investments.
Bill Clinton speaking before Congress, March 9, 1998

Second : China offered dirt cheap labor, labor that had no effective right to bargain
Third : China did not require a company to obey any environmental regulations.
Fourth : China often offered a ten-year grace period without any taxation. If there were taxes they were less than those on its own indigenous firms.
Fifth : China manipulated its currency, making products cheaper to make but getting higher profits in the West.

The net resul t: Massive trade imbalance in favor of China. CEOs and their henchmen made enormous profits. Devastated American workers were told to go to school, to work harder, to make themselves invaluable to their companies. A cruel joke.

In droves, Western companies outsourced to China, emptying one factory after another. Anything that could be outsourced was outsourced. China, of course, was not the sole beneficiary of U.S. foolishness. India, Mexico, Vietnam wherever environmental standards were non-existent, wherever workers had no effective rights these were the third world countries the U.S. used. The health and safety of third world workers was of no concern. They were many–and they were expendable.

U.S. companies were so profitable that special arrangements were made to repatriate those profits back to the states: pennies on the dollar. Many billionaires should really be thanking China.

Americans were considered only consumers/ The more they consumed, the richer the rich became. Credit was made easy. George Bush's answer to 911 was: Go out and shop.+

Between The Financial Modernization Act of 1999 and Free trade insanity, the working class of American faced the crash of 2008.

China became the factory of the world, not through automation, but through dirt cheap labor. China poisoned its atmosphere and polluted its water. Face masks were everywhere. Nonetheless, China had become undeniable economic power, challenging the U.S.

At the same time, China educated great numbers of engineers, inventors, and scientists. Huwaii became the problem really, Huwaii is just an emblem of it.

The U.S. in its greed had became lazy. It poured money into weapons. The U.S. decided to build a space force. U.S. bullied countries with foolish sanctions if those countries did not make their billionaire class more profitable. Sanctions instead of competition became last gasp, the last grasp at profit. Flabby and greedy, the U.S.is no longer competitive. It has become just a bully, a threat to everyone.

Trump, of course, played both sides of the problem. He railed against the outsourcing, but has done little to correct it, giving instead massive tax breaks to the wealthy, gutting environmental regulations laying waste to everything he touches. Pelosi and Schumer pretend to care, but they have nothing to offer. Like Trump, they worry about China. Like Trump, they have no answer, except for more wars and more sanctions.

Hillary and Bill should take a bow. They began this debacle. Once things were made in the U.S.A. Go to any Walmart store and read the label: Made in China.

Pelosi and the free trade Democrats should take a bow as should all the Republicans. All of them should hold hands, give each other a quick hug and smile. They and their friends are rich.

To China belongs the future.


Terry , February 16, 2020 8:27 pm

Economics 101 says trade benefits all participants. The problem is not China but the United States. The oligarchs have sucked up all the benefits of trade and have bought the government to keep the good times going. Obama played along unlike FDR with the result that the oligarchs came out stronger than ever while everyone else had a second rate rather than a third rate health care system which Trump and the GOP are struggling to return to a third rate system. You can blame China or the "laziness " of Americans, but the real problem is the moneyed class who do not give a crap about the country or its citizens but only how to hang onto their privileged existence. I hate to even think it but I do not see this thing ending peacefully.

MARK LOHR , February 16, 2020 8:27 pm

And in turn funding China's considerable, unabated, and ongoing military expansion.
The screws are turning; the noose tightening.
That Western governments of all leanings have not counter-vailed for many decades now is a tale of enormous short-sightedness and cultural hubris.

davebarnes , February 16, 2020 9:24 pm

Didn't I read the same thing about Japan 20+ years ago?

MARK LOHR , February 16, 2020 10:50 pm

Yes. And to be sure, China faces all the limits inherent to a totalitarian system. However, unlike Japan, they have remilitarized and have demonstrated expansionist goals – artificial island military outposts, Belt and Road, etc.
Besides stealing/extorting etc our IP.

doug higgins , February 17, 2020 1:00 am

Mark,
Where do you get your information? China has one military base outside its borders. The U.S. has over 800. China does not pour its money into a military budge; the U.S. does.

Try the actual facts, for a change.

likbez , February 17, 2020 9:34 am

To China belongs the future.

I think it is too early to write down the USA. Historically the USA proved to be highly adaptable society (look at the New Deal). And I think that still there is a chance that it might be capable of jumping the sinking ship of neoliberalism. Although I have problems with Sanders's economic program, Sanders's victory might be instrumental for that change.

China adopted neoliberalism, much like the USA. It was just lucky to be on the receiving end of the outflow of the capital from the USA. It has a more competent leadership and avoided the fate of the USSR for which the attempt to the adoption of neoliberalism ( aka Perestroika ) proved to be fatal.

I suspect that the main problem for China is that Neoliberalism, as a social system, is incompatible with the rule of the Communist Party.

Fundamentally what China has now is a variation of the Soviet "New Economic Policy" (NEP) invented by Bolsheviks after the Civil War in Russia, and while providing a rapid economic development, China has all the problems that are known for this policy.

One is the endemic corruption of state officials due to the inability of capital to rise above a certain level of political influence and systematic attempts to buy this influence.

That necessitates periodic campaigns against corruption and purges/jailing of officials, which does not solve the fundamental problem which is systemic.

The other problem is that the Communist Party is such mode degrades into something like amorphous "holding company" staff for the country (managing state tier in the two tie economy -- state capitalism at the top; neoliberalism at the middle and the bottom)

Which necessitates the rule of a strong leader, the Father of the Nation, who is capable to conduct purges and hold the Party together by suppressing the appetite of local Party functionaries using brutal repressions. But the Party functionaries understand that they no longer conduct Marxist policies, and that undermines morale. That they are essentially renegades, and that creates a huge stimulus for "make money fast" behavior and illicit self-enrichment.

Which paradoxically necessitate the hostility with the USA as the mean to cement the Party and suppress the dissent. So not only the USA neocons and MIC are interested in China, China, China (and/or Russia, Russia, Russia) bogeyman.

That also creates for Chinese senior Communist Party leadership an incentive at some point to implement "Stalin-style solution" to the problems with New Economic Policy.

So it looks like Neo-McCarthyism in the USA has a long and prosperous future, as both sides are interested in its continuation 🙂

BTW another example of NEP as a policy was Tito Yugoslavia, which no longer exists.

Yet another example was Gorbachov's "Perestroika," which logically led to the dissolution of the USSR. With the subjective factor of the total incompetence of Gorbachov as a leader -- with some analogies as for this level of incompetence with Trump.

As well as general "simplification," and degeneration of Politburo similar to what we observe with the USA Congress now: the USSR in the 1980th has become a gerontocracy.

But the major factor was that the top KGB officials and several members of Politburo, including Gorbachov, became turncoats and changed sides attempting to change the system to neoliberalism, which was at the time on the assent; Russia always picks the worst possible time for the social change 😉

While neoliberalism is definitely in decline and its ideology is discredited, I still think there are fundamental problems in tis interaction with the Communist Party rule, that might eventually cause the social crisis for China.

But only time will tell

BTW Professor Stephen Cohen books contain very interesting information about NEP, Russia adoption of neoliberalism (and related dissolution of the USSR) and Russia social development in general

[Feb 16, 2020] Trump's 2021 Budget Drowns Science Agencies in Red Ink, Again

Feb 16, 2020 | science.slashdot.org

(sciencemag.org) sea of red ink for federal research funding programs in President Donald Trump's latest budget proposal. The 2021 budget request to Congress released today calls for deep, often double-digit cuts to R&D spending at major science agencies. From a report: At the same time, the president wants to put more money into a handful of areas -- notably artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information science (QIS) -- to create the new technology needed for what the budget request calls "industries of the future." Here is a rundown of some of the numbers from the budget request's R&D chapter. (The numbers reflect the portion of each agency's budget classified as research, which in most cases is less than its overall budget.)

1. National Institutes of Health: a cut of 7%, or $2.942 billion, to $36.965 billion.
2. National Science Foundation (NSF): a cut of 6%, or $424 million, to $6.328 billion.
3. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science: a cut of 17%, or $1.164 billion, to $5.760 billion.
4. NASA science: a cut of 11%, or $758 million, to $6.261 billion.
5. DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: a cut of 173%, which would not only eliminate the $425 million agency, but also force it to return $311 million to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
6. U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Agricultural Research Service: a cut of 12%, or $190 million, to $1.435 billion.
7. National Institute of Standards and Technology: a cut of 19%, or $154 million, to $653 million.
8. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: a cut of 31%, or $300 million, to $678 million.
9. Environmental Protection Agency science and technology: a cut of 37%, or $174 million, to $318 million.
10. Department of Homeland Security science and technology: a cut of 15%, or $65 million, to $357 million.
11. U.S. Geological Survey: a cut of 30%, or $200 million, to $460 million.

[Feb 16, 2020] Imperialism and Liberation in the Middle East Feb 14, 2020 Written by P l Steigan, translated by Terje Maloy

Notable quotes:
"... Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism ..."
"... Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel. ..."
"... How ligitimate is that? ..."
Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

At the moment, the United States has great difficulty in retaining its hegemony in the Middle East. Its troops have been declared unwanted in Iraq; and in Syria, the US and their foreign legion of terrorists lose terrain and positions every month. The US has responded to this with a significant escalation, by deploying more troops and by constant threats against Iran. At the same time, we have seen strong protest movements in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

When millions of Iraqi took to the streets recently, their main slogan was "THE UNITED STATES OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!"

How should one analyze this?

Obviously, there are a lot of social tensions in the Middle East – class based, ethnic, religious and cultural. The region is a patchwork of conflicts and tensions that not only goes back hundreds of years, but even a few thousand.

There are always many reasons to rebel against a corrupt upper class, anywhere in the world. But no rebellion can succeed if it is not based on a realistic and thorough analysis of the specific conditions in the individual country and region.

Just as in Africa, the borders in the Middle East are arbitrarily drawn. They are the product of the manipulations of imperialist powers, and only to a lesser extent products of what the peoples themselves have wanted.

During the era of decolonization, there was a strong, secular pan-Arab movement that wanted to create a unified Arab world. This movement was influenced by the nationalist and socialist ideas that had strong popular support at the time.

King Abdallah I of Jordan envisaged a kingdom that would consist of Jordan, Palestine and Syria. Egypt and Syria briefly established a union called the United Arab Republic . Gaddafi wanted to unite Libya, Syria and Egypt in a federation of Arab republics .

In 1958, a quickly dissolved confederation was established between Jordan and Iraq, called the Arab Federation . All these efforts were transient. What remains is the Arab League, which is, after all, not a state federation and not an alliance. And then of course we have the demand for a Kurdish state, or something similar consisting of one or more Kurdish mini-states.

Still, the most divisive product of the First World War was the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian soil. During the First World War, Britain's Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour issued what became known as the Balfour Declaration , which " view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

But what is the basis for all these attempts at creating states? What are the prerequisites for success or failure?

The imperialist powers divide the world according to the power relations between them

Lenin gave the best and most durable explanation for this, in his essay Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism . There, he explained five basic features of the era of imperialism:

The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital", of a financial oligarchy; The export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; The formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves; The territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

But Lenin also pointed out that capitalist countries are developing unevenly, not least because of the uneven development of productive forces in the various capitalist countries.

After a while, there arises a discrepancy between how the world is divided and the relative strength of the imperialist powers. This disparity will eventually force through a redistribution, a new division of the world based on the new relationship of strength. And, as Lenin states :

The question is: what means other than war could there be under capitalism to overcome the disparity between the development of productive forces and the accumulation of capital on the one side, and the division of colonies and spheres of influence for finance capital on the other?"

The two world wars were wars that arose because of unevenness in the power relationships between the imperialist powers. The British Empire was past its heyday and British capitalism lagged behind in the competition. The United States and Germany were the great powers that had the largest industrial and technological growth, and eventually this misalignment exploded. Not once, but twice.

Versailles and Yalta

The victors of the First World War divided the world between themselves at the expense of the losers. The main losers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia (the Soviet Union) and the Ottoman Empire. This division was drawn up in the Versailles treaty and the following minor treaties.

Europe after the Versailles Treaties (Wikipedia)

This map shows how the Ottoman Empire was partitioned:

At the end of World War II, the victorious superpowers met in the city of Yalta on the Crimean peninsula in the Soviet Union. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin made an agreement on how Europe should be divided following Germany's imminent defeat. This map shows how it was envisaged and the two blocs that emerged and became the foundation for the Cold War.

Note that Yugoslavia, created after Versailles in 1919, was maintained and consolidated as "a country between the blocs". So it is a country that carries in itself the heritage of both the Versailles- and Yalta agreements.

The fateful change of era when the Soviet Union fell

In the era of imperialism, there has always been a struggle between various great powers. The battle has been about markets, access to cheap labor, raw materials, energy, transport routes and military control. And the imperialist countries divide the world between themselves according to their strength. But the imperialist powers are developing unevenly.

If a power collapses or loses control over some areas, rivals will compete to fill the void. Imperialism follows the principle that Aristotle in his Physics called horror vacui – the fear of empty space.

And that was what happened when the Soviet Union lost the Cold War. In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and soon the Eastern bloc was also history. And thus the balance was broken, the one that had maintained the old order. And now a huge area was available for re-division. The weakened Russia barely managed to preserve its own territory, and not at all the area that just before was controlled by the Soviet Union.

Never has a so large area been open for redivision. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Pål Steigan, 1999

"Never has a so large area been open for re-division. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Map: Countries either part of the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc or non-aligned (Yugoslavia)

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, both the Yalta and Versailles agreements in reality collapsed, and opened up the way for a fierce race to control this geopolitical empty space.

This laid the foundation for the American Geostrategy for Eurasia , which concentrated on securing control over the vast Eurasian continent. It is this struggle for redistribution in favor of the United States that has been the basis for most wars since 1990: Somalia, the Iraq wars, the Balkan wars, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria.

The United States has been aggressively spearheading this, and the process to expand NATO eastward and create regime changes in the form of so-called "color revolutions" has been part of this struggle. The coup in Kiev, the transformation of Ukraine into an American colony with Nazi elements, and the war in Donbass are also part of this picture. This war will not stop until Russia is conquered and dismembered, or Russia has put an end to the US offensive.

So, to recapitulate: Because the world is already divided between imperialist powers and there are no new colonies to conquer, the great powers can only fight for redistribution. What creates the basis and possibilities for a new division is the uneven development of capitalism. The forces that are developing faster economically and technologically will demand bigger markets, more raw materials, more strategic control.

The results of two terrible wars are again up for grabs

World War I caused perhaps 20 million deaths , as well as at least as many wounded. World War II caused around 72 million deaths . These are approximate numbers, and there is still controversy around the exact figures, but we are talking about this order of magnitude.

The two world wars that ended with the Versailles and Yalta treaties thus caused just below 100 million dead, as well as an incredible number of other suffering and losses.

Since 1991, a low-intensity "world war" has been fought, especially by the US, to conquer "the void". Donald Trump recently stated that the United States have waged wars based on lies, which have cost $ 8 trillion ($ 8,000 billion) and millions of people's lives. So the United States' new distribution of the spoils has not happened peacefully.

"The Rebellion against Sykes-Picot"

In the debate around the situation in the Middle East, certain people that would like to appear leftist, radical and anti-imperialist say that it is time to rebel against the artificial boundaries drawn by the Sykes-Picot and Versailles treaties. And certainly these borders are artificial and imperialist. But how leftist and anti-imperialist is it to fight for these boundaries to be revised now?

In reality, it is the United States and Israel that are fighting for a redistribution of the Middle East. This is the basis underlying Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century", which aims to bury Palestine forever, and it is stated outright in the new US strategy for partitioning Iraq.

Again, this is just an updated version of the Zionist Yinon plan that aimed to cantonize the entire Middle East, with the aim that Israel should have no real opponents and would be able to dominate the entire region and possibly create a Greater Israel.

It is not the anti-imperialists that are leading the way to overhaul the imperialist borders from 1919. It is the imperialists. To achieve this, they can often exploit movements that are initially popular or national, but which then only become tools and proxies in a greater game.

This has happened so many times in history that it can hardly be counted.

Hitler's Germany exploited Croatian nationalism by using the Ustaša gangs as proxies. From 1929 to 1945, they killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people. And their ideological and political descendants carried out an extremely brutal ethnic cleansing of the Krajina area and forced out more than 200,000 Serbs in their so-called Operation Storm in 1995.

Hitler also used the extreme Ukrainian nationalists of Stepan Bandera's OUN, and after Bandera's death, the CIA continued to use them as a fifth column against the Soviet Union.

The US low-intensity war against Iraq, from the Gulf War in 1991 to the Iraq War in 2003, helped divide the country into enclaves. Iraqi Kurdistan achieved autonomy in the oil-rich north with the help of a US "no-fly zone". The United States thus created a quasi-state that was their tool in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, the Kurds in Iraq had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. But also undoubtedly, their Iraqi "Kurdistan" became a client state under the thumb of United States. And there is also no doubt that the no-fly zones were illegal, as UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali admitted in a conversation with John Pilger .

And now the United States is still using the Kurds in Northern Iraq in its plan to divide Iraq into three parts. To that end, they are building the world's largest consulate in Erbil. What they are planning to do, is simply "creating a country".

As is well known, the United States also uses the Kurds in Syria as a pretext to keep 27 percent of the country occupied. It does not help how much the Kurdish militias SDF and PYD invoke democracy, feminism and communalism; they have ended up pleading for the United States to maintain the occupation of Northeast Syria.

Preparations for a New World War

Israel and the US are preparing for war against Iran. In this fight, they will develop as much "progressive" rhetoric as is required to fool people. Real dissatisfaction in the area, which there is every reason to have, will be magnified and blown out of all proportion. "Social movements" will be equipped with the latest news in the Israeli and US "riot kits" and receive training and logistics support, in addition to plenty of cold hard cash.

There may be good reasons to revise the 1919 borders, but in today's situation, such a move will quickly trigger a major war. Some say that the Kurds are entitled to their own state, and maybe so. The question is ultimately decided by everyone else, except the Kurds themselves.

The problem is that in today's geopolitical situation, creating a unified Kurdistan will require that "one" defeats Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It's hard to see how that can happen without their allies, not least Russia and China, being drawn into the conflict.

And then we have a new world war on our hands. And in that case, we are not talking about 100 million killed, but maybe ten times as much, or the collapse of civilization as we know it. The Kurdish question is not worth that much.

This does not mean that one should not fight against oppression and injustice, be it social and national. One certainly should. But you have to realize that revising the map of the Middle East is a very dangerous plan and that you run the risk of ending up in very dangerous company. The alternative to this is to support a political struggle that undermines the hegemony of the United States and Israel and thereby creates better conditions for future struggles.

It is nothing new that small nations rely on geopolitical situations to achieve some form of national independence. This was the case, for example, for my home country Norway. It was France's defeat in the Napoleonic War that caused Denmark to lose the province of Norway to Sweden in 1814, but at the same time it created space for a separate Norwegian constitution and internal self rule.

All honor to the Norwegian founding fathers of 1814, but this was decided on the battlefields in Europe. And again, it was Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War that laid the geopolitical foundation for the dissolution of the forced union with Sweden almost a hundred years later, in 1905. (This is very schematically presented and there are many more details, but there is no doubt that Russia's loss of most of its fleet in the Far East had created a power vacuum in the west, which was exploitable.)

Therefore, the best thing to do now is not to support the fragmentation of states, but to support a united front to drive the United States out of the Middle East. The Million Man March in Baghdad got the ball rolling. There is every reason to build up even more strength behind it. Only when the United States is out, will the peoples and countries in the region be able to arrive at peaceful agreements between themselves, which will enable a better future to be developed.

And in this context, it is an advantage that China develops the "Silk Road" (aka Belt and Road Initiative), not because China is any nobler than other major powers, but because this project, at least in the current situation, is non-sectarian, non-exclusive and genuinely multilateral. The alternative to a monopolistic rule by the United States, with a world police under Washington's control, is a multipolar world. It grows as we speak.

The days of the Empire are numbered. What this will look like in 20 or 50 years, remains to be seen.

This article is Creative Commons 4.0. Pål Steigan is a Norwegian veteran journalist and activist, presently editor of the independent news site Steigan.no . Translated by Terje Maloy. Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email Filed under: 20th Century , historical perspectives , latest Tagged with: Croatia , Egypt , historical perspectives , imperialism , Israel , Jordan , Lenin , Middle East , Pal Steigan , Palestine , russia , Saudi Arabia , Stepan Bandera , Terje Maloy , ukraine , WWII can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

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George Mc ,

Off topic – but there's nowhere else to put this at the moment:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/16/fran-unsworth-bbc-election-coverge-licence-fee

The BBC was taken aback by leftwing attacks on its general election coverage

No idea what they are talking about. They patiently explained that Corbyn was Hitler. What more could they do?

Dungroanin ,

Ok roll up the sleeves, time to concentrate. I've had enough of being baited as a judae- phobe.

The 'Balfour Declaration' – he didn't write it and it was a contract published in the newspapers within hours of it being inveigled.

Ready?

'Balfour and Lloyd George would have been happy with an unvarnished endorsement of Zionism. The text that the foreign secretary agreed in August was largely written by Weizmann and his colleagues:

"His Majesty's Government accept the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object and will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organisation may desire to lay before them."

Got that – AUGUST?

Dungroanin ,


The leading figure in that drama was a charismatic chemistry professor from Manchester, Chaim Weizmann – with his domed head, goatee beard and fierce intellect. Weizmann had gained an entrée into political circles thanks to CP Scott, the illustrious editor of the Manchester Guardian, and had then sold his Zionist project to government leaders, including David Lloyd George when he was chancellor of the exchequer.

Dungroanin ,

Author(s)
Walter Rothschild, Arthur Balfour, Leo Amery, Lord Milner

Signatories
Arthur James Balfour

Recipient
Walter Rothschild

Dungroanin ,

'In due course the blunt phrase about Palestine being "reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people" was toned down into "the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine" – a more ambiguous formulation which sidestepped for the moment the idea of a Jewish state. '

Dungroanin ,

'Edwin Montagu, newly appointed as secretary of state for India, was only the third practising Jew to hold cabinet office. Whereas his cousin, Herbert Samuel (who in 1920 would become the first high commissioner of Palestine) was a keen supporter of Zionism, Montagu was an "assimilationist" – one who believed that being Jewish was a matter of religion not ethnicity. His position was summed up in the cabinet minutes:

Mr Montagu urged strong objections to any declaration in which it was stated that Palestine was the "national home" of the Jewish people. He regarded the Jews as a religious community and himself as a Jewish Englishman '

Dungroanin ,

'Montagu considered the proposed Declaration a blatantly anti-Semitic document and claimed that "most English-born Jews were opposed to Zionism", which he said was being pushed mainly by "foreign-born Jews" such as Weizmann, who was born in what is now Belarus.'

Dungroanin ,

The other critic of the proposed Declaration was Lord Curzon, a former viceroy of India, who therefore viewed Palestine within the geopolitics of Asia. A grandee who traced his lineage back to the Norman Conquest, Curzon loftily informed colleagues that the Promised Land was not exactly flowing with milk and honey, but nor was it an empty, uninhabited space.

According to the cabinet minutes, "Lord Curzon urged strong objections upon practical grounds. He stated, from his recollection of Palestine, that the country was, for the most part, barren and desolate a less propitious seat for the future Jewish race could not be imagined."

And, he asked, "how was it proposed to get rid of the existing majority of Mussulman [Muslim] inhabitants and to introduce the Jews in their place?"

Dungroanin ,

Sorry for the length of this bit – but it only makes sense in the whole:

'Between them, Curzon and Montagu had temporarily slowed the Zionist bandwagon. Lord Milner, another member of the war cabinet, hastily added two conditions to the proposed draft, in order to address the two men's respective concerns. The vague phrase about the rights of the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" hints at how little the government knew or cared about those who constituted roughly 90 per cent of the population of what they, too, regarded as their homeland.

After trying out the new version on a few eminent Jews, both of Zionist and accommodationist persuasions, and also securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October. By now the strident Montagu had left for India, and on this occasion Balfour, who could often be moody and detached, led from the front, brushing aside the objections that had been raised and reasserting the propaganda imperative. According to the cabinet minutes, he stated firmly: "The vast majority of Jews in Russia and America, as, indeed, all over the world, now appeared to be favourable to Zionism. If we could make a declaration favourable to such an ideal, we should be able to carry on extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America."

This was standard cabinet tactics: a strong lead from a minister supported by the PM, daring his colleagues to argue back. And this time Curzon did not, though he did make another telling comment. He "attached great importance to the necessity of retaining the Christian and Moslem Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem". If this were done, Curzon added, he "did not see how the Jewish people could have a political capital in Palestine".'

Dungroanin ,

Dates again crucial and the smoking gun:

'securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October.'

Dungroanin ,

The two conditions had bought off the two main critics. That was all that seemed to matter, even though the reference to the "rights of the existing non-Jewish communities" stood in potential conflict with the first two clauses about the British supporting and using their "best endeavours" for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

Dungroanin ,

There is MORE but I'll pause and see how many are really interested in FACTS, as opposed to invented History, Economics and Capital instead of the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

George Mc ,

the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

If this is true then we are all doomed.

Dungroanin ,

Not if we are aware of it George.

Dungroanin ,

Ok a summary fom Brittanica:

'Balfour Declaration Quick Facts

The Balfour Declaration, issued through the continued efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, Zionist leaders in London, fell short of the expectations of the Zionists, who had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as "the" Jewish national home. The declaration specifically stipulated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The document, however, said nothing of the political or national rights of these communities and did not refer to them by name. Nevertheless, the declaration aroused enthusiastic hopes among Zionists and seemed the fulfillment of the aims of the World Zionist Organization (see Zionism).

The British government hoped that the declaration would rally Jewish opinion, especially in the United States, to the side of the Allied powers against the Central Powers during World War I (1914–18). They hoped also that the settlement in Palestine of a pro-British Jewish population might help to protect the approaches to the Suez Canal in neighbouring Egypt and thus ensure a vital communication route to British colonial possessions in India.

The Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the principal Allied powers and was included in the British mandate over Palestine, formally approved by the newly created League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

In May 1939 the British government altered its policy in a White Paper recommending a limit of 75,000 further immigrants and an end to immigration by 1944, unless the resident Palestinian Arabs of the region consented to further immigration.

Zionists condemned the new policy, accusing Britain of favouring the Arabs. This point was made moot by the outbreak of World War II (1939–45) and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.'

Dungroanin ,

But what about the timing?

Well there are twin tracks, here is the first.

'But talking about the return of the Jews to the land of Israel was only meaningful because that land seemed up for grabs after the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany in 1914. For Britain, France and Russia – though primarily focused on Europe – war against a declining power long dubbed the "Sick Man of Europe" opened up the prospect of vast gains in the Levant and the Middle East.

The Ottoman army, however, proved no walkover. In 1915 it threatened the Suez Canal, Britain's imperial artery to India, and then repulsed landings by British empire and French forces on the Dardanelles at Gallipoli. Although Baghdad fell in March 1917, two British assaults on Gaza that spring were humiliatingly driven back, with heavy losses. Deadlock in the desert added to Whitehall's list of woes.

In this prescribed narrative of remembrance for 1914-18, what happened outside the Western Front has been almost entirely obscured. The British army's "Historical Lessons, Warfare Branch" has published in-house a fascinating volume of essays about what it tellingly entitles "The Forgotten Fronts of the First World War" – with superb maps and illustrations. The collection covers not only Palestine and Mesopotamia (roughly modern-day Iraq and Kuwait), but also Italy, Africa, Russia, Turkey and the Pacific – indeed much of the world – but sadly it is not currently available to the public. '

Dungroanin ,

The second track is the 'money' track and what everything is about and why we live in such a miasma of blatant lies.

IT can only make sense by asking questions such as :

Can we follow the money?

When was the Fed set up? Why? By whom?
How much money did it lend &
to whom?

When was the first world war started?

When did US declare war?

When did US troops arrive in numbers to enter that war?

What happened in Russia at the same time?

And in Mesopotamia?

How did it end?

How did it fail to end?

What happened to the contract?

Etc.

I have attempted to research and answer some of these already above.

Next I will attempt to walk the other track but be warned that opens more ancient tracks.

Dungroanin ,

'On 2 November, Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild.

7 November, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had seized power in Petrograd. ransacked the Tsarist archives, they published juicy extracts from the "secret treaties" that the Allied powers had made among themselves in 1915-16 to divide the spoils of victory.
The same day the Ottoman Seventh and Eighth Armies evacuated the town of Gaza

9 November Letter published in Times.

Mid November – The Bolsheviks did not discover that the British were also playing footsie with the Turks. In the middle of November 1917, secret meetings took place with Ottoman dissidents in Greece and Switzerland about trying to arrange an armistice in the Near East. The war cabinet recognised that, as bait, it might have to let the Ottomans keep parts of their empire in the region, or at least retain some appearance of control. When Curzon got wind of this, he was incensed: "Almost in the same week that we have pledged ourselves, if successful, to secure Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, are we to contemplate leaving the Turkish flag flying over Jerusalem?"

End November. The Manchester Guardian's correspondent in Petrograd, Morgan Philips Price, was able to examine the key documents overnight, and his scoop was published by the paper at the end of November. It revealed to the world, among other things, that the British also had an understanding with the French – the Sykes-Picot agreement of January 1916 – to carve up the Near East between them once the Ottoman empire had been defeated. In this, Palestine was slated for some kind of international condominium – not the British protectorate envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.

11 December Allenby formally entered Jerusalem. '

So just a few loose ends left to tie up anyone actually want to go there?

George Mc ,

No.

Dungroanin ,

🤣

Dungroanin ,

Ok on the back stretch:

https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/feds_formative_years

The paramount goal of the Fed's founders was to eliminate banking panics, but it was not the only goal. The founders also sought to increase the amount of international trade financed by US banks and to expand the use of the dollar internationally. By 1913 the United States had the world's largest economy, but only a small fraction of US exports and imports were financed by American banks. Instead, most exports and imports were financed by bankers' acceptances drawn on European banks in foreign currencies. (Bankers' acceptances are a type of financial contract used for making payments in the future, for example, upon delivery of goods or services. Bankers' acceptances are drawn on and guaranteed, i.e., "accepted," by a bank.) The Federal Reserve Act allowed national banks to issue bankers' acceptances and open foreign branches, which greatly expanded their ability to finance international transactions Further the Act authorized the Reserve Banks to purchase acceptances in the open market to ensure a liquid market for them, thereby spurring growth of that market.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913.

The task of determining the specific number of districts, district boundaries, and which cities would have Reserve Banks was assigned to a Reserve Bank Organization Committee.

On April 2, 1914, the Committee announced that twelve Federal Reserve districts would be formed, identified the boundaries of those districts, and named the cities that would have Reserve Banks.1 The Banks were quickly organized, officers and staff were hired, and boards of directors appointed. The Banks opened for business on November 16, 1914.
..

The Federal Reserve Act addressed perceived shortcomings by creating a new national currency -- Federal Reserve notes -- and requiring members of the Federal Reserve System to hold reserve balances with their local Federal Reserve Banks.

World War I began in Europe in August 1914, before the Federal Reserve Banks had opened for business. The war had a profound impact on the US banking system and economy, as well as on the Federal Reserve.

War disrupted European financial markets and reduced the supply of trade credit offered by European banks, providing US banks with an opening. Low US interest rates, abundant reserves, and new authority to issue trade acceptances enabled American banks to finance a growing share of world trade.

Dungroanin ,

So the denouement :

It appears that the 'first world war' was designed to diminish European banks and boost the US banks.

However the fuller history of the US bankers is worth knowing- the Jekyll Islanders story is widely publicised.

Into this time track enters the Balfour Declaration addressed to Lord Rothschild, steered by Milner (heir to Rhodes empire building and the old EIC), approved by the potus Wilson (another hireling) that finally sent US troops to overwhelm the Germans, while the great gamers took out the Romanovs and the Ottoman Empire.
-- --

When we try to understand such facts and timelines and are attacked as Judaeo-phobes, because we identify Bankers and Robber Barons, it becomes even clearer how deep and wide they have controlled history and it has NOTHING to do with RELIGION (except perhaps Ludism). Nothing to do with Judaism (except perhaps Old Jewry in the City, but Lombard Street was most powerful!) and EVERYTHING to do with POWER and it's representation MONEY. The obscuring of that through various Economic theories including Marxism is the work of the same old bastards who are responsible for all our current malaises.

Thankyou and good evening, if anyone made it this far!

😉

George Mc ,

Well OK Dunnie, let's say I go along with you and assume that all the shit we are facing has nothing to do with religion or all that "Marxian porridge" (as Guido Giacomo Preparata called it). The question is: What do we do about it?

Speaking of GGP , it seems to me that you and him have much in common. He also goes on about "Power" but seems to be on the verge of referring this "Power" to mystical entities in a disconcertingly Ickean manoeuvre. Not that I'm attibuting such a thing to yourself. (No irony intended.)

Dungroanin ,

George – i don't want you or anyone to just go along with me.

I want everyone to make their minds up on FACTS. That is the only way humanity has actually progressed by inventing the only self correcting philosophical system and method of the ages that goes beyond 'personal responsibility teligions' – SCIENTIFIC METHOD – that takes away arbitrary power to rule, from these that inhabit the top of the human pyramid by virtue of being born there and having control over the money and so the power to remain in these positions, which does not benefit the totality of humanity or all life on Earth.

I am not a messiah, I am angry as fuck and I am not going to sit around enjoying whatever soma has been handed to us to keep compliant and leave this Planet worse than I found it. That is the scientific conclusion I have reached.

I suppose some proto buddhist / zoroastrianism / animalist / Shinto / Jain & Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality.

I suppose Ghandi's non-violence rebellion against Imperialists is a model as are various peasants revolts – the Russian / Chinese / Korean / Vietnamese couldn't have survived without the literal grassroots!
..

As for Guido Giacomo Preparata that you have introduced to me – i had nevet heard of him before this morning – my first take on him is that he seems to have arrived at similar conclusions by similar methodology. He seems to have a lot of formal education and a enviable career so far – i'll have to look into him further but the interview that i just read seems to indicate concurrence with what i said above. I see no Ickean references – please give a link.

-- -

As a observation do you not find it funny that there is not a single objection to the verity of the facts which I have presented above?

Good luck George if you are a real seeker of truth. If not insta-karma awaits.

George Mc ,

The Preparata statement I was referring to is in this interview:

https://www.larsschall.com/2012/06/10/the-business-as-usual-behind-the-slaughter/

The statement itself is this:

Power is a purely human suggestion. Suggested by whom? That is the question. The NSDAP thus appeared to have been a front for some kind of nebula of Austro-German magi, dark initiates, and troubling literati (Dietrich Eckhart comes to mind), with very plausible extra-Teutonic ramifications of which we know next to nothing. Hitler came to be inducted in a lodge of this network, endowed as he seemed with a supernatural gift of inflaming oratory.

This is a theme that I am still studying, but from what I gathered, the adepts of the Thule Gesellschaft communed around the belief of being the blood heirs of a breed that seeks redemption / salvation / metempsychosis in some kind of eighth realm away from this earth, which is the shoddy creation of a lesser God -- the archangel of the Hebrews, Jehovah. It all sounds positively insane to post-modern ears, but it should be taken very seriously, I think.

Admittedly it isn't quite interdimensional reptiles but there is a distinct metaphysical flavour there.

I wouldn't go along with everything Preparata says but he is a wonderful writer and I have bought almost everything I can find by him. His "biggie" is "Conjuring Hitler". It was Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed that brought GGP to my attention via that book.

milosevic ,

images on this website look terrible, with very little colour. the problem seems to be caused by this rule, from the file "OffGstyle.css":

.content-wrap-spp img {

filter: sepia(20%) saturate(30%);

}

Open ,

This sepia effect usually works well with Off-Guardian articles, but with these maps in today's article it is definitely terrible. Why have maps if they don't want to show them clearly?
(any extra steps for the user to see the pictures clearly is not the answer)

Another area neglected on this website is crediting photos. The majority of images carry no atribution/credit, despite it [crediting photos] is the best ethical practice even for public domain pictures. I wish Admin gets expert advice on this.

Open ,

Look at the language used by the americans:

On feb. 12 [2020], Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria , encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian .. forces .

So, the supremacist unites states' army has found that Syrian forces are occupying Syrian land .. wow wow wow .. according to this logic, Russian forces are occupying Russian land. Iranian forces are occupying Iranian land (how dare they?!). But american forces are not occupying any land, and Israel is not occupying Palestinian and Syrian lands.

This language needs to be known more widely.

Open ,

The americans always use the term 'Coalition forces' when they talk about their illegal presence in Syria. I tried to search online for what countries are in this coalition. I recall I was able to find that in the past, but now, it seems this information is being pushed under wrap.

What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?

Joe ,

Just bring about the end of "Israel" and there'll be peace in the Middle East, and probably in the wider world, too.

Open ,

Ending the Israeli project is certainly a step in the right direction to improve global stability. However, alone, it will not bring about peace because the British/Five-Eyes/Washington's doctrine of spreading disorder and chaos permeates (saturates) the planet.

In fact, current disorders are the results of convergence of Israeli interests with those of Western White Supremacy's* resolve to dominate, erh, eveything.

* Western White Supremacy can also be called Western White Idiocy and Bigotry.

Israel manipulates the West's political and military might. The West also uses Israel to spread Chaos and Disorder.

Antonym ,

Right, back to the good old peace of the graveyard inspired by Mohamed's male sex riot ideology and plunder legitimization before the Westerners showed up with their superior (arms) tech legitimization for their plunder.
Before Israel's 1947 creation the world was a bed of roses .

Open ,

"srael's 1947 creation"

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Ukranians and Germans, and later South Americans, found home in the Middle East.

How ligitimate is that?

Antonym ,

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel.

How ligitimate is that?

Open ,

"Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians .. etc.."

Do these comments reflect the Zionists' perspective? This is important because they prove that the whole existence of Israel is based on total fabrication and lies.

Maggie ,

Did you have to practice at being THAT stupid! Or did they lobotomise you in Langley?
Somalis, Afghans, Syrians would not have had any cause to leave their homeland had it not been for your employers the CIA/MOSSAD facilitating the raping and pillaging of their homes by the Oil Magnates, leaving them starving and desolate.
https://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2007/may/somalia_the_other_hidden_war_for_oil.aspx
and where does our Aid money go?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5OInaYenHkU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
But of course Antonym, if you were in their situation, you would just stick it out?
Shame on you .

To those who care, read "The confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins" to understand how this corrupt system is conducted.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Its 'creation' in blood, murder, rape and terror, in a great ethnic cleansing-the sign of things to come, ceaselessly, for seventy years and ongoing.

paul ,

Ask the people in Gaza about the Zionist "peace of the graveyard."

Antonym ,

Gaza before 2005 was relatively peaceful + prosperous. After the Israeli withdrawal the inhabitants messed up their own economy but kept on making lots of babies just like before.
Quite the opposite of a graveyard or a Warsaw ghetto or a Dachau.

George Mc ,

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

Despite the disengagement, the United Nations, international human rights organisations and most legal scholars regard the Gaza Strip to still be under military occupation by Israel, though this is disputed by Israel and other legal scholars. Following the withdrawal, Israel has continued to maintain direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, and six of Gaza's seven land crossings, it maintains a no-go buffer zone within the territory, and controls the Palestinian population registry, and Gaza remains dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.

Interesting definition of "withdrawal". It's amazing those Gazans even managed to have babies!

Richard Le Sarc ,

You would have made a grand Nazi, Antsie-cripes, you have!

paul ,

Gaza was, and is, a huge Zionist concentration camp hermetically sealed off from the outside world and blockaded just like the Warsaw Ghetto. With Zionist thugs and kiddie killers shooting hundreds of kids in the head for the fun of it with British sniper rifles and dum dum bullets, and periodically dropping 20,000 tons of bombs at a time on it, a higher explosive yield than Hiroshima. With parties of Jews going along to hold barbecues and picnics to watch all the fun. Nice people, those chosen folk.

Richard Le Sarc ,

I rather think that Epstein, Weinstein, Moonves and all those orthodox and ultra-orthodox who are such prolific patrons of the sex industry in Israel, know a bit about 'male sex riot ideology', Antsie.

Dungroanin ,

Pathetic.
'Nandy won a major boost when members of the Labour affiliate Jewish Labour Movement gave her their backing after a hustings, saying she understood the need to change the party's culture.'
From the Groaniad

How many members? How many by denomination?

As for the Balfour Contract there were actual English Jewish establishment figures against its premise. Actual imperial servants. The declaration was a stitch up by the new banking powers in the US which then sent in the yanks to stop the Germans in 1917.

History is rewritten daily to memory hole such facts.

Capricornia Man ,

The 'Jewish Labour Movement' is so Jewish that most of its members are not Jewish. And it is so Labour-affiliated that it did not support Labour in the December general election. But it has no shortage of money. It exists solely to prosecute the interests of a foreign power. Much the same could be said for any politician who accepts its endorsement.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Given that Jews are vastly outnumbered by non Jews, the simplest way to stop Jewish manipulation of politics is to form a party from which Jews are specifically banned.

You will not propose any policies harming Jews in any way, you will just make it clear that this is a party free from any Jewish influence in its constitution.

If Jews cannot accept that, then they are utterly racist and must be dealt with without sensibility.

Maggie ,

A better solution Rhys would be to form a party that denies all and any dual citizens
That way all the Zionists would be barred.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Full public financing of political parties would end Zionist control.

paul ,

Thornberry has just thrown in the towel.
She will now have more time to "get down on her hands and knees" and "beg forgiveness" from the Board of Deputies.
Those good little Shabbos are so easily trained.

Dungroanin ,

BoD's??? Another random organisation!

Who are they? Who do they represent? How many people? Which people? How did they get elected? How can they be fired?

Richard Le Sarc ,

The next world war has already started, with the bio-warfare atttack on China aka Covid19.

lundiel ,

Why no comment on the government reshuffle? I don't agree with the Indian middle-class uplifting but totally agree with neutering the ultra-conservative treasury.

Maggie ,

I think it's a case of who gives a fck. We now know that our elections are rigged, and so there is no point in us being involved. My family and I all realised and voted for the last time.
They are all bloody crap actors reading their scripts and playing their parts, whilst the never changing suits in the background pull the strings.
I had to explain to my 10 year old Grandson how politics work, and he said "Why doesn't anyone know the names of, or see the suits?"
What I want to know is why no-one ever asks this question or demands an answer?

tonyopmoc ,

Completely Brilliant Article, but it is Valentines Day, so as I am 66 years old, and in love with my wife (nearly 40 years together = LOVE), I wrote this in response to Craig Murray, who has banned me again.

It may be off topic for him, but it ain't off topic for me. I am still in Love.

"Churchill's mental deterioration from syphilis – which the Eton and Oxford ."

Never had it, and she didn't either. We were young and in love, but we didn't know, if either of us had sex before, but I had a spotty dick, and went to the VD clinic. I had a blood test, and they gave me some zinc cream.

She also had the same thing, and showed her Mum.

We were both completely innocent, and had a sexually transmitted disease called Thrush. It is relatively harmless, but can also give you a sore throat.

We both laughed at each other, and nearly got married.

Natural Yoghurt, is completely brilliant at preventing it.

Far better than Canestan.

Happy Valentines Day, for Everyone still In Love.

Let us all look forwad to a Brighter Day for our Grandchildren.

Tony

Loverat ,

Hey Tony

Dont worry. Craig Murray might not like you but I do. Your stories, here and elsewhere have entertained me for many years.

Mind you, if I were your other half I would have chucked you years ago.

paul ,

Tell him how much you like haggis and tossing your caber.

Dungroanin ,

Without Stalins say so Poland would not have had its borders at the end of ww2.
Also,
On these maps just off the right hand edges is missing Afghanistan.. which the imperialists invaded in 2002 as the Taliban wiped out the opium crops. Back to full production immediately after invasion and 18 years later secret negotiations to hand over to Taliban while leaving 8,000 CUA troops delivering the huge cash crop.

binra ,

Seeking possession and control – in competition with those you see as seeking to dispossess and control or deny you – is the identity or belief in 'kill or be killed'.
This belief overrides and subordinates others – such as to subsume all else to such private agenda that will seek alliance against common threat but only as a shifting strategy of possession and control.

One of the things about this 'game' of power struggle, is that it loses any sense of WHY – and so it is a driven mind or dictate of power or possession for it own sake that cannot really ENJOY or HAVE and share what it Has. The image of the hungry ghost comes to mind here. It will never have enough until you are dead – and even then will offer you torment beyond the grave.

Until this mindset is recognised and released as an 'insanity' it operates as accepted currency of exchange, and maps our a world of its own conflicting and conflicted meanings.

The willingness to destroy or kill, deny or undermine and invalidate others in order to GET for a private agenda set over the whole instead of finding balance within the whole – is destructive to life, no matter how ingenious the thinking that frames it to seem to be progressive, protective, or in fact powerful.
But in our collective alignment and allegiance with such a way of thinking and identifying – we all give power to the destructive – as if to protect the life that it gives us.

The hungry ghost is also in the mass population when separated from their land and lives to seek connection or meaning in proffered 'products and services' instead of creating out of our own lives. Products and services that operate a hidden agenda of possession and control or market and mind capture under threat of fear of pain of loss in losing even the little that we have.

Having – on a spiritual level is our being – and not a matter of stuffing a hole.
Madness that can no longer mask as anything else is all about – and brings a choice to conscious awareness as to whether to persist in it or decide to find another way of seeing and being.

This is not to say there is no place to call upon or seek to limit people in positions of trust from serving an unjust outcome by calling for transparency and accountability – but not to wait on that or make that the be all and end all.

If there is another way and a better way than war masking in and misusing and thus corrupting anything and everything, then it has to be lived one to another.

Everyone seeks a better experience – but many seek it in a negative framing. Negative in the sense of self-lack seeking power in the terms of its current identity. Evils work their own destruction, but find sustainability in selling destructive agenda or toxic debt as ingeniously complex instruments of deceit – by which the targeted buyer believes they have or shall save their 'self' or add to their 'self' rather than growing hollow to a driven mindset of reactive fear-addiction.

I don't need to 'tell this to those who refuse to listen' – but I share it with any moment of a willingness to listen. In the final analysis, we are the ones who live the result of choices in our lives, whatever the times and conditions.

The 'repackaging' of reality to self-deceit, is not new but part of the human mind and experience throughout history. The evil changes forms – as if the good has and shall triumph. But truth undoes illusion by being accepted. It doesn't war on illusion and thus make it real – and remain truth.

Judgement divides to rule.
Discernment arises from the unwillingness to division.
One is set apart from and over life as the invocation of an alien will, dealing death, and the other as the will of true desire revealed.

The idea of independent autonomy is relative to a limited sphere of responsibilities in the world.
The idea of living our own life is an alignment within the same for others and the freedom to do so cannot take from others without becoming possessed by our denials, debts and transgressions – no less so in the driven mind of ingeniously repackaged and wilfully defended narrative identity.

In our own experience, this is not a matter of applied analysis, so much as awareness or space in which to seek and find truth in some willingness of recognition and acceptance or choice, while the triggering or baiting to madness is loud or compelling as the dictate of fear seeking protection and grievance seeking retribution – as if these give freedom and power rather than locking into a fear-framed limitation as substitution for life set in defiance and refusal to look on or share in truth – and so to such a one, war is truth, and love is weakness to exploit, use and weaponise for getting.

paul ,

If you look at the proposed new map of the Middle East, it mirrors Kushner's Deal Of The Century for Palestine – because it has the same Zionist authorship.
The same old dirty Zionist games of divide and rule – break up countries in the region into tiny defenceless little statelets setting different ethnic and religious groups at each others' throats, so that they can rule the roost and steal whatever they wish.
You see this in the past and the recent past. The way Lebanon was torn away from Syria. Or Kuwait from Iraq. Or the Ruritanian petty Gulf dictatorships like Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai.
Trump was being honest for the first time in his miserable life when he said none of these satellites and satraps would last a fortnight if they were not propped up by the US.

paul ,

George Galloway described the whole region as a flock of sheep surrounded by ravenous wolves.

At the same time, there is more than a grain of truth in the Zionists' contention that the people of the region are to some extent the authors of their own misfortune.

They always fall for the divide-and-rule games of outside powers, Britain, America, Israel, who invade, bomb, slaughter, humiliate and exploit them. If they had been united, Israel would not have been created. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, would not have been destroyed and bombed back to the Stone Age. These countries would be genuinely independent and at peace.

When I speak to ordinary moslems, it is surprising and depressing to see how much visceral hatred they express for Shia moslems. They seem blind to the way they are being manipulated to serve outside interests.

So we see moslem Saudi Arabia trying to incite America and Israel to destroy Iran, and offering to pay for the whole cost of the war. Or S. Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE et al, in bed with Israel, paying billions to bankroll the terrorist head choppers in Syria. Or Egypt, which does not even protest, let alone lift a finger, when Israeli aircraft use its air space to carpet bomb Gaza. Or going further back in history, when countries like Egypt and Syria sent troops to join the 1991 US invasion of Iraq. Even though Iraq had sent its forces to the Golan Heights in 1973 to fight and die to prevent Syria being overrun by Israel. How contemptible is all that? Yet those are just a few of many examples of all the backstabbing that has occurred over the years. If these people don't respect themselves, why should anybody else?

paul ,

And this has been going on for hundreds of years.
1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?
Because the Arabs were so busy fighting a civil war at the time they barely noticed the foreign invaders. The old, old story. Civil war between Sunnis and Shias.

One day, they will wake up and realise that they have to hang together, or hang separately.
But I wouldn't hold your breath.
There seems to be an endless supply of quisling stooge dictators ready to do the bidding of hostile outside powers. The Mubaraks, the Sisis, the King Abdullahs, the Sinioras, the MBS's, to name but a few.
Conforming to all the worst stereotypes about Arabs and moslems.
You could argue that they deserve all they get, when they are ever ready to bend over and drop their trousers.
Is it really any surprise that they have been invaded, slaughtered, bombed back to the Stone Age, robbed, exploited and humiliated from time immemorial.
Maybe one day they will discover an ounce of dignity and self respect. Who knows?

Maggie ,

"1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?"
Because despite the mendacious lies that are told about Muslims, they are tolerant and forgiving. They believe in one God, and live exemplary modest, generous lives in the belief that they will enter in to the kingdom of heaven.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_2LEgowbzSc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGz6nrWTsEI

And these are the people we are being encouraged to hate and fear? To enable the neo cons to invade and destroy everything in their path to get their oil.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims the world over 'live in democracies' of some shape or form, from Indonesia to Malaysia to Pakistan to Lebanon to Tunisia to Turkey. Tens of millions of Muslims' live in -- and participate in' -- Western democratic societies. The country that is on course to have the biggest Muslim population in the world in the next couple of decades is India, which also happens to be the world's biggest democracy. Yet a persistent pernicious narrative exists, particularly in the West, that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is often associated with dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a lack of freedom, and many "well paid" analysts and pundits claim that Muslims are philosophically opposed to the idea of democracy .

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Democracy' as practised in the neo-liberal capitalist West, is a nullity, a fiction, a smoke-screen behind which the one and only power, that of the rich owners of the economy, acts alone.

Gall ,

I know. These Zionist morons droning on about how violent Islam is as religion yet ignoring the fact that the Bible is based on the God of Abraham granting them Canaan (like Trump giving the Israelis the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) and urging them to commit complete and utter genocidal annihilation of the inhabitants by not leaving a single living thing breathing.

No violence there folks. Nope. The book of love my ass!

paul ,

Their God was a demented estate agent, rather like Trump or Kushner.

Gall ,

Personally I believe that the chapters of the bible were written after their genocidal blood lust simply to justify their despicable acts. Claiming that God made 'em do it.

Loverat ,

My experience of muslims in the UK is many express support for the Palestinians but don't identify or understand those states which still speak up for their rights, Syria, Iran and a few others.

Sadly like the general UK population they have been exposed to propaganda which excuses evil and mass murder carried out by Saudi Arabia and their lackeys and Israel. This is changing however. People are gradually waking up. Muslims and the general UK public if they really knew the extent of this would be out demonstrating on the streets.

The realisation these policies have exposed all of us to nuclear wipe out in seconds should be enough motivation for any normal person.
The wipe out or (preferably) demonstrations will happen. Just a question of when. You can see why the establishment and people like Higgins, Lucas and York are so active recently. These idiots, blinded by their pay checks can't see the harm they are causing through their irresponsible lies even to their own families. Perhaps they all have nuclear shelters in their back garden.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Saudi Arabia is NOT 'Moslem'. It is Wahhabist, a genocide cult created by doenmeh, ie crypto-Jewish followers of the failed 17th century Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi, which is homicidally opposed to all Moslems but fellow Wahhabists.

milosevic ,

I thought it was created by the British Empire, in order to provide reliable stooges and puppet regimes.

Richard Le Sarc ,

What people must realise is that,for the Zionassty secular and Talmudic religious leaderships, by far the dominant forces in Israel and among many of the Diaspora sayanim, the drive to create 'Eretz Yisrael', '..from the Nile to the Euphrates' (and some include the Arabian Peninsula as well), is a real, religious, ambition-indeed an obligation. With the alliance with the 'Christian Zionist' lunatics in the USA, the fate of humanity is in the hands of the Evil Brain Dead.

BigB ,

I despair. This is why there is 'No Deal For Nature' because the hegemonic cultural movement is to extend cultural hegemony over nature. We cannot seem to help it or stop ourselves. Do we suppose a glossy website will change that? Or empty sloganneering subvertisements? Or waiving placards outside banks? Or some other futile conscience salving symbolic gesture?

No, we have to subvert the cultural hegemony over nature at every point at every chance. Which is thankless because cultural normativity is ubiquitous. And it's killing us. And BRI is the very antithesis of alternative an eternal return into the cultural consumerism and commodification that is the global hegemony at least at an elite level. And we are among that elite – in terms of consumption and pollution. We are the problem. If we seek to extend or preserve our own Eurocentric priviliges and consumptions we can only do so by extracting evermore global resources and maldeveloping the Rest. Which is also what Samir Amin said: following Wallerstein's World Systems Theory.

The progressive packaging of all our sins and transferring them to something called 'American Imperialism' is nothing less than mass psychological transference to a Fetish. By which we maintain autonomy from any blame in the ecological disaster we are co-creating. Which is why it is a powerful cultural narrative constructivism. 'We' do not have to reform: the scapegoated Otherised 'they' do. Whilst we all sit smugly in our inauthentic imaginary autonomy: the ecological destruction caused entirely by our collectivist consumption carries on. 'They' have to clean up 'their' act – not us. 'We' align with the 'counter-hegemonic alliance': the alternative BRI. 'We' are so bourgeois and progressive in our invented independence and totally aligned with the destructive forces of capitalist endocolonised culture because of our own internalised screening discourse. Which is why there is #NoDealForNature. 'We' don't actually give a flying fuck not beyond some hollow totemic gestures in transference of our own responsibility.

'We' are pushing for the financialisation of nature: as the teleology of our particular complicit cultural narratives. It's not just 'them'. Supply and demand are dialectically exponential. Who is demanding less, more fairly distributed North to South? Exponential expansionism via BRI is no more alternative than colonising the Moon or Mars. For nature to have a deal: we have to stop demanding growth. And in doing that: become self-responsible right through to the narratives we produce. For which every person in the global consumer bourgeoisie – that's us – will have to change their imperatives from culture to nature. Which means a new naturalised culture: not just complicitly advocating the 'same old, same old' exponential expansionism of the extractivist commodification of every last standing resource. Under the guise of new narrative constructions like this. That's not progress: it's capitalist propaganda and personal self-propaganda. We are among the consumer elite. Which is driving the financialisation and commodification of everything. For us.

#NoDealForNature until we take full and honest self-responsibility to create one with our every enaction including speech-enactivism.

Gall ,

I'm sure Thomas Robert Malthus and Charles Darwin are smiling upon you my child from their very special place in hell.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Charles Darwin? What on Earth are you on about?

Gall ,

Ever heard of social Darwinism? This is how the elite justify genocide and theft of resources. It is one of the basics of Neoliberalism.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Darwin had NOTHING to do with 'social Darwinism'. It's like blaming Jesus for the KKK.

Gall ,

Uh huh:

"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage."
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

BigB ,

Every appraisal from a cultural POV extends the cultural hegemony over nature – with no exceptions. If we do not address the false dichotomy of culture and nature – and invert the privileged status of cultural domination over nature – this never changes. If nothing changes its going to be a very short century the last in the history of culture.

I'm expressing my own private POV with the intention of at least highlighting the issue of only ever expressing the distorted cultural-centric POV. It would be nice if we could all agree to do something other than waste our privileged status and access to resources for other than meaningless sarcasm. It's not like we'd all benefit from a change in POV and the entailed potential in a change of course that can only happen if we think of nature first, is it? 😉

Gall ,

The only thing I don't like about the environmentally "woke" is that many are easily manipulated by the neoliberal elite. Greta is a perfect example.

That is they go after the little guy while the Military and big industry continue to pollute unhampered.

George Mc ,

I despair.

Well that's what you do.

Dungroanin ,

The M5 highway is secured. Allepo access points too and Idlib is surrounded- where are the US backed /Saudi paid / Tukish passport holding Uighars and various Turkmen proxy jihadist anti Chinese / anti Russian, Central asian caliphate establishing mercenaries supposed to go now??

Pompeo is buzzing around Africa now like a blue bottomed cadaverous fly, non-stop buzzing from piles of shot, trying to find them homes – no Libya doesn't want anymore of them, nor the UAE and Saudis, or Turks maybe dump them in Canada with all these ex Ukrainian still nazis? Its a big country nobody will know!
Or bring them to the US and give them a ticker tape parade?

Or let them surrender and have them testify as to how the fuck they let themselves be bought for $$$$ maybe just fry them with the low yield nuke and blame Assad for it!

Dumbass yanks, fukus, 5+1 eyed gollum and Nutty- 'it's the Belgian airforce bombing Russian weapons in Syria' -yahoo!

Up-Pompeos farce and buzzing is about to sizzle in the blue light of death for dumbfuck poison spreading flies.

normal wisdom ,

so much disrespect here hare here.

these takfiri these giants these beards are hero

of the oded yinon plan

they raped murdered and stole
dustified atomised the syriana so
is rael can become real

the red heffers have been cloned the temple will grow

the semites must leave for norway,sweden wales scotland and detroit
already

the khazar ashkanazim need the land returned to it's true owners from the turkic russio steppe

tonight back to back i watch reality
fiddler on the roof and exodus and schindlers lists.
i watch bbc simon scharmas new rabbi revised history of mighty israel.
every day it grows massive every day hezbollah become weak husk

shirley you can sea more that

my life already

Francis Lee ,

Very interesting and informative article. Lenin's 5 conditions of the imperialism of his time have been matched by similar conditions in our own time, as listed by the Egyptian Marxist, Samir Amin. These conditions being as follows.

1. Control of technology.

2. Access to natural resources.

3. Finance.

4. Global media.

5. The means of mass destruction.

Only by overturning these monopolies can real progress be made. Easily said. But a life and death struggle for humanity.

The collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the space for increased penetration of Europe to the East by the US and its West European allies in NATO. At that time the subaltern US powers in Europe were the UK and West Germany, as it then was. There was a semblance of sovereignty in France under De Gaulle, but this has since disappeared. Europe as a whole is now occupied and controlled by the US which has used EU/NATO bloc to push right up to the Russian border. Most, if not all, the non-sovereign quasi states, in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, are Quisling-Petainist puppet regimes regardless of whether they are inside our outside of the EU. (I say 'states' but of course if a country is not sovereign it cannot be a 'state' in the full meaning of the word).

A political, social and economic crisis in Europe seems to be taking taking shape. Perhaps the key problem, particularly Eastern Europe, has been depopulation. There is not one European state in which fertility (replacement) rates has reached 2.1 children. Western European imperial states have to large degree been able to counter-act this tendency by immigration from their former colonies, particularly the UK and France. But this has not been possible in states such as Sweden and Germany where the migration of non-christian guest workers from Turkey to Germany and Islamic refugees
from the middle-east hot-spots have had a free passage to Sweden. This has become a serious social and economic problem; a problem resulting from a neoliberal open borders policy. The fact of the matter is that radically different cultures will tend to clash. Thank you Mr Soros.

British immigration policy was successful in so far as immigrants from the Caribbean were English speakers, they were also protestant Christians, and the culture was not very different from the UK. Later immigration from the Indian sub-continent and Indian settled East Africa were generally professional and middle-class business people. Again English speakers. Assimilation of these newcomers was not unduly difficult.

However it wouldn't be exaggerating to say that Eastern Europe is facing a demographic disaster. This particular zone is literally bleeding people. Ukraine for example has lost 10 million people since 1990. Every month it is estimated that 100,000 Ukrainians leave the country, usually for good. In terms of migration – no-one wants to go to Eastern Europe, but everyone wants to leave, asap. This process is complemented by low birth rates, and high death rates. These are un-developing states in an un-developing world. But now we have new kids on the bloc. A counter-hegemonic alliance. No guesses who.

BigB ,

Rubbish. There is no 'counter-hegemonic alliance' to humanities rapacious demand for fossil fuels and ecological resources. Where are the material consumption resources for BRI coming from – the Moon, Mars? Passing asteroids? Or from the Earth?

When its gone: its gone. Russia and China provide absolutely no alternative to this. China's consumption alone is driving us over the brink. To which the real alternative is a complicit silence. As we all align with culture-centric capitalist views: there is no naturalistic 'counter-hegemonic alliance'. Just some hunters in the Amazon we are having shot right now so we can have the privilige of extending cultural hegemony over nature.

When it's gone: it's gone. And so will we be too. Probably as we are still praising the wonders of the 'counter-hegemonic alliance' that killed us.

Gall ,

Actually there is a naturalistic alliance forming but it seems you haven't been paying attention because you seem stuck in some Malthusian mind set. In order to defeat capitalism you have to defeat Globalism so you first have to eliminate the Anglo-American Hegemony and get back to a multipolar world.

Ranting on about like Gretchen doesn't do any good.

BigB ,

Resources are finite and thermodynamics exist. These are the ineliminable, indisputable, and rock solid epistemology of the Earth System. Everything else is metaphysics – literally 'beyond nature; beyond physics'. Or, as it is more commonly known – economics. The imaginary epistemology of political economics and political theory. 'Theory' is the non-scientific sense of unfounded opinion and non-sense. A philosophical truth-theory that is not and cannot ever be true. Hypothetical non-sense.

I get my information from a wide range of sources that realise these foundational predicates. That is: a foundational set of beliefs that require no underpinning. I can only paraphrase Eddington on thermodynamics: "if your theory is found to be against the second law I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."

Which is to say all modern political theory and economics – and by extension all opinions based on its internalisation – is the product of vivid and unfounded imagination. To which a naturalised epistemology is the only remedy.

There are lots of people working on the problem: but not in the political sphere. Which is why we are stuck in a hallucinated metaphysical political-economic theatre of the absurd and absolutised cultural non-sense. Which is not beyond anyone to rectify: if and when we accept the limitations of the physical-material Earth System. And apply them to our thinking.

#NoDealForNature until we accept that the thermodynamics of depletion naturally limit growth. Anything anyone says to the contrary should be treated with scepticism and cause a collapse into deepest humiliation of any rational thinker.

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Depopulation' is only a problem if you believe in the capitalist cancer cult of infinite growth on a finite planet, ie black magic. If you value Life on Earth, and its continuance, human depopulation is necessary. Best done slowly and humanely, by redistributing the wealth stolen by the capitalist parasites. The process seen in the Baltics and Ukraine is the capitalist way, cruel and inhumane. Even worse is planned for the Africans, south Asians and Chinese etc.

Gall ,

They don't for a minute believe in "infinite growth". They believe in the "bottom line","instant gratification" and "primitive accumulation". "Infinite growth" is a sales pitch that they use to sell the unwary on their rapaciousness. That is all. If they actually believed in "infinite growth" they've be investing in renewable resources not fracking, strip mining and other environmentally unfriendly practices.

Gall ,

The problem for Imperialists is that they only know how to plunder, rape and destroy thus all their weaponry and tactics is used for aggression they know nothing about actual defense which is their weak point. General George C Custer found this out some time back and so did Trump just recently when the American were assaulted by a barrage of missiles they couldn't stop.

Iran, Russia and China have one of the most advanced arsenal of defensive weapons ever developed such as the S- series of air defense system that can turn a Tomahawk attack into a turkey shoot. What was it? I think it was 100 Tomahawks fired on Syria after that false flag chemical attack and only 15 or so got through and this was the earlier version of the S missile defense S-300. They've already developed 500 which practically makes them impervious and is a true iron dome compared the iron sieve that the Israelis got for free during GW1 and then repackaged and sold back to the US Military for 15B with very few improvements except maybe for a pretty blue bow.

Not only that but they can return fire with hypersonic weapons that are unstoppable and can turn a base or Aircraft Carrier into a floating pinnate.

lundiel ,

Very well presented. Excellent article.

Gall ,

Actually the US proudly waving the banner of the East India Company is following in the footsteps of the deceased British Empire into the boneyard of empires which is Afghanistan. Iraq, Syria and Ukraine are just side shows. America can not escape history no matter what it does now since its days of empire are now numbered. Just as they were for the late unlamented Soviet Union.

The "New American Century" is ending preemptively early like Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich" and we can all breath a sigh of relief when it does.

Frank ,

The only thing that will get the bastard yanks out of the middle east is dead Americans.

Lots and lots of dead Americans.

Enough dead Americans to make the braindead jingoistic American masses notice.

Enough dead Americans to touch every family that produces grunts that serve their criminal state by raping and pillaging foreign countries.

Enough dead Americans to make dumbfuck Americans who say, 'Thank you for your service" squirm in literal pain at the words.

Dungroanin ,

They got brain damage in their bunkers in the best US base in the ME from just a handful of Kinetic energy missiles.

Their low yield nuke is their response.

The Israelis keep prodding the Bear – they even targeted a Russian Pantir system in Syria!

I suppose only a downing or infact destroying on the ground of a squadron of useless F35's with a threat to escalate into a full blown mobilisation is ever going to stop these imperialist chancers. Or a fully coordinated assassination campaign of the leads and their heirs as they frolic on their superyachts and space stations and secret Tracey islands.

And they can pay their taxes in full.

The Third world war is already fought – this really is a world war rather than some Anglo Imperialist bankers playing king of the castle – and they have LOST – the Empire is dead.

Long live the new Empire – the first not beholden to the bankers.

wardropper ,

Even with a new empire, our godless world would soon enough breed another generation of bankers to which we would be beholden.
That's what the fundamentally dishonest people in any society do.
Something wrong? Oh, well, we'll form a committee to discuss it, and in future we will look into creating a banking system which will enable us pay ourselves high wages for our invaluable contribution to human evolution.
It's MORALITY which is lacking today, not more legislation or a new constitution.

Gall ,

All one has to do is move off the centralized banking system developed and controlled by the Rothschilds that is totally based on creating finance out of thin air and return to a commodity based currency (not gold!!) that represents actual value like scrip or wampum or barter and the bankers will eventually starve.

Actually this system is starting to take hold in the US to a small extend to avoid the depredations of the IRS since Tax is based mostly on currency.

Stop using fiat currency and the problem's solved.

After WW II the French didn't have a press to press Francs so their standard of exchange became cigarettes and chocolate. It worked quite well until the presses started churning out paper again.

wardropper ,

My fear is that without the Rothschilds, some other over-ambitious family would simply step in and fill their shoes. It's the motivation to be greedy and wicked which needs addressing. How that would be done, of course, I have no idea.

Gall ,

This is only if you embrace the concept of centralized banking and the "magic" of compound interest. Current "banking" is all smoke and mirrors that favors the parasite who lives on the production of others through what is called "unearned income".

wardropper ,

I agree. But how to stop it?

Gall ,

Ignore the bastards instead. Just go off the grid.

wardropper ,

I can't deny the wisdom in that.

Dungroanin ,

The Red Shield ancient silk road trader and slaving company employees are only a family as say the Vatican is a family

wardropper ,

I know, but "only a family" with the wealth to buy whole nations
I find that very unsettling, to say the least.

Dungroanin ,

Indeed but there is always hope as the poet saw – THEY are the few, we are many.

Gall ,

Actually the Israelis are going a little slower now that isolated reports indicate that those flying turkeys AKA F-35s are getting popped out of the skies of Syria by antiquated Soviet SAMs. Of course there is no mention of this in the Mainstream Press. Just like there wasn't a word of a IDF General and his staff taken out by a shoulder launched RPG fired by Hezbollah in retaliation for attacking their media center in Beirut.

Antonym ,

Anybody who believes that the Israeli tail wags the US mil-ind. complex dog is contributing to the Jewish superiority myth.

Ken ,

They're not superior, but they do wag the US MIC dog in and ebb-and-flow kind of way. That 9/11 thing was quite the wag. Read Christopher Bollyn and study other aspects of the event if you're not sure of this.

Antonym ,

Langley and Riyadh love you; you fell for their ploy. See: Tel Aviv is much worse them.
The CIA/FBI failure explained.

The Mossad loves you too: for keeping mum on this Entebbe Mach 2.0 on their familiar New York crap they got huge US support in the ME.
Makes them look invincible too as a bonus .

5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history.

Ken ,

"5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history"

Oh please, that was such a minor bit of evidence of any Zionist/Israeli involvement, which spanned nearly every facet of the event and its aftermath.

The list of false flagging Zionist Jews in love with you is too long to list.

Gall ,

Oh please. What about the close to 200 Israelis who were arrested that day? Not to mention the helpful warning by Odigo which was only given to citizens of Israel?

Also one has to act who benefitted? Definitely not the Saudis or the Americans leaving Sharon who was trying to suppress a Palestinian uprising that he arrogantly started.

Speaking of your friendly five doing a fiddler on the roof on top of an Urban Moving Van that just happened to owned by another Israeli who fled the country. Didn't they say something stupid when arrested like "we are not your problem. It's the Palestinians who are your problem!"?

A pathetic frame up attempt but a frame none the less. Speaking of frame ups wasn't Fat Katz at SiteIntel (propaganda) who posted some stock footage of Palestinians celebrating which has been proven to be false since the only people who seem to celebrating that day was your friends the Dancing Israelis which doesn't prove their mental superiority at all but their arrogant stupidity,

Richard Le Sarc ,

The three, the USA, Saudi Arabia and the USA, are allies in destruction-the Real Axis of Evil. The dominant force, these days, given the control of the USA by Israel First Fifth Columnists, in the MSM, political 'contributions', the financial Moloch etc, is most certainly the Zionassties. Why don't you, like so many other Zionassties, glory in your power, Antsie. Nobody believes your ritual denials.

Gall ,

They don't really wag the dog by themselves. They have a lot of help from the Stand with Israel brain dead Christian Zionists who like Israelis consider themselves the chosen ones as well.

Ken ,

@Gall Yep! I had a long time friend who went Pentecostal and we drifted apart but still kept in touch. I lost him completely just after telling him that Israelis played a big part in 9/11.

Gall ,

Chuck Baldwin and a few other it seems have seen the light and are now questioning their colleagues undying support of Israel. Maybe you could show this article to your friend who seems enthralled by the terrorist snake er I mean state:
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/02/13/emperor-trump/

Ken ,

Thanks for that article. Were I ever able to get it in front of my estranged friend, it would make his head explode and kill him. Baldwin does seem to nail it. Chuck for president! I came across this rather intersting piece on 9/11 while at VT for your article.
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/02/10/9-11-the-bottom-line-an-open-letter-to-all-researchers/

Gall ,

Yes that pretty much sums up how 9/11 was carried on. Both Heinz Pommer and VT have done some excellent research based on facts not fantasy.

As far as your friend and many Christian Zionists in general. They seem to live in some alternative universe and dislike being confused by such irrelevant things as facts.

binra ,

It is a story that can be told in some detail – but when you say myth do you actually mean fallacy – ie – are you saying that Jewish power doesn't exercise considerable influence – if not control over US social and political and corporate development across of broad spectrum of leverages?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-all those addresses of Congress, by Bibi, where the Congress critters compete to display the most extreme groveling and adulation, are just the natural expression of reverence and awe at his semi-Divine moral excellence. Denying the undeniable is SOP for Zionassties.

normal wisdom ,

what jews?
i do not see any jews
just a sea of khazar ashkanazim pirates
a kaballa talmudick race trick
a crime syndicate pretending to be semite
jew is just the cover
init

[Feb 16, 2020] Africa's largest oil nation could see production drop 35%

Feb 16, 2020 | www.rt.com

Africa's largest oil producer could see oil production fall by 35 percent as low oil prices and regulatory uncertainty threaten to prompt oil majors to postpone final investment decisions. OPEC member Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and it pumped 1.776 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in January 2020, according to OPEC's secondary sources in its monthly report published this week. Adding condensate production, Nigeria's total oil output exceeds 2 million bpd.

However, three deepwater projects offshore Nigeria, operated by oil majors Exxon, Shell, and Total, could see their start-up dates delayed by two to four years to the late 2020s, according to the research WoodMac shared with Reuters ahead of publishing it on Friday.

Also on rt.com Russia to bring back to life Nigeria's major steel plant project, abandoned for decades

The regulatory changes in Nigeria's oil industry and the still pending final approval of a petroleum bill - after two decades of delays and wrangling - act as deterrents to the oil majors' investment decisions, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Moreover, the three deepwater projects - which could add a combined 300,000 bpd to Nigeria's production - are not profitable at current oil prices with Brent Crude below $60 a barrel, the consultancy noted.

Just this week, Nigeria assured foreign oil investors that the country is open to business and can guarantee high returns on investment, the country's President Muhammadu Buhari told an energy conference on Monday.

Nigeria is set to finally pass a new bill regulating the petroleum industry by the middle of this year, after nearly two decades of delays, the country's Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva said at the same event.

Also on rt.com Africa to become 'land of opportunity' if US & China strike trade deal – Bank of America

Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said at the conference that "We are, more than ever before, committed to working with stakeholders to increase our crude oil production from 2.3 million bbl per day to 3 million bbl per day."

The recent amendment to the Deep Offshore Act will improve financial stability and investor confidence, NNPC's head said.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

[Feb 15, 2020] Krystal Ball Warren's cynical attacks on Sanders are exactly why her campaign failed

Feb 15, 2020 | thehill.com

Hill.TV host Krystal Ball said Sen. Elizabeth Warren 's (D-Mass.) "campaign was lost long before this election cycle."

Ball pointed to Warren's "decision not to run in 2016 - she sat out the most critical election of our lifetime even though she knew better than I did the flaws of Hillary Clinton " Ball then slammed Warren's decision to not endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016 noting "when her supposed friend and ally Bernie Sanders, who allegedly shares her politics and was fighting for the same values she had staked her career on got into the race and started sky-rocketing in the polls challenging Hillary for the lead, rather than making the movement choice and backing the progressive, she sat it out."

Ball claims Warren's "attempts to co-opt revolutionary rhetoric in service of an establishment campaign, like Disney doing socialism, satisfied no one and left her unable to win more than 1 county and Iowa and an embarrassing distant fourth behind Klobuchar in New Hampshire."

Click on the video above to catch Ball's full remarks.

[Feb 15, 2020] Trump's "Blue Collar Boom" Myth vs Reality by Tom Hall

Feb 15, 2020 | www.wsws.org

In last week's State of the Union address, President Trump gave a rosy portrayal of the US economy. American workers, according to Trump, have never had it so good.

"Wages," he declared, "are rising fast." Household income, he claimed, "is the highest ever recorded." The results of Trump's policies, since first taking office three years ago, is a "blue-collar boom." This coincides, according to Trump, with a 70 percent run-up in the stock market, "adding more than $12 trillion to our nation's wealth." For the American ruling class, the massive profits they are making on the stock market is the real criterion of economic success, not the conditions of life for the working class.

The reality is very different than the fantasy which Trump delivered over the country's airwaves. Corporate profits, dividends and the incomes of wealthy executives are higher than ever before -- the direct result of unprecedented levels of social misery.

Trump's policies are an acceleration of those pursued under Obama and the Democrats after 2008. The deliberate aim of these policies, which included the 2009 restructuring of the auto industry, the promotion of for-profit charter schools and the pro-corporate Affordable Care Act, was to prop up the profits of American capitalism by driving millions of workers into poverty.

This is the real situation facing American workers:

The jobs bloodbath in the auto industry

US manufacturing cut 12,000 jobs in January, according to government figures. This continues a decades-long decline in manufacturing employment, from a high of nearly 20 million in 1979 to less than 13 million today. January's losses were almost entirely concentrated in the auto and auto parts industries, which shed 11,000 jobs last month alone. Over the last twelve months, 24,000 US autoworkers lost their jobs.

The betrayal of the strike by the United Auto Workers paved the way for the closure of four US plants, including the historic Lordstown plant in Ohio. New investments, including a new battery plant near Lordstown, will be based on lower wages and benefits, and will account for only a fraction of the jobs lost.

While Trump never tires of nationalist tirades against Mexican and Chinese workers stealing "American" jobs, these cuts were part of a global jobs massacre in the auto industry, which eliminated over 500,000 jobs worldwide last year. Auto companies are pursuing an international strategy to force workers in every country to bear the cost of the emerging downturn in the industry, and to prepare for the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles, which will require a vastly reduced workforce.

However, 2019 was only a down payment -- German automakers have announced tens of thousands of additional job cuts. The disruption to global supply chains caused by the coronavirus, Ford's disastrous 2019 performance and the impending merger between Fiat Chrysler and French automaker Peugeot all point to further cuts in 2020 and beyond.

Stagnating and declining wages

Under Trump, real wages have continued their post-2008 stagnation. According to The Conversation website, from December 2016 to September 2019, nominal wages rose only 6.79 percent, but even this was almost entirely wiped out by inflation. When "fringe benefits" such as health insurance, retirement packages, bonuses and other forms of non-wage compensation are included, total real compensation actually declined by 0.22 percent. In the traditionally higher-paying manufacturing sector, total real compensation plunged 4.33 percent.

This is particularly pronounced in the traditionally industrial states of the Midwest. In six of the seven heaviest manufacturing states that voted for Trump in 2016, economic growth has slowed since 2016, and in all but one, personal income growth is below the national average, according to Barron's. Trump's vaunted rise in wages for low-income workers is due in large part to local minimum wage increases -- the federal rate of $7.26 has not budged since 2009 -- which still leaves workers at or near poverty.

Part-time and "gig" work -- the "new normal"

In his speech, Trump cited the fact that 3.5 million people have joined the workforce. However, this increase is due almost entirely to a rise in part-time and casual employment, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. The US employment rate, the percentage of the working-age population with jobs, remains 3 points lower than in 2000. Full-time employment has fallen 6.8 percent since the turn of the century, while part-time employment has risen 4.1 percent.

A survey conducted last year by the Federal Reserve found that 3 in 10 American adults rely on "gig" work for at least part of their income. For half of these workers, gig work represents 10 percent or more of their total income, and 6 percent of gig workers rely on gig work for 90 percent or more of total family income.

This "new normal," together with hundreds of thousands who have given up looking for jobs altogether, has masked the actual state of the job market by keeping official unemployment figures at artificial lows. Real unemployment, once underemployed and "discouraged" workers are added, is 6.9 percent, nearly twice the official rate.

This is bound up with a significant rise in economic insecurity. Forty-four percent of the US workforce are classified by the Brookings institution as low-wage. Millions of Americans are one crisis away from destitution; nearly half the country cannot make an unexpected $400 expense without taking on debt.

Inequality at record levels

Karl Marx's observation that "accumulation of wealth at one pole" of society is "accumulation of misery [and] agony" at the other pole is being decisively confirmed. On the basis of endemic poverty in the working class, the American ruling class is accumulating historically obscene levels of wealth.

Three individuals -- Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, own more wealth than the bottom half of the US population. However, another study by inequality researchers Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman found that the bottom half of the country actually has a negative combined net wealth, meaning their debts are larger than their assets.

Meanwhile, US corporations are making money hand over fist. According to the Federal Reserve, annualized after-tax profits of $1.8 trillion have increased to three times the level of 2000. This figure has stayed constant since 2012, the end of Obama's first term. The labor share of national income, meanwhile, is by far the lowest on record.

These huge profits are being made, not through investments in productive activities -- for more than a decade, US companies have sat on a $1.5 trillion cash hoard which they refuse to invest -- but through financial transactions, including stock buybacks and dividends, mergers and acquisitions and other speculative activities, propped up by Trump through massive infusions of cash from the Federal Reserve and corporate tax cuts. These irrational and essentially criminal policies, which amount to the ruling class looting society, are preparing the way for another economic crisis.

... ... ...

[Feb 15, 2020] Tucker: Fairness is the most important American idea

Feb 15, 2020 | www.youtube.com

NOTHING BURGER - CONFIRMED. , 1 day ago (edited)

HEY BARR , HlLLARY USED HAMMERS & BLEACHBlT TO DESTR0Y/HlDE EVlDENCE OF UNKN0WN CRlMES!!

Jim , 1 day ago

Fairness is an important idea in America. Unfortunately it isn't to our "justice" system - never has been!

Bobby Hendricks , 1 day ago

No such thing as fairness when we are talking about the 2 tier justice system

Trollhaj , 1 day ago

"We're not going to let him just torch this democracy" Says, Eric "We Have Nukes" Swalwell

Douglas Tibbitts , 1 day ago (edited)

Say while we are at it wasn't this the guy who gave Jeffrey Epstein his cush deal.?

Tony Pinto , 1 day ago

Hillary was asked specifically about the movement of arms from Libya to Syria during congressional inquiry and she claimed to know nothing of such activities. Lied to congress, yet still walking around free.

Sheila hucke , 1 day ago

Swallwell is a liar just like the rest of em. He says they don't wake up in the morning wanting to Impeach him, BS they have wanted to Impeach him since before he was president....

Phillip Johnson , 1 day ago (edited)

The swamp is deeper than originally thought! Also, I am really quite surprised at the amount of RINOs in the party.

Heather Swanson , 20 hours ago

"We don't wake up in the morning, wanting to impeach the president" - Eric Swalwell 😳🤔 are we living in the same timeline bro?

Greg Olsen , 1 day ago

Judge refused excupitory evidence that would have cleared Stone! :-(

homeward bound , 1 day ago

I'm with Tucker. Let the pres pardon him and that's that.

[Feb 14, 2020] The sidelining of Elizabeth Warren by Kathleen Walsh

Feb 12, 2020 | theweek.com

The 2020 presidential race was always going to be an uphill battle for Elizabeth Warren.

Almost from the get-go, political pundits fretted about Warren's electability, setting in motion a self-fulfilling prophecy now reflected in the New Hampshire primary results . Warren's disappointing showing on Tuesday comes on the heels of a stirring debate performance and a strong third place finish in the Iowa caucuses -- two wins largely ignored by mainstream media commentators, who focused almost entirely on Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, with a spare thought for Amy Klobuchar's rise and Joe Biden's descent.

Defeating Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election is priority number one for the Democratic establishment, and a moderate candidate with the potential to sway swing voters and Republican defectors has long been billed as the wisest course. But by constructing a dichotomy between the self-described revolutionary leader Sanders and the aggressively non-threatening trifecta of moderate candidates (not to mention Bloomberg, who is suddenly the darling of cable news), the networks and pundits with the greatest persuasive power have ignored and undercut Warren's unique potential to unite the progressive left and hesitant center.

Warren seems to have unfairly inherited some of the hallmarks of Hillary Clinton's reputation. Clinton's devastating 2016 upset sparked practical questions as to whether a woman could win the presidency at all. And Warren's false claim to Native American heritage sealed a reputation for untrustworthiness that has stuck long after that conversation faded away. If Clinton, with all of her name recognition and experience, couldn't win against Trump, what hope could there be for the woman widely considered her successor?

Warren's progressive policies and folksy demeanor also framed her for many as a sort of second-tier Sanders, not far enough left for the progressives and too far left for gun-shy moderates. But it is precisely this position that makes her the most electable candidate.

Warren and Sanders are mostly aligned on their signature issues, but how they present these issues is entirely different, as are their proposed paths to achieve them. Sanders does not shy away from the word "socialist." He declares outright that his Medicare-for-All plan will raise taxes. He says billionaires should not exist. These declarations and convictions are brave and they are admirable. But they also inspire commentators like Chris Matthews to worry on-air that a Sanders administration will begin executing the wealthy in Central Park, French revolution style.

Warren takes a more measured approach in selling her policies, focusing on how she'll achieve them rather than the eventual outcome. She doesn't say billionaires should not exist, she proposes a wealth tax. Warren doesn't say "socialist," choosing instead to present the economic and social advantages to her plans without the label. The other key difference between Sanders and Warren is that, while Sanders has identified as far left for his entire political career, Warren was a committed Republican long before she became a progressive Democrat. As other commentators have noted , this history might not earn her many points with committed leftists, but it does put her in a unique position to appeal to the moderates and Republicans that candidates like Buttigieg and Klobuchar are trying to court. After all, she used to be one of them. And perhaps most importantly, polls continue to show Warren performing just as well as those candidates, if not better, in hypothetical general election matchups against Trump.

Yet the mainstream media seems determined to undermine her viability.

Sanders and Buttigieg finished neck and neck in the Iowa Caucuses (whose dubious import is a conversation for another day), with Warren close behind in third. As the dust around the disastrous vote-counting began to settle, the media centered the conversation on Sanders, Buttigieg, and Biden. For example, this headline from The Washington Post reads: "Buttigieg and Sanders take lead, Biden fades in partial results from marred Iowa caucuses," ignoring Warren's close third place finish entirely in favor of Biden's fourth.

During Friday's Democratic debate, many critics noted the relatively short speaking time given to Warren in comparison with her white male competitors. Afterwards, coverage again focused on Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Biden, and Sanders, despite Warren having the highlight of the night, when she responded to Buttigieg's embarrassing stumble on a question about race.

[Feb 14, 2020] Tucker: Biden's cool sunglasses can't save him from himself

Feb 10, 2020 | www.youtube.com

John Chinn , 3 days ago

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake"

Zach Wilkins , 1 day ago

"They're not senile, they're just stupid" quote of the last 4 years, Democrats are losing it!

賢治 the Eagle , 3 days ago (edited)

Tucker is just hilarious! To think that an idiot like Biden was vice president is sad.

Cody Levinson , 2 days ago

"Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as White kids." -Joe Biden.

Joe McCaffery , 3 days ago

He's just a stupid old man with an entitlement arrogance, so just like Clinton but male, Pelosi and so many others being the exact same and this is on both sides of the coin.

will draper , 3 days ago

tucker is literally roasting this man

specialmitch , 2 days ago

"Turn on the record player" is just Biden flexing his hipster lifestyle.

Max Stevenson , 2 days ago (edited)

"Your a lying dog faced pony soldier" r.i.p. Bidens campaign. I bet he'll be voting for Trump.

John Boosh , 3 days ago

"Poor kids are just as talented as white kids" will always be my favorite

Taboo X , 3 days ago

Regarding 6:23 "Children of a motherless goat!"

robert McGuckin , 1 day ago

For a guy who extorted millions from Ukraine, China and Iraq, he sure seems cocky?

11DNA11 , 2 days ago

"Record player on at night" I almost thought he'd suggest we'd keep our wax cylinder players on at night.

Mattador , 3 days ago

"We choose truth over facts" - Joe Biden That's correct Joe, democrats cling to their version of the "truth" while ignoring the facts.

[Feb 14, 2020] This is Jimmy Dore of Tucker Carlson show FoxTV.

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 4:10 utc | 114

This is Jimmy Dore of Tucker Carlson show FoxTV.

You would not ever have seen this on Fox at the last election. Best high voltage spit by Jimmy Dore I have seen.
Tucker shows a great smirk especially when Jimmy dumps on Guaido.

five minutes of mirth

[Feb 09, 2020] Iowans Rage They're Dirty, Man, Matt Taibbi Warns Des Moines Debacle Was Waterloo For Democrats

Feb 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg seemed perfect, a man who defended the principle of wine-based fundraisers with military effrontery. New York magazine made his case in a cover story the magazine's Twitter account summarized as:

"Perhaps all the Democrats need to win the presidency is a Rust Belt millennial who's gay and speaks Norwegian."

(The "Here's something random the Democrats need to beat Trump" story became an important literary genre in 2019-2020, the high point being Politico's "Can the "F-bomb save Beto?").

Buttigieg had momentum. The flameout of Biden was expected to help the ex-McKinsey consultant with "moderates." Reporters dug Pete; he's been willing to be photographed holding a beer and wearing a bomber jacket, and in Iowa demonstrated what pundits call a "killer instinct," i.e. a willingness to do anything to win.

Days before the caucus, a Buttigieg supporter claimed Pete's name had not been read out in a Des Moines Register poll, leading to the pulling of what NBC called the "gold standard" survey. The irony of such a relatively minor potential error holding up a headline would soon be laid bare.

However, Pete's numbers with black voters (he polls at zero in many states) led to multiple news stories in the last weekend before the caucus about "concern" that Buttigieg would not be able to win.

Who, then? Elizabeth Warren was cratering in polls and seemed to be shifting strategy on a daily basis. In Iowa, she attacked "billionaires" in one stop, emphasized "unity" in the next, and stressed identity at other times (she came onstage variously that weekend to Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" or to chants of "It's time for a woman in the White House"). Was she an outsider or an insider? A screwer, or a screwee? Whose side was she on?

A late controversy involving a story that Sanders had told Warren a woman couldn't win didn't help. Jaimee Warbasse planned to caucus with Warren, but the Warren/Sanders "hot mic" story of the two candidates arguing after a January debate was a bridge too far. She spoke of being frustrated, along with friends, at the inability to find anyone she could to trust to take on Trump.

"It's like we all have PTSD from 2016," she said. "There has to be somebody."

... ... ...

What happened over the five days after the caucus was a mind-boggling display of fecklessness and ineptitude. Delay after inexplicable delay halted the process, to the point where it began to feel like the caucus had not really taken place. Results were released in chunks, turning what should have been a single news story into many, often with Buttigieg "in the lead."

The delays and errors cut in many directions, not just against Sanders. Buttigieg, objectively, performed above poll expectations, and might have gotten more momentum even with a close, clear loss, but because of the fiasco he ended up hashtagged as #MayorCheat and lumped in headlines tied to what the Daily Beast called a "Clusterfuck."

Though Sanders won the popular vote by a fair margin, both in terms of initial preference (6,000 votes) and final preference (2,000), Mayor Pete's lead for most of the week with "state delegate equivalents" -- the number used to calculate how many national delegates are sent to the Democratic convention -- made him the technical winner in the eyes of most. By the end of the week, however, Sanders had regained so much ground, to within 1.5 state delegate equivalents, that news organizations like the AP were despairing at calling a winner.

This wasn't necessarily incorrect. The awarding of delegates in a state like Iowa is inherently somewhat random. If there's a tie in votes in a district awarding five delegates, a preposterous system of coin flips is used to break the odd number. The geographical calculation for state delegate equivalents is also uneven, weighted toward the rural. A wide popular-vote winner can surely lose.

But the storylines of caucus week sure looked terrible for the people who ran the vote. The results released early favored Buttigieg, while Sanders-heavy districts came out later. There were massive, obvious errors. Over 2,000 votes that should have gone to Sanders and Warren went to Deval Patrick and Tom Steyer in one case the Iowa Democrats termed a "minor error." In multiple other districts (Des Moines 14 for example), the "delegate equivalents" appeared to be calculated incorrectly, in ways that punished all the candidates, not just Sanders. By the end of the week, even the New York Times was saying the caucus was plagued with "inconsistencies and errors."

Emily Connor, a Sanders precinct captain in Boone County, spent much of the week checking results, waiting for her Bernie-heavy district to be recorded. It took a while. By the end of the week, she was fatalistic.

"If you're a millennial, you basically grew up in an era where popular votes are stolen," she said.

"The system is riddled with loopholes."

Others felt the party was in denial about how bad the caucus night looked.

"They're kind of brainwashed," said Joe Grabinski, who caucused in West Des Moines.

"They think they're on the side of the right they'll do anything to save their careers.

An example of how screwed up the process was from the start involved a new twist on the process, the so-called "Presidential Preference Cards."

In 2020, caucus-goers were handed index cards that seemed simple enough. On side one, marked with a big "1," caucus-goers were asked to write in their initial preference. Side 2, with a "2," was meant to be where you wrote in who you ended up supporting, if your first choice was not viable.

The "PPCs" were supposedly there to "ensure a recount is possible," as the Polk County Democrats put it. But caucus-goers didn't understand the cards.

Morgan Baethke, who volunteered at Indianola 4, watched as older caucus-goers struggled. Some began filling out both sides as soon as they were given them.

Therefore, Baethke says, if they do a recount, "the first preference should be accurate." However, "the second preference will be impossible to recreate with any certainty."

This is a problem, because by the end of the week, DNC chair Tom Perez -- a triple-talking neurotic who is fast becoming the poster child for everything progressives hate about modern Dems -- called for an "immediate recanvass." He changed his mind after ten hours and said he only wanted "surgical" reanalysis of problematic districts.

No matter what result emerges, it's likely many individual voters will not trust it. Between comical videos of apparently gamed coin-flips and the pooh-poohing reaction of party officials and pundits (a common theme was that "toxic conspiracy theories" about Iowa were the work of the Trumpian right and/or Russian bots), the overall impression was a clown show performance by a political establishment too bored to worry about the appearance of impartiality.

"Is it incompetence or corruption? That's the big question," asked Storey.

"I'm not sure it matters. It could be both."

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump demand for 50% of Iraq oil revenue sound exactly like a criminal mob boss

Highly recommended!
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tucker , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm GMT

I've heard and read about a claim that Trump actually called PM Abdul Mahdi and demanded that Iraq hand over 50 percent of their proceeds from selling their oil to the USA, and then threatened Mahdi that he would unleash false flag attacks against the Iraqi government and its people if he did not submit to this act of Mafia-like criminal extortion. Mahdi told Trump to kiss his buttocks and that he wasn't going to turn over half of the profits from oil sales.

This makes Trump sound exactly like a criminal mob boss, especially in light of the fact that the USA is now the world's #1 exporter of oil – a fact that the arrogant Orange Man has even boasted about in recent months. Can anyone confirm that this claim is accurate? If so, then the more I learn about Trump the more sleazy and gangster like he becomes.

I mean, think about it. Bush and Cheney and mostly jewish neocons LIED us into Iraq based on bald faced lies, fabricated evidence, and exaggerated threats that they KNEW did not exist. We destroyed that country, captured and killed it's leader – who used to be a big buddy of the USA when we had a use for him – and Bush's crime gang killed close to 2 million innocent Iraqis and wrecked their economy and destroyed their infrastructure. And, now, after all that death, destruction and carnage – which Trump claimed in 2016 he did not approve of – but, now that Trump is sitting on the throne in the Oval office – he has the audacity and the gall to demand that Iraq owes the USA 50 percent of their oil profits? And, that he won't honor and respect their demand to pull our troops out of their sovereign nation unless they PAY US back for the gigantic waste of tax payers money that was spent building permanent bases inside their country?

Not one Iraqi politician voted for the appropriations bill that financed the construction of those military bases; that was our mistake, the mistake of our US congress whichever POTUS signed off on it.

melpol , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:41 pm GMT
...Trump learned the power of the purse on the streets of NYC, he survived by playing ball with the Jewish and Italian Mafia. Now he has become the ultimate Godfather, and the world must listen to his commands. Watch and listen as the powerful and mighty crumble under US Hegemony.
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

Charlie , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 7:53 pm GMT
@Tucker This idea that the US is any sort of a net petroleum exporter is just another lie.

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=268&t=6

In 2018 total US petroleum production was under 18 million barrels per day, total consumption north of 20 mmb/d. What does it matter if the US exports a bunch of super light fracked product the US itself can't refine if it turns around and imports it all back in again and then some.

The myths we tell ourselves, like a roaring economy that nevertheless generates a $1 trillion annual deficit, will someday come back to bite us. Denying reality is not a winning game plan for the long run.

Christophe GJ , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:00 pm GMT
I long tought that US foreign policies were mainly zionist agenda – driven, but the Venezuelan affair and the statements of Trump himself about the syrian oil (ta be "kept" (stolen)) make you think twice.

Oil seems to be at least very important even if it's not the main cause of middle east problems

So maybe it's the cause of illegal and cruel sanctions against Iran : Get rid of competitor to sell shale oil everywhere ?( think also of Norstream 2 here)

Watch out US of A. in the end there is something sometimes referred to as the oil's curse . some poor black Nigerians call oil "the shit of the devil", because it's such a problem – related asset Have you heard of it ? You get your revenues from oil easily, so you don't have to make effort by yourself. And in the end you don't keep pace with China on 5G ? Education fails ? Hmm
Becommig a primary sector extraction nation sad destiny indeed, like africans growing cafe, bananas and cacao for others. Not to mention environmental problems
What has happened to the superb Nation that send the first man on the moon and invented modern computers ?
Disapointment
Money for space or money for war following the Zio. Choose Uncle Sam !
Difficult to have both

OverCommenter , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT
Everyone seems to forget how we avoided war with Syria all those years ago It was when John Kerry of all people gaffed, and said "if Assad gives up all his chemical weapons." That was in response to a reporter who asked "is there anything that can stop the war?" A intrepid Russian ambassador chimed in loud enough for the press core to hear his "OK" and history was averted. Thinking restricting the power of the President will stop brown children from dying at the hands of insane US foreign policy is a cope. "Bi-partisanship" voted to keep troops in Syria, that was only a few months ago, have you already forgotten? Dubya started the drone program, and the magical African everyone fawns over, literally doubled the remote controlled death. We are way past pretending any elected official from either side is actually against more ME war, or even that one side is worse than the other.

The problem with the supporters Trump has left is they so desperately want to believe in something bigger than themselves. They have been fed propaganda for their whole lives, and as a result can only see the world in either "this is good" or "this is bad." The problem with the opposition is that they are insane. and will say or do anything regardless of the truth. Trump could be impeached for assassinating Sulimani, yet they keep proceeding with fake and retarded nonsense. Just like keeping troops in Syria, even the most insane rabid leftoids are just fine with US imperialism, so long as it's promoting Starbucks, Marvel and homosex, just like we see with support for HK. That is foreign meddling no matter how you try to justify it, and it's not even any different messaging than the hoax "bring democracyhumanrightsfreedom TM to the poor Arabs" justification that was used in Iraq. They don't even have to come up with a new play to run, it's really quite incredible.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm GMT
@OverCommenter A lot of right-wingers also see military action in the Middle East as a way for America to flex its muscles and bomb some Arabs. It also serves to justify the insane defence budget that could be used to build a wall and increase funding to ICE.

US politics has become incredibly bi-partisan, criticising Trump will get you branded a 'Leftist' in many circles. This extreme bipartisanship started with the Obama birth certificate nonsense which was being peddled by Jews like Orly Taitz, Philip J. Berg, Robert L. Shulz, Larry Klayman and Breitbart news – most likely because Obama was pursuing the JCPOA and not going hard enough on Iran – and continued with the Trump Russian agent angle.

Now many Americans cannot really think critically, they stick to their side like a fan sticks to their sports team.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 9:11 pm GMT
The first person I ever heard say sanctions are acts of war was Ron Paul. The repulsive Madeleine Albright infamously said the deaths of 500,000 Iranian children due to US sanctions was worth it. She ought to be tried as a war criminal. Ron Paul ought to be Secretary of State.

[Feb 09, 2020] OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves

Notable quotes:
"... that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves. ..."
"... The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields. ..."
"... For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller. ..."
"... Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief. ..."
"... If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

What is the explanation that Non-OPEC produces more than OPEC, but OPEC has 70% of world reserves?

Although this might have been the case in the early history of oil production, I would think that this should not be the case near the peak. If I recall correctly, Campbell thought that OPEC's stated reserves are actually the estimated values produced by the government for each OPEC country?


Ron Patterson 12/12/2019 at 11:08 pm

No, no, no, OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves: OPEC Share of World Oil Reserves, 2018

Well, 79.4% to be exact Some people really believe that unbelievable crap. Well hell, there are still people who believe the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth. So why should we be surprised? Some people will believe anything.

I would like to think that most people on this list know that OPEC quoted reserves is pure bullshit.

Hey, we have a president who lies every time he tweets. And sometimes he tweets 200 times a day. And perhaps 45% of the nation believes him. The capacity of humans to believe the absurd is unbounded.

Anyway if IEA and EIA projections are made on the basis of OPEC claimed reserves, we have a serious problem.

Ron Patterson 12/13/2019 at 2:15 pm
Well, I have always stated, on this blog as well as The Oil Drum, that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves.

The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields.

For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller.

If a giant or supergiant field is nearing the end of its life, but infill drilling, creaming the top of the reservoir, this will throw a monkey wrench into their R/P ratio. While in its prime, the field may have had an R/P ration of 40 or even greater, its R/P ratio while being creamed will be much smaller, less than 20.

Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief.

Seppo Korpela 12/15/2019 at 5:55 pm
Ron,

According to Hubbert methodology, at the peak production the number of years to exhaust the reserve is N = 2/a in which "a" is the intrinsic growth rate

dQ/dt=a Q (1-Q/Q_0)

From Laherrere's reports for world peak, this is between 0.04 and 0.05. This means that the R/P ratio is between 40 and 50 at the peak. Thus if we say that 1/2 of the reserves are left at the peak and we take Laherre's URR = 2500, this gives R/P=1250/35=36 years. These are ball park figures, but suggest that R/P ~ 20 is low. These numbers are for the entire world and for example for North Sea at its peak Hubbert's analysis gave a = 0.12, so R/P=2/0.12=16.6, and this illustrates the fact that smaller fields are closer to your number R/P=20.

If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well.

[Feb 09, 2020] Michael Lind on Reviving Democracy - The American Interest

Notable quotes:
"... The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite ..."
"... The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite ..."
"... The American Interest ..."
Feb 09, 2020 | www.the-american-interest.com

Michael Lind on Reviving Democracy Aaron Sibarium To fix things, we must acknowledge the nature of the problem. T he Cold War may have ended, but the class war rages on -- or so Michael Lind argues in The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite . TAI assistant editor Aaron Sibarium recently sat down with Lind to discuss this argument, and what it means for democracy in our populist era. This is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.

Aaron Sibarium for TAI: You have a new book out: The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite . What is the new class war?

Michael Lind : It's the conflict that has broken out between the college-credentialed, university-educated managerial and professional class, which dominates Western democracies on both sides of the Atlantic, and the high school-educated working class of all races and national origins, which is about two-thirds of the population. I argue that there was a kind of class peace treaty, or what political scientists call a "settlement," between capitalists, managers, and the working class for a couple of decades following 1945 that broke down in the late 20 th century, largely as a result of the atrophy of the institutions that had amplified the power of less educated working-class people. The most important of these were trade unions, churches, and other religious organizations, as well as local mass membership parties -- parties of political machines at the local level.

As a result of that breakdown, there's just been a shift of power and influence in all three realms: the economy, the culture, and government. And I argue the frustration this has created on behalf of much of the population has ultimately led to a lot of the populist rebellions we're seeing: the election of Trump, the Brexit vote in Europe, the Yellow Vest revolts in France.

AS : Part of the story here is the rise of a "managerial elite," as you call it, which differs in important ways from the elite it displaced. What are the distinct features of this managerial class?

ML : I don't claim any particular originality here. I follow James Burnham, a one-time influential American Trotskyist who became one of the founders of postwar American conservatism. In his book The Managerial Revolution written during World War II, he argued that the Marxists were wrong. The two major classes in the Western world in the 1940s were not workers and capitalists, but workers and managers. Because at that point, thanks to the rise of large corporations, there was what Berle and Means in their classic study of the corporation described as separation of ownership and control. And you had this bureaucratic corporate executive class who were not necessarily the biggest shareholders. Particularly nowadays when shared ownership is widely dispersed and fluctuating, it's kind of a legal fiction to say that the shareholders are the owners of the corporation, and that the managers are merely passive agents.

So that was the argument. Burnham argued -- and I follow him -- that the managerial elite includes far more than corporate executives. It includes professionals, experts of all kinds, civil servants, and also the military, which he argued would become increasingly influential in societies. Meanwhile, only one-third of the working class was ever industrial workers -- the rest were service and clerical workers. But at present, as a result of automation and productivity growth, most new working class jobs are in hospitality and leisure, healthcare and retail. And those tend to be very poorly paid and very non-union jobs. So the migration of employment from the unionized manufacturing sector to these sectors has contributed to inequality.

AS : A common libertarian argument holds that if you look at the data, working-class living standards have improved, so everything's more or less fine. To the extent there is a crisis, it's one more of perception than fact. How do you respond to this argument?

ML : Well, it's true: As a result of technological progress poor people have access to all kinds of technology that rich people did not have a century ago. The problem with libertarians is they're like Marxists, and even some progressives: They think money is everything. The problem with libertarians is they're like Marxists, and even some progressives: They think money is everything. They ignore power. They ignore dignity. So the basic premise is, "well, you've lost your unions, which amplified your influence if you only had a high school diploma, but in return you make $500 more a year, so it's a wash."

I find it very odd because the whole basis of American republicanism, small-r republicanism, is the idea that ordinary people should have power and that there should be checks and balances. The idea is not that you can have a dictatorship or an autocracy or an aristocracy as long as it pays compensation to everyone else.

AS : Here at the magazine, we're very interested in reviving what we call the political center. In the book you note that the center of elite opinion is very different from the center of working-class opinion -- even as your emphasis on class compromise sounds, well, kind of centrist. Do you identify as a centrist? And what do you think are the biggest mistakes that self-styled centrists have made?

ML : Marx said, "I'm not a Marxist," so I like saying that I, Michael Lind, am not a Lindist. I'm less interested in sticking out a position on the political spectrum -- either the elite spectrum or the working-class spectrum, which are your two different political spectrums -- than I am in nation-building. And how do you rebuild a functioning democratic nation-state in which politics is not all about 51 percent trying to annihilate 49 percent? I think we have to be as inclusive as possible. In the book, I call this "democratic pluralism," the idea being that you have to have a government based on compromise.

But before you can have compromise, you have to acknowledge the reality of conflict. You have to admit that the conflicts are legitimate. Because if one side is simply wrong or one side is simply evil, then there's no point in compromise. So democratic pluralism is a very realistic view of politics. It's arguably the case that employers and employees have clashing interests on things like trade and immigration. There is no one objective policy, so you have to negotiate and make trade-offs. Different religious groups and secular people have equally legitimate values. They have to coexist in the same society.

And when it comes to matters of class, the vast majority of working-class people simply are going to be outweighed in politics and in the media by the minority of very well-educated and very well-financed people. So they have to have their own organizations to exercise what the economist John Kenneth Galbraith called "countervailing power." But my vision is one of compromise and negotiation. It's not that a group of experts gets together and decides what the ideal policy is and then the government just imposes this. I don't know in advance what the ideal policy is for Uber and Lyft drivers. I think that the drivers should have some kind of collective representation and should be able to negotiate with their employers. But if they can come up with a solution that's acceptable to both, that's fine with me.

AS : You say that under democratic pluralism, the state serves as a kind of brokering agent between labor and capital. Could you elaborate on the role of the state in this negotiating structure?

ML : The libertarian or classical liberal view of government is that it's an umpire. It doesn't have any commitment to one side or another, or even to one country or another, according to libertarianism; it just enforces the rules. Whoever wins, wins. But the democratic pluralist tradition sees the democratic nation-state as the coach of a team. And the team includes the national managerial elite and investors and workers, who are all competing with other nations. So democratic pluralism involves some degree of economic nationalism.

It's not necessarily leading to war or anything like that. It's just that all the different countries are trying to make their own people more prosperous. And so as a result of that, the government can step in and keep the different groups in society from ripping each other apart. But at the same time it should not just try to dictate things from above. So that's why I think the coach metaphor is better than the umpire metaphor.

AS : Would you say that this more thoroughgoing concept of democratic representation is just a means to class compromise, or is it a normative end in itself?

ML : I think it's a means to an end. The normative end is national unity. And that's why, even though some of this sounds vaguely Marxist, the premise is not that the working class is going to destroy and replace the managerial class. Every society, including communist societies, have had managerial elites in the modern world. And you have to have them. You have to have experts. You have to have managers. And in practice, they will probably pass on their advantages to their children to some degree. You even see this in communist industrial countries. So the goal is to give the working-class majority the weapons to enforce a compromise, to draw some concessions from the managerial elite.

If the working class were too strong and were threatening to cripple the managerial elite, I would be for strengthening the managers against an overly powerful working class. But the goal is national unity. It's what Henry Carey , the Whig economist in the 19 th century who was an advisor to Abraham Lincoln, called "the harmony of interests." And there's this older Hamiltonian tradition that rejected the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian idea that there's a battle to the death between capital and labor in favor of the idea that they're partners in a common project of national development and national construction. But the government is not simply a passive figure. It's actively bringing them together and regulating their partnership.

AS : You write that under democratic pluralism, "legislatures can cede large areas of policymaking to those with higher stakes and expertise." That framing sounds a bit like some defenses of the administrative state, of which you are a partial critic. What role, if any, do administrative agencies have in brokering class compromise?

ML : There have been two kinds of administrative agencies that are somewhat independent of direct presidential political control since the progressive era. One kind is the very technocratic agency where you get the experts who are insulated, they're altruistic, they're wise, they have degrees from Ivy League universities. And whatever they want is supposedly good for the public. I'm very suspicious of this for obvious reasons. The other kind is associated with a lot of the New Deal agencies that were created. And we have to remember the New Deal was a farmer-labor alliance. It was an alliance of the working class and the family farmers who had been excluded from the first stage of industrialization in the United States. They realized that Congress cannot possibly make detailed regulations for everything in an industrial economy, but at the same time they did not want to turn over vast discretionary power to a bunch of "pointy heads," as George Wallace would say, from the Ivy League universities.

So their compromise was to create sector-specific organizations: the FCC, the Agriculture Department, and various independent agencies where interest groups were represented and could influence policy, even if only informally. Now, libertarians hate this because they see it as corruption for the interest groups to influence policy. A certain kind of technocratic progressive hates it because the people who make policy are not supposed to actually be from that field -- that's their definition of corruption. But to my mind it makes sense, because if you're going to make policy for family farmers, you should probably talk to family farmers. If you're going to make policy for taxi drivers, then represent the taxi drivers and consult with them.

By the same token, I think we have a very unrealistic view of the omnicompetent legislator. We have this idea that if you're a Senator, today you're going to make policy for farming and tomorrow you're going to make it for pilots, and the day after that you're going to make it for religious liberty. Having worked in state legislatures, I can tell you that doesn't happen. What happens is that one or two members of the legislature are known as experts in a particular field. Usually they have some connection with that field, and their fellow legislators -- often across party lines -- defer to their expertise. So one of the things I argue is that we should not be afraid to delegate some policymaking authority to administrative agencies, on the condition that they represent interest groups, particularly working-class interest groups, whose views might be ignored otherwise.

AS : How much of the current working-class ferment is due to a feeling of powerlessness, and how much of it is due to the people in power making bad decisions? Put another way, if elites had taken better care of the working class without actually giving them much substantive representation, would the working class still be in revolt? To what extent is this about powerlessness qua powerlessness versus not getting some preferred policy outcome?

ML : I think you can make that distinction in theory. But in practice, you really can't, because unless there are institutions that represent the policy preferences of working-class people, those people are going to be ignored.

So in theory, yes, you could have had a bipartisan consensus that did not push elite-friendly globalization policies, that did not push elite-friendly immigration policies, that did not push elite-friendly environmental policies such as in France. But there's a reason why the elite-friendly policies always prevailed: the absence of actual checks and balances. So I simply don't believe in the possibility of a benevolent elite unless members of the working class have something beyond the vote. I simply don't believe in the possibility of a benevolent elite unless members of the working class have something beyond the vote. The vote is important, but casting a vote every couple of years for one of two candidates -- particularly when both have been chosen by donors and elite activists -- does not give you very much influence on the system. That's why, I think, you have to have free elections, but they have to be supplemented by policymaking bodies where you have additional checks and balances.

AS : You write that "even in so-called capitalist countries," partly as a result of this lack of checks and balances, property rights have been "diluted and redefined beyond recognition." How has this happened, and what are the implications for the struggle you're describing?

ML : This gets into why I don't like the term "middle class." For the majority of people in the United States, I use the term "working class." The classic word for that is "proletarian," which sounds kind of Marxist, but it comes from ancient Rome. It meant a propertyless wage worker, who has to earn a living by working for wages. Today we talk about the home-owning majority, the property-owning majority, and so on. But in practice, unless you have paid off your house mortgage loan completely, you're renting it from the bank. And the same is true of your car -- you're renting that until it's completely paid off, if it ever is. So the property-owning majority is kind of an illusion.

And I'm not criticizing the system. It's a successful system. But let's not trick ourselves into thinking that most Americans are therefore property-owners in a significant sense, or certainly that they're capitalists. The vast majority of Americans in retirement depend almost entirely on Social Security. Only the top half of the population has any kind of investments in 401(k)s or IRAs. And even that, if you look at the average 401K or IRA, is really a negligible amount of money. It doesn't last very long. So we really have a majority of people who could not live for more than a few weeks without a wage, without turning to the state for unemployment insurance. They would be destitute in old age without Social Security. And this is one of the reasons that there's a class division in attitudes toward entitlement policy. It seems insane, if you think about it, that after the economy crashed in 2008, the priority in Britain was austerity, cutting back government spending in the middle of a global depression. And in the United States, we had the bipartisan effort to cut the deficit, with President Obama offering the Republicans a cut to Social Security. That would not have happened in a truly democratic system in which ordinary people had the same clout as very well-to-do people.

AS : Implicit here is a critique of a certain kind of left-producerism, which folks like Elizabeth Warren and Matt Stoller have been pushing. That tradition imagines a world where all Americans are self-reliant property-owners, and hearkens back to the free labor movement of the 19 th century. You seem to be saying this is a pipe dream.

ML : My previous book, which I co-authored with the economist Robert D. Atkinson, was Big Is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business . And we criticize this anachronistic, 19 th -century Jeffersonian idea of the small producer. It's just completely anachronistic. A slight majority of Americans today work for firms with 500 people or more. I love that statistic. It just shocks people.

Small businesses create most new jobs. They also destroy most new jobs because almost all small businesses fail. Small businesses create most new jobs. They also destroy most new jobs because almost all small businesses fail. So the only net job creation is by successful businesses, which if they are successful, become medium-size or large businesses. They level off at some point, of course. But that being the case, this Jeffersonian ideal is a hundred years out of date. It was clear in the early 20 th century that you could do four things to respond to the rise of large corporations. One is to break them up into little teeny-weeny firms again, mom and pop firms. That's the anti-trust agenda. That was considered anachronistic even in World War I -- Woodrow Wilson said, "this is absurd." So did Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt has this reputation as a trust buster, but if you actually read what he wrote, he thought consolidation was inevitable.

So we have these large corporations, and they should be regulated. But if you reject breaking them up into little pieces, what are the remaining three options? Well, there's nationalization. That's what the socialists wanted. Eugene Debs and the socialists thought trusts were great, because it's easier to nationalize a big firm than a small firm.

Then there's regulation, and then there's countervailing power, to use the term again from John Kenneth Galbraith. The labor movement under Samuel Gompers in the early 20 th century said, "well, we don't want socialism. We're not socialists. We want dynamic firms. We want to share their profits as workers. We don't want our own little tiny mom and pop firms. We like working for steel companies and car companies, as long as we're paid decently. We don't want the government to regulate our wages and benefits because we think that the rich lobbyists will always have more clout in Congress than representatives of working people."

So their solution, which I argue for, was countervailing power. You pool the labor power of workers, but then you negotiate with the big firms.

Now there's technically a fifth option, which is even more absurd than the anti-trust option. That's the libertarian one, where you just allow oligopolies and monopolies to grow, and they grow simply because they're dynamic and efficient. But if they abuse their power you just turn a blind eye to it. And you have to be an ideological libertarian to believe that a janitor, an individual janitor, has bargaining power in a company with 500 people. That's just pure nonsense and it's been recognized as such. Even J.S. Mill, who is cited as a classical liberal thinker, was for unions, because he saw that there was no way one individual could realistically negotiate a contract of employment with a large firm.

AS : You claim that immigration has made this kind of negotiation more difficult by creating a split labor market that ends up hurting low-wage workers. Yet several studies have suggested that it was cultural anxiety, not economic distress, that best predicted support for Trump. Would it be fair to say that immigration is primarily a cultural battleground in this new class war? Or do you think the materialist story is underrated?

ML : That's a misleading question. Most of the social science on Trump and Brexit is worthless because political scientists look for a single factor. Was it deindustrialization, was it racial views, was it age or whatever? And since you're dealing with a society that's quite stratified by class and divided by race, people have multiple characteristics that you can't catch if you're doing a regression analysis with one polling question. So I dismiss a lot of that stuff.

What I do in the book is build on Edna Bonacich's idea of the split labor market . That's when you have two populations competing for the same job. Sometimes they're of different ethnicities, they can be from different regions of the country or from different classes, but each has distinct, identifiable characteristics. Employers prefer the population that is willing to work for lower wages, whatever its defining characteristic is. For example, in the 19 th century industrial capitalists in the North brought in not just African-Americans, but also poor whites from the South to undercut unionization by mostly European immigrants in Northern industrial cities -- often Irish-Americans, German-, Polish-, Italian-Americans. That's a split labor market. Another example is employers bringing Chinese indentured servants to California to undercut unionization attempts by white labor activists. When that happens, there's inevitably racial resentment as well as economic resentment. The Irish-American labor organizers in San Francisco will denounce the Chinese for their cultural characteristics, and, at the same time, they'll denounce the capitalists for bringing in the Chinese to undercut their wages.

So you have to think about it as a three-way conflict among employers and two different groups of workers. It's not simply a racist, anti-racist paradigm. On the other hand, it's not pure economics, because there's often ethnic resentment between these different groups.

AS : Immigration is part of a larger story you tell about global labor arbitrage. Can you expand on that?

ML : Arbitrage is making a profit by exploiting jurisdictional differences in the value of the same good -- in this case, labor. It has nothing to do with productivity growth, and this is something that is confused in talks about globalization. If you shut down a factory in the Midwest and open up a new factory employing cheaper labor in South China or Mexico, using exactly the same technology, the profit of your firm goes up because the wage share of the profit has gone down. You're no more productive than you were, and you don't produce any more output because productivity is output-per-worker. The Chinese workers or the Mexican workers are producing cars and iPhones at the same rate as the American workers -- they're just paid much less. So that's labor arbitrage.

You also get labor arbitrage with immigration. When employers bring in a group from abroad to work the same jobs that natives or naturalized immigrants have been doing, but for lower wages, the new workers are not more productive, or more skilled, or more efficient. They're just cheaper.

AS : You hold up the post-World War II settlement as a model of democratic pluralism -- not just in economics but also culture. That settlement arguably rested on a shared moral consensus -- in particular a shared Christian consensus -- that's since broken down. The working class has become more diverse, not just ethnically but religiously, philosophically, morally. How do we have cultural power-sharing agreements when there's no shared culture, even among the working class?

ML : Well, I disagree with that characterization of the postwar period. Up until then you had a mainline Protestant establishment in the United States that was very anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. And so Jewish kids and Catholic kids had to recite Protestant prayers in schools and sing Protestant hymns. Americanization was stripping them of being Jewish and Catholic. And evangelical Protestants suffered as well because these were mainline Protestants who didn't like evangelical Protestants.

But after World War II, the United States created what the sociologist Will Herberg called "the triple establishment." He wrote a book called Protestant -- Catholic -- Jew . And I'm old enough to remember that at every high school commencement, you had a priest, a minister, and a rabbi. So it was pluralistic. Now the term "Judeo-Christian" was invented around that time, to pretend these religions are all part of the same thing, which their theologians will dispute. I'm not saying we should return to that and ignore secular people, particularly with secularization increasing in the U.S. as in Europe.

But I think we've moved back toward a secularized Protestant mainline establishment. And if you look at a lot of the "wokeness" we see today, it's kind of a secularized version of New England puritanism I think we've moved back toward a secularized Protestant mainline establishment. And if you look at a lot of the "wokeness" we see today, it's kind of a secularized version of New England puritanism , at least in the United States. They go after exactly the same people that the old Northeastern mainline did: Southern evangelicals, Catholics, and traditional, non-liberal Jews. Muslims as well, although they treat Muslim as a racial category to be favored rather than a religious conservative category, although most Muslims are religiously conservative.

So I argue that we don't want a French-style anticlerical state, which wants to ban all displays of religion and be aggressively secular. That's not the American tradition. It's not the Anglo-American tradition. You also don't want the elite's religion -- which in the old days was mainline Protestantism, nowadays you'd call it mainline secularism -- to simply dominate the media and education. So I think we have to go back to some kind of institutionalized representation. Maybe it will be the priest, the minister, the rabbi, the druid, and the atheist. But I think that's a much healthier approach in a society where you have deep permanent value pluralism , as the philosopher John Gray has argued. You have to have what he calls a modus vivendi , an agreement to live and let live and co-exist.

AS : In your book, you note that there used to be religious and cultural bodies that were informally charged with oversight of education in the media. Organizations to which films were submitted for approval.

ML : Yeah, the Legion of Decency, which was originally a Catholic organization. It got to the point where Hollywood would just submit the films to them. There's this wonderful movie by the Coen brothers, Hail, Caesar , about making a biblical epic in the 1950s. There's a great scene where they have a Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, an Orthodox Christian priest, and a rabbi, and the poor studio guys are trying to make sure their film doesn't offend anybody.

Now, if you're a free speech zealot of the romantic libertarian bent, then the more shocking to public sensibilities, the better. And I don't want to go back to the old days where they were censoring Catcher in the Rye in the libraries. But on the other hand, come on. If you have a society that is half wiccans and half Nordic Asatru Thor worshippers, what is the goal of your policy in education and so on? Is it to constantly insult and humiliate the two groups that are the biggest groups in your society?

And what about parents? If you have compulsory public education, then the views of the parents ought to be respected by educators, right? Now again, this is not anticlerical France where the public school is a way to de-program Catholic school children and turn them into French Jacobin Republican citizens. I'm very supportive of mandatory viewpoint diversity in K-12 and higher education, and also in the media because let's face it, the mass media are a de facto public utility. It's how people communicate, it's what shapes perceptions. And to say that it's a purely private thing, so if you don't like it, go found your own radio network or your own TV network or your own social media platform . . . I don't think that's realistic.

AS : You note that in the past, Catholics played a role out of proportion to their numbers when it came to policing the culture. What sort of minority group, if any, do you think would fill that role today? Is there a particular subgroup that's well-positioned to revive these religious or cultural bodies?

ML : There is a kind of a revival of Catholic social thought on the right wing of the Republican Party, with people like Marco Rubio saying good things about unions. You see flickers there of this older Catholic influence, both in working-class economic areas but also in the culture. Like Protestants, Catholics are declining as a percentage of the population. Southern evangelicals, because of their dispensationalist ideology -- thinking the end of the world is near -- did not for obvious reasons put a whole lot of effort into thinking about the details of public policy.

We'll see what happens with American Muslims. What you saw with Catholic immigrants and Jewish immigrants was that even as they became less ethnic diasporas, they remained religious believers. There were new Jewish-American and Catholic-American establishments. I think we may see that with both Sunni and Shi'a Muslims. And to the extent that they don't accept the idea that we're just going to go along with whatever the Ivy League schools say, to the extent they reject the woke secular liberal attitude, they may play a role.

AS : You also have a very interesting passage where you say that terms like transphobia, homophobia, and Islamophobia medicalize politics, and treat different viewpoints as evidence of psychological disorder. Why has this become one of the go-to methods for invalidating dissent in the United States?

ML : Well, it has very deep roots, nearly a century old. If you go back to the 1920s and 30s, many of the intellectuals in the Western world were just completely entranced with Freudianism, and with other kinds of modern psychology. They thought that this was a science and it explained human behavior. And so the whole project of redefining morality in terms of psychology and therapy goes back to Freudianism, and then you get these increasingly dumbed down versions of it where one moral dispute after another -- over gay rights, over trans rights, over immigration -- gets medicalized so that instead of this being a dispute based on thousand-year-old religious texts, the people who hold a certain view are simply emotionally disturbed. And the cure for that is therapy.

You see this with diversity training. The premise is that if you don't agree with whatever the accepted positions are, then you need to be reprogrammed. To become a productive, normal person, you need therapy. And I think this is just very sinister and totalitarian. Obviously there are emotionally disturbed people who hate homosexuals, and there are deranged individuals with a completely insane hatred of people of another race. But as I say in the book, an Orthodox Jewish rabbi who disapproves of homosexuality, but also of abortion and divorce and adultery, is just following the teachings of Judaism, right? The rabbi is a perfectly normal, well-adjusted person. That's just the theology. If you want to fight the theology, denounce the theology.

But when you have the elites in charge of education and the media essentially adopting as their working hypothesis that anyone who disagrees with them needs therapy -- this is very sinister.

AS : It seems like this medicalization of politics has coincided with the rise of outlets like Vox, which you criticize more than once in The New Class War . Is that just an accident, or have both trends been driven by the same technocratic impulse?

ML : Yes, Vox very much represents what I call technocratic progressivism -- the idea that there is one "correct" answer which is also the moral answer. And so if anyone disagrees with the Vox policy, either they're ignorant or emotionally disturbed. It's very patronizing.

Having said that, the right has its own version of this, where anyone who disagrees with the right's policies is a traitor or an instrument of Satan or morally evil or stupid. So you find it on both sides.

But the medicalization tends to be associated with the overclass center-left, not the radical left. The Marxists don't do this because they believe in class conflict. I think their theory of class and class conflict is wrong, but they're actually closer to reality than the technocratic progressives who think that if everyone were sane and smart, there would never be any conflicts at all.

AS : You've talked about technocratic progressives, and alluded to what might be called technocratic libertarians. Is there such a thing as technocratic populism, which genuinely responds to populist complaints through market-based, technical solutions? Or is technocratic populism a contradiction in terms?

ML : I think it's a contradiction in terms, because if you believe as I do that the root of populism is a power deficit, then it's not a matter of getting the right policies. You actually have to redistribute power, and redistributing power to working class people means they have the power to be wrong and support dumb things. And their representatives have the power to make bad decisions.

So I don't think you can come up with a kinder and gentler version of technocratic progressivism where you just do better polling or you're just more benevolent and more sensitive to working-class people. You have to talk to them. I spent two decades in the NGO world. Apart from receptionists and janitors, you never encounter working-class people. I spent two decades in the NGO world. Apart from receptionists and janitors, you never encounter working-class people. The idea that you would actually go out there and ask them what their problems are, that almost never happens.

To be clear, there are some good things that come out of the technocratic approach. You don't expect working-class people to tell you statistically what the best health insurance option is. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about basic preferences. The politicians do go out and supposedly hear from people at the diner when they're trying to get elected. But the experts in a think tank or university who are coming up with the plans that the politicians then sell to the people at the diner -- those experts don't have much contact with the working class.

Fifty years ago in this country it worked differently. The parties were federations of state and local parties, so word could go forth from Washington to persuade people that yes, this is the way to do it. And often that worked because the people involved in the local Democratic or Republican machine trusted the county precinct chairman. But the people in DC also heard from the grassroots. County people would talk to the state people, state people would send the message that things are going on out here. Now that the parties are just shells bought by billionaires, you don't get that.

As for unions -- they did bad things as well as good things, all human organizations have trade-offs -- but it meant that there was some kind of mechanism for working-class revolts to get somebody's ear up above. And in the absence of unions you get polls. "There's a poll that shows the working class believes X, there's a poll that shows the working class believes Y." In the old days you asked the shop steward or the foreman what the working class thought; you didn't have a telephone poll. That shows the extent to which all these connecting levels of organization have vanished, if the only way to find out what people are thinking is by calling them randomly and asking their opinion.

AS : It's ironic, isn't it, that some of the changes that hollowed out the parties were initially justified on the grounds that they weren't representative enough. Would it be fair to say that these kinds of populist reforms backfired and produced democratic deficits?

ML : Yeah, I think that's right. Now, sure, there were corrupt smoke-filled-room politicians. There were sleazy union officials who were embezzling from the union, there was sexual harassment among religious figures. These are human institutions.

But in ancient Rome, there were the tribunes, whose role was to represent the ordinary people against the senatorial class. And the moment it was reduced to one tribune -- who happened to be Caesar -- that was the end of that system. So you have to have lots of little petty tribunes, lots of petty power brokers, whom the metropolitan liberals never liked. The elite conservatives never liked them. Everybody looked down their noses at them, and at the church ladies, and at the corrupt local union boss, but they're all gone now. They're all extinct, just like the dinosaurs. So there's this huge void in between. Nothing's perfect, but I think we do have to rebuild this group of intermediate brokers so that you don't simply have a political system that consists of donors, advertising experts, and policy wonks who live in New York and Washington and maybe San Francisco.

AS : Two proposals that have been voiced by those policy wonks in recent years are universal basic income and trust-busting. In the book you reject both of these proposals. Why?

ML : Well, universal basic income has always been rejected by pro-labor people and by social democrats on the theory that if the working class has power through collective bargaining and other means to force employers to pay a living wage, then you don't need a universal basic income. If you work 40 hours a week -- and there's dignity to work -- then it's profoundly humiliating to say that a few rich CEOs are the only productive people in society, and everyone else is some kind of parasite. But to bribe them into silence, we'll just pay them off -- this is utterly abhorrent to the idea of the dignity of labor. It's abhorrent to the idea of a democratic Republic. Instead, you have an aristocracy passing out charity to people.

So that's the moral and political reason for rejecting it. The practical reason is, does anyone think that these billionaires who are hiding all of their income in the Cayman Islands are going to consent to be taxed to give everyone $12,000 a year? I don't believe that for a moment. Right now you can't even raise taxes on people making $100,000 or $200,000 a year. If the middle class is defined as anyone making less than $200,000 a year, we're not going to raise taxes on them. So where's this money coming from for the UBI?

And I've already touched briefly on the fact that trust-busting is anachronistic. What's particularly absurd is they're trying to argue that inequality has gone up, not for the real reason, which is that unions have been crushed and labor markets have been flooded by low-wage immigrants, but because of the monopsony power of big corporations. Okay. So let's say you break Facebook into five giant firms. Do we really believe that the janitor is going to have five times the bargaining power in these baby Facebooks? That's ridiculous. It's not going to happen.

AS : Five times zero is still zero.

ML : Yeah. But what you see with the Democrats is they're rapidly being taken over by formerly Republican libertarians and moderates. So as the Bush Republicans and a lot of libertarians, even the Koch brothers, are distancing themselves from the Republican Party, are moving away from the GOP because it's becoming more blue-collar -- well, when Bush country club Republicans decide, "Oh, I hate Donald Trump, I'm going to switch to the Democrats," they don't necessarily change their views about taxes or immigration or unions.

I'll give you an example I use in the book. The overwhelming majority of congressional districts in the 2016 elections that went for Clinton are among the wealthiest districts in the United States. And Trump got among the poorest districts in the United States, so the idea that the Republicans are the country club managerial capitalist party and the Democrats are the AFL-CIO steelworkers is like 20, 30 years out of date. It's all in flux.

AS : Many of the power-sharing proposals you favor work by creating veto points that let workers say no and force a compromise. Do you worry that this might make us less competitive in the international arena? China doesn't have many democratic constraints on the market, after all, because it's not a democracy. Is it possible to create veto points without sacrificing efficiency, and with it our competitive edge?

ML : Germany has had strong unions and co-determination, and its manufacturing industries are in many ways more advanced and successful than in the United States, where companies just want to crush unions and go for the cheapest possible labor. Japan is very paternalistic, but they have good labor relations as part of this kind of welfare capitalist system. So if you look at export competitiveness, the anti-labor countries like the U.S. and the UK don't do that well compared to the ones that have some kind of harmonization among their workforces and employers in manufacturing.

What dictatorships like China can do is mainly through credit, not cheap labor. They can dump products below cost on the rest of the world. And the classic dumping strategy, whether it's from a firm or a nation, is that you deliberately sell below cost long enough to drive your rivals out of business. And then at that point you have a monopoly in the market, which means you can jack up the price to recoup the losses you incurred during the dumping phase. So if you have government-owned enterprises, or nominally private enterprises that in practice have an unlimited credit line from the government or from banks the government pressures, there's no way any private enterprise can compete with a state-backed corporation.

So if you believe in industrial capitalism as I do -- I think it's the most dynamic system for increasing wealth and innovation in history -- then you have to block entry into your market by state-capitalists, otherwise they will wipe out your firms. This should not even be debated.

AS : In closing, I want to ask a couple big-picture questions. Patrick Deneen, the author of Why Liberalism Failed , recently tweeted that The New Class War is "THE essential book of the decade." Do you agree that liberalism has failed? And if not, why do you think that a lot of post-liberals have been raving about your book?

ML : Well I think there's agreement among people with very different views of history that what we call "liberalism" now -- which I would call libertarianism or neoliberalism -- has moved toward hyper-individualism in the culture and deregulation of the economy, and that this is a bad thing. It's bad for community. It's bad for the nation-state. It's bad in the long run for the capitalist economy because it undermines its foundations.

Where you get debate is on the question of when this started. To my mind, the neoliberal era started in the '70s and really got underway after the Cold War. For some of the critics of liberalism, like Deneen, it starts with the Protestant Reformation or with the Enlightenment. That's an interesting debate to have, but it's a philosophical debate. And I think that whatever your theory of the case, you can agree that the neoliberal moment is hopefully over, and that it's time to create a new system, which I for one hope will incorporate the good things about neoliberalism: emancipation of sexual minorities, a lot of the gains in civil rights and civil liberties. So you want the pendulum to swing back, but not necessarily all the way to where it was before neoliberalism. You just correct the excesses in the next stage of history.

AS : You don't seem to have much faith in either political party right now. Do you think the power-sharing you envision can plausibly arise without any help from established politicians, or are things going to get a lot worse before they get better?

ML : In the book, I argue that ruling elites generally share power only when they're forced to. And they are forced to either by fear of insurrection from below or by a fear of competition with other countries. I argue that ruling elites generally share power only when they're forced to. And they are forced to either by fear of insurrection from below or by a fear of competition with other countries. In most cases it's very difficult for weak, disorganized working-class people, or in the old days peasants, to overthrow the regime. So the elite doesn't have a whole lot to worry about from below. If you look at the creation of the mid-century class compromise I document in The New Class War , it was done largely during World War II in the United States and in Britain and in Germany. The left doesn't like to admit this. They want to pretend it was just a spontaneous upwelling from below. But in fact union membership shot up radically during World War II, because the Roosevelt Administration ordered firms to switch to war production, to make a deal with unions in the interest of defeating the Axis powers.

So at this point, I'm actually very pessimistic. I think that absent some kind of sustained international rivalry, where a section of the managerial elite comes to understand that constant labor and cultural warfare undermines us in international competition, so that they will have to broker a truce to save themselves -- I think absent that, you get a situation like a lot of South American countries. Brazil and Mexico, Central America, arguably they suffer because they never had a major war, and thus never had any incentive to extend power to ordinary people. So they're very oligarchical to this day.

AS : Do you think competition with China could potentially catalyze a class truce?

ML : It could, but I'm a realist in my foreign policy views. So I tend to see international politics as a series of either low-level or very intense competitions among different great powers. So if it's China now, it may be a rising India 50 years from now, and it may be somebody else in a hundred years. I think it just makes sense as a matter of prudence for a nation-state that's also a great power, like the United States, to have a kind of permanent low-level mobilization, which we didn't do after the Cold War.

I think future historians will be puzzled by the idea that the bipartisan establishment had that there would be no more great power conflicts -- that we could move much of our manufacturing and R&D to China, our most likely competitor, and have nothing to worry about. Sure, it lowers consumer prices. But if you think that today's trading partner may be tomorrow's military rival, it doesn't mean you're not going to engage in trade and immigration, but it does mean you're going to have some limits on those things for national security reasons. And again, for national security reasons you do not want class conflicts, racial rivalries, religious disputes to spiral out of control. It undermines the strength and harmony of your country in a dangerous world.

AS : Last question: Your theory of the case is very much a systemic one. It's a story about structures and institutions and systems, how they've changed and how they've changed for the worse. What, if anything, can individuals do to promote the kind of systemic change you want to see in the United States?

ML : Well, I think the first thing they can do is get off Twitter, and stop following national news obsessively, which is largely something the educated upper-middle class does. Working-class people are working, they don't have time, but if you're just re-tweeting angry memes about national politics, that's not politics. I don't know what it is. It's a kind of entertainment or something.

So start with your neighborhood, start with your city. It's not going to be enough -- obviously you have to have the top-down element too -- but real politics is getting the dangerous intersection fixed. It's taking part in a group. If the only thing you do is you vote and then retweet cartoons about the other party, you're not really engaged in politics, right?

So you have to be part of some kind of group. It can be a community group, it can be a religious group, it can be a party group. You've got local Democrats, local Republicans. But I think the best way to break the tendency toward increasing nationalization of everything starts with the individual. It starts locally. When I teach I'm kind of amused, if not shocked, by the tendency of young people to think that if there's any problem, Washington should fix it. If you need a bike path in your city, then Congress should allocate money for the bike path. Well, okay, but why don't you try raising money door-to-door for the bike path? And if that doesn't work, why not go to the city council? And if that doesn't work, there's the state legislature. We really are drifting toward this system where it's assumed that if you elect the right President, then all problems, state and Federal and local, social and economic, will be solved because the President has the right policies.

The Democratic primary has just seemed unreal to me for this very reason because now each candidate has his or her own party platform. They're basically one-person parties, and they're expected to have a platform for every single thing. Up until recently, the President was just the head of the party in Congress, and the party had different wings. There were the farmers and labor and African-Americans, there were consumer groups. The party platform reflected the relative power of those groups, and the President vowed to help carry out the party platform.

I think we're moving toward a nationalized plebiscitary presidential system, where the president is freely elected, but it's a kind of elective dictatorship: an all-powerful Caesarist or Bonapartist presidency will just solve all of our problems, and then if anything goes wrong in the country it's the President's fault, even though the President didn't have all that much power in reality. Real politics starts locally and consists of having groups of people working together on common projects beginning at home. Published on: January 29, 2020 Michael Lind is co-founder of New America and the author of The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite . Aaron Sibarium is assistant editor at The American Interest .

[Feb 08, 2020] Liz tried to attack Bernie that he has a pac. (and failed)

Feb 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

"Would you take @MikeBloomberg 's money?" @ewarren : "SURE!"

The very same night Elizabeth Warren's big message is "I don't take billionaires' money!" Liz has the political instincts of Hilary Clinton. Trump will crush her.
pic.twitter.com/cM85kcPYUn

-- Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) February 8, 2020

up 10 users have voted.

Raggedy Ann on Sat, 02/08/2020 - 4:50pm

She is so fake.

@humphrey
I can hardly stand to listen to nor look at her. Sheesh!

We got this from 2 faced Liz.

"Would you take @MikeBloomberg 's money?" @ewarren : "SURE!"

The very same night Elizabeth Warren's big message is "I don't take billionaires' money!" Liz has the political instincts of Hilary Clinton. Trump will crush her.
pic.twitter.com/cM85kcPYUn

-- Clark Feels The Bern (@Clarknt67) February 8, 2020

[Feb 08, 2020] Trump's Chumps by Brad Griffin

Notable quotes:
"... Speaking of Trump's donors, we wrote Trump a blank check in the 2016 election to deliver on the MAGA agenda that he had sold us. We voted for big ideas like "nationalism" and "populism." The reasons why I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 were immigration, trade, foreign policy, political correctness and campaign finance and furthering these big ideas of "nationalism" and "populism." He has been a disappointment on all fronts. ..."
"... Orthodox Jews hit the jackpot with the King of Israel and Zionists have been on an unprecedented winning streak. In just the last three months, Trump has issued an executive order to ban anti-Semitism on college campuses, assassinated Qasem Soleimani and has given Bibi Netanyahu the green light to annex large swathes of the West Bank. Trump is even considering allowing Jonathan Pollard to return to Israel. Is it any wonder then that a recent Gallup poll found that Israelis support his "America First" foreign policy over Americans by a whopping 18-point margin? ..."
"... Trump's Chumps have demonstrated in the last two election cycles how easy they are to manipulate. They can be relied on to vote and shill for the GOP no matter what it does. Donald Trump isn't under any pressure from these people to change. He knows his mark better than they know themselves. They are so desperate for acceptance and to participate in elections and to feel like they are "winning" that they will delude themselves like the rest of his cult into believing almost anything. Give a drowning man enough rope and he will hang himself. ..."
Feb 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

"This President has done more for African Americans in this Country than any President since Lincoln." @LouDobbs 

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020

I voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

I spent months making the case for Trump on this website. I will be the first to admit that I was wrong and that those who were skeptical of Trump in our community were right in 2016. In that election, I drank the koolaid and was one of Trump's Chumps. Unlike AmNats, I have tried to learn something from that experience. I hate getting fooled by Republicans.

In 2020, we have a far better sense of Donald Trump. The Trump administration has a record now. Donald Trump's first term is mostly history. We can now look back with the benefit of hindsight and evaluate our standing after the last three years without being drunk on Trump koolaid. No one drank the Trump koolaid in our community more deeply than the AmNats. Some of them remained drunk on the Trump koolaid even after the 2018 midterms. A handful of his most faithful cheerleaders have never given up faith in their GOD EMPEROR and succumbed to reality.

What is the reality of the Trump presidency?

1.) Those who feared that the Trump administration would lull the conservative base into a false sense of complacency and put all the normies back to sleep were right. Donald Trump has told his base that they are "winning." They wear Q shirts and "Trust The Plan" at his rallies. They are Making America Great Again simply by having a Republican in the White House. They are content to go on believing that even as illegal immigration DOUBLED in FY 2019 and became a far worse problem than it ever was under the Obama administration. As we saw after the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, they are also ready to swallow Trump's war propaganda against Iran and believe anything their dear leader tells them. It was Julian Assange and Roger Stone who went to prison under Trump, not Hillary Clinton. Normies are content to have conservatism in power and are less willing to give us an audience with a Republican in the White House.

2.) Those who feared that the Trump administration would suck all of the energy out of the Alt-Right were right . In the final two years of the Obama administration (2015 and 2016), the Alt-Right was thriving on social media and was brimming with energy. Four years later, the country has only gotten worse, but the brand has been destroyed and all the energy it had back then as an online subculture has been sucked out of the room by Trump and channeled into pushing the standard conservative policy agenda. The movement has been in disarray and has been divided and demoralized ever since Trump won the 2016 election. The last few years have been terrible. As soon as Trump won the 2016 election, conservatives shifted their attention back to policing their right flank. They are far more successful at policing their right flank when they are in power.

3.) Those who rationalized voting for Donald Trump on the basis of immigration and changing demographics were proven wrong about that too. He has refurbished the George W. Bush era fence. Since he has been president, Donald Trump has built all of three new miles of fence , which is actually less than W. and Obama. He didn't do anything about sanctuary cities or pass E-Verify. He has actually increased guest worker programs . There has been no cuts to legal immigration. Instead, Jared Kushner's legal immigration plan only proposes to reconfigure the composition of it for big business so that more high skilled workers and fewer peons are imported from the Third World. Illegal immigration has remained steady and has surged past the worst highs of the Obama years. It has recently fallen back to 2015 levels after peaking in FY 2019 . Trump has vowed to pass an amnesty to save DACA. The Muslim ban became an ineffective travel ban . The only area where he has had any real success is refugee resettlement, but overall the bottom line is that after four years of Trump there are millions of more illegal aliens and legal immigrants here. Donald Trump hasn't even deported as many illegal aliens as Obama .

4.) Those who voted for Donald Trump to "move the Overton Window" succeeded in making homosexuality more acceptable on the Right. This was already clear by the time of the Deploraball at Trump's inauguration. In the Trump era, homosexuals and drag queens would be accepted into the fold on the Right and White Nationalists would remain stigmatized. Congress has actually condemned White Nationalism at least two or three times since Donald Trump has been president. Far more White Nationalists have gone to prison under Donald Trump than Barack Obama. Trump has appointed "conservative judges" like Thomas Cullen who put RAM in prison . Some of Trump's Chumps point to Bernie Sanders vowing to "declare war" on White Nationalism after the El Paso shooting. They conveniently forget the fact that National Review and conservatives ALSO declared war on White Nationalism last August . We've been covering the government crackdown which has been going on since last August .

AmNats have been purged from Turning Point USA, banned from its events and reduced to haranguing Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk from the sidewalk. They have been banned from even attending CPAC. Those who thought that they could work within the system to reform conservatism were grossly mistaken. Steve King was condemned by Congress, stripped of his committee assignments and has been treated as a pariah within the Republican Party . Michelle Malkin was deplatformed by Mar-a-Lago and excommunicated from the synagogue of mainstream conservatism. Ann Coulter was marginalized in the Trump administration. Jeff Sessions and Steve Bannon were both fired. Donald Trump hired conservatives and staffed his administration with his enemies. While I won't name any names, I will just point to all the people who actually worked within the conservative movement who have all been purged and fired in the Trump era by Conservatism, Inc. as proof that working within the system doesn't work and is a bad idea and those people would have had more job security doing almost anything else.

5.) What about Antifa and Big Tech censorship? Aren't those good reasons to vote for Donald Trump in 2020? Neither of these issues were on our radar screen BEFORE Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Both of those problems became dramatically worse as a result of electing the boogeyman as president . Far from being a victory for the Dissident Right, we became identified with Donald Trump and were caught in the backlash while he delivered Jeb Bush's agenda (the boogeyman wasn't real). Before Trump was elected president, Antifa was a tiny nuisance that protested Amren conferences and there was still a great deal of free speech on the internet. We could also hold rallies all over the South without serial harassment from these people. Now, everything from harassment and doxxing by "journalists" to chronic Antifa violence to police stand down orders to deplatforming to FBI counterextremism witch hunts has became part of the scenery of life under the Trump administration which is only interested in these new grievances insofar as they can be milked and exploited to elect more Republicans. In hindsight, it would have been better NOT to have identified ourselves with the boogeyman in 2016.

6.) Isn't having Donald Trump in the White House a huge victory for "identitarianism" and big ideas like "nationalism" and "populism." President Donald Trump's signature policy victories have been passing a huge corporate tax cut, criminal justice reform and renegotiating and rebranding NAFTA. Trump is a "populist" in the sense that he has DEEPENED neoliberalism. When you look at his policies, he has continued and further extended the status quo of the last forty years which has been tax cuts, deregulation, entitlement cuts, free trade agreements and huge increases in military spending. Trump's economic agenda has been no different from the last three Republican presidents. He has been all bark and no bite.

Donald Trump is pointedly NOT a nationalist, populist or identitarian. He carefully avoids ever mentioning the word "White." Instead, he talks incessantly about the black, Hispanic, Asian-American, LGBTQ and female unemployment rate. He holds events at the White House for blacks and Hispanics. He delivers policies for blacks and Hispanics too like criminal justice reform. The "forgotten man" couldn't be further from Donald Trump's mind when he is schmoozing with the likes of Steve Schwarzman and boasting about the stock market. Trump is a demagogue who recognized that nationalist and populist sentiments were growing in the American electorate and he has harnessed and manipulated and exploited those forces for his donors.

7.) Speaking of Trump's donors, we wrote Trump a blank check in the 2016 election to deliver on the MAGA agenda that he had sold us. We voted for big ideas like "nationalism" and "populism." The reasons why I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 were immigration, trade, foreign policy, political correctness and campaign finance and furthering these big ideas of "nationalism" and "populism." He has been a disappointment on all fronts.

Those of us who were duped into believing that Donald Trump had a team of Jews who were going to craft all of these policies which were going to stabilize America's demographics should reflect on what has actually happened during the Trump presidency. Orthodox Jews hit the jackpot with the King of Israel and Zionists have been on an unprecedented winning streak. In just the last three months, Trump has issued an executive order to ban anti-Semitism on college campuses, assassinated Qasem Soleimani and has given Bibi Netanyahu the green light to annex large swathes of the West Bank. Trump is even considering allowing Jonathan Pollard to return to Israel. Is it any wonder then that a recent Gallup poll found that Israelis support his "America First" foreign policy over Americans by a whopping 18-point margin?

Trump's Chumps haven't been deterred by any of this. They want us to write Donald Trump a second political blank check in 2020, which his Jewish donors intend to cash at the White House, only this time he won't be restrained by fear of losing his reelection . In light of everything he has delivered for them so far, what is Donald Trump going to do in his second term for his Jewish donors who fund the GOP? Do we trust Trump not to start a war with Iran?

8.) In the last two elections, Donald Trump has pulled a bait-and-switch and Trump's Chumps are gullible enough to fall for it a third time. While I was wrong about the 2016 election, I was one of the first voices in our community to wise up to what was going on. By the 2018 midterms, I saw the bait-and-switch coming and warned our readers about it.

As you might recall, the 2018 midterms were about tax cuts and the roaring economy, deregulation and putting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. It was also full of dire warnings about scary Antifa groups, Big Tech censorship and caravans from Central America to stir up the base. Trump vowed to issue an executive order to end birthright citizenship. The GOP knows what its base cares about and shamelessly manipulates its base during election season.

After the 2018 election was over, you might recall how Trump banned bump stocks and passed criminal justice reform for Van Jones and the Koch Brothers during the lame duck session of Congress. As we entered 2019, the Republican agenda changed to overthrowing the government of Venezuela to install Juan Guaidó in power and passing anti-BDS legislation. The GOP spent the whole year accusing the Democrats of anti-Semitism and promoting Jexodus. Virtually nothing else was talked about for a whole year in Congress but anti-Semitism until Trump issued his executive order on anti-Semitism on college campuses after the House and Senate had failed to reach agreement on anti-BDS legislation. The White House held its Social Media Summit in July and nothing came out of it . Antifa disappeared from the agenda and was replaced by a government crackdown on White Nationalists after El Paso. Ending birthright citizenship was forgotten about. Illegal immigration soared to its highest level in over a decade last May.

Don't forget how Trump's Chumps told us how "Chad" it was in 2018 to elect more Republicans to stop Antifa, the caravans and Big Tech censorship and how those same Republicans once elected to office preferred to fight anti-Semitism for AIPAC.

9.) In the last election, Trump's Chumps were manipulated into splintering their own movement by GOP operatives who divided and conquered and data mined the Dissident Right. When Ricky Vaughn was exposed as a Republican operative named Douglass Mackey who was scraping Paul Nehlen's Facebook in order to feed the information into the Smartcheckr database, Trump's Chumps loudly denounced Nehlen for doxxing Vaughn. Strangely, they had nothing to say when Smartcheckr which became Clearview AI sold that database and its facial recognition tool to the FBI and hundreds of other law enforcement agencies .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-JkBM8n8ixI?feature=oembed

10.) Trump's Chumps have demonstrated in the last two election cycles how easy they are to manipulate. They can be relied on to vote and shill for the GOP no matter what it does. Donald Trump isn't under any pressure from these people to change. He knows his mark better than they know themselves. They are so desperate for acceptance and to participate in elections and to feel like they are "winning" that they will delude themselves like the rest of his cult into believing almost anything. Give a drowning man enough rope and he will hang himself.

Four years later, Trump's Chumps are still sitting by the phone waiting for the Donald to call back while he huddles with Steve Schwarzman and Bibi Netanyahu. They can't see what is front of their own eyes. By going ALL IN for Trump, they wrecked, divided and demoralized their own movement in order to advance the standard conservative policy agenda. They have been pushed off the internet and in some cases even to the dark web. In virtually every way, they are worse off than they were four years ago and have nothing to show for it. Insofar as they are getting more web traffic, it is because America has only continued to deteriorate under Trump, which would have happened anyway regardless who won in 2016.

It's not too late for Trump's Chumps to reclaim one thing that they have lost over the past four years. They can still reclaim their self respect. They don't have to participate in this charade a second time and mislead people who are less informed because they now know full well that Sheldon Adelson has bought Donald Trump and the lickspittle GOP Congress.

Note: Imagine thinking a New York City billionaire is a "populist." LMAO what were we thinking? He told us what we wanted to hear and we believed it.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zgJC4Pu_tbo?feature=oembed

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6-sATHRO0jo?feature=oembed


Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:06 am GMT

Trump killed a true hero and man of God Soleimani.

Trump is scump.

MattinLA , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT
My understanding is that net foreign immigration has gone down in the last few years. Hardly a triumph, I agree. There are quite literally hordes of foreigners living here. Even a president who was a combination of Jesus and Superman would find it excrutiatingly difficult to eliminate immigration under these circumstances.

We face no good choices, unfortunately.

Peter Akuleyev , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:24 am GMT
All this seemed painfully obvious to me in 2016. We all know who Trump had been the first 70 years of his life – a braggart, a reprobate and a real estate developer who loved celebrities and organized crime figures. He is married to a high class escort from Slovenia who speaks English worse than a Mexican immigrant. This man is going to be the savior of Western Civilization? He has always been a fraud.
Peter Akuleyev , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:30 am GMT
@MattinLA Trump has not even made a sincere effort. Where is the effort to stop birth right citizenship? To punish employers who hire illegals? He doesn't try to build a coalition to stop immigration, he is clearly using it as political issue to keep his low info base revved up, but Trump doesn't actually want it resolved. It is the same with abortion, where both Parties are perfectly happy with the status quo because it allows each to fund raise by pointing at the threat coming from the other side. And at the end of the day it is all about find raising.
Gizmo880 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 5:54 am GMT
Pretty much an accurate article, but what Democratic Presidential Contender would have been a better choice? The answer is none. The modern day Democratic Party, and most everyone who identifies with it, is as morally disgusting and filthy of a political party as has ever existed on this planet. Whatever grievances you have with DT, wait until the next Democrat gets elected President. The trifecta of Diversity (aka hate and blame Whitey for everything), LGBTQ insanity, and Climate Change hysteria will be shoved down the throats of this country like never before. The Obama years were just a warm-up for the cultural destruction that will happen to this country when the next Dem gets elected.

Actually, just bring the Civil War on. Whites will either get some self-respect and stand up for themselves before it is too late, or surrender to living in a ghetto trash culture and being ruled over by Jews and their white hating 'POC' puppets. It's an easy choice in my book.

I started college in 1982 with nothing but high hopes for the future, by 1990 I knew something was terribly going wrong with this country, and now I know the destruction of this country is virtually guaranteed. No good choices, indeed, as stated above. WTF happened?

EliteCommInc. , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 6:16 am GMT
I voted for this executive. I am not ashamed of my vote. However, as someone who voted on agendas and policies, I disappointed with the results. I knew going in there wasn't much in store for me personally by supporting the candidate. it was a diversion at the time from the standard fare. The problem with the standard fare is that they offered more of what were the problems. candidate Trump, actually responded to the issues echoing the same concerns, even if in a less than civil tenor. He gave as good as he got or better. I would that had been more substantive, but it was what it was.

There are some things that need to be cleared up in your article, most prominant of which is the fairly loose use of straw men positions. Just a few:

–the president did not run as a conservative despite comments he made about some conservative aspects of his own views.

–he never ever abandoned his position on same sex relations and marriage -- both of which are neither conservative or something he campaigned on, so it was clear from the get go, he had no intention of changing that game. What he did contend is that religious people have the same protections and they should not be cowed

–the overton window that would permit any president to openly support a condition in which skin color is the primary or a primary point of view would violate the principles and foundation of the country. but regardless most of the country sees that as an anathema to the what they want to country to be -- even far right conservatives are not arguing a white nationalist perspective -- trying to weigh him down with an overton window position that was never in play, at least not as you suggest it. The president started with a definitive lean in that direction of sorts, but it probably did not take him, long to figure out -- he was surrounded by whites in control of the country -- whites are not being pushed around by non-whites, inspite of having elected a non-white executive. But still he has knee jerk responses to dismantle the nonwhites policies. He remains as prowhite as any candidate in office. his references to how he claims to have aided nonwhites as pushback against accusations of being "racist" makes perfect sense. That does not make him "anti-white".

–your bait and switch assail is a tad convoluted. Antifa big tech and tax cuts . . . big tech and antifa initially responded with the same shock and vitriol as all his opposition when he was elected -- but as time has worn big tech has moved on seeing the current exec as a nonthreat -- tax cuts proceed unimpeded. The president's position on Jews and Israel were clear from the start and remain as they were -- one can contend he is overboard, but there was no bait and switch. The president did not say I was not for Israel and pro limiting immigration, he made clear he opposed illegal immigration and was proIsrael they are not competing issues . He has simply abided by one and dragged his feet on the other, if not abandoned it all together.

There are some other issues that need addressing, not the least of which is that many of us who supported the current executive before and now, have done so calling him out on issues where he has failed or is failing and have done so from the start -- -

On that I think my self respect remains intact

Father O'Hara , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 6:24 am GMT
Harvey Weinstein posed a question to one of his conquests: Do you like my fat Jewish dick? Trumps answer is apparently," Hell yeah!"
anon_382 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 6:32 am GMT
@Priss Factor the scary part about that is blumpf and the (((deep state))) would do that to you or me too

it was sickening to see that he seemed to have regained his self confidence from the assassination of Soleimani and was blathering on at the SOTU as though everything was just fine, better than ever

Crazy Horse , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:04 am GMT
One good thing Trump did was save us from that shrieking Valkyrie warmongering Hildabeast. If she had been elected she would have taken it as a mandate to start a war with Russia and/or Iran. Personally I was never voting for Trump but against Hillary.

Now that the demoncrats no longer have someone like Hillary running it would be pretty safe to vote a third party which I plan to do this election. Screw King Cyr-ass and his Zionist claque of losers.

alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:04 am GMT
@MattinLA The US economy alone (not to mention the suckiness of the culture and people) has been bad enough going back to a year or so before the crash that net immigration, I believe, has been outward. Stupid Orange Man yelling at people "Get outta here! You're fired!" means less when they calmly retort, "I was leaving anyway".
nsa , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:28 am GMT
@MattinLA

"net foreign immigration has gone down .."

Happened to be in the Emerald city on Wednesday and wandered through the Seattle Convention Center .there were so many hindoos milling about thought it was some kind of curry cooking convention.

But no .it was something called Microsoft Ready which is Microsoft's internal marketing, technical, and sales event bringing together over 21,000 Microsoft staff.

Had to be at least 75% dotheads with a sprinkling of turbanized Sikhs, and maybe 25% whites and asians. Asked one of the dotheads if Paul Allen would be attending this year, but just drew a quizzical stare.

Noted in the Mr. Softie handouts that these legions of imported cut rate code scribblers are referred to as "scientists". Trumpstein actually did something about the H1B visa program .he increased it claiming we need more of these half priced "brainiacs". Can't find enough discount American code scribblers, you know.

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:33 am GMT
Trump first got my attention when he made those initial comments against the illegal invasion. But later, when he said that Mexico was going to pay for the wall and talked about putting a "big beautiful door" in it, I figured he was probably full of it. When he attended AIPAC, I was done.
eah , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:40 am GMT

Congress has actually condemned White Nationalism at least two or three times since Donald Trump has been president. Far more White Nationalists have gone to prison under Donald Trump than Barack Obama. Trump has appointed "conservative judges" like Thomas Cullen who put RAM in prison.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:53 am GMT
After the last 3 years of seditious behavior of lying politicians like Schiff, Nadler and Pelosi and the traitorous schemes of deep state actors like Weismann, Vindman, Sondland and Yovanovitch I would still vote for Trump in the hopes that some of these traitors and others in the DOJ/FBI/CIA/NSA would be prosecuted. Hopefully, Durham will do his job before the election and we will see some of the coup plotters going to jail. Even if that doesn't happen, a final payback to the treacherous Democrats and their propagandists in the MSM will be another conservative judge on the Supreme Court; a change that will impact the next 30+ years. That alone will be enough for me.
Divine Right , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:57 am GMT
I agree with much of the analysis I've read here, but let me offer a somewhat different perspective. The author notes that, "Donald Trump is pointedly NOT a nationalist, populist or identitarian." This is probably true, but it's also not necessarily a bad thing at this point if you're a contrarian of this sort.

My read of the situation is that Donald Trump is almost certainly going to lose the general election, despite the confident predictions of an incoming Trumpslide by deluded supporters. In his defeat, he'll take the last vestiges of Reagan conservatism down with him. Even if he doesn't, Trump will almost certainly be the last republican president due to demographic change, so it doesn't matter either way. It would make sense in that light to let Mr. Trump run and lose on a platform of standard fare conservatism than have him be closely associated with populism and discredit that ideology on his way out.

People forget that Donald Trump was only made possible by Mitt Romney's failure in 2012. Romney ran a standard conservative, milquetoast campaign and lost; he was nevertheless called all manner of vile names by the left but responded like a gentlemen. His defeat came as quite a shock to many rank and file GOPers. Fox News had convinced them leading up to election day that they were going to win. How could they not? Romney said all the same things Ronald Regan did and he won; he talked up the military, he repeated economic platitudes and denounced socialism, he self-immolated over racial issues and claimed democrats were the real racists. So, obviously, Mitt Romney should – by all rights – win just as Reagan did. Lost on them was the demographic situation, among other things. 2012 America was not 1980 America. When Reagan won California in 1980, Los Angeles was majority white; California had two million more white Caucasians than it does now (Trump and Reagan received almost exactly the same number of white votes in California but with different results); the economy for blue collar voters was better, so there was less opposition to Reaganomics.

When Romney ran as a traditional, non-offensive republican and lost, he discredited that ideology and made a louder, more combative alternative possible. That was Donald Trump. In the minds of many republicans, conservatism could no longer win elections, so why not go all in with a contrarian radical? I expect that mentality to return sometime after Trump loses this November. Radical sentiment has been quieted as of late only because normies sheepishly think they are winning. That's probably why the establishment is freaking out: they know that won't last. You occasionally see moderate democrats asking for peace and quiet, perhaps realizing this, but it's unfortunately not a message well-received by the fringe left who control social media and these divisive late night network shows.

My prediction: on election night 2020, there will be a lot of shell-shocked republican normies. Either the despised socialist is elected or a man who stokes racial animus for personal gain – Pete Buttigieg – will become president-elect. In the minds of conservative Boomers, that wasn't supposed to happen; it's as if someone said they could see inside the event horizon of a black hole – total violation of established physical reality. Impossible or so they thought. Republican operatives are already trying to help Bernie Sanders in both Iowa and South Carolina. They foolishly think Sanders can't win, but that's not true. I've seen the polls. On election night, Donald Trump will have to deliver a heart-wrenching speech to his deluded followers conceding defeat to someone they thought couldn't win.

But the Trumpslide. Qanon said to trust the plan*. We're winning. The wall. MAGA.

All exposed as lies. The sort of lies a defeated people tell themselves. Cerebral comfort food for the weak-minded.

In the process, Donald Trump will discredit Conservatism Inc. just like Mitt Romney did in 2012. Contrarians will escape the judgment of history and live to fight another day. Most likely, there are yet more dissident stars on the right to be made. Some older ones may also return in the aftermath.

Considering circumstances, the best path forward (speaking as devil's advocate) is to critique the man without vocally supporting his defeat. Let him go down fair and square. Starting in November, there will many republicans in Trump's former base looking for an alternative. They will seek out dissidents they heard about but dismissed as blackpillers; MAGA supporters will be sidelined. Third Way Alternatives should consider laying out a well-reasoned, practical and achievable alternative in the present with the anticipation they will be called upon in the near future.

However, I wouldn't count on that considering the lack of organization and drive I see on the dissident right. Mr. Griffith's essay, for example, is filled with a strange defeated tone. It sounds as if he just wants to go back to business as usual before Trump: do his contrarian thing without being harassed. Certainly, life would be easier. But you would be no closer to any kind of victory, either. As the author notes, dissidents were tolerated before Trump. But why? I think laying the full blame on Trump is not warranted. Yes, he failed to protect his followers – that's one big reason why dissent is now being crushed. There is another reason, however: you were winning. You were only tolerated before because you were on the wrong side of history. The establishment didn't fear you because you couldn't challenge them. With Trump's surprise victory, the situation changed. With that in mind, what's the point of going back to business as usual while being on a certain path to defeat? unless you want to lose (or don't care), unless you simply want the freedom to be a contrarian without accomplishing anything. Sounds like a grift to me, pardon the rudeness.

If you want to ineffectually complain about the ruling class on Twitter while being free of harassment, then supporting the democrat is probably your best bet. They'll tolerate you because you don't threaten them. I think that's what a lot of guys on the right really want, which is why they went so heavily into Yang's UBI. It was a sort of early retirement option for them, regardless of how they justified it – get free money and cash out, let the world burn.

*Well, that and to drink bleach to ward off the wuhan coronavirus. Do NOT trust that plan.

Disclaimer: I'm speaking as a neutral third party who was never involved in any of this stuff.

Nonny Mouse , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:59 am GMT
But what's this "United" muck? How much better the world would be without that muck! (Says an Australian.)
Daniel Rich , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:07 am GMT
To distill the above into something simple: ' you' are what you vote .

Luckily you learned a lesson. Cherish it.

Mea Culpa , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:16 am GMT
Idiotic article. Yeah, Trump is a Trojan horse who is making. Israel great again. Yeah, he's a fragile, narcissistic buffoon. The only unabashed positive I can really offer is that he is in 2020, as he was in 2016, the least bad option.

The author doesn't seem to quite get numbers. God, as they say, tends to favor the side with the biggest battalions. Perhaps he should take a look at a demographic plot of the map of the United States circa 2020. The truth is that, if a hyper-competent, charismatic candidate had formed a consensus around Trump's 2016 platform in maybe 1975, the demographic trajectory of the country could have been changed. It's way, way too late for that.

If you were stupid enough to think in 2016 that demographic realities were going to be unwound, or even that there could consensus to address the issue in a serious unapologetic way, I really don't know what to tell you. You're probably too stupid to be operating heavy machinery, much less posting articles on Unz. Trump's election is Prop 187, circa 1980's. Far too little, far too late. But still the least bad option.

All there really is at this point is a rearguard action, and maybe win a skirmish here and there. In terms of the Long War, we don't have the numbers or the consensus. Grow the fuck up.

The Alarmist , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:27 am GMT
I'm often asked by people in the US who learn I've lived outside the US the better part of three decades when I might return to the US, to which I lightly reply, "When the Republic is restored. I guess that means never."

At the end of the day, who better than Trump can you get behind? I guess it is game over. The only problem is that the rest of the developed world is going in the same problemmatic direction, and places like Uruguay still have their occasionally lurches into insanity.

Biff , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:34 am GMT

2.) Those who feared that the Trump administration would suck all of the energy out of the Alt-Right were right.

This is very typical. In the waning days of G.W. Bush there was a very strong hard left anti-war movement in place, and doing well on the internet, and also had a home on some cable stations. Once Obama was elected it faded into obscurity with-in hours, and never resurrected even as Obama become more hawkish than Bush – both expanding the War on Terror, and codifying the Bush Doctrine.

Dupes all around.

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:37 am GMT
@Priss Factor Soleimani was no man of God. He was a muslim, which is the opposite.
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:42 am GMT
Ok, let's see,

1. Trump was a con man as a businessman. How did anyone imagine he wouldn't be a con man as president?

2. Trump knows which side his bread is buttered. How long do you imagine he would've lasted if he actually did the things he promised, especially ending the Amerikastani Empire, before ending like Kennedy? Six weeks?

3. Whether the author of this article, with whom I sympathise, changes any minds with it is irrelevant. Trump is the Wall Street/military industrial complex/zionist candidate for re election, and his return to power is being arranged even as I write this. The shambolic Daymockratic Party impeachment circus and the bad jokes posing as candidates in their primaries have one purpose alone: to ensure a second term for Donald Trump. What any normal person votes for is irrelevant.

Thulean Friend , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 8:54 am GMT
A common trope on the right is that the left gets what it wants. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just witness the shenanigans the DNC is pulling in the current primaries. When Pelosi theatrically ripped up Trump's speech in the SOTU, she shortly thereafter voted to support the efforts to destabilise Venezuela and support the CIA-handpicked Juan Guaido.

Pro-Israel PACs have flooded the primaries attacking Bernie. CIA puppet Pete Buttigieg is against medicare for all. Democrats do not get what they want. The only thing they get is woke rhetoric but the neoliberal economic system and the imperialist foreign policy remains the same.

Jimmy Dore's reference to the "uniparty" is apt here. So while Mr Griffin's catalogue of Trump's various betrayals is useful, keep in mind that the disease is bipartisan. The US is in many ways a sham democracy where the actors perform kabuki theater. You will never get an honest say on the core principles of the system. Regardless if you're coming from the right or the left. And the media is in on the charade.

freedom-cat , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:00 am GMT
Tricky Trump.

He is so duplicitous it's mind boggling. Nancy Pelosi is right when she calls him a liar, although she's no angel herself.

The Jewish Power structure is in total control. Trump WILL BE the final nail in USA coffin, because he is dictating for Israel, now. Israel will make even bigger moves after he is re-elected, for sure. No doubt to further the Yinon plan along.

I voted for him too; but will not be voting at all this year. I refuse to play into their twisted game.

They purposely caused all this Chaos to keep people distracted while Big Tech companies consolidate their power over the internet and the Military Industrial Complex plans the next false flag to kick off the next invasion (Iran & Syria).

My guess is that Jewish Democrats like Schiff, Nader, and proxy Nancy have all been part of this horrible PsyOp that has been going down the last 3 years.

It doesn't matter which "side" you are on anymore because there is really only ONE SIDE.

Nodwink , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:06 am GMT
I wouldn't feel bad about being a "Trump Chump" – there are millions of you, after all.

As someone who would be in the Bernie/Tulsi camp if I lived in the USA (but would also be furiously opposed to being swamped by Somalis), here's a little advice, free of charge:

You will never get anywhere being attached to a Party of Capital. They will always want to bring cheap labour into your country, and they don't care what those immigrants do to your family. Money rules. Forget the GOP, and start your own party.

NPleeze , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:51 am GMT

Imagine thinking a New York City billionaire is a "populist." LMAO what were we thinking? He told us what we wanted to hear and we believed it.

Not just a NY billionaire, but one who profited from (a) mega-banks, and (b) the ZioNazi media.

His first two reality TV stunts were WWE, and then The Apprentice. The third is his crown achievement.

You call them Trump's Chumps, I've called them TrumpTARDs, because they are fucking useless, mindlessly idiotic fools/rednecks/inbred losers.

Fact is the country doesn't stand a chance, the "resistance" is more pathetic than the globlalists. If the last three years has taught the world anything, it's not just how mindlessly stupid TrumpTARDs are, but how uncivil, rude, aggressive, and downright despicable.

Nobody has harmed the conservative cause more than the Orange Satan.

All, of course, by design. What still gets me is that conservatives are to utterly stupid to fall for it. At least the Liberals caught on that Obama was a fake early on – the TrumpTARDs just can't get enough of sucking that Orange ZioNazi's dick.

sally , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:51 am GMT
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52960.htm&#8221 ; < Coronavirus & Global Collapse

https://theintercept.com/2020/02/06/congress-exxon-mobil-eastmed-pipeline-cyprus/ =<pipeline

this who thing looks related to me.. .. the Cornoavirus, the pipeline, the bombings in Syria, the libya-turkey GNA thing, the recent airliner crash in Turkey, I feel something is surfacing

https://friendsforsyria.com/2020/02/07/israeli-airstrikes-on-damascus-suburbs-put-at-risk-civilian-flight-with-172-passengers-on-board-russian-mod/

Trump proved that the nation state system is disastrous for those humans governed by it. The nation state system is great for those few who are the puppet governors of the few that rule the world.

The problem Mr. Griffin is that the article does not recognize that USA citizens who not part of the electoral college cannot vote for either the President or the Vice President. Amendment 12 read it.

We should Trumpet Trump because if we don't we might be next..

NPleeze , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 9:54 am GMT
@MattinLA

There are quite literally hordes of foreigners living here.

Fact is none of the fake conservatives, from the Orange Satan to the Governor of Texas, is against illegal immigration. It would be easy enough to prosecute employers who hire illegals, but neither the Orange Satan, nor any State, be it Wyoming or Texas, so-called "Red" (Communist) states, does anything about it.

But yet the idiot TrumpTARDs wail on and on about how the Orange Satan is their savior and how Republicans are better than Democrats.

It's amazing how unbelievably, astoundingly stupid Americans are.

George Lincoln , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:01 am GMT
You are either stupid or lying, I believe lying. I say this because in each of your substantive attacks, you blatantly misstate facts, even obvious ones.

Personally I am honestly and eyes open clinging to the hope that Trump is sincerely doing his best for us, because the alternative is civil war, and if it comes to that, it will come to that. Trump is the last possible peaceful salvation for America.

Here are your lies, which tell me you are not genuine:
> He has refurbished the George W. Bush era fence. Since he has been president, Donald Trump has built all of three new miles of fence,

A blatant and obvious lie to anyone who is tracking the wall progress – "refurbished" means replaced completely ineffective fence, including vehicle barriers which you can literally walk around, with 18-30ft high steel fence. You may jerk off to the technicality that it isn't "new", but we all see through you. Over 100 miles so far with 350 more planned, and he has done it with congress kicking and screaming. He even diverted defense spending for this purpose, against all of Washington's whining and complaining. These are the actions of someone who is sincere.

>there have been no cuts to legal immigration

Bull shit. Blatant lie. 2017 saw a 10% decrease in net migration from 1046 million to 930 million. 2018 down another 25% to 700 million, and 2019 15% to 600 million. That's God damn good work for a man with an entire bureaucracy and 2 parties fighting him. He didn't even get a law to sign and he still cut legal immigration by almost HALF. I can hardly believe it myself it's too good to be true. Why lie?

>Donald Trump hasn't even deported as many illegal aliens as Obama.

You know as well as I do that Obama changed the reporting of deportations to include 'voluntary returns'. Obama deported virtually no one from the interior. Regardless, more importantly, we both know how aggressively both parties and the bureaucracy have fought to prevent Trump from taking action, and yet against all odds he secured agreements with Honduras El Salvador and Guatemala to deport "Asylum seekers" there, making an end run around the legal labyrinth that was keeping them here. That is HUGE and you completely omit it.

You also omitted –

Starting a trade war with China
Supporting the break up of the EU
Demanding funds from allies under our umbrella
Not starting a war in Syria or Iran, both of which they desperately tried to force him into

But most of all, you ignored the fact that the entire intelligence apparatus, the entire media, the entire establishment has sacrificed their credibility in the attack on Trump.

That is the main reason I still have hope. Your lies bald face lies are why I do not believe you are sincere.

gotmituns , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:12 am GMT
I love it that the jew and the fag won in Iowa. Of course, I don't love that Trump will probably win in Nov. but the options to him are dismal to say the least. No matter what, once he's out of office the days of this "republic"/empire are surely numbered.
Tom Welsh , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:28 am GMT
I disagree that voting for Mr Trump was a mistake. American elections are always a choice of evils, but in this case it was more a choice between rapid extinction of our species and run-of-the-mill evil, killing only the odd million people now and then.

I personally take this cartoon very seriously indeed:

If Hillary Clinton had become President, I believe she would have found a way to start a war with Russia. And that would have resulted in the death of all human beings, plus many other species.

Mr Trump is execrable, it is true. But he has one enormous virtue: for whatever reason, he is extremely open and candid. Whereas US presidents going back to the 19th century did frightful things while smiling genially and pretending to be kind, Mr Trump openly admits how frightful he and his deeds are.

That is hastening the demise of the US empire, which is in the interests of all human beings.

Tom Welsh , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:31 am GMT
@MattinLA There are certainly no easy choices. As a foreigner I am hardly in a position to criticize, let alone to encourage US citizens. But perhaps I could remind you of an early President during whose 8 years in power not a single American or foreigner was killed by the US government?

"God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure".

– Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Stephens Smith (13 November 1787), quoted in Padover's Jefferson On Democracy

anonymous [245] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 10:36 am GMT
@MattinLA IOW, you're going to vote again? For Mr. Trump?

"In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won't fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics."

Linh Dinh, "Orlando Shooting Means Trump for President," June 12, 2016, @ The Unz Review.

All the system needs is for you to pick Red or Blue, accepting the results until the next Most Important Election Ever.

Esoteric Schuonian , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:16 am GMT
As a first time voter in 2016, Trump's relative inaction on all that he promised has made me more aware than ever of the rot that has set in our political system. I was skeptical that political change could be accomplished prior to 2016 but optimistic. Now I cannot be anymore pessimistic about the future.
anonymous [245] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:35 am GMT
@Chet Roman " another conservative judge on the Supreme Court; a change that will impact the next 30+ years. That alone will be enough for me."

Yeah, Right.

Like the impact of all the Republican appointees who issued the ruling in Roe v Wade?

Like the impact of Mr. Kennedy, a Republican choice who helped rewrite the legal definition of marriage?

Like the impact of Mr. Roberts, a Republican choice who nailed down Big Sickness for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries?

What impact do you honestly expect from Mr. Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump's choice who earned his first robe by helping President Cheney with the Patriot Act?

Like the "federal" elections held every November in even-numbered years and the 5-4 decrees of the Court, the partisan judicial nominations and nailbiting confirmation hearings are another part of the RedBlue puppet show that keeps people like Chet Roman voting in the next Most Important Election Ever.

WorkingClass , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
Your disappointment is the inverse of your expectations. Perhaps you should curb your enthusiasm? So what's next? Join the Communists? Boycott the system? That will teach them! Trump is the best looking horse in the glue factory. Do you see a candidate you like better?

Speak for yourself chump.

Sunshine State , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
As Ronald Reagan once noted, the public has once again come to realize there is not much difference between the Party's.
Craig Nelsen , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:49 am GMT
The effort to remove Trump from office began before he was even sworn in. In terms of intensity the effort has been unlike anything any of us have ever seen. And that effort has come relentlessly, from all sides. The media, the late night comics, the intelligence services, the kritarchy, the bureaucracy they have been united in thwarting Trump's every move, united in flogging an entirely bogus Russian collusion investigation from his first day in office. And they IMPEACHED the man over nonsense, for crying out loud.

The most powerful elements in this country have thrown, and continue to throw, everything they've got at him. They have brought this country to the brink of a cataclysm for their hatred of Donald Trump and their overriding desire to see him removed from power and his voters punished. Their hatred alone is reason enough to continue to support Trump.

It was a miracle Donald Trump won the presidency. It is a miracle he is still in office. And a miracle is the only thing that can save us.

Do you not remember how utterly hopeless things seemed in 2015? How completely we'd been beaten? There was zero chance the immigration tide could be stopped, for one thing. Do you not realize that it is a miracle that things are slightly less hopeless now? A miracle that, in 2020, we aren't beaten quite so completely? That, by some miracle, the chance of achieving an immigration time-out within the next four years is now greater than zero?

Any Trump supporter who turns on Trump because he disapproves of the job Trump has done as president just shows his own fractiousness, because, in truth, Trump has not yet had a chance to be president. And politically, turning on Trump is particularly boneheaded given there is absolutely no alternative and we are out of miracles.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:53 am GMT
@Divine Right The GOP donors would never allow a fully-fledged White populist candidate to slip through the net, Trump was never such a thing which is why he managed to win the primaries.

By the time the boomers die off, it will be too late and even a White Rights candidate would never won as the demographics will have shifted so much, and this is assuming Whites start skewing towards GOP on the same way Blacks skew towards Democrats. In reality the younger Whites still have the virus of individuality in their minds, thinking that politics is about high-minded ideas instead of group interests.

BuelahMan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 11:59 am GMT
Poor Brad. I spent all that same time trying desperately to show you how far off you were in the support of an obvious jew water carrier. Twitter (until they dumped me) and then even signing up for your blog.

I left comment after comment with valuable information, obvious and thorough.

You ignored it all, even in the face of its blatant OBVIOUSNESS. You were a Drumpfter and with Trump saying just the right thing, you could probably go back.

It is why I left your site and won't go back. You spent years being totally WRONG.

Reading this is like reading the words of a guilty man who was too stupid to see what was truly right in front of your face. Or one that knew all along but had a different agenda.

Either way, you have zero credibility or discernment when it comes to politics, so why don't you just keep it to yourself.

Me, a dumb ole redneck, called it in Aug 2015 and didn't stop trying to warn the world of this OBVIOUSNESS. You know it and I know it.

John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm GMT
Some strong points here, not all of them, but a number.

"He has been a disappointment on all fronts."

No statement could be more accurate.

Trump is a failure, but one with a very loud mouth and a rather twisted psychology that magically converts all failures into successes. Nothing factual ever fazes him.

And the ability to just keep going is a great asset in politics, even if it means you keep going to do destructive things. You actions communicate strength and purpose and determination to ordinary people.

After all, much of the ordinary public literally has no idea what is going on, abroad or at home, so poorly informed are they by the mainline press and the political establishment.

He does a daily war dance of self-praise, finding new phrases to whoop and chant, describing his almost complete failure in the opposite terms.

But because he is doing overall the power establishment's work – against China, against Iran, against Russia, for Israel, and in Latin America – they not only do not oppose him, they support him.

He does his work rudely and utterly without grace.

He is a man who wears his ignorance as though it were a finely-tailored suit.

But the power establishment is okay with the grotesque style, so long as they get the results they want. And they do.

The desired results are mainly negative, not positive, achievements.

But that is the essence of imperial America today, to do harm to others in order to improve its own relative standing. It does almost nothing positive anymore anywhere. It threatens friends and foes alike. It destroys international organizations and order. It supports the creation of chaos, as in Syria or Libya or Yemen.

The contrast of America's now-constant threats and hostilities with China's great Belt and Rail Initiative couldn't be starker. Or with Putin's pragmatic "live and let live" philosophy. We see destruction versus creation. Coercion versus cooperation. Ignorance versus information. Darkness versus light.

So, Trump, with all of grotesqueries and lies, provides almost the perfect President.

Sorry, America, but that is a very great, if ugly, truth.

BuelahMan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh The lesser of two evils is a sad, twisted and failed idea. Learn a new one.
BuelahMan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:03 pm GMT
@George Lincoln Let's not forget that he is totally and completely surrounded and controlled by Chabad jews.

Good thing, right?

That his every move is something for jews?

That's GOOD, right?

I despise Drumpfters.

Iraq Veteran , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:08 pm GMT
@Priss Factor You are so right!
geokat62 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:14 pm GMT

They wear Q shirts

Only until they start wearing JQ shirts will there be hope.

onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:20 pm GMT
"The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy .Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies." Carroll Quigley

And so it goes ..at least until enough people start to understand/believe that the government is their enemy, never their friend , and that a completely unlimited government [i.e. what we currently endure], regardless of who is president, will continue to take more of their money and freedom away on a daily basis because:

"Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed"or "improved",simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree

Regards, onebornfree

Robert Dolan , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:22 pm GMT
Sadly, it doesn't matter who we vote for as the jewing will continue unabated.

Proof of this is to always ask, "Who benefits?"

And the answer is ALWAYS the jews, and the answer is NEVER white people.

Once you understand what the jews want, what their interests are, and you see that everything that happens seems to be good for the jews, you realize that this awful system is anti-white to the core and it's been engineered by the nose for the nose. There is no other way to explain the fact that the interests of white people are NEVER honored. In fact, the interests of white people are not even given a passing thought.

It's really quite remarkable. And totally insane.

Rusty nail , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:23 pm GMT
I knew it was going south in a hurry when he moved into the white house and turned it into something resembling a synagogue.

As an outsider, watching media reporting on American politics, I find myself wondering if I'm not actually viewing Israeli political news. How do Americans not notice this?

zard , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:24 pm GMT
Trump's supposed conflict with congress to get funding for the border wall is just a kosher psyop designed to give off the illusion that he is fighting to uphold his campaign promises, when in reality he's just carrying out the jews white genocidal program. He's no different than Obama. Black or white, they take orders from the same political class: the Jews who control the money, the policies, and the media.

But what's most sickening about all this is that the same congress that unanimously votes to give untold billions to Israel in foreign military aid is now telling the American people that there is just not enough money to fund a border wall ! Israel first, America last, that's how congress works.

Why don't the Jews want a strong US border wall built ? Because the JEWS want to genocide White Christian Americans through mass illegal immigration. Why ? Because non-white third world people have lower-iq's and are easier for the Jews to control and make slaves out of.
( Destabilizing society for political gains- Offering stupid people free everything will always get votes, and they know this. )

Funding for the US border wall could be solved overnight by removing Jewish control over the monetary system and cancelling all foreign aid to Israel, but don't except that to happen anytime soon. Nothing has changed since Trump has become president and nothing will. Illegal immigration, poverty, unemployment and wars will accelerate under Trump because those are the natural consequences of following the orders of America hating Jews. Trump isn't playing some 4d chess strategy and all those who still say this are blind, deaf and dumb. The Jews are still in full control of the Federal Reserve and by extension the media, government, courts, law enforcement, education etc. Stop living in a fantasy land and face the facts.

As it was with Bush,Clinton and Obama, the United States is still a vassal state of Israel and controlled by the Jews. We cannot vote ourselves out of this situation. Democracy means Jewish control that breaks down to which political candidate gets the most jewish money and jewish media coverage. The Jews pick our presidents, it doesn't matter if a republican or democrat gets elected, each party is only concerned with advancing the Jewish world government agenda.

Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:57 pm GMT
@Priss Factor Regarding Gen. Soleimani, a true martyr, you should have seen how insultingly the moronic ABC World News anchor David Muir brought up the name of Gen. Soleimani at last night's DNC debate. And none of the candidates bothered to correct Muir.
Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:59 pm GMT
@Gleimhart Mantooso Keep wallowing in hate and ignorance. Muslims are the only people outside of Christians who revere Jesus, albeit not as god jr. but as as a mighty prophet.
Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:01 pm GMT
@Peter Akuleyev The man is lout!
I'm Not Laughing , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm GMT
For sure, Trump has been less than impressive on all fronts. At least he hasn't committed the US to an all-out war with Iran, but I strongly suspect he will do so after he is re-elected.

As far as actual unemployment, January 2020 remains at a stable 21% and all the bs about 3.5% is the usual smoke-and-mirrors:

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

I think the establishment is once again giving the American voter no real alternatives (but isn't that the point?). Do you want Trump or a Jewish communist, Trump or Indiana's little Peewee Buttfudge? Whatever. The final result will always be "X" is president in a White House filled with zionists. Everything American crumbles while the Israelis continue the dance they started on 9/11.

Anonymous [346] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm GMT
Machiavelli wrote that the best people to take power are not the best people to run the government. The implication is precisely that: use the chumps and then discard them.

Despite all the technology, some things haven't changed.

Sam J. , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:19 pm GMT
@Divine Right " My read of the situation is that Donald Trump is almost certainly going to lose the general election, despite the confident predictions of an incoming Trumpslide by deluded supporters. In his defeat, he'll take the last vestiges of Reagan conservatism down with him "

Your comment is very interesting. While I didn't like it emotionally. Intellectually it was excellent.

I have all of the same complaints as Brad Griffin. I have to admit my perfidy as I have at times believed in Q and other times I haven't. Right now I'm at the, we'll see, stage as I have no idea what is going to happen and if he so wished Trump could fall on the deep State like a bear trap. If he is going to do this then the delay til he can get in a more honest set of judges and push out some the worst of the actors makes sense. Even his wishy washy staffing the place to the gills with Jews and inconsistent policies. He has several times stated positions and done things that have put his enemies in very awkward positions that are difficult to weasel out of. He could still take down portions of the deep State. We'll have to see but I admit it doesn't look good.

Former CIA head William Casey once said, and it is verified, something like that when no one knows what the truth is the CIA had done it's job. I think we are at that stage now.

If Trump does not reign in the deep State, meaning the Jews for all practical purposes, or even if he loses the election I suspect strongly that a vast tsunami of Whites will instantly lose faith in government. I think it likely that if Trump loses it will be a psychic shock.

If Trump has no plan to take on the deep State and Q is just a deep State actor to delay the day of reckoning I hope Trump does lose.

There's a path, a very scary one, that may be what Q is all about if he is a deep State actor. Computer power has continued to increase combined with neural nets computing. The time line for a $1,000 computer chip with the computing power of a human is 2025. It may be off by a little but it will happen. If when this happens and the Jews are still in control they could, combined with 5G, build what ever robot army they wished for around 10 or 20 thousand dollars a piece and murder us all. Elon Musk global network in space would also allow them global dominance. I've always been suspicious of Elon being a Jew while supporting what he is doing as being good for the country. When he immigrated to Canada from South Africa he first had a job at a bank supposedly with one of this relatives. He also has been extremely capable in raising vast sums of capital. Jews are much more able to do this due to nepotism. He denies being a Jew.

Sam J. , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:32 pm GMT
@NPleeze " Nobody has harmed the conservative cause more than the Orange Satan ."

Nobody has harmed the FAKE JEW conservative cause more than the Orange Satan.

Fixed it for you.

Johnny Walker Read , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:45 pm GMT
Trump is very much a chump and a liar, as pretty much every president has been from the beginning. This will include supposed great presidents like Lincoln, Wilson, Teddy and FD Roosevelt, Reagan, Obama, and yes, even the vaunted JFK.

The problem is and always has been "Murkans" find themselves a political party and basically sign up for life. They never seem to learn no matter who is put into office, the slow slide to a full blown Marxist type Oligarchy marches on. I cannot fathom why people go to political rallies and wave and cheer for known liars and charlatans, hanging on their every promise as if it came from God himself.

Nothing is ever going to change in this country until the corporate money is eliminated from politics, until lobbying for political favors is made illegal, until BOTH corrupt political parties currently running America are shown the ash heap of history, AND until people realize there is more politics than marking a ballot.

This country will only be made well when the citizens start attending city, county, and state government meetings and demand the constitution be upheld. Without our involvement at every level of government, it is easy for the shysters and crooks to grow fat through graft and corruption.

The choice is ours and ours alone, but if history is any indicator of what will be, I say we be in deep shit.

KenH , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm GMT
@George Lincoln

Bull shit. Blatant lie. 2017 saw a 10% decrease in net migration from 1046 million to 930 million. 2018 down another 25% to 700 million, and 2019 15% to 600 million. That's God damn good work for a man with an entire bureaucracy and 2 parties fighting him

Where's the link for this claim? At the 2019 SOTU Trump bragged that immigrants would be coming to the USA in "the largest numbers ever" under his administration.

Candidate Trump vowed to end H1B visas but president Trump now supports expanding the program. Candidate Trump vowed to deport Dreamers and all other illegal aliens. Candidate Trump says he'll work with Congress to allow Dreamers to stay in the U.S. and avoid deportation.

But most of all, you ignored the fact that the entire intelligence apparatus, the entire media, the entire establishment has sacrificed their credibility in the attack on Trump.

Outside of a few of exceptions like Comey, Strzok and McCabe there's been almost no consequences for any crazy leftists or deep state operatives for attacking Trump. At most, some (((MSM))) talking heads have suffered decreased viewership, but that hasn't slowed them down one iota while the FBI has viciously retaliated against high profile Trump supporters like Mike Flynn and Roger Stone.

I thought Trump was going to go after Hillary if elected and "lock her up?" That was just one of his many lies and dog whistles.

Johnny Walker Read , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm GMT
More on "Pete the Cheat" Buttigieg, not the harmless little rump ranger mayor you have been led to believe he is.
https://www.winterwatch.net/2020/02/mayor-pete-the-spook-a-favorite-of-the-kakistocracy-and-parasite-guild/
Truth3 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:13 pm GMT
Yes, Trump is an idiot I know well. I spent a day with him.

The real problem has been, when we have a candidate that would be good for America, the Jews and the Jewish controlled media destroy him, and the people do not react appropriately.

Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader all offered their talents for the job. See what happened?

Trump is not the problem. He's the symptom.

Go after the root.

Gerhard Menuhin understood this well enough he named his book accordingly.

Because life is relatively short, the people adapt a "go along to get along" mentality. They fear losing their rice bowl (job) so they act like coolies (slaves).

People need to change the essential failing thinking only of themselves.

Better to be a martyr once than a slave 10,000 times.

fool's paradise , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:17 pm GMT
Since both parties are hopelessly corrupt enemies of the people, I vote third party if I can, so I didn't vote for Trump but I was glad he beat Hillary, because Hillary was a known evil, and Trump? I liked his campaign promises, to make friends with Russia, to get out of NATO, to stop the "stupid" Mideast wars, to echo Lindbergh by his motto "America First", which promised a kind of paleo-conservative "isolationism", i.e., stay home, mind our own business, stop policing the world with regime-change wars. I wrote off his Border Fence as unworkable. And he started off well. He called most TV news Fake News. He said Media was "the enemy of the people". Wow! What other politician told such a truth? He met with Putin in Helsinki and believed Putin's word over his own "Intelligence", and Wow!, again. But it didn't last. His enemies were after him (Russia! Russia! Russia!) from Day One, and after the Putin meeting FBI and CIA and Media all called him a TRAITOR! Media bad-mouthed him 24/7 for months, and I believe Trump finally caved, joined our enemies in the Swamp he had promised to drain, because he didn't have the balls to stand up to the constant, unrelenting pressure on him. His first choices for Secty of State,of Defense, were okay, but then he hired the awful Bolton and then the noxious Pompeo, he surrounded himself with the loyal-to-Israel Neocons, and now Netanyahu is our President, not Trump.

So he has become just another enemy of the people. If Bernie is screwed out of the Dem nomination, as he was last time, I hope he starts a Third Party, with Ron Paul as his Vice, and Tulsi Gabbard as Secty of State.

remington , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:24 pm GMT
inclined to agree. perhaps q-anon is part of this charade?
ken , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:29 pm GMT
@Gizmo880 Add to that, who would champion any of these changes in either chamber of Congress? This article perfectly reflects the adolescent whining that permeates the unz site that everything is not going exactly as I want.
bjondo , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:39 pm GMT

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_wMntDFfAhQ?feature=oembed

https://www.redstate.com/nick-arama/2020/02/07/tucker-carlson-sounds-the-alert/

5ds

Really No Shit , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:40 pm GMT
You deserve to be drunk on the junk offered by the Drumpf a narcissistic hedonist from Manhattan in real estate business (where 9 out of 10 largest real estate enterprises are owned by Jews), who was desperate at times to hold on to that thing which is most dear to him, the title of unmitigated billionaire, and which could not be hold on to without the blessings of the Central Park "rabbis" and one who had married non-native white women of dubious origin (possibly Jewish), at least 2 out of 3 times and a man who wasn't known for his christian (assuming he is one) piety or charity was suddenly the savior of the White nationalists.

You're right about one thing: give a drowning (White nationalist) man enough rope and he will hang himself!

Glock45 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:49 pm GMT
@nsa Trumpstein actually did something about the H1B visa program .he increased it claiming we need more of these half priced "brainiacs". Can't find enough discount American code scribblers, you know.

Bingo.

BTW, back in the mid 00s when I had certifications in C# programming and SQL, my phone was literally ringing off the hook with job offers and I never went more than 1 week without a contract job. In the following years working for a large company in the industry, I gained even more experience in other things in IT that interested me such as machine learning, parallel programming and cloud computing.

When that company went south in 2016 I lost my job. Furiously searching for a job, it took NINE months before I landed another. When I talked with all the local head-hunting contractor firms and IT placement companies, they all told me the same story: all the local companies are pretty much only hiring H1B's now in their IT departments.

Absolutely disgusting.

That along with many other things that I've seen since 2016 have convinced me that my children have no future here in this shithole country.

MLK , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:51 pm GMT

In the final two years of the Obama administration (2015 and 2016), the Alt-Right was thriving on social media and was brimming with energy.

Yes, in service to Hillary and the Democrats. Not all who called themselves alt-right, but beyond question it was a "movement" that was and still is wholly compromised. I know it's hard for you to hear, and despite whatever else he peddled, Freud was on to something when it came to Projection.

It doesn't surprise me that this author has memory-holed his movement's high water mark -- Hillary's alt-right speech. Throughout the 2016 campaign, while little went Hillary's way, she consistently drew royal straight flushes, with David Duke, Richard Spencer and various other agents-provocateur, going on CNN and MSNBC declaring their support for Trump.

Here's your buddy Richard Spencer days after Trump won the election:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1o6-bi3jlxk?feature=oembed

A word to the wise, anyone who didn't know to whom this character belongs, and long before this moment, should assiduously avoid the word 'chump.'

I won't paint with a broad brush. To the extent that anyone cares, it was and remains rather easy to figure out which in the so-called alt-right can't be trusted. Whether because the FBI or someone else has them by the short-hairs, or they're Leninist/Stalinist filth doing their part for the cause.

That includes those writing articles like this, lamenting that Trump betrayed you after you voted for him by being a great president for African Americans too.

Timing is rarely coincidental. Thus this jibber jabber comes just after Trump defeated the latest coup attempt and even Democrat allied-media is finally forced to begin to concede that he'll win reelection.

Trump will do so with historic support from blacks and Hispanics (for a Republican). Which is why Democrats and their allied-media are again feverishly pushing their "white nationalist" button again.

Glock45 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT
Meh, c'mon guys.

Any day now the "GOD EMPEROR (!!!)" is going to "UNLEASH THE STORM!!!"

Oh, yeah, sure some Jews get beat up in midtown Manhattan and Trump swings into action quicker than whale shit thru an ice floe passing EOs that end up practically paving the way to make it illegal to criticize Jews

Um, OK he sure was quick and decisive for them.

But surely he will get around to doing something for the goys too!!!

Just wait and "trust the plan!"

Ragno , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT

The reasons why I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 were immigration, trade, foreign policy, political correctness and campaign finance and furthering these big ideas of "nationalism" and "populism."

Well then you are a chump. The only tactical reason to have voted for Trump was to deny Hillary Clinton executive power . That was the sole reason any conservative or rightist had to participate in Our National Sham. To believe that he was going to reintroduce "nigger" to the national lexicon by 2018 was head-in-the-clouds foolishness.

Thwarting Soros/Hillary remains his major contribution* to American politics: under Trump, the masks on the other side have all come off. There is no longer any subterfuge about the Unholy Trinity of the Far Left, meaning the Democratic Party, the mainstream media and the hostage institutions such as academia and local/state government. The rabid doubling-down of the anti-white Deep State – unthinkable with a nabob like McConnell or Romney in the Oval Office – is another plus to the Trump Administration: what the talking heads all nervously refer to as the "deep divisions" in our country is one of the few signs of mental health and vitality America has experienced in a half-century's worth of decline.

Nobody was going to reverse that half-century in three or four years – it was a physical impossibility; just as no one was going to pry off Team Shmuel's death-grip without at least pretending not to. Ten years would be insufficient for such tasks. But it doesn't mean you petulantly vow to starve yourself because half a loaf is an insult.

*= it's rarely brought up but his quietly appointing centrist/conservative judges to the bench, boring as it may seem to tiki-torch revolutionaries, still represents an important step in the right direction and is probably his second major contribution to the struggle,

Moi , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm GMT
@Father O'Hara Perfect!
MikeatMikedotMike , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT
@BuelahMan For example?
Desert Fox , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:05 pm GMT
Trump is the reincarnation of the Roman emperor Caligula and the present government of the ZUS is a reincarnation of the later days of the Roman empire, in every way!
MikeatMikedotMike , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm GMT
@I'm Not Laughing Pool's closed.
Anonymous [137] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:07 pm GMT
Great article, and the most depressing one I've read in a long time.
KA , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:17 pm GMT
@MattinLA America has faced problem like this in the past It will solve the problem in similar or identical terms . Thats what it does It provides a ruse . Now the ruse is not covering the corners of the lying lips even before next set of problems emerge straight from the solution.
Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:18 pm GMT
I agree with the Jew in hating Christ.

I am gainfully employed by the FBI.

I eat ranch dressing on every meal.

I AM A PROUD WHITE NATIONALIST!

Niebelheim , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm GMT
Trump isn't a god and there's so much to criticize about his track record, all true. But at minimum, Trump did delay the socialist takeover of the federal judiciary. As disgusting as his kowtowing has been of the neocons that control the Deep State, the invasion of Iran has still yet to materialize. How would a Hillary presidency have fared with Scalia's replacement and a no-fly zone over Syria? Good bye First and Second Amendment. The alternative to Trump is grim.
KA , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:20 pm GMT
@Sam J. FAKE JEW conservative

He has not harmed the FAKE He has not harmed the JEW

He might have harmed some conservatives But they are not neoconservatives.

Trinity , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:21 pm GMT
@Tom Welsh As bad as Trumpstein is, and make no mistake, the cuckold for Coco-Zionists is bad, Clinton and company would have been even worse. In 2020 we have anti-White demsheviks like Butt-Plug, the first openly homosexual candidate for Prez, Warren, Biden and flat out commie Jew, Sanders, and Jew Bloomberg. I guess the Jew is ready to come out of the shadows and openly run for Prez just like homosexual Butt-Plug. Of course it could be said that we have a Jew as POTUS right now, President Baby Nut&Yahoo and his VP Jared Kushner.

The biggest thing Trumpstein has done as Prez is expose how fake the Jew media is, but lets not kid ourselves, with the exception of Tucker Carlson ( even Tucker doesn't tell the total truth and he won't touch the JQ) even the neocons at FOX and OAN don't tell the complete truth, and sometimes they do more harm by telling 90% truth and 10% lies than commie anti-White networks like CNN, MSNBC and all the rest.

Trumpstein is a native New Yorker, what did you really expect?? The guy has been around criminal Jews all his life, he has Jew lawyers, his daughter has converted to Judaism and she married an orthodox Jew. As bad as our past Presidents were, some claim LBJ, FDR, and even Eisenhower might have been Jews or had Jewish blood flowing through their shabbos goy veins, Trump might be the biggest cuckold yet when it comes to the biggest shabbos goy Prez of all time.

Until a UNITED STATES PRESIDENT OR OFFICIAL GOES AFTER GEORGE SOROS AND THE LIKE AND SERIOUSLY SEEKS TO IMPRISON HIM AND OTHERS FOR FLOODING OUR COUNTRY WITH ILLEGAL INVADERS, WE DON'T HAVE A LEGIT PRESIDENT.

Do you think Hitler would have stood by and allowed non-Germans or traitorous Germans to flood Germany with Turks or Pakis and then went out and told throngs of people how he is keeping Germany first? Come on, man. Trump is better than the alternative, BUT the new boss isn't much different than the old boss. Just another cuckold influenced by his Jewish masters and Jewish money.

WJ , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm GMT
@Priss Factor It's amusing to read the rabid Trump haters on the right. They have a better option?

Some of the Trump haters say we should just let the whole thing burn down and that Trump is controlled opposition delaying the inevitable and preferred civil war. These are people that won't give up their Netflix, won't give up whatever outlet Game of Thrones is on and won't even put down their IPhone. It's absurd.

It's always about horrible vs less horrible.

Charles Pewitt , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:23 pm GMT
Trump is a fat-assed, baby boomer politician whore for the evil and immoral globalizer treasonites in the JEW/WASP ruling class of the American Empire.

Trump has been screaming like a three dollar whore politician about flooding the USA with mass legal immigration "in the largest numbers ever."

Trump has refused to deport the upwards of 30 million illegal alien invaders in the USA.

Trump has kept the American Empire garrisons and bases forward deployed and stuck in muck hole regions of the globe.

Trump has put the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the American Empire.

Trump is a bought and paid for three dollar whore politician for Jew billionaires Shelly Adelson and Paul Singer and Bernie Marcus and other billionaire bastards.

Trump has kept his fat mouth shut about the Fed-created and monetary policy induced asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate. In 2016, fat ass baby boomer bastard Trumpy was calling these same damn asset bubbles nothing but "fat, ugly bubbles." In 2016 Trump said "we are in a big, fat, ugly bubble" and the asset bubbles in stocks, bonds and real estate are only bigger and uglier and fatter now.

I hereby challenge baby boomer fat ass Trumpy -- and Teddy Cruz, Marco Rubio, Dan Crenshaw, Tom Cotton and any other GOP puke who wants to show up -- to a debate on mass legal immigration and mass illegal immigration, tax policy, trade policy, foreign policy, monetary policy, American national identity, multicultural mayhem, White Genocide and any other damn thing.

Vote for CHARLES PEWITT as a Write-In candidate for president in New Hampshire and Nevada and South Carolina and every other state presidential primary.

Charles Pewitt Immigration Pledge:

IMMIGRATION MORATORIUM NOW!

DEPORT ALL ILLEGAL ALIEN INVADERS NOW!

REMOVE THE FOREIGNERS NOW!

REMOVE ALL WHITES OR OTHERS THAT ARE HOSTILE TO THE EUROPEAN CHRISTIAN ANCESTRAL CORE OF THE USA

Ban The Bat Soup Fever People Now!

The Charles Pewitt write-in campaign for president of the USA has called for the immediate implementation of a BAT SOUP FEVER BAN which will quarantine the rest of the world, including Canada and Mexico. All foreigners currently occupying US territory will be immediately removed and they will be put on barges with baloney sandwiches for sustenance on their long voyage back to wherever the Hell they came from. Those who have deliberately shredded their identification -- like Pelosi shredding Trumpy's speech -- shall be put in a baloney sandwich camp in sub-Saharan Africa and kept there indefinitely.

The Charles Pewitt write-in campaign for president has stated numerous times that open borders mass legal immigration and open borders mass illegal immigration brings infectious diseases to the USA and this new fangled BAT SOUP FEVER is just EBOLA with more sniffles and the walking pneumonia and the boogie woogie bat soup fever blues.

The Charles Pewitt ban on the Bat Soup Fever People, plus all the other foreigners for good measure, will bring massive benefits to the American people.

The Charles Pewitt ban on all foreigners in combination with a massive removal of all foreigners in the USA will boost wages, lower housing costs, reduce income inequality, lower class sizes, protect the environment, restore cultural cohesion, give US workers more bargaining power, reduce belly fat, reduce commuting times, provide relief for overwhelmed hospitals and be good for regular Americans and bad for globalizer banker money-grubbing nasty people.

The Charles Pewitt presidency will extinguish all student loan debt and pay back all student loan debt ever paid plus 6 percent interest accrued yearly.

The Pewitt Conjured Loot Portion will grant each American citizen with all blood ancestors born in colonial America or in the USA before 1924 the sum of ten thousand dollars a month -- tax free.

The Pewitt Tax Pledge will abolish the payroll tax and reduce federal income taxes substantially for all Americans making below 300, 000 dollars a year. Billionaires will be declared illegal and they will be financially liquidated and the federal corporate tax rate shall be 80 percent and 100 percent for all corporations that have gone offshore.

God Bless America And Ban The Bat Soup Fever People Now!

Write In CHARLES PEWITT For President On Your Ballot -- God Bless The USA!

WJ , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:24 pm GMT
@MattinLA Clinton /Kaine promised up comprehensive amnesty in the first one hundred days of their administration. Did we get that under Trump?
Turk 152 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Divine Right If the Democrats have Pete steal the nominatin, then you can be sure they want to give Trump the election. I dont think they control Bliombverg, more likely, he controls them so I would call him a wild card. Sanders would win the election, but as you can see in Iowa, the criminals running the DNC, aka Hillary, are a much bigger threat to him then Trump.
RadicalCenter , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:36 pm GMT
@Father O'Hara Proper response would have been a kick in the balls and "you ARE a Fat Jewish dick."
Trinity , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:38 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt And you actually think that guy has a legit shot at winning? And you actually think he will be able to keep all of his promises? The more I learn about what Hitler had to overcome to become Chancellor of Germany, you realize that men like Hitler are rare and only come along once every couple hundreds of years. And Germany wasn't mixed with every kind of brown and yellow race under the Sun either, America is a different animal altogether. I am not sure if even a man like Hitler could turn America around in 2020. It will take A LOT OF WORK TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, odds are unless we do a 180% turn, America is going out with a whimper and sooner rather than later.
RadicalCenter , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm GMT
@alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit Net immigration has definitely NOT been outward. Both legal and illegal migration into the USA are still massive, larger than the outflow from all appearances. The net result, and this is without reference to the race or color or religion of the wave of immigrants:

a more crowded, more polluted, more expensive, less trusting society where tens of millions of people cannot communicate effectively with each other in English and US citizens whose families have been here for generations or even a couple centuries have a harder and harder time finding full-time jobs with decent pay, benefits, and HAHA a pension.

eah , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:42 pm GMT
@Chet Roman After the last 3 years of seditious behavior of lying politicians like Schiff , Nadler and Pelosi and the traitorous schemes of deep state actors like Weismann, Vindman, Sondland and Yovanovitch

(That would be Andrew Weis s mann.)

See JEW COUP: SEDITIOUS JEWS ORCHESTRATING TRUMP IMPEACHMENT LYNCHING

Trump will continue to kiss Jew ass though -- and don't forget: the Democrats are the real anti-Semites.

Z-man , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:50 pm GMT
While I agree with your main point, what are you going to do? Vote for lil' Mike Bloomberg? Mayor Pete? LOL. These clowns are completely controlled. Yes this system has boxed us in but Trump at least gives the illusion of revolt, and he still isn't 100% controlled, only 99%.(Grin) Others will have to pick up the mantle of revolt against the 'Deep State' when he is gone.
For the time being thankfully Tucker Carlson, Rand Paul and other America First types will be pushing Trump to follow his campaign promises, however little he actually does. Because the alternative, Biden, Bloomberg, the mayor Pete & company, is considerably worse.

The main strikes against Trump are 1. His even more fawning than anticipated towards the Zionist beast. But most of that was predictable however regrettable. 2. His acquiescence to the Republi'tard tax cuts which has only benefited the rich. The Republicans lost big in the mid terms because of those cuts but 'lo and behold' Trump was still there. 3. All the other shit-lib policies that Trump ignored or even supported, like increases in 'legal' immigration. That's the fault of his dopey daughter and her weird Zionist/Orthodox Jew husband. With the son-in-law's one sided 'Deal of the Century' falling flat on its face, hopefully this will hasten the moving of said weird son-in-law and dopey daughter back to NYC 'one'. Then hopefully Trump will turn to advice from the likes of Carlson and Paul who will appeal to his inner America First soul.

Meena , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 3:51 pm GMT
@Ragno Thwarting Soros/Hillary remains his major contribution* to American politics: under Trump, the masks on the other side have all ""

How has he exactly ?
Soros and Hillary occupy certain positions . Now they are gone but taken over by some other guys and gals .
It's a job . New employees still haven't been awarded the best employee award yet . That will come at the retirement for the next set of people to carry on with the same anonymity.

We all know PNAC. How many will bother to know what the new letter head organizations the same crazy bunch are heading now with new faces ?

Trinity , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:03 pm GMT
Whether it is the openly anti-White demshevik candidate who wins or Trump, it is a win-win for the Jew. And our demshevik buddies have already hinted at locking up any White who might have the temerity to whine about his or her countries being flooded with browns, yellows and other hues of hostile third world biological weapons of mass destruction or God any White who blasphemes the self avowed "masters of the universe" who control America's media, much of our judicial system, and apparently own all of our serious candidates for POTUS should face imprisonment according to some of these certifiable cuckold nutjobs. As I commented earlier, Hitler wasn't some mentally disturbed madman who munched on carpet when enraged, he was a brilliant and brave man, but even Hitler didn't have to overcome the odds that anyone elected as the American President has to overcome. The Jewish dream of making America a polyglot of every kind of race under the sun with more colors than a rainbow has become true. Hitler only had the Jew to worry about for the most part, while the American President has to tackle not only Jewish power and influence, he has a country full of Chinese, Arabs, East Indians, Africans, Hispanics of all sorts, just your common everyday African American with a chip on his shoulder the size of a boulder, and all other assorted groups of malcontents demanding handouts while at the same time cursing our nation and thinking Whitey owes them something for nothing.
Agent76 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:05 pm GMT
Slavery is alive and well for those who cannot thier chains.

Jul 22, 2009 Speaker Pelosi on Restoring Pay-As-You-Go Budget

Discipline Today, the House passed the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act 2009 (HR 2920) by a vote of 265-166.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/jmiU_C2UEdM?feature=oembed

Jan 20, 2017 Here's how much debt the US government added under President Obama

Based on quarterly data released by the US Treasury, the debt at the end of 2008 – just before Obama took office – stood at roughly $10,699,805,000,000. As of the third quarter of 2016, the most recent data available, the debt as Obama is set to leave office stood at $19,573,445,000,000.

https://amp.businessinsider.com/national-debt-deficit-added-under-president-barack-obama-2017-1

Charles Pewitt , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:07 pm GMT
@Trinity The USA will thrive like never before after doing two simple things:

3 measly little hikes to the federal funds rate and remove all the foreigners and the spawn of the foreigners.

The Pewitt presidential administration shall order the privately-controlled Federal Reserve Bank to raise the federal funds rate from the current level below 2 percent to 6 percent and then to 10 percent and then to 20 percent. This whole series of asset bubbles the last 40 years can be traced back to 1981 when the federal funds rate was 20 percent. Deliberate asset bubble implosions now!

Implode the asset bubbles and financially liquidate the greedy White nation wreckers born before 1965.

Young White Core Americans must be free of the DEBT BOMB MILLSTONE destroying their future and their country.

The Pewitt presidential administration shall order the Fed to begin contracting the Fed's balance sheet and there will be a complete halt to dollar swaps and liquidity injections and all the other monetary extremism crud that keeps the asset bubbles in stocks and bonds and real estate inflated.

The Pewitt presidential administration shall order the immediate implementation of an immigration moratorium and will begin the immediate deportation of all 30 million illegal alien invaders in the USA. All foreigners and their spawn shall be immediately removed from the USA and the members of the Deportation Force that puts this policy into action will get 1 million dollars a year for their patriotic efforts.

Politics in the USA Distilled For My Fellow Americans:

DEBT and DEMOGRAPHY

Monetary Policy

Immigration Policy

The USA must get back to a population of 220 million like it was in 1978.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt The zionist owned FED must be abolished, this is the key to the zionist control of America and Americans.
anon_382 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:27 pm GMT
@alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

means less when they calmly retort, "I was leaving anyway"

OMG please do

Turk 152 , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 4:40 pm GMT
After Iowa, i'm unclear why anyone still thinks the DNC is interested in making any sort of meaningful change to our system towards socialism; rest assured they are not. They blatantly committed election fraud to support the mayor from the CIA, Pete. If he fails, they will put their full support behind Bloomberg, the very definition of a right wing candidate. The threat to our ruling class is not Trump, its Sanders.

Trump supports Israel, billionaires, Big Corporations, wars for Oil, Wall Street and so will the DNC candidates Pete and Bloomberg. The rest are just wedge issues to give the masses the illusion of choice.

Current Commenter

[Feb 08, 2020] The 2020 Democratic Candidates and Foreign Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Sanders and Warren have set themselves apart from the field in having the most credible foreign policy visions and the strongest commitments to bringing our many unnecessary wars to an end. Biden remains wedded to too many outdated and unworkable policies, and just on foreign policy alone Bloomberg is running in the wrong party's primary. Buttigieg is the least formally qualified top presidential candidate on the Democratic side, and his inability or unwillingness to answer most of these questions shows that. If the moderators bother to ask them about foreign policy, the candidates will have another opportunity to address these issues in the debate tonight, and Buttigieg won't be able to get away with saying nothing. ..."
Feb 08, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Most of the candidates' responses were predictable. Biden's North Korea policy would be every bit as unrealistic as Trump's, but he shows even less willingness to negotiate. Bloomberg's positions were unsurprisingly the most hawkish of the bunch. If there was an option for using force, he was for it. All of the candidates were unfortunately in agreement with defining Russia as an enemy.

One of the weirder questions asked the candidates whether they would consider using force to "preempt" a nuclear or missile test by either Iran or North Korea. Only Yang and Warren said no. It isn't clear how many of them were serious and how many were just making fun of the absurdity of the question, but it is disturbing that most of the candidates asked about this would entertain taking military action against another country because of a test. Maybe it doesn't need to be said because it is so obvious, but using force to stop a nuclear or missile test is not "preemption" in any sense of the term. A test is not an attack to be preempted, and taking military action to prevent a test would be nothing less than an unprovoked, illegal act of aggression. To her credit, Warren recognizes how dangerous such an attack would be:

No. Using force against a nuclear power or high-risk adversary carries immense risk for broader conflict. Using force when not necessary can be dangerously counterproductive. Again, I will only use force if there is a vital national security interest at risk, a strategy with clear and achievable objectives, and an understanding and acceptance of the long-term costs.

In general, Warren's answers were the most substantive and careful. She not only answered the questions that were put to her, but she gave some explanation of why she took that position and why it was the appropriate thing to do. She correctly rejected Trump's regime change policy in Venezuela, and acknowledged that "Trump's reckless actions have only further worsened the suffering of the Venezuelan people." On North Korea, she remained open to continuing direct talks with Kim Jong-un, but qualified that by saying, "I would be willing to meet with Kim if it advances substantive negotiations, but not as a vanity project." Her negotiating position was similarly reasonable: "A pragmatic approach to diplomacy requires give and take on both sides, not demands that one side unilaterally disarm first." Both Warren and Sanders correctly criticized Trump for the illegal assassination of Soleimani, and they recognized that the president's escalation had put Americans at greater risk. When asked about taking military action against Iran, Warren rejected the idea of a war with Iran and said the following:

I want to end America's wars in the Middle East, not start a new one with Iran. The litmus test I will use for any military action against Iran is the same that I will use as I consider any military action anywhere in the world. I will not send our troops into harm's way unless there is a vital national security interest at risk, a strategy with clear and achievable objectives, and an understanding and acceptance of the long-term costs. We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily.

The most revealing set of responses came from Pete Buttigieg in that he gave very few responses and had remarkably little to say about his plans. He failed to answer most of the questions he was asked. Of the 36 individual questions included in the 11 sections, he answered only 17 by my count, and many of those were recycled clips from previous speeches, interviews, and debate statements. Despite leaning heavily on his military service in Afghanistan in his campaigning, he failed to answer all of the questions asked about Afghanistan and the U.S. war there. Buttigieg's failure to respond to most of these questions underscores the former mayor's lack of foreign policy experience and knowledge, and it shows that after almost a year his campaign still doesn't have their foreign policy worked out.

Sanders and Warren have set themselves apart from the field in having the most credible foreign policy visions and the strongest commitments to bringing our many unnecessary wars to an end. Biden remains wedded to too many outdated and unworkable policies, and just on foreign policy alone Bloomberg is running in the wrong party's primary. Buttigieg is the least formally qualified top presidential candidate on the Democratic side, and his inability or unwillingness to answer most of these questions shows that. If the moderators bother to ask them about foreign policy, the candidates will have another opportunity to address these issues in the debate tonight, and Buttigieg won't be able to get away with saying nothing.


MPC a day ago

I don't trust Warren on this, her flimsiness and pandering and propensity to outright lie remind me too much of Romney (who speak of the devil got a backbone for once this week!).

Bernie is definitely the best bet for a softer foreign policy.

=marco01= MPC a day ago
Warren is one of the most honest politicians. Check her Politifact file, she does far better than even Bernie. Of course neither compares to Trump, his Politifact file is a Pants on Fire dumpster fire.

The one thing, and it's only one thing, that causes you to say this is the controversy over her ancestry. But I don't believe she lied, she was raised with the family lore that she had native ancestry and she believed that family lore.

Tom Riddle =marco01= 21 hours ago
If I had a dollar for every white midwesterner who told me that they had Native ancenstry, I wouldn't be typing comments on disqus, that's for sure. My personal internet comment typer would be doing the typing for me as I dictated from my throne of mammon.
=marco01= Tom Riddle 16 hours ago
Sure, but that was her family lore. Apparently it was spoken a lot of when she was growing up.

Her DNA test puts her Native ancestor from around the time of the Revolution, it's easy to see how that could start a family legend.

Tom Riddle =marco01= 14 hours ago
Im not even really disagreeing. Even if she was wrong, I find it wild that these attacks on her are playing well in Trumpville, since white midwesterners (my people) falsely claiming Native heritage is a most common genre.
=marco01= Tom Riddle 3 hours ago
As we've seen with their support of Trump, conservatives don't seem to have much of a problem with hypocrisy.

They'll gleefully attack someone for something they are even more guilty of.

cka2nd 20 hours ago • edited
I wonder why Gabbard failed to respond to the survey (as per a note on the bottom of the Times' page). A missed chance on her part.
Wally 8 hours ago
This is why I'm voting for Warren in my states primary next month. I just hope she's still in the race!
cka2nd Wally 5 hours ago
My guess is that after South Carolina it will be Sanders vs. Bloomberg vs. one of the other more mainstream Dems, either Mayor Pete, Warren (she's been tacking to the mainstream, right on economics and "left" on wokeness) or Biden, in that order. A fall-off in funding will knock everyone else out of the race (or a failure to move the voting needle if Steyer is self-funding).

[Feb 08, 2020] Are the Bells Tolling for Amy, Liz Joe by Pat Buchanan

A Rockefeller and a Rothschild?
Feb 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

... Biden's fundraising has fallen off, and it is unlikely major donors are going to send cash to a candidate who just ran fourth in Iowa and could run fourth or fifth in New Hampshire.

...Klobuchar is now in the second tier in New Hampshire, behind Sanders and Buttigieg, but right alongside Biden and Warren. A third-, fourth- or fifth-place finish would be near-fatal for them all.

...As for Warren, in her battle with Sanders to emerge as the champion of the progressive wing of the party, her third-place finish in Iowa, and her expected third-place finish in New Hampshire, at best, would seem to settle that issue for this election.


Buck Ransom , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 1:38 am GMT

Uncle Joe's presidential road show may be a bore and a bust, but the upcoming expose of Biden & Son International, Inc. should provide a dumpster-load of drama and comedy all summer long. I wonder how many special guest appearances there will be by the Kerrys, the Clintons, the Obamas and other nice folks Joe knows from DC.
Prester John , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 5:29 pm GMT
@Buck Ransom That reminds me. Obama was Biden's putative "boss" during the Ukrainian transaction. What did he know and when did he know it?
follyofwar , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 5:46 pm GMT
@anon IMHO, Bloomberg is ... just one year younger than Bernie, so this is his final rodeo too.

...After the Iowa deep state operation, (it was NOT incompetence), it is clear that the PTB will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, to ensure that Socialist Sanders is not the nominee. Remember, he already has a heart condition. Just sayin'.

The very part-time mayor of South Bend will soon be yesterday's news after South Carolina. Unlike suburban whites, blacks have too much common sense to vote for a homosexual.

Servant of Gla'aki , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT
@BingoBoingo

Mayor Pete's their attempt to groom a new one young, but he seems just as unelectable.

Blacks, men in particular, simply won't vote for Pete Buttigieg. They'll stay home in droves, and more than a few will vote for Trump.

If Buttigieg is the nominee, Election night will look like a Republican landslide straight out of the 1980s.

anon [833] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 7, 2020 at 9:22 pm GMT
@follyofwar If it ends up Bloomberg vs Trump what we've got in this country will have transmogrified further from an oligarchy to a full blown aristocracy–certainly a plutocracy–where only billionaires can afford to play king. That race won't be Dems vs GOPers, as both gentlemen have posed as one before switching to the other for simple expedience. Who will be the veep candidates? A Rockefeller and a Rothschild?
KenH , says: Show Comment February 8, 2020 at 12:31 pm GMT
Bootyjudge is just a short, gay and white version of Obama. But he typifies a government bureaucrat in that he's politically left wing, sexually deviant and hates normal, everyday Americans especially if their skin is white.

The DNC knows that if Biden were to win the nomination he'll commit so many gaffes, like burbling about corn pop, his hairy legs and enjoying kids sitting on his lap, among other things, that Trump would have a field day on Twitter and easily win a second term.

So it's shaping up to be a contest between orange Jebulus vs. anal Pete. By the time the presidential debates arrive both candidates will be vowing to crush white nationalism and improve the lives of black and brown people. White people need not apply.

Nevertheless, Trump's cult like almost all white base will cheer madly for a man who claims to represent them in words only, but almost never in deeds.

Zach , says: Show Comment Next New Comment February 8, 2020 at 7:57 pm GMT
@Adrian E. Everyone seems to forget that Sanders will be 79 in 2021...

[Feb 08, 2020] Beyond Ukraine America's Coming (Losing) Battle For Eurasia

Feb 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Beyond Ukraine: America's Coming (Losing) Battle For Eurasia by Tyler Durden Sat, 02/08/2020 - 00:05 0 SHARES Authored by US Army Major Danny Sjursen (ret.) via AntiWar.com,

Academic historians reject anything smacking of inevitably . Instead they emphasize the contingency of events as manifested through the inherent agency of human beings and the countless decisions they make. On the merits, such scholars are basically correct. That said, there was something – if not inevitable – highly probable, almost (forgive me) deterministic about the two cataclysmic world wars of the 20th century. Both, in retrospect, were driven, in large part, by collective – particularly Western – nations' adherence to a series of geopolitical philosophies.

The first war – which killed perhaps nine million soldiers in the sodden trench lines (among other long forgotten places) of Europe – began, in part, due to the continental, and especially maritime, competition between Imperial Great Britain, and a new, rising, and highly populous, land power, Imperial Germany. Both had pretensions to global leadership; Britain's old and long-standing, Germany's recent and aspirational – tinged with a sense of long-denied deservedness. Political and military leaders on both sides – along with other European (and the Japanese) nations – then pledged philosophical fealty to the theories of an American Navy man, Alfred Thayer Mahan. To simplify, Mahan's core postulation – published from a series of lectures as The Influence of Sea Power Upon History – was that geopolitical power in the next (20th) century would be inherently maritime. The countries that maintained large, modern navies, held strategic coaling stations, and expanded their coastal, formal empires, would dominate trade, develop the strongest economies, and, hence, were apt to global paramountcy. Conversely, traditional land power – mass armies prepared to march across vast land masses – would become increasingly irrelevant.

Mahan's inherently flawed, or at least exaggerated, conclusions – and his own clear institutional (U.S. Navy) bias – aside, key players in two of the major powers of Europe seemed to buy the philosophy hook-line-and-sinker. So, when Wilhelmine Germany took the strategic decision to rapidly expand its own colonial fiefdoms (before the last patches of brown-people-inhabited land were swallowed up) and, thereby necessarily embarked on a crash naval buildup to challenge the British Empire's maritime supremacy, the stage was set for a massive war. And, with most major European rivals – hopelessly hypnotized by nationalism – locked in a wildly byzantine, bipolar alliance system, all that was needed to turn the conflict global was a spark: enter the assassin Gavrilo Princip, a pistol, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and it was game on .

The Second World War – which caused between 50-60 million deaths – was, of course, an outgrowth of the first. It's causes were multifaceted and complicated. Nonetheless, particularly in its European theater, it, too, was driven by a geopolitical theorist and his hypotheses. This time the culprit was a Briton, Halford John Mackinder. In contrast with Mahan, Mackinder postulated a land-based, continental power theory. As such, he argued that the "pivot" of global preeminence lay in the control of Eurasia – the "World Island" – specifically Central Asia and Eastern Europe. These resource rich lands held veritable buried treasure for the hegemon, and, since they lay on historical trade routes, were strategically positioned.

Should an emergent, ambitious, and increasingly populated, power – say, Nazi Germany – need additional territory (what Hitler called " Lebensraum ") for its race, and resources (especially oil) for its budding war machine, then it needed to seize the strategic "heartland" of the World Island. In practice, that meant the Nazis theoretically should, and did, shift their gaze (and planned invasion) from their outmoded Mahanian rival across the English Channel, eastward to the Ukraine, Caucasus (with its ample oil reserves), and Central Asia. Seeing as all three regions were then – and to lesser extent, still – dominated by Russia, the then Soviet Union, the unprecedentedly bloody existential war on Europe's Eastern Front appears ever more certain and explainable.

Germany lost both those wars: the first badly, the second, disastrously. Then, in a sense, the proceeding 45-year Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union – the only two big winners in the Second World War – may be seen as an extension or sequel to Mackinder-driven rivalry. The problem is that after the end of – at least the first – Cold War, Western, especially American, strategists severely miscalculated . In their misguided triumphalism, US geopolitical theorists both provoked a weak (but not forever so) Russia by expanding the NATO alliance far eastward, but posited premature (and naive) theories that assumed global finance, free (American-skewed) trade, and digital dominance were all that mattered in a "Post" Cold War world.

No one better defined this magical thinking more than the still – after having been wrong about just about every US foreign policy decision of the last two decades – prominent New York Times columnist , Thomas Friedman. In article after article, and books with such catchy titles as The World is Flat , and The Lexus and the Olive Tree , Friedman argued, essentially, that old realist geopolitics were dead, and all that really mattered for US hegemony was the proliferation of McDonald's franchises worldwide.

Friedman was wrong; he always is (Exhibit A: the 2003 Iraq War). Today, with a surprisingly – at least with his prominent base – popular president, Donald J. Trump, impeached in the House and just acquitted by the Senate for alleged crimes misleadingly summed up as "Ukraine-gate," a look at the real issues at hand in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, demonstrate that, for better or (probably) worse, the ghost of Mackinder still haunts the scene. For today, I'd argue, the proxy battle over Ukraine between the U.S. and its allied-coup-empowered government – which includes some neo-nazi political and military elements – and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east, reflects a return to the battle for Eurasian resource and geographic predominance.

Neither Russia nor the United States is wholly innocent in fueling and escalating the ongoing Ukrainian Civil War. The difference is, that in post-Russiagate farce, chronically (especially among mainstream Democrat) alleged Russia-threat-obsessed America, reports of Moscow's ostensible guilt literally saturate the media space. The reporting from Washington? Not so much.

The truth is that a generation of prominent "liberal" American, born-again Russia-hawks – Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, the whole DNC apparatus , and the MSNBC corporate media crowd – wielded State Department, NGO, and economic pressure to help catalyze a pro-Western coup in Ukraine during and after 2014. Their opportunism seemed, to them, simple, and relatively cost-free, at the time, but has turned implacably messy in the ensuing years.

In the process, the Democrats haven't done themselves any political favors, further sullying what's left of their reputation by – in some cases – colluding with Ukrainians to undermine key Trump officials; and consorting with nefarious far-right nationalist local bigots (who may have conspired to kill protesters in the Maidan "massacre," as a means to instigate further Western support for the coup). What's more, while much of the conspiratorial Trump-team spin on direct, or illegal, Biden family criminality has proven false, neither Joe nor son Hunter, are exactly "clean." The Democratic establishment, Biden specifically, may, according to an excellent recent Guardian editorial , have a serious "corruption problem" – no least of which involves explaining exactly why a then sitting vice president's son, who had no serious diplomatic or energy sector experience, was paid $50,000 a month to serve on the board of a Ukrainian gas company .

Fear not, the "Never-Trump" Republicans, and establishment Democrats seemingly intent on drumming up a new – presumably politically profitable – Cold War have already explanation. They've dug up the long ago discredited, but still publicly palatable, justification that the US must be prepared to fight Russia "over there," before it has no choice but to battle them "over here" (though its long been unclear where "here" is , or how , exactly, that fantasy comes to pass). First, there's the distance factor: though several thousands of miles away from the East Coast of North America, Ukraine is in Russia's near-abroad. After all, it was long – across many different generational political/imperial structures – part of the Soviet Union or other Russian empires. A large subsection of the populace, especially in the East, speaks, and considers itself, in part, culturally, Russian.

Furthermore, the Russian threat, in 2020, is highly exaggerated. Putin is not Stalin. The Russian Federation is not the Soviet Union; and, hell, even the Soviet (non-nuclear) military threat and geopolitical ambitions were embellished throughout Cold War "Classic." A simple comparative " tale-of-the-tape " illustrates as much. Economically and demographically, Russia is demonstrably an empirically declining power – its economy, in fact, about the size of Spain's.

Nor is the defense of an imposed, pro-Western, Ukrainian proxy state a vital American national security interest worth bleeding, or risking nuclear war, over. As MIT's Barry Posen has argued , "Vital interests affect the safety, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and power position of the United States," and, "If, in the worst case, all Ukraine were to 'fall' to Russia, it would have little impact on the security of the United States." Furthermore, as retired US Army colonel, and president of the restraint-based Quincy Institute, Andrew Bacevich, has advised , the best policy, if discomfiting, is to "tacitly acknowledge[e] the existence of a Russian sphere of influence." After all, Washington would expect, actually demand, the same acquiescence of Moscow in Mexico, Canada, or, for that matter, the entire Americas.

Unfortunately, no such restrained prudence is likely, so long as the bipartisan American national security state continues to subscribe to some vague version of the Mackinder theory. Quietly, except among wonky regional experts and investigative reporters on the scene, the US has, before, but especially since the "opportunity" of the 9/11 attacks, entered full-tilt into a competition with Russia and China for physical, economic, and resource dominance from Central Asia to the borderlands of Eastern Europe. That's why, as a student at the Army's Command and General Staff College in 2016-17, all us officers focused almost exclusively on planning fictitious, but highly realistic, combat missions in the Caucasus region. It also partly explains why the US military, after 18+ years, remains ensconced in potentially $3 trillion resource-rich Afghanistan, which, not coincidentally, is America's one serious physical foothold in land-locked Central Asia.

Anecdotally, but instructively, I remember well my four brief stops at the once ubiquitous US Air Force way-station into Afghanistan – Manas Airbase – in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Off-base "liberty" – even for permanent party airmen – was rare, in part, because the Russian military had a mirror base just across the city. What's more, the previous, earlier stopover spot for Afghanistan – Uzbekistan – kicked out the US military in 2005, in part, due to Russian political and economic pressure to do so.

Central Asia and East Europe are also contested spaces regarding the control of competing – Western vs. Russian vs. Chinese – oil and natural gas pipeline routes and trade corridors. Remember, that China's massive " One Belt – One Road " infrastructure investment program is mostly self-serving, if sometimes mutually beneficial . The plan means to link Chinese manufacturing to the vast consumerist European market mainly through transportation, pipeline, diplomatic, and military connections running through where? You guessed it: Central Asia, the Caucasus, and on through Eastern Europe.

Like it or not, America isn't poised to win this battle, and its feeble efforts to do so in these remarkably distant locales smacks of global hegemonic ambitions and foolhardy, mostly risk, nearly no reward, behavior. Russia has a solid army in close proximity, a hefty nuclear arsenal, as well as physical and historical connections to the Eurasian Heartland; China has an even better, more balanced, military, enough nukes, and boasts a far more powerful, spendthrift-capable, economy. As for the US, though still militarily and (for now) economically powerful, it lacks proximity, faces difficult logistical / expeditionary challenges, and has lost much legitimacy and squandered oodles of good will with the regional countries being vied for. Odds are, that while war may not be inevitable, Washington's weak hand and probable failure, nearly is.

Let us table, for the purposes of this article, questions regarding any environmental effects of the great powers' quest for, extraction, and use of many of these regional resources. My central points are two-fold:

As the U.S. enters an increasingly bipolar phase of world affairs, powerful national security leaders fear its diminishing power. Washington's is, like it or not, an empire in decline; and, as we know from history, such entities behave badly on the downslope of hegemony. Call me cynical, but I'm apt to believe that the United States, as perhaps the most powerful imperial body of all time, is apt, and set, to act poorest of all.

The proxy fight in Ukraine, battle for Central Asia in general – to say nothing of related American aggression and provocations in Iran and the Persian Gulf – could be the World War III catalyst that the Evangelical militarist nuts, Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, unwilling to wait on Jesus Christ's eschatological timeline, have long waited for . These characters seemingly possess the heretical temerity to believe man – white American men, to be exact – can and should incite or stimulate Armageddon and the Rapture.

If they're proved "right" or have their way – and the Mikes just might – then nuclear cataclysm will have defied the Vegas odds and beat the house on the expected human extinction timeline. Only contra to the bloody prophecy set forth in the New Testament book of Revelations, it won't be Jesus wielding his vengeful sword on the back of a white horse, but – tragic and absurdly – the perfect Antichrist stooge, pressing the red button, who does the apocalyptic deed .

* * *

Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and regular contributor to Antiwar.com . His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . His forthcoming book, Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War , is available for preorder on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet . Check out his professional website for contact info, scheduling speeches, and/or access to the full corpus of his writing and media appearances.


Sparkey , 1 hour ago link

"it won't be Jesus wielding his vengeful sword on the back of a white horse, but – tragic and absurdly – the perfect Antichrist stooge, pressing the red button, who does the apocalyptic deed .'

The World is full of people who would like to be the one who pushes that button, no matter what happens!

There is an hint of Samson Option, which basically says; If I can't have it all, then none shall have anything! Don't blame anyone it is just the nature of man, probably both sides believe in this! Who will wiling submit to slavery?

PKKA , 2 hours ago link

Europe will become free when the last armed American occupier leaves the European continent. This axiom is also valid for Japan, South Korea and other countries.

Revolution_starts_now , 2 hours ago link

Ukraine only matters if you are playing a game of "risk" for world domination.

messystateofaffairs , 2 hours ago link

Space and the moon is the latest theory for how to acheive empire and defend yourself from empire.

Well defended soverignty that is helpful and useful to other sovereign trading partners in a diverse mutipolar world of sovereigns, not so much as yet. Switzerland is kind of that and Russia looks like they're working on it.

China aspires to empire and America aspires not to lose theirs and is taking instructions from Israel on how to do that.

Melchizedek gave Abraham these seven laws of how to get along. Empire ambitious nations have trouble with numbers 3, 4 and 5.

93:4.7 (1017.9) 1. You shall not serve any God but the Most High Creator of heaven and earth.

93:4.8 (1017.10) 2. You shall not doubt that faith is the only requirement for eternal salvation.

93:4.9 (1017.11) 3. You shall not bear false witness.

93:4.10 (1017.12) 4. You shall not kill.

93:4.11 (1017.13) 5. You shall not steal.

93:4.12 (1018.1) 6. You shall not commit adultery.

93:4.13 (1018.2) 7. You shall not show disrespect for your parents and elders.

PKKA , 1 hour ago link

It depends on which god to serve. They certainly do not serve Christ the Savior. By their fruits you will recognize them. Mtf. 7:20.

squid , 2 hours ago link

Why are career military officers so myopic?

Eurasia is NONE of America's business, full stop, period, paragraph finish.

Done.

It has two oceans separating itself from same.

It's NONE of America's business. end.

squid

SittingDuck2 , 1 hour ago link

Because they are totally corrupt.

They are only interested in Money

theprofromdover , 2 hours ago link

When China and Russia abandon the dollar, all that's left for the Empire is Canada and South America, and they've never been able to stop themselves making a mess of everywhere south of the fence.

We're at the end-game now.

ArgentDawn , 2 hours ago link

What if they win?

Chief Joesph , 2 hours ago link

Pretty good article and summation of what America has become and what to expect. America has sure lost a lot of ground since the 1990's. It's really hard to see America winning at anything these days.

Justin Case , 2 hours ago link

When alternatives become available, the *** kissing ends. It's getting late in the bankruptcy

Scipio Africanuz , 3 hours ago link

Now Major, let's explore your wonderful article..

When the "strategists" were penning their hegemonic theories, they woefully failed to peruse history properly, especially that of human nature put on existential defense..

Either they were not human, or stunted development humans for were they properly developed humans, they'd have understood eventual reaction to unprovoked aggression..

Such responses often tend to be totally destructive, especially after long suffering from aggression..

Now, regarding the BRI/OBOR, we've been saying to the West, if they think it's not good enough, what inputs, devoid of coercion, rapine, aggression, or deceit, they'd suggest to improve it..

And it was crickets for a while, until Germany woke up, and decided with Europe that they'd contribute trade diplomacy..

We're still waiting for that of America under the current Admin, and all we observe is bullying, coercion, and reality denial..

Until a Bernard Sanders seized the initiative, that with a continously finessed Green New Deal, the United States of America will lead in the environmental aspect of global trade and commerce, which the EU has also committed to doing as well..

So then Major, perhaps the time has finally arrived for America to eschew aggression and imperialism, in favor of the erstwhile business of America.. Trade and Commerce..

So for those who desire swamp drained, and a fresh start for America, you might wanna go chat with, and support Bernard Sanders, the future, and Us..

Then dump the swamp critters and their current admin enabler..

But as in all things, we can only show you the way.. Traveling on it however, is your sovereign prerogative..

Good luck!...

Falcon49 , 3 hours ago link

The author still tends to think that it is all because of missteps, mistakes, ignorance, incompetence, stupidity....

If you step back from the fray.....and don't get caught up in red/blue team nonsense, it becomes apparent that there is a theme/strategy that is being played out. It appears to be conducted in evolutionary phases with Wars allowing larger and more overt advances in their agenda. Simply put order out of chaos.

We are now about to be manipulated into another major evolutionary phase to advance the globalist agenda. All the conditions are set for their next major order out of chaos...scheme. It is pretty obvious that Nationalism/Populism will be the scapegoat for the cause of the chaos to come. The US will take center stage as an example that you cannot trust a single country (uni-polar world) not to abuse its power....and history has shown a multi-polar situation leads to major wars...creating chaos around the world.

Their answer will be global governance and their dream of a global feudalistic utopia will be well on its way to being realized. Hold on, we are about to enter a global "great leap forward"...

[Feb 07, 2020] It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

Feb 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ian2 , Feb 6 2020 20:02 utc | 65

It should be clear on what the fight is really about in the US. It's about stopping the rise of socialism. Regardless of party affiliation, the elites know what the populace wants and are desperately trying to stop it. I refuse to accept that the Democrats have no idea what they're doing.

I honestly can't see Sanders getting the nomination with all the corruption openly being displayed. I would be pleasantly surprised if Sanders did manage to get it, but he still have to deal with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE (EC). The Electors have the final say. Yes, one can point out that some States have laws forcing Electors to vote what the populace wants, but that is being challenged in court. The debate on whether such laws are unconstitutional or not, remains to be seen. It's too late now to deal with the EC for this election, but people need to be more active in politics at the State level as that's where Electors are (s)elected.

IF Sanders is genuine then he should prepare to run as an independent just to get the EC attention.

ben , Feb 6 2020 22:01 utc | 79

RR @ 14;
Everything in the U$A today, is driven by the unofficial Party of $, and it's reach transcends both Dems & repubs. It's cadre is the majority of the D.C. "rule makers", so we get what they want, not what "we the people" want or need.

They own the banks, MSM media, and even our voting systems.

IMO, to assume one party is to blame for conditions in the U$A is a bit naive.

Question is, can anything the masses do, change the system? Or is rank and file America just along for the ride?

I'm assuming us peons will get what the party of $ wants this November also.

P.S. If any blame is given, it needs to go to the American public, because " you get the kind of Gov. you deserve" through your inactions...

It's a lot like living, death is certain, but until that occurs, I'll move forward trying to mitigate current paradigms.

[Feb 04, 2020] The Democrats have embraced identity politics which will destroy any chance of electoral success in my opinion

Feb 04, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Furthermore, first generation immigrants don't want to replicate their culture, they want the American dream. Their grandchildren might want to "identify" as hispanic, etc., but not their parents or grandparents. Identity politics only plays in the white middle classes.

Posted by: walrus | 02 February 2020 at 04:57 PM

[Feb 01, 2020] Quotes of former and current neoliberals suggest that globalization is an essential part of neoliberal doctrine

Notable quotes:
"... In this sense the current backlash is a sign of collapse of this ideology ..."
Feb 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

In this sense the current backlash is a sign of collapse of this ideology

General Titus , 22 minutes ago link

"The affirmative task we have now is to actually create a new world order."

-- Vice President Joe Biden, April 5, 2013

"Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective -- a new world order -- can emerge."

-- President George H. W. Bush, September 11, 1990

"We saw deterioration where there should have been positive movement toward a new world order."

-- Mikhail Gorbachev, October 19, 2011

"I think that his [Obama's] task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period, when really a 'new world order' can be created. It's a great opportunity."

-- Henry Kissinger, January 5, 2009

https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/politics/item/15036-joe-biden-on-creating-a-new-world-order

RoboFascist 1st , 1 hour ago link

Remember it was the British that basically established political Zionism as a state back in Palestine.

It was Trump that declared Jerusalem as the 'eternal capital' of anti-Christ Judaism.

Boris Johnson is a 'passionate Zionist' by his own proclamation.

This is about a realignment of Zionist interest in the English speaking world.

The EU wasn't going to play ball on the terms of American (and British) Zionism.

The English (KJV) world of eschatology demands a pseudo-Christianity to bow down to the interests of anti-Christ Jewish nationalism. (It is why the U.S. Senate has passed legislation making it illegal to criticize 'Israel' as 'anti-Semitic')

American evangelicals are being misrepresented by heretics like John Hagee and a pseudo-Christianity that cares not for Jesus Christ at all but rather maintains a focus only on 'Israel'. A dual covenant theology mixed with heresies galore served up in a controlled media that doesn't allow for the recognition of Christianity as the real Israel against a history of the destruction of ancient Israel because of their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

The New Testament Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen is Jesus foretelling and giving clear reason for the destruction of anti-Christ Judaism in 70 AD.

The heresies of John Darby and Cyrus Scofield (again nearly exclusively in English) have created everything from British Israelism to fear and anxiety hustling crapola such as Hal Lindsey and The Late Great Planet Earth end of the world heresies.

On the basis of Christian heresy has emerged anti-Christ political Zionism and its vast adherents in the English speaking world now realigning.

[Feb 01, 2020] Trump is just another in a long line of big-mouthed, self-important scam artists always, was, and always will be

Far right is now against Trump. Interesting...
Feb 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 1:37 pm GMT

So they bump off Trump. So what?

Trump was never going to "drain the swamp". I knew this back in 2015 when he started to campaign: http://onebornfree-mythbusters.blogspot.com/2015/08/do-you-suffer-from-dictator-syndrome.html

When/where did he ever talk about reducing the Federal government to its original constitutional functions? Never.

When/where did he ever talk about re-enforcing the Bill of Rights on the Feds? Never.

When/where did he ever talk about getting rid of the income tax and the IRS? Never.

When/where did he ever talk about getting rid of the FBI, the CIA, the Federal Reserve, the NSA, the FDA, the CDC, the EPA [all unconstitutional] etc.etc. etc. ad infinitum? Never, that's when.

He's just another in a long line of big-mouthed, self-important scam artists – always, was, and always will be.

I feel sorry for the naive individuals who were fooled, and those who continue to be fooled. Maybe at least some of them have now learned a valuable lesson.

Regards, onebornfree

Bro43rd , says: Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 2:03 pm GMT
@onebornfree
You are correct that orange man was a manchurian candidate. But I still felt good giving the ptb a good poke in the eye.
Tucker , says: Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 2:20 pm GMT
@TG I said over a year ago, around the time this Orange Cuck Master gave that SOTU speech and reversed almost every policy promise he made to his 63 million supporters on his #1 most important issue, i.e., the border wall, deporting illegals, ending DACA on day one, drastically reducing legal immigration – which is even more destructive to the future of the GOP to win any more elections than is illegal immigration, the whole package that got people off their sofas and down to the polls to vote for him – that it was obvious to me that the globalist deep state had finally gotten their hands on some kind of leverage over him and had finally put their dog collar around his Orange lying neck.

Was it related to Jeffrey Epstein? Who knows. I'm sure it is possible, with the way degenerate behavior seems to now run amok within the super rich and elitist circles. Heck, the morals of the entire country have pretty much descended into the sewer these days.

I think we are in the last days of this empire's history. I see no White knight waiting in the wings who will ride to the rescue, and if one did emerge – only half of the country would support them and the other half of totalitarian, sexual and moral degenerates would want to kill him.

What we need is a collapse and breakup of America.

[Feb 01, 2020] Bernie Sanders Real resistance and the steep learning curve

Feb 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

In what is happening right now around the Bernie Sanders camp and the Elizabeth Warren camp, there is an opportunity for these supposed ResistanceTM-people to step up their game significantly.

After all, in this moment, the anti-Berners are certainly stepping up their own game. The problem is that there is a large asymmetry here: it is a lot easier to take someone like Bernie down than it is to build him up, in part because the former can rely on every aspect of the system, from call-out culture and Title IX-type methods to the most nefarious elements of the Deep State, while the latter has to actually confront these elements for a change.

... ... ... 1. What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. These two played a major role in doing that in 2016, and now they're getting the band back together again. Okay, that's no mystery.

The real question is, What are Bernie supporters and those who (one way or another) support the Democrats, going to do about it? When and if Warren and Clinton succeed in taking Bernie down–and of course Biden and the Obamas are onboard for this, as well–will Democrats (and Dem-supporting "leftists," etc.) be so blinded by TDS that they'll just say, "Oh well, we still have to vote for " Warren, Biden, etc.?

I think this runs parallel to what some have said about "letting the CIA help with the impeachment"–it's truly delusional, reactionary stuff. Likewise, people getting in a huff because "Bernie called her a liar on national television." No problem, apparently, that Warren first called Bernie a liar. Even more, no problem that Warren's whole life and career is based on a lie–a lie that, even now, she justifies with bullshit about how she "just loves her family so much." (Of course, with only a very few exceptions, I find the Democratic Party–and the Republican Party–completely unacceptable anyway. They are both steering media for capitalist power and money. However, unlike my leftist friends who presently justify supporting the Democrats, in impeachment and in re-taking the White House, "because they are the lesser evil," I argue that the Democrats are the greater evil, the "best representatives" of the current form of capitalism, that the Republicans are in at least some cases the lesser evil, and that Trump is something different from either one.)

2. Accordingly, I think a Trump/Sanders election would be a very good thing. You may know that I have been writing a long series of articles I have two basic reasons for hoping Sanders can get the nomination and that there could be a Trump/Sanders election: i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder. I really don't think it can happen -- and we're seeing major moves in this effort toward eliminating Bernie just in the week that has passed since I started writing this. However, this does mean that, if Bernie can build (much further) and lead the movement to seriously address these power structures,

ii. Despite what you and many others say and (I feel) are a bit too desperate to think, Sanders does have some things in common with Trump, at least thematically -- and a lot of my arguments in my articles have to do with the importance of these themes being out there, in a way that they never would have been with any other Republican, Hillary Clinton or any of the other current frontrunners besides Sanders, and any of the other media with the very important exceptions of Tucker Carlson, Steve Hilton, and perhaps a couple others on Fox News (perhaps Laura Ingram) -- and this is not only something that the anti-Trumpers absolutely hate, they hate it so much that they can't even think about it.

That is, Trump and Sanders have in common that they 1) profess that they want to do things that improve the lives of ordinary working people, and 2) profess that they want to draw back militarism.

What I emphasize is that these terms would not even be on the table if it weren't for Trump -- and yes, to some extent if it weren't for Bernie, but there is a way in which Bernie can only be out there at all because Trump has put these things on the table.


Rhys Jaggar ,

The thing you are failing to see here is that Trump did nothing particularly special last time: the Deplorables had simply had enough shit over enough years that their bullshitometers were fully sensitised.

So they listened to all the Deep State crap and said: 'Screw You! We're all gonna vote Trump and piss on your friggin' parade!'

They did not think all that deeply, they just were absolutely adamant about what they DID NOT WANT.

And Trump just said: 'I understand!'

The words 'I understand' are dynamite in politics. They are even more dynamite if it is said in a roundabout way, but the meaning is crystal clear to the target audience.

If Sanders wants to win, he has to prove to Main Street America that 'HE UNDERSTANDS!'

He will not win speaking down to them, telling them he knows what is best for them.

They have had two generations of that and are absolutely sick and tired of it.

The way to victory for any US Presidential candidate in 2020 is showing that they understand, they care enough to DO SOMETHING TO HELP and they have the savvy NOT TO GET PUT ON A SPIKE BY THE DEEP STATE!

Seamus Padraig ,

Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder. I really don't think it can happen

I agree. For one thing, Bernie is no Trump; he's just not a fighter. Bernie is weak. They already defrauded him once back in 2016, and he didn't care. He went ahead and endorsed the woman who cheated him, and he even spent months criss-crossing the country stumping for her! Have we seen the merest scrap of evidence this year that Bernie finally plans to take the gloves off? No, we haven't. He's a lot like Jeremy Corbyn in that regard, and just like Jeremy Corbyn, I predict he will be defeated–not so much by the voters as by 'his own' party.

but does anyone think there is a shortage of obnoxious jerks around Warren and Biden?

Just one little word should suffice: Hunter!

I think you'll find that this work is not going to be nearly so easy as what has passed for "resistance" among the anti-Trump crowd thus far.

What has passed for "resistance" since 2016 is this:

1.) Working for the government for a while to sabotage Trump.

2.) Then, when you get found out and fired by him, getting a multi-million dollar contract to write some 'tell-all' book about how evil/stupid (take your pick) your ex-boss was.

3.) Then getting invited onto The View to promote it and prattle on about how you answer to some "higher calling" so that your serial violations of the law don't matter–as opposed to, say, Trump's serial violations of decorum, which obviously merit impeachment.

That's exactly what "resistance" means to these wankers, and that's one reason I am proud to say that I am not a part of it.

lundiel ,

America's most dangerous president was, imo, Obama. Trump has nothing on him, apart from his delusions over Israel, Trump has tried, and failed, to exercise control over the security state. Obama worked with the state while he mesmerised us with stunning speeches about equality and democracy as he signied off on regime change and assassinations.
Should she ever run, Michelle would be at least as dangerous. The Obamas can make people believe that they are 'on their side'.

Antonym ,

Bernie is a nice guy – too nice: no match for the shark pools from Fairfax county, Lower Manhattan or the Clinton clan . The 2016 DNC candidate selection revelations proved this.

The only untainted strong Democratic candidate is Tulsi Gabbard, but she has all Establishments against her.

wardropper ,

I'd go further and say that the Americans can't win, whoever is leading them.
The pool from which they make their selections was poisoned long ago.
And it makes me very sad to say that.
Our godless society is overflowing with people who long for moral leadership, but who can't find it in today's Washminster.
Personal pursuit of a decent inner life is always an option, but Washington and Westminster are addicted to the other kind – the moneyed surface of life.
The way things are right now, it's extremely hard to say how a bridge from one kind to the other could possibly be built, but I keep looking

paul ,

Sanders is just another irrelevant mediocrity.

Fair dinkum ,

Since Reagan's Presidency, all US elections have been about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The ship may be sinking slowly, but the outcome will be the same.

Gall ,

I'd say it was long before Ronnie got elected to office. Remember it was Carter and Zyb who got involved in the imperial quick sand of Afghanistan (mixing metaphors here) that is after being run out of 'Nam by a bunch of angry natives who had gotten tired of America "being a force for good" by reining "freedom and democracy" on them from the bomb bays of B 52s which I think is going to a be similar situation to what will soon happen in Iraq if we dawdle too long.

Elections have in reality become all pomp with no circumstance. Flip a coin and it always comes up heads. It's a stacked deck that public are asked to play every two years thinking the odds are in their favor when it never really is. Might as well head to Vegas following the dusty trail of Hunter S Thompson.

Charlotte Ruse ,

The day FDR dumped Henry Wallace in favor of Harry Truman the US was f–ked.

Seamus Padraig ,

That phase is over. Now that the Titanic's going down, it's no longer about rearranging any deck chairs, but about fighting over the life boats!

Charlotte Russe ,

It's not all that complicated Obama laid the groundwork ensuring Bernie's defeat when he interfered in deciding who would Chair the DNC. Tom Perez was Obama's pick. Bernie wanted Keith Ellison. Perez guaranteed neoliberal centrist Dems would maintain control. Tom Perez didn't disappoint– his nominations for the 2020 Democratic Convention standing committees are a like a who's who of centrism. Most of the folks on this "A list" would fit quite nicely in the Republican Party.

milosevic ,

threaten to abandon the Dems to start a Workers Third Party

actually doing so, would accomplish vastly more than just "threatening", unless anybody is really hoping for a remake of Hope and Change, which would change nothing except the specific flavour of Identity Politics secret sauce disguising the foul taste of neoliberal fascism.

[Jan 31, 2020] Tucker: DNC worried about Sanders becoming nominee - YouTube

They actually don't: Sanders proved to be more of a sheepdog then a real candidate in 2016: he betrayed his voters They are afraid of Tulsi, though
Money quote "Democratic Party is a collection of various interest group that actually hate each other"
Jan 31, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Charles Hull , 2 weeks ago

🤔 If she doesn't want to be called a liar, on national TV, she should stop lying, on national TV.

Karinda Tiweyang , 6 days ago

"Sexist, not SEXY, sexist" hahahhaha why was this necessary. Still funny af.

Flagrus , 1 week ago

That moment when a fox News treats Bernie fairer and more honest than his own party.

[Jan 31, 2020] Tucker: Biden's career bankrolled by credit card companies and Sanders has no courage to state an obvious think -- yest he is corrupt as hell

Sanders despicably folded... Another argument that Sanders plays the role of sheep dog in this election cycle.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Impeachment distracting from the real scandal we should be focusing on: the Bidens.


Commander Biden , 1 week ago

Joe Biden loves corruption almost as much as he loves kids jumping on his lap.

Marie Si , 1 week ago

The Democrats are never prosecuted or held accountable for their crimes and corruption.

Freda Rounthwaite , 1 week ago

You've hit the nail on the head with every single word you've said Tucker. Thank you for staying true to real journalism.

ubon11 , 1 week ago

It's too bad that only half the country will ever hear this.

Puffin Vapor , 1 week ago (edited)

This is just a part of the "Swamp" President Trump has talked about. Funneling money to family members of elected officials is so prevalent that they don't even see a problem, it's just business as usual.

L P , 1 week ago

What's in your wallet? Oh, it's Biden's hand..

Kelly T , 1 week ago

"It's a hostage tape." Laughed out loud. Love Tucker

Lynn Jacobs , 2 days ago

Joe Biden is creepy, corrupt, and dishonest -- the exact opposite of Bernie Sanders.

ultraflem , 3 days ago

"My instincts tell me the Democrats don't want to get rid of Plugs (Biden) on the corruption angle because then they're all exposed to it." - Rush Limbaugh

Carl Worsoe , 1 week ago

I wonder if Chuck shummers daughter and her wife got money from Ukraine like piglosi Kerry and the bidens 🇺🇸

No worries Mate , 1 week ago

Biden crime family!

QUÉBEC FLAT , 1 week ago

Colonel Sanders : " Joe Biden is a very decent man" !!! Comming from the mouth of the Communist who wants to put YOU in Goulags...It makes perfect sense !

Elazar de Lusignan M. , 1 day ago

So Uncle Joe is a front man for the credit card industry? Good job Joe! Millions of Americans are being harassed by collection agencies.

James Williams , 3 days ago

Joe Biden is a friend of mine and he's a really nice guy ... I love my husband or wife he/she's a really nice person as the ER staff bandages their wounds ... hmm got it

Emanuel Terzian , 1 week ago

Tucker has been the widest eye opener ever in this 3 year saga of going after the greatest U S President of my lifetime and counting

Sallyanne Deegan , 1 week ago

DEMS react with disbelief when called on the table for the ©BUSINESS AS USUAL CORRUPT PRACTICES... Years of getting the system to fill their pockets ILLEGAL

David Price , 5 days ago

The Bidens are crooks, they need convicting and jailing..

smoothtwh , 2 days ago

The impeachment is to protect ALL the Corruption. The Ukraine was a hotbed for big $$$!!

WoodBeast , 2 days ago

Pelosi too Google 60 minutes steve kroft pelosi credit card insider trading

Adam M , 2 days ago

at best joe's son was being used to get a conncetion to the vp and at worst hunter was running a drug ring

[Jan 31, 2020] Note on Gitmo and degradation of the American society

Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Antonym Cruelty is a sign of a degrading society. Cultures promoting cruelty and torture have lost any arguments. The Roman empire went down the public games till death phase just before it collapsed, but that was two millennia ago. The US doesn't have the time excuse but still promoted its Hollywood violence.
From the biggest kid on the block to bully gone bad


Richard Le Sarc ,

You have to remember that under Talmudic Judaic Law, killing civilians is not just permissible, but is considered a mitzvah or good deed. And killing children, even babies, is permissible if it can be said that they would grow up to 'oppose the Jews'. Quite understandable in a hate-cult where, as the 'revered' Rabbi Kook the Elder declared, it is believed that, 'There is a greater difference between the soul of a Jew and that of a non-Jew than there is between the soul of a non-Jew and that of an animal'. What a Divine Burden you bear, Ant-and with such dignity.

paul ,

Charming, these Levantine folk.
Luckily, Tony Blair is now on the job, working to suppress "the global pandemic of anti Semitism."
That certainly puts my mind at rest.

Antonym ,

The CIA might have "inspired" Al Qaida or ISIS hangmen but not Assad's. They definitely trained most Central and South America sadists in official uniform.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Come on Ant-don't be so shy. Israeli trained many Latin American killers and aided them in drawing up death-lists. You should be proud of Zionist achievements.

Charlotte Russe ,

Guantanamo Bay provided a striking "stage setting" proving there's indeed a "War on Terror." A "War on Terror is a nebulous concept–how do you battle terror. Terror is an "emotion" which quickly evolved into rage felt by millions devastated in imperialist wars. How does an Empire win a War on Terror with 1,000 military bases scattered throughout every continent. The War on Terror was never conceived to be won, it was meant to be endless.

Now getting back to Guantanamo Bay, most of the victims were gathered by bounty hunters in Afghanistan or were targeted because of past grievances. The unlucky captives, had nothing to do with terrorist activities or 9/11. Guantanamo Bay, diabolically tests the limitless way an Empire can abscond with an individual's freedom. Extrajudicial concepts like "enemy combatant" are auditioned proving all legal rights can be immediately abrogated with just a stroke of a pen. The War on Terror produced a new type of captive–someone who was neither a prisoner of war or a US criminal. An abducted victim held indefinitely in a black site. In other words, the War on Terror justified extrajudicial transfers from one country to another circumventing the former country's laws on interrogation, detention and
torture. The War on Terror proved that a mind-boggling event such as a "false flag like 9/11" generates enough shock to gain public acceptance for legislation like the "Patriot Act" where frightened citizens are willing to capitulate freedom for safety.

paul ,

Many of the unfortunates murdered or tortured or held indefinitely without trial in US concentration camps were basically just Afghan or Pakistani yokels handed over to CIA spooks for a $5,000 bounty. They reckon half the villages in Pakistan were suddenly missing the village idiot, who had been sold to the CIA.

The Taliban fighters rounded up were engaged in a civil war in Afghanistan at the time against assorted warlords and drug lords from non Pashtun communities who rejected the authority of the Taliban government. They had never fought against America, and had no plans to. Some of them probably didn't know that America existed. They were probably somewhat bewildered that the US was muscling in on their civil war.

Bin Laden was there as a hang over from the war against Russia. He had been on the CIA payroll for years, a "heroic freedom fighter" invited round the White House for tea and buns.

Incidentally, the "enemy combatant" routine is nothing new for the US. In 1945, German POWs were suddenly designated "surrendered enemy personnel" to deprive them of the protection of POW status. Eisenhower hated Germans, and wanted to treat prisoners as harshly as possible. German prisoners held by US forces in the Rhineland area were deliberately deprived of food, water and shelter, and certainly very large numbers died, though figures are disputed. There were many murders and summary executions. Wherever they have operated, US forces have always committed atrocities and war crimes on both a casual and more organised basis.

Richard Le Sarc ,

It is actually a War OF Terror. And torture is as American as apple-pie.

paul ,

As bad as they are, the US concentration camps at Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Ghraib and the issue of waterboarding, are just the tip of a very large iceberg.
There is a global US Gulag of concentration camps, torture chambers and secret prisons (including UK territory) where thousands of people have been horrifically tortured and murdered on an industrial scale.
The torture employed exceeds by far anything Guy Fawkes or the Knights Templar would have experienced in the 17th and 14th centuries.

paul ,

This torture is the product of very sick and diseased minds from a very sick and diseased society.
Extreme sexual torture and humiliation. Murder, blindings and maimings. Agonising confinement in tiny boxes for protracted periods. One unfortunate chained up naked in a freezing cell in a standing position, medieval style, and just left there until somebody noticed, 17 days later, that he was dead.
Another kidnapped from Canada and spirited away to US torture chambers in Morocco and Yugoslavia, where his private parts were mutilated. It transpired that this unfortunate was not the man they wanted. He just had a similar name to somebody else.

paul ,

And of course the UK and all the US satellites were fully complicit in these crimes and atrocities.
Not that this will in any way inhibit them from climbing up on their high horse and giving lofty sermons and pious lectures to all the benighted natives on the rest of the planet about their human rights failings, and their need to comply with our exalted "Rules Based Order."

paul ,

"We tortured some folks."

paul ,

Of course these are just 2 isolated cases out of thousands and thousands.
One of the worst torturers known as NZ7 was a religious nut job who liked to bring people to the point of death so he could feel the soul leaving the body.
People were tortured three times a day for weeks and months on end.
Scenes of torture replicated and far exceeded anything in medieval dungeons.
Torture doctors were on hand to advise on how to intensify the torment.
The motivation seems mainly to have been sadism and sexual sadism for its own sake rather than any genuine interest in obtaining information.
Anal rape was a routine part of the CIA torture manual.
So was freezing people to death and shoving nuts and hummus up people's arses.

People with specialist knowledge of the subject have said that the Gestapo record of torture was actually far better than that of the US. The Gestapo did torture people, but it was a very bureaucratic process, and they preferred to intimidate people into cooperating by playing on their bad reputation.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Many of the worst torture practises used by the USA were borrowed from the Israelis, drawing on decades of experience torturing tens of thousands of Palestinians. But they are the ' most moral torturers on Earth'-and don' t you dare forget it.

[Jan 31, 2020] Tucker John Bolton has always been a snake

Bolton was appointed by Adelson.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Bolton's tell-all book leaks during Senate trial. #FoxNews


Yamaha Venture , 3 days ago

Mitt Romney is a joke.

Michael Harvey , 2 days ago

John Bolton wants war everywhere to line his pockets with money.

Stephen C , 1 day ago

The "right" gets the left, but doesn't agree with them. The "left" doesn't understand the "right".

Citizen Se7en , 2 days ago

"Bolton's resignation was one of the highlights of the president's first term." Truer words have never been spoken.

Jack Albright , 2 days ago

This story is also called "the scorpion and the frog".

Ragnar Lothbrok , 3 days ago

John Bolton should be given a helmet and a gun and sent to the next war. Let's see how he likes it.

Stratchona , 1 day ago

Trump.." I don't know John Bolton,never met him,don't know what he does."

Jaret Glenn , 2 days ago

Time to investigate Romney's son working for the oil company in the Ukraine.

Regan Orr , 2 days ago

Romney's Holy Underwear is Cutting off the Blood Supply to his Deep St Brain!

Marjo , 2 days ago (edited)

I never liked Bolton. I sensed he was out for himself, at anyone's expense. War monger too. He had many people fooled.

Shara Kirkby , 3 days ago

Bolton wants war anywhere and forever!

David Dorrell , 1 day ago (edited)

Frickin' Globalist peckerwoods. John Bolton and his pal, Mitt Romney.

Olivier Bolton , 2 days ago

Bolton wanted war so he got the boot...the fact he brings out his book now just looks like vengean$$

Max Liftoff , 2 days ago

2:30 Because Bolton never served in the military he truly passionately loved war :)) LMAO Tucker nailed it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , 1 day ago

The left's championing of John Bolton is further proof that TDS has made their minds turn to sludge.

j abe , 3 days ago

Can someone expaine to me how mit romney is still geting votes from ppl

Mark Whitley , 2 days ago

Bolton is a war mongering narcissist that wanted his war, didn't get it, & is now acting like a spoilt child that didn't get his way & is laying on the floor kicking & screaming!

Tim Fronimos , 2 days ago

Regarding John Bolton's book, is this the first book that he's colored. just curious

newuserandhiscrew 22 , 2 days ago

Everyone: Bolton: "take me in oh tender woman, take me in for heaven's sake"

Brittany Ward , 1 day ago

I can't fathom that people actually believe everything the media says!

[Jan 31, 2020] What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back by Bill Martin What follows originates in some notes I made in response to one such woman who supports Bernie. There are two main points.

Highly recommended!
Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

1. What's going on right now with Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton is the beginning of sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. These two played a major role in doing that in 2016, and now they're getting the band back together again. Okay, that's no mystery.

The real question is, What are Bernie supporters and those who (one way or another) support the Democrats, going to do about it? When and if Warren and Clinton succeed in taking Bernie down–and of course Biden and the Obamas are onboard for this, as well–will Democrats (and Dem-supporting "leftists," etc.) be so blinded by TDS that they'll just say,

"Oh well, we still have to vote for " Warren, Biden, etc.?

I think this runs parallel to what some have said about "letting the CIA help with the impeachment"–it's truly delusional, reactionary stuff. Likewise, people getting in a huff because "Bernie called her a liar on national television." No problem, apparently, that Warren first called Bernie a liar. Even more, no problem that Warren's whole life and career is based on a lie–a lie that, even now, she justifies with bullshit about how she "just loves her family so much." Indeed, Hillary's intervention in the following days was very likely intended to take attention away from Warren's attack on Sanders, as well as, of course, to once again put HRC out there as the potential savior at the convention.

It seems to me that the lesson here is that, if Bernie doesn't get the nomination, no other candidate (from among the frontrunners) is acceptable, especially because of the role they will have played in taking down Bernie and his movement.

I have two basic reasons for hoping Sanders can get the nomination and that there could be a Trump/Sanders election:

i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder. I really don't think it can happen -- and we're seeing major moves in this effort toward eliminating Bernie just in the week that has passed since I started writing this. However, this does mean that, if Bernie can build (much further) and lead the movement to seriously address these power structures, and even beat them in some significant ways, then something tremendous will have been accomplished -- "the harder they come, the harder they fall," or at least I hope so. ii. Despite what you and many others say and (I feel) are a bit too desperate to think, Sanders does have some things in common with Trump, at least thematically -- and a lot of my arguments in my articles have to do with the importance of these themes being out there, in a way that they never would have been with any other Republican, Hillary Clinton or any of the other current frontrunners besides Sanders, and any of the other media with the very important exceptions of Tucker Carlson, Steve Hilton, and perhaps a couple others on Fox News (perhaps Laura Ingram) -- and this is not only something that the anti-Trumpers absolutely hate, they hate it so much that they can't even think about it.

That is, Trump and Sanders have in common that they 1) profess that they want to do things that improve the lives of ordinary working people, and 2) profess that they want to draw back militarism.

What I emphasize is that these terms would not even be on the table if it weren't for Trump -- and yes, to some extent if it weren't for Bernie, but there is a way in which Bernie can only be out there at all because Trump has put these things on the table.

A lot of blowback against my articles has been against my argument that getting these terms and the discourse around them on the table is very important, a real breakthrough, and a breakthrough that both clarifies the larger terms of things and disrupts the "smooth functioning" (I take this from Marcuse) of the neoliberal-neoconservative compact around economics and military intervention.

Okay, maybe I'm right about this importance, maybe I'm not -- that's an argument I've dealt with extensively in my articles and that I'll try to deal with definitively in further writing -- but certainly a very important part of not letting Sanders be taken down by the other frontrunners (and HRC, and other nefarious forces, with Warren playing a special "feminist" and Identity Politics role here -- a role that does nothing to help, and indeed does much to hurt, ordinary working people of all colors, genders, etc.) will be to further sharpen the general understanding of the importance of these themes.

Significantly, there is a third theme which has emerged since the unexpected election of Donald Trump -- unexpected at least by the establishment and the nefarious powers (though they were thinking of an "insurance policy"); on this theme, I don't know that Sanders can do much -- working with the Democratic Party, he is too implicated in this issue, and he does not have whatever "protection" Trump has here.

What I am referring to are those nefarious powers behind the establishment and the ruling class, and that have taken on a life of their own -- I don't mind calling this the Deep State, but one can just think about the "intelligence community" and especially the CIA.

Whatever -- the point is that Trump has had to call them out and expose them in ways that they obviously do not like, and also his agenda of a world where the U.S. gets along well-enough with China and Russia at least not to risk WWIII, or, perhaps more realistically, not to tip the balance of things such that Russia goes completely over to a full alliance with China, a "Eurasian Union," which both Putin and Xi have spoken about, is not to their liking.

Whether Sanders would call out these nefarious factors if he were in a position to do so, I don't know -- I don't have great confidence that he would -- but it is also the case that he is not in a position to do so, these powers can easily dispose of Sanders in ways that they haven't been able to, so far, with Trump.

If one does think these themes are important, especially the first two (with further discussion reserved regarding the powers-behind-the-powers), then I wish that Trump-haters would open their minds for a moment and think about what it apparently takes in our social system to even begin to get these themes on the table.

In any case, regarding Sanders, the movement he is building will have to go even further with the first two themes if Sanders is nominated, and at least go some distance in taking on the third theme. This applies even more if Sanders were to be elected. (This is where you might take a look at the 1988 mini-series, A Very British Coup -- except that how things go down in the U.S. will not be so "British.") Here again, though, if Sanders is to build a movement that can openly address these questions, this will be tremendous, a great thing.

So this is it in a nutshell: If Sanders were to be nominated, then there is the possibility, which everyone ought to work to make a reality, that we could have an election based around the questions, What can be done to improve the lives of ordinary working people?, and, What can be done to curb militarism and end the endless interventions and wars?


Antonym ,

Bernie is a nice guy – too nice: no match for the shark pools from Fairfax county, Lower Manhattan or the Clinton clan . The 2016 DNC candidate selection revelations proved this.

The only untainted strong Democratic candidate is Tulsi Gabbard, but she has all Establishments against her.

Fair dinkum ,

Since Reagan's Presidency, all US elections have been about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
The ship may be sinking slowly, but the outcome will be the same.

Gall ,

I'd say it was long before Ronnie got elected to office. Remember it was Carter and Zyb who got involved in the imperial quick sand of Afghanistan (mixing metaphors here) that is after being run out of 'Nam by a bunch of angry natives who had gotten tired of America "being a force for good" by reining "freedom and democracy" on them from the bomb bays of B 52s which I think is going to a be similar situation to what will soon happen in Iraq if we dawdle too long.

Elections have in reality become all pomp with no circumstance. Flip a coin and it always comes up heads. It's a stacked deck that public are asked to play every two years thinking the odds are in their favor when it never really is. Might as well head to Vegas following the dusty trail of Hunter S Thompson.

Charlotte Russe ,

It's not all that complicated Obama laid the groundwork ensuring Bernie's defeat when he interfered in deciding who would Chair the DNC. Tom Perez was Obama's pick. Bernie wanted Keith Ellison. Perez guaranteed neoliberal centrist Dems would maintain control. Tom Perez didn't disappoint– his nominations for the 2020 Democratic Convention standing committees are a like a who's who of centrism. Most of the folks on this "A list" would fit quite nicely in the Republican Party.

Bernie a FDR Democrat, is considered too radical by the wealthy who enjoy their Trumpian tax cuts and phony baloney stock market profits. If Trump, was just a bit less crude and not so overtly racist he'd be perfectly acceptable. Bernie, who thinks the working-poor are entitled to a living wage, healthcare, a college education, and clean drinking water is anathema to the affluent liberals who like everything just the way it is. They long for the Obama days when two wars were quietly expanded to seven, when the Wall Street crooks got a pass, and when health insurance lobbyists had their way with the federal government–the CIA was absolutely ecstatic with Obama. Trump was a bit of a speed bump for the security state, but nothing really threatening as he stuffed the pockets of the arms industry and the surveillance state with billions of working-class tax dollars. The Orangeman is having a few internecine battles with the intelligence agencies, but in the end they thoroughly had their way with the buffoon.

Bernie on the other hand, is a bit more complex. He can't be as easily attacked. Of course, the mainstream media news has all the usual Corbyn tricks in their bag, and Bernie could fall to the wayside like Corbyn if he's incapable of unapologetically fighting back. Bernie's working-class supporters want to see him give his attackers the one-two-punch and knock them out before the DNC Convention.

If Bernie manages to win numerous primaries the threat won't come from Warren or Hillary that's so 2016. The new insidious "Bernie enemy" is billionaire Bloomberg. Who is waiting in the wings If Biden takes a deep dive, Daddy Warbucks will make a play to cause a brokered convention. And that's when Perez and his Republican/Dems will takedown Bernie. Bernie's followers MUST come out swinging and not capitulate like they did last time. They have to force the issue, create a stir and threaten to abandon the Dems to start a Workers Third Party. Young progressives have this one big shot at making a difference, and they can't allow themselves to be sheepdogged into voting for another neoliberal who's
intent on maintaining the status quo. Remember, if you don't move forward you're actually moving backward into planetary ecocide.

Gall ,

Hey check this out. Seems the DNC is shaking in their boots about the possibility of a third party hijacking their "base":

https://www.mintpressnews.com/liberal-establishment-warning-third-parties-not-to-ruin-2020-election/264460/

Here's one from Whitney implying that they needn't worry because plans are in the works to install King Cyrus II as the permanent ruler with the help of his Zionist friends in the Department of Hebrew Security:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/liberal-establishment-warning-third-parties-not-to-ruin-2020-election/264460/

Even so it looks like Trump has decided to get rid of us noninterventionist and antiwar naysayers by fully bringing in the Dispensationalist Armageddon rapture embracing nut jobs who stand with the Talmudic genocidal racists in Israel who believe that Jesus Christ is boiling for an eternity in excrement and that his mother Mary was a whore:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52918.htm

I wish that this insanity was fantasy.

mark cutts ,

Hi Bill

we have witnessed in the UK the defamation of Corbyn the ' Left Disrupter ' as he wanted to throw back the normal state of political play.

He and the well meaning Labour Party was headed off at the pass.

We have to remember that the Ruling Class have to have fall back positions and that Biden is better than Bernie as is Warren and so on.

It appears to me that the DNC also has its fallback positions too and Bernie will be chopped by the Super Delegates once again on the altar of ' electabilty ' ( read any form of Socialism – American or British is not acceptatble to the PTB ) and that is how it may end.

The battle at the moment in the UK Labour Party is which leader will back up and support extra Parliamentary action in resistance to this very right wing Tory government?

In the US the thing is the same if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

Personally I would think that he would be a plus ( despite his foreign policy views ) but remember that Trump was a maverick Republican yet I'm not sure that Sanders would veer over to that position.

If he did then the " action " part of the steep learning curve would have to kick in to defend him and more to the point his genuinely progressive policies.

In the UK now Corbyn as the personification of ' Socialist ' threat is no longer doorstepped by the British media.

Instead the installation of a Leftish Centrist by the media ( i.e. a person that is -no threat to the existing order ) is a requirement.

This is all under the guise of a " Strong Opposition " to the right wing government.

Warren – not Biden seems to be that kind of favourite for the Ruling Class should Trump fall.

We had Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair – you in the US will get Warren.

I wish Bernie and his backers weel but I don't see it happening.

Maybe Tulsi Gabbard in another 4 years?

She and AOC are very good But this is not their time.

Not yet.

Richard Le Sarc ,

When I think of how Corbyn refused to fight back against ENTIRELY mendacious and filthy vilification as an 'antisemite', I think it might be possible that the MOSSAD told him that if he resisted he might end up, dead in his bath, like John Smith.

bevin ,

Where the world weary gather to tell us how they have been let down.
Bill nails it here:
" i. For Sanders to get the nomination there will have to be a very strong, dedicated, and focused movement, which will essentially have to defeat the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party and in whatever one wants to call the agglomeration of power mechanisms that form the establishment and the State. Sanders will have to do what Trump did with the Republican Party in 2016, except with Sanders and the power structures he will be up against (and with which he is more compromised than Trump ever was), this will be much, much harder ."

Anyone who believes that elections, as such, lead to great changes needs a keeper. And one who can read the US Constitution aloud for preference.
But this is not to say that at a time like this-and there have been very few of them in US history- when there is the possibility of a major candidate challenging some of the bases of the ruling ideology-albeit by doing little more than running on a platform of refurbished Progressivism- there is really no excuse for not insisting that the challenge be made and the election played out.
Sanders is not just challenging the verities of neo-liberalism but, implicitly undermining the political consensus that has supported the Warfare State since 1948.
The thing about Bernie is that he is authenticated by the enemies that he has enrolled against him and the dramatic measures that they are taking against him. Among those enemies are the Black Misleadership Class, and the various other faux progressives who are revealing themselves to be last ditch defenders of the MIC, Israel- AIPAC is now 'all in' in Iowa and New Hampshire- and the Insurance industry. It is an indication of the simplicity of Bernie's political task that no section of Congress gives more support to the Healthcare scammers than the representatives of the community most deprived by the current system. If he manages to get through to the people and persuade them that he will fight for Free Healthcare for all and other basic and long overdue social and economic reforms he can break the hold that the political parties have over a system everyone understands is designed to make the rich-who own both parties- richer and the great majority poorer. That has been the way that things have been going in the USA for at least 45 years.

Gall ,

Here's the point you've missed here Bill and that Bernie had a mass appeal to the Independents that is until he sold out to the "Democratic" establishment which out of the two parties has to be the least democratic since it adopted the elitist and plutocratic Super Delegate system that can ride roughshod over the actual democratic will of the voters.

Of course a cosmetic change has been made that these delegates aren't allowed to vote until the Convention but as I said it is "cosmetic" since that was originally the way this undemocratic system was set up in the "Democratic" party until Hillary Clinton used it as a psychological weapon during that sham called a "primary" to convince the hoi polo that her nomination or more accurately coronation was already a foregone conclusion.

There is also another factor that most voters are not aware of and that is the so called "Democratic" party has come up with a dictatorial "by law" that can nullify the result of the primary if the candidate isn't considered "democratic" enough by the Chairman of the DNC which in Bernie's case is very possible since technically he is an Independent running as a "Democrat". This is what Lee Camp the "Nuclear Option".

Explained here in his inimitable style:

https://www.filmsforaction.org/watch/lee-camp-the-dncs-secret-nuclear-option-to-stop-bernie-sanders-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/

Personally I gave up on Bernie after he sold out and shilled for that warmongering harpy Hillary who if elected would accept it as a mandate to launch WW III while ironically trying to convince us all that the "noninterventionist", "antiwar" candidate was actually the greater of the two evils.

Yeah right.

Anyway no longer have any faith in the two party system. As far as I'm concerned they can both go to hell. I've already made my choice:

https://www.markcharles2020.com

He probably needs to adjust his message more to appeal to those of us who tend to be more Libertarian and is not exactly a Russell Means but with a little help from the American Indian Movement and others can probably "triangulate" his appeal to cover a broader political spectrum. Instead of what has been traditionally known as the "left".

Greg Bacon ,

After Obama, the golden liar and mass-murderer and now Tubby the Grifter, another liar and mass-murderer, I have no desire to vote in 2020, unless Tulsi is on the ticket.

If Sanders is smart and survives another back-alley mugging by the DNC and the Wicked Witch of the East, and gets the nod, he'll take on Tulsi–Mommy–as his VP.
If he does that, then Trump, Jared the Snake and Princess Bimbo will have to find another racket in 2021.

Gall ,

Yeah Trumpenstein is a far cry from the Silver Tongued Devil O-Bomb-em. Even so both of them sold us a bill of goods that neither of them delivered on.

But hey that's politics in America at least since Neoliberal prototype Wilson which is lie your ass off until you get elected at least.

Willem ,

Much magical thinking here.

If we act now and support Sanders things will change for the better?

I surely hope so, but hope and change is soo 2008.

And if the Hildebeast enters the race, life on earth will end?

Don't think so.

Perhaps we should do this different this time. Get away from the identity politics, look what is really needed, and demand for that, not caring about 'leadership'. You know, French yellow vests style. Actually if you look a little bit outside of the MSM bubble, you see demonstrations and people demanding better treatment from the government and corporations everywhere.

The US 2020 elections, will be a nothing burger I predict. Like all elections are nothing burgers and if they are not they will fake it, or call it 'populism' that needs to be stopped (and will be stopped).

I would have voted Sanders though, if I could vote for Sanders, Similar as I would have voted for Corbyn if I could have voted for Corbyn. Voting is a tic, a habit, an addiction that is difficult to get rid of, but deadly in the end since we have nothing to vote for, except to vote for more for them at the cost of everyone else, no matter what politicians say

It's liberating to lose some of your illusions and silly reflexes, although a bit painful in the beginning as is with all addictions. The story used to 'feel' so good.

See also https://act.represent.us/sign/the-problem/

Richard Le Sarc ,

If voting changed anything, it would be outlawed.

[Jan 29, 2020] Campaign Promises and Ending Wars

Highly recommended!
Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

lizabeth Warren wrote an article outlining in general terms how she would bring America's current foreign wars to an end. Perhaps the most significant part of the article is her commitment to respect Congress' constitutional role in matters of war:

We will hold ourselves to this by recommitting to a simple idea: the constitutional requirement that Congress play a primary role in deciding to engage militarily. The United States should not fight and cannot win wars without deep public support. Successive administrations and Congresses have taken the easy way out by choosing military action without proper authorizations or transparency with the American people. The failure to debate these military missions in public is one of the reasons they have been allowed to continue without real prospect of success [bold mine-DL].

On my watch, that will end. I am committed to seeking congressional authorization if the use of force is required. Seeking constrained authorizations with limited time frames will force the executive branch to be open with the American people and Congress about our objectives, how the operation is progressing, how much it is costing, and whether it should continue.

Warren's commitment on this point is welcome, and it is what Americans should expect and demand from their presidential candidates. It should be the bare minimum requirement for anyone seeking to be president, and any candidate who won't commit to respecting the Constitution should never be allowed to have the powers of that office. The president is not permitted to launch attacks and start wars alone, but Congress and the public have allowed several presidents to do just that without any consequences. It is time to put a stop to illegal presidential wars, and it is also time to put a stop to open-ended authorizations of military force. Warren's point about asking for "constrained authorizations with limited time frames" is important, and it is something that we should insist on in any future debate over the use of force. The 2001 and 2002 AUMFs are still on the books and have been abused and stretched beyond recognition to apply to groups that didn't exist when they were passed so that the U.S. can fight wars in countries that don't threaten our security. Those need to be repealed as soon as possible to eliminate the opening that they have provided the executive to make war at will.

Michael Brendan Dougherty is unimpressed with Warren's rhetoric:

But what has Warren offered to do differently, or better? She's made no notable break with the class of experts who run our failing foreign policy. Unlike Bernie Sanders, and like Trump or Obama, she hasn't hired a foreign-policy staff committed to a different vision. And so her promise to turn war powers back to Congress should be considered as empty as Obama's promise to do the same. Her promise to bring troops home would turn out to be as meaningless as a Trump tweet saying the same.

We shouldn't discount Warren's statements so easily. When a candidate makes specific commitments about ending U.S. wars during a campaign, that is different from making vague statements about having a "humble" foreign policy. Bush ran on a conventional hawkish foreign policy platform, and there were also no ongoing wars for him to campaign against, so we can't say that he ever ran as a "dove." Obama campaigned against the Iraq war and ran on ending the U.S. military presence there, and before his first term was finished almost all U.S. troops were out of Iraq. It is important to remember that he did not campaign against the war in Afghanistan, and instead argued in support of it. His subsequent decision to commit many more troops there was a mistake, but it was entirely consistent with what he campaigned on. In other words, he withdrew from the country he promised to withdraw from, and escalated in the country where he said the U.S. should be fighting. Trump didn't actually campaign on ending any wars, but he did talk about "bombing the hell" out of ISIS, and after he was elected he escalated the war on ISIS. His anti-Iranian obsession was out in the open from the start if anyone cared to pay attention to it. In short, what candidates commit to doing during a campaign does matter and it usually gives you a good idea of what a candidate will do once elected.

If Warren and some of the other Democratic candidates are committing to ending U.S. wars, we shouldn't assume that they won't follow through on those commitments because previous presidents proved to be the hawks that they admitted to being all along. Presidential candidates often tell us exactly what they mean to do, but we have to be paying attention to everything they say and not just one catchphrase that they said a few times. If voters want a more peaceful foreign policy, they should vote for candidates that actually campaign against ongoing wars instead of rewarding the ones that promise and then deliver escalation. But just voting for the candidates that promise an end to wars is not enough if Americans want Congress to start doing its job by reining in the executive. If we don't want presidents to run amok on war powers, there have to be political consequences for the ones that have done that and there needs to be steady pressure on Congress to take back their role in matters of war. Voters should select genuinely antiwar candidates, but then they also have to hold those candidates accountable once they're in office.

[Jan 28, 2020] During the Great Recession it became evident that in some (not all) respects the United States was unable to fulfil its responsibility as the international economy's manager.

Notable quotes:
"... During the Great Recession it became evident that in some (not all) respects the United States was unable to fulfil its responsibility as the international economy's manager. After all, an economic hegemon is supposed to solve global economic crises, not cause them. But it was the freezing up of the US financial system triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis that plunged the global economy into hot water. The economic hegemon is supposed to be the lender of last resort in the international economy. ..."
"... The United States, however, has become the borrower of first resort -- the world's largest debtor. When the global economy falters, the economic hegemon is supposed to jump-start recovery by purchasing other nations' goods. From the end of the Second World War until the Great Recession struck, it was America's willingness to consume foreign goods that constituted the primary firewall against global economic downturns. ..."
"... When the Great Recession hit, however, the US economy proved too infirm to lead the global economy back to health. ..."
"... The task facing American statesmen over the next decades is to recognize that broad trends are under way, and that there is a need to 'manage' affairs so that the relative erosion of the United States' position takes place slowly and smoothly, and is not accelerated by policies which bring merely short-term advantage but longer-term disadvantage. ..."
"... It has slowly usurped a system intended to provide benefits to the world at large and made of it an instrument for its own geopolitical goals. ..."
"... It continues to exploit a system that was put in place after WW2 and intended to be an instrument for its own geopolitical goals. FTFY ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | www.reddit.com

I'd say Christopher Layne's " [The US-China power shift and the end of Pax Americana] ( https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/images/ia/INTA94_1_6_249_Layne.pdf ) " 2018 article is better at ascertaining the situation.

During the Great Recession it became evident that in some (not all) respects the United States was unable to fulfil its responsibility as the international economy's manager. After all, an economic hegemon is supposed to solve global economic crises, not cause them. But it was the freezing up of the US financial system triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis that plunged the global economy into hot water. The economic hegemon is supposed to be the lender of last resort in the international economy.

The United States, however, has become the borrower of first resort -- the world's largest debtor. When the global economy falters, the economic hegemon is supposed to jump-start recovery by purchasing other nations' goods. From the end of the Second World War until the Great Recession struck, it was America's willingness to consume foreign goods that constituted the primary firewall against global economic downturns.

When the Great Recession hit, however, the US economy proved too infirm to lead the global economy back to health. It fell to China to pull the global economy out of its nose-dive by stepping up to the plate with a massive stimulus program. Barack Obama acknowledged the deeper implications of this when, at the April 2009 G20 meeting in London, he conceded that, in important respects, the United States' days as the economic hegemon were numbered because it was too deeply in debt to continue as the world's consumer of last resort. Instead, he said, the world would have to look to China (and other emerging market states, plus Germany) to be the motors of global recovery. 'If there is going to be renewed growth,' Obama stated, 'it can't just be the United States as the engine, everybody is going to have to pick up the pace.'

Rather, the declinists, in Paul Kennedy, Rob Gilpin, David Calleo and P. Huntington of the 1980s pointed to domestic and international economic drivers that, over time,would cause American economic power to diminish relatively, thereby shifting the balance of power. In essence, the declinists believed that the United States was experiencing a slow -- 'termite-like' -- decline caused by fundamental structural weaknesses in the American economy that were gradually nibbling at its foundations.

Layne states even Kennedy (JFK that is) knew that American power would decline into the 21st century,

The task facing American statesmen over the next decades is to recognize that broad trends are under way, and that there is a need to 'manage' affairs so that the relative erosion of the United States' position takes place slowly and smoothly, and is not accelerated by policies which bring merely short-term advantage but longer-term disadvantage.

Source; Layne, C., 2018. The US–Chinese power shift and the end of the Pax Americana. International Affairs , 94(1), pp.89-111. level 1

jeanduluoz 15 points · 1 day ago

Yeah this is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, the fed is a complete mess, and has been the primary driver of asset price inflation, slowing total factor productivity, and marginal labor productivity (ie limited wage growth), and putting this all together, has been the primary cause of wealth inequality.

Yes, the fed is a bald-faced nationalized monopoly, and the biggest company in the world. Yes, it is a clearly political institution that enacts policy for the benefit of stakeholders, and has issued far more debt than a competitive market otherwise would.

But America's financial system is still the shiniest turd on the block. East Asia is a mess, Europe is completely stalled, and those are your only real competitors. Bond yields have bifurcated, with the spread between real yields in the US (which are stable to growing) and basically every other central bank (which has been or is headed negative, in real terms) so capital has been increasingly flowing into US assets. China is a slightly different story but its not worth mentioning because the result is the same.

This is both cause and effect of being the most powerful and effective financial centre.

There are other things to say about the negative impact of America's financial empire (primarily the impact of the petro dollar internationally), but that's again an unavoidable result of USA being something like 1/8th of the global economy.

This_Is_The_End 10 points · 1 day ago · edited 1 day ago

SS:

The authors are doing the hypothesis the fall of an empire is founded by using oppression as a primary means to support it's own interests. To support their hypothesis they are comparing the fall of Athens with the US. The usage of financial coercion to get allies in line and putting pressure on other nations is implying others will search for a circumvention of a possible financial coercion which then leads to a weakening of the financial system as we know it. The article could be summarized as the insight, power projection needs more than a simple projection of force.

As for now, most people would agree the capability of the US to coerce everyone will not vanish over night. Even when this article is directed towards the US, the conclusion is almost universal. Whether it's the US, EU or China nobody can escape the consequences of his own actions. level 2

helper543 12 points · 1 day ago · edited 1 day ago

The usage of financial coercion to get allies in line and putting pressure on other nations is implying others will search for a circumvention of a possible financial coercion

They are assuming this is a new phenomenon. It is not, the US has been doing the same thing for 100 years, and 100 years ago there wasn't a risk of the empire falling, so why is there a risk today?

The difference between 100 years ago and today is information sharing and the internet. So we know about it.

We are entering a world with 2 dominant global superpowers, after a generation of having only 1. The real question is how US domestic politics drives outward projects to the rise of China. Does the US elect politicians who want trade wars and real wars? or does the US turn more into what the UK did, a very strong first world country that is OK losing the mantle of dominant superpower relatively peacefully.

Being a superpower or not has no meaningful impact on residents day to day lives.

FoxfieldJim 2 points · 1 day ago

I agree that dominance does not vanish overnight but the night is long and full of terrors. [Sorry GOT] What worked for US is we being this beacon of liberty. It is disappearing as a beacon and also in reality. Once setting up your technology hubs in Canada and Western Europe becomes the obvious choice because of American politics, once right and left just refuse to compromise and want to eliminate each other, it does not matter if other countries are weak now, what matters is how much gains they can make while the US is fighting its own civil war.

ImagingSpectroscopy 6 points · 1 day ago

Foreign investment is attracted to the US economic system, and the rules that govern it, in part BECAUSE they are different from those in Europe and Canada. "Tech hubs" won't bail on the US until that changes alonside myriad other economic incentive reversals.

fellasheowes 4 points · 1 day ago

It has slowly usurped a system intended to provide benefits to the world at large and made of it an instrument for its own geopolitical goals.

It continues to exploit a system that was put in place after WW2 and intended to be an instrument for its own geopolitical goals. FTFY

ChineseSpamBot 4 points · 1 day ago

The sun never sets on American money

[Jan 27, 2020] There's a recent Foreign Affairs piece that also compares the US to Athens in abusing its financial clout and thereby alienating allies

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:46 utc | 81

Review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end.
https://www.zerohedge.com/article/history-worlds-reserve-currency-ancient-greece-today
Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49

There's a recent Foreign Affairs piece that also compares the US to Athens in abusing its financial clout and thereby alienating allies.

The Twilight of America's Financial Empire

occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:47 utc | 82

proper link:
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-01-24/twilight-americas-financial-empire

[Jan 27, 2020] The Emergence of Progressive Foreign Policy

This blabbing about authoritarian Russia and China greatly diminishes the value of this article. The author is Warren foreign policy advisor. Probably she should find a better advisor.
Compare this blabbing with Putin stance about strengthening of the role of the UN.
Notable quotes:
"... Fourth, the new progressive foreign policy is highly skeptical of military interventions, and opposed to democracy promotion by force. This does not mean that progressives are unwilling or would be unable to use force when it is necessary. But after 17 years of war in the Middle East, they do not share the aggressive posture that has characterized the post-Cold War era. Some are skeptical because they think interventions cannot succeed. Others emphasize the potential for backlash and making the situation worse. Still others hold that stable, sustainable democracy cannot be imposed from abroad but must emerge organically. ..."
"... Fifth, the new progressive foreign policy seeks to reshape the military budget by both cutting the budget overall and reallocating military spending. This should not be surprising. The skepticism of intervention suggests military budgets do not need to be as big as they have been in an era when the goal was to be able to fight two regional wars simultaneously. The centrality of economics to a progressive foreign policy further explains this position; military spending should partly be reallocated to cyber and other technologies that are deeply integrated with the economy and likely to be crucial in future conflicts. ..."
Jan 27, 2020 | warontherocks.com
end of history " and America's " unipolar moment ." And both camps have undergone a serious reckoning after the Afghanistan, Iraq, and forever wars, as well as the global financial crisis calling into question neoliberal economic policies -- namely, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, and austerity. Prominent foreign policy advocates have quite publicly engaged in soul-searching as they confronted these changes, and debates about the future of foreign policy abound.

The emergence of a distinctively progressive approach to foreign policy is perhaps the most interesting -- and most misunderstood -- development in these debates. In speeches and articles, politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders have outlined an approach to foreign policy that does not fall along the traditional fault-lines of realist versus idealist or neoconservative versus liberal internationalist (disclosure: I have been a longtime advisor to Sen. Warren). Their speeches come alongside an increasing number of articles exploring the contours of a progressive foreign policy. Even those who might not consider themselves progressive are sounding similar themes .

From this body of work, it is now possible to sketch out the framework of a distinctively progressive approach to foreign policy. While its advocates, like those in other foreign policy camps, discuss a wide range of issues -- from climate change to reforming international institutions -- at the moment, five themes mark this emerging approach as a specific framework for foreign policy.

First, progressive foreign policy breaks the silos between domestic and foreign policy and between international economic policy and foreign policy. It places far greater emphasis on how foreign policy impacts the United States at home -- and particularly on how foreign policy (including international economic policy) has impacted the domestic economy. To be sure, there have always been analysts and commentators who recognized these interrelationships. But progressive foreign policy places this at the center of its analysis rather than seeing it as peripheral. The new progressive foreign policy takes the substance of both domestic and international economic policies seriously, and its adherents will not support economic policies on foreign policy grounds if they exacerbate economic inequality at home. For example, the argument that trade deals must be ratified on national security grounds even though they have problematic distributional consequences does not carry much weight for progressives who believe that an equitable domestic economy is the foundation of national power.

Second, progressive foreign policy holds that one of the important threats to American democracy at home is nationalist oligarchy (or, alternatively, authoritarian capitalism ) abroad. Countries like Russia and China are not simply authoritarian governments, and neither can their resurgence and assertion of power be interpreted as merely great power competition. The reason is that their economic systems integrate economic and political power. Crony/state capitalism is not a bug, it is the central feature. In a global society, economic interrelationships weaponize economic power into political power . China, for example, already uses its economic power as leverage in political disputes with other Asian countries. Its growing share of global GDP is one of the most consequential facts of the 21st century. As a result of these dynamics, progressives are also highly skeptical of a foreign policy based on the premise that the countries of the world will all become neoliberal democracies. Instead, they take seriously the risks that come from economic integration with nationalist oligarchies.

Third, the new progressive foreign policy values America's alliances and international agreements, but not because it thinks that such alliances and rules can convert nationalist oligarchies into liberal democracies. Rather, alliances should be based on common values or common goals, and, going forward, they will be critical to balancing and countering the challenges from nationalist oligarchies. Progressives are thus far more skeptical of alliances with countries like Saudi Arabia and far more interested in reinforcing and deepening ties with allies like Japan -- and are concerned about the erosion of alliances like NATO from within.

[Jan 27, 2020] The Great Democracy How to Fix Our Politics, Unrig the Economy, and Unite America by Ganesh Sitaraman

Dec 10, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (December 10, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1541618114
ISBN-13: 978-1541618114


Ryan Boissonneault , December 31, 2019

The way forward after four decades of neoliberal failures

Contemporary US politics in a nutshell is rule by the rich for the rich, and it's amazing that 40 years in we are still debating whether or not neoliberal policies are benefiting the majority (they clearly are not). The income gap continues to grow, economic growth continues to be siphoned to the top, education and healthcare remain unaffordable for most people, and the response of the current administration is...to cut taxes further for the wealthy??

In The Great Democracy, Ganesh Sitaraman shows us how both the left and the right have embraced neoliberalism over the past four decades along with its emphasis on tax cuts, deregulation, trade liberalization, and limited government. Neoliberalism's faith in the market has narrowed our conception of democracy, replacing discussions about the common good and general welfare with discussions about economic efficiency and profit maximization. The ideology is so deep most people don't even realize that there could be another way.

Sitaraman does a better job than most diagnosing the problems and continually emphasizing the point that economics cannot be separated from politics. Even if you don't believe that income and wealth inequality necessarily contributes to a lower standard of living for the majority -- and that people should earn whatever the market pays them -- the existence of inequality is detrimental to democracy and skews legislation to favor the rich. The wealthiest Americans and corporations spend massive amounts of money on elections and legislation to get the politicians and regulations (or lack thereof) that benefit them the most. If this wasn't the case, they would not consistently spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars on campaign financing and lobbying.

Forty years of neoliberalism is going to be tough to dig ourselves out from, and this demands some bold and broad legislation. But it cannot be disjointed; it has to be part of a larger philosophy with clear goals. In this respect, The Great Democracy provides a complete political philosophy to replace neoliberalism and compete with oligarchic nationalism. It is based on restoring the ideals of democracy, recognizing that the common good and general welfare of the people means more than economic growth at all costs. It also recognizes that political and economic fixes must be implemented together, and that massive discrepancies in wealth threatens democracy.

Sitaraman goes much further than simply outlining the problems and proposing an overall political philosophy. He provides several detailed economic and political reforms that seek to reduce inequality, expand democracy, and improve the standard of living for the bottom 90 percent of the population. His suggestions range from mandatory voting requirements to reinstating a top marginal tax rate of 70 percent to fundamentally reworking the structure of the Supreme Court to make it less political. His reform agenda also includes getting money out of politics, overturning Citizens United, mandating employee representation on corporate boards, and restructuring executive compensation.

The bottom line is that more of the same will not work. Our political problems will not solve themselves, and the market certainly won't solve them for us, mainly because it is the market that has caused them. But we don't want to turn to nationalism either. Sitaraman simultaneously provides us with a political philosophy that appeals to the ideals of democracy -- to use as a guide for policy implementation -- while suggesting reforms that will make our our society more equitable, engaged, and fair. Let's hope the next era of politics follows this path.

Shanti Fry , December 28, 2019
If you read one book about politics this year, make it this one

Stop wondering why, "We can't just get along?" Ganesh Sitamaran explains the deep wounds to our country that aren't going away with the application of civility. Neverthless this isn't a pessamistic book; in fact it describes how to face the problems that are undermining our country and start living up to the ideals that are our political birth right, a route that will bring us better lives and better, more enduring communities. So get this excellently reasoned and quite readable book. It will save you a shouting match or two at extended family gatherings as you will then be able to spread some much needed light on the divisions of the day with irrefutable arguments and a optimism about the future that has escaped many another current thinker. One person found this helpful Helpful

Carl Nelson , December 20, 2019
An important oil that should be widely read

A nonpartisan review of the recent history that has hurt our democracy. An important part of this history is that economics and politics can t be separated. Our government now serves the rich, not the majority. This book is about how to restore representation of the majority. Helpful 0 Comment Report abuse

[Jan 27, 2020] The Federal Assembly Speech; Putin vows to rein in capitalism and shore up sovereignty by Mike Whitney

Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

Western elites and their lackeys in the media despise Russian president Vladimir Putin and they make no bones about it. The reasons for this should be fairly obvious. Putin has rolled back US ambitions in Syria and Ukraine, aligned himself with Washington's biggest strategic rival in Asia, China, and is currently strengthening his economic ties with Europe which poses a long-term threat to US dominance in Central Asia. Putin has also updated his nuclear arsenal which makes it impossible for Washington to use the same bullyboy tactics it's used on other, more vulnerable countries. So it's understandable that the media would want to demonize Putin and disparage him as cold-blooded "KGB thug". That, of course, is not true, but it fits with the bogus narrative that Putin is maniacally conducting a clandestine war against the United States for purely evil purposes. In any event, the media's deep-seated Russophobia has grown so extreme that they're unable to cover even simple events without veering wildly into fantasy-land. Take, for example, the New York Times coverage of Putin's recent Address to the Federal Assembly, which took place on January 15. The Times screwball analysis shows that their journalists have no interest in conveying what Putin actually said, but would rather use every means available to persuade their readers that Putin is a calculating tyrant driven by his insatiable lust for power. Check out this excerpt from the article in the Times:

"Nobody knows what's going on inside the Kremlin right now. And perhaps that's precisely the point. President Vladimir V. Putin announced constitutional changes last week that could create new avenues for him to rule Russia for the rest of his life .(wrong)

The fine print of the legislation showed that the prime minister's powers would not be expanded as much as first advertised, while members of the State Council would still appear to serve at the pleasure of the president. So maybe Mr. Putin's plan is to stay president, after all? .(wrong again)

A journalist, Yury Saprykin, offered a similar sentiment on Facebook, but in verse:

We'll be debating over how he won't leave,
We'll be guessing, will he leave or won't he.
And then -- lo! -- he won't be leaving.
That is, before the elections he won't leave,
And after that, he definitely won't leave." (wrong, a third time)

( " Big Changes? Or Maybe Not. Putin's Plans Keep Russia Guessing" , New York Times )

This is really terrible analysis. Yes, "Putin announced constitutional changes last week", but they have absolutely nothing to do with some sinister plan to stay in power, and anyone who read the speech would know that. Unfortunately, most of the other 100-or-so "cookie cutter" articles on the topic, draw the same absurd conclusion as the Times , that is, that the changes Putin announced in his speech merely conceal his real intention which is to extend his time in office for as long as possible. Once again, there's nothing in the speech itself to support these claims, it's just another attempt to smear Putin.

So what did Putin actually say in his annual Address to the Federal Assembly?

Well, that's where it gets interesting. He announced changes to the social safety net, more financial assistance for young families, improvements to the health care system, higher wages for teachers, more money for education, hospitals, schools, libraries. He promised to launch a system of "social contracts" that commit the state to reducing poverty and raising standards of living. He pledged to provide healthier meals to schoolchildren, lower interest rates for first-time home buyers, greater economic support for working families, higher payouts to pensioners, raises to the minimum wage, additional funding for a "network of extracurricular technology and engineering centers". Putin also added this gem:

"It is very important that children who are in preschool and primary school adopt the true values ​​of a large family – that family is love, happiness, the joy of motherhood and fatherhood, that family is a strong bond of several generations, united by respect for the elderly and care for children, giving everyone a sense of confidence, security, and reliability. If the younger generations accept this situation as natural, as a moral and an integral part and reliable background support for their adult life, then we will be able to meet the historical challenge of guaranteeing Russia's development as a large and successful country."

Naturally, heartfelt statements like this never appear on the pages of the Times or any of the other western media for that matter. Instead, Americans are deluged with more of the same relentless Putin-psychobabble that's become a staple of cable news. The torrent of lies, libels and fabrications about Putin are so constant and so overwhelming, that the only thing of which one can be absolutely certain, is that nothing that is written about Putin in the MSM can be trusted. Of that, there is no doubt.

That said, Putin is a politician which means he might not deliver on his promises at all. That is a very real possibility. But if that's the case, then why did his former-Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, resign immediately after the speech? Medvedev and his entire cabinet resigned because they realized that Putin has abandoned the western model of capitalism and is moving in a different direction altogether. Putin is now focused on strengthening welfare state programs that lift people out of poverty, raise living standards, and narrow the widening inequality gap. And he wants a new team to help him implement his vision, which is why Medvedev and crew got their walking papers. Here's how The Saker summed it up in a recent article at the Unz Review :

"The new government clearly indicates that, especially with the nominations of Prime Minister Mishustin and his First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov: these are both on record as very much proponents of what is called "state capitalism" in Russia: meaning an economic philosophy in which the states does not stifle private entrepreneurship, but one in which the state is directly and heavily involved in creating the correct economic conditions for the government and private sector to grow. Most crucially, "state capitalism" also subordinates the sole goal of the corporate world (making profits) to the interests of the state and, therefore, to the interests of the people. In other words, goodbye turbo-capitalism à la Atlantic Integrationists!" ( "The New Russian Government" , The Saker)

This is precisely what is taking place in Russia right now. Putin is breaking away from Washington's parasitic model of capitalism and replacing it with a more benign version that better addresses the needs of the people. This new version of 'managed capitalism' places elected officials at the head of the system to protect the public from the savagery of market forces and from perennial-grinding austerity. It's a system aimed at helping ordinary people not Wall Street or the global bank Mafia.

But while the changes to Russia's economic model are significant, it's Putin's political changes that have drawn the most attention. Here's what he said:

(The) "requirements of international law and treaties as well as decisions of international bodies can be valid on the Russian territory only to the point that they do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution ."

What does this mean? Does it mean that Putin will not respect international law or the treaties it has signed with its neighbors? No, it doesn't, in fact, Putin has been an enthusiastic proponent of international law and the UN Security Council. He strongly believes that these institutions play a crucial role in maintaining global security, an issue that is very close to his heart. What the Russian president appears to be saying is that the rights of the Russian people and of the sovereign Russian government take precedent over foreign corporations, treaties or free trade agreements. Russia will not allow the powerful and insidious globalist multinationals to take control of the political and economic levers of state power as they've done in countries around the world. Putin further clarified this point saying:

"Russia can remain Russia only as a sovereign state. Our nation's sovereignty must be unconditional. We have done a great deal to achieve this. We restored our state's unity and overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans. We created powerful reserves, which increases our country's stability and capability to protect (us) from any attempts of foreign pressure."

For Putin sovereignty, which is the supreme power of a state to govern itself, is the bedrock principle which legitimizes the state provided the state faithfully represents the will of the people. He elaborates on this point later in his speech saying:

"The opinion of people, our citizens as the bearers of sovereignty and the main source of power must be decisive. In the final analysis everything is decided by the people, both today and in the future."

So while there may be significant differences between Russian and US democracy, the basic principle remains the same, the primary responsibility of the government is to carry out the "will of the people". In this respect, Putin's political philosophy is not much different from that of the framers of the US Constitution. What is different, however, is Putin's approach to free trade. Unlike the US, Putin does not believe that free trade deals should diminish the authority of the state. Most Americans don't realize that trade agreements like NAFTA often include provisions that prevent the government from acting in the best interests of their people. Globalist trade laws prevent governments from providing incentives to companies to slow the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, they undermine environmental regulations and food safety laws. Some of these agreements even shield sweatshop owners and other human rights abusers from penalty or prosecution.

Is it any wonder why Putin does not want to participate in this unethical swindle? Is it any wonder why he feels the need to clearly state that Russia will only comply with those laws and treaties that "do not restrict the rights and freedoms of our people and citizens and do not contradict our Constitution"? Here's Putin again:

"Please, do not forget what happened to our country after 1991. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, .there were also threats, dangers of a magnitude no one could have imagined ever before. .Therefore We must create a solid, reliable and invulnerable system that will be absolutely stable in terms of the external contour and will securely guarantee Russia's independence and sovereignty."

So what happened following the dissolution of the Soviet Union?

The United States dispatched a cabal of cutthroat economists to Moscow to assist in the "shock therapy" campaign that collapsed the social safety net, savaged pensions, increased unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and alcoholism by many orders of magnitude, accelerated the slide to privatization that fueled a generation of voracious oligarchs, and sent the real economy plunging into an excruciating long-term depression.

Economist Joseph Stiglitz followed events closely in Russia at the time and summed it up like this:

"In Russia, the people were told that capitalism was going to bring new, unprecedented prosperity. In fact, it brought unprecedented poverty, indicated not only by a fall in living standards, not only by falling GDP, but by decreasing life spans and enormous other social indicators showing a deterioration in the quality of life ..

The number of people in poverty in Russia, for instance, increased from 2 percent to somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, with more than one out of two children living in families below poverty. The market economy was a worse enemy for most of these people than the Communists had said it would be. In some (parts) of the former Soviet Union, the GDP, the national income, fell by over 70 percent. And with that smaller pie it was more and more unequally divided, so a few people got bigger and bigger slices, and the majority of people wound up with less and less and less . (PBS interview with Joseph Stiglitz, Commanding Heights)

At the same time Washington's agents were busy looting Moscow, NATO was moving its troops, armored divisions and missile sites closer to Russia's border in clear violation of promises that were made to Mikhail Gorbachev not to move its military "one inch east". At present, there are more combat troops and weaponry on Russia's western flank than at any time since the German buildup for operation Barbarossa in June 1941. Naturally, Russia feels threatened by this flagrantly hostile force on its border. (BTW, this week, "The US is carrying out its biggest and most provocative deployment to Europe since the Cold War-era. According to the US Military in Europe Website: "Exercise DEFENDER-Europe 20 is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe .The Pentagon and its NATO allies are recklessly simulating a full-blown war with Russia to prevent Moscow from strengthening its economic ties with Europe.) Here's more from Putin:

"I am convinced that it is high time for a serious and direct discussion about the basic principles of a stable world order and the most acute problems that humanity is facing. It is necessary to show political will, wisdom and courage. The time demands an awareness of our shared responsibility and real actions."

This is a theme that Putin has reiterated many times since his groundbreaking speech at Munich in 2007 where he said:

"We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state's legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this? ." ("Wars not diminishing': Putin's iconic 2007 Munich speech, you tube)

What Putin objects to is the US acting unilaterally whenever it chooses. It's Washington's capricious disregard for international law that has destabilized vast regions across the Middle East and Central Asia and has put world leaders on edge never knowing where the next crisis will pop up or how many millions of people will be impacted. As Putin said in Munich, "No one feels safe." No one feels like they can count on the protection of international law or UN Security Council resolutions.

Putin:

"Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life

The power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 ."

Is Putin overstating Washington's role in decimating Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan or is this a fair assessment of America's pernicious and destabilizing role in the region? Entire civilizations have been laid to waste, millions have been killed or scattered across the region to achieve some nebulous strategic advantage or to help Israel eliminate its perceived enemies. And all this military adventurism can be traced back to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the triumphalist response from US powerbrokers who saw Russia's collapse as a green light for their New World Order.

Washington reveled in its victory and embraced its ability to dominate global decision-making and intervene unilaterally wherever it saw fit. The indispensable nation no longer had to bother with formalities like the UN Security Council or international law. Even sovereignty was dismissed as an archaic notion that had no place in the new borderless corporate empire. What really mattered was spreading western-style capitalism to the four corners of the earth particularly those areas that contained vital resources (ME) or explosive growth potential. (Eurasia) Those regions were the real prize.

But then something unexpected happened. Washington's wars dragged on ad infinitum while newer centers of power gradually emerged. Suddenly, the globalist utopia was no longer within reach, the American Century had ended before it had even begun. Meanwhile Russia and China were growing more powerful all the time. They demanded an end to unilateralism and a return to international law, but their demands were flatly rejected. The wars and interventions dragged on even though the prospects for victory grew more and more remote. Here's Putin again:

"We have no doubt that sovereignty is the central notion of the entire system of internation