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Notes on "neoliberalism enforced" cruise to Frugality Island for 401K Lemmings

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“When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product
of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.”

John Maynard Keynes

"Life is a school of probabilities."

Walter Bagehot

Neoliberal economics (aka casino capitalism) function from one crash to another. Risk is pervasively underpriced under neoliberal system, resulting in bubbles small and large which hit the economy periodically. The problem are not strictly economical or political. They are ideological. Like a country which adopted a certain religion follows a certain path, The USA behaviour after adoption of neoliberalism somewhat correlate with the behaviour of alcoholic who decided to booze himself to death. The difference is that debt is used instead of booze.

Hypertrophied role of financial sector under neoliberalism introduces strong positive feedback look into the economic system making the whole system unstable. Any attempts to put some sand into the wheels in the form of increasing transaction costs or jailing some overzealous bankers or hedge fund managers are blocked by political power of financial oligarchy, which is the actual ruling class under neoliberalism for ordinary investor (who are dragged into stock market by his/her 401K) this in for a very bumpy ride. I managed to observe just two two financial crashed under liberalism (in 2000 and 2008) out of probably four (Savings and loan crisis was probably the first neoliberal crisis). The next crash is given, taking into account that hypertrophied role of financial sector did not changes neither after dot-com crisis of 200-2002 not after 2008 crisis (it is unclear when and if it ended; in any case it was long getting the name of "Great Recession").

Timing of the next crisis is anybody's guess but it might well be closer then we assume. As Mark Twain aptly observed: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes" ;-):

This morning that meant a stream of thoughts triggered by Paul Krugman’s most recent op-ed, particularly this:

Most of all, the vast riches being earned — or maybe that should be “earned” — in our bloated financial industry undermined our sense of reality and degraded our judgment.

Think of the way almost everyone important missed the warning signs of an impending crisis. How was that possible? How, for example, could Alan Greenspan have declared, just a few years ago, that “the financial system as a whole has become more resilient” — thanks to derivatives, no less? The answer, I believe, is that there’s an innate tendency on the part of even the elite to idolize men who are making a lot of money, and assume that they know what they’re doing.

As most 401K investors are brainwashing into being "over bullish", this page is strongly bearish in "perma-bear" fashion in order to serve as an antidote to "Barrons" style cheerleading. Funny, but this page is accessed mostly during periods of economic uncertainty. At least this was the case during the last two financial crisis(2000 and 2008). No so much during good times: the number of visits drops to below 1K a month.

Still I hope it plays a small but important role: to warn about excessive risk taking by 401K investors in neoliberal economic system. It designed to serve as a warning sign and inject a skeptical note into MSM coverage. There are not many such sites, so a warning about danger of taking excessive risk in 401K accounts under neoliberalism has definite value. The following cartoon from 2008 illustrated this point nicely

As far as I know lot of 401K investors are 100% or almost 100% invested at stocks. Including many of my friends. I came across a very relevant to this situation joke which nicely illustrated the ideas of this page:

Seven habits that help produce the anything-but-efficient markets that rule the world by Paul Krugman in Fortune.

1. Think short term.
2. Be greedy.
3. Believe in the greater fool
4. Run with the herd.
5. Overgeneralize
6. Be trendy
7. Play with other people's money

I would like to stress again that it is very difficult to "guess" when the next wave of crisis stikes us: "A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes".

But mispricing of risk in 401K accounts is systemic for "overbullish" 401 investors, who expect that they will be able to jusp of the train in time, before the crash. Usually such expectations are false. And to sell in the market that can lose 10% in one day is not easy psychologically. I remember my feelings in 2001-2002 and again 2008-2009. That's why many people who planned to "jump" stay put and can temporarily lose 30 to 50% of value of their 401k account in a very short period of time (and if you think that S&P500 can't return to 1000, think again; its all depends on FED). At this point some freak out and sell their holdings making paper losses permanent.

Even for those who weathered the storm and held to their stock holdings, it is important to understand that paper losses were eliminated mostly by Fed money printing. As such risks remains as at one point FED might find itself out of ammunition. The fact that S&P500 recovered very nicely it does not diminish the risk of such behavior. There is no guarantee that the third crisis will behave like previous two.

Next crash will have a new key determinant: the attitude toward the US government (and here I mean the current government of Barack Obama) and Wall Street after 2008 is the lack of trust. That means that you need to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Injection on so much money into financial system was a novel experiment which is not ended yet. So how it will end is anybody's guess. We are now in uncharted waters. I think when Putin called Bernanke a hooligan, he meant exactly this. Since Bernanke was printing money out of thin air to buy financial paper, his action were tantamount to shoplifting. In some way this probably is more similar to running meth labs inside Fed building. The system was injected with narcotics. Everybody felt better, but the mechanism behind it was not healthy.

The complexity of modern financial system is tremendous and how all those new financial instruments will behave under a new stress is unknown. At the same time in the Internet age we, the great unwashed masses, can't be keep in complete obscurity like in good old time. Many now know ( or at least suspect ) that the neoliberal "show must goes on" after 2008 is actually going strongly at their expense. And while open rebellion is impossible, that results in lack of trust which represents a problem for financial oligarchy which rules the country. The poor working slobs are told be grateful for Walmart's low (poverty-subsidized) prices. Middle class is told that their declining standard of living is a natural result of their lack of competitiveness in the market place. Classic "bread and circuses" policy still works but for how long it will continue to work it is unclear.

But nothing is really new under the sun. To more and more people it is now clear that today the US is trying to stave off the inevitable decline by resorting to all kinds of financial manipulations like previous empires; yesterday, it was the British Empire and if you go further back, you get the USSR, Hapsburg empire, Imperial Russia, Spanish empire, Venetian empire, Byzantium and Roman empire. The current "Secretary of Imperial Wars" (aka Secretary of Defense) Ashton Baldwin Carter is pretty open about this:

“We already see countries in the region trying to carve up these markets…forging many separate trade agreements in recent years, some based on pressure and special arrangements…. Agreements that…..leave us on the sidelines. That risks America’s access to these growing markets. We must all decide if we are going to let that happen. If we’re going to help boost our exports and our economy…and cement our influence and leadership in the fastest-growing region in the world; or if, instead, we’re going to take ourselves out of the game.”

For the US elite it might be a time to rethink its neocon stance due to which the US is exposing ourselves to the enmity of the rising economic powers, and blowing serious cash to maintain it hegemony via maintaining huge military budget, financing wars and color revolutions in distant countries. In a way the US foreign policy became a financial racket, and racket can't last forever because it incite strong opposition from other countries.

Neoliberalism (aka casino capitalism) as a social system entered the state of decline after 2008. Like communism before it stopped to be attractive to people. But unlike communism it proved to have greater staying power, surviving in zombie state as finanfial institutions preserved political power and in some cases even enhanced it. It is unclear how long it will say in this state. Much depends on the availability of "cheap oil" on which neoliberal globalization is based.

But the plausible hypothesis is that this social system like socialism in xUSSR space before entered down slope and might well be on its way to the cliff. Attempts to neo-colonize other states by the West became less successful and more costly (Compare Ukraine, Libya and Iraq with previous instances of color revolutions). Some became close to XIX century colonial conquests with a lot of bloodshed (from half million to over a million of Iraqis, by different estimates, died ). As always this is mainly the blood of locals, which is cheap.

Libya and Ukraine are two recent examples. Both countries are now destroyed (which might be the plan). In Ukraine population is thrown in object poverty with income of less that $5 a day for the majority of population. And there is no other way to expand markets but to try to "neo-colonize" new countries by putting them into ominous level of debt while exporting goods to the population on credit. That is not a long term strategy as Greece, Bulgaria, and now Spain and Portugal had shown. With shrinking markets stability of capitalism in general and neoliberalism in particular might decrease.

Several researchers points to increased importance Central banks now play in maintaining of the stability of the banking system. That's already a reversal of neoliberal dogma about free (read "unregulated") markets. Actually the tale about "free markets", as far as the USA is concerned, actually was from the very beginning mainly the product designed for export (read about Washington consensus).

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[Nov 12, 2018] DEA And ICE Hiding Secret Cameras In Streetlights

Modern technology makes many things possible, but it does not make them cheap... The camera needs to work in pretty adverse conditions (think about the temperature inside the light on a hot summer day, and temperature at winter) and transmit signal somewhere via WiFi (which has range less then 100m) , or special cable that needs to be installed for this particular pole. With wifi there should be many collection units which also cost money. So it make sense only for streetlights adjacent to building with Internet networking. And there are already cameras of the highway, so highways are basically covered. Which basically limits this technology to cities. Just recoding without transmission would be much cheaper (transmission on demand). Excessive paranoia here is not warranted.
Nov 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

According to new government procurement data, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have purchased an undisclosed number of secret surveillance cameras that are being hidden in streetlights across the country.

Quartz first reported this dystopian development of federal authorities stocking up on "covert systems" last week. The report showed how the DEA paid a Houston, Texas company called Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC. approximately $22,000 since June for "video recording and reproducing equipment." ICE paid out about $28,000 to Cowboy Streetlight Concealments during the same period.

"It's unclear where the DEA and ICE streetlight cameras have been installed, or where the next deployments will take place. ICE offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio have provided funding for recent acquisitions from Cowboy Streetlight Concealments; the DEA's most recent purchases were funded by the agency's Office of Investigative Technology, which is located in Lorton, Virginia," said Quartz.

Below is the list Of contract actions for Cowboy Streetlight Concealments LLC. Vendor_Duns_Number: "085189089" on the Federal Procurement Database:

Christie Crawford, who co-owns Cowboy Streetlight Concealments with her husband, said she was not allowed to talk about the government contracts in detail.

"We do streetlight concealments and camera enclosures," Crawford told Quartz. "Basically, there's businesses out there that will build concealments for the government and that's what we do. They specify what's best for them, and we make it. And that's about all I can probably say."

However, she added: "I can tell you this -- things are always being watched. It doesn't matter if you're driving down the street or visiting a friend, if government or law enforcement has a reason to set up surveillance, there's great technology out there to do it."

Quartz notes that the DEA issued a solicitation for "concealments made to house network PTZ [Pan-Tilt-Zoom] camera, cellular modem, cellular compression device," last Monday. According to solicitation number D-19-ST-0037, the sole source award will go to Obsidian Integration LLC.

On November 07, the Jersey City Police Department awarded Obsidian Integration with "the purchase and delivery of a covert pole camera." Quartz said the filing did not provide much detail about the design.

It is not just streetlights the federal government wants to mount covert surveillance cameras on, it seems cameras inside traffic barrels could be heading onto America's highways in the not too distant future.

And as Quartz reported in October, the DEA operates a complex network of digital speed-display road signs that covertly scan license plates. On top of all this, Amazon has been aggressively rolling out its Rekognition facial-recognition software to law enforcement agencies and ICE, according to emails uncovered by the Project for Government Oversight.

Chad Marlow, a senior advocacy and policy counsel for the ACLU, told Quartz that cameras in street lights have been proposed before by local governments, typically under a program called "smart" LED street light system.

"It basically has the ability to turn every streetlight into a surveillance device, which is very Orwellian to say the least," Marlow told Quartz. "In most jurisdictions, the local police or department of public works are authorized to make these decisions unilaterally and in secret. There's no public debate or oversight."

And so, as the US continues to be distracted, torn amid record political, social and economic polarization, big brother has no intention of letting the current crisis go to waste, and quietly continues on its path of transforming the US into a full-blown police and surveillance state.


wuffie , 9 minutes ago link

I previously worked for one of these types of federal agencies and to be fair, $50,000 doesn't buy a lot of video surveillance equipment at government procurement costs. The contractor doesn't just drill a hole and install a camera, they provide an entirely new streetlight head with the camera installed.

SantaClaws , 36 minutes ago link

It would be nice if they put some of this technology to work for a good cause. Maybe warning you of traffic congestion ahead. Or advising you that one of your tires will soon go flat.

Obviously that won't happen, so in the meantime, I can't wait to read next how the hackers will find a way to make this government effort go completely haywire. As if the government can't do it without any help. At least when the hackers do it, it will be funny and thorough.

21st.century , 56 minutes ago link

Besides the creepy surveillance part, some of the street light tech is interesting . lights that dim like the frozen food section - when no one is in front of the case --- RGB lighting that shows the approximate location for EMS to a 911 call ( lights that EMS can follow by color)

basic neighborhood street lights are being replaced by LED -- lights in this article.

Hey, I have street lights AND cameras on the same poles at the shop/mad scientist lab/ play house.

but- surveillance -- the wall better have these lights -- light up the border !

Oldguy05 , 1 hour ago link

This is yesteryears news. Shot Spotter has microphones that can pick up whispered conversations for 300 feet for a long time now, while triangulating any gunshot in a city...

[Nov 12, 2018] France The Incredible Shrinking President by Guillaume Durocher

Nov 12, 2018 | www.unz.com

I personally don't understand the French electorate on these matters. Macron in particular did not promise anything other than to deliver more of the same policies, albeit with more youth and more vigor, as a frank globalist. Who, exactly, was excited at his election but is disappointed now? People with a short attention span or susceptibility to marketing gimmicks, I assume.

It is hard to talk about the French media without getting a bit conspiratorial, at least, I speak of "structural conspiracies." Macron's unabashed, "modernizing" globalism certainly corresponds to the id of the French media-corporate elites and to top 20% of the electorate, let us say, the talented fifth. He was able to break through the old French two-party system, annihilating the Socialist Party and sidelining the conservatives. The media certainly helped in this, preferring him to either the conservative François Fillon or the civic nationalist Marine Le Pen.

However, the media have to a certain extent turned on Macron, perhaps because he believes his "complex thoughts" cannot be grasped by journalists with their admittedly limited cognitive abilities . Turn on the French radio and you'll hear stories of how the so-called "Youth With Macron," whose twenty- and thirty-somethings were invited onto all the talk shows just before Macron became a leading candidate, were actually former Socialist party hacks with no grass roots. Astroturf. I could have told you that.

Macron has made a number of what the media call "gaffes." When an old lady voiced concern about the future of her pension, he answered : "you don't have a right to complain." He has also done many things that anyone with just a little sense of decorum will be disgusted by. The 40-year-old Macron, who has a 65-year-old wife and claims not to be a homosexual, loves being photographed with sweaty black bodies.

... ... ...

So there's that. But, in terms of policies, I cannot say that the people who supported Macron have any right to complain. He is doing what he promised, that is to say, steaming full straight ahead on the globalist course with, a bit more forthrightness and, he hopes, competence than his Socialist or conservative predecessors.

Link Bookmark In truth there are no solutions. There is nothing he can do to make the elitist and gridlocked European Union more effective, nothing he can do to improve the "human capital" in the Afro-Islamic banlieues , and not much he can do to improve the economy which the French people would find acceptable. A bit more of labor flexibility here, a bit of a tax break there, oh wait deficit's too big, a tax hike in some other area too, then. Six of one, half a dozen in the other. Oh, and they've also passed more censorship legislation to fight "fake news" and "election meddling" and other pathetic excuses the media-political class across the West have come up with for their loss of control over the Narrative.

Since the European Central Bank has been printing lending hundreds of billions of euros to stimulate the Eurozone economy, France's economic performance has been decidedly mediocre, with low growth, slowly declining unemployment, and no reduction in debt (currently at 98.7% of GDP). Performance will presumably worsen if the ECB, as planned, phases out stimulus at the end of this year.

There is a rather weird situation in terms of immigration and diversity. Everyone seems to be aware of the hellscape of ethno-religious conflict which will thrive in the emerging Afro-Islamic France of the future. Just recently at the commemoration of the Battle of Verdun, an elderly French soldier asked Macron : "When will you kick out the illegal immigrants? . . . Aren't we bringing in a Trojan Horse?"

More significant was the resignation of Gérard Collomb from his position as interior minister last month to return to his old job as mayor of Lyon, which he apparently finds more interesting. Collomb is a 71-year-old Socialist politician who has apparently awakened to the problems of ethnic segregation and conflict. He said in his farewell address :

I have been in all the neighborhoods, the neighborhoods of Marseille-North to Mirail in Toulous, to the Parisian periphery, Corbeil, Aulnay, Sevran, the situation has deteriorated greatly. We cannot continue to work on towns individually, there needs to be an overarching vision to recreate social mixing. Because today we are living side by side, and I still say, me, I fear that tomorrow we will live face-to-face [i.e. across a battle lines].

It is not clear how much Collomb tried to act upon these concerns as interior minister and was frustrated. In any case, he dared to voice the same concerns to the far-right magazine Valeurs Actuelles last February. He told them: "The relations between people are very difficult, people don't want to live together" (using the term vivre-ensemble , a common diversitarian slogan). He said immigration's responsibility for this was "enormous" and agreed with the journalist that "France no longer needs immigration." Collomb then virtually predicted civil war:

Communities in France are coming into conflict more and more and it is becoming very violent . . . I would say that, within five years, the situation could become irreversible. Yes, we have five or six years to avoid the worst. After that . . .

It's unclear why "the next five or six years" should be so critical. From one point of view, the old France is already lost as about a third of births are non-European and in particular one fifth are Islamic . The patterns of life in much of France will therefore likely come to reflect those of Africa and the Middle-East, including random violence and religious fanaticism. Collomb seems to think "social mixing" would prevent this, but in fact, there has been plenty of social and even genetic "mixing" in Brazil and Mexico, without this preventing ethno-racial stratification and extreme levels of violence.

I'm afraid it's all more of the same in douce France , sweet France. On the current path, Macron will be a one-termer like Sarkozy and Hollande were. Then again, the next elections will be in three-and-a-half years, an eternity in democratic politics. In all likelihood, this would be the Right's election to win, with a conservative anti-immigration candidate. A few people of the mainstream Right are open to working with Le Pen's National Rally and some have even defended the Identitarians. Then again, I could even imagine Macron posing as a heroic opponent of (illegal . . .) immigration if he thought it could help get him reelected. Watch this space . . .


utu , says: November 8, 2018 at 9:55 pm GMT

How many immigrants from Africa come to Europe depends only on political will of Europeans. The demography of African has nothing to do with it. Europe has means to stop immigration legal and illegal. Macron talking about how many children are born in Africa is just another cop out.
utu , says: November 8, 2018 at 11:04 pm GMT
Armed force 'led by former MAFIA boss' causing dramatic reduction in migrants to Italy

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/844213/italy-close-migrant-shut-down-mafia-libya-Sabratha-un-election-eu-tripoli-summer-turkey

Italy passes sea rescue of 1,000 to Libya as EU nations hold informal talks on migration

https://www.thejournal.ie/migrants-italy-eu-spain-meeting-4089279-Jun2018/

FKA Max , says: Website November 9, 2018 at 8:07 pm GMT
@Dieter Kief I love Macron, too!

A few months ago I claimed that Emmanuel Macron has/holds an ""Alt Right" worldview" due to him having had interactions with an influential member of the French Protestant Huguenot minority in France: http://www.unz.com/article/collateral-damage/#comment-1955020
[...]
Macron : Germany is different from France. You are more Protestant, which results in a significant difference. Through the church, through Catholicism, French society was structured vertically, from top to bottom. I am convinced that it has remained so until today. That might sound shocking to some – and don't worry, I don't see myself as a king. But whether you like it or not, France's history is unique in Europe. Not to put too fine a point on it, France is a country of regicidal monarchists. It is a paradox: The French want to elect a king, but they would like to be able to overthrow him whenever they want. The office of president is not a normal office – that is something one should understand when one occupies it. You have to be prepared to be disparaged, insulted and mocked – that is in the French nature. And: As president, you cannot have a desire to be loved. Which is, of course, difficult because everybody wants to be loved. But in the end, that's not important. What is important is serving the country and moving it forward.

http://www.unz.com/article/the-elites-have-no-credibility-left/#comment-2042622

French army band medleys Daft Punk following Bastille Day parade

notanon , says: November 9, 2018 at 8:25 pm GMT

Who, exactly, was excited at his election but is disappointed now? People with a short attention span or susceptibility to marketing gimmicks, I assume.

people controlled by the media

the media are the main problem

[Nov 12, 2018] Trump Or Cheney WSJ Asks Who's The Real American Psycho

Notable quotes:
"... Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? ..."
Nov 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

After a screening of "Vice" Thursday, I asked McKay which of our two right-wing Dementors was worse, Cheney or Trump.

"Here's the question," he said.

"Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I'd rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse.

And also, if you look at the body count, more than 600,000 people died in Iraq. It's not even close, right? "

[Nov 12, 2018] I guess it's time to break out the champagne! U.S. crude oil production reached 11.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in August 2018, according to EIA

There are a lot of things that you can running one trillion deficit ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... U.S. crude oil production reached 11.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in August 2018, according to EIA's latest Petroleum Supply Monthly, up from 10.9 million b/d in July. This is the first time that monthly U.S. production levels surpassed 11 million b/d. U.S. crude oil production exceeded the Russian Ministry of Energy's estimated August production of 11.2 million b/d, making the United States the leading crude oil producer in the world. ..."
"... Why isn't Continental's credit rating better than 1 notch above junk? ..."
"... All of this bullshit is straight, I mean straight off Continental's self servicing investor presentation bullshit, Coffee. You need to wrap your head around some SEC filings, use some common sense and think for yourself. As opposed to letting someone else do your thinking for you. ..."
"... Watcher is correct, CLR's credit rating, its credit score, so to speak, is so bad it could not in the real world buy a pickup truck without its mama co-signing the note. If its wells are sooooooo much better, why don't they pay some of that $6 billion plus dollars of debt back? I mean really, who in their right mind would actually WANT to pay $420MM a year in interest on long term debt if it didn't have to? Never mind, you can't answer that. ..."
"... "If its wells are sooooooo much better, why don't they pay some of that $6 billion plus dollars of debt back? I mean really, who in their right mind would actually WANT to pay $420MM a year in interest on long term debt if it didn't have to?" ..."
"... We had 5-6 years of the highest, sustained oil prices in history and the shale oil industry could NOT make a profit. People seem to think now things have changed for some reason, that the shale oil industry has now become more ethical, and temporarily higher productivity of wells, and some imaginary oil price off in the future (for most shale guys its now down in the mid to low $50's) will allow them to pay down debt. Its absurd logic, but keeps people occupied, I guess, speculating about it. ..."
"... One thing to add. The shale companies did all this in the lowest interest rate environment we have had in a long time. They could not pay off their debt or even put a dent in it. What is going to happen when their interest costs increase 30-50% over the next 2-3 years? ..."
"... I was a former employee of Newfield, when we were drilling gas wells in the Arkoma Basin in 2007 and gas prices were the highest they had ever been, it was not cash flow positive. ..."
"... On the price, I understand why you use different scenarios. However, the average price over the next three years could be $100 or $50 WTI. Pretty much close to what we saw 2011-14 and 2015–17. ..."
"... However, the price is far too volatile to model anything very far into the future, just like we cannot budget past one year, and usually have to make adjustments to that. ..."
"... Our price has dropped over $10 in less than one month. That makes a huge difference, yet that level of volatility is common and has been for many years. ..."
"... What oil prices were you modeling in June, 2014 for 2015-17? Our timing was very fortunate to say the least. Many leases bought 1997-2005. Had we bought the same leases 2011-14 for the market prices of 2011-14, we would be bankrupt, absent having hedged everything for four years, which is very difficult to do. ..."
"... Few companies with zero debt ever go BK. We would with WTI at $30 for about three years. Is that likely? No, but oil did drop below that level in 2016. ..."
Nov 12, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

islandboy says: 11/01/2018 at 10:22 am

I guess it's time to break out the champagne!

U.S. monthly crude oil production exceeds 11 million barrels per day in August

U.S. crude oil production reached 11.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in August 2018, according to EIA's latest Petroleum Supply Monthly, up from 10.9 million b/d in July. This is the first time that monthly U.S. production levels surpassed 11 million b/d. U.S. crude oil production exceeded the Russian Ministry of Energy's estimated August production of 11.2 million b/d, making the United States the leading crude oil producer in the world.

dclonghorn says: 11/02/2018 at 8:29 pm
Dennis, Coffee's comment did not turn me into a shale cheerleader. I suppose I am more in the shale sceptic camp for the reasons you mention and others.

Nevertheless, I think Coffee's comment was correct, it does appear that shale producers in the Bakken have expanded the area that produces exceptional wells. As one who underestimated shale's viability before, I don't want to repeat the same mistake.

As you note, it is difficult to predict when average well productivity in the Bakken (or anywhere) will occur. I had thought that current drilling levels would be inadequate to sustain 1.15 million bpd production levels, but somehow they are increasing production there. It does appear that for now, the shale operators are having some success.
How long that success will last depends not only on the operational decisions made, but macro factors such as debt, interest rates, and the economy will play out, and eventually Bakken production will decline. But for now

Coffeeguyzz says: 11/02/2018 at 10:16 pm
And in a brief follow up

I have not read Continental's conference call transcript yet (Seeking Alpha provides them), but it seems the suit from Continental now feels they will recover – from present completions – 15 to 20 per cent of the OOIP.
That is huge as the norm was 3 to 5 per cent a few years back.

Watcher says: 11/01/2018 at 11:35 pm
Why isn't Continental's credit rating better than 1 notch above junk?
Mike says: 11/02/2018 at 8:05 pm
All of this bullshit is straight, I mean straight off Continental's self servicing investor presentation bullshit, Coffee. You need to wrap your head around some SEC filings, use some common sense and think for yourself. As opposed to letting someone else do your thinking for you.

Watcher is correct, CLR's credit rating, its credit score, so to speak, is so bad it could not in the real world buy a pickup truck without its mama co-signing the note. If its wells are sooooooo much better, why don't they pay some of that $6 billion plus dollars of debt back? I mean really, who in their right mind would actually WANT to pay $420MM a year in interest on long term debt if it didn't have to? Never mind, you can't answer that.

If you are not in the oil business and have never balanced an oil well's checkbook in your life, which Coffee hasn't, then you don't know that higher productivity comes with a higher cost in the shale biz. The bottom line then is that the bottom line does not change if it did the shale oil industry would be paying down some debt, right? Its not. Private debt is skyrocketing.

Are things getting better for the shale biz? Right. Case in point, the largest pure Permian Basin oil and associated gas producer, Concho, the genius behind a recent $8 billion dollar acquisition from RSP, LOST $199MM 3Q2018. Inventories are going back up, prices are down 18% the past month and what does the shale oil industry do?

It adds more rigs.

Productivity is not the same as profitability. In the real oil biz you learn that on about day six.

Boomer II says: 11/03/2018 at 3:03 am
"If its wells are sooooooo much better, why don't they pay some of that $6 billion plus dollars of debt back? I mean really, who in their right mind would actually WANT to pay $420MM a year in interest on long term debt if it didn't have to?"

I wonder about debt service, too.

When Dennis runs his scenarios he says that at a certain oil price, these companies will be quite able to pay down debt.

But will they? Or will they just pay themselves as much as they can as long as they can get away with it, and then declare bankruptcy and walk away.

Mike says: 11/03/2018 at 7:59 am
I'll take door two.

We had 5-6 years of the highest, sustained oil prices in history and the shale oil industry could NOT make a profit. People seem to think now things have changed for some reason, that the shale oil industry has now become more ethical, and temporarily higher productivity of wells, and some imaginary oil price off in the future (for most shale guys its now down in the mid to low $50's) will allow them to pay down debt. Its absurd logic, but keeps people occupied, I guess, speculating about it.

I urge folks to ignore the guessing, and the lying, (Hamm's 20% of OOIP in the Bakken is a big 'ol whopper) and look at the shale industry's financial performance over the past 10 years and decide for yourselves if it is sustainable or not.

Reno Hightower says: 11/04/2018 at 9:37 am
One thing to add. The shale companies did all this in the lowest interest rate environment we have had in a long time. They could not pay off their debt or even put a dent in it. What is going to happen when their interest costs increase 30-50% over the next 2-3 years?
JG Tulsa says: 11/07/2018 at 3:31 pm
I was a former employee of Newfield, when we were drilling gas wells in the Arkoma Basin in 2007 and gas prices were the highest they had ever been, it was not cash flow positive. It actually ate all the revenue from the rest of the company. Getting to be in the black for the play was always a year off. a decade later it never got there, they just got more and more debt sold more producing assets to pay for it to keep the shell game going and just got bought by Encanna. I have seen the same at every public company I have worked for, many of them survived the downturn only because costs dropped and so did the cost of debt. Now with increasing costs and cost of debt there will likely be many bankruptcies.
GuyM says: 11/02/2018 at 12:41 am
Yeah, I agree with Mike, Rystads announcements are mainly just self serving hogwash. Yes, oil production in the US looks to be close to 11.3 million for August. EIA's reported production for Texas is only about 50k over my high estimate, so I see nothing to argue about. GOM is the main surprise, and George and others are better suited to comment on that. The understanding I had was that it was temporary. As far as Texas goes, I'm pretty sure it is the high, for awhile. Completions dictate how much oil comes out of the ground, not drilling rigs. That is for unconventional wells, not conventional. That is why I think the EIA's DPR is a ridiculous measurement assessment. Apples and oranges. Articles that I have read indicate a significant decrease in completions in the Permian by the end of August. Texas production is not all about the Permian. A significant amount was contributed by the Eagle Ford and other areas. All completions have slowed to the point that by the end of September, they were at slightly over 60% of June's completion numbers according to RRC statistics. Significant drop, and it will show up in following months. First years decline rates will assure that it will drop slightly from this point. $64 WTI won't motivate it to expand to any extent. The next year will see US wavering along the 11.1 million barrel level, I still think. Unless, George thinks the GOM increase is somewhat permanent, which I doubt.

June completions
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/46402/ogdc0618.pdf
July completions
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/46805/ogdc0718.pdf
August completions
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/47577/ogdc0818.pdf
Sept completions
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/media/47968/ogdc0918.pdf
This is a very definite trend. From 914 oil completions in June to 553 oil completions in September.

Of course, no one needs to take my word for it. They can compare Texas production numbers:
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/oil-gas/research-and-statistics/production-data/texas-monthly-oil-gas-production/
To historical completion numbers here:
http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/oil-gas/research-and-statistics/well-information/monthly-drilling-completion-and-plugging-summaries/archive-monthly-drilling-completion-and-plugging-summaries-archive/

And try to locate a time in history when production is trending up, while completions are trending down. There is usually a several month lag by the time production slows. Takes a while to get out of the ground if they are completed towards the end of the month.

Don't you just love simple logic? Like: fire burns, water is wet, stuff like that?

Hickory says: 11/02/2018 at 9:59 am
How do these projections (hogwash) help Rystad? By preaching the 'good' word to their paying audience? I don't know their business.
GuyM says: 11/02/2018 at 1:47 pm
They are a consulting business. How much business will they generate if they tell negative stuff?
kolbeinh says: 11/02/2018 at 1:55 pm
I second that. Being from Norway myself, and having actually been working in consulting some years ago. It looks nice on paper, but the world is changing and it is wise to look out for deception and that is often the case in consulting (customer/revenue first and reality second).
Hickory says: 11/02/2018 at 10:11 pm
Yeh, but they don't score a lot of points with customers by being far off the mark on projections.
ECAS says: 11/02/2018 at 1:55 pm
Based on the shaleprofile data it looks as if well productivity increased alot in 2016 and 2017 due to longer laterals and increased proppant intensity. 2018 well productivity looks to be trending pretty close to 2017, so the productivity gains from longer lats and increased proppant might have been exhausted by now. Therefore, comparing 2018 well completion numbers to any pre 2017 completion numbers won't tell you much, but a comparison of 2018 and 2017 numbers should. In the 4 months ending in September 2018 completions grew year over year by almost 70% from 2017, hence the large assumed increase in production in the last four months of 2018. What is interesting though is that it looks like the free lunch from increased lats and proppant looks to be almost over, and any future increases in production must be the result of an increase in completion activity, which should result in some inflation for the service providers going forward. And, according to Schlumberger, if you adjust for the longer lats and increased proppant it actually appears that productivity is starting to trend down (and the increased usage of poor quality in basin sand will likely contribute to this as well)
Mike says: 11/02/2018 at 8:13 pm
I take your word for it. Thank you, BTW. You are the only one left on this site that has any common sense regarding shale oil economics and the burden all that massive, massive amount of debt has on running a business where your assets decline at the rate of 28-15% annually. Everybody else seems mesmerized by productivity.

If folks think I am biased (my "parade" was over 20 years ago) look see what Rune Likvern says here: https://www.oilystuffblog.com/single-post/2018/11/01/Cartoon-Of-the-Week .

shallow sand says: 11/03/2018 at 12:22 pm
Dennis.

Paying the debt off will depend very much on future oil and natural gas prices.

Once growth slows the companies will be companies operating many low volume wells. Investors will want these companies to pay dividends because they will not be in a position to grow. The operating costs will be higher, even though CAPEX will drop.

You are very confident prices will be high in the future. I suspect they will be volatile in the future, as they have been for the past 20 years.

So, on a company by company basis, timing will be critical, IMO.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/04/2018 at 6:36 pm
Shallow sand,

The prices can be thought of as 3 year average prices, yes there will be volatility, my "low price scenario" has Brent Oil Price in 2017 $ never rising above $80/b. I cannot hope to predict the exact oil price and of course oil prices will be volatile, but the average over time allows a pretty good estimate.

Also a company by company model is a little too much work. I just do the industry average, some companies will be better and some worse than average.

It certainly is the case that oil prices have been volatile and I agree this will continue, but the three year trend in prices (centered 3 year average) has been up $7/b for the past year, my expectation is that this trend will continue and the 3 year centered average price will reach $80/b (in 2017$) by 2021 or 2022. The trend of oil prices will be higher, if the peak arrives by 2025 as I expect prices (3 year centered average oil price in 2017$) are likely to reach $100/b by 2024 or 2025.

shallow sand says: 11/04/2018 at 11:03 pm
Dennis.

I think company by company because I have an investment in a private company. I know how important timing is in the upstream industry to individual companies.

Likewise, I understand you aren't all that interested in individual companies. No problem there.

On the price, I understand why you use different scenarios. However, the average price over the next three years could be $100 or $50 WTI. Pretty much close to what we saw 2011-14 and 2015–17.

I was recently in a major city and saw more Tesla's than I ever had, including my first Model 3 sighting.

Our little area now has two Model S, with the early adopter trading his 2012 for a 2018.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/05/2018 at 2:23 pm
Shallow sand,

Pretty doubtful it will be $50/b over the next three years, in my opinion. If you believe that you should find another business 🙂 More likely is a gradual increase in oil prices as we approach peak oil, the futures strip is likely to be wrong on oil price (today's future strip). For Brent futures the current strip goes from $73/b (Jan 2019) to $61 (Dec 2026). By Contrast the EIA's AEO 2018 reference oil price scenario for Brent crude has the spot price at $87.50/b in 2026, chart below has their scenario (which I think may be too low.)
As always clicking on the chart give a larger view.

shallow sand says: 11/05/2018 at 6:33 pm
Dennis.

The price could be $50 from 2019-2021, and then $125 from 2022-2025. (Averages, of course).

So in that scenario I'd feel pretty bad if I sold out in say 2020.

Your models are ok, I have no problem with you doing them. We try to make a budget for every year.

However, the price is far too volatile to model anything very far into the future, just like we cannot budget past one year, and usually have to make adjustments to that.

Our price has dropped over $10 in less than one month. That makes a huge difference, yet that level of volatility is common and has been for many years.

What oil prices were you modeling in June, 2014 for 2015-17? Our timing was very fortunate to say the least. Many leases bought 1997-2005. Had we bought the same leases 2011-14 for the market prices of 2011-14, we would be bankrupt, absent having hedged everything for four years, which is very difficult to do.

On a flowing barrel basis, I have seen leases sell as low as $2,000 per barrel and as high as $180,000 per barrel in our basin from 1997-2018. That is what an oil price range of $8-140 per barrel will do.

Few companies with zero debt ever go BK. We would with WTI at $30 for about three years. Is that likely? No, but oil did drop below that level in 2016.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/06/2018 at 9:59 am
Shallow Sand,

The volatility is a big problem, there is no doubt of that. When imagining the "big picture". I use the estimates of the EIA's AEO as a starting point then add my personal perspective (that at some point oil output will peak.) Below is a chart with my guess from Dec 2014 for future Brent oil prices in constant 2014$, nominal Brent spot price is give for comparison.

Clearly my guess was not very good, the EIA guess from the AEO 2015 was also not great, but better than my guess. Future guesses will be equally bad.

What was your forecast in Dec 2014 for WTI?

shallow sand says: 11/08/2018 at 4:44 pm
Dennis.

In 2013 we assumed prices in a range of $60-120 WTI moving forward.

In June of 2014 when oil spiked up and we received $99.25 in the field, we suspected oil would fall and it began to. We again continued to assume $60 WTI would be a low.

We were dead wrong, of course.

Oil dropped again today. We will get $67 in the field for October sales paid in November. However, our price today is down to $56.50. That is about a $60,000 per month revenue hit to a small company which employs 8 full time employees, one part time employee office manager and utilized numerous contractors (rigs, electricians, etc.).

Corn here is $3.51 per bushel today. Less than a month ago it was $2.96 per bushel.

Yes, yes, a hedging program would mitigate the price volatility.

Until you actually try to hedge with money at risk, don't talk to me about that. It's about as easy as trading stocks. It is also very expensive due to the volatility. Or, if you do SWAPS or Collars, you need to put up a lot of margin money.

Dennis Coyne says: 11/08/2018 at 6:10 pm
Shallow sand,

Hedging seems a risky business, not sure I would come out ahead by hedging. You are in a tough business, the volatility sucks. The silver lining is that prices will be increasing.

TechGuy says: 11/07/2018 at 2:25 pm
Shallow Sand Wrote:
"Paying the debt off will depend very much on future oil and natural gas prices."

I don't think so. When energy prices rise, so do prices of everything else, included interest rates. The only way the shale drillers could play off there debt is if the left large number of completed wells untapped (ie leave it in the ground) while taking advantage of cheap debt & low labor\material costs. Then selling the oil when prices & costs have soared above investment costs.

The issue is that as soon as a well is completed, they start producing, at market prices. Thus when oil prices rise most of the oil is already produced & drilling new wells (using more debt) does not pay down the old debt.

Also consider the costs shale drillers will need for decommissioning older\depleted well. I believe the cleanup cost is between $50K & $100K per drill site. To date have any shale drillers spent money on clean up for depleted wells yet, or is it all deferred (ie never going to happen)?

FWIW: I don't believe any of the shale companies are in game for the long term. They are simply a modern Ponzi scam, taking investor money & providing an illusion of profitabity by selling a product below cost. They will continue to play the game until investor capital dries up.

I suspect that most shale drillers will go bust in the next 5 years when the bulk of their bonds come due & they won't have the ability to refinance it or pay it off. If I recall correctly Shale drillers will need to payoff or refinance about $270B in high-yield bonds between 2020 & 2022.

[Nov 12, 2018] Saudi royals internal fight looks probably like the Austrians in 1913 arguing about who their next Habsburg Ruler is going to be

Nov 12, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Survivalist says: 11/03/2018 at 12:13 am

To put it mildly, I'm not an expert on where to find info Ghawar. Perhaps brighter minds will chime in.
http://peakoilbarrel.com/closer-look-saudi-arabia/
http://crudeoilpeak.info/category/saudi-arabia

My guess is that much of KSA will look a lot like the shabby end of Yemen before too long. This will perhaps strand some assets. Once the House of Saud fragments further among competing clans/factions (Faisal, Sudairi, Abdullah, Bin Sultans) things will hasten. Collapse is preceded by intra-elite rivalry over a shrinking pie, so to speak.
Caspian Report has a nice set on KSA if you look for them. Here's one-
https://youtu.be/9tHwvZ9XDLU
And another-
https://youtu.be/hh8isVX3H9w

Hightrekker once commented something quite apt, along the lines of~ 'And all this is probably like the Austrians in 1913 arguing about who their next Habsburg Ruler is going to be'.

From what I understand there are 4000 Saudi princes (a suspiciously round number, so likely an approximate). It all should make for a very bloody affair. Hopefully Iran will do the right thing and kick 'em while they're down.

  1. Mushalik 10/31/2018 at 8:25 pm
    Saudi Update October 2018
    http://crudeoilpeak.info/saudi-update-october-2018

[Nov 10, 2018] Burying The Other Russia Story: WSJ Editors Expose The House Democrats' Real Plan

Notable quotes:
"... Adam Schiff will shut down the probe that found FBI abuses. ..."
"... Credit for knowing anything at all goes to Intel Chairman Devin Nunes and more recently a joint investigation by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Judiciary) and Trey Gowdy (Oversight). Over 18 months of reviewing tens of thousands of documents and interviewing every relevant witness, no Senate or House Committee has unearthed evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the presidential election. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found more, he hasn't made it public. ..."
"... But House investigators have uncovered details of a Democratic scheme to prod the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign. We now know that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS, which hired an intelligence-gun-for-hire, Christopher Steele, to write a "dossier" on Donald Trump's supposed links to Russia. ..."
"... Mr. Steele fed that document to the FBI, even as he secretly alerted the media to the FBI probe that Team Clinton had helped to initiate. Fusion, the oppo-research firm, was also supplying its dossier info to senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion. ..."
"... This abuse of the FBI's surveillance powers took place as part of a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign -- which the FBI also hid from Congress. Such an investigation is unprecedented in post-J. Edgar Hoover American politics, and it included running informants into the Trump campaign, obtaining surveillance warrants, and using national security letters, which are secret subpoenas to obtain phone records and documents. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Via The Wall Street Journal

Adam Schiff will shut down the probe that found FBI abuses.

Arguably the most important power at stake in Tuesday's election was Congressional oversight, and the most important change may be Adam Schiff at the House Intelligence Committee. The Democrat says his top priority is re-opening the Trump-Russia collusion probe, but more important may be his intention to stop investigating how the FBI and Justice Department abused their power in 2016. So let's walk through what we've learned to date.

Credit for knowing anything at all goes to Intel Chairman Devin Nunes and more recently a joint investigation by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (Judiciary) and Trey Gowdy (Oversight). Over 18 months of reviewing tens of thousands of documents and interviewing every relevant witness, no Senate or House Committee has unearthed evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the presidential election. If Special Counsel Robert Mueller has found more, he hasn't made it public.

But House investigators have uncovered details of a Democratic scheme to prod the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign. We now know that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee hired Fusion GPS, which hired an intelligence-gun-for-hire, Christopher Steele, to write a "dossier" on Donald Trump's supposed links to Russia.

Mr. Steele fed that document to the FBI, even as he secretly alerted the media to the FBI probe that Team Clinton had helped to initiate. Fusion, the oppo-research firm, was also supplying its dossier info to senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion.

House investigators have also documented the FBI's lack of judgment in using the dossier to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against former Trump aide Carter Page. The four FISA warrants against Mr. Page show that the FBI relied almost exclusively on the unproven Clinton-financed accusations, as well as a news story that was also ginned up by Mr. Steele.

The FBI told the FISA court that Mr. Steele was "credible," despite Mr. Steele having admitted to Mr. Ohr that he passionately opposed a Trump Presidency. The FBI also failed to tell the FISA court about the Clinton campaign's tie to the dossier.

This abuse of the FBI's surveillance powers took place as part of a counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign -- which the FBI also hid from Congress. Such an investigation is unprecedented in post-J. Edgar Hoover American politics, and it included running informants into the Trump campaign, obtaining surveillance warrants, and using national security letters, which are secret subpoenas to obtain phone records and documents.

Mr. Nunes and his colleagues also found that officials in Barack Obama's White House "unmasked" Trump campaign officials to learn about their conversations with foreigners; that FBI officials exhibited anti-Trump bias in text messages; and that the FBI team that interviewed then Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn reported that they did not think Mr. Flynn had lied about his Russian contacts. Mr. Mueller still squeezed Mr. Flynn to cop a guilty plea.

All of this information had to be gathered despite relentless opposition from Democrats and their media contacts. Liberal groups ginned up a phony ethics complaint against Mr. Nunes, derailing his committee leadership for months. Much of the media became Mr. Schiff's scribes rather than independent reporters. Meanwhile, the FBI and Justice continue to stonewall Congress, defying subpoenas and hiding names and information behind heavy redactions.

There is still much more the public deserves to know. This includes how and when the FBI's Trump investigation began, the extent of FBI surveillance, and the role of Obama officials and foreigners such as Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who in spring 2016 supposedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that Russia held damaging Clinton emails. When he takes over the committee, Mr. Schiff will stop asking these questions and bless the FBI-Justice refusal to cooperate.

Senate Republicans could continue to dig next year, but Mr. Mueller seems uninterested. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March asked Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to look into FBI misconduct, but there has been little public reporting of what he is finding, if he is even still looking. Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating, though that report is likely to take many more months.

* * *

All of which puts an additional onus on Mr. Trump to declassify key FBI and Justice documents sought by Mr. Nunes and other House investigators before Mr. Schiff buries the truth. A few weeks ago Mr. Trump decided to release important documents, only to renege under pressure from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and members of the intelligence community.

Mr. Sessions resigned this week and perhaps Mr. Rosenstein will as well. Meantime, Mr. Trump should revisit his decision and help Mr. Nunes and House Republicans finish the job in the lame duck session of revealing the truth about the misuse of U.S. intelligence and the FISA court in a presidential election.

[Nov 10, 2018] Russian State-Owned Bank VTB Funded Rosneft Stake Sale To Qatari Fund

Notable quotes:
"... Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

Russian VTB, a state-owned bank, funded a significant portion of the Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of a stake in oil giant Rosneft , Reuters reports , quoting nine unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

VTB, however, has denied to Reuters taking any part in the deal.

"VTB has not issued and is not planning to issue a loan to QIA to finance the acquisition," the bank said in response for a request for comment.

The Reuters sources, however, claim VTB provided a US$6 billion loan to the Qatar sovereign wealth fund that teamed up with Swiss Glencore to acquire 19.5 percent in Rosneft last year. Reuters cites data regarding VTB's activity issued by the Russian central bank that shows VTB lent US$6.7 billion (434 billion rubles) to unnamed foreign entities and the loan followed another loan of US$5.20 billion (350 billion rubles) from the same central bank.

The news first made headlines in December, taking markets by surprise, as Rosneft's partial privatization was expected by most to be limited to Russian investors. The price tag on the stake was around US$11.57 billion (692 billion rubles), of which Glencore agreed to contribute US$324 million. The remainder was forked over by the Qatar Investment Authority, as well as non-recourse bank financing.

Russia's budget received about US$10.55 billion ( 710.8 billion rubles ) from the deal, including US$ 270 million (18 billion rubles) in extra dividends. Rosneft, for its part, got an indirect stake in Glencore of 0.54 percent.

Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing.

solidtare , 30 minutes ago link

Took z/h almost 2 years, and of course from a tertiary source - Reuters

John Helmer nailed this scam 2 years ago, and got hammered for it

[Nov 10, 2018] How Secession from the Soviet Union Created Booming Economies and Innovative Government Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends. ..."
"... Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

DoctorFix , 46 minutes ago link

With all due cynical respect... I find it highly ironic that some of the biggest money launderers and Mafiosi are Baltic banks. The hilarity never ends.

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Here is classic: GDP PPP per capita. What to pay attention.

#1, After 30 years and joining EU and NATO there is no difference in former Soviet bloc. Just looks like Russia is greatest profiteer. Now those parasites are chained to west.

#2, countries of former Soviet bloc are in better shape than countries that were in sphere of western imperialism. Especially look at countries where USA imperialism worked since 1823 Monroe's doctrine. Chart shows that in 200 years USA was not able to achieve much progress despite permanent military interventions and political influence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Latvia, a disappearing nation

https://www.politico.eu/article/latvia-a-disappearing-nation-migration-population-decline/

Moribundus , 1 hour ago link

Full scale bull ****. No single former Soviet bloc country get into economic level of pre-Berlin wall fall. They are done.

Europe's Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-20/europe-s-depopulation-time-bomb-is-ticking-in-the-baltics

Cohen-cide-nce , 2 hours ago link

The balts have become them most libtarded cucks in the EU. They all need to get nuked. Bunch of atheist-feminist faggots.

Dick Buttkiss , 1 hour ago link

Due punishment, no doubt, for being on the cutting edge of technology-driven economic development and personal freedom.

From what planet/galaxy/universe does your information emanate?

Trader200K , 2 hours ago link

As much as I like the idea of taking my state to Estonia status, too many winner-take-all politicians and weak thinkers to recognize that new borders would solve lots and lots of problems.

Socialists are clearly smart, but in actuality just simple evil, immoral thieves. They will be unlikely to support any secession because they know their enemies are the source of their lucre.

Balkanization, what little there will be, will most likely come after we are drug into WWIII and we are back to a 1700's subsistence existence.

A pessimist is never disappointed, but I will happily take an optimist's surprise if people just stop and live and let live.

Flankspeed60 , 3 hours ago link

If at first you don't secede.............

Dick Buttkiss , 2 hours ago link

.............. try, try to "Unchain America" next July 4. What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a joining of hands across the land, if not to secede, then to affirm our right to, one state at a time?

Are one in 66 Americans not prepared to do so?

Salzburg1756 , 3 hours ago link

So... Diversity is their strength? Or was I misinformed?

Dick Buttkiss , 3 hours ago link

It's 2,790 miles from New York to Los Angeles, which is 14,731,200 feet. At three feet per person, it would take around 4,910,400 people -- less than 1/66th of the US population -- to make a human chain like the three Balkan states did.

Count me in.

[Nov 09, 2018] >Stock Markets Do Not Create Value

Notable quotes:
"... By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an "anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert". He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics . He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK ..."
"... 'a research paper by Hendrik Bessembinder published in the September edition of the Journal of Financial Economics posed the question "Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?" with some rather worrying conclusions for most equity investors. ..."
"... the view that stock markets themselves create value ..."
"... the view that stock markets themselves create value ..."
"... One aspect not touched upon is stocks are loans that never get repaid. If I pay $100 of a share and the company thrives. I get paid dividends in perpetuity. Plus, If I buy that share from someone who already had bought it (a trade) I am being paid when I actually provided none of the original loan (like a bank buying the "paper" from another bank). Someone calculated that the dividends paid by Apple have paid off the amount originally tendered by several hundred percent, which would make them the worst bank loans in all of creation. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on November 8, 2018 by Yves Smith By Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and a political economist. He has been described by the Guardian newspaper as an "anti-poverty campaigner and tax expert". He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics . He is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Originally published at Tax Research UK

As many readers will know, I am not the greatest fan of stock markets. I consider most activity on such markets to be exploitative because of the asymmetry of the information available to investors. Much of it, from the pay directors take to the actions of most market managers, I consider to be rent seeking. The idea that equities provide strong returns is pretty much an urban myth, in my opinion, based on selective reading of data in those periods between market crashes.

There is quite a lot of evidence to support my view in an article by long-term and highly opinionated equity investor Terry Smith in the FT this morning . As he notes he did this based on 'a research paper by Hendrik Bessembinder published in the September edition of the Journal of Financial Economics posed the question "Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills?" with some rather worrying conclusions for most equity investors. ' I should make clear that the research is US based. I have no reason to think that performance in the UK is any different.

The main conclusions is that the majority of shares do not perform nearly as well as government bonds. It is an exceptional few that make it look as though shares outperform gilts.

Since 1977 the median new shares issued on the stock exchange has delivered a negative rate of return, even with dividends reinvested.

On average, a quoted security has a life expectancy of just 7.5 years over the 90 year period studied. No wonder short-termism is rife.

And as he notes:

Just five companies out of the universe of 25,967 in the study account for 10 per cent of the total wealth creation over the 90 years, and just over 4 per cent of the companies account for all of the wealth created.

So, what is to be learned?

First, the stock exchange is not a business funding mechanism: it is a business exit strategy for most companies.

Second, most people are fools to take part in this game.

Third, if you insist on taking part only invest in the best stocks.

Fourth, since you have no way of knowing which ones they are, invest in a market tracker.

Or fifth, buy gilts.

But whatever you don't believe the story that the market deliver higher rates of return than government bonds: 96% of it does not.


Arizona Slim , November 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

So much for that "invest in the stock market for your retirement wealth" idea. Y'now, the one that justified the 401k

Enquiring Mind , November 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm

When 43 pushed the privatization of Social Security through more 401k and similar approaches my immediate thought was that he was rationalizing the transfer of wealth and increased fees to Wall Street. Someday there will be a post-mortem about Neo-Liberalism and that episode merits at least a footnote. To escape the memory hole.

Phichibe , November 8, 2018 at 5:21 pm

Don't forget that Clinton had reached a deal with Gingerich to privatize up to half of the Social Security Trust Fund in the stock market, which was only derailed by the Lewinski scandal. Clinton was scheduled to unveil this at the State of the Union address the week after the Lewinski story started to break, and pulled back because he was advised that if he were impeached he'd need the Democrats in the Senate to avoid conviction. Google "Robert Kuttner" "Clinton" and "Social Security" to get the details. There's also a book called "The Pact" by Steven Gillon that documents the back channel negotiations, which were conducted by Erskine Bowles, Clinton's last Chief of Staff.

It would have been the ultimate Neo-Liberal betrayal of the party of FDR, but we were saved by a blue dress. Amazing story, not nearly as well known as it should be. We might have been spared the Hillary Clinton phenomenon.

P

Todde , November 8, 2018 at 9:04 pm

It would work if the government guarantees a certain rate of return and guarantees your SS payment thru 0 interest loans when the market goes down.

Your tax payment goes into a market index fund and you get 8%. Govt keeps earnings.

If market goes down and youre receiving payments they are loaned to you at 0%, creating an automatic stimulus for the economy.

When Market fund goes back up, the loan is repaid from earnings.

John Zelnicker , November 9, 2018 at 2:05 am

@Todde
November 8, 2018 at 9:04 pm
-- -- -

I don't want my Social Security benefits to be any kind of loan that has to be repaid. That just gives the government another way to cut my benefits at some point.

I don't want Wall Street to get one penny of the contributions I have made to Social Security for the past 50 years. They don't deserve it!

Your proposal is no more than a neoliberal justification for subjecting the Social Security system to the depredations of the "Market", allowing the rentiers to get their cut off the top.

No thanks!

Blue Pilgrim , November 9, 2018 at 11:18 am

Remember that taxes don't really pay for government expenses in a fiat system; don't forget MMT.

Accounts are not real wealth any more than the map is the territory (CF Korzibsky and general semantics). The stock market, as well as the bond market, are accounting gizmos, and accounting is not actual wealth creation, and neither does owning stocks or binds produce anything real.

Todde , November 9, 2018 at 11:39 am

I think youre safe.

But your social security taxes are being borrowed by the general fund right now.

And their still talking about cutting your payments.

divadab , November 8, 2018 at 10:07 am

Anyone investing in bonds in the low interest rate environment that has prevailed these past ten years would disagree, I think.

I call rubbish on this article. Not my experience. My investing strategy is to follow the oligarchs. Invest in stocks that make money by destroying the planet. Take profits when things look toppy. Reinvest dividends.

Buy bonds at your own peril. Maybe when rates are in the 6% plus range but we're a long way from that.

Robert Valiant , November 8, 2018 at 10:47 am

The last 10 years (or any other small set of time) is specifically not the time scale that this article addresses.

Arizona Slim , November 8, 2018 at 11:01 am

Quoting from the article:

The main conclusions is that the majority of shares do not perform nearly as well as government bonds. It is an exceptional few that make it look as though shares outperform gilts.

Since 1977 the median new shares issued on the stock exchange has delivered a negative rate of return, even with dividends reinvested.

On average, a quoted security has a life expectancy of just 7.5 years over the 90 year period studied. No wonder short-termism is rife.

Lord Koos , November 8, 2018 at 1:29 pm

"Invest in stocks that make money by destroying the planet."

Another good reason to not participate, IMHO.

oh , November 8, 2018 at 4:26 pm

The financial advisors (phonies) would agree with you,

divadab , November 8, 2018 at 8:23 pm

@Valiant; Slim; Koos; oh:

Have it your way – be poor. I'd rather have money than snark.

I have practical experience and have done better in equities.

The time scale of the article is 40 years – in our current economy 40 years ago is ancient history. And they focus only on new issues, which represent a fraction of total market cap. And I doubt many financial advisors would agree with me as I a) don't employ any of them; and b) find them to be a repository of groupthink and always to miss inflection points.

I dismiss anyone advising bonds in the current interest rate environment. Unless you want to end up with less money than you started out with.

tegnost , November 8, 2018 at 8:54 pm

while it's great that you are succeeding in the market, remember that we have had 10 years of qe and stock buybacks. I hear student loan bonds are very lucrative if you've got enough dough to make a position

Jim A. , November 9, 2018 at 10:35 am

And yet I can reasonably anticipate being retired for 30 years. Certainly SOME of the money in my 401(k) will have been there for 50 years.

Skip Intro , November 8, 2018 at 10:19 am

Jeez, next you'll be telling us that buying Lotto tickets is not a financially sound investment strategy.

Tom Stone , November 8, 2018 at 10:52 am

Skip, dissing the lotto is uncool.
After all it's "America's Retirement Plan".

Skip Intro , November 8, 2018 at 11:14 am

Sorry Tom, I meant no disrespect on the 1st and 15th of every month it's the eternal question Alpo or Lotto.

shinola , November 8, 2018 at 11:41 am

Quote from Econ. prof. circa 1974:

"The stock market is the only form of gambling legal in all 50 states."

(I doubt he originated that statement, but that's the 1st time I heard it)

Jim A. , November 9, 2018 at 10:37 am

My favorite investing quote is:"The only number from management that I believe is the one on the dividend check."

charles , November 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

On average, a quoted security has a life expectancy of just 7.5 years over the 90 year period studied. No wonder short-termism is rife.

This does not mean the average company goes bankrupt in 7.5 years. Acquisitions also remove quoted securities. I don't see the link between how long a security is traded and whether or not the underlying assets are managed for long or short term.

jhallc , November 9, 2018 at 10:25 am

The dot com bubble sure had it's share of here today gone tomorrow stocks but, I'm also wondering if they took into account many of the mergers and aquisitions that occurred during the lead up to the bubble's popping.

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 11:26 am

Anyone know the implications for MMT?
I'm thinking, "yup, synchs with MMT "
But amiright?
Or not?

Paul O , November 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Richard Murphy is a strong advocate for MMT so it likely syncs closely. His blog is one of my go to sites.

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Thx ;-)
Good to know that – at least as of 9:30 am PST – I've not yet hit full cray-cray ;-)

However, given your confirmation, the implications of this post are . epic.

JEHR , November 8, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Where do the profits come from for buying and selling stocks: they come from the smucks who pick the wrong stocks.

Altandmain , November 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm

The issue here is that companies only get money from e events:

1. During the initial IPO
2. If they issue new shares afterwards, which dilutes existing owners

Other than that, you are not, when you buy a share, sending money to the bank account of the firm that you are investing in. What are you doing? Sending money to the person who you bought the share from. It is pretty much speculation. Capitalists hate to admit this idea.

Also, companies that buy back shares or pay dividends are taking money of their cash flows and giving money to the shareholders.

In this regard, capitalism is not a good way to allocate capital. It can be used for various types of manipulation, an example being a share buyback right before executives cash in their stock options.

The social value of this is deeply negative.

Altandmain , November 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Here is the university website

https://wpcarey.asu.edu/department-finance/faculty-research/do-stocks-outperform-treasury-bills

It should be noted that they are discussing individual stocks, as opposed to an index fund.

JCC , November 8, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Years ago I read in Marjorie Kelly's The Divine Right of Capital that 97% of all stock trades never contribute one direct penny to the Company who's shares are traded. It's purely a speculative game.

It was the book that first woke me up 15 years ago to the way our financial system really works. Needless to say, this site has become my ongoing educational resource.

Jim A. , November 9, 2018 at 10:40 am

Stock prices are a zero sum game. Every extra dollar the seller of a stock gets is an extra dollar that the purchaser has paid to secure a share of future profits.

Chauncey Gardiner , November 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm

IMO stock markets in and of themselves both create and destroy "value" in much the same way that a casino does, including largely hidden social costs. While there is little in the way of public data to support either a pro or con view and setting aside issues of manipulation of market prices, the view that stock markets themselves create value by enabling price discovery is integral to neoliberalism. I agree with the view that the related long-term "financialization" of the economy contributes to recurring speculative asset price bubbles and leads to long-term economic stagnation while enriching a few.

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 2:49 pm

the view that stock markets themselves create value by enabling price discovery is integral to neoliberalism.

Ding!
Somehow, it feels like this line badly needs my Dumpster Fire emoji .

readerOfTeaLeaves , November 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm

the view that stock markets themselves create value by enabling price discovery is integral to neoliberalism

Indeed.

animalogic , November 8, 2018 at 11:06 pm

"price discovery is integral to neoliberalism"
I would have thought it's the exact opposite ?
(Perhaps your "indeed" was ironic ?)
It's the inequality of information (ie price discovery) that makes the stock market so profitable for the "right" people.
The Fed's years of QE is another factor that has made price discovery very difficult.

Skip Intro , November 9, 2018 at 1:22 am

I believe that the concept of price 'discovery' is already an important element of neoliberal framing, and that Chauncey Gardiner has shared a profound insight. Discovery implies that there is a natural price, somehow prior to and independent of human/political intervention. The stock market is a way to embody the collective of individual 'rational actors', and give this collective transcendent power over individuals, corporations and nations. It is perhaps more clear when one looks at bond markets and the way they are used to 'discipline' nations whose fiscal policies diverge from the neoliberal consensus. The fact that the hand holding the whip is invisible is a feature, not a bug. The whipped feel the lash, les autres hear the crack and see the blood, but there is no recourse imaginable -- because Markets.
Your point about information inequality is good, but I think that would be viewed in neoliberal doctrine as a minor flaw in the market, even if, for the main actors, it is the raison d'etre .

Doug Hillman , November 9, 2018 at 6:35 am

Yup, what the author describes as a flaw -- "asymmetry of the information available to investors", isn't a bug; it's a feature. But the real elephant soiling the room is who has access to all that free debt printed by the unaccountable private cartel we refer to as the Federal Reserve. Could you benefit from a zero-interest deferred-payment mortgage?

Even better "our" millionaire legislators are exempt from insider-trading laws and they in turn have immunized their investors. Clearly the most lucrative investment by far is political bribery. The new Wall Street Socialists have redefined capitalism and democracy as Orwellian doublespeak.

Jeremy Grimm , November 8, 2018 at 3:07 pm

I agree -- I think this post plays on its words. The stock market price for a stock indicates what speculators are willing to pay and sellers are willing to accept for the stock. These need have very little to do with the 'value' of the stock other than its 'value' in the stock market. That's seldom been truer than in the current stock 'market'. I'm not a very trusting sort so I don't believe more than half the numbers in corporate reports. Many stocks stocks like Apple or Amazon tend to trade on 'value' instead of anything like what used to be called value. At a time when there seems to be no limit on the amount of money finding its way into the hands of the wealthy I'm not sure the selling of stock has anything to do with raising money for investments. Many firms can coin their own money through their many monopolies and monopsonies, and 'retained earnings' -- a category I believe often labels earnings squeezed from the small sellers, suppliers, and labor thrall to the large firms. To me, asserting "Stock markets do not create value" is shorthand for a much deeper critique of our financialized stock markets.

Westinghouse in the days of George Westinghouse, General Electric in the days of Thomas Edison, Xerox in the days shortly after Chester Carlson all created value. I like to believe that at least in some periods of the stock market their stocks represented and did not create but "shared" the value these firms invented and developed. I also like to believe at least some of the new issues these and other firms sold did indeed once help fund real investments in productive capital. But all that has become but romantic memory.

I believe the Corporate Management is busily engaged in cashing-out what real value remains within the firms they control and will continue doing so until all that's left is a hollow shell servicing the bonds and notes the firm created as part of their liquidation process. The stock market is where speculators can bet against each other on the ebb and flow of prices moving toward a great twilight of our stock markets and our gutted economy.

Ken , November 8, 2018 at 11:03 pm

Strange that value and profits are synonymous here when it's usually very helpful to differentiate between the two

Jeremy Grimm , November 9, 2018 at 12:44 pm

I think you mean value and price paid -- the idea that the Market assigns value through price paid.

Kurt Sperry , November 8, 2018 at 2:07 pm

This is like saying casinos don't create value. Crazy talk!

edit: CG beat me to it.

Oregoncharles , November 8, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Well, there's entertainment value, just like casinos and horse racing, but that isn't what they're paid for – unlike casinos or race tracks.

An Indiana paper (Indy Star? used to print the stock market numbers facing the horse race results. My father was not amused when I pointed that out, since investing in stocks was part of his job. I thought it was hilarious.

Realistically, financial "markets" are an overhead cost, part of your management system for the economy. Not saying whether it's MIS- management.

Susan the other , November 8, 2018 at 3:05 pm

They used to say you can make money if you are right 51% of the time. Such a narrow edge – because the reverse is also true. This is a good argument for not wasting time and money on the cherished institution of the market. Nancy Pelosi was blabbering on about all our sacred institutions (cows) trying to cover her fauxpaux when she tried to defuse the demand for single payer with her stumbling, tooth sucking comment that "this is a capitalist country" and therefore we simply canot have anything so cost effective as single payer. I'm convinced she doesn't know her capitalism from a hot rock. So now, armed with this simple demonstration of how wasteful the whole idea of a stock market is, I'm thinking the Market is a very questionable institution. Much better to be highly selective and deliberate about stocks and stock companies. Not just in the share-buying but in the whole company concept. If returns on government bonds are the best choice then why would anyone get upset about "the debt". It's the best investment. And I am left to assume this is true because that money is spent on valuable things in the first place. I'm also thinking how to do an end-run around Nancy's new Institution-patriotism with a movement to provide everyone with a medical credit card. Why not? Everything else, including Nancy's paycheck and percs, are on credit. What a velvet revolution, no?

Jeremy Grimm , November 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I went to Richard Murphy's websites and I'm not sure his new book "The Joy of Tax" will be a big winner here in the US. He may need to give it a new title.

ALSO -- the link for Cambridge Econometrics should be updated to:
https://www.camecon.com/

[I guess they got a new webserver program?]

griffen , November 8, 2018 at 4:28 pm

Interesting point. I suppose an easy proxy is using a large fund family benchmark mutual fund.

Since inception in 1976, Vanguard SP 500 had annualized return of 11.17%. Hard to beat that. Symbol is VFINX.

Or choose the Wellington fund offered by Vanguard. Balanced funds for stock & bond exposure.

divadab , November 8, 2018 at 8:32 pm

Yes. And no bond fund even comes close.

@griffen you are a voice of reason on this thread – man these communists just don't get it.

Todde , November 8, 2018 at 9:08 pm

Yws the stock market is a proven winner.for roi.

The data was pretty selective to get the result it did.

griffen , November 8, 2018 at 10:18 pm

As a wise person once put it. Facts are stubborn things. My capitalist views have taken a beating since 2008 but it's still a capitalist society.

It's amazing what is available online, for free, to seek and learn about major asset class investing over long horizons.

Bob , November 9, 2018 at 10:36 am

Your post supports the paper's conclusion. In the USA, there are about 4,000 companies listed on exchanges and another 15,000 that trade OTC. Members of the S&P 500 are in fact the "exceptional few."

John , November 8, 2018 at 8:54 pm

I think that stock markets are reflective of value, they don't in themselves create value. Certainly there is speculation and cheating, but in general, the value of a stock should increase as the value of the underlying business increases. Better to say that the price reflects the expected business in the future.

We've done fantastically well investing in stocks and mutual funds over the last 30 years. Not every fund went up. Not every stock went up. But the total gains far outpaced the losses.

Companies take money from the market by going public and by issuing new shares. They also hold some shares from some issues that are used to incentivize employees.

I think the original author sort of tilted the table by talking treating all securities the same. Likely the newcomers to the market are much smaller and have more risk of failure.

I'm also puzzled how they square this claim agains the historical value of something like he Russell 2000 index.

http://www.1stock1.com/1stock1_784.htm

"Since 1977 the median new shares issued on the stock exchange has delivered a negative rate of return, even with dividends reinvested." If this were true I'd expect to see a lot more red in the historical returns. Maybe the word "median" is doing some heavy lifting?

This data would seem to indicate that corporations have consistently earned money and these profits should be reflected in stock prices. (I don't know if these are in constant dollars).

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/corporate-profits

Todde , November 8, 2018 at 9:11 pm

Its soaks up surplus money.

If we are.going to be the reserve currenxy for the world and run trade deficits evey year, the Stock Market will give you the best roi.

We have lota of cash, if lots if cash goes intonthe bond market, rates drop.

If lots of cash goes intonthe stock market, stock prices go up.

You kust have to time the crash

animalogic , November 8, 2018 at 11:18 pm

Hopefully someone can correct me here, if necessary, but hasn't the stock market risen in a dollar amount roughly equivalent to the amount of QE pumped into the economy ?

Doug Hillman , November 9, 2018 at 7:12 am

No correction from me. The stock-casino representing "free-market capitalism" has risen in lockstep with the Central Cartel's QE. The evidence, if circumstantial, is overwhelming, with countless charts showing an almost exact correlation. Pretty hard to argue against causation.

The 1980s financial innovation of sheer unadulterated genius that enabled the cartel to buy the market -- legalizing stock buybacks -- a syringe for mainlining monetary heroin straight into market veins. This is the new efficient-markets theory called "hindsight price discovery". You will discover the true price and value after insiders dump their pumped holdings

The only "correction" coming is in the market casino.

skippy , November 9, 2018 at 2:43 am

You forget that equities are a form of money which C-corps can create at will and don't necessarily have fundamentals underpinning them e.g. Jbonds sold for stock by backs or abuse of risk tools to lower credit weighing and deals between the sell and buy side marry go round.

Don't know what to make out of the comment about communists e.g. old school classical capitalists likened the financial traders to rats in the back alleys or bars they once traded in. Not to mention the propensity for the financial traders to blow themselves and everyone up with them like clock work. It has only been during the neoliberal period that the FIRE sector gained a veneer of respectability through broad spectrum PR.

Something of a reference point to the Australian experience.

If the general managers of the 12 banks that burst in 1891 and 1893 had kept paid clowns to make fun of the valuations of city and suburban land, made by the old-established auctioneers and valuators of Melbourne in the land boom days, their banks would never have closed their doors.

Every bank should keep a laughing department where absurd valuations and ridiculous securities could be laughed off the premises. The easiest marks as borrowers were the building societies and the land and estate agents, and they had a right royal time asking for and getting advances. In those halcyon days nobody was ever refused a loan by a bank manager. So the banks opened agencies in Scotland, Ireland and England, and borrowed millions on deposit receipts for 18 months and lent them out in Victoria for 30 years, and a great deal of the money, for eternity.

It wasn't a mad or pessimistic or despondent thing to do. It was one calling for laughter, for merriment, for jocosity.

Why should the good-humoured borrower explain to the dismal bank manager, irritated and worried by Head Office letters and circulars censuring him for not lending money fast enough, that though he had paid £1 a foot for land at Coburg or Glen Iris or Mentone that it was not in his own opinion worth the £10 a foot of his own valuation.

Nobody dared to laugh at these insane transactions, nobody was brave enough to say,
" All this business is frenzied, delusive and pure buffoonery. There must be a smash.
" And there was. Prices of houses and lands jumped higher and higher, day by day, nay, hour by hour, and more and more people were drawn into the maelstrom, into a true Walpurgis ride to sudden wealth.

Rateable property in cities, towns and boroughs went up by leaps and bounds from £53 to £86 million sterling in 5 years, while the rateable property of shire councils jumped from £71 to £108 million in the 5 years 1886-1890. It was all so dashed funny, because there was no solid foundation for all this paper wealth.

Production did not increase part passu, nor overseas trade, nor exports, nor shipping, except that imports increased literally horribly. During 1886 and 1890 in Victoria, railways costing Z8 ,000,000 and 486 new churches and chapels were built. To me it was all so ridiculous and amusing, and the best of the joke was that none of the leaders of the people in Press, Parliament, Church, or on the platform, ever uttered a single word of warning about the coming debacle, The terrible catastrophe so close at hand which brought ruin to tens of thousands of decent people and nearly smashed Victoria.

Bank assets rose from £41m in 86 to £63m in 91.

Deposits grew from £31m in 86 to £40m in 91.

After that they fell away and did not reach £40m until 1907, or 28 years later. I am writing of what I know because I went through that critical period on the inside in a finance company and in a property company as an executive officer, and when the panic stopped I was a member of the Stock Exchange.

The Rev Kev , November 8, 2018 at 11:54 pm

"the view that stock markets themselves create value"

Value as determined by who? In terms of which inputs to achieve what outputs? As an example, a company experiencing challenges (or as I call them – problems) may need to hire more people to achieve long-term growth. However, if they do that Wall Street will hammer their stocks which will go down. If they cut their workforce instead, Wall Street will reward them by valuing their stocks even higher though the company has effectively sabotaged their future growth plans. Thus Wall Street is not doing price discovery so much as constructing their own outputs to be achieved by individual companies along some ideological goal. Perhaps they are trying to create the 'perfect market' by warping reality which is a neoliberal trait.

Steve Ruis , November 9, 2018 at 10:04 am

One aspect not touched upon is stocks are loans that never get repaid. If I pay $100 of a share and the company thrives. I get paid dividends in perpetuity. Plus, If I buy that share from someone who already had bought it (a trade) I am being paid when I actually provided none of the original loan (like a bank buying the "paper" from another bank). Someone calculated that the dividends paid by Apple have paid off the amount originally tendered by several hundred percent, which would make them the worst bank loans in all of creation.

Would not simple loans make more sense? (Yes I am aware of the abuses of the Japanese uses of banks, but they were abuses of a system, not the system itself that resulted in their decline.)

[Nov 09, 2018] Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi possible connection to Israel

Nov 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

ardent 19 minutes ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy Report

"Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is an Israeli Mossad-trained operative whose real name is Elliot Shimon, a *** who took courses in Islamic theology and Arabic Speech." - Snowden

Old Poor Richard 49 minutes ago remove Share link Copy

Now how would Ed Snowden know this? Is he some kind of super h4x0r tapped into the Pegasus mainframe?

ShakenNotStirred 42 minutes ago remove Share link Copy

I heard you have a bunch of Mossad agents below your bed. Check it out or you will be "Mossaded" before the morning.

passingthroughtown 2 hours ago remove Share link Copy

Proving once again that the Saudis and Israelies have been working hand in glove for a very long time. Is there any doubt about the connection between the two and what happened on 911?

But what is even more disturbing:

In recent days, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have reached out to the Trump administration to express support for the crown prince, arguing that he is an important strategic partner in the region, said people familiar with the calls.

"Strategic partner" makes it all okay. This is merely a glimpse of what is coming in the future. You ain't seen NOTHIN yet.

He–Mene Mox Mox 3 hours ago remove Share link Copy

Here is more of what Snowden was talking about: https://citizenlab.ca/2018/10/the-nso-connection-to-jamal-khashoggi/ .

Derezzed 3 hours ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy

" Israel is routinely at the top of the US' classified threat list of hackers along with Russia and China [ ] even though it is an ally "
Our best allies !
" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the United States to stand by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MBS) in the wake of the Khashoggi case. "
The most morale people !
I bet they are behind ISIS too with their (((allies))) and the (((deep state))).
But hey isn't it conspirationnist and antisemitic to accuse them of anything ?
Because you know as the most " kind " and " human " people there needs to be laws, censorship and repression, to protect them from being hated.
< 1% of the global population and they make the headlines 4/5 times a day.
Can only be bad luck and a cohencidence !

Dickweed Wang 3 hours ago remove Share link Copy

"Israel is routinely at the top of the US' classified threat list of hackers along with Russia and China [ ] even though it is an ally"

Sorry Ed, IsraHell isn't an ally of the USA. It's a ******* parasite and it's well on its way to killing the host.

alamac 4 hours ago remove Share link Copy

I guess Netanyahoo and KSM love each other because they have a common hobby: Killing Arabs.

RagnarRedux 4 hours ago ( Edited ) remove Share link Copy

ISRAEL FLAGGED AS TOP SPY THREAT TO U.S. IN NEW SNOWDEN/NSA DOCUMENT (2007)

https://www.newsweek.com/israel-flagged-top-spy-threat-us-new-snowdennsa-document-262991

Former U.S. Officials Say CIA Considers Israel To Be Mideast's Biggest Spy Threat (2012)

U.S. intelligence agents stationed in Israel report multiple cases of equipment tampering, suspected break ins in recent years; CIA officials tell the Associated Press that Israel may have leaked info that led to the capture of an agent inside Syria's chemical weapons program.

https://www.haaretz.com/for-cia-israel-is-a-spy-therat-1.5272328

He–Mene Mox Mox 4 hours ago remove Share link Copy

What Snowden says is true. Here is what the Canadians have put together about NSO: https://citizenlab.ca/2018/09/hide-and-seek-tracking-nso-groups-pegasus-spyware-to-operations-in-45-countries/

What is really troubling, is Kushner's involvement in the affair. He would have been debriefed once he returned to the U.S., not only by his father-in-law, Trump, but the intel community too. You can bet every dollar you have that both the Israelis and Saudis were using NSO surveillance on him. What is even more troubling, it appears that the action taken to "neutralize" Jamal Khashoggi, more than likely had the blessings of Washington, since Kushner met with the Saudis prior to the killing. It really makes one wonder, since Kushner declined to discuss the state of his relationship with Prince Mohammed.

GRDguy 4 hours ago remove Share link Copy

"licensed only to legitimate government agencies"

That's the problem.

There are no legitimate government agencies any more.

[Nov 09, 2018] Trump What A Stupid Question That Is. You Ask A Lot Of Stupid Questions

Notable quotes:
"... Trump wasn't finished, however, and during the same gaggle, he suggested he could pull press credentials from other reporters who don't show him "respect" two days after the president suspended the press pass of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta after a contentious exchange during a news conference. ..."
"... "I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man," Trump explained and when asked how long Acosta's credentials will be suspended, the president replied: "As far as I'm concerned, I haven't made that decision. But it could be others also." ..."
"... On this one Trump needs to take a hint from Obozo, stop doing daily press briefings... Hold them once a month ..."
"... the stooge press/talking heads have made a cottage industry off of the press conferences. the msm sends stooges to sell their product. trump is 100% correct- the msm doesn't have the guts to cull their stooge legions- oh dear- the white house will do their job for them. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Having barred his CNN arch nemesis Jim Acosta from the White House, on Friday the president lashed out at another CNN reporter at the White House over his appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting AG as well as Whitaker's views towards the special counsel investigation.

During a Friday morning gaggle with White House reporters before Trump's trip to Paris, CNN's Abby Phillip asked the president if he was hoping Whitaker, who previously criticized Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, would "rein in" the Russia probe. " Do you want [Whitaker] to rein in Robert Mueller?" Phillip asked.

Trump's response left the stunned reported speechless. "What a stupid question that is," Trump said and, just in case it was lost, repeated "what a stupid question."

"But I watch you a lot," Trump continued. "You ask a lot of stupid questions."

Trump then demonstrably walked away, leaving the shocked reporters screaming more questions in his wake.

Earlier, Trump said he has not spoken to acting AG Matt Whitaker about the Russia investigation, which Whitaker now oversees. Trump defended Whitaker as a "very well respected man in the law enforcement community" but claimed he does not know him personally. "I didn't speak to Matt Whitaker about it. I don't know Matt Whitaker," Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for a trip to Paris.

While Trump sought to place personal distance between himself and Whitaker, he made it clear he stood by his decision to place a loyalist in charge of the Justice Department, a move many see as an effort to seize control of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. The president also rejected suggestions that Whitaker is ineligible to serve as attorney general, a position held by some legal experts who say the Justice Department leader must be confirmed by the Senate.

The acting AG has raised eyebrows, and in some cases prediction of a constitutional crisis, because before joining the DOJ, Whitaker was an outspoken critic of Mueller's investigation and many Democrats and legal scholars have said he should recuse himself from leading the probe. Whitaker also claimed there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference efforts in the 2016 election, which is the central question of the Mueller probe.

Trump lamented the criticism of Whitaker's past commentary, saying "it's a shame that no matter who I put in, they go after him."

Trump then reiterated his plans to have Whitaker serve in an acting capacity, but declined to reveal who might be Sessions' permanent replacement. He said he likes Chris Christie, who is under consideration , but said he has not spoken to the former NJ governor about the post. Christie was at the White House on Thursday for an event on prison reform but Trump said he did not speak to him.

* * *

Trump wasn't finished, however, and during the same gaggle, he suggested he could pull press credentials from other reporters who don't show him "respect" two days after the president suspended the press pass of CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta after a contentious exchange during a news conference.

"I think Jim Acosta is a very unprofessional man," Trump explained and when asked how long Acosta's credentials will be suspended, the president replied: "As far as I'm concerned, I haven't made that decision. But it could be others also."

Trump also went after April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks as a "loser" who "doesn't know what the hell she is doing."

Keyser 15 minutes ago

On this one Trump needs to take a hint from Obozo, stop doing daily press briefings... Hold them once a month, then hand-pick which reporters you want in the room... And if a reporter publishes a story you don't like, prosecute them... What we have now is what happens when the lunatics are given free reign...

dcmbuffy 55 minutes ago remove

the stooge press/talking heads have made a cottage industry off of the press conferences. the msm sends stooges to sell their product. trump is 100% correct- the msm doesn't have the guts to cull their stooge legions- oh dear- the white house will do their job for them.

[Nov 08, 2018] How to Tell a Bear Market Is About to Hit by Riva Gold

Notable quotes:
"... Dive into these six metrics to test your prediction, and see the results of our readers' poll below. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.wsj.com

Predicting the Next Bear Market in Six Charts Here are some clues investors are using to see if the long bull run is nearing an end.

Nine years, seven months, four weeks and two days into the current bull market, some investors are asking whether a bear is on the horizon.

The S&P 500 is up 307% since the bull market began in 2009. Stock prices have powered forward thanks to robust earnings growth. Investors have also been willing to pay a higher premium for those earnings, as seen in expanding price-to-earnings ratios.

While there is no single indicator that can predict market turns on its own, here are six things analysts and investors are watching to see if the next bear market, typically defined as a 20% decline from a recent peak, is around the corner.

We may already be part of the way there. The S&P 500 is 5.98% off its all-time high reached Sept. 20, 2018 .

S&P 500 Index

Bear market (peak to trough)

... ... ...

Source: SIX Dive into these six metrics to test your prediction, and see the results of our readers' poll below.

  1. High-Yield Bond Spreads

    What It Is

    A measure of what riskier companies pay to borrow compared with what the government pays. These high-yield bond spreads have historically picked up signs of economic stress earlier than other assets. When spreads are tight, investors tend to think that even the weakest companies will be fine. When they are wider, it is harder for these companies to access loans, crimping profits and signalling that investors believe defaults are on the horizon.

    What to Watch

    A steady trend higher in high-yield bond spreads accompanied the last two stock market peaks. It signalled that investors were getting wary about riskier companies' ability to pay back debts.

    ICE BofAML US High Yield Master II Option-Adjusted Spread

    ... ... ...

    Source: ICE via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    'This tells me whether the most-stressed companies have the cash flow to pay their debts. If not, to me that's a signal that we're rolling over, and credit markets tend to tell you first.'

    Alicia Levine, chief market strategist at BNY Mellon Investment Management
  2. Yield Curve Steepness

    What It Is

    The yield curve is one of the most closely watched indicators of the stock market's health, measuring the interest rates paid on debt of various maturities. When the economy is strong, the yield on long-term government bonds is typically higher than on short-term debt, reflecting confidence in the long-term economic outlook. When the yield curve inverts, and short-term yields surpass long ones, it's a sign investors are worried that inflation -- and growth -- will be low in the future. High short-term rates tend to crimp business and consumer spending, slowing the economy and putting pressure on corporate profits.

    What to Watch

    Inversions often precede recessions and bear markets for stocks. This measure did not invert until after the 1987 bear market, but did precede the bears of 1980, 2000 and 2007. Investors are staunchly divided over whether an inverted yield curve on U.S. Treasurys can still signal a bear market, or whether rates have been distorted by years of unorthodox global monetary policy that keep yields on long-term debt low.

    Gap between 10-year and 2-year Treasury yields

    ... ... ...

    Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    'It's an incredibly useful forecasting tool for the peak in the stock market.'

    Jeffrey Kleintop, global chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab
  3. Deal Activity

    What It Is

    The total dollar value of mergers and acquisitions by month.

    What to Watch

    A big pickup in deal activity has historically come toward the end of bull markets. A jump in mergers can signal that sentiment has turned excessively optimistic -- or that companies see it as the only way to grow as the economy decelerates. Mergers and acquisitions spiked in 2000 and 2007 shortly ahead of the stock market peaks in a sign of excessive risk-taking. More recent peaks have been false alarms, though a spike at the end of 2015 was followed by a stock market correction that fell short of a bear market.

    Global value of announced mergers and acquisitions

    ... ... ...

    Source: Dealogic

    'Enthusiasm for [deal] activity tends to reflect broader economic optimism and coincides with booms in stock prices and credit expansion. However, history shows that these M&A waves are late-cycle indicators. Their demise often coincides with the end of the business cycle.'

    Abi Oladimeji, chief investment officer at Thomas Miller Investment
  4. Weekly Jobless Claims

    What It Is

    A weekly count of people filing to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Market participants view the figures as a key leading indicator of the U.S. labor market, the health of the broader economy, and thus the ability of companies to generate cash.

    What to Watch

    When unemployment rises, consumers spend less money, which crimps what companies take in. Analysts suggest looking for a consistent rise in jobless claims after a steady period. If this happens at the same time as weakness in the monthly U.S. jobs report, it is an ominous sign for the economy.

    Four-week moving average of initial claims

    ... ... ...

    Note: Seasonally adjusted

    Source: Labor Department via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

    'Jobless claims are clearly a leading indicator of recessions [ ] They start to flash red on the economy when they start to rise on a four-week average basis, likely after a flattish period, and then continue to work gradually higher. That's just a sign that something is likely amiss in the job market.'

    Bob Baur, chief global economist at Principal Financial Group
  5. Investor Sentiment What It Is

    The AAII survey is a barometer of American retail investor sentiment that asks participants to predict the direction of the S&P 500 over the next six months.

    What to Watch

    Look for extreme highs and lows of investor bullishness, says Charles Rotblut at the AAII. When investors get too optimistic, they tend to run down their savings and overspend. There's typically less cushion to protect the market, allowing selloffs to gain momentum. This measure worked very well just before the dot-com bubble burst, and spiked just before selloffs in 2011 and 2018.

    American Association of Individual Investors Sentiment Survey, percent bullish, weekly

    ... ... ...

    Source: American Association of Individual Investors

    'When you've got confidence among players, they start engaging in bad behaviors. They create excesses and the bear has something to bite.'

    Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group
  6. What the Market Thinks

    What It Is

    Think of this as the market crowdsourcing predictions of a bear market. As measured through options expiring in roughly six months, it is the estimated probability of a 20% or more drop in the S&P 500, the typical definition of a bear market. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found indicators like this useful as a gauge of current expectations for future prices, but it's really more a measure of what investors think right now than a predictive indicator.

    What to Watch

    A relatively new measure, this chart spiked during the financial crisis and rose sharply during other recent episodes of market stress, including the 2016 China growth scare that sent markets tumbling.

    Market-based probability of an S&P 500 bear market within 6 months

    ... ... ...

    Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

    Note: The charts above include two recent periods commonly considered by investors to have been bear markets. Some market technicians say that the March 2000 bear market briefly paused between September 2001 and January 2002, during which a small bull market occurred. Similarly, some analysts say the 2007 bear market technically ended in late November 2008 before another bear market took shape in January 2009.

Credits: Development by Martin Burch and Colleen McEnaney . Design by Andrew Barnett and Jovi Juan .

[Nov 08, 2018] One little discussed aspect of Social Security is the modest wealth redistribution resulting from disability benefits.

Nov 08, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

donkeytale , Nov 7, 2018 9:09:40 AM | link

One little discussed aspect of Social Security is the modest wealth redistribution resulting from disability benefits. The upward trend of disability in previous decades mirrors the decline in working class and lower middle class jobs and income.

SSDI has been a target of the cutters for years and puts Trump in the middle between his conservatives and his more lumpenproletariat base members, an increasing number of whom live off SSDI benefits .

The number of SSDI recipients has tripled since the 1980s.

Democrats should continue to exploit the divergence between GOP policy and the grim reality of a significant share of the Trumpist base.

[Nov 08, 2018] Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

Gold age of the USA (say 40 years from 1946 to approximately 1986 ) were an in some way an aberration caused by WWII. As soon as Germany and Japan rebuilt themselves this era was over. And the collapse of the USSR in 1991 (or more correct Soviet nomenklatura switching sides and adopting neoliberalism) only make the decline more gradual but did not reversed it. After 200 it was clear that neoliberalism is in trouble and in 2008 it was clear that ideology of neoliberalism is dead, much like Bolshevism after 1945.
As the US ruling neoliberal elite adopted this ideology ad its flag, the USA faces the situation somewhat similar the USSR faced in 70th. It needs its "Perestroika" but with weak leader at the helm like Gorbachov it can lead to the dissolution of the state. Dismantling neoliberalism is not less dangerous then dismantling of Bolshevism. The level of brainwashing of both population and the elite (and it looks like the USA elite is brainwashed to an amazing level, probably far exceed the level of brainwashing of Soviet nomenklatura) prevents any constructive moves.
In a way, Neoliberalism probably acts as a mousetrap for the country, similar to the role of Bolshevism in the USSR. Ideology of neoliberalism is dead, so what' next. Another war to patch the internal divisions ? That's probably why Trump is so adamant about attacking Iran. Iran does not have nuclear weapons so this is in a way an ideal target. Unlike, say, Russia. And such a war can serve the same political purpose. That's why many emigrants from the USSR view the current level of divisions with the USA is a direct analog of divisions within the USSR in late 70th and 80th. Similarities are clearly visible with naked eye.
Notable quotes:
"... t is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all. ..."
"... "Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls. ..."
"... A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.' ..."
"... The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people. ..."
"... please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back ..."
"... America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work ..."
"... It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem. ..."
"... And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? ..."
"... The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class... ..."
Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Trump, Gorbachev, And The Fall Of The American Empire

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 23:25 13 SHARES Authored by Raja Murthy via The Asia Times,

"The only wealth you keep is wealth you have given away," said Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), last of the great Roman emperors. US President Donald Trump might know of another Italian, Mario Puzo's Don Vito Corleone, and his memorable mumble : "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Forgetting such Aurelian and godfather codes is propelling the decline and fall of the American empire.

Trump is making offers the world can refuse – by reshaping trade deals, dispensing with American sops and forcing powerful corporations to return home, the US is regaining economic wealth but relinquishing global power.

As the last leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika (restructuring) led to the breakup of its vast territory(22 million square kilometers). Gorbachev's failed policies led to the dissolution of the USSR into Russia and independent countries, and the end of a superpower.

Ironically, the success of Trump's policies will hasten the demise of the American empire: the US regaining economic health but losing its insidious hold over the world.

This diminishing influence was highlighted when India and seven other countries geared up to defy Washington's re-imposition of its unilateral, illegal sanctions against Iran, starting Monday.

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station

The US State Department granting "permission" on the weekend to the eight countries to buy Iranian oil was akin to waving the green flag at a train that has already left the station.

The law of cause and effect unavoidably delivers. The Roman Empire fell after wars of greed and orgies of consumption. A similar nemesis, the genie of Gorbachev, stalks Pennsylvania Avenue, with Trump unwittingly writing the last chapter of World War II: the epilogue of the two rival superpowers that emerged from humanity's most terrible conflict.

The maverick 45th president of the United States may succeed at being an economic messiah to his country, which has racked up a $21.6 trillion debt, but the fallout is the death of American hegemony. These are the declining days of the last empire standing.

Emperors and mafia godfathers knew that wielding great influence means making payoffs. Trump, however, is doing away with the sops, the glue that holds the American empire together, and is making offers that he considers "fair" but instead is alienating the international community– from badgering NATO and other countries to pay more for hosting the US legions (800 military bases in 80 countries) to reducing US aid.

US aid to countries fell from $50 billion in fiscal year 2016, $37 billion in 2017 to $7.7 billion so far in 2018. A world less tied to American largesse and generous trade tarrifs can more easily reject the "you are with us or against us" bullying doctrine of US presidents. In the carrot and stick approach that largely passes as American foreign policy, the stick loses power as the carrot vanishes.

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) in The Godfather. Big payoffs needed for big influence. A presidential lesson for Don Trump

More self-respecting leaders will have less tolerance for American hypocrisy, such as sanctioning other countries for nuclear weapons while having the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

They will sneer more openly at the hysteria surrounding alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, pointing to Washington's violent record of global meddling. They will cite examples of American hypocrisy such as its sponsorship of coups against elected leaders in Latin America, the US Army's Project Camelot in 1964 targeting 22 countries for intervention (including Iran, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia), its support for bloodthirsty dictators, and its destabilization of the Middle East with the destruction of Iraq and Libya.

Immigrant cannon fodder

Trump's focus on the economy reduces the likelihood of him starting wars. By ending the flood of illegal immigrants to save jobs for US citizens, he is also inadvertently reducing the manpower for illegal wars. Non-citizen immigrants comprise about 5% of the US Army. For its Iraq and Afghanistan wars, US army recruiters offered citizenship to lure illegal immigrants, mostly Latinos.

Among the first US soldiers to die in the Iraq War was 22-year old illegal immigrant Corporal Jose Antonio Gutierrez, an orphan from the streets of Guatemala City. He sneaked across the Mexican border into the US six years before enlisting in exchange for American citizenship.

On March 21, 2003, Gutierrez was killed by friendly fire near Umm Qasr, southern Iraq. The coffin of this illegal immigrant was draped in the US flag, and he received American citizenship – posthumously.

Trump policies targeting illegal immigration simultaneously reduces the availability of cannon fodder for the illegal wars needed to maintain American hegemony.

Everything comes to an end, and so too will the last empire of our era.

The imperial American eagle flying into the sunset will see the dawn of an economically healthier US that minds its own business, and increase hopes for a more equal, happier world – thanks to the unintentional Gorbachev-2 in the White House.


PeaceForWorld , 3 minutes ago link

I am sure that many of us are OK with ending American Empire. Both US citizens and other countries don't want to fight un-necessary and un-ending wars. If Trump can do that, then he is blessed.

Condor_0000 , 23 minutes ago link

Imperialism and the State: Why McDonald's Needs McDonnell Douglas

By Paul D'Amato

http://www.isreview.org/issues/17/state_and_imperialism.shtml

Excerpt:

The modern nation-state was necessary as a means of creating a single, unified market that could facilitate commerce. But the state was also crucial in providing necessary infrastructure, and sometimes the pooling of capital resources, necessary for national capitalists to operate and compete effectively.

But the state as a bureaucratic institution had another, more fundamental function. Lenin, citing Engels, defined the essence of the state as "bodies of armed men, prisons, etc.," in short, an instrument for the maintenance of the rule of the exploiting minority over the exploited majority.

As capitalism burst the bounds of the nation-state, the coercive military function of the state took on a new dimension--that of protecting (and projecting) the interests of the capitalists of one country over those of another. As capitalism developed, the role of the state increased, the size of the state bureaucracy increased, and the size of its coercive apparatus increased.

Lenin was soon to refine this conception in light of the world's descent into the mass slaughter of the First World War. He argued that capitalism had reached a new stage--imperialism--the struggle between the world's "great powers" for world dominance. The central feature of imperialism was the rivarly between the great powers--whose economic competition gave way to military conflict.

Another Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, put it this way:

The forces of production which capitalism has evolved have outgrown the limits of nation and state. The national state, the present political form, is too narrow for the exploitation of these productive forces. The natural tendency of our economic system, therefore, is to seek to break through the state boundaries. The whole globe, the land and the sea, the surface as well as the interior, has become one economic workshop, the different parts of which are inseparably connected with each other. This work was accomplished by capitalism. But in accomplishing it the capitalist states were led to struggle for the subjection of the world-embracing economic system to the profit interests of the bourgeoisie of each country...

But the way the governments propose to solve this problem of imperialism is not through the intelligent, organized cooperation of all of humanity's producers, but through the exploitation of the world's economic system by the capitalist class of the victorious country; which country is by this War to be transformed from a great power into a world power.5

Golden Showers , 32 minutes ago link

See a pattern here? Raja Murthy, you sound like a pro-American Empire shill. 1964 Project Camelot has nothing to do with the current administration. Raja, you forgot to wear your satirical pants.

The idea and catchy hook of 2016 was Make America Great Again, not wasting lives and resources on the American Empire. You point out the good things. Who might have a problem with the end of the American Empire are Globalists. What is wrong with relinquishing global power and not wasting lives and money?

"The only lives you keep is lives you've given away" That does not ring true. The only lies you keep are the lies you've given away. What? You're not making any sense, dude. How much American Empire are you vested in? Does it bother you if the Empire shrinks its death grip on Asia or the rest of the world? Why don't you just say it: This is good! Hopefully Trump's policies will prevent you from getting writers' cramp and being confusing--along with the canon fodder. Or maybe you're worried about job security.

America is a super power, just like Russia. Just like England. However, whom the US carries water for might change. Hope that's ok.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 33 minutes ago link

Trump is saving the US by destroying the empire. Both the US and the world will be happier for that.

Condor_0000 , 29 minutes ago link

No he's not.

Trump is an empirial president, just like every other US president. In fact, that's what the article is describing. MAGA depends upon imperialist domination. Trump and all of US capitalism know that even if the brain-dead MAGA chumps don't.

Capitalism can't help but seek to rule the world. It is the result of pursuing capitalism's all-important growth. If it's not US capitalism, it will be Chinese capitalism, or Russian capitalism, or European capitalism that will rule the world.

The battle over global markets doesn't stop just because the US might decide not to play anymore. Capitalism means that you're either the global power who is ******* the royal **** out of everyone else, or you're the victim of being fucked up the *** by an imperialist power.

FBaggins , 25 minutes ago link

The only thing which makes the US different from the rest of the world is its super concentration of power, which in effect is a super concentration of corruption.

ebworthen , 33 minutes ago link

Quite entertaining to be living in the modern Rome.

Condor_0000 , 28 minutes ago link

It's a cross between ancient Rome and Nazi Germany. And you're right. It's fascinating.

Condor_0000 , 34 minutes ago link

Another day and another ZeroHedge indictment of American capitalism.

And how refreshing that the article compares US capitalism to gangsterism. It's a most appropriate comparison.

--------------------

Al Capone on Capitalism

It is well known that legendary American gangster Al Capone once said that 'Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class', - and I have commented on the links between organised crime and capitalist accumulation before on this blog, but I recently came across the following story from Claud Cockburn's autobiography, and decided to put it up on Histomat for you all.

In 1930, Cockburn, then a correspondent in America for the Times newspaper, interviewed Al Capone at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago, when Capone was at the height of his power. He recalls that except for 'the sub-machine gun...poking through the transom of a door behind the desk, Capone's own room was nearly indistinguishable from that of, say, a "newly arrived" Texan oil millionaire. Apart from the jowly young murderer on the far side of the desk, what took the eye were a number of large, flattish, solid silver bowls upon the desk, each filled with roses. They were nice to look at, and they had another purpose too, for Capone when agitated stood up and dipped the tips of his fingers in the water in which floated the roses.

I had been a little embarrassed as to how the interview was to be launched. Naturally the nub of all such interviews is somehow to get round to the question "What makes you tick?" but in the case of this millionaire killer the approach to this central question seemed mined with dangerous impediments. However, on the way down to the Lexington Hotel I had had the good fortune to see, I think in the Chicago Daily News , some statistics offered by an insurance company which dealt with the average expectation of life of gangsters in Chicago. I forget exactly what the average was, and also what the exact age of Capone at that time - I think he was in his early thirties. The point was, however, that in any case he was four years older than the upper limit considered by the insurance company to be the proper average expectation of life for a Chicago gangster. This seemed to offer a more or less neutral and academic line of approach, and after the ordinary greetings I asked Capone whether he had read this piece of statistics in the paper. He said that he had. I asked him whether he considered the estimate reasonably accurate. He said that he thought that the insurance companies and the newspaper boys probably knew their stuff. "In that case", I asked him, "how does it feel to be, say, four years over the age?"

He took the question quite seriously and spoke of the matter with neither more nor less excitement or agitation than a man would who, let us say, had been asked whether he, as the rear machine-gunner of a bomber, was aware of the average incidence of casualties in that occupation. He apparently assumed that sooner or later he would be shot despite the elaborate precautions which he regularly took. The idea that - as afterwards turned out to be the case - he would be arrested by the Federal authorities for income-tax evasion had not, I think, at that time so much as crossed his mind. And, after all, he said with a little bit of corn-and-ham somewhere at the back of his throat, supposing he had not gone into this racket? What would be have been doing? He would, he said, "have been selling newspapers barefoot on the street in Brooklyn".

He stood as he spoke, cooling his finger-tips in the rose bowl in front of him. He sat down again, brooding and sighing. Despite the ham-and-corn, what he said was probably true and I said so, sympathetically. A little bit too sympathetically, as immediately emerged, for as I spoke I saw him looking at me suspiciously, not to say censoriously. My remarks about the harsh way the world treats barefoot boys in Brooklyn were interrupted by an urgent angry waggle of his podgy hand.

"Listen," he said, "don't get the idea I'm one of those goddam radicals. Don't get the idea I'm knocking the American system. The American system..." As though an invisible chairman had called upon him for a few words, he broke into an oration upon the theme. He praised freedom, enterprise and the pioneers. He spoke of "our heritage". He referred with contempuous disgust to Socialism and Anarchism. "My rackets," he repeated several times, "are run on strictly American lines and they're going to stay that way"...his vision of the American system began to excite him profoundly and now he was on his feet again, leaning across the desk like the chairman of a board meeting, his fingers plunged in the rose bowls.

"This American system of ours," he shouted, "call it Americanism, call it Capitalism, call it what you like, gives to each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it." He held out his hand towards me, the fingers dripping a little, and stared at me sternly for a few seconds before reseating himself.

A month later in New York I was telling this story to Mr John Walter, minority owner of The Times . He asked me why I had not written the Capone interview for the paper. I explained that when I had come to put my notes together I saw that most of what Capone had said was in essence identical with what was being said in the leading articles of The Times itself, and I doubted whether the paper would be best pleased to find itself seeing eye to eye with the most notorious gangster in Chicago. Mr Walter, after a moment's wry reflection, admitted that probably my idea had been correct.'

LetThemEatRand , 52 minutes ago link

This article was obviously written by someone who wants to maintain the status quo.

America would be much stronger if it were not trying to be an empire. The biggest lie ever told is that American hegemony relies on American imperialism and warmongering. The opposite is true. America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs, not to protect or favor the American people.

hardmedicine , 41 minutes ago link

exactly, please mr. author don't give us more globalist dribble. We want our wealth back and screw the rest of the world, America First

LetThemEatRand , 39 minutes ago link

I truly believe that "America First" is not selfish. America before it went full ****** was the beacon of freedom and success that other countries tried to emulate and that changed the world for the better.

America the empire is just another oligarchic regime that other countries' populations rightly see as an example of what doesn't work.

HopefulCynical , 26 minutes ago link

Empire is a contrivance, a vehicle for psychopathic powerlust. America was founded by people who stood adamantly opposed to this. Here's hoping Trump holds their true spirit in his heart.

If he doesn't, there's hundreds of millions of us who still do. We don't all live in America...

Posa , 15 minutes ago link

It's the ruling capitalist Predator Class that has been demanding empire since McKinley was assassinated. That's the problem.

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

JSBach1 called you a 'coward', for being EXACTLY LIKE THESE TRAITOROUS SPINELESS VERMIN who simply just step outside just 'enough' the comfort zone to APPEAR 'real'. IMHO, I concur with JSBach1 ...your're a coward indeed, when you should know better ..... shame you you indeed!

pitz , 55 minutes ago link

There is little evidence, Trump's propaganda aside (that he previously called Obama dishonest for) that the US economy is improving. If anything, the exploding budget and trade deficits indicate that the economy continues to weaken.

Posa , 12 minutes ago link

Correct. The US physical plant and equipment as well as infrastructure is in advanced stages of decay. Ditto for the labor force which has been pauperized and abused for decades by the Predator Class...

the US can't even raise an army... even if enough young (men) were dumb enough to volunteer there just aren't enough fit, healthy and mentally acute recruits out there.

[Nov 08, 2018] And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy?

Nov 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

CTacitus , 15 minutes ago link

LetThemEatRand:

America is weak precisely because it is trying so hard to project strength, because anyone with half a brain knows that it is projecting strength to enrich oligarhcs [sic], not to protect or favor the American people.

And who do you suppose are the forces which are funding US politicians and thus getting to call their shots in foreign policy? Can you bring yourself to name them? Oligarchs...you're FULL of ****. Who exactly pools all (((their))) money, makes sure the [s]elected officials know (((who))) to not question and, instead, just bow down to them, who makes sure these (((officials))) sign pledges for absolute commitment towards Israel--or in no uncertain terms-- and know who will either sponsor them/or opposes them next time around?

... ... ...

[Nov 07, 2018] Oil Teeters on Brink of a Bear Market

Yes financial machinations can drive price down. But who will produce cheap oil to sustain this bear market? Not the Us shale companies. They need $80 per barrel or more. Then who? That's the question
Also global growth in oil consumption now is coming from Africa and Asia and it is unlikely to stop, as they emerge from very low levels of consumption, 10 or more times less per capita then any Western country.
It will be flat in the USA and most of Europe, that's true, but the USA and Europe is not the whole market.
Nov 07, 2018 | www.wsj.com

Oil prices are on the cusp of a bear market one month after hitting four-year highs as a wave of supply has returned to hit crumbling confidence in global growth.

[Nov 07, 2018] US Declares War On Troika Of Tyranny, Pushing Them Closer To Russia

Nov 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

US Declares War On "Troika Of Tyranny", Pushing Them Closer To Russia

by Tyler Durden Wed, 11/07/2018 - 22:45 2 SHARES Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The US is going to extend its "combat operations" - the sanctions war aimed at reshaping the world - to Latin America.

Tough new penalties are planned against the "troika of tyranny," consisting of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua "in the very near future." This announcement was made by National Security Adviser (NSA) John Bolton on Nov.1 -- a few days before the US mid-term elections -- in an attempt to draw more support from Hispanic voters, especially in Florida. An executive order on sanctions against Venezuela has already been signed by President Trump, but that's just the beginning.

It was rather symbolic that on the same day the NSA delivered his bellicose speech, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution calling for an end to the US economic embargo against Cuba. The document did not include amendments proposed by the US that would put pressure on Havana to improve its human-rights record.

This is a prelude to a massive escalation in US foreign policy, which will include the formation of alliances, in addition to the active confrontation of those who dare to pursue policies believed to be anti-US.

"Under this administration, we will no longer appease dictators and despots near our shores," Bolton stated, adding,

"The troika of tyranny in this hemisphere -- Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua - has finally met its match."

Sounds like a declaration of war. Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Peru are probably some of the nations the US is eyeing for a potential alliance.

Bolton's "troika" includes only countries ruled by governments that are openly "red" or Communist. The list of nations unfriendly to the US is much longer and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominica, Grenada, Uruguay, and some other states ruled by leftist governments. Andrés Obrador , the president-elect of Mexico, takes office on Dec. 1. The Mexican leader represents the country's left wing and looks like a tough nut to crack. Outright pressure may not be helpful in this particular case.

Now that this new US policy is in place, Moscow and Washington appear to have another divisive issue clouding their relationship. The "troika of tyranny" against which Washington has declared war enjoys friendly relations with Russia.

With Cuba facing tougher restrictions, new opportunities are opening up that will encourage the Russian-Cuban relationship to thrive. The chairman of the Cuban State Council and Council of Ministers, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his official visit to Moscow Nov. 1-3. Their joint statement reaffirmed the strategic and allied relations between the two counties. Their long list of joint projects includes the deployment of a Russian GLONASS ground station in Cuba, which will give it access to a broad array of technical capabilities for satellite and telecommunications services and for taking remote readings of Earth. Russia will modernize Cuba's railways. Sixty contracts are scheduled to be signed during President Putin's visit to Cuba next year. Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant, has recently resumed fuel shipments to Cuba and is negotiating a major energy agreement.

Military cooperation is also to get a boost. The military chiefs are to meet this month to discuss the details. Moscow is considering granting Havana €38 million for Russian arms purchases.

The US-imposed restrictions are a factor spurring Russian exports to Cuba and other regional countries. When the US cut aid to Nicaragua in 2012, Russia increased its economic and military cooperation with that country. The memorandum signed between the Russian and Nicaraguan governments on May 8, 2018 states that the parties are to "mark a new step to boost political dialog" in such areas as "international security and cooperation through various international political platforms." Russia accounts for about 90% of Nicaraguan arms and munitions imports. It has far-reaching interests in building the Nicaraguan Canal in its role as a stakeholder and partner responsible for security-related missions.

President Vladimir Putin offered support for his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro after the United States rejected his reelection in May. Russian energy giant Rosneft plays an important role in that country's energy sector. It was Russia that came to Venezuela's rescue in 2017 with a debt-restructuring deal that prevented the default that was looming after the US sanctions were imposed. This was just another example of Moscow lending a helping hand to a Latin American nation that was facing difficult times.

Russia is currently pursuing a number of commercial projects in the region, in oil, mining, nuclear energy, construction, and space services. It enjoys a special relationship with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which was founded by Cuba and Venezuela and includes Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, among other countries. This grouping is looking to create economic alternatives to Western-dominated financial institutions. This cooperation with Latin American nations goes far beyond ALBA. For instance, the Peruvian air force is in the process of contracting for 24 additional Mi-171s, as well as establishing a maintenance facility for their helicopters near the La Joya base in Arequipa. A contract to upgrade its aging Mig-29 fighters is under consideration. In January 2018, Russia signed a number of economic agreements with Argentina during President Macri's visit to Moscow. All in all, trade between Russia and Latin American countries reached $14.5 bln in 2017 and is growing.

RT Spanish was launched in 2009, featuring its own news presenters and programming in addition to translated content, with bureaus operating in Buenos Aires, Caracas , Havana , Los Angeles , Madrid , Managua , and Miami. Russia's Sputnik media outlet has been broadcasting in Spanish since 2014, offering radio- and web-based news and entertainment to audiences across Latin America.

Some countries may back down under the US sanctions and threats, but many will not. There's a flip side to everything. The policy could backfire. The harder the pressure, the stronger the desire of the affected nations to diversify their international relations and resist the implementation of the Monroe doctrine that relegates them to the role of America's backyard.

[Nov 07, 2018] China ruled by Chinese...Russia ruled Russians...US ruled by dual citizens. See the difference

Nov 07, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Fu Ying, the chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress, said while confirming the reality that China and Russia now find themselves in the same trenches: "I just hope that if some people in the U.S. insist on dragging us down the hill into Thucydides' trap, China will be smart enough not to follow."

Indeed to step back and review the breadth of Russia-China cooperation over the past couple years alone reveals the full potential "cost" of a US-China conflict , given the ways Russia could easily be pulled in. Fu Ying articulated the increasingly common view from Beijing, that "There is no sense of threat from Russia" and that "We feel comfortable back-to-back."

And participants in a recent study by the National Bureau of Asian Research , a Seattle-based think tank, actually agree. They were asked whether American policy was at fault for pushing China and Russia into closer cooperation, and alarmingly, as Bloomberg notes: "Some among the 100-plus participants called for Washington to prepare for the worst-case scenario the realignment implies: a two-front war ."

Here's but a partial list of the way Sino-Russian relations have been transformed in recent years:


waseda-anon , 27 minutes ago link

There were moments when Putin showed support and a practical approach toward Trump (like when he schooled Fareed Zakaria). Putin even expressed that he was welcoming and respectful of Trumps proposition to restore full-fledged relations with Russia.

I blame the democrats for pointlessly antagonizing Russia for two years just to attempt to cover up the stench of their own excrement. Now it will be even more difficult to address the problem of the Chi-coms.

KTX , 37 minutes ago link

US has nothing to offer Russia as China has. Stop dreaming to befriend Russia to fight China. US had the opportunity to lead the world after the collapse of USSR but flunk it big time being the biggest bully in the history.

hoist the bs flag , 41 minutes ago link

Bilateral trading of Russian and Chinese currency continues on. As do their trade agreements, military gear and friendship.

Thank you Mr. Trump, for helping along that SDR/NWO currency inception for these countries, starting a trade war while the dollar and T Bills drop.

outstanding. Here I thought a stupid ******* Democrat would be at the helm, imploding the United States. shocking...a billionaire con man is.

steverino999 , 8 minutes ago link

Forrest Trump - "My Herpes and Genital Warts are responsible for Melania sleeping in another room, not my small uncircumcised **** and uncontrollable flatulence. Just wanted to clarify." Hum, ahhhhhhh gee thanks for info...I think. Poor Forrest...sigh

me or you , 9 minutes ago link

China ruled by Chinese...Russia ruled Russians...US ruled by traitors and dual citizens. See the difference.

Buck Shot , 1 minute ago link

You are absolutely right. Add in that they are greedy motherfuckers and pied pipers to millions of blithering idiots that can't go one day without making things worse.

g3h , 12 minutes ago link

We are in a trap set by ourselves. The neocon and the liberals want wars with both. On those front they are unuted.

That's what we get.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 14 minutes ago link

Go ahead. Merge to form Ruina, with leaders PuXi and XiPu.

InnVestuhrr , 14 minutes ago link

China and Russia make an almost perfect symbiosis:

  1. Adjacent countries, transportation costs are as low as possible
  2. Neither regime cares as much as a gnat tear about civil rights & freedoms and neither is impeded by the vagaries of elections
  3. China has a huge need for natural resources, especially oil & nat gas, but has few resources beyond coal & not-so-rare earths, while Russia has natural resources in abundance
  4. Russia manufactures almost nothing for the international goods market while China is the world's factory
  5. USA regime lords have done an excellent job of alienating and uniting both of them
Karmageddon , 17 minutes ago link

While the US tears itself apart....

The_Juggernaut , 20 minutes ago link

Wow. Putin is even shorter than Xi? No wonder he feels compelled to post the shirtless tiger-wresting pics. He's about as shrimpy as Stalin was.

waseda-anon , 27 minutes ago link

There were moments when Putin showed support and a practical approach toward Trump (like when he schooled Fareed Zakaria). Putin even expressed that he was welcoming and respectful of Trumps proposition to restore full-fledged relations with Russia.

I blame the democrats for pointlessly antagonizing Russia for two years just to attempt to cover up the stench of their own excrement. Now it will be even more difficult to address the problem of the Chi-coms.

KTX , 37 minutes ago link

US has nothing to offer Russia as China has. Stop dreaming to befriend Russia to fight China. US had the opportunity to lead the world after the collapse of USSR but flunk it big time being the biggest bully in the history.

The_Juggernaut , 18 minutes ago link

Russia and China will come to blows soon enough. China has their eyes on all of that unpopulated land in Siberia, and they won't like it too much when Russia takes advantage of the fact that China is dependent on them for energy. The idea that they'll be best buddies is laughable.

hoist the bs flag , 41 minutes ago link

Bilateral trading of Russian and Chinese currency continues on. As do their trade agreements, military gear and friendship.

Thank you Mr. Trump, for helping along that SDR/NWO currency inception for these countries, starting a trade war while the dollar and T Bills drop.

outstanding. Here I thought a stupid ******* Democrat would be at the helm, imploding the United States. shocking...a billionaire con man is.

LetThemEatRand , 57 minutes ago link

Trump's balls are so big that he ran like a bitch away from his campaign promises to normalize relations with Russia and prevent this exact scenario. Or maybe he was just lying.

Nevermind, the ZH herd is stampeding on how great Trump is for pulling some press privileges of a CNN guy.

Sinophile , 52 minutes ago link

I don't think Trump was lying. I think he is doing his best to stay alive and get done what he can. This country is more fucked up than even he realized.

LetThemEatRand , 49 minutes ago link

He's so smart he realized that almost immediately and brought in a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys to be in his cabinet.

Trump should have said "I could hire a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys, and my idiot anti-banker supporters will still shill for me."

Alternative , 42 minutes ago link

Nobody gives a **** about normalizing relations with Russia.

Sad but true. You know that.

steverino999 , 8 minutes ago link

Forrest Trump - "My Herpes and Genital Warts are responsible for Melania sleeping in another room, not my small uncircumcised **** and uncontrollable flatulence. Just wanted to clarify." Hum, ahhhhhhh gee thanks for info...I think. Poor Forrest...sigh

me or you , 9 minutes ago link

China ruled by Chinese...Russia ruled Russians...US ruled by traitors and dual citizens. See the difference.

Buck Shot , 1 minute ago link

You are absolutely right. Add in that they are greedy motherfuckers and pied pipers to millions of blithering idiots that can't go one day without making things worse.

g3h , 12 minutes ago link

We are in a trap set by ourselves. The neocon and the liberals want wars with both. On those front they are unuted.

That's what we get.

Captain Nemo de Erehwon , 14 minutes ago link

Go ahead. Merge to form Ruina, with leaders PuXi and XiPu.

InnVestuhrr , 14 minutes ago link

China and Russia make an almost perfect symbiosis:

  1. Adjacent countries, transportation costs are as low as possible
  2. Neither regime cares as much as a gnat tear about civil rights & freedoms and neither is impeded by the vagaries of elections
  3. China has a huge need for natural resources, especially oil & nat gas, but has few resources beyond coal & not-so-rare earths, while Russia has natural resources in abundance
  4. Russia manufactures almost nothing for the international goods market while China is the world's factory
  5. USA regime lords have done an excellent job of alienating and uniting both of them
Karmageddon , 17 minutes ago link

While the US tears itself apart....

The_Juggernaut , 20 minutes ago link

Wow. Putin is even shorter than Xi? No wonder he feels compelled to post the shirtless tiger-wresting pics. He's about as shrimpy as Stalin was.

waseda-anon , 27 minutes ago link

There were moments when Putin showed support and a practical approach toward Trump (like when he schooled Fareed Zakaria). Putin even expressed that he was welcoming and respectful of Trumps proposition to restore full-fledged relations with Russia.

I blame the democrats for pointlessly antagonizing Russia for two years just to attempt to cover up the stench of their own excrement. Now it will be even more difficult to address the problem of the Chi-coms.

KTX , 37 minutes ago link

US has nothing to offer Russia as China has. Stop dreaming to befriend Russia to fight China. US had the opportunity to lead the world after the collapse of USSR but flunk it big time being the biggest bully in the history.

The_Juggernaut , 18 minutes ago link

Russia and China will come to blows soon enough. China has their eyes on all of that unpopulated land in Siberia, and they won't like it too much when Russia takes advantage of the fact that China is dependent on them for energy. The idea that they'll be best buddies is laughable.

hoist the bs flag , 41 minutes ago link

Bilateral trading of Russian and Chinese currency continues on. As do their trade agreements, military gear and friendship.

Thank you Mr. Trump, for helping along that SDR/NWO currency inception for these countries, starting a trade war while the dollar and T Bills drop.

outstanding. Here I thought a stupid ******* Democrat would be at the helm, imploding the United States. shocking...a billionaire con man is.

LetThemEatRand , 57 minutes ago link

Trump's balls are so big that he ran like a bitch away from his campaign promises to normalize relations with Russia and prevent this exact scenario. Or maybe he was just lying.

Nevermind, the ZH herd is stampeding on how great Trump is for pulling some press privileges of a CNN guy.

Sinophile , 52 minutes ago link

I don't think Trump was lying. I think he is doing his best to stay alive and get done what he can. This country is more fucked up than even he realized.

LetThemEatRand , 49 minutes ago link

He's so smart he realized that almost immediately and brought in a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys to be in his cabinet.

Trump should have said "I could hire a bunch of Goldman Sachs guys, and my idiot anti-banker supporters will still shill for me."

Alternative , 42 minutes ago link

Nobody gives a **** about normalizing relations with Russia.

Sad but true. You know that.

[Nov 06, 2018] Democrats Win Control Of US House As Republicans Keep Senate

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Looking ahead, barring no major upsets, analysts at Deutsche Bank and other Wall Street banks see potential for the market to rally into the end of the year, with some analysts who were only recently calling for an extended losing streak now seeing potential upside of between 11% and 14%. But then again, with so much uncertainty between now and then, market returns - and analysts' expectations - could shift dramatically between now and then.

[Nov 06, 2018] What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare Zero Hedge

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

What Causes a Normal Election to Spiral into Tribal Warfare?

by TDB Mon, 11/05/2018 - 12:13 23 SHARES by Joe Jarvis via The Daily Bell

In 1966, Gao Jianhua (who later changed his name to Gao Yuan) was 14 years old.

At the Yizhen Middle School near Beijing, China, he witnessed and participated in the birth of China's "Cultural Revolution." He later recorded his personal account in a book called Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution .

The leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao, warned the country that revisionists were threatening to erase all the progress made since the Communist Revolution which brought Mao to power.

It had been almost 20 years since the bloody revolution, and Mao wanted to reinvigorate the rebel spirit in the youth. He instructed students to root out any teachers who wove subtle anti-communist sentiments in their lessons.

Mao encouraged students to rebel against any mindless respect for entrenched authority, remnants, he said, of centuries of capitalist influence.

Students at Yizhen Middle School, like many others, quickly took up the task. They "exposed" capitalist intellectual teachers and paraded them around in dunce caps with insulting signs hung around their necks.

Teachers were beaten and harassed until they confessed to their crimes most of which were, of course, false confessions to avoid further torture.

It only escalated from there.

What ensued puts Lord of the Flies to shame.

One teacher killed himself after being taken captive by students. Most teachers fled.

Soon the students were left entirely in charge of their school. Two factions quickly emerged, one calling themselves the East is Red Corps, and the other the Red Rebels.

One student was kidnapped by the East is Red Corps, and suffocated to death on a sock stuffed in his mouth.

A girl was found to be an East is Red spy among the Red Rebels. She was later cornered with other East is Red students in a building. She shouted from a window that she would rather die than surrender. Praising Chairman Mao, she jumped to her death.

Some Red Rebels died from an accidental explosion while making bombs.

Many were tortured, and another student died from his injuries at the hands of the East is Red Corps.

A female teacher refused to sign an affidavit lying about the cause of death. She was beaten and gang-raped by a group of students.

Robert Greene explains these events, in his new book, The Laws of Human Nature . (Emphasis added.)

Although it might be tempting to see what happened at YMS as mostly relevant to group adolescent behavior what happened at the school occurred throughout China in government offices, factories, within the army, and among Chinese of all ages in an eerily similar way

The students' repressed resentment at having to be so obedient now boiled over into anger and the desire to be the ones doing the punishing and oppressing

In the power vacuum that Mao had now created, another timeless group dynamic emerged. Those who were naturally more assertive, aggressive, and even sadistic pushed their way forward and assumed power , while those who were more passive quietly receded into the background becoming followers

Once all forms of authority were removed and the students ran the school, there was nothing to stop the next and most dangerous development in group dynamics. The split into tribal factions

People may think they are joining because of the different ideas or goals of this tribe or the other, but what they want more than anything is a sense of belonging and a clear tribal identity.

Look at the actual differences between the East is Red Corps and the Red Rebels. As the battle between them intensified it was hard to say what they were fighting for, except to assume power over the other group.

One strong or vicious act of one side called for a reprisal from the other, and any type of violence seemed totally justified. There could be no middle ground, nor any questioning of the rightness of their cause.

The tribe is always right. And to say otherwise is to betray it.

I write this on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections.

And like Mao handing down his orders to dispose of capitalist sympathizers, such have the leaders of each major US political party rallied their supporters.

This is the most important election of our lifetime, they say.

No middle ground. Violence is justified to get our way. Betray the tribe, and be considered an enemy.

Just like Mao, they have manufactured a crisis that did not previously exist.

The students had no violent factions before Mao's encouragement. They had no serious problems with their teachers.

Is there any natural crisis occurring right now? Or has the political establishment whipped us into an artificial frenzy?

This isn't just another boring election, they say. This is a battle for our future.

The students battled over who were the purest revolutionaries.

The voters now battle over who has the purest intentions for America.

Do the factions even know what they are fighting for anymore?

They are simply fighting for their tribe's control over the government.

The battle of the factions at schools across China were "resolved" when Mao came to support one side or the other. In that sense, it very much did matter which side the students were on

The government came down hard against the losing faction.

They had chosen wrong and found themselves aligned against the powerful Communist Party.

It won't be a dictator that hands control to one faction or another in this election. It will be a simple majority. And those in the minority will suffer.

The winners will feel that it is their time to wield power, just as the students were happy to finally have the upper hand on their teachers.

If Mao didn't have so much power, he could have never initiated such a violent crisis.

And if our government didn't have so much power, it would hardly matter who wins the election.

Yet here we are, fighting for control of the government because each faction threatens to violently repress the other if they gain power.

It is a manufactured crisis. A crisis that only exists because political elites in the government and media have said so.

They decided that this election will spark the USA's "Cultural Revolution."

And anyone with sympathies from a bygone era will be punished.


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Totally_Disillusioned , 8 hours ago link

Tribal warfare? You clearly don't understand what's happening here. The Globalist cartel has created division between two parties to incite chaos and violence. The "warfare" you reference will be nothing but protesting ->rioting ->anarchy ->police restraint of the Democrat incited sheeple.

There's no tribalism associated with upholding and preserving the Constitution.

Semi-employed White Guy , 6 hours ago link

I think the globalists will try to cool it off before things spin out of (((their))) control. Either that or move to the next phase...world war... so they can just slaughter us and not have to bother trying to herd the increasingly "woke" goyim live stock.

MoralsAreEssential , 11 hours ago link

I have NOT heard about a SINGLE CREDIBLE violent incident where people got hurt FROM THE RIGHT. All the incidents of "White Fascist Violence" look like FALSE FLAGS and contrived incidents. The foregoing CAN NOT be said of the Leftist Antifa types including racist La Raza supporters, racist Blacks who want something for nothing, immigrants from any country who want to be fully supported because they BREATHE and the Top Group (pun intended) Whites who do not believe in boundaries, standards or quality of life UNLESS it's their lives. NOT all Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are in the Left; but most Blacks, Hispanics and Immigrants are on the Left and havn't a clue they are responsible for their own prisons because they cannot REASON and virtue signaling is more important so they are part of the GROUP. Misplaced EMPHASIS on what is important in creating a CIVILIZED and SAFE society.

[Nov 06, 2018] In The Greatest eCONomy Ever - Renters Are Struggle More Than Homeowners

Nov 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

In The "Greatest eCONomy Ever" - Renters Are Struggle More Than Homeowners

by Tyler Durden Mon, 11/05/2018 - 23:45 3 SHARES

Here are a few quotes from President Trump's constant cheerleading of the American economy in the last several months leading up to next week's midterms.

"In many ways, this is the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America"

-- President Trump tweeted, June 04

"We have the strongest economy in the history of our nation."

-- Trump told reporters, June 15

"We have the greatest economy in the history of our country."

-- Trump said in an interview with Fox News, July 16

"We're having the best economy we've ever had in the history of our country."

-- Trump, said in a speech in Illinois, July 26

"This is the greatest economy that we've had in our history, the best."

-- Trump said at rally in Charleston, W.Va., Aug. 21

"You know, we have the best economy we've ever had, in the history of our country."

-- Trump said in an interview on "Fox and Friends," Aug. 23

"It's said now that our economy is the strongest it's ever been in the history of our country, and you just have to take a look at the numbers."

-- Trump said on a White House video log, Aug. 24

"We have the best economy the country's ever had and it's getting better."

-- Trump told the Daily Caller, Sept. 03

Democrats are anticipating a blue wave during the November midterm elections, but according to President Trump, the "strong" US economy could propel Republicans to victory next week.

"History says that whoever's president always seems to lose the midterm," Trump said on an Oct. 16 interview with FOX Business' Trish Regan.

"No one had the economy that we do. We have the greatest economy that we've ever had."

President Trump's cheerleading sounds great and certainly helps animal spirits, but a new study warns that more than 25% of American renters are not confident they could cover a $400 emergency. About 18% of homeowners report record low emergency savings. And if you thought that was bad, more than 30% of renters feel insecure about eating, as do 19% of homeowners, the Urban Institute study , a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, reported.

The main takeaway from the report: renters are struggling more than homeowners in the "greatest economy ever."

"Rental costs are rising much faster than renters' salaries. Between 1960 and 2016, the median income for a renter grew by just 5%. During the same period, the median rent ballooned by more than 60%, according to The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. (Both figures account for inflation.)

To be sure, buying a house has also become harder for many Americans -- to do so now costs four times the median household income. The homeownership rate fell to 63% in 2016 – the lowest rate in half a century," said CNBC .

Corianne Scally, a senior research analyst at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the study, told CNBC that "renters seem to be worse off." Scally said the report was derived from its 2017 well-being and basic needs survey, which received about 7,500 responses from people aged 18 to 64.

2017 living arrangements for Americans

About half of renters in the survey reported financial hardships since President Trump took office, compared with 33% of homeowners. More than 25% of renters in the survey were not confident they could cover a $400 emergency. Around 18% of homeowners reported low emergency savings. Almost 20% of renters saw large and unexpected declines in pay in the past year, compared with 14% of homeowners.

Reported problems paying family medical bills

More than 12% of renters said they could barely pay rent, compared with 9% of homeowners who warned their mortgage payments were getting too expensive. 15% of renters said they were on the brink of not being able to afford utilities during the last 12 months, while 11% of homeowners said the same.

Households unable to consistenly access or afford food

Scally made it clear to CNBC that renters are much worse off than ever before, but it is also clear that some homeowners are feeling the pain as well.

"It seems that some of them are having to make trade-offs in just meeting their basic needs," she said.

Maybe the "greatest economy ever," is not so great?

If so, then why is the Trump administration creating smoke and mirrors about the economy?

The simple answer: it is all about winning the midterms by any means necessary. As for after the midterms, then into 2019, a global slowdown lingers, that is the reason why the stock market had one of its worst months since the 2008 crash. Trouble is ahead.

[Nov 05, 2018] New Iran Sanctions Risk Long-Term US Isolation

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Patrick Lawrence via ConsortiumNews.com,

The U.S. is going for the jugular with new Iran sanctions intended to punish those who trade with Teheran. But the U.S. may have a fight on its hands in a possible post- WWII turning-point...

The next step in the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran has begun, with the most severe sanctions being re-imposed on the Islamic Republic. Crucially, they apply not only to Iran but to anyone who continues to do business with it.

It's not yet clear how disruptive this move will be. While the U.S. intention is to isolate Iran, it is the U.S. that could wind up being more isolated. It depends on the rest of the world's reaction, and especially Europe's.

The issue is so fraught that disputes over how to apply the new sanctions have even divided Trump administration officials.

The administration is going for the jugular this time. It wants to force Iranian exports of oil and petrochemical products down to as close to zero as possible. As the measures are now written, they also exclude Iran from the global interbank system known as SWIFT.

It is hard to say which of these sanctions is more severe. Iran's oil exports have already started falling. They peaked at 2.7 million barrels a day last May -- just before Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation accord governing Iran's nuclear programs. By early September oil exports were averaging a million barrels a day less .

In August the U.S. barred Iran's purchases of U.S.-dollar denominated American and foreign company aircraft and auto parts. Since then the Iranian rial has crashed to record lows and inflation has risen above 30 percent.

Revoking Iran's SWIFT privileges will effectively cut the nation out of the dollar-denominated global economy. But there are moves afoot, especially by China and Russia, to move away from a dollar-based economy.

The SWIFT issue has caused i nfighting in the administration between Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser who is among the most vigorous Iran hawks in the White House. Mnuchin might win a temporary delay or exclusions for a few Iranian financial institutions, but probably not much more.

On Sunday, the second round of sanctions kicked in since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama administration-backed, nuclear agreement, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for stringent controls on its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified that the deal is working and the other signatories -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia have not pulled out and have resumed trading with Iran. China and Russia have already said they will ignore American threats to sanction it for continuing economic relations with Iran. The key question is what will America's European allies do?

Europeans React

Europe has been unsettled since Trump withdrew in May from the nuclear accord. The European Union is developing a trading mechanism to get around U.S. sanctions. Known as a Special Purpose Vehicle , it would allow European companies to use a barter system similar to how Western Europe traded with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Juncker: Wants Euro-denominated trading

EU officials have also been lobbying to preserve Iran's access to global interbank operations by excluding the revocation of SWIFT privileges from Trump's list of sanctions. They count Mnuchin,who is eager to preserve U.S. influence in the global trading system, among their allies. Some European officials, including Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, propose making the euro a global trading currency to compete with the dollar.

Except for Charles de Gaulle briefly pulling France out of NATO in 1967 and Germany and France voting on the UN Security Council against the U.S. invading Iraq in 2003, European nations have been subordinate to the U.S. since the end of the Second World War.

The big European oil companies, unwilling to risk the threat of U.S. sanctions, have already signaled they intend to ignore the EU's new trade mechanism. Total SA, the French petroleum company and one of Europe's biggest, pulled out of its Iran operations several months ago.

Earlier this month a U.S. official confidently predicted there would be little demand among European corporations for the proposed barter mechanism.

Whether Europe succeeds in efforts to defy the U.S. on Iran is nearly beside the point from a long-term perspective. Trans-Atlantic damage has already been done. A rift that began to widen during the Obama administration seems about to get wider still.

Asia Reacts

Asian nations are also exhibiting resistance to the impending U.S. sanctions. It is unlikely they could absorb all the exports Iran will lose after Nov. 4, but they could make a significant difference. China, India, and South Korea are the first, second, and third-largest importers of Iranian crude; Japan is sixth. Asian nations may also try to work around the U.S. sanctions regime after Nov. 4.

India is considering purchases of Iranian crude via a barter system or denominating transactions in rupees. China, having already said it would ignore the U.S. threat, would like nothing better than to expand yuan-denominated oil trading, and this is not a hard call: It is in a protracted trade war with the U.S., and an oil-futures market launched in Shanghai last spring already claims roughly 14 percent of the global market for "front-month" futures -- contracts covering shipments closest to delivery.

Trump: Unwittingly playing with U.S. long-term future

As with most of the Trump administration's foreign policies, we won't know how the new sanctions will work until they are introduced. There could be waivers for nations such as India; Japan is on record asking for one. The E.U.'s Special Purpose Vehicle could prove at least a modest success at best, but this remains uncertain. Nobody is sure who will win the administration's internal argument over SWIFT.

Long-term Consequences for the U.S.

The de-dollarization of the global economy is gradually gathering momentum. The orthodox wisdom in the markets has long been that competition with the dollar from other currencies will eventually prove a reality, but it will not be one to arrive in our lifetimes. But with European and Asian reactions to the imminent sanctions against Iran it could come sooner than previously thought.

The coalescing of emerging powers into a non-Western alliance -- most significantly China, Russia, India, and Iran -- starts to look like another medium-term reality. This is driven by practical rather than ideological considerations, and the U.S. could not do more to encourage this if it tried. When Washington withdrew from the Iran accord, Moscow and Beijing immediately pledged to support Tehran by staying with its terms.If the U.S. meets significant resistance, especially from its allies, it could be a turning-point in post-Word War II U.S. dominance.

Supposedly Intended for New Talks

All this is intended to force Iran back to the negotiating table for a rewrite of what Trump often calls "the worst deal ever." Tehran has made it clear countless times it has no intention of reopening the pact, given that it has consistently adhered to its terms and that the other signatories to the deal are still abiding by it.

The U.S. may be drastically overplaying its hand and could pay the price with additional international isolation that has worsened since Trump took office.

Washington has been on a sanctions binge for years. Those about to take effect seem recklessly broad. This time, the U.S. risks lasting alienation even from those allies that have traditionally been its closest.

[Nov 05, 2018] The Limits of Neoliberalism (Theory, Culture Society) by William Davies

Notable quotes:
"... In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.amazon.com

In this book, I provide a somewhat cumbersome definition of neoliberalism and a pithier one, both of which inform the argument running throughout this book. The cumbersome one is as follows: 'the elevation of marked-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms'.

What this intends to capture is that, while neoliberal states have extended and liberated markets in certain areas (for instance, via privatisation and anti-union legislation), the neoliberal era has been marked just as much by the reform of non-market institutions, so as to render them market-like or business-like. Consider how competition is deliberately injected into socialised healthcare systems or universities. Alternatively, how protection of the environment is pursued by calculating a proxy price for natural public goods, in the expectation that businesses will then value them appropriately (Fourcade, 2011). It is economic calculation that spreads into all walks of life under neoliberalism, and not markets as such. This in turn provides the pithier version: neoliberalism is 'the disenchantment of politics by economics'.

The crisis of neoliberalism has reversed this ordering. 2008 was an implosion of technical capabilities on the part of banks and financial regulators, which was largely unaccompanied by any major political or civic eruption, at least until the consequences were felt in terms of public sector cuts that accelerated after 2010, especially in Southern Europe. The economic crisis was spookily isolated from any accompanying political crisis, at least in the beginning. The eruptions of 2016 therefore represented the long-awaited politicization and publicisation of a crisis that, until then, had been largely dealt with by the same cadre of experts whose errors had caused it in the first place.

Faced with these largely unexpected events and the threat of more, politicians and media pundits have declared that we now need to listen to those people 'left behind by globalization'. Following the Brexit referendum, in her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May made a vow to the less prosperous members of society, 'we will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.' This awakening to the demands and voices of marginalized demographics may represent a new recognition that economic policy cannot be wholly geared around the pursuit of 'national competitiveness' in the 'global race', a pursuit that in practice meant seeking to prioritise the interests of financial services and mobile capital. It signals mainstream political acceptance that inequality cannot keep rising forever. But it is still rooted in a somewhat economistic vision of politics, as if those people 'left behind by globalisation' simply want more material wealth and opportunity', plus fewer immigrants competing for jobs. What this doesn't do is engage with the distinctive political and cultural sociology of events such as Brexit and Trump, which are fuelled by a spirit of rage, punishment and self-punishment, and not simply by a desire to get a slightly larger slice of the pie.

This is where, 1 think, we need to pay close attention to a key dimension of neoliberalism, which 1 focus on at length in this book, namely competition. One of my central arguments here is that neoliberalism is not simply reducible to 'market fundamentalism', even if there are areas (such as financial markets) where markets have manifestly attained greater reach and power since the mid1970s. Instead, the neoliberal state takes the principle of competition and the ethos of competitiveness (which historically have been found in and around markets), and seeks to reorganise society around them. Quite how competition and competitiveness are defined and politically instituted is a matter for historical and theoretical exploration, which is partly what The Limits of Neoliberalism seeks to do. But at the bare minimum, organising social relations in terms of 'competition' means that individuals, organisations, cities, regions and nations are to be tested in terms of their capacity to out-do each other. Not only that, but the tests must be considered fair in some way, if the resulting inequalities are to be recognised as legitimate. When applied to individuals, this ideology is often known as 'meritocracy''.

The appeal of this as a political template for society is that, according to its advocates, it involves the discovery of brilliant ideas, more efficient business models, naturally talented individuals, new urban visions, successful national strategies, potent entrepreneurs and so on. Even if this is correct (and the work of Thomas Piketty on how wealth begets wealth is enough to cast considerable doubt on it) there is a major defect: it consigns the majority of people, places, businesses and institutions to the status of'losers'. The normative and existential conventions of a neoliberal society stipulate that success and prowess are things that are earned through desire, effort and innate ability, so long as social and economic institutions are designed in such a way as to facilitate this. But the corollary of this is that failure and weakness are also earned: when individuals and communities fail to succeed, this is a reflection of inadequate talent or energy on their part.

This has been critically noted in how 'dependency' and 'welfare' have become matters of shame since the conservative political ascendency of the 1980s. But this is just one example of how a culture of obligatory competitiveness exerts a damaging moral psychology, not only in how people look down on others, but in how they look down on themselves. A culture which valorises 'winning' and 'competitiveness' above all else provides few sources of security or comfort, even to those doing reasonably well. Everyone could be doing better, and if they're not, they have themselves to blame. The vision of society as a competitive game also suggests that anyone could very quickly be doing worse.

Under these neoliberal conditions, remorse becomes directed inwards, producing the depressive psychological effect (or what Freud termed 'melancholia') whereby people search inside themselves for the source of their own unhappiness and imperfect lives (Davies, 2015). Viewed from within the cultural logic of neoliberalism, uncompetitive regions, individuals or communities are not just 'left behind by globalisation', but are discovered to be inferior in comparison to their rivals, just like the contestants ejected from a talent show. Rising household indebtedness compounds this process for those living in financial precarity, by forcing individuals to pay for their own past errors, illness or sheer bad luck (Davies, Montgomerie & Wallin, 2015).

In order to understand political upheavals such as Brexit, we need to perform some sociological interpretation. We need to consider that our socio-economic pathologies do not simply consist in the fact that opportunity and wealth are hoarded by certain industries (such as finance) or locales (such as London) or individuals (such as the children of the wealthy), although all of these things are true. We need also to reflect on the cultural and psychological implications of how this hoarding has been represented and justified over the past four decades, namely that it reflects something about the underlying moral worth of different populations and individuals.

One psychological effect of this is authoritarian attitudes towards social deviance: Brexit and Trump supporters both have an above-average tendency to support the death penalty, combined with a belief that political authorities are too weak to enforce justice (Kaufman, 2016). However, it is also clear that psychological and physical pain have become far more widespread in neoliberal societies than has been noticed by most people. Statistical studies have shown how societies such as Britain and the United States have become afflicted by often inexplicable rising mortality rates amongst the white working class, connected partly to rising suicide rates, alcohol and drug abuse (Dorling, 2016). The Washington Post identified close geographic correlations between this trend and support for Donald Trump (Guo, 2016). In sum, a moral-economic system aimed at identifying and empowering the most competitive people, institutions and places has become targeted, rationally or otherwise, by the vast number of people, institutions and places that have suffered not only the pain of defeat but the punishment of defeat for far too long.

NEOLIBERALISM: DEAD OR ALIVE?

The question inevitably arises, is thus thing called 'neoliberalism' now over? And if not, when might it be and how would we know? In the UK, the prospect of Brexit combined with the political priority of reducing immigration means that the efficient movement of capital (together with that of labour) is being consciously impeded in a way that would have been unthinkable during the 1990s and early 2000s. 1'he re-emergence of national borders as obstacles to the flow of goods, finance, services and above all people, represents at least an interruption in the vision of globalisation that accompanied the heyday of neoliberal policy making between 1989-2008. If events such as Brexit signal the first step towards greater national mercantilism and protectionism, then we may be witnessing far more profound transformations in our model of political economy, the consequences of which could become very ugly.

Before we reach that point, it is already possible to identify a reorientation of national economic policy making away from some core tenets of neoliberal doctrine. One of the main case studies of this book is antitrust law and policy, which has been a preoccupation for neoliberal intellectuals, reformers and lawyers ever since the 1930s. The rise of the Chicago School view of competition (which effectively granted far greater legal rights to monopolists, while also being tougher on cartels) in the American legal establishment from the 1970s onwards, later repeated in the European Commission, meant that market commitments to neoliberal policy goals is still less than likely. Free trade areas such as NAETA, policies designed to attract and please mobile capital, the search for global hegemony surrounding international markets (as opposed to naked, mercantilist self-interest) may then continue for a few more years. But the collapse of legitimacy or popularity of these agendas will not be reversed.

Meanwhile, the inability of the Republican Party to defend these policies any longer signals the ultimate divorce between the political and economic wings of neoliberalism: the conservative coalition that came into being as Keynesianism declined post-1968, and which got Ronald Reagan to power, no longer functions in its role of rationalising and de-politicising economic policy making. If neoliberalism is the 'disenchantment of politics by economics', then economics is no longer performing its role in rationalising public life. Politics is being re-enchanted, by images of nationhood, of cultural tradition, of'friends' against enemies, ot race ana religion, une ot me many political miscalculations mat lea to Brexit was to under-estimate how many UK citizens would vote for the first time in their lives, enthralled by the sudden sovereign power that they had been granted in the polling booth, which was entirely unlike the ritual of representative democracy with a first-past-the-post voting system that renders most votes irrelevant. The intoxication of popular power and of demagoguery is being experienced in visceral ways for the first time since 1968, or possibly longer. Wendy Brown argues that neoliberalism is a 'political rationality'' that was born in direct response to Fascism during the 1930s and '40s (Brown, 2015). While it would be an exaggeration to say that the end of neoliberalism represents the re-birth of Fascism, clearly there were a number of existential dimensions of'the political' that the neoliberals were right to fear, and which we should now fear once more.

While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that 2016 is a historic turning point indeed as I've argued here, possibly the second 'book-mark' in the crisis of neoliberalism we need also to recognise how the seeds of this recent political rupture were sown over time. Indeed, we can learn a lot about policy paradigms from the way they' go into decline, for they always contain, tolerate and even celebrate the very activities that later overwhelm or undermine them. Clearly, the 2008 financial crisis was triggered by activities in the banking sector that were not fundamentally different from those which had been viewed as laudable for the previous 20 years. Equally, as we witness the return of mercantilism, protectionism, nationalism and charismatic populism, we need to remember the extent to which neoliberalism accommodated some of this, up to a point.

The second major case study in this book, in addition to anti-trust policy, is of strategies for 'national competitiveness'. The executive branch of government has traditionally been viewed as a problem from the perspective of economic liberalism, seeing as powerful politicians will instinctively seek to privilege their own territories vis-a-vis others. This is the threat of mercantilism, which can spin into resolutely anti-liberal policies such as trade tariffs and the subsidisation of indigenous industries and 'national champions'. These forms of mercantilism may now be returning, however, the logic of neoliberalism was never quite as antipathetic to them as orthodox market liberals might have been. Instead, I suggest in Chapter 4, rather than simply seek to thwart or transcend nationalist politics, neoliberalism seizes and reimagines the nation as one competitive actor amongst many, in a global contest for 'competitiveness', as evaluated by business gurus such as Michael Porter and think tanks such as the World Economic Eorum. To be sure, these gurus and think tanks have never been anything but hostile to protectionism; but nevertheless, they have encouraged a form of mild nationalism as the basis for strategic thinking in economic policy. As David Harvey has argued, 'the neoliberal state needs nationalism of a certain sort to survive': it draws on aspects of executive power and nationalist sentiment, in order to steer economic activity towards certain types of competitive strategies, culture and behaviours and away from others (Harvey, 2005: 85).

There is therefore a deep-lying tension within the politics of neoliberalism between a 'liberal' logic, which seeks to transcend geography, culture and political difference, and a more contingent, 'violent' logic that seeks to draw on the energies of nationhood and combat, in the hope of diverting them towards competitive, entrepreneurial production. These two logics are in conflict with each other, but the story I tell in this book is of how the latter gradually won out over the long history of neoliberal thought and policy making. Where the neoliberal intellectuals of the 1930s had a deep commitment to liberal ideals, which they believed the market could protect, the rise of the post-war Chicago School of economics and the co-option of neoliberal ideas by business lobbies and conservatives, meant that (what 1 term) the 'liberal spirit' was gradually lost. There is thus a continuity at work here, in the way that the crisis of neoliberalism has played out.

Written in 2012-13, the book suggests that neoliberalism has now entered a 'contingent' state, in which various failures of economic rationality are dealt with through incorporating an ever broader range of cultural and political resources. The rise of behavioural economics, for example, represents an attempt to preserve a form of market rationality in the face of crisis, by incorporating expertise provided by psychologists and neuroscientists. A form of 'neo-communitarianism' emerges, which takes seriously the role of relationships, environmental conditioning and empathy in the construction of independent, responsible subjects. This remains an economistic logic, inasmuch as it prepares people to live efficient, productive, competitive lives. But by bringing culture, community and contingency within the bounds of neoliberal rationality, one might see things like behavioural economics or 'social neuroscience' and so on as early symptoms of a genuinely post-liberal politics. Once governments (and publics) no longer view economics as the best test of optimal policies, then opportunities for post-liberal experimentation expand rapidly, with unpredictable and potentially frightening consequences. It was telling that, when the British Home Secretary, Amber Kudd, suggested in October 2016 that companies be compelled to publicly list their foreign workers, she defended this policy as a 'nudge'.

The Limits of Neoliberalism is a piece of interpretive sociology. It starts from the recognition that neoliberalism rests on claims to legitimacy, which it is possible to imagine as valid, even for critics of this system. Inspired by Luc Boltanski, the book assumes that political-economic systems typically need to offer certain limited forms of hope, excitement and fairness in order to survive, and cannot operate via domination and exploitation alone. For similar reasons, we might soon find that we miss some of the normative and political dimensions of neoliberalism, for example the internationalism that the IiU was founded to promote and the cosmopolitanism that competitive markets sometimes inculcate. There may be some elements of neoliberalism that critics and activists need to grasp, refashion and defend, rather than to simply denounce: this book's Afterword offers some ideas of what this might mean. But if the book is to be read in a truly post-neoliberal world, 1 hope that in its Interpretive aspirations, it helps to explain what was internally and normalively coherent about the political economy known as 'neoliberalism', but also why the system really had no account of its own preconditions or how to preserve them adequately. The attempt to reduce all of human life to economic calculation runs up against limits. A political rationality that fails to recognise politics as a distinctive sphere of human existence was always going to be dumbfounded, once that sphere took on its own extra-economic life. As Bob Dylan sang to Mr Jones, so one might now say to neoliberal intellectuals or technocrats: 'something is happening here, but you don't know what it is'.

... ... ...

Most analyses of neoliberalism have focused on its commitment to 'free markets, deregulation and trade. I shan't discuss the validity of these portrayals here, although some have undoubtedly exaggerated the similarities between 'classical' nineteenth-century liberalism and twentieth-century neoliberalism. The topic addressed here is a different one the character of neoliberal authority, on what basis does the neoliberal state demand the right to be obeyed, if not on substantive political grounds? To a large extent, it is on the basis of particular economic claims and rationalities, constructed and propagated by economic experts. The state does not necessarily (or at least, not always) cede power to markets, but comes to justify its decisions, policies and rules in terms that are commensurable with the logic of markets. Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms (Davies, 2013: 37). The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of economics (and economists) to dictate legitimate courses of action. Understanding that authority and its present crisis requires us to look at economics, economic policy experts and advisors as critical components of state institutions.

Since the banking crisis of 2007-09, public denunciations of 'inequality' have increased markedly. These draw on a diverse range of moral, critical, theoretical, methodological and empirical resources. Marxist analyses have highlighted growing inequalities as a symptom of class conflict, which neoliberal policies have greatly exacerbated (Harvey, 2011; Therborn, 2012). Statistical analyses have highlighted correlations between different spheres of inequality', demonstrating how economic inequality influences social and psychological wellbeing (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2009). Data showing extreme concentrations of wealth have led political scientists to examine the US political system, as a tool through which inequality is actively increased (Hacker & Pierson, 2010). Emergent social movements, such as Occupy, draw a political dividing line between the '99%' and the '1%' who exploit them. Political leaders and public intellectuals have adopted the language of'fairness' in their efforts to justify and criticize the various policy interventions which influence the distribution of economic goods (e.g. Hutton, 2010).

It is important to recognize that these critiques have two quite separate targets, although the distinction is often blurred. Firstly, there is inequality that exists within reasonably delineated and separate spheres of society. This means that there are multiple inequalities, with multiple, potentially incommensurable measures. The inequality that occurs within the market sphere is separate from the inequality that occurs within the cultural sphere, which is separate from the inequality' that occurs within the political sphere, and so on. Each sphere can either unwelcome politically, or impractical (Davies, 2013). Hayek's support for the welfare state, Simons' commitment to the nationalization of key industries, the ordo-liberal enthusiasm for the 'social market' demonstrate that the early neoliberals were offering a justification for what Walzer terms 'monopoly' (separate inequalities in separate spheres) and not 'dominance' (the power of one sphere over all others).

As the next chapter explores, it was Coasian economics (in tandem with the Chicago School) that altered this profoundly. The objective perspective of the economist implicitly working for a university or state regulator would provide the common standard against which activity could be judged. Of course economics does not replace the price system, indeed economics is very often entangled with the price system (Callon, 1998; Caliskan, 2010), but the a priori equality of competitors becomes presumed, as a matter of economic methodology, which stipulates that all agents are endowed with equal psychological capacities of calculation. It is because this assumption is maintained when evaluating all institutions and actions that it massively broadens the terrain of legitimate competition, and opens up vast, new possibilities for legitimate inequality and legitimate restraint. Walzerian dominance is sanctioned, and not simply monopoly. The Coasian vision of fair competition rests on an entirely unrealistic premise, namely that individuals share a common capacity' to calculate and negotiate, rendering intervention by public authorities typically unnecessary: the social reality of lawyers' fees is alone enough to undermine this fantasy. Yet in one sense, this is a mode of economic critique that is imbued with the 'liberal spirit' described earlier. It seeks to evaluate the efficiency of activities, on the basis of the assumed equal rationality of all, and the neutrality of the empirical observer.

Like Coase, Schumpeter facilitates a great expansion of the space and time in which the competitive process takes place. Various 'social' and 'cultural' resources become drawn into the domain of competition, with the goal being to define the rules that all others must play by. Monopoly is undoubtedly the goal of competitiveness. But unlike Coase's economics, Schumpeter's makes no methodological assumption regarding the common rationality' of all actors. Instead, it makes a romantic assumption regarding the inventive power of some actors (entrepreneurs), and the restrictive routines of most others. Any objective judgements regarding valid or invalid actions will be rooted in static methodologies or rules. Entrepreneurs have no rules, and respect no restraint. They seek no authority or validation for what they do, but are driven by a pure desire to dominate. In this sense their own immanent authority comes with a 'violent threat', which is endorsed by the neoliberal state as Chapter 4 discusses.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

These theories of competition are not 'ideological' and nor are they secretive. They are not ideological because they do not seek to disguise how reality is actually constituted or to distract people from their objective conditions. They have contributed to the construction and constitution of economic reality, inasmuch as they provide objective and acceptable reports on what is going on, that succeed in coordinating various actors. Moreover, they are sometimes performative, not least because of how they inform and format modes of policy, regulation and governance. Inequality has not arisen by accident or due to the chaos of capitalism or 'globalization'. Theories and methodologies, which validate certain types of dominating and monopolistic activity, have provided the conventions within which large numbers of academics, business people and policy makers have operated. They make a shared world possible in the first place. But nor are any of these theories secret either. They have been published in peer-reviewed journals, spread via policy papers and universities. Without shared, public rationalities and methodologies, neoliberalism would have remained a private conspiracy. Inequality can be denounced by critics of neoliberalism, but it cannot be argued that in an era that privileges not only market competition but competitiveness in general inequality is not publicly acceptable.

The contingent neoliberalism that we currently live with is in a literal sense unjustified. It is propagated without the forms of justification (be they moral or empirical) that either the early neoliberals or the technical practitioners of neoliberal policy had employed, in order to produce a reality that 'holds together', as pragmatist sociologists like to say. The economized social and political reality now only just about 'holds together', because it is constantly propped up, bailed out, nudged, monitored, adjusted, data-mincd, and altered by those responsible for rescuing it. It does not survive as a consensual reality: economic judgements regarding 'what is going on' are no longer 'objective' or 'neutral', to the extent that they once were. The justice of inequality can no longer be explained with reference to a competition or to competitiveness, let alone to a market. Thus, power may be exercised along the very same tramlines that it was during the golden neoliberal years of the 1990s and early millennium, and the same experts, policies and agencies may continue to speak to the same public audiences. But the sudden reappearance of those two unruly uneconomic actors, the Hobbesian sovereign state and the psychological unconscious, suggests that that the project of disenchanting politics by economics has reached its limit. And yet crisis and critique have been strategically deferred or accommodated. What resources are there available for this to change, and to what extent are these distinguishable from neoliberalism's own critical capacities?

... ... ...

Neoliberalism, as this book has sought to demonstrate, is replete with its own internal modes of criticism, judgement, measurement and evaluation, which enable actors to reach agreements about what is going on. These are especially provided by certain traditions of economics and business strategy, which privilege competitive processes, on the basis that those processes are uniquely able to preserve an element of uncertainty in social and economic life. The role of the expert be it in the state, the think tank or university within this programme is to produce quantitative facts about the current state of competitive reality, such that actors, firms or whole nations can be judged, compared and ranked. For Hayek and many of the early neoliberals, markets would do this job instead of expert authorities, with prices the only facts that were entirely necessary. But increasingly, under the influence of the later Chicago School and business strategists, the 'winners' and the 'losers' were to be judged through the evaluations of economics (and associated techniques and measures), rather than of markets as such. Certain forms of authority are therefore necessary for this game' to be playable. Economized law is used to test the validity of certain forms of competitive conduct; audits derived from business strategy are used to test and enthuse the entrepreneurial energies of rival communities. But the neoliberal programme initially operated such that these forms of authority could be exercised in a primarily technical sense, without metaphysical appeals to the common good, individual autonomy or the sovereignty of the state that employed them. As the previous chapter argued, various crises (primarily, but not exclusively, the 2007-09 financial crisis) have exposed neoliberalism's tacit dependence on both executive sovereignty and on certain moral-psychological equipment on the part of individuals. A close reading of neoliberal texts and policies would have exposed this anyway. In which case, the recent 'discovery' that neoliberalism depends on and justifies power inequalities, and not markets as such, may be superficial in nature. Witnessing the exceptional measures that states have taken to rescue the status quo simply confirms the state-centric nature of neolibcralism, as an anti-political mode of politics. As Zizek argued in relation to the Wikileaks' exposures of 2011, 'the real disturbance was at the level of appearances: we can no longer pretend we don't know what everyone knows we know' (Zizek, 2011b). Most dramatically, neoliberalism now appears naked and shorn of any pretence to liberalism, that is, it no longer operates with manifest a priori principles of equivalence, against which all contestants should be judged. Chapter 2 identified the 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism with a Rawlsian assumption that contestants are formally equal before they enter the economic 'game'. Within the Kantian or 'deontological' tradition of liberalism, this is the critical issue, and it played a part in internal debates within the early neoliberal movement. For those such as the ordoliberals, who feared the rationalizing potential of capitalist monopoly, the task was to build an economy around such an a priori liberal logic. Ensuring some equality of access to the economic game', via the active regulation of large firms and 'equality of opportunity' for individuals, is how neoliberalism's liberalism has most commonly been presented politically. As Chapter 3 discussed, the American tradition of neoliberalism as manifest in Chicago Law and Economics abandoned this sort of normative liberalism, in favour of a Benthamite utilitarianism, in which efficiency claims trumped formal arguments. The philosophical and normative elements of neoliberalism have, in truth, been in decline since the 1950s.

The 'liberal spirit' of neoliberalism was kept faintly alive by the authority that was bestowed upon methodologies, audits and measures of efficiency analysis. The liberal a priori just about survived in the purported neutrality of economic method (of various forms), to judge all contestants equally, even while the empirical results of these judgements have increasingly benefited alreadydominant competitors. This notion relied on a fundamental epistemological inconsistency of neoliberalism, between the Hayekian argument that there can be no stable or objective scientific perspective on economic activity, and the more positivist argument that economics offers a final and definitive judgement. American neoliberalism broadens the 'arena' in which competition is understood to take place, beyond definable markets, and beyond the sphere of the 'economy', enabling cultural, social and political resources to be legitimately dragged into the economic 'game', and a clustering of various forms of advantage in the same hands. Monopoly, in Walter's terms, becomes translated into dominance.

The loss of neoliberalisms pretence to liberalism transforms the type of authority that can be claimed by and on behalf of power, be it business, financial or state power. It means the abandonment of the globalizing, universalizing, transcendental branch of neoliberalism, in which certain economic techniques and measures (including, but not only, prices) would provide a common framework through which all human difference could be mediated and represented. Instead, cultural and national difference potentially leading to conflict now animates neoliberalism, but without a commonly recognized principle against which to convert this into competitive inequality. What I have characterized as the 'violent threat' of neoliberalism has come to the fore, whereby authority in economic decision making is increasingly predicated upon the claim that 'we' must beat 'them'. This fracturing of universalism, in favour of political and cultural particularism, may be a symptom of how capitalist crises often play out (Gamble, 2009). One reason why neoliberalism has survived as well as it has since 2007 is that it has always managed to operate within two rhetorical registers simultaneously, satisfying both the demand for liberal universalism and that for political particularism, so when the former falls apart, a neoliberal discourse of competitive nationalism and the authority of executive decision is already present and available.

One lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for political movements which seek to challenge it, is that both individual agency and collective institutions need to be criticized and invented simultaneously. Political reform does not have to build on any 'natural' account of human beings, but can also invent new visions of individual agency. The design and transformation of institutions, such as markets, regulators and firms, do not need to take place separately from this project, but in tandem and in dialogue with it. A productive focus of critical economic enquiry would be those institutions which neolibcral thought has tended to be entirely silent on. These are the institutions and mechanisms of capitalism which coerce and coordinate individuals, thereby removing choices from economic situations. The era of applied neoliberal policy making has recently started to appear as one of rampant 'financialisation' (Krippner, 2012). So it is therefore peculiar how little attention is paid within neoliberal discourse to institutions of credit and equity, other than that they should be priced and distributed via markets. Likewise, the rising power of corporations has been sanctioned by theories that actually say very little about firms, management, work or organization, but focus all their attention on the incentives and choices confronting a few 'agents' and 'leaders' at the very top. Despite having permeated our cultural lives with visions of competition, and also permeated political institutions with certain economic rationalities, the dominant discourse of neoliberalism actually contains very little which represents the day-to-day lives and experiences of those who live with it. This represents a major empirical and analytical shortcoming of the economic theories that are at work in governing us, and ultimately a serious vulnerability.

A further lesson to be taken from neoliberalism, for the purposes of a critique of neoliberalism, is that restrictive economic practices need to be strategically and inventively targeted and replaced. In the 1930s and 1940s, 'restrictive economic practices' would have implied planning, labour organization and socialism. Today our economic freedoms are restricted in very different ways, which strike at the individual in an intimate way, rather than at individuals collectively. In the twenty-first century, the experience of being an employee or a consumer or a debtor is often one of being ensnared, not one of exercising any choice or strategy. Amidst all of the uncertainty of dynamic capitalism, this sense of being trapped into certain relations seems eminently certain. Releasing individuals from these constraints is a constructive project, as much as a critical one: this is what the example of the early neoliberals demonstrates.

Lawyers willing to rewrite the rules of exchange, employment and finance (as, for instance the ordo-liberals redrafted the rules of the market) could be one of the great forces for social progress, if they were ever to mobilize in a concerted w'ay. A form of collective entrepreneurship, which like individual entrepreneurs saw' economic nonnativity as fluid and changeable, could produce new forms of political economy, with alternative valuation systems.

The reorganization of state, society, institutions and individuals in terms of competitive dynamics and rules, succeeded to the extent that it did because it offered both a vision of the collective and a vision of individual agency simultaneously. It can appear impermeable to critique or political transformation, if only challenged on one of these terms. For instance, if a different vision of collective organization is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this must involve abandoning individual 'choice' or freedom. Or if a different vision of the individual is proposed, the neoliberal rejoinder is that this is unrealistic given the competitive global context. Dispensing with competition, as the template for all politics and political metaphysics, is therefore only possible if theory proceeds anew, with a political-economic idea of individual agency and collective organization, at the same time. What this might allow is a different basis from which to speak of human beings as paradoxically the same yet different. The problem of politics is that individuals are both private, isolated actors, with tastes and choices, and part of a collectivity, with rules and authorities. An alternative answer to this riddle needs to be identified, other than simply more competition and more competitiveness, in which isolated actors take no responsibility for the collective, and the collective is immune to the protestations of those isolated actors.

[Nov 05, 2018] Housing market reminiscent of 2006 bubble, ready to burst Nobel Prize-winning economist Shiller

Notable quotes:
"... "a sign of weakness." ..."
"... "the housing market does have a momentum component and we're seeing a clipping of momentum at this time." ..."
"... "If the markets go down, it could bring on another recession. The housing market has been an important element of economic activity. If people start to get pessimistic about housing and pull back and don't want to buy, there will be a drop in construction jobs and that could be a seed for another recession." ..."
"... "By the way, we're overdue for another recession." ..."
"... "The drop in home prices in the financial crisis was the most severe drop in the US market since my data begin in 1890," ..."
"... "It could be that we're primed to repeat it because it's in our memory and we're thinking about it but still I wouldn't expect something as severe as the Great Financial Crisis coming on right now. There could be a significant correction or bear market, but I'm waiting and seeing now." ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | www.rt.com

The weakening housing market is similar to the last market high, just before the subprime housing bubble burst a decade ago, says famed housing-watcher Robert Shiller. The economist, who predicted the 2007-2008 crisis, told Yahoo Finance that current data shows "a sign of weakness."

Housing pivots take more time than those in the stock market, Shiller said, adding that "the housing market does have a momentum component and we're seeing a clipping of momentum at this time."

The Nobel Laureate explained: "If the markets go down, it could bring on another recession. The housing market has been an important element of economic activity. If people start to get pessimistic about housing and pull back and don't want to buy, there will be a drop in construction jobs and that could be a seed for another recession." He added: "By the way, we're overdue for another recession."

When reminded that 2006 predated the greatest financial crisis in a lifetime, Shiller acknowledged that any correction would likely be far less severe.

"The drop in home prices in the financial crisis was the most severe drop in the US market since my data begin in 1890," the Yale economist said.

"It could be that we're primed to repeat it because it's in our memory and we're thinking about it but still I wouldn't expect something as severe as the Great Financial Crisis coming on right now. There could be a significant correction or bear market, but I'm waiting and seeing now."

The infamous US housing bubble in the mid-2000s and the subsequent subprime meltdown were key factors spurring the broader financial crisis of 2008. A speculative frenzy over house prices, mortgages beyond long-term capabilities to finance, and eventually a wave of defaults by borrowers, threatened the solvency of some key financial institutions which in turn led to a stock market crash, and the global financial crisis.

Read more

Echoes of Black Monday: Market sell-off could get 'significantly worse' - strategist READ MORE: Decade after financial crisis JPMorgan predicts next one's coming soon

[Nov 05, 2018] Tax heavens and inequality

Notable quotes:
"... creates a parallel society in the countryside that never see these money, but are the pros of having that money there and contributing to the economy outweigh these cons? It would if the money were invested with a view of making a profit from a factory, but I don't think that happens in this case. What do you think? ..."
"... The result is what we Australians call a two-speed economy or a split economy, where one sub-economy caters for the very rich (real estate agents specialising in luxury properties, lots of luxury hotels and playgrounds, boutique shops and restaurants) and the other sub-economy is hidden away, made up of local people who have to rent their homes because they can't afford to buy their own homes, who have to hold down two or more jobs to survive and who supply the staff for the hotels, shops and restaurants frequented by the rich. Eventually the local people start disappearing to find better-paying jobs and the hotels, restaurants, etc start bringing in foreign labour to replace them. ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

blatnoi November 5, 2018 at 3:06 am

I've lately been wondering about the economics of being a big tax haven like the UK. A place like the Bahamas, I think benefits from it since there are so few citizens and it's easy to bribe them, and it costs a lot less than paying taxes back home. But then you move on to Panama, and the grey area starts. Someone is getting rich there, but the population of Panama is a lot bigger than that of the Bahamas, and that population is not exactly rich. Does it create bigger class divisions and also retards politics in terms of trying to develop their own unique economy not dependent on servicing the rich foreign tax thieves?

Then you get to London and the UK, with their absolutely enormous population. Most of the people outside of London will never see any of this money, and in London it creates a runaway housing crisis as the best investment for laundered money is thought to be real estate. Obviously there is investment in the local economy other than that, such as buying football clubs and stores, but I don't think that money goes towards funding a pharma start-up or buying stock in a local car company.

So it exacerbates inequality sure (London real estate is insane and out of reach of most locals), and creates a parallel society in the countryside that never see these money, but are the pros of having that money there and contributing to the economy outweigh these cons? It would if the money were invested with a view of making a profit from a factory, but I don't think that happens in this case. What do you think?

Mark Chapman November 5, 2018 at 3:20 am
I think it is an extremely interesting discussion point; one that I would not venture into without doing a bit of research, but right now I have to leave for work. It's definitely something we could chew over for a bit, and I imagine Jen will have something for us on it.
Jen November 5, 2018 at 2:00 pm
Blatnoi, if you get hold of the Nicholas Shaxson book I mentioned before, I recall there's a chapter that discusses the effect of being a tax haven has on the Channel Islands economy and Jersey Island in particular. The money that ends up there is in the pockets of a very few people who use it to buy and real estate as if it were shares on the stock market.

The result is what we Australians call a two-speed economy or a split economy, where one sub-economy caters for the very rich (real estate agents specialising in luxury properties, lots of luxury hotels and playgrounds, boutique shops and restaurants) and the other sub-economy is hidden away, made up of local people who have to rent their homes because they can't afford to buy their own homes, who have to hold down two or more jobs to survive and who supply the staff for the hotels, shops and restaurants frequented by the rich. Eventually the local people start disappearing to find better-paying jobs and the hotels, restaurants, etc start bringing in foreign labour to replace them.

I certainly agree with you that a two-speed economy creates and exacerbates class divisions, and moreover destroys not only local economies in the areas where it operates but also local societies and cultures.

Aha I Googled "Shaxson", "economy" and "Jersey" and out of what Google threw at me, I found this account by Bram Wanrooij of his time living in Jersey with his family for six years:

An excerpt from Wanrooij's post:

".. I have never been so aware of wealth discrepancies as I have in Jersey. And that says a lot, as I have lived in places like Kenya and Sudan when I was younger. Disparity is on full display, in combination with a shameless promotion of greed and privilege. Range Rovers wizz past you, their 4×4 engines sputtering out clouds of pollution, utterly useless on a small island with a decent infrastructure and no real elevation to speak of. You even see flashy sports cars; quite amusing when you consider the speed limit is 40 at most. What are these people trying to prove?

The island caters to the very wealthy, especially reflected in everyday expenses and housing and travel costs. Getting off the island becomes ever more impossible as your family grows, with flights to England ridiculously expensive and ferries charging a small fortune for carrying you across the channel. In this way, Jersey has quickly become a financial and geographical prison for middle and low earners.

In the six years I've lived here, my family has had to move six times and every time we had to rent a house which was slightly beyond our budget, even though both my wife and I are hard workers with honest professions. I have seen qualified, talented people leave because of this, a phenomenon which makes no sense, neither on a social, nor an economic level "

Comparisons between the Jersey-style financial two-speed economy and economies afflicted with so-called Dutch disease (typically economies like Saudi Arabia and others dependent on oil, gas and mineral exploitation) have been made. Characteristics of such economies are outlined in detail at this link:
https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/11977/oil/dutch-disease/

Fern November 5, 2018 at 5:25 pm
I've lived on the outskirts of London for many years and what I've seen is the city becoming increasingly hollowed out. You can walk around street after street at night and everywhere is in darkness – the lights are out because no-one is home, not that evening, not ever. London is permanently under construction; huge numbers of new buildings have gone up in recent years – all of them beyond the purchasing power of most Londoners – and huge numbers of those new buildings have been purchased off plan by overseas investors with no intention or interest in living in them.

When the money moves in existing communities disintegrate, local councils seek to dump those in social housing on other, less fashionable boroughs (thus exacerbating housing problems in those areas) or even outside London so housing can be razed and the land sold to developers, those renting in the private sector are priced out, local businesses close down – their market has gone plus insane rent and rates increases etc etc. London used to have a bit of a 'village' feel to it – distinct areas with settled communities, traditional butcher-baker-candlestick maker high streets, a sense of community. All gone or going.

Moscow Exile November 5, 2018 at 3:51 am
'Billionaires Row': inside Hampstead palaces left empty for decades
On The Bishops Avenue houses worth tens of millions of pounds lay derelict in a spectacular example of waste and profligacy

The multimillion-pound wrecks are evidence of a property culture in which the world's richest people see British property as investments. One Hyde Park, a block of apartments in Knightsbridge, is another example where more than half the flats are registered with the council as empty or second homes.

Rinat Akhmetov pays record £136.4m for apartment at One Hyde Park
Ukraine's richest man spends record amount for a UK home after buying two Knightsbridge flats totalling 25,000 sq ft

He just loves the weather there!

Northern Star November 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm
Hmmm ..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rinat_Akhmetov#Political_activity
Jen November 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm
Buying properties in hot-spot areas and leaving them empty – because you plan to trade and sell them if and when the prices rocket up to levels you want – would be typical behaviour of people who treat property portfolios like share portfolios. You want to be ready to sell when the price is right so you don't move tenants into them. Getting rid of tenants can be a hassle if you want to sell quickly.

Also buying property and deliberately leaving it to rot is a way of using it as a tax shelter to minimise land and other taxes, lower your income or claim a tax rebate on losses you make because you're forking out more in land taxes, council rates and other rates than you are making on the property, depending on the taxation jurisdiction prevailing in the area or country where you have bought the property.

Evgeny November 5, 2018 at 3:59 am
Thanks for a great article, Mark!

Apparently, the U.S. authorities believe that by squeezing the corrupt Russian money out of the Great Britain, they would force those corrupt rich Russians to return their money home and remake the Russia as a modern Western nation with the rule of law and checks and balances.

At least, that's what I have heard at anti-Putin forums. So -- and especially so in view of your article -- that ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

But if that's indeed the idea -- I'm skeptical that it would work. Definitely, it sounds alright, and if it were implemented, say, 30 years ago -- it might have sort of worked, by preventing the corrupt Russians to move their assets abroad. Now, I think, they would just move their fortunes into some other friendly jurisdiction outside of the reach of Uncle Sam and Russia's authorities.

If getting at dirty money was that easy, I doubt that China would ever need to resort to such a complex operation as the "Fox Hunt".

Moscow Exile November 5, 2018 at 4:25 am
Well it seems that Rusal has said "Kiss my arse goodbye!" to the bounteous, tax-free-zoned West.

Sanctions-hit Rusal decides to move from Jersey to Russia
November 05, 9:24 updated at: November 05, 10:24 UTC+3

That's Jersey the British Channel Island and not "New Jersey", the former British colony.

Mark Chapman November 5, 2018 at 3:36 pm
Another kick in the sack for Britain, caused by Washington but for which Washington will suffer no penalty. That Special Relationship certainly is something, isn't it?
Mark Chapman November 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm
I think you're probably right – although I never thought of such a devious motive as forcing Putin's enemies (in some cases) back to Russia, where they would presumably start financing the opposition and making trouble, I agree it likely would not work according to plan. Very likely all it would accomplish is the withdrawal of their money from London, to be hidden somewhere else.

[Nov 05, 2018] How neoliberals destroyed University education and then a large part of the US middle class and the US postwar social order by Edward Qualtrough

Notable quotes:
"... Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day. ..."
"... Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital. ..."
Aug 24, 2016 | www.amazon.com

From: Amazon.com Neoliberalism's Demons On the Political Theology of Late Capital (9781503607125) Adam Kotsko Books

Every academic critique of neoliberalism is an unacknowledged memoir. We academics occupy a crucial node in the neoliberal system. Our institutions are foundational to neoliberalism's claim to be a meritocracy, insofar as we are tasked with discerning and certifying the merit that leads to the most powerful and desirable jobs. Yet at the same time, colleges and universities have suffered the fate of all public goods under the neoliberal order. We must therefore "do more with less," cutting costs while meeting ever-greater demands. The academic workforce faces increasing precarity and shrinking wages even as it is called on to teach and assess more students than ever before in human history -- and to demonstrate that we are doing so better than ever, via newly devised regimes of outcome-based assessment. In short, we academics live out the contradictions of neoliberalism every day.

... ... ...

On a more personal level it reflects my upbringing in the suburbs of Flint, Michigan, a city that has been utterly devastated by the transition to neoliberalism. As I lived through the slow-motion disaster of the gradual withdrawal of the auto industry, I often heard Henry Ford s dictum that a company could make more money if the workers were paid enough to be customers as well, a principle that the major US automakers were inexplicably abandoning. Hence I find it [Fordism -- NNB] to be an elegant way of capturing the postwar model's promise of creating broadly shared prosperity by retooling capitalism to produce a consumer society characterized by a growing middle class -- and of emphasizing the fact that that promise was ultimately broken.

By the mid-1970s, the postwar Fordist order had begun to breakdown to varying degrees in the major Western countries. While many powerful groups advocated a response to the crisis that would strengthen the welfare state, the agenda that wound up carrying the day was neoliberalism, which was most forcefully implemented in the United Kingdom by Margaret Thatcher and in the United States by Ronald Reagan. And although this transformation was begun by the conservative part)', in both countries the left-of-centcr or (in American usage) "liberal"party wound up embracing neoliberal tenets under Tony Blair and Bill Clinton, ostensibly for the purpose of directing them toward progressive ends.

With the context of current debates within the US Democratic Party, this means that Clinton acolytes are correct to claim that "neoliberalism" just is liberalism but only to the extent that, in the contemporary United States, the term liberalism is little more than a word for whatever the policy agenda of the Democratic Party happens to be at any given time. Though politicians of all stripes at times used libertarian rhetoric to sell their policies, the most clear-eyed advocates of neoliberalism realized that there could be no simple question of a "return" to the laissez-faire model.

Rather than simply getting the state "out of the way," they both deployed and transformed state power, including the institutions of the welfare state, to reshape society in accordance with market models. In some cases creating markets where none had previously existed, as in the privatization of education and other public services. In others it took the form of a more general spread of a competitive market ethos into ever more areas of life -- so that we are encouraged to think of our reputation as a "brand," for instance, or our social contacts as fodder for "networking." Whereas classical liberalism insisted that capitalism had to be allowed free rein within its sphere, under neoliberalism capitalism no longer has a set sphere. We are always "on the clock," always accruing (or squandering) various forms of financial and social capital.

[Nov 05, 2018] Winter Is Coming

Nov 02, 2018 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

The Devil, in Greek diabolos the 'divider', 'scatterer', 'slanderer'
"OMB Director Mulvaney cites a record high in gov't revenue. True, revenues hit a high in nominal terms over FY18, growing 0.4% Y/Y, However after adjusting for inflation, growth actually fell by 1.6%".

Steve Rattner

"Non Farm Payrolls puffed up all year, major negative adjustment to come later. For most Americans this is not a strong economy, regardless of what Fed or Administration says. When the jobs data is benchmarked to the tax data in February, there will be a massive downward revision.

I just ran the October withholding, and there is no way that this number is correct. Withholding was extremely weak. Bureau of Labor Statistics overstating gains all year."

Lee Adler, Capital Stool

"Thanks [Lee] for the insight on the inconsistency of NFP with payroll withholding. I was about to have a quick look at tax receipts but you saved me from that task. As for avg wages rising I expect much wage gains concentration in top 10% (supervisory), similarly for per capita incomes... [for a truer picture look at median numbers especially in times of record income disparity]

BLS says 250,000 jobs created. Zero attention to how number compiled. BLS number helped each month by "birth-death" ESTIMATE to account for unknown business shutdowns and startups. Guess what? The Birth-death estimate this time was +246,000. Good NFP before midterms."

Harald Malmgren

[Nov 05, 2018] How Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan Pulled off the Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated against the American People Dissident Voi

Notable quotes:
"... Raiding the Trust Fund: Using Social Security Money to Fund Tax Cuts for the Rich ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | dissidentvoice.org

How Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan Pulled off the Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated against the American People

by Allen W. Smith / April 14th, 2010

David Leonhardt's article , "Yes, 47% of Households Owe No Taxes. Look Closer," in Tuesday's New York Times was excellent, but it just scratches the tip of the iceberg of how the rich have gained at the expense of the working class during the past three decades. When Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, he abandoned the traditional economic policies, under which the United States had operated for the previous 40 years, and launched the nation in a dangerous new direction. As Newsweek magazine put it in its March 2, 1981 issue, "Reagan thus gambled the future -- his own, his party's, and in some measure the nation's -- on a perilous and largely untested new course called supply-side economics."

Essentially, Reagan switched the federal government from what he critically called, a "tax and spend" policy, to a "borrow and spend" policy, where the government continued its heavy spending, but used borrowed money instead of tax revenue to pay the bills. The results were catastrophic. Although it had taken the United States more than 200 years to accumulate the first $1 trillion of national debt, it took only five years under Reagan to add the second one trillion dollars to the debt. By the end of the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush administrations, the national debt had quadrupled to $4 trillion!

Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan pulled off one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated against the American people in the history of this great nation, and the underlying scam is still alive and well, more than a quarter century later. It represents the very foundation upon which the economic malpractice that led the nation to the great economic collapse of 2008 was built. Ronald Reagan was a cunning politician, but he didn't know much about economics. Alan Greenspan was an economist, who had no reluctance to work with a politician on a plan that would further the cause of the right-wing goals that both he and President Reagan shared.

Both Reagan and Greenspan saw big government as an evil, and they saw big business as a virtue. They both had despised the progressive policies of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson, and they wanted to turn back the pages of time. They came up with the perfect strategy for the redistribution of income and wealth from the working class to the rich. Since we don't know the nature of the private conversations that took place between Reagan and Greenspan, as well as between their aides, we cannot be sure whether the events that would follow over the next three decades were specifically planned by Reagan and Greenspan, or whether they were just the natural result of the actions the two men played such a big role in. Either way, both Reagan and Greenspan are revered by most conservatives and hated by most liberals.

If Reagan had campaigned for the presidency by promising big tax cuts for the rich and pledging to make up for the lost revenue by imposing substantial tax increases on the working class, he would probably not have been elected. But that is exactly what Reagan did, with the help of Alan Greenspan. Consider the following sequence of events:

1) President Reagan appointed Greenspan as chairman of the 1982 National Commission on Social Security Reform (aka The Greenspan Commission)

2) The Greenspan Commission recommended a major payroll tax hike to generate Social Security surpluses for the next 30 years, in order to build up a large reserve in the trust fund that could be drawn down during the years after Social Security began running deficits.

3) The 1983 Social Security amendments enacted hefty increases in the payroll tax in order to generate large future surpluses.

4) As soon as the first surpluses began to role in, in 1985, the money was put into the general revenue fund and spent on other government programs. None of the surplus was saved or invested in anything. The surplus Social Security revenue, that was paid by working Americans, was used to replace the lost revenue from Reagan's big income tax cuts that went primarily to the rich.

5) In 1987, President Reagan nominated Greenspan as the successor to Paul Volker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Greenspan continued as Fed Chairman until January 31, 2006. (One can only speculate on whether the coveted Fed Chairmanship represented, at least in part, a payback for Greenspan's role in initiating the Social Security surplus revenue.)

6) In 1990, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, a member of the Greenspan Commission, and one of the strongest advocates the the 1983 legislation, became outraged when he learned that first Reagan, and then President George H.W. Bush used the surplus Social Security revenue to pay for other government programs instead of saving and investing it for the baby boomers. Moynihan locked horns with President Bush and proposed repealing the 1983 payroll tax hike. Moynihan's view was that if the government could not keep its hands out of the Social Security cookie jar, the cookie jar should be emptied, so there would be no surplus Social Security revenue for the government to loot. President Bush would have no part of repealing the payroll tax hike. The "read-my-lips-no-new-taxes" president was not about to give up his huge slush fund.

The practice of using every dollar of the surplus Social Security revenue for general government spending continues to this day. The 1983 payroll tax hike has generated approximately $2.5 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue which is supposed to be in the trust fund for use in paying for the retirement benefits of the baby boomers. But the trust fund is empty! It contains no real assets. As a result, the government will soon be unable to pay full benefits without a tax increase. Money can be spent or it can be saved. But you can't do both. Absolutely none of the $2.5 trillion was saved or invested in anything. I have been laboring for more than a decade to expose the great Social Security scam. For more information, please visit my website or contact me.

Dr. Allen W. Smith is a Professor of Economics, Emeritus, at Eastern Illinois University. He is the author of seven books and has been researching and writing about Social Security financing for the past ten years. His latest book is Raiding the Trust Fund: Using Social Security Money to Fund Tax Cuts for the Rich . Read other articles by Allen , or visit Allen's website .

This article was posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 9:00am and is filed under Economy/Economics , Social Security , Tax . 5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on April 14th, 2010 at 10:07am #

    Still, this is only symptom or really quite legal act by US. So, appears to me of the system. So, what's wrong-right with the system of which governing the country by laws is integral part? Apparently nothing; even to allen smyth.
    So, why bother complaining ab an a legal act? Beats me! Why not change the system that allows this? tnx

  2. Mike 2 said on April 15th, 2010 at 4:40am #

    I think politics is, has and always will be the problem and it seems to have creeped in to Dr. Smiths article.
    The American people through decades of political rhetoric have come to believe all the lies that have been told by politicians and duly reinforced by a compliant media.
    Reagan proposed cutting benefits to fix social security. On 5/12/81 HHS Secretary Richard Schweiker sent Congress the Administrations plan to rely on benefit cuts. You know what happened next – the Democrats pounced with the elderly lobbies not far behind. Reagan gave up and not unlike todays President, formed the commission mostly for political cover and to take the heat off. And remember Congress passes the law, the President does not get a vote.
    The reserve fund build up for the boomers is also a myth. That is if we can believe the Congressionsl Research Service:

    "In fact, it has become conventional wisdom that Congress deliberately intended to built up large balances in the trust funds, not just for the near term, but to help finance the benefits of the post World War II baby boomers and later retirees." "To the contrary, a review of the record of congressional proceedings would suggest that the goal was
    not to create surpluses, but to assure that the system would not be threatened by insolvency again in the event adverse conditions arose." ( CRS Report for Congress – Social Security Financing Reform: Lessons From the 1983 Amendments – 97-741 EPW )

    Or if we choose to believe Robert J Meyers:

    Q: As we look at it today, some people rationalize the financing basis by saying that it's a way of partially having the baby boomers pay for their own retirement in advance. You're telling me now this was not the rationale. Nobody made that argument or adopted that rationale?

    Myers: That's correct. The statement you made is widely quoted, it is widely used, but it just isn't true. It didn't happen that way, it was mostly happenstance that the Commission adopted this approach to financing Social Security.
    ( http://ssaonline.us/history/myersorl.html )

    Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan may have become outraged but he was on the commission. He never realized that all cash surpluses have to be invested in debt – since Social Security began? I find that hard to believe, but he was right to recommend cutting the FICA tax, which of course went nowhere in CONGRESS.

    If this new commission comes up with a plan to "extend the life" of the trust fund, as happened with the new health care bill, it's just kicking the can down the road again. Let's let them use the "trust fund" and run it down to zero. How? cut spending elsewhere.

  3. perris said on April 15th, 2010 at 10:56am #

    this is a great article alan, you missed one of the most important things greenspan did to destroy the economy

    he went to war on what he termed "wage inflation"

    every time you see the prime go up that means there is upward pressure on wages and he is trying to keep businesses from having money to offer higher wage

    when you see wages go down it's because wage pressure is either stagnant or negative

    of course there are other factors that make the prime go up or down but wage pressure is the big reason you see it happening

    when greenspan said "the economy is heating up" what he meant is "people are asking for and getting a raise"

    important stuff and one of the main reasons the middle classes wages have been stagnant

  4. siamdave said on April 16th, 2010 at 12:00am #

    – the US was not alone – this scam was taking place in most if not all western faux-democracies. For the Canadian perspective – which has cost Cdn taxpayers some two trillion dollars over the last 30+ years in "debt service" whilst government after government claims 'no money!!' and slashes the social programs Cdns worked generations to establish – What Happened? http://www.rudemacedon.ca/what-happened.html . And thus it will continue until people catch on to this scam, this fraud, and put a lot of people in jail. ABout the same time I find my way out from behind the looking glass, I expect. We're all in cloud cuckooland now. Dorothy. The wizard is dead and the black witch rules.

  5. AaronG said on April 16th, 2010 at 4:39am #

    "Both Reagan and Greenspan saw big government as an evil, and they saw big business as a virtue. They both had despised the progressive policies of Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson"

    Republicans BAD ..Democrats GOOD.

    "When Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, he abandoned the traditional economic policies, under which the United States had operated for the previous 40 years"

    The 'traditional' economic policy of 'capitalism' (are economists allowed to utter that word in public, or is 'traditional' a better oxymoron?) was rampant before 1981 and was going about its destructive business. This article paints a picture of the pre-1981 world being the 'glory days'.

[Nov 05, 2018] Greenspan promoting "Entitlement" cuts as the necessary solution to the economy. 25% worth! by Daniel Becker

Notable quotes:
"... Here & Now ..."
Nov 05, 2018 | angrybearblog.com
Politics US/Global Economics From an interview on NPR's Here and Now comes:

"The official actuaries of the Social Security system say in order to get our Social Security and retirement funds in balance, they'd have to cut benefits by 25 percent indefinitely into the future," he says. "Do I think it's going to happen? Well I don't know, but this is one of the reasons why inflation is the major problem out there. So long as you don't do it, you're going to cause the debt overall -- the total government debt -- to rise indefinitely, and that is an unstable situation."

He adds: "In the book discussing what the long-term outlook is all about, we say that the issue of the aging of the population and its consequences on entitlements is having a significant negative deterioration over the long run. The reason for that is what the data unequivocally show is that entitlements -- which are mandated by law -- are gradually and inexorably driving our gross domestic savings, and the economy, dollar for dollar. And so long as that happens, we have to borrow from abroad, which is our current account deficit."

He also said:

"When you deal with fear, it is very difficult to classify," he tells Here & Now 's Jeremy Hobson. "But you can look at the consequences of it, and the consequence is basically a suppressed level of innovation and therefore of capital investment and a disinclination to take risks."

I agree with this, but not just as it relates to " a suppressed level of innovation " but instead as it relates to the 2005 World Bank report on what produces wealth in a developed economy like ours. It comes down to trust. Trust in your judicial system and trust in your education system. I discuss this in the following 3 posts: 2007, 2009, 2011

Human capital is where it's at!

Attention Republicans/Blue Dog Democrates: Tax cuts as stimulus work against your goal

It's not the tax and spending cuts, it's the destroyed trust that has doomed our eco

This election at it's core is about trust. Destroy that, and we have no democracy, we have no economy. It's that simple. That McConnell et al has decided he will not abide by the rules agreed to in conducting the business of the Senate means we have no currently functioning democracy. That is how fragile democracy in the US is. Our democracy comes down to two people, the leaders of each party in the Senate agreeing to the rules. When one decides not to, there is nothing that can be done other than vote.

You can hear the full interview here:

  1. Sandi , November 5, 2018 10:48 am

    Trust – I could't agree more. Thanks for shining this light.

    Paul Krugman has been pounding the drum for years about the GOP's repeated con game of creating deficits when they are in power, then running through the room with their hair on fire on how deficits are going to be our downfall and so we MUST, MUST, MUST cut entitlements. And yet we never seem to catch on.

    It seems to me we should make all income, not just wages, subject to FICA. Of course we could never touch what gets shipped off-shore anyway, so we'd just have to let that slide, I suppose ..still, as long only the 'wage slaves' are taxed, things will only get worse.

  1. Karl Kolchak , November 5, 2018 12:16 pm

    You still have trust? I gave that up after the Iraq War, the bailouts the Obama Betrayal and Citizens United. Now I just assume the worst, no matter who is in power, and rarely am I disappointed.

[Nov 05, 2018] Publishing and Promotion in Economics The Tyranny of the Top Five by James Heckman

Notable quotes:
"... By James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; Founding Director, Center for the Economics of Human Development and Sidharth Moktan, Predoctoral Fellow, Center for the Economics of Human Development, University of Chicago. Originally published at VoxEU ..."
"... Anecdotal evidence suggests that the 'Top Five' economics journals have a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, but actual evidence on their influence is sparse. This column uses data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top US economics departments between 1996 and 2010 to show that the impact of the Top Five on tenure decisions dwarfs that of non-Top Five journals. A survey of US economics department faculties confirms the Top Five's outsized influence. ..."
"... American Economic Review ..."
"... Journal of Political Economy ..."
"... Quarterly Journal of Economics ..."
"... Review of Economic Studies ..."
"... We find that the Top Five has a large impact on tenure decisions within the top 35 US departments of economics, dwarfing the impact of publications in non-Top Five journals. A survey of current tenure-track faculty hired by the top 50 US economics departments confirms the Top Five's outsize influence. ..."
"... Review of Economics and Statistics ..."
"... Journal of Political Economy ..."
"... Review of Economic Studies ..."
"... Definition of journal abbreviations ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
Nov 02, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. In case you hadn't noticed it, the economics discipline has doctrinal norms. Academics who stray too far from it find themselves welcome only at the small number of colleges and universities, such as the University of Missouri – Kansas City and the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, that embrace heterodox views.

The top five economics journals play a large role in enforcing the orthodoxy. Jamie Galbraith has described how he'd submit suitably mathed-up papers to one of the heavyweights, get an initial positive response, but when they understood where he was going, they'd alway reject the paper. The reviewers would claim that the mathematics were flawed, when that was not the case. But being published by the top five is essential to advancing in prestigious economics faculties, such as Harvard, Chicago, Princeton, and MIT.

It should be noted that no real science has a rigid hierarchy of journals like this. The article documents disfunction among the editors at these journals, such as incest and clientelism.

By James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago; Founding Director, Center for the Economics of Human Development and Sidharth Moktan, Predoctoral Fellow, Center for the Economics of Human Development, University of Chicago. Originally published at VoxEU

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the 'Top Five' economics journals have a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, but actual evidence on their influence is sparse. This column uses data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top US economics departments between 1996 and 2010 to show that the impact of the Top Five on tenure decisions dwarfs that of non-Top Five journals. A survey of US economics department faculties confirms the Top Five's outsized influence.

Anyone who talks with young economists entering academia about their career prospects and those of their peers cannot fail to note the importance they place on publication in the so-called Top Five journals in economics: the American Economic Review , Econometrica ,the Journal of Political Economy ,the Quarterly Journal of Economics , and the Review of Economic Studies .The discipline's preoccupation with the Top Five is reflected in the large number of scholarly papers that study aspects of the these journals, many of which acknowledge the Top Five's de facto role as arbiter in tenure and promotion decisions (e.g. Ellison 2002, Frey 2009, Card and DellaVigna 2013, Anauti et al. 2015, Hamermesh 2013, 2018, Colussi 2018).

While anecdotal evidence suggests that the Top Five has a strong influence on tenure and promotion decisions, actual evidence on such influence is sparse. Our paper (Heckman and Moktan 2018) fills this gap in the literature. We find that the Top Five has a large impact on tenure decisions within the top 35 US departments of economics, dwarfing the impact of publications in non-Top Five journals. A survey of current tenure-track faculty hired by the top 50 US economics departments confirms the Top Five's outsize influence.

Our empirical and survey-based findings of the Top Five's influence beg the question: is the Top Five an adequate filter of quality? Extending the analysis of Hamermesh (2018), we show that appearance of an article in the Top Five is a poor predictor of quality as measured by citations. Substantial variation in the citations accrued by papers published in the Top Five and overlap in article quality across journals outside the Top Five make aggregate measures of journal quality such as the Top Five label and Impact Factors poor measures of individual article quality. This is a view expressed by many economists and non-economists alike. 1

There are many consequences of the discipline's reliance on the Top Five. It subverts the essential process of assessing and rewarding original research. Using the Top Five to screen the next generation of economists incentivises professional incest and creates clientele effects whereby career-oriented authors appeal to the tastes of editors and biases of journals. It diverts their attention away from basic research toward strategising about formats, lines of research, and favoured topics of journal editors, many with long tenures. It raises the entry costs for new ideas and persons outside the orbits of the journals and their editors. An over-emphasis on Top Five publications perversely incentivises scholars to pursue follow-up and replication work at the expense of creative pioneering research, since follow-up work is easier to judge, is more likely to result in clean publishable results, and is hence more likely to be published. 2 This behaviour is consistent with basic common sense: you get what you incentivise.

In light of the many adverse and potentially severe consequences associated with current practices, we believe that it is unwise for the discipline to continue using publication in the Top Five as a measure of research achievement and as a predictor of future scholarly potential. The call to abandon the use of measures of journal influence in career advancement decisions has already gained momentum in the sciences. As of the time of the writing of this column, 667 organisations and 13,019 individuals have signed the San Francisco Declaration of Research Assessment, a declaration denouncing the use of journal metrics in hiring, career advancement, and funding decisions within the sciences. 3 Economists should take heed of these actions. We provide suggestions for change in the concluding portion of this column.

Documenting the Power of the Top Five

We find strong evidence of the influence of the Top Five. Without doubt, publication in the Top Five is a powerful determinant of tenure and promotion in academic economics. We analyse longitudinal data on employment and publication histories for tenure-track faculty hired by the top 35 US economics department between 1996 and 2010. We find that Top Five publications greatly increase the probability of receiving tenure during the first spell of tenure-track employment (see Figure 1). This is true if we limit samples to the first seven years of employment. Estimates from duration analyses of time to tenure show that publishingthree Top Five articles is associated with a 370% increase in the rate of receiving tenure, compared to candidates with similar levels of publication in non-Top Five journals. The estimated effects of publication in non-Top Five journals pale in comparison.

Figure 1 Predicted probabilities for receipt of tenure in the first spell of tenure-track employment

Notes : The figures plot the predicted probabilities associated with different levels of publications by authors in different journal categories, where the predictions are obtained from a logit model. White diamonds on the bars indicate that the prediction is significantly different than zero at the 5% level.

A survey of current assistant and associate professors hired by the top 50 US economics departments corroborates these findings. On average, junior faculty rank Top Five publications as being the single most influential determinant of tenure and promotion outcomes (see Figure 2). 4

Figure 2 Ranking of performance areas based on their perceived influence on tenure and promotion decisions

Notes : The figure summarises respondents' rankings of either performance areas. Responses are summarised by type of career advancement: tenure receipt, promotion to assistant professor, and promotion to associate professor. The bars present mean responses for each performance area. Respondents were given the option to not rank any or all of the eight performance areas. As a result, the number of respondents varies across the performance areas.

Responses to our survey reveal a widespread belief among junior faculty that the effect of the Top Five on career advancement operates independently of differences in article quality. To separate quality effects from a Top Five placement effect, we ask respondents to report the probability that their department awards tenure or promotion to an individual with Top Five publications compared to an individual identical to the first individual in every way except that he/she has published the same number and quality of articles in non-Top Five journals. If the Top Five influence operates solely through differences in article impact and quality, the expected reported probability would be 0.5. The results in Figure 3 show large and statistically significant deviations from 0.5 in favour of Top Five publication. On average, respondents from top 10 departments believe that the Top Five candidate would receive tenure with a probability of 0.89. The mean probability increases slightly for lower-ranked departments.

Figure 3 Probability that a candidate with Top Five publications receives tenure or promotion instead of an identical candidate with non-Top Five publications, ceteris paribus

Notes : The figure summarises respondents' perceptions about the probability that a candidate with Top Five publications is granted tenure or promotion by the respondent's department instead of a candidate with non-Top Five publications, ceteris paribus. Responses are summarised by type of career advancement: tenure receipt, promotion to assistant professor, and promotion to associate professor. The bars present mean responses for each performance area. White diamonds indicate that the mean response is significantly different than 50% at the 10% level.

The Top Five as a Filter of Quality

The current practice of relying on the Top Five has weak empirical support if judged by its ability to produce impactful papers as measured by citation counts. Extending the citation analysis of Hamermesh (2018), we find considerable heterogeneity in citations within journals and overlap in citations across Top Five and non-Top Five journals (see Figure 4). Moreover, the overlap increases considerably when one compares non-Top Five journals to the less-cited Top Five journals. For instance, while the median Review of Economics and Statistics article ranks in the 38thpercentile of the overall Top Five citation distribution, the same article outranks the median-cited article in the combined Journal of Political Economy and Review of Economic Studies distributions.

Figure 4 Distribution of residualalog citations for articles published between 2000 and 2010 (as at July 2018)

Source : Scopus.com (accessed July 2018)
Note : a The table plots distributions of residual log citations obtained from a model that estimates log(citations+1) as a function of third-degree polynomial for years elapsed between the date of publication and 2018, the year citations were measured. This residualisation adjusts log citations for exposure effects, thereby allowing for comparison of citations received by papers from different publication cohorts.

Definition of journal abbreviations : QJE–Quarterly Journal Of Economics, JPE–Journal Of Political Economy, ECMA–Econometrica, AER–American Economic Review, ReStud–Review Of Economic Studies, JEL–Journal Of Economic Literature, JEP–Journal Of Economic Perspectives, ReStat–Review Of Economics And Statistics, JEG–Journal Of Economic Growth, JOLE–Journal Of Labor Economics, JHR–Journal Of Human Resources, EJ–Economic Journal, JHE–Journal Of Health Economics, ICC–Industrial And Corporate Change, WBER–World Bank Economic Review, RAND–Rand Journal Of Economics, JDE–Journal Of Development Economics, JPub–Journal Of Public Economics, JOE–Journal Of Econometrics, HE–Health Economics, ILR–Industrial And Labor Relations Review, JEEA–Journal Of The European Economic Association, JME–Journal Of Monetary Economics, JRU–Journal Of Risk And Uncertainty, JInE–Journal Of Industrial Economics, JOF–Journal Of Finance, JFE–Journal Of Financial Economics, ReFin–Review Of Financial Studies, JFQA–Journal Of Financial And Quantitative Analysis, and MathFin–Mathematical Finance.

Restricting the citation analysis to the top of the citation distribution produces the same conclusion. Among the top 1% most-cited articles in our citations database, 5 13.6% were published by three non-Top Five journals. 6

Low Editorial Turnover and Incest

Figure 5 Density plot of the number of years served by editors between 1996 and 2016

Source : Brogaard et al. (2014) for data up to 2011. Data for subsequent years collected from journal front pages.

Compounding the privately rational incentive to curry favour with editors is the phenomenon of longevity of editorial terms, especially at house journals (see Figure 5). Low turnover in editorial boards creates the possibility of clientele effects surrounding both journals and their editors. We corroborate the literature that documents the inbred nature of economics publishing (Laband and Piette 1994, Brogaard et al. 2014, Colussi 2018) by estimating incest coefficients that quantify the degree of inbreeding in Top Five publications. We show that network effects are empirically important – editors are likely to select the papers of those they know. 7

Table 1 Incest coefficients: Publications in Top Five between 2000 and 2016, by author affiliation listed during publication

Source : Elsevier, Scopus.com.

Notes : The table reports three columns for each Top Five journal. The left most columns report the number of articles that were affiliated to each university. The middle columns present the percentage of articles published in the journal that were affiliated to the university out of all articles affiliated to the list top universities. The right most columns present the percentage of articles published in the journal that were affiliated to the university out of all articles published in the journal. An author is defined as being affiliated with a university during a given year if he/she listed the university as an affiliation in any publication that was made during that specific year. An article is defined as being affiliated with a university during a specific year if at least one author was affiliated to the university during the year.

Discussion

Reliance on the Top Five as a screening device raises serious concerns. Our findings should spark a serious conversation in the economics profession about developing implementable alternatives for judging the quality of research. Such solutions necessarily de-emphasise the role of the Top Five in tenure and promotion decisions, and redistribute the signalling function more broadly across a range of high-quality journals.

However, a proper solution to the tyranny will likely involve more than a simple redefinition of the Top Five to include a handful of additional influential journals. A better solution will need to address the flaw that is inherent in the practice of judging a scholar's potential for innovative work based on a track record of publications in a handful of select journals. The appropriate solution requires a significant shift from the current publications-based system of deciding tenure to a system that emphasises departmental peer review of a candidate's work. Such a system would give serious consideration to unpublished working papers and to the quality and integrity of a scholar's work. By closely reading published and unpublished papers rather than counting placements of publications, departments would signal that they both acknowledge and adequately account for the greater risk associated with scholars working at the frontiers of the discipline.

A more radical proposal would be to shift publication away from the current journal system with its long delays in refereeing and publication and possibility for incest and favoritism, towards an open source arXiv or PLOS ONE format. 8 Such formats facilitate the dissemination rate of new ideas and provide online real-time peer review for them. Discussion sessions would vet criticisms and provide both authors and their readers with different perspectives within much faster time frames. Shorter, more focused papers would stimulate dialogue and break editorial and journal monopolies. Ellison (2011 )notes that online publication is already being practiced by prominent scholars. Why not broaden the practice across the profession and encourage spirited dialogue and rapid dissemination of new ideas? This evolution has begun with a recently launched economics version of arXiv .

Under any event, the profession should reduce incentives for crass careerism and promote creative activity. Short tenure clocks and reliance on the Top Five to certify quality do just the opposite. In the long run, the profession will benefit from application of more creativity-sensitive screening of its next generation.

See original post for references

[Nov 05, 2018] Papadopoulos Details Alleged Entrapment Scheme By Undercover Deep State Agents

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Papadopoulos Details Alleged Entrapment Scheme By Undercover Deep State Agents

by Tyler Durden Sun, 11/04/2018 - 20:30 96 SHARES

George Papadopoulos - a central figure and self-admitted dupe in the Obama administration's targeted spying on the Trump campaign, gave a wide-ranging interview to Dan Bongino on Friday, detailing what he claims to have been a setup by deep state operatives across the world in order to ultimately infiltrate the Trump campaign.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/45m5DP1xfRg

Reviewing events

In March 2016 , Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud told Papadopoulos - an energy consultant who had recently joined the Trump campaign - that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton, a claim which Papadopoulos repeated in May 2016 to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer in a London bar . Of note, former FBI Assistant Director of counterintelligence, Bill Priestap, reportedly traveled to London directly before Downer met with Papadopoulos, while a few months later former FBI agent Peter Strzok met with Downer in London directly before the DOJ officially launched their investigation into the Trump campaign.

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The alleged admission about Clinton's emails officially sparked the Obama administration's counterintelligence operation on Trump on July 31, 2016 - dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane. In September 2016, the FBI would send spy Stefan Halper to further probe Papadopoulos on the Clinton email allegation, and - according to his interview with Dan Bongino, Papadoplous says Halper angrily accused him of working with Russia before storming out of a meeting.

Halper essentially began interrogating Papadopoulos, saying that it's "obviously in your interest to be working with the Russians" and to "hack emails." " You're complicit with Russia in this, isn't that right George " Halper told him. Halper also inquired about Hillary's hacked emails, insinuating that Papadopoulos possessed them. Papadopoulos denied knowing anything about this and asked to be left alone. - Bongino.com

There are two schools of thought on Papadopoulos and his relationship with Mifsud - the first link in the chain regarding the Clinton email rumor. Notably, Mifsud claimed last November to be a member of the Clinton Foundation, and has donated to the charity.

The first theory is that Mifsud and Papadopoulos are Russian agents, and that Papadopoulos was used to try and establish a backchannel to Putin. Papadopoulos admits he tried to set up a Trump-Putin meeting - which was flatly rejected by the Trump campaign. Papadopoulos, however, claims the Putin connection was a woman Mifsud introduced him to claiming to be Putin's niece, who was present at a March 24, 2016 meeting.

The second theory regarding Mifsud is that he was a deep state plant working with the FBI; convincing Papadopoulos that he could arrange a meeting with members of the Russian government and then seeding Papadopoulos with the Clinton email rumor. From there, as the theory goes, the "deep state" attempted to pump Papadopoulos for information and set up a case against him - beginning with Alexander Downer and the "drunken" confession in London.

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Papadopoulos told Bongino that he wasn't drunk during his meeting with Downer, and that he was being recorded . Papadopoulos noted during the Bongino interview that transcripts of his meetings with Mifsud and Dower reportedly exist - which he says proves that he was set up. According to Papadopoulos, Mifsud's lawyer said that he's not a Russian asset and was instead working for Western intelligence.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying the FBI about his interactions with Mifsud, and was sentenced to 14 days in federal prison and a $9,500 fine.

$10,000 cash

Papadopoulos also told Bongino about $10,000 in cash that he was given in an Israel hotel room in July 2017 - which he claims was another attempt to set him up. He says that he believes the bills were marked, and is looking for a way to bring the cash into the United States for Congressional investigators to analyze. The cash is currently with his attorney in Greece.

"I'm actually trying to bring that money back somehow so that Congress can investigate it because I am 100 percent sure those are marked bills, and to see who was actually running this operation against me," Papadopoulos gold Bongino.

"I am more than happy to deliver the $10,000 in cash I received, as part of what I believe was a sting operation to frame me in summer 2017, to your committee to examine for marked bills. This is in the interest of me being fully transparent," he wrote last week on Twitter to North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe.

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The two Republicans are members of a congressional task force investigating the FBI's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The task force interviewed Papadopoulos on Oct. 25.

Papadopoulos acknowledged in his interview with Bongino that his claims about his encounters with an Israeli-American businessman named Charles Tawil were "an incredible, insane story."

"But it's true," he asserted.

Papadopoulos told Bongino the he believes that Tawil "was working on behalf of Western intelligence to entrap me."

Papadopoulos does not have direct evidence that Tawil was working on behalf of a Western government when they met in March and July 2017. Instead, Papadopoulos is speculating based on what he says is the peculiar circumstances of his encounters with Tawil as well as his meetings with at least one known FBI informant. - Daily Caller

Afraid he might be killed if he didn't accept the money, Papadopoulos took the funds and later contacted Tawil - who allegedly told Papadopoulos he didn't want it back. From there, Papadopoulos gave the cash to his attorney in Greece. Upon his return to the United States several days later, Papadopoulos was arrested on July 28, 2017 at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C., by agents who he believes were looking for the cash.

And then when Papadopoulos landed back in America, he was arrested at Dulles International Airport on July 27th. Strangely, he wasn't shown the warrant for his arrest when arrested, and didn't know the reason why until the next day. The $10,000 that Tawil paid Papadopoulos in cash is interesting in this context, as it would be the exact amount of money one would be required to declare at customs. Papadopoulos didn't recall if he was arrested before or after he filled out a customs slip (but didn't have the money on him). - Bongino.com

me title=

At minimum, one should set aside an hour for the Bongino-Papadopoulos interview if only to hear his version of events.

Perhaps the biggest mystery of all is how George was able to end up with such a hot Italian (not Russian) wife:

me title=

Politics

[Nov 05, 2018] Stay In That Good Fight Retired Green Beret Urges Americans To Stand Up To The Globalists

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,

The actions that are taken are a three-pronged attack in order to foster in global governance, and they are as such:

  1. Create ubiquitous electronic surveillance with unlimited police power
  2. Throw the entire earth into an economic tailspin
  3. Destroy all nationalism, national borders, and create chaos among all nations prior to an "incendiary event" or series of actions that leads to a world war.

The world war is the most important part of it all, in the eyes of the globalists. The Great Depression culminated in a world war, and periods of economic upheaval are always followed by wars.

... ... ...

Every word here is recorded by XKeyscore mine and yours and stored in the NSA database in Utah, under a file for "dissenters," "agitators," and every other descriptive label that can be thought of for those who champion critical thought and independent thinking. Every conservative-minded journalist or writer who dares to espouse these views and theories is being recorded and kept under some kind of watch. You can be certain of it . Many are either shutting down or "knuckling under" and complying.

The globalists are getting what they wish: consolidating the resources while they "tank" the fiat economies and currencies of the nations. They are destroying cultures who just a mere two centuries ago would have armed their entire male populaces with swords and sent invaders either packing or in pieces.

They are destroying cultures by making them question themselves ! The greatest tactic imaginable!

I submit this last for your perusal. Do you know who you are? The question is not just as simple as it seems. Let's delve deeply. Do you really know who you are, where your family originates? Your heritage, and its strengths and weaknesses? Is that heritage yours, along with your heritage as an American citizen? It is not important that I, or others should know of these strengths not at this moment in time. The world war is yet to come. As Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be true." This is important for you to know it and hold fast to it. We are in the decline of the American nation-now-empire.

When the dust settles, you'll know who will run with the ball even with three blockers against them and will manage to slip the tackles or forearm shiver them in the face, outside of the ref's eye, to run that ball in. The Marquis of Queensbury is dead, and those rules will go out the window. When the dust settles, those who had the foresight and acted on it will be the ones who will be given a gift: a chance to participate in what is to come. Stay in that good fight, and fight it to win each day.

[Nov 05, 2018] 1200 dollars to make a phone call. ATT of 1980 was cheap by todays standards

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

22 minutes ago remove Share link Copy There's still way too much fake liquidity in the system.

Until C/B's pull back their exposure, or rates become so unattractive that lending against yourself [like APPL issuing debt to buy back stock] **** will continue as usual. play_arrow play_arrow Reply Report

Bricker , 13 minutes ago link

Apple was under severe pressure to pay dividends as apple was buying back stock instead to increase earnings.

Apple has bigger issues...a slowing consumer base that have grown up with adult problems...paying for diapers, mortgages and car payments. All of a sudden that old phone with some nicks and scratches seems just fine instead of shelling out $1100, for a phone call, $10 per month for an insurance plan and $95 for a case and extra charger.

1200 dollars to make a phone call. ATT of 1980 was cheap by todays standards

[Nov 04, 2018] The U.S. Cannot Win Militarily In Afghanistan, Says Top Commander In Shocking Interview

Nov 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Historians of the now seventeen-year old U.S. war in Afghanistan will take note of this past week when the newly-appointed American general in charge of US and NATO operations in the country made a bombshell, historic admission. He conceded that the United States cannot win in Afghanistan .

Speaking to NBC News last week, Gen. Austin Scott Miller made his first public statements after taking charge of American operations, and shocked with his frank assessment that that the Afghan war cannot be won militarily and peace will only be achieved through direct engagement and negotiations with the Taliban -- the very terror group which US forces sought to defeat when it first invaded in 2001.

"This is not going to be won militarily," Gen. Miller said. "This is going to a political solution."

Gen. Austin Scott Miller, the U.S. commander of resolute support, via EPA/NBC

Miller explained to NBC :

My assessment is the Taliban also realizes they cannot win militarily. So if you realize you can't win militarily at some point, fighting is just, people start asking why. So you do not necessarily wait us out, but I think now is the time to start working through the political piece of this conflict.

He gave the interview from the Resolute Support headquarters building in Kabul. "We are more in an offensive mindset and don't wait for the Taliban to come and hit [us]," he said. "So that was an adjustment that we made early on. We needed to because of the amount of casualties that were being absorbed."

Starting last summer it was revealed that US State Department officials began meeting with Taliban leaders in Qatar to discuss local and regional ceasefires and an end to the war . It was reported at the time that the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited; however, there doesn't appear to have been any significant fruit out of the talks as the Taliban now controls more territory than ever before in recent years .

Such controversial and shaky negotiations come as in total the United States has spent well over $840 billion fighting the Taliban insurgency while also paying for relief and reconstruction in a seventeen-year long war that has become more expensive, in current dollars, than the Marshall Plan , which was the reconstruction effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.

Even the New York Times recently chronicled the flat out deception of official Pentagon statements vs. the reality in terms of the massive spending that has gone into the now-approaching two decade long "endless war" which began in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Via NYT report

As of September of this year the situation was as bleak as it's ever been after over a decade-and-a-half of America's longest running war, per the NYT's numbers :

But since 2017, the Taliban have held more Afghan territory than at any time since the American invasion . In just one week last month, the insurgents killed 200 Afghan police officers and soldiers, overrunning two major Afghan bases and the city of Ghazni.

The American military says the Afghan government effectively "controls or influences" 56 percent of the country. But that assessment relies on statistical sleight of hand . In many districts, the Afghan government controls only the district headquarters and military barracks, while the Taliban control the rest .

For this reason Gen. Miller spoke to NBC of an optimal "political outcome" instead of "winning" -- the latter being a term rarely if ever used by Pentagon and officials and congressional leaders over the past years.

Miller told NBC : "I naturally feel compelled to try to set the conditions for a political outcome. So, pressure from that standpoint, yes. I don't want everyone to think this is forever."

And ending on a bleak note in terms of the "save face" and "cut and run" nature of the U.S. future engagement in Afghanistan, Gen. Miller concluded, "This is my last assignment as a soldier in Afghanistan. I don't think they'll send me back here in another grade. When I leave this time I'd like to see peace and some level of unity as we go forward."

Interestingly, the top US and NATO commander can now only speak in remotely hopeful terms of "some level of unity" -- perhaps just enough to make a swift exit at least. Tags War Conflict Politics

play_arrow Reply Report

God is The Son , 3 minutes ago link

There not going to come out as say, where here because we want BOMB IRAN a few years down the track and maintain US Military deployment for Israel's long-term interests. Israel are suspected of committing 9/11 attacks, if you think about it long term policy of expansion, getting ride of its surrounding threats it's all makes sense. scraficing 3000 americans for Israel's longterm policy's seems to be the pill they were willing to swallow.

R19 , 5 minutes ago link

We spent a lot of money, killed people, and protected and served the **** out of a lot. That is the win that the elite are looking for.

God is The Son , 6 minutes ago link

Prorably remain there because of Zionist Influence in order to get IRAN sooner or later.

veritas semper vinces , 10 minutes ago link

US already lost the war there too.

The Talibans control the country.

US is trying to shift the blame on Russia, as the Talibans went to Moscow for peace talks.

And with Pakistan aligning with Russia/China and Iran ( Pakistan being the main supply route for the US army in Afghanistan), the US army is practically f*cked.

So, this is a face saving movement.

cheoll , 14 minutes ago link

Israhell wants the US bogged down in the Middle East

in order to destroy it, so Apartheid Israhell can become

the regional superpower .

veritas semper vinces , 21 minutes ago link

I just published a caricature of top US generals, including Mattis.

A lot of work , but worth it.

next : Soros, Adelson, Rockefeller and Rothschild.

This is going to take 3-4 days.


https://veritassempervincitscaricaturesdrawings.wordpress.com/

Bricker , 22 minutes ago link

This aint going over well with Trump. not W-W-W-winning?

Tirion , 33 minutes ago link

Good to know that Trump is not prepared to continue to protect Deep State opium production at the taxpayers' expense. I hope he's planning to withdraw US armed forces from all foreign soil.

JuliaS , 26 minutes ago link

Based on what? What did he stop? Which wars did he pull out out of?

Military was a huge contributor to his votes. He's not going to lift a finger. He would have started by pardoning Snowden, or closing Gitmo - something Obama lied about when making campaign promises. Where, here is your chance, Donald. Do at least one single thing that shows you as anything other that a MIC puppet. Just one thing! Anything!

Bombing Syria? Yep. Blind eye to Saudi crimes in Yemen? Yep. Dancing to Zionist demands? Yep.

Trade wars? Oh sure, those things never lead to military conflict either!

Push , 31 minutes ago link

The only reason we were in Afghanistan in the first place was to protect the heroin trade from acquisition by the Taliban. It's time to pull out and let the British protect their poppy fields if they want em that badly.

Push , 28 minutes ago link

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

Push , 19 minutes ago link

Notice that Rivera says the Marines just had a visit from Prince Charles. If you want to know more about why we have so much heroin in America now and who benefits.. read Dope Inc.

navy62802 , 42 minutes ago link

Stunning NeoCon victory ... almost 20 years later. This is why I am frightened that John Bolton still has a voice in government.

algol_dog , 47 minutes ago link

It's not about winning. It's about perpetuating a never ending need for defensive tax dollars.

Tirion , 21 minutes ago link

Not tax dollars, Deep State dollars from the sale of opium to fund black projects.

[Nov 03, 2018] NatGasDude

Nov 03, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

+ 45 DR Members + 45 28 posts Posted Wednesday at 03:48 AM

On ‎10‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 11:38 PM, Jan van Eck said: The problem that Qatar faces is one of population and geography. Qatar is dominantly Sunni, but not the really severe branch that envelops KSA. And it sits next door to Bahrain, which is apparently about 70% Shia. Qatar also juts way out into the Gulf, and is thus a convenient sea-land bridge from Iran. Were Iran to go for a land invasion of KSA, then crossing into Qatar with landing craft, or seizing a Qatari airport, is logical. To prevent this, the USA has built a major air base in Qatar, specifically to cut off this route. That big US base is a natural (and juicy) target for Iran should a shooting war break out, and the USA join in against Iran (and that would be logical).

Meanwhile Qatar has this bizarre and unfathomable dysfunctional relationship with MbS, and a very difficult relationship with Bahrain, which has cut off diplomatic relations and sent the Qatari diplomats packing, in 2017. Now Iran is under sanctions, which is stressing their cash receipts. Iran pushes back, against their ideological and religious rivals and enemies the Sunnis, by threatening to either invade or to sink tankers with gas coming out of Qatar. The problem for gas LNG tankers is that the stuff is kept docile by bringing the temp down to minus 176 degrees. If you whack an LNG tanker with a torpedo and breach the container spheres, easy enough to do, then that ship is likely to blow up; one little spark and all that gas will be a salient lesson for all the others.

The deterrent effect of this will be that nobody will dare to tempt fate by sending in an LNG tanker. So Iran can shut down LNG traffic without firing a shot, all they have to do is go crazy and start threatening. Iran has these subs that can go sit on the bottom of the Gulf and pop up to launch a torpedo, and everyone knows it. That is one heck of a deterrent.

Meanwhile you have Europe now heavily dependent on gas. Either the Europeans continue to genuflect to the Russians, which some Europeans at least find unpalatable, or they have to find an alternative source. That is likely going to be the USA. I predict that the aggressions of the Russians, and the problems of Qatar in any real ability to fill long-term contracts, and the threat of force-majeure hovering in the background, brings Europe to buy US LNG.

Qatar delivered 80 million tons last year, as number 1 LNG exporter by a long shot. Australia trailed behind at 56 million, followed by Malaysia 26M, Nigeria 21M, Indonesia 16M, USA 13M, Algeria 12M.

Qatar was responsible for 17M tons exported to EU, followed by Algeria at 10.4M. US Liquefaction capacity is estimated to match the whole Middle East by 2025 with Calcasieu, LA at 4 bcf/day, Brownsville, TX at 3.6 bcf/day; Plaquemines at 3.4 bcf/day; and Nikiski Alaska at 2.6 Bcf/day for the Asian market.

BP has its new 'Partnership Fleet', Shell is chartering heavily and owns a large fleet as well. Gaslog has over 25 modern large capacity vessels on the water, and the order book for 2019-2020 deliveries is extensive, and they will be available for US to EU transport (Tellurian and Cheniere have already chartered Gaslog ships for their exclusive use)

The catch here is that Russia is delivering 10.8 million tons per year via Yamal, and their upcoming Arctic 2LNG that will be on the ice in the Arctic circle adding even more to that production. They have a fleet delivering year round of Teekay and Dynagas ice breaker LNG carriers, and their primary clients have been Belgium, France and Spain during their debut ice breaking season. They are centrally located to maximize deliveries to Asia and Europe.

I doubt that Russia will cut off Europe after spending all that money to secure liquefaction and transport capabilities in the Arctic, but who knows. They are geared up to deliver to Asia, but could only do so in the Summer months, or during the Winter months with the assistance of a Nuclear Icebreaker to lead the ships.

Honestly, I hope that Germany completes the Hamburg LNG Terminal quickly and begins buying US LNG so that we can diversify from our usual Mexico, S Korea, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Egypt, Jordan clientele. Germany consumed over 90 million CBM of natural gas last year (controversial because they stopped 'officially' disclosing the numbers after 2016, these are OECD estimates from the IEA), and are getting close to Japan's 120 million CBM.

Qatar/Iran tensions could be the perfect storm for a US to EU energy boom.

[Nov 03, 2018] Partisanship Rules At The Midterms

Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

tmosley , 13 minutes ago link

Absent independents, Republicans are running away with it. And independents are most assuredly witnessing the insanity that has gripped the Democratic Party, and will vote for Republicans at least 9:1.

Tallest Skil , 22 minutes ago link

Don't care. Both parties are entirely owned by Zionists...

BarnacleBill , 16 minutes ago link

Well, hang in there, sport. Yes, the US does seem to be going down the tubes, in that it's lost all respect in the world; we still fear it, but don't respect it. Sic transit gloria , or something like that...

[Nov 03, 2018] 2nd Kavanaugh Accuser Admits She Lied; Referred For Criminal Prosecution; Kamala's Office Involved

Notable quotes:
"... Upon investigation, the Judiciary Committee investigators found that Munro-Leighton was a left wing activist who is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh , who lives in Kentucky. When Committee investigators contacted her, she backpedaled on her claim of being the original Jane Doe - and said she emailed the committee "as a way to grab attention." ..."
"... Grassley has also asked the DOJ to investigate Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, who claimed through her attorney, Michael Avenatti, that Kavanaguh orchestrated a date-rape gang-bang scheme in the early 1980s. ..."
"... She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she "just wanted to get attention"; (2) "it was a tactic"; and (3) "that was just a ploy." She told Committee investigators that she had called Congress multiple times during the Kavanaugh hearing process – including prior to the time Dr. Ford's allegations surfaced – to oppose his nomination. Regarding the false sexual-assault allegation she made via her email to the Committee, she said: "I was angry, and I sent it out." When asked by Committee investigators whether she had ever met Judge Kavanaugh, she said: "Oh Lord, no." ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

A Kentucky woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of rape has been referred to the Department of Justice after she admitted that she lied .

The woman, Judy Munro-Leighton, took credit for contacting the office of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as "Jane Doe" from Oceanside, California. Jane Doe claimed - without naming a time or place - that Kavanaugh and a friend raped her "several times each" in the backseat of a car. Harris referred the letter to the committee for investigation.

"They forced me to go into the backseat and took 2 turns raping me several times each. They dropped me off 3 two blocks from my home," wrote Munro-Leighton, claiming that the pair told her "No one will believe if you tell. Be a good girl."

Kavanaugh was questioned on September 26 about the allegation, to which he unequivocally stated: "[T]he whole thing is ridiculous. Nothing ever -- anything like that, nothing... [T]he whole thing is just a crock, farce, wrong, didn't happen, not anything close ."

The next week, Munro-Leighton sent an email to the Judiciary committee claiming to be Jane Doe from Oceanside, California - reiterating her claims of a "vicious assault" which she said she knew "will get no media attention."

Upon investigation, the Judiciary Committee investigators found that Munro-Leighton was a left wing activist who is decades older than Judge Kavanaugh , who lives in Kentucky. When Committee investigators contacted her, she backpedaled on her claim of being the original Jane Doe - and said she emailed the committee "as a way to grab attention."

"I am not Jane Doe . . . but I did read Jane Doe's letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee. . . . I saw it online. It was news." claimed Munro-Leighton.

Grassley has also asked the DOJ to investigate Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick, who claimed through her attorney, Michael Avenatti, that Kavanaguh orchestrated a date-rape gang-bang scheme in the early 1980s.

President Trump chimed in Saturday morning, Tweeting: "A vicious accuser of Justice Kavanaugh has just admitted that she was lying, her story was totally made up, or FAKE! Can you imagine if he didn't become a Justice of the Supreme Court because of her disgusting False Statements. What about the others? Where are the Dems on this?"

... ... ...

In a Friday letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray, Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote:

on November 1, 2018, Committee investigators connected with Ms. Munro-Leighton by phone and spoke with her about the sexual-assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh she had made to the Committee. Under questioning by Committee investigators, Ms. Munro-Leighton admitted, contrary to her prior claims, that she had not been sexually assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh and was not the author of the original "Jane Doe" letter .

When directly asked by Committee investigators if she was, as she had claimed, the "Jane Doe" from Oceanside California who had sent the letter to Senator Harris, she admitted: "No, no, no. I did that as a way to grab attention. I am not Jane Doe . . . but I did read Jane Doe's letter. I read the transcript of the call to your Committee. . . . I saw it online. It was news."

She further confessed to Committee investigators that (1) she "just wanted to get attention"; (2) "it was a tactic"; and (3) "that was just a ploy." She told Committee investigators that she had called Congress multiple times during the Kavanaugh hearing process – including prior to the time Dr. Ford's allegations surfaced – to oppose his nomination. Regarding the false sexual-assault allegation she made via her email to the Committee, she said: "I was angry, and I sent it out." When asked by Committee investigators whether she had ever met Judge Kavanaugh, she said: "Oh Lord, no."

Read Grassley's letter below:

... ... ...

[Nov 03, 2018] Crashed How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World Adam Tooze 9780670024933 Amazon.com Books

Nov 03, 2018 | www.amazon.com

"An intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it...One of the great strengths of Tooze's book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems." -- The New York Times Book Review

wsmrer 5.0 out of 5 stars 2008 Neoliberalism crashes the state rushes back-- just in time August 10, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

"Whereas since the 1970s the incessant mantra of the spokespeople of the financial industry had been free markets and light touch regulation, what they were now demanding was the mobilization of all of the resources of the state to save society's financial infrastructure from a threat of systemic implosion, a threat they likened to a military emergency." (Loc. 3172-3174)

Adam Tooze takes the well know Financial Crisis of 2007-08 through its full history of international ramifications and brings it up to the present with the question of whether the large organizations, structures and processes on the one hand; decision, debate, argument and action on the other that managed to fall into place in that crisis period in this and many other countries will develop if needed again. "The political in "political economy" demands to be taken seriously." (Loc. 11694). That he does.

Tooze is an Economic Historian and Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World is a wonderfully rich enquiry into causes and effects of the Financial Crisis and how the failing of poorly managed greed motivated practices of a few financial institutions, and their subprime mortgagees, tumbled economies in the developed and developing world, causing events that matched the Great Depression's dislocation and could have matched its duration, springing from world wide money markets "interlocking matrix" of corporate balance sheets -- bank to bank."

A warning he is not kind to existing political beings, the Republican Party in particular " to judge by the record of the last ten years, it is incapable of legislating or cooperating effectively in government." (Loc.11704)
His criticism is, in fairness, based on technical management grounds, and he does find fault as well with the inner core of the Obama advisors and their primary concerns for the financial sectors well being, rather than nationwide happenings where homes and incomes disappeared.

This reviewer's favorite (not mentioned by Tooze) is the early 2009 comment of Larry Sumners when Christina D. Romer, the chairwoman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers and leading authority on the Great Depression saw a need for $1.8 trillion stimulus package, "What have you been smoking?"
Sumners, Geithner, and Orszag, who favored transferring $700 billion to the banks to offset possible bank failures and such -- became policy. Tooze mentions that by 2012 Sumners was concerned by the slowness of the U.S. economy's recovery taking, as it did, 8 years to reach 2008 levels of employment.

Can an Economic History be an exciting read? Tooze gives us over 700 pages of just that, but much will be familiar as reported news and may be skimmed, and some of the Fed's expanded international roles very dense in content. His strength is the knowledge of what could have happened, had solutions not been found, and how agreements were reached out of public sight.
" the world economy is not run by medium-sized entrepreneurs but by a few thousand massive corporations, with interlocking shareholdings controlled by a tiny group of asset managers. (Loc.418-419).
Add wily politicians and hard driven bankers EU Ukraine and China you have an adventure.

Corporate control is not new -- rich descriptions of its inner connections are.
Adam Tooze does this well a reference work for years to come.
5 stars

David Shulman 5.0 out of 5 stars The World in Crisis August 22, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Columbia history professor Adam Tooze, an authority on the inter-war years, has offered up an authoritative history of the financial crises and their aftermath that have beset the world since 2008. He integrates economics, the plumbing of the interbank financial system and the politics of the major players in how and why the financial crisis of 2008 developed and the course of the very uneven recovery that followed. I must note that Tooze has some very clear biases in that he views the history through a social democratic prism and is very critical of the congressional Republican caucus and the go slow policies of the European Central Bank under Trichet. To him the banks got bailed out while millions of people suffered as collateral damage from a crisis that was largely made by the financial system. His view may very well be correct, but many readers might differ. Simply put, to save the economy policy makers had to stop the bleeding.

He starts off with the hot topic of 2005; the need for fiscal consolidation in the United States. Aside from a few dissidents, most economists saw the need for the U.S. to close its fiscal deficit and did not see the structural crisis that was developing underneath them. Although he does mention Hyman Minsky a few times in the book, he leaves out Minsky's most important insight that "stability leads to instability" as market participants are lulled into a false sense of security. It therefore was against the backdrop of the "great moderation" that the crisis began. And it was the seemingly calm environment that lulled all too many regulators to sleep.

The underbelly of the financial system was and still is in many respects is the wholesale funding system where too many banks are largely funded in repo and commercial paper markets. This mismatch was exacerbated by the use of asset-backed commercial paper to fund long term mortgage securities. It was problems in that market that triggered the crisis in August 2007.

The crisis explodes when Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy in September 2008. In Tooze's view the decision to let Lehman fail was political, not economic. After that the gates of hell are opened causing the Bush Administration and the Federal Reserve to ask for $750 billion dollar TARP bailout of the major banks. It was in the Congressional fight over this appropriation where Tooze believes the split in the Republican Party between the business conservative and social populist wing hardens. We are living with that through this day. The TARP program passes with Democratic votes. Tooze also notes that there was great continuity between the Bush and early Obama policies with respect to the banks and auto bailout. Recall that in late 2008 and early 2009 nationalization of the banks was on the table. Tooze also correctly notes that the major beneficiary of the TARP program was Citicorp, the most exposed U.S. bank to the wholesale funding system.

Concurrent with TARP the Bernanke Fed embarks on its first quantitative easing program where it buys up not only treasuries, but mortgage backed securities as well. It was with the latter Europe's banks were bailed out. Half of the first QE went to bail out Europe's troubled banks. When combined the dollar swap lines with QE, Europe's central banks essentially became branches of the Fed. Now here is a problem. Where in the Federal Reserve Act does it say that the Fed is the central bank to the world? To some it maybe a stretch.

Tooze applauds Obama's stimulus policy but rightly says it was too small. There should have been more infrastructure in it. To my view there could have been more infrastructure if only Obama was willing to deal with the Republicans by offering to waive environmental reviews and prevailing wage rules. He never tried for fear of offending his labor and environmental constituencies. Tooze also gives great credit to China with it all out monetary and fiscal policies. That triggered a revival in the energy and natural resource economies of Australia and Brazil thereby helping global recovery.

He then turns to the slow responses in Europe and the political wrangling over the tragedy that was to befall Greece. It came down to the power of Angela Merkel and her unwillingness to have the frugal German taxpayer subsidize the profligate Greeks. As they say "all politics is local". The logjam in Europe doesn't really break until Mario Draghi makes an off-the-cuff remark at a London speech in July 2012 by saying the ECB will do "whatever it takes" to engender European recovery.

As a byproduct of bailing out the banks and failing to directly help the average citizen a rash of populism, mostly of the rightwing variety, breaks out all over leading to Brexit, Orban in Hungary, a stronger rightwing in Germany and, of course, Donald Trump. But to me it wasn't only banking policy that created this. The huge surge in immigration into Europe has a lot more to do with it. Tooze under-rates this factor. He also under-rates the risk of having a monetary policy that is too easy and too long. The same type of Minsky risk discussed earlier is now present in the global economy: witness Turkey, for example. Thus it is too early to tell whether or not the all-out monetary policy of the past decade will be judged a success from the vantage point of 2030.

Adam Tooze has written an important book and I view it as must read for a serious lay reader to get a better understanding of the economic and political policies of the past decade.

[Nov 03, 2018] Kunstler The Midterm Endgame Democrats' Perpetual Hysteria

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Democratic Party split into a four-headed monster comprised of Wall Street patrons seeking favors, war hawks and their corporate allies looking for new global rumbles, the permanent bureaucracy looking to always expand itself, and the various ethnic and sexual minorities whose needs and grievances are serviced by that bureaucracy. It's the last group that has become the party's most public face while the party's other activities – many of them sinister -- remain at least partially concealed. ..."
"... the Republicans are being forced to engage on some real issues, such as the need for a coherent and effective immigration policy and the need to redefine formal trade relations. (Other issues like the insane system of medical racketeering and the deadly racket of the college loan industry just skate along on thin ice. And then, of course, there's the national debt and all its grotesque outgrowths.) ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has become the party of bad ideas and bad faith, starting with the position that "diversity and inclusion" means shutting down free speech, an unforgivable transgression against common sense and common decency. It's a party that lies even more systematically than Mr. Trump, and does so knowingly (as when Google execs say they "Do no Evil"). Its dirty secret is that it relishes coercion, it likes pushing people around, telling them what to think and how to act. Its idea of "social justice" is a campus kangaroo court, where due process of law is suspended. And it is deeply corrupt, with good old-fashioned grift, new-fashioned gross political misconduct in federal law enforcement, and utter intellectual depravity in higher education. ..."
"... I hope that the party is shoved into an existential crisis and is forced to confront its astounding dishonesty. I hope that the process prompts them to purge their leadership across the board. ..."
Nov 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Kunstler: The Midterm Endgame & Democrats' "Perpetual Hysteria"

by Tyler Durden Fri, 11/02/2018 - 17:05 44 SHARES Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Back in the last century, when this was a different country, the Democrats were the "smart" party and the Republicans were the "stupid" party.

How did that work?

Well, back then the Democrats represented a broad middle class, with a base of factory workers, many of them unionized, and the party had to be smart, especially in the courts, to overcome the natural advantages of the owner class.

In contrast, the Republicans looked like a claque of country club drunks who staggered home at night to sleep on their moneybags. Bad optics, as we say nowadays.

The Democrats also occupied the moral high ground as the champion of the little guy. If not for the Dems, factory workers would be laboring twelve hours a day and children would still be maimed in the machinery. Once the relationship between business and labor was settled in the 1950s, the party moved on to a new crusade on even loftier moral high ground: civil rights, aiming to correct arrant and long-lived injustices against downtrodden black Americans. That was a natural move, considering America's self-proclaimed post-war status as the world's Beacon of Liberty. It had to be done and a political consensus that included Republicans got it done. Consensus was still possible.

The Dems built their fortress on that high ground and fifty years later they find themselves prisoners in it. The factory jobs all vamoosed overseas. The middle class has been pounded into penury and addiction.

The Democratic Party split into a four-headed monster comprised of Wall Street patrons seeking favors, war hawks and their corporate allies looking for new global rumbles, the permanent bureaucracy looking to always expand itself, and the various ethnic and sexual minorities whose needs and grievances are serviced by that bureaucracy. It's the last group that has become the party's most public face while the party's other activities – many of them sinister -- remain at least partially concealed.

The Republican Party has, at least, sobered up some after getting blindsided by Trump and Trumpism. Like a drunk out of rehab, it's attempting to get a life. Two years in, the party marvels at Mr. Trump's audacity, despite his obvious lack of savoir faire. And despite a longstanding lack of political will to face the country's problems, the Republicans are being forced to engage on some real issues, such as the need for a coherent and effective immigration policy and the need to redefine formal trade relations. (Other issues like the insane system of medical racketeering and the deadly racket of the college loan industry just skate along on thin ice. And then, of course, there's the national debt and all its grotesque outgrowths.)

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has become the party of bad ideas and bad faith, starting with the position that "diversity and inclusion" means shutting down free speech, an unforgivable transgression against common sense and common decency. It's a party that lies even more systematically than Mr. Trump, and does so knowingly (as when Google execs say they "Do no Evil"). Its dirty secret is that it relishes coercion, it likes pushing people around, telling them what to think and how to act. Its idea of "social justice" is a campus kangaroo court, where due process of law is suspended. And it is deeply corrupt, with good old-fashioned grift, new-fashioned gross political misconduct in federal law enforcement, and utter intellectual depravity in higher education.

I hope that Democrats lose as many congressional and senate seats as possible. I hope that the party is shoved into an existential crisis and is forced to confront its astounding dishonesty. I hope that the process prompts them to purge their leadership across the board. If there is anything to salvage in this organization, I hope it discovers aims and principles that are unrecognizable from its current agenda of perpetual hysteria. But if the party actually blows up and disappears, as the Whigs did a hundred and fifty years ago, I will be content. Out of the terrible turbulence, maybe something better will be born.

Or, there's the possibility that the dregs of a defeated Democratic Party will just go batshit crazy and use the last of its mojo to incite actual sedition. Of course, there's also a distinct possibility that the Dems will take over congress, in which case they'll ramp up an even more horrific three-ring-circus of political hysteria and persecution that will make the Spanish Inquisition look like a backyard barbeque. That will happen as the US enters the most punishing financial train wreck in our history, an interesting recipe for epic political upheaval.

[Nov 02, 2018] Morgan Stanley Defies Wall Street With Bearish Talk SafeHaven.com

Nov 02, 2018 | safehaven.com

Fed moves to hike interest rates are leading to a liquidity evaporation -- enough so that Morgan Stanley is defying the rest of Wall Street to call a true bear market, warning that the sell-off we're seeing now won't be just a blip in the bull run.

[Nov 01, 2018] The 2018 Globie Crashed by Joseph Joyce

Notable quotes:
"... Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World ..."
"... Grave New World: The End of Globalization, the Return of History ..."
"... Global Inequality ..."
"... Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry ..."
"... The Shifts and the Shocks: What We've Learned–and Have Still to Learn–from the Financial Crisis ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

Each year I choose a book to be the Globalization Book of the Year, i.e., the "Globie". The prize is strictly honorific and does not come with a check. But I do like to single out books that are particularly insightful about some aspect of globalization. Previous winners are listed at the bottom.

This year's choice is Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World by Adam Tooze of Yale University . Tooze, an historian, traces the events leading up to the crisis and the subsequent ten years. He points out in the introduction that this account is different from one he may have written several years ago. At that time Barak Obama had won re-election in 2012 on the basis of a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Europe was further behind, but the emerging markets were growing rapidly, due to the demand for their commodities from a steadily-growing China as well as capital inflows searching for higher returns than those available in the advanced economies.

But the economic recovery has brought new challenges, which have swept aside established politicians and parties. Obama was succeeded by Donald Trump, who promised to restore America to some form of past greatness. His policy agenda includes trade disputes with a broad range of countries, and he is particularly eager to impose trade tariffs on China. The current meltdown in stock prices follows a rise in interest rates normal at this stage of the business cycle but also is based on fears of the consequences of the trade measures.

Europe has its own discontents. In the United Kingdom, voters have approved leaving the European Union. The European Commission has expressed its disapproval of the Italian government's fiscal plans. Several east European governments have voiced opposition to the governance norms of the West European nations. Angela Merkel's decision to step down as head of her party leaves Europe without its most respected leader.

All these events are outcomes of the crisis, which Tooze emphasizes was a trans-Atlantic event. European banks had purchased held large amounts of U.S. mortgage-backed securities that they financed with borrowed dollars. When liquidity in the markets disappeared, the European banks faced the challenge of financing their obligations. Tooze explains how the Federal Reserve supported the European banks using swap lines with the European Central Bank and other central banks, as well as including the domestic subsidiaries of the foreign banks in their liquidity support operations in the U.S. As a result, Tooze claims:

"What happened in the fall of 2008 was not the relativization of the dollar, but the reverse, a dramatic reassertion of the pivotal role of America's central bank. Far from withering away, the Fed's response gave an entirely new dimension to the global dollar" (Tooze, p. 219)

The focused policies of U.S. policymakers stood in sharp contrast to those of their European counterparts. Ireland and Spain had to deal with their own banking crises following the collapse of their housing bubbles, and Portugal suffered from anemic growth. But Greece's sovereign debt posed the largest challenge, and exposed the fault line in the Eurozone between those who believed that such crises required a national response and those who looked for a broader European resolution. As a result, Greece lurched from one lending program to another. The IMF was treated as a junior partner by the European governments that sought to evade facing the consequences of Greek insolvency, and the Fund's reputation suffered new blows due to its involvement with the various rescue operations.The ECB only demonstrated a firm commitment to its stabilizing role in July 2012, when its President Mario Draghi announced that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro."

China followed another route. The government there engaged in a surge of stimulus spending combined with expansionary monetary policies. The result was continued growth that allowed the Chinese government to demonstrate its leadership capabilities at a time when the U.S. was abandoning its obligations. But the ensuing credit boom was accompanied by a rise in private (mainly corporate) lending that has left China with a total debt to GDP ratio of over 250%, a level usually followed by some form of financial collapse. Chinese officials are well aware of the domestic challenge they face at the same time as their dispute with the U.S. intensifies.

Tooze demonstrates that the crisis has let loose a range of responses that continue to play out. He ends the book by pointing to a similarity of recent events and those of 1914. He raises several questions: "How does a great moderation end? How do huge risks build up that are little understood and barely controllable? How do great tectonic shifts in the global world order unload in sudden earthquakes?" Ten years after a truly global crisis, we are still seeking answers to these questions.

Previous Globie Winners:

[Nov 01, 2018] Angela Merkel Migrates Into Retirement The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism. ..."
"... Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world. ..."
"... "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold." ..."
"... The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult. ..."
"... Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question. ..."
"... In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Her refugee blunder changed the European continent in irreversible ways for decades to come. By Scott McConnellNovember 1, 2018

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Drop of Light/Shutterstock Whatever her accomplishments as pathbreaking female politician and respected leader of Europe's dominant economic power, Angela Merkel will go down in history for her outburst of naivete over the issue of migration into Europe during the summer of 2015.

Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism.

She had seen the vote share of her long dominant party shrink in one regional election after another. The rebuke given to her last weekend in Hesse, containing the Frankfurt region with its booming economy, where she had campaigned extensively, was the final straw. Her CDU's vote had declined 10 points since the previous election, their voters moving toward the further right (Alternative fur Deutschland or AfD). Meanwhile, the further left Greens have made dramatic gains at the expense of Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners.

Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world.

One can acknowledge that while Merkel never admitted error for her multiculti summer fling (beyond wishing she had communicated her goals better), she did manage to adjust her policies. By 2016, Germany under her watch was paying a healthy ransom to Turkey to keep would-be migrants in camps and preventing them from sailing to Greece. Merkel's departure will make the battle to succeed her one of the most watched political contests in Europe. She has turned migration into a central and quite divisive issue within the CDU and Germany, and the party may decide that it has no choice but to accommodate, in one way or another, the voters who have left them for the AfD.

Related to the issue of who should reside in Europe (objectively the current answer remains anyone who can get there) is the question of how are such questions decided. In July 2015, five years after asserting in a speech that multiculturalism has "utterly failed" in Germany (without addressing what policies should be pursued in an increasingly ethnically diverse society) and several weeks after reducing a young Arab girl to tears at a televised forum by telling her that those whose asylum claims were rejected would "have to go back" and that "politics is hard," Merkel changed course.

For those interested in psychological studies of leadership and decision making, it would be hard to imagine a richer subject. Merkel's government first announced it would no longer enforce the rule (the Dublin agreement) that required asylum claimants to be processed in the first country they passed through. Then she doubled down. The migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war, along with those who pretended to be Syrian, and then basically just anyone, could come to Germany.

"We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold."

The Angela Merkel Era is Coming to an End The Subtle Return of Germany Hegemony

Her words traveled far beyond those fleeing Syria. Within 48 hours of the "no limit" remark, The New York Times reported a sudden stirring of migrants from Nigeria. Naturally Merkel boasted in a quiet way about how her decision had revealed that Germany had put its Nazi past behind it. "The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances," she said. "That wasn't always the case." In making this decision personally, Merkel was making it for all of Europe. It was one of the ironies of a European arrangement whose institutions were developed in part to transcend nationalism and constrain future German power that 70 years after the end of the war, the privately arrived-at decision of a German chancellor could instantly transform societies all over Europe.

The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult.

Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question.

In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. Her public approval rating plunged from 75 percent in April 2015 to 47 percent the following summer. The first electoral rebuke came in September 2016, when the brand new anti-immigration party, the Alternative fur Deutschland, beat Merkel's CDU in Pomerania.

In every election since, Merkel's party has lost further ground. Challenges to her authority from within her own party have become more pointed and powerful. But the mass migration accelerated by her decision continues, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

Angela Merkel altered not only Germany but the entire European continent, in irreversible ways, for decades to come.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

[Nov 01, 2018] Lame Duck Merkel Has Only Her Legacy On Her Mind

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide. ..."
"... But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here). ..."
"... Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea. ..."
"... Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party she has led for nearly two decades. Yesterday's election in Hesse, normally a CDU/SPD stronghold was abysmal for them.

She had to do something to quell the revolt brewing against her.

Merkel knew going in what the polls were showing. Unlike American and British polls, it seems the German ones are mostly accurate with pre-election polls coming close to matching the final results.

So, knowing what was coming for her and in the spirit of trying to maintain power for as long as possible Merkel has been moving away from her staunch positions on unlimited immigration and being in lock-step with the U.S. on Russia.

She's having to walk a tightrope on these two issues as the turmoil in U.S. political circles is pulling her in, effectively, opposite directions.

The globalist Davos Crowd she works for wants the destruction of European culture and individual national sovereignty ground into a paste and power consolidated under the rubric of the European Union.

They also want Russia brought to heel.

On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide.

So, if she rejects that role and the chaos U.S. policy engenders, particularly Syria, she's undermining the flow of migrants into Europe.

This is why it was so significant that she and French President Emmanuel Macron joined this weekend's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

It ended with an agreement on Syria's future that lies in direct conflict with the U.S.'s goals of the past seven years.

It was an admission that Assad has prevailed in Syria and the plan to atomize it into yet another failed state has itself failed. Merkel has traded 'Assad must go' for 'no more refugees.'

To President Trump's credit he then piggy-backed on that statement announcing that the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria very soon now. And that tells me that he is still coordinating in some way with Putin and other world leaders on the direction of his foreign policy in spite of his opposition.

But the key point from the Istanbul statement was that Syria's rebuilding be prioritized to reverse the flow of migrants so Syrians can go home. While Gilbert Doctorow is unconvinced by France's position here , I think Merkel has to be focused on assisting Putin in achieving his goal of returning Syria to Syrians.

Because, this is both a political necessity for Merkel as well as her trying to burnish her crumbling political throne to maintain power.

The question is will Germans believe and/or forgive her enough for her to stay in power through her now stated 'retirement' from politics in 2021?

I don't think so and it's obvious Davos Crowd boy-toy Macron is working overtime to salvage what he can for them as Merkel continues to face up to the political realities across Europe, which is that populism is a natural reaction to these insane policies.

Merkel's job of consolidating power under the EU is unfinished. They don't have financial integration. The Grand Army of the EU is still not a popular idea. The euro-zone is a disaster waiting to happen and its internal inconsistencies are adding fuel to an already pretty hot political fire.

On this front, EU integration, she and Macron are on the same page. Because 'domestically' from an EU perspective, Brexit still has to be dealt with and the showdown with the Italians is only just beginning.

But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here).

And Macron should stop looking in the mirror long enough to see he's standing on a quicksand made of blasting powder.

This points to the next major election for Europe, that of the European Parliament in May where all of Merkel's opposition are focused on wresting control of that body and removing Jean-Claude Juncker or his hand-picked replacement (Merkel herself?) from power.

The obvious transition for Merkel is from German Chancellor to European Commission President. She steps down as Chancellor in May after the EPP wins a majority then to take Juncker's job. I'm sure that's been the plan all along. This way she can continue the work she started without having to face the political backlash at home.

But, again, how close is Germany to snap elections if there is another migrant attack and Chemnitz-like demonstrations. You can only go to the 'Nazi' well so many times, even in Germany.

There comes a point where people will have simply had enough and their anger isn't born of being intolerant but angry at having been betrayed by political leadership which doesn't speak for them and imported crime, chaos and violence to their homes.

And the puppet German media will not be able to contain the story. The EU's speech rules will not contain people who want to speak. The clamp down on hate speech, pioneered by Merkel herself is a reaction to the growing tide against her.

And guess what? She can't stop it.

The problem is that Commies like Merkel and Soros don't believe in anything. They are vampires and nihilists as I said over the weekend suffused with a toxic view of humanity.

Oh sure, they give lip service to being inclusive and nice about it while they have control over the levers of power, the State apparatus. But, the minute they lose control of those levers, the sun goes down, the fangs come out and the bloodletting begins.

These people are vampires, sucking the life out of a society for their own ends. They are evil in a way that proves John Barth's observation that "man can do no wrong." For they never see themselves as the villain.

No. They see themselves as the savior of a fallen people. Nihilists to their very core they only believe in power. And, since power is their religion, all activities are justified in pursuit of their goals.

Their messianic view of themselves is indistinguishable to the Salafist head-chopping animals people like Hillary empowered to sow chaos and death across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Add to this Merkel herself who took Hillary's empowerment of these animals and gave them a home across Europe. At least now Merkel has the good sense to see that this has cost her nearly everything.

Even if she has little to no shame.

Hillary seems to think she can run for president again and win with the same schtick she failed with twice before. Frankly, I welcome it like I welcome the sun in the morning, safe in the knowledge that all is right with the world and she will go down in humiliating defeat yet again.

Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea.

Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia.

And Angela Merkel's legacy will be chaos.

* * *

Join my patreon because you hate chaos.

[Oct 31, 2018] Over 50% Of College Students Afraid To Disagree With Peers, Professors

Social pressure to conform is natural in any organization. And universities are not exception. Various people positioned differently on confiormism-independent_thinking spectrum, so we should not generalize that social pressure makes any students a conformist, who is afraid to voice his/her opinion. Some small percentage of student can withstand significant social pressure. But the fact that around 50% can't withstand significant social pressure sounds right.
Oct 31, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
As more and more college professors express their social and political views in classrooms, students across the country are feeling increasingly afraid to disagree according to a survey of 800 full-time undergraduate college students, reported by the Wall Street Journal ' s James Freeman.

When students were asked if they've had "any professors or course instructors that have used class time to express their own social or political beliefs that are completely unrelated to the subject of the course," 52% of respondents said that this occurs "often," while 47% responded, "not often."

A majority -- 53% -- also reported that they often "felt intimidated" in sharing their ideas, opinions or beliefs in class because they were different from those of the professors. - WSJ

What's more, 54% of students say they are intimidated expressing themselves when their views conflict with those of their classmates.

The survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates on behalf of Yale's William F. Buckley, Jr. Program (which counts Freeman among its directors), was undertaken between October 8th and 18th, and included students at both public and private four-year universities across the country.

This is a problem, suggests Freeman - as unbiased teachers who formerly filled universities have been replaced by activists who "unfortunately appear to be just as political and overbearing as one would expect," and that " perhaps the actual parents who write checks can someday find some way to encourage more responsible behavior. "

Read the rest below via the Wall Street Journal :

***

As for the students, there's at least a mixed message in the latest survey results. On the downside, the fact that so many students are afraid of disagreeing with their peers does not suggest a healthy intellectual atmosphere even outside the classroom. There's more disappointing news in the answers to other survey questions. For example, 59% of respondents agreed with this statement:

My college or university should forbid people from speaking on campus who have a history of engaging in hate speech.

This column does not favor hatred, nor the subjective definition of "hate speech" by college administrators seeking to regulate it. In perhaps the most disturbing finding in the poll results, 33% of U.S. college students participating in the survey agreed with this statement:

If someone is using hate speech or making racially charged comments, physical violence can be justified to prevent this person from espousing their hateful views.

An optimist desperately searching for a silver lining would perhaps note that 60% of respondents did not agree that physical violence is justified to silence people speaking what someone has defined as "hate speech" or "racially charged" comments. But the fact that a third of college students at least theoretically endorse violence as a response to offensive speech underlines the threat to free expression on American campuses.

Perhaps more encouraging are the responses to this question:

Generally speaking, do you think the First Amendment, which deals with freedom of speech, is an outdated amendment that can no longer be applied in today's society and should be changed or an important amendment that still needs to be followed and respected in today's society?

A full 79% of respondents opted for respecting the First Amendment, while 17% backed a rewrite.

On a more specific question, free speech isn't winning by the same landslide. When asked if they would favor or oppose their schools having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty, 54% of U.S. college kids opposed such codes while 38% were in favor.

The free exchange of ideas is in danger on American campuses. And given the unprofessional behavior of American faculty suggested by this survey, education reformers should perhaps focus on encouraging free-speech advocates within the student body while adopting a campus slogan from an earlier era: Don't trust anyone over 30.


keep the bastards honest , 26 minutes ago link

this tyranny applies not only to politics and weirdo social world view, it runs thru everything. Group think is powerful and those not following get excluded, defunded of resources and ridicule and other punishment.

... ... ...

PGR88 , 39 minutes ago link

The education-industrial complex is a massive spending and debt-fed bubble, that has created a massive political organizing force and teflon monoculture. They are parasites feeding off government and the debt of students

... ... ...

keep the bastards honest , 55 minutes ago link

It's always been like this, at school as a 5 year old ....my little kid was sent to the headmaster for objecting to making a key ring thing in craft as not one kid had a key. He spoke a well reasoned argument and of course is at the Supreme Court now. But gained no respect or nurturing from that school. I also copped it, made career decision to be a scientist because of the stupidity of an english teacher not knowing same issues prevailed there. Was thrown out of english honours course so did the exam on my own knowledge and got first class honours in the state.

At University we all know you feed back what they want if you want to pass. Some want intelligence and best true understanding others want their crippled stuff. This also applies if you are a science, physiology researcher. Cutting edge work if not mainstream does not get published, you have to be part of a recognised institution to be published so no independent researcher,

There are set ideas and marketing there of eg antioxidants fallacies, need for estrogen, and until recently How stupid was Lamarck because he espoused the passing down of response to environment to subsequent generations...Darwin thought this too but idea was suppressed. Then epigenetics got the new hot thing for grants. Fck them all.

My child and I discussed a version with the principal when he was doing the bacceaulureate, as from 5 onwards teachers rejected correct answers and wanted their answers. The excellent advice was to view it all like a driving exam, learn the road rules and give them back.

students always know the tyranny of the teacher and evaluator. At 6 my kid was sat with the slow learners and forced to give 30answers a day ' correct' . Ie lies and untruths.

Infinity as answer to how many corners has a cylinder was not only mad bad but ridiculed.

Charlie_Martel , 2 hours ago link

Because its an indoctrination not an education.

Duc888 , 2 hours ago link

It's impossible to actually debate someone who has NO FACTS on either side of the argument....

it winds up like this....

"not even WRONG"

The phrase " not even wrong " describes an argument or explanation that purports to be scientific but is based on invalid reasoning or speculative premises that can neither be proven correct nor falsified .

Hence, it refers to statements that cannot be discussed in a rigorous, scientific sense . [1] For a meaningful discussion on whether a certain statement is true or false, the statement must satisfy the criterion called "falsifiability" -- the inherent possibility for the statement to be tested and found false. In this sense, the phrase "not even wrong" is synonymous to "nonfalsifiable". [1]

The phrase is generally attributed to theoretical physicist Wolfgang Pauli , who was known for his colorful objections to incorrect or careless thinking. [2] [3] Rudolf Peierls documents an instance in which "a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli's views. Pauli remarked sadly, 'It is not even wrong' ." [4] This is also often quoted as "That is not only not right; it is not even wrong", or in Pauli's native German , " Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig; es ist nicht einmal falsch!". Peierls remarks that quite a few apocryphal stories of this kind have been circulated and mentions that he listed only the ones personally vouched for by him. He also quotes another example when Pauli replied to Lev Landau , "What you said was so confused that one could not tell whether it was nonsense or not. " [4]

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