Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

Resurgence of neofascism as a reaction on crisis of neoliberalism, extreme inequality, and neoliberal globalization threat to nation-states

News Corporatism Recommended Links Recommended books Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Media-Military-Industrial Complex National neoliberalism
Predator state National Security State NeoMcCartyism Inverted Totalitarism The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Crisis of Neoliberalism of 2008 and Shift to neofascism Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime
Nation under attack meme The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Big Uncle is Watching You Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite If Corporations Are People, They Are Psychopaths Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
National Socialism and Military Keysianism F-scale American Exceptionalism Neoconservatism Authoritarian Corporatism Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust The Grand Chessboard
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few New American Militarism Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Tea Party and right wing rage Totalitarian Decisionism    
Corruption of Regulators Double High Authoritarians The Iron Law of Oligarchy The Great Democratic Party Betrayal: Pro-War Neoliberal Democrats as Vichy Left Mussolini on the Corporate State Reconciling Human Rights IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
The Tea Party Mayberry Machiavellians Neoliberal rationality Henry A Wallace Quotes Snowden Quotes Corporatism quotes Etc
"Fascism: Any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible suppression of opposition."

--Merriam-Webster Dictionary

"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites , abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

- Robert Paxton


Introduction

In a sense neofascism as a derivative of corporatism (control of the state by finance and large industrialists and in turn enforcing policies beneficial for this group) won in the USA after WWII taking the form of "inverted totalitarism".  The dominance  of intelligence agencies typical for classic fascism was preserved and amplified. In a way the role if intelligence agencies in the society is a litmus test for neofascism. As soon as it can be established that intelligence agencies play prominent political role in crushing the dissent (for example by attempting to become "kingmakers" in  national election, or by launching counterintelligence investigations again political figured that deviate from the "Party line" in best traditions of Gestapo, STASI and NKVD) you can talk with the high amount of certainly about strengthening of neofascist tendencies in a given society.

Elimination of political figures using trump up changes of foreign conspiracy is 100% pure neofascism and such a society can be called neofascist society with very high amount of certainty.  This essentially makes political dissent a dangerous activity -- the key feature of all fascists and neofascist states.  In this sense the current color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate) can be interpreted as a sign of sliding of the USA toward neofascism, the key feature of which is that intelligence agencies play important political role and can eliminate political of government official on trump up changes with impunity.  As Patrick Martin noted (Inside The FBI's 'Police State' Operation Against Trump,  Jan 23, 2019, Off-guardian.org)

The Times article goes on to describe how FBI officials monitored the platform adopted at the Republican National Convention, reporting that the spy agency "watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia." That is, the nation's top police agency was concerned that the positions adopted contravened certain basic tenets of dominant sections of the foreign policy establishment.

By what constitutional authority can the FBI, based on political positions adopted by one or the other of the two main capitalist parties, open up a secret investigation into treason and conspiracy? Such an operation bespeaks a police state and recalls the methods of the Stalinist NKVD.

The agency also investigated four of Trump's campaign aides over possible ties to Russia, and even made use of the notorious Steele dossier, consisting of anti-Trump gossip collated from Russian sources by a former British intelligence agent on the payroll of the Democratic Party.

After Trump fired Comey, according to the Times , "law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence."

The operations of the FBI, encouraged, aided and abetted by the Times , recall the paranoid rantings of the John Birch Society, the ultra-right group formed in the 1950s, whose founder, Robert Welch, notoriously claimed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former World War II commander of Allied forces in Europe, was a "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."

Claims that once were the province of an extremist group, on the fringes of American politics, are now embraced by the military-intelligence apparatus, appear on the front page of the most influential American daily newspaper, and dominate the network and cable television news.

But these allegations have no credibility. Why should anyone believe claims that Trump, at age 70, after decades as a real estate mogul, con man and media celebrity, with a billion-dollar fortune, suddenly decided to throw in his lot with Vladimir Putin? Even the Times report itself concedes, in a single sentence buried in the 2,000-word text, "No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials."

One interesting nuance here is that the political mobilization of masses are discouraged under neoliberalism. "Go shopping" was famous Bush II recommendation to US citizens after the 9/11, while he pushed Patriot act which essentially make intelligence agencies key political actors in the USA, the role which they played both in Third Reich and Stalin regime.  In this sense it is important to understand that the use of the term "fascism" by neoliberal propaganda more often then not constitute projection and neoliberalism always carry within itself strong elements of neofascism, and they became even stronger when neoliberalism entered an ideological crisis in 2008.

In a sense the notorious female warmonger and former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton  Madeleine Albright (of Yugoslav bombing face and her remark about Iraq children) with her book Fascism A Warning screaming the certain Central European states are sliding toward neofascism is a classic example  The pot calling the kettle black.  The same is true about primitive (and corrupt) neocon warmonger  like Max Boot (chickenhawk who cheerleadered Iraq invasion; see The Iraq War cheerleaders who are still around 15 years later) who claim that Putin is a fascist dictator. Putin probably can be called authoritarian ruler, but he is a neoliberal. If he can be called "fascist dictator" then both Nobel price winner Barack Obama (with his past connections to CIA via his mother family and wars of aggression in Libya and Syria) and Trump with his "humanitarian bombings" of Syria, clear authoritarian tendencies, nepotism and pandering to the oligarchy (Trump tax cuts) are fascist dictators two.  In this sense it is important to abstract from neoliberal/neocon propaganda of the USA MSM in order better understand this complex  and interesting issue.  Aggressive militaristic posture, cult of militarism in the society, is a classic feature of fascism.  And only very naive person can deny the fact that cult of militarism in the USA is an official state policy.  Whether of not neocons can be called neofascists is an interesting  and so far unresolved question.

By Nuremberg principles all people who  participated in unleashing Iraq war are war criminals

Principle VI[edit]

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law:

(a) Crimes against peace:
(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).
(b) War crimes:
Violations of the laws or customs of war which include, but are not limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory; murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the Seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.
(c) Crimes against humanity:
Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and other inhumane acts done against any civilian population, or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds, when such acts are done or such persecutions are carried on in execution of or in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime.

Principle VII[edit]

Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law.

Still the rise of far right nationalism movement in Europe is an important political factor of modern times. And many ask question: Is this the neofascism or not?  I view it more like the reaction to neoliberalism that neofascism some elements of neofascism: both are variations of corporatism.  But at the same time fascism in many of its elements is identical to the reaction of any society on grave threat.  And neoliberal globalization represents such a threat. Which makes reaction of some Eastern European states look similar to neofascism, but each incarnation of neofascism has important differences and neofascism movements that emerged after 2008 differ from classic fascism movements of  1930th in many key elements.

Again, as used in the USA neoliberal MSM the terms "fascism" or "neofascism" more often then not constitutes projection.  Despicable warmongers, especially female neocon Madeleine Albright exploits those terms as a powerful propaganda cliché ( Everything Madeleine Albright Doesn’t Like is Fascism ).  In the review of her book Guillaume Durocher noted:

Opponents of American imperialism will observe that Albright's list of quasi-Fascist states corresponds quite closely with those who have opposed U.S. foreign policies in recent decades. There is barely a word about America's authoritarian allies Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

... ... ...

Strikingly, the word "Netanyahu" does not appear in the book's Index at all. The existence of a democratic ethno-nationalist state goes against her whole narrative. For what it's worth, I suspect most people in European nationalist parties and in the Alt-Right would be happy to preserve democracy if they could have their own Netanyahus, with the establishment of Western ethnostates dedicated to their own people, with the explicit goal of preserving or restoring ethnic European demographic supermajorities.

This selectivity will encourage the impression that the State Department's talk of "human rights" has less to do with upholding universal moral principles than with demonizing the United States' geopolitical opponents du jour . The American Establishment does not bully China as much as Russia, despite being obviously more authoritarian. I suspect this is because China is already too big to bully, while Russia can still be pushed around and serve as a useful bogeyman (always useful to the Military-Industrial Complex, the National Security State, and for all the Establishmentarians who need a scapegoat for the rise of populism). On that note, I suspect most diplomatic conflicts today have less to do with "realist" international power dynamics than with the utility of foreign enemies for governments domestically.

... ... ...

In a dictatorship, the elimination of political and ideological pluralism means that the country can enjoy political stability. This, by the way, is crucial in multiethnic countries such as Yugoslavia or Iraq, for which the fall of the dictatorship and democratization led to atrocious ethno-religious civil war. As Lee Kuan Yew , my favorite antidote to the political childishness that prevails in the West today, said concerning his multiracial state of Singapore: "We had to lock up people, without trial, whether they are communists, whether they are language chauvinists, or religious extremists. If you don't do that the country would be in ruins today!" Few things have been as murderous as the promotion of "democracy" in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, a policy which, not coincidentally, has destroyed several geopolitical opponents of Israel.

In any case it is important  to understand that corporatism is very resilient political  system, which can take many forms. With some being if fierce conflict with each other.  Both "classic neoliberalism" and "national neoliberalism" (for example, Hungary style) are flavors of the same political system -- corporatism.  One promotes globalism including using the force of arms for opening countries to transnational corporations and financial institutions, the other  rejects it and promote strengthening of national borders.

The USA is the example of the country which set a precedent for Deep State type of corporatism structure: Tweed's system was the corrupt mafia-style organization with the level of cohesion so strong that it lasted for decades (Tammny Hall's political patronage "machine" thrived from 1850's to the 1930's.) It was described as:

It's hard not to admire the skill behind Tweed's system ... The Tweed ring at its height was an engineering marvel, strong and solid, strategically deployed to control key power points: the courts, the legislature, the treasury and the ballot box. Its frauds had a grandeur of scale and an elegance of structure: money-laundering, profit sharing and organization [organized crime].

All forms of fascism (aka "national socialism") are forms of corporatism and as such are based on the merger of government and corporations. From classic fascism modern form borrowed the role of intelligence agencies. But, in a sense we can view intelligence agencies as powerful corporations with the majority stakes on government and minor stake of Wall-Street (especially, in case of CIA)  and  add them to the list of corporations, as they operate semi-independently from the government and often have goals which does not correlate (and sometimes are opposite) with the goals of executive branch especially in foreign policy. 

They form the core of so called Deep State and position themselves of a new praetorian guard that makes of breaks presidential candidates at will.  The suppression of Hillary Clinton "emailgate" investigation, surveillance over Trump campaign and launching by intelligence services color revolution against Trump (aka Russiagate) after Presidential election of 2016 in the USA are just most prominent illustration of this trend.  Derailing Sanders by suppressing emailgate definitely position them as kingmakers Here we are talking about CIA, FBI and the State Department. The role of NSA is not that clear and is somewhat controversial, due to Admiral Mike Rogers warning to Trump (The Last Refuge, Mar 3, 2017).

Fascism combines nationalism, militarism and revival/rebirth of nation fantasies in a unique but very eclectic and self-contradicting framework. It simply  lacks a coherent theoretical/ideological core: oscillating between elitism and populism, between anti-capitalist and anti-socialist themes, and between ethnic and cultural nationalism.  In all cases fascist movements (and often modern neofascist movements) offers an alternative to liberal and neoliberal ideology and social practice, making the nationalism as the core of the resistance to neoliberal globalization. 

And the objective causes of fascism "renaissance" that we observe have less to do with "revival" fantasies of ‘rebirth’ of the society in crisis,  than with the failure of neoliberalism as the ideology of modern "market economies."  In a way fascism  is a revolutionary ‘third way’ ideology, combining elements of conservatism and socialism, anti-materialist revision of Marxism which reflects synthesis of right wing nationalism (some researchers  consider fascism as the most  extreme form of nationalism) and trade unionism (syndicalism). The key fascist myth of unity and national identity oppose both capitalism and socialism.  It also has specific flavor due to the fantasy of ‘national rebirth’ ("Make America Great Again" is the variation on the same theme), As an ideology fascism revolves around five major themes:

In this sense the events after WWII proved that the merger of government and corporate power was not accidental and proved to have a staying power. Germany,  Italy and Spain, each with its own national idiosyncrasies were simply pioneers in this direction.  There are strong objections of using the term "fascism" due to its historical baggage (and first of the connection to all the crimes committed by Nazi Germany in WWII), but the ideology of neofascism now experience strong Renaissance in most European countries, the USA and GB. Critics claim that the term lost any precision and in many respects become a catchall for any kind of totalitarianism and far right policies. But this is not completely true. Ideas if national socialism recently muted in more modern forms of "inverted totalitarism" and national security state. 

There are distinct new elements in those new political structures, which were absent in the classic fascist states. Some prominent  element of classic fascist state such using violence to suppress opposition are now lost relevance. Moreover the dominance of "military industrial complex" is viewed by many as a new form of fascism, which was the essence of warning of President Eisenhower.  

Neofascism rejects or revise several postulates of fascism:

Other critics claim that the term became useless because it lacks strict definition.  I disagree with this position. Despite clear deficiency the term "neofascism capture important class of social reaction again neoliberalism in various countries and as such  a legitimate political/sociological term. It does have more or less "well structured" definition which allows to distinguish it from "classic fascism" on one side and "neoliberalism" on the other.  Wikipedia defines the term stressing the neofascism possesses significant elements of fascist ideology, and defining what are those significant elements as:

Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, populism, anti-immigration policies or, where relevant, nativism, anti-communism, anti-socialism, anti-Marxism, anti-anarchism, and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy. Allegations that a group is neo-fascist may be hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.

You can see the Wikipedia authors experience difficulties with the definition.  That's why they included the phases "usually" and  "where relevant."  So in their opinion three trait are more important  then the other:

  1. ultranationalism,
  2. populism,
  3. anti-immigration policies

Classic fascism (as implemented in Germany by NSDAP and in Italy by Mussolini) can be viewed as a variant of ultra-nationalism which aspires to bring the renewal of a nation deeply in crisis and advocates the replacement of the corrupt liberal democracy with (supposedly temporary) authoritarian dictatorship under a strong leader with extraordinary powers (like in army).  

At the same time "classic fascism" it was closely linked to the post WWI realities, especially for Germany.  In many ways, Classic Fascism strongly correlates with the mental state of nation which is attacked by strong enemy, the enemy which has supporters inside the country.

But it is more then that. The distinct feature of fascism is its strong aversion to the excessive financialization of economy and banking, which fascist consider evil (in a way prosecution of Jews under Fascism was closely connected with their role in banking, not only as a repression against the group the refuses to assimilate).  And this feature of national socialism now is instrumental in its revival, as financialization was the essence of neoliberalism.  Which can be consider as the rule of financial oligarchy -- the same class of people against which original German fascist tried to fight, while masking it with the particular national identity, due to historical for Europe overrepresentation of Jew in financial industry. 

Unlike Trotskyism and neoliberalism,  fascism is always nationalistic, so attempt to equate neoliberalism and fascism is the attempt to ignore the core difference between them. That's why neofascism is on the rise due to the crisis of neoliberal globalization. It is true though, that neoliberalism carry elements of neofascism and represent a rich subtract on which neofascism can grow, because like situation after the WWI it creates mass of disenfranchised workers and small entrepreneurs, who are deprived of chances to be the valuable members of society

As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

Both have the elements of Nietzschean Ubermench philosophy imbedded in hem

Elements of neofascist programs

If one looks at NSDAP program of 1920, one can clearly see the requisite elements of fascist social movements. Paradoxically those demands now position the US neofascists to the left of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, which is in the pocket of financial oligarchy and is ready to privatize Social Security and Medicare to please its Wall Street sponsors. To say nothing about Republican Party: 

The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

In addition Classic Fascism typically promotes militarism and territorial or economic expansion as the way to deal with internal problems.  In this sense it is indistinguishable from neoliberalism (and both have common  roots in Trotskyism). Both consider violence including foreign wars a useful political tool. With neoliberalism openly advocating Trotskyite-type of "Permanent revolution" in countries the refuse to switch this social system.

Another important feature of fascism that distinguishes it from neoliberalism is that this ideology has strong suspicion the liberal democracy is just a tool for the dictate of financial oligarchy, which has all the money to buy politicians.  In this sense neofascism starts when the party/movement that adhere to the fascism social program renounce violence and accepts parliamentary democracy as the "necessary evil", still striving to get to power using the election mechanisms and use for suppression of financial oligarchy, especially international investment banks and speculators like Soros. But instead of military coup d'état they accept the goal of winning the election within the constrains imposed by this model in Western states (although tremendous growth of political power of intelligence  agencies, which really became "kingmakers:, and which in the core can be considered as new type of proto-fascist political parties,  put important corrections into this consideration; in a way they stand in the direct opposition to the parliamentary system, like classic fascism)

In its essence any form of fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite, by "bribing" the dominant in the particular state nationality.  It remains a viable right wing program for setting up a highly centralized regime with militaristic, nationalistic policies (especially external expansion, for example in the form of neoliberal empire expansion), merge of industrial and financial corporations with the government, total population control, rigid control of MSM by intelligence agencies, and "extra-judicial" methods of suppression of opposition, including McCarthyism witch hunts and  "Russiagate"

In its essence any form of fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite, by "bribing" the dominant in the particular state nationality.

Neofascism essentially relax the same postulates of "classic fascism" making it more socially acceptable, but preserving the core resentment against financialization of the economy (but no longer associates it with the particular ethnic group) as well as immigration, viewing foreigners as a group  which "steals" jobs and wealth from the core demographic group of the particular country.

Unlike "classic fascism", neofascism does not directly oppose to parliamentary democracy and is ready to work within parliamentary system to get to power. It does not advocate violence against political opponents as the primary means of suppressing the opposition, although it does not shut from using it when necessary or expedient. 

At the same time modern technology polished the ways of suppression any opposition by other means (see Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism ) so this difference is pretty superficial -- the level of spying on the population in any modern Western state is comparable with the level that existed in Germany under the rule of NSDAP. 

The strongest common link is rampant militarism and exaggeration of external threat to the nation well-being (for example, the threat from Islamic terrorism),  which makes it surprisingly close to the ideology of National Security State  and not that different from neoliberalism (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

In other words while classic fascism now is almost extinct, there are multiple and more viable mutations of far right nationalism (which experience renaissance due to impoverishment of population caused by neoliberal austerity) that are called by generic name of neofascism. And it proved to be highly adaptable ideology with higher survivability potential than classic Bolshevism.   In almost all European countries and in the USA nationalist movements are on the rise and far right parties often enjoy success in elections.  They come to power in several European states such as Poland, Ukraine, and several Baltic republics.

Preoccupation with the community decline, humiliation and idea of rejunivenation of the nation

The most distinct feature of this set of political movements is obsessive preoccupation with militarism, community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood (Nation under attack meme) and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and the idea of national rejuvenation (as reflected in "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) slogan, although it originated in  the Paleoconservatism movement which is not connected to fascist ideology of any kind).

After all, the concept of national rejuvenation after a deep economic/political crisis historically was one of the key reasons  classic fascist regimes of the last century came to power. Both Mussolini and then Hitler espoused citizens’ duty to recover their respective nations ancient strength and glory from the situation of deep decline after the defeat in the WWI and reparations imposed.  Both fought with valor in WWI.

The key question for particular country is:

"Do the country has an organized, committed nationalistic (please note that "exceptionalism" is a form of nationalism) militants, in alliance with traditional elites, who are ready to use extra-judicial methods (not necessary violence) with minimal legal restrains for internal cleansing of the society and external expansion?". 

Without far right nationalists organized in military fashion as was the case in Ukraine it is difficult to classify a movement which adheres to those ideas and is as a fascist movement. But it can well be neofascist. The readiness to go to extra-legal means is the key distinction between neofascism (and any far right nationalism) and regular nationalism (which essentially adhere to "law and order" paradigm).

Both "Regular" nationalism, "national neoliberalism" followers (Trumpism) and economic nationalists still are adhering to the existing legal framework and fights for their ideas on election booth. Fascists cross this boundary (and that's why they often are called far-right).  They despise traditional dual law enforcement (one for elite and one for common people) and oligarchic democracy (the democracy for only top 1% or less of population) and think that authoritarian model is preferable to the existing level of corruption in legal system as well as harsh punishment for transgression (not understanding that while the existing "far from being perfect" legal system might be eliminated, both injustice in the form of preferential treatment of the elite (which essentially is above the law) and corruption will remain; just the composition of the elite changes)

Animosity toward financial oligarchy; distinguishing between earned and unearned income

Another important distinction is  presence of elements of social democratic requirements, requirements for social justice in their program: neofascists movements typically are more pro-middle class and, at least partially, pro working class then far right movements.  One litmus test is the level of animosity toward  financial oligarchy and "unearned" income.  This is the key distinction of neofascism and "national neoliberalism" (Trumpism).  Unlike neoliberals, which hare many trials with fascism and neofascism they view sovereignty of the nation as an "ultimate good" that need to be preserved and defended.

They are also anti-elite, and anti multinational corporations and transnational organizations like NAFTA or WTO.  And especially against transnational financial oligarchy (in Nazism that degenerated into anti-Semitism as the percentage of Jews among top levels of financial oligarchy was always very high, but it is not necessary for a fascist movement to be anti-Semitic per se; other nationalities can serve as scapegoats).

Like classic economics, a typical neofascist movement distinguished between "earned" and "unearned" income and consider the later a sign of parasitism and decadence of the society.  NSDAP program of 1920 explicitly stated

"Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery."

Without this point we can talk only about for-right nationalism or in case of "economic nationalism" and "national neoliberalism" (neoliberalism without globalization as to a certain extent professed by Trump administration).

Territorial or economic expansion

The idea of Lebensraum - Wikipedia is inherent of fascist movements but typically is absent or is suppressed  of neo-fascism movements: .

The German concept of Lebensraum (German pronunciation: [ˈleːbənsˌʁaʊm]  "living space") comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901,[2] Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion.[3] The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.[4]

And as far as external expansion goes, neoliberalism can definitely viewed as a form of neofascism ("Permanent War for Permanent Peace"), so there is a strong connection between neoliberalism and neofascism in foreign policy area and for this reason neoconservatism should probably be viewed as a modern flavor of neofascism.  See Professor Andrew Bacevich excellent book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

But, in reality it is not, even if it is used as a synonym of "far right nationalism", because most modern far right nationalism movement borrow key ideas of the three classic fascist regimes -- Mussolini in Italy, Nazism in Germany and Fracoism (falangism) in Spain.  New is often well forgotten old.   As Robert O. Paxton noted in his essay "The Five Stages of Fascism":

We cannot give up in the face of these difficulties. A real phenomenon exists. Indeed, fascism is the most original political novelty of the twentieth century, no less. ... If we cannot examine fascism synthetically, we risk being unable to understand this century, or the next.

We must have a word, and for lack of a better one, we must employ the word that Mussolini borrowed from the vocabulary of the Italian Left in 1919, before his movement had assumed its mature form. Obliged to use the term fascism, we ought to use it well.

Similarly there is a right for existence of the term neofascism, which is general denotes more aggressive and violent forms of far right nationalism, but at the  same time expressing interests of lower middle and working class and having strong anti financial oligarchy sentiments (for example, distinguishing between earned and unearned income (rent)).  This is a set of trends and far right political movements  now observable in many countries which experienced neoliberal austerity, especially in Europe.

Like fascism and neoliberalism, in no way neofascism is a coherent ideology. It is often self-contradicting and contains mutually exclusive elements. That are several sometimes conflicting types of neofascism in modern societies:

Neofascism ideology is pretty fuzzy and flexible (remember that allies of Nazi Germany in WWII were Japanese, which were as far from Arian ethno type as we can get; while Nazi were adamantly anti-Slav, which represents very similar to Arian ethnic type).

All-in-all it represents a popular and rising in importance on the political scene post–World War II ideology, which proved to be more enduring and popular then the communist ideology. It well coexists with neoliberalism (and can be completely merged with it as in Chile under Pinochet). While "excesses" of classical fascism are rejected it still has the key elements of "national socialism" in the form of  "socialism for 1%", if you wish.

There are multiple similar terms, such as military-industrial complex (neoconservatives can be viewed as lobbyists of military industrial complex, and as such neofascist at  least in foreign policy strategy and goals),  predator state, national security state, etc which essentially describe the same phenomenon, stressing different aspects of it. 

Modern technologies makes neofascist regimes more viable

While still adhering to the core postulates of fascism, neofascism is very flexible and thus more difficult to define precisely. It relies on achievement  of modern technologies and first of all new possibility of surveillance. Neofascism replace physical suppression of internal opposition with MSM control (the situation which already is fully achieved in neoliberal societies).  Opposition is simply pushed out of mainstream media into alternative media and ignored, but not physically suppressed.

Along with computers and communication  technologies, other technological achievement plays in neofascism favor as well. for example war against weaker opponents now can be conducted with much less casualties and most via technological supremacy on the battlefield. 

Similar the idea of racial/ethnic purity can be replaced by cultural "belonging", by rejection of speakers of alternative languages (and  culture) in particular country. It can be Spanish in the USA, or Russian in Ukraine. 

Neo-fascism also deploy more sophisticated forms of identity politics, than classic fascism. And it less oriented on open violence. Neo-fascists often reject ethnic-based identity policies replacing "ethnic nationalism" with the "cultural nationalism" based solely on the language and culture identifies.

Similar, the idea of one party rule system present in classic fascism can be replaced with two party system, producing the same effect and allowing to preserve parliamentary democracy, while achieving basically the same goals as one party system as both party candidates are selected by non-elected party functionaries, be it  the "Deep state" in the form o intelligence agencies control of elections,  or the "party elite", or some mixture of the two.  

Mass authoritarian, far right  party can now be replaced by personnel of intelligence agencies which serve the same purpose with intelligence  agencies brass becoming political leaders of the movement, much like Nazi bonzes in the past.

Neofascism and the predator state

Look how close to basic tenets of neofascism (if we assume that Arian nation is limited to financial, government and corporate oligarchy) is what James K Galbraith called the predator state (from the review by Thomas I Palley of the book in Asia Times Online,  Aug 22, 2008):

Economist Jamie K Galbraith's recent book [1] describes modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism as creating a "predator state". Its predatory aspects are starkly visible in the gangs of corporate lobbyists who roam Washington DC, the Halliburton Iraq war procurement scandal and the corruption and incompetence that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

However, the broad concept of a predator state needs qualification as we are really talking of an "American corporate" predator state. Thus, the predatory nature of contemporary US governance is quintessentially linked to corporations, and it is also a uniquely American phenomenon.

Kleptocratic predator states, such as Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Sese Seko Mobutu's Zaire in Africa, are fundamentally different. There is no equivalent in Europe, and none in East Asia where ruling elites have a sense of obligation to the nation even as they often enrich themselves illicitly. Nor is there an equivalent in Latin America because government there never reached an economic size proportional to that of government in the US.

It is important to understand the social origins of the American corporate predator state because understanding is a necessary part of developing responses for caging the predators and replacing them with another, better, order. Those origins clearly trace back to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final televised address to the nation on January 17, 1961.

That complex has captured politics and corrupted the business of government, including of course the conduct of national security policy. The fact that it has wrapped itself with the flag makes it impossible to confront without being charged as unpatriotic. Worst yet, its enormous enduring profitability has provided a model for imitation by other industrial complexes like Big Pharma and Big Oil.

The political success of these predators is clearly linked to money's role in politics. Money gives the power to buy the political process, and that power is defended by a gospel of free speech that takes no account of the fact that out-shouting someone is qualitatively equivalent to silencing them. Economics also comes to money's defense with its absurd myth of a market for ideas in which participants compete on a level playing field and truth is effortlessly sorted from error.

The American worship of business and businessmen, which Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, 1922) wrote about long ago, also plays a role. This worship privileges business over thought and other activities, and is behind the dismissive sneer "if you're so smart, how come you're not rich?" As a result, Americans are all too willing to hand over their government to business predators. Today, it is in Goldman Sachs we trust.

Another feature of business worship is a tendency to conflate profit with free markets. That means the distinction between fair competition (which is good) and fat profits (which are bad) is lost, thereby providing cover for predators.

Lastly, there is the legacy of the Cold War which contributed to economic dumbing-down and suppression of awareness of class and class conflict. This suppression was seen as necessary for blunting the dangerous appeal of Soviet communism, but a consequence was to create blindness to the predators in our midst.

All of this reveals a deep deficit in America's social and economic understanding (some deficits really do matter). And as long as this deficit remains, the predators will have a starting-gate advantage in the game of political persuasion.

Yet, how to close the deficit and insert another understanding is an enormous challenge. There are deep institutional obstructions in the academy, the media, and the Democratic Party. Moreover, raising these issues may create unsettling cognitive dissonance that pushes voters into denial and a closer embrace of the predators.

In effect, there is a paradox to be solved. Lasting progressive political victory requires transforming understanding, but the immediate political incentives are aligned to discourage engagement with such a project.

Note: The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K Galbraith, Free Press, 2008.

Thomas I Palley is the founder of the Economics for Democratic and Open Societies Project.
 

Classic fascism

Fascism is not a uniform doctrine. From the very beginning there were different flavors of it. In this sense attempt to distill key features of such regimes are difficult and non-rewarding task because fascism was always a national not universal (like Marxism) phenomenon.  Such attempts as Arendt's leave much to be desired. Even within a single country there can be several competing version of fascism. They can be even hostile to such an extent that the supporters of one of fascism movement strive to completely destroy the supporters of the other.

Since 30-ies of XX century, there were four "classic" flavors of fascism: Italian fascism, Nazism,  and Spanish Francoism(falangism) and (mostly Latin American) "induced fascism" régimes.  All "classic" versions rely on mass political movement of the "middle class" making a claim to political power -- to the detriment of the traditional elites and "working classes".  They were mildly hostile to monopolies and, sometimes, to financial oligarchy. For example, Nazi decried  "unearned income" -- rentier capitalism.  All those regimes were revolutionary in a sense that they  accepted violence as the legitimate political tool in the struggle to get to power. 

But even within them there are multiple and significant differences both in social base and proclaimed goals:

The political views of the "new right" coincided with the views of practitioners of neoliberalism in the era of Reaganomics and Thatcherism. Not by chance the Pinochet regime (a classic example of "induced, puppet fascism") is characterized as "Militant Thatcherism". Even the fundamental views publicly expressed by Thatcher and Pinochet, were often identical (e.g., he and the other refused to recognize the existence of society - which was, in fact, merely a repetition of the doctrine of Italian fascism). What parties and movements, connecting the idea of "new right"   has achieved in recent years greater success in elections in Western Europe: the national front of  Le Pen in France, the party of P. Fortuyn in the Netherlands, the freedom Party. Haider in Austria, etc. (revealing, incidentally, that the Freedom Party is included in the Liberal international!).

Other cases pre-war neofascism was monarchist far right regimes developed in countries of Eastern Europe.   Rapid inclusion of these parties and regimes in the orbit of Italian and German influences have masked their identity, on the one hand, and did not allow them to develop into independent phenomenon.

There can me multiple fascism movements in the same country. In France before the war all three classic brand of fascism were well represented: French version of the Italian fascism ("francism", etc.), the French version of Nazism (French people's party, etc.), the French version of francoism ("capulary") and, finally, the original aristocratic elitist fascism "action française", close to the monarchist-fascism. Sometimes the supporters of the different flavors of fascism fight with each other. In Austria  supporters of Italian fascism came to power in February 1934, but in July, the Nazis organized a putsch and killed Chancellor E. Dollfuss, and ended the fight by smashing austrofascism and initiating the Anschluss. In Hungary, the supporters of Italian fascism - hungarista led by Admiral Horthy was overthrown in 1944 by the Hungarian Nazis movement  headed by Salashi. In Romania, the confrontation between supporters of Italian fascism and Nazism - "seleniumselenium", "jeleznovodask", Antonescu and Horia SIMA - has resulted in mutual mass terror .

After World war II the Western ruling elite has never repeated his pre-war mistakes and understood that fascism is a tricky bet in the fight against social revolution. So it was relegated as a tool for countries "About  which we do not care" They understood that such a movement as  "classical" fascism or other extremist movements of "middle class" easily get out of control.  All post-war fascist regimes relied on mass movements. Such movements were outlawed in most Western countries.  

Fascism vs. far right nationalism

As neofascism has a lot of common features with far right nationalism it is very difficult to say when one ends and another starts. Those terms can be used as synonyms, but I would suggest that neofascism is a specific flavor of far right nationalism that has anti-financial oligarchy bent.   It is a more "socialist" version of far right nationalism and always was.

So far right nationalism a more generic term then neofascism: all neofascists are far right nationalists, but the reverse is not true.

Neofascism is more narrow concept that emphasizes/defines more features of the movement then far right nationalism.  Typically neofascism movements are a more radical, more anti-democratic, more statist than an "average" far right nationalism movements.  And their flavor of militaristic bent includes the idea of expanding the "living space"/empire  for the particular nation (or country) by promoting rampant militarism (which also serves as a tool to "unify" the nation and suppress dissent).  Like for example neoconservatives in the USA.  Also neofascism has a certain flavor of "victimhood" which far right nationalism does not necessary possesses. 

What is clear that there is a much larger political space for far right nationalist movements then for neofascist movements in modern societies. The backlash against neoliberal globalization now mainly take the form of far right nationalism, but not necessarily neo-fascism: many such far right movement are completely devoid of the hostility to financial oligarchy and unearned income. 

So it's given that far right movements and their more specific case -- neofascism -- have many common features, many similarities:

  1. Like far right nationalism, neofascism denies equality of people. So in a way it oppose to Christian and other major religions. This is a clearly anti-elitarian ideology "at large" while it can be egalitarian "in  the small", within an  "Arian nation" whatever it means for the particular movement.  In a fundamental way internal fascist policies are just a transfer of policies and methods used Europeans in colonies to the specific ethnicities in European countries (Slavs, Jews, Gypsies).  In a way the Hitler idea of colonizing and exterminating Slavs was a plagiarism from the USA colonists treatment of Indians.
     
  2. If we abstract from external expansion, then the idea Arian ("titular") nation or social group in fascism is a variation of the theme of Apartheid and can be called internal colonialism, or internal colonization of the country.  The same is generally true about far right nationalism although the selection of Arian group is different.
     
  3. Like far right nationalism neofascism  instills hatred and direct, open discrimination of some identifiable social groups and/or nationalities (immigrants, Jews, Gipsy, Russians, Chinese, etc)  -- the key ideas fascism stems from the concept of "national socialism" or socialism for one "chosen"/Arian nationality at the expense of others (the idea very similar to American Exceptionalism, in which the USA is proclaim to be special, blessed nation, that has the right to extent its power and influence any way it likes on other states and nations). In fascist ideology one group of people is classified as Ubermensch  and everybody else as  Untermensch. This division of people into two distinct classes is a fundamental feature of both far right nationalism and neofascism. Various forms of far right nationalism and neofascism differ only in the criteria of this division. It can be separation by race, nationality, language, or even between "creative people" (capitalists) is everybody else as in Randism.
     
  4. The idea of inferiority (of other nationalities, countries, political systems, etc). Neoliberalism is classic example of this trend. It simply denies the right to exist of any other form of political rule and practice so called "export of democracy" (read export of neoliberalism, often by military means, much like fascist governments of the past.
     
  5. Nationalist hysteria with a particular scapegoat as the tool to increase unity,  for example anti-Russian hysteria which replaced anti-Jewish hysteria in the past.
     
  6. Both promote militarism and "national security state".

But there are some minor  differences.

Like communists, classic fascists  promote violence as a legitimate political tool, but this is less true about neofascist.  Classic fascism, Payne says, requires "a philosophical valuing of violence, of Sorelian violence. [Fascists believe] that violence is really good for you, that it's the sort of thing that makes you a vital, alive, dedicated person, that it creates commitment. Fascism makes violence not just a political strategy, but also a philosophical principle. For fascists "war is the health of the nation". That's mentality is unique to fascism. This feature is reduced and subdued in neofascism, but still is present.

Classic fascism also has some anti-clerical bent and typically promotes  a specific  secular, "political religion" in which the nation is considered a real, living, and yet sacred thing to be revered and protected, instead of traditional religion.  This goes well beyond typical far right nationalism views on religion. Far right nationalists more commonly promote an existing religion  (Vox). But those two trends can happily co-exists.

The idea of rejuvenation of the nation also is typical for both. But look more closely at the way Trump talks about rejuvenating America:

These statements are much closer to the "I want my soccer team to win" version of patriotism — and much more concerned with the qualities of Donald Trump as the leader, than America the nation.

Two classes of people and NSDAP Party program of 1920

Neoliberal MSM brainwash people running a campaign hypertrophied dehumanization of  Untermensch. Essentially this campaign is directed toward conditioning people to view "lower classes" as a category of cattle, much like in slavery. This tendency of "blaming poor" is definitely a defining trend of modern day US neoliberalism.  And that's as close to fascism as one can get.

Socialism in national socialism exists only for Ubermensch. And for them (and for them only) it does contain almost all major socialist elements. This is undeniable if we analyze the  NSDAP Party program announced by Hitler on February 20, 1920. It is also important to  remember that some fascists leaders, such as Benito Mussolini, previously were prominent figures in the social-democratic  movement (Wikipedia)

The National Socialist Programme (aka the 25-point Programme and the 25-point Plan) was the party program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Originally the name of the party was the German Workers' Party (DAP) but on the same day of the announced party program it was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), headed by Adolf Hitler. Hitler announced the party's program on 24 February 1920 in front of around 2000 people in the Munich Festsaal of the Hofbräuhaus. The National Socialist Program originated at a DAP congress in Vienna, then was taken to Munich, by the civil engineer and theoretician Rudolf Jung, who, having explicitly supported Hitler, had been expelled from Czechoslovakia, because of his political agitation.[1]

... ... ...

  1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.
  2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
  3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.
  4. Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a member of the race.
  5. Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in Germany only as a guest, and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.
  6. The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.
  7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
  8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
  9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
  10. The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
  11. Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
  12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
  13. We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
  14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
  15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
  16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
  17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
  18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
  19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
  20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
  21. The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
  22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
  23. We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that: a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race; b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language; c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.
  24. We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The good of the state before the good of the individual.[9]
  25. For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.

Neoliberalism demonstrate the resurgence of classic fascism tendencies with the sharp division between upper class (Ubermensch) and lower class, "inferior people"  (Untermensch)  and the associated cult of violence. Although  in new slightly more moderate form, but with the same set of core ideas and principles.

In neofascism unrestricted violence, terror against "inferior people" is subdued. As the criteria nationality is often (but not completely) replaced with culture and especially the national language (language nationalism) and is directed almost exclusively to foreigners, immigrants and national minorities who continue to use "wrong" language because it is their mother tongue (for example, Russians in case of Far Right Forces in Ukraine).

In neoliberalism nationality is replaced by "creative abilities", which are understood as the ability of capital accumulation and self-enrichment. In cultural variant of neofascism the language and culture replace the race as a defining point of "belonging", and the key distinction between "Arian race" and Untermensch. Replacement of nationality with the cultural identity makes it closer to ultra-right republicanism as exists in the USA. It is also clearly visible in Ukrainian far right movement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vUDhy4BA-Xs

But all-in-all neofascism remains just a mutation of classic fascist ideology (yuricareport.com):

Call it Pseudo Fascism. Or, if you like, Fascism Lite. Happy-Face Fascism. Postmodern Fascism. But there is little doubt anymore why the shape of the "conservative movement” in the 21st century is so familiar and disturbing: Its architecture, its entire structure, has morphed into a not-so-faint hologram of 20th-century fascism.

...Unlike the genuine article, it presents itself under a normative, rather than a revolutionary, guise; and rather than openly exulting in violence, it pays lip service to law and order. Moreover, even in the areas where it resembles real fascism, the similarities are often more familial than exact. It is, in essence, less virulent and less violent, and thus more likely to gain broad acceptance within a longtime stable democratic system like that of the United States.

It is important to understand that neofascism inherited the major traits of fascism connected with creating a scapegoat nationality or anti-immigration sentiments, often induced by actual misbehavior of immigrants (such a rapes, beating of people by criminal gangs, etc) or large influx of immigrant from other nation in economic crisis (Immigrants in Europe, Russia, to lesser extent in other "countries of immigrants" such as USA, Australia, Canada, etc). At certain stages it can actually "return to the roots" and adopt violence as the key form of dealing with the opponents (see EuroMaidan )

The key element of any flavor of fascist ideology is rejection of liberalism and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy (and implicitly to the rule of law). It is the cult of "strong hand" the makes it similar to authoritarism. While officially neofascists parties no longer endorses violence as a chief means to silence the opposition, they often resort to it as a temporary mean to achieve their goals, and, especially, to come to power.

Allegations that a group is neofascist are typically hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.

Revolt of the elite against "commoners"

neofascism can be viewed as one of the forms of the "revolt of the elite", a mutation of corporatism that invariably emerges during acute economic crises and related loss of profitability of many businesses. While cannon fodder of neofascism are small business owners, the puppeteers always are large business owners and, especially, financial oligarchy and oligarchy connected to  military-industrial complex. For the latter neofascism is an ideal regime.

That's why right now proto-fascist and neofascist groups and sentiments are on the rise in many countries including, but not limited USA, France, Germany, Holland, Russia, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Norway. In many cases neofascist parties such as Ukrainian Svoboda get enough votes to be represented in national parliaments (algemeiner.com/2013/05/24):

In Ukraine, the noisiest anti-Semitic group is the Svoboda ( "Freedom”) party. Established in 1991 as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine” under the SS-era symbol of the Wolfsangel. In 2004, with new leader Oleh Tyahnybok, the party renamed itself and adopted innocuous symbols.

That, however, didn’t change the Nazi characteristic of the party. Tyahnybok himself has stated on several occasions that the "Moscow-Jewish mafia” is running Ukraine. Other prominent party members have often used the derogatory, anti Jewish slur ”zhid”, including against Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis, suggesting she was not a "real” Ukrainian because of her Jewish heritage.

Svoboda supporters include among their heroes leaders of pro-Nazi World War II organizations known for their atrocities against Jews and Poles, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and the 14th Waffen-SS Galicia Division. (To Svoboda’s vocal displeasure, Poland’s parliament recently introduced a resolution condemning the OUN and the UPA for wartime massacres of Polish civilians.)

Here is another telling video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z24XaNIbmp0

Skinheads is also a prominent phenomenon which is typical for many European countries. They are definitely part of neofascism movement. This rage is directed toward immigrants. Torch processions borrowed from classic fascism now became common in many countries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20929755)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MEKJDle0nZ0

7 January 2013 Last updated at 01:38 ET Help

A sudden rise in popularity of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist party, Svoboda, has caused concern both inside and outside the country.

Svoboda, which means "freedom" in Ukrainian, is allied with European far-right parties. But many observers warn that its views are extremist.

David Stern reports from Kiev.

Also popular are typical for classic fascism physical violence such as street fights with opponents. A new element is that now it can happen during football matches like recently in Poland:

Removed by Youtube

Neofascism and National Security State

While neofascism is anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist, unlike classic fascism which openly declared itself as such, they deployed as thick smoke screen of propaganda to present itself in completely different light. The destruction of meaning by creating "empty phrases" combining opposite ideas has, as we have seen, become a prominent strategy deployed by the conservative movement.]

Another key element of neofascism is "vast, systemic, blanket collection of the personal data of innocent people." It often covered with a fig leaf of "fight against terrorism". DW.DE 09.01.2014

Like classic fascism neofascism remains rabidly anti-socialist. Actually socialists and communists, let's not forget, were among the first people imprisoned and "liquidated" by the Nazi regime.

Early on during the first term of the Bush presidency many progressives characterized Bush's statements and actions as "neofascist". It is also true that Bush II has some neofascist baggage, as Bush family did has some ties with fascist regimes in the past and the U.S. government found that Bush's grandfather had illegally aided the Nazis during the 30's. It's true that regime of Bush II has some neofascist leanings. It definitely introduced into public discourse and tried to implement in practice several elements of neofascist ideology. Some of them with some interesting innovations. For example, unlike classic fascism instead of mass mobilization Bush government preferred political passivity as prescribed by Inverted Totalitarism doctrine ("go shopping" was his famous recommendation after 9/11).

But full development of neofascist ideas and forming a popular party is impossible without acute economic distress

www.youtube.com/embed/Z24XaNIbmp0

or political crisis (like the one in Ukraine) and a real economic crisis arrived only at the end of Bush Presidency (2008). So paradoxically the major implementer of Bush neofascist ideas and first of all the idea of total surveillance was the regime of Barack Obama. With a tea-party being a close proxy of radical neofascist parties in Eastern Europe. There is distinct racial element in it. Nobody will try to disprove the claim that it has mainly white middle class composition. And like European radical parties of neofascist orientation it endorses violence to achieve its goals. See Tea Party and right wing rage

But even if we assume that 9/11 was a false flag operation that is reminiscent of Reichstag Fire generally the USA neofascist elements were innovatively mixed with the ideas from the theoretical model called Inverted Totalitarism. Direct violence toward opponents never materialized. Just the pre-existing process of the conversion of the USA into National Security State dramatically increased. Now we know more about the new role assigned to NSA during this period.

American exeptionalism ideas promoted by Bush administration clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. The unique feature here is that they were integrated into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime. So it's more like "top 1% uber alles" then "The USA uber alles" ;-).

The common features that constitute "generic fascism"

It should be stressed that some of ideas inherent in neofascist doctrine are integral part of European culture. As Paxton describes them (Robert O. Paxton, "The Five Stages of Fascism," The Journal of Modern History 70 (March 1998): pp. 3-5.) in the following way:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan [neoliberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Paxton's list makes easier to identify typical "passions" which are at play in proto-fascist environment, particularly during the debate over the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it (Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

In 2002, Laurence W. Britt's Fascism Anyone? analyzed seven fascist regimes in order to find the common features that constitute "generic fascism". He selected the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia. He found 14 common characteristics (reprinted below, with 6 additions by Umberto Eco) and concluded:

"Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not."

We think "maybe not." It's just a matter of degree. There is an ongoing transformation of the US in this particular direction.

It is difficult to tell when far right nationalistic group get brown color. Litmus text is the creation of paramilitary group (death squads, stormtroopers, etc) for repression of opponents and adoption of terror as a legitimate methods of struggle for power. Those paramilitary group exists outside law, the key interpreter of which became the party not the counts. Another telling sign is the creation of concentration camps.

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism is carefully stroked up. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of foreigners that often borders on xenophobia. In the USA the role of nationalism serves American exeptionalism.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. While the regime can and often pay lip services to human rights, this is just a smokescreen. In reality such regimes views human rights of opponents as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Terror against opponents considered to be legitimate. At the same time, they can promote human rights as false flag operation at home and at foreign policy. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses of paramilitary squads by marginalizing, even demonizing groups or nationalities being targeted. When abuse was egregious as was the case in Guantanamo Bay detention camp and Abu Ghraib, the tactic is to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people's attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice -- relentless propaganda and disinformation --were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite 'spontaneous' acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, Russians Chinese, other ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly. Paradoxically the attempt to enforce absolute equality to people of non traditional sexual orientation can serve the same purpose.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. But the immanent feature of this type of regimes is that a disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism/exeptionalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite. See New American Militarism. The second part of this trend is cancer-style growth of intelligence agencies. Which at some point became uncontrolled government of the country and are engages in political actions. Role of CIA in JFK assassination is still covered but many researcher consider CIA the major player in the plot to kill JFK.
  5. A controlled mass media. Under most of neofascist regimes, the mass media is under strict direct or indirect control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Monopolization of MSM works that same way as total government control representing slightly more sophisticated and more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, buyout of journalists and news anchors, various direct or indirect forms of bribes, and implied threats. Sometimes physical violence is used too. The owners of the mass media are an integral part of the elite and as such do its bidding. The net result was usually complete success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes excesses.
  6. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus under direct control of the ruling elite is the most effective tool for crushing social protest, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting 'national security'. Questioning its activities is portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
  7. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as defenders of religion . The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda is used to keep up the illusion that the ruling elites are defenders of the faith.

    A perception is manufactured that opposition to the power elite is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  8. Power of corporations, oligarchy is protected, while power of labor suppressed.. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of 'have-not' citizens. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
  9. Suppression of "non-conformist" intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security. In modern day direct physical suppression or elimination of opponents is no longer necessary. Indirect ways such as silencing them are no less effective. Universities are tightly, but indirectly, controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed and deprived of funding. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent are silenced. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
  10. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations, directed at lower classes. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Difference between regular and political crimes sometimes is fuzzy due to trumped-up criminal charges which sometimes are used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred of criminals is promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power and repression of political opponents. Police are militarized and provided with powerful weapons and military level communication tools.
  11. Rampant cronyism and corruption. On propaganda front such regimes often pretend to be anti-oligarchic and populists. But in reality rampant cronyism rules. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
  12. Fraudulent elections. Under such regimes elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls are usually bogus. With public opinion polls servicing as a powerful mean to ensure results of election not as a simple sampling tool. When actual elections held, candidates are preselected and both represents the same "party in power" just under slightly different sauce (Bush vs. Kerry), This way the whole idea of elections is perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Additional methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Here are six more characteristics found in Umberto Eco's "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt," from New York Review of Books, 22 June 1995, pp.12-15.

  1. Neofascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view -- one follows the decisions of the majority. For neofascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People. Because of its qualitative populism, neofascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell neofascism.

  2. Neofascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of neofascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show. [When fascism is employed in a society with democratic traditions, one strand of Newspeak is to use the traditional words, like "freedom," but to give them new meaning. This strategy is also employed when new programs are initiated. --Politex]

  3. Disagreement is treason. [As opposed to neofascism,] the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For neofascism, disagreement is treason. neofascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus neofascism is racist by definition.

  4. Skilled manipulation of social frustration. neofascism derives its power from individual social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

  5. Life is permanent warfare. For neofascism life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.

  6. Cult of personality. [The neofascist leader presents himself as a hero, a strong man. As such, his image is ubiquitous in the media, and is often photographed in costume in conjunction with images or people that represent the fascist characteristics noted above. --Politex] Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the neofascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since for such people sex is a difficult game to play, the neofascist hero tends to play with weapons -- doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.

Rise of neofascism in Eastern and Western Europe

Both Eastern and Western Europe are experiencing a new and important cultural and political development: the appearance of a new breed, new generation, of far right, extremist movements. These are some indications of the emergence of a new, emerging political forces in Europe which emerged as a reaction to neoliberalism with its dominance of globalized banking. That lead to paradoxical situation when many of Le Pen's votes come from former Red strongholds. In other word like in 20th and 30th the working class is, for very understandable reasons, is turning to nationalism as an antidote to casino capitalism enforced by the USA. So the USA neoliberal empire is the main precondition for resurgence As Slavoj Žižek noted:

The Ukrainian nationalist right is one instance of what is going on today from the Balkans to Scandinavia, from the US to Israel, from central Africa to India: ethnic and religious passions are exploding, and Enlightenment values receding.

These passions have always been there, lurking; what’s new is the outright shamelessness of their display.

... ... ...

One of the signs of this regression is a request often heard on the new European right for a more "balanced" view of the two "extremisms", the right and the left. We are repeatedly told that one should treat the extreme left (communism) the same way that Europe after the second world war treated the extreme right (the defeated fascists)

But in reality there is no balance here: the equation of fascism and communism secretly privileges fascism. Thus the right are heard to argue that fascism copied communism: before becoming a fascist, Mussolini was a socialist; Hitler, too, was a National Socialist; concentration camps and genocidal violence were features of the Soviet Union a decade before Nazis resorted to them; the annihilation of the Jews has a clear precedent in the annihilation of the class enemy, etc.

The point of these arguments is to assert that a moderate fascism was a justified response to the communist threat (a point made long ago by Ernst Nolte in his defence of Heidegger’s involvement with Nazism). In Slovenia, the right is advocating the rehabilitation of the anti-communist Home Guard which fought the partisans during the second world war: they made the difficult choice to collaborate with the Nazis in order to thwart the much greater evil of communism.

Among other condition that favor resurgence of such groups we can name such features of neoliberal regimes, what now dominate the continent as demographic pressures from immigrant labor, social dislocation due to dismantling of social security state, and economic pressures inherent in "dog eat dog" capitalism and outsourcing to lower wage countries advocated by neoliberalism. In many ways neoliberalism represents a perfect environment for nurturing neofascist movements.

Those pressures are very similar to pressures which used to exist in 20th and 30th of the last century. As before they stimulate the formation of a new generation of far right movements whose motives and characteristics while somewhat differ from the right wing groups of the early twentieth century what came to power in Italy, Germany and Spain are still driven by the same resentment of middle class and "Lumpenbourgeoisie". They use the same ideas of dominance of particular ethnic group. scapegoat in form of another ethnic group, glorification of state, using violence against opponents, limitations on civil rights in the name of giving the state more power to protect the populace from "destructive elements" within the society and external aggressors. Fall of "fist generation" fascist regimes did not destroy the movement which acquired strong roots in neoliberal societies across the globe.

They are different from classic far right nationalist of the past that the criteria of belonging is no longer ethnicity per se (although some elements, for example anti-Semitism and Russophobia, of this remained) but "cultural affiliation" and first of all the language. In other words they are not fascists, they are neofascists. But in Ukraine they are not only alive, they are particularly well. Ukraine is the first European state where element of neofascist Party were included in the government after putsch of February 22.

All that means that the huge rise of Ukrainian far right forces is not a unique and isolated phenomenon. Far right organizations that first crystallized around football ultras and skinheads are European-wide phenomenon. See for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG-2HdFdvkY

This process also includes Russia although level of suppression of nationalism and especially neofascism in Russia is probably one of the highest among European countries.

And it goes without saying that all major EU counties experience dramatic rise of far right forces too. That includes Germany, France, Sweden as well as usual suspects Hungary, Poland and Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). The whole story of the EU since the Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Euro was about neoliberal conversion similar to the USA conversion. And this conversion destroyed standards of living of lower middle class, especially small merchants, across southern Europe. Now the Southern Europe have had enough and are going to send nationalists to the European Parliament (The Guardian, May 14, 2014):

In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and anti-Semitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and antisemitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.

This new wave of nationalism is different then the previous wave which arose in the beginning of XX century and which led to establishment of "classic" fascist regimes. It can be called "cultural nationalism" where not ethnicity, but cultural identity was put in the center of the nationalistic doctrine.

For "cultural nationalism" a common identity is based more on acceptance for the language and the culture than on the racial solidarity (although it dies not exclude xenophobia). Due to the power of the USA and general alliance with the West, fewer of this movements and parties are openly anti-Semitic and if they are anti-Semitic then the stress is on refusal of Jews to accept the national culture, the charge similar to the change of "country less cosmopolitans" trials in the USSR in late 40th of the last century.

Ukrainian fascists love the Russia-hammering NATO, but detest the Russia-accommodating and supra-nationalistic EU.

And they aren’t alone. Fascism — and anti-EU sentiment — pervade parts of Europe that never felt Stalin’s wrath. In the last elections for the European Parliament, "eurosceptics” and xenophobic ultra-nationalists scored significant gains, led by Marine Le Pen, whose National Front took 25% of the French seats.

A lot of it has to do with the equivocal track record of globalized neo-liberal capitalism in the last decade. We’re all Pikettyists now, and it seems that among the most important outcomes of neo-liberalism are income inequality and oligarchs.

It is anathema to liberal democrats, but it should be acknowledged that fascism is catching on, largely as a result of a growing perception that neo-liberalism and globalization are failing to deliver the economic and social goods to a lot of people.

Democracy is seen as the plaything of oligarchs who manipulate the current system to secure and expand their wealth and power; liberal constitutions with their guarantees of minority rights appear to be recipes for national impotence. Transnational free markets in capital and goods breed local austerity, unemployment, and poverty. Democratic governments seem to follow the free market playbook, get into problems they can’t handle, and surrender their sovereignty to committees of Euro-financiers.

Fascism, with its exaltation of the particular, the emotional, and the undemocratic provides an impregnable ideological and political bulwark against these outside forces.

Fascism has become an important element in the politics of resistance: a force that obstructs imposition of the norms of globalization, and an ideology that justifies the protection of local interests against the demands of liberal democracy, transnational capital, and property and minority rights.

Maybe it’s neo-liberalism, not fascism, that is facing a crisis of legitimacy and acceptance.

So the idea that fascism can be treated as a delusional artifact of the 20th century and the challenge of fascism to the neo-liberal order can be ignored is, itself, wishful thinking.

... ... ...

For some, resentment will, inevitably, congeal around nationalism and the perception that fascist resistance, defiantly militant, uncompromising, and irrational, racial and undemocratic, exclusionary and brutal, is the best instrument to achieve local identity and agency—power– in an ever bigger, more dangerous, and less responsive continental order.

New nationalist movements and far right groups widely use Internet and have well established Web presence including such social sited as Facebook and Google++. They also establish cross-border links with similar parties. For example Ukrainian far-right group have links not only with Germany far right (which is natural for them), but paradoxically also with Polish far-right with which they theoretically should be bitter enemies and sometimes even with Russian neo-liberals (several of them visited EuroMaidan in "support missions") and far-right groups (despite the fact that Russian culture and by extension people are official cultural enemy of Ukrainian nationalism)

Strong support by the government and big business

The story of 20th and 30th repeats again. Far right groups are nurtured by both government and part of the big business as the most adequate response to the challenging and poorly controlled political situation at home.  That happened, for example, in Ukraine under Yanukovich who essentially nurtured his own demise. As Helena Smith reported about Greece (The Observer, [Jun 09, 2014):

It has been a bad week for democracy in Athens. All around this great Greek city, the politics of hate now lurk. On Friday I got a taste of it in the tiny Italian-style cafe I frequent off Syntagma Square.

It arrived in the form of two middle-aged men, both supporters of the neofascist Golden Dawn – and, by their own account, the holders of university degrees, well-travelled and well-informed. Over espressos, they began to engage in an animated discussion about all that is wrong with Greece.

The first, a self-described businessman decked out in designer suit, brogues and silk tie, blamed the country's economic collapse on malfeasance, corruption and uncontrolled immigration. "The only way to teach our filthy politicians is to bring in Golden Dawn," he trilled, his eyes locked in a fierce glare. "These gentlemen are patriots, proud Greek nationalists, and they know how to deal with the scum, the foreigners who never pay taxes, who steal our jobs, who have taken over our streets."

What makes Ukrainian experience more interesting is the Ukrainian far right forces are classic case of forces brought to the front stage and openly supported by the neoliberal government. They were covertly supported by all Ukrainian governments, but, especially, by pro-US "democratic" Yushchenko regime, since 1991 as a way to create "Ukrainian national identity". This is when they got open state support and Yushchenko even dared to bestow the title of hero of Ukraine to the leader of Ukrainian nationalists in WWII Stepan Bandera, who is guilty of serious crimes such an ethnic cleansing against Polish citizens and Jews.

Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology.

But paradoxically it was not Yushchenko, but Yanukovich regime and his financial and logistical support which essentially launch Svoboda into mainstream. As CounterPunch noted (The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism):

Ukrainian nationalists turned largely toward fascism, specifically toward a concept of "integral nationalism” that, in the absence of an acceptable national government, manifested itself in a national will residing in the spirit of its adherents, not expressed by the state or restrained by its laws, but embodied by a charismatic leader and exercised through his organization, whose legitimacy supersedes that of the state and whose commitment to violence makes it a law unto itself.

That leader, at least for many Ukrainians of the fascist persuasion, was Stepan Bandera. The organization, his OUN-B faction.

This state of affairs persists in today’s successor to the OUN-B, Pravy Sektor, with its fascist trappings, leader cult, and paramilitary arm. The "mainstreaming” of the second major fascist grouping, Svoboda, looks more like a strategic repackaging in order to strive for greater electoral success by hiding its fascist antecedents.

So, unfortunately for apologists for the current Kyiv regime, the correct description of these two groups is not "nationalist” or "ultranationalist”; it is "fascist”.

Fatally, the Ukrainian government has turned to fascist nationalism and heroes in order to forge a post-Soviet, essentially Ukrainian, identity for the post-1991 state

Narcissism of small differences

Paradoxically, part of Ukrainian far right groups, at least superficially, are pro-EU. It is less paradoxical then it sounds is we assume that the cultural affinity is the key to the new nationalism. Ukrainian nationalists cultural identity is based on strong, fanatic rejection of all things Russian demonstrating a perfect example of Narcissism of small differences -- the tendency to exaggerate the dissimilarities of those who resemble us in an effort to buttress our own self-regard...

An excellent discussion of why this is the case and why they are nurtured by the US government was provided in the article Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection from The Polemicist blog (March 19, 2014). I recommend to read this excellent analysis in full, but here is a (large) relevant quote:

To pretend that the ex-post-facto parliamentary maneuvers that ratified the result of this insurrection actually confer some kind of retroactive constitutional legitimacy on it is ludicrous. As Nicolai Petro points out, these actions were taken by "a Parliament that rules without any representation from the majority party – since most of the deputies of the east and the south of the country are afraid to set foot in Parliament… [and] all across the country, headquarters of parties are being sacked by their opponents,” by a parliament that outlawed the only effective remaining opposition party (the Communists) and that "consolidate[ed] the powers of the speaker of the Parliament and the acting president in a single individual, giving him greater powers than allowed under any Ukrainian constitution,” in a context where "Vigilante militias routinely attack and disperse public gatherings they disapprove of.”25 Please, let’s recognize these parliamentary acts as what they are – the ratification of an insurrection, in defiance of the extant constitutional order. Call them the first steps in a new, post-insurrection constitutional order if you want, but recognize the radical break they represent.

And why not call this what it is? Isn’t that what revolutionary change is all about – a radical break with the old order? To reprise what I said in a previous post on Egypt: An electoral process can be a thin facade of democracy and, effectively, a tool of disempowerment, justifying militant extra-electoral politics, or even insurrection. A serious revolutionary conjuncture, a real break into a new social order, usually involves both. It’s an unapologetic, forceful, seizure of power that seeks to be definitive and irreversible. (Of course, not every insurrection is a revolution, or even a step forward, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.)

As someone who accepts the revolutionary socialist argument, I do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se. And guess what? All the self-proclaimed liberal, conservative, moderate, non-violent, constitutional, parliamentary democratic thinkers, politicians and commentators who are proudly and loudly supporting what happened in Ukraine also do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se – they just don’t want to admit it. Like me, they will support an insurrection, depending on what it’s about. Unlike me, they will pretend it wasn’t really an insurrection at all, just another, maybe somewhat "messy,” but fundamentally non-violent, constitutionally-authorized transition within the rules of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. And that’s because, as the man said: We wouldn’t permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause.

It’s quite amusing, until it gets sickening, to watch American leaders—who cling to the notion that a thin, corrupt, disempowering electoral process legitimizes them — embrace the forceful overthrow of a democratically-elected leader in a functioning parliamentary democracy while insisting they are doing no such thing.

Let’s recognize that virtually nobody really supports or opposes what happened in Ukraine, or anywhere else, because it was an insurrection, but because of what kind of insurrection it was – what it’s explicit and implicit socio-political objective was, what different kind of society and polity it was moving toward creating. And let’s recognize that the US would denounce, and help to crush, any insurrection, no matter how popular or righteous the cause, in which leftist forces played anything close to the prominent fighting role that right-wing, neofascist forced played in this one. If revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists had been the vanguard of the Maidan, Yanukovych would have been America’s "democratic” hero.

As for "democracy” (along with "nonviolent,” one of the most dishonestly abused words in the American political vocabulary), it certainly does not just mean having an election. It means power to the people. Neither Ukrainian oligarchs, nor the EU-IMF neo-liberal "technocrats,” nor the American government, nor NATO, want that. They have too much to lose.

It was a right-wing, imperialist insurrection, powered by fascist groups and permeated with fascist ideology.

The overthrow of Yanukovych was an insurrection accomplished by a political movement that was driven by popular socio-economic discontent and thoroughly imbued by "ultranationalist”—i.e., neofascist—ideology.

It was decidedly not a revolution, in the strong sense of the word. A revolutionary insurrection marks the beginning of a change in the social order. This movement did not, will not, and, given its foundations, could not, establish a popular government that will create anything like more widespread prosperity and deeper democracy, let alone a new social order.

It was a regime change, fuelled by popular discontent, powered by neofascist militants, and surreptitiously managed by American intelligence diplomats, with Ukrainian oligarchs maneuvering for ultimate control behind the scenes—factions that have different, sometimes internally contradictory, agendas. It will create a government that will be controlled by and benefit some Ukrainian oligarchs at the expense of others, that will benefit European and American capitalism at the (acknowledged, indeed promised!) cost of austerity and immiseration for Ukrainian working people, and that will benefit American and NATO plans for an ever-tightening military encirclement of Russia at the expense of possible war and perpetual tension for Ukraine.

The only possibility for a more serious, "revolutionary” break from neo-liberal standards of oligarchic-imperial rule in the near future would come from the neofascist groups, who indeed imagine themselves to have a radically different agenda. But guess what? Faced with any popular uprising against its policies, from the right or the left, the new neo-liberal, Euro-facing, Russia-hating, America-loving, Ukrainian government, and its international supporters, will trot out the bourgeois democratic principles that its leaders, of course, never really contravened, and insist, Berkut (by any other name) and all: We won’t permit that in our democratic, European capital, no matter how righteous the cause.

Is there anybody who honestly doubts any of this?

Brendan O’Neill makes the point quite nicely:

For what we have in Ukraine is not revolution, but regime change …As for the word ‘revolution’ … its deployment in Ukraine takes its bastardisation to a new low: there has of course been no replacement of one social order by another in Ukraine, or even the installment of a people’s government; instead various long-established parties in parliament, some of which are deeply unpopular among certain constituencies in Ukraine, are forming an interim government. Revolutionary? Hardly.

The Western debate and coverage … has certainly made externally generated regime change seem revolutionary, and the Western-assisted anti-democratic removal of an elected leader seem like an act of people’s democracy. It has exposed a severe dearth of independent critical thinking among the Western commentariat. …

The truth of what has happened in Ukraine is this: the EU and Washington have effectively brought about regime change, replacing an elected pro-Russian regime with an unelected, still-being-formed new government that is more amenable to the institutions of the West.26

Regarding the "fascism” question, Max Blumenthal’s Alternet piece, and Per Anders Rudling’s detailed scholarly study are indispensable sources. Rudling understates considerably, when he says: "The far-right tradition is particularly strong in western Ukraine.” The fascist currents in the Kiev movement are undeniable. They are represented in the parliament by the Svoboda (Freedom) Party (originally called the Social National Party). In December, 2012, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda for its "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views,” and urged other Ukrainian parties "not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”27

As Blumenthal notes, Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, defines his mission as freeing his country from the "Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” His deputy, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn founded a think tank named after a historical figure he admires greatly: The Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center. Svoboda’s – and, unfortunately, much of western Ukraine’s – "nationalism” is embodied in the revered figure of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian (OUN), which helped to form a Ukrainian division of the Waffen SS to fight with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. From 1942-1944, Yaroslav Stetsko, the "Prime Minister” of ONU-B (Bandera’s wing), who supported "bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine,” oversaw the killing of "more than 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews” in western Ukraine. Banderists in Lvov circulated a pamphlet telling the city’s Jews: "We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet.”28

After the war, Bandera’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) continued its fascist campaign for "a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe,” engaging in a futile armed struggle against the Soviet Union, until KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959. Nothing "neo” about this Nazi.

Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology. He "tasked a set of nationalistically minded historians” into "disseminating a sanitized, edifyingly patriotic version of the history of the ‘Ukrainian national liberation movement,’ the leaders of which were presented in iconographic form as heroic and saintly figures, martyrs of the nation.”

Thus, in 2010, against the protestation of the European Parliament—which he accused of having a "historical complex” — Yushchenko awarded Stepan Bandera the title of "Hero of Ukraine."29 As Rudling notes: "There was little protest from intellectuals who identify themselves as liberals.” It was the government of big, bad Yanukovych that later annulled the award.

And thus, still satisfied by their political research, Svoboda led a 15,000-person march in honor of Bandera in Kiev on January 1st of this year, with chants of "Ukraine above all” and "Bandera, come and bring order!” 30

Now, as a result of the insurrection, Svoboda, which won about 10% of the vote in the last election, has effectively muscled the much larger (34% of the last vote) Party of the Regions out of parliament, and seeks nationally to outlaw it and the Communist Party (13% of the vote), whose leader’s house was burned down. With the help of its Right Sector allies, these parties have already been banned in a number of regions. Svoboda now holds "key leadership positions in the parliament and law enforcement, four ministerial portfolios in the new government [including Prosecutor General and Deputy Prime Minister] and several appointed governorships.” Svoboda’s co-founder, Andriy Parubiy, is head of the National Security & Defense Council of the new, democratic, government of Ukraine.31

So, fourteen months after denouncing Svoboda for its "racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” European governments are gushing over the new "democracy” in Ukraine over which Svoboda presides. And, as the BBC reports: "Inside the columned central hall of Kiev's city council, an activist base of operations, hung a giant banner with a Celtic cross, a symbol of ‘white power,’ and an American confederate flag….and an immense portrait of Stepan Bandera.”32

Keep in mind, too, Rudling’s point that the whole Banderist "national liberation” narrative "was well received in western Ukraine but was received coldly or met open hostility in the eastern and southern parts of the country.”

As Svoboda represents fascism in the parliament, Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) represented fascism in the maidan, and continues to do so with its intimidating tactics in the streets and administrative offices of Kiev and the regions, as well as from its new positions in government. Right Sector is a confederation of far-right groups such as Patriots of Ukraine, the Social-National Assembly, White Hammer, Stepan Bandera’s Trident, and the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO). Their favorite ensign is the wolfsangel--a favorite, too, of the Waffen SS--which was on display all over the maidan:

As Ukrainian journalist Oleg Shynkarenko points out, Right Sector leader, Dmytro Yarosh defines the group's creed thusly: "We are against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, but we support traditional morals and family values, against the cult of profit and depravity.” Right Sector’s websites rail against the "liberal homodictatorship” of modern Western society.33 Blumenthal points out that Right Sector is: "linked to a constellation of international neofascist parties,” and "through the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN), Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on ‘a great European Reconquest’.” In some ways, the neofascist right does want power to the people—just the morally and ethnically pure people.

BBC did a decent report on the "Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine.” Again, maybe not so "neo.” The reporter, Gabriel Gatehouse, interviews Svoboda and Right Sector militants, meets a group called C14 (apparently an armed wing of Svoboda) under a portrait of Lenin in the Communist Party headquarters they had taken over, and shows two Svoboda MPs displaying "14” and "88” tokens. These numbers, which are often displayed in combination, and which appeared in graffiti throughout the maidan, have special fascist significance: "14” stands for from the Fourteen Words coined by an American white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children” (there’s an alternate version, about "the White Aryan woman”); "88” represents a double of the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet, HH, for Heil Hitler. [I cannot make this stuff up.]

Yes, it depends what you’re fighting for.

My favorite is this 2½-minute tidbit from a young Right Sector gentleman, explaining the group’s, and his, affinity for "National Socialist themes,” and assuring his interviewer that they want a society that’s just "a little bit like” that "under Hitler”:

"http://www.youtube.com/embed/5SBo0akeDMY

The leader of the Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, is now the deputy head of the National Security Council, and is running for President, of Ukraine’s new, democratic, government.

You might also take a look at this video, where Right Sector leader Aleksandr Muzychko roughs up a local prosecutor to show him who’s the boss now, and threatens to have him lynched: "Shut the fuck up, you bitch! Your fucking time is over… If you think I am goodie because I’ve come without my rifle, you are gravely mistaken. I’ve come with a pistol. There are a few choice videos of Muzychko, who is also identified as a member of the "Wiking" unit of the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), another post-Banderist right-wing paramilitary group.

So there’s no question that fascists were part of the insurrection, and there is no question that they were crucial to its success. As Oleg Shynkarenko insists, the scenes of fighting resistance and advance were led by Right Sector and allied groups:

[I]t was the far right that first started to talk back to Yanukovych in his own language. They were the first to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at police and to mount real and well-fortified barricades. They were amongst those who burned two military troop carriers that attacked the barricades on February 18. The Euromaidan won thanks to the resoluteness of people who were ready to fight rather than to negotiate in parliament when any negotiation became pointless.
Nicolai Petro agrees, and points out the political ramifications:
I ascribe a much greater role to the Right Sector…the spearhead of the revolution. … [T]he actual coup was accomplished thanks to the armed intervention of extreme nationalists, led by the Right Sector. And the fact that they were so instrumental in accomplishing this change of power has put them in the driver’s seat. From now on, whatever political decisions are arrived at will really be at the sufferance of the Right Sector.
Let’s be clear, also, that these neofascist groups not only fought and defeated Yanokovych’s police, they attacked and drove away any political group from the left that tried to establish a presence in the maidan. The fascists made sure they controlled the radical politics of the square. Sascha, a member of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, recounts in an interview published in mid-February:
A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.34
And Mira, of the same group, adds:
One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!...
Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.
Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.
Ilya Budraitskis, a Russian Socialist who came to the maidan in January, tells us how the "ultranationalists” brutalized and evicted everyone from leftish Europhiles to anarchists:
Another part of the left repetitively tried to join the movement, even after they were repetitively kicked out of it. Some of the "euro-enthusiastic” leftists came to Maidan in November with red (instead of blue) flag of the EU, with banners for free healthcare and education, and with feminist slogans. They were brutally attacked by Nazis. Then there was an episode when the far-right attacked the tent of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine near the Maidan. A man on the stage said that there were some "provocateurs” and said that "men know what to do”; as a result, a mob of Nazis has broken ribs of the trade union activists, tore their tent with knives and stolen their property. The victims hadn’t been doing anything "leftist” per se, but they were members of the left movement, known to their political adversaries, and that was enough….
[T]here is also another group of people who are often confused with the radical left. …who call themselves anarchists but actually have a very conservative political agenda full of machismo and xenophobia. After the protests have begun, they shifted to the right dramatically; they reached truce with the nazi groups and showered Molotov cocktails at the police together. Eventually, they parted ways with left movement finally.
A week ago they, together with some actual leftists who wanted to "act”, decided to form an "anarchist sotnia [defense unit]” in the Maidan self-defence. In order to do that, they were prepared to give an oath to [Svoboda leader] Andriy Parubiy. But when they formed their ranks to do this, they were met by approximately 150 Svoboda fighters with baseball bats and axes. The fascists accused them of being racially impure and politically irrelevant and forced them out of Maidan.35
So much for Professor Snyder’s agora.

Of course, the great majority of the people in the square are not fascists, but, for all the reasons of history and ideology discussed above, a lot of people in western Ukraine are susceptible to their charms. As Denis, from Kiev Autonomous Workers Union says: "[I]n the long run the rightist political hegemony is being reinforced,” because "That’s what happens when you don’t have a developed left movement and your liberals are too corrupt and ugly!” Here’s how he describes the rightward political momentum on the maidan:

[Far right] ideology has really become more acceptable in the mainstream (which had initially been leaning to the right!). ... Of course, most protesters really say they want political pluralism, bourgeois democracy. … But at the same time the crowd at the Maidan revives some deeply buried pre-modern, medieval social practices like whipping post, lynching, reinforced traditional gender roles. This scary readiness to slip into barbarism is born from the general disenchantment with parliamentary politics and the ubiquitous nationalist mythology about the golden past, imposed in schools and media.
The original Euromaidan agenda in November was a right liberal one, standing for the EU, "economic liberties” and bourgeois democracy. But even then the issues of multiculturalism, LGBT rights, workers’ rights and freedoms were severely repressed by the politically conscious far-right activists … [whose] political programme had always included critique of the EU’s "liberal fascism”. … The attackers didn’t represent the majority of protesters, but the majority was very susceptible to their political agenda which they had been aggressively pushing through…
[P]eople are new to politics, they just "know” they are rightists and nationalists. And therefore they trust the more politically experienced leaders to express their views and formulate their programme for them. It just so happens that those leaders are nationalists or even Nazis. And they shift the centre of the political discourse even further to the right.
But, first of all, their ideas are welcome among the apolitical crowd; second of all, they are very well organized, and also people love their "radicalism”. An average Ukrainian worker hates the police and the government but he will never fight them openly and risk his comfort. So he or she welcomes a "vanguard” which is ready to fight on their behalf; especially if that vanguard shares "good” patriotic values….And since the basic "common sense” had long ago been established on the nationalist fundamental assumptions, the radicalization goes only further in that direction.36
As we all know, fascists don’t have to be a majority to determine outcomes, and their power to do so can increase very quickly under favorable conditions. Perhaps the most telling, and disturbing remark of the leftists cited in these interviews was this, from Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a couple of weeks before the head of Right Sector became deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council: "If Pravy [Right Sector] has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.”

Oh, yes they are. Consider the stunning turn of events we have just witnessed: "the ascension of a genuinely fascist mass movement into the corridors of power” in a European country for the first time since WWII, greeted with a stunning non-chalance—nay, embraced as an exemplar of democracy—by the Western liberal democracies. University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski specifies: "The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions,” and "The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe.”37

Then imagine, please, Professor Katchanovski’s last sentence with "left” substituted for "right,” and consider how unthinkable it is that any American government would be so welcoming of such a "democratic” outcome. The United States and its allied liberal democracies are, in other words, willing to accommodate very hard swings to the right in order to secure and/or extend the neo-liberal capitalist, and US/NATO imperialist, order, but will abide not an inch of movement toward resistance from the left—no matter how righteous or democratic the cause.

Intelligence agencies as pro-fascist organizations

Intelligence agencies represent now a distinct and powerful political force with employees of those agencies as a surrogate of the authoritarian party that brought to power such leaders as Mussolini. And top brass as the leadership of the this quasi-party.  In a way the tremendous growth of intelligences agencies creates state within the state and makes possible neofascism without mass political party.  Professor Stephen Cohen aptly noted this newfound role of intelligence agencies in determining the results of the USA elections as well as the USA foreign policy in his article in Nation (US Congress has no Russian policy other than sanctions)

Oct 17, 2018

Inconvenient thoughts on Cold War and other news. Intelligence agencies,

Nikki Haley, sanctions, and public opinion. 1. National intelligence agencies have long played major roles, often not entirely visible, in international politics. They are doing so again today, as is evident in several countries, from Russiagate in the United States and the murky Skripal assassination attempt in the UK to the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Leaving aside what President Obama knew about Russiagate allegations against Donald Trump and when he knew it, the question arises as to whether these operations were ordered by President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) or were " rogue " operations unknown in advance by the leaders and perhaps even directed against them.

There have been plenty of purely criminal and commercial " rogue " operations by intelligence agents in history, but also " rogue " ones that were purposefully political. We know, for example, that both Soviet and US intelligence agencies - or groups of agents - tried to disrupt the Eisenhower-Khrushchev détente of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and that some intelligence players tried to stop Khrushchev's formal recognition of West Germany, also in the early 1960s.

It is reasonable to ask, therefore, whether the attacks on Skripal and Khashoggi were " rogue " operations undertaken by political opponents of the leaders' policies at home or abroad, with the help of one or another intelligence agency or agents. Motive is a - perhaps the - crucial question. Why would Putin order such an operation in the UK at the very moment when his government had undertaken a major Western public-relations campaign in connection with the upcoming World Cup championship in Russia? And why would MbS risk a Khashoggi scandal as he was assiduously promoting his image abroad as an enlightened reform-minded Saudi leader?

Growth of censorship ad the level of control of MSM are another  two signs of growing influence of intelligence agencies  in political life of many countries and first of all the USA (Article Globalist Traitors Seek to Delete History--Who Are the Real Fascists OpEdNews )

We're living in a moment where we are seeing people adopting what used to be denounced as fascist policies--the shutting down of free speech, the destruction of opposition voices--and the people who are doing it are arguing that the president is a supporter of fascism. It is Orwellian...

--Harley Schlanger

... ... ...

Through the Foreign Intelligence Court (FISC), and a reciprocal intelligence-sharing partnership among the nations of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. called the "Five Eyes," the Obama administration manufactured, altered and misrepresented various pieces of evidence in an attempt to justify conducting surveillance on certain individual Americans. The Obama administration--in conjunction with the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and, yes, the CIA--employed the same process that is used to spy on foreigners deemed to be severe terror threats to America against American citizens... specifically, in this case, political opponents vying against the Clinton-Obama globalist cabal.


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Fascism is a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline. [...]

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Robert Paxton

[Feb 18, 2019] Do You Believe in the Deep State Now by Robert W. Merry

Highly recommended!
Feb 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

That's a natural reaction to the revelation of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy FBI director, that top Justice Department officials, alarmed by Donald Trump's firing of former Bureau director James Comey, explored a plan to invoke the 25th Amendment and kick the duly elected president out of office.

According to New York Times reporters Adam Goldman and Matthew Haag, McCabe made the statement in an NBC 60 Minutes interview to be aired on Sunday. He also reportedly said that McCabe wanted the so-called Russia collusion investigation to go after Trump for obstructing justice in firing Comey and for any instances they could turn up of his working in behalf of Russia.

The idea of invoking the 25th Amendment was discussed, it seems, at two meetings on May 16, 2017. According to McCabe, top law enforcement officials pondered how they might recruit Vice President Pence and a majority of cabinet members to declare in writing, to the Senate's president pro tempore and the House speaker, that the president was "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." That would be enough, under the 25th Amendment, to install the vice president as acting president, pushing aside Trump.

But to understand what kind of constitutional crisis this would unleash and the precedent it would set, it's necessary to ponder the rest of this section of the 25th Amendment. The text prescribes that, if the president, after being removed, transmits to the same congressional figures that he is indeed capable of discharging his duties, he shall once again be president after four days. But if the vice president and the cabinet majority reiterate their declaration within those four days that the guy can't govern, Congress is charged with deciding the issue. It then takes a two-thirds vote of both houses to keep the president removed, which would have to be done within 21 days, during which time the elected president would be sidelined and the vice president would govern. If Congress can't muster the two-thirds majority within the prescribed time period, the president "shall resume the powers and duties of his office."

It's almost impossible to contemplate the political conflagration that would ensue under this plan. Citizens would watch those in Washington struggle with the monumental question of the fate of their elected leader under an initiative that had never before been invoked, or even considered, in such circumstances. Debates would flare up over whether this comported with the original intent of the amendment; whether it was crafted to deal with physical or mental "incapacitation," as opposed to controversial actions or unsubstantiated allegations or even erratic decision making; whether such an action, if established as precedent, would destabilize the American republic for all time; and whether unelected bureaucrats should arrogate to themselves the power to set in motion the downfall of a president, circumventing the impeachment language of the Constitution.

For the past two years, the country has been struggling to understand the two competing narratives of the criminal investigation of the president.

One narrative -- let's call it Narrative A -- has it that honorable and dedicated federal law enforcement officials developed concerns over a tainted election in which nefarious Russian agents had sought to tilt the balloting towards the candidate who wanted to improve U.S.-Russian relations and who seemed generally unseemly. Thus did the notion emerge, quite understandably, that Trump had "colluded" with Russian officials to cadge a victory that otherwise would have gone to his opponent. This narrative is supported and protected by Democratic figures and organizations, by adherents of the "Russia as Threat" preoccupation, and by anti-Trumpers everywhere, particularly news outlets such as CNN, The Washington Post , and The New York Times .

Trump, the FBI, and the Final Debasement of American Politics Unlike Nixon, Trump Will Not Go Quietly

The other view -- Narrative B -- posits that certain bureaucratic mandarins of the national security state and the outgoing Obama administration resolved early on to thwart Trump's candidacy. After his election, they determined to undermine his political standing, and particularly his proposed policy toward Russia, through a relentless and expansive investigation characterized by initial misrepresentations, selective media leaks, brutal law enforcement tactics, and a barrage of innuendo. This is the narrative of most Trump supporters, conservative commentators, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, notably columnist Kimberley Strassel.

The McCabe revelation won't affect the battle of the two narratives. As ominous and outrageous as this "deep state" behavior may seem to those who embrace Narrative B, it will be seen by Narrative A adherents as evidence that those law enforcement officials were out there heroically on the front lines protecting the republic from Donald J. Trump.

And those Narrative A folks won't have any difficulty tossing aside the fact that McCabe was fired as deputy FBI director for violating agency policy in leaking unauthorized information to the news media. He then allegedly violated the law in lying about it to federal investigators on four occasions, including three times while under oath.

Indeed, Narrative A people have no difficulty at all brushing aside serious questions posed by Narrative B people. McCabe is a likely liar and perjurer? Doesn't matter. Peter Strzok, head of the FBI's counterespionage section, demonstrated his anti-Trump animus in tweets and emails to Justice official Lisa Page? Irrelevant. Christopher Steele's dossier of dirt on Trump, including an allegation that the Russians were seeking to blackmail and bribe him, was compiled by a man who had demonstrated to a Justice Department official that he was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and passionate about him not being president"? Not important. The dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party? Immaterial. Nothing in the dossier was ever substantiated? So what?

Now we have a report from a participant of those meetings that top officials of the country's premier law enforcement entity sat around and pondered how to bring down a sitting president they didn't like. The Times even says that McCabe "confirmed" an earlier report that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire in meetings with Trump to incriminate him and make him more vulnerable to the plot.

There is no suggestion in McCabe's interview pronouncements or in the words of Scott Pelley, who conducted the interview and spoke to CBS This Morning about it, that these federal officials ever took action to further the aim of unseating the president. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that they approached cabinet members or the vice president about it. "They were speculating, 'This person would be with us, this person would not be,' and they were counting noses in that effort," said Pelley. He added, apparently in response to Rosenstein's insistence that his comments about wearing a wire were meant as a joke, "This was not perceived to be a joke."

What are we to make of this? Around the time of the meetings to discuss the 25th Amendment plot, senior FBI officials also discussed initiating a national security investigation of the president as a stooge of the Russians or perhaps even a Russian agent. These talks were revealed by The New York Times and CNN in January, based on closed-door congressional testimony by former FBI general counsel James Baker. You don't have to read very carefully to see that the reporters on these stories brought to them a Narrative A sensibility. The Times headline: "F.B.I. Opened Inquiry into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia." CNN's: "Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was 'following directions' of Russia." And of course, whoever leaked those hearing transcripts almost surely did so to bolster the Narrative A version of events.

The independent journalist Gareth Porter, writing at Consortium News, offers a penetrating exposition of the inconsistencies, fallacies, and fatuities of the Narrative A matrix, as reflected in how the Times and CNN handled the stories that resulted from what were clearly self-interested leaks.

Porter notes that a particularly sinister expression in May 2017 by former CIA director John O. Brennan, a leading Trump antagonist, has precipitated echoes in the news media ever since, particularly in the Times . Asked in a committee hearing if he had intelligence indicating that anyone in the Trump campaign was "colluding with Moscow," Brennan dodged the question. He said his experience had taught him that "the Russians try to suborn individuals, and they try to get them to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly."

Of course you can't collude with anybody unwittingly. But Brennan's fancy expression has the effect of expanding what can be thrown at political adversaries, to include not just conscious and nefarious collaboration but also policy advocacy that could be viewed as wrongheaded or injurious to U.S. interests. As Porter puts it, "The real purpose is to confer on national security officials and their media allies the power to cast suspicion on individuals on the basis of undesirable policy views of Russia rather than on any evidence of actual collaboration with the Russian government."

That seems to be what's going on here. There's no doubt that McCabe and Rosenstein and Strzok and Brennan and Page and many others despised Trump and his resolve to thaw relations with Russia. They viewed him as a president "who needed to be reined in," as a CNN report described the sentiment among top FBI officials after the Comey firing.

So they expanded the definition of collusion to include "unwitting" collaboration in order to justify their machinations. It's difficult to believe that people in such positions would take such a cavalier attitude toward the kind of damage they could wreak on the body politic.

Now we learn that they actually sat around and plotted how to distort the Constitution, just as they distorted the rules of official behavior designed to hold them in check, in order to destroy a presidential administration placed in power by the American people. It's getting more and more difficult to dismiss Narrative B.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century. MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Alternative Facts at the NYT James Polk's Realpolitik Hide 52 comments 52 Responses to Do You Believe in the Deep State Now? ← Older Comments

Ken Zaretzke February 16, 2019 at 4:57 pm

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/trump-russia-collusion-investigation-criminalization-policy-disputes/

Also very good is the blunt force trauma inflicted on the FBI in yesterday's Wall Street Journal by Kimberly Strassel.

Fran Macadam , , February 15, 2019 at 2:19 pm
You're right, it didn't change a thing in the full-throated support to depose an elected President they disagree with. The bureaucratic cabal has long had a more informal absolute veto over who can even run for President. This guy challenged that hegemony of insider power brokers, and caused the revelation that we have morphed into a Potemkin-style, managed democracy, in which we don't choose who gets to run, just which of their choices we are allowed to approve.

Such is the decadent trajectory, of republics that transition into empires, where democratic accountabilty to the governed, domestic and foreign, decays in favor of empire administrators and their elite beneficiaries and their sinecures at the expense of the majority.

People rail against Trump as some sort of would-be Caesar, but he is elected, while those permanent unaccountable "national security" czars acting in secrecy they are willing to transfer all power to, are not.

No form of popular government can survive when secret police recording everything and spying on the population become the real power.

This is a coup, in slow motion.

Kent , , February 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm
"It's difficult to believe that people in such positions would take such a cavalier attitude toward the kind of damage they could wreak on the body politic."

What we don't want to recognize is that people in such positions are, in fact, just that dumb. It is unfortunately true. While not a Trump supporter, I would be out on the streets with them if these jacka$$es had tried to pull this off. They should ALL be immediately terminated and any benefits revoked.

Kurt Gayle , , February 15, 2019 at 2:32 pm
Last night (Feb 14, 2019) Tucker Carlson interviewed retired Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz (1:04-3:36):

Carlson: "Professor, thanks very much for coming on. So now the suspicions of many are confirmed by one of the players in it. The Department of Justice discussed trying to remove the President using the 25 Amendment. What's your reaction to that?

Dershowitz: "Well, if that's true, it is clearly an attempt at a coup d'état. Relating to what your former guest said, let's take the worst case scenario: Let's assume the President of the United States was in bed with the Russians, committed treason, committed obstruction of justice -- the 25 Amendment simply is irrelevant to that. That's why you have an impeachment provision. The 25th amendment is about Woodrow Wilson having a stroke. It's about a president being shot and not being able to perform his office. It's not about the most fundamental disagreements. It's not about impeachable offenses. And any Justice Department official who even mentioned the 25th Amendment in the context of President Trump has committed a grievous offense against the Constitution. The framers of the 25th amendment had in mind something very specific. And trying to use the 25th amendment to circumvent the impeachment provisions, or to circumvent an election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power-grabbing. And you were right when you said it reminded me of what happens in third world countries. Look, these people may have been well-intentioned. They may believe that they were serving the interests of the United States. But you have to obey the law and the law is the Constitution and the 25th Amendment is as clear as could be: incapacity, unable to perform office. That's what you need. That's why you need 2/3 of the House and 2/3 of the Senate agreeing. And it has to be on the basis of a medical or psychological incapacity. Not on the basis of even the most extreme crimes -- which there is no evidence were committed -- but even if they were, that would not be basis for invoking the 25th Amendment. And I challenge any left-wing person to get on television and to defend the use of the 25th Amendment. I challenge any of my colleagues who are in the "Get Trump At Any Cost" camp to come on television and justify the use of the 25 Amendment other than for physical or psychiatric incapacity.

Carlson: I bet they're doing that right now. This is an attack on our system, I would say, not just the President. Alan Dershowitz, thank you very much.

Dershowitz: It is an attack on our system. It's an attack on the constitution. Thank you.

Carlson: Scary.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q9OlUaeiQjQ?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Bluestem , , February 15, 2019 at 2:42 pm
How many millions of dollars did Bill and Hill receive from Russians? How much of America's uranium deposits did Hillary sell to Russians during her time in the Obama administration? The New York Times informs us:

" . . . the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton's wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One's chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

"And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

"At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company's assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show."

(end of NY Times excerpt. Full story: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/24/us/cash-flowed-to-clinton-foundation-as-russians-pressed-for-control-of-uranium-company.html )

I wonder how much howling and how many allegations of "collusion" with Russia we'd be hearing if the name Clinton were removed from the NY Times article and the name Trump were inserted?

curri , , February 15, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Can't imagine why career law enforcement officials were concerned with a guy they knew to be a criminal taking over the office of the presidency.

Oh, they just knew . Maybe they just knew he wasn't an obvious reliable puppet like W and Obama.

Sid Finster , , February 15, 2019 at 3:16 pm
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/11/27/leaked-transcript-proves-russiagaters-have-been-right-all-along/

About Those Russians.

Stephen J. , , February 15, 2019 at 4:01 pm
The article states: " top officials of the country's premier law enforcement entity sat around and pondered how to bring down a sitting president they didn't like."
-- -- -- --
Which makes one wonder if "The rule of law" is becoming the rule of outlaws? When the non-elected in the justice profession appear to have their own agenda.
WorkingClass , , February 15, 2019 at 4:10 pm
Y'all Never Trump Republicans have NO future in American electoral politics.
Gerard , , February 15, 2019 at 4:22 pm
Trump is an idiot, but his enemies in the lib-Dem-media Establishment are far worse: corrupt, deceitful, arrogant, and lawless. Exhibit A is Andrew McCabe.

That's why I'll vote for the Idiot-in-Chief (again) in 2020. Because the alternative makes me vomit.

polistra , , February 15, 2019 at 4:43 pm
FBI has been destroying and paralyzing unwanted presidents forever. Lady Edgar did it far more effectively than her modern successors.
aristotle , , February 15, 2019 at 5:19 pm
"The pages of this publication drift further and further into utter insanity and despicable defense of Trump. Stand up for the values of the Constitution, or something, but not for this man who is no more than a self-enriching demagogue with no understanding of the reactionary politics he uses to delude the rubes and attract asinine threadbare pieces like this one."

Actually no. Consider me the inverse of Peter. I didn't vote for Trump due to the character weaknesses Peter describes. However, what I see is a seriously flawed man who has served the useful purpose of revealing an echo chamber of flawed and self-serving biases shared by the media and political establishment of this country. I see CNN, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and even some key leaders of our security services in a completely different light than I did two years ago. I am thankful for the clarity. I consider Merry's article to be a contribution in that direction.

Kouros , , February 15, 2019 at 5:38 pm
Cannot agree more with Fran Macadam.

On that note an interesting article by one of Mr. Putin's ideologues about Putinism and why Putinism might have more viability than the smoke and mirror exercise provided in established democracies:
https://russia-insider.com/en/vladislav-surkovs-hugely-important-new-article-about-what-putinism-full-translation/ri26259

The article admits that these bureaucracies are at times a nuisance and need to be dealt with appropriately...

Arthur Sido , , February 15, 2019 at 5:38 pm
"Peter" sez: "Can't imagine why career law enforcement officials were concerned with a guy they knew to be a criminal taking over the office of the presidency."

Weird but no one has shown any actual criminal behavior by said President. Two years later still no charges. But Peter and these "career law enforcement officials" KNEW he was a criminal. Then Peter appeals to the Constitution, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Constitution doesn't make any provisions for plotting to remove the lawfully elected President because you don't like just because you "know" he is a "criminal", in spite of any actual evidence.

JeffK , , February 15, 2019 at 5:53 pm
"After his election, they (the deep state) determined to undermine his political standing, and particularly his proposed policy toward Russia, through a relentless and expansive investigation characterized by initial misrepresentations, selective media leaks, brutal law enforcement tactics, and a barrage of innuendo. This is the narrative of most Trump supporters, conservative commentators, Fox News, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, notably columnist Kimberley Strassel."

The trouble with that is it completely ignores the ton of evidence pointing to really nefarious stuff.

Lots of times, when there's smoke, there's fire. And when the smoke is overwhelming there probably is a fire. A big one.

Sid , , February 15, 2019 at 9:19 pm
Trump has been going after the Russians since his inauguration. Therefore, those trying to remove him from office are likely the actual Russian agents. Of course they would need smoke and mirrors to hide that fact and deflect attention from themselves. It just so happens that Russian spies are trained by the FSB to accuse others of being a spy, for just this purpose. I'm looking at you, John O. (Oleg?) Brennan
Sheila , , February 15, 2019 at 11:03 pm
No matter who the President is, there is some group of people in Washington is ALWAYS trying to bring him down. Who those people are, and how large and powerful the group is, depends on a variety of factors. But a competent president manages to enact his agenda while staying one step ahead of his intriguers. Obama and GWB accomplished both, more or less because they were intelligent men of good character (though Obama was much smarter and better man than W)

While Bill Clinton's character was too low to avoid impeachment he was a smart and able administrator. Trump has both low character and low intellect so it is not surprising A. that many people want to bring him down and B. that they have been pretty effective.

Politics may be a blood sport in Washington but that's not the same as a "deep state". And Trump can't compete and win with anyone in Washington who doesn't grovel before him like the supine Senate Republicans. And that is no one's fault but his.

You wanting Trump to be a Russian agent does not make him one. It never will. Get over it. , , February 16, 2019 at 12:08 am
"If it turns out that Trump IS a Russian asset, will you apologize, Robert Merry? Because he certainly acts like one. And, as REAL Republicans used to say, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, maybe it's a duck."

@One Guy Yeah, because sending deadly aid to Ukraine is so pro-Russian. What an idiot you are!

VikingLS , , February 16, 2019 at 12:10 am
"Can't imagine why career law enforcement officials were concerned with a guy they knew to be a criminal taking over the office of the presidency. Shame on them!"

They also "knew" Martin Luther King Jr. was a Soviet agent.

Just Curiosity , , February 16, 2019 at 12:38 am
This article must have hit a nerve. Media Matters/Soros have sent out their "goons".

{BTW, isn't it amazing that Media Matters/Soros never have to worry about having any advertisers boycotted.}

{smirk}

JK , , February 16, 2019 at 3:14 am
The issue with the 25th amendment, is that the President's character flaws or mental deficiency were known and very visible before the election. Is it constitutionally proper for Congress to suspend a President for a preexisting condition that was known to and unhidden from voters? If Congress did that, it means Congress has a veto over who the public is allowed to vote in as President.
Frank LaSaracina , , February 16, 2019 at 10:19 am
Clear and convincing evidence of a silent coup by rogue IC / law enforcement community, the genesis of which was the Obama admin. Prima facie
Oleg Gark , , February 16, 2019 at 10:40 am
Forget the Covington students, Andrew McCabe and his lady co-workers have some pretty punchable faces. (Ok, I'm enough of a sexist to not punch a lady. I'd use eye-rolling and mocking gestures instead.)
tjoe , , February 16, 2019 at 11:18 am
These are the peeps that did 9.11 and took down 3 towers with 2 planes. or maybe you believe guys with box-cutters did it.
Contra1789 , , February 16, 2019 at 12:07 pm
The problem is not the existence of the deep state. It's inevitable that there will be unelected officials who will continue to shape policy regardless of who is elected President. The problem is that the deep state is blatantly working to undermine its elected leadership. If you can't in good conscience work with your President, the honorable thing to do is resign as some undoubtedly have. It's not an excuse for insubordination.

[Feb 17, 2019] The Subtle Signal That the Bull Market Could Soon End

Feb 17, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

A great predictor

What is this amazingly accurate indicator of a coming recession? The unemployment rate trend. I first came across this idea on the Philosophical Economics blog , whose author has adopted the pseudonym Jesse Livermore, in honor of the 20th-century investor.

This Livermore conducted a rigorous analysis in search of the perfect recession indicator. He evaluated several potential signals, including real retail sales growth, industrial production growth, real S&P 500 earnings-per-share growth, employment growth, real personal income growth, and housing starts growth. While some of these indicators were promising, none of them compared to the predictive ability of the unemployment rate trend.

Note that it's the unemployment rate trend that's the great predictor of a recession and not the unemployment rate itself. The unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of a recession. In other words, the rate goes up significantly only after a recession is in effect.

But before the unemployment rate moves significantly higher, the unemployment rate trend must change from downward to upward. And that's what Livermore found was a great leading indicator, or predictor, of an economic recession. This change in trend is determined by simply seeing when the latest unemployment rate is higher than the 12-month simple moving average of previous monthly unemployment rates.

So how well does this predictor work? Over the last 70 years, a change in the unemployment rate trend predicted every recession that occurred. In two cases, the recession came immediately after the change in the unemployment rate trend. In other cases, the trend changed several months in advance of the start of a recession.

The U.S. hasn't experienced an economic recession since the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. Unemployment rates remain low. However, the U.S. unemployment rate for January, which was reported in early February, moved higher than the 12-month simple moving average of previous monthly unemployment rates.

The subtle signal that has proven to be accurate at predicting the onset of a recession has flashed. And if a recession is indeed on the way, the bull market will soon end.

One drawback

Is there a catch? Yep. While the unemployment rate trend has been uncannily accurate at indicating recessions, it also sometimes provides a false signal. In other words, the trend changes but a recession doesn't occur.

This scenario happened as recently as September 2016. The unemployment rate rose above the 12-month simple moving average for previous unemployment rates for one month. A recession didn't ensue, though, and the bull market kept on trucking.

[Feb 17, 2019] Gundlach Last year's market selloff was just a 'taste of things to come' by Julia La Roche

Feb 17, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Late last year, the S&P 500 ( ^GSPC ) tumbled 20% from its Oct. 3 intraday high to its Dec. 24 intraday. And despite the market's sharp 17% rally from those lows, Bond king Jeffrey Gundlach says we're in a bear market and that we could see new lows.

"A bear market has nothing to do with this 20% arbitrary thing," Gundlach, the CEO of $121 billion DoubleLine Capital, told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive interview. "It has to do with something crazy happening first, and then the crazy thing gives it up. And yet more traditional things continue to march on. But one by one they give it up." December's dip buyers will sell at lower levels

The market has since been saved by the Fed's pivot to be "patient" on monetary policy and the subsequent rally in the bond market, all of which has kept interest rates low. For now.

"If the long end of rates starts to rise, as I expect, and if we break through 3.50% on the 30-year, I think it's over," Gundlach added. "Because the competition from the bond market, particularly against a climate of limiting one of the engines of stock price appreciation, which is buybacks , is thought to be potentially in jeopardy."

Gundlach believes that investors who bought during December's dip will likely end up selling at a lower point.

See also

[Feb 17, 2019] Trump is Russian asset memo is really neocon propaganda overkill

Highly recommended!
The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.
In neoliberal MSM there is positive feedback loop for "Trump is a Russian agent" stories. So the meme feeds on itself.
Notable quotes:
"... And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies. ..."
"... the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience. ..."
"... Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years ..."
"... Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water ..."
"... Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community . ..."
"... The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. ..."
"... The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man. ..."
Jan 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The always excellent Moon of Alabama blog has just published a sarcasm-laden piece documenting the many, many aggressive maneuvers that this administration has made against the interests of Russia, from pushing for more NATO funding to undermining Russia's natural gas interests to bombing Syria to sanctioning Russian oligarchs to dangerous military posturing.

<picture deleted>

And yet the trending, most high-profile stories about Trump today all involve painting him as a Putin puppet who is working to destroy America by taking a weak stance against an alarming geopolitical threat. This has had the effect of manufacturing demand for even more dangerous escalations against a nuclear superpower that just so happens to be a longtime target of U.S. intelligence agencies.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, there would be a lot less "Putin's puppet" talk and a lot more "Hey, maybe we should avoid senseless escalations which could end all life on earth" talk among news media consumers. But there isn't, because the mass media is not in the business of reporting facts, it's in the business of selling narratives. Even if those narratives are so shrill and stress-inducing that they imperil the health of their audience.

Like His Predecessors

Trump is clearly not a Russian asset, he's a facilitator of America's permanent unelected government just like his predecessors, and indeed as far as actual policies and administration behavior goes he's not that much different from Barack Obama and George W Bush. Hell, for all his demagogic anti-immigrant speech Trump hasn't even caught up to Obama's peak ICE deportation years.

If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration's actual behavior, he's just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.

Used to be that the U.S. mass media only killed people indirectly, by facilitating establishment war agendas in repeating government agency propaganda as objective fact and promulgating narratives that manufacture support for a status quo which won't even give Americans health insurance or safe drinking water.

Now they're skipping the middle man and killing them directly by psychologically brutalizing them so aggressively that it ruins their health, all to ensure that Democrats support war and adore the U.S. intelligence community .

They do this for a reason, of course. The Yellow Vests protests in France have continued unabated for their ninth consecutive week , a decentralized populist uprising resulting from ordinary French citizens losing trust in their institutions and the official narratives which uphold them.

The social engineers responsible for controlling the populace of the greatest military power on the planet are watching France closely, and understand deeply what is at stake should they fail to control the narrative and herd ordinary Americans into supporting U.S. government institutions. Right now they've got Republicans cheering on the White House and Democrats cheering on the U.S. intelligence community, but that could all change should something happen which causes them to lose control over the thoughts that Americans think about their rulers.

Propaganda is the single most-overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of human society. The ability of those in power to manipulate the ways ordinary people think, act and vote has allowed for an inverted totalitarianism which turns the citizenry into their own prison wardens, allowing those with real power to continue doing as they please unhindered by the interests of the common man.

The only thing that will lead to real change is the people losing trust in corrupt institutions and rising like lions against them. That gets increasingly likely as those institutions lose control of the narrative, and with trust in the mass media at an all-time low, populist uprisings restoring power to the people in France, and media corporations acting increasingly weird and insecure , that looks more and more likely by the day.

[Feb 15, 2019] CAPE Fear The Bulls Are Wrong. Shiller's Measure Is the Real Deal

Notable quotes:
"... The CAPE aims to correct for those distortions. It smooths the denominator by using not current profits, but a ten-year average, of S&P 500 earnings-per-share, adjusted for inflation. Today, the CAPE for the 500 reads 29.7. It's only been that high in two previous periods: Before the crash of 1929, and during the tech bubble from 1998 to 2001, suggesting that when stocks are this expensive, a downturn may be at hand. ..."
"... is 36.1% higher ..."
"... Here's the problem that the CAPE highlights. Earnings in the past two decades have been far outpacing GDP; in the current decade, they've beaten growth in national income by 1.2 points (3.2% versus 2%). That's a reversal of long-term trends. ..."
"... Right now, earnings constitute an unusually higher share of national income. That's because record-low interest rates have restrained cost of borrowing for the past several years, and companies have managed to produce more cars, steel and semiconductors while shedding workers and holding raises to a minimum. ..."
"... t's often overlooked that although profits grow in line with GDP, which by the way, is now expanding a lot more slowly than two decades ago, earnings per share ..."
"... The reason is dilution. Companies are constantly issuing new shares, for everything from expensive acquisitions to stock option redemptions to secondary offerings. New enterprises are also challenging incumbents, raising the number of shares that divide up an industry's profits faster than those profits are increasing. Since total earnings grow with GDP, and the share count grows faster than profits, it's mathematically impossible for EPS growth to consistently rise in double digits, although it does over brief periods––followed by intervals of zero or minuscule increases. ..."
"... The huge gap between the official PE of 19 and the CAPE at 30 signals that unsustainably high profits are artificially depressing the former. and that profits are bound to stagnate at best, and more likely decline. ..."
"... In an investing world dominated by hype, the CAPE is a rare truth-teller ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

For the past half-decade, a controversial yardstick called the CAPE has been flashing red, warning that stock prices are extremely rich, and vulnerable to a sharp correction. And over the same period, the Wall Street bulls and a number of academics led by Jeremy Siegel of the Wharton School, have been claiming that CAPE is a kind of fun house mirror that makes reasonable valuations appear grotesquely stretched.

CAPE, an acronym "Cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings ratio," was developed by economist Robert Shiller of Yale to correct for a flaw in judging where stock prices stand on the continuum from dirt cheap to highly expensive based on the current P/E ratio. The problem: Reported earnings careen from lofty peaks to deep troughs, so that when they're in a funk, multiples jump so high that shares appear overpriced when they're really reasonable, and when profits explode, they can skew the P/E by creating the false signal that they're a great buy.

The CAPE aims to correct for those distortions. It smooths the denominator by using not current profits, but a ten-year average, of S&P 500 earnings-per-share, adjusted for inflation. Today, the CAPE for the 500 reads 29.7. It's only been that high in two previous periods: Before the crash of 1929, and during the tech bubble from 1998 to 2001, suggesting that when stocks are this expensive, a downturn may be at hand.

The CAPE's critics argue that its adjusted PE is highly inflated, because the past decade includes a portion of the financial crisis that decimated earnings. That period was so unusual, their thinking goes, that it makes the ten-year average denominator much too low, producing what looks like a dangerous number when valuations are actually reasonable by historical norms. They point to the traditional P/E based on 12-month trailing, GAAP profits. By that yardstick today's multiple is 19.7, a touch above the 20-year average of 19, though exceeding the century-long norm of around 16.

I've run some numbers, and my analysis indicates that the CAPE doesn't suffer from those alleged shortcoming, and presents a much truer picture than today's seemingly reassuring P/E. Here's why. Contrary to its opponents' assertions, the CAPE's earnings number is not artificially depressed. I calculated ten year average of real profits for six decade-long periods starting in February of 1959 and ending today, (the last one running from 2/2009 to 2/2019). On average, the adjusted earnings number rose 22% from one period to the next. The biggest leap came from 1999 to 2009, when the 10-year average of real earnings advanced 42%.

So did profits since then languish to the point where the current CAPE figure is unrealistically big? Not at all. The Shiller profit number of $91 per share is 36.1% higher than the reading for the 1999 to 2009 period, when it had surged a record 40%-plus over the preceding decade. If anything, today's denominator looks high, meaning the CAPE of almost 30 is at least reasonable, and if anything overstates what today's investors will reap from each dollar they've invested in stocks.

Indeed, in the latest ten-year span, adjusted profits have waxed at a 3.2% annual pace, slightly below the 3.6% from 1999 to 2009, but far above the average of 1.6% from 1959 to 1999.

Here's the problem that the CAPE highlights. Earnings in the past two decades have been far outpacing GDP; in the current decade, they've beaten growth in national income by 1.2 points (3.2% versus 2%). That's a reversal of long-term trends. Over our entire 60 year period, GDP rose at 3.3% annually, and profits trailed by 1.3 points, advancing at just 2%. So the rationale that P/Es are modest is based on the assumption that today's earnings aren't unusually high at all, and should continue growing from here, on a trajectory that outstrips national income.

It won't happen. It's true that total corporate profits follow GDP over the long term, though they fluctuate above and below that benchmark along the way. Right now, earnings constitute an unusually higher share of national income. That's because record-low interest rates have restrained cost of borrowing for the past several years, and companies have managed to produce more cars, steel and semiconductors while shedding workers and holding raises to a minimum.

Now, rates are rising and so it pay and employment, forces that will crimp profits. I t's often overlooked that although profits grow in line with GDP, which by the way, is now expanding a lot more slowly than two decades ago, earnings per share grow a lot slower, as I've shown, lagging by 1.3 points over the past six decades.

An influential study from 2003 by Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates, and co-author William J. Bernstein, found that EPS typically trails overall profit and economic growth by even more, an estimated 2 points a year.

The reason is dilution. Companies are constantly issuing new shares, for everything from expensive acquisitions to stock option redemptions to secondary offerings. New enterprises are also challenging incumbents, raising the number of shares that divide up an industry's profits faster than those profits are increasing. Since total earnings grow with GDP, and the share count grows faster than profits, it's mathematically impossible for EPS growth to consistently rise in double digits, although it does over brief periods––followed by intervals of zero or minuscule increases.

The huge gap between the official PE of 19 and the CAPE at 30 signals that unsustainably high profits are artificially depressing the former. and that profits are bound to stagnate at best, and more likely decline. The retreat appears to have already started. The Wall Street "consensus" Wall Street earnings forecast compiled by FactSet calls for an EPS decline of 1.7% for the first quarter of 2017, and zero inflation-adjusted gains for the first nine months of the year.

In an investing world dominated by hype, the CAPE is a rare truth-teller .

[Feb 15, 2019] Oil Rises as Aramco Said to Cut Output at Biggest Offshore Field

KSA and Russia together can drive oil price to anywhere they wish... Wall street sharks can do nothing with those giants if they cut oil output.
Notable quotes:
"... Russia plans to accelerate the output cuts it agreed to with OPEC+. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Oil climbed as Saudi Arabia was said to curtail some output from its Safaniyah offshore oil field, the largest in the world.

Futures in New York rose as much as 2.2 percent Friday, pushing toward its biggest weekly gain in a month. Saudi Arabia was said to trim supply from Safaniyah to repair a damaged power cable, while Russia plans to accelerate the output cuts it agreed to with OPEC+.

... ... ...

Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s Safaniyah field has the capacity to pump 1.2 million to 1.5 million barrels of crude a day, and is a major component of the Arab Heavy grade. The cable was damaged in an accident about two weeks ago and repairs are expected to be completed by early March, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[Feb 15, 2019] Losing a job in your 50s is especially tough. Here are 3 steps to take when layoffs happen by Peter Dunn

Unemployment usually is just six month or so; this is the time when you can plan you "downsizing". You do not need to rush.
Often losing job logically requires selling your home and moving to a modest apartment, especially if no children are living with you. At 50 it is abut time... You need to do it later anyway, so why not now.
But that's a very tough decision to make... Still, if the current housing market is close to the top, this is one of the best moves you can make. Getting from your house several hundred thousand dollars allows you to create kind of private pension to compensate for losses in income till you hit your Social Security check, which currently means 66.
$300K investment in A quality bonds that returns 3% per year are enough to provides you with $24K per year "pension" from 50 to age of 66. That allows you to pay for the apartment and amenities. The food is extra...
This way you can take lower paid job and survive.
And in this case you 401k remains intact and can supplement your SS income later on. Simple Excel spreadsheet can provide you with a complete picture of what you can afford and what not. Actually ability to walk of fresh air for 3 or more hours each day worth a lot of money ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives. ..."
"... The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving ..."
"... Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. ..."
"... Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

... ... ...

Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives.

Assuming you can clear the mental challenges, the financial and administrative obstacles can leave you feeling like a Rube Goldberg machine.

Income, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, bills, expenses, short-term savings and retirement savings are all immediately important in the face of a job loss. Never mind your Parent PLUS loans, financially-dependent aging parents, and boomerang children (adult kids who live at home), which might all be lurking as well.

When does your income stop?

From the shocking moment a person learns their job is no longer their job, the word "triage" must flash in bright lights like an obnoxiously large sign in Times Square. This is more challenging than you might think. Like a pickpocket bumping into you right before he grabs your wallet, the distraction is the problem that takes your focus away from the real problem.

This is hard to do because of the emotion that arrives with the dirty deed. The mind immediately begins to race to sources of money and relief. And unfortunately that relief is often found in the wrong place.

The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving . That's how much time you have to defuse the bomb. Your fuse may come in the form of a severance package, or work you've performed but have't been paid for yet.

When do benefits kick in?

Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. However, in some states severance pay affects your immediate eligibility for unemployment benefits. In other words, you can't file for unemployment until your severance payments go away.

Assuming you can't just retire at this moment, which you likely can't, you must secure fresh employment income quickly. But quickly is relative to the length of your fuse. I've witnessed way too many people miscalculate the length and importance of their fuse. If you're able to get back to work quickly, the initial job loss plus severance ends up enhancing your financial life. If you take too much time, by your choice or that of the cosmos, boom.

The next move is much more hands-on, and must also be performed the day you find yourself without a job.

What nonessentials do I cut?

Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom.

The idea of diving into your spending habits on the day you lose your job is no fun. But when else will you have such a powerful reason to do so? You won't. It's better than dipping into your assets to fund your current lifestyle. And that's where we'll pick it up the next time.

We've covered day one. In my next column we will tackle day two and beyond.

Peter Dunn is an author, speaker and radio host, and he has a free podcast: "Million Dollar Plan." Have a question for Pete the Planner? Email him at AskPete@petetheplanner.com. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

[Feb 14, 2019] Pension vs. 401(k) Comparing Retirement Plans

Feb 14, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

2 hours ago The biggest difference is that employers on average contribute 1/3 to your 401K that they contributed on your behalf for your pension.

[Feb 13, 2019] Condensate can't replace heavy oil

IEA is one-half EU marketing agency with the explisit goal to keep oil price low, and one half a research organization. In different reports one role can be prevalent.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that margins for U.S. Gulf Coast refiners have declined to the lowest levels since late 2014, based on recent price trends in certain grades of crude oil and petroleum products. https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/weekly/
Comment on Yahoo are absolutly idiotic. I have dount only a couple more or less reasonable comment in the first 48. This level of incompetence and brainwashing is simply amazing.
Feb 13, 2019 | news.yahoo.com

The "call" on OPEC crude is now forecast at 30.7 million bpd in 2019, down from the IEA's last estimate of 31.6 million bpd in January.

U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have choked off supply of the heavier, more sour crude that tends to yield larger volumes of higher-value distillates, as opposed to gasoline. The move has created disruption for some refiners, but has not led to a dramatic increase in the oil price in 2019.

"In terms of crude oil quantity, markets may be able to adjust after initial logistical dislocations (from Venezuela sanctions)", the Paris-based IEA said.

"Stocks in most markets are currently ample and ... there is more spare production capacity available."

Venezuela's production has almost halved in two years to 1.17 million bpd, as an economic crisis decimated its energy industry and U.S. sanctions have now crippled its exports.

Brent crude futures have risen 20 percent in 2019 to around $63 a barrel, but most of that increase took place in early January. The price has largely plateaued since then, in spite of the subsequent imposition of U.S. sanctions.

"Oil prices have not increased alarmingly because the market is still working off the surpluses built up in the second half of 2018," the IEA said.

"In quantity terms, in 2019, the U.S. alone will grow its crude oil production by more than Venezuela's current output. In quality terms, it is more complicated. Quality matters."

dlider909, 7 hours ago Story will change in 30 days.

Robert, 7 hours ago ... ... ...

What this report fails to do is to pay the appropriate homage to American oilfield roughnecks...

ralf

7 hours ago Nonsense. I see military action against Venezuela soon, just because of our thirst for oil.
Talk about shale is like talk about Moon conquests, not supported by hard facts.

[Feb 13, 2019] Making Globalism Great Again by C.J. Hopkins

Highly recommended!
Pretty biting satire
Notable quotes:
"... So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under. ..."
"... Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly). ..."
"... Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela. ..."
"... And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. ..."
Feb 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Maybe Donald Trump isn't as stupid as I thought. I'd hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn't help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and " the brink of fascism " that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election.

I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn't find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer . Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz , or any other Nazi stuff which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we've been subjected to for the last two years.

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a "normal" president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.

I'm referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven't been "regime changed" yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan "opposition," but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country.

Overthrowing the governments of sovereign countries, destroying their economies, stealing their gold, and otherwise bringing them into the fold of the global capitalist "international community" is not exactly what most folks thought Trump meant by "Make America Great Again." Many Americans have never been to Venezuela, or Syria, or anywhere else the global capitalist empire has been ruthlessly restructuring since shortly after the end of the Cold War. They have not been lying awake at night worrying about Venezuelan democracy, or Syrian democracy, or Ukrainian democracy.

This is not because Americans are a heartless people, or an ignorant or a selfish people. It is because, well, it is because they are Americans (or, rather, because they believe they are Americans), and thus are more interested in the problems of Americans than in the problems of people in faraway lands that have nothing whatsoever to do with America. Notwithstanding what the corporate media will tell you, Americans elected Donald Trump, a preposterous, self-aggrandizing ass clown, not because they were latent Nazis, or because they were brainwashed by Russian hackers, but, primarily, because they wanted to believe that he sincerely cared about America, and was going to try to "make it great again" (whatever that was supposed to mean, exactly).

Unfortunately, there is no America. There is nothing to make great again. "America" is a fiction, a fantasy, a nostalgia that hucksters like Donald Trump (and other, marginally less buffoonish hucksters) use to sell whatever they are selling themselves, wars, cars, whatever. What there is, in reality, instead of America, is a supranational global capitalist empire, a decentralized, interdependent network of global corporations, financial institutions, national governments, intelligence agencies, supranational governmental entities, military forces, media, and so on. If that sounds far-fetched or conspiratorial, look at what is going on in Venezuela.

The entire global capitalist empire is working in concert to force the elected president of the country out of office. The US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Argentina have officially recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela, in spite of the fact that no one elected him. Only the empire's official evil enemies (i.e., Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and other uncooperative countries) are objecting to this "democratic" coup. The global financial system (i.e., banks) has frozen (i.e., stolen) Venezuela's assets, and is attempting to transfer them to Guaido so he can buy the Venezuelan military. The corporate media are hammering out the official narrative like a Goebbelsian piano in an effort to convince the general public that all this has something to do with democracy. You would have to be a total moron or hopelessly brainwashed not to recognize what is happening.

What is happening has nothing to do with America the "America" that Americans believe they live in and that many of them want to "make great again." What is happening is exactly what has been happening around the world since the end of the Cold War, albeit most dramatically in the Middle East. The de facto global capitalist empire is restructuring the planet with virtual impunity. It is methodically eliminating any and all impediments to the hegemony of global capitalism, and the privatization and commodification of everything.

Venezuela is one of these impediments. Overthrowing its government has nothing to do with America, or the lives of actual Americans. "America" is not to going conquer Venezuela and plant an American flag on its soil. "America" is not going to steal its oil, ship it "home," and parcel it out to "Americans" in their pickups in the parking lot of Walmart.

What what about those American oil corporations? They want that Venezuelan oil, don't they? Well, sure they do, but here's the thing there are no "American" oil corporations. Corporations, especially multi-billion dollar transnational corporations (e.g., Chevron, ExxonMobil, et al.) have no nationalities, nor any real allegiances, other than to their major shareholders. Chevron, for example, whose major shareholders are asset management and mutual fund companies like Black Rock, The Vanguard Group, SSgA Funds Management, Geode Capital Management, Wellington Management, and other transnational, multi-trillion dollar outfits. Do you really believe that being nominally headquartered in Boston or New York makes these companies "American," or that Deutsche Bank is a "German" bank, or that BP is a "British" company?

And Venezuela is just the most recent blatant example of the empire in action. Ask yourself, honestly, what have the "American" regime change ops throughout the Greater Middle East done for any actual Americans, other than get a lot of them killed? Oh, and how about those bailouts for all those transnational "American" investment banks? Or the billions "America" provides to Israel? Someone please explain how enriching the shareholders of transnational corporations like Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin by selling billions in weapons to Saudi Arabian Islamists is benefiting "the American people." How much of that Saudi money are you seeing? And, wait, I've got another one for you. Call up your friendly 401K manager, ask how your Pfizer shares are doing, then compare that to what you're paying some "American" insurance corporation to not really cover you.

For the last two-hundred years or so, we have been conditioned to think of ourselves as the citizens of a collection of sovereign nation states, as "Americans," "Germans," "Greeks," and so on. There are no more sovereign nation states. Global capitalism has done away with them. Which is why we are experiencing a "neo-nationalist" backlash. Trump, Brexit, the so-called "new populism" these are the death throes of national sovereignty, like the thrashing of a suffocating fish before you whack it and drop it in the cooler. The battle is over, but the fish doesn't know that. It didn't even realize there was a battle until it suddenly got jerked up out of the water.

In any event, here we are, at the advent of the global capitalist empire. We are not going back to the 19th Century, nor even to the early 20th Century. Neither Donald Trump nor anyone else is going to "Make America Great Again." Global capitalism will continue to remake the world into one gigantic marketplace where we work ourselves to death at bullshit jobs in order to buy things we don't need, accumulating debts we can never pay back, the interest on which will further enrich the global capitalist ruling classes, who, as you may have noticed, are preparing for the future by purchasing luxury underground bunkers and post-apocalyptic compounds in New Zealand. That, and militarizing the police, who they will need to maintain "public order" you know, like they are doing in France at the moment, by beating, blinding, and hideously maiming those Gilets Jaunes (i.e., Yellow Vest) protesters that the corporate media are doing their best to demonize and/or render invisible.

Or, who knows, Americans (and other Western consumers) might take a page from those Yellow Vests, set aside their political differences (or at least ignore their hatred of each other long enough to actually try to achieve something), and focus their anger at the politicians and corporations that actually run the empire, as opposed to, you know, illegal immigrants and imaginary legions of Nazis and Russians. In the immortal words of General Buck Turgidson, "I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed," but, heck, it might be worth a try, especially since, the way things are going, we are probably going end up out there anyway.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (USA). His debut novel, ZONE 23 , is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant Paperbacks. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org .

[Feb 13, 2019] Oil gains 2 percent as Saudi Arabia readies more supply cuts

Feb 13, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Saudi Arabia planning to drop March crude output by more than a half a million barrels per day below its initial pledge.

... ... ...

OPEC said on Tuesday it had reduced oil production almost 800,000 bpd in January to 30.81 million bpd under its voluntary global supply pact.

Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told the Financial Times that the kingdom would reduce cut production to about 9.8 million bpd in March to bolster oil prices.

[Feb 13, 2019] There's Something Eerily Familiar About the West's Approach to Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Erdogan has used it in Turkey ( less than three years ago ) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump's US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro : "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem." ..."
"... Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election. President Trump sent his "sincere congratulations" . Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising . Oh yes, and Maduro's last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent. ..."
"... Now the Americans are negotiating with the "terrorist" Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at. ..."
Feb 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Erdogan has used it in Turkey ( less than three years ago ) and it was a common line in the forgotten 1930s used by none other than Mussolini. And now I quote Trump's US secretary of state Michael Pompeo on Maduro : "Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you're in league with Maduro and his mayhem."

You get the point. Now is the time for all good people to stand alongside the United States, the EU, the nations of Latin America – or do you support the Russkies, Chinese, Iranian headbangers, the perfidious Corbyn and (of all people) the Greeks? Talking of the Greeks, European pressure on Alexis Tsipras to conform to the EU's support for Guaido – proving that the EU can indeed bully its smaller members – is a good argument for Brexiteers (though far too complex for them to understand).

But first, let's take a look at our favourite tyrant, in the words of all who oppose him. He's a powerful dictator, surrounded by generals, suppressing his people, using torture, mass arrests, secret police murders, rigged elections, political prisoners – so no wonder we gave our support to those who wish to overthrow this brutal man and stage democratic elections.

Not a bad precis of our current policy towards the Maduro regime. But I am referring, of course, word-for-word, to the west's policy towards the Assad regime in Syria. And our support for opposition democracy there wasn't terribly successful.

We were not solely responsible for the Syrian civil war – but we were not guiltless since we sent an awful lot of weapons to those trying to overthrow Assad. And last month the notepad of US national security advisor John Bolton appeared to boast a plan to send 5,000 US troops to Colombia

And now let's tick the box on another Maduro-lookalike – at least from the west's simplistic point of view: the military-backed elected field marshal-president al-Sisi of Egypt, whom we love, admire and protect. Powerful dictator? Yup. Surrounded and supported by generals? You bet, not least because he locked up a rival general before the last election. Suppression? Absolutely – all in the interest of crushing "terrorism", of course.

Mass arrests? Happily yes, for all the inmates of Egypt's savage prison system are "terrorists", at least according to the field marshal-president himself. Secret police murders? Well, even forgetting the young Italian student suspected by his government to have been allegedly tortured and bumped off by one of Sisi's top Egyptian cops, there's a roll call of disappeared activists.

Rigged elections? No doubt about it, although al-Sisi still maintains that his last triumph at the polls – a cracking 97 per cent – was a free and fair election. President Trump sent his "sincere congratulations" . Political prisoners? Well, the total is 60,000 and rising . Oh yes, and Maduro's last victory – a rigged election if ever there was one, of course – was a mere 67.84 per cent.

As the late sage of the Sunday Express , John Gordon, might have said: it makes you sit up a bit. So, too, I suppose, when we glance a bit further eastwards to Afghanistan, whose Taliban rulers were routed in 2001 by the US, whose post-9/11 troops and statesmen ushered in a new life of democracy, then corruption, warlordism and civil war.

The "democracy" bit quickly came unstuck when "loya jurgas", grand councils, turned into tribal playpens and the Americans announced that it would be an exaggeration to think that we could achieve "Jeffersonian democracy" in Afghanistan. Too true.

Now the Americans are negotiating with the "terrorist" Taliban in Qatar so they can get the hell out of the Graveyard of Empires after 17 years of military setbacks, scandals and defeats – not to mention running a few torture camps which even Maduro would cough to look at.

Now all this may not encourage you to walk down memory lane. And I haven't even listed the sins of Saddam, let alone our continuing and cosy relationship – amazing as it still seems – with that Gulf state whose lads strangled, chopped up and secretly buried a US-resident journalist in Turkey.

Now just imagine if Maduro, tired of a journalist critic slandering him in Miami, decided to lure him to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington and top the poor guy, slice him up and bury him secretly in Foggy Bottom. Well now, I have a feeling that sanctions might have been applied to Maduro a long time ago. But not to Saudi Arabia, of course, where we are very definitely not advocating democracy.

"Now is the time for democracy and prosperity in Venezuela," quoth John Bolton this week. Oh, yes indeed. Maduro runs an oil-soaked nation yet its people starve. He is an unworthy, foolish and vain man, even if he's not Saddamite in his crimes. He was rightly described by a colleague as a dreary tyrant. He even looks like the kind of guy who tied ladies to railway lines in silent movies.

So good luck to Guaido. Palpably a nice guy, speaks eloquently, wise to stick to aid for the poor and fresh elections rather than dwell on just how exactly Maduro and his military chums are going to be booted out.

In other words, good luck – but watch out. Instead of pleading with those who will not support him – the Greeks, for example – he might take a closer look at who his foreign friends are. And do a quick track record on their more recent crusades for freedom, democracy and the right to life. And by the way, I haven't even mentioned Libya.

[Feb 12, 2019] Bill Gates suggests Ocasio-Cortez's tax plan a 'misfocus' by Brittany De Lea

Feb 12, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates does not think the way to increase U.S. tax revenue is through policies like raising the tax rate on the wealthy to 70 percent – as has been floated by some Democratic lawmakers like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

During a podcast interview with The Verge , Gates responded to a question about whether raising the top rate to 70 percent in order to fund social programs – like infrastructure initiatives – appeals to him by saying government can be more effective in running social programs, but that's not the best way to raise revenue.

"You finally have some politicians who are so extreme that I'd say, 'No, that's even beyond,'" Gates said. "You do start to create tax dodging and disincentives, and an incentive to have the income show up in other countries and things."

Gates added that the country's richest people often don't pay the highest rate because their wealth doesn't always show up as income, it can be in the value of their stock, for example.

"So it's a misfocus," he added. "If you focus on that, you're missing the picture."

The billionaire businessman, however, does believe there are ways to make the current tax code more progressive. Some of those ways include more progressive policies regarding the estate tax, the tax on capital, or reforming FICA and Social Security taxes. Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders recently released a proposal to expand the estate tax to a rate of 77 percent for those passing on assets in excess of $1 billion.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX BUSINESS APP

Bill Gates also called modern monetary theory (MMT) – which asserts that because the government controls its own currency, there is no need to worry about balancing the budget – "some crazy talk." Ocasio-Cortez recently indicated she was open to supporting MMT.

Gates is one of the richest people in the world. He has said, despite the fact that he has paid more in taxes than most, he should be paying more .

[Feb 12, 2019] Oil gains 2 percent

Feb 12, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Rising oil prices help Venezuela more than it helps the rest of OPEC because Venezuela needs the money more.

[Feb 12, 2019] Sanctions, OPEC cuts push Asia's heavy crude oil prices above Brent

Feb 12, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Middle East oil benchmarks Dubai and DME Oman have nudged above prices for Brent crude, an unusual move as U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran along with output cuts by OPEC tighten supply of medium to heavy oil, traders and analysts said.

Heavier grades, mainly produced in the Middle East, Canada and Latin America, typically have a high sulphur content and are usually cheaper than Brent, the benchmark for lighter oil in the Atlantic Basin.

[Feb 09, 2019] PRETTY FREAKY If America Turns to Fascism, Populism Will Be at Its Heart.

Feb 09, 2019 | prettyfreaky.blogspot.com

"If America Turns to Fascism, Populism Will Be at Its Heart."

Several months ago, I wrote a book review (see Internet Review of Books and my review of "Fascism: Why Not Here?" by Brian E. Fogarty) about a political history that has made me think ever since. (Title quote is taken from Fogarty's excellent book http://internetreviewofbooks.com/mar10/fascism.html .)

Lately, I keep seeing similar ideas popping up--mostly in response to the anti-intellectual, folksy, populist appeal of people such as Sarah Palin and up-and-coming Tea Party types.

Aw, heck, who couldn't appreciate drinkin' a beer with a politician? That's what we want from those guys n' gals. We don't want them to be smarter than us or anythin', right? You betcha.

Call me a snob (and I've been called a "snotty liberal elitist," lately, which I thought was very funny, actually, and it made me laugh an elitist snort of triumph); I really don't care.

I demand more; I demand wisdom, good ideas, and a wide understanding of international politics as well as history; I demand people who can speak without dropping their g's (because that slangy, folksy gibberish just sounds, frankly, slow).

Working with profoundly gifted kids (as I like to do) is like attending the smartest cocktail party you were ever invited to--sans cocktails. It's a tennis match of fascinating ideas about absolutely everything; it makes me hopeful for the future, and it challenges and amuses me at the same time.

I don't feel that way when I watch any of these populist politicians on the news. Rather, I feel a sinking, ill feeling...could people really be that stupid? Apparently, yes, in some cases, they are.

But I actually think there's a way out: it boils down to education and spreading the truth.

Jon Meacham's editorial this week in NEWSWEEK (7/12/2010, "The Right Kind of American Populism") speaks to exactly the same issues.

He explains how "...in the age of [Andrew] Jackson, American populism was about money; later, in the age of George Wallace and Richard Nixon, it became more about culture...Given the clinical economic and political facts of the hour, we should be living through a Jacksonian era of hostility to the rich and the well connected. Those whom Jackson called "the humble members of society--the farmers, mechanics, and laborers" ought to be generating substantial political pressure to exact reparations from, and impose severe new regulations on, the plutocratic few...And yet the pitchforks are being brandished not to encourage government to curb the excesses of the elite but to warn the citizenry that the government has turned into a socialistic threat to free enterprise."

Meacham (with whom I do not always agree) nailed it, I think; the bottom line is that the "humble members" of society have been inundated with propaganda and fear-mongering lies by the very people who profit by keeping them down.

Will they wake up and realize it and fight back (I mean "fight" in a good way--by voting)?

Will government prove its viability by doing good for the people--finally?

Maybe if that happens--if people let it happen--they will finally wake up and realize who's really been keeping them poor and oppressed and away from the American Dream.

Maybe it's the "plutocratic few," but maybe it's also themselves.

[Feb 07, 2019] Saudi Arabia cuts oil output by about 400,000 bpd in January sources

Feb 07, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, cut its crude output in January by about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), two OPEC sources said, as the kingdom follows through on its pledge to reduce production to prevent a supply glut.

Riyadh told OPEC that the kingdom pumped 10.24 million bpd in January, the sources said. That's down from 10.643 million bpd in December, representing a cut that was 70,000 bpd deeper than targeted under the OPEC-led pact to balance the market and support prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other non-OPEC producers - an alliance known as OPEC+ - agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1.

The agreement stipulated that Saudi Arabia should cut output to 10.311 million bpd, but energy minister Khalid al-Falih has said it will exceed the required reduction to demonstrate its commitment.

[Feb 07, 2019] OPEC's Oil Exports to U.S. Fall to Five-Year Low in January

Feb 07, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Crude shipments to the U.S. from OPEC and its partners fell to 1.41 million barrels a day in January, the lowest in five years, according to data from cargo-tracking and intelligence company Kpler. Shrinking Iraqi imports and deep output cuts by Saudi Arabia fueled the decline

[Feb 07, 2019] Government shutdown, Venezuela Donald Trump evolves into the best propagator of neoliberal fascism that tends to become a norm

Notable quotes:
"... The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel ..."
"... Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy ..."
"... Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war ..."
"... So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision. ..."
"... Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance. ..."
Feb 07, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

Even before the 2016 US presidential election, this blog supported that Donald Trump is a pure sample of neoliberal barbarism . Many almost laughed at this perception because Trump was being already promoted, more or less, as the 'terminator' of the neoliberal establishment. And many people, especially in the US, tired from the economic disasters, the growing inequality and the endless wars, were anxious to believe that this was indeed his special mission.

Right after the elections, we supported that the US establishment gave a brilliant performance by putting its reserve, Donald Trump, in power, against the only candidate that the same establishment identified as a real threat: Bernie Sanders.

Then, Trump sent the first shock wave to his supporters by literally hiring the Goldman Sachs banksters to run the economy. And right after that, he signed for more deregulation in favor of the Wall Street mafia that ruined the economy in 2008.

In 2017 , Trump bombed Syria for the first time, resembling the lies that led us to the Iraq war disaster. Despite the fact that the US Tomahawk missile attack had zero value in operational level (the United States allegedly warned Russia and Syria, while the targeted airport was operating normally just hours after the attack), Trump sent a clear message to the US deep state that he is prepared to meet all its demands - and especially the escalation of the confrontation with Russia.

Indeed, a year later, Trump built a pro-war team that includes the most bloodthirsty, hawkish neocons. And then, he ordered a second airstrike against Syria, together with his neocolonial friends.

In the middle of all this 'orgy' of pro-establishment moves, Trump offered a controversial withdrawal of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan to save whatever was possible from his 'anti-interventionist' profile. And it was indeed a highly controversial action with very little value, considering all these US military bases that are still fully operational in the broader Middle East and beyond. Not to mention the various ways through which the US intervenes in the area (training proxies, equip them with heavy weapons, supporting the Saudis and contribute to war crimes in Yemen, etc.)

And then , after this very short break, Trump returned to 'business as usual' to satisfy the neoliberal establishment with a 'glorious' record. He achieved a 35-day government shutdown, which is the "longest shutdown in US history" .

Trump conducted the longest experiment on neoliberals' ultimate goal: abolishing the annoying presence of the state. And this was just a taste of what Trump is willing to do in order to satisfy all neoliberals' wet dreams.

And now, we have the Venezuela issue. Since Hugo Chavez nationalized PDVSA, the central oil and natural gas company, the US empire launched a fierce economic war against the country. Yet, while all previous US administrations were trying to replace legitimate governments with their puppets as much silently as possible through slow-motion coup operations, Trump has no problem to do it in plain sight.

And perhaps the best proof for that is a statement by one of the most warmongering figures of the neocon/neoliberal cabal, hired by Trump . As John Bolton cynically and openly admitted recently, " It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. "

Therefore, one should be very naive of course to believe that the Western imperialist gang seriously cares about the Venezuelan people and especially the poor. Here are three basic reasons behind the open US intervention in Venezuela:

  1. The imperialists want to grab the rich oil fields for the US big oil cartel, as well as the great untapped natural resources , particularly gold (mostly for the Canadian companies).
  2. Venezuela must not become an example for other countries in the region on social-programs policy, which is mainly funded by the oil production. The imperialists know that they must interrupt the path of Venezuela to real Socialism by force if necessary. Neoliberalism must prevail by all means for the benefit of the big banks and corporations.
  3. Venezuela must not turn to cooperation with rival powers like China and Russia. Such a prospect may give the country the ability to minimize the effects of the economic war. The country may find an alternative to escape the Western sanctions in order to fund its social programs for the benefit of the people. And, of course, the West will never accept the exploitation of the Venezuelan resources by the Sino-Russian bloc.

So, when Trump declared the unelected Juan Guaido as the 'legitimate president' of Venezuela, all the main neoliberal powers of the West rushed to follow the decision.

This is something we have never seen before. The 'liberal democracies' of the West - only by name - immediately, uncritically and without hesitation jumped on the same boat with Trump towards this outrageously undemocratic action. They recognized Washington's puppet as the legitimate president of a third country. A man that was never elected by the Venezuelan people and has very low popularity in the country. Even worse, the EU parliament approved this action , killing any last remnants of democracy in the Union.

Yet, it seems that the US is finding increasingly difficult to force many countries to align with its agenda. Even some European countries took some distance from the attempted constitutional coup, with Italy even trying to veto EU's decision to recognize Guaido.

Donald Trump is the personification of an authoritarian system that increasingly unveils its true nature. The US empire makes the Venezuelan economy 'scream hard', as it did in Chile in 1973. The country then turned into the first laboratory of neoliberalism with the help of the Chicago Boys and a brutal dictatorship. So, as the big fraud is clear now, neoliberalism is losing ground and ideological influence over countries and societies, after decades of complete dominance.

This unprecedented action by the Western neoliberal powers to recognize Guaido is a serious sign that neoliberalism returns to its roots and slips towards fascism. It appears now that this is the only way to maintain some level of power.

[Feb 04, 2019] Cuomo Blames Trump Tax Plan for Reduced New York Tax Collections

Feb 04, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

New York collected $2.3 billion less income-tax revenue than predicted for December and January, a development that Governor Andrew Cuomo blamed on wealthy residents leaving for second homes in Florida and other states that received more favorable treatment in the tax law enacted by President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress.

The shortfall will require a new look at the $175 billion budget Cuomo submitted to the legislature last month, he said. If the trend continues, the governor said it would affect spending on high-expense items such as health, education, infrastructure and a planned middle-class tax cut.

"There is no doubt that the budget we put forward is not supported by the revenue," the Democratic governor said during a news conference in Albany. "If even a small number of high-income taxpayers leave, it has a great effect on this tax base. You are relying on a very small number of people for the vast amount of your tax dollars."

While acknowledging that stock market volatility is among several factors that may have suppressed income-tax revenue in the past two months, the governor placed most of the blame on Trump and the Republican-dominated Congress of 2017, which enacted a tax plan limiting federal deductions on real estate and other local taxes.

Related: New York's Income-Tax Revenue Falls 'Abruptly' Under Forecast

"It was politically diabolical and also highly effective," Cuomo said. "And if your goal is to help Republican states and hurt Democratic states this is the way to do it."

[Feb 04, 2019] Citi expects Brent crude to continue rising into the mid-$60 range and hit $70 before year end

Feb 04, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

The bank expects oil supply to tighten in the first quarter as top exporter Saudi Arabia cuts production , but Citi's Ed Morse also forecasts a soft spot for demand in the opening months of 2019. Further complicating matters are a series of geopolitical and market dramas that will play out through the beginning of May.

This follows a three-month period that saw oil prices spike to nearly four-year highs as the market braced for U.S. sanctions on Iran. Prices then tumbled more then 40 percent to 18-month lows, blowing up long-held trading strategies and forcing drillers to rethink their 2019 budgets.

"The volatility every year is a good $20 to $25 a barrel between low and high," Morse said. "December was kind of the nightmare for the world where the swings were $50 at a low, $86 at a high and $68 for the average of Brent."

... ... ...

Citi expects Brent crude to continue rising into the mid-$60 range and hit $70 before year end. That will be enough to keep in play another wild card: surging U.S. oil production.

[Feb 04, 2019] There are various elite groups jockeying for power, but Intelligence community remains tha core of the Deep State

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

renfro , says: February 3, 2019 at 10:50 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer

is the main weapon used by the Deep State

LOL Deep State is a term used by the simple minded. There is no 'deep state' there is however a shadow government and it is made up of various groups all jockeying for their own interest.

We have the 'Establishment..i.e. the two parties who want to maintain their political power. We have the Corporate Elites and Globalist ' who want to control the world's commerce and economies. We have Wall Street who doesnt want any restrictions on their financial crimes. We have Domestic Business Interest who want laws and policies favorable to them. We have Foreign Interest who want to use the US for their country.

Sometimes they join forces when their interest coincide, sometimes they don't.

Outside of this shadow government we have Ideological Activist of various kinds that can be useful or not to the Establishment, the Globalist, Wall Street, Domestic Business Interest and Foreign Interest.

All of the above are why we cant and don't have coherent policies on anything foreign or domestic.

People like you who want to ascribe everything to some giant conspiracy in the CIA help to dumb people down , its easier for the lazy to have one or two big scary entities to blame. You cant even explain what the CIA conspiracy is can you? Tell us how the CIA maintains their conspiracy against the US and what their goal is. How does the CIA maintain their secret agenda when the CIA is subject to new CIA directors with every change of presidents and parties?

Come on tell us all how it is done.

[Feb 04, 2019] Absolute control over people and resources is the ultimate goal of financial oligarchy

Financial industry has inherent trend toward parasitism and gangsterism and as such should be as tightly regulated as gambling. Probably even more. But under neoliberalism where financial oligarchy a the ruling class this is a pipe dream. I do not see any significant countervailing force other the far right nationalism. Far right nationalism has power to brake bankers spine, but usually they allied with them (fascism)
Feb 04, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Chatham via Project Chesapeake blog,

Those that have been following events for several years know they are under attack by an enemy that has no face and means to do them great harm. Nothing less than their sovereignty and freedom is at stake.

Absolute control over people and resources is the ultimate goal.

Davidduke2000 , 9 minutes ago link

On his deathbed, Andrew Jackson said " I beat the bank".

Davidduke2000 , 9 minutes ago link

On his deathbed, Andrew Jackson said " I beat the bank".

freedommusic , 2 hours ago link

...the bankers want to show up after the population has lost everything in a collapse, to be their savior and gain control of everyone by offering resources in exchange for compliance.

In the end these bankers are just people . They yield NO power other than a cheap magi c trick called money. They are simply losers pulling levers behind the curtain . They are terrified of real people. They are terrified of being exposed. They are worthless conjurers of useless paper. Their power is a cheap spell. They always have known that once people are aware of the trick, they are done. They are afraid of elevated souls. They are afraid of the awakened. They are terrified of the big red pill that is coming for the masses. Game over.

SickDollar , 2 hours ago link

Uncle Shmuel (the Neocon's version of Uncle Sam)

new term BITCHEZ

Uncle Sam is dead

[Feb 02, 2019] Brazil, Fascism and the Left Wing of Neoliberalism

Huge external debt plus high unemployment represents two vital preconditions of rise far right nationalism and fascism in all its multiple incarnations. In this sence Ulrain, Argentina and Brasil are different links of the common chain of events.
In a way fascism is a way of reaction of nation deeply in crisis. In essence this is introduction of war time restrictions on political speech and freedoms of the population. The Catch 22 is that often this is done not so much to fight external threat, but top preserve the power of existing financial oligarchy. Which fascist after coming to power quickly include in government and and desire of which are disproportionally obeyed by fascist state.
What in new in XXI century is the huge growth of power on intelligence agencies which is way represent crippling fascism or neofascism. In a way, then intelligence agencies became political kingmakers (as was the case with the assassination of JFK, impeachment of Nixon, elections of Clinton, Bush II, and Obama, as well as establishing Mueller commission after Trump victory), we can speak about sliding the county of the county toward fascism.
Notable quotes:
"... In Italy in the 1920s, repayment of war debts from WWI led to austerity and recession that preceded the rise of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. In Germany, payment of war reparations and repayment of industrial loans limited the ability of the Weimar government to respond to the Great Depression. Liberal governments that facilitated the financialization of industrial economies in the 1920s were left to serve as debt collectors in the capitalist crisis that followed. ..."
"... The practical problem with doing this is the power of creditors. Debtors that repudiate their debts are closed out of capital markets. The power to create money that is accepted in payment is a privilege of the center countries that also happen to be creditors. Capitalist expansion creates interdependencies that produce immediate, deep shortages if debts aren't serviced. Debt is a weapon whose proceeds can be delivered to one group and the obligation to repay it to another. The U.S. position was expressed when the IMF knowingly made unpayable loans to Ukraine to support a U.S. sponsored coup there in 2015 ..."
"... Propaganda was developed and refined by Edward Bernays in the 1910s to help the Wilson administration sell WWI to a skeptical public. It has been used by the American government and in capitalist advertising since that time. The idea was to integrate psychology with words and images to get people to act according to the desires and wishes of those putting it forward. ..."
"... The operational frame of propaganda is instrumental: to use people to achieve ends they had no part in conceiving. The political perspective is dictatorial, benevolent or otherwise. Propaganda has been used by the American government ever since. Similar methods were used by the Italian and German fascists in their to rise to power. ..."
"... Following WWII, the U.S. brought 1,600 Nazi scientists and engineers (and their families) to the U.S. to work for the Department of Defense and American industry through a program called Operation Paperclip . Many were dedicated and enthusiastic Nazis. Some were reported to have been bona fide war criminals. In contrast to liberal / neoliberal assertions that Nazism was irrational politics, the Nazi scientists fit seamlessly into American military production. There was no apparent contradiction between being a Nazi and being a scientist. ..."
"... A dimensional tension of Nazism lay between romantic myths of an ancient and glorious past and the bourgeois task of moving industrialization and modernity forward. The focus of liberal and neoliberal analysis has been on this mythology as an irrational mode of reason. Missing is that Nazism wouldn't have moved past the German borders if it hadn't had bourgeois basis in the science and technology needed for industrial might. This keeps the broad project within the ontological and administrative premises of liberalism. ..."
"... The way to fight fascists is to end the threat of fascism. This means taking on Wall Street and the major institutions of Western capitalism ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Missing from explanations of the rise of Mr. Bolsonaro is that for the last decade Brazil has experienced the worst economic recession in the country's history (graph below). Fourteen million formerly employed, working age Brazilians are now unemployed. As was true in the U.S. and peripheral Europe from 2008 forward, the liberal response has been austerity as the Brazilian ruling class was made richer and more politically powerful.

Since 2014, Brazil's public debt/GDP ratio has climbed from 20% to 75% proclaims a worried IMF. That some fair portion of that climb came from falling GDP due to economic austerity mandated by the IMF and Wall Street is left unmentioned. A decade of austerity got liberal President Dilma Rousseff removed from office in 2016 in what can only be called a Wall Street putsch. Perhaps Bolsonaro will tell Wall Street where to stick its loans (not).

Back in the U.S., everyone knows that the liberalization of finance and trade in the 1990s was the result of political calculations. That this liberalization was/is bipartisan suggests that maybe the political calculations served certain economic interests. Never mind that these interests were given what they asked for and crashed the economy with it. If economic problems result from political calculations, the solution is political -- elect better leaders. If they are driven by economic interests, the solution is to change the way that economic relationships are organized.

Between 1928 and 1932 German industrial production fell by 58%. By 1933, six million formerly employed German workers were begging in the streets and digging through garbage looking for items to sell. The liberal (Socialist Party) response was half-measures and austerity. Within the liberal frame, the Depression was a political problem to be addressed in the realm of the political. Centrist accommodation defined the existing realm. Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in 1933, the pit of the Great Depression.

In Brazil in the early-mid 2000s, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula, implemented a Left program that pulled twenty million Brazilians out of poverty. The Brazilian economy briefly recovered after Wall Street crashed it in 2008 before Brazilian public debt was used to force the implementation of austerity. Dilma Rousseff capitulated and Brazil re-entered recession. Rousseff was removed from power in 2016. Hemmed in by Wall Street and IMF mandated austerity , any liberal government that might be elected would meet the same fate as Rousseff.

In Italy in the 1920s, repayment of war debts from WWI led to austerity and recession that preceded the rise of fascist leader Benito Mussolini. In Germany, payment of war reparations and repayment of industrial loans limited the ability of the Weimar government to respond to the Great Depression. Liberal governments that facilitated the financialization of industrial economies in the 1920s were left to serve as debt collectors in the capitalist crisis that followed.

Since 2008, the fiscal structure of the EU (European Union) combined with wildly unbalanced trade relationships led to a decade of austerity, recession and depression for the European periphery. In the U.S., by 2009 Wall Street was pushing austerity and cuts to Social Security and Medicare as necessary to fiscal stability. The consequences of four decades of financialized neoliberal trade policies were by no means equally shared. Internal and external class relations were made evident through narrowly distributed booms followed by widely distributed busts.

With the presumed shared goal of ending the threat of fascism:

The ideological premises behind the logic that claims fascists as the explanation of fascism emerge from liberalism. The term here is meant as description. Liberalism proceeds from specific ontological assumptions. Within this temporal frame, a bit of social logic: If fascists already existed, why didn't fascism? The question of whether to fight fascists or fascism depends on the answer. The essentialist view is that characteristics intrinsic to fascists make them fascists. This is the basis of scientific racism. And it underlies fascist race theory.

The theory of a strongman who exploits people who have a predisposition towards fascism is essentialist as well if receptivity is intrinsic, e.g. due to psychology, genetics, etc. Liberal-Left commentary in recent years has tended toward the essentialist view -- that fascists are born or otherwise predisposed toward fascism. Unconsidered is that non-fascists are equally determined in this frame. If 'deplorables' were born that way, four decades of neoliberalism is absolved.

The problem of analogy, the question of what fascism is and how European fascism of the twentieth century bears relation to the present, can't be answered in the liberal frame. The rise and fall of a global radical right have been episodic. It has tied in history to the development of global capitalism in a center-and-periphery model of asymmetrical economic power. Finance from the center facilitates economic expansion until financial crisis interrupts the process. Peripheral governments are left to manage debt repayment with collapsed economies.

Globally, debt has forced policy convergence between political parties of differing ideologies. European center-left parties have pushed austerity even when ideology would suggest the opposite. In 2015, self-identified Marxists in Greece's SYRIZA party capitulated to the austerity and privatization demands from EU creditors led by Germany. Even Lenin negotiated with Wall Street creditors (on behalf of Russia) in the months after the October Revolution. In a political frame, the solution from below is to elect leaders and parties who will act on their rhetoric.

The practical problem with doing this is the power of creditors. Debtors that repudiate their debts are closed out of capital markets. The power to create money that is accepted in payment is a privilege of the center countries that also happen to be creditors. Capitalist expansion creates interdependencies that produce immediate, deep shortages if debts aren't serviced. Debt is a weapon whose proceeds can be delivered to one group and the obligation to repay it to another. The U.S. position was expressed when the IMF knowingly made unpayable loans to Ukraine to support a U.S. sponsored coup there in 2015.

Fascist racialization has analog in existing capitalist class relations. Immigration status, race and gender define a social taxonomy of economic exploitation. Race was invented decades into the Anglo-American manifestation of slavery to naturalize exploitation of Blacks. Gender difference represents the evolution of unpaid to paid labor for women in the capitalist West. Claiming these as causing exploitation gets the temporal sequence wrong. These were / are exploitable classes before explanations of their special status were created.

This isn't to suggest that capitalist class relations form a complete explanation of fascist racialization. But the ontological premise that 'freezes,' and thereby reifies racialization, is fundamental to capitalism. This relates to the point argued below that the educated German bourgeois, in the form of the Nazi scientists and engineers brought to the U.S. following WWII, found Nazi racialization plausible through what has long been put forward as an antithetical mode of understanding. Put differently, it wasn't just the rabble that found grotesque racial caricatures plausible. The question is why?

Propaganda was developed and refined by Edward Bernays in the 1910s to help the Wilson administration sell WWI to a skeptical public. It has been used by the American government and in capitalist advertising since that time. The idea was to integrate psychology with words and images to get people to act according to the desires and wishes of those putting it forward.

The operational frame of propaganda is instrumental: to use people to achieve ends they had no part in conceiving. The political perspective is dictatorial, benevolent or otherwise. Propaganda has been used by the American government ever since. Similar methods were used by the Italian and German fascists in their to rise to power.

Since WWI, commercial propaganda has become ubiquitous in the U.S. Advertising firms hire psychologists to craft advertising campaigns with no regard for the concern that psychological coercion removes free choice from capitalism. The distinction between political and commercial propaganda is based on intent, not method. Its use by Woodrow Wilson (above) is instructive: a large and vocal anti-war movement had legitimate reasons for opposing the U.S. entry into WWI. The goal of Bernays and Wilson was to stifle political opposition.

Following WWII, the U.S. brought 1,600 Nazi scientists and engineers (and their families) to the U.S. to work for the Department of Defense and American industry through a program called Operation Paperclip . Many were dedicated and enthusiastic Nazis. Some were reported to have been bona fide war criminals. In contrast to liberal / neoliberal assertions that Nazism was irrational politics, the Nazi scientists fit seamlessly into American military production. There was no apparent contradiction between being a Nazi and being a scientist.

The problem isn't just that many committed Nazis were scientists. Science and technology created the Nazi war machine. Science and technology were fully integrated into the creation and running of the Nazi concentration camps. American race 'science,' eugenics, formed the basis of Nazi race theory. Science and technology formed the functional core of Nazism. And the Nazi scientists and engineers of Operation Paperclip were major contributors to American post-war military dominance.

A dimensional tension of Nazism lay between romantic myths of an ancient and glorious past and the bourgeois task of moving industrialization and modernity forward. The focus of liberal and neoliberal analysis has been on this mythology as an irrational mode of reason. Missing is that Nazism wouldn't have moved past the German borders if it hadn't had bourgeois basis in the science and technology needed for industrial might. This keeps the broad project within the ontological and administrative premises of liberalism.

This is no doubt disconcerting to theorists of great difference. If Bolsonaro can impose austerity while maintaining an unjust peace, Wall Street and the IMF will smile and ask for more. American business interests are already circling Brazil, knowing that captive consumers combined with enforceable property rights and a pliable workforce means profits. Where were liberals when the Wall Street that Barack Obama saved was squeezing the people of Brazil, Spain, Greece and Portugal to repay debts incurred by the oligarchs? Liberalism is the link between capitalism and fascism, not its antithesis.

Having long ago abandoned Marx, the American Left is lost in the temporal logic of liberalism. The way to fight fascists is to end the threat of fascism. This means taking on Wall Street and the major institutions of Western capitalism

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Feb 02, 2019] As goes January, so goes the year Old Wall Street indicator puts odds of 2019 gain at more than 80% by Patti Domm

This is a classic, textbook example of financial astrology... You probably should read it in full to appreciate the depth of junk science here. But this is financial casino my friends, and they try to entice you with naked girls and drinks...
Feb 01, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Stocks had their best January gains in more than 30 years, and that should mean 2019 will be a pretty good year for the market.

That's what the widely watched January barometer tells you - as goes January, so goes the year. According to Stock Trader's Almanac, going back to 1950, that metric of January's performance predicting the year has worked 87 percent of the time with only nine major errors, through 2017. In the years January was positive, going back to 1945, the market ended higher 83 percent of the time, according to CFRA.

But the indicator also signaled a positive year last year, and the market suffered an unusual late-year sell-off, wiping out all of the gains. The S&P 500 ended 2018 down 6.6 percent, despite rising 5.6 percent in January. But the S&P also defied history with a terrible December decline of 9.6 percent , the biggest loss for the final month of the year since 1931.

This January, the S&P 500 was up 7.9 percent. The best January performance since 1987, when it rose 13.2 percent. It was its best overall month since October 2015.

Some market pros worry the sharp snapback in stocks since the late December low means January could be stealing the gains from the rest of the year. Some also believe there could be another test at lower levels in the not too distant future. Yet, Wall Street forecasters have a median target of 2,950 for the S&P 500 at year end, a big leap from the current 2,704.

"I'm still struck between the contrast of a year ago and now," said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthhold Group. "We came in last year with nothing but optimism. At this point last year, we had synchronized global growth, confidence had spiked to record post-war highs, and everyone knew we had this steroid-induced earnings boost coming. The thought was how could stocks lose, and of course they did."

The market has sprung back from December's low, with the S&P gaining 15 percent since Dec. 26.

"This year, we came in with nothing but bad news - the economy was slowing down. ... The rest of the world is slowing. We have trade wars. We have the shutdown, and analysts are revising earnings lower," Paulsen added. "We're worried about a recession and a bear market. It's strikingly different, and yet it's kind of like how can stocks win, but they are and I think they will."

Strategists also point to the differences in the way the market traded in each January. This January has been full of volatile swings, with ultimately larger gains than losses. Last year, the market was at the end of a long smooth glide path higher.

Last year didn't work

Stocks did well through most of January 2018, but by the end of the month, a correction started. "On January 30, in 2018, it was the first 1 percent decline in 112 days. That was basically the start of the fall off the cliff. In terms of percent gains, this January is similar to last, but in terms of where we've come from, it's very different. That was one of the calmest advances in history," said Frank Cappelleri, executive director at Instinet.

Cappelleri said it's important to put this year's market move in context, when considering the January barometer. "You have one of the biggest snapbacks after a very bad December, so the odds were in the market's favor to do better than that. I think maybe you have to look where we are now. You're up 15, 20 percent from the low depending on where you look. Are we going to go up that much more for the rest of the year?" he said.

Paulsen sees the gains continuing, after a possible pause. "I think it's going to continue to be a fairly good year, and I think we probably go up and get close to the highs or 3,000 on the S&P, and I'm not expecting hardly anything on the economy, and earnings are going to be weak, if not flat or maybe down," Paulsen said.

He said the slowing economy and a potential U.S.-China trade deal could push the dollar down and that would be a positive for stocks. At the same time, the Fed has paused in interest rate hikes and may even stop its balance sheet unwind.

Jeff Hirsch, editor-in-chief of the Stock Trader's Almanac, said there's another set of statistics that are in the market's favor for a positive 2019, though they also failed last year. He said for the years when the S&P 500 was positive in the first five days of the year, plus gained during the Santa rally period, and was up for the month of January, the S&P 500 had a positive year 27 out of 30 times. It also had an average gain of 17.1 percent in those years, since 1950.

Nick 29 minutes ago

Job growth is solid. Unemployment remains near all time lows even while labor force participation increases. Wage growth outpaced inflation last year. The economy is humming right along...its just the liberal media wants to bombard us with articles claiming the Trump recession is imminent.

I'm surprised they actually published an article sayings its going to be a good year.

[Feb 02, 2019] Wall Street s 2019 S P 500 forecasts

Parade of eminent astrologists ;-) Those financial prostitutes of casino capitlism, aka financial analysts most often are wrong year after year, but still have a solid coverage by the neoliberal media due to the shire wieght of the companies they represent. This bets are not connected with some kind of possible financial loss so they just talking up this firms portfolio, which of course is heavily tilted in favor of stocks. God even Vanguard retirement 2015 fund has 40% in stock, while formula 100-age would give you less then 35%. If this is bullish bias I do not know what is. Of course, they play with "other people money" and commissions are everything...
Notable quotes:
"... Their guesses about a great market in 2018 was kind of a miss. But they only had like 340 days so far. They still have 25 days left to turn in around. ..."
"... These guys are seldom right. I've been tracking these predictions more closely since 2014, usually 12-15 of the large financial institutions. Last year's average consensus was the SP at 2874. We closed Tuesday (Dec 4) at 2700. ..."
"... The average of the figures cited in the article is 3068. I think that is wishful thinking considering the slow downs in many sectors, slowing GDP and a flattening yield curve. ..."
"... With regard to upside potential, these all sound wildly optimistic to me. Ten years of printing money out of thin air and exploding deficits does not a future robust economy make, IMO. ..."
"... They cannot say 2500 cause people will not invest (and no commissions); they have to say equal or higher than today. To me it is screaming between the lines the index will hit 2500. ..."
"... So all of them predict the S&P will be higher then it is today even though many are saying we are already in a Bear Market...these people only make money if the market goes up so don't trust them! ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

[Feb 02, 2019] Former AOL exec Jean Case faults tech giants for trying to 'own the world'

Notable quotes:
"... Big tech companies have bullied competitors and outrun ethical standards in an effort to "own the world," Jean Case, the CEO of the Case Foundation and a former senior executive at AOL, told Yahoo Finance this week. "Many of those big companies are crowding out new innovations of young upstarts. That's not healthy," she said, in response to a question about Google and Facebook. ..."
Feb 02, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Big tech companies have bullied competitors and outrun ethical standards in an effort to "own the world," Jean Case, the CEO of the Case Foundation and a former senior executive at AOL, told Yahoo Finance this week. "Many of those big companies are crowding out new innovations of young upstarts. That's not healthy," she said, in response to a question about Google and Facebook.

"On the technology side, look, things have changed so fast," Case said. "I think we just haven't kept pace with some of the ethics policies and frameworks that we need to put around this stuff...used by millions of millions before thought is given to implications."

Case made the comments in a conversation that aired on Yahoo Finance on Thursday at 5 p.m. EST in an episode of " Influencers with Andy Serwer ," a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment. In addition to her comments on big tech, Case explained why a woman can be elected president, what National Geographic has done to thrive amid media industry tumult, and how it felt at AOL in the heady early days of the internet.

... ... ...

[Feb 02, 2019] The US has a secret weapon in the trade war

Technological superiority is a weapon and the USA know how to use it.
Notable quotes:
"... Made in China 2025 is the Chinese government's 10-year plan to update the country's 10 high-tech manufacturing industries, which include information technology, robotics, aerospace, rail transport, and new-energy vehicles, among others. ..."
"... Without U.S. semis, China will not be able to process the technology necessary to push forward the Made in China 2025 program. "American chips in many ways form the backbone of China's tech economy," Shah said. ..."
"... The Trump Administration's tariffs on Chinese goods were intended to severely disrupt the Chinese tech-advancement initiative. But Shah says that making U.S. chips more expensive for China could have consequences for the U.S. as well. ..."
"... "Over 50% of Chinese semiconductor consumption is supplied by U.S. firms In 2017, China consumed $138bn in integrated circuits (ICs), of which it only produced $18.5bn domestically, implying China imported $120bn of semis in 2017, up from $98bn in 2016 and $73bn in 2012." ..."
"... If the two leaders are unable to come to some sort of trade resolution at the meeting, U.S. tariffs on over $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will increase from 10% to 25% on January 1, 2019. ..."
"... While US has the upper hand on semis, a trade embargo on semis will (1) slows down China's move towards achieving Made in China 2025, (2) at the same time give China the impetus to rush ahead will all resources available to achieve the originally omitted goal of being self-sufficient in tech skills and technology, and (3) seriously hurt companies like Intel, AMD, Micron, and Qualcom as a huge percentage of their businesses are with China, and with that portion of their business gone, all these companies will end up in a loss and without the needed financial resources to invest into new technology in the near future. ..."
Nov 30, 2018 | www.yahoo.com

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/follow_button.html?screen_name=heidi_chung&show_screen_name=false&show_count=false

Heidi Chung Reporter , Yahoo Finance November 28, 2018

As trade tensions run hot between the U.S. and China, President Trump might have one key advantage in the trade war, according to Nomura.

Analyst Romit Shah explained that China's dependence on U.S.-made advanced microchips could give Trump the upper hand.

"We believe that as China-U.S. tensions escalate, U.S. semiconductors give Washington a strong hand because the core components of Made in China 2025 (AI, smart factories, 5G, bigdata and full self-driving electric vehicles) can't happen without advanced microchips from the U.S.," Shah said in a note to clients.

BEIJING, CHINA – NOVEMBER 9, 2017: US President Donald Trump (L) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands at a press conference following their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Artyom Ivanov/TASS (Photo by Artyom Ivanov\TASS via Getty Images)

Made in China 2025 is the Chinese government's 10-year plan to update the country's 10 high-tech manufacturing industries, which include information technology, robotics, aerospace, rail transport, and new-energy vehicles, among others.

One of Made in China 2025's main goals is to become semiconductor self sufficient. China hopes that at least 40% of the semiconductors used in China will be made locally by 2020, and at least 70% by 2025. "Made in China 2025 made abundantly clear China's commitment to semiconductor self-sufficiency. Made in China 2025 will upgrade multiple facets of the Chinese economy," Shah said.

According to Nomura's estimates, China is currently about 3 to 5 years behind the U.S. in dynamic random-access memory (DRAM) chip production. However, Shah explained that if the trade war persists, the consequences could set Chinese chip production behind by 5 to 15 years.

Without U.S. semis, China will not be able to process the technology necessary to push forward the Made in China 2025 program. "American chips in many ways form the backbone of China's tech economy," Shah said.

Consequences for U.S.

The Trump Administration's tariffs on Chinese goods were intended to severely disrupt the Chinese tech-advancement initiative. But Shah says that making U.S. chips more expensive for China could have consequences for the U.S. as well.

One concern centers around intellectual property theft. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been working hard to punish China for allegedly attempting to commit espionage. For example, the DOJ believes China was attempting to spy on the U.S. through Huawei and asked U.S. allies to drop the Chinese tech equipment maker.

However, while many U.S. chipmakers, such as Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD ), Qualcomm ( QCOM ) and Micron ( MU ), expressed gratitude that the DOJ was intervening to prevent intellectual property theft, the companies are also concerned that it could spark retaliation from their Chinese business partners and result in loss of access to the Chinese market. "Joint ventures, IP sharing agreements and manufacturing partnerships are the price of admission into China, and thus far, companies are playing ball," Shah explained.

Shah essentially calls the Chinese tariffs a double-edged sword. While tariffs will hurt the Chinese if they can't have access to freely source U.S. chips, it could also hurt U.S. chipmakers if they lose their business in China. According to Shah's research, "Over 50% of Chinese semiconductor consumption is supplied by U.S. firms In 2017, China consumed $138bn in integrated circuits (ICs), of which it only produced $18.5bn domestically, implying China imported $120bn of semis in 2017, up from $98bn in 2016 and $73bn in 2012."

Trump and China's President Xi Jinping are scheduled to meet at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Thursday for a two-day meeting. If the two leaders are unable to come to some sort of trade resolution at the meeting, U.S. tariffs on over $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will increase from 10% to 25% on January 1, 2019.

"China could source equipment from Europe and Japan; however, we believe there are certain mission-critical tools that can only be purchased from the U.S. We believe that U.S.-China trade is the biggest theme for U.S. semis and equipment stocks in 2019. Made in China 2025 can't happen without U.S. semis, and U.S. semis can't grow without China. We hope this backdrop drives resolution," Shah said.

Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung .

R

[Jan 30, 2019] National socialism vs Marxist socialism

Notable quotes:
"... We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfilment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us state and race are one. ..."
Jan 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jan 29, 2019 5:44:46 PM | link

I don't know if I have already posted this here in this blog in the past, but it's as actual as ever: an interview with Adolf Hitler, by journalist George Sylvester Viereck, in 1923 (the NSDAP was founded in 1920). Viereck was himself a Nazi:

'No room for the alien, no use for the wastrel'

Here's an interesting excerpt of the interview:

"Why," I asked Hitler, "do you call yourself a National Socialist, since your party programme is the very antithesis of that commonly accredited to socialism?"

"Socialism," he retorted, putting down his cup of tea, pugnaciously, "is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. The Marxians have stolen the term and confused its meaning. I shall take Socialism away from the Socialists.

"Socialism is an ancient Aryan, Germanic institution. Our German ancestors held certain lands in common. They cultivated the idea of the common weal. Marxism has no right to disguise itself as socialism. Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.

"We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party. We chose to call ourselves the National Socialists. We are not internationalists. Our socialism is national. We demand the fulfilment of the just claims of the productive classes by the state on the basis of race solidarity. To us state and race are one."

[Jan 29, 2019] Bloodbath In Oil Gas Stocks Could Continue by Nick Cunningham

Notable quotes:
"... In the meantime, the strategy for oil and gas executives to appease investors is to focus on "quick cash, quarterly payouts and fast talk," Sanzillo says. "Either way the stocks lack a long-term value rationale." ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. shale industry has been over-hyping the production potential from their wells. The WSJ compared well-productivity estimates from shale companies to those from third parties. After looking at the production data at thousands of wells and how much oil and gas those wells were on track to produce over the course of their lifespans, the WSJ found that company forecasts seemed to be misleading. ..."
"... Schlumberger, for instance, has reported that secondary shale wells near older wells in West Texas have been 30 percent less productive than the initial wells, the WSJ found. Also, many shale companies used data from their best wells and extrapolated forward, projecting enormous growth numbers that have not panned out. ..."
Jan 04, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Of course, that is largely just a reflection of the sharp decline in oil prices. But the share prices of most oil and gas companies are also largely based on oil price movements. So, the steep slide in oil prices in the final two months of 2018 led to disaster for investors in energy stocks.

"The stock market went to hell in December. And when it got there, it found that the energy sector had already moved in, signed a lease and decorated the place," Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), wrote in a commentary .

The energy sector was at or near the bottom of the S&P 500 for the second year in a row, Sanzillo pointed out. And that was true even within segments of the oil and gas industry. For instance, companies specializing in hydraulic fracturing fell by 30 percent, while oil and gas supply companies lost 40 percent. "The fracking boom has produced a lot of oil and gas, but not much profit," Sanzillo argued.

Looking forward, there are even larger hurdles, especially in the medium- to long-term. Oil demand growth is flat in developed countries and slowing beginning to slow in China and elsewhere. The EV revolution is just getting started.

The last great hope for the oil industry is to pile into petrochemicals , as oil demand for transportation is headed for a peak. But profits in that sector could also prove elusive. "The industry's rush to invest in petrochemicals to maintain demand for oil and gas is likely to continue, but the profit potential in this sector is more limited than oil and gas exploration, and is likely to keep the energy sector at or near the bottom of the S&P 500," Sanzillo concluded.

In the meantime, the strategy for oil and gas executives to appease investors is to focus on "quick cash, quarterly payouts and fast talk," Sanzillo says. "Either way the stocks lack a long-term value rationale."

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. shale industry has been over-hyping the production potential from their wells. The WSJ compared well-productivity estimates from shale companies to those from third parties. After looking at the production data at thousands of wells and how much oil and gas those wells were on track to produce over the course of their lifespans, the WSJ found that company forecasts seemed to be misleading.

Related: 2019 Could Make Or Break OPEC

"Two-thirds of projections made by the fracking companies between 2014 and 2017 in America's four hottest drilling regions appear to have been overly optimistic, according to the analysis of some 16,000 wells operated by 29 of the biggest producers in oil basins in Texas and North Dakota," reporters for the WSJ wrote . "Collectively, the companies that made projections are on track to pump nearly 10% less oil and gas than they forecast for those areas, according to the analysis of data from Rystad Energy AS, an energy consulting firm."

Schlumberger, for instance, has reported that secondary shale wells near older wells in West Texas have been 30 percent less productive than the initial wells, the WSJ found. Also, many shale companies used data from their best wells and extrapolated forward, projecting enormous growth numbers that have not panned out.

The upshot is that shale companies will have to step up spending in order to hit the promised production targets. However, so many of them have struggled to turn a profit, and the recent downturn in oil prices has put even more pressure on them to rein in costs.

That raises questions about the production potential not just from individual shale companies, but also from the U.S. as a whole.

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

[Jan 29, 2019] Guardian became D>eep State Guardian

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Guardian has lost all sense of proportion – mention Tommy Robinson and the entire staff through themselves to floor and roll round like dying flies – yet for when it comes to US neocons they go all misty eyed, redolent of a broody couple when they come across a particularly adorable baby. ..."
"... I would wager a medium sum that Tisdall is on a payroll other than the Grauniad's, or he's an actual asset per Ulfkötte's books and media appearances. ..."
"... George Bush spent his adult life organizing operations and wars that killed a few million people. Anyone who has spiritual beliefs must wonder how it is to die with so much killing on your record or conscience (if you have one). ..."
"... That's something I've wondered about many times. If you review John McCain's actions and comments before he died, it seems these people don't have a conscience. ..."
"... Reagan was primarily a mantle piece for the banking, oil and defense sectors to run wild. Is it really so hard to believe GHW Bush was running the National Security Council? It was a CIA wet dream come true (especially after the alligator-armed "investigations" of the 70's. ..."
"... The Deep State Guardian. Why don't they just change their name to 'The Daily Thatcherite' and have done with it. ..."
"... They should just show it's full title: The Guardian Of The Establishment ..."
"... well, yeah. but for us mad people it goes deeper even than that: https://geopolitics.co/2018/12/02/in-memoriam-george-h-scherff-jr-aka-george-hw-bush-sr/ ..."
Dec 22, 2018 | off-guardian.org

Oslo - Norway, Dec 4, 2018

Let's never forget George H W Bush's love for incubator babies. He loved fake incubator babies.

The incubator baby actress wasn't just any 15 year old, she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Canada –

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cqiq8P8dRtY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Philpot, Dec 4, 2018
British and most western media are either in the direct or indirect pay of their governments. What journalist can expose this for us? Any of you willing to make the biggest scoop of the 21st century? Tom Bradbury at ITN must be on the spook payroll, for starters? MI6 had foreign correspondents for years, but domestic mouthpieces must now be on the take too? All paid to demonise Russia and Putin.
harry stotle, Dec 4, 2018

The Guardian has lost all sense of proportion – mention Tommy Robinson and the entire staff through themselves to floor and roll round like dying flies – yet for when it comes to US neocons they go all misty eyed, redolent of a broody couple when they come across a particularly adorable baby.

Simon 'white helmets' Tisdall is especially egregious – one can imagine him throwing darts at a picture of Putin while producing his latest homily to the murderous actions of gangsters like Bush and his crime family.

Its hard not to despair now this has become the official face of Britains so-called liberal media.

Yarkob, Dec 4, 2018
I would wager a medium sum that Tisdall is on a payroll other than the Grauniad's, or he's an actual asset per Ulfkötte's books and media appearances. As with Michael White, with whom I had a very illuminating argument via email a few years back. He *is* an asset, not a journalist (and a massive dick, to boot)
George cornell, Dec 4, 2018
I thought the attitude of the Bush family to their fellow Americans was best illustrated by Barbara's response to the plight of the homeless victims of Katrina who had been transported to the Houston domed stadium. They spent their nights there sleeping on hard benches and when good ole Babs heard of it, she opined that they probably had never had it so good so why were they complaining. Could Mother Theresa have had greater generosity of spirit?
Gekaufte Journalisten (bought journalism), Dec 4, 2018
Not just one article, the awful Guardian is full of contents eulogising [yet another] mongrel of a president.

But look at conservative media. The crazy Infowars.com described this Bush as an Anti-American Globalist and Traitor!! .. and zerohedge.com is celebrating: "The Evil Has Died" and "In 2016 he voted for Hillary Clinton, because the Deep State Swamp sticks together". https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-12-02/exploring-dark-side-bush-41

Just tell me, who is the rabid neo-con right-wing rag that is glorifying wars and mass murderers?

Norcal, Dec 4, 2018
Speaking of neighbors you might appreciate this excellent Journalism by Robert Parry: https://consortiumnews.com/2018/12/03/bush-41s-october-surprise-denials-2/
DunGroanin, Dec 4, 2018
The late Robert Parry, sad to say. Maybe that now both the 'MacBeths' are stains on the tarmac – Parry's notes of the bloodstained legacy of that dynasty can finally be displayed? That Barbara was one cold blooded mother! Would have happily pulled a trigger on JFK, MLK herself (some think).

Just about the whole century from the setup of the Fed, the two world wars, the depression, Hitler, Korea, Cuba all of it, had a a Bush hand in it. He was the self crowned Caesar having publicly executed the whole of Camelot and left us with a poison toad, reminds us how low the Bush's took the USA.

David Eire, Dec 3, 2018
George Bush spent his adult life organizing operations and wars that killed a few million people. Anyone who has spiritual beliefs must wonder how it is to die with so much killing on your record or conscience (if you have one).
Loverat, Dec 4, 2018
That's something I've wondered about many times. If you review John McCain's actions and comments before he died, it seems these people don't have a conscience. If you surround yourself with people of similar mindset and in a climate where war is considered obligatory for US Presidents, you go into self denial. Wars are probably like an addiction for these people and once you get to that stage you no longer have a conscience.

During John McCain's funeral where all living ex-presidents were in attendance, someone remarked on Twitter, 'Quick, lock the church doors and hold the war crimes trial in the church!'. This was a far more realistic observation than the sickening McCain apologist BBC coverage we were subjected to.

At the weekend I went to the place where Oliver Cromwell lived. There was an American tourist who told us she was shocked about Oliver Cromwell being dug up from his grave and his head stuck on a pike. She said it was gruesome. I was tempted to say that at least that was 350 years ago, and similar things are happening today in Iraq, Syria and Libya – all places where the US has instigated the chaos and supports the perpretators. I resisted the temptation.

I note that Cromwell thought he was chosen by God to do what he did. But again that was in different times and there were some redeeming factors in what he did, Probably on par with Obama – who wreaked havoc on the Middle East but reached agreements on Iran and Cuba. Plus Obama looked cool while killing and droning.

But what goes around comes around. I sense the pure evil involved in the current regime change wars, government, media etc will pay a heavy price – whether in this life or the next.

mark, Dec 4, 2018
The state controlled BBC has just done another puff piece on McCain saying what a splendid chap and great statesman and all round good egg he was.

The MSM likes to slag off Vlad The Bad by droning on about how he was in the KGB. But Bush wasn't just IN the CIA, he was the BOSS of the CIA, at a time when hundreds of thousands of Central American peasant farmers and Indians were being killed by CIA trained and orchestrated death squads.

Gezzah Potts, Dec 4, 2018
Mark: jayzus Mark, don't you just want to projectile vomit when you see all this absolute bullshit, just straight out revising of history, just the lies, on and on . I was involved in a Central American solidarity group in the 1980s – early 90s here in Aussie, found out then all about U.S style 'democracatic values' and 'human rights concerns' and death squads and various fascists fully supported by the United States, and places like Guatemala and Nicaragua. Its all an illusion for 'polite society' and the gullible to believe in. Sigh
mark, Dec 5, 2018
I can't remember the exact figures but I think it was over 200,000 murdered in Guatemala out of a population of 4 million. It was the same story in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia. And of course the CIA satrap Noriega was hauled off in chains when that country was invaded. But Uncle Sam is finally paying a price for his antics south of the border. Those societies were wrecked and brutalised beyond repair. There is now an unbelievably high murder rate of women in Guatemala. Millions of those people have sought some kind of refuge in the belly of the beast, causing an immigration crisis, with an illegal immigrant population that may be as high as 30 million. Hence all the uproar over Trump's wall. The immigration crisis was a factor in Trump's election, just as the tidal wave of migrants from the destroyed countries of the Middle East was a factor in Brexit. Cameron, Sarko and Clinton thought it was a spiffing idea and quite a wizard wheeze to bomb Libya back to the Stone Age. So we now have a Mad Max failed state complete with warlords and slave markets just across the Med. What goes around, comes around. You can't expect to export violence and mayhem abroad and remain immune to it at home.
Gezzah Potts, Dec 5, 2018
Mark: after Efrain Rios Montt seized power in a coup in Guatemala in 1982, US Ambassador Frederick Chapin declared that thanks to the coup of Rios Montt "the Guatemalan Govt has come out of the darkness into the light". That sums it up in one sentence, and you're probably aware of the mass killing and disappearances under his genocidal tyranny. Reagan kindly submitted that Rios Montt was 'getting a bum rap on human rights, the same Reagan who declared the Contra's were 'The moral equal of our founding fathers'. In El Salvador, the same mass slaughter, the same mass upheaval, and even murdering Archbishop Romero. You only need to look at what happened in Central & South America to understand what the United States really represents.
Jen, Dec 4, 2018
I would have bypassed the war crimes trial, locked the church and then built a moat stocked with crocodiles and piranhas around it.
mark, Dec 4, 2018
That's entirely right. People understandably despise and revile people like Brady and Hindley, Sutcliffe, Dahmer, Bundy and the like. But they killed a handful of people and were often very damaged individuals to begin with. And at least they did their own dirty work. Subhuman scum sucking filth like Bush, Bush 2, Obama, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Blair, Straw and Campbell are a thousand times worse. They kill millions without getting their hands dirty, and preen and posture as great statesmen and public servants, expecting deference and state funerals and puff piece obituaries from nauseating, loathsome, lickspittle media hacks like Tisdall.
Caitlin Ni Chonaill, Dec 6, 2018
You left out Kissinger and Albright.
Gezzah Potts, Dec 3, 2018
Nailed it Kit. The attempt at revionism and rewriting history by these craven creatures, these sycophantic slimebag shills for Imperialism and War and the Anglo Zionist Empire. They don't speak truth to power, they protect and grovel to the powerful. The eulogising and fawning of Bush was stomach churning, as it was for the arch Imperialist McCain when he croaked. Thank God for alternative news sites, and yeah Caitlin Johnston @ medium nailed it as well, as Fair Dinkum mentioned. Where's John Pilger when you need him?
Badger Down, Dec 3, 2018
GBH Bush's Highway of Death deserves mention. I'll spare you the pictures.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=highway+of+death+desert+storm&t=h_&atb=v92-2_f&ia=web
systemicfraud, Dec 3, 2018
What no one seems to realize is that the VP often takes charge of the US National Security Council when POTUS is not able to attend meetings, which are held weekly. Under Eisenhower it was Richard Nixon who often took charge of the meetings -- Tim Weiner's book "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA" gives some details on this. Reagan was primarily a mantle piece for the banking, oil and defense sectors to run wild. Is it really so hard to believe GHW Bush was running the National Security Council? It was a CIA wet dream come true (especially after the alligator-armed "investigations" of the 70's.
Fair dinkum, Dec 3, 2018
Caitlin sums it up: https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/12/01/if-you-murdered-a-bunch-of-people-mass-murder-is-your-single-defining-legacy/
Simon Hodges, Dec 3, 2018
The Deep State Guardian. Why don't they just change their name to 'The Daily Thatcherite' and have done with it.
Frankly Speaking, Dec 4, 2018
They should just show it's full title: The Guardian Of The Establishment
kevin morris, Dec 3, 2018
'Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years' by Russ Baker -- a fascinating account of the Bush family's involvement in a great deal of nefarious activity. Bush senior is one of the few people who didn't remember where he was when Kennedy was shot. Baker puts him in Dallas.
lysias, Dec 4, 2018
Now that G.H.W. Bush hss died, is there anybody suspected of involvement in the JFK assassination still alive?
kevin morris, Dec 4, 2018
I don't know but as a fairly apolitical individual, I never much bothered with the Kennedy Assasination. All that changed when during the fiftieth anniversary, BBC Radio Four ran a program which included an interview with the Dallas police officer who was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald when he was shot by Jack Ruby. The consensus of that program was that the case was open shut and Oswald did it. Around that time, several newspapers in the UK featured articles claiming that Oswald acted alone.

Whether or not anyone actively involved still lives, their descendants still do and the probable organising body too. There still appears to be determination in some quarters to spread disinformation about the case. Given that as long ago as the late seventies the House of Representatives Assassination Committee concluded that JFK's death was probably the consequence of a conspiracy, determination amongst the mainstream media to lay Kennedy's death at the hands of Oswald alone suggests that there is still determination that the truth never becomes public.

Frankly Speaking, Dec 3, 2018
Exactly what i was thinking!

I'm sickened by the Guardian's and BBC's obedience to the US neocon project to seek, or create, and destroy "enemies" and whilst ignoring all the disgusting atrocities that arise as a consequence.

The Guardian is not even worth the paper it's printed on. It's become The Guardian Of The Establishment rather than of the Truth which it used to proclaim.

George cornell, Dec 4, 2018
It is in danger of losing its budgie-cage-liner status. If budgies can talk they may refuse to evacuate on it. What kind of person maintains ties to such a a poor excuse for cage toiletry. The moral crunch time for their journalists (actually their opinionists) came and went a long time ago.
Brutally Remastered, Dec 3, 2018
What a great piece. My parents knew them in New York and they came over once and left behind an embossed packet of White House cigs. I asked my father (before he died) what he thought of them and all he ever said was he thought that Barbara was the intellect in the family.
Bloody annoying, thanks Pater.
Marianne Birkby, Dec 3, 2018
From 2004

"The induction of DU weapons in 1991 in Iraq broke a 46-year taboo. This Trojan Horse of nuclear war continues to be used more and more. DU remains radioactive longer than the age of the earth (estimated at 4.5 billion years). The long-term effects from over a decade of DU exposures are devastating. The increased quantities of radioactive material used in Afghanistan are 3 to 5 times greater than Iraq, 1991. In Iraq, 2003, they are already estimated to be 6 to 10 times 1991, and will travel through a larger area and affect many more people, babies and unborn. Countries within a 1000-mile radius of Baghdad and Kabul are being affected by radiation poisoning

Badger Down, Dec 3, 2018
"DU remains radioactive longer than [ ] 4.5 billion years." It's worse than that. It loses half of its radioactivity in that time. The good news is that that slow release means "D"U doesn't zap you much. The bad news is it's chemically toxic, like a heavy metal (which it is).
nwwoods, Dec 3, 2018
Also no mention of the body of circumstantial evidence linking Bush to JFK's murder, though Bush repeatedly insisted that he couldn't recall his whereabouts that day (I can precisely recall where I was, and I was 9 years old in 1963), in spite of the fact that solid documentary evidence exists that puts him in Dallas on Nov 22, 1963.
Norcal, Dec 4, 2018
The very first Google Search I did was this, (George H.W. Bush+November 22, 1963) and it yielded a page like the following link, which began my research into the JFK Assassination.

http://www.lookingglassnews.org/viewstory.php?storyid=5420

nomad, Dec 3, 2018

well, yeah. but for us mad people it goes deeper even than that: https://geopolitics.co/2018/12/02/in-memoriam-george-h-scherff-jr-aka-george-hw-bush-sr/

Bush Sr. : Crypto-Nazi patriarch and his disciples
https://eclinik.files.wordpress.com/2018/12/barbara-bush-funeral-four-presidents-four-first-ladies.jpg?w=672&h=372&crop=1

[Jan 29, 2019] Why Trump's $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut Hasn't Sparked Hiring or Investment

Jan 29, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

The Trump administration's $1.5 trillion in tax cuts appears to have not made any major impact on businesses' capital investment or hiring plans, according to a new survey.

A quarterly poll from the National Association for Business Economics published Monday found that some companies reported accelerating investments because of lower corporate taxes, but a whopping 84% of respondents said they had not changed their plans. That's up slightly from 81% in the previous survey published in October, Reuters reports.

The White House had said the massive stimulus package, which cut the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%, would boost business spending and job growth. The tax cuts that came into effect in January 2018 were the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 30 years.

"A large majority of respondents, 84%, indicate that one year after its passage, the corporate tax reform has not caused their firms to change hiring or investment plans," NABE President Kevin Swift said in a release. "Fewer firms increased capital spending compared to the October survey responses, but the cutback appeared to be concentrated more in structures than in information and communication technology investments."

The lower tax rates did have an impact in the goods-producing sector, NABE found, with 50% of respondents reporting increased investments at their companies, and 20% saying they redirected hiring and investments to the U.S. from abroad.

An analysis of how S&P 500 firms were reacting to the tax cut by researchers at the University of Michigan found that 4% of the sample said in Q1 of 2018 they would pay some of their tax savings back to workers, and 22% mentioned in earnings conference calls they would increase investment because of the tax cuts.

Though for small businesses, a new survey from the National Federation of Independent Business released earlier this month found 61% of owners reported making capital investments, unchanged from last month but 5 points higher than in August. In December, 35% of small-business owners reported increasing employee compensation and 24% reported planned increases in the next few months.

[Jan 26, 2019] Can the current US neoliberal/neoconservative elite be considered suicidal?

Highly recommended!
Can the elite be afflicted by some mass disease. Is Neoconservatism a deadly infection ?
Theoretically Democracy depends on information freely available and responsibility of the citizenry to make decisions based on that information. The political elites have made certain precious little of reliable, unclouded and relevant information ever gets broadcast even while popularizing, promoting and rewarding every form of misrepresentation, ignorance and irresponsibility. In other words they spearheaded a dangerous disease to stay in power. And eventually got infected themselves.
Notable quotes:
"... "But what if the elites get things wrong? What if the policies they promulgate produce grotesque inequality or lead to permanent war? Who then has the authority to disregard the guardians, if not the people themselves? How else will the elites come to recognize their folly and change course?" ..."
"... That is how they maintain control and manipulate government to facilitate their own interests to the detriment of the rest of society. Bretix and President Trump have upset their apple cart, which they felt certain was invulnerable and immune to challenge. ..."
"... The elites aren't interested in polls showing Americans want out of Syria and Afghanistan, are they? Can't have mere citizens having influencing decisions like that. ..."
"... An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated. ..."
"... As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think - to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil - begin to have real effect. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kent January 18, 2019 at 11:30 am

"But what if the elites get things wrong? What if the policies they promulgate produce grotesque inequality or lead to permanent war? Who then has the authority to disregard the guardians, if not the people themselves? How else will the elites come to recognize their folly and change course?"

What if, on election day, you only have a choice between 2 candidates. Both favoring all the wrong choices, but one tends to talk up Christianity and family and the other talks up diversity.

And both get their funding from the very wealthy and corporations. And any 3rd choices would be "throwing your vote away". How would you ever get to vote for someone who might change course?

Democracy has little to actually do with choice or power.

mlopez, January 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm

GB may not have been any utopia in 1914, but it was certainly geo-politically dominant. It's common people's social, economic and cultural living standards most assuredly was vastly improved over Russian, or European peasants. There can be no serious comparison with third world countries and regions.

As for the US, there can be absolutely no debate about its own dominance, or material standard of living after 1945 as compared to any where else in the world. More importantly, even uneducated and very contemporary observers were capable of recognizing how our elites had sold out their interests in favor of the furtherance of their own.

If we are on about democratic government, then it's been generations since either country and their peoples have had any real democracy. Democracy depends on information freely available and responsibility of the citizenry to make decisions based on that information. The political elites have made certain precious little of reliable, unclouded and relevant information ever gets broadcast even while popularizing, promoting and rewarding every form of misrepresentation, ignorance and irresponsibility.

That is how they maintain control and manipulate government to facilitate their own interests to the detriment of the rest of society. Bretix and President Trump have upset their apple cart, which they felt certain was invulnerable and immune to challenge.

Hello / Goodbye, January 19, 2019 at 11:40 am

The elites aren't interested in polls showing Americans want out of Syria and Afghanistan, are they? Can't have mere citizens having influencing decisions like that.

Patzinak, January 19, 2019 at 5:07 pm

What ineffable flummadiddle!

Prominent Brexiteers include Boris Johnson (dual UK/US citizenship, educated in Brussels and at Eton and Oxford, of mixed ancestry, including a link - by illegitimate descent - to the royal houses of Prussia and the UK); Jacob Rees-Mogg (son of a baron, educated at Eton and Oxford, amassed a solid fortune via hedge fund management); Arron Banks (millionaire, bankroller of UKIP, made to the Brexit campaign the largest ever political donation in UK politics).

So much for "the elite" being against Brexit!

But the main problem with Brexit is this. Having voted by a slim margin in favour of Brexit, the Great British Public then, in the general election, denied a majority to the government that had undertaken to implement it, and elected a Parliament of whom, by a rough estimate, two thirds oppose Brexit.

It ain't that "the elite" got "things wrong". It's that bloody Joe Public can't make his mind what to do - and go through with it.

Rossbach, January 20, 2019 at 2:14 pm

"Whether the imagined utopia of a dominant Great Britain prior to 1914 or a dominant America after 1945 ever actually existed is beside the point."

It wasn't to restore any defunct utopia that led people to vote for Brexit or Donald Trump; it was to check the descent of the Anglosphere into the totalitarian dystopia of forced multi-cultural globalism that caused voters to reject the EU in Britain and Hillary Clinton in the US. It is because they believed that only with the preservation of their national independence was there any chance or hope for a restoration of individual liberty that our people voted as they did.

Ratings System, January 17, 2019 at 1:27 pm

It's why they won't enjoy their privileges much longer. That stale charade can't and won't last.

We don't have a meritocracy. We have a pseudo-meritocracy with an unduly large contingent of aliens, liars, cheats, frauds, and incompetents. They give each other top marks, speak each other's PC language, and hire each other's kids. And they don't understand why things are falling apart, and why they are increasingly hated by real Americans.

A very nasty decade or two is coming our way, but after we've swept out the filth there will be a good chance that Americans will be Americans again.

Paul Reidinger, January 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated.

As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think - to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil - begin to have real effect. The new dark age is no longer imminent. It is here, and it is them. I see no way to rectify the damage. When minds are ruined young, they remain ruined.

[Jan 24, 2019] Your retirement questions answered Social Security, buying service credits and Medicare

Jan 24, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Q: I am 62. Last year, I got a Social Security calculation showing that when I am 66-plus-years-old, I will receive $400-plus in Social Security benefits per month. Because of my health, I started to work only three days a week. Will this reduce the amount of my benefits? If l decide to quit my job, but not apply for my Social Security benefits until I'm 66-plus, will it reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?

A: Social Security calculates your monthly benefit by taking your highest 35 years of earnings and your age, says Rick Fingerman, a managing partner with Financial Planning Solutions. "So, if you stop working before your full retirement age or FRA, as you suggest, you could see a lower benefit if you do not have 35 years of higher earnings already."

The same answer applies if you quit your job altogether at 62 and wait until 66 to collect, he says.

One option, says Fingerman, could be if you were going to wait until your FRA and you have a spouse that is already collecting on their own benefit. "You might receive a higher monthly benefit on their record as you would get 50% of what they are receiving, which could be more than the $400 a month under your own benefit," he says.

[Jan 24, 2019] Claiming Social Security Early vs. Delaying Pros and Cons

Jan 24, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Of course, nobody can predict exactly how long they'll live -- the average man and woman turning 65 today can expect to live until age 84 and 86, respectively, according to the Social Security Administration. However, if you're facing health issues and don't expect to live that long, it may be wiser to claim as early as possible rather than waiting until you have only a few years left to enjoy your benefits.

... ... ...

Your full retirement age (FRA) is the age at which you'll receive 100% of the benefits to which you're entitled. So if your FRA is 67, and you wait until then to claim, you'd receive $1,300 per month. If you claim at 62, your benefits will be cut by 30% -- leaving you with just $910 per month.

... ... ...

If you wait until your FRA to claim, you'll receive 100% of your entitled benefits. But if you wait beyond that age, you'll receive a bonus on top of your full amount to make up for all the months you weren't receiving benefits at all. If your FRA is, say, 67 and you wait to claim benefits until 70, you'll receive a 24% bonus over your full amount. So if you would have received $1,300 per month by claiming at 67, you'd receive $1,612 by waiting until 70. (Keep in mind, too, that this bonus maxes out at age 70, so there's no additional benefit to waiting to claim until after that age.)

This can be a lifesaver for those who are seriously behind on saving for retirement . If you're going to rely on Social Security to make ends meet, it's in your best interest to maximize those benefits.

The amount you receive in benefits will be locked in once you claim. If you delay and receive that boost, you'll continue receiving that boost for the rest of your life. Likewise, if you claim early and your benefits are reduced, you'll receive those smaller checks for life. So delaying can play out in your favor if you spend several decades in retirement -- the longer you live, the more you will receive over your lifetime.

While delaying claiming benefits by a few years will result in bigger checks, you may not actually receive more over a lifetime than you would if you had claimed earlier. Although you're receiving more each month, that's just to make up for the years you weren't receiving any benefits at all. If you don't reach your "break even age" -- or the age at which you've received more over a lifetime by waiting to claim than you would have received by claiming early -- it may not be worth it to wait.

For example, say your FRA is 67. If you claim early at 62, you'd receive $910 per month (or $10,920 per year), and if you delay until 70, you'd receive $1,612 per month ($19,344 per year). Here's how much you'd have received in total benefits at different ages:

Age at Death Total Lifetime Benefits When Claiming at 62 Total Lifetime Benefits When Claiming at 70
70 $87,360 N/A
75 $141,960 $96,720
80 $196,560 $193,440
85 $251,160 $290,160

Source: Author's calculations

So in this scenario, you'll have to live past age 80 in order to "break even" and earn more in lifetime benefits by delaying rather than claiming early. That can be a good thing if you expect to live a long time, but if you don't expect to live past 80, it may be more advantageous to claim earlier rather than later.

[Jan 24, 2019] Robert Shiller interviewed by Andy Serwer at Davos 2019

[Video] He views housing prices as a leading indicator, but he is not ready to forecast slowdown yet. Yes Home Sales Sank 6.4% in December . No, a recession isn't about to hit. The International Monetary Fund still thinks the global economy will grow a respectable 3.5% this year . By with the recent downgrade risks are higher and probably highest since 2010.
As for 2019 he said we are always at risk entering the recession. He thinks that as in June there will be the longest recession, that might be time for a recession including in housing market. Inverted curve is a sign of such comes are coming.
Housing market is closing down and that can lead to recession, but he is not giving it probability higher that 50 for this year. He also mentions that real interest rate of short end there are not much above inflation.
Jan 24, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Yale Economics Professor and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller spoke with Yahoo Finance at Davos, telling Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer: "People are starting to think housing is expensive, and that could lead to a turnaround and a drop in home prices. But I'm not ready to forecast that yet."

[Jan 24, 2019] Rubenstein predicts near-term resolutions on U.S.-China trade 'dispute' govt. shutdown

[Video]
Interesting discussion... He said tariff might not work as expected. He does not think recession in probable in 2018 but later it might became inveitable
14% are functionally illiterate. Those people are at he bottom and will stay at the bottom.
Jan 23, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group, sits down for a one on one with Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. They discuss U.S.-China relations, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, income inequality, the government shutdown, and more.

[Jan 24, 2019] Davos 2019 the thing that scares hedge fund titan Ray Dalio the most

Jan 24, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Speaking at a panel discussion on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) , Dalio said: "The US, Europe, China – all of those will experience a greater level of slowing, probably a greater level of disappointment.

"I think there's a reasonable chance that by end of that, monetary policy and fiscal policy will have to become easier relative to what is now discounted in the markets.

He added: " What scares me the most longer-term is that we have limitations to monetary policy, which is our most valuable tool, at the same time as we have greater political and social antagonism.

"So the next downturn worries me the most. There are a lot of parallels with the late 1930s.

READ MORE: Ray Dalio's three-step formula for anyone to start investing

"In 1929-1932 we had a debt crisis, and interest rates hit zero. Then there was a lot of printing of money and purchases of financial assets which drives financial assets higher.

"It creates also a polarity, a populism and an antagonism. We also had at that time the phenomenon of a rising power, like China, dealing with conflict with an existing power.

"These types of political issues are now very connected to economic issues in policy."

Asked at the summit in Switzerland about increasing debt levels and signs of a global slowdown, Dalio said the world economy was in the later stages of a short-term debt cycle.

READ MORE: What is Davos? The 2019 World Economic Forum explained

He said there had been an "inappropriate, mistaken desire to tighten monetary policy at a level that was faster than what the capital markets could handle."

The renowned 69-year-old investor, who authored a free book called ' Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises', also offered his take on corporate debt levels.

He said: "W hen we cut corporate taxes and made interest rates low enough that it was attractive enough to buy financial assets, particularly by companies having mergers and acquisitions, that caused a lot of growth in corporate debt. And that growth in corporate debt was used to finance the purchases. That is going to be less."

He suggested a slowdown could increase the link between politics and economic policy, and predicted increased debate over a 70% income tax rate next year.

[Jan 24, 2019] Intelligence agency officials carefully monitor the activities of the two main parties, keeping a vigilant eye out for any deviations from the national security consensus in Washington

Essentially they are trying to control the US foreign policy. That's a sign of the slide to neofascism as under neofascism intelligence agencies have a political role and are instrumental in crashing the dissent.
Notable quotes:
"... The Times article goes on to describe how FBI officials monitored the platform adopted at the Republican National Convention, reporting that the spy agency "watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia." That is, the nation's top police agency was concerned that the positions adopted contravened certain basic tenets of dominant sections of the foreign policy establishment. ..."
"... By what constitutional authority can the FBI, based on political positions adopted by one or the other of the two main capitalist parties, open up a secret investigation into treason and conspiracy? Such an operation bespeaks a police state and recalls the methods of the Stalinist NKVD. ..."
"... The operations of the FBI, encouraged, aided and abetted by the Times , recall the paranoid rantings of the John Birch Society, the ultra-right group formed in the 1950s, whose founder, Robert Welch, notoriously claimed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former World War II commander of Allied forces in Europe, was a "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy." ..."
"... Claims that once were the province of an extremist group, on the fringes of American politics, are now embraced by the military-intelligence apparatus, appear on the front page of the most influential American daily newspaper, and dominate the network and cable television news. ..."
"... But these allegations have no credibility. Why should anyone believe claims that Trump, at age 70, after decades as a real estate mogul, con man and media celebrity, with a billion-dollar fortune, suddenly decided to throw in his lot with Vladimir Putin? Even the Times report itself concedes, in a single sentence buried in the 2,000-word text, "No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials." ..."
Jan 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Times claims that Trump "had caught the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton." Given that this was a sarcastic campaign remark directed against Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, and delivered at a public news conference, Trump's sally can hardly be construed as evidence of a conspiracy.

The Times article goes on to describe how FBI officials monitored the platform adopted at the Republican National Convention, reporting that the spy agency "watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia." That is, the nation's top police agency was concerned that the positions adopted contravened certain basic tenets of dominant sections of the foreign policy establishment.

By what constitutional authority can the FBI, based on political positions adopted by one or the other of the two main capitalist parties, open up a secret investigation into treason and conspiracy? Such an operation bespeaks a police state and recalls the methods of the Stalinist NKVD.

The agency also investigated four of Trump's campaign aides over possible ties to Russia, and even made use of the notorious Steele dossier, consisting of anti-Trump gossip collated from Russian sources by a former British intelligence agent on the payroll of the Democratic Party.

After Trump fired Comey, according to the Times , "law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence."

The operations of the FBI, encouraged, aided and abetted by the Times , recall the paranoid rantings of the John Birch Society, the ultra-right group formed in the 1950s, whose founder, Robert Welch, notoriously claimed that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the former World War II commander of Allied forces in Europe, was a "a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy."

Claims that once were the province of an extremist group, on the fringes of American politics, are now embraced by the military-intelligence apparatus, appear on the front page of the most influential American daily newspaper, and dominate the network and cable television news.

But these allegations have no credibility. Why should anyone believe claims that Trump, at age 70, after decades as a real estate mogul, con man and media celebrity, with a billion-dollar fortune, suddenly decided to throw in his lot with Vladimir Putin? Even the Times report itself concedes, in a single sentence buried in the 2,000-word text, "No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials."

While there is no evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and Moscow, the Times report itself is evidence of a conspiracy involving the intelligence agencies and the corporate media to overturn the 2016 presidential election - which Trump won, albeit within the undemocratic framework of the Electoral College - and install a government that would differ from Trump's chiefly in being more committed to military confrontation with Russia in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.

A secret security investigation by a powerful police agency directed against an elected president or prime minister can be described as nothing other than the antechamber to a coup by the military or intelligence services.

Historically, the FBI has been at the center of such dangers in the United States. Its founding director, J. Edgar Hoover, was notorious for his unchecked power, particularly during the period of the McCarthy anticommunist witch hunt, when he accumulated dossiers on virtually every Democratic and Republican politician and authorized widespread spying on civil rights and antiwar groups.

President John F. Kennedy was so concerned that he installed his brother Robert as attorney general - and nominal superior to Hoover - to keep watch over the bureau. That did not save Kennedy from assassination in 1963 , an event linked in still undisclosed ways to ultra-right circles, including Cuban exiles embittered by the Bay of Pigs disaster, Southern segregationists, and sections of the military-intelligence apparatus up in arms over Kennedy's signing of a nuclear test ban treaty with Moscow.

The New York Times report - and a companion piece published Sunday in the Washington Post claiming that Trump has kept secret key details of his private conversations with Putin - serve to legitimize antidemocratic and unconstitutional conduct by the military-intelligence apparatus .

These reports shed light on the striking complacency in the "mainstream" media over Trump's threats to declare a national emergency, using the pretext of his conflict with congressional Democrats over funding of a border wall, which has led to a three-week-long partial shutdown of the federal government.

If one takes for good coin the main contention of the reports by the two newspapers, their acquiescence in a potential Trump declaration of emergency rule is inexplicable. After all, if Trump is Putin's agent, then a Trump declaration of a state of emergency, giving him sweeping, near-absolute authority, would put the United States under the control of Moscow.

The explanation is that the Times and the Post welcome the discussion of emergency rule, to prepare the forces of the state for coming conflicts with the working class. Their only disagreement with Trump is over which faction of the ruling elite, Trump or his opponents in the Democratic Party, should direct the repression.

One thing is certain: if Trump declares a national emergency, or if, as the Post suggested in an editorial, his opponents in the ruling elite declare a national emergency over alleged Russian "meddling" as part an effort to remove him, it will represent an irrevocable break with democracy.

It is impossible to determine which side in this sordid conflict is more reactionary. The working class is confronted with two alternatives :

[Jan 23, 2019] Another sign of collapse of neoliberal ideology: discussion of 70% tax rate on income over 10 million is no longer viewed as anathema

Jan 23, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Billionaire Michael Dell, chief executive officer of the eponymous technology giant, rejected a suggestion by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of a 70-percent marginal tax rate on the wealthiest Americans.

"No, I'm not supportive of that," Dell said at a Davos panel on making digital globalization inclusive. "And I don't think it will help the growth of the U.S. economy. Name a country where that's worked."

She may not be in Davos, but the New York representative's influence is being felt on the slopes of the Swiss Alps. Three weeks after Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea in an interview on "60 Minutes" to raise the top marginal tax rate on Americans' income of more than $10 million to 70 percent, it was a hot topic at the gathering of the global financial and political elite.

... ... ...

"My wife and I set up a foundation about 20 years ago and we would've contributed quite a bit more than a 70 percent tax rate on my annual income," Dell said. "I feel much more comfortable with our ability as a private foundation to allocate those funds than I do giving them to the government."

Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was on the panel with Dell, said such a rate worked in the U.S. after World War II. But other executives were opposed, including Salesforce.com Inc. Co-Chief Executive Officer Keith Block.

... ... ...

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio suggested that the idea may have legs in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election. Discussing the outlook for a slowing world economy Tuesday, Dalio said that next year will see "the beginning of thinking about politics and how that might affect economic policy beyond. Something like the talk of the 70 percent income tax, for example, will play a bigger role." He didn't mention Ocasio-Cortez by name.

Currently in the U.S., the top marginal tax rate is 37 percent, which takes effect on income of more than $510,300 for individuals and $612,350 for married couples, according to the Tax Foundation.

The fortunes of a dozen attendees at the World Economic Forum in 2009 have soared by a combined $175 billion, a Bloomberg analysis found. The same cannot be said for people on the other end of the social spectrum: A report from Oxfam on Monday revealed that the poorest half of the world saw their wealth fall by 11 percent last year.

[Jan 22, 2019] The elite at Davos may have just destroyed the 2019 stock market rally

Jan 22, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund slashed its global growth outlook for 2019 and 2020 the day before the WEF kicked off. Its growth forecasts for China in 2019 and 2020 -- 6.2% -- is lower than most top minds on Wall Street have modeled.

Credit Suisse came out today with a doozy of a 90-page "study" looking at global debt levels. A shout out like this in the report does nothing to engender confidence in risk assets: "Defaults are likely to rise in segments of the corporate debt markets once economic growth weakens more markedly or if monetary policy tightens further; in such a situation, an unwinding of positions could generate significant market stress due to illiquidity."

Credit Suisse Chairman Urs Rohner suggests on the first page of the report that a full-scale global debt blowup is unlikely. But the overall scope of the report is bearish to stocks, trust this writer who read the study in its entirety.

[Jan 22, 2019] Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "Barely able to slip a cigarette paper between business and government."

Jan 22, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

William Anthony -> BoneyOCoonassa , 15 Jan 2019 09:40

We've known since WW2, that fighting fascism is difficult. Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "Barely able to slip a cigarette paper between business and government." And when business runs government, we have even exceeded fascism. The new battle against fascism is not going to be easy.

[Jan 22, 2019] The International Monetary Fund serves up depressing new outlook on the world for investors to ponder

Notable quotes:
"... Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

The International Monetary Fund just uncorked a sobering outlook on the global economy and asset markets for the elite billionaires huddled up in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum to ponder.

In its latest World Economic Update report, the IMF said Monday the global economy is projected to grow at a meager 3.5% this year and only accelerate to 3.6% in 2020. The outlooks for 2019 and 2020 are 0.2 percentage point and 0.1 percentage point below the IMF's projections issued in October.

Hat tips to the ongoing U.S. trade war with China, tightening financial conditions globally and more volatile risk asset markets.

The finer points: The IMF pretty much had nothing good to say on the outlooks for developed and emerging markets. Although that is nothing unusual for the IMF -- who often takes a cautious stance on its outlooks for economies and financial markets -- it may give many investors a wake up call amid a somewhat hot start to the stock market in 2019.

Of note, U.S. growth is seen slowing to 2.5% in 2019 and dipping to 1.9% in 2020 at the hands of the unwinding of fiscal stimulus (see Trump tax cuts), higher interest rates and the U.S. trade war with China. The IMF tossed the U.S. a bone by noting the pace of expansion is above the country's estimated potential growth in both years.

As for Europe, the IMF is now more bearish on growth compared to its October outlook. Growth for emerging and developing Europe in 2019 is forecast to cool to 0.7% (from 3.8% in 2018) and then bounce to 2.4% in 2020. Previously, the IMF was looking for growth of 2% and 2.8% in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Lackluster growth in Italy, France and Germany as well as policy tightening in Turkey are the main culprits for the IMF's European growth downgrade.

Growth in emerging and developing Asia is expected to drop from 6.5% in 2018 to 6.3% in 2019 and reach 6.4% in 2020, said the IMF. The IMF expects growth in China to be 6.2% both in 2019 and 2020 versus 6.6% in 2018.

Interestingly, the IMF incorporates the impact of continued tariffs by the U.S. on China and vice versa in its baseline forecast. In other words, the organization does not expect there to be a trade truce between the countries on their self-imposed March 1 deadline.

For the investors out there: For those bulls that have returned to beaten up stocks in January, the IMF does its best to squash the hopium infiltrating your brains. "A range of catalyzing events in key systemic economies could spark a broader deterioration in investor sentiment and a sudden, sharp repricing of assets amid elevated debt burdens. Global growth would likely fall short of the baseline projection if any such events were to materialize and trigger a generalized risk-off episode," cautioned the IMF.

China's growth slowdown is also a risk that the IMF suggests investors don't fully appreciate.

"As seen in 2015–16, concerns about the health of China's economy can trigger abrupt, wide reaching sell-offs in financial and commodity markets that place its trading partners, commodity exporters, and other emerging markets under pressure," the IMF pointed out.

The bottom line: The IMF isn't exactly super plugged into global asset markets in the same vein as forecasters at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. But their latest assessment of the global economy and risk markets offers up a good counterbalance to the enthusiasm that has begun to creep back into financial markets after the October 2017 through December 2018 rout.

Happy trading, folks.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter

[Jan 20, 2019] Buzzfeed, Question Time the purpose of Fake News by Kit Knightly

Notable quotes:
"... The point of this practice is to propagate lies into the public consciousness. It's a method that can be used to distract and disseminate and divide. The accuracy of the statement is immaterial. ..."
"... The point is, once it has been said it cannot be unsaid. There are countless examples: "Assange was working for Russia", "Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress", "Russia hacked the US election", "Donald Trump worked for the KGB", "Assad gassed his own people", "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite". The list goes on and on and on. None these have been proven. All were asserted without evidence, fiercely defended as facts, and then discretely qualified. ..."
"... The lie was told, the audience laughed, the reality was created. "Labour are behind in the polls, anybody who says otherwise is a laughingstock" . The lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. That's why fake news is so important to them, and so dangerous us. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | off-guardian.org

... ... ...

Trump has been a disappointment to his base and is yet to implement half the policies he discussed on the campaign trail, but he's not fully and totally being controlled by the warhawking Deep State yet, either. His policy of peace with North Korea and decisions to pull out of Syria and Afghanistan show that there is a tug-of-war ongoing inside the administration. It's probably no coincidence that this latest of many "bombshells" comes so quickly on the heels of Trump's announcement of the Syria withdrawal. Careful "leaks", planted stories and social media witch-hunts remind Trump how precarious his position is, whilst simultaneously distracting the public – both pro-Trump and anti-Trump – from real issues.

The case-specific "why?" doesn't matter so much as the general aim of this type of manipulation. The important question is: Why does the media tell lies if they know they will be revealed as such? Clearly, the lies serve a purpose, regardless of their retraction or qualification. Telling a lie loudly and then taking it back quietly is an old propaganda trick – it allows the paper to maintain a facade of "accountability".

The point of this practice is to propagate lies into the public consciousness. It's a method that can be used to distract and disseminate and divide. The accuracy of the statement is immaterial.

The point is, once it has been said it cannot be unsaid. There are countless examples: "Assange was working for Russia", "Trump ordered Cohen to lie to Congress", "Russia hacked the US election", "Donald Trump worked for the KGB", "Assad gassed his own people", "Jeremy Corbyn is an antisemite". The list goes on and on and on. None these have been proven. All were asserted without evidence, fiercely defended as facts, and then discretely qualified.

That is the purpose of "fake news", to forge the Empire's "created reality" , and force us all to live in it. These are world-shaping, policy-informing, news-dominating narratives and are nothing but feathers in the wind .

A perfect exemplar of this occurred just two days ago on the BBC's flagship Political debate show Question Time : me title= The (notionally impartial) host not only sided with right-wing author Isabel Oakeshott in criticising Labour's polling, but then joined in mocking the Labour MP Diane Abbott for attempting to correct the record. Both Oakeshott and Fiona Bruce, the host, were factually incorrect – as shown a hundred times over since. But that doesn't matter.

The lie was told, the audience laughed, the reality was created. "Labour are behind in the polls, anybody who says otherwise is a laughingstock" . The lie goes around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on. That's why fake news is so important to them, and so dangerous us.

Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

[Jan 20, 2019] Has the USA become an elite club for financial bandits manipulating sheep under the name "American Nation".

Jan 20, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

CatinThe Hat 3 hours ago

Taking Stock of Ukraine's Achievements Amidst Russia's Aggression

Five years ago, the Ukrainian people staged a peaceful "revolution of dignity" against a corrupt regime sponsored by the Kremlin. They stood firm even under gunfire and it was the discredited President Viktor Yanukovych who eventually retreated and took refuge in Russia. With Moscow engaging in renewed attacks against Ukraine in the Sea of Azov it is important to take stock of Ukraine's achievements since those fateful days in Kyiv's Independence Square."

Talk about Orwellian double speak. Only Russiagaters would eat that **** up in their stupidity .

pparalegal 10 hours ago (Edited)

Oligarchs, corporations and want to be psychopathic rulers East and West run the political/ think tank know-it-all class. All profit by it. Governments start wars, not people.

I am still waiting for an explanation of how the mythical beast New Russia will own the USA and what they will do with it after that. If we don't bomb the s**t out of some third country because we can. I am much more concerned about the in house mad cows we have elected to boss the American public and take the gold out of my teeth for the greater good..

Helg Saracen 10 hours ago (Edited)

I'm just curious. How many real estate over the past 15 years has been bought by the Chinese in New York, Chicago and California? How many brands, businesses were bought by the Chinese from the Americans? How many were "borrowed" technology? And how many Russians bought (rich Jews from Russia cannot be taken into account, they came to their relatives, well, they bought a little of everything)? :( 30 years ago, the USSR was communist, and the US was capitalist, now Russia has become capitalist, and the USA (I don't even know how to say) has become an elite club for financial bandits manipulating sheep under the name "American Nation".

Mantis964 6 hours ago

and the USA (I don't even know how to say) has become an elite club for financial bandits manipulating sheep under the name "American Nation".

Wouldn't you call that Fascism ?

[Jan 20, 2019] Even as an old timer, I am drawn to the arguments made by our "Dissident Right"(DR), who seek to find a Third Way between destructive international capitalism and destructive international socialism

Jan 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

follyofwar , says: January 20, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT

Even as an old timer, I am drawn to the arguments made by our "Dissident Right"(DR), who seek to find a Third Way between destructive international capitalism and destructive international socialism. That movement is Nationalism. Some might call it Fascism, though that loaded term has become far too pejorative. It is not surprising that one of the heroes of the US DR is Mr. Putin.

The people making the best oral arguments for this third way that I've listened to thus far are Mike Enoch and Eric Striker. Do not dismiss them lightly. They are obviously highly intelligent and their movement is growing. As young white males are increasingly marginalized and oppressed by the dominant culture, they have nowhere else to go. Old-time GOP civic nationalism is dead, killed by the Diversity Cult that they foolishly embraced. On their own, after Trump, and given the snowballing demographic catastrophe, the GOP could never again win another national election. At some point there will be an uprising, unless young indoctrinated males have been become like frogs in slowly boiling water, who don't realize they are being scalded alive until it is too late.

[Jan 20, 2019] Dear [neoliberal] elites

Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Brad F January 18, 2019 at 10:26 am

Dear Elites

We appreciate that you have built a successful career and/or business under the prevailing laws, and that changing these laws would cause the destruction and/or appropriation of much of your wealth (while costing us little).

Nonetheless we've had a vote and decided that we will indeed go ahead and make these changes. Sorry about your luck. What? You don't agree! Don't you believe in democracy? You hypocrite you!

[Jan 20, 2019] In fact, we don't have a real democracy anymore. We have a Potemkin Village democracy.

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, Trump is a pretend President. He doesn't control his own government. Hell, a single judge anywhere in the hinterlands evidently has the power to veto pretty much whatever the Trumpster does. It's clear that the real power resides in the hands of the Ruling Class, most of whom are unelected and unaccountable. Judges. Bureaucrats. Regulators. The Deep State. They now run the show. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Gerard January 17, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Great article and right on target. In fact, we don't have a real democracy anymore. We have a Potemkin Village democracy. Our national legislature is paralyzed and impotent. And honestly, that's the way its membership likes it. Pretend to govern. Hold tight to the seats of privilege and status.

In addition, Trump is a pretend President. He doesn't control his own government. Hell, a single judge anywhere in the hinterlands evidently has the power to veto pretty much whatever the Trumpster does. It's clear that the real power resides in the hands of the Ruling Class, most of whom are unelected and unaccountable. Judges. Bureaucrats. Regulators. The Deep State. They now run the show.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media plays the role of Orwell's Squealer the Pig from Animal Farm. Propagandists. Purveyors of fake news and fake truth. This is not going to end well. The only question is how and when the ending comes.

[Jan 20, 2019] Degeneration of the US neoliberal elite can be partially attributed to the conversion of neoliberal universities into indoctrination mechanism, rather then institutions for fostering critical thinking

Notable quotes:
"... An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated. ..."
"... As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. ..."
Jan 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Paul Reidinger, January 17, 2019 at 2:03 pm

An excellent piece. I would add only that the so-called elites mentioned by Mr Bacevich are largely the products of the uppermost stratum of colleges and universities, at least in the USA, and that for a generation or more now, those institutions have indoctrinated rather than educated.

As their more recent alumni move into government, media and cultural production, the primitiveness of their views and their inability to think -- to say nothing of their fundamental ignorance about our civilization other than that it is bad and evil -- begin to have real effect. The new dark age is no longer imminent. It is here, and it is them. I see no way to rectify the damage. When minds are ruined young, they remain ruined.

[Jan 19, 2019] Stock Rebound Will Collapse as Recession Risk Rises Morgan Stanley

Jan 19, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

The stock market has staged a rebound in January, but Morgan Stanley sees a number of bearish indicators. Indeed, they estimate that odds of the U.S. economy slipping into a recession are now the highest since the financial crisis of 2008, and they project that the S&P 500 Index (SPX) ultimately will settle back to a value of 2,400 in 2019, revisiting the recent lows seen in December and more than 18% below the record high set in September 2018. "We expect upcoming negative data will prove 2600-2650 [on the S&P 500] to be a good sale before a proper retest of the December lows," Morgan Stanley says in the latest Weekly Warm-Up report from their U.S. equity strategy team headed by Michael Wilson.

[Jan 19, 2019] The central political question in all Western societies is -- how far will the masses be able to control the naturally-abusive tendencies of the elite?

Notable quotes:
"... Robert Henderson [ Email him ] ..."
"... is a retired civil servant living in London and consequently old enough to remember what life was like before political correctness. He runs the Living In A Madhouse and England Calling blogs. ..."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

So what is really happening -- in the U.K. and the U.S.?

The Deep State is often portrayed as a conspiracy. In fact, it is better thought of as a blind sociological event. There is no group of conscious conspirators, simply people being groomed to have the same opinions or at least saying they do.

Link Bookmark What has happened in the UK (and the rest for the West to varying degrees) is the success of the long march through the institutions . That is what ultimately has given the UK an elite ( politicians , mediafolk , teachers etc) who are overwhelmingly Politically Correct internationalists. And it's those people who are at the forefront of the attempts to sabotage Brexit.

How did it come about? A German student leader of the 1960s Rudi Dutschke, echoing the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci , put forward the idea whereby societies could be subverted from within by those of an internationalist bent who would patiently work to gain positions of power and influence. Eventually there would be enough of such people to change the policies of Western societies from national to internationalist ones. That point was reached in the UK at least 50 years ago and the Politically Correct stranglehold on our society is now complete.

The capture of Western societies by internationalists has allowed them to permit and even overtly encourage mass immigration of people from different cultures, denigrate their own societies, traduce the West and its native populations generally and introduce gradually the pernicious Totalitarian creed of Cultural Marxism which has "anti-racism" (in reality anti-white racism) at its heart. The last brick in the Politically Correct building is the increasingly draconian treatment of anyone who refuses to toe the line -- increasingly including the use of the criminal law and imprisonment.

That is why Western politics until recently has been so ideologically monotone. Brexit was a revolt against that mentality.

Most MPs overtly or tacitly supported the idea of the referendum and its result by promising it in election manifestos, in Parliament and through their passage by large majorities of the legislation needed to both set up the referendum and make provision for its implementation.

But by doing so, MPs forfeited their right to do anything other honour the result of the referendum. That applies just as much to Remainer MPs as Leaver MPs.

Sadly, the behaviour of the most committed Remainers with power and influence (including many MPs and peers in the House of Lords) has shattered utterly the idea that the UK is a fully functioning democracy. Rather, it is an elective oligarchy whereby the electorate are offered an opportunity every few years to choose between competing parts of the elite -- an elite in the UK whose general political ideas are largely held in common and go against the interests and wishes of most of the electorate.

None of this should be a surprise. The sad truth: the central political question in all Western societies is -- how far will the masses be able to control the naturally-abusive tendencies of the elite?

Robert Henderson [ Email him ] is a retired civil servant living in London and consequently old enough to remember what life was like before political correctness. He runs the Living In A Madhouse and England Calling blogs.

[Jan 19, 2019] The Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Rurik , says: April 10, 2018 at 2:46 pm GMT

@jacques sheete

the Senate is the eager, resourceful, and indefatigable agent of interests as hostile to the American people as any invading army could be."

-David Graham Phillips, Cosmopolitan magazine, February 1906

and to think that was over a hundred years ago

... ... ...

[Jan 19, 2019] The Mockingbird Media lies and equivocates about everything. Insofar as the deep state spider's web of hegemony spreads all over the world and becomes more odious, the lies become more copious and more predictable, and their acceptance more and more relies upon the lever of public credulity and Neoliberal Newspeak

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mulegino1 , says: April 10, 2018 at 4:49 am GMT

A great man once wrote that the "big lie" had a force of credulity among the broad masses, as the latter were wont to engage in lying about minor quotidian matters of little or no significance while the big lies were engaged in by the mainstream press, dominated by the usual tribal suspects.

It was the case with blaming General Ludendorff for Germany's defeat, and it is the same case today, 100 years after the fact.

The Mockingbird Media lies and equivocates about everything. Insofar as the deep state spider's web of hegemony spreads all over the world and becomes more odious, the lies become more copious and more predictable, and their acceptance relies upon the lever of public credulity and kosher Newspeak.

What the unconditional and incorrigible Trumpetistas do not realize is that those of us- a very large plurality of of Trump supporters- voted for him because he was not Hillary Clinton and had pledged to keep us out of foreign wars. We will neither support, nor abet, foreign wars for the sake of Israel, whether they are started by Trump or anyone else. Intervention in Syria against the Assad regime is a no go. Trump cannot hope to compare himself to Assad, since the latter has formed a real and effective alliance against the Christian hating head choppers with Russia and Iran. Trump is totally clueless with respect to geopolitics. He is a rank amateur.

Jon Baptist , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:27 am GMT
It makes complete sense if one simply looks at the British Establishment's prior behavior of intentionally starting world wars at the order of the Society of the Elect. It's all in the CFR's archives. Their guilt in starting WW1 is emphatically admitted and documented in roughly the first 200 pages of the following book. http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/Tragedy_and_Hope.pdf

Who is in the Society of the Elect? Read the back pages of http://www.carrollquigley.net/pdf/The_Anglo-American_Establishment.pdf

Anonymous [280] Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:33 am GMT
It's surreal to watch such staggering levels of dishonest incompetence among our globalist "elites".

This is worrying. Nobody is that stupid so it's more like they don't care about credibility going forward. Like it won't matter.

annamaria , says: April 10, 2018 at 5:52 am GMT
"In 2016 an official British government inquiry determined that Bush and Blair had indeed together rushed to war. The Global Establishment has nevertheless rewarded Tony Blair for his loyalty with Clintonesque generosity. He has enjoyed a number of well-paid sinecures and is now worth in excess of $100 million."

-- The character of Blair and the Establishment is well established: Blair is a major war criminal supported by the major war profiteers. His children and grandchildren are a progeny of a horrible criminal.

What is truly amazing is the complacency of the Roman Catholic Church that still has not excommunicated and anathematized the mass murderer. Blair should be haunted and hunted for his crimes against humanity.

With age, Blair's face has become expressively evil. His wife Theresa Cara "Cherie" Blair shows the same acute ugliness coming from her rotten soul of a war profiteer.

Blanco Watts , says: April 10, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
The UK is governed by the same Neo-liberal psychotic cabal that runs the US, Israel and France.
quasi_verbatim , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:01 am GMT
The Skripals are to be disappeared. Their home, the pub and the restaurant are to be demolished. This is a Tarantino cleanup. Move on
JR , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:06 am GMT
Keep in mind how long ago all this is:
Skripal was recruited around 1990 and arrested in 2004. Guess that the Russian attitude towards Skripal took the chaos of the 90's as mitigating circumstances into account.
Skripal served his sentence of only 13 years till 2010 when he was pardoned and given the option to leave. Russia did not revoke Skripal's citizenship. The UK issued Skripal a passport too. On arrival in the UK Skripak was extensively debriefed by UK intelligence services. Skripal has lived for 8 years in the UK now.

And now out of the blue this incident nicely dovetailing with May ratcheted up anti Russia language only a few months before this false flag incident and the rapidly failing traction of the Steele/Orbis/MI6 instigated Russia collusion story on the basis of that fake Trump Dossier. By the way Orbis affiliated Steele and Miller have been among Skripal's handlers.

Realist , says: April 10, 2018 at 7:49 am GMT
Why anyone would believe anything Western governments say is beyond me.
animalogic , says: April 10, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
Good article.
The Skipnal affair has been an utter disgrace from day one. May & Boris are a shame on the UK fully reminesent of that utter dog, Blair.
The fact that the msm still babbles on about Russia & Skipnal is indicative of their monumental contempt for the public & factual balanced reporting .well what's new, I guess ?
Ronald Thomas West , says: Website April 10, 2018 at 8:43 am GMT
From the Steele dossier lies falling apart to the Skripal lies falling apart to the 'Assad did it' lies falling apart:

https://ronaldthomaswest.com/2018/04/08/open-letter-to-die-linke/

^

Paul Craig Roberts is correct when quoting The Saker:

"The Russian view is simple: the West is ruled by a gang of thugs supported by an infinitely lying and hypocritical media while the general public in the West has been hopelessly zombified." -- The Saker

I expect that makes the Russians right

OMG , says: April 10, 2018 at 10:35 am GMT
These ridiculous, suicidal gas attacks by Assad seem to coincide not only with battleground victories against the head-choppers, but co-incidentally with Israel's murderous attacks on unarmed Palestinians "throwing stones".

What nobody seems to have picked up is the emphasis – and red lines – on Gas; gas, gas attacks. Why is gas so much worse than being dismembered, disembowelled, and mutilated by high explosives? Certainly I would favour unconsciousness and death by gas before being smashed to pieces by depleted uranium.

These relentlessly repeated claims are an exercise with the dual purpose of providing a subliminal message about the greatest tragedy in human history, repeated ad nauseam. The massive 'gassing' of European Jews some 65 years ago. Lest we forget.

Anonymous [249] Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
What makes you think the Skripals are still alive? The entire British charade stinks to high heaven.
Escher , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:06 am GMT
What is surprising is how the MSM is able to lead along so many supposedly educated people, with at least some critical thinking skills.
All we like sheep , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:13 am GMT
Compared with the Litvinenko umbrella attack with its tip having been dipped in an Amazonian Indians' style curare variant of Polonium the intelligence level of the MI6 & CIA seems to have hit the ground with the twofold miracle of the dead being raised. Now the miracles are posing a big problem for the demonizers of Russia & President Putin: how to spirit these two living & talking people away, who have returned from the dead, where they were supposed to be so safe and well for all truth-loving investigators. This whole story seems to unfold like a Jesus Christ Superstar sequel with James Bond appetizers having been added. At present the roles have been reversed: the Russians being the champions of free will and the Western intelligence services being the Joker.
Greg Bacon , says: Website April 10, 2018 at 11:14 am GMT
Until some kind of sanity returns to this planet and war mongering gangsters like the Bush and Clinton Mobs, Blair, Obama and a host of Pentagon generals, along with their boot-licking MSM are indicted, tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes, found guilty and sentences carried out, there will be no peace on Earth, just an endless series of False Flags, hysterical reactions by the ones who were behind the False Flags and more wars.
Simon in London , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:25 am GMT
It does look rather like those Syrian chemical weapon attacks that happen whenever the rebels are about to be defeated.

I am pretty sure that it was not ordered within the British government and that most of the British government don't know where it came from, but are willing to believe it was Russia.

While the CIA does have plenty of form on assassinations, the risk if they were found to be assassinating in Britain seems quite high due to the close CIA links with the UK intelligence sector. But CIA agents could have paid someone else to do it.

Mossad is the one group that can act freely in the UK, has a record of assassinating scientists, engineers etc here, and unlike CIA, can take the risk of being caught. So it's a possibility – OTOH Israel has shown a lot less anti-Russian hatred than the US Deep State has.

Normally I'd assume it was indeed Russia – I thought there was plenty of evidence the Polonium poisoning was Russia – and it still seems possible, but US or Mossad must be at least equally likely in this case. It's just possible it could have been British initiated but I doubt it.

I do think it's most likely the person who actually poisoned them was not an employee of any agency.

Jake , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:38 am GMT
Theresa May as more evil than Bill Clinton? That will sound odd to some, but I think it is true. Hillary is the pure evil half of the Clinton marriage. Bill is simply charming and filled with a desire to amass enough power to have a group adore him as he finds new panties to explore.

May is English, and she has the very long line of Brit Empire secret service evil at her disposal. And her move is a bold one. What it means is that she is signaling that at least if she is PM, the UK could replace the US as Fearless Leader of the actual New World Order, which is the WASP Empire with Israel and worldwide Jewry as Junior Partner #1 and Saudi Arabia elevated to Junior Partner #2 in an insane attempt to make Israel secure forever.

The English have never been happy that the lowly Americans leaped them as A-#1 of the WASP Empire, and being English they have no permanent alliances, no permanent allies, not even kin (perhaps especially kin – which type and degree of ruthlessness impresses all Semites).

This alliance was sealed by none other than the very epitome of WASP culture: Mr. Archetypal WASP himself, Oliver Cromwell. The Anglo-Saxon alliance with Jews precisely to wage wars against non-WASP white Christians was the logical (and inevitable if WASP culture were to acquire large scale political power) .

By the Victorian era, virtually all Elite Brit WASPs were knowing philoSemites. The new twist was that a growing number of them were becoming obsessed with Arabs and/or Islam. decades before the Balfour Declaration, the Brit WASP Elites were wrangling among themselves over how best to use the largest and wealthiest Empire in world history to express its philoSemtism.

The solution recently agreed upon was to elevate the Saudis. The assumption is that as the Saudis control the actual land of Mohammed, if they are elevated to suzerainty over not merely all Arabs but the entire Islamic Middle East, then the entire Islamic world can be controlled, including to allow Israel to exist in 'peace.'

And that means all that oil is under the indirect, but very firm, control of the WASP Empire, or as The Saker calls it: the Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Of course, the Saudi royal family is the most amorally vicious power party in the Middle East. They would slaughter half the Sunni Arabs in order to become unrivaled suzerain over the entire Islamic world. Such monstrousness makes the House of Saud exactly the type partner that those who control the WASP Empire want as partners.

The Russians are in the way of that beautiful plan of world domination. Russians have common sense and, much worse, they express it, even publicly. Russians know that Sunni Islam is a much worse threat to the world than is Shiite Islam. The Russians know that the Iranians are much more honorable and moral than are the Saudis. The Russians know that as bad as the Turks are, they are more honorable and trustworthy than the Saudis.

And the Russians also know that the Anglo-Zionist Empire would be tickled pink to make all non-WASP Elite whites – all in the world – a permanent serf class, treated the way Cromwell treated the Irish, the way the Israelis treat the Palestinians.

Randal , says: April 10, 2018 at 11:48 am GMT
@Corvinus Corvinus, George Galloway has a message addressed directly to you:

It's harsh, but one has to concede it is also a fair assessment.

Giuseppe , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:10 pm GMT
I challenge anyone to name a modern war prosecuted by the US government and its allies that did not involve at its root the direct fabrication of blatant lies on enormous levels, both as a casus belli and also to manipulate public opinion in favor of hostilities.

The clandestine activity represented by these *provocations* isn't even good spycraft. The Skripal case and the latest use of chlorine gas in Syria are risible, clumsy, amateur attempts to wangle the empire into war that the callowest rube could see through. And yet, it's working its magic on the media. The politicians, suborned by the war machine, give unanimous bipartisan assent.

What the hell is going on?

JoaoAlfaiate , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:35 pm GMT
@Giuseppe Saddam's WMD, Gulf of Tonkin, etc., etc. And now a ridiculous false flag attack in Syria. Did it take place at all? But the narrative is all. The press in the USA is more effectively controlled and conformist than in Germany in the late 1930s and nobody goes around beating up journalists or sending them to a KZ. The Syrian Gov't is winning the civil war, things are going well but what Assad really needs is to have the crap bombed out of his military by Uncle Sam. What transparent bullshit.
tjm , says: April 10, 2018 at 1:08 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX Agreed to all you said, but I would include the assassination of JFK and his brother, and likely Martin Luther King Jr.

And each time they took out a great American, they used that assassination to push a destructive narrative: With the killing of MLK they pinned the killing on a white southern man, thus pushing their white hate narrative.

With 9/11 is was all about stoking hate of Muslims

These creatures lie as easily as breath, and they have all the money in the world to push their lies.

JoaoAlfaiate , says: April 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm GMT
@jacques sheete The intent of my post was to show that the MSM here is conformist and doesn't like to stray far from what the USG is claiming and what other journalists are writing. Rather than explore the topics you raise, as worthy of exploration as they might be, I thought I'd offer what newspapers around the USA were saying about Saddam's WMD after Powell's UNSC speech; seems a bit more germane.

The Powell evidence will be persuasive to anyone who is still persuadable.

The Wall Street Journal

Piling fact upon fact, photo upon photo Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell methodically demonstrated why Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein remains dangerous to his own people, Iraq's neighbors

The Los Angeles Times

On Wednesday, America's most reluctant warrior, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, presented succinct and damning evidence of Saddam's enormous threat to world peace.

Arizona Republic

Saddam Hussein's illicit arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, as well as the equally illicit means that he possesses to deliver them, poses a tangible and urgent danger to U.S. and world security. Millions of innocent lives are at risk.

Dallas Morning News

At some point, the world chooses to believe President George W. Bush and Secretary Powell or the international community chooses to side with Saddam Hussein and those who broadcast his lies to the world. Powell has painstakingly presented a strong case against Iraq.

Greenville News/South Carolina

Iraq is busted. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell laid out the case clearly. No one hearing Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council could doubt Iraq's actions and intentions.

Jacksonville Times-Union/Florida

The threat is real and at our door. Sept. 11, 2001, stripped away the belief that the United States can peacefully coexist with evil. Prove it, they said. Powell has.

Charleston Daily Mail/West Virginia

We are a country always loath to fight unless provoked. The reluctance of Americans to initiate a war needlessly does the nation credit. But this is not a needless war, nor is it unprovoked. Powell laid out the need, and explained the provocation, in step-by-step fashion that cannot be refuted without resorting to fantasy.

Chicago Sun-Times

The Dispatch repeatedly has called on the Bush administration to make a compelling case that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction and hiding these efforts from U.N. inspectors. Yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell made that case before the Security Council.

Columbus Dispatch

Powell has methodically proved Iraq's failure to comply with U.N. mandates. With each passing day, Iraq's own choices move it closer to a war that full compliance would prevent.

Indianapolis Star

Secretary of State Colin Powell's 90-minute presentation to the U.N. Security Council, buttressed with surveillance photographs and recorded phone conversations, should remove all doubt that Iraq's Saddam Hussein has developed and hides weapons of mass destruction, in violation of U.N. resolutions.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council presented not just one 'smoking gun' but a battery of them, more than sufficient to dispel any lingering doubt about the threat the Iraqi dictator poses.

Denver Post

The United States has made a compelling case that Iraq has failed to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction. This failure violates the U.N. Security Council resolution of late last year which ordered Iraq to disarm. As a consequence and it is a grave one, the Security Council must act now to disarm Iraq by force.

Salt Lake City Tribune

Powell has connected enough dots to tie Iraq to al-Qaeda and show that this alliance is a threat to all of Europe as well as the United States.

Manchester Union Leader

In fact, the speech provided proof that Saddam continues to refuse to obey U.N. resolutions. Any amount of time he has now to comply fully and openly with U.N. demands should be measured in days or a few weeks – and no longer.

Portland Press-Herald/Maine

[Jan 19, 2019] Oh, nothing new; extortion, perjury, forty per cent, face-grinding.

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Mike Sylwester says: Website April 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm GMT The Moon of Alabama website has been doing great work criticizing the Skripal yarn.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/04/the-best-explanation-for-the-skripal-drama-is-food-poisoning.html#more

jacques sheete , says: April 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm GMT

@Giuseppe

What the hell is going on?

Nothing new. Same ol same ol.

But how are things going up here? what is Athens about?

Phi. Oh, nothing new; extortion, perjury, forty per cent, face-grinding.

-Lucian of Samosata, MENIPPUS, A NECROMANTIC EXPERIMENT, ~150 AD
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/luc/wl1/wl176.htm

[Jan 19, 2019] According to Wolin, domestic and foreign affairs goals are each important and on parallel tracks

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination. ..."
"... The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, therefore making it less likely they will become politically active and thus helping maintain the first dynamic. ..."
"... By using managerial methods and developing management of elections, the democracy of the United States has become sanitized of political participation, therefore managed democracy is "a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control". ..."
"... Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies. ..."
Jan 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jan 15, 2019 9:31:08 PM | lin k

karlof1

According to Wolin, domestic and foreign affairs goals are each important and on parallel tracks, as summarized at Wikipedia, the United States has two main totalizing dynamics:

The first, directed outward, finds its expression in the global War on Terror and in the Bush Doctrine that the United States has the right to launch preemptive wars. This amounts to the United States seeing as illegitimate the attempt by any state to resist its domination.

The second dynamic, directed inward, involves the subjection of the mass of the populace to economic "rationalization", with continual "downsizing" and "outsourcing" of jobs abroad and dismantling of what remains of the welfare state created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society. Neoliberalism is an integral component of inverted totalitarianism. The state of insecurity in which this places the public serves the useful function of making people feel helpless, therefore making it less likely they will become politically active and thus helping maintain the first dynamic.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Wolin's Inverted Totalitarianism provides the ground work for my suspicions regarding faux populists Obama and Trump:

By using managerial methods and developing management of elections, the democracy of the United States has become sanitized of political participation, therefore managed democracy is "a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control".

Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies.

[Jan 17, 2019] The financial struggles of unplanned retirement

People who are kicked out of their IT jobs around 55 now has difficulties to find even full-time McJobs... Only part time jobs are available. With the current round of layoff and job freezes, neoliberalism in the USA is entering terminal phase, I think.
Jan 17, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

A survey by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found on average Americans are retiring at age 63, with more than half indicating they retired sooner than they had planned. Among them, most retired for health or employment-related reasons.

... ... ...

On April 3, 2018, Linda LaBarbera received the phone call that changed her life forever. "We are outsourcing your work to India and your services are no longer needed, effective today," the voice on the other end of the phone line said.

... ... ...

"It's not like we are starving or don't have a home or anything like that," she says. "But we did have other plans for before we retired and setting ourselves up a little better while we both still had jobs."

... ... ...

Linda hasn't needed to dip into her 401(k) yet. She plans to start collecting Social Security when she turns 70, which will give her the maximum benefit. To earn money and keep busy, Linda has taken short-term contract editing jobs. She says she will only withdraw money from her savings if something catastrophic happens. Her husband's salary is their main source of income.

"I am used to going out and spending money on other people," she says. "We are very generous with our family and friends who are not as well off as we are. So we take care of a lot of people. We can't do that anymore. I can't go out and be frivolous anymore. I do have to look at what we spend - what I spend."

Vogelbacher says cutting costs is essential when living in retirement, especially for those on a fixed income. He suggests moving to a tax-friendly location if possible. Kiplinger ranks Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Florida as the top five tax-friendly states for retirees. If their health allows, Vogelbacher recommends getting a part-time job. For those who own a home, he says paying off the mortgage is a smart financial move.

... ... ...

Monica is one of the 44 percent of unmarried persons who rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. At the beginning of 2019, Monica and more than 62 million Americans received a 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment from Social Security. The increase is the largest since 2012.

With the Social Security hike, Monica's monthly check climbed $33. Unfortunately, the new year also brought her a slight increase in what she pays for Medicare; along with a $500 property tax bill and the usual laundry list of monthly expenses.

"If you don't have much, the (Social Security) raise doesn't represent anything," she says with a dry laugh. "But it's good to get it."

[Jan 17, 2019] Jamie Dimon Next US recession won t look like 07

Notable quotes:
"... On Tuesday, Dimon and JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake said they think the current outlook for growth is positive considering the consumer is still strong and healthy. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

During an interview with FOX Business earlier this month, Dimon told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo that while it didn't look like a recession was imminent, there will eventually be a meaningful slowdown.

"There will be a recession one day. So when people say, 'Is there going to be a recession?' Yeah, I don't know when it's going to be, but there will be one and something will trigger it and it will be a little bit different than the last one," he said.

On Tuesday, Dimon and JPMorgan CFO Marianne Lake said they think the current outlook for growth is positive considering the consumer is still strong and healthy.

For the fourth quarter, the largest U.S. bank by assets reported lower-than-expected profit despite gains from higher interest rates and a bump within its loan sector. Losses were driven by market volatility, global growth worries and an ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.


Ryan S 8 hours ago

Yes the pending recession will cause many debt bubbles to burst and not just isolated primarily to banking and housing sector.

Think of what happens to the college/university system when student can no longer get loans for subsidized rates. A house or vehicle can serve as an asset to be used as collateral to control rate ceilings. However, there is no collateral in Billy and Genie's BA History degree. Good luck to all these ivory tower universities when your funding dries up and nobody can afford your way overpriced programs. Anubis 9 hours ago I have read Americans hold over 50 trillion in debt yet over half the population has only $1,000 in savings.

Bob 9 hours ago

Why is the US increasing deficit spending doing a good economy???? Reply
s 8 hours ago
Why does no one ask....why does higher education cost so much compared to other costs? The rate of increases in higher education is never challenged by anyone. It is automatically assumed good. People are so blind and accepting.
Bart 7 hours ago
"At some point in the future we will have a recession and it will be a little bit different from the last recession." He is paid $28,500,000.00 a year and sounds like my car mechanic.
buddhist 8 hours ago
Same like it was in 2007. Everything in the world was fine until Lehmann declared bankruptcy and hell started to break. May be this time around it's Deutsche bank's turn.
Sam 5 hours ago
Signs of the economy slowing are everywhere. Company earnings are down and layoffs are increasingly more common. Min wage jobs might be plentiful right now, but that will change in less than a year. Better hold on and you better keep your job. Next recession will eliminate a lot of jobs. Those over 40 - forget it.
Chinas Love 8 hours ago
The next recession will occur when the US government hit over $25 Trillion in debt thus surpassing out total GDP thus making the US bankrupt or Trump enacts the remaining $600 billion of the $820 Billion in tariffs on China and the rest of the world because China trade deficit has grown under his watch to historic levels each each!

[Jan 17, 2019] Managerialism is synonym for corporatism

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JulesBywaterLees -> Zagradotryad , 29 Nov 2018 08:29

Managerialism is a state of European/Western politics, power has moved to large corporations. In 2008 the finance industry held countries to ransom...
Zagradotryad , 29 Nov 2018 08:03

power that has become too distant from the people.

That's the problem.

It's not technology, or Russians, or Trump or any other of the things you throw up to convince yourself the problem is external.

Managerialism has merely delivered gross inequality. The tools don't matter.

[Jan 17, 2019] The Coke or Pepsi and parties is a perfect corporatist arrangement, which guarantee filtering out any opposition to the oligarchy in 99 percent of elections

Only a severe political crisi can shake this "controlled duopoly" of the US coporatism.
Jan 16, 2019 | theguardian.com

William Williamson, 15 Jan 2019 10:38

Well put. All the USA has is Coke or Pepsi. With a lot of masquerading in between. A couple people who aren't on THE payroll, or wanting to be.
MyGenericUsername , 15 Jan 2019 07:38
Half of Americans don't bother voting for president. Why is the American media full only of people who insist that the country is divided in half between Democrat and Republican supporters? Where are the people of influence who think it's a problem and reflects poorly on the country that half of eligible voters don't see a reason to participate, and that it's worth changing things in order to get more people to change their minds about that?

Both parties are content with being unpopular, but with political mechanisms ensuring they stay in power anyway. The Democrats aren't concerned with being popular. They're content with being a token opposition party that every once in a while gets a few token years with power they don't put to any good anyway. It pays more, I guess.

CanSoc , 15 Jan 2019 07:34
It still looks like if Americans want to live in a progressive country, they'll have to move to one. But as it is clear that the neoliberalism of establishment Democrats has little or nothing to offer the poor and working class, or to non-wealthy millennials, the times they are a-changing.

[Jan 17, 2019] The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

RogerPalmer -> 5nufk1n4prez , 29 Nov 2018 07:30

True but incredibly naive.

The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters.

Part of the problem was undeniably the crippling reparations for WWI forced on Germany by the victorious allies.

Part of the problem was communism strengthening in Russia and a growing communist threat in Germany.

Part of the problem was a desire by the entrenched elites to use the National Socialists as a counter to challenge the populism of the communism.

There are many contributing factors and the responsibility for the Nazis reaches far beyond the German border.

[Jan 17, 2019] The Deep State is not monolithic

Notable quotes:
"... It does appear that a portion of the Deep State was really disappointed and didn't give up when other billionaires got Trump elected. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

gepay , Jan 17, 2019 8:53:55 PM | 34 ">link

The Deep State is not monolithic. I would not be surprised that at the same time as Iran Contra there were other large scale covert operations going on.

There certainly are ongoing operations that are directed at keeping actual nationalists (like I believe Putin to be) from gaining power in important resource countries in Africa and other continents

Llike the operation that brought down Gough Whitlam without the need for Perkin's (Economic hitman) jackals which were probably used to kill Olof Palme.

It does appear that a portion of the Deep State was really disappointed and didn't give up when other billionaires got Trump elected.

[Jan 17, 2019] What makes folks think that the Bush secret cabal has gone away?

Apparently papa Bush was a dirtbag.
Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Jan 17, 2019 6:36:28 PM | link

psychohistorian , Jan 17, 2019 5:54:09 PM | link

What makes folks think that the Bush secret cabal has gone away?

I see a splintering or bankruptcy of many elite coming as part of the new order.....cull the herd...... If only the elite would take each other down in this event I would be pleased.....grin

Leave the rest of us to pick up the pieces and move on with life after our global private finance/God of Mammon world collapses.

I agree with comment #2 Richard Steven Hack that Hersh is playing his role of keeping focus off more recent crimes against humanity by exposing the deeds of the dead but staying tight lipped about deeds of the living.

lysias , Jan 17, 2019 6:08:17 PM | link

If Hersh is now revealing secrets he couldn't while Bush was still alive, I wish he would tell us what connection there was between Bush and the JFK assassination. Unfortunately, Hersh's disgraceful book "The Dark Side of Camelot," suggests he will not. That book reflects thinking by Hersh's CIA and Secret Service sources that Kennedy was such a bad person and president that it's a good thing he was killed. The book never explicitly says this, but it's the underlying thought.
Hersh seems to be engaged in a bit of revisionism to whitewash Bush's role on Iran-Contra. Probably he has been strong armed, like so many others today

President Bush decapitated the Iran-Contra investigation by pardoning 6 figures including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whose trial was about to begin, with Bush himself likely called to testify. ." Bush first consulted his attorney general at the time, William Barr. Barr has just been named by Trump as attorney general.

Interesting article on Barr here (i broke the link with space). The swamp just keeps getting nastier

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1994/eirv21n42-19941021
/eirv21n42-19941021_029-william_barr_the_bush_clique_and.pdf


Bush was basically the acting President during the Reagan years like Cheney was during his sons regime. Cheney and Bush go way back. Bush like Cheney knew everything going on.

"On May 14, 1982, Vice President Bush's position as chief of all U.S. covert action was formalized in a secret memorandum (signed "for the President" by Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser William P. Clark and declassified during the congressional Iran-Contra hearings)."

[Jan 17, 2019] Another bit of evidence backing my hypothesis that the CIA quickly gained control of the Executive branch of the Federal government soon after its inception.

Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 17, 2019 3:22:19 PM | 8 ">link

Gee, what a surprise, GHW Bush committing ongoing acts of treason, first as DCI then, Veep, then POTUS. Yet another bit of evidence backing my hypothesis that the CIA quickly gained control of the Executive branch of the Federal government soon after its inception.

It would be tempting to call it the Mafiosi States of America except that so few Italians or Sicilians are involved.

Saker's Anglo-Zionist Empire is quite close to reality, although I prefer my own Outlaw US Empire.

What I was trained to portray the USA as to students is a massive lie, some of which I knew at the time, but not to the extent I now know. Frankly, I'm rather glad my elders have all passed--to be told you've been living a lie your entire life is an affront to one's dignity that's hard to top.

[Jan 17, 2019] Longtime Reporter Leaves NBC, Accuses Media of Lionizing Destructive Organizations Like the FBI

Notable quotes:
"... By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny! ..."
"... I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. -- William Arkin, former NBC war reporter ..."
"... Former CIA Director John Brennan the latest superspook," they said, "to be reborn as a TV newsie . He just cashed in at NBC News as a 'senior national security and intelligence analyst' and served his first expert views on Meet the Press . The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN , which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity. ..."
"... Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV's grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert Mueller; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC ; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush. ..."
"... At this point Arkin is selling the idea, with which I agree, that the security state has become so powerful that it's able to use the news networks, who compete for "spook parity," as their sales platforms. ..."
"... And there's no real evidence that the FBI is either -- is that competent of an institution, to begin with, in terms of even pursuing the prosecutions that it's pursuing. But yet we lionize them. We hold them up on a pedestal, that somehow they are the truth tellers , that they're the ones who are getting to the bottom of things, when there's just no evidence that that's the case. ..."
"... And we tend, again, to say "Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department." Donald Trump couldn't find the Department of Homeland Security if somebody set him on the streets of New York -- of Washington, D.C. So it's not Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department. It's our Homeland Security Department. And I think it's important for us to recognize that this is a department that is really operating on its own behalf and out of control . ..."
"... if a President Sanders attempted to do all that, what would be the response of the national security apparatus, guardians of the status quo? Whom would they serve, the billionaire owners of the established, corrupt-but-lucrative bipartisan state, or the Sanders-led revolutionary FDR-style government they're constitutionally sworn to defend? ..."
"... The Guard had the power to "make or break emperors." Are we growing our own Praetorian Guard, or giving them leave to grow, under cover of their anti-Trump "resistance"? If I were one of the national security superspooks, I'd want nothing better than to be welcomed -- and washed clean -- by acceptance into that well-praised effort. Doors would open publicly that before were open only in secret. ..."
"... the form of government he leaves behind may be worse, especially if he cements in the public mind the rightness of superspooks acting as new-minted kingmakers. Sanders supporters, take note. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Yves Smith By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

The Praetorian Guard declares a cowering Claudius emperor after murdering Caligula (from a painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema)

I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. -- William Arkin, former NBC war reporter

File this under "Praetorian Guard Watch."

William Arkin is a longtime NBC reporter, primarily covering war and national security news. He recently quit NBC, offering his reasons in an online " departure letter ." There he castigated the media's coverage of the president, calling them at one point "prisoners of Donald Trump."

"Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor," Arkin wrote. "And yet I'm alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn't get out Syria? We shouldn't go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really earn for the Cold War? And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?"

Please notice the last sentences above, about the growth in reputation -- and irreproachability -- of the national security state: "And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?"

Then he gave an interview to Democracy Now 's Amy Goodman. Part of that interview went this way (emphasis mine throughout):

AMY GOODMAN: So, you talked about the people who populate the networks as pundits, and you've been a fierce critic of the national security state, or at least understanding who it is who is explaining things to us.

Reading from Politico , " Former CIA Director John Brennan the latest superspook," they said, "to be reborn as a TV newsie . He just cashed in at NBC News as a 'senior national security and intelligence analyst' and served his first expert views on Meet the Press . The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN , which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity.

Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV's grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert Mueller; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC ; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush."

And it goes on and on and on. These are now the pundits. And so, when you have a situation like President Trump announcing he will immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and halve the troops that are in Afghanistan, you have this massive attack on him that's actually led by the permanent national security state under the guise of pundits on television .

At this point Arkin is selling the idea, with which I agree, that the security state has become so powerful that it's able to use the news networks, who compete for "spook parity," as their sales platforms.

But in doing so, he's making another point as well, if not mindfully -- that the national security state is approaching (or has approached) the status of a latter-day Praetorian Guard, a military organization without whose approval no one can become or remain president.

He gets there in stages. First, this:

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, I think that you've -- I mean, what you said stands for itself, Amy. But I would add to it that I think the real crisis is that when we have a panel discussion on television, in the mainstream press, and even in the mainstream newspapers, we don't populate that panel with people who are in opposition. We have a single war party in the United States, and it's the only one that is given voice.

And I think that probably because of the phenomenon of Donald Trump -- let's just be honest about it -- really what we see on TV now is former Obama administration officials masquerading as analysts who are nonpartisan, when in fact they are partisan .

Brennan, Clapper (he who lied to Congress but, as an approved insider, was forgiven), and a number of other "former Obama administration officials" are not just partisan, pro-endless war advocates "masquerading as analysts"; they are "analysts" working to delegitimize Donald Trump. Whether not Trump is a legitimate president, that "partisan superspooks" are uncritically accepted as part of the takedown operation should be concerning.

Arkin seems to recognize this. Later in the interview he's asked to explain his comment about the FBI, which I noted above.

AMY GOODMAN: And, William Arkin, you also write, "don't [even] get me started with the FBI : What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?"

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, there's a crazy collateral damage of Donald Trump. And that is that there are a lot of liberals in America who believe that the CIA and the FBI is going to somehow save the country from Donald Trump .

Well, I'm sorry, I'm not a particular fan of either the CIA or the FBI . And the FBI , in particular, has a deplorable record in American society, from Martin Luther King and the peace movements of the 1960s all the way up through Wen Ho Lee and others who have been persecuted by the FBI .

And there's no real evidence that the FBI is either -- is that competent of an institution, to begin with, in terms of even pursuing the prosecutions that it's pursuing. But yet we lionize them. We hold them up on a pedestal, that somehow they are the truth tellers , that they're the ones who are getting to the bottom of things, when there's just no evidence that that's the case.

AMY GOODMAN:
And what do you mean by the "creeping fascism of homeland security"?

WILLIAM ARKIN: You know, I was against the creation of the Homeland Security Department in 2003, to begin with. First of all, don't like the word. "Homeland security" sounds a little bit brown-shirty to me. But, second of all, it was created to be a counterterrorist organization, a domestic counterterrorist organization. And all during the Obama administration, we heard Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, saying, "You know, we are counterterrorism." But since then, we've seen they're creeping into cybersecurity. We've seen them creeping into election security. We've seen ICE and TSA become the second and third largest federal law enforcement agencies in the country. And so, now homeland security sort of has become a domestic intelligence agency with really an unclear remit, really with broad powers that we don't fully understand .

And we tend, again, to say "Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department." Donald Trump couldn't find the Department of Homeland Security if somebody set him on the streets of New York -- of Washington, D.C. So it's not Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department. It's our Homeland Security Department. And I think it's important for us to recognize that this is a department that is really operating on its own behalf and out of control .

I'd like you to ask yourself this. If a President Bernie Sanders wanted better relations with Russia and North Korea, and went about it in a smart, safe way; wanted to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. by smartly but radically renegotiating our billionaire- and corporate-friendly trade deals; wanted to radically reduce spending on the national security apparatus , on our endless wars, and spend instead on government-provided services like Medicare for All (which, by the way, would devastate several powerful, well-funded industries and bipartisan donor constituencies) and for good measure, started jailing bankers again

if a President Sanders attempted to do all that, what would be the response of the national security apparatus, guardians of the status quo? Whom would they serve, the billionaire owners of the established, corrupt-but-lucrative bipartisan state, or the Sanders-led revolutionary FDR-style government they're constitutionally sworn to defend?

As a reminder : The Praetorian Guard was an elite unit of the Imperial Roman army whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Roman emperors. [T]he Guard became notable for its intrigue and interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming their successors. In 312, the Guard was disbanded by Constantine the Great [after defeating them and their latest declared emperor at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge ].

The Guard murdered Caligula -- insane, incompetent and dangerous -- and declared Claudius emperor, the first of its many "interferences." After Claudius was poisoned, they transferred allegiance to Nero. It went like this for centuries (of which we have none, by the way).

The Guard had the power to "make or break emperors." Are we growing our own Praetorian Guard, or giving them leave to grow, under cover of their anti-Trump "resistance"? If I were one of the national security superspooks, I'd want nothing better than to be welcomed -- and washed clean -- by acceptance into that well-praised effort. Doors would open publicly that before were open only in secret.

In that sense, Trump may be even more dangerous than he's now considered to be. What he may do while still with us may be frightful to consider. But the form of government he leaves behind may be worse, especially if he cements in the public mind the rightness of superspooks acting as new-minted kingmakers. Sanders supporters, take note.

[Jan 17, 2019] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-10/f-35-program-costs-jump-to-406-billion-in-new-pentagon-estimate

Jan 17, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

What a bunch of fools. As Tucker Carlson aptly said

Most terrifying of all, the crew has become incompetent. They have no idea how to sail. They're spinning the ship's wheel like they're playing roulette and cackling like mental patients.

The boat is listing, taking on water, about to sink. They're totally unaware that any of this is happening. As waves wash over the deck, they're awarding themselves majestic new titles and raising their own salaries. You look on in horror, helpless and desperate. You have nowhere to go. You're trapped on a ship of fools.

Plato imagined this scene in The Republic. He never mentions what happened to the ship. It would be nice to know. What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves.

The people who did it don't seem aware of what they've done. They don't want to know, and they don't want you to tell them. Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet.
They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers.

[Jan 17, 2019] We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

One of the main power weapons of the elite is the control over the information flows
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Albert Ravey , 29 Nov 2018 10:45

Some highlights from this thread (no names, no pack drill):

Populism is a kickback and correction to the forty years of political correctness where the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites.

Perhaps the reason that "populism" is thriving is that the liberal elites who ruled us in the entire post war period became complacent out of touch with those they were meant to represent.

there are millions of others whose voices have been ignored or silenced by the mainstream news

We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

The MSM has always been biased-

Why is democracy booming the article asks.
Well because the lies and bullshit of the liberal elite are there for all to see.

Take a look at what the MSM refuses to report, or what it deliberately distorts,

You can see the problem. It's like they are all reading from the same limited script which has been handed to them. Given the freedom to express our opinions, we are regurgitating what someone else has told us to say.

Maybe we should not be too pessimistic. The levels of opportunity for expression that the internet and social media have given us might currently have exceeded our ability to think critically about whatever bullshit we are being fed, but future generations may be better. After all, it's only a small step from doubting whatever mainstream thought tells you, to starting to wonder who is telling you to doubt those things and why and then to actually go back and think for yourself about the issues.

TheBorderGuard -> SomlanderBrit , 29 Nov 2018 10:44

... the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves.

Lifted straight from the pages of the Völkischer Beobachter , I suspect.

TheBorderGuard , 29 Nov 2018 10:43
Some people are more attracted to certainties than subtleties -- and I suspect such people are ideologues in general and populists in particular.
DanInTheDesert , 29 Nov 2018 09:46
Sigh.

So Corbyn and Trump are the same because they both have shirts. Well, color me convinced!

Like so many of these articles -- including the long but uninformative 'long read' on the same topic -- there is no mention of the failures of the elites.

Clinton sold us a false bill of goods. The Washington Consensus on economics would make the country richer and, after some 'pain', would benefit the working class. Sure you wouldn't be making cars but after some retraining you would work in tech.

This was a broken promise -- de industrialization has devastated the upper midwest. The goods are made in China and the money goes to Bezos. People are rightly upset.

The Washington Consensus on war sold us a false bill of goods. Instead of peace through strength we have seen a century of endless conflict. We have been caught in state of constant killing since 2001 and we are no safer for it. Indeed the conflicts have created new enemies and the only solution on offer is a hair of the dog solution.

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites. Nowhere are the repeated failures of the elites, the decades of broken promises mentioned in the articles. Instead, those of us who prefer Sanders to Clinton, Corbyn to Blair are mesmerized by emotional appeals and seduced by simplistic appeals to complex problems. And they wonder why we don't accept their analyses . . .

TL;DR -- clickbait didn't get us here. The broken promises of the Washington consensus did.

[Jan 16, 2019] Corporatism is the control of government by big business. This is what we have in the USA today. The main difference between corporatism and fascism is the level of repressions against opposition. Corporatism now tales forma of inverted totalitarism and use ostracism instead of phycal repressions

Jan 16, 2019 | profile.theguardian.com

ChesBay -> KMdude 15 Jan 2019 10:07

That is why we need a Constitutional amendment to get the money OUT of politics. Make bribery illegal. THEN, we will not need Wall Street, which doesn't serve MOST of the population of this country, and is mostly responsible for the wealth gap and lack of opportunities for most of the population.
ChesBay , 15 Jan 2019 10:05
I'm not fooled. These are not progressives, they are corporatists, beholden to their donors. They have no courage, no interest in serving their constituencies, but are only interested in the power and money. What our country , and the world, needs is radical change from the profit-first point of view. I won't support either one of them.
William Anthony , 15 Jan 2019 09:28
It comes as no surprise that Wall Street runs the US Government.

Benito Mussolini defined fascism as "Barely able to slip a cigarette paper between business and government."

The US is a de-facto fascism.

[Jan 15, 2019] Apparently, the FBI, and not the CIA, are the real government by Colonel Pat Lang

More correctly is probably say that FBI and CIA can act as a single agency when their interests are threatened. And based on the fact that investigation was run by FBI counterintelligence division, which is a branch of CIA (with dotted line reporting) it was CIA (Brennan and Obama) which was at the helm. The problem with powerful intelligence agencies that very soon the tail starts wag the dog. Which happened in the USA around 1963.
Clearly this was a soft coup, organized along color revolution schema, so well known by both State Department and CIA, and adapted to the USA government structure. Mueller investigation was a classic move designed to paralyze and undermine the President.
Jan 15, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Just to review the situation:

1. The president of the US was made head of the Executive Branch (EC) of the federal government by Article 2 of the present constitution of the US. He is also Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the federal government. As head of the EC, he is head of all the parts of the government excepting the Congress and the Federal courts which are co-equal branches of the federal government. The Department of Justice is just another Executive Branch Department subordinate in all things to the president. The FBI is a federal police force and counter-intelligence agency subordinate to the Department of Justice and DNI and therefore to the president in all things. The FBI actually IMO has no legal right whatever to investigate the president. He is the constitutionally elected commander of the FBI. Does one investigate one's commander? No. The procedures for legally and constitutionally removing a president from office for malfeasance are clear. He must be impeached by the House of Representatives for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" and then tried by the US Senate on the charges. Conviction results in removal from office.

2. According to these transcripts of congressional testimony by some of the participants, the FBI decided all by itself after Comey was fired to consider acting against Trump by pursuing him for suspicion of conspiracy with Russia to give the Russians the president of the US that they supposedly wanted. Part of the discussions among senior FBI people had to do with whether or not the president had the legal authority to remove from office an FBI Director. Say what? Where have these dummies been all their careers? Do they not teach anything about this at the FBI Academy? The US Army lectures its officers at every level of schooling on the subject of the constitutional and legal basis and limits of their authority.

3. Following these seditious and IMO illegal discussions the FBI and Sessions/Rosenstein's Justice Department sought FISA Court warrants for surveillance against associates of Trump and members of his campaign for president. Their application for warrants were largely based on unsubstantiated "opposition research" funded by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign. The judge who approved the warrants was not informed of the nature of the evidence. These warrants provided an authority for surveillance of the Trump campaign.

4. IMO this collection of actions when added to whatever Clapper, Brennan and "the lads" of the Deep State were doing with the British intelligence services amount to an attempted "soft coup" against the constitution and from the continued stonewalling of the FBI and DoJ the coup is ongoing. pl

[Jan 14, 2019] Deep State is a new "Inner Party"

Notable quotes:
"... With Warren wanting to be at the table with the elites, perhaps she took the advice of Larry Summers. In her memoir, "A Fighting Chance", she mentions a dinner conversation where she was told by him 'I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. ..."
"... Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. ..."
"... Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People -- powerful people -- listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don't criticize other insiders.' ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , , January 11, 2019 at 1:26 am

With Warren wanting to be at the table with the elites, perhaps she took the advice of Larry Summers. In her memoir, "A Fighting Chance", she mentions a dinner conversation where she was told by him 'I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider.

Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them.

Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People -- powerful people -- listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don't criticize other insiders.'

https://billmoyers.com/2014/09/05/i-had-been-warned/

[Jan 13, 2019] This is Main Street versus Wall Street. This is honest books versus dirty books by Greg Hunter

Notable quotes:
"... I watched Greg Hunter's show on this. Very disturbing because of it's currency. This backdoor off-the-books financing of whatever they want is as she says, the introduction of free fascism in the US. ..."
"... Deep State is REAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLTzpDFGWjI ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Greg Hunter's USAWatchdog.com,

originally from: Secret Money For Private Armies Austin Fitts Exposes America's Open Running Bailout

Investment advisor and former Assistant Secretary of Housing Catherine Austin Fitts says it looks like a "global recession is coming."

Is that going to cause the debt reset we've been hearing about for years? Fitts says, " Make no mistake about it, there is no reason for the federal government to default or monkey with any debt because they can literally print the currency..."

" The question is how do they make sure whatever they are printing really holds any kind of store of value. I think the reason you are seeing them reengineer the federal bureaucracy and financial transactions infrastructure is because they want much greater and tighter control to do whatever they do, and that includes to continue to debase the currency. They could do this (reset) entirely by debasing the currency...

What we are watching . . . is essentially a coup. We had a financial coup, and now we are watching a legal coup to consolidate that financial coup. I would keep my eye on the fundamental governance structure of the U.S. The important thing is not what they do. The important thing is who controls no matter what they do. Now, we have created a mechanism for them to control entirely in secret and create policies entirely in secret, including around the back of a U.S. President... It's pirating by the 'just do it' method. I said to someone the other day, what is it about secret money for secret private armies that you don 't understand? "

$21 trillion in "missing money" at the DOD and HUD that was discovered by Dr. Mark Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts in 2017 has now become a national security issue.

The federal government is not talking or answering questions, even though the DOD recently failed its first ever audit. Fitts says, "This is basically an open running bailout..."

"Under this structure, you can transfer assets out of the federal government into private ownership, and nobody will know and nobody can stop it. There is no oversight whatsoever. You can't even know who is doing it. I'm telling you they just took the United States government, they just changed the governance model by accounting policy to a fascist government. If you are an investor, you don't know who owns those assets, and there is no evidence that you do...

If the law says you have to produce audited financial statements and you refuse to do so for 20 years, and then when somebody calls you on it, you proceed to change the accounting laws that say you can now run secret books for all the agencies and over 100 related entities ."

In closing, Fitts says, "We cannot sit around and passively depend on a guy we elected President..."

"The President cannot fix this. We need to fix this...

This is Main Street versus Wall Street. This is honest books versus dirty books. If you want the United States in 10 years to resemble anything what it looked like 20 years ago, you are going to have to do it, and there is no one else who can do it. You have to first get the intelligence to know what is happening."

Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with Catherine Austin Fitts, Publisher of "The Solari Report."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Mi6S4zrFjPg

To Donate to USAWatchdog.com


Withdrawn Sanction , 15 minutes ago link

"If the law says you have to produce audited financial statements and you refuse to do so for 20 years, and then when somebody calls you on it, you proceed to change the accounting laws that say you can now run secret books for all the agencies and over 100 related entities ."

She's referring to FASB standards, but those dont sound like a Constitutional Amendment to me.

Article i, Section 9, paragraph 7: "No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time."

Perhaps when $20+ trillion are involved, the Constitution be damned, I suppose. Or perhaps the govt boys will claim the $20T didn't come from an appropriation but instead from their own "industrious" activities...you know, like drug and gun running, and human trafficking perhaps?

DjangoCat , 21 minutes ago link

I watched Greg Hunter's show on this. Very disturbing because of it's currency. This backdoor off-the-books financing of whatever they want is as she says, the introduction of free fascism in the US.

Is the Donald on this case? Sure hope so.

JBlount123 , 22 minutes ago link

Deep State is REAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLTzpDFGWjI

Duc888 , 24 minutes ago link

One of the smartest women out there. Huge fan here. She almost got snuffed for blowing the whistle at HUD (two sets of books and all). It's only recently that she's come out and said that there's no such thing as the "money being lost". It's digital and 100% traceable.

Arrowflinger , 15 minutes ago link

Fitts is correct and her approach is sound. Money flows are traceable. The problem is more complicated, though. As Enron proved and the Parmalat scandal cemented, the CRONY CUT is fatal. The Auditors gave up fiduciary duties for FIDOCIARIES riches. They rolled over and played dead.

Duc888 , 12 minutes ago link

They've already tried to off her. They broke her financially and she bounced back. She made a lot of enemies but luckily she has some good friends in high places too. Watch a few Vids about what they did to her after she blew the whistle at HUD. She's lucky to be above ground.

Her extensive studies and reports that follow crack cocaine being dumped into various areas the subsequent drug related violence and BS "WOD" response and then what happened to the real estate, as in, WHO WINDS UP BUYING block after block after block of blighted buildings is absolutely fascinating . She should have gotten more recognition for those exhaustive studies.

There's a VERY LARGE HAND at work there...for profit.

[Jan 13, 2019] More Americans fleeing high-tax states

Jan 13, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Last year, these were the ten highest income tax states, according to TurboTax (*These rates do not include local taxes.):

[Jan 13, 2019] Goldman Sachs Says Markets Indicate a 50% Chance of a Recession

Notable quotes:
"... However, despite the signs, Goldman Sachs assumes the indicators are wrong and that "recession risk remains fairly low, in the neighborhood of 15% over the next year." The bank has predicted that the S&P 500 will finish 2019 at 3,000, up from the current value just below 2,600. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

Confidence in continued economic growth has been waning. A huge majority of chief financial officers around the world say a recession will happen by the end of 2020. Most voters think one will hit by the end of this year.

Now the Goldman Sachs economic research team says that the market shows a roughly 50% chance of a recession over the next year, according to Axios.

Goldman Sachs looked at two different measures: the yield curve slope and credit spreads. The former refers to a graph of government bond interest rates versus the years attaining maturity requires. In a growing economy, interest rates are higher the longer the investment because investors have confidence in the future. A frequent sign of a recession is the inversion of the slope, when investors are uncertain about the future, so are less willing to bet on it.

Credit spreads compare the interest paid by government bonds, which are considered the safest. Corporate bonds, which are riskier, of the same maturity have to offer higher interest rates. As a recession approaches, credit spreads tend to expand, as investors are more worried about companies defaulting on their debt.

However, despite the signs, Goldman Sachs assumes the indicators are wrong and that "recession risk remains fairly low, in the neighborhood of 15% over the next year." The bank has predicted that the S&P 500 will finish 2019 at 3,000, up from the current value just below 2,600.

[Jan 13, 2019] UAE energy minister says average oil price in 2018 was $70 a barrel

Jan 13, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said on Saturday the average oil price in 2018 was $70 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other leading global oil producers led by Russia agreed in December to cut their combined oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day to balance the oil market starting from January.

"Today we look at an average year of around $70 for Brent," Mazrouei told an industry news conference in Abu Dhabi, adding that this level would help encourage global oil investments. An energy ministry spokesman said the minister was referring to the average oil price in 2018.

[Jan 13, 2019] Canada's Crude Oil Production Cuts Are Unsustainable by Haley Zaremba

I especially like the phase "This directive was particularly surprising in the context of Canada's free market economy" That's really deep understanding of the situation ;-) . It is so difficult to understand that Canada as a large oil producer, needs higher oil prices and it does not make sense from the point of market economy to pollute the environment and at the same time lose money in the process ?
Notable quotes:
"... Alberta's oil production has been cut 8.7 percent according to the mandate set by the province's government under Rachel Notley with the objective of cutting out around 325,000 barrels per day from the Canadian market. ..."
"... So far, the government-imposed productive caps have been extremely successful. In October Canadian oil prices were so depressed that the Canadian benchmark oil Western Canadian Select (WCS) was trading at a whopping $50 per barrel less than United States benchmark oil West Texas Intermediate (WTI). now, in the wake of production cuts, the price gap between WCS and WTI has diminished by a dramatic margin to a difference of just under $13 per barrel. ..."
"... The current production caps in Canada are only intended to last through the middle of this year, at which point Canadian oil companies will be permitted to decrease their cutbacks to just 95,000 barrels per day fewer than the numbers from November 2018's production rates. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

In an attempt to combat a ballooning oil glut and dramatically plummeting prices, the premier of Alberta Rachel Notley introduced an unprecedented measure at the beginning of December when she is mandating that oil companies in her province cut production. This directive was particularly surprising in the context of Canada's free market economy, where oil production is rarely so directly regulated.

Canada's recent oil glut woes are not due to a lack of demand, but rather a severe lack of pipeline infrastructure. There is plenty of demand, and more than enough supply, but no way to get the oil flowing where it needs to go. Canada's pipelines are running at maximum capacity, storage facilities are filled to bursting, and the pipeline bottleneck has only continued to worsen . Now, in an effort to alleviate the struggling industry, Alberta's oil production has been cut 8.7 percent according to the mandate set by the province's government under Rachel Notley with the objective of cutting out around 325,000 barrels per day from the Canadian market.

Even before the government stepped in, some private oil companies had already self-imposed production caps in order to combat the ever-expanding glut and bottomed-out oil prices. Cenovus Energy, Canadian Natural Resource, Devon Energy, Athabasca Oil, and others announced curtailments that totaled around 140,000 barrels a day and Cenovus Energy, one of Canada's major producers, even went so far as to plead with the government to impose production caps late last year.

So far, the government-imposed productive caps have been extremely successful. In October Canadian oil prices were so depressed that the Canadian benchmark oil Western Canadian Select (WCS) was trading at a whopping $50 per barrel less than United States benchmark oil West Texas Intermediate (WTI). now, in the wake of production cuts, the price gap between WCS and WTI has diminished by a dramatic margin to a difference of just under $13 per barrel.

Related: The Natural Gas Crash Isn't Over

While on the surface this would seem to be a roundly glowing review of the production caps in Alberta, production cuts are not a long-term solution for Canada's oil glut woes. The current production caps in Canada are only intended to last through the middle of this year, at which point Canadian oil companies will be permitted to decrease their cutbacks to just 95,000 barrels per day fewer than the numbers from November 2018's production rates. The cuts are a just a treatment, not a cure, for oversupply in Alberta. The problem needs to be addressed at its source--the pipelines.

Unfortunately, the pipeline shortage in Alberta has no quick and easy fix. While there are multiple major pipeline projects underway, the two largest, the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans Mountain pipeline, are stalled indefinitely thanks to legal woes and seemingly endless litigation. The Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, intended to replace one of the region's already existing pipelines, is currently under construction and projected to be up and running by the end of the year, but will not go a long way toward fixing the bottleneck.

Even if the Albertan government re-evaluates the present mid-2019 expiration date for the current stricter production cuts, extending the production caps could have enduring negative consequences in the region's oil industry. Keeping a long-term cap on production in Alberta would potentially discourage investment in future production as well as in the infrastructure the local industry so sorely needs. According to some reporting , the cuts will not be able to control the gap between Canadian and U.S. oil for much longer anyway, just another downside to drawing out what should be a short-term solution. The government will need to weigh the possible outcomes very carefully as the expiration date approaches, when the and the pipeline shortage is still a long way from being solved and the price of oil remains dangerously variable.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

[Jan 13, 2019] The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time.

Notable quotes:
"... This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations. ..."
"... They are CIA assets who do what they're told. ..."
"... There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true. ..."
"... Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness. ..."
"... I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness. ..."
"... If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants. ..."
"... The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil. ..."
"... Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down. ..."
"... "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics." ..."
"... I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment. ..."
"... "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

lavoisier , says: Website July 23, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@peterAUS

Anyone with an average intelligence can, in two hours trawling of Internet, get how false all that is. And, yet, here we are.
The same people who can spend hours on social media, shopping and entertainment online can't, for SOME reason, figure all that out.

Easy to blame "them" and media/academia/whatever. Maybe it's time to start passing a bit of blame to people in general. Not holding my breath.

I fully agree with this sentiment. The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time. If the sheeple were to take responsibility to inform themselves of what is happening today they would be able to see the lies they are being constantly exposed to as just that -- lies. And then, they could put down the beer and turn off the damn sports channel and get angry at what has happened to their country.

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for ignorant people to remain ignorant.

Giuseppe , says: July 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT

This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations.

They are CIA assets who do what they're told.

Gordon Pratt , says: July 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT
There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true.

This is the perfect environment for the virus of groupthink to spread.

And since our leaders, both on the left and the right, may be ahead of the curve on drug usage the neocons and the politically correct may use antidepressants at greater levels than 10 per cent.

Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness.

I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness.

If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants.

AnonFromTN , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Gordon Pratt I think you are mistaken trying to rationalize the behavior of the political class and their puppet masters. I believe the real driver are not antidepressants, but an obscene greed, which is so blinding that it made MIC profiteers forget that to enjoy the fruits of their thievery they have to be alive.
anonymous [339] Disclaimer , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil.

Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm GMT

"I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment.

Respect , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT
QUOS VULT IUPITER PERDERE DEMENTAT PRIUS

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni

Feel free to attack me.

TDS is a convenient shorthand for this form of disconnect from reality. That said it is absolutely fascinating to see and puzzle over this geopolitical tectonic event. The old narrative is crumbling, with the result that people like Lauri are fighting desperately to preserve their "sanity", dependent as it is on their tribal submission to the old order and its old narrative (its timeworn lies).

"Science advances one funeral at a time."
Max Planck

By which he means that people persist in believing in those "truths" (their belief system) they have held for a lifetime. Only when they die out will a new, revised belief system replaced the old. The same in geopolitics as in science.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Tulips "Malefactors of great wealth."
Simple Pseudonym , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
American dementia is not new. It is current but after the false flags of almost all of our (US) wars going back as far as the Barbary Pirates, Americans have thrived on being the good guys in an evil world. We are SO GOOD, and the world thinks we are perfect and want to be part of US so much, that any other thought is treasonous.

The fact that getting along with Russia is necessary to NOT create armageddon, is irrelevant to the typical citizen because no matter how wrong, we are blessed and perfect in the eyes of the gawd we pretend to believe in.

So, same old same old

[Jan 12, 2019] Gundlach Warns U.S. Economy Is Floating on 'an Ocean of Debt'

Jan 12, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

(Bloomberg) -- Jeffrey Gundlach said yet again that the U.S. economy is gorging on debt.

Echoing many of the themes from his annual "Just Markets" webcast on Tuesday, Gundlach took part in a round-table of 10 of Wall Street's smartest investors for Barron's. He highlighted the dangers especially posed by the U.S. corporate bond market.

Prolific sales of junk bonds and significant growth in investment grade corporate debt, coupled with the Federal Reserve weaning the market off quantitative easing, have resulted in what the DoubleLine Capital LP boss called "an ocean of debt."

The investment manager countered President Donald Trump's claim that he's presiding over the strongest economy ever. The growth is debt-based, he said.

Gundlach's forecast for real GDP expansion this year is just 0.5 percent. Citing numbers spinning out of the USDebtClock.org website, he pointed out that the U.S.'s unfunded liabilities are $122 trillion -- or six times GDP.

"I'm not looking for a terrible economy, but an artificially strong one, due to stimulus spending," Gundlach told the panel. "We have floated incremental debt when we should be doing the opposite if the economy is so strong."

Stock Bear

Gundlach is coming off another year in which his Total Return Bond Fund outperformed its fixed-income peers. It returned 1.8 percent in 2018, the best performance among the 10 largest actively managed U.S. bond funds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gundlach expects further declines in the U.S. stock market, which recently have steadied after reeling for most of December since the Great Depression. Equities will be weak early in the year and strengthen later in 2019, effectively a reversal of what happened last year, he said.

"So now we are in a bear market, which isn't defined by me as stocks being down 20 percent. A bear market is determined by the way stocks are acting," he said.

Rupal Bhansali, chief investment officer of International & Global Equities at Ariel Investments, picked up on Gundlach's debt theme in the Barron's cover story. Citing General Electric's woes, she urged investors to focus more on balance-sheet risk rather than whether a company could beat or miss earnings. Companies with net cash are worth looking at, she said.

To contact the reporters on this story: James Ludden in New York at jludden@bloomberg.net;Hailey Waller in New York at hwaller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at mmiller144@bloomberg.net, Ros Krasny

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

[Jan 12, 2019] Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment by Diana Johnstone

A mind is a terrible thing to lose
Any unbiased observer would suspect that considerable part of US Congress consists of senile gerantocrats...
Notable quotes:
"... You can accuse only the elites of dementia: they forgot that to enjoy the fruits of your thievery you have to be alive. ..."
"... They tricked us the last time, I hope that the people have learned their lesson – not to trust them anymore. ..."
"... Thank you, this is an excellent summary of the situation right now. It's worth noting too just how disconnected the establishment is from the wider public. They have enormous financial resources and access to the entire legacy media ..."
"... Let's stop using the word "elites". That sounds too positive, as though they have some admirable traits acquired by hard work, as in "elite athletes". Instead, let's call them "oligarchs" so that we get the right nuances of wealth and power, and get the correct emotional connotations of our disgust with them. We should label them with labels that they will dislike: oligarchs, mob bosses, etc. ..."
"... This is not irrational. The screaming, the hysteria, this is the utterly rational, breathtakingly brutal reaction of a ruling elite that has the moral sense of a reptile. And it's working. All of Trump's campaign promises to stop wasting trillions on pointless winless foreign wars of choice, and instead spend that on our own country? Gone. And so much else besides. ..."
"... It's dangerous to underestimate an enemy. The useful idiot foot soldiers, screaming in mindless herd instinct, are one thing. The people behind them – the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, others – there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them. ..."
Jan 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Where to begin to analyze the madness of mainstream media in reaction to the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki? By focusing on the individual, psychology has neglected the problem of mass insanity, which has now overwhelmed the United States establishment, its mass media and most of its copycat European subsidiaries. The individuals may be sane, but as a herd they are ready to leap off the cliff.

For the past two years, a particular power group has sought to explain away its loss of power – or rather, its loss of the Presidency, as it still holds a predominance of institutional power – by creation of a myth. Mainstream media is known for its herd behavior, and in this case the editors, commentators, journalists have talked themselves into a story that initially they themselves could hardly take seriously.

Donald Trump was elected by Russia ?

On the face of it, this is preposterous. Okay, the United States can manage to rig elections in Honduras, or Serbia, or even Ukraine, but the United States is a bit too big and complex to leave the choice of the Presidency to a barrage of electronic messages totally unread by most voters. If this were so, Russia wouldn't need to try to "undermine our democracy". It would mean that our democracy was already undermined, in tatters, dead. A standing corpse ready to be knocked over by a tweet.

Even if, as is alleged without evidence, an army of Russian bots (even bigger than the notorious Israeli army of bots) was besieging social media with its nefarious slanders against poor innocent Hillary Clinton, this could determine an election only in a vacuum, with no other influences in the field. But there was a lot of other stuff going on in the 2016 election, some for Trump and some for Hillary, and Hillary herself scored a crucial own goal by denigrating millions of Americans as "deplorables" because they didn't fit into her identity politics constituencies.

The Russians could do nothing to build support for Trump, and there is not a hint of evidence that they tried. They might have done something to harm Hillary, because there was so much there: the private server emails, the Clinton foundation, the murder of Moammer Gaddafi, the call for a no-fly zone in Syria they didn't have to invent it. It was there. So was the hanky panky at the Democratic National Committee, on which the Clintonite accusations focus, perhaps to cause everyone to forget much worse things.

When you come to think of it, the DNC scandal focused on